Queensland is Australia’s economic powerhouse: Jeff Seeney

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Posted : Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Queensland is the economic superpower of Australia and is expected to outperform all other states in 2015-16, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning the Hon. Jeff Seeney told CEDA's Queensland Economic Development Forum.

Mr Seeney said recent job figures, projected economic growth rates as well as forecasts for the State's gross product and export values were all strong.

"We are currently Australia's economic powerhouse, with a projected average growth rate of four per cent over the next three years," he said.

"Queensland is leading the way in business investment and job creation.

"Over 62,100 jobs were created in Queensland over the last year, more than half of all the jobs created in Australia.

"We have had 14 consecutive months of jobs growth, in trend terms.

Mr Seeney said the success and strength of the State was testament to the government's "workman-like" approach to government and responsible fiscal management.

In the day preceding the forum, Mr Seeney launched RegionsQ Framework, a new regional initiative for Queensland.

"RegionsQ will provide a clear whole of government focus to all of our government's activities to drive economic growth and service delivery in regional Queensland," he said.

MacroPlan Dimasi Executive Chairman and Managing Director, Brian Haratsis said the underlying Queensland economy is very strong but the state remains "underinvested".

Mr Haratsis said the Queensland economy is performing well with the state outpacing Australia in employment growth but it needs to look to international tourism for future jobs growth.

"In my view the only internationally competitive service that you've got to deal with in the next five years will be tourism," he said.

Mr Haratsis said while Chinese tourists to Queensland have increased there is still room for significant growth.

"Clearly, Queensland tapped the Japanese tourism market well…that is not the case with Chinese tourism," he said.

"And it is the case that Chinese tourism will peak at something like three or four times the maximum amount of Japanese tourism."

Speaking from a regional perspective, Regional Australia Institute Chief Executive Officer, Su McCluskey said the model around regional development should be flipped so regions lead and take ownership of their future.

"One size doesn't fit all; we need to look at the different strategies to put in place for different regions," she said.

"We need a broader approach; everything is not just driven by infrastructure.

While governments have to make sure they've got the basics right, they then need to give flexibility to the regions so they are able to express what they need in place, because they know how to get the "best bang for the buck," Ms McCluskey said.

"Regions have got to lead; state and federal government works best as a follower," she said.

Gladstone City Council Mayor, Councillor Gail Sellers said like many regional areas Gladstone is experiencing a downturn as mining investment levels wind down.

However, LNG has added diversity to the Gladstone economy that had not existed before, she said.

Ms Sellers said the inevitable departure of construction workers from the region's resource projects will be "pronounced but not unexpected".

"While I could lament the loss of this large but visiting workforce, I prefer to celebrate the 400-500 permanent well-trained, well-paid jobs that commence operating these plants well into 2015," she said.

"This is 500 jobs that Gladstone didn't have in 2010."

Ms Sellers also said over 95 per cent of Gladstone residents are employed in industries other than mining including 22 per cent in manufacturing; 17 per cent in construction; 13 per cent in transport; and nine per cent in the professional and technical sectors.

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