Growth at three speeds

Townsville splut­ters, Mackay roars, rest steady

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - DARYL PASSMORE

QUEENS­LAND has slipped into a three-speed econ­omy as over­all busi­ness sen­ti­ment be­comes more gloomy, a new re­port re­veals.

The lat­est Sun­corp-CCIQ Pulse sur­vey of busi­ness con­di­tions shows that some pos­i­tive signs of a lift in con­fi­dence in the June quar­ter have sub­sided in the past three months, giv- ing way to pes­simism. The de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in mood was most stark in terms of out­look for the na­tional econ­omy – driven by po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity with the switch of prime min­is­ter and a fed­eral elec­tion on the hori­zon.

“Some midterm cer­tainty is crit­i­cal to busi­ness plan­ning and com­pa­nies don’t see it,’’ Cham­ber of Com­merce and In- dus­try Queens­land chief econ­o­mist Dr Mar­cus Smith said.

Con­fi­dence in the na­tional econ­omy has dropped to its low­est level in a year, and the state out­look also fell, with both results in neg­a­tive ter­ri­tory.

The sur­vey of 300 small to medium com­pa­nies has also ex­posed divi­sions within the state.

The de­scrip­tion of a twospeed econ­omy – be­tween south­east Queens­land and the rest of the state – has be­come com­mon over re­cent years. But Dr Smith says the results in­di­cate the pic­ture is even more com­plex.

“Com­men­tary from re­spon­dents in­di­cated that re­gional Queens­land is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a two-speed econ­omy be­tween the cen­tral re­gion and the north­ern re­gion, which is driv­ing a dichotomy of views about the eco­nomic out­look,” the re­port, to be re­leased to­day, says.

“How­ever, re­gional Queens­land is cat­e­gor­i­cally less san­guine about fu­ture eco­nomic con­di­tions than south­east Queens­land.”

A resur­gent re­sources sec­tor was boost­ing cen­tral Queens­land, with a ma­jor turn­around in for­tunes for Mackay, in par­tic­u­lar, which now has the state’s low­est un­em­ploy­ment rate at just 3 per cent.

But it is a dif­fer­ent story fur­ther north. While tourism is help­ing Cairns re­main at, or just be­low the state job­less level, Townsville con­tin­ues to struggle with an un­em­ploy­ment rate around 8 per cent.

ALL FIRED UP: Head chef Ash Martin roasts pork at Ho­mage Restau­rant at Spicer’s Hid­den Vale. Pic­ture: AAP/Richard Waugh

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