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Tuesday, 27 May 2003
Page: 15124

Mr CIOBO (9:26 PM) —On Wednesday, 21 May, there was an editorial in the Gold Coast Bulletin which is worthy of highlighting in this chamber. The title of the editorial was `Funny money'. I would like to quote some of it to the House if I may. The opening line was:

Queensland taxpayers could be forgiven for telling the Beattie government: show us the money.

It went on to talk about how the Queensland government was one of the principal beneficiaries of the federal government's GST funds. It continued:

GST has been a bonanza for states, including Queensland.

It goes on:

The government is indeed showing every sign that, as opposition leader Lawrence Springborg claims, Queensland is broke.

It was an editorial that was drawn to my attention and that I took great interest in. In the lead-up to the forthcoming Queensland state election, there are many people—particularly on the Gold Coast—who are taking great interest in the way the Beattie Labor government is mismanaging the Queensland economy. As a result of the economic mismanagement of the Beattie Labor government, a lot of people are hurting. I would also like to read to the House the response—much to my surprise—which came from the Queensland Treasurer, Terry Mackenroth. He writes:

I write with regard to your editorial `Funny money'. For the benefit of your readers, I should correct a couple of points. The GST has certainly not been a bonanza for Queensland. In fact, it is only this financial year—more than three years after the GST was introduced—that we will be better off than before. The Beattie government's hunt for cash is not relentless and we did not put our hands in the pockets of public corporations like Energex.

What an interesting response from the Queensland Treasurer. Let us have a look at what some other people have had to say about the way the Beattie Labor government is mismanaging the Queensland economy and about the way the Beattie Labor government is disadvantaging all Queenslanders, including Queenslanders on Queensland's Gold Coast. The New South Wales Treasurer, Mr Michael Egan, has had a couple of things to say about the way GST is divided and about the way the Queensland government benefits. An article in the Australian of 28 February 2002 talks about the federal government allocation of GST and about how it takes it from the populous states such as New South Wales and Victoria and provides it to the other states such as Queensland, with Queensland being the biggest winner. The New South Wales Treasurer, Michael Egan, is reported in the article as having said:

... while NSW paid 37.6 per cent of GST it only received 30.5 per cent of the revenue.

It quotes the New South Wales Treasurer:

“On that basis we will be handing over $2.556 billion to other states including a massive $546 million to Queensland,” he said.

What a stark contrast: the New South Wales Labor Treasurer says New South Wales will be handing $546 million to the Queensland government, and the Queensland Treasurer says that the Queensland government has not been a beneficiary of the GST. Who is the Beattie Labor government trying to kid? Make no mistake about it: the Beattie Labor government is mismanaging the Queensland economy so badly that all Queenslanders will start to pay the price.

Rather than own up to it, the Queensland Labor government has gone on a desperate cash hunt for funds to prop up the bottom line of its budget. It was interesting to note an article that was on AAP on 15 May this year. The headline was `Three government owned corporations raided for the budget'. I will quote some of this article:

The Auditor-General—

that is, the Queensland Auditor-General—

reported yesterday government owned corporation Energex had provided an `unusual' and unprecedented $150 million dividend out of an asset revaluation and borrowings and promised a further $90 million over three years.

But there is more:

Ergon had agreed to provide $20 million over three years on the same basis as Energex and Golden Casket had handed over a $12 million special dividend ...

The Auditor-General finds no precedent at all for this kind of action. The fact is that the Queensland Labor government is mismanaging the Queensland economy. It is time all Gold Coasters put pressure on the seven state Labor members on the Gold Coast in particular and demand that they start to manage the Queensland economy properly and that they provide employment opportunities. There is a reason why the Queensland unemployment rate is going up while unemployment across the nation is going down—the economicmismanagement of the Beattie Labor government. It is Brisbane bound, Brisbane biased and Brisbane based. The Beattie government should get out.

The SPEAKER —Order! It being approximately 9.30 p.m., the debate is interrupted.