Leaders seek deals in regions, promising jobs and chasing votes

Annastacia Palaszcuk and Deb Frecklington are both campaigning outside of the urban south-east today in the hope of swinging votes, particularly in mining areas.

Oct 14, 2020, updated Oct 14, 2020
Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington. (Photo: ABC)

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington. (Photo: ABC)

With applications for postal votes closing on Friday, and more than 680,000 people already registering their intention to mail it in, the coming days may prove crucial to the outcome of the election.

This had led both leaders into the regions with competing plans to create jobs and support local communities.

After the Liberal National Party campaign was buffeted by a donations scandal, leader Deb Frecklington was in Mackay today making an early morning announcement on cyclone preparedness.

Frecklington promised $50 million in grants to make houses more resilient and provide work for tradies in the regions. Under the proposal, home-owners in coastal areas north of Bundaberg will be eligible for grants of up to $15,000 to have the government contribute as much as 75 per cent of the cost of cyclone-proofing their properties. This could include new roofs, better garage doors and windows.

“It is important that we make Queenslanders safe in their homes,” Frecklington said.

“It is important that we get tradies back into work and it is important that we do something about the insurance premiums that people in north Queensland are sick to death of.”

The announcement came after the Katter’s Australian Party called for government intervention to reduce the cost of premiums in the north, and with the Bureau of Meteorology already warning about cyclone season.

In Gladstone today, Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk promised $45 million for schools to provide more skills training in emerging industries such as hydrogen, aerospace and aquaculture.

“This is a pathway for students to get the skills they need in the industries that are relevant for their region,” Palaszczuk said.

With $10.5 million on offer in central Queensland alone, including funds to prepare students for future jobs in the hydrogen industry, Palaszczuk said it was important to direct people into future jobs.

But Frecklington accused Labor of giving up on the mining sector, and declared only the LNP government wanted to kickstart mining projects to keep people employed.

“When the Labor Party come into Mackay and say that their resource workers have to re-skill, they’ve let down the Mackay region,” Frecklington said.

“Mackay is a resources town.”

Frecklington, the Kingaroy-based MP who replaced former Brisbane lord mayor and premier Campbell Newman, said she had led the LNP to represent all of Queensland, not just urban areas.

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“I stood up and I said that I wanted to end the divide between the south-east and the rest of Queensland,” Frecklington said.

“I’ve done that in the last three years by getting around this great state of ours.”

Palaszczuk again accused Frecklington of leading a divided party, where some members had actively leaked information about meetings with developers.

While the Crime and Corruption Commission has warned all candidates to maintain their integrity, Palaszczuk suggested Queenslanders should be worried about the prospect of an LNP government.

Frecklington said “who should be worried is the Labor Party given it’s been Labor who have kept the CCC extremely busy this term.”

Palaszczuk said the LNP had yet to say how it would fund its election commitments or plan to pursue a budget surplus in the first term, leaving Queenslanders to fear “savage cuts” under a Frecklington government.

“How are they going to get to a surplus if they’re not borrowing? The only way they’re going to get to a surplus is by cutting,” Palaszczuk said.

Treasurer Cameron Dick, who has openly declared much of Labor’s re-election platform to be funded through borrowings, has taken to calculating the number of public servants that would need to be sacked to pay for an LNP policy and still pursue a budget surplus.

“Today the LNP added a further 104 public servants to the list of Government workers they will sack should they be elected on 31 October 2020,” Dick said.

The LNP has promised policy costings in the last week of the campaign.

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