All regions of Queensland want to see more major infrastructure projects to kickstart their economies.
We’re talking about major, significant infrastructure projects with at least a nine-figure price tag that are essential to accommodate the growth of our cities and towns for the next few decades , projects which NSW and Victoria seem to have plenty of. As our southern State counterparts further ramp up investment in infrastructure over the remainder of this decade, construction will continue to lag in Queensland compounded by our ageing workforce.
The Queensland Major Projects Pipeline 2018 report shows that while there are 190 projects valued at $39.9 billion in the pipeline, 98 of them (51%) are still awaiting funding and 17 per cent of the overall pipeline is unlikely to proceed.
Unfortunately, infrastructure announcements have become a key metric for political popularity, and real effective growth planning takes a back seat to governments’ obsession with opinion polls. Too often, projects are committed to before a business case has been prepared, and even before comprehensive analysis of any alternatives has been undertaken.
As a result, funding presents itself the largest hurdle in getting projects up and running due to the business cases not stacking up. At the same time, funding can be given almost on a political whim, despite there being independent bodies at both the federal and state level signalling priority on other more important infrastructure projects.
The State Infrastructure Plan and Building Queensland’s Infrastructure Pipeline Report comprise an extensive list of major infrastructure proposals, yet the business cases - undertaken by the State Government - struggle to convince the Federal Government to hand over funding required to start the projects.
Few things are to blame.
Firstly, in an era of gold-plating our infrastructure, major projects become too expensive and the ROI is considered too low. The lack of long-term thinking when it comes to town planning means corridors are no longer reserved, instead we go underground for our transport infrastructure which is not only outrageously more expensive, but also more hazardous to construct and use, much longer to build, and much more difficult to operate and maintain.
Secondly, as the business case framework is being driven by the States – and not templated by the Federal Government – the assessment process drags on as the back and forth for more information plays out.
Thirdly, as the business cases are never released for public scrutiny, politicians are able to play political football and rely on public and media pressure to try and get projects over the line, or otherwise quashed.
The framework for business cases for major infrastructure projects must change. Early this year in July, Infrastructure Australia released a set of guidelines for future infrastructure projects designed to lift government works to the same level of accountability, planning and cost rigour as the private sector.
Outlined in the guidelines are 11 infrastructure decision-making principles:
- Governments should quantify infrastructure problems and opportunities as part of long-term planning processes.
- Proponents should identify potential infrastructure needs in response to quantified infrastructure problems.
- Proponents should invest in development studies to scope potential responses.
- Where an infrastructure need is identified, governments should take steps to ensure potential responses can be delivered efficiently and affordably.
- Governments should undertake detailed analysis of a potential project through a full business case and should not announce a preferred option or cost profile before undertaking detailed analysis involving multiple options.
- Proponents should assess the viability of alternative funding sources for each potential project.
- Project proposals should be independently assessed by an appropriate third party organisation.
- Governments and proponents should undertake meaningful stakeholder engagement at each stage, from problem identification and option development to project delivery.
- Governments and proponents should publicly release all information supporting their infrastructure decisions.
- Governments should commit to, develop and release post-completion reviews.
- Where projects are funded as part of a broader program, the corresponding decision-making processes should be robust, transparent and prioritise value for money.
Successful initiatives such as City Deals is a model which needs to be rolled out across the State and the country a lot quicker than it currently is. The announcement of a South East Queensland City Deal, following the success of the Townsville City Deal, is a genuine bi-partisan approach and a step in the absolute right direction when it comes to long-term planning.
Infrastructure needs to separate itself further from politics. The undertaking and success of major projects has been proven to be directly tied to the economy, and our economy is more important to the small business community that political point-scoring.Read more >
Small businesses in regional Queensland are 100 per cent behind calls from the Palaszczuk Government for mining companies to pay small businesses for their services within 30 days.
Payment periods are currently at a staggering 90+ days, a relic from policy introduced at the height of the mining downturn, which the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) brands as far too long in this current climate and the straw that could break the camel’s back.
CCIQ’s latest Pulse Survey showed regional businesses are experiencing weaker levels of profitability, meaning cashflow is now more important than ever for survivability.
A sentiment backed by CCIQ, Small Business Minister Shannon Fentiman believes the improvements in demand and prices across the resources sector should be the catalyst for fairer payment terms, which should be voluntarily adopted by the sector.
In a submission lodged last year, CCIQ recognised that small business suppliers have long been placed at the bottom of the food chain for corporates and larger companies.
Long payment periods, as well as late payments, have become “normal” for small businesses, despite them often providing vital products or services to these larger companies.
Furthermore, a survey conducted by CCIQ found that alarmingly over half of the surveyed businesses (56 per cent) had invoices paid more than two weeks late, and that one in five businesses (21 per cent) spend more than six hours a week chasing up late payments.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell late last year launched the National Payment Transparency Register following the Payment Times and Practices Inquiry which looked at the growing trend in payment practices, particularly amongst large Australian and multinational businesses, to extend payment times.
