Queensland Law Society

Queensland State Budget 2019: Key highlights for lawyers

Below is a summary of the key announcements for the legal profession from the 2019/20 Queensland State Budget, handed down on Tuesday 11 June 2019.

This is the most significant investment in the justice system the Society has seen in recent years with $847.9 million over 5 years.


There is a significant investment in the Queensland courts with:

  • $57.7 over 4 years to respond to increasing demand of the courts
  • $13.1 million over 5 years to respond to frontline demand pressures and increase sessional members remuneration in QCAT
  • $10.6 million additional funding over 4 years for Office of the Public Guardian and QCAT to address increased workloads from the rollout of the NDIS
  • $9.5 million over 5 years to commence implementation of the information, communication and technology strategy in the justice portfolio which the QLS hopes will include upgrades to court IT system
  • $3.9 million over 2 years for priority maintenance at Queensland courts – with and additional $4.8 million over 2 years for capital upgrades
  • $3.7 million over 2 years for implementation of a new service delivery model for recording and transcription services – with $2.7 million over 2 years of additional capital spending
  • $2.9 million over 4 years to establish a second temporary registrar unit within the Coroners Act to enhance triage practices and strengthen case management practices
  • $2.3 million over 2 years to continue an additional children’s court magistrate 
  • $2.5 million over 5 years to establish a Murri Court at Ipswich

There is a significant investment in the operation and machinery of the criminal justice system, including:

  • $42.8 million increase over 4 years for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and $12.1million/annum ongoing to respond to increased workload
  • $17.3 million over 4 years for Crown Law to provide advice to the AG regarding Dangerous Prisoners Sexual Offences Act 2003 and representing the AG at the Mental Health Review Tribunal
  • $19.1 million increase over 4 years to expand community justice groups
  • $15.3 million increase over 4 years to Victims Assist Queensland to provide support to victims of crime and to assist in the processing of claims and backlog
  • $6.6 million increase over 4 years to expand the Court Link program to Maroochydore, Redcliffe and Caboolture
  • $3.4 million increase over 4 years to continue delivery of the Aurukun restorative justice program
  • 2.6 million increase over 4 years for frontline investigation services for the Crime and Corruption Commission
  • $2.5 million increase over 4 years to implement a Magistrate-led program for watchhouse officer training to enhance approaches to remand
  • $7.9 million over 3 years or pilot programs to target the needs of women prisoners
  • Additional $1.2 million over 2 years to provide perpetrator intervention services
  • $2.5 million in 2019/2020 for program management office to take a whole of government focus on reforms of the criminal justice system
  • Additional funding of $111.4 million over 5 years for the operation of Arthur Gorrie and Southern Queensland Correctional Centre as well as $143 million over 4 years to commission and operate the expanded Capricornia Correctional Centre
  • $620 million additional funding for the expansion of the Souter Correctional Queensland precinct
  • Increased funding of $6.5 over 4 years for the Queensland Parole Board  
  • $7.7 million over 4 years for civilian prosecutors to deal with workload issues

There is a substantial and welcome investment in youth justice

  • $18.5 million increase over 4 years to support the Townsville community youth response
  • $8.1 million in 19/2020 for additional staff at the two youth detention centres
  • $28.7 million increase over 4 years to continue and enhance the transition to success program to reduce recidivism
  • $27.5 million increase over 4 years and $8 million ongoing for restorative justice conferences in the youth justice system
  • $15 million increase over 4 years to establish three new community youth responses to address youth crime hotspots in Brisbane, Ipswich and Cairns
  • $1.3 million increase for youth workers to supervise children in the Brisbane watchhouse
  • $14.2 million over 4 years, 16 bed expansion of the Brisbane youth detention centre
  • $1.7 million over 2 years for the establishment of the youth justice program management office to provide a whole a government response to youth justice issues
  • $2.3 million over 4 years for the Queensland youth partnerships initiative

There is a focus on assisting children and young people with a $517.5 million over 4 years package for family support and child protection, including:

  • $27 million over 5 years for the Office of Public Guardian to continue to deliver protection to children in care and vulnerable adults
  • $13.5 million increase in 19/20 for child protection litigation services by the Director of Child Protection Litigation
  • $9.7 million over 3 years for the Queensland Family and Child Commission for research, evaluation and awareness initiatives
  • $4.1 million over 4 years to establish a new and independent child death review panel supported by the Queensland Family and Child Commission

There is an additional $5.8 million over 5 years for the Queensland Human Rights Commission to support the introduction of the Human Rights Act 2019


There has been a modest investment in access to justice initiatives, with:

  • $11.5 million increase over 3 years for Legal Aid Queensland from 2020/2021 - $5.8million/annum ongoing
  • Additional $5.6 million over 4 years for legal assistance services from 2021/2022

There are changes to the State tax regime

  • An extension of the 50% payroll tax rebate to June 2021 for apprentice and trainee wages
  • An increase of payroll tax threshold to $1.3 million
  • Introduction of a 1% payroll tax reduction for regional employers
  • An increase in absentee land tax surcharge
  • Introduction of foreign land tax surcharge for foreign companies and the trustees of foreign companies 

For more information on these and other measures announced by the Palaszczuk Government in the 2019/20 Queensland State Budget, visit https://budget.qld.gov.au.