THE Commonwealth Games Organising Committee was allocated $20.9 million to spend this year when Treasurer Tim Nicholls delivered the LNP Government’s first State Budget on September 11.
Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey (pictured) says the bulk of the funding will go towards preparations for the Games Village at Parklands.
The planning is earmarked to be finished by the second quarter of 2013 when tenders will be called, says Stuckey.
The village will house 6500 athletes and officials during the Games and will provide a residential community in close proximity to the new Gold Coast University Hospital and Griffith University once the 2018 event is over.
Gold Coast business also received a surprise boost from the tough budget with a small payroll tax concession and funding to boost tourism and the construction industries.
As expected, Nicholls used the Budget to confirm 14,000 jobs would be cut from the public sector.
He lifted the payroll tax threshold by $100,000 to $1.1 million.
But Queensland looks to be on a political collision course with Canberra after announcing a hike in coal royalties in a bid to raise $1.6 billion and get the state back in the black with a $652 million surplus by 2014-15.
As widely anticipated, the $7000 first-home owner grant for all homes was replaced with a $15,000 first-home owner grant solely for new homes.
“We want to see more Queenslanders own their own home and also provide a boost to the construction sector,” says the Treasurer.
He also unveiled $200 million in funding for school maintenance over the next two years. Schools can apply for grants of up to $160,000 for repairs and upgrades, which should result in a new wave of work for local tradies.
The Government will also spend $20 million on a Tourism Investment Strategy, focusing on a marketing campaign to attract tourists. More than $150 million has been allocated to the State’s broader tourism budget.
Planned cuts to Queensland Health angered and frustrated the Australian Medical Association, which rated the Budget as “D for disappointing and disingenuous”.
“Despite regular meetings with the Health Minister, our grave fears for the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders appear to have been ignored,” says Queensland president Alex Markwell.
However, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) backed the cutbacks, describing them as “tough but necessary medicine” for future infrastructure investment.
“While no one likes a difficult budget, declining revenues, spiralling expenses and the loss of the AAA rating all demand real and substantial reform,” says CEO Brendan Lyon.
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