State of the State Address 2023

Published Wednesday, 04 October, 2023 at 01:51 PM

Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Welcome and thank you for making the time to be here for the 2023 CEDA State of the State address.

It’s three years since I launched our COVID economic recovery plan at CEDA.


It's a plan that has made Queensland’s economy the strongest in the nation with the fastest jobs growth on the east coast of Australia.

There are 276,600 more jobs in Queensland than in March 2020.

Our economy is set to grow at 3 per cent this financial year, or twice as fast as the nation.

We have lower debt than our southern neighbours.

Taxes are $551 lower per person.

And our exports of goods is over $125 billion.

Over the year to the June quarter, business investment is up 5.6 per cent.

Investment in new dwellings is up 14.8 per cent with a record pipeline of housing investment ahead.

Private sector engineering construction is up 12 per cent supported by the strength of our resources sector.

And in further good news, unemployment has fallen across regional Queensland.

Over the past year alone, 6,700 jobs have been created in Townsville.

Now to put that in perspective, when the Townsville nickel refinery closed, unemployment was over 11 per cent.

Today in Townsville, it is 2.7 per cent - the lowest unemployment rate in Queensland.

There are 11,000 more jobs in Central Queensland.

5,500 more jobs in Toowoomba.

18,800 more on the Sunshine Coast; and

14,200 more jobs in Wide Bay where unemployment has fallen from 10.1 per cent to 5.7 per cent, helped in large part by the reshoring of train and defence manufacturing.

In Cairns unemployment has fallen from 7.9 per cent when we came to government to 3.2 per cent.

All this economic strength continues to attract more people to move to our regions.


Now despite the strength in Queensland’s economy, we know that Queensland families and households continue to be hurt by global and national pressures.

As the world adjusts to the end of the pandemic, war has returned to Europe.

The result is higher global interest rates and fuel costs.

The rising cost of groceries and petrol are having an big impact on a lot of families.

Interest rates are translating to higher mortgage repayments and higher rents.

Overseas migration to Australia is expected to be the highest it has been since the 1960s.

This is accelerating house prices at a time when interest rates would normally be slowing growth in prices.

These cost of living impacts are hurting the families that can least afford it.

Then there are the impacts of climate change.

Impacts that we are already seeing as we start a severe fire season.  

All of these global and national pressures are building up.

These pressures are the greatest risk to our shared vision of equality of opportunity and a better future.

As a State Government, we will do everything we can to respond to these pressures.

But we don’t control interest rates, we don’t regulate fuel prices, we don’t set population growth nor overseas migration. 


What we can do is use our economic and financial strength to:

  • Provide the largest cost of living rebates and relief in the nation and
  • Deliver the biggest infrastructure build in our history: The ‘Big Build’ of hospitals, schools, transport infrastructure and social housing needed for a growing State.

We are delivering on the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan to provide renewable energy.

And we are developing the skills and industries so that Queenslanders can secure the best paid jobs in the nation, providing rewarding careers building a better future for our State and our planet.


I will start with the support we are providing for the cost of living.

This quarter all Queenslanders will see rebates start to flow providing $550 off power bills this financial year.

For pensioners and seniors, the rebates are $1,072.

These are the largest rebates on power in the nation.

We are providing $44 million in rebates to households to buy energy efficient appliances to both lower emissions and power bills.

Today I can announce another Cost of Living measure, this time aimed at business.

We will provide $35 million in further rebates to
support small to medium businesses including rebates of up to $12,500 to install energy efficiency equipment.

This builds on the $650 in power bill rebates already provided for small business.

We have been able to provide record cost of living support because we have kept our energy assets in public hands.

And because we have ensured that Queenslanders receive a fair share on the returns from our coal royalties.


In Queensland we are delivering the Big Infrastructure Build with more than $96 billion worth of infrastructure investment already delivered in addition to another $89 billion over the next four years.

That’s a total of $185 billion of infrastructure investment.

Already we have built, and I’m just going to name some here:

  • 25 new schools

  • We’ve airconditioned every State school classroom

  • Built the second stage of Gold Coast Light Rail

  • Built the Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville

  • And last week I opened the huge expansion of the Cairns Convention Centre

  • New hospitals in Roma and Kingaroy and Atherton

  • A new counter-terrorism training centre for our police

  • The Smithfield Bypass; and

  • More than 459 upgrades under the Bruce Highway upgrade program, just to name a few examples.


Our government is delivering the largest hospital building program in the nation providing more than 3,000 extra hospital beds.

There are seven new Satellite Hospitals.

Three are opened already at Ripley, Caboolture and Redlands.

