Winners, losers from Qld budget revealed

QUEENSLAND BUDGET
Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has handed down his fifth budget.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has handed down his fifth budget, revealing a raft of cost-of-living relief measures for Queenslanders to the tune of $11.2bn.

A major feature is a $1000 rebate on electricity bills that will be coupled with a $300 rebate announced by the federal government and paid quarterly.

QUEENSLAND BUDGET
Queensland is forecast to record a deficit of $2.6bn, with Treasurer Cameron Dick’s budget splashing more than $11bn to combat cost-of-living issues. Picture: NewsWire / Dan Peled

However, the deficit is forecast to blow out to $2.6bn

Here’s a breakdown of the major winners and losers:

WINNERS

Commuters

Train, bus and rail fares will be slashed to a 50c fee over a six-month trial, which the government says aims to ease cost-of-living pressures and the traffic gridlock plaguing the state’s roads.

Premier Steven Miles says the initiative is “as close to free as you can get” – covering trains, buses, CityCat ferries and the Gold Coast light rail.

Under the current fares, people living in Robina on the Gold Coast and commuting to Bowen Hills in inner-city Brisbane four days a week pay $91.68 per week or $11.46 per trip.

BUS DRIVERS STRIKE
The 50c fares will cover TransLink routes across the state, including buses, ferries and trains. Picture: Dan Peled / NCA NewsWire

When the new fares are rolled out, this will be slashed to just $4 per week, saving $2104.32 over six months.

The trial will cost $150m.

Households

Every household will get $1000 knocked off their electricity bill from July 1 – part of the government’s $2.5bn spending splurge.

The cash splash was announced before the federal government said it would give all Australian households an extra $300 off over four instalments across the financial year.

Eligible seniors, pensioners and concession card holders will receive a further $372 off.

“Our No.1 priority is providing cost-of-living relief,” Mr Miles said when the policy was first announced.

First-home buyers

Queenslanders trying to get a foot into the property market have secured a massive win with an increase to the stamp duty discount.

Now, the threshold for the first-home owner concession on stamp duty will increase from $500,000 to $700,000, with the concession then phasing out up to values of $800,000.

The first-home vacant land concession threshold will also increase – rising from $250,000 to $350,000.

The concession then phases out up to values of $500,000.

Drivers

Twenty per cent will be knocked off rego payments for Queenslanders for 12 months, saving more than $100 per motorist.

Under the changes, a 12-month registration bill for a private-use four-cylinder vehicle will be reduced by almost $85, bringing registration fees down to $338.75, excluding CTP.

For vehicles registered on a pensioner concession, the reduction will be nearly $50 – bringing down the total to $194.50, excluding CTP.

COMMUTER CHAOS
The cost of car registration in Queensland will be slashed by 20 per cent. Picture: NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

It will apply to all light vehicle registrations from September 16.

Combined with existing concessions, it means some car owners will get as much as 70 per cent off.

“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 in a statement on Saturday.

The reduction is in addition to a freeze on rego costs in December last year.

Sporting kids

Families are getting a $200 voucher for every child aged between five and 17 years to participate in junior sport at a cost of $40m.

Under the current FairPlay program, parents, carers or guardians can apply for a voucher valued up to $150 for their child to use towards their sport and active recreation membership, registration or participation fees.

The government is expanding that program by increasing the value of the voucher to $200 and kicking up the total number of vouchers from 50,000 to 200,000.

Since the program began in 2019, more than $30m has been redeemed by activity providers, with more than 210,000 vouchers used by eligible families, Mr Miles said on Saturday.

Educators

Thousands of additional teaching support staff will be hired and more professional resources allocated.

Of this, $1bn will be delivered over five years for improved education and “better learning environments”.

Two thousand extra teaching support staff would help students living with disability learn easier, Mr Miles said.

Stock Education
More upgrades to state schools are included in the budget. Picture: NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

More than $196m will be spent on measures like increasing free kindy hours to 30 hours per week for four-year-olds in discrete communities, funding 36 additional early childhood co-ordinators and another 84 family support co-ordinators to work with high-needs state primary school children in 219 state primary schools.

