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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Premier's 2017 CEDA State of the State address

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017

    Premier's 2017 CEDA State of the State address


    Wednesday 20th September 2017


    **Check against delivery**


    Thank you for your invitation to return and speak to you.

    And thank you for the opportunity to talk to you about the state of our state.

    In two and a half years of government we have achieved a lot.

    But the more we get done, the more we see opportunities to do more – hand in hand with people like everyone here today.

    Let me first pay tribute to the valuable work CEDA does.

    There is always a place in our national dialogue for informed and reasonable debate about our economic direction.

    For my government, that debate goes directly to the heart of the issue that drives us every day, an objective we share with you here today - improving the lives of Queenslanders.

    From the outset, my Government has been determined to restore stability and confidence.
    There is nothing more important to economic confidence than employment.

    Last week’s ABS data revealed that since my government came to power, more than 115,000 jobs have been created in Queensland.

    That equates to 3,720 jobs created each month since we took office – well over 100 per day.

    Trend unemployment is down to 6%, and through our programs like Back to Work and Skilling Queenslanders for Work, we aim to drive it even lower.

    Queensland’s economy has returned to strong growth of 3.9% - well ahead of the rest of the nation at 1.2% and more than four times the growth rate of 0.8% over the last year of the previous Government. Queensland’s exports have broken more records exceeding $68 billion over the year to July - an increase of 52% under my Government. Growth in exports has been driven by coal, LNG, and crops – most noticeably chickpeas, which have now reached exports of $1.4 billion.

    It is worth thinking for a moment about the potential of chickpeas.

    As India’s middle class continues to grow, the world’s largest vegetarian population will have an ever-increasing appetite for high quality protein – an appetite Queensland chick peas can satisfy.

    Prices for Queensland’s metallurgical coal - used in steel production - are holding up well, with spot prices of more than $200 US a tonne.

    These statistics paint a bright picture of where Queensland is today – and outline a path of where we can go, as an economically diverse, outward looking, socially-inclusive state.

    Our future success - and all the benefits that go with that – depends on all of us, as Queenslanders, ensuring our state is positioned to take full advantage of changing job trends, changing industries, and a changing international landscape.

    Queensland is the best place to be, to take up that challenge.



    One of my government’s signature policies that sets out to do just that is Advancing Queensland, a $420 million investment in maximising this state’s future potential.

    To the end of June, we have committed more than $205 million of this investment to 1,650 innovators across Queensland.

    Their projects have supported 4,821 jobs.

    Advance Queensland is central to our vision to help Queensland open new frontiers, unlocking the jobs and investment opportunities of the future.

    We are on our way to being the ‘Start Up State’ – We have overtaken Victoria to now have the second largest number of startups.

    We have established a startup hub in Fortitude Valley, and there are 13 incubators in regional areas.

    There are new frontiers for new industries - under our biofuels strategy, we have cemented anagreement with the US Navy.

    That Great Green Fleet agreement provides us with the key partner necessary to generate the economies of scale that will give refinery proponents the confidence to push ahead with the development of their plants.

    More broadly, our Biofutures Acceleration Program is attracting a range of companies to establish facilities – crucially, like so many of these new frontiers, the money and the jobs are heading to regional Queensland, places like Gladstone, Mackay and Bundaberg.

    Companies in varying stages of development in this exciting industry include:

    • Mercurius
    • Northern Oil
    • Leaf Resources, MSF Sugar
    • and Amyris

    Some of these companies are looking to use Queensland as a stepping stone to the vast markets of Asia.



    There has been a lot of talk recently about investor confidence in the energy sector.

    I can tell you our message to the energy industry is clear – our Government-owned power assets will remain in public hands, and we will continue to push towards our 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

    I can tell you – and Malcolm Turnbull if he’s looking for some advice - the industry has responded to my government’s clear energy policy direction.

    We have a $5 billion pipeline of private investment in projects that will support 3,200 jobs and generate 5,000 megawatts of clean energy.

    That 5,000 megawatts is more than twice the theoretical capacity of the ageing and much debated Liddell power station in the New South Wales Hunter Valley – and I acknowledge the representatives of AGL here today.  

    In two and a half years, our policy direction has created the environment for large scale solar farms to flourish – from zero generation to projects with a capacity in excess of 1,000 megawatts.

