REDUCING the cost of living holds the key to returning confidence to the Gold Coast economy, says deputy leader of LNP Tim Nicholls (pictured).
Speaking to Gold Coast Business News today at Southport’s Courthouse Hotel, Nicholls outlined his party’s plan to cut down on fees and charges for both families and business to restore confidence to the state’s economy.
An audience of about 80 influential Gold Coast business leaders had earlier tuned in as Nicholls spoke about the LNP’s plan to fix the state’s economy, while supporting LNP candidate for Southport Rob Molhoek.
“The lack of confidence is a significant issue. You have seen that in the construction industry, you have seen that in the retail industry and you have seen that in the tourist industry,” says Nicholls.
“People act perfectly rationally and when they think times are tough and they think their job is under threat they keep their hands in their pockets and don’t spend and that is what we are seeing here.
“We need to give people relief from cost of living expenses, so people can go out and shop, spend get entertainment, stay out stay overnight and those kind of things and we need to get rid of red tape.”
The LNP has given a commitment to reduce the cost of living by $330 per year. The promise to reduce fees and charges comes despite the current government operating under a multi-billion dollar loss this year.
“The Chamber of Commerce tells us there is something like 90,000 regulations that affect businesses in Queensland, so we have got to do something about that and we will be making some announcements about those types of things,” says Nicholls.
Four pillars have been identified in the Queensland economy by the LNP: Tourism, agriculture, construction, property and resources.
“We have got to grow a four-pillar economy that is more than just the resources sector. We have to focus on the other areas of support, retail, manufacturing and professional services and they are in our view tourism, retail and the property and construction industry,” says Nicholls.
Goals have been identified to double farm-gate production by 2040 and grow the agricultural sector through land releases. Nicholls says a tourism body called Destination Q will be created to coordinate marketing for the tourism industry.
State Government expenses will also come under the microscope. Nicholls says the government’s expenses take up more than 40 per cent of its overall $47 billion dollar expenditure each year. The party also wants to return the state’s AAA credit rating.
“We have to stop growth in government expenses. Government expenses have been increasing at a rate of up to 8-10 per cent each year. We will have to cut consultancies, address advertising and address waste and mismanagement.”
Nicholls says the Queensland Health payroll debacle and Traveston Dam cost the state enormous amounts of money.
“Our commitment is to plan properly for infrastructure so those types of wasteful exercises aren’t engaged in,” he says.
“That is how we can get the Queensland economy back on track and start working towards getting back the AAA credit rating as well.”