Queensland's Ongoing Challenge:
There IS Good News
(From April 2001 ....)



Subject index


The value of companies listed on Queensland stock exchange has grown at twice the national average (Melina L 'State outstrips the nation', CM, 11-12/6/05).

See also: ARCHIVE; Small business; Business Investment; Tourism; Does Productivity Growth confirm Smart State?

Quality of Life

Brisbane wins as Australia's happiest towns according to research. It ranks first in 9 out of 13 quality of life indicators. People have strongest sense of well-being and most confidence about state of nation. This is the result of a high rate of change over the past 15 years. Part of Brisbane's appeal is its relatively low property prices ('And the biggest winner is Brisbane', A, editorial 10-11/1/04).


A new subject called technology has been introduced to all schools - which covers a broad range of fields of science; is not limited to IT; and includes many practical activities (Dullroy J 'School of thought to enter the classroom', CM, 26/6/03)



The federal Minister has argued that Australia is experiencing a tourism slump - yet Queensland is not (Dawson A 'State of play',  CM,  5/9/02)

See also ARCHIVE

Business investment

Business investment boom is building - while housing investment declines (James C. 'A ring of confidence', Financial review,  19/6/02)

See also: ARCHIVE; Economy

Public finance

Queensland's hot real estate market will allow the state government to earn $900m in 2001-02 from stamp duty compared with the $600m budgeted (Morley P. 'State budget bonanza', Sunday mail,  28/4/02)

See also: Queensland's Ongoing Challenge; Tax


The $A has been one of the strongest performing currencies over the past 6 months. It has made little progress against the $US - but the latter has been strengthening (James C. 'Weak $ a blessing in disguise',  Financial Review, 20/3/02)

See also: ARCHIVE; Queensland's Ongoing Challenge

Child Care

All childcare workers will need to be qualified, and after-school care will be regulated for the first time. Childcare groups have reacted positively to the proposals (Odgers R. 'reforms crack down on child care',  Courier Mail,  4/3/02)

Comment: While improved standards of child care are presumably useful, achieving this by regulation will increase costs and squeeze out informal / cheaper competition which might provide good services. Allowing service providers to devise regulations that hamstrings competition is sign of naive government and a  major source of 'red tape'.   AND ....

P&C Associations will be banned from running 200 child care services under proposed new laws. Only individuals or corporations will be licensed. P&C's claim this will lead to lower standards of care, and force some services to close (Odgers R. 'P&Cs may lose care services at school',  Courier Mail,  11/3/02)

Infrastructure Partnerships

Queensland business leaders were briefed on arrangements for new Public Private Partnerships. Innovative funding solutions are needed given Brisbane's transport gridlock, and the demands of health and education funding for a rapidly growing population. But there have been delays while deals worth $bns have been done down south. And Queensland Commerce has criticized the slow PPP progress, given Queensland's growth slowdown. There is a tentative list of projects worth $2bn. Queensland's proposal is that partnerships won't start when projects are put to the market - but when but now in developing guidance material. Project financing risk management techniques are to be used. A 1997 integrated regional transport plan for SEQ showed $50bn infrastructure needs over 25 years and a shortfall of $12. The 'dead hand' of Treasury is seen to have held up progress - arguing that government could obtain capital cheaper. But working with Treasury has led to a change of mindset - showing that the issue is not just cost of capital, but risk management and whole-of-life services management. The PPP guidelines should be out after Easter. It will include arrangements for: government leasing; special purpose municipal bonds; development levies; user-pay toll-ways. User pay will provide simplest funding - while others may require higher taxes and charges. All projects over $30m will, in future, be evaluated to test their suitability for PPP. The Local Government Association, concerned about funding 'black holes' has started an inquiry into private sector infrastructure involvement (see Queensland will not 're-invent the wheel' in defining guidelines - but is interested in improvements in early stage arrangements (Owen R. 'At the crossroads', Courier Mail, 16/2/02)

See also: ARCHIVE; Strategic Issues; Quensland's Challenge; Comments on Public-Private Partnerships


Most people who received treatment in Queensland's public hospitals were satisfied - with only 11% being dis-satisfied. However many seemed fall through the gap between hospital and home care (Ryan S. 'Patients show healthy respect for hospitals', Courier Mail, 11/2/02) (See also Queensland Health)


The Queensland Government has embarked on a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - by using a blend of ethanol and petrol in the governments motor vehicle fleet and encouraging private users to do likewise ('State leads way on gas emission', Courier Mail editorial, 10/12/01)

Trade strategy

A new Export Solutions program will use Queensland businesses abroad to advise local companies seeking export markets. There are about 3000 direct exporters in Queensland - and the goal is to grow this by 600 in five years.Emphasis will be placed on: developing a network of expatriates to support and assist companies; help firms link to overseas supply chains; use the internet to ensure businesses are alerted to overseas opportunities; promote partnerships to improve jointly seeking exports (Franklin M. 'Beattie bids to grab export market share', Courier Mail, 25/10/01) [Comment: This appears very useful providing government agencies are not the entities that are expected to: help firms link to overseas opportunities; alert business to overseas opportunities; or promote partnerships to jointly seek exports - as doing so would simply lock in market failures and slow the development of the economy)

