Queensland Budget 2024-25: Better-than-expected forecast for debt and deficits despite record spending

Savannah Meacham
AAP
3 Min Read
The Labor government has spent big in a bid to earn another term at the October election under Premier Steven Miles, with a 31 per cent rise in cost-of-living relief.
The Labor government has spent big in a bid to earn another term at the October election under Premier Steven Miles, with a 31 per cent rise in cost-of-living relief. Credit: JONO SEARLE/AAPIMAGE

A coal-funded budget splurge will provide Queenslanders cost-of-living relief ahead of the State election after a record population jump.

Treasurer Cameron Dick on Tuesday handed down his fifth budget which featured a $2.6 billion deficit after splashing the cash on Queenslanders who will head to the polls later this year.

The Labor government has spent big in a bid to earn another term at the October election under Premier Steven Miles, with a 31 per cent rise in cost-of-living relief.

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Mr Dick said $91 billion in overall government spending for 2024-2025 would ease the pressure on health, housing and infrastructure after an unprecedented population surge.

Queensland has had a population increase of about 144,000 since September 2023, including 88,000 from overseas.

“We’ve been going through and may still be going through the biggest influx of people that our State has ever seen,” Mr Dick said.

“Across the three years to 2023-24, Queensland’s population growth is estimated to have exceeded budget forecasts by a total of 135,500 people.”

The Government will pump an additional $3.8 billion into cost-of-living concessions off the back of coal royalty revenues, taking its total concessions to $11.2 billion.

Queensland budget books
Queensland has recorded a sunnier outlook after scrapping a number of proposals. Credit: Jono Searle/AAP

Coal royalty revenue peaked at $15.3 billion in 2022-2023 but will fall to just $6.2 billion in the forthcoming financial year.

A raft of measures designed to provide Queenslanders relief include a freeze on Government fees and charges including the cost of driver’s licenses.

Other budget highlights include $1000 off household energy bills with the Commonwealth chipping in another $300, 20 per cent off car registration and public transport being slashed to 50c for six months.

The budget will also help Queenslanders with increases to the first-home owner concession on stamp duty, with about 10,000 buyers a year set to benefit.

A $107.3 billion allocation over four years to the government’s total capital program was also unveiled, expected to support 72,000 jobs.

It boosted the Government’s total infrastructure works to $225 billion over 13 years to 2027-28.

Mr Dick said building and construction costs in the three years to March 2024 are up 31.2 per cent.

However, it will not stop the Government from investing $26 billion in the Queensland Energy and Jobs plan, with a focus on renewable and storage projects.

The government has outlined $712 million towards a high-voltage line from Townsville to the state’s northwest known as CopperString in 2024-25.

A further $936 million has been allocated for the Borumba Pumped Hydro Energy Storage and $38.5 million for early works at the Pioneer Burdekin Pumped Hydro Storage scheme that has $1 billion in equity commitment across forward estimates.

Hundreds of millions have also been allocated to wind farms and battery storage.

Health funding in 2024-25 will grow by 10.6 per cent with a $28.9 billion injection.

Nearly $2 billion will be spent to attract, retain and support health staff while $1 billion will be spent over five years on targeted services for women’s and girls’ health.

The government’s plan to build one million homes by 2047 will receive an additional $3.1 billion in funding.

A further $232.2 million in 24/25 will support housing and support for homelessness.

Overall economic growth in Queensland is expected to strengthen from 2.3 per cent to 3 per cent in 24/25, driven by export capacity before 2.5 per cent in 25/26.

General government net sector debt will come in $13 billion lower than forecasts at $60 billion with borrowings $17 billion lower at $111 billion.

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