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Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

QUEENS­LAND’S La­bor Gov­ern­ment will squeeze the last drops of juice out of the State’s cof­fers to pay down debt and de­liver its elec­tion prom­ises.

Trea­surer Curtis Pitt’s first Bud­get will with­hold $ 2 bil­lion in con­tri­bu­tions to public ser­vice su­per­an­nu­a­tion, spend $ 3.4 bil­lion of long- ser­vice leave en­ti­tle­ments, make sta­te­owned firms pay $ 4.1 bil­lion of their own debts and can­ni­balise $ 1.12 bil­lion in de­part­men­tal fund­ing set aside for con­trac­tors and out­sourc­ing.

“We’re get­ting out of habit of bor­row­ing,” Mr told Par­lia­ment yesterday.

The mea­sures give the Gov­ern­ment $ 10.6 bil­lion, which will be com­bined with an ex­pected op­er­at­ing sur­plus of $ 6.9 bil­lion over the next four years.

The Gov­ern­ment will use the funds to pay off $ 9.6 bil­lion of the state’s to­tal $ 75.5 bil­lion debt by 2018- 19. De­spite the re­pay­ments, debt is still forecast to creep up to $ 77.1 bil­lion within four years.

The health bud­get will grow to $ 14.2 bil­lion, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing will be boosted to $ 12.4 bil­lion and over $ 2 bil­lion will be spent on 977 new po­lice ve­hi­cles and train­ing an ex­tra 266 of­fi­cers in 2015- 16.

There’s also $ 240 mil­lion set aside for La­bor’s Skilling Queens­lan­ders for Work pro­gram and $ 200 mil­lion for a re­gional de­vel­op­ment fund.

The Gov­ern­ment will use $ 180 mil­lion to stim­u­late the in­no­va­tion and re­search sec-

We’re get­ting out of the habit of bor­row­ing

CURTIS PITT

the Pitt tors as part of its Queens­land plan.

The Bud­get funds all of La­bor’s $ 1.9 bil­lion in elec­tion com­mit­ments with­out any as­set sales, forced re­dun­dan­cies or new taxes, fees and charges.

There’s not a sin­gle sweet­ener for house­holds to get ex­cited about or any spe­cific mea­sures to ease liv­ing costs, but busi­nesses have ap­plauded the “fis­cally re­spon­si­ble” Bud­get.

“The State Gov­ern­ment has de­liv­ered this Bud­get with­out go­ing into our pock­ets,” Queens­land Re­sources Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Roche said.

But in­dus­try was dis­ap­pointed that most of La­bor’s $ 10.1 bil­lion in­fra­struc­ture spend would be used for cap­i­tal works.

“We re­ally need some big, cat­alytic pro­duc­tiv­ity in­fra­struc­ture in this state,” Aus­tralian In­dus­try Group state di­rec­tor Jem­ina Dunn said.

The Gov­ern­ment also forecast growth would hit 4.5 per cent in both 2015- 16 and 2016- 17.

Ad­vance THE Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment will spend $ 5 mil­lion on a task­force de­signed to com­bat vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism in a bid to re­duce the risk of youth rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion.

The task­force will at­tempt to foster re­li­gious tol­er­ance in Queens­land schools and the broader com­mu­nity.

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