Parliament sat last week. From Jackie Trad’s point of view, the timing was lucky. She was nearly out of money.
Yes, even though she is bringing the next budget down early, we needed to top up the till urgently.
Bankruptcy Capital of Australia
The Parliament was told there had been “unforeseen expenditure” in the 2018-19 financial year. It wasn’t loose change either. It was $1.4 Billion.
For most of us, large unforeseen expenditures can mean financial ruin. We know this all too well because under Labor, Queensland has become the bankruptcy capital of Australia.
Between October 2018 and October 2019, there were almost 4,500 bankruptcies in Queensland. This was nearly one-third of the bankruptcies for the entire country.
Over the life of the Palaszczuk Government more than $4.1 Billion has had to be appropriated for “unforeseen expenditures”.
On average, this is nearly eight times higher than unforeseen expenditures under the previous LNP government.
Hey! Big Spender!
For FY2018-19, three departments accounted for nearly 90 per cent of the unforeseen expenditure.
As a resident of Gregory, you will be startled to hear those departments were Transport and Main Roads, Education and the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multi-cultural Affairs.
Local Government as a Revenue Raiser
In our part of the world, our local governments are being asked to do more and more, while funding is made contestable. That means you are competing against other local governments for grants to deliver services to ratepayers.
Grant writing becomes an end in itself and local government becomes seen as a revenue raiser for the State, rather than the public administrator of essential services.
Bad Roads don’t end with a Bail Out
In Gregory, people are driving daily on roads that are suffering from the $9 billion deficit in road maintenance funding. This is particularly clear in those areas where we are finally receiving some rain.
As our roads fall apart, follow the money to where the new roads are being built. It is a map of the seats Labor needs to win to stay in government.
New Schools for Key Electorates
Labor boasts it has built 8 new schools this year. Have a look at where they are. Same story. It may be about education, but it also looks like a plan to stay in Government.
Two of the state-of-the-art campuses are in Jackie Trad’s seat. Meanwhile, in rural Queensland we are losing our special needs units and being told it is “inclusive education”.
Our rural and remote teacher housing is sub-standard and long neglected, so staff churn continues and too many key school positions are only filled on an “acting” basis.
All the while, our NAPLAN scores continue to tumble.
Health has to raise Revenue too!
Media reports tell us that Queensland Treasury – no less – has set Queensland Health a formal revenue-raising target of $1.5 Billion in “user fees and charges”.
What place do they have in a free public hospital system?
Private Patients First, Public Patients Last
Imagine this: two sick Queenslanders present to the emergency department of their free public hospital. They will be asked if they have private health insurance. One patient doesn’t. She goes on the public waiting list.
The other lucky patient does have private health insurance. She jumps ahead and gets treated. Her insurance pays the hospital and the hospital has earned revenue.
The Prognosis is Poor
There are several bad impacts from doing this.
Obviously, the waiting lists for public patients grow and grow, because we are not actively reducing them. So the length of time people are on the waiting list grows too.
It is Labor doing the opposite of what Lawrence Springborg did when he gave public dental patients vouchers to be treated by private dentists. He erased the waiting list altogether by doing this.
Reversing Over the Corpse
This “reverse” policy will also weaken private hospitals in the long run because the private patients are now being treated in public hospitals. We have already seen Gladstone’s Mater Hospital close, even before this white ant of a policy became public.
In the long term, this weakens the entire health system. Meanwhile, virtually every Hospital and Health Service in Queensland is running at a deficit.
So how are we doing for Jobs?
As you have no doubt heard many times, the Palaszczuk Government is all about “jobs, jobs, jobs!” The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest jobs figures last week. Queensland has the worst jobless rate in the country.
It seems we are also the unemployment capital of Australia.
More Public Servants than Canberra
Despite this, the public service continues to grow. On November 20, 2019, The Australian newspaper pointed out that Queensland’s public service wage bill now exceeds Canberra’s – for the whole country – by some $6.3 billion.
Shamelessly, Labor is going to pay 200,000 public servants a $1,250 bonus for signing their enterprise bargaining agreements.
The Courier Mail has calculated the cost of this bonus at $340 million. It is nonsense because the public servants would have signed anyway.
Out of Step, Out of Sync, Out of Time
It is clear that Labor’s spending priorities are all wrong. They don’t reflect Queensland’s real needs and best interests.
It is also clear that the size of Labor’s spending is totally out of control. It is like an endless spree at the taxpayer’s expense.
The final reckoning may well be brutal.
Thank you for reading my newsletter. I really appreciate your interest in issues affecting Gregory.
As always, if you have a comment or an issue to raise, you can simply contact me by return email. If you prefer to ring, my Emerald Office is 07 4913 1000 and the Longreach office is 07 4521 5700.