Regional Economic Development

QRC claims new profits tax 'shutting down a pipeline of investment'

THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has accused the Queensland Government of "flying blind about the impact of excessive new coal royalty taxes on Queensland jobs and business opportunities".

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said companies had already paid as much in state royalties in the first six weeks of the new tax regime as the Treasurer said it would cost the industry over the year.

"This gives you an idea of the staggering amount of money companies are now paying to the State Government in extra taxes, which were introduced suddenly and without consultation in the June state budget," Mr Macfarlane said.

"I’m not sure how much more the resources sector can say before someone in the State Government realises the new tax regime is destabilising the Queensland economy and destroying jobs." 

Mr Macfarlane said although coal had been achieving record prices in the past 12 months, "anyone who understood export markets knows prices constantly fluctuate, depending on what’s happening globally".

"Just like the beef and grain industries, resources companies rely on using the extra money earned in the good times, to help ride out the lows when prices fall," he said.

"As anyone who lives in a resources region knows, when our sector is doing well, companies are upgrading their machinery and equipment, expanding operations, employing more people, investing in new technologies and contributing more to their local communities.

"This royalty hike is going to hurt a lot more people than the Government seems to realise," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Mine projects are already being put on hold, and there will be more. The government is shutting down a pipeline of investment opportunities in Queensland for the next 20 to 30 years. It just doesn’t make any sense."

Mr Macfarlane made the remarks yesterday at the Central Highlands Development Corporation Resources and Innovation Forum in Emerald, where he outlined the central role the Queensland resources sector would play in meeting Australia and the world’s emissions reductions targets.

"Achieving emissions reductions goals will depend on our ability to mine Queensland’s diverse commodities safely and sustainably and capitalising on Queensland’s world-leading skills," Mr Macfarlane said.

"A strong resources sector requires investor confidence. The State Government’s huge royalty increase, without consultation, is a red flag to investors in all commodities, with long-term consequences for the Queensland economy."

The QRC also hosted a cross-party group of 10 politicians at a mining industry event in Emerald on Monday night, attended by more than 120 people.

Testerday the group will tour Kestrel Coal’s underground metallurgical coal mine to learn more about the opportunities, benefits, innovation and challenges of modern mining, Mr Macfarlane said.



Energy Networks Australia calls for urgent ‘transmission reform’

A REPORT commissioned by the Clean Energy Council and Energy Networks Australia has highlighted the critical need to solve transmission challenges “to unlock Australia’s energy transition”.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said transmission development was critical to enable the most affordable transition to a net zero energy system. New transmission would ultimately create a modern electricity grid that ensures clean power flows from renewable energy projects to customers.

“Every dollar spent on transmission will return more than twice this in benefits to customers. It will enable cheap, renewable electricity to flow to where it is needed, and more supply will help lower wholesale prices,” Mr Dillon said. 

“Stakeholders saw value in the Federal Government’s Rewiring the Nation fund and highlighted the importance of supporting the twin objectives of least cost to customers and ensuring transmission projects are financeable and able to be built when they’re needed.  

“The stakeholder feedback also reinforced the need for policy reform and support to better address social licence and community benefit issues. The reform process needs to be conducted in collaboration with electricity customers, putting their needs at the heart of investable regulatory frameworks for new transmission.”

Facilitated by KPMG, the report was compiled from interviews with senior representatives from across the energy sector, including policy makers, market bodies, network service providers, developers and private investors.

The findings reflect stakeholder views on barriers to transmission investment, the potential path forward and the role of the Federal Government’s Rewiring the Nation Fund in supporting the financing of major projects.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said delays in transmission development were hindering the transition to net zero and driving up power prices.

“These delays mean the lowest-cost, clean electricity isn’t reaching customers. Instead, they are paying a premium for unreliable coal,” he said.

“Time is of the essence. To enable a smooth transition, networks need to install more than 10,000 kilometres of new transmission lines to ensure we can connect the renewable generation our system will need. While private sector investors are prepared to underpin much of this investment, government has a clear role in ensuring the investment happens when needed.

“The stakeholder feedback in this report emphasises the crucial role that Rewiring the Nation can play alongside reform to the regulatory regime and policy settings for transmission.”

Full report available here.



Technology extends your new Domain

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business

THE property market has been changed by technology.

John Foong, Domain’s chief revenue officer, said the biggest change has been giving everyone access to data and insights at a much faster pace – and deeper way – than ever before.

