Opposition takes credit for LNP pension backflip
UPDATE: The state's Opposition Leader is taking credit for the LNP's sudden backflip on pensioner concessions, just days after the cuts were deemed unavoidable when the budget was handed down this week.
In her budget reply speech, Annastacia Palaszczuk described how "vulnerable seniors were dealt the heaviest blow" when the Queensland Government refused to make up the shortfall left by Federal cuts to pensioner discounts.
"Pensioners turning off lights, stoves and heaters in winter -- sitting in the cold and the dark -- this is the bright future the LNP had in mind for them," she told Parliament on Thursday.
"Today we see a government that was forced by the Opposition and the backlash from the community to change a decision it should never have made.
"Yesterday the cuts to concessions were an essential part of this Treasurer's financial strategy.
"Today they are gone.
"What does that say about this Treasurer and this government and their competence to manage our state?"
PREMIER NEWMAN BACKS DOWN ON PENSION CUTS
AFTER two days of bad press and talkback anger, the Queensland government has backed down and agreed to reinstate entire senior and pensioner concessions.
Premier Campbell Newman said the State Government had listened to Queenslanders' concerns and will act.
"Pensioners and older Queenslanders have told us that they simply can't wear the cost of filling the gap between Queensland's increased contribution, and the Commonwealth Government's concessions cuts and increased fees and taxes," Mr Newman said.
"That's why today I'm announcing that we've not only listened to Queenslanders, but we've acted, within the space of two days, to reinstate the full level of pensioner and senior concessions.
"Passing on part of the Commonwealth's cuts to pensioner concessions is clearly not an acceptable outcome for Queenslanders."
Mr Newman said the Commonwealth should be bearing the burden of these cuts, not Queenslanders.
"We will be continuing to send a clear message to the Commonwealth that Queenslanders won't stand for these kinds of cuts," he said.
Treasurer and Minister for Trade Tim Nicholls said the Newman Government was still considering the impact of Commonwealth decisions on our budget, but Queenslanders had put a strong case for the Government not to pass on the unexpected cuts delivered by the Commonwealth.
"It is the Commonwealth Government that's caused this problem with pensioner cuts and increased charges.
"We're very conscious of the 'double whammy' impact of the Federal Government's changes to pensions and the removal of concessions funding," Mr Nicholls said.
"So we will be looking at all opportunities to withhold and recoup funding from Commonwealth programs and initiatives that they ask States to contribute to from time to time, to make up for the shortfall they've created.
"These are the sorts of budget shocks that Queensland finds it difficult to absorb while we are burdened with $80 billion of debt.
"Our ability to respond is restricted by our need to find $4 billion every year to pay our interest bill.''
THE REACTION ON FACEBOOK
Linden Pirie: So he should. They should never have been an option.
Patricia Rogers: Close call for him as pensioners were about riot.
Brenda Kenny: You get more than we do on NZ we get treated like 2nd class citizens here
Micheal Riseley: Anyone who is even contemplating re-electing this idiot should have their voting rights revoked..... same with those wanting to vote Abbott in again.
Vince Gibson: must be an election coming up hes doing 180s on lots of stuff ..until re elected then hell be back to his old ways
Chilli Trish: Thank u. Pensioners deserve this help.
Andrea Eadie: No way it would of got through anyway he is just fishing for support ! Fail Newman
Ross Nikolic and this should set a precedent, speaking loudly can change things, now would be a good time for us to get together and make other necessary differences
Paula Kelly Mather: The only decent thing he's done. About time he went.
Debbie Yeomans: Probably the only sensible thing he has done while Premier.