I’m thrilled that I’ve been invited to return to present at Capricorn Enterprise’s Major Projects Forum in Rockhampton on Thursday 28 October. Here’s the blurb:
The Capricorn Enterprise Major Projects Forum is the premier project forum in the region, covering projects investing over $5bn in our region through to 2024/25.
By June 2024, Australia’s population will be 600k less than the pre-COVID projections. However, we expect that the Queensland economy will outpace the national economy over this period due to construction, mining and agriculture development.
Within our region, roads, energy, defence and water projects are expected to sustain elevated levels of project activity, the most significant being the $1bn Rockhampton Ring Road and the Defence Initiatives at Shoalwater Bay.
The forum will also look forward to the next generation of development, including opportunities in emerging industries such as renewable energy and hydrogen.
The potential for a Queensland hydrogen sector is huge. For instance, the Financial Times reported yesterday that Airbus gears up for hydrogen jet as fuel of future edges closer to reality. However, it’s still early days for Queensland hydrogen projects which appear to be still in their demonstration/feasibility testing stages.
I’m really hoping the Forum will go ahead and we won’t be in lockdown in late October. There’s no doubt that the Queensland Government would quickly lock us down again if we get even a few cases up here.
Queensland is fortunate we’ve avoided a COVID-Delta-variant outbreak so far. Obviously it’s good news we’ve avoided people getting infected and, in some cases, dying. Furthermore, the lockdowns in NSW and Victoria have come at a high cost to their state economies (e.g. see the payroll jobs data from the ABS below), and Queensland has avoided that massive adverse direct shock from a prolonged lockdown so far this year.
That said, the way Queensland has avoided an outbreak, i.e. a hard border regime, has imposed immense personal hardships on some people, including Queenslanders who have been shut out of the state, and has imposed large losses of trade on many businesses in tourism and hospitality, particularly those dependent on interstate visitors.
While his forecast is more apocalyptic than mine would be, I think that Peter Gleeson, in today’s Courier-Mail, has well summarised the problem with the Queensland Government’s zero-COVID strategy underpinned by its hard-border policy:
…to succeed, Queensland must effectively close itself off from the rest of the world until coronavirus is no more.
That could be years. We do have an Olympics to host in 2032.
Secondly, it means many, many businesses, reliant upon interstate and international input, will fold.
Hotels, restaurants and tourism operators will not sustain another Christmas without interstate visitors.
Let’s hope we’ve opened up before Christmas. I suspect that, once we’ve reached 80%+ double-vaxxed, the pressure on the state government to open up will be overwhelming.
Please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email comments, questions, suggestions, or hot tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also please check out my Economics Explored podcast, which has a new episode each week.