What is missing from this budget is communities. We have been excited to see the creation of a department with a clear focus, and a clear mandate to create thriving communities. This is an opportunity to not only focus attention on the outcomes of government in community, but also focus on how government works with community.
Creating thriving communities happens with energy, with commitment and compassion. We have these. But it also requires vision, resources and a cross government focus.
The Palaszczuk Government has delivered another budget that is in their words unashamedly all about jobs and infrastructure. With the State’s unemployment projected to remain above six per cent, this focus is not surprising.
We know that having a job is crucial for social and economic inclusion and individual wellbeing. It is also encouraging to see that 65 per cent of this infrastructure spending will be in the regions where people are doing it tougher.
However, we are keen to see is that this investment is used to facilitate change in communities, to support access and engagement of all Queenslanders. The benefits need to flow across Queensland and to all Queenslanders. We want to see that all Queenslanders have the opportunity to have the good life they all aspire to.
We believe the Queensland Government has many of the levers necessary to facilitate this change and it is encouraging to see some of these levers embraced and enhanced in this budget. In particular, we are pleased to see a focus on providing opportunities for the unemployed and young people to access skills through an increase in funding to the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program; the support for the unemployed through the Back to Work program; and the expansion of the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund for regions with high unemployment.