2021-2022 Queensland State Budget Delivered

The 2021-2022 Queensland state budget was handed down on Tuesday 15 June 2021 by Queensland Treasurer the Hon. Cameron Dick MP.

OTA has prepared a summary of those budget measures most relevant to occupational therapists. Click on the links below to skip to the sections of most interest to you.

 

The Bottom Line

The Palaszczuk Government has brought down what has been termed a traditional Labor Budget, one notable for significant spending on new social housing and new and expanded health services.

Unexpectedly high GST payments and a buoyant real estate market, delivering a bonanza in transfer duties, has resulted in an improved fiscal position. This, however, masks a deteriorating debt situation.

While Treasurer Cameron Dick denies Queensland has a debt problem, he carefully distinguishes between net debt, which excludes state owned enterprises, and total debt, which will hit $127 billion in 2024-25. He has also noted that the state’s debt is less than that of New South Wales and Victoria.

While all this is true, it overlooks the fact that strong economic growth and low interest rates cannot last forever, and Queensland will be particularly exposed when circumstances change. A forecast return to surplus in 2024-25 will do little to address what is a grave medium to long term problem. 

Health and Hospitals

The 2021-2022 Queensland budget includes total funding of $22.2 billion for health services over the next four years, up slightly from the $21.8 billion promised in the previous year. 

Of the $22.2 billion, $2 billion is allocated to establishing a Hospital Building Fund with initial investments in the Toowoomba Day Surgery, purchasing public health services through expansion at Mater Public Hospital Springfield, and an uplift in Queensland Health’s base capital program.

$20.8 billion is allocated to Queensland Health operations including:

  • Spending of $480 million in 2021-22 to continue Queensland’s COVID-19 response including fever clinics, contact tracing, testing capability, vaccination rollout, compliance activities and facilitation of quarantine.
  • Spending of $482 million to relieve pressure in emergency departments, address elective surgery waitlists, and the Nambour Hospital Redevelopment of which $86.2 million was committed in 2020-2021.

The 2021-2022 Budget includes $177 million to purchase public health services through the expansion at Mater Public Hospital Springfield, attached to the Mater Private Hospital Springfield. The new hospital will provide 174 public beds and will include an emergency department, an intensive care unit and maternity services. The new hospital is expected to be operational in 2024 and to create more than 1,000 frontline health jobs.

The Budget maintains funding of $265 million for the Satellite Hospitals Program, which will deliver satellite hospitals to Bribie Island, Caboolture, Brisbane South, Pine Rivers, Gold Coast, Ipswich and Redlands. The new facilities will provide virtual health opportunities including a range of rapid access consults, care coordination, remote monitoring and patient literacy services.

Other highlights include:

  • $103.5 million for the Caboolture Hospital Redevelopment to support an additional 130 beds; and
  • $90 million for the Logan Hospital expansion which will deliver an additional 206 beds or treatment services and improve maternity services.

Mental Health

The 2021-2022 Budget allocates $48.8 million from the rural and regional infrastructure program to the new mental health facility at Cairns Hospital, adding to the $70 million promised in the 2020-2021 Budget. The funding will also go towards a Sarina Hospital upgrade and for the replacement of the Mer (Murray) Island Primary Health Care Centre.

The Palaszczuk Government will continue to fund an expansion of the Gold Coast University Hospital, with funding of $43 million allocated to deliver the previously promised 40-bed secure mental health rehabilitation unit.

An addition $11.4 million has been allocated for mental health service projects at Hervey Bay and Maryborough hospitals.

Spending of $92.4 million has been allocated to expand Ipswich Hospital, including new mental health facilities.

Housing

In 2017, the Palaszczuk Government launched the 10-year Queensland Housing Strategy, with a commitment to spend $1.6 billion delivering 5,500 social and affordable homes by 2027.

The 2021-2022 Budget outlines an updated Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021-2025 including the establishment of a new $1 billion Housing Investment Fund. The fund will boost housing supply and homelessness support to $1.9 billion over the next four years. Under the new action plan, the Palaszczuk Government commits to commence building an additional 6,365 new social and affordable homes before 30 June 2025. Spending of $20 million has been allocated to expand domestic and family violence housing support services.

