Queensland Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review
In releasing the 2016-17 Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review (MYFER), Treasurer Curtis Pitt pointed to the Queensland’s strong performance and improved economic position, with increasing net operating surpluses and decreasing debt to revenue ratio projections in comparison with the last three budgets. Net operating surplus is expected to be $2 billion in 2016-17; up from the $970 million operating surplus in 2015-16.
Despite a state-wide drop in the jobless rate from 6.6 per cent to 6 per cent, unemployment remains a significant political issue, particularly in regional Queensland and outside the South East corner of the State. As a result, Treasurer Pitt explained “the extra initiatives outlined in MYFER are aimed at providing an enhanced response to some challenging employment conditions in Queensland”.
In an effort to stimulate jobs growth – especially in regional Queensland – the Government has released a $200 million Jobs and Regional Growth Package, as well as a $170 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund to assist private sector projects and encourage economic development and employment opportunities in regional areas facing high levels of unemployment.
Other key programs announced in the MYFER include the $200 million Works for Queensland program, and $20 million Made in Queensland state-wide manufacturing program.
Queensland’s budget position has also improved as a result of increasing coal export prices. An expanding middle class in Asia has driven a 9.2 per cent growth in international visitor nights in the year to September 2016, and a 7.9 per cent annual increase in overseas student enrolments within the State in the first nine months of 2016.
The MYFER notes that a number of ‘risks’ to the Queensland economy have materialised since the Budget was handed down in June, including the Brexit vote and US election outcome, the impact of which are as yet unclear. In delivering the MYFER today however, Treasurer Pitt said the outcomes “show we are on track for nation-leading economic growth and we are making the right investments in job-creating infrastructure and frontline services while recognising the needs of regions doing it tough as we transition to a post-mining boom economy.”
Key economic indicator forecasts:
- Real GSP growth of 4 per cent
- Unemployment at 6.25 per cent
- Total revenue of $54.953 billion and total expenditure of $52.927 billion in 2016-17
- CPI of 1.75 per cent
- Wage Price Index of 2.25 per cent
- Population growth of 1.5 per cent