"Business conditions in Queensland have been particularly challenging in recent times in large part due to a continued slowing of the resources sector and there are concerns that residential construction, which has propped up the Queensland economy in the past couple of years, is cooling off.
"Today's Budget is focused on innovation and education along with measures to stimulate regional economies and a reasonably small increase in infrastructure funding. In combination these things should assist in restoring some level of business confidence across the State, particularly in regional areas, whilst providing a long-term framework to grow the economy.
"We are particularly pleased to see Government's continued focus on innovation in today's Budget through the Accelerating Advance Queensland program which importantly focusses on STEM skills, technology and business innovation and improvement. The strong focus on stimulating regional Queensland economies is also welcomed.
"We welcome the Government's commitment in this Budget to maintaining the State's competitive tax position relative to other states and its focus on small business through the creation of an Office for Small Business.
"The reasonably modest infrastructure funding announced today while positive, is not quite the shot in the arm for the economy that business and industry had hoped for.
"Ai Group also cautions that diverting funds from the QSuper Defined Benefit Scheme is not without risk. For this reason, we urge the Government to be particularly vigilant to ensure infrastructure funded through this Budget is productivity lifting so that it provides an ongoing benefit to the economy over time rather than just providing a once of construction-phase sugar hit. Government must also ensure all proposed infrastructure undergoes transparent and rigorous cost benefit analysis prior to being funded.
"In the longer term, more sustainable sources of revenue to fund the State's infrastructure needs will have to be found. Ai Group has long supported the carefully targeted recycling of assets. The NSW experience demonstrates there can be public support for privatisation or long-term leasing where proceeds are used to grow the economy through investment in productivity-lifting infrastructure. These are difficult decisions for governments to make but the NSW economy is now reaping the rewards and we urge this Government and the Opposition to reconsider their stated positions around asset recycling into the longer term.
"We look forward to working on behalf of Ai Group members with the Queensland Government as it implements today's budget measures over the coming year so Queensland industry can reposition and thrive," Ms Dunn said.
Media Enquiries: Jemina Dunn, Queensland State Director, 0407 266 482