The Queensland Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, announced a "crackdown on state tax avoidance" in his second Qld Budget released on the 14th June 2016. The focus of the Budget was on job creation, and promised Queensland's largest surplus in almost a decade for the 2015/16 year of $1.2 billion with surpluses over the next four years despite a fall in revenue growth and mining royalty write downs.
Key announcements from the Budget included:
- First home buyers to receive $20,000 (up from $15,000) to buy a house or unit valued at less than $750,000
- Farming families to benefit from extended drought relief arrangements, a transfer duty exemption for intergenerational transfers of farm businesses and grants of up to $2,500 for primary producers to seek best practice information on financial and climate risk management.
- $10.1 billion infrastructure spending package in 2015/16 including Gold Coast road upgrades, Gateway Motorway North widening to six lanes, Toowoomba Second Range crossing, Townsville sports stadium, Bruce Highway works and rail network improvements.
- 4% increase in health spending to $14.2 billion in 2015/16 to reduce outpatient wait lists, nurse training and employment and upgrades to regional hospitals.
- 2% increase in funding to the education sector.
- $1.6 billion on the Working Queensland jobs plan.
- $210 million to make public transport more affordable in south-east Queensland.
- $200 million over 5 years to address domestic and family violence.
- $22.7 million over three years in grants for small business.
Key revenue initiatives included:
- Foreign buyers of residential property, as foreshadowed in our article Pitt backflip set to hurt foreign property buyers, are impacted with the introduction of a 3% transfer duty surcharge to be applied to foreign purchasers who acquire residential property in Qld from 1 October 2016.
- a reprioritisation of $4 billion from the public service superannuation fund currently $10 billion in surplus to reduce debt and invest in infrastructure.
- a crackdown on state tax avoidance with an additional $10mil in revenue over 3 years from those trying to avoid tax with increased activity from the Office of State Revenue in collecting land tax and payroll tax.
- Regearing of state-owned corporations resulting in future interest obligations on almost $78 billion of debt by 2019-20 for future generations.