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Budget has ‘failed Queensland’, says treasurer

Queensland Rail passenger train - photo QLD Matt

Infrastructure shortfalls are a major factor in Queensland treasurer Curtis Pitt’s decision to label Tuesday’s Budget a ‘horror’ one, which has “failed” Queensland.

Pitt said the Budget was a continuation of the Abbott Government’s failures on health, education, infrastructure and jobs, leaving Queensland facing a multi-billion funding shortfall.

He pointed out key infrastructure priority projects such as Brisbane’s second river rail crossing, Gold Coast Light Rail extension and Sunshine Coast Rail Duplication had not received a single cent in funding from the Federal Budget.

“The Abbott Government’s Northern Infrastructure Fund isn’t a ‘fund’ at all – it’s a loan scheme and Mr Hockey isn’t giving us any detail on how North Queensland can access those concessional loans or even what the conditions are,” he said, referring to Hockey’s plan to fund new infrastructure in the Northern region of Australia, across north WA, NT and QLD.

Pitt did say that “after standing up for Queensland’s fair share of GST, we are pleased that the Budget will deliver Queensland its agreed revenue share as recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.”

But that was about it in terms of things Pitt liked about Tuesday’s announcement.

“What all Queenslanders needed was a responsible Federal Budget that delivered on jobs and economic development ,” Pitt said. “Joe Hockey has failed in this task.”

On other issues, he said: “The cuts to health and education funding announced in Joe Hockey’s first Budget have not been addressed in this Budget.

“Queensland is still facing an $18 billion funding shortfall in health and education over the next decade.

“This is despite Lawrence Springborg’s economic crystal ball gazing that Queensland would get an even greater share of health and education funding.

“The Queensland LNP is in denial – Joe Hockey refuses to provide the funding we need to pay our doctors and nurses and keep teachers in our classrooms.”

Pitt said the Commonwealth Budget Papers reveal Queensland will be $924 million worse off in hospitals funding and $466 million worse off in school funding over the next three years compared to the specific purpose payments in last year’s federal budget.

“These savage cuts are yet another exercise in cost-shifting to the States, and a further sign of Mr Hockey’s chronic financial mismanagement,” he said.