Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer Jackie Trad.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer Jackie Trad. DAN PELED

Budget serves up few surprises for regional Qld

AFTER an election governments don't normally serve a gourmet budget and prefer to stick to a safe recipe for success. Jackie Trad's first as treasurer is certainly a meat and potatoes affair.

The Queensland Government has doubled down on the ingredients that won them last year's poll, continuing programs including Advance Queensland, Works for Queensland and Skilling Queenslanders for Work.

There are few new announcements in the massive $45.8 billion infrastructure fund, about $3 billion more than promised at the previous budget.

Almost $30 billion of that building spend will be go to projects outside greater Brisbane. The headline works include central Queensland's Rookwood Weir, the second Range Crossing in Toowoomba, the new Townsville stadium and Cairns performing arts centre.

While these projects will create much-needed jobs, they were already known and many already under way. Every community across the state has an infrastructure wishlist a spending splurge could have tackled. But it is easy to understand why the government opted for a no surprises budget - these are the promises that won them an election in November.

Response to the budget has been mixed. Housing groups said regional home buyers would be hit hardest from the government's decision to cut $5000 from the first home buyers grant. Medical lobbyists said the budget did not invest enough in preventative health.

The budget is not without programs that will help regional Queenslanders. These include the State Library's program to help children below five across the state learn to read, and the Regional Internet of Things program, that will fund technology projects to help business and farms.

But many regional voters would wonder if there was enough on the menu to satisfy them this time around.

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