QLD BUDGET 2018: REGIONAL AREAS WIN BIG
JACKIE Trad will take Queensland further into debt to pay for the largest investment in infrastructure since the 2011 flood recovery program.
About $30 billion will be spent on economy-building projects for regional Queensland.
As predicted, Ms Trad failed to surprise Queenslanders in the Palaszczuk Government's fourth budget - handed down on Tuesday.
A $45.8 billion investment in infrastructure projects over the next four years will be the largest since 2012-13, which funded the recovery from 2011's deadly floods.
"It's a budget that gears our state for growth," Ms Trad said.
The majority of infrastructure spending will fund commitments already made by the State Government.
Vital infrastructure needed to service growing regions will be fast tracked under a new $40 million Growth Area and Regional Infrastructure Investment fund.
The program will focus on areas that are experiencing rapid growth.
Under the fund, $40 million will be available for new projects or infrastructure upgrades in Queensland's growing regional communities.
Government departments will be asked to nominate regional projects that best address the needs of the growing communities.
Record royalties from Queensland's resources has contributed to the delivery of a $1.512 billion surplus this financial year, more than three times that predicted in December.
The budget forecasts operating surpluses over the forward estimates, starting with $148 million in 2018-19.
Increased borrowings to pay for the needed infrastructure will see debt due to hit $83 billion in four years.
Ms Trad said investment in infrastructure needed to be made "today".
"It's important to understand what we're borrowing for," she said.
"Debt is stable, it is sustainable and it is responsibly funding much-needed infrastructure for our communities and our economy."
Four new taxes for luxury car owners, betting, foreign property investors and a new land tax category will bring in $163.3 million each year over the next three years.
The first home buyers grant will be extended, but reduced from $20,000 down to $15,000. The measure will cost the budget $32 million in 2018-19.
Queensland's economic growth is forecast to accelerate from 2.5 per cent in 2016-17 to three per cent in 2018-19.
The State Government's Skilling Queenslanders for Work will receive a $180 million boost over three years from 2018-19 to boost the number of apprenticeships and increase workforce participation.
Critical infrastructure for the regions will receive a $70 million boost over the next three years through the government's Building our Regions fund.
Source - The Morning Bulletin (Hayden Johnson)