LNG to bring Queensland economy back: Nicholls

GLADSTONE'S gas export boom will "bring a resurgence" to Queensland's economy.

Announcing the mid-year State Budget update yesterday Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls said LNG exports would be vital to recovering state revenue slugged by dropping coal prices and the drought that had impacted agriculture exports.

However, shadow treasurer Curtis Pitt said Mr Nicholls only had himself to blame for the "train wreck" mini-budget.

Mr Nicholls said coal prices, Federal Government disaster funding relief coming early, and decreasing agriculture exports had caused a $971 million drop in state revenue.

The report said Queensland's growth rate was lower, and deficit higher than Mr Nicholls had predicted in the State Budget.

But Mr Nicholls said despite delays to LNG exports, Queensland would reach a fiscal surplus in 2015-16 - the same financial year LNG exports were scheduled to take off.

"We are also … anticipating growth in LNG. But that LNG growth is actually starting a little later as a result of some delays in relation to those projects being completed," he said.

"So we're very confident that the economy will continue to grow."

But Mr Pitt said the Budget update was a disaster, pointing to the 6.15% unemployment rate - the highest in mainland Australia.

"The fact is, economic growth has almost halved under Tim Nicholls, while unemployment is at highs not seen since 2003," he said.

"The mid-year document he produced today is a train wreck that the Treasurer's done his best to hide in the week before Christmas.

"Growth of 2.5% in 2014-15 is much lower than the 4% growth under Labor (in 2011-12) and follows growth of 2.3% in 2013-14."

Mr Pitt pointed to an Australian Bureau of Statistics report stating Queensland's youth unemployment increased to 14.1% and up to 20% in some regions.

However, Mr Nicholls defended the government's record on unemployment and said he remained "absolutely committed" to reaching 4% by 2018.

- APN NEWSDESK


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