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.
Outside of those with direct mining employment, I suspect many moved back/or to to Brisbane for the same reason I did. Looking down the barrel of a Sydney mortgage and not being able to live with parents or leverage the property of someone already ‘in’ the Sydney market in some way meant Brisbane was the right place to take a salary cut but be able to bring up a family affordably one day and also maintain a job. Despite Sydney and Melbourne’s continued price growth, Brisbane’s prices still have to come down relatively (or incomes rise) to make the same option attractive today in my opinion. Brisbane has been a victim of its own success and an excess of property speculation in this sense.
Yes house prices are an important consideration which I mentioned to the CM but wasn’t quoted on. Thanks for the comment, Toby.
Well said Toby. I moved to Qld in ’96 due to the bright prospects, low cost of living and low cost housing. It really did seem to be a young and exciting place to be. Sadly that has gone and if I was in my early 20s I would head to the city with the Harbour Bridge
The actual data shows that approximately 4800 people have left Brisbane if you base this on the average family of 2 adults and 2 children that is 1200 families that have left I cannot see any gains their, I have not seen the state this bad for 35 years, I wonder who I to blame? net growth is up slightly in the regional areas.
Gene, I know the labor party have a fundamental opposition to changes to penalty rates and that won’t change in the foreseeable future but their reluctance to open up trading hours is simply hard to comprehend. Even further there is no cost to govt in extending trading hours and if anything can only add to the budget. My family and I went down to our shops here in Townsville on Sunday for a bit of a late breakfast and to do a bit of shopping. There would have been at least 50 people standing outside the supermarket well before it opened at 11.00am, I don’t know who’s job the govt think they are protecting.