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Queensland State Budget 2017-18

Circular

Authorised by: Greg Hallam PSM Chief Executive Officer Tuesday, 13 June

Queensland State Budget 2017-18

Circular: | For Information

Introduction

The 2017-18 State Budget includes welcome boosts to a range of funding programs of interest to local government, including:

•    Works for Queensland extended: an additional $200 million over two years
•    Indigenous Water Infrastructure Program: a new program with $120 million of funding over four years
•    State Government Financial Aid (SGFA) restored and indexed (additional funding of $3.4 million in 2017-18 and $14 million over four years)

In the coming weeks the LGAQ will provide more information to councils about funding opportunities and what the budget means to local communities as we work with state agencies to secure the best outcomes for local government.

For access to all budget documents visit: http://budget.qld.gov.au/

The LGAQ has issued a media release welcoming key aspects of the Budget and has produced an infographic Budget Scorecard.

Key outcomes in response to the LGAQ’s 2017 State Budget submission

1.    Works for Queensland

Works for Queensland extended: $200 million over two years to support local governments outside SEQ for job creating maintenance and minor infrastructure works. Although less than the LGAQ had asked for in its submission (which included SEQ), the extension of what was intended to be a one-off program is a significant win for local government amounting to a doubling of the program over three years (total of $400 million) (BM page 55).

2.    Local government trade and investment attraction initiative

The Budget confirms the $35 million over five years previously announced to deliver 22 initiatives under the Advancing Trade and Investment – Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2022 (BM page 95). The LGAQ will continue to prosecute the case for funding for local governments directly, particularly given that one of the 22 initiatives is targeting local governments.

3.    Community Resilience Fund

Unfortunately, this highly successful program has not been renewed but $5.622 million remains available in 2017-18 from the previous allocation. (CS page 72).

4.    Asset management

This proposal has not been funded in the State Budget but remains a significant priority for the LGAQ.

5.    Queensland Water Regional Alliance Program (QWRAP)

No additional funding has been announced. The program is currently funded through to 30 June 2018 but our request for additional funds has not been granted. To date, the program has returned greater savings than the funding expended and will feature strongly as part of the LGAQ’s State Election Plan.

6.    State Government Financial Aid (SGFA)

SGFA has been restored to the pre-2012 level by an additional funding of $3.4 million in 2017-18 and indexed thereafter. This will greatly assist indigenous local governments meet the cost of delivering key services to their communities and has been rigorously sought by the LGAQ and councils since 2012 (SDS DILGP page 6 and BM page 56).

7.    Indigenous programs

The other two LGAQ proposals have not been funded but, more significantly, the need to upgrade vital water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure in indigenous communities has been recognised through a new Indigenous Water Infrastructure Program with $120 million of funding over four years from 2016-17 (BM page 55).

Additional indigenous program funding of note includes the following:

Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers – Building jobs from Country to Country: the additional funding of $8.1 million over 4 years will expand the existing program from 75 to 100 positions.  The program supports skilled indigenous jobs and protects environmental and cultural heritage values. The LGAQ will work with the government to determine whether the program can support additional indigenous ranger employment in discrete indigenous councils.  
Continuation of the Local Fare Scheme and a trial period for the Western Cape and Gulf: these communities rely on the subsidised fares program to boost productivity and employment and improve access to education and health services. The budget provides $8.3 million over two years, giving Cape York and Torres Strait communities access to affordable flights. A further $2 million will deliver a trial of the scheme in the Western Cape.

8.    First 5 Forever family literacy

The Budget does not include the extension of the program beyond 2018 requested by the LGAQ. The Association will re-prosecute this case for inclusion in next year’s Budget.

9.    Climate Change/Environment

The LGAQ welcomes the State’s increased commitment to tackling climate change impacts with its announcement of $5 million per annum over three years to develop and implement actions under its Queensland Climate Adaptation and Low Carbon Transition Strategies. The LGAQ looks forward to working with the Department to determine the specific details.

No funding has been allocated for Resilient Rivers. No specific allocations to the other LGAQ proposals at this stage but some of them may be funded from other allocations, subject to further discussions with the Department.

10.    Great Barrier Reef

No new money but continuation of all existing programs including the Sediment and Erosion Control and Stormwater capability building project.

