The State’s Treasurer concedes there will have to be significant belt-tightening with the Queensland budget taking a $4 billion hit due to coronavirus.
But Jackie Trad is adamant that public service workers won’t be in the firing line.
The Treasurer was due to hand down the State Budget today, but that has been delayed indefinitely because of coronavirus.
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She has promised a budget will be handed down before the State election in October.
“Absolutely our intention is to present to the Queensland people a full set of financial accounts, that’s what’s expected of us and that’s what we will do,” Ms Trad said.
The forecast $189 million surplus has already been wiped out and the State’s debt levels are set to grow even higher.
Ms Trad says it’s difficult at this stage to put a figure on the full impact of coronavirus, but the State’s revenues will take a massive hit.
“People are spending money on things that don’t have a GST on them which means that our GST revenues are going to go down.
“We know that in terms of transfer duties, people aren’t buying houses right now, they are protecting what they have and not entering the market and that’s going to have an impact in terms of the transfer duties.
“So we will see a downturn in revenues, at this stage we believe it’s in the vicinity of $4 billion, but we know that there’s a lot more time in this financial year yet to play out.”
The Treasurer concedes the State will have to borrow more money to get us through the crisis.
“We are funding our (stimulus) package through a combination of savings and through debt.
“The $320 billion that the Commonwealth has announced is all going to be debt-funded and lets be clear, other States are out there and they are looking at what they need to do in order to support their State economies and Queensland’s no different.”
Ms Trad insists they are not looking at trimming Queensland’s ever-growing public service sector as a way of helping the budget bottom line.
“In the five years that we have been in government we have not retrenched public servants and we know governments should not be adding to the unemployment queue at this stage.
“We are absolutely focussed on getting people back into work as soon as possible and getting businesses back open as soon as possible.
“We have got a commitment around jobs in the public service so we are not looking at retrenchments.”