Queensland’s LNP government says a new system for annual budget estimates hearings will improve rather than hurt transparency.
Unions have accused Queensland’s Liberal National Party government of trying to avoid scrutiny by changing the way annual budget estimates hearings are run.
The hearings are an opportunity for the opposition to question ministers and senior bureaucrats about the budget and their portfolios.
But under a trial this year, the hearings have been cut from seven days to two, with ministers to give evidence concurrently.
Tuesday’s hearings will see Premier Campbell Newman, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and the health, education, transport and natural resources ministers quizzed.
The government has denied Labor’s claims that the trial is about avoiding proper scrutiny.
It says this year’s trial will see the government questioned for just under 85 hours, compared to 58 hours last year.
But unions say the trial shows the government does not understand the concept of transparency.
“Reducing the duration of estimates hearing days shows it still hasn’t heard the criticisms it received after the drubbing it received in the last by-election,” Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams said.
“It’s a government that uses spin and bluster to hide its shortcomings.”