Queensland to poach COVID-hit interstate firms
QUEENSLAND will poach major businesses from the COVID-infected southern states in a bold push to become Australia's new economic powerhouse.
Skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in Victoria and growing clusters in NSW are putting at risk the economic revival of Australia's two largest economies.
Their desperate battle to manage the health crisis has opened the door for COVID-free Queensland to capitalise on its own potential economic windfall.
With the southeast already the home of major sporting codes including the AFL, NRL, Supercars and Netball, the focus has shifted to luring shuttered businesses from Victoria and NSW to the Sunshine State.
Queensland State Development Minister Kate Jones said her department was in overdrive, working to bring businesses north.
"We're on a mission to poach big companies that we can ensure will create jobs for Queenslanders," she said
"Right now we are the home of Australian sport - this is a great boon for our tourism and major events industries.
"And thanks to the way we've managed this health crisis, we're seeing more interest from companies keen to come to Queensland."
The work is being done through the state's Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund, which has already attracted 19 major companies and created 1000 jobs in the past few years.
"We're actively in the marketplace looking for firms that can help us further Queensland's economic recovery," Ms Jones said.
It's not only the virus spread in Victoria and NSW providing unintended benefits to Queensland.
A rising second wave in the United States and ongoing cases in Europe are driving many of Queensland's brightest minds back home.
Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp said there were anecdotal stories of people who left Brisbane to work in the global hubs of London, New York and Beijing now returning home.
"We've seen an incredible onshoring of talent, expat talent and start-ups who are returning people from large global organisations, such as Tesla," she said.
"They've returned back to the COVID-safe environment of Queensland."
With the state's businesses powering ahead, Ms Kemp said it was the perfect time for sole traders and start-up businesses to innovate.
"Carpe Diem, as they say - seize the day," she said.
"Get out there and give it a go."
While the state is on the right trajectory, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland manager Amanda Rohan said more was needed to deliver a decade of prosperity.
"For Queensland to be the best place in Australia to do business, the Queensland Government needs to be committed to being business-friendly," she said.
"Irrelevant red tape which creates complexities and obstacles needs to be removed, businesses must be encouraged to grow with investment incentives, and general operating conditions need to be improved and more opportunities needs to be created."
A Deloitte Access Economics report this month predicted the virus, which has "taken a sledgehammer to Australia's economy" would hit hardest in Victoria.
Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson tipped Queensland would be less affected after managing the crisis well.
"Low infection rates enabled the economy to open back up to locals already, with the rest of the nation (except Victorians and selected Sydney hot spots) welcome," he said.
Owner of Eco Noosa River Cruises Michael Wallent said he feels lucky that his business is in Queensland.
"The locals came out en masse when we opened, if we were in lockdown like we were in Melbourne we wouldn't be open, so whether we would have survived or not, I don't know," he said.
"But there is no denying the fact that we are probably in one of the luckiest areas." Coffee sales had helped keep the business afloat throughout the lockdown.
Originally published as Queensland to poach COVID-hit interstate firms