Qld Treasurer Tim Nicholls
Qld Treasurer Tim Nicholls Greg Miller

Budget plans upset property industry

A MOVE to scrap the first homeowners' grant in Queensland has drawn criticism from the real estate industry a day out from the release of the state budget.

But the first-time homeowners' loss is the construction industry's gain with a $15,000 incentive on offer for purchasers of newly-constructed or off-the-plan properties.

The Queensland Government offered a glimpse of what is expected to be a very tight budget prior to its release on Tuesday.

In an attempt to drive to its four-pillar economy, the LNP will scrap the $7000 first homeowners' grant and replace it with the $15,000 grant for homes up to $750,000 from September 12.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the First Home Owner Construction Grant would provide a much needed confidence boost to the construction sector.

"The property and construction sector is one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy and one the Newman Government is supporting through real and direct action," Mr Nicholls said.

But the Real Estate Institute of Queensland said Office of State Revenue figures showed only 24% of first home buyers opted to buy a new home when the current grant scheme was in play during the global financial crisis.

"The main reason for this is that new homes are usually too expensive for first-time buyers and are often located in outlying suburbs where young people do not necessarily want to live," REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said.

Health will also see a significant boost this year with an increase of $816 million to be outlined in the budget.

Part of the sector's funding will go towards doubling the rebate for rural and remote patients who need to travel long distances for specialist treatment.

The Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme accommodation subsidy will increase from $30 to $60 per night per person and the mileage subsidy will double from 15 cents to 30 cents per kilometre.

The budget also will reveal 14,000 public service positions will be axed, down from the original 20,000 job loss prediction.

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