The Queensland Government’s latest budget delivers a strong win for South-east Queenslanders, by committing to fully fund Brisbane’s first underground rail project, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project. Other budget highlights include the extension of the first-home-buyers grant and two new schools announced for Brisbane.
Overall the 2017-2018 Queensland state budget allocates $42.75 billion over four years for infrastructure projects spanning roads, schools, health and utilities.
“Like the Victorian and New South Wales State Governments, Queensland is finally catching up and spending money on big ticket items that will make the state a more desirable jobs and lifestyle destination compared to its southern neighbours,” said Ironfish National Housing Manager, Josh Ure. “The new state budget shows a key focus on infrastructure and education which indicates they are preparing for a population boom. Additionally, the extension of the first-home-buyer’s grant will affect the affordable end of the market, with these properties growing in value due to increased demand.”
One of Queensland’s biggest projects
The centrepiece of the state government’s budget is Cross River Rail, one of Queensland’s biggest ever infrastructure projects. It is designed to remove a bottle-neck across the Brisbane River to create better transport connections across South East Queensland. The project aims to address the growing population of South-east Queensland, forecast to reach almost 5 million people by 2036.
“This will be a game-changer for South-east Queensland,” said Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk. “It will create more than 1500 jobs [in each year of construction], cut down commuter travel times and transform the way that we travel.”
As the Queensland government’s highest priority infrastructure project, the 2017-18 state budget has allocated $2.8 billion over the forward estimates, with a further $2.6 billion to be committed in future budgets. The project is expected to be delivered by 2024.
The project is similar in scale to Melbourne’s biggest road project, the $5.5. billion West Gate Tunnel project, or the $5.8 billion Sydney Metro Northwest project.
Property tax and grants
The $20,000 first-home owner’s grant for newly constructed homes or apartments was due to end on June 30. The grant is being extended to December 31, at cost of $30 million.
“That gives first-home-buyers until 31 December 2017 to sign a contract on a new home and access this generous incentive,” said Premier Palaszczuk. “It is specifically for transactions for buying or building new houses, units or townhouses valued at less than $750,000.”
The Budget also introduces a 1.5 per cent land tax surcharge on absentee land tax payers (for example, foreign investors).
“Following moves in the Federal Budget and also in Victoria I can inform the House that this year’s Budget introduces a 1.5 per cent land tax surcharge on absentee land tax payers if the value if their taxable land is $350,000 or higher,” Queensland Government Treasurer, Curtis Pitt told State Parliament.
Other housing initiatives include $1.8 billion over 10 years to build 4,522 new social homes and 1,034 affordable homes to address the extensive social housing waiting list.
State Government delivers new schools for inner Brisbane city
In good news for families, this a record education budget of $13.7 billion, with a commitment to 230 additional teachers in 2018 and 2019.
Two new high schools have been announced for inner-city Brisbane – one in Fortitude Valley and one in West End. The schools form part of the Government’s $500 million Building Future Schools Fund. The schools are expected to each cater for up to 1,500 students.
Brisbane City Council to develop new subway and Brisbane lifestyle amenity
The new Queensland State Budget announcement follows the Brisbane City Council 2017-2018 Budget released earlier in June.
Key areas of the $3 billion Brisbane City Budget include $1.3 billion to be spent on roads and $16 million to develop the Brisbane Metro Subway System Business Case in the coming year. Subject to funding and government approvals, construction of Brisbane Metro could commence in 2019, with the project completed in 2022.
Brisbane is the only City Council in Australia that runs a public transport system and provides a public transport subsidy; the new Brisbane city budget provides a record investment into operational costs of public transport, with a $122 million subsidy for the coming year.
The Brisbane budget also invests $719.7 million to contribute to the lifestyle of Brisbane including new water features, extended library opening hours, new outdoor gyms, new and improved parklands, new aqua parks, festival funding and new competition-level BMX tracks.
The Queensland Premier also said the state government is continuing to provide a boost to local governments and confidence to plan infrastructure that sustains local employment, with a commitment of $280 million over four years to the 50:50 state/local government Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme.