Newly elected Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has wasted no time settling into the job, meeting with senior bureaucrats to outline his priorities, including a jobless target of just 4%.
The Liberal National Party leader will be sworn in today after the LNP’s crushing election win over Labor on Saturday. Former Premier Anna Bligh has since resigned from politics.
Newman will be sworn in along with his deputy Jeff Seeney, who will take on the state development portfolio, and Tim Nicholls, who will handle the treasury and trade portfolios.
Newman said he was conscious of the “incredible trust” that has been placed in his hands, describing himself as a premier who is “going to be working for everyone”.
He has already met with senior bureaucrats and several members of his new team to outline his priorities, including the following:
1. Expanding the payroll tax exemption threshold
The LNP has promised to expand the payroll tax exemption threshold from $1 million to $1.6 million over six years, which it says will help more than 20,000 SMEs.
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“This will give immediate relief to businesses paying payroll tax as well as reduce ‘bracket creep’ for other small businesses, giving them the confidence to employ and retain more Queenslanders,” Newman said.
2. Cutting red tape and regulation
“We will cut red tape and regulation by 20%, and ensure there is a change in the culture of government from one that promotes red tape to one that actively reduces red tape,” he said.
“We will do this by establishing an Office of Best Practice Regulation and reviewing the existing stock of regulation in Queensland.”
3. Unemployment and training overhaul
The LNP has vowed to cut unemployment to 4% in six years. It also plans to revamp the state’s training system, with a focus on producing skilled, job-ready workers.
“An LNP Government will immediately establish a Skills and Training Taskforce to reform and revamp skills and training within two years,” Newman said.
“Following the implementation of [these] reforms, an LNP Government will provide up to $86 million for 10,000 additional apprentices to meet the looming skills shortage.”
4. Repealing Labor’s waste tax
The LNP plans to repeal Labor’s Waste Tax, which currently charges $35 a tonne on commercial, industrial, construction and demolition waste.
“The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has found most businesses are willing to support recycling and sound environmental practices,” Newman said.
“However, most businesses believe they have little to no opportunity to increase their recycling and recovery capacity. In short, Queensland businesses need support – not another tax.”
5. Reinstating Queensland tourism
In a bid to restore the state’s tourism sector to its former glory, the LNP appointed a shadow minister for the Commonwealth Games, to be held on the Gold Coast in 2018.
The LNP plans to establish a 2020 Growth Target to increase overnight visitor expenditure in Queensland to $30 billion, and will focus on whole-of-government support for tourism.
The party is also open to “examining the means to involve visitors to the state in employment opportunities”.