Labor’s debt swap will cost Queenslanders more

10 Jul 2015 9:00 AMJohn-Paul Langbroek

Treasurer Curtis Pitt has today revealed his only plan for the State Budget is to perform a sneaky debt swap, which will end up costing Queenslanders more.

Shadow Treasurer John-Paul Langbroek said the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s debt shuffle strategy proved it was out of ideas and couldn’t deliver its election promises.

“This was never part of Labor’s pre-election fiscal strategy. Voters have been duped,” Mr Langbroek said.

“The Treasurer’s so-called solution to pay down debt is to merely put it in a different place, saddling the government owned businesses with even more ‘dead debt’.

“This is not debt these businesses can invest to grow or provide a return, this is ‘dead debt’ which is the result of a decade of deficits from previous Labor Governments.

“Burdening them with ‘dead debt’ could affect their commercial viability, leaving Queenslanders to pick up the tab to keep them solvent - as was the case only a few years ago with CS Energy.”

Shadow Energy Minister Andrew Powell said Mr Pitt was relying on the revenues from government businesses to pay down debt, but was shackling them with increasing debt costs.

“His plan today sees them faced with rising debt costs, and at the same time the national regulator has decreased the revenues these businesses are allowed to recover from customers,” Mr Powell said.

“This means the energy companies will need to find other ways to cover their newfound debt, which will ultimately leave Queenslanders worse off.”

Mr Langbroek said the debt swap proposal would not reduce the State’s $80 billion debt, and would have no impact on Queensland’s credit rating.

“I’m also concerned this isn’t the last magic trick we’ll see from the Treasurer in the Budget,” he said.

“Mr Pitt today said he was looking to restructure the government’s balance sheet.

“Does this mean he’s willing to go even further and raid the entitlements that are put aside to fund hard-working public servants’ superannuation and long service leave entitlements?

“What other promises is this Treasurer willing to break in next week’s State Budget?

“Only the experienced LNP has a real economic plan to pay down debt, boost frontline services and build the infrastructure this growing state needs.”

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