The following is a transcript of Steve Minnikin MP, State Member for Chatsworth speaking in Parliament. Wednesday 31 October.
(9.45 pm): May I begin by acknowledging the hard work of the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee and thank them for their dedication to the democratic process. Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like to bring to your attention the efforts of the Newman government in making a discernible difference to the public transport network throughout this state—in other words, to make it more frequent, reliable and affordable.
Unlike the economic illiterates opposite, the Queensland government is indeed committed to reducing the cost of living for all Queensland families. This is in direct contrast with Labor’s inept record of increases of 15 per cent year after year for three consecutive years. Let us just reflect on that last point for a moment. As a general rule of thumb, the private sector—I previously worked in retail and commercial property development—used a CPI increase of around 21⁄2 per cent to three per cent whenever we calculated projected expenditure outgoings increases or rental cash flow projections. We also calculated business risk models using the spread of the 10-year bond rate as we needed to ensure that our products and services kept pace with average wage earners. I know this type of undergraduate economics language is well and truly beyond the democratic socialists opposite who have no concept of the real world. In fact, I put it to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the geniuses opposite wonder why passenger transport patronage numbers were falling. Maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with the astronomical fare increases that were continually put forward. It never ceases to amaze me that the so-called party representing the average worker hangs them out to dry time and time again.
We acknowledge that spiralling cost-of-living increases was the catchcry. We kept hearing that throughout the state election seven months ago, and massive public transport cost increases certainly did not help. By direct contrast, the Newman government wants to encourage commuters to get out of their cars and back on to public transport. It is not exactly rocket science. By making trips more affordable we will achieve a win-win scenario where people actually use the public transport network and ease congestion on our roads. We have allocated $158.2 million over the next four years to halve the previous government’s scheduled 15 per cent fare increases for 2013-14. This amounts to tangible savings ending up in the back pocket of average hardworking Queenslanders.
The ‘9 and free’ initiative was introduced on 25 June and provides every public transport user with free travel after nine weekly journeys. Essentially, if you commute to and from work during the course of the normal working week, the return leg journey is free. Furthermore, $39 million has been allocated over four years to the ‘9 and free’ initiative. From my electorate’s perspective, a Chatsworth constituent travelling from Carindale to the city 10 times a week can expect to save over $200 a year from this LNP initiative. As the Assistant Minister for Public Transport, I am also looking at other ways we can help to improve our public transport network. Surely the hallmark of a true world city within a great state is the ability to offer its citizens a first-class public transportation system, which is indeed frequent, reliable and affordable.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Chatsworth. I am terribly sorry but we are actually talking about the Education and Innovation Committee, not the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee. I would ask you please to come back to that.
Mr MINNIKIN: In relation to education, I would like to put on the record the fact that ever since the Newman government came into power I have been to every school in the Chatsworth electorate, both private and public. In fact as recently as last week, to help celebrate World Teachers’ Day I actually took a cake around to them and a spirit of goodwill was displayed to me in those staffrooms.
The Newman government, under the auspices of John-Paul Langbroek, was able to broker, without union intervention, a 2.7 per cent pay rise with an overwhelming 95 per cent endorsement, or thereabouts, from the teachers of this state without the rigmarole that we saw from those members opposite. I just raised my finger and pointed to those members opposite, and I have to say that it does not take much of a spread to point to those three over there.
The fact of the matter is that when it comes to education—in fact, when it comes to any policy— the Newman government has been a beacon of decency to men and women throughout Queensland. In fact, if anything, our record after seven months puts the record of the previous inept Labor government over the past 20-plus years to absolute shame.