DELIGHTED: Mayor Margaret Strelow was surprised and delighted by the inclusion of payroll tax in the budget.
DELIGHTED: Mayor Margaret Strelow was surprised and delighted by the inclusion of payroll tax in the budget. Leighton Smith

Strelow delighted after 'significant shift' in budget

PAYROLL tax concessions announced in this week's state budget mean Rockhampton's Mayor can barely contain her glee.

It was something Cr Strelow had been calling for since March and despite the "extraordinary budget” she saw unveiled on Tuesday, she saw a hole where the payroll tax focus should be.

The budget inclusion of $885million payroll tax relief is expected to benefit around 440 Central Queensland businesses.

"The State Government have absolutely surprised me and delighted me,” Cr Strelow said.

"There has been a really strong reaction and I'm keen to see even more but we're definitely seeing a focus on the regions now.

"I'm delighted to see payroll tax concessions are a part of that package.”

Cr Strelow said the "significant shift” in the budget was something to celebrate despite any queries about whether the price was right.

"We can argue about whether or not it was enough. I was just thrilled to see what is a fairly sharp turn at recognition,” she said.

"We saw it first with Adani and now with this budget and I thank the (government) for being as responsive to our needs as they have been.”

The budget also included an injection into CQ roads, rails, prisons, boat ramps, schools and emergency services.

"Infrastructure is always welcome,” Cr Strelow said.

"There's a lot that we need. Our Ring Rd is jobs for the region as well.

"State development in the Rockhampton region would be wonderful, but we're also looking for the Federal Government to look at income tax concessions in regional areas.

"We're looking for clear targets so those new jobs we know will be created in Queensland will be pushed into the regions wherever possible.”

Despite the hike in LNG royalties and concerns from the Queensland Resources Council about job loss, Cr Strelow said the decision wouldn't have a huge impact in Rockhampton.

"The LNG tax or royalty increase won't impact us directly,” she said.

"We are pleased to see coal royalties have not increased and we are very pleased to see that payroll tax reduction.

"The announcements that have been made shift the deck chairs a little bit towards the regions.

"They are fundamentally important for us.”

There is still "more work to do” in putting forward the region's projects to the State Government, but Cr Strelow said Ring Rd and Rookwood Weird were still in the funding channel.

"Everyone has different priorities and they certainly met a lot of the objectives in infrastructure, but we weren't particularly looking for anything else in the budget,” she said.

Cr Strelow also highlighted a big win for the council, in terms of moving forward.

By June 30, RRC will have paid down $41.5million of the debt "inherited in the first four years of the amalgamated council”.

"We are really thrilled with the effort we have been able to achieve and what that we will achieve and what that it will mean for the long term sustainability for RRC,” Cr Strelow said.



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