27 May, 2021
The past year has been tough for so many Queenslanders. The social housing waitlist has grown by 7,000, more than a third of Queensland renters are in housing stress, nearly 300,000 Queenslanders are relying on JobSeeker and, according to QCOSS, the cuts to JobSeeker is seeing around $41 million ripped from Queensland’s economy each year, money that would be spent on food, rent or transport, and unemployment in Queensland is at 5.9 per cent and underemployment is at 8.5 per cent.
Not everyone has had a tough year. According to Oxfam, the profiteering and monopolies of for-profit pharmaceutical companies has helped nine people become new billionaires since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. The CEO of Glencore, one of Queensland’s biggest coal producers, grew his wealth by $500 million. Harry Triguboff, a Queensland property investor, grew his wealth by $1.7 billion. Mining corporations exported $45 billion worth of Queensland resources over the past financial year.
When parliament meets again we will be debating the 2021-22 budget. Myself and the member for Maiwar, Michael Berkman, have written to the Treasurer urging the government to make sure that our economic recovery is paid for by the billionaires and big corporations, not everyday Queenslanders in the form of homelessness, food insecurity and debt. Including a modest bank levy of just 0.05 per cent on the biggest five banks in Queensland would raise $1.2 billion each year. A 75 per cent developer tax on increases in land value as a consequence of rezoning would bring in around $1.9 billion per year.
We could raise billions of dollars by unfreezing mining royalties on coal, gas and minerals. With this money we could transform Queensland. We could invest in thousands of new public homes, we could fully fund state schools and deliver free school meals. We could create tens of thousands of good, steady jobs by starting a publicly owned renewables manufacturing industry, building publicly owned renewable energy or new jobs in health, education and child care. These kinds of policies are popular: 72 per cent of Australians think big business and corporations pay too little; 64 per cent of Australians want more public spending on public services and infrastructure funded by more tax from wealthy people and profitable companies. It is time for Queensland Labor to get out of the pockets of big corporate donors and to start taxing the billionaires to ensure that every Queenslander can live a good life.