There are three new hospitals at Bundaberg, Coomera and Toowoomba

Major expansions at 11 more hospitals across Queensland; and

A new, dedicated Queensland Cancer Centre.


When it comes to transport infrastructure we are building:

The Cross River Rail – a lot of work is happening underground there.

The Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3.

The Coomera Connector Stage 1 – you might know it as the Second M1.

And upgrades to the Bruce Highway around Rockhampton, Bowen, Mackay to Proserpine, the Townsville Ring Road and Cairns.


Friends, our investment in housing is now the largest on record with a total commitment of $5 billion to deliver 13,500 affordable and social homes.

And we won’t stop there as we continue to engage through our Queensland Housing Round Table.


Amongst all of this we are also delivering the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As I’ve said many times, we are drawing heavily on the infrastructure the State already has.

The investment on Games infrastructure makes up less than 3 per cent of the Big Build over the next four years.

And we have announced a $180 BILLION Procurement Strategy so that businesses right across Queensland can share in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


It has now been a year since I launched the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan here at CEDA to deliver affordable and renewable energy and to set up our regions for the century ahead.  

To make our existing industries more competitive and to create new industries in advanced manufacturing and critical minerals.

To act as a magnet for investment so that more products are made in Queensland with renewable energy.

We are investing $19 billion in renewable energy over the next four years in Queensland.

That compares with a $20 billion plan nationally under Rewiring the Nation.

Over the past year Queensland has led the nation in the construction of new renewable energy projects.

We have now started early works on CopperString 2032 with 40 works packages going out for expressions of interest just last week.

This includes works on stringing and installation through to camp and also bus services.

The $5 billion CopperString 2032 project will connect the largest renewable energy zone on the east coast of Australia with $500 billion of critical minerals.

Early works including geotechnical drilling has now started on the Borumba pumped hydro storage.

And the world’s largest Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro.

These projects will allow for even more jobs and manufacturing with reliable renewable energy in North Queensland and Gympie and Wide Bay.

The largest solar farm in Australia, the Western Downs Green Power Hub, has now been connected in partnership with CleanCo.

The Dulacca wind farm has been connected to the grid supported by CleanCo.

Construction has started on the Wambo Wind Farm that will be 50 per cent owned by Stanwell.

And work has started on the Kogan Creek Clean Energy Hub with CS Energy.

And today I can announce the first hydrogen-ready gas turbines to be installed in Australia and operational by 2026.

It will use renewable hydrogen made at the Kogan Clean Energy Hub.  

Work has also started on the Stanwell Clean Energy Hub that will use Maryborough-made iron flow batteries.

Stanwell has also now entered into a partnership with Energy Storage Industries Asia Pacific to secure the first large scale deployment of locally made flow batteries in Australia.   

Stanwell and Energy Storage Industries are now working on an initial 150 megawatt battery project with the ongoing rights to purchase up to 200 megawatts per annum.

When it comes to the SuperGrid, the construction is underway on the connection of the MacInytre Wind farm, one of the largest onshore wind farms in the world and the Kidston Pumped Hydro.

Construction of the SuperGrid is already supporting 570 jobs.

And renewable energy generation has now risen to 26 per cent in Queensland.

The world is taking notice of what Queensland is doing.

Since launching our Energy and Jobs plan, connection inquiries have more than doubled from 10 gigawatts to 25 gigawatts.

Companies want what Queensland has to offer.

And this is just the beginning.

Today I can also announce that CS Energy will own 50 per cent of the Boulder Creek wind farm in Central Queensland.

A project that will deliver another 228 megawatts of renewable power.

With many more to come.


But the SuperGrid will do more than just transmit renewable energy.

On the top of those transmission lines there will be fibre optic cable.

To unlock that fibre, we established a government owned business called the Queensland Capacity Network or QCN.

Since being established QCN has increased the amount of digital capacity it supplies across Queensland by twelve-fold.

Today I can announce another $250 million investment to support a one-hundred fold increase in internet speeds in key parts of Queensland through the SuperGrid.

This investment will bring fibre and wireless connectivity to the regions to bridge that digital divide.

To create the largest publicly owned regional fibre network in the nation.

It will provide capital city speeds in the regions supporting high-paying tech jobs.

It will support new opportunities to locate sovereign data centres near to renewable energy and support the data connections needed for advanced manufacturing jobs in regional centres.

Over the past three years QCN has been working in the regions to improve digital connectivity for businesses like John Dee Export Beef in Warwick.

John Dee is one of the largest employers in Warwick producing nine thousand cartons of export beef a day.

