Queensland Labor has promised to hire more than 9,000 frontline health staff, including 1,500 doctors, if re-elected as the deputy premier and prime minister trade barbs while campaigning.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 9,475 health workers would be employed over the next four years, including an additional 5,800 nurses, 475 paramedics and 1,700 allied health professionals.
“We need to make sure that we continue to grow our health staff to give Queensland families the best possible care they can get,” she told reporters on Sunday.
“Unless we have a strong health response we cannot open our economic recovery.
“Health is everything.”
Palaszczuk said the plan was fully costed and funded in Queensland Health’s $19 billion budget.
It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined the Liberal National Party (LNP) campaign near Brisbane to attend the opening of a defence manufacturing plant.
“This facility is about jobs, important jobs for Queenslanders,” Morrison told reporters.
Frecklington said a Queensland LNP government would contribute $135 million to a defence industry and military technology precinct nearby if elected.
She said it would create 350 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs once operational.
“We want that advanced manufacturing, those future jobs, to be trained right here,” she said.
“If the LNP wins on October 31, there will be shovels in the ground here by December 31.”
Morrison said it would help “create a critical mass” of design, support and manufacturing industries.
“That’s how you get jobs happening,” he said.
Earlier, Deputy Premier Steven Miles questioned why Morrison had taken time off from “running Australia during a pandemic” to come to Queensland and campaign for the LNP.
“He is not a candidate. If people vote for the LNP, they won’t get Scott Morrison. They will get Deb Frecklington (and) she will cut services,” he said.
“She will probably be in a minority government with Clive Palmer’s party and Pauline Hanson’s party. Think about that chaos.”
Miles warned Frecklington would not stand up to the Morrison government to protect Queenslanders, as Palaszczuk had done during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Yesterday, Scott Morrison tried to pretend he had always supported our border position but he and his government went to the High Court with Clive Palmer to try and drag down our border protections,” he said.
Morrison wasn’t impressed with Mile’s comments.
“I think this guy has got to grow up,” he said.
“Those careless and juvenile remarks reflect terribly on him.”
Morrison said he was in the state explaining how the federal government’s economic plan was “going to get to Queenslanders back into work.”
“That may have been something that has escaped (Miles),” he said.
“I’d encourage him to focus on doing his job and, frankly, grow up.”
Labor’s health pledge comes as the Liberal National Party offers car owners a $300 vehicle registration rebate under its plan to jump-start the economy.
Frecklington said the rebate would inject $1.15 billion into the state’s economy and create jobs.
Only Queenslanders with a registered car on Nov. 1 will be eligible for the rebate.
About 3.8 million cars will be covered, including multi-car households, which will get $300 per vehicle.
The money would be deposited into drivers’ bank accounts.
Miles said the plan was recycled from the Newman government, which promised to freeze car registration.
“You know what they did? They didn’t freeze it. They put it up every single year,” he said.
By Aaron Bunch