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Statement – LNP Leader Deb Frecklington

30th March 2020

‘I want to thank Queenslanders for voting over the past few weeks under difficult circumstances.

‘The results of these elections will not be known until all the votes are counted, including the many postal votes.

‘It is clear many people didn’t want to risk voting because they were anxious about catching coronavirus.

‘I am calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to respond to this in two ways.

‘Firstly, anyone who didn’t vote should not be fined.

‘Secondly, the ECQ should start preparing so the state election in October can be conducted using a full postal vote.

‘People shouldn’t be worried about their health when they vote.

‘Postal votes are safer than attending a polling booth.’

LNP calls for bulk water price freeze to protect jobs

23rd March 2020

The LNP is calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to adopt its plan to freeze bulk water prices to support businesses and save jobs.

LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last said households and businesses should not have to pay any increases in bulk water bills from Seqwater and SunWater during the declared public health emergency.

“Freezing the cost of bulk water is a practical step to help stop the coronavirus health crisis becoming a jobs crisis,” Mr Last said.

“The full extent of this pandemic is unknown, but we can give businesses certainty by reducing state fees and taxes to help.

“The LNP understands that water is an essential component of thousands of Queensland businesses and it accounts for a big part of their input costs.

“Water plays a vital role in ensuring supermarket shelves can be stocked with the food and products Queensland needs.”

Mr Last said the LNP attempted to move amendments in Parliament last week to get bulk water prices frozen as part of a raft of measures to support Queensland businesses and jobs.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government refused to allow these amendments to even be debated during this critically important time for Queensland,” Mr Last said.

“We need to ensure water remains affordable for Queensland businesses, including farmers who will have an increasingly vital job going forward.

“More money in the pockets of farmers and businesses means they have more money to keep local jobs.

“Now is the time for the Palaszczuk Labor Government to commit to freezing bulk water to ensure Queenslanders keep working and the economy keeps ticking.

“Labor must put politics aside and put Queensland jobs first.”

Palaszczuk Labor Government last to move on economic stimulus

23rd March 2020

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s policy paralysis on economic stimulus must stop today.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said enough was enough; it was time for the Palaszczuk Government to stop doing nothing and start protecting Queensland jobs.

“The Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion stimulus package announced today further highlights the inaction by the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The Palaszczuk government is now the only state government that is yet to announce a major stimulus package.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad are failing to listen to the chorus of business leaders calling for payroll tax exemptions to protect jobs.

“People with experience in business know that loans and deferred tax aren’t real stimulus, businesses have to pay back those loans and tax later.

“The LNP has been consistently calling for the Palaszczuk Government to exempt small and medium businesses from for payroll tax for at least 6 months.

“This would immediately help over 15,000 businesses to protect Queensland jobs.

“The LNP has also called for the Palaszczuk Government to speed up payments to government suppliers, fast-track $500 million of new road projects and freeze electricity, water and car registration fees and charges.

“The Morrison Government has announced two rounds of stimulus already and more will be announced as required.

“It is clear the LNP will act and do whatever it takes to protect jobs.”

LNP Shadow Treasurer and Deputy Leader Tim Mander called on the Palaszczuk Government to back the LNP’s stimulus package.

“This isn’t about politics, it’s about protecting Queensland jobs,” Mr Mander said.

“Businesses are looking for confidence and support from the Palaszczuk Government, but the silence is deafening.

“Queensland businesses need a government that will stand with them and do whatever it takes to protect jobs.

“Queensland has consistently had the highest unemployment rate in the nation and the most business bankruptcies.

“The Palaszczuk Government should have been first to act with the stimulus package, not the last.

“With almost 70 per cent of businesses saying Queensland is already in a recession and with thousands of jobs already being lost, the Palaszczuk Government must act immediately.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s inaction is turning a health crisis into a jobs crisis in Queensland.”