11.    Waste management

Container Refund Scheme (CRS) and plastic bag ban: $2.5 million allocated in the 2017-18 year does represent a good outcome. The department has advised that although a proportion of this funding will go to marketing and communications to promote plastic bag bans and CRS, there will be a good proportion for waste infrastructure. A particular focus will be to assist in rural and remote areas and provide waste infrastructure through small scale grants. 

12.    Remaining LGAQ submission items

The regional smart cities (smart water meter network), biosecurity and NRM program support proposals have not been funded.

Other key funding programs:

Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS)

The additional $30 million per annum for three years from 2017-18, as announced in the 2016-17 Budget, have been confirmed. (CS page 7)

Other roads and transport commitments

The Government has committed to fully fund the Cross River Rail project at an expected cost of $5.41b (CS page 13).
Funding for the Transport and Main Roads portfolio remains strong at $3.885 billion with works scheduled throughout the state (CS page 119).
New commitments include increased funding of $29 million over four years under the Camera Detected Offences Program (CDOP) to reduce the incidence of road trauma on the road network (BM page 113).
Water and sewerage

Townsville has been given $225 million over four years to support the Water Security Task Force.
The Queensland Government has also delivered on its commitment, announced by the Premier at the LGAQ’s Annual Conference, to support local governments in the implementation of fluoride infrastructure, with $5 million allocated over the next two years.
Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program

This program will be continued at $28.953 million per annum over the forward estimates (CS page 72).

Planning

Cities Transformation Taskforce: The Government has provided additional funding of $12.8M over 6 years from 2016-17 for ongoing work of the Cities Transformation Taskforce in leading the State’s negotiations with the Australian and local governments on the Smart Cities Plan and City Deals.
Public library collections services

The State Library of Queensland will invest $24.361 million in public library collections and services, up from $23.8 million last year (p.34, DSITI SDS).

Pest and weed management

There is $5.2 million for pest and weed management, including funding for wild dog exclusion fencing, additional funding for Navua sedge management and continuation of National Electric Ant Eradication Program in Far North Queensland (BM page 28). 

There will be a 10 year plan for the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program in SEQ (BM page 30), including increased funding of $28.2 million over 10 years from 2017-2018 held centrally to implement an expanded program, subject to a National Cost Sharing Agreement (NCSA) being finalised.

The Government is providing increased funding of $1.3 million in 2017-18 to support the continuation of Panama TR4 Program (BM page 29).

Electricity

To support the stabilisation of electricity prices for consumers, the government will provide an additional $771 million in 2016-17 to fund the removal of costs of the Solar Bonus Scheme from electricity prices for three years commencing in 2017-18 (BM, page 45). This is expected to assist councils with lower operating costs.


Major infrastructure planning


$20 million Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program (MIPP) (CS page 3) to review the 141 ‘proposals raised through consultation’ and 92 ‘future opportunities’ identified in the 2016 SIP Part B – progress will be reported in the 2017 SIP Part B update. In 2017–18, strategic assessments and preliminary evaluations will be undertaken of new infrastructure proposals submitted by local governments in late 2016. This $20 million includes an additional $10 million announced in the Budget to assist local governments with strategic infrastructure planning. (BM page 56).

Regional Economic Development

The Government’s has announced a Rural Economic Development Growth package. The package is $5.2 million over 3 years ($3.45 million in new funding and an internal departmental reprioritisation of $1.8 million). 

As part of the package, the Government will establish a new Rural Economies Centre of Excellence to undertake integrated research and provision of specialised programs to deliver sustainable growth of Queensland’s rural communities and deliver rural jobs. Up to $3 million will be provided over three years with the aim of leveraging further funding from other organisations to identify and develop opportunities for job growth and rural economic development. Institutions, including universities, will be invited to host the Centre. 

The Government will also invest $900,000 over three years to help the private sector speed development proposals for agricultural projects in North Queensland.

In addition to these initiatives, Rural Economic Development Growth package also includes an allocation of $1.3 million to the Growing Queensland’s Food Exports initiative. This initiative will support Queensland growers in finding and expanding exports to North Asian horticulture markets.
As a separate initiative, in 2016-17, the Government will allocate $700,000 to fund an independent beef supply chain study to inform the viability of investment in beef industry-related infrastructure across regional Queensland. 

Social Impact Management in Resources Sector

The Government has allocated $17.5 million over four years (and $4.4. million in ongoing funding) to support the functions of the Office of the Coordinator-General. This includes the planning, delivery and coordination of large-scale and complex projects and management of associated environmental impacts. 


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