A knowledge economy for a future Queensland

“After three years of a stalled economy, Queensland’s recovery is now well underway. In six months, we’ve already created 20,000 jobs, and our impressive list of projects underway shows we mean business,” Deputy Premier, The Honourable Jackie Trad, told the CEDA Queensland Economic Development Forum.

“Business confidence has improved on the back of the recent Queensland State Budget. We are delivering a pipeline of infrastructure

with a $10 billion capital program across the State to support 27,500 jobs,” said Ms Trad, who is also Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning; Minister for Transport and Minister for Trade.

“Also our new 25 per cent payroll tax rebate will encourage employers to hire more apprentices and trainees,” she said.

“In June, Deloitte’s Investment Monitor showed that we are second only to WA in overall investment pipeline. In June there were $211 billion in definite and planned projects in Queensland – more than NSW and Victoria combined.”

“Deloitte also forecast good growth in tourism, agriculture and education exports. Low interest rates are underpinning a bounce in the Queensland retail sector and locking in a sharp upswing in housing construction.”

Ms Trad also outlined the $180 million Advance Queensland program, “Which will create huge opportunities for regional Queensland as we head down a new path of economic diversification.”

“Queensland is the only State in the country where more than 50 per cent of the population lives outside the capital city, and has more cities and towns with populations higher than 100,000 than any other Australian jurisdiction,” she said.
“Strong regions equal a strong Queensland.

“Under Advance Queensland, we are supporting the knowledge economy…translating our best science and technology into commercial and employment outcomes where Regional Queensland has the most to gain.

“We are not abandoning mining, agriculture, construction and tourism – these industries need our backing to further drive their innovation. But we are going further,” Ms Trad said.

The forum also featured David Kalisch, Australian Statistician with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and Steven Milch, Chief Economist with the Suncorp Group.

Also speaking at the forum, CSIRO Principal Scientist, Strategy and Foresight, Dr Stefan Hajkowicz discussed the global megatrends that will impact the State.

Dr Hajkowicz said that his 2015 book, Global Megatrends: Seven Patterns of Change Shaping Our Future, is the “single most downloaded item from the CSIRO website”.

“Megatrends are gradual yet powerful trajectories of change that have the potential to throw companies, individuals and societies into ‘freefall’,” he said.

“Moments of freefall are going to happen to you, your company, your society and the world. That’s assured.”

“The first big shift currently underway is the pending impact of energy storage battery technology which is about to change the way electricity grids around the world work…possibly as soon as 18 months we will see the effects of solar panels and battery packs reaching parity with grid prices.”

“We’re about to see what the advances in battery technology will do to the electricity grid, to electric vehicles, to transportation.

“The next big area is anti-microbial drug resistance, and the only good thing about that is it will make you worry less about climate change.

“…there are projections that hundreds of millions of people will not be here by 2050 (because of) bacteria that cannot be killed by antibiotics anymore.”

Dr Hajkowicz also spoke of the massive structural change underway in Asia and the opportunities awaiting Australia’s knowledge economy. He discussed the huge approaching impact as our population ages, changing retirement patterns and increasing demand for healthcare expenditure.

Technological advancement is accelerating – creating new markets as it extinguishes existing ones. Digital technology developments will further reshape contemporary organisational structures and work practices, retail and office precincts, city design and function, labour markets, and consumer expectations, he said.