$76m Budget boost for Queenslanders
AN EXTRA $76 million will be spent easing cost-of-living pressures for Queenslanders in next week's State Budget, with the price tag for providing concessions for everything from electricity and water to spectacles set to hit a whopping $5.66 billion.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the concessions pool was now the equivalent of more than $1000 per Queenslander.
About $192.3 million has been set aside to deliver the yearly $341 electricity rebate to eligible seniors, pensioners, veterans and low-income families.
Pensioners can also claim a 20 per cent subsidy on their rates bill - up to $200 - and up to $120 a year to reduce water bills.
Ms Palaszczuk said these two schemes alone were budgeted to save Queensland pensioners $74.1 million over the next year.
"Our extensive range of concessions are there to assist Queenslanders no matter where they live," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"I am always mindful of the need to ease the burden of household bills.
"Assisting seniors and pensioners is, quite rightly, always a key priority for the Labor Government.
"They deserve a fair go and proper recognition."
Treasurer Jackie Trad will hand down the Budget on Tuesday, June 11.
The Government has been sharpening its focus on regional Queensland in the wake of last month's federal election, where Labor was punished by voters in the regions.
Her Budget is expected to focus heavily on regional infrastructure and jobs.
She last week announced mining companies had been asked to contribute cash to a new regional infrastructure fund in exchange for pressing pause on possible royalty hikes.
Ms Trad said regional Queenslanders would also benefit from a multibillion-dollar concession spend.
"Queenslanders who live in regional and remote areas can also access special rebates to help ensure they're not paying more for things like power, water and healthcare because of where they live," she said.
She said the concessions were not just available to pensioners but also to younger Queenslanders.
"To help them get started on a career or into a job, textbook and resource allowances are available for secondary students and travel and accommodation subsidies for apprentices," she said.
The Government has renewed its call for Queenslanders who might be eligible to come forward as it struggles to get the message through.
It follows Labor's decision to expand its electricity rebate scheme to Commonwealth Health Care Card holders and asylum seekers.
The Government estimates that while about 50,000 of those newly eligible Queenslanders had signed up, at least another 100,000 could be eligible for the rebate.