The Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review highlighted the shadow being cast over Queensland’s finances by Labor’s black cloud of debt, Treasurer Tim Nicholls announced today.
Mr Nicholls said the report showed that while the Government had kept its expenses under control, Queensland continued to have debt levels well above other states.
Key forecasts from the 2013-14 MYFER include:
- A deficit in 2013-14 of $7.60 billion, a slight improvement on the Budget estimate of $7.66 billion
- General taxation for the year to be slightly better than forecast – up $63 million but down $205 million across the forward estimates to 2016-17
- Royalties to be down $97 million in 2013-14 and down $324 million over the forward estimates
- Economic growth of 3 per cent in 2013-14 and 2014-15 rising to 6 per cent in 2015-16
- Employment growth of 1.75 per cent revised down from 2.25 per cent. The unemployment rate remains unchanged at 6 per cent in 2013-14 and 5.75 per cent in 2014-15
“Careful economic management means the Budget position is now fairly stable,” Mr Nicholls said.
“We have kept a tight rein on expenses, with growth in general government expenses expected to average 3 per cent per annum through to 2016-17.
“But in order to invest in new infrastructure and better services in coming years we must address the debt problem and make even greater improvements than we have already accomplished.
“Debt in 2013-14 is now forecast to be $76.97 billion, $1.16 billion less than forecast in the June Budget and $5.32 billion better than the Commission of Audit interim report predicted.”
Mr Nicholls said that with an interest bill of almost $4 billion a year for Queensland, debt was forecast to continue growing and reach $81.45 billion by 2016-17.
“Our task now is to find alternative ways to pay down the debt so we can free up capital for new infrastructure and more of the services Queenslanders want in areas such as health, education and policing,” he said.
“The scoping studies and market soundings we are currently undertaking are part of our methodical and disciplined approach to considering these issues.
“In 2014 we will continue the conversation with Queenslanders about the best way forward so we can fix Labor’s debt problem and secure the State’s financial future.”