Scope to cut Qld Government industry assistance

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls did a good job of dampening expectations for this year’s Queensland Budget yesterday:

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls says there will be no over-spending in the last budget before the election

While the Government is rightly investigating asset sales, it should (and I expect it is) also rigorously review its expenditures in areas where government support is not compelling, such as assistance to industry (a.k.a. corporate welfare), including to tourism, agriculture and the film industry, for example. The most recent estimates of Queensland Government industry assistance (at around $850 million in total) appears to be from the Productivity Commission but unfortunately the estimates, which are for 2008-09, are a bit old now (see chart below). Queensland Treasury should make it a priority to produce up-to-date figures to inform the Government and the Queensland community.

StateIA

I’ve previously commented on the Productivity Commission’s estimates of State industry assistance:

Qld Government provides $850 million of industry assistance ($190 per capita)

Previous relevant posts of mine include:

Drum opinion piece – Taxpayer money wasted chasing film productions

Does Queensland need trade commissioners?

Qld should look to Victoria for tips on tourism promotion

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5 Responses to Scope to cut Qld Government industry assistance

  1. The Happy Hillbilly says:

    “Scoping studies into the sale of power generators CS Energy and Stanwell and the lease of Townsville and Gladstone ports are due late February or early March.”

    It seems they might be considering a different course of action rather than simply flogging the Port of Gladstone. Leasing it to the private sector rather than selling it outright.

  2. The Happy Hillbilly says:

    Some of the states appear less than keen to ditch some of their assets…

    “Colin Barnett has a simple message for Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey – hands off WA’s State-owned assets.

    The Premier ruled out yesterday selling Western Power, Synergy, the Water Corporation or ports after Mr Hockey again floated his plan for the States to sell assets to fund new infrastructure.

    Mr Hockey has suggested tax breaks might be on offer and has flagged compensating the States for lost revenue from dividends and tax equivalent payments that would be forgone if State-owned enterprises were sold.

    Mr Barnett said WA would keep control of its utilities because the Government was responsible for maintaining essential services.

    “Joe Hockey will have no say over West Australian assets,” he said.”

    I fundamentally agree with the second-last paragraph. The only goal of a private business firm is to make a profit. Equitable social outcomes and the healthy functioning and future direction of the overall economy are simply not their responsability. Why give them ownership of crucial utilities? They are only going to have to be strictly and constantly policed because their single overarching goal is often incompatible with having responsability for the welfare of everybody else – this is the responability of government. Unlike a private owner, government cannot simply cut and run if things turn bad. Unlike a private owner, they are subject to regular review by the electorate.

    Of course, the Port of Gladstone is not a crucial utility. But it certainly is a fat cash cow.

  3. Mark Beath says:

    Your link to the Victorian tourism promotion is interesting when looking at the ABS arrivals & departures data tis week. I’m not sure how good the data is but the numbers for state where spent most time for departing visitors seem to show a sliding share for NSW and Qld being made up by Victoria. It has previously been suggested that state tourism marketing is substantially zero sum and just cancels each other out.

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