March 4, 2017
The LNP has outlined a “New Deal” for Regional Queensland as the phony war in the lead up the the next State Election gains momentum.
LNP Leader Tim Nicholls and Deputy Leader Deb Frecklington released a package of promises on Saturday, coinciding with the LNP’s party meeting in Bundaberg.
The election is due by early 2018 but most pundits expect it to be called in the second half of this year.
Mr Nicholls said the LNP’s New Deal would “build a better regional Queensland, create jobs and deliver much-needed infrastructure”.
Included amongst the promises is a new coal-fired power station in North Queensland, a $500 million Royalties for Regions program, and support for coal jobs in central Queensland.
But the old chestnut of the Bradfield Scheme – a 1930s plan to divert water from northern Queensland rivers to inland Queensland – has been ruled out as too expensive as well as technically impossible.
Mr Nicholls said the New Deal had been put together as a result of “numerous listening tours around regional Queensland”.
“It’s not us versus them, it’s not city vs the bush – it’s all about delivering the policy settings, infrastructure and plans to see regional Queensland once again be a place of opportunity for all,” Mr Nicholls said.
“We know there is a lot of frustration out there with the major parties and that’s why we’ve been listening but now it’s time to act.
“As I have been travelling across regional Queensland, people are after solutions and we have them.
“We could feel the discontent among regional Queenslanders fed up with Canberra-style politics long before One Nation won Senate seats but it takes time to map out real workable solutions rather than just offer thought bubbles.
“For instance, I have bitten my tongue on One Nation’s plan to build a hybrid of the 1930s Bradfield Scheme.
“Not only have experts said for 80 years that it can’t technically be built but the cost would be north of $10 billion – money Queensland doesn’t have with debt heading towards $79 billion.
“We need to convince Queenslanders that the Liberal National Party is the only choice at the next election because we know a vote for Labor or One Nation will result in another Labor Government just like in 1998 and 2001.
“The Liberal National Party is the only party that will implement policies and real solutions tailored to regional Queensland, for regional Queenslanders.”
Mr Nicholls said the LNP’s solutions were real and workable – “not thought bubbles” – and could be implemented quickly if a majority LNP Government was elected.
“Queensland is stagnating, the community is crying out for leadership and Labor’s ‘softly, softly’ approach is failing regional Queenslanders – doing nothing is not working,” he said.
“Today, I have called together all State and Federal Members of the Liberal National Party in regional, rural and provincial Queensland for a Regional Members’ Council in Bundaberg.
“I will chair the meeting with Senator Barry O’Sullivan so both Federal and State are working hand in glove to deliver a ‘New Deal’ for Regional Queensland.”
Mr Nicholls said that under the LNP’s New Deal, the State LNP would work with the Coalition in Canberra to implement plans for the following:
LNP Deputy Leader Deb Frecklington said infrastructure and jobs would be front-and-centre of an LNP majority Government’s ‘New Deal’ for Regional Queensland.
“We will ensure Regional Queenslanders get their fair share,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Labor has no roots in regional Queensland and that’s demonstrated by their actions to strip $3 billion out of infrastructure spending, their decision to back a Singapore multinational over our cane farmers, their decision to abolish the successful Royalties for the Regions program and their attempts to wind back our pragmatic Vegetation Management Reforms.
“We need to build things again, we need the Bruce Highway to be fixed once and for all, we need dams for water security, agricultural industry expansion and better government services.
“We will restore Royalties for Regions and start spending on infrastructure again, including dams, roads, bridges, community services and ports.
“Jobs will be the main aim of our New Deal and we have already announced a $100 million Get Queensland Working Plan which is only just the beginning.
“We will announce more elements of our New Deal in the lead up to the next election.”
Footnote: The original “New Deal” was a series of programs announced by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) between 1933-38 in the wake of the Great Depression