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Scott speaks in parliament about the state government’s job policy failures

The desperation of this government has reached a new low, with it now accusing its own Treasury officials of incompetence. So desperate has it become to find a skerrick of good news that it has resorted to making job numbers up and, if Treasury does not agree with its claims, it brands Treasury as incompetent. Let us not forget that this is the government that slashed infrastructure spending by $3 billion including in regional Queensland. Last week the Premier was claiming her Working Queensland policy would be a ‘jobs bonanza’ for regional Queensland and support 6,000 jobs. Apart from the fact that a $200 million policy does not come anywhere near making up for the $3 billion in cuts, a month earlier the government claimed that it would create just 600 jobs. In one month it is 600 jobs; a month later it is 6,000 jobs. I table the press releases.

Mr EMERSON (Indooroopilly—LNP) (10.26 am): The desperation of this government has reached a new low, with it now accusing its own Treasury officials of incompetence. So desperate has it become to find a skerrick of good news that it has resorted to making job numbers up and, if Treasury does not agree with its claims, it brands Treasury as incompetent. Let us not forget that this is the government that slashed infrastructure spending by $3 billion including in regional Queensland. Last week the Premier was claiming her Working Queensland policy would be a ‘jobs bonanza’ for regional Queensland and support 6,000 jobs. Apart from the fact that a $200 million policy does not come anywhere near making up for the $3 billion in cuts, a month earlier the government claimed that it would create just 600 jobs. In one month it is 600 jobs; a month later it is 6,000 jobs. I table the press releases.

Tabled paper: Media release, dated 19 January 2017, from the Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Hon. Jackie Trad, titled ‘$200 million Works for Queensland program to create regional jobs now’.

Tabled paper: Media release, dated 21 February 2017, from the Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Hon. Jackie Trad, titled ‘Jobs Bonanza for Regional Queensland’.

What has changed? The policy was the same but in between we saw another terrible set of unemployment numbers for Queensland, with 28,000 full-time jobs lost in Queensland in January. When questioned by the media about this inflation of job numbers from 600 to 6,000, a tenfold increase in just a month, what did the Premier say? As ABC TV reported, the Premier said, ‘That’s interesting from Scott Emerson—it just shows he doesn’t understand how the calculations are worked out.’ The TV report then said, ‘A government spokeswoman later confirmed that the 600 number was provided by Treasury—and they got it wrong.’ So Treasury got it wrong.

The Premier claims Treasury is incompetent. Imagine the reaction to that statement among Treasury officials on the 39th floor of 1 William Street. Imagine how Under Treasurer Jim Murphy explained to staff that the economic wizard that is the Premier—the woman who could not even name the GST rates—knew better than them, that the Premier was trashing the well-established and accepted Treasury ratio of 3.1 jobs for every million dollars in capital investment and multiplying it by 1,000 per cent. Treasurer Curtis Pitt was not going to defend them. He was the one who reportedly launched a witch-hunt of Treasury staff after he made a 3,000 per cent mistake about the impact of his new property tax. We will always remember that.

The latest unemployment figures are devastating—28,000 full-time jobs lost in January, Townsville with the worst unemployment in that city’s history and youth unemployment in outback Queensland at 34 per cent. This Premier is only interested in spin and, when she is caught out making the numbers up, she blames Treasury.

Mr EMERSON (Indooroopilly—LNP) (10.26 am): The desperation of this government has reached a new low, with it now accusing its own Treasury officials of incompetence. So desperate has it become to find a skerrick of good news that it has resorted to making job numbers up and, if Treasury does not agree with its claims, it brands Treasury as incompetent. Let us not forget that this is the government that slashed infrastructure spending by $3 billion including in regional Queensland. Last week the Premier was claiming her Working Queensland policy would be a ‘jobs bonanza’ for regional Queensland and support 6,000 jobs. Apart from the fact that a $200 million policy does not come anywhere near making up for the $3 billion in cuts, a month earlier the government claimed that it would create just 600 jobs. In one month it is 600 jobs; a month later it is 6,000 jobs. I table the press releases.

Tabled paper: Media release, dated 19 January 2017, from the Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Hon. Jackie Trad, titled ‘$200 million Works for Queensland program to create regional jobs now’.

Tabled paper: Media release, dated 21 February 2017, from the Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Hon. Jackie Trad, titled ‘Jobs Bonanza for Regional Queensland’.

What has changed? The policy was the same but in between we saw another terrible set of unemployment numbers for Queensland, with 28,000 full-time jobs lost in Queensland in January. When questioned by the media about this inflation of job numbers from 600 to 6,000, a tenfold increase in just a month, what did the Premier say? As ABC TV reported, the Premier said, ‘That’s interesting from Scott Emerson—it just shows he doesn’t understand how the calculations are worked out.’ The TV report then said, ‘A government spokeswoman later confirmed that the 600 number was provided by Treasury—and they got it wrong.’ So Treasury got it wrong.

The Premier claims Treasury is incompetent. Imagine the reaction to that statement among Treasury officials on the 39th floor of 1 William Street. Imagine how Under Treasurer Jim Murphy explained to staff that the economic wizard that is the Premier—the woman who could not even name the GST rates—knew better than them, that the Premier was trashing the well-established and accepted Treasury ratio of 3.1 jobs for every million dollars in capital investment and multiplying it by 1,000 per cent. Treasurer Curtis Pitt was not going to defend them. He was the one who reportedly launched a witch-hunt of Treasury staff after he made a 3,000 per cent mistake about the impact of his new property tax. We will always remember that.

The latest unemployment figures are devastating—28,000 full-time jobs lost in January, Townsville with the worst unemployment in that city’s history and youth unemployment in outback Queensland at 34 per cent. This Premier is only interested in spin and, when she is caught out making the numbers up, she blames Treasury.