Queensland’s public sector union has released a report showing more than 42,000 public sector jobs will have to be cut to balance the state’s budget by 2024.
Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington has made a state election pledge to get the budget back in the black “if possible” over the forward estimates.
She has continually promised no forced or voluntary public sector redundancies and no new taxes under an LNP government.
The LNP are yet to release full costings, saying they will do so in the week leading up to the October 31 election as is normal practice.
A new Per Capita report, commissioned by public sector union Together, shows there will need to be 42,600 public sector jobs cut to trim down the state’s $8.5 billion deficit.
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“Attempting to balance the budget will only deepen the recession, forcing tens of thousands of workers into the dole queue and reducing economic activity significantly,” the report said.
“Queensland, and Australia more broadly, simply cannot afford the heavy costs of a balanced budget.”
The report also said austerity has had negligible effect on growth and trimming public debt in the past.
Together union secretary Alex Scott is appealing to the LNP to forego the idea of a surplus.
“Unemployment is more than just a statistic, it’s a human tragedy,” Mr Scott said on Friday.
“Every public sector job cut stretches out the time we will spend in recession and makes life harder for families who are already struggling with the devastation caused by the global COVID recession.”
The LNP leader will on Friday hit the hustings in the southeast, where she will sell her pledge to target a 5.0 per cent unemployment rate by 2024.
Ms Frecklington will seek to turn a page after her campaign was side-tracked for a third day this week.
Questions about the LNP candidate for Mundingburra, Peter Doyle, dominated her campaign on Thursday.
Mr Doyle has since apologised for a Facebook comment in 2018 saying he was “on the fence” over whether educating married women was a waste of time.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who was set to take part in the now-postponed national cabinet, will also hit the hustings in the southeast.
Labor is eager to sell its plans to create jobs after new figures showed unemployment rose to 7.7 per cent in September, the highest in the country.
The Greens have pledged to make hospital parking free across the state by buying back privately owned car parks at public hospitals.
“Hospital parking fees are a tax on serious illness, and Labor and the LNP’s privatisation of so many public hospital car parks means that tax is being paid into the pockets of private corporations,” Greens MP Michael Berkman said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister’s delayed return from the election campaign is back on track.
Scott Morrison woke up in Cairns on Friday after technical problems with his RAAF plane prevented his departure on Thursday.
The RAAF has sent another plane to Cairns so Mr Morrison will be able to fly south on Friday after all.
Queenslanders go to the polls on October 31.