Queensland: Budget 2015-16

The Queensland (Qld) Budget for the 2015-16 financial year was delivered on 14 July 2015. The  Budget reports a net operating surplus of $962 million and Total General Government Sector Revenue (TGGS Revenue) of $49.578 billion for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, and forecasts a net operating surplus of $1.213 billion for the 2015-16 financial year. This forecast is based on forecast TGGS Revenue  of $51.186 billion in 2015-16, with the increase  of $1.608 billion (or 3.2 per cent) on 2014-15 estimated actual revenue being primarily driven by grants from the Australian government, including  an increase of $1.174 billion in Goods and Services tax (GST) revenue. 

No new taxes or increases in existing taxes were announced in the Budget. In this regard, the Budget states that the Government has delivered on one of its key policy positions announced in the  lead up to the January 2015 election, being a commitment of not increasing royalties, tax rates, or the rate of growth of fees and charges.

Key taxation measures announced in the Budget include:

  • the introduction of a 25 per cent rebate on payroll tax on the wages of each apprentice and trainee employed by businesses. This rebate is in addition to apprentice and trainee wages being exempt from payroll tax and is offset against the tax payable on the wages of other employees
  • a three year payroll tax exemption for new companies established in Queensland as part of Advance Queensland research programs
  •  a deferral of planned increases in the payroll tax threshold, meaning the threshold will remain at $1.1 million from 1 July 2015. This deferral appears to further delay the Government’s commitment of increasing the payroll tax threshold to $1.6 million by 1 July 2019; and
  • a commitment to examine opportunities to offer a time limited research and development tax credit matching program for technology start-ups establishing in, or relocatingto Queensland

Following the Government’s review of the 2015 Review of State Finances (which has been released concurrently with the 2015-16 Budget), the Budget states that the Government has adopted five fiscal principles aimed at improving the State’s finances.

In particular, the Budget states that one of these principles is to maintain competitive taxation by ensuring that General Government Sector own-source revenue remains at or below 8.5 per cent of nominal gross state product, on average, across the forward estimates. In this regard, the Budget has made reference to the role Government has to play in providing an economic environment that supports business and jobs growth and does not place undue strainon households.