State by state comparison – Economic Stimulus:

State Stimulus package as proportion of budget

TAS -6.39%
NSW - 2.73%
VIC - 2.40%
ACT - 2.38%
WA - 1.86%
SA - 1.67%
NT - 1.03%
QLD - 0.05%

LNP pressure delivers farm loan increases

19th March 2020

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has buckled to parliamentary and political pressure by the LNP after it was revealed that sustainability and first-start loans had been frozen, due to a lack of funding.

LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett questioned Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in parliament* and said it was common sense that the Government had bowed to pressure and made further funds available for Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) to distribute.

“Let’s be clear, the money should never have been allowed to dry up,” Mr Perrett said.

“These low interest loans support farmers looking to restructure and renew their businesses and are meant to be offered until the end of the financial year.

“Labor should never have abandoned farmers who were looking to rebuild after the recent rain.

“Now more than ever, the Palaszczuk Labor Government needs to do everything possible to secure local jobs and support farming families across Queensland.

“Only the LNP represent rural and regional Queensland and will always go into bat for our farmers against this anti-farmer and anti-regions Palaszczuk Labor Government.

“I now call on Labor to call off its $50 million in cuts to subsidies used by farmers in drought to feed their starving livestock from 1 July 2020.”

* Page 668: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/hansard/2020/2020_03_18_DAILY.pdf

Labor freezes loan money in cruel blow for farmers

18th March 2020

Farmers will be unable to access crucial low interest loans from the Labor Government-managed Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority after funding ceased three months early.

The QRIDA sustainability and first-start loans support farmers looking to restructure and renew their businesses and are meant to be offered until the end of the financial year.

In a response to questioning in Parliament today, Annastacia Palaszczuk had no idea about the issue and failed to commit to replenishing the fund to ensure farmers could access the financial support.

Liberal National Party Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Tony Perrett said it was alarming the Premier was unaware of the issue and that Labor was failing to offer the important loans.

“Farmers were looking to rebuild and reset after the recent rains but Labor is abandoning them,” said Mr Perrett.

“Many in the agriculture sector are desperate to recover and it’s clear there is a high demand in Queensland for these loans.

“Given the coronavirus threat to jobs and Queensland’s economy, withdrawing financial support early at this critical time is a heartless act by Labor.

“If Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor are serious about supporting our farmers they should immediately make more funds available.

“This is on top of Labor cutting $50 million worth of subsidies used by farmers in droughts to feed their starving livestock from 1 July 2020.

“Farmers continue to try and manage the long-term impacts of devastating drought and need more support, not less.

“On behalf of Queensland’s farmers, the LNP is calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk to replenish funding for QRIDA loans and support our farmers.” 

Release road cash now to save regional jobs

13th March 2020

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington is calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to immediately release an extra $500 million for road projects to create new jobs in regional Queensland.

Ms Frecklington said the coronavirus outbreak is set to inflict major damage on the Queensland economy and regional areas need an urgent stimulus.

“Coronavirus is the biggest threat to Queensland jobs since the global financial crisis,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Regional economies have already been hit by the downturn in tourism and they need help as soon as possible.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has scandalously allowed a $5.4 billion road maintenance backlog to grow over the last five years, leaving regional roads in a dire state.

“Now is the time to get working on that maintenance backlog.”

A recent LNP question-on-notice revealed the full extent of the maintenance backlog:

  • Far North Queensland - $308 million
  • North Queensland - $831 million
  • South East Queensland - $2,445 million
  • South West Queensland - $894 million
  • Central Queensland - $940 million

Source: www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2019/1922-2019.pdf

“The LNP is calling on Labor to immediately release half-a-billion dollars to bring forward road maintenance work and create new jobs.

“We cannot let a health crisis become a jobs crisis because Queensland already has the worst unemployment in Australia.

“The LNP is calling for action because we cannot afford to lose even more jobs.”

The Auditor-General has forecast that the current $5.4 billion road maintenance backlog will blow out to $9 billion by 2027 unless the Palaszczuk Labor Government takes action.