Sarah Elks, 05 November 2015

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned Queensland’s prosperity can no longer rely solely on the “broad shoulders” of farmers and miners, insisting the state’s nascent biofuels industry could be as big as liquid natural gas.

Ms Palaszczuk has addressed nearly 300 overseas and local investors at her north Queensland economic summit in Cairns, on which her government has pinned massive importance for boosting the state’s economy.

“Our prosperity can no longer rely solely on the broad shoulders of our miners and our farmers … change is coming in every single field of endeavour,” she said.

“We shouldn’t fear this. This is a time of immense possibilities. We must embrace it.”

She told the crowd that northern Queensland was the best place to invest in Australia, boasting it had a shared time zone with most of its trading partners and the lowest payroll tax rate on mainland Australia.

Ms Palaszczuk urged the investors to consider pouring cash into infrastructure projects, such as roads, rail and ports, as well as purpose-built student accommodation and “health and knowledge precincts”.

And she said Queensland was well-placed to be part of a global “bio-boom”, with a Deloitte Access Economics report showing that by 2035, industrial bioproducts could contribute $1.8bn to Queensland’s annual gross state product. The Premier said the biofuels sector had the potential to be the next LNG for Queensland.

“My government is proudly pro-business and proudly pro-trade,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Our doors will always be open to business … we stand ready to back you in. We will do all we can to facilitate your operations here, be they new projects or expansion of existing ventures.”

ANZ global head of economics and research Warren Hogan said now was the time for investors to take advantage of the Asian century in Australia.

He said the easing Australian dollar, reduction in investment in mining and the new availability of cheaper labour should all encourage investor confidence.

“For the next 18 months is a wonderful (time) to deploy capital into this economy,” Mr Hogan said.

He told investors Asia was still the “real opportunity”, revealing that analysis showed the 10 largest economies in Asia could account for half of global GDP by 2050.

He said by 2020, the Chinese consumer market was going to be as big as the US consumer market was now.

“That’s very large,” he said.

Extracted in full from The Australian.