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Safety gear on, money to spend - once again to the public/private divide


The Liberal National Party has again promised funding for a private sector project while Labor spruiks government roads funding.

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On the 11th day of the election campaign, the major party leaders continue to focus on jobs and the economy but in vastly different ways. The only similarity in their approach today was, again, the high-vis safety vest worn in the announcements.

Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington went to the Brisbane Markets to promise $14 million in funding for a private x-ray machine to help eradicate pests and boost trade opportunities for primary producers.

Frecklington said the project would create 80 short-term jobs and provide value-for-money along the supply chain.

“Whether it’s the farmer, the truckie, the packer, the wholesaler, the retailer, or even the family going shopping, this is about getting Queensland working again,” Frecklington said.

After Queensland recorded Australia’s highest unemployment rate, albeit with underlying jobs growth, Frecklington said 209,000 Queenslanders were wanting the next government to create jobs.

“They’re all people … they’re not just a number,” Frecklington said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was on the Sunshine Coast this afternoon to re-announce $35 million for the Bells Creek Arterial Road, which will be fast-tracked to provide jobs and development opportunities in Caloundra.

“They’re starting at the moment so the work is underway,” the Labor leader said.

While Palaszczuk confirmed the funding would come from government borrowings, which has been a feature of Labor’s campaign, she again challenged the LNP to reveal how it would fund its promises.

The LNP would aim to return a budget surplus in its first term – it has also set a five per cent unemployment target – but Palaszczuk said it was impossible to balance the budget without cuts.

“You cannot get to a surplus unless you cut, or you cut services, or you sack people,” Palaszczuk said.

Frecklington has foreshadowed policy costings being released at the end of the campaign but Palaszczuk today said that would be too late to inform Queenslanders intending to lodge early pre-poll and postal votes.

Unbothered by Labor’s criticism, Frecklington talked up LNP promises – ranging from manufacturing grants and subsidies to a new Bradfield Scheme – and said the budget would benefit from economic growth and more people having jobs.

“We are focussing on jobs and getting people back into work,” Frecklington said, adding that $1.1 billion in vehicle registration cashback would provide almost immediate economic stimulus.

Both parties have also committed funding for an expansion of the Sunshine Coast stadium, which Palaszczuk visited today.

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