2022-23 Queensland Budget Analysis

Budget overview
The Queensland Government delivered a budget indicating that they are focused on three priorities: more jobs in more industries; delivering better services; and protecting the Queensland lifestyle.

The Queensland government is keen to spruik there post-COVID-19 recovery through highlighting faster economic growth (state final demand up 7.8% since March 2020), stronger jobs recovery (up 206,000 since March 2020) and increased workforce participation (up 5.6% since May 2020).

There is a strong emphasis on increased retail trade (retail turnover up by 26% since February 2020), an increased net operating surplus 2021–22 ($1.9 billion), faster business investment growth than the rest of Australia (up 10.7% over the past year) and faster merchandise export growth than any other state or territory (up $41.6 billion over the past year).

Economic circumstances
The Budget incorporates a public sector wage policy of 2.5% increases, and points to this being higher than the Brisbane CPI increases for the period 2015-16 to 2020-21. Maintaining this wages policy will be challenging with more substantial real cost increases and forecast cost increases that are higher for the period ahead.

Queensland has outperformed other states during the recovery from COVID-19, with the economy 7.8% larger than it was prior to the pandemic. A key driver of this growth has been net migration, with 54,500 people choosing to call Queensland home between June 2020 and September 2021. This has been a factor in the increased employment growth, with an extra 206,000 people in employment in Queensland since March 2020, and unemployment has dropped to 4.0%, and a participation rate of 67.2%.

While the budget points to historically low rates of unemployment, insecure employment remains, and more working Australians continue to be engaged as independent contractors or casuals, with minimal employment protections or access to pay increases, the number of hours of work that they want and core employment conditions. The Budget predicts economic growth over 2021-22 to be 3%, 1% higher than 2020-21, and then grow at 2.75% for the remainder of the forward estimates. The Queensland Budget predicts that unemployment will stay between 4 – 4.25% up until 2025-26.

The Budget acknowledges ongoing supply-chain risks and the uncertainty, and some known price increases due to the conflict in Ukraine and because of a zero-COVID-19 policy in China. The Budget forecasts expenses to be less than revenue growth over the 4 years. It is predicted that the surge in prices of coal and oil will not remain at their current levels and the current net surplus of $1.9 billion will fall into a slight net deficit in 2022-23 and 2023-24, returning to surplus after that.

The Budget forecasts net debt to grow from $11.39 billion today to $39.21 billion by 2025-26. Professionals Australia continues to call for strategic investment in emerging knowledge-based industries, investment in residential construction and civil infrastructure, and to invest heavily in STEM industries, health and allied health services, education, and professions which will have lasting positive economic effects.
Cost of living has become a dominated issue for people in Queensland, dealing with increased inflation, increasing interest rates and increased fuel, gas and electricity costs. The global factors and events, including COVID-related disruptions to supply chains account for much of the increase in inflation alongside the ongoing crises in the Ukraine. The impacts of floods have also affected some prices, and housing costs and shortages are at sustained highs. Professionals Australia continue to call for greater Investment in social housing construction which would drive employment and improve community outcomes.

So, what was in the budget?

• $6.8 billion in concessions for Queenslanders in 2022–23, including an automatic $175 Cost-of-Living Rebate to help manage electricity costs (over the past 4 years $575 has been paid in dividends through electricity bill rebates to households).
• $1.3 billion in 2022–23 in energy concessions to provide affordable power to households and businesses.
• $1.9 billion over 4 years to boost housing supply and increase housing and homelessness support delivering 7,400 new dwelling commencements across Queensland.
• $29.8 million over 4 years and $10 million per year ongoing to support initiatives to address youth homelessness.
• $541.3 million in 2022–23 for government managed housing rental rebates, supporting approximately 54,700 low-income households.
• $2.1 billion in 2022–23 in general transport concessions for bus, rail and ferry services. • Up to $590 in school textbook and resources allowance.

Professionals Australia remains committed to investment in residential construction and civil infrastructure including road and rail projects which are critical for ongoing growth.

Queensland is undertaking the biggest capital program investment since 2010 which will see $59.1 billion spent over 4 years, which is expected to support 48,000 jobs.

So, what was in the budget?

• $59.1 billion capital program over the next 4 years including: o $48 million towards pumped hydro energy storage projects. o $68.5 million over 5 years to implement the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan.

o $50 million over 2 years to support Queensland manufacturers.
o $39.1 million to support small business growth.
o $3.5 million over 3 years for the continuation of the Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program.
o $13.8 million increased funding over 6 years towards the Far North Queensland film studio.

• $200 million over 3 years to increase the Catalyst Infrastructure Fund as well as a new Growth Acceleration Fund to unlock development and support the delivery of trunk infrastructure and increase the supply of housing in priority development areas.

The Queensland Budget will deliver:

• 63.3 per cent, of this capital program will be invested outside of the Greater Brisbane region, supporting around 31,100 jobs.
• A $7.3 billion transport capital spend across all of Queensland including $199.5 million towards priority regional water infrastructure projects including Cairns Water Security Program, Hughenden Water Bank, Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, the Mount Morgan Pipeline and $70 million for the Townsville Connection Road, Bowen Road bridge duplication.
• A $60 million aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Rockhampton Airport to support close to 100 new operational jobs by 2024 and at least 16 local traineeships and apprenticeships.
• $5.7 million over 3 years to fund a new future industries development hub at the Mackay Resources Centre of Excellence.
Members of Professionals Australia are on the front line of delivering change in response to a changing climate as we represent engineers, scientists and other professionals. Queensland is taking steps to see a net zero emissions economy and to capitalise on the benefits that can bring.

So, what was in the budget?

