Treasurer seeks advice from locals on reducing state debt
QUEENSLAND Treasurer Tim Nicholls says everyone in the state owes $14,960 as their share of its $80 billion debt.
That compares with the average of $8359 in other states.
Mr Nicholls said he met community and business leaders in Bundaberg yesterday to get their ideas on what could be done to reduce the state's debt.
He said Queenslanders were paying $450,000 an hour in interest on the state's borrowings.
"The government wants to find ways to reduce that interest bill so we can fund the roads, rail, hospitals and schools that a growing state needs," he said.
"Economic growth in the state has been strong," he said.
"We're on our way back from the tough times."
But Mr Nicholls said the state had to get its debt under control.
"Unless we deal with the $80 billion debt our ability to fund job-creating infrastructure could be limited," he said.
Mr Nicholls said the State Government's options were limited when it came to reshaping finances to pay debt.
"We can massively increase taxes and charges, we can reduce the services that the government provides or we can look at selling or leasing some government-owned businesses and using the funds to pay down debt and pay for some of the infrastructure and services we need," he said.
"The first stage is talking to Queenslanders about the choices we face."
Mr Nicholls said the visit to Bundaberg was part of what he called a listening tour across the state that would take in up to 14 cities and towns.
Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said the State Government was listening to people and asking the community what their ideas were for reducing the debt and the deficit.