New home buyers grant to increase in budget
QUEENSLAND treasurer Curtis Pitt's second budget will increase the First Home Buyers Grant to $20,000 for newly constructed homes and "focus" on creating jobs in regional Queensland.
Speaking at a Queensland Media Conference luncheon in Brisbane Mr Pitt said the budget, to be delivered on Tuesday, would focus on "job-creating innovation, investment and infrastructure".
But the opposition has criticised Mr Pitt's introduction of a surcharge on foreign home buyers.
Mr Pitt said he was committed to tackling unemployment in regional Queensland communities.
"Next week's budget will have a strong focus on regional jobs," he said.
"We want to make sure no area of Queensland gets left behind as we tap out diversity and traditional strengths to grow our economy and generate jobs."
The Qld govt will raise the 1st home buyers grant from $15k to $20k for newly constructed homes #qldpol— Geoff Egan (@geoffegan) June 9, 2016
But Mr Pitt did not reveal any detail on how the budget would help lagging regional economies.
Mr Pitt also announced the First Home Buyers Grant would jump from $15,000 to $20,000 for newly constructed houses and that foreign home investors would pay a new 3% surcharge.
But Shadow treasurer Scott Emerson said the foreign investment surcharge was a broken promise and "job destroying".
Mr Emerson pointed to a media statement Mr Pitt made in 2015 ruling out such a surcharge.
"Just last year treasurer Curtis Pitt promised he wouldn't introduce any new taxes targeting foreign property investors in Queensland, and today he's broken that promise," he said.
"What other promises will he break and how many other taxes will he hike up to pay for his $4.7 billion black hole?"
Mr Pitt denied the new tax would impact foreign investment as it was lower than similar surcharges in other states.
Earlier this week Mr Pitt announced a $3 billion write-down in the budget due to lower than expected mining revenues.
In the speech, Mr Pitt described agriculture as one of Queensland's "traditional strengths" and emphasised the government's focus on growing the biofuels industry. - ARM NEWSDESK