I had a nice chat with Ben Davis on his 4BC Live program yesterday afternoon about the state of Queensland’s economy, a discussion which was inspired by the flurry of press releases that came from the State Government in the morning regarding jobs growth in different regions. I explained to Ben that economic conditions are different across the State, and while South-East Queensland might be fine, partly due to the apartment construction boom in Brisbane and Commonwealth Games’ preparations on the Gold Coast, the rest of the State is struggling in many parts due to the mining downturn and the drought (see the chart below, illustrating the stark difference in conditions in SEQ and the rest of Queensland).
I mentioned to Ben that economic conditions vary by industry and by region. Tourism is a well-known bright spot, due to the lower value of the Australian dollar, and that has helped improve conditions in Cairns, for example. But the Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville regions, for example, have suffered as a result of the mining downturn (on Townsville and Cairns, see Pete Faulkner’s latest post).
To further make the point about the variability of conditions, I mentioned that health, aged care and child care workers appear to be in demand across Queensland, and there are shortages of some health professionals in regional areas, according to the Commonwealth Department of Employment’s Skill Shortage List. Also, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will boost demands for disability care workers as it is rolled out over the next few years.
The flurry of press releases from the State Government I referred to earlier was very likely prompted by two columns in Friday’s Courier-Mail questioning the strength of the Queensland economy, both of which included quotes from my recent posts. One of the columns also included an unfortunate off-the-cuff remark I made to one of the journalists while chatting on the phone (see image below).