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Financial and economic policy

Our fundamental role is to manage the State's finances, advance the performance of the Queensland economy, and provide policy, strategies and advice at a whole-of-Government level to promote value-for-money service delivery.

Our clients

Treasury Office develops and implements whole-of-Government fiscal policy for the Treasurer and Government. It also provides fiscal policy, financial management, budgetary, accounting, regulatory and project evaluation advice to Queensland Government agencies and statutory bodies. The Office also communicates and consults with Queensland business and the community about regulatory proposals and reform initiatives.

Structure

  • Under Treasurer, Gerard Bradley
    • Deputy Under Treasurer, Tim Spencer
      • Commercial Transactions Team
    • Deputy Under Treasurer, Alex Beavers
      • Director, Financial Management, Sue Highland 
      • Assistant Under Treasurer, John O'Connell
        • Director, Resources and Economic Development, Natalie Barber 
        • Director, Transport, Infrastructure and Government Services, Drew Ellem
      • Assistant Under Treasurer, Dr Gary Ward
        • Intergovernmental Relations
        • Macroeconomics Team
      • Assistant Under Treasurer, Dennis Molloy
        • Fiscal and Taxation Policy
      • Assistant Under Treasurer, Walter Ivessa
        • Director, Health and Community Services, Janelle Thurlby
        • Director, Education and Justice, Lynne Bulloch
      • Assistant Under Treasurer, Stuart Booker
        • Director, Commercial, Robert Fleming
      • Assistant Under Treasurer, Ken Sedgwick
        • Director, Economic and Structural Policy, Tania Homan
        • Director, Queensland Office for Regulatory Efficiency, Peter McKenna

Vision

To ensure growth in Queensland's long-term fiscal and economic performance.

Mission

We strive to:

  • ensure the ongoing strength of the economy and State's finances
  • provide services and infrastructure to meet growth in the State
  • assist the Government to create and support jobs.

Key issues facing the output

  • Reflecting improvements in global economic conditions, Queensland's revenue outlook has improved since the 2009-10 Budget. Forecast operating deficits have moderated since the 2009-10 forecasts. However, the State's key revenue streams continue to be impacted by the legacy of the global financial crisis and continue to remain significantly below the level forecast in the 2008-09 Budget.
  • Continue the management of the Government's infrastructure reform and strategic assets sale program.

General Government purchases of non-financial assets

1992-93 to 2010-11

Graph showing the general government purchases of non-financial assets, per capita, from 1992-93 to 2010-11 for Queensland and other States.

Analysis: For the General Government sector, capital spending is estimated at $8.335 billion in 2010-11.  

In per capita terms, it is estimated that the Queensland Government's capital spending in the General Government sector will be around 72% above the average of the other states, at $1,820 per person.  Among the states, Queensland has the highest capital expenditure per person in 2010-11, 7.7% above next highest Western Australia, which has also embarked on a substantial capital program in recent years. 

Output performance highlights

Quantity Notes Target Actual
Quarterly reports on financial position within six weeks of quarter end 4 4
Number of written pieces of portfolio resource allocation advice provided 1,600 1,575
Number of written pieces of economic and intergovernmental relations advice provided 1 450 495
Number of written pieces of fiscal, taxation policy and financial management advice provided 2 650 420
Number of written pieces of infrastructure policy advice provided   500 490
Quality Notes Target Actual
Adherence to fiscal objectives as described in the Charter of Social and Fiscal Responsibility Partial 100%
Compliance with the Uniform Presentation Framework requirements and relevant Australian Accounting Standards for whole-of-Government financial reporting 3  100% 100%
Timeliness Notes Target Actual
Achievement of key milestones in the budget process   100% 100%
Achievement of key milestones in the Report on State Finances process 100% 100%
Data provision to the Commonwealth Grants Commission and Australian Bureau of Statistics within agreed timeframes   100% 100%
Cost Notes Target Actual
Cost of portfolio resource allocation advice 4 $6.47M $5.99M
Cost of economic and intergovernmental relations advice 5 $0.89M $0.76M
Cost of fiscal, taxation policy and financial management advice 6 $5.17M $4.73M
Cost of infrastructure policy advice 7 $5.07M $3.43M

