Queensland’s local government association has backed Liberal Premier Campbell Newman’s tilt at keeping his title in the run-up to the state election tomorrow.
Local Government Association of Queensland President Margaret de Wit said the current premier was the one she would prefer to work with.
“Based on the stated policies and messages of the two major parties during the election campaign, I am more confident local government could work to implement the infrastructure commitments of a returned LNP government,” Ms de Wit said.
“But I say that on the condition that it demonstrate genuine respect for the sector by working with us to ensure better long-term planning and funding for local infrastructure investment,” she added.
Ms de Wit warned against the disruption that electing a hung parliament in Queensland would cause saying that it would increase uncertainty for regional communities relying on continued infrastructure investment to drive economic growth.
“Such an outcome is likely to endanger the task of ensuring timely and sustainable infrastructure planning and building programs for the regions,” she said.
“What local government definitely doesn’t want to see after Saturday is the chaos that a hung parliament would bring to the state.”
LGAQ believes that regional economies will remain vulnerable if state government does not receive a clear mandate to make decisions.
“A government with no clear majority or mandate will all but guarantee those decisions will multiply,” Ms de Wit said.
Cr de Wit said local councils were keen to work with whichever party won government on Saturday.
“But the policy key for local government will always be about certainty – about planning and about infrastructure investment,” she said.
Both parties have committed to boosting police officer numbers. The LNP has promised to put another 300 police on the beat by March next year – a promise Labor has agreed to match – and said it will establish three new rapid action police hubs across the state as well as rolling out 5,400 tablet computers for front-line police.
Labor has promised to throw $20 million over four years to tackle organised crime and to spend $5 million on extra police equipment.
The LNP will tackle elective surgery waiting times. Any patient who does not receive surgery within nationally recommended times will be offered the next available appointment in a public or private hospital at no cost.
A re-elected LNP government will hire more than 2,650 extra nurses, doctors and health staff at a cost of $583 million over three years. This is comprised of 490 extra doctors, 1,700 extra nursing positions and 464 extra health practitioner positions.
Labor has promised to spend $100 million recruiting an extra 400 nurses over four years and to legislate for safe nurse-to-patient ratios.
The party also said it would put on 1,000 graduate nurses on 12-month contracts every year for four years at a cost of $111 million.
The Liberals have said they will spend $8.6 billion to spend on infrastructure if re-elected, from the proceeds of asset lease and privatisation.
Projects include a regional inland alternative to the Bruce Highway, a new stadium and urban renewal in Townsvilleand an upgrade of the Sunshine Coast railway.
but Mr Newman has made it clear that delivering the new infrastructure will not be possible without his asset-leasing plan.
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has committed to creating an independent body, Building Queensland, which will carry out cost-benefit analysis of any project over $100 million and release the analysis before construction begins.
Campbell Newman’s party currently holds 73 of the 89 seats in Queensland’s unicameral parliament.
Polls show Mr Newman has a shaky grip on his Brisbane seat of Ashgrove, which he holds by a 5.7 per cent margin and is defending against Labor’s Kate Jones.
The LNP has not released a succession plan should he lose and the party retain power.
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