The Queensland government will pour $460 million into its flagship skills and training programs over the next four years.
Treasurer Cameron Dick will hand down the Queensland budget on Tuesday and says the economy is “surging back to life” after the economic blow delivered by the pandemic.
“Who would have thought (a year ago) that we’d have labour shortages in Queensland in some industries and some communities,” he told reporters on Sunday.
The budget will set aside $320 million for the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program and $140 million for the Back to Work program to address those shortages and make sure Queenslanders get and keep jobs.
Mr Dick also predicted a lower than expected deficit after some dire warnings at the end of last year.
“When I handed down the budget in December, under extraordinary circumstances leading to two budgets within broadly six months, I predicted the deficit for Queensland in 2019/20 and 2020/21 would be the two largest in Queensland history,” he said.
“The deficit of 19/20 will still be significant,” he warned. However Queensland’s economic rebound means “the deficit this year will be lower”.
Mr Dick said the government would keep its election promise not to increase existing taxes or introduce any new ones, in its current term.
“We’ll be delivering that.”
Mr Dick said the skills and training programs to be funded on Tuesday have helped 60,000 Queenslanders secure work since 2015.
“This budget will be about setting Queensland up for the future. We’ll be providing the skills that Queenslanders need to get the work of the future.”