Continuing with Labor’s election theme of creating ‘Jobs for Queensland’, Treasurer Hon Curtis Pitt MP handed down the Queensland State Budget on 13 June 2017 with a high-spending mandate focused on employment and infrastructure.

The headline takeaways from the Budget are:

  • A net operating surplus of $2.8 billion in 2016-17;
  • A relatively small operating surplus of $146 million for 2017-18 (Cyclone Debbie is estimated to cause a $1.1. billion hit on the State’s bottom line);
  • Economic growth of 2.75 percent to continue from 2016-17 to 2017-18;
  • Retention of AA+ credit rating by S&P Global and Aa1 rating by Moody’s Investor Services;
  • $42.75 billion capital works expenditure over four years, including a $10+ billion program in 2017-18. and
  • $13.7 billion investment in education, a 6.4% increase on last year.

At the heart of this Budget is substantial spending in both metropolitan and regional areas, as the Labor government seeks to ensure support ahead of the next State election widely tipped to be called for November 2017. Infrastructure projects, reducing unemployment, a first-rate health service system, and a quality education framework are the key areas of spending in this Budget.

Unlike the budgets of other States, no new taxes on small or mid-sized business were introduced, with the view of maintaining the decade-high small business confidence. Further, the Budget provides a continual financial support framework for the 2020 Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy.

Further, the Budget has focused on maintaining a competitive tax status against other States and Territories, with the goal of attracting individuals and businesses to Queensland from interstate, especially from New South Wales and Victoria. With that in mind, Queensland per capita State tax is estimated at $2,691 in 2017-18, compared to an average of $3,534 for the other States and Territories, providing a great opportunity for growth in Queensland.