It is being touted as the ‘jobs budget’ set to deliver 40,000 new jobs over the financial year.
“This is a budget for battlers, this is a budget for builders, this is a budget for Queenslanders,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said today upon the release of the 2017-18 State Budget.
Queensland was expected to record a net operating surplus of $2.8 billion for 2016-17, thanks in large part to increased revenue from coal royalties, and growth is forecast to continue to strengthen.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the government had acted quickly to use the 2016-17 surplus and allocate it to job generating projects, the further retirement of debt, and initiatives to put downward pressure on power prices for Queensland businesses and households.
“At the heart of this Budget is another massive capital works program — this time $42.75 billion over four years. That’s an increase of over $2 billion from last year’s Budget and a reflection of our commitment to generating jobs for Queensland,” he said.
Initiatives include $1.8 billion for the Queensland Housing Strategy, boosting the Works for Queensland program by $200 million over two years to support local governments outside south-east Queensland for job creating maintenance and minor infrastructure works and the $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan.
In the resources portfolio, $27.125 million has been promised over four years to expand exploration and development through the Strategic Resources Exploration Program.
Of this, $3.6 million is allocated to exploration for gas in the Georgina, South Nicholson and Isa Super Basins. This will support the implementation of the Strategic Blueprint for Queensland’s North West Minerals Province. It also includes funding for different forms of mapping so explorers can better understand what’s below the ground.
Townsville Enterprise has welcomed a funding announcement of $225 million over four years to ensure the State is prepared to act on the findings of the intergovernmental Water Taskforce and support sustainable and secure long-term water supply for Townsville.
“The Government has quarantined the funds for when the Water Taskforce presents its report to enable immediate action on those findings,” Townsville Enterprise chief executive officer Patricia O’Callaghan said.
The Powering Queensland Plan includes a $150 million investment for a strategic transmission line to support the establishment of a North Queensland Clean Energy Hub and $236 million to upgrade Burdekin Falls Dam and fund the proposed hydro-electric power station at that facility.