The Queensland Government has released the 2024-25 State Budget, which includes a record $107 billion allocated to capital works over the next four years.  

The Queensland Government’s transformational Big Build is looking to continue to deliver the infrastructure needed to support the growing state; creating new industries, more jobs, better communities and stronger regions. 

Priorities include decarbonising Queensland’s energy system, expanding health capacity and getting ready for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympics Games.  

In 2024-25, the government’s $27.1 billion capital program is set to directly support around 72,000 jobs across the state, with 50,000, or 69 per cent, of these jobs located outside of the Greater Brisbane region. 

Over the 13 years to 2027-28, the government will have supported over $225 billion in infrastructure works. 

Critical transport infrastructure 

The strong growth in Queensland’s population and the geographical size and vastness of Queensland means that a strong transport network is vital to connect and support its communities and industries. 

Key regional transport projects supported by the 2024-25 Budget include: 

  • The construction of a new 37.8km Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line between Beerwah and Maroochydore, the longest spur line ever delivered in South East Queensland. Stage 1 will be a 19km dual track connecting Beerwah to Caloundra. At a total commitment of $5.5 billion (split 50:50 with the Federal Government), construction is expected to commence in 2026, and delivered by 2032. Future stages will connect Caloundra with Birtinya and Maroochydore. 
  • Construction of the Coomera Connector (Stage 1), Coomera to Nerang will reduce pressure on the M1 by providing an alternative route for the growing communities and commercial hubs of Helensvale and Coomera. At a total cost of $3 billion (jointly funded with the Federal Government), the 16km Stage 1 is expected to progressively open to traffic in late 2025. 
  • The ongoing Bruce Highway Upgrade Program, which includes total budgets of $1.7 billion to construct the Rockhampton Ring Road, $1 billion to construct Cooroy to Curra (Section D), $948 million for the upgrade between the Gateway Motorway and Dohles Rocks Road (Stage 1), and $336 million towards a bypass of Tiaro to increase the flood immunity, safety and efficiency of the Bruce Highway 
  • Construction of Stage 3 of the Gold Coast Light Rail, from Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads, will connect to the existing Gold Coast Light Rail, providing eight additional stations, at a total estimated cost of $1.2 billion (jointly funding with the Federal Government and Gold Coast City Council). 
  • Committing $5.75 billion (split 50:50 with the Federal Government) for the Logan and Gold Coast Faster Rail (Kuraby to Beenleigh) upgrade, with a plan to increase the number of tracks between Kuraby and Beenleigh from two to four tracks, with modernised rail systems, station upgrades and level crossing removals along this 20km corridor. 

The Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) is a four-year program, released annually, outlining current and planning investments in transport infrastructure. QTRIP spans road, rail, bus, cycling and marine infrastructure on freight, commuter and recreational networks. The program of works detailed in QTRIP represents a $37.4 billion investment over the four years from 2024-25 to 2027-28. 

Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan 

The Queensland Government is powering ahead with energy transformation while driving emissions reduction across the sector and broader Queensland economy. 

Released in 2022, the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan (QEJP) charts an infrastructure investment pathway to 2035 to deliver clean, reliable and affordable power. 

Through the QEJP, Queensland’s government-owned energy corporations have a leading role in the state’s energy transformation – to build, own, and operate new renewable energy and storage while partnering with the private sector to deliver clean and reliable energy to customers across Queensland. 

Building on the momentum of the last budget, the 2024-25 Budget includes a landmark capital investment of around $26 billion over four years to deliver the QEJP. This includes new publicly owned investments, including: 

  • $16.5 billion for renewable energy and storage projects 
  • $8.5 billion for transmission infrastructure, including CopperString 2032, SuperGrid and Renewable Energy Zone transmission works 
  • $500 million for distribution network storage, including Energy Queensland’s Local Network Battery Plan and Local Renewable Energy Zone Pilot Projects 
  • $192 million for Powerlink to develop Transmission and Training Hubs in Townsville and Gladstone 

These projects are supported by coal royalties set aside in the 2023-24 Budget and the $4.5 billion Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund. 

During the energy transformation, the government is ensuring energy workers at existing publicly owned coal fired power stations and associated coal mines have access to new jobs and training or financial assistance through the $150 million Job Security Guarantee Fund. This framework will complement the conversion of publicly owned power station sites into clean energy hubs by 2035. 

Supporting the regions 

This Budget is set to invest $18.5 billion in capital projects outside of the Greater Brisbane region in 2024-25, supporting around 50,000 jobs. 

The $1.1 billion Works for Queensland program will continue to support local governments outside South East Queensland by funding job-creating maintenance and minor infrastructure projects relating to assets owned or controlled by local governments. 

In 2024-25, $124.5 million will be delivered towards Works for Queensland projects.The 2024-25 Budget is allocating $100 million over three years from the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements Efficiencies, jointly funded by the Queensland and Federal Governments, to support a suite of high priority disaster resilience and mitigation infrastructure and non-infrastructure programs and projects. 

As well as the QEJP, key projects in rural and regional Queensland include delivery of health facilities under the Building Rural and Remote Health Program, building new regional school facilities, Domestic and Family Violence Courthouse improvements, replacement of the Bowen Wharf, raising and improving Burdekin Falls Dam, delivery of the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline project, and construction of the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline. 

Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games 

The 2024-25 Budget includes funding to continue to support preparations for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Brisbane 2032). 

The Queensland Government is providing an additional $62 million over four years from 2024-25 and $14 million per annum ongoing to 2032-33 for the preparation of additional Project Validation Reports and establishment costs for the Games Venue and Legacy Delivery Authority, to be transferred to the Authority once established. 

Funding contributions have been agreed between the Queensland and Federal governments for the jointly funded $7.1 billion venues infrastructure program to support the hosting of Brisbane 2032. 

The allocation of funding for specific venues projects is subject to government investment decisions following completion of project assessment activities. 

Brisbane 2032 Games infrastructure 

The 2024-25 Queensland Budget provides for total capital expenditure for Brisbane 2032 venues infrastructure of $7.1 billion over nine years to 2032-33. 

Consistent with the government’s response to the Sport Venue Review, the venues infrastructure program comprises the Brisbane Arena ($2.5 billion), upgrades to the Queensland State Athletics Centre and refurbishment of the Gabba Stadium and Suncorp Stadium ($2.7 billion), and 15 new or upgraded venues under the Minor Venues Program ($1.9 billion). 

Of this, total funding of $560 million is allocated for minor venues works now in procurement – Chandler Indoor Sports Centre, Brisbane Aquatic Centre, Sunshine Coast Indoor Sport Centre, Sunshine Coast Mountain Bike Centre and Sunshine Coast Stadium. 

Total forecast expenditure for the venues’ infrastructure program over four years to 2027-28 is $3.2 billion. 

Industry response 

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has said that the 2024-25 State Budget’s significant new investment in capital works across hospitals, energy, rail, roads, and schools is a change of pace from other state’s subdued infrastructure agendas.  

But Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive, Adrian Dwyer, said that this Budget is full of “gifts and grenades”.  

“Where other state governments have been disciplined in their spending and debt management in this fiscally constrained environment, Queensland appears to be throwing caution to the wind, pushing public debt to record levels.  

“While new funding must cater to the state’s ever-growing population, it is difficult to look past some of the decisions in this year’s Budget, including introducing 50-cent public transport fares, as anything other than an early votes grab. 

“In further evidence, a $184 million pre-election war chest has been set aside for ‘decisions made but not yet announced’ for 2024-35. 

“Positive infrastructure investment outcomes must be rooted in sound economic sense and driven by more than short-term motivations.”  

Mr Dwyer said that it is worth noting that many of 2024-25’s headline infrastructure expenditure figures will be funded by user chargers rather than state expenditure – including the infrastructure build out required for the energy transition. 

“Our analysis shows Treasurer Cameron Dick has increased infrastructure funding by 22.8 per cent or $10.3 billion on the allocation in the 2023-24 Budget, bringing general government infrastructure funding to $55.6 billion over the next four years. 

“This funding represents 14.6 per cent of the Queensland Government’s total general government expenditure, above the ten-year average of 11.3 per cent. 

“Much of this investment will be directed towards billion-dollar construction cost overruns across many state significant projects including the Coomera Connector, Beerburrum to Nambour rail line, Rockhampton Ring Road and Gold Coast to Logan Faster Rail.”  

Mr Dwyer said that the government has also included $1 billion of ‘equity funding’ for the Capacity Expansion Program in 2027-28.  

“For something to be genuinely treated as equity it must deliver a return to taxpayers. 

“Without details on how, it is difficult to believe a return is achievable. The government must provide details, or the only assumption is that the accountants have discovered a Budget magic pudding – but they’ll need to explain that too.” 

Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia (CCAA), the representative body for Australia’s heavy construction materials industry, has welcomed this record funding but stresses the importance of an integrated Construction Materials Plan to ensure the success of these ambitious projects. 

CCAA members produce the majority of Australia’s cement, concrete, and aggregates, which are crucial to Australia’s building and construction sectors.  

CCAA CEO, Michael Kilgariff, said that CCAA applauds the unprecedented commitment to transport infrastructure, housing, and renewable energy in the Queensland budget.  

“The prosperity of the state hinges on a sustainable pipeline of projects, reliable public infrastructure, and an affordable housing supply,” Mr Kilgariff said.  

“Ensuring a sustainable construction industry requires public procurement practices that reflect government policies on reducing emissions. Prioritising this alignment is vital to enabling the collaborative efforts necessary to achieve our collective net zero goal. 

“CCAA has also highlighted the urgent need for the government to accelerate the protection of local quarries and is advocating for the development of a comprehensive Heavy Construction Materials Plan covering cement, aggregates, sand, and concrete.”  

Mr Kilgariff said that this plan is critical in delivering an adequate supply of essential materials to the locations where they are needed. 

“This highlights the critical need for an integrated Heavy Construction Materials Plan to facilitate the supply of essential construction materials for infrastructure, housing, and renewable energy projects.” 

“It remains imperative that the State Government develop a plan to ensure the sustainable supply of construction materials, focused on timely delivery and aimed at making housing, renewable energy projects and infrastructure most affordable.”  

Featured image: Upgrade works underway on the Bruce Highway. Image credit: Queensland Government.  

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