The need for difficult decisions to repair Queensland’s Budget is reinforced by news that, due to the drop in coal prices and a slower economy, revenue will be further written down by $1.5 billion over the next four years. The Government, however, does not have to look hard for budget savings—it only needs political courage—because potential savings measures have been identified by both the Queensland Competition Authority, in its recent Industry Assistance Inquiry, and the Department of Premier and Cabinet, in its controversial leaked Economic Action Plan.
Some of the identified savings measures include:
- removing transport subsidies, particularly for agricultural freight ($1.4 billion over five years according to QCA estimates), a measure which was identified by both the QCA and Premier’s Department,
- savings in Queensland Rail operations (e.g. cutting tilt train services),
- scrapping the desalination and recycled water plants.
Unfortunately I am not expecting bold savings to be announced in the Government’s Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review which will be released later this week. Obviously, the Government’s precarious position in the Parliament means we will not see any tough decisions in this term.
Good post. There are plenty of ideas in the QCA report and the career-ending Economic Action Plan. Some good. Some potentially not so good.
In addition to savings measures, perhaps an easier thing to do is to stop doing more dumb things that impose more long-term liabilities on taxpayers. Unnecessary stadiums, theatres, support for polluting industries, transport projects anyone? Any gains from cost savings and efficiencies can be very quickly offset by dubious infrastructure projects.
A couple of weeks ago you posted about a $1.3 million business case to be prepared for an obviously dubious venue to handle the occassional overflow from QPAC etc. A better use of that (thinking) money would be to do an initial assessment of the ideas highlighted by the QCA and the Economic Action Plan. Call it a $1.3 million common sense filter if you like.
Great idea, Jim. Thanks for the comment. Let’s hope the Economic Action Plan isn’t career ending for the public servant who prepared it. I’m sure they’ll land on their feet outside the public service! I don’t agree with all of the measures proposed in the Plan, but it’s the type of visionary thinking that sadly isn’t done enough in the public service. Qld Treasury should have undertaken a similar exercise a long time ago.
How about ending the First home owners grant that has simply put $15,000 into a builders pocket each time they build one, they simply bump up the price and pocket it, it’s a scam. Also cut back on the health travel concession and ensure only people in remote and regional areas access it, why does somebody in Toowoomba get a subsidy to travel to Brisbane to see a specialist, it’s a hour and a half drive. The subsidy should be for people in northern and western parts where they have to travel over a thousand km for treatment.
Good suggestions, thanks Glen.