State Govt 'on track' to hit surplus in 2014-15
IT HAS only been three months, but that appears to have been long enough for the world coal market to do significant damage to State Government budget figures released in September.
That was the over-arching message as the state released its Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review, often referred to as its "mini-budget".
Treasurer Tim Nicholls told journalists on Thursday although the government remained "on track" to hit surplus in 2014-15, it had been hit hard by stormy international conditions.
A combination of worsening conditions for coal exports and Federal Government spending cuts have cost the state $2.62.billion, according to the Treasurer.
The debt was now expected to hit $11.2.billion this financial year, still above the previous year's $10.7 billion.
The 14,000 workers sacked by the state have not made a significant dent in the year-on-year employee expenses, but the Treasurer said the goal was to stop costs growing uncontrollably.
Mr Nicholls said the LNP's "fiscal repair task" - its codeword for cost-cutting - helped achieve that.
The hand-wringing over the state's tarnished credit rating continued, with Mr Nicholls saying a surplus would allow Queensland to "earn more than it spends" which would eventually help us back to a AAA stamp.
However, although emphasising no decision had yet been made, the Treasurer said a much faster way to return to AAA was to offload assets.
That would not be done without a mandate from the people, he said.
"While recession in Europe and ongoing economic difficulties in the United States have impacted on Queensland's largest trading partners, our policies will help drive strong economic growth in Queensland," Mr Nicholls said.
"We continue to have the second strongest economic growth of any state."
Public services union Together is expected to respond to the mid-year review today.