Regular readers will know I have been concerned about Queensland’s economic and population trends for some time now, so obviously I welcome the Courier-Mail’s #GoQld campaign which it has launched today, with the paper asking: “What ideas and projects do you think will drive jobs and economic activity in Queensland?” The campaign was launched with a report from demographer Bernard Salt of KPMG which highlighted, among other things, Queensland’s declining rate of population growth and our post-war record low interstate migration. Boldly, Mr Salt predicts interstate migration may even turn negative, which I doubt will happen even though I acknowledge it is possible.
Along with Mr Salt, I was quoted in today’s Courier-Mail on the interstate migration issue (Queensland migration falls to lowest levels since post-war years):
Adept Economics principal Gene Tunny said: “It’s not that we are seeing a huge exodus, it’s that people are not coming because the opportunities that once existed are no longer here.’’
The “underperforming’’ economy was a factor in deterring people, but Queensland was paying the price for the earlier flood of arrivals.
“I think the livability of Queensland, especially the southeast corner has reduced with the population growth over the last two decades,” Mr Tunny said.
I discussed my concerns over Queensland’s mismanaged population growth in the 1990s and 2000s with Steve Austin on 612 ABC Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, noting that the past mismanagement of growth has reduced our livability and attractiveness to people in other States. In the interview I noted the water crisis, in which South-East Queensland nearly ran out of water in the late 2000s, was a good example of growth mismanagement (see ABC radio interview on population growth & State income tax proposal).
Regarding ideas to boost jobs and economic activity in Queensland, some easy first steps would be to legalise Uber and deregulate retail trading hours, as I also discussed with Steve Austin two weeks’ ago. Obviously there are many more things to do, and I will write a more extensive post on this issue in the near future.