Queensland Budget 2020: Winners and losers

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Find out what the Queensland Budget means for you.

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Loser: Queensland’s debt

  • Queensland’s debt levels are set to soar to $130 billion by 2023-24 amid increased borrowings and falling revenue
  • Last year’s budget — before the COVID-19 crisis — had forecast debt would hit $90.7 billion by 2022-23
  • Treasurer Cameron Dick says doing anything other than borrow to rebuild would “condemn our economy to years of austerity and a far slower and more painful recovery”
  • He also pointed out that Queensland’s total debt by 2023-24 will still be lower than New South Wales and Victoria

Winner: Health

  • The State Government is throwing an extra $360.5 million to support its COVID-19 response
  • This funding will be available as required by Queensland Health, Queensland police and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service
  • It will support services like contact tracing, the cost of PPE, fever clinics and 13 HEALTH call centre services
  • The budget also allocates $265 million towards seven satellite hospitals across south-east Queensland
  • The Government says the 2020-21 health budget is $743.48 million higher than the previous one
  • But the Australian Medical Association says it is disappointed there is not more funding in other key areas like palliative care, pain management and medical technology

Loser: Small business

  • Treasurer Cameron Dick says private business has borne the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis and this budget delivers $140 million for the Government’s ‘Big Plans for Small Business Strategy’
  • That includes $100 million from the $500 million fund dedicated to investing in small to medium-sized businesses
  • But the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) says aside from that, the budget fails to provide any further immediate support to keep people in jobs during a critical period as JobKeeper ends
  • CCIQ economist Jack Baxter said the “Palaszczuk Government continues to rely on previously announced measures and hasn’t produced any longer-term competitive-inducing reform which our economy and business needs”
  • The CCIQ had been calling for a complete waiver of the COVID-19 payroll tax deferments

Neutral: Infrastructure

  • The State Government says it will spend $56 billion over four years on capital works and infrastructure
  • This investment is set to include new and existing projects like Cross River Rail and the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A.
  • While the Treasurer has hailed it a “record spend over the past decade”, the budget papers are light on detail beyond the $14.8 billion committed for 2020-21

Neutral: Tourism

  • During the election campaign, Labor pledged $74 million to fast-track recovery and restore tourism jobs
  • The budget now delivers on that promise but there appear to be no further sweeteners for the hard-hit industry
  • The budget also assumes international borders will remain closed until at least the latter half of 2021

Winner: Frontline services

  • The State Government says this budget will “continue to strengthen” the frontline
  • Over the next four years it will hire 5,800 nurses and midwives, 1,500 doctors, 475 paramedics, and 1,700 new allied health professionals
  • More than 350 new Queensland Fire and Emergency Service firefighter positions will be added over the next five years, as well as a further 2,025 police personnel
  • The Queensland Council of Unions has welcomed the funds for extra frontline roles

Winner: Hydrogen

  • There is a $10 million boost to developing the renewable hydrogen industry over the next four years
  • That brings the Queensland Government’s commitment up to $25 million

Winner: Schools

  • This year the State Government is budgeting $14.2 billion for education, including a $1.9 billion infrastructure spend
  • There’ll also be $20 million invested over four years towards planning for new schools
  • The budget includes $100 million over three years for student wellbeing, including $4 million towards a pilot program where GPs will be placed in 20 state high schools “of greatest need”
  • The Government is partnering with Share the Dignity to give students free access to sanitary items at 120 schools across the state

Winner: Regional Queensland

  • The Government says the bulk of its capital spend — about 60 per cent — will happen outside Greater Brisbane
  • This year’s budget has allocated $600 million towards the Government’s $1 billion commitment to make trains in Maryborough

Loser: Social housing

  • The Government has allocated $526.2 million for social housing
  • Greens MP Amy MacMahon criticised Labor for spending “more money on prisons than homes in this budget”
  • “Other states like Victoria are investing in social housing but Labor’s budget has no new money for social housing — they’re still planning to build only 470 homes this year, which is about 2 per cent of the current waiting list”

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By Kate McKenna (Original ABC Article)

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