Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Airport traffic growth undershooting runway

Auckland Airport (AIA) today updated traffic numbers for August which include Cairns Airport. As previously discussed these are presented differently to those directly from the Airport which are yet to be posted for August. The Auckland numbers appear to confirm recent softening growth in domestic traffic. The domestic growth trend had previously been quite robust while international has been weak with negative growth.


Following a negative month in June with -2.9% growth from the year before any rebound has been modest with 1.8% growth in July and 1.4% growth in August. Aggregate growth for the last three months is just 0.3% over the previous year. July and August are the peak months of the year. The percentage change in the 12 month rolling totals from AIA have now successively rolled down: May 5.2%; June 4.6%; July 4.2%; August 3.7%.

I will update with graphics when Cairns Airport post their version of the numbers. Meanwhile seat belts fastened and fingers crossed for a soft landing or maybe even a touch-and-go from G20 traffic!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Revisiting the investment clock

An excellent post from Tim Harford worth a read: How to see into the future
This wasn’t because Keynes was a great economic forecaster. His original approach had been predicated on timing the business cycle, moving into and out of different investment classes depending on which way the economy itself was moving. This investment strategy was not a success, and after several years Keynes’s portfolio was almost 20 per cent behind the market as a whole.
See previous post: A treatise on clocks. As far as I can make out the 'Cairns Clock' there has been stuck in about the same position for almost two years now? Enthusiastic promoters of the investment/economic clock should be handled with caution. The sponsored posts on my FB timeline have been filled with property spruikers lately and i'm pretty sure each of them has a clock with a time adjusted to their sales strategy.

Painting by numbers

I haven't posted anything yet on last weeks regional employment data which has been covered by Conus: The good news for jobs continues in Cairns

Pete has also updated and made available the Conus Trend employment and unemployment rate for the Queensland regions. This is particularly valuable in being able to provide a more sound basis of comparison between regions for the notoriously unreliable monthly data from the ABS.

The ABS provide data for the Queensland SA4 regions and also a break this into 'Greater Brisbane' and 'Rest of Qld'. What I have looked at is the Y-o-Y change in the Conus Trend from August 2013 to August 2014. In this period there were 49,300 jobs total created in Qld. 22,900 in Greater Brisbane and 26,400 in Rest of Qld.

Fair enough, but when we look at the SA4 breakdown then 21,100 of those regional jobs (80%) were on the Gold Coast. If one were to take the liberty to rearrange the statistical geography and include both Gold and Sunshine Coasts with Greater Brisbane in 'SEQ' then there would have been no net jobs gain at all over the year outside SEQ.

If we rank the Queensland regions on employment growth this is how it looks:

Gold Coast is also the largest region by population here. The validity of the 7.7% growth on the Gold Coast looks a bit of a stretch to me even on the trend numbers. (Note: wouldn't place much relevance there on 'Outback' given the relatively small population and sample size with a geography that covers a huge area of inland Qld including Cape York.)

However, within Greater Brisbane there are also divergences as wide as plus 9.7% employment growth in the Inner City to minus 9.2% in Logan-Beaudesert.

Should be careful here, as Ricardian Ambivalence always used to warn the methodology of the labour force survey is to derive an unemployment rate and employment is a secondary estimate based on further assumptions such as population growth. So the significant point to note is that even with such strong employment growth the unemployment rate on the Gold Coast increased:

This is why some of us keep banging on about participation rates and the need to consider the full range of indicators and not just a selected component. To play with some numbers I have combined the two above to correlate employment growth with the unemployment rate:

I wont pretend that trend line has any significance. Despite that there doesn't appear to be any meaningful correlation between employment growth and the unemployment rates across the regions? Cairns is one of only three to show improvement in both (bottom right quadrant). Fitzroy is particularly interesting stand-out there given the association with resource industries.

Stephen Koukoulas tweeted in response to the recently contentious national stats that there was a danger of a policy mistake if reliability of the data was not improved. The ABS has also been subject to recent funding cuts. I guess we just have to trust that the RBA understand the problems and complexities.

At a regional level it is now Townsville which is angsting hard based on the unemployment stats. I appreciate that Townsville may be soft and the outlook weaker than other regions but suspect there is a danger in being hostage to this employment data, as I think previously happened in Cairns: Townsville jobs disappear amid 'perfect storm' of economic problems

I remain content to be circumspect on all the labour force data currently although recognise that such confused circumstances could correlate with a turning point.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cairns #G20 Tweet Award

My favourite tweet so far from the Cairns G20 Finance Ministers comes from Ed Johnson, Sydney bureau chief at Bloomberg News, which impressively promotes the convention centre auditorium:

I hear Cairns is beautiful at this time of year

It may take some beating for my Cairns G20 Tweet Award. So far it would seem that the most prominent tweet topics from the event #G20 are: 1) Vladimir Putin 2) A bearded dragon lizard in the media centre 3) Global taxation.  (Update: Plagiarised by SBS! Dragons and Russians the most talked about G20 guests)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Has Stuckey repeated the same tourism fudge?

Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey has released a report card today at the DestinationQ 2014 forum: Report card shows positive tourism growth
Jobs have been created and Queensland’s economy has been buoyed by strong tourism growth over the past three years according to a new report card released at the third DestinationQ forum. Premier Campbell Newman said there were 27,000 new jobs in tourism and the sector had grown by $3.5 billion since the Government promised to grow the industry as one of the four pillars of the economy.
Three years? The numbers here would appear to be same as the PR from Stuckey back in April: Queensland's tourism industry grows to $23 billion which also includes the 27,000 jobs claim. I posted on this at the time and Pete Faulkner dissected the numbers at Conus: The dangers of getting your dates wrong..and tourism data
In other words the actual increase “since the LNP came into Government” should actually be about $1.4bn (not $3.5bn as claimed). Indeed the bulk of that $3.5bn increase ($2.1bn) actually occurred before the LNP took over.
The numbers used related to the two year period for the financial years from June 2011 to June 2013 which includes the period under the previous administration up to March 2012. So if these are the same numbers repeated this report card is now almost 15 months out of date already?

After the initial reference to previous three years the report card PR then goes on to state that these are "key outcomes since the 1st DestinationQ Forum" which was in June 2012. There is even a YouTube video where Stuckey explicitly claims that the $3.5 billion is "since the Newman government". Newman then states that the 27,000 jobs is "since DestinationQ 2012".

There is no reference to any source for this data in the report card. Perhaps the same numbers is just an extraordinary coincidence somehow but it looks very much like Stuckey has just recycled the same discredited fudge?

Update at Conus including revised estimates: LNP repeating debunked tourism data

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gavin does Sums

Gavin King

Spoke to Ergon this morning to find out whether Cairns residents are seeing any savings on their power bills from Labor's axed carbon tax.
Very pleased to hear the average bill in Cairns will go down by about $170 a year with Ergon passing on the savings from the scrapped tax.
Together with a range of reforms to Ergon, including our plan to introduce competition to the regional electricity market, hopefully power bills will start levelling off rather than the massive year on year rises we've seen over the past 5 years or so.

A comment posted in reply:

My bill shows normal tarrif down 5% off peak tarrif up 2.2% so 2.8% savings overall. So Gavin if average family saving $170 per year, their annual bill must be $6071. Um .... what the .... ????

You can find some answers here which I may update and comment on later: Queensland Competition Authority. The median again is more relevant as used by QCA.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The trend is your friend

There is certain to be some confusion again around reporting of the latest unemployment data for August. A seasonally adjusted increase of 121,000 in employment has attracted most attention. The bulk of this was part-time employment and the ABS has indicated that this months sample rotation played a part and contributed 47,000 to part-time employment. This sounds like a very big number just from sample rotation!

Some commentary:

Conus: Aussie jobs surprise; Macrobusiness: Employment goes beserk!, Job numbers greeted with universal scepticism; David Scutt: Lies, Damned Lies and Australia's August LFS

There is also a good graph tweeted by Greg Jericho nicely demonstrating the difference between the volatile monthly seasonal employment data and the trend. The state data is also typically more volatile than the national data with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in SA this month falling unrealistically down from 7.2% to 5.9%. The only reasonable approach currently is to bypass the seasonal data and stick with trend as suggested by David Scutt:
Thankfully, helping to save some face at least, the less-volatile-yet-often-overlooked trend series reported that unemployment ticked up to 6.2% from 6.1%, participation to 65.0% from 64.9% while net employment increased by 18.7k to 11.619m. Clearly, if not already the case, the trend figures, rather than the seasonally-adjusted squark, should be the ONLY figures to watch in this release moving forward.
The regional data is out next week but given this volatility and following some changes to the survey methodology introduced last month I think just a cautious watch may be prudent for now.

There is also a twitter commentary roundup from Business Insider: Here Are The Best Reactions To Australia's Wacky Employment Data Today

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Entsch's Boondoggles

The committee Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia has last week published a final report. This committee was chaired by the Member for Leichhardt who is widely acknowledged by any sensible person within cooee of Cairns as demonstrating psychologically delusional tendencies at times.

So it wasn't a surprise to see some of his favourite boondoggles for the north feature in the committee report. A tropical institute of sport? I don't even know what "tropical sport" is? The existing Australian Institute of Sport was itself a bad decision and overfunded in my view anyway, and was initially a populist response by Malcolm Fraser to a poor medal outcome at the drug tainted Montreal Olympics.

