The “Australian,” makes the rather odd claim that an early election in Queensland, which is almost certain after the Bligh Government revealed yesterday the state budget had plunged $1.6billion into deficit, will test voter confidence in Labor's ability to govern during the economic crisis.
The collapse of fortunes forced ratings agency Standard & Poor's to lower the state's long-cherished AAA credit rating for the first time to AA.This is not a test in the confidence we have in the Bligh government; that is the last thing Anna wants. With the state economy rapidly taking on the smell of rotting fish, Bligh is getting in early to try to get re-elected before the electorate gets the opportunity to really find out where Labors fiscal policies lead.
The lower credit rating will put further pressure on the state's finances by increasing the cost of borrowings to fund a growing budget deficit and heavy capital works program.
Once Australia's boom state, riding a wave of property and mining investment, Queensland has an economy grinding to a halt. Treasury officials issued a dire warning yesterday for the next financial year, when they fear the budget deficit will double to $3.2billion.
The latest forecasts, which take into account the Rudd Government's $42 billion stimulus package and recent interest rate cuts, predict a further 60,000 people will be laid off in 2009-10, when economic growth will slump to 1per cent, putting Queensland on the brink of a recession.
The state Treasurer Andrew Fraser who said he could not rule out having to increase taxes or cut services, said the Government remained committed to its borrow-for-building campaign, even though it would cost more to deliver, and was going into deficit to sustain economic growth as much as possible
It is generally considered that March 28 is the likely date as the Rudd Government's latest cash payments, from its ‘son of porkulous’ stimulus package will start being distributed next month and the Bligh Government is likely to take advantage of the money for nothing pork barreling which is expected to generate some goodwill.
During the last ten years of economic boom times Labor has carried on with its big spending ways, generally pissing the proceeds up against the wall with cost blowouts on everything, failure to put anything aside for harsher economic times, and blocking projects for the sole purpose of securing Green preferences.
The electorate notes spending on capital projects, which can be seen and thus cast government in a good light, but there is no way of seeing that which has been blocked as it does not exist – there is nothing to be seen. Bligh has been especially irresponsible in this regard, costing the state countless jobs and revenue.
Queensland still persists in the stupidity of banning uranium production, incredibly dumb at this time as at the moment the world is crying out for nuclear energy as a clean energy source. Last August Anna canned the McFarlane Oil shale project at Proserpine, to ensure that the marginal seat of Whitsunday will be kept in Labor hands at the expense of the Australian taxpayer.
The immediate result was the loss of the jobs of 500 people engaged on the project. It also wiped out $300 million already invested in the project. The project was worth $15 Billion, with the potential for $400 million annually in royalties alone and would have created 3,000 direct jobs as permanent as jobs can be.
It would have produced 30 million barrels per year of low sulphur diesel and aviation gas and could have lowered Australia’s fuel import deficit to the tune of $10 billion per year.
It has to be incredible hypocrisy for a state government, which has blocked thousands of jobs worth of development projects, to then go to Canberra with its hand out for massive funding for infrastructure projects to create jobs that it prevented us from having in the first place not to mention the economic cost both to the state and the nation as a whole caused by these idiotic feel good at the time decisions.