Newman Government hands down first budget

11 September, 2012
Author: Charles Hodgson

The 2012-13 State Budget delivered today by Treasurer Tim Nicholls is a once in a generation Budget, which charts the course for Queensland’s fiscal repair.
The first Newman Government State Budget delivers on key commitments to lower the cost of living, revitalise front line services, grow a four pillar economy and will help re-gain the state’s AAA credit rating, Treasurer Tim Nicholls said today.
“This Budget will ensure Queenslanders, no matter where they live, benefit though better, more efficient services; a lower cost of living and strong economic management, he said.
“The Newman Government has done the heavy lifting to find $7.8 billion across Government. By cutting waste and inefficiency we can fund essential services and critical infrastructure across Queensland without racking up further debt, unlike the former Labor Government.
“Our commitment to finding savings across government has sheltered Queensland families from having to pay down Queensland’s deficit through increased taxes and charges.
“The former Labor government slugged Queensland families with extra taxes and charges to fund their ever increasing debt and deficits.
“Through prudent economic management we have a Budget turnaround of $11.5 billion.
“We will also stabilise debt at $81.7 billion in 2014-15, ensuring debt will no longer reach $100 billion in 2018-19, as it would have done under a Labor Government.
“The cost of interest payments in 2012-13 will be $174 million less under the Newman Government and $500 millio n less in 2015-16. This will save $1.3 billion over four years.
“The $5.5 billion Budget fiscal repair task is comprised of $3.5 billion in expenditure revisions, $600 million in revenue measures and $1.4 billion in capital measures.”
Funding programs at the core of the Newman Government’s commitment to revitalising front line services and growing a strong four pillar economy include:
• $200 million over two years to providing funding of up to $160,000 to state school P&C’s to assist in fixing the maintenance backlog
• $495 million over four years for the Royalties for the Regions program to ensure families and communities in our resource regions share in the economic dividends of mining activities through improved community infrastructure and roads
• $1 billion over 10 years to upgrade the Bruce Highway focusing on improved safety and flood immunity, subject to cost sharing agreement with the Federal Government
R 26; $20 million Tourism Investment Strategy focussing on key emerging markets
• $146.9 million over four years to deliver an additional 1,100 new police officers
“The Newman Government will also provide a $15,000 First Home Owner Construction Grant for people buying their first home either off the plan or newly constructed, Mr Nicholls said.
“We want to see more Queenslanders own their own home and also provide a boost to the construction sector.
“Importantly, funding for this initiative is on-going and not restricted to a limited application period.
Mr Nicholls said the Newman Government’s solid economic management would also provide funding for the disabled, including a $15 million “Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial” to provide a range of options for elderly parent carers of people with a disability to assist in transition to new care arrangements.
“The Newman government has delivered on all of its commitments to reduce the cost of living including freezing car rego and electricity bills and reinstating the Principal Place of Residence Concession saving Queenslanders up to $7,125, he said.
South East Queensland residents will benefit from a one off $80 water rebate, a halving of public transport fare increases and free travel on Translink services after nine paid trips in a week
Mr Nicholls said that by making tough decisions to repair Queensland’s finances the Newman Government had found cost savings of $600 million, to reduce the number FTE losses in the public service to 14,000.
“We acknowledge that this has been a difficult and challenging time for many people however we need the right sized public service that provides services to Queenslanders at a price they are prepared to pay.”
Mr Nicholls said by restoring confidence in Queensland, confidence in Government, and confidence in the State’s finances the 2012-13 Budget would put Queensland on a path to future economic prosperity.
This is the most important budget in a generation.
Key Items
Debt, Deficit & Economy:
• Deliver fiscal surplus of $652 million in 2014-15 and a return to an operating surplus in 2013-14
• Stabilise debt at $81.7 billion instead of $86.3 billion in 2014-15 and in 2015-16 debt will be $6.6 billion lower than the Commission of Audit predicted
• Interest payments over the forward estimates of $1.3 billion
• Economic growth of 4 per cent second only to Western Australia
• Unemployment to fall across the forward estimates
Election Commitments
• All election commitments fully funded
• $495 million Royalties for the Regions program to fund regional community infrastructure
• $146.9 million over four years to deliver an additional 1,100 new police officers by 2015-16
• Increase the payroll tax threshold from $1 million to $1.1 million in 2012-13, with further increases of $100,000 each year until it reaches $1.6 million on 1 July 2017
• Freeze car registration fees for more than 2.5 million family vehicles
• Reinstate the principal place of residence concessional rate of stamp duty, saving Queenslanders up to $7,175 when buying the family home.
• Freeze tariff 11 saving families an average of $120 on their annual electricity bill
• Deliver rebates of $80 per domestic water connection to households in SEQ
• Halve public transport fare increases due in 2013 and 2014 in SEQ
• Reward regular commuters with free travel on the Translink network after nine journeys in a Monday to Sunday week.
Ongoing and New Expenditure:
• $1.3 billion to construct, expand and redevelop hospitals across Queensland
• 7.4 per cent increase in the Health Budget to over $11.8 billion
• New – $4.8 million for research to develop Queensland as the food bowl of Asia with a focus on pulses
• New – $200 million School Maintenance fund to fix maintenance backlog of public schools
• New – $15 million three year trial to assist elderly parent carers of people with a disability in transition to new care arrangements
• New – $15,000 First Home Owner Construction Grant to revitalise construction sector