Jobless rate lingers despite budget spend

Stuart Layt
Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad has spent up big in her first state budget

Queensland's unemployment rate is not expected to drop below six per cent before 2021, despite big spends on infrastructure in the state budget to drive growth.

Treasurer Jackie Trad spent big in her first budget - the first in the second term of the Palaszczuk Labor government - allocating $45.8 billion to capital works over the next four years.

That includes $4.9 billion on roads and transport, and $733 million for the latest stage of the government's signature $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project.

Ms Trad defended spending big while state debt was also set to top $83 billion by 2021/22.

"We make no apologies for borrowing to invest in infrastructure. It's the right thing for jobs today, but it's also critical for economic productivity in the future," Ms Trad told reporters on Tuesday.

However Liberal National Party Leader Deb Frecklington said the fact unemployment wouldn't drop below six per cent over the forward estimates meant Labor's infrastructure spend was already failing.

"This is a budget of broken dreams and broken promises for the next generation," she said.

Mark Henley, from the Queensland Council of Social Services, said the budget was a mixed bag for those doing it tough.

"We can see some good things, but there's a lot of work that we still need to do to address the cost of living pressures that households are still facing," he told reporters.

However Dr Pradeep Philip from Deloitte Access Economics said the government appeared to be on the right track with its focus on borrowing to fund big-ticket items.

"What we see in this budget is a large infrastructure spend which lowers the cost of getting from place to place, lowers the cost of doing business," he said on Tuesday.

"So to that extent, borrowing can be a good thing."