Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Chance to Impress Regions; Jobs Package Flagged for 2017 Budget

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Chance to Impress Regions; Jobs Package Flagged for 2017 Budget

Article excerpt


Higher than predicted coal royalties.

Jobs package for regional Queensland.

Cyclone Debbie recovery funding.

Efforts to reduce power prices.

Geoff Egan


TUESDAY'S budget will be the Queensland Government's opening broadside into winning back support in regional Queensland and holding off a resurgent LNP.

Leading political analyst Paul Williams is predicting the budget centrepiece will be a massive jobs program targeting regional unemployment.

With the opposition leading in the polls and One Nation stubbornly hanging on to at least 15% of the vote, Curtis Pitt's third budget will be vital for Labor's lead into the election. In an exclusive interview Mr Pitt said the budget would focus on regional Queensland and aimed to help areas that needed it most.

"My job as treasurer is to look after the Queensland economy, but to make sure we prioritise and focus our efforts on the areas that need it most," he said. "So, when you have a finite infrastructure budget and you've got a finite budget to spend on government programs that's got to go where you can make the biggest impact. Regional Queensland is still where that is most needed."

Mr Pitt said economic conditions and unemployment rates were improving in some parts of the state.

Griffith University state political expert Paul Williams said he expected the government to "go all out" in targeting regional unemployment to win back support outside the south-east corner.

Prof Williams said it could take "a generation" for some parts of Queensland to recover from the post-mining boom crash.

"Everything is on the line for the government. They've got nothing to lose," he said.

"I expect some bells-and- whistles job projects will be the budget centrepiece. A big government investment in regional areas. …

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