There is reference in the committee report to appropriate cost benefit analysis to upgrade and extend the infamous Alice Springs to Darwin rail link to support a new link from Mt Isa. I love a good train line but the Alice-Darwin link would never have passed any appropriate analysis.

Re-locating public service functions to the north gets let out for another run. As I think I may have posted previously with centres such as Darwin and Townsville the public sector in the north is already over represented relative to national averages.

Never mind. Who needs analysis or evidence?  Queensland Economy Watch has posted with reference to the insurance proposal of an expanded role for the TIO. The policy response permutations from the Member for Leichhardt on insurance have so far exhibited twists and turns worthy of an Olympic diver, with a succession of impractical magic solutions, only to end in a graceless belly flop.

I agree with the post by Gene Tunny at QEW on the link above re expansion of the TIO and have commented there, despite many I know and perhaps popular support being for a direct gummint insurance office. I will update with a post on insurance but have noted premiums may actually be easing in FNQ. My own body corporate insurance is due this month so will await that first.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chinese Resident Perceptions of Queensland

Note: this is the result of a survey by Tourism Research Australia of Chinese who are resident in Australia. It is not visitors to Australia from China or the diaspora.

Key findings from the research  include:
  • Queensland is the top destination choice within Australia for 55% of Chinese residents. Australia needs to motivate this segment within the first two or three years of moving to Australia.
  • A key holiday motivation for Chinese living in Australia is to share experiences with their family and friends from China and visit well known landmarks.
  • Chinese residents living in Australia are most often aware of the ‘big three’—referred to as the ‘big rock’, ‘big road’ and ‘big reef’ (Uluru, the Great Ocean Road and the Great Barrier Reef) —and consider these ‘must see’ destinations. However, awareness of what’s on offer beyond these landmarks is limited.
  • Destinations unique to Australia—or remarkably different to China—are desirable to Chinese residents, including:  places associated with fresh air (e.g. rainforests); places that are not crowded; large scale natural wonders; and landmarks not artificially enhanced by humans.
  • Websites and brochures in Chinese language, as well as travel agents specialising in their demographic group, are important to around two in five Chinese residents.
Source: Chinese resident perceptions of Queensland

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Meanwhile in Macau

The ABS today released overseas arrivals and departures for July which includes quite reasonable graphs, tables, and commentary. There is also commentary at Conus: Departures nudging 9 million in past 12 months.

Chinese inbound tourism growth continues to be a dominant theme. However recent trends from Macau are interesting from the perspective of the Aquis proposal. The Macau gaming authority publishes quite good statistics and the latest numbers produced the third consecutive month of negative YoY gaming revenue growth with August down 6.1% on the previous year.


Macau casino stocks, including Crown, have subsequently taken quite a hit this week: Macau August Casino Revenue, Stocks Take Another Tumble. The equity market in casino stocks will likely be a factor for Aquis.

The weakness has mostly been attributed to the ongoing corruption crackdown in China and a shakeout in their property market. The critical VIP sector is anecdotally reported to have been hardest hit but will have to wait for the quarterly numbers from Macau on that.

Previous post: The baccarat boom?

'Right said Fred'

The latest International Tourism Survey from TRA was disappointing for FNQ and I will leave analysis of that to Conus: Intl Tourism data is good for Australia but bad for QLD

Nick Dalton at the Cairns Post has reported the response from TTNQ to arrest the decline: Direct Cairns flights touted as industry looks to reverse falling visitor numbers. This also includes comment from Fred Ariel of Raging Thunder:
“Cairns International Airport which registered only 168,000 international arrivals in the 2013-14 year."
Cairns Airport statistics indicate 243,837 arrivals (ex transits) through the international terminal for the year ended June 2014. How is Fred going with that water pipeline project from the PNG Highlands?

ABS international arrivals and departures numbers for July are due out later today.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A new year for Cairns Airport statistics

Cairns Airport Statistics have now been posted for July and the new financial year has also brought a revamp of the format. Domestic passengers through the international terminal (T1) have now been included with domestic terminal (T2) passengers. Previously they were lumped in with international transits and domestic traffic numbers represented only the domestic terminal.

This change is welcome and more comprehensively represents domestic passengers. However there still appear to be some issues with the series here which has previously been a source of frustration. This is an update of previously posted graphs with a comparison between the old and new stats:

