What’s driving Qld’s (slow) return to pre-COVID economy
Queensland's bounceback from the COVID-19 recession has been slower than most other states, even as the its economy rises above pre-pandemic levels.
Meanwhile, the national economy has bounced back from the worst recession since the Great Depression "twice as fast and six months earlier" than predicted in the October Budget.
As government support halved, growth in the economy was driven by more people returning to pubs, cafes and restaurants as life began adapt to the "new normal".
Queensland homebuyers eager to get into the property market splashed out about $900 million than the previous quarter more on building new homes or renovations, off the back of record low interest rates and the HomeBuilder grants.
The state's thirst for a drink has continued to grow, with record alcohol spending continue to rise, while we also splashed out more on clothes, cars, furnishing the homes and a bit of recreation.
But the Opposition warned many people were still struggling and the end to JobKeeper at the end of the month, with the wage subsidy supporting more than 200,000 Queenslanders, would cause more worry.
The nation's economy grew 3.1 per cent in the three months to December, while Queensland rose 2 per cent, according to the national accounts released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Just WA and South Australia had slower growth, while NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, the latter unleashed from its long lockdown, outstripped the sunshine state.
But the economy is still down by 1.1 per cent of where it was before the pandemic.
Queensland's state final demand, an economic measure looking at government, private and household spending, rose above where it was pre-pandemic for the first time, up 3 per cent.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said they were welcome figures, but there was still a "bumpy road ahead".
"We really don't know what's around the corner. Rolling out the vaccine, the recovery is gaining strength and JobKeeper is coming to an end in March," he said.
"We are continuing to provide other supports to the economy. That includes the JobMaker hiring credit, tax cuts."
In Queensland for December quarter, alcohol sales $2.3 billion, up $600 million, vehicle purchases $1.4 billion, up $250 million, spending at hotels, cafes and restaurants hit $3.2 billion up $500 million.
Spending on new homes and renovations up about 10 per cent, $900 million rise to $8.13 billion.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said not everyone was feeling the economic recovery, with many workers concerned about the approaching end of JobKeeper.
"The answer here is investment in secure and well-paid jobs, investment and cheaper and cleaner energy, investment and aged care and childcare, investment in training and apprenticeships," he said.
"This is a government in a crisis which is incapable of managing the economy in the interests of ordinary working people."
Originally published as What's driving Qld's (slow) return to pre-COVID economy