Queensland is a small business state with more than 99% of businesses operating as sole traders or employing local teams of up to 19 staff. These businesses employ more than 1 in 4 Queenslanders and contribute more than a third of the state's output. Despite their importance to the state economy, business confidence and conditions have both been falling for the past two years. The recent bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic have only worsened the outlook for small business.
The next State Government must put in place policies which create economic demand quickly.
But it must also commit to the long-term transformation needed to achieve a more eco-efficient, resilient, and productive economy. That means government supporting business to adopt sustainable practices as a model for business growth and diversification.
To achieve this requires a transformational approach across five core areas:
Business viability starts with business-friendly operating environments that make it easy to employ, invest, and participate in local infrastructure and supply contracts. In turn, this stimulates the economy through the circular flow of interaction between the Queensland government, Queensland businesses and Queensland communities.
Sustainable practices have become a priority for businesses looking to reduce production waste, save on utility costs, and meet consumer preferences for products and services. Adopting sustainable business practices is a model for business growth and diversification while managing costs.
State building infrastructure plays a key role in the economy with respect to the provision of employment, business cashflows and the higher living standards of communities. Smart infrastructure projects are those that prioritise eco-efficiency, resilience and productivity.
The future of skilled workforces will be affected by the rapid uptake of technology, the widening of already present skill gaps and the effects of dwindling numbers of skilled migrant workers. There is a need to upskill current or prospective employees, strengthen Queensland’s STEM capabilities and enhance our skilled migration programs. Understanding where future opportunities exist for future skilled workers will require consultation with industry as well as detailed analysis of disruptive global trends.