Checks and balances missing in Newman's State Budget

IT'S a budget that is considered smart in its structure, with planning in place for the next six years.

The underlying strength is that it is what the federal Budget was not. The Newman Government has been honest in relation to its Budget and election promises.

It has kept faith with voters in that it delivers no surprises and no thrills.

Voters aren't being "told" per se; instead they will get to decide at the next state election whether they back plans to sell $33 billion in state assets.

But it is also a budget that entrenches a "four economic pillars" strategy that has already seen critical checks and balances removed - in the name of expediency - from assessment processes that should inherently be independent of proponents and protective of broader community interest.

It is one that compensates for past critical errors of planning judgement that has seen urban development occupy places it should never have been allowed to occur.

Resilience funding and disaster recovery costs are burdens on all Queenslanders.

Smarter choices rather than acquiescence to the short-sighted profit agendas of those particularly in the development sector could have avoided part of the misery and cost Queenslanders have endured over the past four years.

The budget allocates $51 million for disaster mitigation and resilience projects.

There is $9.9m for a natural disaster resilience program and the government signals plans for a $500m future fund to insure against future calamity.

These measures, however, are "band-aids" for past poor planning decisions that seem destined to be repeated.

Federally we have seen the Abbott Government fund an inquiry into the home insulation stimulus package introduced by Labor.

Funding in Queensland of an inquiry that could explain how development was approved in areas like North Bundaberg, for example, may ensure the upcoming SEQ Plan review not only doesn't repeat past mistakes, but actively seeks to correct those that still exist in the document.

It is neither a smart choice nor a strong plan to pay lip service to the Floods Commission of Inquiry.

Whatever mandate the government feels it holds to satisfy the demands of its economic pillars; it would be foolhardy in the extreme to ignore broader community responsibility.

As this Budget shows the cost of placing development in inappropriate places is ultimately born by the community rather than those who profit from their strong grip on the government of the day whether that be the present regime or those of Labor in the past.


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