'How I will fix Ipswich': LNP leader outlines vision
CONGESTION-busting infrastructure, better health services and job opportunities for Ipswich residents will be the focus of the LNP if it wins the next state election.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington has outlined a blueprint for the region, which she says the party will deliver if it wrangles power from Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2020.
"Ipswich was built by everyday Aussies wanting to have a go," she said.
"It has a strong future because people in Ipswich roll up their sleeves and work hard."
Ms Frecklington acknowledges Ipswich "is well known as a Labor heartland".
"Labor under Annastacia Palaszczuk is not the Labor the working-class people of Ipswich voted for in years gone by," Ms Frecklington insists.
"Over the last few years, Labor has been distracted by securing seats in Brisbane and turned their back on Ipswich and the party's working-class roots.
"Ipswich has become like many towns and cities across this state - it misses out when it shouldn't."
She said Labor's only focus was the $5.4billion Cross-River Rail tunnel in Brisbane.
"Ipswich deserves a government that would roll up their sleeves and work bloody hard - just like its citizens," she said.
"An LNP Government I lead in 2020 will ensure those families have better health and education services, cheaper electricity, less congestion, more jobs and no new taxes."
The key to growing Ipswich's economy will start with delivering jobs for the region, Ms Frecklington said.
"Youth unemployment in Ipswich is at 13.5 per cent and rising," she said.
"The overall unemployment rate in Ipswich is far too high at 8.1 per cent, well above the state average.
"As a government, the LNP would help young people be able to find a meaningful job and fulfil their potential."
Jobs and electricity
Ms Frecklington said the closure of the iconic Rawlings Shoes and Menswear store after some 120 years showed how tough it was for small businesses to endure.
"The LNP's economic plan would bring down the cost of electricity, which is a major burden on households and small businesses," she said.
"This would be achieved by restructuring our government-owned power generators from two to three entities.
Ms Frecklington said the government's own modelling showed it would reduce wholesale prices by more than 8 per cent.
"This long-term structural reform is backed by the ACCC, as well as small business and consumer advocates," she said.
"We'll also help smaller businesses by committing to cut red tape by 20 per cent and pay them faster when they do business with the government."
Ipswich's growing population is wreaking havoc on roads.
"An LNP government I lead would work with the SEQ Council of Mayors to bust bottlenecks and to plan the new roads that Ipswich need," Ms Frecklington said.
"We would preserve future road corridors and begin planning the alternative routes we will need over the next two decades.
"We need an infrastructure plan that works with our regional growth plan and provides a clear road network for the future."
With the Ipswich population tipped to double in the next 20 years, Ipswich must have an efficient and reliable rail network to meet the transport needs in the region.
"Ipswich rail passengers have never before experienced such chaos, confusion and incompetence under Labor's rail fail," she said.
"More than 470 services were axed two years ago by Labor and there is no plan on when they will be restored.
"That means more cars on already congested roads, taking longer to get to work, go to the shops or drop the kids off to school.
"Under my plan, the LNP will get the train drivers we need to fix Labor's rail fail and restore the high levels of service commuters enjoyed under the LNP.
The Opposition Leader slammed Labor's plan to upgrade the Ipswich Hospital.
"By the time that upgrade is completed in 2022, it will be dozens of beds behind what has been forecast," she said.
"Labor need to be doing everything they can to fast track this upgrade, which is in a high growth area.
"Over four years to have six additional beds is just ridiculous
"If the LNP was in government, we would do everything we could to fast-track this upgrade and ensure taxpayers got maximum bang for buck.
No new taxes
"There's a proud history of racing in Ipswich, but the new wagering tax will put jobs at risk in our betting and racing industries," Ms Frecklington said.
"The interstate dumping issue at the Labor Ipswich City Council was used by Annastacia Palaszczuk to slug all Queenslanders with a wheelie-bin tax.
"This new waste tax will slug families and smash small businesses."