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
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.