Lessons of fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy lost on both lead­ers

The Australian - - QUEENSLAND DECIDES - JUDITH SLOAN COM­MENT

Let’s face it, fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy is not the strong suit of An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk. The Pre­mier couldn’t even nom­i­nate the rate of the GST. (Here’s a tip: it’s 10 per cent and al­ways has been.)

When it comes to the bur­den­some level of govern­ment debt in Queens­land, she is equally clue­less. What’s $81 bil­lion be­tween friends? Let’s shift some of the debt from the gen­eral govern­ment ledger to the bal­ance sheets of govern­ment-owned cor­po­ra­tions; let’s raid a cool $4bn from the govern­ment su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund used to pro­vide the de­fined ben­e­fit pen­sions for re­tired pub­lic ser­vants; and let’s ex­tort ex­ces­sive div­i­dends from the govern­ment-owned elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors. That’s the ticket.

Ac­cord­ing to her and her trusty lieu­tenant, Trea­surer Cur­tis Pitt, there is noth­ing to worry about in the ris­ing level of govern­ment debt. Sure, Queens­land was the first state to lose its AAA credit rat­ing, but Pitt is none too fussed about re­gain­ing it any time soon. Prob­a­bly just as well, be­cause there is no prospect at all of Queens­land be­ing rerated up, al­though there is a chance of a fur­ther down­grade.

Pitt will also tell you that while the gross govern­ment debt fig­ure in Queens­land cer­tainly is on the high side in per capita

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