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28 May, 2021

Debt reduction and savings measures approved by Parliament

Queensland Parliament has recently passed a series of measures the underpin the Palaszczuk Government’s plan to reduce debt and achieve $3 billion in savings over four years.

Treasurer and Minister for Investment Cameron Dick said the Debt Reduction and Savings Bill represented the latest step in the Government’s economic recovery strategy that is sustaining, supporting and creating jobs.

“The reform measures included in this Bill are will ensure that we use every dollar of taxpayers’ money as prudently as possible, delivering the infrastructure and services Queenslanders deserve,” the Treasurer said

The $3 million in direct savings that will be delivered by this bill are in addition to the $367 million in savings already announced in the 2020-21 State Budget.

“Those savings were achieved through reductions in agency expenditure on travel, contractors and consultants, and other supplies and services.

“Savings will continue to be achieved without cutting frontline services, without sacking public servants and without selling Queenslanders assets.”

The Treasurer said a key component of the Debt Reduction and Savings Bill is to enable the restructuring of a number of public entities including:

  • the integration of the operations of the Queensland Productivity Commission and Building Queensland into state government departments;
  • transferring the operations and staff of the Public Safety Business Agency into frontline agencies - Queensland Police Service and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services; and
  • returning the functions of the National Injury Insurance Scheme in Queensland to the Insurance Commission.

The Treasurer said Parliament had also approved changes that allow digital advertising to replace print advertising to ensure timely and responsive advice to the community.

Importantly the Bill contains a series of key publication exemptions, including continued support for regional newspapers, matters relating to public health and safety and courts and tribunals.

The Bill also introduces a fee unit model to streamline the annual process of indexing regulatory fees and includes provisions to enable the Queensland Titles Registry to be included in the Queensland Future Fund, through the Debt Retirement Fund.

“The contribution of announced investments including the Titles Registry into the Debt Retirement Fund will improve our debt to revenue ratio when ratings agencies assess Queensland’s debt burden and credit rating,” the Treasurer said.

“Investments in-scope for contribution to seed the Fund by 30 June 2021 also includes $1 billion from the Defined Benefit Fund and other investments. The defined benefit scheme remains fully funded and Queensland remains the only Australian state that has a fully funded defined benefit scheme.”

The Treasurer said Parliament’s passing of the Debt Reduction and Savings Bill sends a strong signal to Queenslanders that the state’s public service in the post-COVID world will do things differently.

“I know that is a challenge that our government is taking up. This Bill is another step in that direction. We are getting on with job of making Queensland’s assets work as hard as they can for Queenslanders.”

The Bill passed despite being opposed by the LNP.

"It's clear that David Crisafulli has no interest in achieving sensible savings and responsible approaches to reducing debt, and that the LNP would rather undertake reckless cuts,” the Treasurer said.

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