Queensland Treasury econocrats should start investigating measures to improve our productivity performance, after ABS State Accounts data released on Friday confirmed a big slowdown in living standards growth over the last decade or so – measured, roughly I admit, by real Gross State Product and Income per capita (see charts below). This is not just due to the mining slowdown, given that mining was still a major contributor to the economic growth that did occur in 2013-14 (see Pete Faulkner’s post Mining & construction led Qld GSP in 2013-14 in which Pete explains why real Gross State Income actually fell in 2013-14). Instead, in my view, much of it probably reflects the slowdown in productivity growth that has occurred (across Australia) due to a slower pace of economic reform than in the eighties and nineties. Hence, a renewed focus on productivity by all levels of Government would be welcome.
Regarding what the Queensland Government should do, it should:
- continue with its red-tape reduction agenda (e.g deregulate retail trading hours and the taxi industry and push for local governments to relax heritage and other development restrictions), and provide further information to the public on its progress so it can be kept accountable, and
- continue with its proposed leasing out of State assets, but use the proceeds wisely – i.e. avoid wasting Government money on vote-buying infrastructure investments in regional areas, such as the proposed Townsville Super Stadium.
On the taxi industry, I’ve been very pleased that the Transport Department is turning a blind eye to Uber, because Uber use appears to be growing rapidly and is posing a big threat to the protected positions of Yellow and Black & White Cabs.