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Queensland demands 'fair share' with its own budget wish list

Politics

The Queensland government has unveiled a last-minute wish list for Tuesday’s federal budget, calling on Scott Morrison to “stop announcing and start delivering”.

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Despite the ink already drying on the 2021 budget, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has released an 850-word, dot-pointed list of requests for the prime minister.

Her government wants more federal funding for Queensland projects including almost $900 million in major road upgrades and for its $263.1 million historical housing-related debt to be waived, akin to South Australia and Tasmania.

“Queenslanders deserve their fair share,” Palaszczuk said in a statement.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said he was pleased to hear his federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg wasn’t delivering an austerity budget as he seeks to solidify the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 downturn.

Nonetheless, he took a swipe at the federal government over its “poor track record” of converting announcements into actual investment.

“In last October’s federal budget, the Morrison government only delivered 10 per cent of its promised new infrastructure spend this year,” Dick said.

“That measly $6.7 billion, spread thinly across all states and territories, is less than half of what the Palaszczuk government has committed to spend on infrastructure in Queensland this year.”

Roundly criticised for failing to incorporate women-specific measures in the 2020 budget, the Morrison government has teased superannuation changes to help women boost their retirement savings.

A $353.9 million investment will also be set aside over four years for women’s health and there will be a separate statement on women’s economic safety and health issues.

As the fastest-growing group at risk of homelessness, Dick is particularly concerned about single women who don’t own their own homes.

“In Tuesday’s budget, Scott Morrison needs to stop the spin and actually deliver for these vulnerable women through Commonwealth grant assistance,” he said.

Queensland has already had a pre-budget win, with the Commonwealth committing to split the cost of 2032 Olympic Games if its bid is successful.

QUEENSLAND’S FEDERAL BUDGET WISH LIST

* Waive Queensland’s $263.1 million historical housing-related debt, like South Australia and Tasmania

* Match funding for construction of Bundaberg East flood levee

* $1 billion over 10 years to address overcrowding in Queensland’s remote indigenous housing

* $896 million for Cairns Western Arterial Road, Mooloolah River Interchange and Bruce Highway projects

* $800 million for the Inland Freight Route between Charters Towers and the NSW border

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