Infrastructure investment centrepiece of Queensland budget: State Treasurer

When talking about our borrowings it is important to acknowledge there are costs to inaction too, Queensland State Treasurer, the Hon. Jackie Trad has told a CEDA audience.

Speaking at the Post-budget address in Brisbane, following the release of the Queensland budget, Ms Trad said, “failing to invest in the infrastructure we need, now hurts future generations as well.”

“Having an infrastructure deficit hurts our economy too, and what we’re doing is simply throwing the can down the road for another generation to fix. 

“We can’t allow our population to grow and not build the infrastructure to support it.

“We are continuing to do the heavy lifting in infrastructure investment because quite frankly, we have a federal government that simply will not. 

“In many ways our infrastructure investment is the centrepiece of our budget this year.

“We’ve got to do the work now so we can reap the rewards in the future.

 “There has been a lot of commentary post budget and a lot of that commentary has been about debt, about the states balance sheet, about whether it’s the right time to borrow, to build.

“But our borrowings are stable and they’re sustainable. In fact, in 2017-18, general government debt is the lowest it has been since 2011-12. In 2021-22, general government debt will be lower than it was in 2014-2015. 

“General government debt as a percentage of Gross State Product peaked at 14 per cent in 14-15 and it has fallen substantially under the Palaszczuk Labour Government, and is expected to stabilise at 10 per cent of GSP across the forward estimates.

“Queensland’s economy has grown by 7.2 per cent in real terms since the December quarter 2014.

“Our budget is in surplus and will remain so over the forward estimates.

“Importantly, economic growth is also forecast to accelerate from 2.5 per cent in 16-17 to three per cent by 18-19.

“The budget was developed against the backdrop of some pretty forceful elements, they were the elements of growth and change.

“We know that as a State we are growing and we are also changing.

“Technological innovation continues to transform our lives, disrupting labour markets with the creation of jobs even as it displaces others.

“We are now a population of five million and we are growing at one of the fastest rates in the country.

“As a government, we need to help our communities navigate the challenges of change and set a course for the opportunities of growth.

“We need to equip our workers on the frontline, of a fast-changing world with the skills and support to succeed.

“We must encourage innovation and give businesses and industry the confidence to grow, and direct every effort to our number one priority: jobs for Queenslanders.”

Ms Trad said that over 156,000 jobs have been created in the last three years in the Queensland economy.

“We have focused on jobs not just in today’s economy but on creating jobs for the economy of the future,” she said.

“The decisions we have made in the budget lay the platform to create thousands more in the years ahead.

“In this budget we’re investing $175.5 million to help people return to the workforce through our Back to Work program and we will deliver a further $180 million in the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program to deliver more workforce opportunities and workforce participation.”

Ms Trad said there was also support for small businesses and apprentices as well as focus on attracting businesses from interstate and overseas into Queensland, with $40 million dedicated over the next two years. 

“We want these businesses, we want their ideas, and we want the jobs they will generate,” she said.