2017-18 Queensland Budget

13 June 2017
Third Palaszczuk Budget focuses on infrastructure and jobs

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt this afternoon handed down the State Budget, seeking to frame the Government’s economic credentials in advance of the next election and unveiling a net operating surplus of $2.8 billion in 2016-17. The Budget puts forward a politically cautious agenda, focusing on new infrastructure spending, jobs in the regions, and limited cuts to Government programs. In his address to Parliament, the Treasurer was upbeat about the state of the Queensland economy, saying “In short, confidence has made a comeback.”The Government has committed to fully funding the construction of the Cross River Rail project, with a commitment of $1.95 billion over the forward estimates – in addition to the $850 million already committed – so that early works can start by the end of 2017. The Treasurer criticised the Federal Government for refusing to fund the “economy-shaping project”, saying “Queenslanders will not forget.”

The Treasurer acknowledged the economic impact of Cyclone Debbie, which is expected to shave around $2 billion from economic growth over the 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years. The Budget sets out an estimated actual growth rate (GSP) of 2.75 per cent in 2016-17, and outlines a $42.75 billion capital works program over the four-year forward estimates.

With next year’s election expected to be fought in regional Queensland, the Budget sets out $4.8 billion in infrastructure spending for key regional centres, including Mackay and Townsville. The Government has also pledged a $386 million boost for energy investment – including clean energy projects – in the State’s north, in a plan expected to create up to 5,000 jobs. Additional regional spending includes $225 million to address water security for Townsville and $176 million for a Cairns Convention Centre expansion.

Once again signalling the proximity of the 2018 State Election, vehicle registration increases will be capped at 3.5 per cent and the Government’s $20,000 First Home Owners’ Grant will be extended by six months until 31 December 2017. The Government will also provide $770 million to fund the Solar Bonus Scheme to avoid these costs being passed on to consumers, along with a $400 million boost to concessions to ease pressure on household budgets. Harking back to Labor values, the Government has committed $1.8 billion to funding 5,500 social housing and affordable homes over the next decade.

The Opposition, in its initial response, has focused on an under spend on infrastructure and questioned the Government’s infrastructure and economic credentials.

  • A net operating surplus of $2.8 billion in 2016-17, reducing to $146 million 2017-18 and $117 million in 2018-19
  • In 2017-18, General Government debt is expected to be more than $14 billion lower than forecast in the 2014-15 Budget
  • Annual economic growth forecast of 2.75 per cent in 2017-18, increasing to 3 per cent over the forward estimates
  • Employment growth forecast of 1 per cent in 2017-18 increasing to 1.5 percent in 2018-19
  • Unemployment currently stands at 6.25 per cent and is projected to fall to 6 per cent in 2018-19
  • Queensland’s population is continuing to grow at a rate of 1.25 per cent
  • Queensland will raise $2,691 per person in state-based taxes in 2017-18, compared with an average of $3,534 in other states.



  • $197 million over the next five years from the implementation of more effective and efficient revenue management services
  • $88 million over the next four years from a new 1.5 per cent land tax surcharge on absentee land tax payers if the value of their taxable land is $350,000 or higher


Economic Development, Jobs, Transport, Infrastructure, Energy and Resources

The 2017-18 State Budget allocates significant funding towards roads, transport and economic growth projects in the regions. Key initiatives include:

  • $1.95 billion additional funding for Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project
  • $386 million to diversify North Queensland’s energy supply
  • $120 million for the Trinity Inlet dredging plan in Cairns
  • $75 million for channel widening at the Port of Townsville
  • $27.5 million to expand the Back to Work employment program into South East Queensland
  • $15 million to upgrade the Whitsunday airport runway
  • $15 million to develop 10-year Priority Industry Roadmaps and action plans for emerging and priority sectors


The Queensland health budget will grow to a record $16.6 billion in 2017-18 new measures include:

  • $728 million additional funding in 2020-21 to support the ongoing growth in demand for health and ambulance services
  • $208 million to upgrade health and supporting infrastructure in rural and regional Queensland
  • $68 million for a new adolescent mental health facility and expanded mental health services
  • $31.5 million over eight years to manage and implement the delivery stage of the Herston Quarter Redevelopment Project

Housing, Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

The Government has placed significant focus on support for the vulnerable, public housing and reducing cost-of-living pressures in this budget. Key initiatives include:

  • $1.8 billion over ten years to construct an additional 5,500 social housing and affordable dwellings.
  • $770 million to reduce electricity prices by subsidising the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme
  • $400 million to increase concessions across a range of government programs (bringing the total spend on concessions to $5.3 billion)
  • $200 million over four years for an extra 292 child safety workers
  • $82.4 million over three years for community services workers award wage increases
  • $64.3 million additional funding in 2020-21 for the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Law and Order

Significant additional resources have been announced in the areas of justice, policing and counter-terrorism, including:

  • $265 million to overhaul the probation and parole system to enable tougher supervision of parolees
  • $44 million for an additional 30 counter-terrorism officers, 20 Police officers and 20 Rapid Action and Patrol Group officers
  • $46.7 million over three years to construct a counter-terrorism facility at Wacol, which will include indoor firearms ranges, a scenario village and specialist training areas
  • $22.7 million over four years to reinstate the Drug Court in Brisbane
  • $18 million towards the Action on Ice strategy

Education and Training 

The Government is allocating record funding of $13.7 billion towards the education portfolio, new measures include:

  • $500 million over five years to build two new high schools in the inner-city suburbs of Fortitude Valley and West End and expand a primary school at West End as part of the Building Future Schools Fund
  • $200 million in additional funding to build fit for purpose learning environments that support educational outcomes
  • $150 million over three years from 2018-19 for investment in teacher attraction
  • $56.9 million over three years to ensure students from the smaller cohort of prep in 2007 can access senior secondary subjects
  • $25.3 million to implement the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-26
  • $10 million over two years for the Regional Skills Adjustment Strategy to support unemployed individuals to develop employability skills

Tourism, Major Events, Racing and Small Business

The Government is allocating $1.5 billion to deliver the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018, other initiatives include:

  • $176 million to upgrade the Cairns Convention Centre
  • $47 million in 2020-21 for Tourism and Events Queensland
  • $40 million over two years to revitalise national parks and enhance nature based tourism
  • $9.4 million in new funding to upgrade the Sciencentre at the Queensland Museum
  • $6 million for a Country and Regional Capital Works Program for all three racing codes

Environment, Land, Water and Planning

The budget allocates funding to measures including protection of the Great Barrier Reef, fisheries management and biosecurity:

  • $88.5 million new funding over five years to deliver the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Program
  • $20 million over three years to implement reforms to the management of Queensland’s fisheries
  • $20 million additional funding in 2017-18 for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme
  • $17.6 additional funding for the biosecurity response to White Spot Disease in prawns
  • $9 million over two years to continue the Government’s emergency response to white spot disease

Treasury and Finance

Key initiatives in the Treasury and Finance portfolio, effective 1 July 2017 include:

  • $30 million to extend the First Home Owners’ Grant temporary increase from $15,000 to $20,000 for a further six months until 31 December 2017
  • $12 million to continue the payroll tax rebate on the wages of apprentices and trainees at the increased rate of 50% until 30 June 2018



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