Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt Contributed

Qld budget 2016: Pitt's plan to create 8000 jobs

  • $10,000 to employers who hire an unemployed person in regional Queensland for at least a year.
  • $15,000 to employers who hire a long term unemployed person for at least a year.
  • 8000 new jobs expected across regional Queensland.
  • Not applicable to south east corner - including Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich.

A TWO-YEAR plan to generate 8000 new jobs will focus on getting regional Queenslanders, suffering from the mining downturn and prolonged drought conditions, back to work.

The Queensland Government today announced an ambitious $100 million plan to boost our regions, targeting the long-term unemployed as well as young, mature and indigenous unemployed.

The program includes cash incentives up to $15,000 to businesses who hire long-term unemployed and a $10 million program to increase certificate 3 level qualification in regional areas.

But communities in the south east will not able to access the fund.

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt announced the measures in parliament on Tuesday as part of his second state budget.

Mr Pitt told parliament the program included $80 million in support payments for employers to hire regional jobseekers.

"This will directly fund getting around 8000 regional Queenslanders back to work," Mr Pitt said in his budget speech.

"This year, the Back to Work package will give regional employers the confidence to take on new staff," he said.

"It includes Back to Work employer support payments of up to $10,000 for employers who hire - and keep someone employed - for 12 months or more in Queensland's regions.

"And this payment increases to up to $15,000 if an employer hires a long-term unemployed person."

Curtis Pitt's budget speech in full

More on our budget coverage here

The program will be funded through consolidated revenue.

Despite the plan, the budget forecasts unemployment rates to drop from 6.5% in 2016-17 to 5.75% in 2019-20.

"We think that when it comes to our unemployment forecasts we'd clearly like to do better than those forecasts. But we do see them, going out to 2019-20, going below 6%," Mr Pitt said.

The measure will not be available to employers in regional parts of the south east - including areas like the Sunshine Coast and Noosa, Ipswich, Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim areas.

The scheme includes apprentices and trainees - unless their employer is not eligible for the government's payroll tax rebate.

Employment Minister Grace Grace said unemployment rates remained too high in regional Queensland.

"That's why this package is specifically targeted at the regions," she said.

"Our regional jobs package has been designed with input from business, employer and industry groups along with local government representatives."

Mr Pitt also announced the government would "repatriate" $4 billion from the QSuper defined benefits scheme that was $10 billion in surplus.

Half of that would be used to pay down debt and the other $2 billion spent on infrastructure.

The LNP have criticised the repatriation - dubbing it a "raid" on public servants' super.

But Mr Pitt said legislation guaranteed the employee's entitlements and the fund would remain $6 billion in surplus.

The budget forecasts the state's reliance on Federal Government funding to grow to 48.7% in 2016-17.

This compares to 34.8% in 1999-2000. The budget claims this increase is in line with national trends.

Mr Pitt said the budget was expected to be $867 million in surplus in the 2016-17 and the government anticipated growth rates of 4% in the coming financial year.

- ARM NEWSDESK
 


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