Mr HART (Burleigh—LNP) (6.00 pm): It gives me a great deal of pleasure to stand here tonight to condemn the Labor Party’s motion while supporting the sensible amendment moved by our Treasurer. I am surprised that there was not a bit of scary music playing in the background during the speeches from members of the Labor Party, because that is the story they are putting out there—the scary story about cuts here and cuts there—but there are no facts. They have given no facts. We heard the member for Bundamba tell us that there were problems in the health system. The problems in the health system were left by the former Labor government and we need look no further than what this government has done about the dental waiting list. We went from 62,000 people on the dental waiting list to zero—62,000 to zero!
Let me correct something that the member for Bundamba is putting out there. She is saying that this is Labor money, and time and time again those opposite keep saying that it is Labor money that is fixing the problem. There is no such thing as Labor money. The money in this state belongs to the people of Queensland. The money in this nation belongs to the people of Australia. It is not Labor money; it is the people’s money. For years and years we have seen what incompetent Labor governments do to this country. One only has to look at when John Howard came to power. He was left with $96 billion worth of debt. How long did it take the Howard government to pay down that $96 billion? It took it 10 years—10 years of hard work, 10 years of getting the budgets right, 10 years of working from deficit to surplus—but it paid back the debt. That is what we in this state are now being forced to do. We are being forced to pay back debt that was put in place by the former state Labor government of around $85 billion. I doubt if we are going to be able to do that in 10 years.
Things have shifted from when John Howard was in government. It may take us longer than that and we are wasting money paying interest year after year on a debt that those opposite gave us. They have their heads in the sand. They completely ignore the fact that they have been fiscally irresponsible with this state’s money. They have completely ignored the fact that on a national level the federal Labor Party has been fiscally irresponsible.
One only has to look at the Health payroll system. Here was a system that was going to cost around $6 million to put in place. At the last estimate $1.2 billion has been wasted—wasted, money down the drain that we could have used to employ more nurses, more doctors and more police officers. We also only have to look at the Gold Coast desalination plant and the western corridor recycled water scheme—wasted money with no business plan. There was not even a business plan put in place to build those things. Those opposite came along and thought, ‘Let’s just throw money at it. We’ve got a problem—a problem that we didn’t see coming. We’ll throw money at it and we’ll try to fix that problem.’ The federal government has been left with $339 billion worth of debt, and it is on its way to $670-odd billion before we can stop it. The Labor Party needs to appreciate that the problems that it creates now take us years and years to fix. This is not something that we can fix overnight. This is not something that the federal coalition can fix overnight. It is going to take it years and years to fix. Unlike those opposite, the people on this side of the House have business experience. They know how to read a balance sheet. They know how to pay down debt, and we will do it. Given time, we will achieve what needs to be achieved in this state. We will get this state back where it needs to be—a great state with great opportunities. I commend the Treasurer for his amendment.
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