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Queensland’s ‘traditional Labor’ budget is grappling with some of the same old problems

Matt Wordsworth reports for the ABC (16.6.21) on the Palaszczuk government’s 2021-22 budget, with Treasurer Cameron Dick confirming the state would remain in deficit for the next few years in the midst of pandemic recovery spending.

‘The statistics were laid out in black and white in a budget the Premier described as a “traditional Labor budget” that “focused on health, education and housing”.

‘It is indeed a tradition of Queensland Labor governments to spend more than half of their budgets on the two monoliths of health and education.

‘Treasurer Cameron Dick has followed in that tradition – committing 54.1 per cent in his first budget handed down last December and 56.6per cent in his latest.

‘… All the jobs that were lost during the pandemic downturn have returned.

‘Spending is up, meaning GST receipts are far higher than the state expected, and our renewed obsession with real estate means transfer duty is expected to pump almost a billion dollars extra into the Treasury coffers in the coming financial year.

‘The result is a much healthier fiscal position than the Premier could have hoped for.’

No quick fixes: Treasurer promises ‘restraint’ with weather eye on future

Sean Parnell reports for InQld (14.6.21) on Treasurer Cameron Dick’s  budgetary response to pandemic pressures still impacting Queensland’s finances.

‘After the pandemic took the budget deeper into the red, and the State Government further into debt, Treasurer Cameron Dick has vowed to keep a “weather eye” on the future.

‘When Dick hands down the 2021-22 budget tomorrow afternoon, he will be giving his second budget speech in just over six months, after the 2020-21 budget was delayed by the pandemic. It will also be the first in a four-year term, giving Dick the benefit of having longer to chart an improvement before Labor seeks re-election.

‘The pandemic resulted in the government forecasting a $8.6 billion operating deficit this year, and the budget remaining in the red until at least 2023-24. Debt was expected to hit $130 billion by the end of the forward estimates.

‘… While the pandemic prompted the Palaszczuk government to freeze public service wages, and hiring, both have already started to thaw, and Dick will have to fund wage rises for public servants and bureaucrats (as well as MPs).’

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