Jobs rate fine with Premier

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - STEVEN WARDILL

PREMIER An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk has in­sisted La­bor’s first Bud­get de­liv­ers on her jobs mantra be­cause the state’s un­em­ploy­ment rate is ex­pected to re­main un­changed for at least the next two years.

Trea­sury has pre­dicted un­em­ploy­ment to stay at 6.5 per cent. “I am pleased it’s def­i­nitely not get­ting worse,’’ Ms Palaszczuk said. “But I want to see it get bet­ter.”

The Premier and Trea­surer Curtis Pitt yesterday be­gan selling the Bud­get, branded “Jobs Now, Jobs for the Fu­ture”.

Along with Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kate Jones, the pair vis­ited a school to high­light the new $ 300 main­te­nance fund.

Mr Pitt said the im­prove­ment to the em­ploy­ment par­tic­i­pa­tion rate was im­por­tant.

“We know that we will have a lot more peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing in our econ­omy and that is go­ing to be good news right across the state,” he said.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Lawrence Spring­borg said La­bor’s Bud­get lacked ac­tion on in­fra­struc­ture and, with­out a clear plan mov­ing for­ward, would hurt jobs and the econ­omy.

“I think the stark con­trast in this Bud­get is that there is no new ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment or pro­gram which wasn’t al­ready put in place or planned by the LNP, or even car­ried for­ward from the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Mr Pitt was also forced to de­fend the plan to di­rect public ser­vant su­per­an­nu­a­tion into state- owned energy, port and wa­ter busi­nesses, in­sist­ing it did not con­sti­tute an as­set sale.

“This is in no way, shape or form an as­set sale,’’ he said. “It is about gov­ern­ment in­vest­ing in gov­ern­ment,” he said.

The Gov­ern­ment is al­ready tak­ing a five- year hol­i­day from in­vest­ing in the fund to save $ 2 bil­lion, ar­gu­ing its as­sets now ex­ceed its li­a­bil­i­ties by about $ 10 bil­lion.

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