Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

The sad reality of ‘Buy Queensland’

By Graham Young - posted Friday, 18 August 2017

Queensland’s new beggar-my-neighbour state purchasing policy, apart from being a dog whistle to neo-protectionist One Nation voters, guarantees falling living standards for all of us.

The policy, preferring local suppliers, might sound intuitively good, but it cuts across everything we know about economics from our own history.

By giving up to a 30% price preference to “local” suppliers the policy will most obviously increase government costs, and therefore taxes. Some local businesses will benefit, but at a substantial cost to those on low and fixed incomes, along with exporters.


Recent research by Deutsche Bank shows that over the last 10 years prices set or influenced by the public sector have risen 60 per cent – 6 times those for private-sector goods and services.

Queensland just added another 30% as an election bribe. Pity those on the edge of financial oblivion. Perhaps the new state government supported payday lenders can help them out.

Other governments are just as bad.

Most local governments in Queensland have local purchasing policies – no wonder that Council rates have been rising faster than inflation.

The federal government has recently threatened price controls in the gas industry, and insists on building expensive warships in South Australia which is only marginally better than the federal opposition - it wants to set prices for everything from wages to electricity prices.

It seems that when you live in one of the most successful economies in the world it is easy to take it for granted and be tempted by “new” ways of getting ahead.


Except that the new ways are really the bad old ways that had to be abandoned in the 80s and 90s to ensure our economic survival.

After World War II Australia had a boom based on reconstruction, population growth and world-wide technological innovation. There was also high demand for rural commodities like wool.

It didn’t matter much that we had increasingly high trade barriers, an inflexible labour system and currency and interest rate controls – lots of our competitors did too.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

An edited version of this article was first published in the Courier Mail.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

4 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Young

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham Young
Article Tools
Comment 4 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy