The Queensland Treasurer admits “more Queenslanders will go onto the unemployment queue” when JobKeeper ends.
The Queensland Treasurer admits “more Queenslanders will go onto the unemployment queue” when JobKeeper ends.

Treasurer refuses to commit on jobs target

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick wouldn't name what his unemployment target was yesterday but says the state will record economic growth next year.

It comes as Labor made a $1 billion education pitch to voters yesterday, promising to support local tradies by modernising Queensland's state schools.

Speaking in the marginal seat of Barron River in the state's far north, Mr Dick ruled out new or increased taxes for four years if Labor was re-elected.

But he didn't nominate an unemployment target which former Labor premier Peter Beattie famously did when he pushed for 5 per cent.

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"To get unemployment as low as possible and as quickly as possible, but we made clear our position during the Fiscal and Economic Review. When JobKeeper comes off, the risk is more Queenslanders will go onto the unemployment queue … but we're working so hard to reduce that," Mr Dick said, when asked what his target was.

The Treasurer said it was "so difficult to say" when his much-vaunted economic plan would see Queensland out of recession, but it would be back into economic growth next year.

"We're going to go back into economic growth next year," he said.

"So, we look to see a 3.75 per cent growth in the economy in calendar year 2021."

The Palaszczuk Government has flagged it would borrow an extra $4 billion to pay for its campaign promises, on top of existing borrowing for infrastructure funding.

Funding for the school infrastructure will be borrowed.

Of the $1 billion announcement, $415 million will come from the $4 billion borrowings Mr Dick announced in September, with the Treasurer yesterday saying there was no shame in borrowing to build.

Queensland LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall
Queensland LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

Meanwhile Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington spruiked an old policy in Queensland's most marginal seat of Townsville yesterday - $20 million for manufacturing.

The LNP Leader, who was joined by Burdekin MP Dale Last and local candidates, was peppered with questions about announcing a policy that wasn't new.

Labor holds Townsville by a wafer-thin margin of just 0.38 per cent.

But Ms Frecklington insisted her party was committed to strengthening the economy, pointing to the $493 million electricity announcement on Wednesday.

"I was really proud to be able to stand in Watkins Steel … when I announced a massive manufacturing policy with the reduction of the electricity prices," she said.

"That is splashing the cash."

The LNP Leader said the party would be back in Townsville "many times" ahead of the October 31 poll.

 

 

The LNP will also try to achieve a surplus over the next four years, with Ms Frecklington saying the party would work really hard and not waste money.

But she was forced to clarify what the time frame of the economic cycle was, initially claiming it was three years before later saying it was four.

It comes after Ms Frecklington on Thursday said it was a fiscal principle for the LNP to achieve a surplus over the economic cycle.

"Our fiscal principle is of course to not spend more than we earn but I'll say this again, the Labor Party in Queensland have not had a budget this year," she said yesterday.

Ms Frecklington said the LNP would try and achieve a surplus by backing manufacturing businesses, growing the economy and not wasting money. 

Originally published as Treasurer refuses to commit on jobs target



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