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Powell Media Release – Labor’s Wild Rivers promise sinks in budget black hole (25 February 2012)

Anna Bligh’s policy credibility is all at sea with a $10 million budget black hole set to sink her Wild Rivers Rangers policy, the State Opposition said today.

Shadow Environment Minister Andrew Powell said Anna Bligh’s claim the $15 million Wild River Rangers policy would be fully funded by the waste levy was contradicted by her Environment Minister’s answer to a recent question in Parliament.

“Labor’s own figures presented to the Parliament show only $4.2 million allocated for Wild Rivers Rangers from the waste levy in the three years to 2015,” he said.

“That’s over $10 million short of the promise made today to spend $15 million on the rangers, which Anna Bligh claimed was fully funded out of the waste levy.

“If the announcement isn’t fully funded by the waste levy, Labor must come clean and explain what programs have been secretly cut as part of the mid year budget update.

“Either Labor’s policy announcement today has a $10 million budget black hole or other programs have been cut to pay for this promise. It’s one or the other.

“Labor’s costing credibility was washed away last election when Andrew Fraser presented a one page document with no mention of the asset sales and the fuel tax, and it’s being washed away again this election.”

Mr Powell said while Labor was more focussed on green preferences than green outcomes, the LNP was committed to protecting high conservation areas balanced with appropriate economic development opportunities on the Cape.

“The LNP will protect Cape York pristine rivers through a bioregion management plan, which will give local communities a real say,” he said.

“The LNP’s plan for Cape York is about working with local communities to strike a balance between preserving the environment and empowering indigenous communities with job opportunities to free them from welfare dependence.

“Our approach stands in stark contrast to Labor’s policy which is all about securing greens preferences with no regard for economic opportunities for local communities.

“Only a vote for a strong, united LNP Government will get Queensland back on track.”

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