The Queensland government has handed down its budget with over $23.6 billion worth of funding heading to healthcare.
Three new hospitals as well as 11 expansions and over 2500 beds will be introduced throughout Queensland while $22 billion will be put towards improving health and ambulance services to create more jobs.
A brand-new cancer centre will be built at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with Premiere Annastacia Palaszczuk saying that it’s the states “largest health budget” in history.
“Across Australia, hundreds of people are in hospital beds who should be in aged or disability care.
“Add to that the hundreds more patients and health workers with COVID-19. No matter the cause of the problem – we are acting on a solution. That’s what The Queensland Health and Hospitals Plan is all about.”
Mental health services will see an initial investment of $1.6 billion with an additional $28.5 million boost over the next five years. $2 billion will be put towards remote healthcare, the Royal Flying Doctors Service as well as ambulance infrastructure and free flu vaccines.
Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said that the government is “delivering on promises”.
“It’s a budget that recognises cost-of-living pressures and aims to make life a bit easier for Queenslanders.
Health wasn’t the only agenda under the budget with investments set for job growth, education, environment, and tourism as well as the economy.
Key takeaways include $48 million towards hydro energy storage, $13.8 million to help fund a north Queensland film studio as well as $150 million for trade opportunities with the transportation industry also to be upgraded.
However, the Business Council of Australia has slammed the budget saying it “falls short” of the post COVID-19 recovery with its new tax initiative.
“While other states are pulling out all stops to make themselves more competitive places to do business and create jobs, tax hikes in Queensland risk seeing it fall behind the rest of the nation,” said chief executive Jennifer Westacott.
“Payroll tax is a tax on jobs. It doesn’t make sense to target employers with a payroll tax hike which will hamstring their ability to create jobs and drive the recovery.”