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Despite the budget focus, LNP did not seek Treasury briefings during campaign

Decision 2020

The Liberal National Party has received regular health briefings but did not see anything to gain from meeting with the Under Treasurer, Rachel Hunter.

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Under the caretaker convention, opposition parties are entitled to request, and receive, meetings with directors-general during the election campaign.

On that basis, LNP leader Deb Frecklington has been briefed by Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young about COVID-19, although not without issue. Frecklington has previously noted that an easing of COVID-19 restrictions was apparently decided, and announced, within hours of her daily meeting with Young, without the LNP being informed.

However, the LNP has not sought any briefings with the Under Treasurer, Rachel Hunter, despite the heavy campaign focus on policy costings and Opposition treasury spokesman Tim Mander yesterday expressing skepticism over the state of Queensland’s finances.

“I have no confidence in Labor when it comes to the figures and the finances, they’ve proven that in the past,” Mander said, leaving open the option of an audit or review if the LNP took power.

“It will be a challenging exercise but I’m up for it and looking forward to the opportunity.”

Treasurer Cameron Dick – who has attacked the LNP’s economic credentials throughout the campaign – gave a budget update in September and both sides have promised to prioritise a full budget if elected. That leaves significant uncertainty as Queenslanders go to the polls tomorrow.

The LNP has ruled out forced redundancies but has not said whether that policy extends to seasoned bureaucrats like Hunter.

After several changes of personnel, Hunter was appointed Under Treasurer in May and her five year term as a top bureaucrat is not due to expire until April 2023, well into next term.

Unlike previous appointees Frankie Carroll and Jim Murphy, she was not the subject of a lengthy merit-based selection process and was instead an internal appointment following the departure of deputy premier and treasurer Jackie Trad. Hunter effectively followed Cameron Dick into treasury from their previous portfolio.

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