Economists warn of Buy Qld ‘ laugh­ing stock’

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JOHN McCARTHY

ECONOMISTS have told the State Govern­ment to start again on its “Buy Queens­land” pol­icy, say­ing it puts the state at risk of be­ing a na­tional laugh­ing stock and could be used to ap­pease unions and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

The pol­icy has also an­gered the Fed­eral Govern­ment and led to claims that it could spark an in­ter­na­tional trade dis­pute with New Zealand.

Econ­o­mist Nick Behrens said there were se­ri­ous flaws with the pol­icy.

Among them was that the new pol­icy had a sec­ondary agenda, through its eth­i­cal busi­ness agenda, to ap­pease union and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­ter­ests, whereas it should be solely about ef­fi­ciently buy­ing goods and ser­vices, he said.

“The state’s pro­cure­ment pol­icy is not the place for achiev­ing sec­ondary agen­das to ap­pease union or en­vi­ron­men­tal in­ter­ests,” Mr Behrens said.

Econ­o­mist Gene Tunny said the pol­icy risked “turn­ing Queens­land into a na­tional laugh­ing stock”.

“The pol­icy will make tax­pay­ers worse off, through higher prices for goods and ser­vices pur­chased by the Govern­ment,” he said.

Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk told Par­lia­ment she would al­ways put “Rock­hamp­ton ahead of Ro­torua”. “We are go­ing our own way. We will ig­nore re­stric­tions that go against our in­ter­ests,” she said.

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