2020 PALASZCZUK LABOR CAMPAIGN LAUNCH
October 18, 2020
SUNDAY 18 OCTOBER 2020 - BEENLEIGH
At this election you have a very clear – and very important – choice to make about the future of our state.
There is Labor’s plan to come out the other side of this storm stronger and fairer.
Rebuilding our economy
Training our people
Growing our regions
And re-investing in schools and hospitals and services.
This election is a choice between the stability of a Labor Government that has made the tough decisions and the right calls in hard times.
Or the chaos of an unproven, untrustworthy opposition who have been wrong every time it’s mattered.
Your vote, your choice for Queensland.
Jobs - or cuts.
Build and grow - or slash and burn.
Stability - or chaos.
Strong leadership - or reckless behavior.
Our Economic Recovery Plan – or the LNP’s plan for cuts.
A majority Palaszczuk labor government or a One Nation, Palmer, LNP rabble.
Myself or Deb Frecklington as our state’s next Premier
That’s what at stake in this election.
That’s what’s on the line for Queensland.
And that’s why my team and I are asking for your support and your vote to secure a Labor Government.
Can I start my acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet and paying my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.
I want to acknowledge our Deputy Premier and Health Minister, Steven Miles. He’s been a rock for me this year as he has for all Queenslanders.
Likewise has my good friend of nearly 30 years, Treasurer Cameron Dick.
Can I acknowledge all of my Cabinet and Members of Parliament.
Party President John Battams.
National President Wayne Swan.
State Secretary Julie-Anne Campbell and Assistant Secretary Zac Beers.
Our life Members.
And of course my family who join me here today.
Friends, one and all.
At the beginning of this year, no-one could have imagined the challenges we would be facing.
2020 has brought hardship, loss and tough days for so many of us.
But – every morning I wake up with new energy and new determination.
I take my inspiration from the courage and resilience of the people of Queensland.
Our healthcare workers who kept us safe.
The shelf stackers and truck drivers and cleaners and construction workers who kept our economy going.
And the small businesses who worked around the clock to keep their head above water and found new ways to do business.
Being Premier, being part of a Labor Government is an extraordinary privilege. Never more so than now.
But the story of the last six months has been a collective effort across our great state.
We made it through the worst of the pandemic, not because of any one person, but because five million Queenslanders did the right thing.
Queenslanders looked after each other, we put the health of our community first, we made sacrifices for the long-term good of our state.
But of course, there’s always those who don’t get it.
Who want to risk all that we’ve done as Queenslanders.
In this particular case, they sit on the other side of the parliament.
Can anyone think of a single positive contribution the LNP have made in the last 6 months - let alone the last 5 years.
When our whole state is doing its best to work together, they have chosen conflict and criticism over co-operation, every single time.
And nowhere was this more obvious or more reckless then their stance on our borders.
Our government secured Queensland’s borders, to protect the health of our community.
Our government secured Queensland’s borders to keep Queenslanders safe.
Because of that,– we have secured the health of our economy.
You can’t have one without the other.
If you lose control of the virus, then you’ve lost the chance to protect the economy.
But Deb Frecklington and Scott Morrison demanded that we re-open the borders before the 1st of July - almost the exact day Victoria’s second wave of infections began.
And this wasn’t some one-off mistake.
It wasn’t some throw-away line.
The LNP demanded that we back down, roll over and open the borders – 64 times.
64 times they put political point-scoring ahead of Queenslanders’ jobs and Queenslanders’ lives.
Can you imagine the damage that would have been done if the LNP had had their way?
They even teamed up with Clive Palmer!
Imagine the devastation their failure of judgment would have caused – to our economy, to our health system, to members of our community from Coolangatta to Cairns, and Charleville to Cape York.
Imagine the added grief their reckless, thoughtless and careless approach would have inflicted on Queensland families and our most vulnerable.
Not just in Brisbane – or the south east corner…
If the LNP’s open-borders open-slather policy had been in place, every single regional town and coastal community could have been hit.
In this job, in moments of crisis, you don’t get a dress rehearsal.
You don’t get the luxury of making the wrong decision once – let alone 64 times.
And if you want a brutal lesson in what happens to the economy when governments lose control of the virus, you only have to look at Victoria.
The LNP made the wrong calls for Queensland during this crisis.
And they have the wrong plan for what comes next.
My Government has a plan for Economic Recovery.
The LNP has a different plan.
We’ve all seen it before.
We all know that the Leader of the Opposition was Assistant Finance Minister when Campbell Newman was Premier – and, bizarrely, she seems to think that the only thing he did wrong was that he didn’t cut hard enough!
The LNP’s fixation on a Budget surplus in the midst of the COVID economic recovery can only be achieved by cuts.
Cuts to services.
Cuts to frontline staff.
Cutting jobs and wages in the middle of a global recession is not a plan.
Slashing support when it’s needed most.
