The Queensland Government should have directly made the case for asset sales, rather than hoping people would conclude they’re necessary after playing the choose-your-own-budget game on the Strong Choices website, a point I’ve made a few times over the last few weeks (see e.g. Brisbane Times article on asset sales). This must be all too obvious now to the Government which has received inconvenient results from the Strong Choices game, as reported by the Courier-Mail this morning:
The Treasurer, rightly, more-or-less responded that higher taxes are probably undesirable because they’d harm the State economy and hence aren’t really an option. This confirms the point I made to Steve Austin on 612 ABC Brisbane a few weeks back: Strong Choices is just a game. It’s no substitute for the real economic analysis that should be done around budget measures.
The Government needs to boot out whichever PR firm came up with the Strong Choices nonsense and bring in some serious economic advisers. It’s not too late to win the debate on asset sales, but the Government needs to start scoring points soon.
Regarding other news, on yesterday’s rather ambiguous labour force data for Queensland, Pete Faulkner has a good discussion of what the data mean (see Unspinning the QLD job numbers and Once again..strong jobs data; but QLD still lags). The Queensland economy still appears like it is struggling to recover, based on the labour market data. While employment is growing at a good pace, it isn’t growing fast enough to provide jobs for all the people now coming back into the labour market as conditions appear to be improving. Hence we’ve seen an increase in unemployment to 6.3% from 6.1% the previous month as the participation rate has risen. Finally, I’d note employers appear worried about the economic outlook, as reflected in the Pulse Business Survey results released Wednesday by CCIQ (see Pulse Survey points to downturn in business confidence).