Ashleigh Stevenson reports for the ABC (13.6.18) on the Palaszczuk government’s state budget, and the first delivered by Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Jackie Trad, which promises to spend big on infrastructure while also introducing a handful of new charges.
‘The Queensland Budget will spend big on infrastructure projects in a bid to create jobs and stimulate the state economy, but that will come at a cost to many Queensland households.
‘The Palaszczuk Government’s Budget relies on a new waste levy to rake in more than $1 billion to deal with the end of the mining and construction booms, although it aims to rebate councils to avoid that being passed on to ratepayers.
‘However, the waste levy is only one of a nest of new taxes and higher charges also due to come into effect after July 1.
‘ … The Budget papers show the State Government expects to earn $1.59 billion in dividends from power networks and generators, significantly more than the $1.17 billion forecast last year.
‘The Budget states the dividend increase “has been driven by increased earnings from the electricity generation and electricity network businesses, which have benefited from favourable wholesale energy market conditions”.
‘So why hasn’t the boost been passed onto consumers by increasing the rebate? Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad said electricity prices in Queensland have come down.’
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Queensland budget 2018: Coal comfort for now but debt set to blow out
Felicity Caldwell reports in the Brisbane Times (12.6.18) on how improved coal export prices have provided a windfall for the state’s revenues, but a big spending budget will add further debt to the government’s bottom line.
‘Coal has stoked the Queensland budget with a massive lump of cash, while five new taxes will rake in more than $650 million by 2021-22.
‘Delivering her first budget as Treasurer, and the fourth for the Palaszczuk government, Jackie Trad unveiled a $1.512 billion surplus in 2017-18 – more than three times the forecast in the Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review in December.
‘That was $1.37 billion more than predicted in last year’s budget under former treasurer Curtis Pitt.
‘The significant boost was attributed to short-term factors, such as more royalty revenue because coal prices remained higher for longer than expected and increased Australian government grants thanks to a larger GST pool.
‘Royalties and land rents were estimated to have contributed a $4.48 billion windfall to Queensland in 2017-18 – about $1 billion higher than predicted in last year’s budget.
‘The strong surplus means general government sector debt in 2017-18 would be about $2.4 billion less than estimated in last year’s budget.’
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