Queenslanders who benefit from concession payments will not suffer any reduction in payments as a result of cuts announced in the Federal Budget.
Premier Campbell Newman said the State Government had listened to Queenslanders’ concerns and will act.
“Pensioners and older Queenslanders have told us that they simply can’t wear the cost of filling the gap between Queensland’s increased contribution, and the Commonwealth Government’s concessions cuts and increased fees and taxes,” Mr Newman said.
“That’s why today I’m announcing that we’ve not only listened to Queenslanders, but we’ve acted, within the space of two days, to reinstate the full level of pensioner and senior concessions.
“Passing on part of the Commonwealth’s cuts to pensioner concessions is clearly not an acceptable outcome for Queenslanders.”
Mr Newman said the Commonwealth should be bearing the burden of these cuts, not Queenslanders.
“We will be continuing to send a clear message to the Commonwealth that Queenslanders won’t stand for these kinds of cuts,” he said.
Treasurer and Minister for Trade Tim Nicholls said the Newman Government was still considering the impact of Commonwealth decisions on our budget, but Queenslanders had put a strong case for the Government not to pass on the unexpected cuts delivered by the Commonwealth.
“It is the Commonwealth Government that’s caused this problem with pensioner cuts and increased charges.
“We’re very conscious of the ‘double whammy’ impact of the Federal Government’s changes to pensions and the removal of concessions funding,” Mr Nicholls said.
“So we will be looking at all opportunities to withhold and recoup funding from Commonwealth programs and initiatives that they ask States to contribute to from time to time, to make up for the shortfall they’ve created.
“These are the sorts of budget shocks that Queensland finds it difficult to absorb while we are burdened with $80 billion of debt.
“Our ability to respond is restricted by our need to find $4 billion every year to pay our interest bill.
“It’s why we’ve made the strongest and smartest choice to reduce the debt through a series of asset transactions that would deliver financial security for Queensland.”