Upcoming Major Projects Forum in Rockhampton on 28 October 2021

Adept Economics Director Gene Tunny has been invited to return to present on the economic outlook at Capricorn Enterprise’s 2021 Major Projects Forum in Rockhampton on Thursday 28 October. Here’s the blurb for the event:

The Capricorn Enterprise Major Projects Forum is the premier project forum in the region, covering projects investing over $5bn in our region through to 2024/25.

By June 2024, Australia’s population will be 600k less than the pre-COVID projections. However, we expect that the Queensland economy will outpace the national economy over this period due to construction, mining and agriculture development.

Within our region, roads, energy, defence and water projects are expected to sustain elevated levels of project activity, the most significant being the $1bn Rockhampton Ring Road and the Defence Initiatives at Shoalwater Bay.

The forum will also look forward to the next generation of development, including opportunities in emerging industries such as renewable energy and hydrogen.

The potential for a Queensland hydrogen sector is huge. For instance, the Financial Times reported yesterday that Airbus gears up for hydrogen jet as fuel of future edges closer to reality. However, it’s still early days for Queensland hydrogen projects which appear to be still in their demonstration/feasibility testing stages (see What’s going on with the so-called hydrogen economy).

Queensland is fortunate we’ve avoided a COVID-Delta-variant outbreak so far. Obviously it’s good news we’ve avoided people getting infected and, in some cases, dying. Furthermore, the lockdowns in NSW and Victoria have come at a high cost to their state economies (e.g. see the payroll jobs data from the ABS below), and Queensland has avoided that massive adverse direct shock from a prolonged lockdown so far this year.


That said, the way Queensland has avoided an outbreak, i.e. a hard border regime, has imposed immense personal hardships on some people, including Queenslanders who have been shut out of the state, and has imposed large losses of trade on many businesses in tourism and hospitality, particularly those dependent on interstate visitors.

For example, Gold Coast tourism operators are facing a billion-dollar loss as holidaymakers stay away. The Gold Coast’s peak tourism body is anticipating a $1 billion loss for the September quarter compared to the same period in 2019. Destination Gold Coast is forecasting a loss of $326 million in expenditure for September alone which is a 68% drop on pre-pandemic spending.

Peter Gleeson, in the Courier-Mail, has well summarised the problem with the Queensland Government’s zero-COVID strategy underpinned by its hard-border policy:

…to succeed, Queensland must effectively close itself off from the rest of the world until coronavirus is no more.

That could be years. We do have an Olympics to host in 2032.

Secondly, it means many, many businesses, reliant upon interstate and international input, will fold.

Hotels, restaurants and tourism operators will not sustain another Christmas without interstate visitors.

Gene looks forward to returning and contributing to the Capricorn Enterprise Major Projects Forum.

For further information, please contact Gene Tunny on via email at contact@adepteconomics.com.au or call us on 1300 169 870.

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