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Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions

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QEAS Business Update: Queensland Budget 2020-21

Earlier this year the 2020-21 Queensland Budget was cancelled due to the extremely difficult task of framing a budget with the uncertainty of COVID-19’s impact on State revenues. The freshly minted State Treasurer, the Hon Cameron Dick, has released his first Queensland Budget.

As I have stated on a number of occasions it is difficult to be overly critical of any Government in Australia at present due to the extraordinary circumstances related to COVID-19. However this is not a reason to not hold them to account.  And holding them to account in this environment is a tricky business.

With an unprecedented context, historical comparisons are not really useful.  What may prove to be the best accountability is contrasting the deterioration in Queensland’s financial position against our largest rival for business investment - NSW. However, dollar with dollar comparisons with NSW are not appropriate as their budget is significantly larger. Accordingly I have instead compared Queensland against NSW on a range of metrics as a percentage of gross state product.

Key takeaways from this budget are record deficits due to reduced revenue and increased expenditure, record debt levels and a decade high in infrastructure spend.  All of these were alluded to in the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 Fiscal and Economic Review released prior to the State Election on the 7 September. Furthermore much of this State Budget is simply the follow through on commitments made in the build-up to the 31 October State Election by Queensland Labor.  

QEAS analysis on the Queensland Budget and its implications for business and the economy is available here

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