Variances

  1. Increase is a result of additional requests for briefs on health reform and the Australia's Future Tax System review (Henry Tax Review).
  2. Decrease due to fewer enquiries/submissions following the implementation of the Financial Accountability Act 2009, and the reduction in the number of departments following machinery-of-Government changes. This achieved efficiencies in notifications/advice on policy changes.
  3. Treasury and QR Limited considered the carrying value of the rail network assets in the whole-of-Government financial report at 30 June 2008 to represent fair value. The Queensland Audit Office was unable to express an opinion on the reported written down value of these assets at 30 June 2008.
  4. Reduction due to unanticipated staff vacancies.
  5. Reduction reflects savings in employee-related costs due to the attrition of staff following the Commonwealth Grants Commission five-yearly review.
  6. Reduction in various supplies and services including contractor and printing costs in line with organisational saving targets.
  7. Reduction largely due to savings in staff-related costs following internal restructure.

Goal

Manage the State's finances, advance the performance of the Queensland economy and provide policy, strategies and advice at a whole-of-Government level to promote value-for-money service delivery.

Strategy

Manage and coordinate the State Budget process and achieve a sound fiscal position.

Economic and financial leadership support Queensland's recovery

Although the downturn from the global financial crisis has been more moderate than anticipated, adverse economic and financial conditions continue to challenge Queensland's financial position. Treasury has continued to provide economic and financial advice to Government to help support a recovery in Queensland's finances.

In 2009-10 we coordinated the 2010-11 State Budget. This included a $17.1 billion infrastructure program supporting more than 100,000 jobs in the short term, and ensuring Queensland's sustainable growth in the longer term.

As the economy has recovered, Government revenues have improved. By following revised fiscal principles implemented in last year's Budget, including containing spending growth, Queensland has been able to strengthen its fiscal capacity. It is now anticipated Queensland's operating position will reach a surplus in 2015-16 – a year earlier than expected. The 2010-11 Budget will also deliver a significant reduction in the State's forecast borrowings relative to previous estimates.

In 2009-10 we also assessed the State's financial operations and position by preparing the 2008-09 Report on State Finances. This report contributes to the clarity and transparency of Government financial statements.

We prepared the 2009-10 Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review to provide a 'between budgets' update on Queensland's fiscal and economic outlook. This report showed the first signs of a recovery, highlighting modest improvements in most economic and fiscal forecasts.

In 2010-11 we will continue to support economic recovery and consolidate Queensland's financial position by overseeing the existing Budget and framing the 2011-12 State Budget. We will report on the State's financial operations and position through documents such as the 2009-10 Report on State Finances and the 2010-11 Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review.

Strategy

Manage the processes associated with implementing the asset sale program.

Infrastructure reforms commenced

In 2009-10, we finalised scoping studies for each asset and commenced the divestment of these assets. The $603 million sale of a 99-year licence to operate Forestry Plantations Queensland was the first divestment under the Government's infrastructure reform and sale program.

Preparations continued to divest the remaining four assets in accordance with the recommendations of detailed scoping studies. The divestment recommendations, which all remain subject to ongoing market conditions, are:

  • A 99-year lease of the Port of Brisbane. Core port infrastructure and land will remain in Government ownership. The Port of Brisbane trade sale commenced in 2009-10 and is scheduled to be finalised in late 2010.
  • A 99-year lease of the Abbot Point X50 Coal Terminal. The terminal infrastructure and land will remain in Government ownership. The trade sale is planned for 2011.
  • A 40-50 year franchise to toll the Queensland Motorways Limited (QML) road network. The franchise will include road and bridge maintenance responsibilities. The road and bridge infrastructure will remain in Government ownership. The trade sale is planned for 2011.
  • QR Limited's commercial freight operations and network support service will be sold by way of Initial Public Offering, planned for the fourth quarter of 2010. The new company, QR National, will have a 99-year lease over the central Queensland coal rail network, which will remain in Government ownership.

In 2009-10, we also advanced preparations to establish a new Government-owned corporation, Queensland Rail, to operate the State's public passenger services and Queensland's 8,000 kilometres of metropolitan and regional rail networks (excluding dedicated coal lines).

Strategy

Support departments and statutory bodies with the implementation of the requirements of the financial management legislation which commenced 1 July 2009.

New resources strengthen accountability and internal controls

By helping agencies develop more efficient and effective financial resource management, we improve Government accountability, governance and internal controls.

