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Here we Joh again! Newman's year of disastrous growth

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2014 was a year of disastrous growth for the Newman Government in Queensland.

Waiting list queues up. Unemployment up. Class sizes up. Power bills up. Debt up. Election-time ads up. Hidden political donations up. Unpaid fines up. Voter disaffection up.

These are just some of the many measures which demonstrate the LNP government has failed dramatically and dismally to deliver what it promised Queenslanders.

Let’s deal now with some of Campbell Newman’s catastrophic growth figures.

HEALTH

Without good health our enjoyment of life is diminished.

One image from the LNP Government’s current $20 million advertising blitz shows a queue of people waiting for an operation. It is designed to illustrate the fact that a queue of 6,485 patients waiting for an operation in March 2012 had been reduced by 5,954 to 531 by September 2014. 

But 5,954 is a mere drop in the ocean compared with about 190,000 Queenslanders who have joined the list waiting to get on the waiting list since the LNP came to power.

Using the LNP’s imagery, if all those extra waiting people lined up in single file, two people for every metre, the queue would stretch from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital to Caloundra. Now, that’s a queue!

Verdict: A cynical and despicable attempt to hoodwink voters.

UNEMPLOYMENT

The financial pressure on families caused by losing a job can cause depression and marital breakdowns.

On May 17 2012 the Premier told Parliament:

“Unemployment is too high for a state with such potential.” 

The unemployment rate had been 5.5% when Mr Newman came to power. He promised to create 420,000 new jobs in six years and cut the unemployment rate to 4%.

Imagine the misery associated with the fact that 35,000 more men and women have become unemployed in Queensland since the LNP won government.

That single file queue would stretch for more than 17 kilometres.

The facts: More than 61,000 full time jobs in Queensland have been lost and the unemployment rate has risen to 6.9%.

Verdict: A miserable failure.

CLASS SIZES

A recent Monash University study found that reducing class sizes in the first four years of school can have an important and lasting effect on student achievement. 

The Newman Government promised that frontline services would not suffer in its public service cutbacks but a shortage of teachers has resulted in the number of oversize classes growing.

In only two years, the number of oversize classes in the prep to year three range has increased from 8% to 13% — one in every eight classes.

In years four to seven, the number of oversize classes has more than doubled — from 5% to 11%.

For the rest of the years, the rates are either slightly worse or the same.

Verdict: The Newman Government’s actions have had a negative effect on the long-term future of thousands of our children.

POWER BILLS

In a letter to Ashgrove voters in 2012, Campbell Newman signed his name to a promise to

''Reform electricity tariffs to lower your bill.''

Since then the peak rate in Brisbane with Origin has increased from 20.69 cents per kilowatt hour to 25.378 — an increase of 23%.

The T33 off peak rate has increased from 12.43 cents per kilowatt hour to 18.454 — an increase of 48%

Verdict: A massive increase affecting every Queenslander.

DEBT

The Newman Government had already received a report from its so-called Independent Commission of Audit and was therefore fully aware of the state of Queensland’s finances when it promised a fiscal surplus of $652 million for 2014/15.

Instead, it is now forecasting a loss of more than $2.842 billion.

Borrowings for the 2012/13 Budget were $41.309 billion. The recent Mid-Year Financial and Economic Review forecasts this will have grown to $45.801 billion for this financial year.

And this month (December 2014), Premier Newman signalled that things are now so out of control that:

"We''re on the way to accumulating $100bn of worth of debt.” 

Verdict: The Newman Government has driven the State deeper into debt.

ADVERTISING

In its election promises, the LNP said [IA emphasis]: 

''The Bligh government has abused its own advertising rules to go on a pre-election self-promotion spending spree – for politics not for outcomes…When governments forget that it’s not their money but taxpayers’ money – it’s time for a change.''

Premier Newman told Parliament on 25 November that the Bligh Government had spent $9 million in three months just before the election. That’s $3 million a month.

With an election due in March, the Newman Government is spending nearly $20 million of taxpayers’ money on advertising between November and the end of February — a rate of $5 million a month.

The advertising blitz is now so crass that there are sometimes two taxpayer-funded ads in just one television commercial break.

Verdict: The Newman Government is ignoring the fact that the $20 million being spent on electioneering is not its money.

HIDDEN POLITICAL DONATIONS

Campbell Newman promised his government would be accountable and transparent.

In May, the Newman Government made it possible to hide the identities of people and organisations making donations of up to $12,400 to political parties. The previous limit had been $1,000.

Independent MP Liz Cunningham said:

"Brown paper bag – $12,000, no receipt given, no record of the transaction even occurring – that smacks of criminality straight up.”

Verdict: The only reason to increase the limit is to avoid scrutiny of Government decisions favourable to donors.

UNPAID FINES

The LNP promised to deal with the mass of unpaid fines owing to the Government through the State Penalties Enforcement Registry.

This should be a source of revenue.

In February 2012, the total owing to the State was $838 million.

It is now $918 million — an increase of $80 million.

Verdict: That’s almost a billion dollars which could be used for the Government’s much-touted infrastructure program.

Can anyone seriously suggest that the Newman Government is doing well in these areas?

According to Rupert Murdoch''s Courier-Mail:

''Premier Campbell Newman has delivered real results for Queensland. On every significant measure of government – from the handling of the economy to leadership, law and order, health and education, the Newman Government has exceeded expectations.''

Seriously?

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