    Every day, we see more and more evidence that investment certainty is fundamental to putting downward pressure on the power bills for families and businesses – not just here in Queensland but across the National Energy Market.

    Queensland is already Australia’s energy powerhouse – we have Australia’s youngest and most efficient fleet of coal-fired generators, publicly-owned assets that on a daily basis are sending vast amounts of electricity into the National Energy Market.

    According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, Queensland is the only mainland State in the National Electricity Market that is not expecting a shortfall in electricity generation.

    I want to see a rewrite of the national electricity market rules, because they are outdated and unfair. 

    It is unfair that the decision of other states to privatise electricity assets is hurting Queensland power prices, even as the Federal Government seeks to intervene in those privatised assets.

    It is unfair that Queenslanders are paying more for electricity because other States are failing to develop their gas basins.

    Policy certainty in Queensland means renewable investment decisions are also increasingly being taken by businesses in other industries – taking more control of their power usage by generating it themselves.

    Companies as diverse as the Sun Metals zinc refinery near Townsville and Brisbane Airport Corporation are investing in their own solar farms to cut their own power bills – investing hundreds of millions of dollars and generating hundreds of jobs.

    Perhaps the greatest new frontier within the renewable energy industry is battery technology.

    A few short years ago it would have been impossible to conceive the idea of suburban homes with rooftop PV panels being able to go off the grid with the aid of storage like the Tesla Powerwall.

    But today that technology is real and growing in efficiency and popularity every day.

    My vision for Queensland is not simply as a beneficiary of this technology, but as a builder of it.

    That is why we are in talks with proponents and local councils in an effort to attract battery production factories here to Queensland, similar to the Tesla Gigafactory I visited in Nevada while on a US trade mission earlier this year.

    While much of the investment in this industry in the ‘Sunshine State’ has been around solar, there are also vital projects in both hydro and wind technology.

    Today, Cairns Port will be abuzz with the arrival of the towers for the 180 megawatt Mount Emerald Wind Farm to be built near Mareeba.

    Next week, the blades for Mount Emerald will arrive in Cairns.

    The key investment from Government here is underway as well, with reinvested dividends from our electricity assets being used by Powerlink to connect these large scale renewable projects to the transmission grid. 

    Another new frontier is the multi-billion dollar potential of drone technology.

    At the Inaugural World Drone Congress held here in Brisbane recently, we launched Australia’s first Drones Strategy to unlock new opportunities and overcome regulatory hurdles in this fast-growing industry that will change our lives in ways we can barely imagine.

    There are new frontiers in defence, where my Government is fully behind Rheinmetall’s bid for its Boxer Vehicle to be Defence’s choice for the Land 400 contract.

    If successful – and there is reason to be confident - we stand to create a new industry worth billions, built around a military vehicle Centre of Excellence. 

    We have new frontiers in agriculture – our commitment to build cluster fences four and a half times the length of the Bruce Highway has brought the sheep industry back from the brink.

    New frontiers in major events – We have secured the TV WEEK Logies from Melbourne, and we are hoping to secure Jeff Horn’s first title defence for Brisbane after his resounding success in the Battle of Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

    There are new frontiers in the Arts – we developed a world-first exhibition at QAGOMA through “Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe” – and in superhero style, 269,000 visitors went through the box office, smashing all former attendance records. 

    Our investment in making blockbuster movies and the first Netflix production in Queensland has transformed this state into a permanent home for the film and international television industry production.

    And we are looking to new frontiers in life-changing medical innovation – securing a new Johnson and Johnson Innovation Partnering office in Queensland and the Siemens Healthcare Innovation Centre.

    And finally, new frontiers in tourism, one of Queensland’s traditional strengths.

    Brisbane will be the home base for half of Qantas’ fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners – $1 billion worth of aircraft, capable of reaching further than ever before across the Pacific, and bringing 470 jobs to Queensland. 

    In two and a half years, we have secured 735,000 extra international airline seats for Queensland, the latest of them being the first Brisbane-Beijing direct flights, announced earlier this week by Kate Jones.

    This is not just about South East Queensland – we’ve also seen recent announcements of new flights from Hainan and Guangzhou into Cairns, from later this year.

    Together with existing services from Hong Kong, this means that the Far North will be getting upwards of 3,500 seats arriving every week from the Pearl River Delta in China.

