The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has commenced an inquiry into State Government assistance to industry with the release of an issues paper for public comment.
“The QCA has been asked by the Queensland Government to evaluate assistance to industry. We will be assessing the impact of these measures on economic growth and whether they are cost-effective for taxpayers,” said QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts.
“By one estimate, the State Government provided $850 million in direct assistance to industry in 2008–09. It is obviously important that this assistance is transparent and delivering a net public benefit in terms of jobs, investment and productivity.
“Direct budget funding is only one form of industry assistance. Tax concessions, restrictions on competition and below cost pricing for services also assist industry. These indirect measures may create significant costs for taxpayers, other businesses and consumers.
“As a first step, the QCA will identify the full range of assistance measures offered by the State Government. The QCA will work with government agencies to produce a comprehensive public list of assistance measures,” said Malcolm Roberts.
A framework will also developed to assess the performance of individual measures.
“The QCA will develop a framework to help policy makers determine whether there are sound reasons to provide assistance and how assistance should be delivered to maximise the benefits to both industry and the community.
“Where a sound policy reason for assistance exists, the framework will help agencies consider how programs can be designed to deliver the best possible returns,” said Malcolm Roberts.
The QCA will release an interim report in August on the performance assessment framework. A second report will be provided in June 2015 recommending options to reform assistance measures.
The QCA will be consulting widely with government agencies, industry and other stakeholders during the inquiry. The issues paper is available on our website. Submissions on the issues paper are invited by 30 May.
A second round of consultation and submissions will commence in September to inform the recommendations in our final report.