Government | Regulation

Queensland's diversity is its strength

The state economy is in transition, Queensland Deputy Under Treasurer, Warwick Agnew has told CEDA’s Economic and Political Overview in Townsville.

“Our economy and our labour market continue to be influenced by the transition away from the historic surge in resources investment,” he said.

Mr Agnew said Queensland’s economic diversity is its key strength.

“The forecasts are actually placing us as the fastest growing state in the nation and no one industry in Queensland contributes more than 12 per cent to our total economic output,” he said.

Trade will be a key driver of growth in Queensland with major trading partners including China, India, the US and Japan averaging 3.7 per cent annual growth, Mr Agnew said.

On key industries in Northern Queensland, Mr Agnew said agriculture, tourism, forestry, mining and food processing are major contributors to the region’s economy.

“North Queensland has the second largest share of gross regional (state) product which is almost 30 per cent,” he said.

Discussing the State Budget, Mr Agnew said the State Government is on track to deliver a $1.2 billion operating surplus for the 2015-2016 financial year.

“This Government established a sustainable fiscal position as a core platform of their economic plan,” he said.

“Significant reductions in general government debt was a key focus of the budget without selling government owned corporations or increasing taxes or reducing services.”

On jobs growth, Mr Agnew said: “ABS data is showing us that 71,000 jobs have been created in Queensland in the last 12 months to January.” 

“That’s encouraging but we still have work to do done, we still have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country,” he said. 

Also speaking at the event, Commonwealth Bank Senior Economist, Michael Workman said as Australia and in particular Queensland, transitions away from mining construction to operation, jobs growth may be limited.

“The difference between the construction of an iron ore and a coal mine and the operation of it is a multiple of five to one on jobs and with LNG plans it’s 10 to one,” he said.

Mr Workman said that China will continue to grow and have an impact on the Australian and international economy with Chinese capital outflow expected to double in the next five years.

“China will continue to buy assets here and overseas,” he said.

“They will have an enormously strong influence on the global economy in the future particularly if they go to a floating currency which looks likely in the next four to five years.”