Labor forgets regional Queensland
The Palaszczuk Labor government must admit the people of north Queensland are missing out on vital infrastructure projects and commit to the LNP’s announced overhaul of Market-Led Proposals (MLPs).
In launching MLPs two years ago, Treasurer Curtis Pitt claimed it would open the door for private investors. But after two years just one project has emerged from the process – a new toll road in Brisbane.
Labor’s MLP process boasts a success rate of less than one per cent. And projects to receive preliminary approval have been located in Brisbane, while regional Queensland has missed out.
This lack of action has led to calls for an overhaul of MLPs from major stakeholders including the Property Council. Queensland executive director Chris Mountford is calling on the government to “streamline decisions and create greater certainty through the assessment process”.
It’s no coincidence the Property Council is calling for exactly what the LNP has already publicly announced as our policy, which is a complete change to Labor’s MLPs framework. Our overhaul includes relaxing the strict criteria and speeding-up the approvals process.
Meanwhile, we’ve seen massive cuts to infrastructure investment in Townsville and an unemployment rate reaching its highest recorded level.
Only the Liberal National Party has the plans to drive growth, create jobs and build a better Queensland.
– Scott Emerson, Shadow Treasurer
Power hike prevents jobs bonanza
Last week the Queensland government authorised its 100 per cent Queensland government-owned retailer Ergon Energy to increase power bills by 4.1pc for businesses, 3.3pc for households and up to 10.3pc for irrigators/farmers from July 1.
For farmers such as cane Growers, fruit and vegetable producers, dairy farmers etc, electricity costs have gone up 135pc over the last ten years. While cane growers cannot recoup any of this, owing to being tied to the world trade market price for sugar, all other food producers will have to pass on some, if not all costs to households. Thus, families get hit twice by the Queensland government’s power cost hikes.
Already official statistics from the Australian Energy Regulator show a 73pc jump in Queensland small businesses disconnected due to the non-payment of power bills between December 2016 and March 2017. For residential customers it’s a 55 pc jump in disconnections in just three months.
Rather than employ more staff, many businesses will be looking to sack or reduce staff hours and work longer hours themselves. This is not the jobs bonanza being put forward by the Queensland government.
The jobs bonanza could be a reality if the Queensland Government committed to reducing wholesale electricity prices from its 100 percent Queensland Government owned generators.
During the peak summer demand period of January and February 2017, Queensland had the highest average weekly wholesale electricity prices in the National Electricity Market in 5 out of 6 weeks.
At present Queensland has the second highest average wholesale electricity price in the National Electricity Market after South Australia.
Imagine the jobs bonanza if Queensland had the lowest wholesale electricity price in Australia.
The primary reason for the crippling power bills is the reliance of the Queensland Government on exorbitant dividends from its electricity assets.
Unless power bills fall in Queensland, not increase, businesses will close and the need for renewable energy projects in North Queensland will diminish.
– Kerry Latter, McEwens Beach