OPINION: Bumbling Queensland Labor’s year to forget
THE Treasurer's subjective account of 2015 is indicative of the Palaszczuk Labor Government's head-in-the-sand approach to every decision they never made last year and every promise they failed to deliver.
Last year saw more than 80 reviews, a shifty debt swap, a raid on government employee benefits, and a failed electricity merger. Then there was the clanger of all clangers, when the Treasurer stood up in Parliament, performed some magic tricks and told us all that Queensland was in a recession, only to change his mind a few weeks later.
Sadly, this didn't rate a mention in Mr Pitt's ode to himself.
What was also omitted from this fanciful yarn was mention of the scathing Auditor-General's report into the state's finances that argued the Palaszczuk Government needed to apply "more permanent solutions" to reducing debt in Queensland, which is "higher than that of every other state in Australia".
In fact, the biggest problems with the Treasurer's budget strategy stem from the promises made at the election and the tricks he pulled out in the budget.
As the Auditor General said, "these actions are short term strategies that cannot be relied upon indefinitely". It's a fact, Queensland's debt position is worsening under Labor.
Mr Pitt could be forgiven for leaving out a few key facts, but it's important to point out the mistruths.
Firstly, Queensland was forecast to have 5.75% economic growth this year under the LNP - higher than the 4% under Labor.
Unemployment is also forecast to be higher under Labor and employment growth is forecast to be weaker.
According to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ), business confidence plummeted significantly following the January 2015 election. The latest Pulse Survey from the CCIQ showed business conditions on the Sunshine Coast falling by 13.8 points since before Labor's election.
Sunshine Coast businesses are also less confident about their future.
Despite Mr Pitt's claims about infrastructure improvements, planned infrastructure spending has dropped by $1.4 billion since the budget was handed down in June. Capital spending is down every year over the forward forecasts.
It's no coincidence Infrastructure Partnerships Australia says the state is facing a $50 billion infrastructure black hole. This means less local projects and jobs.
Infrastructure investment on the Sunshine Coast has once again stalled under Labor. It was Anna Bligh who shelved the duplication of the Sunshine Coast line to Landsborough and in almost 12 months Annastacia Palaszczuk has made no moves to revive the project that the LNP had put back on the agenda.
The Sunshine Coast University Hospital (which needed to be jump-started by the LNP after Labor's mismanagement) will be coming online this year.
When it does, patients, visitors and residents are all set for traffic chaos along Kawana Way.
The much-needed Mooloolah River Interchange upgrade would alleviate some of these problems. It is yet another project this Labor Government has taken off the table, not based on sound advice but political spite.
When the LNP was in government we invested $300 million towards eliminating the school maintenance backlog we inherited from Labor and changed an existing Labor policy so that local tradies could do the work. Hardly an example of "wilful ignorance" as Mr Pitt asserts.
Mr Pitt was right about one thing. Despite challenging global conditions, Queensland has the potential to thrive with a diverse economy. Unfortunately, this potential is not going to be realised if the Palaszczuk Labor Government continues to run the state's finances into the ground.
Jobs aren't created by reviews, infrastructure isn't built without a plan and our great state cannot prosper if the state's finances are being eaten up by massive interest payments as a result of ever-increasing debt.
John-Paul Langbroek is Queensland's Deputy Opposition Leader