Queensland Budget tackles cost of living and healthcare

In good news for older Australians, healthcare and cost-of-living relief are the winners in the Queensland budget announced yesterday, but it will come at a cost to the state’s debt levels.

Premier Steven Miles announced the government had allocated an extra $4.39 billion to healthcare over four years in the 2024-25 Budget.

The healthcare injection will take Queensland Health’s overall budget to $26.71 billion, or a 10.6 per cent increase in funding.

Other cost-of-living relief for residents includes $1000 energy rebates, 50c transport fares, a 20 per cent discount on car registration, and $200 sports vouchers.

About 205,000 eligible small businesses will also have $650 taken off their power bills, co-funded by the Queensland and federal governments. 

The government will also introduce a freeze on all government fees and charges

Critics call the budget a crowd-pleaser as Premier Miles faces an election later this year and is trailing badly in the polls.

However, Premier Miles told the Today show the healthcare increase was part of badly needed cost of living relief.

Biggest support package

“That’s the biggest support package, the biggest cost of living package, not just in Queensland, but of any Australian government ever. It’s about $11 billion… this is what Queenslanders said to me,” he said.

“They wanted a budget that would deliver for them. And that’s what this budget is all about.”

The car registrations cover all light vehicle registrations, including trailers and motorbikes and will be held at that level for 12 months.

“This initiative will save the 5.7 million light car owners here in Queensland hundreds of dollars over the 12 months – dollars that could be spent on groceries, rent, the mortgage, or put into savings,” Mr Miles said at a press conference on Saturday.”

However, things are looking gloomy for property investors. Land tax will also be increased from 2 to 3 per cent from June 30, a move estimated to generate an extra $330 million over four years.

Land tax revenue is projected to grow by 23 per cent in 2024-25 to $2.5 billion, largely driven by increases in property prices

The government’s increased spending brings increased debt, with the forecast amount rising from $122 billion to $124.7 billion.

In comparison, the state recorded a net operating surplus of $564 million in 2023-24.

Return to surplus

Mr Miles said his government planned to return to surplus in three to four years and pointed out this was much less than NSW and Victoria’s debt.

“This leaves us with far lower debt than comparable states, far, far lower than New South Wales and Victoria,” Mr Miles said.

“So this is a responsible way of supporting Queensland households who are struggling right now with that high inflation and high interest rates.”

Another relevant funding measure for older Australians includes $129 million to fund 268 ambulance roles, including 188 jobs in the frontline.

Other Budget winners were:

  • $1.28 billion for the Community Safety Plan for Queensland, a program to tackle crime and the root causes of crime.
  • $107.262 billion for Big Build infrastructure program
  • $500 million for the Putting Queensland Kids First strategy, for children’s health and welfare
  • Eligibility for the first home concession will be extended to homes with a dutiable value up to $800,000 (up from $550,000 currently).
  • Up to $200 in vouchers to help Queensland children and young people aged between five and 17 years to participate in sport and active recreation activities.

Opposition LNP Member for Mudgeeraba Ros Bates told the ABC the cost-of-living pledges should be viewed with “cynicism” but confirmed if the LNP takes power at the next election it will continue with the Budget funding promises.

“We will support the measures in the Budget, anything that will help everyday Queenslanders with cost of living,” she said.

“The LNP will continue to focus on driving down electricity prices, water, for insurances rising we’re seeing rising because of youth crime.”

What do you think of the budget? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section

Also read: How long will you wait for Centrelink payments?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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