“Now everything is at your finger-tips,” Mr Foong told Talking Business. “You can see and do comparables. You can look at valuations from multiple sources. You can read some of that great research from Domain and other providers. It’s a lot more smart.

“I would also say, on the agents’ side, there is a lot more intelligence too. They can draw insights, they can use artificial intelligence, they can aggregate things in data and make more holistic smarter recommendations,” he said.

“Both seeker and agent are a lot smarter than they were before.” 

Mr Foong said this made it challenging for buyers as there were now so many more options. 

“It’s the tyranny of choice,” he said.

“You might be competing with other buyers from out of state, or overseas, so there’s loads of possibilities, more competition and more information.”


Mr Foong said technology had also made it more challenging for agents.

“I think as an agent, a lot of the value you would have historically provided by being an expert with access to industry knowledge has been eroded,” he said.

“So you have to be smarter with publicly available information, which is now freely available, with insights and the way you help people think, and coach them through the process, whether it’s selling or the buyer buying.”

Mr Foong said the great access to information also made it exciting for investors, although it also meant one was competing against “a much broader set of investors”.

“There is still no substitute for an investor going and walking the streets and looking at the house, but there is more information yet to figure out where you should be visiting first, than there would have been a decade ago.”


Mr Foong said COVID changed the way people used artificial intelligence because they were spending more time on their computers.

He said mobile apps were now ‘hot’ in the real estate market.

“People expect an awesome mobile app experience,” Mr Foong said.

“They expect to use the 20 seconds they spend at a bus stop or while they’re walking from one place to another to have a meaningful interaction where they find out information by reading content or by browsing a house.

“So it’s got to be easy, it’s got to be quick, it’s got to be accurate, it’s got to be easy to use, it’s got to be shareable, it’s got to be social,” he said.

Mr Foong said he could see the potential for the Internet of Things in commercial real estate.

“We are trying to help the big property managers around the world, the CBREs, the Colliers,” he said. “How do they not just make transactions, like leasing and buying and selling, but how do they develop a lot of value through property management as a service?”

“With the Internet of Things, you would have eyes all over the place. These are things where you can automate value that can be added, and they can charge a premium for that.

“It’s brilliant for commercial. We all want to outsource as much as possible.”  


Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

EY research says abolishing ABCC could cost Australian economy $47b by 2030

THE Australian Labor Party's (ALP) current policy to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) could result in a $47.5 billion hit to the economy, according to economic modelling by EY. 

EY’s modelling found that in the context of building Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and acute supply-side pressures currently facing the industry, abolishing the ABCC could lead to significant economic losses.

The EY report identified the most likely losses as:

  • A fall in the output of the construction sector of around $18.4 billion by 2025 and $35.4 billion by 2030.
  • A decline in overall economic activity of $16.3 billion by 2025 and $47.5 billion by 2030.
  •  A fall in manufacturing output of $4.8 billion by 2025 and $13.1 billion by 2030.
  • A decline in services output of $5.9 billion by 2025 and $19.5 billion by 2030.
  • A fall in economic investment of $24.7 billion by 2025 and by $45.6 billion by 2030.

An EY spokesperson said these outcomes would have a detrimental impact not only on the building and construction industry but also the broader economy given the industry’s pivotal role in building productive capacity of the economy.

Analysis in the report highlighted that an efficient and well-functioning construction industry was crucial to the performance of the Australian economy given that $1 spent in public infrastructure -- that is, works that are conventionally within ABCC jurisdiction -- returns $4 into the economy.

The ABCC works to ensure the building and construction industry is lawful, productive and efficient, according to EY. The conclusion was the ABCC was critical in minimising unnecessary costs and project risks that arise from delays and unlawful industrial action.

Recognising such risk factors and the industry’s difficulties in absorbing the costs of industrial disputes, 89 percent of construction businesses surveyed for the report believed that the industry benefitted from an independent specialist regulator.

Nearly 70 percent of businesses surveyed stated that the ABCC had reduced levels of unlawful industrial action, while a similar proportion believed that the ABCC had made industrial action easier to manage.

 About 64 percent of businesses said the ABCC would be a more effective regulator if it had greater powers.

Importantly, according to EY, nearly 40 percent of businesses said the ABCC had helped to improve safety on construction sites.