    That industrious part of southern China is where 120 million people live in a 120 kilometre radius – with perhaps the fastest-growing middle class on earth.

    There’s also good news on the domestic travel front, with new National Visitor Data released today showing nearly 17% growth in business travel for Queensland.

    This has helped produce another record-breaking year for domestic visits to our state.

    In summary, we are pushing into these new frontiers because new frontiers mean new jobs and more opportunities for more Queenslanders, as we diversify our state’s economy. 

    Today I can announce that Brett Godfrey has been appointed as the new chair of Tourism and Events Queensland.

    Brett is a co-founder and former CEO of Virgin Australia Airlines.

    He has vast experience in the Australian and Queensland tourism markets and will be an invaluable asset to the TEQ board.

    Make no mistake, the place to be is Queensland.

    QUEENSLAND BULK WATER OPPORTUNITIES STATEMENT I’ve already spoken about the certainty in our approach to energy policy – now I would like to address water.

    My Government recently released the Queensland Bulk Water Opportunities Statement.

    That document identifies 270,000 megalitres of uncommitted water across the State and up to 300,000 of underutilised allocations in eight major water supply systems – the first time these vital resources have been comprehensively mapped and so thoroughly audited. INFRASTRUCTURE AND INVESTMENT
     By working with Queenslanders we are delivering a Better Way for Queensland.

    We DO NOT SACK and WE DO NOT SELL. We build and invest – and it is working.

    We have invested in additional infrastructure projects, particularly with local councils, to provide extra impetus for job-generation outside the south-east corner.
    My Government has made over $15 billion in new infrastructure commitments - as part of a $42.75 billion infrastructure program over four years including:

    • $5.4 billion to fully fund Cross River Rail – contracts have been issued for early works at the GoPrint site,
      $775 million for Works for Queensland and Building our Regions to support jobs in the regions,
      $270 million for the second stage of Gold Coast Light Rail, where the first train tests have already run the length of the new track,
      More than $800 million in additional health infrastructure and more than $2 billion in additional school infrastructure; and
      an increase of more than $1 billion in roads investment including the $65 million commitment yesterday to the Sumners Road interchange – adding to our recent commitments to M1 upgrades and the Walkerston Bypass. 


    To my mind Queensland’s economic success has always stood apart from others because of our shared understanding that we’re all in this together. An understanding that success is shared and that opportunity must be created for the entire state.

    A thriving, prosperous economy is one that serves all its people – not one that benefits the few. Right now, Queensland is well positioned to seize the opportunities that are flowing from the Asia-Pacific. In a country with the population of Australia, or a state with the population of Queensland, it is difficult for us to comprehend the size of the growing middle class in Asia.

    People in China, Japan and Korea already recognise everything Queensland has to offer as a tourism destination – many of those people who arrive here for a week-long stay will also give serious consideration to sending their children here for tertiary education.

    In those three countries, the size of the middle class – and the number of people with a passport – rises by tens of thousands every week.

    Add to that the growing middle class population and influence of India:

    • a country with whom we share the English language
    • the rule of law
    • a Commonwealth heritage
    • and a love of cricket!

    And our state is uniquely placed to develop strong trade relationships across traditional markets like tourism and higher education, as well as our emerging new frontiers.

    Whether it’s tourism, advanced manufacturing, health and education services, biofutures, the film and TV industry or agriculture, we have the skilled workforce, the resources and the location to capitalise on Asia’s growing middle class.

    To meet these opportunities, we are ensuring that from their earliest education, Queensland school students have access to the subjects that will be the building blocks for opportunities in new industries here and throughout the Asia-Pacific.

    Overnight, Barack Obama tweeted about how fun and important coding can be in schools.

    I think it might be time for us to get the former President back to Queensland, so he can see how coding – and robotics – are already being taught in our schools.

    I look forward to the day soon when our newly-launched Premier’s Coding Challenge is as popular as the Premier’s Reading Challenge.

    This isn’t just an initiative for urban schools, but the whole state – when I visited the small town of Tieri in the Central Highlands recently, it was wonderful to see how enthralled the students were with coding.

    From early years, coding and robotics are now not only educational, but addictively fun for students, with greater access to STEM subjects than ever before. 



    When I addressed CEDA last year, I said that while we have worked tirelessly to implement our economic agenda, we have balanced that with a progressive policy platform that aims to bring Queensland into the 21st century.

