Queensland Government Pledges $16 Million to Support Small Businesses with Energy Efficiency Upgrades

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In an economically strategic move, the government of Queensland has initiated a $16 million effort to assist the small business community as they grapple with rising costs and escalating interest rates. The initiative offers a significant $12,500 rebate to these enterprises for the installation of energy-efficient equipment.

In her annual State of the State address in Brisbane, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shed light on the new program as a measure to underline her government’s adept handling of economic affairs—an insinuation to voters that external influences beyond the government’s control are responsible for their financial pressures.

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Families and households across the state, she stated, continue to feel the financial strain caused by global and national pressures, despite the robust Queensland economy. Challenges such as high global interest rates and escalating fuel costs have been offshoots of worldwide adjustments post-pandemic.

Under the umbrella of the ‘Queensland Business Energy Saving and Transformation’ program, the government will defray up to 50% of the expenses associated with the installation of new energy-saving equipment for their over 450,000 small-to-medium businesses. A minimum expense threshold of $8000 has been set, to claim the minimal rebate of $4000. The initiative will encompass supporting energy-efficient appliances and commercial refrigerators or freezers with a 4-star or better energy rating, and LED lighting systems.

Addressing the Brisbane Convention Centre, Premier Palaszczuk triumphantly declared that the increased number of jobs in Queensland—surpassing 276,000 since March 2020—serves as another testament to the growth of the economy. Expected to grow twice as fast as the national rate at 3%, Queensland’s economy is also weighed down less by debt than its southern counterparts.

In a significant move for regional Queensland, a $250 million investment was unveiled to support a 100-fold increase in internet speeds. Initiating a large-scale publicly owned regional fibre network, it aims to bridge the digital divide and capacitate high-paying tech jobs in the region. The enhanced connectivity will be delivered through the government-owned Queensland Capacity Network.

Additionally, Queensland is poised to become a powerhouse hub for quantum technology, with $76 million allocated to commercialize the cutting-edge local research sector. The premier assured that this isn’t a future aspiration—a robust quantum and advanced technologies industry is already flourishing in Queensland.

All these sweeping measures come on the heels of the forthcoming state elections in October 2024, signaling strategic planning and foresight from the premier’s office.