Trad reveals surplus smaller than forecast
THE public service razor gang has saved the Palaszczuk Government from falling into deficit after falling coal prices and GST payments took a $879 million chunk out the state's Budget.
Treasurer Jackie Trad handed down the Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review, revealing an expected $189 million surplus in 2019-20 had fallen to $151 million as the state took on an extra $1 billion in debt by bringing forward spends on road infrastructure.
It came as softening coal prices saw a $677 million reduction in royalties and a further $202 million reduction in GST payments expected from the Commonwealth.
The Government also took a $291 million whack to revenue after it agreed to relax a new land tax on foreign-owned companies it announced in the June Budget that had been set to earn $540 million over four years.
Ms Trad said she had listened to industry concerns around how it would hamper some businesses.
Ongoing drought and the impact of the US and China trade war on China's economy was also hampering the Queensland economy as growth was revised down from 3 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Unemployment is also set to remain higher at 6.25 per cent.
However, the razor gang set up in June's Budget to claw back $200 million in savings this year actually managed to make $700 million this year and is on track to save $1.4 billion over four years.
Ms Trad said slashing the daily rate Government's were able to pay consultants by 10 per cent and recouping overpayments on Commonwealth taxes was helping make the savings, revealing the Government had, in some cases, not been claiming a GST exemption on land it was buying.
"This is a team of people who are dedicated to finding efficiencies and better ways of spending Queensland taxpayer funds," Ms Trad said.
Meanwhile, the Treasurer revealed a new $5 billion Future Fund to pay down debt, revealed by The Courier-Mail today, was anticipated to earn up to $400 million a year.
"It depends on how quickly we can grow the fund," she said to questions on how much debt it could wipe out.
"I'm hoping will not only pay interest but also pay down principal."
Questioned on collapsing coal prices, Ms Trad said she had already promised to freeze royalties for a year and was still working on a regional infrastructure fund to be part funded by Government and mining companies.