Regional Queenslanders can expect jobs to flow from Tuesday’s state budget, which will include a record spend on health and cash for a huge new jail.
Treasurer Jackie Trad says the lion’s share of budget measures will benefit regional towns and cities, and now is not the time to slash spending to address state debt.
“We can’t have a strong economy if we don’t have strong regions,” she says.
Labor was smashed in regional electorates at last month’s federal election.
Tuesday’s budget will include a record $13 billion for education, and $19.2 billion for health, with the government promising more doctors, nurses, paramedics and new health infrastructure.
“We are delivering record health and education budgets and we are focused on jobs,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
The budget will also include $620 million for a new 1000-bed jail to ease overcrowding in the state’s prison system.
It will house adult men and will be built at Gatton, alongside the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, west of Brisbane.
Ms Palaszczuk says the jail will be built by 2022/2023, with the project to create 400 jobs during construction and 500 permanent positions.
The budget is also expected to include $5.66 billion in household concessions, and rail freight discounts aimed at boosting mining activities in the state’s northwest.
Ms Trad has promised to deliver a surplus, despite a GST cut worth hundreds of millions of dollars, a write-down in stamp duty revenue and a $1.3 billion clean-up bill following February’s floods.
But she says the government must keep spending to keep some heat in the economy.