Queensland treasurer Curtis Pitt.
Queensland treasurer Curtis Pitt. Chris Ison

Queensland budget has regional interests at heart: Pitt

AS TAXPAYERS wait to see how Labor will make budget savings without breaking election promises, Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt hopes this budget will reflect his regional roots and give all areas a fair go.

He said Tuesday's State Budget would be primarily about jobs for the future, but it would also address health services, education, science and technology.

A question on many minds is where the money will come from.

Mr Pitt has promised to deliver on all of Labor's election commitments, but will have less money to achieve that.

CQUniversity resource economist, Professor John Rolfe, said the government would be having a lot of trouble framing the budget because of declining economic conditions, particularly with plummeting mining royalties.

Mr Pitt expects a $3 billion drop in royalties over the next four years.

Prof Rolfe said the Palaszczuk government was in a bind after promising no new taxes and no asset sales at the January election.


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Last week Mr Pitt revealed $4 billion in Queensland Government debt would be passed onto the state's electricity businesses, reducing interest payments by about $600 million over the forward estimates.

"We did take a modest set of commitments to the people in January," he said.

"Our new spend was more than off-set by our savings and re-prioritisations that we made in our costings."

Mr Pitt expects good National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements funding.

The Palaszczuk government plans to merge state-owned electricity distributors into one company and state-owned electricity generators into another company.

The government-commissioned review of state finances also will be tabled on budget day.

The Mulgrave MP, who has described himself as a treasurer with regional Queensland's interests at heart, would not say what regional areas would receive from tomorrow's budget.

"All of my decisions will have a regional perspective. This budget will be framed with a view of trying to support rural and regional Queensland as best as it can," Mr Pitt said

Labor's Building Our Regions program - to replace the former government's Royalties for Regions scheme - will kick off from the 2016-17 financial year.

About $60 million will go to transport infrastructure projects, $70 million to a regional capital fund, $55 million for mining communities and $15 million for remote communities.

Opposition state development spokesman Andrew Cripps  said Labor's program was shorter, smaller and narrower than Royalties for Regions.

"And this shorter and smaller package has been split into four streams, which makes it narrower and less flexible to fund the different types of projects that are important to regional communities in Queensland outside of south-east Queensland," he said.