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Last-minute windfall just budget trickery that doesn’t deliver: LNP

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The revaluation of the Queensland Titles Registry, which gave Treasurer Cameron Dick another $3.8 billion to play with, only happened in recent weeks.

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In parliament today, the Liberal National Party Opposition questioned the Palaszczuk Government over the unexpected accounting measure that allowed Dick to reduce reliance on debt and establish dedicated funds in areas like health and social housing.

At the end of May, Dick referred to the registry’s previous valuation, prompting the Opposition to today accuse him of misleading parliament.

But the Treasurer said he was careful not to predetermine a valuation that, at that stage, was still ongoing.

“I knew the valuation was being revised as part of the budget and I told the parliament this,” Dick said today.

At a post-Budget lunch, put on by the Labor Party with sponsorship from consulting firm EY, the Treasurer made note of yesterday’s storms in Brisbane and joked that “the rainbow ended with a big pot of gold in my office”.

LNP leader David Crisafulli today said the revaluation – which he noted was higher than similar registries interstate – was a “desperate attempt to hide the true level of debt in today’s budget”.

“This is phoney accounting and a blatant attempt to deceive Queenslanders about the true state of the budget,” Crisafulli said, labelling the arrangement a “sham”.

The Opposition also questioned how dedicated funds for health and social housing, with headline figures in the billions of dollars, delivered so little in the budget papers.

In parliament, Minister Craig Crawford sought to compare the arrangement to Dollarmite accounts. His portfolio will benefit from a Path to Treaty Fund.

“Remember when you were in school and you had a Commonwealth government Dollarmites account? You took some money—for some it was gold coins and for some it might have been pennies—and you put the money in the bank and the bank gave you some interest. With the interest you did some stuff,” Crawford said.

“Can I make it any simpler? This is a future fund and just like the questions that we have seen, this is the LNP simply playing with words and playing games.”

The government recently moved to scrap Dollarmite banking in schools due to the lack of value and risks to young people.

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