Economic report says Qld struggling, NSW doing just fine

THE Sunshine State has been handed an "E" report card for its economic freedom, while New South Wales achieved a "B" grading on four key economic measures, under a new analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs.

The free market think tank released its first economic freedom rankings of Australia's states - similar in thrust to the Heritage Foundation's international measures released just over a week ago.

In the report, it found West Australia was the most economically free state in the country, while the island state of Tasmania was the least.

The rankings are based on four key issues: government expenditure, taxation, government dependency and the regulatory environment.

It was informed from government data from 2011, with the results indicating "that jurisdictions in which governments spend and tax less, enact fewer regulations, and have fewer people depending upon the state for their incomes will be relatively freer than others".

Report author IPA fellow Julie Novak found NSW was second only to the mining-rich state of WA for economic freedom, while Queensland in 2011 was given an "E" ranking, above only Tasmania's "F".

She wrote that politicians and bureaucrats in every state should be undergoing economic reforms that "cut the size of government, deregulate the economy, and reduce the extent of personal dependency upon government".

"The relative rankings of the Australian states on the economic freedom index illustrate significant variations in the discipline of politicians and bureaucrats around the country to abstain from economic activities," she wrote.

"As the rankings clearly indicate, not all political actors are equally disciplined to allow regional economies to remain free, and therefore not all Australians enjoy the same degree of economic freedoms."