Horror budget for Queensland next month

Queensland is facing a “horror budget”, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said today.

The shock statement came as Mr Seeney was announcing a pilot program to give mining royalties to regional communities.

“This is going to be a horror budget. There’s not a lot of money available,” he said.

“But I think it is important we get this program in place in a way we can build on. It won’t rebuild the Peak Downs Highway… but $60 million will be a start.”

Queensland’s budget is to be brought down on 11 September, following months of job cuts and slashing of programs by the new Liberal National Party government.

Mr Seeney was speaking at the joint Local Government Association of Queensland and Queensland Resources Council’s forum on Growing Queensland’s Resource Communities.

He said the Royalties to Regions program would put mining money back in the hands of local governments.

“We came up with a firm commitment to returning royalties to regions and a program that was based around acknowledging that local councils know what local communities need.”

The program will take applications from councils for local projects that require funding.

“The funds will be funnelled to the projects for which councils apply. We are expecting a flood of applications,” Mr Seeney said.

The program would address a number of areas, including providing funding for roads.

“We believe the majority funding should be at the disposal of councils for their own roads.”

Another mandate of the program would be funding for councils to address other community infrastructure concerns.

“Difficulties of councils funding their water and sewage requirements can be addressed, but it’s up to councils to indicate their priorities.”

Mr Seeney said the program would also address flood infrastructure gaps brought into focus after 2010.

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