All this hurts confidence, it rips money out of the economy, it damages business and retail and hospitality and construction and tourism – all the sectors we need firing to get Queensland growing again.
The LNP’s cuts put at risk everything Queenslanders have achieved throughout this crisis – and they put our recovery in danger too.
Labor’s plan is fundamentally different – and I’m proud of that.
Just like the Federal Government, just like every responsible government around the world, we are borrowing to build and to stimulate the economy and to keep people in jobs.
To make sure Queensland businesses stay open and grow.
We’re not going to turn our back on Queenslanders in the middle of hard times.
We’re not going to pull the rug out from under businesses and workers as they try and get back on their feet.
My government will continue to build an economy that attracts investment.
An economy that sees the private sector employ more people, to invest in expanding.
And friends – in our party – we know our economy is only strong when our regions are strong.
And to give all Queensland businesses the confidence to grow, to hire and to build…
…our government is investing:
- in our hospitals and health system
- in our schools and teachers
- in our roads and rail and infrastructure
- in the resources sector – coal, gas and renewables
- in skills and training and TAFE and apprenticeships for the workforce of tomorrow.
And – in everything we do, in every part of Queensland - we will create jobs.
Jobs you can build a life around.
Jobs in regional areas not just the South East.
Jobs that will help take our state from recovery to prosperity.
Friends, jobs mean nothing if you don’t have your health.
We’ve seen around the world jobs lost and economies ruined because they didn’t get the health response right.
Covid-19 tested every facet of our society.
The success of Queensland’s COVID-19 health response is widely recognised.
I’m proud that one of our first priorities on being elected in 2015 was to restore frontline health workers.
Not just putting back the money the LNP cut and re-employing the nurses and carers and health care workers they’d sacked – but going above and beyond.
Every single dollar, every cent was worth it.
Just look at countries around the world whose health care systems were overwhelmed by this crisis.
Compare that with the way Queensland nurses and doctors and hospitals handled the challenge thrown at them.
We go to this election with a plan to further boost frontline health services over the next term.
5800 extra nurses, 1500 extra doctors and 475 extra ambos.
We will invest over $889 million upgrading and improving public hospitals right across Queensland.
And I’m pleased that my government will be building 7 new and innovative satellite hospitals, an Australian first, to provide urgent care and medical services closer to home.
I’m a Labor Premier focussed on keeping Queenslanders safe.
And that’s exactly what this investment in health is all about.
4. PALLIATIVE CARE AND VAD
Friends, I also wanted to talk today about an issue which, while deeply personal, touches us all.
We all know what it’s like to lose a loved one.
It’s tough. Particularly in these times. I know firsthand.
I believe more can be done to provide greater comfort and dignity for people approaching the end of their lives.
That’s why today I pledge that a re-elected Labor Government will invest $171 million in a new palliative care plan.
More nurses, more resources and more care for individuals and families confronting these profoundly complex and personal journeys.
I also recognise the strong views of many Queenslanders when it comes to legalising voluntary assisted dying.
This, again, is a personal issue for Queenslanders.
It’s one I also have my own personal views on.
But I believe individuals and families should be empowered to consider all the options available in consultation with their medical professionals.
That’s why today I can commit that the government I lead will introduce legislation in February next year to provide for the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying.
This will be a conscience vote for all members of my team, and I hope for all parliamentarians.
Leadership means being able to take the hard decisions, not just the easy decisions. And that’s what I’m doing today
Friends, Labor knows that it’s our frontline workers who make our community strong.
Our nurses, ambos, police officers and, of course, our teachers.
Today I’m pleased to announce that, if re-elected, Labor will deliver more than 6,100 new teachers and 1,100 new teacher aides right across Queensland.
This is the single biggest investment in teachers in Queensland’s history.
We also want to support more people to pursue a pathway into a teaching.
So today I can also announce an initial $20 million program to fund teacher internships for those who want to join in the important and valuable calling of education.
We all know COVID has shaken-up the school year for 850,000 Queensland students.
They’ve had it as tough as anyone this year.
This crisis has shown that we can do more and do better when it comes to supporting the mental health of all school students.
That’s why today I can also announce $100 million for Queensland schools so that students can access professional support, whether that’s the guidance officer or a trained psychologist.
In addition, we will also launch a pilot program for GPs in schools, to boost health support, with an initial 20 local schools to have this service available.
I know that across the state, kitchen tables have served as classrooms while parents and children alike try and manage online learning and tackle homework.
And I know all of us have gained a new appreciation and new insight into how hard teachers work and what an incredible job they do.
To make homework easier for children and families, today I announce we will create an initial 120 Homework Hubs in local schools. Extra resources and support where they are needed most.
There’s no doubt the COVID-19 global pandemic has forever changed the world we know.
It’s changed a lot but also presented opportunities.
One thing it has made clear is that we can’t keep counting on importing what we need from the other side of the world.
