High costs key issue: Hockey

SEX sells and the Liberal National Party admits its “less than sexy” budget won’t sell easily, but in the face of cost of living pain, it’s what constituents want.

The Liberal National Party wants to give people the opportunity to hold on to more of their own money so they can realise their dreams.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey visited Gladstone yesterday to catch up on what Gladstone needs and discussed the core of the LNP campaign for the upcoming federal election.

“The biggest issue at the moment is cost of living,” he said.

Mr Hockey said utility prices, such as electricity and water, along with rent and mortgages have gone up and they will probably go up again.

“People are hurting with prices,” he said.

Mr Hockey said as an example, he was paying $230 a night for a hotel room here, which was more expensive than what he paid in Melbourne or Sydney.

He said part of getting the cost of living and other costs down, was to get the country’s budget back into a healthy position so there was no more uncertainty.

“It’s not a sexy policy announcement but to say that we are going to get the deficit down, we are going to get the budget to surplus, we are going to pay back the debt, we are not going to be able to give everyone a new local school building,” Mr Hockey said.

“It’s not going to be popular but we, in our hearts, know that if we don’t do it, when the next downturn comes, which is just around the corner, we will be in a worse position.

“That’s when you will have massive unemployment, you’ll have job loss, and you will have people really, really struggling,” he said. Mr Hockey said the LNP believed the world was facing uncertain times.

“Gladstone is very much sweating on these massive coal seam gas projects which will fund unbelievable growth in this area,” he said.

“There’s no bottomless pit for infrastructure. What we build has to be effective.

“The biggest issue for a fast-growing regional area is stability in regulation and stability in government.

“You’ve got to remove the risk from investment decision making and what we’ve seen with the wild directions on the mining tax is a much higher degree of uncertainty about the risk of investment in Australia.”

Mr Hockey said the uncertainty was created with the programs initiated by the Labor Federal Government, which have not worked.

He named Fuel Watch, Grocery Watch, employee share schemes, insulation, school halls, green loans, computers in schools and border protection, and then the resources tax.

“It (Labor) just makes bad decision after bad decision,” Mr Hockey said.

“They panicked. You can’t have a government that panics in the face of a difficult poll because it means you don’t have the stomach for the really hard decisions.”

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