Queensland is again leading the way when it comes to grants; delivering a bumper suite of programs in its 2019-20 budget which was handed down on 11 June. Highlights of the budget include:
Support for Queensland businesses Innovation and investment for the future
The government will tip in an additional $105 million to continue funding programs under the Advance Queensland initiative, bringing total funding for this initiative to $755 million. New measures funded under the Advance Queensland program will include:
- $45 million for the Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund
- $25 million for the Research Infrastructure Co-Investment Funds
- $19 million for the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Development Strategy
- $5 million for Biofutures 2.0
- $4 million in additional grant funding for the Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy 2016–2020.
There will also be increased funding of up to $14 million over two years to meet continued demand for the Back to Work program in South East Queensland in areas facing significant labour market challenges, bringing total funding under the Back to Work program to $383 million.
$14.8 million in 2019–20 has also been allocated to the regional Business Energy Savers Program.
Innovation and investment for the future
In support of innovation, the government has announced $25 million over four years for the Queensland Government Research Infrastructure Co-Investment Fund for critical co-investment in facilities with partnerships and joint ventures designed to put our science facilities and researchers in a nation-leading position.
The Queensland Government will also continue to back Queensland’s start-up revolution through the $80 million Business Development Fund, which provides co-investment to help businesses at the forefront of commercialising ground-breaking research or innovations turn ideas into reality.
The 2019–20 Budget will provide $885 million over four years in a series of targeted payroll tax initiatives that will deliver lower taxes for an estimated 13,200 small and medium businesses. The package includes:
- An increased exemption threshold – the payroll tax exemptions threshold is rising from $1.1 million to $1.3 million which will benefit employers with annual wages up to $6.5 million.
- Regional payroll tax discount – from 1 July 2019 a 1% payroll tax discount will apply for eligible employers with 85% of their employees outside of South East Queensland.
- Employment growth rebate – for two years from 1 July 2019, Queensland employers that have increased their number of full-time employees will be eligible for a payroll tax rebate of the payroll tax paid for these additional employees, capped at $20,000 annually.
- Extension of apprentice and trainee rebate – building on the success of the 50% payroll tax rebate for apprentices and trainees, especially for employers in regional Queensland, this initiative will be extended until 30 June 2021.
Backing jobs in the regions
Key highlights for the regions include:
- As part of the Building our Regions program, the Government has provided a boost of $70 million for local government regional infrastructure projects, taking the total funding allocated to the program to $515 million.
- $1.599 billion will be provided for capital grants including $50 million as part of the Works for Queensland program for infrastructure in regional communities
- Increased funding of $25 million will be provided as part of the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund bringing the total funding of this program to $175 million.
During 2019–20 the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority will administer Australian Government funding of $300 million over three years for restocking, replanting and on-farm infrastructure grants to assist primary producers impacted by severe flooding.
- $30 million has been committed to establish a new Resources Community Infrastructure Fund, which will target improving economic and social infrastructure across Queensland’s regional resources communities.
- The Queensland Government is continuing to support drought affected communities through the continuation of the Drought Assistance Package, as well as implementing Queensland drought reform with up to $74.6 million available over four years.
Skills and training
The Queensland government will provide a number of initiatives in support of skills and training, including:
- $80 million in 2019–20 as part of a $420 million, six-year commitment to the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.
Additional funding of $5.5 million over three years for the Micro-Credentialing Pilot to support industry-led skills development designed to address emerging workforce skills requirements.
- $300,000 over two years to establish a Higher Level Apprenticeship Pilot, to provide opportunities to partner with industry to develop new pathways to layer specialised skills and knowledge with the traditional apprenticeship model.
- $199 million for the User Choice – Apprentice and Trainee Training Subsidy which provides funding of between $1,150 and $50,720 to be used towards the costs of training and assessment for eligible Queensland apprentices and trainees.
- $193.7 million for the Certificate III Guarantee Tuition Fee Subsidy which helps eligible Queenslanders obtain their first post-school Certificate III qualification to gain a job or to improve their employment status.
- $75 million for the Higher Level Skills Tuition Fee Subsidy which subsidises the cost of tuition fees paid by eligible students and employers undertaking a priority Certificate IV, diploma or advanced diploma or industry endorsed skillset.
Supporting tourism and events in Queensland
Tourism will continue to be supported with $35.7 million over three years from 2018–19 for the Production Attraction Strategy, to help grow a pipeline of large-scale film and high-end television productions in Queensland (taking total funding to $85.7 million since 2015–16). A further $9.5 million over four years will support the growth of the screen industry, including a new Screen Investment Fund and support for the Post, Digital and Visual Effects incentive program and the Queensland video gaming industry. $3 million will also be provided over three years to deliver the Premier’s Outback Events Program to further grow the tourism industry by providing new opportunities to attract visitors and further drive the economy in Outback Queensland.