After years in the doldrums, Queensland’s economic tide has finally turned as more people flee high interstate property prices, the latest Deloitte Access Economics quarterly business outlook has concluded.
The report noted that in the past year Queensland had overtaken Victoria as the state receiving the highest number of interstate migrants.
“The rate of population growth is still faster in Victoria than Queensland, but the trends have turned,” Deloitte partner Chris Richardson said.
“Sydney house prices are begging people to sell up and move to Brisbane.”
The number of overseas migrants also has risen, but the report found the Queensland economy was “still running well below full speed”.
It concluded “many of the interstate migrants to Queensland may be mainly fleeing the mind-blowing cost of housing in Sydney – that is, the key is the push factors rather than the pull factors”.
LNG projects boosting export income
Exports had risen thanks to new LNG capacity that, while it lagged, was still an “800-pound gorilla”, Mr Richardson said.
“Finally, the big spend on building these mega gas projects is turning into export earnings.”
The report found Queensland was through the worst of the economic slowdown with a “surging” jobs market that had created nearly 130,000 net new jobs in the past year alone.
“The bottom line? There’s good job growth, but the economy needs a lot more of it, because to date it hasn’t put much of a dent in unemployment,” the report said.
The report also found retail spending was “pitifully weak” but on the improve, while the Brisbane housing market remained soft.
The winding down of $66 billion in LNG construction developments was now “safely in the rear-view mirror” with new works projected on Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine, as well as the Brisbane Cross River Rail scheme.
“All up, there are $28 billion worth of projects under construction in Queensland,” the report said.
‘People moving for jobs’
Real estate agent Darryl Anderson said he moved from Gippsland in Victoria to the Sunshine Coast four weeks ago.
He said he was working in Melbourne and his commute times could be up to two hours each way.
“At one point I set my alarm in my phone and it said, ‘You have five-and-a-half hours before getting up’ and I wasn’t even home yet,” Mr Anderson said.
“I thought this isn’t living – what am I doing?
“That was what planted the seed to come here.”
Mr Anderson lived in Queensland previously and said he has seen an improvement in the economy, especially with tourism.
“After Easter you’d see a drop off but that isn’t happening so much,” he said.
Acting Queensland Treasurer Steven Miles said he was not surprised by the report’s buoyant predictions.
“This report projects that Queensland will be at the top of the growth rate in gross state product as well as the upper end of the population growth rate,” he said.
“I think people in other states are seeing that Queensland is a great place to live, that there are jobs being created here and people are moving here for that reason.”
Queensland’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) said that while the headline was positive, there were still several key imposts holding small and medium businesses back.
“High energy prices, payroll tax and of course punitive levies which we’ve seen in the last four months,” CCIQ spokesman Dan Petrie said.
He said it was crucial for regional and rural Queenslanders to have more support for continued economic growth.
“Regional Queensland needs to come up … to have a robust Queensland economy.
“Without the regions there’s no point even having a good discussion about Queensland.”