Queensland premier Campbell Newman isn’t phased by a massive increase to the fiscal deficit, saying the state is still on track for surplus.
Queensland is still on track for a surplus despite the budget deficit quadrupling to a projected $2.27 billion next financial year.
The mid-year budget update in December estimated the fiscal deficit would be $664 million for 2014/15, but a $600 million write down in coal royalties has worsened the bottom lime.
So too has a lag in natural disaster relief repayments from the Commonwealth.
Premier Campbell Newman doesn’t see the loss as a budget deterioration, rather he insists it’s an accounting problem.
“It’s a timing issue,” he said.
Two years of job and service cuts have given enough of a buffer to sustain the hit, with the state still on track for a surplus in 2015/16, as promised.
“It will be the first time in over a decade that Queensland taxpayers won’t have to borrow money,” Mr Newman said.
On Tuesday, the Newman government will hand down its third and final budget before next year’s election.
It has all but confirmed it will sell assets, instead of increasing taxes and reducing services, to help pay down $80 billion debt and build new infrastructure.
Two ports could be leased and two electricity generators and the commercial parts of Sunwater sold.
“The only way we can build the new infrastructure is through cutting front line services, putting up taxes and charges, or asset sales,” Mr Newman said.
On Sunday, it was announced that $6.5 million had been set aside in the budget to hire 70 child safety officers.
Another $25 million will be spent on child safety initiatives, such as more referral services, support for families to care for children at home instead of out-of-home care, and improved support for indigenous families.
Child Safety Minister Tracy Davis says $406 million will be spent over five years, to allow an overhaul of the child protection system.
The funding boost is in response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry and the final report by Commissioner Tim Carmody QC.
He recommended keeping families together, with more prevention and early intervention services.
“Parents should be able to care for their own children at home safely, with early intervention services and support easily accessible for those families who need it,” Ms Davis said.