QUEENSLAND can expect good times ahead after the recent state and council elections, according to Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Qld) president David Goodwin (pictured).
The private sector will experience a tremendous surge after the Australian Labor Party’s dominance was crushed at the State Government, Brisbane City Council and regional elections.
An overwhelmingly positive response to the Liberal National Party (LNP), which claimed 70 of the 80 state parliamentary seats, reflects Premier Campbell Newman’s recognition of the struggling private sector and the high level of policy promises made to business.
Pro-business political campaigning from Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan councils brought little credible opposition. However, the antibusiness approaches of some incumbents at the Gold Coast, Cairns and Redland councils brought strong voter backlash.
Cairns Regional Council’s attempt to shift the focus away from funding industry to ports, agriculture and trade with Papua New Guinea brought disastrous consequences.
The shift towards candidates with private sector experience is also evident on the Gold Coast where Tom Tate comfortably surfed to victory.
The Islander Resort chief executive is clearly very entrepreneurial, compensating for his lack of political background with his commercial approach and willingness to roll up his sleeves and make things happen.
These events suggest a spectacular end has arrived for so-called anti-progress and antidevelopment red lights to business under the previous government and councils.
Newly-elected officials now face the challenge of revamping the property market.
Development approval timeframes need to be reduced to more reasonable waiting periods and bureaucrats have to stop using environmental excuses to postpone works.
Every year a project does not get off the ground it adds a further 10 per cent to consumer costs, affecting home buyers and people employed by the construction industry.
Businesses want certainty around property, trading precincts and zoning approvals. If councils can produce speed and certainty, they will succeed at driving growth in the private sector.
Councils should partner more with businesses and return to basic community expectations rather than ‘fluffy’ economic development initiatives or trade missions. For many businesses it is irrelevant to know how many times councillors have visited China; they want to see councils form public-private partnerships.
The booming resources sector and recovering economic conditions abroad will bring trade benefits back to our local community and produce higher prosperity. Economic indicators for Brisbane and regional Queensland are improving despite the rest of the country declining.
The last hurdle businesses need to clear is the next Federal government election. The sooner it is held the better and a strong swing against Labor can be expected again.
Every cost increase for business has been at the hands of government whether it is rapidly rising council rates, electricity and water charges, worker’s compensation expenses or the new carbon tax that takes effect on July 1, 2012. This has to change.
Clive Palmer rightly believes that politics is about having big ideas. He says he wants to seek preselection in the Brisbane seat of Lilley and run against the Treasurer, Wayne Swan.
Hopefully he can succeed and make a positive contribution to this country that is squandering its wealth accumulated from the mining boom.
They only way Palmer will win pre-selection in Lilley is by door-knocking people in the electorate. He cannot be a high-flying businessman and also win at politics or rely on his larger-than-life public appearances. He will have to put his business aspirations on hold.
The financial services sector can draw a lesson from actor Jim Carrey’s laissez-faire but highly successful approval of bank loans in the comedy movie, Yes Man.
Many businesses face great difficulty in accessing credit and banks have not supported them since the global financial crisis. Their reluctance to lend money to businesses has to change either by choice or through introducing government incentives.
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