'Unbelievable' drop in regional spend as SEQ spending jumps
A NEW budget analysis has revealed a drop in total state spending across regional Queensland - and a huge surge in southeast Queensland
The Cummings Economics analysis shows budgeted capital expenditure across regional Queensland in the State Budget 2019-20 decreased by 2 per cent compared to 2018-19, while in SEQ, expenditure jumped 28 per cent.
Mirani MP Stephen Andrew has labelled the analysis figures as "unbelievable" and a "slap in the face to regional Queensland".
He said a lack of State Government spending in the regions was one of the reasons he believed Labor would not be re-elected at the 2020 state election.
"We still are being left behind and the people of Queensland are fed up," Mr Andrew said.
"The Queensland people will make a decision (at the state election), I believe, based on the poor track record of what is happening in government at the moment."
A spokesman for Treasurer Jackie Trad said per capita, the State Government's investment in regional Queensland was more than one-and-a-half times the size of the investment in southeast Queensland.
But Cummings Economics principal Bill Cummings said the State Government's claim that the 2019-20 budget was "for the regions" was false promotion, based off the comparison between regional and SEQ budgeted capital expenditure.
"In this last budget, the big increase was in southeast Queensland," Mr Cummings said.
"Generally in southeast Queensland, the level of budgeted expenditure per capita tends to be lower because there is not as much need for roads funding, however, in this last budget most of the increase was in that region.
"If you take a look at all the regions overall, there wasn't a great increase outside of the southeast corner."
Ms Trad's spokesman said this year's State Budget continued Labor's strong record of capital investment in regional Queensland.
"Our 2019-20 capital works program will support 40,000 jobs and more than 25,000 - or 63 per cent - of those jobs will be in regions outside of greater Brisbane," he said.
"At the same time, we've worked to restore the frontline services that were gutted by the LNP.
"Around 96 per cent of public service jobs outside Greater Brisbane are in frontline or frontline support roles, providing regional Queenslanders with the health, education, safety and community services they deserve."
In positive news for the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region, budgeted capital expenditure increased by 2 per cent from $453 million in 2018-19 to $462 million in 2019-20.
In terms of per head of population, this represented a spend per person of $2679 in 2019-20 compared to $2626 in 2018-19.
But Mr Cummings said this was only a small increase compared to southeast Queensland spending.
"There were big increases in the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast areas," he said.
"There was a very strong drop in the Toowoomba/Darling Downs area."
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said while she had not read the Cummings Economics analysis, she was not surprised by the figures revealed.
"I have been saying since Jackie Trad handed down this bad budget that it was a budget of higher taxes, more debt, less infrastructure and less jobs," Ms Frecklington said.
"There is nowhere that will feel that more than in regional Queensland, in areas around Mackay. A region that gives so much by way of royalties back into the state should be looked after."