Queensland showed this year that we don’t’ need to import hand sanitiser or face masks, we can make it right here in Queensland.
We have to be able to make more here, with our people and our skills.
We need to build resilience by increasing self reliance.
We’ve got to make it in Queensland and stop sending jobs overseas.
I want to see more products proudly marked ‘Made in Queensland’.
That’s why this week we announced that Queenslanders would build Queensland trains.
We’ll use Queenslanders skills and create Queensland jobs making Queensland trains.
690 good, secure, permanent jobs for the decent and hardworking people of Maryborough.
What’s more, we will also make sure that regional centres like Rockhampton are part of the supply chain for this $600 million project.
Providing the anchor to further grow advanced manufacturing in our regions.
And today I can also announce further support for local manufacturing and local jobs with $40 million to deliver new hubs in advanced manufacturing.
In industries like tourism, defence, aerospace and agriculture right across Queensland.
If we’re going to grow our industries we need to keep growing our skills base.
This isn’t just important for our economy, it’s important for our community.
Today we are gathered in the Plumbers industry training centre.
A pretty special place and one my Government is proud to support.
350 apprentices use this centre right now to gain the skills and knowledge they need for rewarding careers.
Whether it’s our mighty TAFE institutions or specialist trades centres like this, my government is relentless in our pursuit to keep skilling Queenslanders.
We need to train more tradies.
That’s why we introduced free TAFE for school-leavers and free apprenticeships for Queenslanders under 21 years of age.
And today I can announce that we are going a step further.
A re-elected Palaszczuk Government will make TAFE qualifications and apprenticeships in priority qualifications free for all Queenslanders under the age of 25.
This will provide Certificate 3 TAFE courses in 26 priority skills areas – such as agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and early childhood education.
100 per cent free of charge.
And for a further 139 priority qualifications – aviation, electrical, automotive – we will provide free apprenticeships.
If you’re a young person in Gladstone who wants a future in the hydrogen industry or you’re at school in Townsville and want to train as a mechanic.
My government will help you achieve your goal.
No matter where you live. No matter how much money you’ve got in your pocket.
I’m excited to say that my Government’s ambitious skills agenda goes further then this.
Earlier this week I announced in Gladstone a $45 million initiative that will see our schools partner with industry.
Growing and emerging industries like defence maintenance, hydrogen, agriculture, mining, aquaculture and healthcare.
Partnerships that will make sure high school students can learn the specialised skills needed for rewarding careers in their own backyard.
It’s an investment in the future strength of our economy.
It’s a statement that learning a trade, gaining a skill, achieving a Certificate III is just as valuable and important and worthwhile as getting a degree.
This skills agenda is at the heart of my Government and critical to the success of Queensland’s economy in the years ahead.
8. JOBS PLAN
Friends, above all else what I’m most proud of is that despite COVID, Queenslanders are overwhelmingly back at work. We kept our mining, agriculture and services sectors going.
But we’ve also seen sectors reliant on international tourism hit very hard.
I also recognise that for some Queenslanders you don’t have a job to return to as a direct consequence of COVID.
As your government we’ve always been about jobs. Re-building frontline jobs cut by the LNP.
My grandfather taught me from a young age that there is absolute dignity in work.
To be able to put food on the table, keep a roof over your head.
A hard day’s work for a fair day’s pay.
As we rebuild from COVID I will continue to have a laser like focus on jobs. Helping business and industry to invest more to employ more.
To invest in record infrastructure spending in new roads, new schools and hospital expansions.
To continue to build Queensland as a renewable energy and resources powerhouse.
To make more in Queensland.
Whether it’s medical research or manufacturing, skills or solar power, I believe Queenslanders can lead the world.
Queensland’s best days are ahead of us.
Queensland’s strong COVID-19 health response means our economic recovery is well underway.
Now and for the future, there is no limit to what our people and our state can achieve, there is no challenge we cannot overcome.
But our success isn’t guaranteed.
Beating the recession, building a recovery, securing more industries and more jobs can’t be left up to luck.
The moment in front of us is too important, for an untried and untested LNP that haven’t learned from their past mistakes and haven’t changed since their last failure.
This is no time to turn back to the LNP delusion of cutting and sacking and selling our way out of COVID.
If we want to make 2020 the start of a new wave of success and opportunity for our state, then Queensland needs a Labor Government investing in people.
Creating new jobs – and training workers to win them.
Building more infrastructure, backing more industries and funding quality services.
I’m seeking your support at this election because I want to make sure that 2020 is remembered not just for the crisis we faced – but for the way we came out of it.
Queenslanders in it together.
Our government working together for Queensland.
That’s the future I believe in.
That’s the choice I’m asking you to make.
Jobs not cuts.
Stability not chaos.
A strong majority government.
A Palaszczuk Labor Government, working for you.
Working together for Queensland.
Thanks very much.