As Queensland dons its boardies and opens its economy to take advantage of the positive growth of the 2016/17 financial year, at Deloitte we are forecasting good times ahead as the State shapes up to be better than the rest. It is after all THE State of Origin! So the strategic plan is to work out how best to bottle this winning essence… To drive success with any project, it takes enormous collaboration and I am thrilled to have just launched our new Confidently Queensland report. It was wonderful to be part of a working group with Deloitte Access Economics and a Steering Committee that represented all aspects of the Queensland economy, from big business, through community, Government and industry – to build a vision of a future of Queensland with the potential to be even better than it is today. What’s on the outlook? Well, given a healthy base from the unexpected boost in energy prices and the continued demand from China, along with raised coking coal prices and spectacular gas exports, economic growth over the long term will average 3.5% each year to 2020. On the home front the state’s final demand has given employment a leg up and investment in new and used housing went up 5.5%. And what about housing? It seems that although there is job availability in Queensland, our affordable homes and enjoyable lifestyles, have not delivered the usual droves of southerners – migrants from south of the border fell below 10,000 a year – and the exorbitant house prices in Sydney and Melbourne are turning the tables and the march north is gaining momentum. Greater Brisbane is the great attractor It’s the Greater Brisbane area that’s setting the pace by building good economic returns from attaining scale in knowledge intensive services, tech and high value manufacturing and the rat-tat-tat of the building drills have started again. Examples in the area include Brisbane’s new airport, which is progressing well. Its associated business park is beginning to gain occupants. The Star Entertainment Centre on Queen’s Wharf, as well as investment in former Jupiter’s now Star, have shifted from concept to reality. Greater Springfield on the outskirts of Brisbane is attracting businesses as well as residents, creating a community where people can afford to live, secure work, be educated, and have their health needs met. In addition to Springfield, there are new master-planned residential construction projects such as Yarrabilba (a new master planned residential community project expected to contain 20,000 dwellings and housing up to 50,000 people), Flagstone, and Jimboomba (another master planned community located between Brisbane and the Gold Coast). When it comes to infrastructure, the recent announcement by the Palaszczuk Government’s to bank roll the $5.4 billion Cross-River Rail project will contribute to the necessary flexibility to work, live and do business in 21st Century style in S.E.Queensland. This capital works investment is also projected to create 1,500 construction jobs in Queensland over the life of the project. The taste of Tourism And of course there is Tourism – one of the pillars of Queensland’s attractiveness that is growing really strongly. Today, it represents a $23 billion industry, contributing a total 7.5% of GSP and supporting one in eleven Queensland jobs (220,000 jobs in total). It is the third largest export industry (behind coal and food), at 14% of Queensland exports. Over the last ten years Queensland has increasingly relied on international tourism generally and on the Asian international market specifically. By 2016, international visitor nights to Queensland had grown from 34 million nights in 2005, to 52 million nights, while interstate visits only grew modestly from 31 million to 36 million nights over the same period. Chinese tourists were the greatest drivers of international visitor nights, increasing from 1.2 million in 2005, to more than 6.7 million in 2016. The length of stay also almost doubled from an average 12 nights per trip in 2005 to 22 nights in 2016. Greater Brisbane is now determined to attract a greater slice of this touristic pie, which is feasible given the rapid rise in the Chinese millennial submarket. Today, half of China’s outbound travellers are millennials. They spend 27% of their income on travel and take four trips outside the country per year – twice as many as their peers from the rest of Asia. This is good news for both the leisure and retail sector, as well as Queensland’s international education and training sector, which received a $6 million boost to take advantage of such opportunities last year. The future is bright – what’s next? So the economic terrain for Queensland is changing. It is becoming more diversified, riding the powerful global forces which will continue to fundamentally change the future for Queensland. If we can navigate these changes well, Queensland will be offered unprecedented opportunities for growth and development. To be a future maker, rather than future taker, Queensland needs to be proactive by developing our regions, investing in the right enabling infrastructure, planning for the future of work, continuing our focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, and adopting and adapting the world’s best technology. Our focus on these initiatives, and pivot to our Asian neighbours will continue to help us leverage the fact that Queensland has what the world wants. Our new Confidently Queensland research articulates both the economic dividend and a strategic roadmap for Queensland to get this right. Are you ready to help shape Queensland’s future? Find out what we’ve been up to and how you can get involved in the journey, here.