Other highlights include:

• $15m in funding for the School and Community Food Relief Program, including $10.7m for the Department of Education to deliver food programs in schools from term 3, 2024, in addition to the $2m in funding for food programs received in term 4, 2023 • GPs in Schools Program – $21m over four years for the Department of Education to continue the GPs in Schools Program, providing 50 Queensland state schools with secondary-aged students with access to a free primary healthcare service one day per week • $65.5m over three years for additional projects under the Playgrounds and Tuckshops Program • $151m for new school projects including a new primary school in Park Ridge and the new secondary school in Collingwood Park, both set to open in 2025. • $4.9m over two years, 2024-25 to 2025-26, to continue to deliver the Homework Centre program in schools. This program provides funding for on-site support for students in up to 120 state schools to complete homework outside of school hours • $500m over four years to plan and deliver high-quality learning environments to meet enrolment needs.

LOSERS

Foreign buyers
While the state government has earmarked relief for first-home buyers, foreign investors will be slugged more on stamp duty when they next make a purchase.

That’s because the state’s foreign investor land tax surcharge has increased to 3 per cent to offset the stamp duty discount being granted to Queenslanders.

The transfer duty surcharge has also been increased to 8 per cent.

Coal and gas lobby

The lucrative royalty system on Queensland coal and gas is not going anywhere, with budget papers revealing the progressive royalty tier system is expected to deliver a further $3.6bn in revenue towards the end of this financial year.

However, that impact is expected to decrease “significantly” over the forward estimates.

The lucrative coal and gas royalty system, which delivered billions, is set to stay, but the budget has revealed it is expected to decline over the years. Picture: Supplied
The lucrative coal and gas royalty system, which delivered billions, is set to stay, but the budget has revealed it is expected to decline over the years. Picture: Supplied

Coal prices are forecast to normalise to about $1.3bn in 2024-25 and at an average of about$485m per year over the three years ending 2027–28.

“The new tiers will mean Queenslanders will also receive a fair share of the coal companies’ extraordinary revenues during any future periods of unexpectedly high coal prices over the longer term,” the budget papers state.

Renters

The raft of cost-of-living relief measures are sure to lighten the burden for renters doing it tough in the Sunshine State.

But aside from those, no specific policies or funding measures geared towards renters were outlined in the Queensland budget.

The budget did contain one specific point in regards to the work the government was doing for renters, however.

“The government has strengthened renters’ rights through the introduction of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2024, which includes applying the annual rent increase frequency limit to a rental property rather than tenancy to give a fairer go to Queenslanders who rent.”

Small businesses

Many of Queensland’s small businesses have also missed out on extra funding, with no other significant packages aside from the launch of the Queensland Small Business Strategy 2024-2027.

About 205,000 business will still get $650 knocked off their electricity bills.

It’s led to leading accounting body CPA Australia saying the business sector would feel “overlooked” and calling the sparse announcements “disappointing”.

“Every Queenslander knows a small-business owner – and knows the financial pressures they’ve been facing in recent times, especially those in construction, hospitality and other energy-intensive sectors,” CPA Australia business investment and international lead Gavan Ord said.

“The budget missed an opportunity to expand measures that boost business growth and productivity, which would benefit all Queenslanders.”

University students

Aside from the signature 50c fares and more free TAFE courses, few other sweeteners have been added for university students in this budget.

AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES
There were no specific announcements for universities or university students in the budget. Picture: NewsWire / Damian Shaw

National Firearms Registry

Queensland has agreed to fund the costs associated with its support for the National Firearms Registry, but no specific figure has been revealed in this budget.

The program, developed in response to the horrific massacre at Wieambilla, already has unanimous support from other state and territory governments and the federal counterpart.

Federal funding of $160m was earmarked for the program earlier this year.

According to budget papers, Queensland’s funding contribution is not available for publication due to “being subject to ongoing negotiation” between the other governments.