Opposition quizzes Newman over state debt
The Opposition this week sought to embarrass Premier Campbell Newman by quoting statements to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission by Queensland Commission of Audit Commissioner Doug McTaggart.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin referred to Dr McTaggart’s statement to the QIRC that the projected State debt by 2014-15 of $85 billion was “manageable”.
“Will the Premier advise whether Dr McTaggart’s statement is correct?” Mr Mulherin said in Parliament.
Manager of Opposition Business Curtis Pitt said Dr McTaggart disputed the claim that the government was borrowing to pay the wages of 20,000 public servants.
“Will the Premier advise whether Dr McTaggart’s statement is correct?” Mr Pitt asked.
Mr Newman tabled a letter from Dr McTaggart clarifying the statements he made to the QIRC.
Quoting from Dr McTaggart’s letter, the Premier said the level of debt was manageable only if corrective action was taken as a matter of urgency – otherwise the current trajectory would see debt reach $100 billion by 2018-19.
Again quoting from Dr McTaggart’s letter, he said the previous Labor government borrowed to meet operating expenses.
Mr Newman admitted Dr McTaggart’s letter did not address the issue directly, but he said that since 46 percent of operating costs were employee expenses then government borrowings were used to pay wages.
He said the previous government was to blame.
“They have trashed this state,” he said.