The Queensland state government will invest $1 billion directly in commercial businesses and projects to generate Queensland jobs through the COVID-19 recovery.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said that the state government will leverage its strong balance sheet to invest in jobs.
“When the private sector takes a hit, government must step up and, if it means more jobs for Queenslanders, we make no apologies for borrowing more and investing directly,” he said.
“In the current environment, with Queensland’s strong balance sheet, there are investment opportunities that represent both excellent value for the taxpayer and more jobs.
“That’s why we will invest $500 million in a Renewable Energy Fund that will mean our state-owned energy corporations can increase public ownership of commercial renewable projects and supporting infrastructure.
“By putting our money on the table, we can get more projects through the vital investment decision phase, to get construction underway as soon as possible.”
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the Renewable Energy Fund would continue the pace of Queensland’s renewable revolution that had already seen 41 large-scale renewable energy projects commence operations, under construction or financially committed since 2015, representing about 6500 jobs.
“The fund will complement our $145 million commitment to establish three renewable energy zones to foster jobs and growth in regional Queensland.
Dick said the Government would also establish a Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund to invest in other areas of the economy.
“A further $500 million to be dedicated to direct investment in Queensland business and industry, managed through our world class fund managers, the Queensland Investment Corporation,” Dick said.
“The fund will support good quality Queensland businesses that need capital to create jobs.
“Importantly, the Fund will also consider taking ownership positions in assets that have been previously privatised, where it means more jobs for Queenslanders.”
As well as significant strategic investments, the Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund will target investments in businesses that:
- are small and medium businesses based in Queensland;
- will create Queensland-based jobs;
- have a proven product and defined market opportunity but require significant capital to aggressively build scale or grow market share;
- are relatively mature, well beyond proof of concept and are profitable or approaching profitability;
- are seeking capital to expand or restructure operations, enter new markets or finance significant acquisition; and
- have well established and reputable owners who are committed to growing the business from and in Queensland.
The Treasurer said the Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund will have the ability to partner with entities like superannuation funds and other financial institutions.
“Business as usual will not cut it as we recover from COVID-19,” the Treasurer said.
“More than ever, Queensland businesses need to be resilient and agile to deal with rapidly evolving threats and opportunities.
“The Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund will provide a catalyst for these businesses to address challenges or take opportunities much more rapidly than they would be able to do so otherwise.
“With interest rates at record lows, the Queensland Government will borrow to invest in Queensland business and industry to create more jobs.
“Importantly, as these funds are commercial investments, Queensland taxpayers will not be responsible for servicing those borrowings.
“That’s because these investments will be commercial and they will generate revenue that will service the debt.”