Queensland Budget 2021 is being handed down today. Here’s what to expect

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Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick is set to hand down his second budget today, which is expected to contain big spending on health, education, employment and renewable energy.

In last year’s budget, delivered after a six-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Dick revealed the state was staring down four years of deficits.

The state’s total debt was forecast to hit $113 billion by 2021-2022 and balloon to about $130 billion by 2023-24.

Mr Dick said today’s budget would show the state was in a better position than previous projections.

“The numbers are looking good for Queensland – debt will be lower, deficits will be lower,” he said.

“And that’s the dividend that we will be returning to Queenslanders through increased services, through more infrastructure and through a large number of jobs.

“It’s a budget we couldn’t have anticipated before COVID, but it’s also a budget we couldn’t have really foreseen just six months ago.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there would be record investment in health and education.

“My main priority has been to keep Queenslanders safe during the pandemic and now we want to make sure that we continue with our strong economic plan,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Monday.

“Of course there will be a huge spend on capital infrastructure as well.”

What will be in the budget?

The ABC can reveal the state budget will include $70 million over three years for improved water supply and security in regional Queensland.

The Queensland Government said it would be delivered through the Building our Regions Program, with investment going towards works identified by councils to improve water infrastructure.

The 2021 budget will also include:

  • An additional $1.5 billion for the $500 million Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund
  • Almost $1 billion for 10 new schools to open by 2023-24
  • $350 million Industry Partnership Program to support business, industry and research institutions
  • $177 million for the care of public patients at the expanded Springfield hospital
  • $270 million for reef water quality improvement programs
  • $60 million for round two of the Land Restoration Fund
  • $320 million for the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative over four years
  • $140 million for the Back to Work program over four years
  • $71 million for Queensland’s screen industry
  • $41.3 million over two years into racing industry via revenue from the state’s Point of Consumption Tax
  • $22 million for detailed design and cost analysis for pumped hydro at Borumba Dam

Earlier this year, Mr Dick announced fees and charges would increase by 1.7 per cent from July, which kept the indexation rate in line with the state’s Consumer Price Index.

Opposition wants increased capital spending

Opposition leader David Crisafulli said he did not want to see cuts to capital works spending.

“Tomorrow’s budget has to be a path out of the pandemic, and the best way to do that is to bring infrastructure spending forward,” he said.

“I’m concerned from the one [press] release we have had, that infrastructure spending is being cut by a billion dollars a year.

“So what we know is that revenue is up, we know that infrastructure spending is down, and what Queenslanders want to know is where’s the money going?”

Mr Dick said the budget would continue to deliver the state infrastructure investment program of $51.8 billion over the next four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23.

By state political reporter Rachel Riga (Original ABC Article)