We all remember the graphs - the ones which showed
In fairness, it could have been economically impossible to maintain the low tax status of
Comparisons of state taxes are notoriously tricky because each state has a different tax mix. But however you cut the cake, it’s undeniable that the ‘low tax’ status of
The recent attempt by the Queensland Government to retrospectively change the method of land valuations to recapture potentially lost revenues was evidence that the willingness to reverse that trend is not there. (The decision was reversed, thankfully, but what damage the furore did to
Cost of living
Comparisons of state business taxes are one thing but population growth numbers also depend on the many myriad decisions made by families and individuals. They are unlikely to consult league tables of business taxes (unless they’re business people) and are more likely to feel the hip pocket pressure of other cost of living features of a region, weighed against opportunities presented by the economy or lifestyle. And here too,
Vehicle registration costs were until recently some of the lowest in the country.
Fuel costs too, used to be proudly amongst the lowest in the country. But the scrapping of the fuel subsidy scheme means that
You could add to this the costs of electricity, which under a range of reforms to power generation and retailing, have risen substantially and will continue to rise. Low cost electricity was once a
The same seems to be happening across other utilities (for example water) to which we once felt entitled as part of our general tax burden but which are now separately levied.
And then there’s housing.
This point hardly needs to be laboured. House prices throughout the state, in almost any centre, were within recent enough memory so much more affordable than similar styled houses in similar city or regional locations in other states. No more. This huge price advantage in interstate competitiveness has been lost. The median house price in Brisbane, according to some reports, has passed the $500,000 mark and according to other reports could start to catch up to Sydney’s (Brisbane housing prices were around half those of Sydney as recently as 1999. Today, they are 80% of
The days of moving your family from Victoria or Sydney because you could buy a better home for less, are over. It was regarded as a key driver of population growth at the time. It is no longer.
In short, the ‘low tax state’ meant more than just low business taxes: it covered a range of living costs and charges and levies which were typically lower in Queensland and which contributed to the strong argument in peoples’ minds that Queensland was the place to be. Hence the population growth, especially from interstate. But if you start to think carefully about each item on the menu of
This starts to become especially important when you factor in that household budgets in
But the sun’s still shining, right?
No, I’ve never been a fan of the ‘
So what if …
So what if the changed competitive position of
Importantly for so many businesses, and for the economy of