The Courier-Mail

BEAT­TIE’S RE­COV­ERY BLUE­PRINT

Whole new eco­nomic strat­egy re­quired to reignite the state

- DARRYL PASS­MORE

FOR­MER premier Peter Beat­tie has laid out a blue­print to fire up Queens­land’s shrink­ing econ­omy – call­ing for a re­vamped ver­sion of his Smart State strat­egy.

An in­no­va­tion revo­lu­tion funded by tax breaks, a cash in­jec­tion from su­per­an­nu­a­tion funds and joint ven­tures with China, would com­bine to kick­start the state’s alarm­ing slump, Mr Beat­tie said.

“I don’t quite re­mem­ber see­ing the Queens­land econ­omy this bad, to be hon­est,” he said.

“We are still strug­gling to get out of the shadow of the GFC and we are tran­si­tion­ing from the end of the min­ing boom.

“The ugly re­al­ity is that if you think there is go­ing to be a re­turn to the days of big roy­al­ties from coal, you are dream­ing.”

The for­mer premier laid out his so­lu­tion af­ter busi­ness lead­ers this week called on Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk to act im­me­di­ately to jump-start Queens­land’s stalling econ­omy.

FOR­MER premier Peter Beat­tie has laid out a blue­print for reignit­ing Queens­land’s shrink­ing econ­omy.

Busi­ness lead­ers have re­peat­edly called on Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk this week to act to stop the state’s econ­omy stalling, with fig­ures show­ing Queens­land was the poor­est per­form­ing state do­mes­tic econ­omy in the coun­try.

“I don’t quite re­mem­ber see­ing the Queens­land econ­omy this bad to be hon­est,’’ Mr Beat­tie said. “We are still strug­gling to get out of the shadow of the GFC and we are tran­si­tion­ing from the end of the min­ing boom.’’

The loss of coal roy­al­ties had been ex­ac­er­bated by lower-than-ex­pected re­turns from the coal seam gas/LNG in­dus­try as fall­ing oil prices de­pressed the energy sec­tor.

“The ugly re­al­ity is that if you think there is go­ing to be a re­turn to the days of big roy­al­ties from coal, you are dream­ing,” Mr Beat­tie said.

“An­nasta­cia has in­her­ited a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem and it will only be re­solved by longterm change in the eco­nomic strat­egy.”

In the short-term, the pri­vate sec­tor had to sup­port the Gov­ern­ment to stim­u­late jobs growth through publicpri­vate part­ner­ships to build in­fra­struc­ture.

“The Queen’s Wharf (in­te­grated casino-re­sort) pro­ject will be a real shot in the arm but it’s not enough on its own,” Mr Beat­tie said.

While in­fra­struc­ture con- struc­tion would help tide things over, “a whole new eco­nomic strat­egy’’ was needed.

The ex-La­bor leader says the se­cret to suc­cess lies in build­ing on the “Smart State’’ strat­egy he launched in the late 1990s which cre­ated med­i­cal re­search and avi­a­tion in­dus­try hubs here.

“The world’s lead­ing economies such as the US, China and Ger­many are fo­cus­ing on the knowl­edge econ­omy be­cause that is where 50 per cent of all fu­ture jobs will come from,’’ he said.

Mr Beat­tie is propos­ing three key mea­sures to gen­er­ate cru­cial funds to sup­port in­no­va­tion and commercial­isation of re­search: • Re­form of na­tional and state tax­a­tion sys­tems to re­ward in­vest­ment in in­no­va­tion and re­search and de­vel­op­ment through tax con­ces­sions; • En­cour­ag­ing Aus­tralian su­per­an­nu­a­tion funds to in­vest in home­grown com­mer­cially-vi­able in­no­va­tion; and • Es­tab­lish­ing an Aus­trali­aChina cap­i­tal ven­ture fund to link “Aussie brain­power and Chi­nese fi­nan­cial clout”.

Had the mo­men­tum of the Smart State con­cept been main­tained, the state would have been in a stronger po­si­tion to­day, he added.

“The three most sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies in the fu­ture will be nan­otech, biotech and spa­tial tech. Queens- land is good at all three,” Mr Beat­tie said.

Queens­land’s job growth de­pended on ap­ply­ing ground­break­ing in­no­va­tion across a range of in­dus­tries in­clud­ing agribusi­ness, med­i­cal tech­nolo­gies and min­ing ser­vices.

Mr Beat­tie said Ms Palaszczuk was “150 per cent spo­ton” with her Ad­vance Queens­land vi­sion to bring in­dus­try, univer­si­ties and gov­ern­ment to­gether to turn ideas into in­vest­ment-ready projects.

“What’s miss­ing is money,” he said. “That’s why we need tan­gi­ble ap­proaches to gen­er­ate that money.”

Too of­ten, world-beat­ing re­search gen­er­ated here was brought to fruition over­seas, cre­at­ing pro­duc­tion, prof­its and jobs else­where.

“As a re­sult, Aus­tralia is in the process of be­ing left be­hind the rest of the de­vel­op­ing world with a se­ri­ous threat to our fu­ture liv­ing stan­dards.”

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