Treasurer: Help us design a debt reduction strategy
QUEENSLAND Treasurer Tim Nicholls has launched 'Strong Choices' campaign that encourages Queenslanders to 'design their own debt reduction strategy and deliver the results to the Queensland Government'.
Mr Nicholls said the launch of an interactive People's Budget website tool was the next step in continuing the conversation with Queenslanders to secure the state's future and pay down the $80 billion in debt accumulated over the last ten years.
"We have called this the Strong Choices campaign because that's what is now necessary to reduce the $80 billion debt and the $4 billion annual interest burden it places on all Queenslanders," Mr Nicholls said.
"To pay down debt Queenslanders face three choices - significantly increased taxes, reduced services or the sale or lease of some assets.
"Right now, the $4 billion interest bill is dead money.
"Our Government has big plans to build the social and economic infrastructure necessary for Queensland's growing population, like roads, hospitals, dams, schools and railway lines.
"This unprecedented level of community consultation and communication will enable every Queenslander who wants to take part, to have the opportunity to provide detailed feedback on exactly what their priorities for the State are and to make their own choices as to how they would reduce the State's debt."
Mr Nicholls said from noon today until Monday 19 May, advertising throughout the State on television, radio, in print and online, combined with shopping centre information booths would encourage Queenslanders to make a submission to the Queensland Budget through the People's Budget tool.
"The People's Budget is an Australian first on this scale which demonstrates that we, as Queenslanders, tackle our challenges together and make strong choices when we need to," he said.
"Securing Queensland's future is a serious business, and it can be difficult to comprehend the sheer scale of the budget process, with all that must be taken into account when making economic choices.
"This interactive tool, an Australian-first, makes the Budget accessible and gives people a real understanding of the issues facing our state, highlighting exactly how our current $4 billion a year interest bill could be put to better use.
"The People's Budget is another way we're gathering feedback from across the state, along with the community forums, Virtual Town Hall meetings and round tables with community leaders, which I'll continue to hold in cities and towns around Queensland in coming weeks.
"Queenslanders will know our considered draft plan of action for paying down debt by June, as part of the State Budget."
Mr Nicholls said the cost of advertising the Strong Choices campaign was $6 million. This included advertising on television, radio, in print and online.
"Queenslanders can go online at StrongChoices.qld.gov.au or visit a local shopping centre information booth in coming weeks to use the People's Budget tool and make a submission.
"Additionally, registrations for community and online forums are still open for people who would like to take part. Register at treasury.qld.gov.au/communityforums."