This afternoon Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Jackie Trad, handed down her second Budget.
It was an economic statement clearly aimed at regional Queensland, where Labor under-performed in the recent federal election. The Treasurer mentioned the word ‘region’ no less than 37 times in her speech and made infrastructure and jobs announcements specifically for rural Queensland.
There is a larger than expected surplus announced for the 2018-19 financial year, along with big infrastructure investments and reforms to payroll tax. With an election less than 18 months away, the Government will be hoping that it well received across the state, but most particularly in rural areas where Labor hold a number of marginal seats.
Key announcements include:
- Debt forecast to rise to $90.7 billion in 2022-23.
- The 2018-19 surplus to come in at $841 million and a projected surplus in 2019-20 of $189 million.
- A total of $12.9 billion to be spent in 2019/20 on infrastructure projects, with 60% of the spend allocated to the regions.
- Total infrastructure spend in 2019-20 to create 40,500 jobs, with 25,500 of those jobs to be created outside Brisbane.
- Payroll tax to be increased for businesses with taxable wages over $6.5 million to 4.95%. This will enable the threshold for payroll tax to be increased from $1.1 million to $1.3 million, resulting in a further 1,500 businesses no longer having to pay payroll tax.
- $778 million to be raised by increasing land tax rates for companies and trustees with aggregate landholdings over $5 million by 0.25 per cent and by increasing the absentee land tax surcharge to two per cent
- The Petroleum Royalty Rate to be increased from 10% to 12.5%, leading to a 29% increase in overall royalty revenue in 2019-20 from $450m to $570m, and an additional $476 million over four years.
- An investment of $105 million to upgrade TAFE services.