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Treasurer denies he was 'directed' to back down on pensioner concessions


Amy Remeikis

Treasurer Tim Nicholls.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Treasurer Tim Nicholls says he has "no idea" why two LNP backbenchers thought the Premier "directed" him to reinstate the full concession rate for pensioners and seniors.

Ipswich West LNP MP Sean Choat and Wynnum West both tweeted "@theqldpremier directed the Treasurer to restore the pensioner concession cuts made by the Fed Govt. We value our pensioners" shortly after Campbell Newman made the announcement.

But the tweets were then quickly deleted. Mr Symes replaced his first message with another congratulating both Mr Newman and Mr Nicholls. Mr Choat left his blank. Mr Choat later told reporters "it was a poor choice of words". Mr Symes declined to comment.

The Treasurer, left to face the media later in the day after Mr Newman had made his announcement in the parliament, denied the Premier "directed" him to fix the concessions issue, sticking to the line Mr Newman had delivered in parliament - that the government had reacted after "listening".

"The premier and I were talking on a number of issues and, as I say, we've been getting both representations and listening to Queenslanders," he said.

"And we think the sign of a good government is a government that does listen to Queenslanders and that is why we have decided to reinstate the concessions, which have been left vacant by the federal government."

Mr Nicholls would not say when the decision to reinstate the full concessions was made.

He said prior to the budget "we thought we had managed to fund that extra 10 per cent and we had done as much as we could".

"But again, after talking to people, after getting the feedback from a variety of places, including our members who had been out talking in the community, we realised the pressures pensioners and concession card holders were under and I think we made the responsible, right decision to respond to those concerns and to reinstate those concessions."

But Mr Nicholls did hose down Mr Newman's claims the state would make up the $54 million it was spending to cover the missing funds, by withholding or recouping the money from the Commonwealth.

As the man charged with balancing the books, Mr Nicholls would only say the government was "looking at options".

"We will be looking at all the options about what goes between Canberra and Queensland and talking to the federal government about the options around that," he said.

"I don't want to pre-empt any discussions around that, I guess. As I said earlier, for concessions card holders and pensioners, the important thing that they're going to be concerned about is to know that the concessions are going to be fully available."

Mr Nicholls said the government was "doing the right thing by Queenslanders" in making the decision.

3 comments so far

  • The blather from Mr Nicholls amounts to: "There's an election coming and we'll need every vote we can get. We'll screw the pensioners after the election. Until then, pensioners have nothing to fear from a Newman government."

    Date and time
    June 05, 2014, 4:31PM
    • I put my money on Newman having directed Nicholls to back down on concession cuts, because Newman is feeling the heat and the boot. Put the pensioners totally offside, it would leave not much more than the LNP party faithful, corporate business if it is still onside, the seriously wealthy and the odd lickspittle or 10 still barracking for Newman and the LNP. Now, Mr Choat and Mr Symes are in marginally-held seats, have become accustomed to a nice fat MP backbencher salary (much, much greater than public servant and Woolworths wages) and are desperately looking to save their seats by any means possible. When an earlier-this-year-poll revealed that Mr Choat was likely to lose his seat, he then set about making a grand announcement that he just may cross the floor on asset sales. Then, continued on with his lickspittle "yes sir" behaviour.

      Marion says
      Date and time
      June 05, 2014, 5:39PM
      • unlikely to be Newman standing up to Nicholls - the only person he fears. Most likely to be at the direction of one of the many Liberal Party pollsters and strategists swarming the corridors down here. Yet another random thought-bubble. Remember when we used to have policy that survived more than a few days?

        george street
        Date and time
        June 05, 2014, 6:50PM

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