Minister defends public servant payout
By Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace
The state government this year delivered its fifth budget surplus thanks to sound fiscal management. This has only been possible through strong and restrained management of government spending.
More than 90 per cent of public servants are frontline or frontline support workers. These are the nurses and doctors who take care of you when you're sick, the teachers and teacher-aides who ensure you children receive an education and the firefighters, police and ambos who look after when you're sick or in trouble.
They're the people who fight bushfires, respond to natural disasters like cyclones and floods and put their lives on the line to help fellow Queenslanders.
The announcement at the weekend that keeps wages growth limited to 2.5 per cent with productivity gains and a one-off payment is both affordable and provides immediate support to the economy. Only public sector employees up to and including Administrative Officer level 8 (AO8) or equivalent will be eligible for the one-off payment. It will not be available for senior executives or senior officers.
It is also consistent with advice from the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia who has called for growth in public sector wages above existing wages caps across all levels of government to stimulate a lacklustre national economy.
The RBA Governor said: "Caps on wages growth in public sectors right across the country are another factor contributing to the subdued wage outcomes. At the aggregate level, my view is that a further pick-up in wages growth is both affordable and desirable."
It is not just the public sector that the Palaszczuk Government is supporting.
We have supported small business with payroll tax incentives worth $885 million. It means 1500 more small business owners will no longer pay payroll tax.
We're investing $32 million to make training apprentices under 21 years of age free.
And we're investing in regional infrastructure.
Around 60 per cent of the $12.9 billion infrastructure program for this year is committed outside of south east Queensland supporting 25,500 jobs in the regions over the next year.
Over the next four years we are investing $14.5 billion on regional roads supporting 13,500 jobs.
We are delivering targeted programs to create jobs in the regions totalling $1.6 billion supporting more than 35,000 jobs including:
• $515 million through Building our Regions - 2,419 jobs supported to date
• $600 million under Works for Queensland - 16,400 jobs supported to date with 21,000 to be supported in total.
• $175 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund - over 900 jobs supported
• $305 million under Back to Work - more than 15,900 jobs in the regions supported
The Queensland Government has provided $670 million to drought affected communities over the last six years and the Premier recently pledged funds to support Stanthorpe's water supply and a new dam for the South West. All of these programs and projects will be delivered by government workers.
Queensland learned from the Newman years that the LNP don't like public servants. And unlike the LNP, we have delivered a budget surplus each and every year. The LNP may not value public servants and may not be able to see any alternatives to cutting, sacking and selling. But Queenslanders know our government workers deliver vital services across Queensland.