Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Curtis Pitt
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
MYFER outlines $400M initiatives to step up job-creation commitment
Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the State’s stronger economic performance revealed in the 2016-17 Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review means the Palaszczuk Government is stepping up job-creation efforts, especially in regional Queensland.
“While we have cut unemployment from the 6.6% rate inherited from the LNP to 6%, we have promised Queenslanders we would focus on creating jobs now and for the future, and we have ensured we will do whatever is possible and financially responsible to generate jobs in regions doing it tough,” Mr Pitt said.
“We have kept that promise in the two State Budgets I have delivered so far. Job creation, especially jobs in our regions, remains the focus of our economic plan.
“Queensland’s improved budget position revealed in the Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review means we can include extra initiatives for our regions to ensure we work with local businesses and local councils to deliver programs and projects that create jobs and economic opportunities.”
Mr Pitt said the revised net operating surplus of $2 billion for 2016-17 outlined in the MYFER enabled the government to introduce new job creating programs:
- a $200 million Jobs and Regional Growth Package incorporating an additional $160 million in new funding on top of the existing $40 million Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Program, and
- a $200 million Works for Queensland program to support local councils across the state undertaking job-creating, maintenance or minor infrastructure projects.
Key elements of the Jobs and Regional Growth Package included:
- $170 million for a Jobs and Regional Growth Fund — including a $130 million boost to the Industry Attraction Fund — assisting private sector projects and economic development and employment opportunities in regions with high levels of unemployment,
- $20 million over two years for the new Made in Queensland program providing support to Queensland’s manufacturing sector through grants supplementing industry contributions,
- Local Jobs First — $500,000 to establish roundtables with private sector stakeholders to identify barriers to employing local jobseekers,
- $300,000 to establish a statewide Youth Tourism Leaders’ Network as a forum for young people working in tourism to encourage others to choose the sector as a career path,
- $600,000 for a Jobs Retention Program to develop, trial, and evaluate a pilot scheme in Cairns and Townsville for increasing employment retention rates for young people.
Mr Pitt said the $200 million Works for Queensland Program would be funded from the State Infrastructure Fund to bring jobs quickly to communities in need outside SEQ.
“The extra initiatives outlined in MYFER are aimed at providing an enhanced response to some challenging employment conditions in Queensland,” he said.
“We have always said job-creation is our priority and while we have seen our unemployment rate fall we have always said there is more we must do.
“Unlike Tim Nicholls who abandoned his jobs target because he was too lazy to try, we are putting in the hard work to develop programs that deliver jobs and boost regional economies.”
Mr Pitt said the new programs and funding outlined in the 2016-17 MYFER built on existing job-creation initiatives including:
- the $10.7 billion statewide capital works program for 2016-17 supporting 31,000 jobs with almost half of the funds earmarked for projects in regional Queensland,
- more than $440 million for the Accelerated Works Program to bring forward projects to stimulate economic activity in regions. By the end of 2016 an estimated 153 projects or 90% will be completed,
- the $405 million Advance Queensland Package to foster innovation and investment in jobs of the future as well as develop new jobs through innovation in our traditional strengths such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, education, and health,
- the $100 million Back to Work jobs package for regions outside SEQ offering employers grants of $10,000 for hiring an unemployed jobseeker, $15,000 for engaging a long-termed unemployed person. So far more than 800 regional Queenslanders have secured work through the scheme,
- the $20,000 Back to Work Youth Boost available to the end of February 2017 for employing a 15-24 year old,
- the doubling of the payroll tax rebate from 25% to 50% for employers hiring trainees or apprentices. Almost 3,500 businesses have so far taken advantage of concessions worth $17.8 million,
- reintroduction of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program axed by the Newman-Nicholls Government with $240 million over four years to help an estimated 32,000 jobseekers train for and secure jobs. So far the program has funded 576 community-based programs worth $90.3 million,
- the $33.5 million Advance Queensland Connecting with Asia Strategy to boost tourism, airlines services, and local jobs, and an extra $128.3 million over four years to provide funding certainty to Tourism and Events Queensland to promote our state as a destination in Australia and abroad,
- the Market-Led Proposals program to fast-track good private sector ideas has already seen the $512 million Logan Motorway Enhancement Project approved, creating 1,300 construction jobs, with more MLPs in the pipeline,
- the $40 million Business Development Fund fostering start-ups has so far seen $8 million invested in bright business and job-creating ideas.