OPPOSITION Leader Deb Frecklington has made a major pitch for the hearts and minds of regional Queensland, saying if elected the LNP will not only propel agriculture, it will also end the city country divide.
Addressing the Rural Press Club of Queensland via a video link on Monday, the LNP Oppostion leader said that following coronavirus the next four years will be critical to the state's economic future.
"We are now in the first recession that many Queenslanders have ever known," Ms Frecklington said.
"It is worse than any recession since the 1930s. Almost 200,000 Queenslanders are now unemployed.
"How deep the recession goes - and how well we recover from it - will be decided at the state election.
"That's what this election is about."
Ms Frecklington said the LNP had an ambitious plan to get all of Queensland working again: Not just Brisbane and the south east corner.
Central to that was the development of the New Bradfield Scheme, an ambitious water project, which would create a new foodbowl in the heart of Queensland bigger than the size of Tasmania, as well as hydro-electric scheme generating enough power for 800,000 homes.
"We will end the divide between Brisbane and the regions," she said.
"We will give regional Queensland the respect it has been denied for the last five years."
With the election less than 40 days out, Ms Frecklington described the Palaszczuk government as the worst government that rural and regional Queensland has ever seen.
"There has never been a Queensland Government more hostile to agriculture," Ms Frecklington said.
"As soon as Labor won a majority in 2017, its priority was to impose damaging restrictions on farming.
"Restrictions which were based on prejudice and ignorance - not science."
She also pointed to Labor's closure of Queensland's agricultural colleges and reduced bushfire prevention measures as well as claiming Labor had flagged a $50 million cut to fodder freight subsidies. The latter was strongly denied by Agriculture Minister Mark Furner, who said drought-declared farmers would continue to get fodder and freight subsidies for as long as the current drought lasts.
Ms Frecklington said in addition the New Bradfield Scheme, the LNP's plan included: Urannah Dam near Mackay; Nullinga Dam in Far North Queensland; Rookwood Weir in Central Queensland; Emu Swamp Dam on the Granite Belt; raising the Burdekin Falls Dam; and fixing the Paradise Dam in Wide Bay
"We will create a new State Government corporation - the Queensland Dam Company - to progress these projects," she said.
"And that agency will be based in Townsville - not Brisbane.
"I don't want to remote control the regions. I want to supercharge them."
Ms Frecklington said the LNP would also make make water cheaper for agriculture by adopting a regulated asset-based approach for financing asset renewals, as recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority.
"Put simply, that means SunWater will slash the price of water for 5000 regional customers by almost 20 per cent," she said.
"If the LNP is elected, that price cut will come into effect on July 1 next year.
"If Labor are elected, price hikes of 48 per cent are in the pipeline," she said.
Ms Frecklington said to implement the plan as soon as possible, an Economic Recovery Agency would be established.
This agency would repair the economic damage inflicted by coronavirus and the five years of the Palaszczuk government, she said.
"Our Economic Recovery Agency will be Queensland's Department of Grunt for our economic recovery."
She also said an LNP government would fix Labor's anti-farming legislation, particularly on the vegetation and the Great Barrier Reef.
- Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also been invited to address the Rural Press Club.