Backing North Queensland jobs and infrastructure was the focus of Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad’s Budget address today to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Townsville.
“This is a Budget built for regional Queensland that delivers the investment, infrastructure, jobs and frontline services Townsville and North Queensland need for a dynamic future,” Ms Trad said.
“During 2019-20, the Palaszczuk Government will invest almost $1 billion in infrastructure for the North and support an estimated 3,200 local jobs.
“Townsville has had more than its share of adversity and natural disasters in recent times; the 2019-20 Budget charts a path to recovery and economic growth.
“The Palaszczuk Government understands the importance of local businesses to the Townsville economy, that’s why we’ve increased the payroll tax-free threshold for North Queensland business.
“Our $885 million Payroll Tax Package will help build capacity for an estimated 500 North Queensland businesses to take on additional workers and grow.
“Since the Palaszczuk Government’s election in 2015, around 207,000 new jobs have been created across the state, and there are more to come.”
“Work on the construction of the $290 million, 25,000-seat Townsville Stadium is continuing and supporting 250 jobs per year ahead of its opening for the Cowboys’ 2020 NRL campaign.
“Apart from setting the Cowboys up for League domination, Townsville Stadium will also be the catalyst for the once-in-a generation urban renewal of Townsville’s inner city and waterfront”
“We’ve worked hard to restore frontline services cut under the previous LNP Government – since 2015 we have delivered 145 more nurses, 120 additional doctors, 144 new teachers and 37 extra teacher aids for this region”.
Other highlights of this year’s Budget include:
- $1 billion in delivering better health services in Townsville
- Almost $40 million to maintain and improve local schools
- More than $236 million in local government grant to support recovery and reconstruction
- $225 million to address water security and support the recommendations of the Townsville Water Security Taskforce; and
- More than 193 million to upgrade capacity at the Townsville Channel to boost trade at the port.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Palaszczuk Government recognised the critical role the resources sector played in the delivery of jobs, economic growth and exports.
“The Port of Townsville is the biggest working port in northern Australia and is crucial to getting our North West Minerals Province, sugar and fertiliser exports to market,” Mr Stewart said.
“Almost $194 million will be spent on widening the port’s shipping channels and creating 120 full-time jobs.
“Wider channels mean bigger ships and more export potential.
“The Palaszczuk Government will also invest $30 million over two years to boost the capacity of containerised freight on the Mt Isa rail line for quicker train to ship transfers and build on the region’s strengths.”
Member for Mundingburra, Minister for Communities and Minister for Disability Services and Seniors Coralee O’Rourke said the Budget had delivered on the Government’s commitments.
“As we said we would at the last election, the Budget will deliver an $8.2 million instalment for a second digital subtraction angiography machine and an additional MRI unit at Townsville Hospital,” Minister O’Rourke said.
“We’ve also honoured our election commitments for three additional domestic violence coordinators and more than $4 million for The Oasis to support ex-Defence Force personnel and their families.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the Budget would help to address long-term water security for Townsville.
“The Palaszczuk Government is demonstrating its commitment to a secure water supply for Townsville with $225 million to support the recommendations of the Townsville Water Security Taskforce,” Mr Harper said.
“Just as important as a reliable water supply is our pledge to improve road safety on the Bruce Highway, including stage five of the duplication of the Townsville Ring Road.
“Road widening for a safer Bruce Highway will continue with works underway between Deep and Bluewater creeks along with $108 million for significant flood mitigation on the Haughton River Floodplain.”