CCIQ supports the roll-out of the Register and urge larger businesses to sign on to the initiative.
The Register promotes businesses who are committed to good payment time practices, and also allows for small businesses to contact the ASBFEO office should the terms on the register not be met.Read more >
Queensland’s unemployment rate rose to 6.3% (on a trend basis) in August as it continues to lag the national benchmark of 5.3% despite a better than expected increase in full-time positions according to the latest data released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
CCIQ notes that the creation of 6,000 full-time positions has not been enough to arrest the state’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, now the worst in the country.
Head of Media and Industry, Dan Petrie said the data despite showing some positives, again highlights the employment challenge facing the local economy and policy makers more broadly.
“The headline job gains for Queensland was a positive that has largely been overshadowed by the jobless benchmark.
“Despite anecdotal evidence of employers looking to take on more staff, policy makers need to ensure every initiative is both targeted and aimed at getting the unemployment rate below 6%” Mr Petrie said.
CCIQ notes that the levels of economic activity around Queensland have been steadily increasing and remain confident of improving employment outcomes as a result.
The state’s trade exposed industries are benefiting from a lower dollar coupled with the local economy heading into a busier second half of the year.
“The Queensland economy is not without its challenges but needs to build on the positives of this report in order to build momentum and indeed confidence for the remainder of 2018,” Mr Petrie said.
Year to date, part-time roles have increased by 20,040 while full-time positions have increased in net terms by 3,685 jobs
The underutilization rate has edged up to 15.2%.
The labour market in 2018 has been especially tough on women, with the female underutilisation rate up to 18.1%, the highest level since 2003.
Note: Data is sourced from the ABS and is based on trend data.Read more >
Embroidery in Stitches is a valued member of the Chamber network and have recently moved.
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“Chamber met with Tourism Whitsundays, after a large stakeholder session, to discuss outcomes for the new Destination Tourism Plan.”
L-R: Al Milostic (LiveLife Pharmacy), Kate Purdie (APM), James Corvan (Tourism Guru), Tash Wheeler (Tourism Whitsundays), Glen Hingley (Tourism Guru), Judy Porter (Shiift).Read more >
Monday 20 August, 2018 | By: Dan Petrie
The need for policy certainty and a path forward on energy policy is at the core of a debate which despite political division needs to be implemented so as to provide certainty for the business sector.
The National Energy Guarantee remains largely similar to the proposal put forward last week but with improvements through the adaptation of some of the ACCC’s recommendations.
The key policy change is that the emissions target will not be legislated (either through an Act or regulation). Electricity reliability remains the core of the policy, with the states responsible for the reliability portion of the guarantee.
To ensure that electricity prices will decrease, the federal government will be adopting some of the ACCC’s recommendations, through three main measures:
- Providing a safety net to consumers. Consumers will be able to move from a standing offer to a default market offer. This will result in a savings for businesses of $561 - $1457.
- Using a ‘big stick’ to keep the large energy companies in line by stopping price gouging and shining a light on hidden practices.
- Backing investment in new electricity generation to encourage competition in the energy sector.
The government will also be providing funding to the ACCC for resources to put in place monitoring of electricity companies.
With politicians playing the ‘all or nothing card’, businesses are at risk of bearing the brunt of another failed energy policy proposal.
Businesses need price relief now, and with a clear articulation of how electricity prices will be reduced for consumers in today’s announcement, the NEG needs to be passed.
Source: CCIQRead more >
Wednesday 22 August, 2018 | By: Dan Petrie
The Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) remains committed to championing the cause for a reduction in the company tax rate.
CCIQ Head of Industry Dan Petrie said that the headline corporate tax rate in Australia at 30% is simply too high and only makes Australia uncompetitive next to comparable countries.
“Ideology and anti-business sentiment among some senators within Australia’s upper house have enshrined a benchmark that is a disincentive to invest.
“Efforts to quarantine large business from a sensible and modest tax cut creating a two-tiered tax system based on some senators’ views on corporate Australia represent an all too familiar low in public debate,” Mr Petrie said.
CCIQ notes that Australia’s economic competitiveness is hardly enhanced by a narrative that says business is good except if it is an organization that turns over $50 million
“The senate have effectively said Australia is not open for business and the defeat of this bill sadly represents more of the same from a senate which serves as nothing more than an obstructionist cabal of ideologues who wouldn’t know the first thing about business," Mr Petrie said.
Source: CCIQRead more >
- The Curious Case of a QLD Infrastructure Business Case
- Regional small businesses back calls for faster payments from big mining companies
- Full Time Job Gain Can’t Arrest Unemployment Pain for Queensland Boom
- WHERE ARE THE DAMS?
- LOCAL GRAZIERS GRIPPED BY DROUGHT
- The Whitsunday Small Business Innovation (WSBI) Program
- We Have Moved! Latest from Embroidery In Stitches
- Chamber met with Tourism Whitsundays
- Queensland Business Urges Focus on National Energy Guarantee Policy
- Queensland business and jobs at risk after company tax cut defeat