Beattie, Newman: ‘How we’d fix Qld economy’
FORMER Queensland premier Peter Beattie has revealed a bold 11-point manifesto to kickstart jobs in the Sunshine State - including support for a new Bradfield Scheme.
The State Government should replace stamp duty, develop a working-from-home strategy and push for a tourism bubble between New Zealand and Queensland under an ambitious blueprint for prosperity from Mr Beattie.
Queensland's unemployment rate is nearing a concerning 8 per cent as the state's economy struggles to recover from COVID-19.
Mr Beattie - who led the state for more than nine years - said the office of the Co-ordinator-General could be used to drive tight timelines to get projects approved.
He said capital works projects could be accelerated in both the private and public sector by cutting red tape and investing through public-private partnerships.
"These projects should include a major focus on visionary water infrastructure such as the long-debated Bradfield Scheme and renewable energies such as solar," he said.
"The new Bradfield Scheme would be Queensland's Snowy Mountains Scheme. Then use our water and energy technologies and 'know-how' to sell our skills to the world and compete on the world market."
The LNP has already committed to building a New Bradfield Scheme if it wins the next election, while the Labor Government has previously indicated its interest in a new, smaller scheme.
Mr Beattie said a strategy could be developed to support workers wanting to work from home as a way to drive the creation of IT companies.
He said the housing sector could also be given a boost by phasing out stamp duty and replacing it with a new land tax system, similar to what is being considered in NSW.
Mr Beattie also suggested Queensland should negotiate a tourism bubble with NZ, as well as partner with the NSW Government to encourage interstate tourism and corporate partnerships. "Forget State of Origin. We're all in this together," he said.
Former LNP premier Campbell Newman said the public service should be told that they have a "clear brief" to immediately approve stalled infrastructure and resource projects.
He said targets should also be set for councils across the state to get developments through planning and assessment departments.
"It's not about a free-for-all," Mr Newman said. "But it's about approving stuff, pushing it through. Local government can approve all sorts of things: housing projects, commercial projects."
Mr Newman, who led Brisbane as its lord mayor during the Global Financial Crisis, said the State Government should also be looking at slashing taxes and charges.
"Why not have the lowest land tax in Australia." he said.
"Why not have the lowest stamp duty. Why not have the lowest payroll tax and try and drag as … much business and jobs as we can to Queensland."
National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said a more flexible, consistent and streamlined set of trading hours laws would help foster job creation and help retailers "navigate the difficult terrain ahead".
"The current system is complex, confusing and outdated for the modern shopping landscape," she said.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland's general manager of advocacy and policy, Amanda Rohan, said the government needed to focus on "business friendly" policies to help them succeed.
"For jobs to grow in Queensland small businesses needed to be supported to survive in the immediate future and to scale up and grow in the future," she said.
Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford said secure and permanent jobs were the best springboard for local economies to rebound after the pandemic. The government needed to ensure it did not go down an "austerity path".
Treasurer Cameron Dick last week insisted that austerity was not an option.
"We need governments to remove the scourge of temporary and casual employment by ensuring workers have a clear, quick path to permanency so they can provide financial security for themselves and their families, and their communities," Mr Clifford said. Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said increases in taxes and charges and changes to regulations that "frighten" investors away from the resources sector must stop.
"The more projects we can bring to production the more jobs there'll be and the more dollars Queenslanders and Queensland earns," he said.
"To make this happen we need regulatory stability and certainty starting with a 10-year freeze on royalty taxes and charges."
Adept Economics director Gene Tunny said the government should remove or improve regulations. "What this coronavirus crisis has shown us is that governments can move relatively quickly to modify regulations which constrain business when there is an urgent need to do so," he said.
Gold Coast local Adrienne Silk who lost her job as the pandemic hit just weeks before she was due to return from maternity leave, said she had applied for more than 150 jobs.
"I would say that not even a third of my job applications are even being looked at," she said.
"They've just got hundreds and hundreds of applicants for each role."