Queensland’s LNP pledges to have women controlling state’s economic leavers

Queensland’s Liberal National party says it will have two women controlling the state’s economic leavers and bring back the state’s productivity commission if it wins government.

The opposition leader, David Crisafulli, used his budget reply to announce policies aimed at closing the gender pay gap, increasing women’s workforce participation and lifting economic productivity.

Crisafulli has promised to appoint a woman as minister for women’s economic security and another as either treasurer or finance minister.

He said they would develop policies to get more women into work and reduce Queensland’s gender pay gap, which is 15.6% and the second-largest in the country.

“Too often, these statements – to be safe, to be respected, to be equal … which should be unquestionable, are questioned, ridiculed or given lip service,” Crisafulli told parliament on Thursday.

“I can’t speak on the experience of disappointment, frustration, hurt and anger this can cause for women.

“But my hope is to be premier of this state. And that means I want to lead all Queenslanders, men and women, to a future that is safe, fair, respectful and full of hope for everyone.”

He said his economic team would also develop policies to allow more women to enter the workforce, such as supporting businesses to offer flexible working arrangements to staff.

The LNP’s treasury spokesperson, David Janetzki, also promised to restore Queensland’s Productivity Commission as a standalone agency.

Janetzki said the body, which was last year merged into Treasury to save money, was vital when the prices of every day items are likely to stay high.

“The re-established Productivity Commission will tackle the challenges of growing Queensland’s economic prosperity and what can be done to manage cost of living pressures,” he told parliament.

Crisafulli also criticised the government for hiking payroll tax by 0.5% for big businesses.

“The government’s increase in payroll tax will hit the hip pocket of every Queenslander,” he said. “It will impact the costs of almost every good and service and we have to be upfront about that.”

The levy will fund a five-year $1.6bn mental health plan, but the LNP leader said the government should have known it had to spend more on mental health when it promised no new taxes during the election.

The opposition leader also warned the government’s growing debt was leaving it exposed to higher repayments as interest rates rise.

“Household budgets are already feeling the pinch of higher interest payments and the state government is no different,” Crisafaulli said.

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