Queensland Budget – jobs, infrastructure, land tax

Queensland Budget – jobs, infrastructure, land tax

Sam Mohammad and Hayley Lock give a rundown of the key developments in the 2017 Queensland Budget.

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Detail of Queensland state flag

On 13 June 2017 the Queensland Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, delivered the 2017-18 Queensland State Budget. The Government is expecting a wafer-thin $146 million surplus for the fiscal year, due in part to the $1.1 billion impact of Cyclone Debbie earlier this year.

The Queensland Government has described this Budget as a 'jobs bonanza' with a focus on employment opportunities, infrastructure and economic growth. In particular, the Government is extending the regional Back to Work Scheme to south-east Queensland with grants of up to $15,000 per new hire – details on the extension to south-east Queensland are yet to come but this will be a first in, best dressed opportunity with a limited funding pool of $14 million for FY18 and FY19.

The big ticket items in the Budget this year include:

  • An extra $1.95 billion for the Cross River Rail Project and a commitment to fully fund the $5.4 billion project, regardless of any Commonwealth Government investment
  • $16.6 billion in health spending
  • $5.344 billion in specific concession for Queenslanders in response to cost of living pressures.

From a State taxes perspective, however, the Budget was a little more muted. The Queensland Government has committed to:

  • continuing the 50 percent payroll tax rebate for wages paid to apprentices and trainees until 30 June 2018, which can be used as an offset against payroll tax payable on the wages of other employees
  • covering the WorkCover premiums for apprentices that businesses hire
  • extending the $20,000 first home owners grant, first announced in the 2016-17 Queensland Budget, to 31 December 2017
  • from 1 July 2017, imposing a 1.5 percent land tax surcharge for ‘absentee’ land tax payers (i.e. persons who do not ordinarily reside in Australia), which will apply to land holdings of $350,000 or higher and be in addition to other land tax payable.

The introduction of the land tax surcharge brings Queensland into line with New South Wales and Victoria, which have their own ‘absentee’ land tax surcharge, as summarised below:

  Foreign purchaser duty surcharge (residential land only) Absentee owner land tax surcharge 
NSW Original rate: 4 percent
From 1 July 2017: 8 percent 
Current: 0.75 percent
2018: 2 percent (residential land only)
Vic Initial rate: 3 percent
Current rate: 7 percent
2016 year: 0.5 percent
Current: 1.5 percent
Qld Current: 3 percent Current: Higher companies/trustees rate applies to absentee owners rather than individual rates
From 1 July 2017: Existing higher rate plus 1.5 percent surcharge

On the Queensland Back to Work Scheme, we are working with a number of clients to manage applications and claims under the Scheme. Contact us to find out more.

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