2018 Budget Reply - 14 June 2018

14 Jun 2018 8:00 PMSimone Wilson 2018 Budget Reply - 14 June 2018

The Pumicestone electorate has been hung out to dry. There is nothing in this budget for Pumicestone. Right from the outset I have to ask: what will it take for this government to commit to fully funding an upgrade of the Caboolture-Bribie Island Road?

I can assure the House that if Dora the Explorer ever decided to explore the sand dunes of Woorim or if the Premier’s favourite photo opportunity, Jeff Horn, ever decided to schedule a fight at the Sandstone Point Hotel, this Labor government would pave the Caboolture-Bribie Island Road with gold. It should come as absolutely no surprise to the Premier and the government that updating our state road network in Pumicestone is an absolute must.


The Premier’s former handpicked Labor candidate for Pumicestone, Michael Hoogwaerts, made it clear that his top priority would be to improve our road network. That is right: the Premier selected and endorsed a candidate who made an election commitment to improve Pumicestone’s state road network. I think it is safe to say that if the Premier endorsed that candidate then she endorses the need to upgrade Pumicestone’s state roads. However, sadly, in this budget neither the government nor the Premier give a commitment to upgrade our state road network, which includes Caboolture-Bribie Island Road and Beachmere Road.


To fully grasp the manner in which Pumicestone has been treated in this budget, one needs look no further than the contribution to last year’s budget by the former member for Pumicestone, the sacked Rick Williams. So long and so detailed was his list of funded items being heaped onto the Pumicestone electorate that the former member actually chose to have that list of funding incorporated into Hansard. That is right: the former member—who was a Labor member until he was sacked for not doing his job well enough, one day before the 2017 election was called—found it easier to hand in his list rather than read it aloud. If only more of us had that issue.


Isn’t it amazing how much things can change in 12 months? This year, Pumicestone residents will have to pool together shopper dockets just to get by under this government. This is not a budget that will set Queensland up for the future, as the Treasurer has trumpeted. The only thing it will set Queensland up for is more taxes, levies and government charges, more debt, more slugs on already overstretched household budgets and more pain for our hardworking Queenslanders. The big ticket items for Pumicestone have been completely left out of the budget and previous commitments have been slashed.


The minister for main roads has some explaining to do. In one of my very first questions on notice to the minister, I sought a commitment to fund and commence works on upgrading Caboolture-Bribie Island Road. For the benefit of all, I quote the minister’s response. He said—


Funding of $3 million has been allocated to undertake planning to upgrade a two-lane section of Caboolture–Bribie Island Road to a four-lane, median divided carriageway between the Hickey Road and Saint Road intersections. This planning is underway and is expected to be completed by mid-2019.


To my complete shock, in the recently released QTRIP statement I read that funding has been slashed to just $2 million and planning for the upgrade will not be completed until 2020—mid 2020. Isn’t that just a bit before an important date? Isn’t that just a bit convenient? I call on the minister to explain to the people of my electorate why he is short-changing them and delaying important upgrades to Caboolture-Bribie Island Road.


The intersection of Old Toorbul Point Road and Caboolture-Bribie Island Road is particularly problematic. There are cars and buses carrying hundreds of young children to and from school each day forced to navigate oncoming traffic travelling at high speeds. This has been an issue for a long time and it needs to be addressed now, not in years to come as Labor would prefer.


Beachmere Road has parts that need upgrading now. We are talking about very narrow driving lanes with unsafe shoulders. In fact, part of the road has no sealed shoulders whatsoever. Constituents have been raising their concerns about the safety of Beachmere Road with me and I have spoken about this in the House. I have written to the minister and the Premier and I have tabled pictures to show just how dire the road conditions are and how desperately an upgrade is needed for Beachmere Road.


To not see this upgrade appear in the budget papers is no surprise given the Premier has previously fobbed it off. I am sure it will leave a sour taste in the mouths of all who live in Beachmere. They are not a priority of this government. Pumicestone residents have eagerly awaited a commitment from this government to provide the massive investment required to bring our roads up to par. Yet again they are left begging for funding investment to rectify decades of Labor negligent of Pumicestone roads.


This is not a budget to set Queenslanders up for the future. Just hours before the Treasurer handed down her first budget, she was quoted in the Courier-Mail promising the budget would not contain any new taxes on top of the five already announced, including the waste levy. At the last election the Labor Party went to the people of Queensland and said, ‘Here are our four new taxes, but trust us that there will be no more.’ In fact, it was the Treasurer yet again who back in February said that there were no plans to introduce anything beyond the four new taxes they took to the election. Within months this promise was broken. There will be new taxes which will cost all Queenslanders.


