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Making Business a Priority for the State Election

The upcoming state election is shaping as a referendum on the handling of the COVID crisis that has in large part decimated the world economy and continues to impact local business.

In Queensland, the low number of active cases have allowed workers and small businesses in the state to get back to work following the reopening of schools and childcare centres. 
The obvious downside to the current situation is that the level of economic activity, while subdued, is likely to get worse as Federal Government support measures around Jobkeeper and Jobseeker are likely to be withdrawn by January 2021. 

Source: Queensland Electoral Commission

Industries such as Queensland's tourism sector mirror a patchwork of positive and negative. 

The 'Local as' initiative by the Chamber of Commerce Collective of Queensland has been a resounding success and the support of people across the state has been a major boon for tourism operators across the state who have had to contend with having next-to-no income for the previous three months. 

However border closures around the state border remain contentious given the fact that local active cases in Northern and Central New South Wales are very low. 

Tourism, though, is only one part of the equation and the need to emerge from the current crisis with an opportunity to truly kick start the economy remains a massive challenge for whomever forms government after the October 31 poll.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Queensland had the highest level of bankruptcies nationally, one of the lowest levels of business confidence in the state's history and an elevated unemployment rate. 

Coupled with a halving in private capital investment over the decade and a moderation in public spending on capital works, the political fight should really be about how to ensure the business sector not only survives but thrives. 

With the state currently confronting $100 billion in debt, the wriggle room to spur action may in fact be quite constrained. 

That said, it will be interesting to see how great the impact will be when no payroll taxes are collected. 

The need for new thinking at all levels of government will perhaps be best achieved through a true contest of ideas leading into the October 31 poll.

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