Slow growth for the Sunshine State

QUEENSLAND will have slower than expected growth this year and is the second worst performing state in the country.

According to a CommSec State of the States report, Queensland ranked fifth ahead of only NSW, which was considered the worst-performing state in the nation.

The report compared recent trend measures of growth with each jurisdiction’s average over the past decade.

Housing construction, jobs and population growth were all down in Queensland compared with the other states, some of which had been better insulated from the effects of the global financial crisis by rising populations and mining (WA).

New dwelling construction and housing finance pushed the Sunshine State to seventh and fourth positions respectively. But it improved a few spots in retail trade and business investment rating second and sixth in unemployment.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show Queensland continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 5.94 per cent (seasonally adjusted).

State Opposition and LNP Leader John-Paul Langbroek says there had been a massive jump in the number of Queenslanders out of work in the past year.

“There are now 141,700 Queenslanders unemployed, up from 93,800 this time last year. That’s a staggering 51 per cent increase in the number of jobless Queenslanders in December 2009 compared to a year ago,” he says.

“Even worse is the fact that 31,427 full-time jobs have been lost since Anna Bligh made her notorious election promise to create 100,000 jobs for 100,000 breadwinners.”

Treasurer and Employment Minister Andrew Fraser, says while the monthly figures are always volatile, 3700 jobs were created in December.

“Our goal is to create jobs for Queenslanders, and to strengthen Queensland’s economy as we recover from the global financial crisis,” says Fraser.

“No-one is declaring victory over Queensland’s challenges with unemployment, but any increase in job creation is a good sign.
“There has now been five straight months of job creation in Queensland. As our workforce grows, job creation needs to cater for that growth.”

The Bligh Government’s job creation election commitment to create 100,000 jobs has been downgraded to 98,500.

“We know this is going to be a tough target to reach, but we are determined to get there. While it is now heading in the right direction, we have a long way to go,” says Fraser.

Some chamber of commerce heads and industry leaders believe government red tape and bureaucracy are still holding Queensland back and threatens to further stifle the state’s entrepreneurial spirit. Langbroek says business is ‘drowning in a mire of Bligh Labor red tape costing at least $18 billion a year’.

“Businesses are the engine room of our economy for job and wealth creation, but Labor’s red tape is choking production and killing jobs,” says Langbroek.

“It’s a real hand-brake on our economic performance. It’s estimated to cost government $870 million a year and the broader business sector $18 billion a year.”

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