'No friend of Gladstone': Butcher lashes out at LNP leader
GLENN Butcher has laid the boot into the new leader of the Queensland Liberal National Party 'on behalf of the Gladstone community'.
Tim Nicholls was announced as the new leader for the LNP in early May and as Mr Butcher congratulated him on his promotion yesterday in parliament, he made sure he gave him a whack as well.
"I am obliged to advise the House though that the opposition leader is no friend of the Gladstone community," Mr Butcher said.
"As treasurer in the Newman government, the member for Clayfield (Mr Nicholls) proposed the sale of the Gladstone Ports Corporation."
Mr Butcher goes on to say, amongst hectoring from the opposition, that Gladstone Ports Corporation - employer of 760 people - was the single most important piece of economic infrastructure in central Queensland.
"The word on the street was that the Newman government advisers were predicting a $5 billion to $7 billion outcome from the sale of the port and former treasurer Nicholls could not wait to get his hands on the proceeds," Mr Butcher said.
During the 2015 election, a key point for Gladstone voters was the proposed privatisation of the port by the Newman government.
The money raised was supposed to go towards new infrastructure and paying down Queensland's growing debt.
But it never came to fruition as Labor had a shock win in the election and the port remained a government-owned corporation.
The port was safe from private owners but the pressure on the state's budget has continued.
On Tuesday treasurer Curtis Pitt confirmed the government was looking at the option of using its superannuation scheme to pay down debt and create infrastructure.
He said he was considering taking money from the QSuper Defined Benefits scheme aimed for 49,000 public servants.
This comes after last year's budget decision to stop contributions into the superannuation fund to spend elsewhere.
The next state budget is expected next month and with Queensland struggling with a slow economy and the second-highest unemployment rate in Australia, pressure will be on the current treasurer to find some solutions.