Last week the Treasurer, Jackie Trad, delivered the 2019-20 Queensland State Budget. The Government provides for a $189 million surplus in 2019-20, with surpluses averaging $443 million over the four years to 2022-23. The State Government's outlook indicates Queensland's economy is on track to grow by 3.0% in 2019-20 but is likely to slow to 2.75% p.a. in each of the three years to 2022-23. In a budget strongly focused on infrastructure spending and support for regional areas, there are several new initiatives for business. These include:


*Image courtesy of abc.net.au

 Taxation
  • The tax-free threshold for businesses having to pay payroll tax will increase from $1.1m to $1.3m (effective 1 July 2019). The payroll tax rate for businesses with payroll up to and including $6.5m will remain at 4.75%
  • The payroll tax rate for large businesses with a payroll above $6.5m will have a new rate of 4.95%, up 0.2%. (effective 1 July 2019).
  • The payroll tax rate for medium-size businesses in regional Queensland* (up to and including $6.5m) will decrease by 1% to 3.75% (effective 1 July 2019).
  • The payroll tax rate for large businesses in regional Queensland* ($6.5m and over) will be reduced by 1% to 3.95% (effective 1 July 2019).
  • A payroll tax rebate up to $20,000 for businesses who have a net growth in total full-time employees will be provided for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years.
  • A "Back to Work" initiative providing up to $20,000 in financial support for businesses that employ eligible jobseekers. Full details of this continued program at backtowork.initiatives.qld.gov.au
  • The Apprentice and Trainee payroll tax rebate, which is paid at 50% of apprentice and trainee wages will be extended for two more years. Details of the rebate are available at business.qld.gov.au
  • From 30 June 2019, land tax rates will increase from 2% to 2.25% for companies and trustees with landholdings of more than $5,000,000 but $10,000,000 or less.
  • From 30 June 2019, land tax rates will increase from 2.5% to 2.75% for companies and trustees with landholdings of more than $10,000,000.From 2019-20, the land tax absentee surcharge rate will be harmonised with Victoria and New South Wales with a 0.5% increase, and application of the surcharge widened to include foreign corporations and trustees of foreign trusts.

  • Skills
  • $80 million in 2019–20 as part of a $420 million, six-year commitment to the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.
  • $105.8 million in 2019–20 for upgrades and improvements in Queensland's training infrastructure.
  • 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.
  • $4.6 million over five years for the Digital Engagement Strategy to improve the online accessibility of vocational education and consumer training information for young people.
  • $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.

    Innovation
  • $19 million over four years to support the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy, with Gladstone being a key focus for hydrogen development.
  • Additional funding of $105 million from 2018-19 in the Advance Queensland initiative
  • $8.6 million over two years to establish FibreCo, to improve internet speed in regional Queensland.

    Infrastructure
  • Government capital works program totaling $12.9 billion in 2019-20 and $49.5 billion over the next four years.
  • The Budget provides $5.6 billion in transport infrastructure in 2019-20, including $1.480 billion to commence major construction work on Cross River Rail.
  • $1.227 billion in 2019–20 for the construction of new schools and education facilities, as well as significant enhancements to existing buildings.
  • $2.66 billion in energy and water infrastructure in 2019-20, including $153.6 million to upgrade dams and water supplies in South East Queensland
  • $777.7 million in 2019–20 on investment in hospitals and health facilities.

    Regional
  • $70 million additional funding for local government regional infrastructure projects
  • $1.599 billion in capital grants in 2019–20, including $50 million as part of the Works for Queensland program for infrastructure in regional communities.
  • $30 million over two years to contribute towards the construction and operation of a new common user terminal at the Port of Townsville
  • $193.5 million for the Port of Townsville Limited, Channel Capacity Upgrade project.

  • Further important changes for small businesses to note:
    The Fair Work Commission has announced a 3.0% increase to minimum wages. The increase applies from the first full pay period starting on 1 July 2019. The new national minimum wage will be $740.80 per week or $19.49 per hour.
    *for eligible employers with 85% of their employees outside of South East Queensland