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Now you see it, now you don't: Treasurer thumbs his nose at big firms on tax promise

Politics

Isle of Man bookmakers probably feel like Queensland’s treasurer bluffed them about tax hikes, but Cameron Dick insists he never promised them anything.

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Dick is set to lift taxes on gambling firms and coal miners in next Tuesday’s Queensland budget after promising no new or increased taxes at the last election.

The treasurer is adamant his pledge in 2020 was to the “people of Queensland”, not businesses.

“We didn’t make a promise to corporations here in Queensland, or in Australia, or around the world,” Dick told reporters on Thursday.

“We certainly didn’t make promises to big offshore betting companies based in tax havens like the Isle of Man and other parts.

“We made the promise to the people and we’ve delivered on that.”

States and territories don’t collect income tax, which is a federal government responsibility, so it’s unclear which taxes on voters Dick was promising not to change.

He’s promised that $35.5 million from higher tax income will be invested in the Translational Research Institute, to help local firms develop breakthrough technologies such as vaccines.

“Turning Maroon know-how, into Maroon business products,” he said.

“When biomedical developments happen and they get to the stage of clinical trials, they need a huge boost in the quantity and that’s what translational manufacturing is all about.”

Meanwhile, coal miners are demanding to know how much more tax they will pay next month.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Dick is yet to explain the hike.

“Our door is open to being consulted on this matter, so we can make sure the government fully understands the long-term implications for Queensland of this short-term decision to plug a hole in the state budget,” Macfarlane told AAP.

Dick has also foreshadowed increasing fees for things like car registration and charges in the budget.

In return, the treasurer has promised to cut $14.5 off monthly household power bills, which are set to rise by at least that amount from July.

The government will fund a new $750 million integrated cancer centre at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and put $200 million aside for new roads, sewerage systems and other infrastructure in the state’s southeast to spur new housing developments.

Public high school students are to have access to free period products, while $72 million will go towards a new aeromedical hub at Brisbane Airport.

A further $35 million will go towards feasibility studies for pumped hydropower storage projects and $13 million will be invested in the National Battery Testing Centre at the Queensland University of Technology.

All up, Dick expects to spend about $1.5 billion more than the government earns in his 2022/23 budget, which is about $900 million less than the deficit he forecast six months ago.

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