Does the Queensland Budget 2014 enable Brighter Workforce Futures?

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The Queensland economy is expected to be the fastest growing of all the states from next year, with Gross State Product (GSP) forecast to rise 3% in 2014-15 and 6% in 2015-16, stronger than the 2½% and 3% growth forecast nationally over the same period.

…[the] unemployment rate is expected to be slower and steadier, from 6% in 2013-14 down to around 5½% in 2016-17.

Consider whether the Queensland budget will enable brighter workforce futures with an analysis of workforce and skilling opportunities as,

On the basis of the most recent forecasts published by other jurisdictions, the Queensland economy is not only expected to grow faster than the national economy as a whole in both 2014-15 and 2015-16, but also faster than all other states (see Chart 2.1).

Investment in Queensland reflects the four pillar economy including Agriculture with drought assistance and funding for the Agricultural Colleges of $3.4 million.

The Government is providing increased funding of $17 million in 2013-14 and $15.75 million in 2014-15 for the Drought Assistance Package.  The Drought Assistance Package is a total of $62 million over two years across several departments to support drought affected communities across the State.

For Coal Seam Gas,

The Government is providing funding of $19.6 million over four years for the regulation and administration of the Coal Seam Gas industry to deliver the Government’s commitment of strong environmental regulation that meets community expectations.  Total funding for the regulation and administration of the Coal Seam Gas industry is $23.4 million over four years.

Other areas for investment include:

  • Construction – civil (roads) and residential.  The Federal budget provides $1.3 billion for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project, $1 billion for the Gateway Upgrade North project, and critical works on the Bruce Highway – $6.7 billion over ten years.
  • Education – numerous school redevelopments
  • Energy and Water – capital purchases, infrastructure, property, plant and equipment
  • Export
  • Health and Community Services – construction and expansion
  • Infrastructure and Projects Queensland – project management
  • LNG
  • Local government

In terms of Natural Disaster Resilience,

The Government is providing increased funding of $9.9 million in 2014-15 to fund the Natural Disaster Resilience Program 2013-15.

Similar to the Commonwealth Government’s Single Business Service, the Queensland Government refers to a One-stop shop model,

The Government is providing additional funding of $7.4 million for Phase 1 of the  One-Stop Shop and recurrent funding of $2.9 million per annum from 2014-15 onwards. Additional funding of $1.1 million has also been reprioristised by the department internally to fund this measure. This initiative will make it easier to do business with Queensland Government through increased availability of online services and establishment of key whole-of-Government technology platforms for the transformation of digital service delivery.

The Public Service will see investment in Fire, Emergency and Police services.

The Government is providing additional funding of $17.1 million over five years to work towards the goal of being the most responsive and respected public service in the nation.

$1.1 million is provided to the Government Wireless Network (GWN) for the purchase of software to deliver an integrated digital wireless network for Queensland’s public safety agencies and emergency workers.

The Government is providing funding of $1.5 million per annum from 2014-15 onwards to continue initiatives that ensure the public sector has a skilled, capable and engaged workforce.  This includes Queensland’s contribution to the Australian and New Zealand School of Government suite of capability development programs, and public sector employee capability building.

The Government has provided additional funding of $0.82 million in 2013-14 to facilitate the continued delivery of whole-of-Government leadership and management development programs.

With Rail, Ports and Roads the focus is on construction, replacement and upgrade of tracks; highway duplication, reconstruction and upgrades.

Sport and Recreation has a couple of opportunities with,

  • $71.8 million in capital grants under the Racing Industry Capital Development Scheme from an approved $110 million over the life of the program will be used to assist the racing industry state-wide to improve racing infrastructure.
  • $15.2 million under the Get in the Game program (Get Playing) to increase participation in recreation and sport through developing infrastructure.
  • $10 million under a Sport Infrastructure development program through Recreation and Sport Services.

TAFE Queensland was established as a statutory body under the TAFE Queensland Act 2013 on 1 July 2013.  On 1 July 2014:

TAFE Institutes and associated corporate functions will transfer from the Department of Education, Training and Employment to the TAFE Queensland statutory body.

Ownership of the state’s training infrastructure and equipment will transfer to the Queensland Assets TAFE Management Authority (QTAMA), a new specialist commercial asset manager.

Tourism and Major Events has a specific focus on China and the Commonwealth Games where,

The Government will provide funding of $11.6 million in 2014-15 to Tourism and Events Queensland to support destination marketing, promoting major events, and developing world-class tourism products and experiences

The capital grants for Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games in 2014-15 are $11 million for construction of new facilities for the Gold Coast Show and $35.9 million for the development and construction of Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games venues.

As part of the push to be the Theme Park Capital of Australia,

The Government has provided funding of $10 million in 2013-14 as part of a $15 million advertising campaign to promote key Village Roadshow and Ardent Leisure theme parks and the broader tourism industry on the Gold Coast.

 

 

Fund allocation and amounts are outlined below:

  • Rural and Regional Roads Fund $1.5 Billion
  • South East Queensland Roads Fund $1.5 Billion
  • Public Transport Rail Infrastructure Fund $1 Billion
  • Bus and Train Project $1 Billion
  • Future Schools Fund $1 Billion
  • Rural and Regional Economic Development Fund $700 Million
  • Local Government Co-Investment Fund $500 Million
  • Future Fund (Natural Disasters) $500 Million
  • Entrepreneurial and Innovation Fund $500 Million
  • Community Hospitals Fund $300 Million
  • Cultural Infrastructure Fund $100 Million

This is a total package of $8.6 Billion.

In relation to Queensland Government grants the changes will mean,

  • the development and application of consistent accounting guidelines for the classification and treatment of all funding to external parties – the guidelines were published in February 2014 and have been applied to the 2014-15 Budget
  • mapping grants and other payments to external parties to provide a basis for identification of opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of funding programs across government
  • development of a web portal to provide information on grant and funding programs for across government in one place – a portal was launched in December 2013 providing information on investment in social services and from July 2014 the portal will hold information on all government grant and funding programs
  • exploring opportunities to further simplify application, acquittal and reporting processes for grants and service agreements, improve the quality and accessibility of information on grant and funding programs, and reduce administrative and overhead costs for both government agencies and organisations receiving grants and providing services.

National Disability Funding has an impact,

The Australian Government’s significant reforms to disability services will impact the National Disability SPP to Queensland in future years. From 2019-20, the Australian and Queensland Government contributions to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be $2.14 billion and $2.03 billion respectively. The roll out of NDIS in Queensland will commence on 1 July 2016 with full implementation expected by 1 July 2019.

Promoting Queensland as ‘The Best Place to do Business’ means,

The Government has provided additional funding of $3 million in 2013-14 to promote Queensland as the best place to invest, employ and grow in Australia.  This initiative will promote the State’s business and investment conditions, including press advertising featuring successful Queensland businesses represented in The Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards.

Regional statements provide an overview of funding and allocation across Queensland and it is recommended that where you are connecting or working within these regions then you become familiar with these opportunities.

Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint, 16 June 2014.

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