The report found that the cost of construction for essential public services such as defence, aged care, health and public administration could face an upward pressure if the ABCC was abolished. Based on Australia’s public infrastructure investment pipeline, the cost to taxpayers from abolishing the ABCC could be in the order of $9.5 billion over the next decade.

Master Builders Australia’s CEO Denita Wawn said, “In releasing this report, Master Builders Australia reiterates its call to the Labor to set aside its policy to abolish the ABCC, which would endanger economic recovery and growth, and raise costs for taxpayers.

 “Abolishing the specialist construction regulator would especially imprudent as inflationary headwinds and supply challenges continue to build,” she said. 

 “The release of the report adds $47 billion more reasons why the ALP must reverse its decision to abolish the ABCC. As an agency formed to tackle an ingrained industry culture of lawlessness and ensure taxpayers receive value for money, the work of the ABCC is not yet done.

"This report shines a light on the risk to economic recovery and future growth if the ABCC, a proven and effective regulator, is dismantled,” Ms Wawn said.

Download EY Report: Costs of Labor Abolishing Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) here.



All Qld regions will grow on way to net zero – Deloitte report

QUEENSLANDERS will have more jobs to choose from, and live in a larger economy, if the state manages the transformation to a clean economy well, a new Deloitte Access Economics report has found.

People powering the future, commissioned by the Climate Council, found managing the transformation to a clean economy successfully will see the Queensland economy become 7 percent larger in 2050 than it would have been otherwise.

The report found demand for clean economy jobs will grow 2.5 percent each year over this decade, and clean jobs will make up three quarters of the fastest growing occupations by 2030.

According to the Deloitte-Climate Council report, South East Queensland will see massive growth in clean jobs by 2050. This includes 1300 jobs in hydrogen, 1350 in bioenergy and 4900 in clean electricity. 

North Queensland is expected to experience one of the highest overall average annual growth rates in employment. The clean electricity sector alone is anticipated to grow 8.6 percent every year until 2050.

Central Queensland has significant opportunities for jobs growth in clean electricity (7.8% per year), hydrogen (6.9% per year) and base metal mining (4.9% per year). 

South West Queensland’s traditional strengths will continue to grow its regional economy. Construction is expected to more than double between 2021 and 2050, from contributing $749 million now to $1.5 billion in 2050.

Agriculture will jump from contributing $4,167 million today to the Queensland economy to $7,723 million in 2050.

Climate councillor and economist, Nicki Hutley said planning and preparing for a lower-emissions future would create economic opportunities for Queenslanders and ensure prosperity for the state. 

“If we plan early for the economic transformation, all Queensland regions and workers will enjoy clean economic growth and job opportunities,” Ms Hutley said.

“Today, 80 percent of the tasks needed in Queensland’s future clean economy are already being performed. For example, an electrician working in a coal mine can relatively easily upskill to work in another industry, such as a hydroelectric plant.”

The report found Queensland workers impacted by the transition away from fossil fuels will have, on average, four alternative occupations they can immediately pursue – and that is with no additional formal training.

For example, drillers, miners and shot firers can work as a power generation plant operator. Heavy machine operators have skill sets that will be valuable across Queensland’s clean economy.

The report also concluded that fears decarbonisation would mean large job losses were unfounded, with the majority of Queenslanders’ jobs unaffected by the move to a clean economy.

Amanda Cahill, CEO of The Next Economy, a non-for profit aiming to create resilient regional economies, said the Queensland government should support regions and training providers to upskill Queensland’s workforce for the net zero economy. 

“The Queensland Government can make sure workers have access to training opportunities to not only develop skills across a range of clean industries, but also address current skills and labour shortages across regional Queensland,” Dr Cahill said.

“Planning well and planning early will result in better outcomes for workers, businesses and the broader state economy.

“In fact, if we plan early for the economic transformation every region in Queensland could enjoy clean economic growth and more job opportunities.”


McKell report warns allowing super for home deposits would ignite new housing boom

A GROUP of Australia's leading property economists is warning that allowing Australians to use their superannuation savings on a house deposit would reignite a price explosion. They said the "rampaging property market" was just starting to calm,

A new McKell Institute reportMortgaging Our Future, has used sophisticated modelling to project the effect on the housing market should Australians be given access to their super to use on a home deposit, as advocated by a range of Federal Government MPs, including Tim Wilson.

