At the end of the mining boom, as capital expenditure plummets (chart above) from an elevated level, and ten thousand new jobs expected in the Galilee basin now appear unlikely, it is probably not surprising that some commentators are getting hysterical and calling for the Queensland Government to stimulate the economy (see today’s Courier-Mail report). But, considering the pattern of employment growth over the last five years (see chart below), the Government is right to note the economy is broader than mining, even if one of its examples of where future jobs may come from, i.e. movies, is weak. Major areas of expected jobs growth in Queensland certainly include health, disability and aged care, and tourism, even prior to the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018. I’ve noted in a previous post that tourism (which has received a boost from the depreciating dollar) and our cafe culture are helping us endure the end of the mining boom.
I am even more confident about the prospects for tourism after listening to Justin Fung from Aquis at the recent Futures Summit in Brisbane. While he is not a disinterested observer, the points he made about the massive expected growth in Chinese tourism yet to come were very powerful. The Great Barrier Reef is on the bucket list for many people and Far North Queensland is the major gateway. It is great news that international passenger numbers at Cairns airport are trending upward (see That airport data again).