Treasurer Cameron Dick has delivered a State Budget including a $56 billion commitment over four years for capital works and infrastructure, described as the largest such investment in more than a decade.
Mr Dick said $14.8 billion of that would be spent this financial year, supporting 46,000 jobs.
Queensland’s total debt is set to hit almost $130 billion by June 2024 and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to see $12.3 billion drop in revenue over four years. Queensland will have a budget deficit of $8.63 billion in 2020-2021.
But Mr Dick said Queensland’s superior economic performance meant it would be the only state, other than Western Australia, to record positive economic growth this financial year (0.25 per cent growth predicted).
Mr Dick said Queenslanders following medical advice and working together with health professionals and frontline agencies to manage the impacts of COVID-19 has seen the state recover faster economically that others.
“This Budget outlines the continued steps we will be taking on that road to recovery,” he said.
The $56 billion investment over four years in capital works and infrastructure is set to include large-scale projects such as:
- upgrades to the State’s ‘spine’, the Bruce Highway
- a range of works on the M1 Pacific, Ipswich and Centenary Motorways
- continued construction of Cross River Rail, Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A and on the North Coast rail line
- enhancements to government-owned energy, water and port assets
- renewable energy projects
- new or upgraded hospitals, schools and TAFE campuses
- additional social housing and
- improving justice and public safety facilities.
“This massive program of works also supporting thousands upon thousands of smaller-scale projects in just about every suburb, town or regional city of the state,” said Mr Dick.
“Our Budget details many of those important projects, as well as programs supporting councils to deliver a multitude of job-generating projects in their local communities.
“Given almost half of the state’s population lives outside of Greater Brisbane, we are strongly focused on delivering the necessary support to enable our regions to grow and economically prosper.
“This includes our key industries such as tourism, agriculture and mining.
“We are also supporting Queensland’s mighty manufacturers and attracting new businesses to the state to support economic diversity and resilience – and create new jobs.”
Mr Dick said $21.8 billion has been allocated to health and $17.5 billion for education and training in 2020-21.
Mr Dick said $200 million will be invested in the future skills of Queenslanders, while the free TAFE and free apprenticeship programs currently offered to people aged under-21s, would be extended to under-25s, opening up this opportunity to another 37,000 young Queenslanders.
“The Budget also backs Queensland’s small businesses, to support jobs and communities. More than $7 billion in COVID-19 stimulus measures have been provided already, reducing business costs through payroll tax relief and other tax relief measures,” he said.
“We are also protecting the environment and supporting the renewable energy sector as it continues to grow. The Great Barrier Reef will benefit from an additional $40 million and naturally will be one of many locations featured in a new Good to Go tourism campaign commencing today, focused on attracting more interstate visitors.”