Trad Budget focus on payroll tax, hydrogen and roads


Regions the target of Queensland spending in coming financial year

Trad Budget focus on payroll tax, hydrogen and roads
Jackie Trad

 

Queensland’s state debt may rise under its state Budget but the road infrastructure and freight-supporting rail taps remain on and there is payroll-tax support for small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

And whether or not alternative fuels make inroads into freight transport in the short- to medium-term, there will be cash to boost hydrogen production, not least for export.

But the most immediate boon for the many SME transport firms and others is likely to be the $885 million payroll tax relief initiative, which has an emphasis on the regions and apprentices.

"From July, the exemption threshold for payroll tax will be increased for all Queensland businesses from $1.1 million to $1.3 million," Treasurer Jackie Trad says in the Budget speech in which she notes the Budget will remain in surplus by $186 million.

"This will mean 1,500 additional businesses will no longer pay any payroll tax."

Regional businesses that employ 85 per cent or more local workers will receive a payroll tax discount of 1 per cent off the set rate.

"Our combined payroll tax threshold increase and the regional discount will mean an estimated 13,000 businesses are better off," Trad states

The state government says measures also include, a two-year extension to the 50 per cent apprentice and trainee rebate.

Rebates to Queensland employers, capped at $20,000 annually per employer, will be available where employee numbers are increased.

The measure is partially funded by an increase in the payroll tax rate applying to employers with annual taxable wages above $6.5 million.

Combined, the reforms to payroll tax are estimated to have a net revenue reduction of $341 million over the four years ending 2022-23.


Read about what the Queensland Budget promised freight transporters last year, here


On hydrogen, the state government believes it is on a future winner.

"Global demand for hydrogen is increasing, with the market expected to reach an astonishing US$155 billion by 2022 – only three years away," Trad says.

"We want Queensland to be the home of this new industry. In the same way as we’ve become a key player in LNG.

"Our renewable resources of solar and wind, combined with the existing gas pipeline infrastructure and port facilities gives us a competitive edge for the future production and export of hydrogen.

"That’s why this Budget provides $19 million to help kick start the hydrogen industry in Queensland.

"We want to unlock this potential.

"That’s why this Budget invests in new initiatives to promote exploration, mining and exports in the North West Minerals Province.

"This includes common-user facilities at the Port of Townsville – open for use by any above-rail operator.

"It means that wagons of mineral concentrate that are destined for the world’s markets will no longer have to be unloaded more than 12km away and transported by truck through Townsville to the Port."

In the freight sphere, the value of total capital purchases for the Department of Transport and Main Roads is expected to fall from an estimated $3.756 billion to an estimated $2.902 billion, while that for Queensland Rail will rise from $550 million to $639 million and for the port authorities from $181 million to $337 million.

Cash for major projects include:

  • $186 million to widen the Bruce Highway from four to six lanes, Caloundra Road to the Sunshine Motorway, at about $812.9 million, in federal partnership
  • $108 million to build bridges and approaches on the Bruce Highway (Haughton River Floodplain) south of Giru between Horseshoe Lagoon and Palm Creek, at $514.3 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $70 million towards the Rocklea-Darra Stage 1 project to provide a 3km Ipswich Motorway upgrade between Granard Road, Rocklea and Oxley Road, Oxley at $400 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $65.5 million to build additional lanes on the Pacific Motorway between Mudgeeraba and Varsity Lakes, in federal partnership
  • $60 million to build the Mackay Ring Road (Stage 1), at a total estimated cost of $497.4 million, in federal partnership
  • $59.7 million to upgrade the Pacific Motorway/Gateway Motorway Merge, in federal partnership
  • $50 million to duplicate the North Coast Line between Beerburrum and Nambour to address rail infrastructure and capacity constraints. Project timing, potential staging and funding arrangements are subject to negotiations with the federal government.
  • $46.3 million to build the Smithfield Bypass on the Captain Cook Highway between McGregor Road roundabout and Caravonica roundabout to ensure route continuity, at $152 million in total
  • $37.9 million to duplicate from two to four lanes on the Bruce Highway (Cairns Southern Access Corridor Stage 3) from Collinson Creek in Edmonton as far as near Wrights Creek close to Gordonvale, at $481 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $35.9 million to duplicate from two to four lanes a section of the Capricorn Highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere, at $75 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $30.3 million to widen from four to six lanes on the section of the Bruce Highway (Cairns Southern Access Corridor Stage 4) from Kate Street to Aumuller Street near the Port of Cairns and wharf precinct, at $104.1 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $29.1 million to duplicate from two to four lanes on the Bruce Highway Rockhampton Northern Access (Stage 1) between Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road and Parkhurst, at $121 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $28.6 million to widen, seal and apply wide-centreline treatment at various locations on the Warrego Highway between Dalby and Miles, at $63.6 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $20 million towards Mackay Northern Access Upgrade project on the Bruce Highway from Ron Camm Bridge to the Mackay Ring Road (Stage 1), at $110.6 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $20 million to enhance connectivity between the new Roma Street underground train station and the Inner Northern Busway, at $250 million in total
  • $17.5 million to realign the Peak Downs Highway at Eton Range, at $189.3 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $15 million to continue pavement widening and strengthening works on the Landsborough Highway between Dingo Creek and Darr River, at $25 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $11.3 million to seal sections of the Kennedy Developmental Road between Hughenden and The Lynd (Hann Highway), at $50 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $8.6 million to replace Coondoo Creek Bridge on Tin Can Bay Road near Gympie, at $14.8 million in total, in federal partnership
  • $8 million to construct the Everton Park Link Road connecting Stafford Road and South Pine Road, at $26 million in total.

There is also a grant of $13 million to continue paving and sealing along Pasha Road in Moranbah from Eaglefield Road to Riverside Mine Road, at a total cost of $16 million.

In 2019-20, RoadTek is allocating $19 million to replace plant and equipment used in road construction and maintenance throughout Queensland

Heavy vehicle safety and productivity gains $7.966 million in capital grants as part of the jointly funded Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

Freight-related cash for Queensland Rail includes $29.5 million to upgrade the capacity of the North Coast Rail Line to increase productivity and efficiency of freight transport.

The Townsville-Mount Isa Rail Line will get $17.65 million

 

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