27/02/2009 - 14:50

Government talks down state finances

27/02/2009 - 14:50

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The state government is cautious about its financial position despite an increase in mining royalties and a $1.19 billion surplus.

Government talks down state finances


The state government is cautious about its financial position despite an increase in mining royalties and a $1.19 billion surplus.

Treasurer Troy Buswell released the government's December quarter financial results on Friday and maintained the state's Triple-A credit rating is under threat.

The general government sector had a net operating balance of $806 million for the six months to December, a $503 million increase in mining royalties and an $208 million increase in Commonwealth grants and subsidies.

However Mr Buswell said the first impacts of the global financial crisis are beginning to be felt.

"The operating surplus has declined significantly, 40 per cent lower than the same time last year," Mr Buswell said to journalists.

"There has been modest growth in state revenues, but it's important to look at the components that underpin that ... growth. Perhaps the most significant has been ... approximately a 50 per cent reduction in property based stamp duty receipts."

Many of the factors that led Queensland to lose its Triple-A credit rating this week are still challenging the government, Mr Buswell said.

"Controlling the rate of growth of recurrent spending and attempting to manage debt, it is a difficult time," Mr Buswell said.

"Our Triple-A credit rating is by no means safe and the government has to work hard to maintain it."


The state's operating surplus fell to $806 million, down from the previous corresponding period's $1.34 billion.

Total revenue for the six months to the end of December totaled $9.9 billion, up 5.6 per cent, while the sluggish property market saw stamp duty income from sales down by $610 million.

Government expenses for the half year was up 13.1 per cent to $9.2 billion, or 48.7 per cent of the full year estimate for the 2009 financial year.

The increase was driven by a 14.6 per cent or $480 million rise in public sector salaries.

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