Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt is unveiling his 2017/18 budget in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.
Singing out the catch cry “confidence is making a comeback” he announced a surplus of $2.8 billion for 2016/17. But Mr Pitt admitted that the surplus for 2017/18 would take a hit from Cyclone Debbie.
The Gold Coast rated a mention, as we prepare to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
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Mr Pitt said 6600 officials and athletes would arrive next April and 1.5 billion will be watching the Games on the television.
He confirmed the State Government had committed $1.5 billion to the event, with 90% of work awarded to south east Queensland businesses.
In a major boost he confirmed that the Queensland Government had allocated funding to fix southern and nothern bottlenecks on the M1.
Mr Pitt also briefly touched on the fact that Labor would continue to back the film and television industry as Queensland, and in particular the Gold Coast, is still attracting Hollywood blockbusters.
He also said tourism is injecting $23 billion into the economy.
Still on the Gold Coast and Mr Pitt confirmed the Government would free up more land for community and social housing. For more on this angle please click here.
The Treasurer also referenced troubling recent terror attacks in Manchester and London.
He said the Queensland Government had committed $44 million to fund counter terror, specialist police and rapid action and control group officers.
Mr Pitt said Police will train at different locations in future to further hone their skills.
He also briefly touched on the planned overhaul of parole laws, which aim to reduce re-offending. This change comes after the deadly siege in Melbourne this month.
In some surprise news Mr Pitt announced that the Queensland Government would fully fund the Cross River Rail project. He told Parliamentarians “this project can now be delivered with certainty”.
He said although the Federal Government continues to dither and delay, the Federal Treasurer is still welcome to offer to help out.
Mr Pitt said this is “more than a city shaping project, it is an economy shaping project”.
Early work on the $5.409 billion project will be able to kick off at the end of 2017.
The state had previously set aside $2.8 billion for Cross River Rail after earlier indicating it was prepared to start the 10.2 kilometre rail line without waiting for the Federal Government to step up.
He said Queensland’s $300 billion plus economy is growing
This is the Palaszczuk Government’s third budget. Mr Pitt admitted that Cyclone Debbie would shave around $2 billion from economic growth.
He told Parliamentarians that Primary industries, including coal and sugar, are suffering. But he also estimated that overseas exports would grow 3 to 4 per cent.
Growth in tourism forecast to continue – 5 consec quarters of growth, after sustained period of contraction
While Mr Pitt said business confidence continuing to grow, he added that the labour market is showing positive signs, but more needs to be done.