Tim Nicholls
Tim Nicholls Kari Bourne

Business not pointing the finger at Government: report

UNIONS say the Queensland Government is prepared to damage one in four Queensland businesses and watch unemployment soar to GFC levels to pursue a job cuts agenda.

But a Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland puts a different spin on its business confidence report, saying businesses are not pointing the finger at the LNP Government.

The report came out the same day Labour Force figures showed Queensland's seasonally unemployment rate had dropped 0.1% to 6.2% but remained the highest in mainland Australia.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the Labour Force result was well below Queensland's long run average unemployment rate and showed difficult economic circumstances states face across Australia.

He said Queensland's economic outlook was bright with 4% growth forecast this year, second only to Western Australia.

"The high Australian dollar and global economic uncertainty are continuing to weigh on business sentiment and consumer confidence, and so any improvement in employment growth in Queensland will likely be modest over the near term," he said.

Mr Nicholls said the Queensland State Budget predicted 15,000 jobs would be created in 2012-13 which the Commonwealth's Industry Employment Projections 2012 Report supported.

Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams said the Pulse report, the CCIQ's quarterly survey of more than 500 businesses, would provide "no comfort" to business communities across regional Queensland.

"Unemployment rates in many regions are generally a few points above the state average, so some areas of Queensland will still be facing high levels of unemployment and lower levels of business confidence," he said.

"It's time for the LNP to look at how its policies are impacting on regional Queensland."

The Pulse survey revealed postponed expansion plans and the closure of some Queensland mine projects, through an easing of global demand and falling commodity prices, had impacted Queensland business confidence in the short term.

CCIQ chief Stephen Tait said the weakening mining outlook was the most significant and emerging issues for the state's economy but, contrary to predictions by many, changes to the state's public sector was not having a material impact on business confidence.

He said 87% of Queensland businesses showed support for the State Government's job and spending cuts, with 75% indicating they had experienced no impact from the cuts.

Mr Tait said those impacts were less than global uncertainty, low national consumer spending and mining outlook fears.