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Business says Queensland has to strap back in and get on with the job

Business

The Labor election victory has surprised business but has left the mining and property sectors confident they could still deal with the Palaszczuk Government.

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Partisan positions taken by industry groups were pushed aside yesterday as they accepted Labor’s victory and urged the Government to immediately start delivering its promises to get the economy moving by easing restrictions.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said his position was safe and he had received overwhelming support from members for the political campaign the organisation waged against the Greens, which led to BHP and Origin suspending their memberships.

During the campaign, Macfarlane had said that the prospect of Labor taxing its way out of COVID-19 by imposing massive royalty increases on the mining, gas and energy sector and potentially forming government with the Greens was the key point of difference between the two major parties.

He said he had thought the vote would have been closer but the fact that the Greens would not have influence and power was a good outcome because their policies would have devastated the industry and led to thousands of job losses. He said despite winning two seats the vote statewide for the Greens was down on the 2017 result.

“That’s reassuring,” he said.

He said Labor had shown signs of being more positive to mining after a tense few years but that losing former Treasurer Jackie Trad was a blow for Queensland because she was an effective politician.

With the election out of the way the priorities were getting a resources industry development plan, the New Acland approval as well as a royalties deal and pushing ahead on CopperString and the opening up of the North West Minerals Province. There was also a need to deal with the court process around approvals.

The Queensland Property Council’s executive director Chris Mountford said a majority government was a good thing for business and he said the sector could work with the Government despite the contentious issue of the ban on property developers making political donations.

“There is a big economic challenge to take on and from our perspective it is about strapping back in and getting on with the job working hard on the economic recovery,” Mountford said.

“We have (worked) with this Government for six years and this economic challenge will bring the importance of the industry into sharper focus particularly if we see population growth coming up from down south.

“There are clearly areas where we are not aligned, particularly the treatment of the development industry around political donations, but that is not to say we can’t work with the Government on key economic policies,” he said.

He said there was a lot activity in the new home area but the commercial sector needed a policy focus that would unlock that part of the sector. That could include the build-to-rent programs, the SEQ City Deal, the Cross River Rail precincts and how government land could be used to drive economic recovery.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said the first step should be a health plan for the economy.

“To start with, we need to see a further easing of restrictions, as the viability of many businesses is at risk, due to their profitability being capped due to patronage restrictions,” general manager of policy and advocacy Amanda Rohan said.

“Also, there needs to be some certainty by generating a consistent approach to our border, so business can be planning for the future,” she said.

“Prior to the election CCIQ received some positive commitments from the Palaszczuk Government on our election priorities, and we look forward to working with the re-elected government on getting those policies into effect as quickly as possible.

“Business across Queensland are wanting and ready to fire back up, and move on from the uncertainty and challenges this year presented so they can keep their staff employed and continue operating in their communities. We look forward to working with government to ensure that happens.”

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