This was a letter to Treasurer sent on 9 June 2022 ahead of the parliamentary budget.
The Hon Cameron Dick
Treasurer, Queensland Government
Via email: [email protected]
STATEWIDE BUDGET 2022-23: THE GREENS’ VISION FOR A FAIRER QUEENSLAND
As the dust settles from the federal election and we move towards the 2022-23 Queensland budget, you have a window of opportunity to reflect on the results and deliver the measures that Queenslanders want.
Queenslanders are struggling under the weight of the housing crisis, rising electricity prices, skyrocketing costs of living, and our underfunded health and education systems. Ordinary people are struggling, while billionaires and corporations continue to make huge profits. That’s why, in the recent federal election, working-class people and everyday Queenslanders voted in greater numbers than ever before for candidates who offer an alternative to the status quo.
The people of Queensland have spoken. They want an end to the free ride that corporations have been given in Queensland at the expense of everyday people. We urge you to make the billionaires and corporations pay their fair share in order to invest in a better, fairer Queensland.
Taxing the big end of town
State resources super profits tax
Mining profits are surging due to a global commodities price spike. Metallurgical coal prices have surged in value following geopolitical developments such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Economists are forecasting the price of coal will average over $400 per tonne in 2022.
Queenslanders are struggling to pay their soaring electricity bills, and meanwhile billionaires have doubled their wealth over the pandemic. It’s time to make these billionaires pay their fair share.
Instead of continuing the freeze on mining royalties, the Greens call for a state resources super profits tax to ensure these windfall profits from Queensland’s resources benefit all Queenslanders.
The Queensland Greens have consistently called for higher royalties, to make sure big mining companies pay their fair share, but the unprecedented coal price spike demands an emergency response. As the world moves away from both thermal and metallurgical coal, Queensland must invest in a fair transition for fossil fuel communities.
Queensland’s existing coal royalty regime is not fit for purpose and risks allowing mining companies to keep a once-in-a-generation windfall. Coal royalty rates are currently determined using a ‘sliding scale’ formula, but the scale only goes as high as $150 per tonne, far below prevailing prices. The highest coal royalty rate is 15% of value above $150 per tonne, with prices forecast at $400 per tonne. By contrast, the new petroleum (LNG) royalty regime imposes incrementally higher royalties per GJ as prices go up. The Greens have been calling for royalties of 35% on coal and petroleum since well before the 2020 state election: see our Fair Share plan.
In addition to raising all coal and petroleum royalties to 35%, we urge the Queensland government to create a state resources super profits tax by implementing a new 40% royalty rate on the value of coal over $250 per tonne, with an additional 1% for every $10 per tonne after that, up to a royalty rate of 50% at $350 per tonne.
Big bank levy
Another year of record profits for the banking industry means another opportunity for the government to introduce a levy on the big banks. Across the past year, cash profits have continued to surge for the big four banks, with a combined cash profit of $14.4 billion in the 2022 half-year results. Meanwhile, our housing, health and education systems are underfunded, meaning missed opportunities and communities being left behind.
Windfall profits tax on property developers
The development industry is also booming, with no signs of slowing down before the 2032 Olympics. As the housing shortage continues and developers continue to make huge profits, we want to see a developer tax on land value gains from upzoning, applying to those redeveloping the land. Further, the cap on infrastructure charges needs to be lifted, to give local councils the flexibility to charge developers enough to deliver the necessary local infrastructure.
Investing in the community
We’ve been working closely with community members on things that this budget could do to invest in the resilience and capability of our community.
The Parliament’s Mental Health Select Committee has heard powerful evidence about how underfunded our mental health system is, as well as the other social support systems that take care of Queenslanders: housing, health, education and the alcohol and drug sector. It is urgent that we invest more in these supports and systems.
We’ve also been working with community representatives about these initiatives, which we urge you to consider funding in the 2022 state budget:
Significantly increase funding for healthcare and hospitals, including a meaningful boost to wages and incentives for nurses, midwives and paramedics. Consideration should be given to a pay rise of at least 10% in July 2022, and then at least 5.1% a year from then onwards. This would represent a real pay rise above and beyond projected inflation, and would help retain nurses, midwives and paramedics.