The 2021–2022 Budget also provides more than $6.1 billion in a range of concessions and support measures primarily designed to lower the cost of living. This includes a range of energy rebates, targeted discounts, subsidies, and concessions including ones dedicated to eligible seniors, pensioners, veterans and low-income families.

Disability Services

Spending of $7.3 million over 4 years has been allocated to provide support for former Disability Services clients who are ineligible for services under the NDIS.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The 2021-2022 Budget allocates spending of $8.3 million over 4 years to provide financial, employment and housing and mental health assistance to people seeking asylum and humanitarian entrants with a temporary protection visa in Queensland.

Spending of $4 million over 4 years has been allocated to the Celebrating Multicultural Queensland program.

Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Support

The Budget sees increases in funding to provide support people impacted by domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV) in response to increased demand and the impacts of COVID-19.

Spread over four years, the support will include:

  • $30 million to boost DFSV victim support services;
  • $20 million to expand DFSV housing support services (as part of the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021-2025);
  • $4.4 million for critical fronting DFSV services and perpetrator interventions in specialist court locations;
  • $4 million for Victim Assist Queensland to deliver financial assistance to victims; and
  • $2.1 million under the Domestic and Family Violence and Communication Strategy, a 10 year strategy launched in 2016.

Youth Justice

The 2021-2022 Budget includes a continuation and expansion of the Youth Justice Strategy which was launched in 2018. The Budget provides collective funding of $113.5 million including:

  • $7.4 million for additional frontline positions in youth detention centres;
  • $8.5 million to expand the provision of intensive support for families of children on bail; and
  • $13.1 million for additional workers in the Conditional Bail program which will expand in Brisbane North, Logan, Townsville, Gold Coast and Moreton/Caboolture.

Aged Care

There was no specific mention of aged care funding in the 2021-2022 Budget.

Veterans

There was no specific mention of funding for veterans in the 2021-2022 Budget other than the $6.1 billion in concessions for seniors, pensioners, veterans and low-income families designed to lower the cost of living.

Education

The 2021-2022 Budget commits to a total education investment of $16.8 billion.

Spending of $1.4 billion will go towards new schools to open in 2023 and 2024. This includes an additional $913.7 million for 10 new schools in high-growth areas of the state as part of the Building Future Schools Program.

In 2021-2022 $17.3 million has been allocated to link industry and local high schools to provide students with pathways into rewarding careers under the Palaszczuk Government’s Local Schools Local Jobs commitment.

Skills & Training

The 2021-22 Budget will deliver on the $100 million Equipping TAFE for our Future Program, with $47.8 million in key projects including $10 million towards fit out at the new Robina TAFE and $8 million towards the Training Centre of Excellence as part of the Central Queensland University Rockhampton Campus consolidation.

Rural, Regional and Remote Communities

The 2021-2022 Budget includes the establishment of a $300 million Path to Treaty Fund with returns to be used to support Path to Treaty actions and the government’s response to the Treaty Advancement Committee report, which is expected to be delivered in late 2021.

A key focus of the Budget is on providing social housing support, with $40.8 million allocated to deliver 47 social housing dwellings in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and to purchase 6 dwellings for use as temporary housing to support home ownership. A further $89.6 million will be provided in grants to deliver 17 social housing dwellings and upgrade existing dwellings in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Spending of $25 million in 2021-2022 has been allocated from the Resources Community Infrastructure Fund to support the post-COVID recovery in regional communities.

Quotes

Our domestic economy has grown faster than the rest of Australia. Queensland has recovered more jobs than any other state or territory. And we are outperforming the nation on a range of household and business indicators.

Hon. Cameron Dick MP, Queensland Treasurer

The $2.9 billion investment outlined in the budget will lead to more houses for more Queenslanders sooner. The Government has effectively tripled its investment into social housing over the next four years.

Aimee McVeigh, Queensland Council of Social Service CEO

 

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