Advocacy Alert: What the 2019 State Budget means for the North

Queensland Treasurer, the Hon Jackie Trad, has this afternoon delivered a budget that provides welcome news for small to medium sized businesses through a Payroll Tax Package and support for infrastructure priorities that will further drive jobs and investment.

We welcome commitments in today's 2019-20 Budget such as reducing the cost of access on the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line and the construction of a new terminal at the Port of Townsville, $5M towards road infrastructure for the DriveIt Project and the Imperium3 battery plant, and a Payroll Tax Package for our local businesses which was a centrepiece in today's announcement. A Payroll Tax Package will support our local businesses to keep money in their pockets as well as encourage further investment into their operations and workforce.

This budget builds on infrastructure announcements of previous years but also lays a foundation for further investments into key priorities that remain for the region. Reducing the cost of power through projects like CopperString 2.0, investing into new industries such as the battery plant, agricultural development such as the Hells Gates Dam Project, and growing tourism infrastructure through projects like DriveIt and the Museum of Underwater Art, are integral to the north's economic recovery and resilience and will remain priorities for Government support.

This budget continues to deliver on commitments towards supporting our neighbouring communities in the Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook and Palm Island. The economic health of the regions is integral to the strength of the north and there are number of key regional projects that remain firmly on our advocacy agenda, as outlined in our 2019 State Budget Submission.

With unemployment still sitting above 8%, this afternoon's budget is welcome news for North Queensland, but more work is to be done and we look forwarding to working with the Government on these priorities as they arise.

SUMMARY OF KEY 2019 STATE BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENTS

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • $30M over two years in new freight facilities at the Port of Townsville, increasing capacity for containerised freight on the Mount Isa Line
  • $20M per year to subsidise below-rail user access charges on the Mount Isa Line
  • $5M towards DriveIt and Imperium3 battery plant road infrastructure at Woodstock

TAX
$885 million of targeted payroll tax initiatives to support business and create employment, including:

  • An increase to the payroll tax free threshold for small business from $1.1M to $1.3M
  • A discount of 1 percentage point on the relevant payroll tax rate for employers with more than 85% of their employees residing outside SEQ
  • A rebate for taking on additional full-time employees of up to $20,000 an extension of the 50% payroll tax rebate for businesses that employ apprentices and trainees.

FLOOD RECOVERY

  • $300M over three years to flood impacted primary producers
  • $236.2M in grants available to local governments for recovery and reconstruction projects from natural disasters

TOURISM

  • $1.3M towards Queensland Museum public programs
  • $2.4M towards Magnetic Island National Park Forts Junction Hub upgrade

EDUCATION

  • $4.6M towards JCU researchers
  • $11M towards school infrastructure
  • $643K towards upgrading TAFE campuses at Pimlico, Bohle and Palm Island

Queensland Budget 2019-20 Fact Sheets for North Queensland

Treasurer's Budget Speech

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