Frecklington must outline cuts to Wide Bay

Treasurer, Minister for Infrastructure and Planning The Honourable Cameron Dick

Treasurer Cameron Dick has today called on Deb Frecklington to outline what cuts she will make in the Wide Bay region, to pay for the LNP’s $23 billion in unfunded promises.

The Treasurer said the last time Deb Frecklington had a hand in making education decisions, she slashed teaching jobs across the state.

“In 2012, the LNP boasted that the Ready Readers program was one of the first things they cut,” he said.

“More than 500 teaching positions were ripped out of Queensland schools when Deb Frecklington was Campbell Newman’s Assistant Minister.

“The Maryborough community also remember when the LNP ordered a new train fleet to be manufactured overseas, neglecting local jobs.”

The Treasurer said Deb Frecklington backed devasting cuts for Wide Bay families, with the LNP cutting $1.26 million from local community groups and another $1.5 million from local community health organisations.

“Deb Frecklington also sat around the Cabinet table when the LNP cut 345 frontline health jobs in the Wide Bay region, including 120 nurses,” he said.

“She supported the axing of 19 local jobs cut from QBuild, cut 373 TAFE workers in the region and slashed $52 million in road funding in Wide Bay – plus cut 55 road maintenance workers.

“Those numbers alone represent almost 800 Queenslanders who lost their jobs in this region because the LNP weren’t up-front about their cuts.

“Deb Frecklington has made $23 billion in promises so far.

“What will she cut this time? How many local workers will she sack? When will she tell us?”

The Treasurer said the Palaszczuk Government had released the Covid Fiscal and Economic Review this month.

The review showed that Queensland’s economic rebound from COVID-19 is forecast to be almost twice as strong as the Australian average.

“We know that our strong health response has laid the foundation for our economy to ease internal restrictions, benefiting businesses right across the state,” the Treasurer said.

“As we deliver our plan for economic recovery, boosting competitiveness and resilience of the Queensland economy will be key, so I have already announced a range of measures to:

  • support business investment and jobs;
  • ease the burden on small business; and
  • ensure Queensland’s balance sheet works as hard as it possibly can.”

“The LNP’s plan to sack workers won’t help jobs, it will destroy jobs.”

Excerpt from 2012 Estimates:

Ms PALASZCZUK: The Pyjama Foundation provides support to children in foster care. I move on to the cuts to the Ready Readers Book for Bubs Program. It is a fact that one-third of Queensland children are not regularly read to at home and Queensland children are behind the rest of the country in this regard. Can you explain why you have cut the Ready Readers Book for Bubs Program and can you explain what the program did?

Mr LANGBROEK: I thank the honourable member for the question. Once again, it is another one of the measures that we discontinued that will save us about $133,000 in program expenses. We said that we wanted to ease the cost-of-living pressures for Queenslanders and to refocus the resources on front-line services. So we took the decision to cancel the Ready Readers Book for Bubs Program. There is no doubt that this was a program that was brought in at the former Premier’s behest. We of course want our children to achieve quality educational outcomes. It actually did not have a funding source. The important thing was that it was more money that the government had to find so that the former Premier could have a good media opportunity. We of course want parents to read to their children to develop their literacy skills from an early age, but do we think that the former Premier going into a hospital and giving books to parents and saying, ‘We want you to start reading to your children,’ is the way we should do it? No, we decided that we were not going to do it. It was one of the first things that we cut when it was provided to me as an example of something that was not properly funded but had clearly been used as an attempt to try to get the Labor Party re-elected at the last election. We have parent ready reader training available in all regions, providing parents of children in prep to year 3 with some key strategies to support their child’s reading. I can advise the honourable member that when my wife was in hospital having our three children she was not sitting their reading books to our babies and saying, ‘This will turn you into a reader.’ It was important that we did it, and we did do it as soon as the children were able to, but she had other priorities on her mind other than reading a book that had been given to her by a Premier of Queensland.

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