Native title

The High Court has expanded traditional owners claims for land rights to cover the sea (Smith K 'Native title tide turns', Courier Mail, 19/10/01)



Australia and Hong Kong are working together to track down and seize the profits from organized crime and money laundering (Korporaal G 'Together on the trail of dirty dollars', Australian, 3/10/01)


A 15 years strategy for tackling the salt-ridden Murray Darling Basin has been released - which, in Queensland, involves measuring the downstream salinity effects of developments - but not setting targets (Ryan S. 'State joins strategy on salinity', Courier Mail, 18/9/01) (See also Salinity (Challenge))


"Communities living along the Queensland seaboard and hinterland will have access for the first time to competitive broadband services" (Meredith H. 'Reef brings competition to Queensland', Financial Review, 29/8/01)

Drug rehabilitation

"A counseling scheme for heroin addicts will be introduced across Queensland after a Brisbane trial helped a third of users to kick the habit" (Lill J. 'Drug aid project goes state-wide', Courier Mail, 13/8/01) (See also Drugs)

Dangerous Dogs

"The planned ban on the breeding and sale of pit bull terriers in Queensland is a decisive and welcome step to rid the state of an obvious public danger" ('Ban on dangerous dogs welcome', editorial, Courier Mail, 30/7/01)

Small business

'One thing that can be said about the small business sector in Queensland is that it is booming ... in the three years to 1999-2000 small business grew much faster than in NSW and Victoria and well above the national average ... So what is it about Queensland that is so constructive to the entrepreneurial spirit ... Queensland has the lowest tax regime in the nation, as well as one of the lowest average wages. Queensland's lower wages reflect the nature of its main industry - tourism - which pays its employees less than other sectors. Queensland also has one of the highest unemployment rates, and this can be an advantage to small business employers. The state also woos small business with targeted grants and industry development schemes. However it might be that many of these business migrants are coming to Queensland for the more obvious reason - the weather ... A growing number of new arrivals were those who had taken early retirement or redundancy packages (and) were using their payouts to establish new ventures' (Robertson R. 'Queensland sun shines on SME's', Financial Review, 12/6/01) [See also Economy; Tourism; Business Investment]

  • are low wages and high unemployment (two perceived key factors in Queensland's small business growth) signs that the high levels of small business formation has been economically sufficient?
  • the Commission of Audit concluded in 1996 that Queensland's rapidly increasing demand for services (a product of rapid growth) would lead it into budget difficulties
Road Safety

"Australia's road safety record ranks amongst the best in the western world and Queensland drivers are among the nation's safest" (Jones C. 'Queensland drivers among the world's best', Courier Mail, 2/5/01)

Land clearing

'Controversial tree clearing laws appear to have worked with the Beattie Government yesterday claiming Queensland farmers had more than halved their annual rate in the past six months' (McKenna M. 'State claims tree clearing win', Courier Mail, 16/4/01)

However: "At last count about 425,000ha of bush a year was being felled in Queensland ... the highest since detailed satellite mapping of the state's vegetation began in the early 1990s". (Ryan S. 'Clear and present danger', Courier Mail, 30/5/01) [Query: Does the 'last count' cover the period in which the halving of tree clearing was claimed?]

See also: Queensland's Ongoing Challenges


'A boost in GST revenue could help the State Government avoid a budget deficit after the Federal Government cut $65m from the Northern Busways project. .... International ratings agency Fitch has praised the State Government's economic management, noting its record of surpluses .... Queensland has achieved strong fiscal performance over successive years, demonstrated by its sound operating surpluses and high levels of internally funded capital expenditure. Queensland is the only Australian state to have fully funded its accrued liabilities such as the superannuation scheme and long service leave (McKinnon M. 'GST windfall may be state Budget boon', Courier Mail, 14/4/01).

  • the headlined 'boost to GST revenue' was based on the Treasurer's hope that the estimated GST payment that the Commonwealth had already advised might be increased;
  • the $65m funding shortfall seems to have only been offered for the Briztram network - a project which did not proceed - not for the busway project as implied. The Opposition has claimed that the government 'embarked on the busway project without proper planning or forethought' (Vale B. and Franklin M. 'Busway plan set to blow budget', Courier Mail, 12/4/01); and
  • it seems likely that the international ratings agencies are only doing simple budget projections #, and are not considering the implications of changing circumstances (see Queensland's Challenge) such as:
    • the problems likely to emerge in the balance sheets of Government Owned Corporations (GOCs) as a result of competition, GOCs' defective governance structures and new accounting standards;
    • the dependence of the capital budget on large, and unsustainable, 'equity returns' from GOCs (ie on raiding their balance sheets);
    • the large increases in demands for public spending (eg due to rapid population growth), and the difficulty of both meeting demands in SE Queensland and also providing the disproportionately greater spending that is politically essential in regions some of which have severe social problems because they have not coped well with economic change; and
    • the difficulty of increasing revenue because of Queensland’s narrow tax base, the dependence of Queensland's industrial structure on low taxes, and international pressure to reduce taxes ]].

See also: Public Finance