Regional Queensland is getting some of the recognition it deserves, with yesterday's State Government budget announcement of investment in capital infrastructure.
It is heartening to see that the government is spending on building schools, hospitals and public buildings in areas that need it the most.
The total infrastructure bucket includes $460 million on the construction and refurbishment of educational facilities and $230 million on local hospitals.
Although $10.7 billion has been earmarked for infrastructure spending across the State (with half of that spent in the regions), the figure includes major transport, water and energy projects. So it is not entirely clear how much of it will go to regional builders this year to build the buildings that communities rely on.
It appears more than $100 million is to be spent in Central Queensland, $40 million in Rockhampton, and $25 million in Mackay on building new and refurbishing existing fire and police stations, state schools, hospitals and court houses.
Regional Queensland in particular, was doing it tough, as evidenced by the latest ABS statistics which show building approvals in the regions have dropped by up to 50 per cent year-on-year. Mackay and Whitsunday, North Queensland, Central Queensland, and the Darling Downs and South-West Queensland were particularly hard hit.
Master Builders last week welcomed the $5,000 increase to the Great Start Grant as great news for housing and first home buyers, as it will help boost demand.
However, the three per cent increase in stamp duty for overseas buyers took the shine off the Treasurer’s announcement because it will create a dent in the South-East Queensland unit market as 40 per cent of all approvals (units) come from foreign buyers.