Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade Tim Nicholls
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade Tim Nicholls Luka Kauzlaric

Qld's fiscal debt second highest, but less than predicted

INCREASED revenue from the Commonwealth Government and belt tightening has left the Queensland economy billions of dollars better off, Treasurer Tim Nicholls told parliament on Thursday.

Mr Nicholls said the state's fiscal debt for the last financial year had been $2.581 billion - the second highest in the nation, but less than the $6.083 predicted in the budget.

He said the financial turnaround was due in part to $2 billion of savings achieved mostly through "tight expenses control" as well as the variation in timing of some projects, and a $1.5 billion pre-payment from the Federal Government on June 30.

But Labor criticised the government's economic record, pointing to the high unemployment rate and declining growth rate.

Opposition finance spokesman Curtis Pitt said the predicted fiscal surplus next year was due to LNG exports, which he said was a Labor project.

"What we know is this is going to be off the back of LNP exports ramping up. We're going to see an increase of 22.5% export growth next year. This is going to lead to us being back in surplus and, of course, exactly where Labor predicted we would be," he said.

Mr Pitt said the financial improvement also came after the Newman Government "sacked 24,000 people".

Mr Nicholls said despite the turnaround, asset privatisation was still necessary.

"While we've been doing all of this hard work, while we have been able to get expenses under control, we are still tracking towards that $80 billion of debt Labor locked into the system," he said.

"So whilst we've been working hard to get the state's operating statements back into reasonable shape, that's not going pay down the debt."

Mr Nicholls said leasing assets would help to pay down debt by $25 billion, provide $8.6 billion to invest in job-creating infrastructure and $3.4 billion to provide cost-of-living relief.

- APN NEWSDESK



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