Cameron Dick at a press conference.
Treasurer Cameron Dick hands down his fifth Queensland budget today. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Old king coal funds election budget as Dick mines votes

June 11, 2024

Cost-of-living relief will be provided to Queenslanders in a budget set to kick-start a state election campaign.

Treasurer Cameron Dick’s fifth budget on Tuesday is expected to fall to a $3 billion deficit, the second largest in a decade, after a surplus of $13.9 billion in 2023/24.

However, the state government has splashed the cash ahead of the October election.

Mr Dick reportedly told the Labor caucus meeting on Monday that the first budget since Steven Miles took over as premier would mark the start of the election campaign.

He promised to deliver the “greatest cost of living relief budget in Queensland history” as Labor attempts to turn around the polls and earn another term.

Queenslanders are set to receive billions of dollars in handouts, with more details of the massive spend emerging just hours before the official budget announcement.

News emerged on Tuesday morning that there were plans to freeze government fees and charges – including the cost of driver’s licenses – totalling $180 million in 2024/25.

A raft of measures designed to provide relief following last year’s $8.224 billion worth of cost-of-living concessions had already been unveiled.

All households will receive $1000 for energy bills next financial year with the commonwealth chipping in another $300.

However, it won’t be included in the finances for the 2024/25 budget and has been propped up by major revenue from progressive coal royalties.

Other budget highlights already trumpeted included 20 per cent off car registration and public transport being slashed to 50c.

Steven Miles next to a triple 0 sign.
 Premier Steven Miles is relying on the state budget to keep alive his hopes to win the election. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS 

Mr Dick had initially claimed the budget would be “difficult” with debt expected to grow to $188 billion in four years.

However, the treasurer has vowed to help steer Queensland through the tough times.

“We will be focusing on the thing that matters the most to Queenslanders – and that is cost-of-living relief,” he said on Monday.

“Queenslanders need a firm hand on the till. They need people who can get them through these difficult times.”

The budget is also set to help Queenslanders into the housing market and feature a major renewables investment.

The threshold for the first-home owner concession on stamp duty will be increased, with about 10,000 buyers a year expected to benefit.

The concession on transfer duty will increase from $500,000 to $700,000, then phase out up to values of $800,000.

It will also apply to the first-home vacant land concession threshold, increasing from $250,000 to $350,000, phasing out up to values of $500,000.

A major $26 billion investment into renewable power, storage and transmission projects has also been announced, with $8.68 billion in the next financial year alone.

Queensland will also invest further in protecting workers including $37 million over four years towards combating occupational violence, particularly in health care.

The government said $36 million would go toward increasing the number of security positions to 70 full-time equivalent across the state’s hospital and health services.

CCTV will alos be installed in all high-risk areas and provide personal duress alarms for staff in high-risk areas and body-worn cameras for all security staff.

Opposition leader David Crisafulli will deliver a budget reply on Thursday but has already confirmed he will support Labor’s budget measures if elected in October.