The new report finds the Tim Wilson proposal would add nearly $69,000 to the price of the average house in Sydney, $108,000 in Melbourne, and an astounding $159,000 in Adelaide. (See table below).

The report also finds that Australians who chose to invest in a house deposit instead of keeping their money invested in super would retire worse off, because the average returns in a super fund are superior to the average growth in a home.  

The McKell Institute's executive director, Michael Buckland, said the report was a sobering reminder of what was at stake. 

“Homes have already become unaffordable for millions of Australians and allowing super balances to be spent on house deposits would make things so much worse," Mr Buckland said. 

"The Tim Wilson proposal would pour fuel on the fire of our housing market at exactly the time when we are desperate for a little calm. 

"Super-for-housing would mean first-home buyers handing their hard-earned retirement savings to existing property owners when they would be better off investing them in super," Mr Buckland said.

"Young Australians need their retirement savings quarantined and compounding. Using these savings to fuel yet another housing market feeding frenzy would be policy madness."


S4H Price Effect (%)

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Springfield shows how modern cities really should work

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

THE MUR group of companies is developing a multi-award-winning smart city, Springfield, just outside of Brisbane.

It has been on this journey for 30 years and Springfield is today classified as a city, having started out as a 3000 hectare parcel of bush land. It has been converted from a timber and forestry operation with a population of one, the caretaker, to an emerging city on the edge of Brisbane with a population of almost 50,000 people.

This is an unusual project. Usually governments run these types of developments, but Springfield is the vision of, and is being managed by, a private developer whose figurehead is the visionary Maha Sinnathamby, MUR founder and chairman of Springfield City Group.

The first move was to build the residential component but Bob Sharpless, the managing director of the MUR Group and deputy chairman of the Springfield City Group said it was realised early on that things had to be done differently.

Springfield City aimed to create employment, with one job for every three people, and to do this, it had to identify the business themes that would create future employment. These included education with 11 schools, a university and a TAFE and lots of childcare centres for a young population with an average age of 29.

There are more than three children per household in Springfield. 



There is a focus on health at Springfield, with a component of the project called Health City involving public and private health provision. There is also the traditional shopping precinct called Orion Centre which includes Coles, Woolworths and K-mart.

The smart city has also developed strongly in the information technology (IT) space with the Polaris Data Centre and dark fibre connecting Springfield back into Brisbane.

“We’ve reticulated fibre through the community a long time before NBN was a requirement,” Mr Sharpless told Talking Business.

“And increasingly, we’ve started to play in the energy space where we are working with a French company, Engie, to achieve a zero net energy position by 2038.

“They are just a few of the themes we have identified,” Mr Sharpless said.

“What we’re trying to do is attract businesses that can be located in Springfield that will create the future jobs for the people that either live here or can commute here in a pretty efficient way.”



As part of the development, Springfield is also working with major corporations such as Mirvac and Lend Lease.

“We knew very early on that we couldn’t do everything and we didn’t have the expertise to do everything, so we’ve tended to adopt a model where we play the role of ‘master developer’ and we have a number of long-term partnerships with the organisations,” Mr Sharpless said.

“We work collaboratively with them for them to develop in accordance with out master plan.

“We give people the opportunity to develop our land under a sub-development arrangement and we share, sometimes, the provision of infrastructure which is required for the land that they’re developing together with other parts of the project that we’re developing.”

Springfield also enters into royalty arrangements in which it takes a percentage of the sale price of the development.



Springfield is also promoting environmental sustainability. A third of the total land area has been retained for open space and conservation.

Usually, in projects of this nature, that figure would be about 10 percent. So this is a city considering its local habitat along the way.

Springfield aims to be a lot more efficient than other city and suburban areas in terms of energy. It is, in fact, the suburb in Queensland with the highest penetration of solar panels.

“We tend to be ahead of the curve,” Mr Sharpless said. “We look at ways of creating more uniqueness within our project. Our green credentials, our ability to put in high quality energy and telecommunications infrastructure has certainly been something that set us apart from other large residential projects

“And we have been doing it for a long time. Over 20 years ago, we were working with Apple to put computers into a school here and then testing the levels of numeracy and literacy that the students were achieving as a result of having that type of technology in the school.

“You’d laugh at it now and thinks it’s rudimentary but back then it was the novel thing to do,” he said.

“We also had Optus in there with an intranet and we were giving free computers to everyone who bought a block of land here to build a house.”


Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

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