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Qld Labor borrows to build in state budget

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June 12, 2018

Treasurer Jackie Trad is under pressure to pay down Queensland's debt in the state budget.

Queensland's resources sector has helped triple the state budget's projected operating surplus to $1.5 billion for the next financial year.

State Treasurer Jackie Trad, who will deliver her first budget on Tuesday, will announce a fiscal 2018/19 surplus of $1 billion more than was forecast in December's budget update.

Ms Trad said the boost was been driven by high coal and gas royalties, increased dividends from government-owned corporations and a bigger slice of the GST pie for the state.

The Labor government will spend some of the extra money on infrastructure, with earlier announcements earmarking $45 billion on capital works, including roads and other infrastructure, $700 million in 2018-2019 for the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project and $250 million for school buildings across the state.

Ms Trad denied this year's big infrastructure cash splash would make up for underspending in previous budgets.

"I don't think anyone can look around and say that infrastructure was neglected in the last term," she told ABC radio on Tuesday.

"We just know with a growing population and the need to create jobs and diversify our economy we need to continue to make that investment - it's critical."

Ms Trad also played down the state's large debt, which is expected to hit $83 billion in four years, saying more than half was carried by government-owned corporations that manage their own deficits while also delivering a dividend to the state.

The government will also announce $5.5 billion in rebates, an increase of $200 million on the previous year.

To help pay for these, four "luxury" taxes will target the top end of town - high-end cars, foreign property investors and online bets, plus a new land tax category for an estimated 850 large holdings that don't include farms.

A new $70-per-tonne waste levy is expected to generate around $200 million a year, although there are calls from councils to quarantine that money to directly benefit local governments.

The government has also committed $26 million to keeping a 50 per cent rebate on payroll tax.

The Liberal National Party opposition has accused the government of not dealing with debt but hasn't yet outlined its plan, saying only that it was "committed" to reducing debt.

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