Queensland’s under-performing economy was illustrated by job vacancies data for February released by the ABS today (see chart above). While vacancies have grown strongly over the last twelve months nationwide, especially in NSW and Victoria, they have remained flat in Queensland. Hence the upcoming Queensland Jobs Growth Summit, featuring our Deputy Premier and Environment Minister, as well as other luminaries from academia, unions, peak bodies, and the private sector, is welcome.
The Jobs Growth Summit is on Tuesday 26 April at Parliament House in Brisbane, and you may be able to attend if you register quickly. This excellent initiative is due to the University of Queensland’s School of Economics, where I teach from time-to-time, and the Australia Institute. I am very much looking forward to the Summit, and I very much hope it results in real actions and is not merely another talkfest.
Recently, re-reading John Kenneth Galbraith’s brilliant account of the 1929 stockmarket crash, The Great Crash: 1929, I was reminded of the very human tendency to pretend we are doing things at meetings, while all we are doing is just talking. Regarding the various ineffectual meetings held by politicians and bankers at the onset of the crisis, Galbraith noted in chapter 8:
…there is the meeting which is called not because there is business to be done, but because it is necessary to create the impression that business is being done. Such meetings are more than a substitute for action. They are widely regarded as action.
Let us hope that this Summit is not regarded as action in itself, and that our Deputy Premier and Environment Minister can take some good ideas from the Summit and implement them for the good of the Queensland economy.
Finally, as regular readers are aware, from time-to-time I offer my own views on how to boost Queensland’s economy and create jobs. Indeed, I provided some thoughts to Steve Austin of 612 ABC Brisbane when he interviewed me yesterday morning, as covered in last evening’s post. I would also recommend the leaked Economic Action Plan that was prepared by a courageous public servant from the Queensland Premier’s Department last year. I would not endorse every measure proposed in the Plan, but it does contain a lot of very good ideas, particularly around removing unnecessary regulation and getting out of the way of job-creating businesses.
If the Summit has 9 speakers in 4 hours, I cannot see any realistic solutions coming from it. But expect plenty of rent seeking from the industry types.
I really like your idea of dusting off the Economic Action Plan that never was. As I’ve said before, there might just be some good ideas in there (and some bad ones I’m sure). A good place to start might be to undertake rapid assessments of the rationale and potential effectiveness of the actions in that document and get to a short list for more detailed consideration.
Yes, I think a rapid assessment of those actions is a good idea. And I agree about the risk of the summit being overwhelmed by rent seekers looking for subsidies for their sectors. Thanks for the comment, Jim.
Hopefully, not another 2020 Summit, as Journalist Nicholas Stuart said in ‘Rudd’s Way’:
“The 2020 summit provided a paradigm for much of the activity in Rudd’s term of office …. His rhetoric inspired and enthused voters. And yet …. and yet … nothing happened.”
Yes, the 2020 Summit was very disappointing, and there was no real follow through from the government at the time. They just moved on to the next show. Thanks for the comment, Curtis.
Gene first subject of discussion should be Qld restrictive trading hours, particularly in regional areas, you can’t employ someone if you are not allowed to open your doors, then the penalty rate discussion to follow up, thousands of jobs just in these 2 areas alone.
Absolutely, I agree, Glen. Thanks for the comment.