Gas industry must pay Queenslanders: Trad
Opponents of Queensland's gas royalty hike have labelled the move a kick in the guts for the resources sector, but Treasurer Jackie Trad says it's time for the industry to pay more.
Gas royalties will increase from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent from July 1 to raise $476 million over four years to plug revenue shortfalls elsewhere.
The Queensland Resources Council says it will make gas royalties the highest in Australia, risking jobs and future investment.
But Ms Trad says the Labor administration had supported the industry in its climb to become one of the state's biggest exports, and it is now time to pay up.
"There has been a ten per cent royalty rate on the gas sector for the past ten years. It was a competitive royalty rate because it was a new, fledgling industry," she said on Wednesday.
"Now it is very much established. It is very much growing at a rapid rate and now is the time for it to pay a bit more to the people of Queensland."
She admitted the industry was given no warning of the hike prior to the 2019/20 budget announcement on Tuesday.
The second term Palaszczuk government's relationship with the resources industry has been centre stage since Labor's federal poll loss in May.
The loss has been attributed to Labor's perceived failure to accommodate Adani's plans to dig a new thermal coal mine - and the jobs it could bring to the regions.
The state government has since stressed its support for the sector and the communities that rely on it for jobs.
Ms Trad revealed a surplus for 2019/20 on Tuesday, but with a whopping estimated $78.7 billion in total government debt.
She says the government's focus is on making new jobs, particularly in the regions where government spending is a key economic driver, and where it needs support at next year's state poll.
Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington claims the government isn't doing what it says it is and that it's wasting the money it has borrowed.
"It is a big Labor lie that this is a budget to build, when there is less infrastructure," she said.
Land taxes will be increased to fund record spending on hospitals, schools and roads, and the government will also look for internal savings.
That debt figure is expected to blow out to more than $90 billion in four years, but Ms Trad says it is manageable.
Economists say an increase in the payroll tax threshold to $1.3 million for small businesses will open up jobs.
There is a one per cent rate cut for regional employers with a majority of their workers in regional areas.
© AAP 2019