I am pleased to see that peak industry bodies (e.g. the Property Council of Australia and the Infrastructure Association of Qld) are saying the same thing I have been regarding Queensland’s lacklustre jobs growth, with the Sunday Mail* today reporting:
Queensland is attracting rising numbers of people to live in the state—but failing to create the jobs they need, says new analysis.
Peak industry groups for property, business and infrastructure are challenging the Palaszczuk Government to use next week’s mid-year fiscal and economic review (MYFER) to refocus policy direction and close a growing “performance gap” between Queensland and New South Wales.
I have discussed this performance gap in previous posts (e.g. Deloitte’s weird definition of “strong employment growth” and Qld only state/territory with 6%+ unemployment rate). The September quarter construction activity and private capital expenditure data released by the ABS last week confirmed the diverging trends between Queensland and southern states. For instance, contrast the plateau in construction work done in Queensland over the last few years with the upward trends seen in southern states (see my facet plot below and this ABS summary of the new data).
While there are some major projects that are expected to boost activity in Queensland (e.g. Cross River Rail, Queen’s Wharf, Brisbane Live, Adani mega mine) over the next few years, I doubt these projects alone will be sufficient to close the performance gap we have seen. Indeed, NSW’s economy appears set to be injected with large additional amounts of public infrastructure investment, with the Sunday Mail reporting:
Analysis commissioned by the Property Council said that Queensland consistently spent a much greater proportion of Gross State Product on developing infrastructure than NSW did between 1999 and 2014. But forward budget outlooks showed that trend would be reversed for the first time between 2019 and 2022—a period during which NSW would invest $87.2 billion on infrastructure, almost double Queensland’s $45.8 billion spend.
Again, I am pleased the peak industry bodies have raised the performance gap as an issue with the state government. As I have previously argued, we need to review the full range of regulations, taxes and charges that impinge on business activity in Queensland.
*A hat tip to Nick Behrens who writes at the QEAS blog for alerting me to the Sunday Mail article.