Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk has likened the state’s pandemic battle with a boxing match in her annual State of the State address this afternoon.
“It’s not how many times you get knocked down that matters: it’s how many time you get back up again,” the Premier said.
“And that’s where we are all at the moment. Dealing with the confronting twin crises – the health crisis and the resulting economic crisis.
“We’ve been felled by an opponent which is microscopic and not just in Queensland but in every state of the nation and every country across the globe.”
She said Queensland needed a strong plan for economic recovery but that it could not be built “the way it was before”.
“And it is a strong plan that depends on Queenslanders working together and looking out for each other – just as Queenslanders have done responding to cyclones, to floods, to bushfires and – indeed perhaps more so than ever – during this pandemic,” she said.
She said Queensland had acted early on COVID-19, spotting the risk of coronavirus “while it was still 7,000 kilometres away”.
“We’ve made difficult decisions. Hard decisions. Often contentious decisions,” she said.
“Our borders closed for the same reason our international borders closed: so that we could stop importing the disease.
“There are now more active cases in aged care in Victoria than Queensland has had during the entire pandemic.”
The Premier said she would do everything she could to protect Queenslanders against COVID-19.
“I’ll cop whatever gets thrown at me. That’s politics.”
“I will continue to do everything I can to protect Queenslanders against this disease and against criticism and we will continue to be guided by the best health advice.”
She then outlined a six-point recovery plan, citing a $52.1 billion boost to regional infrastructure and a $13.9 billion capital program that would allow industry to plan an infrastructure pipeline to service the state.
“Building and construction will be a pillar of our recovery,” she said.
“There’s $200 million for a Works for Queensland program so that local councils across the state can deliver 520 local projects providing 4,600 jobs.
“And our economic response includes more than $800 million for new road projects in addition to more than $760 million for new schools, expansions and vital school maintenance.
“To support agriculture, our economy plan includes $1.2 billion in water infrastructure, supporting 2300 jobs and $5 million for wild dog fencing out west.
“We will support our resources sector, one of our greatest strengths.”