June 14, 2018
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington launched the LNP’s economic vision during her Budget Reply speech to State Parliament on Thursday, including breaking Ergon Energy’s monopoly in regional Queensland.
Mrs Frecklington said her plan laid out five goals and how the LNP would deliver each of them (see below).
She promised a future LNP government would end Ergon Energy’s monopoly.
“Regional Queenslanders are being squeezed by an energy market that is stacked against them,” Mrs Frecklington told Parliament.
“Labor has allowed Ergon to enjoy a monopoly in the regional areas, despite the Productivity Commission calling for greater competition outside the South-East over a year ago.
“If elected the LNP will implement the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report into electricity pricing … giving households in the regions an opportunity to shop around should save them up to $300 per year.”
Mrs Frecklington also promised an LNP government would air-condition Queensland classrooms.
“I remember taking a phone call this year from a gentleman called Ian,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“He said, ‘Deb, my grandchild goes to school in Yarraman and it is hot, very hot. Please help them get air conditioning.’
“Ian Winks, today I can say I can. Right now the Queensland Government only funds air conditioning in State schools in tropical and Western Queensland. I want air conditioning in each and every school.
“We air-condition our hospitals, our prisons, our Parliament, but we let our kids swelter.”
Mrs Frecklington later clarified that the policy referred to State schools only.
Turning to the Labor Budget, Mrs Frecklington said people should not be fooled by big talk of an “infrastructure Budget”.
“The first Palaszczuk government cut an average of $3 billion a year from the State infrastructure program,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Of this, $2 billion a year was ripped from the regions.
“This meant that our bush roads, our regional hospitals or even boat ramps could not receive vital upgrades.
“As a proportion of Gross State Product, last year’s infrastructure budget was the joint lowest in living memory … the infrastructure increase announced in this Budget will only restore spending to the long-term average level.”
Mrs Frecklington said that under Labor, the Public Service had continued to grow at a faster rate than population, with more than 20,000 FTEs added to the payroll since 2015.
“Of course, public services must expand as our population grows, but the number of senior and senior executive public servants has grown by more than 30 per cent under the Palaszczuk government,” she said.
“Labor has hired an extra 4158 senior and senior executive staff in just three years.
“These are not nurses on the ward. They are not teachers in the classroom. They are not police on the beat.
“This ballooning bureaucracy helps to explain why the Public Service pay bill has grown by $5.2 billion under this government.
“That is a big increase, and what have Queenslanders got in return? Are we any safer on our streets or in our home under the Palaszczuk government?
“Robberies are up 26 per cent, assaults are up 11 per cent, home invasions are up 12 per cent and car thefts are up 19 per cent.
“On top of that, our child protection services are still in crisis.
“We have had review after review, excuse after excuse, but still our children are not safe.
“Is our health system any better or worse? More patients are spending longer stuck in ambulances before they even get into an emergency department and, when they do get into an ED, they are having to wait longer to be treated.
“The medium wait for an elective surgery was down to just 28 days under the LNP, but it is back up to 50 days under Labor. Every Queenslander who relies on the public health system should be concerned, but instead of reassuring patients all the Treasurer did this week was boast about a record Health budget.
“That boast could have been made by every Treasurer Queensland has ever had.
“Under the LNP government, the Health budget increased by an average of 7 per cent a year. They were all record Health budgets, too. The Treasurer’s 4.6 per cent increase does not even come close to matching the LNP’s record.”
Mrs Frecklington said that all Queenslanders were getting from the government was debt.
“Debt will hit $83 billion under the Palaszczuk Labor government,” she said.
“It does not matter how you look at it, $83 billion is a big number and that is a big problem for Queensland.
“Labor’s massive debt will cost Queenslanders $3.7 billion a year in interest payments … in the time allocated for my speech, Queenslanders will have paid $420,000 in interest payments on Labor’s debt bomb.”
The Five Goal Plan announced by Mrs Frecklington on Thursday:
1. Bust congestion:
2. Cheaper electricity:
3. Better health and education services:
4. Water security:
5. Lower taxes: