Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:
The Queensland Labor Government has been ahead of its time. It lost our AAA credit rating long before many others, before the United States, before France and before Australia. In 10 years, Labor has increased Queensland’s public debt by $45 billion. That is $10,000 of extra debt for every Queenslander.
Remember when Peter Beattie said we would be the ”smart state”. Well it doesn’t seem too smart to be racing towards $85 billion in debt. We have seen what too much debt can do to other countries and we would be mad to replicate that approach here. The fact always remains the same; if you can’t manage debt, debt will manage you.
What has Queensland seen for this reckless spending? The traffic is worse, housing is less available and we are paying more for essential services such as electricity and water. A lot more. Electricity prices are up 38 per cent and water prices are up 46 per cent in just four years. Labor spent $10 billion on a water plan to take infrastructure from local councils and is now giving some of those assets back.
It spent billions on a desalination plant that was beset by cost overruns and so many delays that while we were waiting for it, it rained. The plant has barely been used but Queenslanders are paying for it through their water bills.
Now Premier Anna Bligh thinks Queenslanders aren’t paying enough for basic services and supports the Gillard Government’s moves to introduce a carbon tax. Under the carbon tax, households will pay an extra 10 per cent for their electricity and businesses will pay up to 20 per cent more.
Nowhere will be hit harder by a carbon tax than Queensland. Even the Labor government’s own modelling finds that under a carbon tax there will be 41,000 fewer jobs in Queensland over time. The worst hit areas form an arc from Mackay to Gladstone, where so many of the state’s mining industry resides. Hundreds more jobs based in Brisbane and elsewhere are linked to the mining boom.
Labor has simply stopped standing up for Queensland. Anna Bligh promised to ”put Queensland first” when assessing whether to support the carbon tax, but she gave her support anyway despite achieving no concessions from her federal Labor counterparts. No Queensland government that stood up for Queensland would support a tax that cost Queenslanders jobs.
Over the past four years Queensland’s unemployment rate has increased from 3.4 per cent to 5.4 per cent and 60,000 more Queenslanders have joined the unemployed queue. Lucky we are winning the State of Origin because we are getting the wooden spoon on economic performance despite the mining boom. Queensland was once the engine room of the Australian economy. We were also the low tax state.
Now we seem to better other states at nothing except bureaucracy. Sometimes it seems like this is a government driving via the rear vision mirror. They are constantly reacting to events. By their own admission they failed to invest in infrastructure for years. They can’t pay nurses on time, coordinate the labyrinth of water departments and agencies they created or stop a claimed Tahitian prince from ripping off millions of dollars from Queensland taxpayers.
This is a soap opera of a government and for the benefit of Queensland it has to stop. Many Queenslanders are young enough to remember the last Coalition government, a government that balanced the books, electrified the rail lines, built the Gold Coast, constructed dams and the international airport in Cairns. Queensland can have that economic management again but it’s going to get more of the same from more spending and more debt from Labor.