|One furry Queenslander shows his opinion of Cando.|
It didn’t take long for the new Queensland government to get offside with a range of people.
First, of course, there was the issue of the Premier’s Literary Awards. That’s no biggie, I guess, although as a self-published author, I take a dim view of writers being treated as collateral damage in the culture wars. This was very much an ideology driven decision. It makes buggerall difference to the bottom line.
More recently, we’ve seen the Toowoomba Chronicle issue a strongly-worded editorial about the cancellation of improvements to the Warrego highway just to the west of Toowoomba.
As the editorial put it (under the heading “Voters feel betrayed”). “Voters expect to see results in their electorates, not excuses. Forget what Labor did or did not promise in the past, you’re in power now gents, and the pressure is well and truly on”.
That would be OK; the new government has the right to manage their budget. Trouble is, they can’t get their story straight. On the one hand, the Premier talks about “maxing out the credit card” (despite the fact that the work was funded in the forward estimates).
On the other, the local member (Trevor Watts - Toowoomba North) declared on an interview on WIN the evening of the announcement, that providing four lanes through Charlton would cause bottlenecks on the western approaches to Toowoomba. This sounds strange, given that approaches from the north, south and east are all four lanes. Perhaps the compass orientation has something to do with it? Maybe Trevor, with his valuable experience running pubs and nightclubs has expertise in road building that he’s been hiding under a bushel.
Then of course, there’s the fact that a number of contractors involved in the planning of the project heard about the cancellation first on ABC radio. They’ll be laughing all the way to the bank, of course, as their contracts are already signed, and they’ll be paid handsomely for doing absolutely nothing. Now that's the way to save the taxpayer's money!
Other signs that the new administration is driven by ideological spin, rather than pragmatics include the following –
Disbanding of Greg Wither’s Queensland's Office of Climate Change, an agency that was no longer politically correct in the new dispensation, but with a bit of lateral thinking, could have been renamed and put to work, for example, in assisting the planning for many of the new mining developments on the horizon. Given the imbroglio that has developed around the Galilee basin project, Campbell looks as if he needs all the help he can get on this one.
Michael Caltabiano, the new DG of Queensland Transport and Main Roads (defeated LNP candidate for Chatsworth in 2006) has already got most of his department offside by insisting that all staff call him “Mister” on day one. He’s obviously got a bit to learn about what Queenslanders think about people who have tickets on themselves.
This same DG also insisted that he personally approve all travel requests. That protocol lasted about two days as “Mister” Caltabiano slowly disappeared behind his “in” tray.
Then, of course, there’s the amazing money-saving initiatives trumpeted on the websites of every state agency. They include printing in black and white only, double-sided printing and photocopying, electronic payslips, plants to be removed, newspaper subscriptions cancelled, and no expenditure on furniture or office equipment.
That will save a motza. Now if Cando is fair dinkum about savings, how about selling the state government jet? I reckon it would take a great deal of double-sided copying and indoor plant hire to add up to the fuel bill and pilot salaries for this piece of indulgence. After all, Cando has railed against its use during the election campaign.
(For the firewall – “Campbell Newman's travel jet jibe against Bligh boomerangs by: Rosanne Barrett”)
They’ve also run into trouble already with a couple of election promises. The standard electricity tariff, which Newman promised would be frozen, will actually rise.
He’s blaming the carbon levy, of course. I wonder how he missed the news that a price was being put on carbon before the election. Perhaps because he was busy telling us that he’d freeze car rego costs.
That hasn’t happened either.
Again, I’ll be charitable. They still have their “L” plates on.