Australia: Queensland Budget 2017-2018: Key takeaways for local governments

We have reviewed the Queensland State Budget and identified some of the items that are most relevant to Local Governments. Details are provided below.

Supporting local jobs
Additional funding of $200 million for the Works for Queensland Program supporting local governments outside South East Queensland that are facing unemployment issues to undertake job-creating maintenance and minor infrastructure works. Although this funding is for the next two years following the end of the current project in November 2017, we understand Councils will be encouraged to accelerate capital works using the funding.

The $375 million Building our Regions program will continue.

The Jobs and Regional Growth fund will receive $129 million over the following two financial years to support private sector projects and create employment and economic growth opportunities in regional Queensland, specifically areas with higher than average unemployment.

Roads and other infrastructure
Commitment to fully fund the $5.409 billion Cross River Rail project, with an additional $1.952 billion allocation to the project in the current forward estimates. Other major funding announcements include:

  • $843.8 million for Bruce Highway upgrades across Queensland
  • $176 million towards Cairns Convention Centre Expansion
  • $60 million as part of the $120 million Cairns Shipping Development Project
  • $225 million to address long-term water security in Townsville (in addition to the $236 million part of the Powering North Queensland Plan, to upgrade the Burdekin Falls Dam and for the proposed hydro electric power station)
  • $140 million towards the $250 million North Queensland Stadium
  • $252.5 million for construction of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing
  • $236.3 million for widening the Gateway Motorway North to six lanes
  • $70 million for the construction of the Mackay Ring Road – this is a $498 million project in partnership with the Australian Government
  • $15 million for the upgrade of the Whitsunday Airport runway
  • $200 million expansion of the Capricornia Correctional Centre near Rockhampton
  • $120 million to address priority works relating to water, wastewater and solid waste assets in 16 Indigenous councils, and
  • Additional funding of $12.8 million for ongoing work of the Cities Transformation Taskforce in leading the State's negotiations with the Commonwealth and local governments on the Smart Cities Plan and City Deals.

Health and hospitals
$19.6 million to expand Caboolture Hospital emergency department.

$112.2 million for detailed planning and preparatory works for redevelopments at Logan, Caboolture and Ipswich hospitals.

$10 million to expand Maryborough Hospital emergency department and refurbish the specialist outpatients department.

$138.2 million for mental health infrastructure in South East Queensland and Cairns.

$128.4 million to redevelop or replace Kingaroy, Blackall and Sarina Hospitals, fit-outs of Townsville Hospital's breast-screen clinic and clinical services, the replacement of the Mer (Murray Island) primary healthcare centre clinical building, and upgrades to staff accommodation across Queensland.

Education
$41.4 million to continue the construction of three new primary schools at Yarrabilba (Logan), Caloundra-South and Coomera.

$22.9 million to continue construction of the new primary school in Burdell, Townsville.

$500 million Building Future Schools Fund for two new inner-Brisbane schools and land acquisitions for another four schools in the high growth areas Mount Low in Townsville, North Lakes-Mango Hill north of Brisbane, Calliope near Gladstone, and Yarrabilba in South Logan.

Energy
$386 million "Powering North Queensland Plan" which includes dividends from government-owned power companies Powerlink and Stanwell and government-owned water company SunWater would be reinvested into regional infrastructure, with a focus on renewable energy, including:

  • $150 million reinvestment of Powerlink dividends for the development of strategic transmission infrastructure to support a clean energy hub
  • $100 million reinvestment of Stanwell dividends to help fund the proposed Burdekin Falls Dam hydro-electric power station
  • $100 million equity injection and reinvestment of dividends towards improvement works to ensure that the Burdekin Falls Dam continues to meet design standards
  • commissioning a hydro-electric study to assess options for deploying new hydro in the state including North Queensland, and
  • Energy Queensland's tender for a rooftop solar farm in the remote indigenous community of Lockhart River.

Protecting our environment
$40 million to revitalise national parks and enhance nature based tourism.

$3.2 million for the Protected Area Strategy and the management of Nature Refuge Agreements.

$8 million to create an additional 25 ranger positions.

Further Great Barrier Reef management and monitoring funding.

Arts
$9.4 million for the upgrade of Queensland Museum's Sciencentre.

$6.5 million for Indigenous and regional arts initiatives.

$2 million to support the planned relocation of the Rockhampton Regional Council's city art gallery.

$2.1 million for an arts incubator space for start-up Indigenous performance companies and to commission new dance performances at the Cairns Centre of Contemporary Arts and within Indigenous communities.

Disaster recovery
$1.1 billion Operation Queensland Recovery following Cyclone Debbie.

$105 million to undertake restoration works under NDRAA.

$500,000 for a promotional campaign to help Queensland's tourism industry to recover from the effects of Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

$8.2 million in new funding as part of the Operation Queensland Plan that allows tourism and small businesses in the cyclone affected areas of the Whitsunday region to access recovery grants.

$14.7 million Community Recovery Fund has also been established under NDRRA Funds set aside for the Rockhampton Flood Levee under the NDRAA.

Regional planning
$10 million to support a strategic environmental assessment and provide for a land monitoring program across South East Queensland.

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