Queensland arrivals to be slugged ‘for the privilege’ of moving to state

Southerners crossing the border for a new life in Queensland will have to pay for the privilege, with a new charge expected to raise $17 million.

Treasurer Cameron Dick will announce a new driver’s licence transfer fee of $78.75 in next week’s budget, aimed at people who move to Queensland from interstate.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick will announce the licence transfer fee in next week’s state budget.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick will announce the licence transfer fee in next week’s state budget.Credit:Attila Csaszar

“The tens of thousands of Australians, mostly from New South Wales, who move to Queensland over the next three years will have to pay for the privilege,” he said.

Currently, drivers do not need to pay a fee to switch an interstate licence to a Queensland licence.

The fee will come into effect in July 2022 and is expected to generate $17 million over three years.

Last month’s federal budget predicted NSW would lose 60,700 residents over three years from July 2022.

At the same time, Queensland would gain 61,700 people.

More than 61,000 people are expected to move to Queensland from interstate over the coming years.

More than 61,000 people are expected to move to Queensland from interstate over the coming years.Credit:Felicity Caldwell

“So effectively, everyone leaving NSW, plus 1000 more, will come to Queensland,” Mr Dick said.

“We think it’s only fair for them to pay a small price for the privilege of becoming new Queenslanders, where of course they will pay less tax than anywhere else in Australia, particularly NSW.”

Mr Dick said the cost of the fee was similar to a licence replacement fee in Queensland, which is $78.75 for an open licence and will rise to $80.10 next month.

“I’m not doing it because of [Wednesday] night,” he said, referencing Queensland’s dismal loss in the opening clash of the State of Origin series in Townsville.

NSW does not charge a fee to transfer an interstate licence, while Victoria charges $19.

Brisbane’s population grew by 1.9 per cent during 2019-20, recording the highest growth rate of all capital cities, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

And Queensland experienced its biggest boom in new residents in almost two decades in 2020, with a net gain of 30,000 people from interstate.

Mr Dick said the COVID-19 pandemic had prompted a moment of reflection for many people and spurred them to think about a move to Queensland.

“I think people see our world-class health response in Queensland as being a very positive thing,” he said.

“Not only are we the Sunshine State, we’re a lifestyle superpower; not only is it a great place to live, it is a safe place to live and it is a great place to raise your family or to start and grow a business.”


However, the extra residents flooding into Queensland were expected to place an extra burden on the state’s infrastructure, health and education services.

Last month, demographer Mark McCrindle said an exodus from Victoria, which lost 12,700 people last year, was “no surprise” as its residents faced a tough year with lengthy lockdowns.

On the other hand, states such as Queensland that avoided mass COVID outbreaks were seen as more attractive.

“It has been the COVID factor but it’s also been a housing affordability factor,” he said.

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