Three months from today Queenslanders will head to polling booths, making a crucial decision on the direction of the Sunshine State.
While the state government has said its current focus is on addressing the impacts of the coronavirus by continuing to manage the state’s health response, a Newspoll released on Friday indicates it’s going to be a close-run race.
The Newspoll, published in The Australian, was conducted between July 23-29 and asked 1000 Queensland voters who they would vote for if the state election was held today. The LNP ranked top at 38 per cent but Labor was behind on 34 per cent.
But it showed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was preferred as the better premier with 57 per cent to the LNP’s DebFrecklington on 26 per cent.
Ms Palaszczuk also secured the approval of 81 per cent of those polled who approved of the job she has done handling the coronavirus.
One thing is for certain, it will be a tight race in Queensland on October 31. And voters will be more serious than ever in light of a global health crisis, high unemployment and mediocre economic growth.
Here are the key issues going into the election and what the major parties promise to deliver.
Rebuilding the state’s economy will be at the forefront of many voters minds as the state, along with the rest of Australia, struggles to cope with the financial blows the coronavirus pandemic continues to dole out.
Figures from CommSec’s most recent State of the States Report revealed Queensland had suffered second-weakest relative economic growth among all states and territories – landing an 18.9 per cent growth rate. South Australia was the only state to trail behind.
The economic growth rate is the percentage change in the value of all goods and services produced within the economy and it’s used to measure the health of the economy over time.
The Palaszczuk Government said the best and fastest way to return the economy to strong growth would be to deliver on its health response to COVID-19.
“The first step to restore the economy is to keep the virus contained so we can open up,” a spokesperson for the Labor government said.
“That’s what we’ve done by managing our borders.
Shadow Treasurer and LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander said the LNP had an ambitious plan to stimulate the state economy.
“Our vision is to make Queensland the economic powerhouse of Australia once again, the best place to get a job, get ahead and raise a family,” he said.
“And there will be no new taxes under the LNP Government.”
Following months of struggle to contain the coronavirus, healthcare will no doubt be a key issue.
A state government spokesperson said Queensland’s strong health response to COVID-19 was the initial step in a Palaszczuk-led government’s economic recovery strategy.
The Palaszczuk government has announced $250 million for elective surgery and promises to deliver more than 750 additional hospital beds throughout Queensland over the coming three years.
The LNP’s plan is to partner with the private sector to clear surgery wait lists across the state and promises to deliver a masterplan for a state-of-the-art hospital and health precinct on the Gold Coast.
Both parties have big ideas about key infrastructure required to stimulate the economy.
If the LNP comes into power, its New Bradfield Scheme will be the largest water infrastructure and irrigation project in Queensland’s history.
Another aim of the opposition is to put forward the SEQ Congestion Program, funding $1 billion of new road and rail projects throughout the state.
The Palaszczuk Government says it will deliver $51.8 billion in infrastructure over the coming four years.
According to CommSec’s State of the States report, Queensland’s unemployment rate was 7.7 per cent for the June quarter, up from 5.7 per cent the previous quarter. Virus lockdowns, border closures and struggling businesses have had a massive impact on unemployment, which will mean jobs will be one of the most important factors of the election.
The LNP says it has an ambitious plan to stimulate the economy and promises to remake Queensland into the “economic powerhouse” it once was. The SEQ Congestion Plan is meant to create 3100 new jobs and its New Bradfield Scheme is also meant to stimulate job growth.
The Palaszczuk Government says its massive infrastructure plan will support a whopping 41,500 jobs over the coming four years.
And while creating jobs is a key part of their economic growth plan, training new workers is also significant to their policies.
Labor plans to introduce a $90 million skills package that will support businesses who hire young people, trainees and apprentices with financial benefits.