400 local businesses to benefit from payroll tax package
YESTERDAY was the Deputy Premier's turn to drop into Rockhampton in a bid to sell the 2019-20 budget to local business owners and community leaders.
Treasurer Jackie Trad's visit follows the Premier's visit on Wednesday.
Her biggest selling point for the Rockhampton community was the payroll tax package for small businesses.
Forming part of an $885million package, an increased payroll tax exemptions threshold from $1.1million to $1.3million will benefit employers with annual wages up to $6.5million.
The package will also include a regional payroll tax discount. From July 1, a 1 per cent payroll tax discount will be available for eligible employers with 85 per cent of their employees outside of South East Queensland.
"More than 7,000 jobs have been created in the Rockhampton region, largely because of the policies, programs and infrastructure spending that we have provided,” Ms Trad said.
"Infrastructure spending is really paying dividends in the Rockhampton region.”
Minister for Employment and Small business Shannon Fentiman said she saw the need for payroll tax overhauls during a previous visit to the regions.
"Last time I was in Rockhampton, Barry (O'Rourke) and I walked up the main street and met a number of small business owners, and the number one issue that they raised was payroll tax,” she said.
"(The budget) realises that small businesses in Rockhampton are doing it a bit tougher and that is why they're getting a 1 per cent discount on their payroll tax.
"We hope they go away and put on another job or two and drive growth in Rockhampton.”
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga described the payroll tax changes as a "game changer.”
"Over 400 local businesses will benefit from this,” she said.
In the wake of recent campaigning to drive population growth in the regions, Ms Trad said the State Government had delivered a budget that would attend those needs.
"We know that population growth is happening right across the state, in South East Queensland it is growing at a much faster rate,” she conceded.
"If we can get the amenities, industry attraction and the jobs growth happening in regional locations, that automatically leads to a stronger population growth.
"That is exactly what we're doing, through industry attraction, infrastructure investment and services like schools roads and connectivity.”
Making sure people in the regions got all the services offered in the big cities was going to be an ongoing goal for the State Government according to the Deputy Premier.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke welcomed the infrastructure spending and told the meeting the $1.1billion spend would create over 3,600 jobs.
He said works, including the Capricornia Corrections Centre, were already under way, with clams that 90 per cent of the 176-strong workforce were local employees.
Anticipating the Deputy Premier's visit, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry came forward to accuse the State Government of tardiness over the Rookwood Weir.
"It was funded by the Commonwealth nearly four years ago. It would take only 18 months to two years to build, so (State Government) could have had it up and running by now,” she said.
"So, why have they waited until 2020 to provide a meagre $83million?”
She described the process to-date as "waiting for a bus that is never coming”.
However Ms Trad flipped the table on Ms Landry's comments claiming it was the State Government who lead the way on Rookwood since the beginning.
"In fact it was the Federal Government that followed the Palaszczuk Government's requests for funding of the Rookwood,” she said.
The commitment by the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was to share in the long term operating costs of Rookwood Weir with the State Government - terms which the Deputy Premier said were "still being negotiated.”
"We are committed to this project, the money for this project has been allocated,” she said.
Mr O'Rourke also dismissed Ms Landry's claims.
He said work was either beginning or undergoing planning on an associated intersection on the Capricornia Highway, the 13km access on Thirsty Creek Rd and two bridges.
"The government has provided $45million to SunWater (contractor) to do that work, and do the negotiation with private land owners around that site,” he said.