In his recent commentary regarding strong growth in the retail sector, National Retail Association CEO Trevor Evans noted:
“South East Queensland is performing strongly but performance in Queensland is being held back by issues in some areas…Some areas are living through the ripple effects of the downturn of mining, some areas are still suffering from the drought.” (quoted in this Brisbane Times report)
There is certainly a stark difference in economic conditions between SEQ (i.e. the Brisbane metro area, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and hinterlands) and the rest of Queensland, as can be seen in the charts for employed persons in SEQ (on the left) and the rest of Queensland (on the right) below.
Extremely weak conditions in regional areas such as Mackay have prompted the Government to consider accelerated works programs in other regions, not just Townsville, according to a Courier-Mail report this morning: “Ms Palaszczuk has pledged to fast track projects in other regional areas like Mackay and elsewhere affected by widespread resource industry job cuts.” The obvious point to make about fast tracking is that it is just shifting the largely temporary employment benefits of particular projects forward in time. If the Government spends the funds on particular projects today, it can no longer spend those funds tomorrow when it was going to originally. No doubt the Government will face calls for additional future funding for infrastructure to make up for the funds that are spent earlier than originally anticipated.
However, as I have noted since the last election, given it has denied itself proceeds from privatisation, the current Queensland Government faces an extremely difficult challenge in funding the future infrastructure expenditure that is likely required and is currently not fully budgeted for. See my post: