The 2021-22 Queensland Budget makes a deliberate decision to focus on increased government spending on health, education, skills and training, building projects and small business.
The Treasurer has noted that the recovery of the Queensland economy following the worst of the pandemic has been much better than expected.
On the back of this, Treasury is forecasting growth of the Queensland economy in the 2020-21 year at 3.25%, far exceeding the 0.25% originally projected. This is partly due to high rates of net migration to Queensland during the year of over 30,000 people. On the basis of projected strong growth, the Government has predicted a return to surplus Budgets in the 2024-25 year.
General highlights of interest to lawyers include:
- Queensland Government generated $7.8 billion by transferring ownership of the Titles Registry to the Queensland Future Fund, managed by the Queensland Investment Corporation.
- $7.4 million is earmarked for capital upgrades to audio-visual capacity in the justice system, which includes videoconferencing and in-custody court appearances.
- One-off additional funding of $19.7 million is allocated to the child protection litigation model.
- One-off additional funding of $1.3 million is allocated to the bail service for remanded men and $2.7 million one-off funding is being allocated to women in custody.
- $29.3 million over four years is allocated to the camera-detected offence program
- One-off funding of $1.8 million is allocated to a crime statistics and research unit.
- Half a million a year for four years is allocated to a legal affairs unit for the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
- $7.5 million a year for four years is allocated to enhanced domestic and family violence services.
- $12.9 million additional funding is allocated to strengthening timely access to justice for Queenslanders.
- $76.7 million is allocated to additional child safety frontline workers.
- $2.5 million is allocated for a business case for future correctional infrastructure needs.
- $1.7 million and ongoing funding is allocated to increased field enforcement for the collection of penalty debt.
- $6.5 million a year for four years is allocated to managing native title compensation claims in Queensland.
- $15.6 million over two years is allocated to prosecuting Linc Energy former executives and ongoing environmental monitoring.
- $1.2 million a year for four years is allocated to protecting seniors from elder abuse.
- Just over a million a year for four years is allocated to strengthening coronial services and just over $1.1 million a year for four years is being added to support the Childrens Court.
- $6.252 million one-off funding is being dedicated to tackling alcohol-fuelled violence.
- Victim Assist Queensland receives an additional one million dollars a year funding for four years.
- Ongoing support for youth justice of $113.5 million includes additional positions in youth detention centres, support for families of children on bail, youth workers to support children on bail and a detailed business case on youth detention centre capacity.
- A $300 million Path to Treaty fund is to be established to support actions flowing from the upcoming Treaty Advancement Committee report.
- $1.8 billion expenditure over four years will increase the supply of social housing as a part of a major housing and homelessness plan.
- $12 million over four years is allocated for the management and removal of problem estuarine crocodiles and associated ‘Crocwise’ safety education.