In one of his first post-Budget events, Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt last week gave Ai Group members an insight into QLD Labor’s first Budget since its election in February. Importantly, he provided details on the Budget’s centrepiece: the $1.6 billion Working Queensland program.
The program is attractive to business with a package of multiple initiatives focussed on skills, innovation and entrepreneurship, with the aim of employment growth and building a more diversified knowledge-based economy – a vision where the State is a leader in innovation, research and new technologies.
The treasurer outlined key components of the program, which includes providing payroll tax incentives to hire new trainees and apprentices; restoring funding to TAFE Queensland; and a $180 million ‘Advance Queensland’ proposal towards supporting innovation and technology start-ups.
The Treasurer also hinted at the soon to be released State Infrastructure Plan, which aims to deliver more certainty to planning, and proper cost-benefit analyses. The plan is due out in 2016 and is a key component of the Government’s ‘Building Queensland’ agenda.
Ai Group’s pre-Budget submission had called on the Government to establish a pipeline of major infrastructure projects to drive productivity and to build business confidence. While the Budget included a $10 billion capital works program, the lack of major project funding in the Budget was one of Ai Group’s main concerns.
The Treasurer also outlined the new Market-Led Proposals framework – which would see the private sector submit projects for potential partnership with the State – with the Government hoping it would be well received.
In closing the Treasurer said he looked forward to working with business and industry to drive economic growth and jobs. This is what Queensland needs – a unified approach to deliver real benefits across all sectors of the economy.
Read Ai Group’s summary of the QLD Budget: What’s in it for business?
Are you a Queensland-based business? What questions would you have asked of the Treasurer if you had attended his presentation?
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