This government must now feed its hunger for our hard-earned dollars by announcing an additional four new taxes in this year’s budget. To make matters worse, the new land tax imposed on those who invested in property was introduced by stealth—another punishing blow to hardworking Queenslanders.


Not one Queenslander should take any comfort in what the Treasurer spruiks to be a budget to set Queenslanders up for the future. She promised no new taxes, but all we see in this budget is broken promises. It is all lies and they are content to drown Queenslanders in more debt. Just this morning, as we all heard, the Premier still would not guarantee that there would be no new taxes introduced by Labor in this term. If Queenslanders wanted to get the real load down on the Treasurer’s budget speech I would encourage them to read Michael Madigan’s commentary on page 25 of Wednesday’s CourierMail. It is a fascinating read.


By contrast, we on this side of the House want to empower Queenslanders and free them from the tyranny of tax increase after tax increase and higher debt. As the Leader of the Opposition made clear this morning, in stark contrast to Labor’s multibillion dollar slug on Queensland taxpayers, if the LNP were elected at the next state election there would be no new taxes. Let us not forget that it was the LNP’s continual pressure on the Premier to give Queenslanders a break at the petrol bowser that real-time pricing was implemented, but we are still waiting for the trial to begin. They like to announce, but they do not like to deliver.


There are many in my electorate struggling to just put petrol in their cars. For some of them it goes straight on the credit card. Do my locals have a government ready to jump on a scheme that could help them save money? No, they do not.


They then introduce a waste disposal levy. Rather than do the right thing by policing this issue so that New South Wales trucks are turned around to dump their waste in their own backyards, what did the government do? They set-up a new super tax and expect our Queensland businesses to pay for New South Wales rubbish. It is all because this government is too weak to stand up and fight for the best interests of our state.


Then there is the 3.5 per cent increase in water charges for South-East Queenslanders. More money will need to be found to pay for water bills over the next three years. Queenslanders are expected to pay more for their electricity. These basic amenities are now the bane of households. This is all due to this government’s incompetence and failure to plan. The cost of registration is up by an extra 9.1 per cent. The cost of electricity is up and the cost of water is up. The five new taxes introduced by the Treasurer on Tuesday are a tax grab like never before. It is hardly a budget to set Queensland up for the future.


While Queenslanders try hard to live within their means, there is an element to cost of living that goes largely unspoken. That is the inability of families to thrive under the Labor government. Children are growing up watching their parents pull into a petrol station and put $10 worth of petrol in their car because that is all they can afford.


A trade mission for many Queenslanders is what they can take to the pawn shop this week. People are watching the 6 o’clock news not so much to keep up to date with current affairs, but to find out how they can prepare meals for a dollar and how to feed a family of five for $30 or under a week. This is a common feature of the news nowadays. Is this really where we are heading?


We are now in Labor’s fourth year of exceptionally high debt and it is mounting. The debt train has left the station. Sadly, it is the only train leaving the station under this Labor government. The Treasurer and Premier have closed the door and thrown away the key on getting back Queensland’s AAA credit rating. They are happy to carry on the sad and sorry legacy left by the Bligh Labor government.


Yet another broken election promise is that debt is projected to peak over $83 billion by 2021-22, impacting on generations of Queenslanders to come. There is only one thing that this budget succeeds at and that is offering Queenslanders the down side of what to expect from a do-nothing government. As far as jobs go, this budget produces an exceptionally low rate of job creation. Queensland’s unemployment rate will continue to sit well above the national average and remain one of the highest rates in Australia. That is hardly what we would call a jobs budget. It is an unemployment budget.


I spoke earlier about the need to upgrade the roads in my electorate. A priority issue it is indeed. Given his election commitment to improve our road network, I trust we will see the Premier’s hand-picked Labor candidate for Pumicestone, Michael Hoogwaerts, join me in publicly condemning this Labor government for failing Pumicestone so gravely. They cannot say it is their No. 1 priority on one hand and then stay silent on the other. Residents will not forgive this.


The LNP will stand up for Queenslanders’ future whilst Labor continues to wish it away. We will fight for Queensland whilst Labor caves in. We will better manage the state’s finances whilst Labor increases taxes and raises the state debt. We will put Queenslanders first while this Labor government will only ever look after themselves and their union mates.