Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad: “This budget is all about backing Queensland jobs.” Picture: AAP Image/Richard Waugh
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad: “This budget is all about backing Queensland jobs.” Picture: AAP Image/Richard Waugh

Debt bomb keeps ticking upwards

JACKIE Trad's looming "borrow-to-build" budget comes despite Queensland already having the second worst debt-to-population ratio among Australian states.

Analysis of budget papers from across Australia's six states shows Queenslanders owe more than $15,000 each in state debt, well above the average figure of about $12,000.

Only the trouble-prone West Australian budget, which has struggled in the wake of the mining downturn, has a higher debt-per-capita ratio at $21,679.

The amount owed by Queenslanders will balloon further in today's state budget with the Palaszczuk Government forced to borrow more because of revenue shortfalls and unforeseen spending.

 

The debt binge and new tax grabs to be outlined in today's budget will further expose Labor's signature 2015 election promise that it could cut debt and build infrastructure without selling assets and forcing new costs onto Queenslanders.

Queensland's total gross debt was due to hit a record $75 billion, or just over $15,000 per person, in 2019-20 before rising to $83 billion by 2021-22.

This is already well above Australia's most populated states of New South Wales and Victoria where the debt-per-capita ratio is currently forecast to be $8261 and $10,201 respectively in 2019-20.

The state with the lowest ratio was Tasmania at $7407 per person.

Australia's other mining state, West Australia, was last month rewarded with a credit rating upgrade after curbing the state's debt trajectory.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington: “What Jackie Trad’s only plan is, is to borrow more money to cover up for their government’s wasteful spending. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington: “What Jackie Trad’s only plan is, is to borrow more money to cover up for their government’s wasteful spending. Picture: Zak Simmonds

However, the Queensland Treasurer yesterday continued to spruik her "borrow-to-build" pre-budget mantra, insisting the debt would be used to "invest in economic and social infrastructure that Queenslanders need".

"This budget is all about backing Queensland jobs," Ms Trad said. "Fundamentally our number one priority is backing Queensland jobs.

"We are backing our economy and we are making sure there are lots of jobs in our economy for Queenslanders."

However, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington accused the Palaszczuk Government of foisting more debt onto Queenslanders after years of reckless spending.

"Queenslanders know we can't afford Labor when their only plan is to hit us with more taxes, more debt, resulting in fewer jobs," she said.

"What Jackie Trad's only plan is, is to borrow more money to cover up for their government's wasteful spending."