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The latest Queensland budget solidifies the Gold Coast as the place to invest
The Gold Coast’s economy is “roaring back to life” with hundreds of millions to be spent on the light rail, new train stations, the Coomera Connector and Pacific Motorway exit upgrades, State Budget papers reveal.
Treasurer Cameron Dick on Tuesday announced the recovery from Covid-19 was better than expected in predictions 12 months ago with net debt in 2020-21 reduced by $9.7 billion — the biggest drop ever by the State Government — and the State budget expected to return to surplus by 2024-25.
The economic recovery, which the Treasurer maintains is on the back of strong health measures to contain the virus, was being steered by a $52.2 billion infrastructure spend, much of it on roads and rail and the largest in a decade.
“When you protect the health of your people, the jobs will grow. That is what we are seeing in Queensland today — an economy roaring back to life,” Mr Dick said, in his budget speech to State Parliament.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the funding spend as a “traditional Labor budget” focusing on what Queenslanders need — new schools, hospitals and roads.
“And Queensland is roaring back, you cannot hold a Queenslander down. The Queensland economy is coming back bigger, stronger and faster than any of us could have expected,” she said.
* A $1.3b infrastructure plan, up from $1.13b in the previous year, estimated to support a record 3900 jobs.
* About $1.044b for light rail stage three from Broadbeach to Burleigh, with $113 million to be spent in the next 12 months, enabling construction before Christmas and easing fears about a funding shortfall.
* $115 million to begin construction of the Coomera Connector’s first stage between Nerang and Coomera.
* $120m for three new railway stations at Pimpama, Helensvale North, Worongary-Merrimac with the project cost and timing subject to further planning as early studies begin.
* $58m out of a $82m total spend to upgrade interchange on Exit 41 on the Pacific Motorway.
* $48.7m for social housing, a significant boost, which recognises the city’s growing homeless population.
* $1.8b for health, providing 1330 extra nurses (up 48 per cent in the last six years) and 98 extra ambulance officers, an increase of more than 26 per cent across the same period. This is an increase from $1.7b with the city to get a satellite hospital for the southern Coast.
*$171m for education, up from $133m last year, which will see more than 700 new teachers in the city’s schools since March 2015, an increase of almost 16 per cent. Palm Beach Currumbin State School will get a new hall, and in the north Gainsborough State School will see a $16.6m second stage construction, and similarly more than $28m for Foxwell State Secondary College. About $24m is to be spent on a special school at Coomera and additional learning spaces created at Ormeau Woods.