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Treasurer expects more people to move to Qld in wake of COVID-19

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More people moving to Queensland creates competition for jobs, houses and infrastructure, but also delivers more revenue to the government.

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Treasury has left its population forecasts unchanged, with one per cent growth starting to rise next financial year and peaking at 1.5 per cent for each of the two years after that. The latter rise is based on international borders reopening.

The budget papers show that interstate migration has contributed to growth in the labour market since COVID-19 shutdowns in April last year, albeit tempering any improvement in the unemployment rate.

“As a result, because the participation rate is now almost one percentage point higher than its pre-level crisis, the unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent in April 2021 remains slightly above its level of 5.8 per cent before COVID-19,” the papers state.

Nonetheless, the budget forecasts five per cent unemployment in 2024-25, around the time of the next election, and when Treasurer Cameron Dick also hopes to have the budget in surplus.

Dick said Queensland managed the response to COVID-19 well enough to ensure the early return of jobs and economic growth. It also made the state more attractive in a pandemic marked by lockdowns and restrictions.

“We are, of course, the biggest recipient of net interstate migration,” Dick said.

“We welcomed a net 30,000 new Queenslanders to our state last year, and why wouldn’t you want to move to the best state in Australia?”

The budget is based on some key assumptions around the pandemic, namely that the interstate border will remain “mostly open” and international travel bubbles will be established from next year but the international border will not open fully before mid-2022.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk acknowledged the budget did not assume full vaccination but said she wanted as many people vaccinated as possible.

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