Their digital connectivity was so poor they had to drive to Brisbane with their little USB stick every week to download critical business data.

Online banking – completely unworkable.

The QCN solution for John Dee meant they could keep their back office and local jobs in Warwick.

Their speeds are now 60 times faster.

They can video conference with export customers, track supply chain inventories and logistics in real time and upskill their team with online learning.

Good digital connectivity keeps jobs and businesses in the regions.

To support today’s announcement, QCN and Powerlink will begin early works immediately on the Copperstring 2032 section of the Supergrid.   

These early works will lay the communications foundations for the construction rollout of Copperstring.

It’s the first step in the much bigger rollout of the QCN network across the Supergrid. 

Importantly, communities along the Flinders Highway will get early access to super-fast broadband by next year.


Now one of the greatest challenges to reaching our potential is providing access to the skills that are going to be needed for the future.

That’s why I moved to commit to providing free TAFE for Queenslanders aged under 25 in priority areas.

In the past year, and this is an interesting statistic but you need to remember these are people, 45,000 people have benefitted from Free TAFE.

I meet them.

These are people who now have careers in tourism, nursing and construction.

Nothing succeeds like success and our policy has been now been taken up nationally.

We are continuing with our investments to build the Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Training Facility in Townsville and the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Lab in Cairns.

That is in addition to having already delivered:

  • The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre
  • The Electro Group Renewable Energy Training Facility
  • The Townsville Interim Training Centre and Transmission Hub; and
  • The Gladstone SuperGrid Training Centre and Transmission Hub.

There are no other facilities like this in the nation to train workers for renewable energy and hydrogen job opportunities. 


Now I want to talk about a topic you might not be familiar with.

But it is recognised as the ‘New Frontier’.

It’s not enough to only provide the skills for existing technologies.

We need to provide the skills in schools to create the technologies for a better Queensland future.

To develop quantum skills.

Quantum skills that can deliver new technologies to improve the efficiency of renewable energy, electric vehicles and batteries.

Direct air capture to reverse climate change.

New space technologies.

Advanced computing.

Sports tech including treatment of concussion.

Medical sensors to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s.

And sensors to find the critical minerals to unlock the next mining boom that I talk to you about.

We want to provide Queenslanders not just with the opportunity to have the best paying jobs but to have careers that will change the world.

Jobs where our young people can achieve their dreams and make a positive difference.

When I first came to government, I led the nation on introducing coding into the school curriculum.

Today I can announce that Queensland will take a leading position in introducing quantum into schools and TAFEs by establishing a Queensland Quantum Academy.

The Quantum Academy will be established between the Queensland Government, industry, and universities.

It's a partnership.

Quantum skills are needed for technologies that engineer or manipulate matter or light at a very small or atomic and subatomic scales.

We need these skills now because we are at the start of the second quantum revolution.

The science up till now has supported most of the technological progress to date in things such as computers, energy, satellites, and medical imaging.

That technology development is now reaching a performance wall.

The power of computers and medical imaging is not increasing at the rate it did in the 1990s or 2000s.

But that wall is about to be surpassed.

Experts say this second quantum revolution will be in new technologies including breakthroughs in things such as pharmaceuticals.

Using these innovations could deliver more power to computers to solve the most complex problems and provide new sensing and imaging, and communications technologies.

The National Quantum strategy predicts that this second quantum revolution could generate 50,000 jobs by 2045.

I want Queensland to be at the forefront of these new technologies because that means good paying and secure jobs for Queenslanders.

The Smart State and our investment in Advance Queensland built the foundations with world leading quantum research.  

Queensland already hosts two of the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence in quantum technologies.

And we will host the next Centre of Excellence in Quantum Biotechnology.

Today I am releasing our plan for Queensland to go to the next level and be a leader in the second quantum revolution.

The Queensland Quantum and Advanced Technologies Strategy will invest $76 million to support the commercialisation of Queensland’s world leading research in quantum technologies.

The strategy will build on the new quantum and advanced technologies industry that is already developing right here in Queensland.

It's not futuristic, it’s happening right now.

Companies and universities are already at work in this field.

They include companies like Quest and Semefab who are developing high-temperature compound semi-conductors at Griffith University that will revolutionise renewable energy and electric vehicles.

Then there is Silanna, which has relocated to Queensland to provide ultraviolet technology with the aim to stop the spread of future pandemics.

Intellidesign who have developed a collision avoidance system for mining vehicles.

And ‘Analog Quantum Circuits’ who are developing superconducting circuits for quantum computers out of the University of Queensland.

