THE Queensland Government last week announced an infrastructure funding program of $10.1 billion in the 2015-16 State Budget, and total capital purchases of $35.4 billion over the four years to 2018-19.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the 2015-16 capital program was structured to ensure a consistent flow of works to underpin jobs growth and economic activity in Queensland.
"One of the key objectives of the capital program is to ensure Government infrastructure efficiently delivers social services and supports the ongoing development of Queensland," Mr Pitt said.
"The $10.1 billion capital program will deliver job creating opportunities with capital expenditure focussed on the needs of local communities and in support of local employment opportunities.
"Queensland Treasury estimates that the State's 2015-16 capital works program will directly support around 27,500 full-time equivalent jobs – this is a welcome boost to economic activity in Queensland.
"Of these, 10,500 jobs are expected to be supported by roads and transport-related projects, with almost $4 billion committed to infrastructure and capital grants for Queensland's roads and transport network," he said.
Health capital purchases are $1.3 billion in 2015-16 and are expected to support 3,500 full-time equivalent jobs. Projects include $488.7 million to continue delivery of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and $113.6 million to finalise a number of major projects such as Logan Hospital, Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, Mackay Base Hospital, Mount Isa Health Campus and Gold Coast University Hospital.
"Energy and water infrastructure and capital grants will also make a significant contribution to our economic well-being, with an anticipated 6,500 full-time equivalent jobs to be supported," Mr Pitt said
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said rural and regional Queensland would see a significant investment in infrastructure funding, with $4.8 billion of the overall $10.1 billion to be spent in these areas.
"One specific initiative is the Building Our Regions program. It will be a targeted infrastructure program to deliver support for local government projects totalling $200 million over two years," Ms Trad said.
"In order to create jobs and investment as a priority, we have brought this program forward one year to start in 2015-16, not 2016-17 as originally intended," she said. 2
The four areas of focus for infrastructure investment under the Building our Regions program are:
- Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme, worth $60 million over two years;
- Regional Capital Fund, worth $70 million over two years;
- Royalties for Resource Producing Communities Fund, with an allocation of $55 million over two years; and
- Remote Communities Infrastructure Fund, worth $15 million over two years.
Ms Trad said a further $40 million had been committed over two years as a special assistance package following Tropical Cyclone Marcia for iconic projects in Rockhampton and Livingstone shires.
"These projects include revitalisation of the riverfront in Rockhampton and the foreshore at Yeppoon. Critically, these investments in local projects will support local jobs," she said.
Mr Pitt said in addition the 2015-16 Budget would also see the start of $295 million in additional funding for three new schools in Townsville and Cairns and refurbishments at four hospitals over four years. It would also be complemented by a $300 million education maintenance boost over four years.
According to the State Government, key capital program project highlights for 2015-16 include:
- $568.4 million to continue rail network improvements, including between Lawnton and Petrie stations, and commencing the duplication of the Gold Coast line between Coomera and Helensvale stations;
- $304.6 million to overhaul rollingstock, including stabling facilities and initial spending on a key project that will deliver 75 new trains;
- $427.3 million for state schools in 2015-16;
- $408.9 million for local councils for recovery and betterment projects following Tropical Cyclone and other natural disasters;
- $175.9 million towards upgrading the Gateway Motorway North to six lanes;
- $172.1 million towards the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing;
- $161 million to upgrade major Gold Coast roads in the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games;
- $113.1 million towards duplication works on the Bruce Highway (Cooroy to Curra);
- $100 million over four years towards a sports stadium in Townsville; and
- $30 million over two years to develop and build a state netball facility at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, in partnership with Netball Queensland.
"The Palaszczuk Government's first Budget and its $10.1 billion capital works program in 2015-16 will provide Queensland communities with critical social and economic infrastructure to deliver jobs now, jobs for the future and prosperity," Mr Pitt said.