The Queensland Government’s controversial coal royalty system has contributed to an enormous $12.3 billion in revenue and a record surplus, giving the State’s budget the vitality it needs to tackle a range of cost of living issues.
Delivering his fourth budget to parliament, Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick announced an $8.2 billion cost of living relief program, including $550 electricity rebates for households (more for vulnerable households); $650 electricity rebates for small businesses; as well as an additional investment of $645 million over four years for free kindergarten for all four-year-olds.
The Government also plans to inject $322 million into the housing market to build 500 social homes, in an effort to ease the housing crisis.
This year’s surplus is the largest ever recorded across Australian states and territories.
“We can deliver our state’s biggest cost-of-living program, our state’s biggest building program and deliver lower debt for one simple reason: progressive coal royalties,” the Treasurer said.
The Government also announced $120 million for round three of the Resources Community Infrastructure Fund (RCIF). The fund is focused on assisting organisations with the constructin of community infrastructure in coal producing regions like Isaac, Central Highlands, Banana, Western Downs, and the Whitsunday local government areas.
“It’s imperative that we put back into those coal producing communities that have played such an important role in Queensland’s economic strength for so long,” the Treasurer said.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) – among others in the industry – has been staunchly opposed to the coal royalty system since its inception, arguing that it would hurt investment in Queensland.
QRC chief executive officer Ian Macfarlane reacted to the budget.
“If the Government wants the resources sector to be able continue to provide that support into the future, it needs policies that encourage investment to maintain a stable pipeline of projects in the years and decades to come,” he said.