Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government will rely on ongoing high royalty payments from the state’s coal and gas sectors, along with new taxes and fresh debt, to fund a massive infrastructure spend, treasurer Jackie Trad has announced.
The state’s 2018 budget, outlined on Tuesday, features a $45.8 billion infrastructure program over the next four years, including a massive $11.6 billion spend in FY19.
This spending will be a driving factor in increasing the state’s debt by $13.6 billion over the next four years, to $83 billion, a figure Trad defended.
“This is a budget that delivers on all of our election commitments … it’s a budget that unashamedly puts Queensland jobs first,” Trad told the media. “It’s important that we understand what we are borrowing for. We are borrowing to build the infrastructure that our state and our communities need.”
Along with debt, the spending will be balanced with five new taxes which are expected to raise $1.8 billion over four years.
Then there’s royalties, which the Queensland Treasury is expecting to stay stable, despite the significant fluctuations in coal and gas markets seen over recent years.
After an estimated $3.8 billion figure in FY18, Treasury expects coal royalties to be $3.5 billion in FY19, $3.1 billion in FY20, $2.7 billion in FY21 and $2.8 billion in FY22.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the estimates demonstrated the importance of mining to the state’s growth.
“I’m pleased to say those high-vis workers are the highlights in the budget,” he said. “The 280,000 men and women working in the resources sector are delivering for five million Queenslanders.
“Every Queenslander – regardless of where they call home – shares in the wealth of the sector through royalties paid to the Government. These royalties go to schools, hospitals and roads in the south-east of Queensland.
“On top of the billions of dollars in royalties paid by the sector, resources jobs continue to be a mainstay of employment and economic growth in Queensland, ensuring that every Queenslander benefits from this great industry.
“If the sector is to continue to deliver for Queenslanders it needs certainty and I thank the Treasurer for her commitment to not change royalty rates in this Budget and call on Ms Trad for an ongoing commitment to royalty stability.”