Australia is currently the third highest developer of quantum patents in the world.

I bet you didn’t know that.

The investment in the first silicon microprocessors in California helped establish Silicon Valley.

We now have the opportunity to follow Silicon Valley in Queensland with investments in quantum technologies.

That’s why our $76 million quantum strategy includes:

$20 million for technology development in partnership with our universities.

$3 million for PHD support, focused on commercialisation and supporting more women into the workforce.

$1 million for quantum STEM programs in schools and vocational education.

$5 million for a Queensland Quantum Foundry to support new startups and partner with our Queensland Venture Capital Development Fund.

$10 million for a Quantum Bio-innovator to develop new biomedical technologies.

$20 million for fabrication infrastructure to commercialise and upscale quantum technologies.

$10 million to develop the quantum technologies to make renewable energy more efficient and cheaper; and

$5 million to showcase Queensland’s Quantum technologies as part of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The future of quantum is in Queensland.

As Australia’s Chief Scientist said last week at the World Quantum Congress in Washington DC, and I quote:

To my mind, our quantum ambition is closely tied to these sectors: Renewable technologies including minerals extraction; health and medical technologies; and the supply chains for components such as those in semiconductor manufacturing”.

In Queensland we have it all:

A world leading Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

The most significant investment in Australia in the Queensland Critical Minerals Strategy.

And now the largest commitment of any State or Territory with the Queensland Quantum and Advanced Technologies Strategy.


All of these plans have one shared vision.

For Queensland to be the State for high paying high value jobs.

Good jobs.

More of these good jobs are coming.

We want our kids to have the opportunity to have these good jobs and to have those jobs in the regional cities and towns where they grew up.

To further deliver on this vision I am today inviting businesses to join with us as part of a Skills Accord with industry.

We need to get our kids particularly in Years 9 and 10 excited about learning science technology, engineering, and mathematics.

That’s why we will support regional job expos across the State.

These regional jobs expos will showcase the opportunities for students to work in exciting careers in emerging sectors that we are developing in Queensland including:

Advanced manufacturing with aerospace, space and defence

Renewables and battery technologies



AgTech; and

Creative industries.

This is building on the success of our Gateway to Industry Schools Program that supported 31,000 students last year.


So much of the economic future of Queensland is in our regions.  

Over the past three years our regional COVID economic recovery plans have delivered new job creating industries.

Whether that be Vecco who are now processing critical minerals including vanadium in Townsville.

And I think I mentioned vanadium about five or six years ago and everyone looked at me strangely.

It’s all now happening.

Boeing building aircraft in Toowoomba.

Or Downer making trains again in Maryborough.

And now the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan provides the renewable SuperGrid to set up our regions for the century ahead.

To support Far North Queensland and Cairns to build on existing strengths in tourism and agriculture.

With more good high value jobs in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, aquaculture, renewable energy and creative industries.

For Townsville to become the epicentre for critical minerals processing and new renewable manufacturing jobs including battery manufacturing, hydrogen, and biofuels.

To deliver a new mining boom in North West Queensland in the critical minerals such as vanadium that the world needs for renewable energy.

To support our agriculture sector and Outback tourism sector to lead the world.

For the Mackay-Whitsunday region to become a manufacturing, biofuels and AgTech powerhouse.

With firmed renewable energy from the battery of the North the world’s most powerful pumped hydro dam.

For Central Queensland to continue to grow as an industrial and agricultural powerhouse supplied by renewable energy and building hydrogen electrolysers for the world.

For the Wide Bay to grow even more manufacturing jobs and develop new biofuel opportunities;

And for the Darling Downs to develop more new industries including in agriculture, renewables, aerospace and biofuels.

We will be progressively launching Regional Economic Plans over the next year in consultation with local communities.

Building on the work that will be outlined in our Regional Transformation Strategies.


Now in conclusion, friends one and all, our plan is to make Queensland a global leader, no matter the field, addressing some of the world’s most complex challenges in healthcare, energy supply and in climate change.

As we have demonstrated, our plans work.

There are challenges, make no mistake.

I recognise that and everyone in the room does too.

But, as I have detailed, there is no better place in the world to face down these challenges than Queensland.There’s no better place to live and grow a business.

We are delivering nation leading cost of living support which, as of January, will also include free Kindy.

We have the biggest infrastructure build in our State’s history.

The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan to going to set up our regional economies for the next century.

All of that means more well paying and meaningful jobs creating a better future for our State.

When we commit to developing new industries in our regions in Queensland - we deliver.

If we work together our best days are well and truly ahead of us.And moving closer every day.

Thank you.