The Financial Accountability Act 2009, Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 and the Financial Accountability Regulation 2009 introduced a new environment of accountability for Queensland's public sector.

In 2009-10 we helped departments and statutory bodies meet their obligations under the abovementioned legislation.

We developed and released the Financial Accountability Handbook and Financial Management Tools.

The handbook is an initial reference point for accountable officers and statutory bodies applying the Act, and the tools provide a number of templates that can be adapted. These resources help agencies maintain and review their internal financial controls and processes.

We also developed a policy position on the valuation of assets in price-regulated markets, an area of impact for some GOCs. This policy will be included in Treasury's Non-Current Asset Policies for the Queensland Public Sector, planned for release in late 2010 and providing additional guidance for departments, statutory bodies and GOCs in assessing fair value for assets. Read more about this policy in the External scrutiny section of this annual report.

To address the implications of implementing full cost recovery in funding for non-Government organisations, we released the draft Volume 6 – Grant management – of the Financial Accountability Handbook for comment. Once finalised, this publication will replace our 1997 publication Guidelines for grant administration. Read more about this policy in the External scrutiny section of this annual report.

Over the coming year, we will continue updating these resources to include emerging financial management practices and identified risk areas. We will also develop a Statutory Body Guide to provide more specific assistance to statutory bodies reviewing their internal controls and processes.

Strategy

Introduce smart regulatory environment that supports better economic, social and environmental outcomes for Queensland.

Savings from smarter regulation

The Government is undertaking a reform program to streamline existing regulation and simplify new regulation. The aim is to increase Queensland's competitiveness and productivity by reducing compliance efforts required of individuals, business, communities and Government.

In 2009-10 we strengthened ties with business and the community by creating a central online reference point for information on upcoming regulatory reviews and consultation. We will continue investigating opportunities for collaborations with business and community throughout 2010-11.

During the year, we developed the Queensland Regulatory Simplification Plan 2009-13 which outlines how agencies will review and reduce existing regulation. We published agencies' simplification plans online to allow public feedback. Across Government these plans target around $150 million per annum in net savings by 2013 by reducing compliance costs on business and administrative cost to Government.

We reported $67 million in compliance and administrative savings to business, community and Government in the 2008-09 Smart Regulation Annual Report. In 2010-11 we will continue supporting agencies to develop simplification plans, investigate opportunities for agencies to integrate regulatory reform in their strategic directions, and work with business and community groups to identify priority reform areas.

In 2009-10 we introduced the Regulatory Assessment Statement (RAS) system to ensure new regulations are developed reasonably and appropriately, and that their impact on business, community and government can be accurately assessed. The RAS system improves the rigour, transparency and accountability in assessing regulatory proposals, ensuring effective regulation.

We also developed the online Compliance Cost Calculator, providing greater transparency in how regulation cost impacts are measured.

Our work in training and advising agencies and stakeholders on the RAS system and calculator will progress throughout 2010-11, as we continue to review their effectiveness.

We will also work to improve cost-benefit analysis methodologies and tools used to calculate compliance costs. This will involve looking at how the economic, social, environmental and competition impacts of compliance are measured, and how agencies can improve the quality and reduce the cost of their analysis.

Regulatory reform – a national partnership

In December 2008, the federal, state and territory governments signed the National Partnership Agreement to Deliver a Seamless National Economy. This agreement has since guided reforms in 36 key areas to improve Australia’s regulatory environment. Harmonising regulations accross the nation will reduce business costs currently incurred when complying with differing regulations across jurisdictions.

Treasury oversees the Queensland Government’s commitment to this agreement through its contribution to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Business Regulation and Competition Working Groups.

In 2009-10 Treasury oversaw Queensland’s achievement of several commitments including payroll tax harmonisation, a national system of trade measurement and standard business reporting.

Treasury also helped develop the Occupational Licensing National Law Bill which will remove inconsistencies between states and territories, allowing greater workforce mobility. These and other milestones are detailed in the first COAG Reform Council assessment report.

Looking to the year ahead, Treasury will continue driving the Government’s commitments under the National Partnership Agreement. This means continuing to negotiate Queensland’s position on the 36 reform areas and investigating opportunities for a whole-of-Government approach to national IT outcomes.

By working together at a national level, state and territory governments are building a competitive regulatory environment that supports innovation, productivity and economic growth.

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Last reviewed 28 November 2013