‘Luxury’ tax to ease cost of living

The Government has spent the last few weeks announcing a number of budget measures including $250 million for school buildings across the state.

The Government has already announced it will spend $45 billion on capital works including roads and other infrastructure, while $700 million has been set aside in 2018-19 for the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project.

Many households will benefit from $5.5 billion in a range of rebates, an increase of $200 million on the previous year.

To help pay for these, the State Government will introduce four “luxury” taxes targeting 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.

Treasurer Jackie Trad has also committed $26 million to maintaining a 50 per cent rebate on payroll tax.

Meanwhile the Treasurer is under pressure to pay down state debt, due to hit $83 billion in four years.

The Liberal National Party opposition has accused the Government of not having a plan to deal with the debt, but failed to outline its plan, saying only it would be “committed” to reducing debt.

Ms Trad 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.

Despite putting most of her cards on the table ahead of budget day, Ms Trad insists she’s still got a few up her sleeve, admitting she was “a little bit” nervous but mostly excited to hand down her first budget.

She took over from former treasurer Curtis Pitt following the 2017 election.

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