Queensland’s premier has taken umbrage at a report suggesting her government is dragging down the rest of the country’s economy through a lack of infrastructure projects.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) on Monday released its December quarter Australian Infrastructure Metric, which forecast a construction recovery for the nation, led by large transport projects in NSW and Victoria.
But the report was damning of Queensland and Western Australia, accusing the traditional resources-rich states of dragging down the national economy because they were “over-leveraged and under-reformed”.
IPA chief executive Brendan Lyon said both states had “no clear plan to fix the budget and infrastructure problem” as they struggled to cope from a lack of mining investment.
“Queensland and Western Australia are the most exposed to the transition and have to do more to find money for projects, or they will lose skills to other states and miss the opportunity to grow their economies,” Mr Lyon said.
“Australia is facing difficult fiscal and economic factors, which is made harder by Queensland and WA dragging down the national economy by refusing to pull their weight.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk rejected the assertions, insisting the economy and job creation were her new government’s main priorities.
“I’d just say that’s rubbish,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Because we have announced a state infrastructure plan … we announced a budget that’s delivering on jobs and restoring frontline services across our state.”
But that didn’t stop Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg pouncing, insisting the report proved the government didn’t have a plan to boost the state’s economy.
“We have in Queensland a government which is frozen at the wheel, with no clear direction as to what it needs to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ms Palaszczuk said she was yet to receive a letter from north Queensland crossbench MPs demanding the Labor government amend its state infrastructure plan to include more projects for their part of the state.
She insisted more than 70 per cent of $500 million in new funding in the plan was going to regional Queensland.
“We are very conscious that we are a decentralised state,” the premier said.
Ms Palaszczuk is travelling to Mount Isa in the state’s northwest to discuss infrastructure opportunities and the region’s high unemployment rate.
The visit was part of a deal struck by local MP Rob Katter after his Katter’s Australian Party agreed to support the minority government’s controversial lockout laws.