Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the economy will climb out of recession by the end of the financial year despite further COVID-19 hits to its bottom line.
She says tough border restrictions combined with subsidies and tax relief had put Queensland’s economy in a better position than its southern neighbours NSW and Victoria.
“Queensland’s economy is set to outpace the nation and climb out of recession by the end of this financial year,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Tuesday.
In its budget update released on Monday, the state government announced it would borrow a further $4 billion to stimulate the Sunshine State’s stagnant economy.
The loan will increase net debt by more than 20 per cent to almost $102 billion, up from the state’s debt of $83.8 billion before the pandemic.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said the borrowing was necessary to prevent more Queenslanders losing their jobs.
“I’ve previously spoken of my reluctance to borrow but that pales beside my resolve in the fight against unemployment,” he told parliament.
Nearly 140,000 people have lost their jobs since the pandemic began, with unemployment to peak about 9.0 per cent by Christmas before edging down to 8.5 per cent by June.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said that meant a further 72,000 people were set to lose their jobs in the next 12 months.
She accused Labor of not having an economic plan and warned new taxes were a risk.
The latest $4 billion loan is set to take the government’s total spending on COVID-19 to $11 billion.