The Hon. Tim Nichols, Treasurer of Queensland, today addressed a South West Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast at the Loft, in West End.
After referring to his government’s efforts to deal with the scourge of Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs, he talked about his own efforts to get the Queensland economy back on track.
When the LNP Government took power in March 2012, he said, they faced ballooning state debt, and a number of international rating agencies who were very anxious about the situation. The new government made it a priority to rein in debt – ever-growing fees, charges and interest bills, etc.
According to Mr. Nichols, the Government had to find $595,000 per hour to repay debt, hitting the taxpayer to meet the cost.
They called in Peter Costello to head a Commission of Audit to investigate the state finances, and make recommendations on how to rescue the economy.
The Commission’s delivered many recommendations to make the economy work better in the long term, by stabilising its debt, and funding future sustainability, etc.
There were, however, also many recommendations for improving service delivery – by challenging the prevailing belief that the Government must provide all services.
The LNP administration is now setting up a situation where outside agencies, not the government, provide services. Mr. Nichols talked about leveraging the private and not for profit sector to take over more service delivery.
According to Mr. Nichols, the time has now come for the government to ask the private and Not For Profit sectors whether they can deliver services better than the government.
This, he said, is already occurring in the areas of building, nursery and printing, etc.
Mr. Nichols said a change of attitude in the community was called for. His Administration is facilitating this change in attitude by cutting red tape, as demonstrated by their commitment to reduce red tape by 20%.
A new task force – the Office of Best Practice Regulation – has been set up to examine the impact of regulations on business. He said there are 440 red tape reduction initiatives currently underway.
The LNP’s philosophy, said Mr. Nichols, was to free the shackles of business to make business.