The Queensland Government looks likely to enter the next election campaign boasting a job creation record superior to the previous LNP Government’s. Let us put aside the debate over just how much credit governments deserve for job creation (but please take a look at Joe Branigan’s guest post from April 2016) and focus on the ABS employment estimates that will no doubt feature prominently in the State election campaign.
At 26 months since the election, jobs created on the Palaszczuk Government’s watch (around 46,300) are a bit below the level of jobs created at the same point on the Newman Government’s watch (around 51,300), but the Palaszczuk Government will most likely come out ahead at the end of its term (see chart above based on the latest ABS data released yesterday). The Newman Government was unlucky enough to experience an economic slowdown in the lead up to the January 2015 election, due in part to the end of the mining boom and its own large cuts to public service jobs and expenses, which, while in the long-term interests of the State, undoubtedly had a short-term contractionary impact on the economy.
So, even though jobs growth since the election has been below average, at an average annual growth rate of only 0.9 percent, the Palaszczuk Government will likely go into the election campaign being able to claim a better job creation record than the previous government. The Opposition will find itself on the back foot on the jobs issue and will be vulnerable to a scare campaign over public service job cuts. This will give the Government added confidence, but it needs to be kept in mind that the Government’s likelihood of re-election depends critically on One Nation imploding sometime over the course of this year. If One Nation gets even a handful of seats, Tim Nicholls will very likely be Premier, as Labor has ruled out any sort of deal with One Nation. Queensland politics over the remainder of 2017 is set to be very exciting!