- Consideration should also be given to an appreciation payment for frontline healthcare workers, such as the $3000 bonus announced in New South Wales. Our nurses, midwives, paramedics, cleaners and all other frontline staff employed by Queensland Health deserve this.
- Build at least 25,000 new public homes a year to house the 50,000 people on the social housing waiting list over the next two years, and ensure every Queenslander has an affordable and secure roof over their head.
- Confront both the climate crisis and the electricity price crisis by banning disconnections for late payment, creating a publicly-owned electricity retailer and committing to 100% renewable energy by 2030, backed by a rapid and large-scale expansion of cheap, publicly owned solar and wind projects, and pumped hydro storage.
- Increased funding to state schools to meet the full 80% School Resourcing Standard, alongside giving state school teachers a pay rise of at least 10% in July 2022, then at least a 5.1% from then onwards. This would represent a real pay rise above and beyond projected inflation, and would help tackle growing teacher shortages.
- Create a sexual and reproductive health clinic in every local government area, modelled on the South Australian Pregnancy Advisory Centre but extending to all aspects of sexual and reproductive health.
- Urgently increase funding to sexual assult specialist services throughout Queensland.
- Increasing the State Coroner’s funding to deal with a backlog of cases. Currently, the State Coroner is overwhelmed by the number of deaths whose causes need to be investigated, meaning many cases are being left uninvestigated. See our letter to the Attorney-General on 8 June 2022, and attached.
- Funding to ensure respectful relationships education is delivered in a consistently high-quality fashion across Queensland schools in line with the recommendations of Hear Her Voice, the first report of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.
- Funding for peak bodies such as the Alliance of Manufactured Homes Owners, who represent the interests of people living in manufactured homes across Queensland.
Fixing Queensland’s mental health system, which is the most underfunded in the country. We need to invest in early intervention and community-based mental health services, including those specifically for eating disorders.
- Fully funding the recommendations from the ‘Inquiry into the opportunities to improve mental health outcomes for Queenslanders’, with at least an additional $650M to $900M per year.
- The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health has called for a 35% increase in funding for the non-government community mental health and wellbeing sector, and for Queensland Health contracts to be consistently five years in length, featuring indexation linked to the Consumer Price Index.
- Ensuring Queensland’s disability support sector is funded to ensure no Queenslander is left behind in the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
- Funding neighbourhood centres to play the vital role in community building and coordination - and disaster recovery - that they play.
- Funding for crisis support services located in the South Brisbane electorate delivering services across Queensland. Providers include, but are not limited to, RAILS, the Romero Centre, Murri Watch, Micah Projects, the West End Community House, Community Friends, Sisters Inside, Eating Disorders Queensland, Caxton Legal Centre, Triple A Radio Station, BIMA and Multicultural Australia. Many of these services provide emergency relief to ongoing rising costs of living, which are expected to continue.
Funding for critical infrastructure upgrades in the South Brisbane electorate, including:
- Fully funding the Kangaroo Point Riverwalk.
- Noise barrier upgrades along the Pacific Motorway in Woolloongabba.
- A new ferry terminal for Victoria Street, West End.
- Acquiring the QBCC & Tomra Site in West End to expand Davies Park.
- Improving the 192 bus service with frequent services, and evening and weekend services, an east-west City Glider service, and a north-south glider service through Kangaroo Point.
- Allocating funding for the development of public housing and parkland at the Gabba CRR site.
- Purchasing inner-city land for the development of public housing and community services, including sites currently available on Gladstone Rd, Ipswich Rd, Logan Rd and Deshon St.
- Acquiring land in East Brisbane to accommodate for the expansion of East Brisbane State School.
- A permanent pedestrian crossing on Vulture St, near WESS, and on Hope St.
Funding for critical infrastructure upgrades in the Maiwar electorate, including:
- Working with Council to buy back the ABC site for a public park.
- Making Taringa Station fully accessible.
- Funding for the Toowong and St Lucia Green Bridges, the Indooroopilly Bikeway on Lambert Rd, a corridor study for Sir Fred Schonell Dr, and a Western Busway on the Centenary Motorway.
- Improving bus services between Bardon and Toowong and between Fig Tree Pocket, Long Pocket, St Lucia and Indooroopilly.
We are keenly anticipating the 2022-23 state budget. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss any of these issues in more detail.
Amy MacMahon Michael Berkman
Member for South Brisbane Member for Maiwar