    That has continued in the last twelve months.

    We have:

    • allocated $323.1 million over six years to respond to the Not Now, Not Ever report,
    • that includes trialling new Domestic and Family Violence courts in Beenleigh and Townsville, with specialist Magistrates travelling to Mount Isa and Palm Island on circuit, 
    • we have funded two new domestic violence shelters, in addition to the two we already delivered. These are the first new DV shelters in 20 years,
    • we have developed our Action on Ice strategy by talking with local communities about the harms caused by the drug Ice,
    • and my Government has better targeted actions to disrupt drug supply, reduce demand, and to reduce the harm caused by its use by increasing access to treatment and family support services.

    In July this year, my government launched our $1.8 billion Queensland Housing Strategy.

    This 10 year plan will see Queensland take the lead in delivering social and affordable housing, by providing the funding to build more than 5,000 extra homes.

    This will create thousands of building and construction jobs, and provide more Queenslanders with a safe, secure and affordable place to call home.

    A VISION FOR OPPORTUNITY I firmly believe government has a responsibility to create opportunity. 

    It is our job – my job - to make it possible for Queenslanders to be in the best position to seize the opportunities in our cities, our towns our regional and remote communities. 

    For them to have access to a quality education for our children and quality and affordable health services for all families. This should not come as a surprise to anyone – but I love this State!

    It goes deeper than an appreciation of the people and the climate and the landscape – although both are amazing.

    It’s about watching Queensland defeat New South Wales in State of Origin – again… and again… and again.

    It’s about the prospect of another all Queensland Grand final between the Broncos and Cowboys in a week and a half’s time.

    It’s about Jeff Horn taking the WBO welterweight title at Suncorp, or the Sunshine Coast Lightning winning the Super Netball title in their first year in the competition. It’s about Sally Pearson fighting back from injury to be world champion again.

    It’s about Ian Frazer pioneering a vaccine that protects teenagers against a cancer than can kill 250,000 people a year.

    It’s about Kowanyama elder Priscilla Major reaching out to me to help address mental health issues in her community.

    And it’s about Cairns State High School principal Chris Zilm bringing his community together to celebrate 100 years with the state’s best school orchestra – a band so big it can barely fit on the stage.

    Fundamentally, Queensland is about our people.

    For all our individual successes, we achieve the most when we work together as a community.

    Nothing motivates a Queenslander more than another Queenslander in need – we saw that during Tropical Cyclone Debbie. It is a generosity of spirit, an instinct to offer an open hand. That’s what motivates me in my job – people.


    Governments must address these issues – they must commit – and they must deliver.

    Governments that make promises and break them fuel the cynicism of a disaffected electorate.

    They usually find themselves punished for it at the ballot box. That’s why I am most proud of my Government’s record on honouring its election commitments.

    Of the 553 we made before the last election, 484 – or 87% - have been delivered, with another 50 underway and 19 superseded.



    Ladies and gentlemen, when I stood here a year ago, I reflected that we had:

    • Higher economic growth
    • Lower unemployment
    • Higher confidence
    • More frontline services
    • Less division
    • and a fairer, more modern society.

    Today I can stand here before you and say we have delivered those fundamental strengths again.

    My determination is to continue to work hard for Queenslanders.

    In a fortnight’s time, it will be six months until the Commonwealth Games open on the Gold Coast.

    That event will inject $2 billion into the Queensland economy, and showcase our state to an international television audience of 1.5 billion people.

    In an era of upheaval in traditional alliances and trading blocs, there is a familiarity and certainty that comes from the Commonwealth, our oldest international family.

    My vision for the Commonwealth Games is about so much more than sport – it is about creating new trade opportunities with a group that makes up one-third of the world’s population – and one that shares those common values that I referred to earlier when talking about India.

    It is why we will have a purpose-built venue, Commonwealth House, at Broadbeach, to host trade discussion between Commonwealth nations, looking at investment opportunities as an enduring legacy of the Commonwealth Games.

    I hope that this time next year, I have the opportunity to stand here as Premier and describe to you the opportunities that post-Games legacy is bringing to Queensland.

    I want to continue to earn the trust of Queenslanders and make the case so that we can get on with the job of delivering for Queensland.

    Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you today.


    Video of the speech is available here


    High resolution video available on request.

    Media contact: Michelle Wellington 0437 323 834