Queensland’s 2024-25 State Budget includes record investment for councils alongside a $2.8 billion allocation for social and affordable housing development.  

The funding for councils includes an additional $61.6 million over two years to improve support for Queensland’s 16 Indigenous councils.  

The State Government is also allowing councils to apply for $115 million for water and sewerage, housing, and road projects across Queensland through the next round of the Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program.  

This builds on ongoing support in the Budget for councils across Queensland through programs like Works for Queensland, the South East Queensland Community Stimulus, Recycling and Jobs Fund and Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme. 

The bolstered funding for First Nations councils will help support continued delivery of the Indigenous Councils Funding Program that supports the state’s Indigenous councils to deliver the services their local communities need. 

The investment will also fund a new entity to support the long-term sustainability of councils serving First Nations communities. 

The Indigenous Councils Funding Program was established in 2023 following a review of historical operational funding arrangements.  

The program ensures operational grants are distributed across all 16 councils under a single, equitable and fit-for-purpose methodology that has reduced administration costs. 

Program funding allocations are based on a methodology that reflects factors impacting costs of service delivery in Indigenous local government areas. Considerations include population, remoteness and dispersion. 

The new funding guidelines are set to be released in the week following the Budget’s release, with successful council projects to be short-listed later in 2024. 

As well as getting new priority infrastructure off the ground, the funding is also aimed at extending the life of existing assets and planning projects. 

Final funding decisions for infrastructure projects will be made following a two-stage, competitive application and assessment process. 

Queensland Premier, Steven Miles, said that he knows the crucial role local governments play in delivering important services and infrastructure Queenslanders rely on. 

“I am proud that in my first Budget as Premier, we are building on the ongoing support with Local Government Grants and Subsidies program,’ Premier Miles said.  

Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Cameron Dick, said that First Nations councils are the building blocks of some of Queensland’s most remote communities. 

“We are investing more than $61 million over two years to boost their long-term sustainability, which will benefit them now and well into the future,” Treasurer Dick said.  

Queensland Minister for Local Government and Housing, Meaghan Scanlon, said that whether it’s through this additional funding, Homes for Queenslanders or programs like Works for Queensland, the government is delivering infrastructure partnerships with councils to help make sure Queenslanders have the services, infrastructure and homes they need. 

“It builds on the billions of dollars we’re investing through our Big Build, and programs like our Works for Queensland to help councils build the infrastructure their communities need,” Minister Scanlon said.  

“Indigenous councils in particular face enormous challenges and these grants are core to delivering the services that their communities need. 

“The $61.6 million investment in our First Nations councils will go a long way to assist in their sustainability so they can continue to serve their communities in the best way possible.” 

Housing investment  

The $2.8 billion allocated to housing development includes support for the delivery of a new 200 social and affordable home project on the Gold Coast. 

It comes after the government announced its Budget would lift the stamp duty threshold for first homebuyers to $700,000 as well as build 600 more modular homes across regional Queensland. 

Homes for Queenslanders outlines the government’s plan to build one million more homes including 53,500 social homes, help for first homeowners, more rights and financial support for renters, and an uplift in funding for homelessness services.  

The Southport Supportive Accommodation project will include approximately 200 high-rise units delivering social and affordable homes for people in need, as well as two floors dedicated to delivering on site support services. 

Social homes will be targeted towards people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

The design considers a housing-first model and a trauma informed response to design, with a focus on the safety and security of residents and space for the provision of wrap around support services. 

The vision for the project has been developed in consultation with the community housing sector and with people with lived experience of homelessness. 

The project will be constructed within the Southport Priority Development Area on land that was identified as part of the government’s land audit. 

The process is already underway to find a builder, while procurement of a community housing provider and specialist homelessness service provider to operate the project and deliver services to future residents will begin toward the end of 2024. 

Premier Miles that this project is part of the government’s plan to deliver one million more homes for Queenslanders. 

“That includes homes for first homebuyers, renters, regional families and those in our community who need additional support.  

“I want young Queenslanders to have more opportunity than their parents including the opportunity to own their own place. I want that for my kids too. 

“That’s why I also announced we will increase the threshold for the first homeowner concession on transfer duty to make it easier for those buying their first home.” 

Treasurer Dick said that to deliver Homes for Queenslanders the State Government committed $2.8 billion in this Budget for 2024-25, the largest investment in housing in Queensland’s history. 

“This record investment in housing means we will continue this momentum and provide more homes for all Queenslanders – whether that’s by lifting the stamp duty threshold or building the Southport Supportive Accommodation project.”  

Minister Scanlon said that the government has made it clear through the Homes for Queenslanders plan that it will pull every lever possible to help Queenslanders find a place to call home – whether that’s by buying one, renting one or moving into a social home with the supports they need. 

“I’ve listened to housing and homelessness services on the Gold Coast who told me about the demand not just for social housing but wraparound support, which is why we’ve locked in funding to build this project,” Minister Scanlon said.  

“The Southport site will bring with it the potential to provide on-site supports for people who need additional help to live independently.”  

Council response 

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) CEO, Alison Smith, said that councils would welcome the continuation of extra funding for First Nations communities and the money already announced for Works for Queensland locked into the State Budget, but warned that in an election year, communities are looking for more.  

“Councils will be disappointed that programs to local government that support grassroots community liveability have not received significant increased funding,” Ms Smith said.  

“Councils and communities need long term funding certainty, not sugar hits, to deliver the community infrastructure and services they need to ensure community liveability.  

“Councils also want to see an end to the cost shifting that forces them, and ratepayers, to shoulder the burden when the State and Federal Governments, and the private sector, neglect their responsibilities for proper funding.  

“The Works for Queensland funding and SEQ Stimulus funding is good news for councils, however skyrocketing costs of construction, labour and supplies mean that councils need fairer funding, including a more equitable trunk infrastructure funding framework.  

Ms Smith said that increased State Government Financial Aid grants for First Nations councils for two years is very welcome, a great result for those 16 discrete communities.  

“Road construction and maintenance costs are continuing to soar and while last year’s small increase to the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS) funding has been retained in this Budget, it is still well short of the funding that councils need for road construction projects.   

“Councils will be disappointed to see water infrastructure funding through Building our Regions (BoR) is only being offered for one more year and that the Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program (LGGSP) is not delivering any significant uplift to councils either.  

“Councils were the first to raise the housing crisis and put forward sensible, workable and affordable solutions that would get more families out of cars and tents and into safe and secure homes and tackle chronic overcrowding in First Nations communities.  

“While there is funding in the Budget to reduce stamp duty for some, in order for the building sector to get more houses built, more money must flow to supporting the trunk infrastructure needed to service them that councils provide. 

“In the lead up to the October state election councils want to see all parties backing their local councils and communities by supporting the grassroots initiatives that have been put forward by local councils.” 

Image: sunnypicsoz-Geoff Childs/shutterstock.com 

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