Tim Nichollls in Mackay spruiking the Strong Choices survey. FILE
Tim Nichollls in Mackay spruiking the Strong Choices survey. FILE

50,000 opinions on how to cut Queensland's $80m debt

MORE than 50,000 Queenslanders have made submissions to the Queensland Government's Strong Choices survey but Treasurer Tim Nicholls is likely to ignore many of them.

While most opposed asset sales, Mr Nicholls has made it clear he will seek Treasury advice on the best options for Queensland when he formulates his June 3 budget.

Mr Nicholls said last week that raising mining and gaming taxes, the most popular choices, could have negative economic consequences.

"The government has already increased gaming taxes, and has already increased mining revenues," he said.

The survey has been widely criticised for being overly biased towards asset sales.

Mr Nicholls hit back at the critics in a letter to readers.

Respondents have complained that if they do not endorse that action in the survey they fail to achieve the 'necessary' savings required to complete the questions.

Mr Nicholls said the  site had recorded more than one million page views by more than 214,000 unique users since the government launched its $6 million 'people's budget'.

"These numbers show Queenslanders have a genuine interest in dealing with our $80 billion debt so we can reduce our interest payments and fund the roads, rail, schools and hospitals our growing state needs," Mr Nicholls said in a statement.

"We want to keep delivering on our promise to grow our four pillar economy and deliver better infrastructure for Queenslanders but we're constrained by the Government's $4 billion a year interest bill.

"We must pay down the $80 billion of accumulated debt, otherwise our future prosperity is threatened.''

Mr Nicholls urged anyone who had not had their say to do so on the website before next Monday, May 19, when submissions close.

"The feedback from Queenslanders will be incorporated into the Government's draft plan to deal with the debt.

"I'll be releasing that plan with the Budget papers on 3 June."

Mr Nicholls said the government would take a range of factors into account in formulating the plan.

"Public submissions will be considered, along with the best advice from Treasury on the economic implications of the choices we face, as well as the social impacts," he said.


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