State Budget rebound should be shared with business

Tuesday 8 June, 2010 | Tags: State and Federal Budgets

The State Government's commitment to fiscal discipline and bringing the State budget closer to a sustainable position is commendable however it will not yet restore the state's vitally needed AAA credit rating, Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) today announced.

CCIQ President David Goodwin said the 2010-11 State Budget could have had more fairness, equity and a focus on business.

"It was the Queensland business community that dug deep into their own pockets to get us through the GFC and it is only fair that some of the financial rebound should have been shared.

"The business community was today looking to the State Budget to continue on a path of responsible economic management which it does.  However at the same time it fails to strengthen its pro business policies.

"CCIQ welcomes the dramatically reduced budget deficit for 2010-11 and the earlier return to surplus that this State Budget forecasts.  These are good outcomes for Queensland however this Budget should also have been about 'balance'.

"A balanced and fairer budget would have invested in the Queensland business community's future by assisting them.  Current business profitability and investment levels are at their weakest levels since the 'recession we had to have' in the early nineties.  Some of the financial rebound should have been quarantined to help business to employ.

"A means to do this is to address the embedded structural deficit that this State Budget confirms," Mr Goodwin said.

State revenue over the forward estimates is increasing by 14.1 per cent yet expenditure is increasing by 16.8 per cent.

"When we are already running a deficit it stands to reason that when future expenses exceed future revenue the embedded deficit will remain until we are fully progressed with the asset sales program.

"Interestingly the State Budget makes no mention of the increase in workers compensation premiums or the pending introduction of the waste levy on business effective 1 July 2011.

"Instead the State Government has highlighted a range of taxation measures that offer limited material benefit to the broader business community.

"With aggressive budgets in both Victoria and New South Wales, Queensland finds itself falling back into the pack despite promises prior to the last State Election that out tax regime would remain competitive.

"Notwithstanding a 6 per cent decline in Infrastructure spending, the $17.1 billion program continues to be the largest capital outlay of any state.  This is the State Government's commitment to stimulating the economy.

"In summary the State Government over the coming year will need to hit the refresh button as under investing in the Queensland business community will risk the long term sustainable lifestyle that Queensland families currently have," Mr Goodwin said.