Yesterday, The Hon. Cameron Dick handed down his second Queensland State Budget as Treasurer, delivering significant spending for health, education and infrastructure to deal with the State’s growing population.

Queensland’s net debt is expected to be $24.7b in 2021-22, almost $10b lower than forecasted in Queensland’s delayed December budget. The Government created a net saving through revaluation of the Queensland Titles Registry, which has been revised up from $4b to $7.8b.

With the State’s unemployment rate declining, employment is forecasted to grow by 2.25% in 2021-22, improving the unemployment rate to 5.75% June quarter 2022. Mr Dick estimates that Queensland’s economy will be back to a surplus of $153m by 2024-25.

Key highlights

  • $22.2b for healthcare, including a $2b Hospital Building Fund.
  • $18.3b for education and training, which includes $1.4b to open new schools in 2023 and 2024, and $202.9m over four years for universal access to kindergarten.
  • $14.7b infrastructure investment in 2021–22, including a $1b Housing Investment Fund, and another $1.9b over four years to increase housing and homelessness support across Queensland.
  • Establishment of a $3.34b Queensland Jobs Fund, including a $350m Industry Partnership Program and $1.5b Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund (expanding on last year’s $500m Renewable Energy Fund).
  • $1.5b allocated for the construction of the Brisbane’s $6.9b Cross River Rail project.
  • $320m over four years for the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative (building on the $430m allocated in previous budgets).
  • $300m Path to Treaty Fund to fulfil the government’s response to the Treaty Advancement Committee report, expected to be later in 2021.
  • $156.1m for the Queensland Police Service in 2021–22 and $60m for the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
  • $60.5m for Domestic Violence support.
  • $33.9m to support Queensland’s tourism industry.

The 2021-2022 Queensland Budget contains no new or increased taxes, with the Queensland Government continuing to claim that Queensland remains a low-tax state. However, Queensland does continue to have one of the highest stamp duty rates nationally, one of the broadest bases for foreign surcharges and continues to impose duty on transfers of businesses.

The primary driver of revenue in the Budget is expected to be through an increase in economic activity triggering transfer duty and payroll tax in line with improving employment and business conditions, rather than an increase in the rate of these taxes.

Payroll Tax

The Queensland Government witnessed a decline in payroll tax revenue in the last financial year, reflecting the substantial payroll tax relief measures that were implemented to support businesses in response to COVID-19. This included payroll tax refunds, payment holidays and deferrals for eligible businesses, as well as a payroll tax exemption for JobKeeper payments.

The 2021-22 Budget is extending measures implemented in the 2020-21 Budget to provide relief through payroll tax by extending the 50% payroll tax rebate for trainees and apprentices until 30 June 2022, with the view to boosting youth employment and businesses who employ trainees and apprentices.

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