Disasters leave Australia's Queensland 2 billion dollars in red

13:06, June 13, 2011      

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Australia's eastern state of Queensland faces a budget deficit of more than 2 billion AU dollars (2.13 billion U.S. dollars) after the state's natural disasters of floods and cyclones early this year.

The state budget, to be announced on Tuesday, will show it will take a further five years before the state's finances return to surplus, The local newspaper Courier-Mail reported on Monday.

"Our economy has been smashed first by the (global financial crisis) and then by natural disasters, but we are determined to meet our commitment to return the budget to surplus - and we will, " Treasurer Andrew Fraser told the paper.

He said the government's 15 billion dollars (15.9 billion U.S. dollars) asset sales program was paying dividends, with debt levels lower than originally predicted.

The budget will show the state's debt will hit 52.8 billion dollars (56.2 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of this financial year which is at the end of June, with the proceeds from the asset sales helping to drive down forecast debt by 17.5 billion dollars (18.6 billion U.S. dollars).

Losses from the key mining sector are approaching nearly 6 billion dollars (6.4 billion U.S. dollars), trimming coal royalties by about 186 million dollars (198 million U.S. dollars) since the mid-year review.

The budget will show a deficit of 4.06 billion dollars (4.32 billion U.S. dollars) for 2011-12, slightly above what was previously predicted, the paper reported.

Source: Xinhua
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