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Leaders trip up over debt as campaign unfolds

Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls (2nd from right) speaks to media at a doorstop during a visit to a small business forum at Nerang RSL along with, (L-R) LNP candidate for Bonney Sam O'Connor, deputy leader Deb Frecklington, LNP member Sid Cramp and LNP candidate for Theodore Mark Boothman.
Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls (2nd from right) speaks to media at a doorstop during a visit to a small business forum at Nerang RSL along with, (L-R) LNP candidate for Bonney Sam O'Connor, deputy leader Deb Frecklington, LNP member Sid Cramp and LNP candidate for Theodore Mark Boothman. Glenn Hunt

OPPOSITION Leader Tim Nicholls has struggled to explain how an LNP government would reduce debt.

He leant on metaphors and referred to the state's finances as a patient that needed recovery.

The stumbling follows Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's first election blunder on Monday when she could not explain how much Labor had reduced debt, which was projected to reach $81 billion by 2021.

Speaking at Nerang RSL, Mr Nicholls said his party would manage finances over the economic cycle, saying he would stabilise debt rather than reduce it.

Mr Nicholls this morning would not commit to reducing the state's debt, instead saying he would 'stabilise" it.

He ruled out asset sales, tax hikes, new taxes and big cuts to reduce debt, but was scant on detail on how he would fund promises like raising the payroll tax threshold, which will cost $100 million over four years.

"One of the things you'll see we're talking about is in the general government's sector we'll run a fiscal balance," he said.

"We will not spend money we don't have, we don't spend more than we're receiving.

"In order to stop that debt from going higher and higher we will make sure we spend money we've got."

Mr Nicholls said the first thing to do was to stop the "patient from dying on the table".

"We will start the recovery," he said. "There will be no new taxes. You cut your cloth to meet your revenues as any family knows.

"You can't keep lobbing it on to a credit card."

Meanwhile Ms Palaszczuk said in Townsville yesterday that her government would always do more.

"But let's be very clear, we have paid off $14 billion more than was predicted by Tim Nicholls," she said.

"We said that we would use the dividends from our assets to not only pay down the debt, but also to restore frontline services."

Topics:  Annastacia Palaszczuk debt jobs qldelection2017 tim nicholls



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