The Queensland Government is investing an extra $100 million in regional health and aged care, but has slashed capital spending by $147 million in its State Budget.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said the new funding will be used mostly in the state’s remote southwest corner.
“One of the most fundamental lessons we learned about COVID is that if first you protect the health of your people, then your economy and jobs will grow,” he said last week.
“That is what we see in Queensland today – an economy that is roaring back to life.
“Not in spite of our disciplined focus on getting the health response right – but precisely because of it.
“And in a state as large and decentralised as Queensland it’s vital we deliver those services to Queenslanders right across the state, no matter where they live.”
The treasurer said of that $100 million, about $70 million will be invested in infrastructure in Camooweal, St George, Morven, Charleville and Blackwater.
Another $12.5 million will be spent on aged care in the Indigenous community of Woorabinda, $12.4 million for health care in Windorah and $7.2 million on healthcare in Moura.
Minister for Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford said the Budget is ensuring some of the most vulnerable Queenslanders get the help they need.
“Seniors and people with disabilities will be amongst the big beneficiaries of the Budget with the Palaszczuk Government investing in services and support,” Crawford said.
“This is all about building an inclusive state where all Queenslanders can thrive.
“Seniors and people with disabilities have been hit hard by the impacts of COVID and it’s important they are supported as we continue our economic recovery.”
Crawford said ensuring Queensland seniors could live their lives free from physical, emotional and financial abuse was a top priority for the Queensland Government.
“The 2021-22 State Budget delivers a strong plan to support and safeguard older Queenslanders by committing $4.8 million over four years and $1.2 million per year ongoing, for seniors’ legal and support services, financial protection advice and a scams and fraud protection helpline for seniors,” he said.
The budget delivers $22.2 billion for health, including $482 million to relieve pressure on capacity and elective surgery waiting lists, in 2021/22.
There will be $53 million spent social housing and a $1 billion housing fund from which earnings will be used to pay for housing projects.
While there’s a boost to regional health care funding, the government’s capital expenditure will drop sharply in 2021/22.
Public spending on roads, railways, ports energy and government-owned corporations will the cut by $147 million, almost 1.0 per cent, to $14.68 billion this year.
Dick said the fall from last year’s $14.83 billion spend is due to COVID-19 stimulus programs being wound back this financial year.
The treasurer has also lowered his forecast for capital expenditure over the next four years.
The Queensland state budget was handed down on Tuesday morning.