The LNP has revealed its election costings total $5.05 billion, but big-ticket promises like the New Bradfield Scheme and widening the Bruce Highway are largely unfunded for the next four years.
Handing down the party’s official costings two days out from polling day, LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander declared there would be no assets sales or forced redundancies if the LNP was elected to government this Saturday.
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Instead, he outlined three saving measures:
- $700 million through efficiencies in Government procurement
- $1.6 billion by extending Labor’s internal replacement policy for non-key frontline roles
- $752 million by asking government departments except Queensland Health to find 2 per cent budget savings
Mr Mander also confirmed an LNP government would need to absorb $1.7 billion of Labor’s $4 billion borrowing fund, but said their debt “would be $2.3 billion less than what Labor debt will be”.
“This is a significant reduction in debt under the LNP compared to Labor and a material improvement in the budget position achieved through careful budget management,” he said.
“For the past four weeks, Labor has run a baseless scare campaign on the LNP’s plan to return general government operating to surplus in 2023-24.
“The LNP’s target is fiscally responsible and possible.”
He said because Labor has not yet released a budget, the LNP was unable to determine when it might return to surplus.
“But these costings show an improvement in the budget and the position relative to Labor, meaning a surplus will be achieved sooner under the LNP,” he said.
‘We have a vision’
The LNP has campaigned on boosting jobs by investing in manufacturing and proposed infrastructure like the New Bradfield Scheme, and expanding the Bruce Highway to four lanes.
The party estimates “four-laning” the Bruce Highway from Cairns to Gympie would cost $33 billion over the next 15 years and it would pursue an 80-20 federal-state funding arrangement.
It has been estimated that the cost of the New Bradfield Scheme could be upwards of $15 billion.
Today’s costings confirm an LNP government would invest $20 million in the water infrastructure project over the next four years, and $530 million for the Bruce Highway plan.
Mr Mander rejected suggestions the projects were “off in the never never” and said the LNP’s costing involved investment in the planning process.
“Some of the announcements that we’ve talked about [have] 10, 15-year time frames,” he said.
“We’ve never made an apology that we have a vision for the state. This wasn’t just about creating jobs just for the next three to four years, but for the next 10 to 15 years.
“We have plans that will immediately stimulate the economy and provide employment … but we also have long-term plans as well.”
No cuts to Queensland Health
Asked how a future LNP government would stimulate the economy immediately, Mr Mander pointed to measures like their $300 car registration rebate plan — a move he said would inject $1.15 billion into the economy before Christmas.
According to the costings, the LNP’s efficiency dividend will save $200 million a year across government — excluding Queensland Health — and $700 million over four years by introducing better procurement initiatives.
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“We won’t touch Queensland Health because in the middle of the pandemic that is totally irresponsible,” he said.
“Our savings are more conservative than [Labor’s proposed cost savings].”
Mr Mander also said the LNP would reshape the public service by classifying more roles as “frontline”.
He said the size of the public sector would grow to around 240,000, compared to 232,000 in March this year.
Mr Mander accused Labor of “wasting” the state’s potential over the past five years and said the LNP had a plan to create 150,000 more jobs for Queensland.
Vision has ‘come to nothing’
Labor released its official costings on Tuesday, confirming the budget could be in deficit for up to five years.
Treasurer Cameron Dick today criticised the LNP’s plan, saying their “big, bold” vision has “come to nothing”.
“They funded almost nothing when it came to the supposed New Bradfield Scheme and four-laning the Bruce Highway,” he said.
“And this idea that the LNP would borrow no more money is a hoax as well.”
The morning after the people’s forum leadership debate, the Premier headed to the Gold Coast, pledging $23 million towards upgrading facilities at the Gold Coast Spit if Labor is re-elected.