STATE BUDGET: Strong plan for brighter future

THE 2014-15 State Budget has been handed down, outlining the Government’s strong plan for a brighter future.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls released the budget and separate Draft Plan of Action on Tuesday aimed at reducing the $80 billion state debt and $4 billion interest bill.

Mr Nicholls said the main message from Queenslanders was clear: they supported strong action to reduce the debt as a priority.


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More than 70,000 Queenslanders had their say on the debt challenge through the Strong Choices campaign, with more than 55,000 submitting their own People’s Budgets.

As promised, no increased taxes or service cuts were announced, instead a series of asset transactions have been proposed to help return the state to a surplus of $862 million by 2015-16.

The Draft Plan of Action details the desire to sell or lease $33.6 billion in public assets after the next election with three-quarters of the expected proceeds – $25 billion – to be used to pay down the State debt to $55 billion.

The remaining quarter of the proceeds – around $8.6 billion – will be put towards the new Strong Choices Investment Program, a suite of new infrastructure and investment funds designed to build more schools, hospitals, roads and other vital infrastructure during the next six years.

Funding for state Health will increase by more than 6 per cent to $13.6 billion, while Education will receive a 7 per cent increase to $11.8 billion.

The Gold Coast received a boost of $160 million for continued planning and venue development for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

A further $11 million was announced for the redevelopment of the Gold Coast Turf Club into the new home of the Gold Coast Show and $14 million was allocated to demolish and sell off the old Gold Coast Hospital in Southport.

Meanwhile, close to $120 million was confirmed for the Smith Street upgrade and $38 million to the widening of the M1 between Worongary and Mudgeeraba.

An extra $406 million will also be spent over five years for child protection, family support and early intervention across the state.

– ASSETS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR SALE OR LESS INCLUDE –

  • Private sector investment: Electricity networks (Powerlink, Energex, Ergon Energy – excluding retail business)
  • Long-term lease: Integrated Port of Townsville and Mt Isa Rail Line; Port of Gladstone
  • Sale: Ergon Energy retail business; SunWater industrial pipelines business; electricity generation businesses (Stanwell Corporation, CS Energy); and other non-core business functions such as a coal mine.

– STRONG CHOICES INVESTMENT PROGRAM TO INCLUDE – 

  • Rural and Regional Roads Fund, $1.5 billion
  • South East Queensland Roads Fund, $1.5 billion
  • Public Transport Rail Infrastructure Fund, $1 billion
  • Bus and Train Project, $1 billion
  • Future Schools Fund, $1 billion
  • Rural and Regional Economic Development Fund, $700 million
  • Local Government Co-Investment Fund, $500 million
  • Future Fund (Natural Disasters), $500 million
  • Entrepreneurial and Innovation Fund, $500 million
  • Community Hospitals Fund, $300 million
  • Cultural Infrastructure Fund, $100 million.

The Draft Plan for Action can be read online or downloaded at www.StrongChoices.qld.gov.au.

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