Today Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick handed down the 2020/21 State Budget. The Queensland Government will focus on a "borrowing to build" strategy by committing $56 billion worth of investment in infrastructure over the next four years.
The Treasurer today announced that Queensland debt will reach upwards of $130 billion by 2023/24. Unemployment is projected to fall to 7 per cent over this next financial year from the current 7.7 per cent.
Over the past eight months, the North Queensland community has been sending consistent and clear messages to our State representatives defining our region's key priorities. This has been articulated through the 'Unlock the North' campaign in partnership with TaskforceNQ and NQROC, our Economic Action Plan delivered to the government in the first week of the pandemic, and ongoing engagement with our recently re-elected local State representatives, Scott Stewart, Aaron Harper, Les Walker, Dale Last, Nick Dametto, and Robbie Katter.
As a result, North Queensland secured funding commitments and support for key projects including $30M for construction of Big Rocks Weir at Charters Towers, an implementation agreement with CopperString 2.0, the Museum of Underwater Art Stage 3, Drive It NQ, and supporting the ongoing sustainability of Glencore's smelting operations.
We look forward to reviewing the budget detail related to the region's commitments and below is a summary of further announcements made in today’s budget:
- Queensland debt to reach upwards of $130 billion by 2023/24.
- Queensland’s unemployment rate – currently at 7.7 per cent – is due to fall to 7 per cent in 2021-22 and remain at 6.5 per cent for the following two years
- Queensland finishes 2019/20 with a $5.734 billion deficit that rises to $8.633 billion in 2020/2021, before falling deficits reach $1.389 billion in 2023/24
- Total expenses are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.6% over the four years to 2023–24
- From 2021/22, revenues are forecast to grow at a faster rate than expenses
- $14.8B in capital works infrastructure, including:
- $230M for Stage 5 Townsville Ring Road
- $514.3M to complete bridges on the Haughton River Flood Plain
- $52.2M invested in 2021 to continue work on the $232M Port of Townsville Channel Capacity upgrade, as well as $21M over two years to revitalise QLD coastal shipping industry including the establishment of the new shipping service between Townsville and Brisbane
SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESS
- Introduce a procurement target, with 25 per cent of all government spend to go to small and medium businesses.
- $500M 'Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund'
- Funds have been allocated to support CopperString 2.0 electricity transmission project (amount not specified)
- $74M 'Rebuilding Queensland Tourism' policy including $15M over four years to boost Regional Tourism Organisations' destination marketing
- $40M towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef and other natural assets, including $3.9M to develop world-class ‘sailing trails’ around Townsville and the Whitsundays, $6M for ecotourism, and $10.1M for National Parks and World Heritage Areas
EDUCATION & TRAINING
- $17.5B towards upgrading and establishing new schools
- $83.4M for future skilling programs, including $32.4 million over two years for the TAFE Priority Skills Fund; $25 million for pre-apprenticeship support
- $100M over three years to upgrade TAFE campuses and $21M to extend Free TAFE and Free apprenticeships to Queenslanders aged under 25.
$21.8B investment towards health facilities, including:
- $500K to undertake a feasibility analysis on the suitability of the former Townsville sports stadium to be a multi-agency emergency services headquarters for North Queensland.
- Replace Kirwan Ambulance Station (amount not specified)
AGRICULTURE & WATER
- $195M for Stage 2 Haughton Pipeline Project
- More than $81.6M has been allocated over three years to reduce irrigation water charges for the state’s farmers and fruit and vegetable growing businesses.
In the coming days we will further review this budget to ensure all election commitments that were made to our region are now budgeted. A full list of those commitments can be found HERE.