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Big borrowings, missed opportunities: Critics respond to Qld budget

The Treasurer had claimed he was upfront about plans to increase debt before the state election.

When asked two weeks ago whether he would borrow more said: “[We] will make those announcements when the budget is delivered.”

Mr Crisafulli said Queenslanders had a right to feel “like it is a broken promise”.

LNP leader David Crisafulli (right) and his deputy, David Janetzki, in Brisbane.

LNP leader David Crisafulli (right) and his deputy, David Janetzki, in Brisbane.Credit:Lydia Lynch

“Not once in the election campaign was anything used other than a $4 billion figure,” he said.

The new LNP leader was not the only one to dish out criticism on Friday, with Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland economist and policy advisor Jack Baxter expressing “frustration” with support for small business in the budget.

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Mr Baxter said recycled announcements failed to address the deferred payments, which should be abolished completely, looming when land and payroll tax support ends.

He said some businesses might need to start thinking about sackings and closures and “if there was ever a time” for long-sought reform, it would be now.

Social service groups also described the budget as a missed opportunity.

Queensland Council of Social Services chief executive Aimee McVeigh said the government had a “clear mandate” to invest more in social housing and support for organisations.

In addition, QShelter executive director Fiona Caniglia expressed concern about what pressure the estimated migration of 86,000 people from interstate, forecast in the budget papers, could put on housing supply.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates was also worried about the influx, while putting forward NAPLAN as a sacrificial program to help meet the $3 billion in savings sought by the government over the next four years.

With the resources royalty freeze responsible for a $4 billion hole in revenue set to continue to “challenge” the government, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said production and jobs would be maintained.

And while record-low interest rates would enable the state to absorb its mounting debt figure, set to reach almost $130 billion in three years, rating agency Moody’s investor service vice-president John Manning said they would also “constrain” it over time and in any future shocks.

There were few surprises for the tourism sector, with $47 million in support flagged during the election campaign.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind also warned of the work needed around necessary skill and workforce development required to meet pent-up demand as state borders open.

Greens Maiwar MP Michael Berkman said the budget was Labor’s way of “repaying those big banks and mining corporations”, not Queenslanders who were “really struggling”.

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