Treasurer Tim Nicholls is opening the floor to all Queenslanders to have their say on the best way to pay down the accumulated debt of the past ten years – the $80 billion black cloud hanging over the State’s finances.
Following the first round of community consultation with civic leaders in regional towns and cities across Queensland, Mr Nicholls said he would conduct a series of open community forums and online virtual town halls, continuing the discussion of the Strong Choices which must be made to secure our future.
“Our Government is standing by our commitment to be open and honest about the Strong Choices Queenslanders face to pay down the accumulated debt of the last ten years, and fund the roads, rail, schools and hospitals Queensland will need into the future,” Mr Nicholls said.
“I’ve been listening to the views of community leaders at meetings around the state as to their priorities for their particular region, and now every Queenslander will have the opportunity to add their voice to the conversation.
“Queensland is on the cusp of strong economic growth, but independent and government financial experts agree we will be held back by the overwhelming level of debt we face unless Strong Choices are made.”
Mr Nicholls said while many and varied viewpoints had been brought forward in his civic leader round table meetings; from Cairns to Brisbane, Townsville to the Gold Coast, it was universally acknowledged the government needed to act urgently in addressing the debt legacy.
“Queenslanders face three choices – significantly increase taxes reduced services or sale or lease of some assets,” he said.
“Before the Government decides on a plan to restore the State’s finances and pay down debt, I am making certain that we have heard from everyone who wants to contribute to the mature debate about the best way to deal with the accumulated debt legacy from the past ten years.
“These community forums and online virtual town halls are the next step in listening to the thoughts, priorities and concerns the Government will take into account as we determine how best to pay down Labor’s debt, reduce the $450,000 an hour interest bill and secure Queensland’s future,” he said.
The first community forum will be held at Chermside and Carindale in Brisbane on 15 April with the first regional community forum to be held in Charleville on 22 April. Further locations include Springfield Lakes, Kingaroy, Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns, with the full list available online.
For more details about community forums or virtual town hall meetings and registration information, visit www.treasury.qld.gov.au/communityforums.