The Property Council recently hosted a very productive lunch with the Honourable Minister for State Development Tom Barton, and a number of issues were raised, resulting in a viable exchange of ideas and perspectives.
Of primary importance to the Property Council is the progress of the Government’s Public Private Partnership Policy (PPPs). Mr Barton said the Cabinet was fully supportive of this policy and had debated the merits of this policy at some length. He further acknowledged that as with any new initiative, it might take a little time for all the stakeholders to become fully comfortable with this new way of conducting business, adding that this was one of the reasons that State Development was taking the leadership role that would see this policy become an operational reality.
Operating guidelines are currently being initiated, and Shaun Drabsch has been bought across from Premiers to State Development to specifically head up this process, and the Property Council will continue to be consulted and have a role to play in the establishment of these operating parameters.
The Minister stressed that the move towards PPPs was not a move towards the privatisation of the public sector, but rather a partnership between the public and private sectors that would see the delivery of infrastructure to Queensland for the betterment of the entire community.
The Minister has just launched Queensland’s State Infrastructure Plan (SIP) and it provides a clear picture of Queensland’s needs for future infrastructure. This document provides a snapshot into the future needs that will facilitate the strategic planning processes of the private sector as well as the three levels of Government.
The Minister said that the State Government’s goals and vision was driven by the determination to “grow sustainable jobs for Queensland”. Those attending the lunch agreed that industry follows infrastructure, which is further clarification of the importance of PPPs.
General discussion evolved around the positive position of Queensland in relation to competitiveness, especially how the State has assisted to enhance Queensland’s position. One area of mutual concern was that of Local Government. While some other State’s Local Authorities were active in industry attraction by waiving headworks charges, and in some cases providing land for industrial growth, a certain reticence - by Local Government - to provide industry attraction incentives seems to prevail in Queensland.