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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    LUCAS: FIONA SIMPSON MUST RULE OUT INFRASTRUCTURE AND PLANNING CUTS

    Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    LUCAS: FIONA SIMPSON MUST RULE OUT INFRASTRUCTURE AND PLANNING CUTS

    Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Paul Lucas today called on Opposition spokesperson Fiona Simpson to rule out funding cuts that would slow down projects that could create jobs for thousands of Queenslanders.

    Mr Lucas said the National Party’s plan to slash a 3% productivity dividend across government would result in 12,000 jobs lost and the cutting of vital services, like those provided by the Department of Infrastructure and Planning (DIP).

    “This plan would cut $5 million out of the Department that plans and approves the infrastructure projects that will help Queensland through these tough economic times and create jobs for Queenslanders,” said Mr Lucas.

    “Fiona Simpson needs to stand up for Queensland jobs and guarantee she’ll protect the Department of Infrastructure and Planning.

    “Otherwise the Nationals will put up a ‘closed for business’ sign and turn away companies looking to invest in Queensland projects.

    “Queensland leads Australia in fast-tracking job creating infrastructure projects.

    “Delaying approvals will just delay jobs in the midst of the global financial crisis.

    “This is how the Nationals want to pay for their $2.5 billion dollars and rising, reckless election commitments. It will cripple Queensland.

    “The Department of Infrastructure and Planning has about 600 projects under consideration or underway that could create thousands of new jobs.”

    In addition to State Government projects, private sector projects could be hit including:

    · Wiggins Island Coal Terminal (Gladstone) – $1.3 billion (Stage 1)

    · Gladstone Pacific Nickel project – $3.8 billion (Stage 1)

    · Up to eight Liquid Natural Gas projects in Gladstone – combined value of up to
       $40 billion

    · Townsville Ocean Terminal - $1 billion

    “Labor understands investing in this Department is investing in jobs for Queenslanders across the State,” Mr Lucas said.

    “This year its budget was $166 million but the Nationals want to carve out $5 million through a ‘productivity dividend’.”

    Mr Lucas said around 80% of DIP staff were involved in frontline service delivery.

    “To pay for the National’s productivity dividend, DIP would have to make around 30 DIP staff providing frontline services (such as project and planning approvals) “de-necessary” in one year alone,” he said.

    “DIP is the chief agency that deals with major developers and developments,” said Mr Lucas.

    “The property industry are crying out for governments to ensure they can assess projects quickly. So they can get on with the job of selling land and homes.

    “The longer approvals take the more expense land and homes are.“

    Mr Lucas said if the Nationals don’t want to deal with the immediate, severe consequences of such significant cuts to jobs they could axe the South East Queensland Regional Plan or the reform of the Integrated Planning Act (IPA).

    “Axing the SEQ Regional Plan, which ensures growth in the South-East is well planned and supported with the necessary infrastructure, would give the Nationals almost $3.4 million,” Mr Lucas said.

    “Scrapping the IPA reform, which speeds up the development approval process, would give the Nationals $1.8 million toward their productivity dividend.

    “DIP is the interface with major industry across Queensland – in planning, property development, construction and mining.

    “Fiona Simpson needs to tell Queenslanders employed in infrastructure projects and the mining sector what’s in store for them.

    “If Rosemary Menkens can do it, Fiona Simpson can too. She owes Queenslanders an explanation of how the Nationals can cut 3% of DIP’s budget without hundreds of jobs being lost and services being slashed.

    “Making the lot of them ‘de-necessary’ would only give you a small fraction of the $5 million the Nationals want to cut from the DIP budget.”

    Media contact: Matt Klar 0437 435 223