• Investment in renewable energy, includes Powerlink’s $170 million agreement with Acciona and CleanCo to connect the MacIntyre Wind Farm in the Darling Downs to the electricity grid, $192.5 million for Stanwell to acquire a 50 per cent equity stake in the Wambo Wind Farm near Dalby and $28.9 million for CS Energy’s Kogan Renewable Hydrogen Project near Chinchilla, including $15 million for the demonstration plant.
• Through Seqwater and Sunwater, the Queensland Government is delivering additional water supply where it is needed, fortifying the flood resilience of water infrastructure and ensuring the ongoing safety and reliability of dams including continued construction of the $367.2 million Rookwood Weir, the $125.4 million Mount Crosby Flood Resilience Program and $95.2 million South West Pipeline project, as well as delivery of the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline estimated at more than $300 million. $54.2 million will also be invested in 2022–23 for planning and early works on improvements to Paradise, Burdekin Falls, Somerset and Lake Macdonald Dams.
• $5 million from its $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund to support SeaLink Marine & Tourism in developing this emerging transport option for the local community.
• $2.8 million to deliver the final tranche of the Government Science Platform.
Queensland suffered multiple devastating floods in 2022 affecting more than half the state.

This was the result of record rainfall. The estimated cost of recovery and reconstruction will be more than $3 billion over 5 years while there will be broader economic and social impacts of the floods. 66 of Queensland’s 77 local government areas required State and Commonwealth disaster funding. $22 million has been distributed to over 96,000 people.

Lower-income earners without insurance, can access up to $50,000 to make their homes safe and secure. Businesses, non-profit organisations and sporting clubs, have received $558.5 million in grants. $30 million is open for councils to assist with clean-up of their regions. A further $721 million in jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments to address recovery needs for impacted communities and $741 million for homeowners to bolster resilience across 37 council areas.
• $262.5 million towards protected area investment and management of ecosystems, natural resources and habitats.
• $291.8 million for resource recovery initiatives.
• Almost $40 million to help protect Queensland’s native animals at risk across South East Queensland, including $24.6 million to support the South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy 2020–2025.
• $3 million to provide wongari (dingo) fencing at Orchid Beach on K'gari (Fraser Island) to protect visitors and residents.
Professionals Australia is a long-term advocate for investment increased and ongoing investment in science and technology so that our community can meet and succeed with the challenges of the future.

So, what was in the budget?

• $3.3 million over 4 years to support the implementation of several key initiatives including the Queensland Future Skills for All program (to assist industry, businesses and individuals seeking to enter, upskill and reskill in autonomous technologies fields) and to develop pathways into higher education courses for those interested in pursuing a career in automation.
• $40 million over 2 years to continue the Made in Queensland program supporting the manufacturing sector to become more internationally competitive, increase productivity and adopt new processes and technologies.
• $7.5 million over 5 years to support the Queensland Battery Industry Development Strategy, continuing the Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services Collaborative Project Fund and the Accelerator Program.
Professionals Australia has consistently advocated for investment in skills development and ongoing reskilling and training due to the rapid pace of technological change and to provide long term, secure jobs as Australia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022–23 Queensland Budget seeks to underpin more jobs in industries such as renewable energy, new economy minerals, advanced manufacturing, biomedical technology, agriculture, tourism and education services, and creative and design industries.

So, what was in the budget?

• $19.6 billion in 2022–23 for education and training including TAFE services across Queensland.
• $1.2 billion increased funding for new schools and new and upgraded infrastructure in existing schools.
• $40 million over 5 years to improve school travel safety in and around Queensland schools and drop-off zones.
Health has dominated increased expenditure due to COVID-19. Professionals Australia continues to advocate on the important role that Pharmacists play in the health system in particular the ongoing poor pay and conditions and need for further investment. The Budget provides a record $23.6 billion in 2022–23 and $9.785 billion capital boost to the health system over 6 years.

So, what was in the budget?

• $22.3 billion in 2022–23 for health and ambulance services, supporting thousands of frontline jobs, this is an additional $6.784 billion over 4 years for health and ambulance services and an additional $1.645 billion over 5 years for mental health services, funded by a new mental health levy and will support thousands of additional frontline staff including doctors, nurses and paramedics.
• 2,200 additional overnight beds across 15 facilities over the next 6 years.
• $28.5 million in capital funding to support the Better Care Together plan for mental health, alcohol and other drug services.
• $943.5 million over 7 years to upgrade infrastructure in rural and remote areas.
• $333.7 million over 10 years to support the Royal Flying Doctors Service and $60.3 million for the Queensland Regional Aeromedical Hub. • $73.9 million towards critical Queensland ambulance infrastructure projects.
• Up to $40 million to provide free influenza vaccinations for all Queenslanders up to 30 June 2022.
• $750 million to build the Queensland Cancer Centre at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.
• $35.5 million to support the $80 million expansion of the Translational Research Institute.
Professionals Australia has consistently called for reform and investment that addresses the gender wage gap, low female representation in senior managerial levels, workplace discrimination and sexual harassment and support for women in STEM careers.

So, what was in the budget?

• $363 million over 5 years and $61.3 million ongoing as part of the Queensland Government response to the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, Hear her voice – Report one – Addressing coercive control and domestic and family violence in Queensland, for system-wide reform and criminalising coercive control this includes:

o $19.2 million over 4 years for specialist domestic, family and sexual violence support services and programs for women in custody.
o $49.1 million over 4 years to undertake enhancements to Queensland Courthouses at Toowoomba, Cairns, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Maroochydore, Caboolture, Mackay and Ipswich, to improve safety for victims of domestic and family violence including coercive control when attending courts.