Mostly fine although with some divergence particularly around 2009-2010 where the updated domestic data is significantly weaker post GFC. So to more directly compare the two series (new - old) we can graph the difference between the two data series. This should derive domestic passengers through the international terminal:
Clearly domestic passengers through T1 can't be negative so last August becomes a problem, and have also re-checked my numbers for that month which seem ok unless they were subsequently revised. However , the significant anomaly is the period starting in January 2009 and ending in June 2010.
It was previously suggested by the airport that I could unravel the former statistics to derive a comparable series to this new format. I tried this last year and gave up when it produced exactly the above anomaly and so have since just followed the T2 domestic numbers as a continuous reliable series. Perhaps I should feel satisfied that the airport have now replicated my anomaly in their own numbers.
Anyway, and assuming the more recent years are valid (ex August 2013), there is a clear trend in declining domestic traffic through T1 which is to be expected. This will have had a small offsetting impact on the domestic growth trend at T2.
The relatively soft rebound in July is also confirmed with domestic growth just 2.4% following a negative growth month in June. July is always the busiest month of the year so perhaps there may even be capacity constraints at peak times given strong anecdotal reports for the month?
Previous post on the July numbers from Auckland International Airport where the domestic passengers reported appear to include transits: A timely Posting of Cairns Airport stats

Monday, August 25, 2014

Master Builders close the gap

I always look forward to the survey of industry conditions from the Qld Master Builders if only to see by how much they missed their forecast for the quarter. My benchmark here is the residential sector conditions. The record may almost be worthy of the Guinness Book of Records so reliable it has become that it will miss their optimistic forecast for the next quarter. It did so again in June but by a record low of just -9.9 index points. This compares with an average miss of -16.2 for the available survey series since 2010:

The actual estimate of residential conditions for the previous quarter has now risen almost to the 50 index midpoint level. However the forecast for the future quarters have been declining all year now to close the historical gap. Who knows what could happen if this trend continues. I have previously opined that the builders fill in these survey responses together down the pub on a Friday afternoon.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A timely Posting of Cairns Airport stats

HT to Conus for todays post and link:  Cairns airport stats finally make it to The Cairns Post

This was actually excellent timing by the Cairns Post which managed to report the June airport results the same day that stakeholder Auckland International Airport (AIA) released updated July traffic which includes Cairns Airport:

In June there was a rare YoY monthly growth decline in domestic traffic which was attributed to specific factors such as school holiday dates. Going by these AIA numbers there wasn't a profound bounce back in July with domestic growth of 1.8% which is well below recent trends. As discussed last month AIA and Cairns Airport present the numbers slightly differently.

So I will await the passenger numbers from Cairns Airport before updating further .......

ACCC will not oppose Aquis takeover of Reef Casino

It was always highly unlikely it ever would:

ACCC will not oppose Aquis' proposed acquisition of the Reef Hotel Casino

21 August 2014
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition by Aquis Reef Holdings (Aus) Pty Ltd (together with its related bodies corporate, Aquis) of the Reef Hotel Casino (Reef Casino) in Cairns.

Aquis currently has no existing casino interests in Australia or elsewhere in the world, but proposes to develop a large resort and casino 15km north of Cairns (the Aquis Resort). If it proceeds, the Aquis Resort would be the second casino in Cairns. In a related transaction, Aquis also proposed to acquire the Canberra Casino from one of the main unitholders in the Reef Casino Trust.

“The ACCC carefully reviewed the proposed acquisition by Aquis of the Reef Casino because it has the potential to reduce the future number of casino owners in Cairns from two to one.” ACCC Commissioner Jill Walker said.

“However, the ACCC’s investigations suggested that there was likely to be limited competition between the Reef Casino and the Aquis Resort in the absence of the proposed acquisition.”
“Development of the Aquis Resort is still at an early stage, and is conditional on a number of factors. Nonetheless, the ACCC understands that the resort, if developed, would be of a scale that is unprecedented in Australia. The total expenditure required to develop the first stage alone would be over $5 billion.”

“The ACCC was satisfied that, if developed, the Aquis Resort will focus primarily on international VIP customers because the size of its proposed investment would require a much higher return than could be obtained from non-VIP customers.”

“In contrast, the vast majority of the Reef Casino’s customers are non-VIP Cairns residents and domestic tourists, making bets at relatively low stakes. The Reef Casino makes most of its revenue from gaming machines, rather than from table games.”

The Aquis Resort is currently one of two proposals shortlisted by the Queensland Government for the award of up to two casino licences as part of regional integrated resort developments. Gaming facilities at the Aquis Resort would include 750 gaming tables and 1500 gaming machines. If it proceeds, the resort will also include eight hotels, high-end retail shopping, an aquarium, two theatres, and convention and exhibition facilities.

The Queensland Government expects to make a final decision on whether the Aquis Resort will receive a casino licence in 2015.

The Reef Casino is a combination hotel and casino complex in Cairns. It has 128 hotel rooms, 38 gaming tables and over 500 gaming machines.

The proposed acquisition is of all the units in the ASX-listed Reef Casino Trust (RCT) and all of the issued shares in Reef Corporate Services Limited and Casinos Austria International (Cairns) Pty Ltd (the responsible entity of the Reef Casino Trust and manager of the casino respectively).
The decision is available on the ACCC's public register.
Release number: 
MR 212/14
Media enquiries: 
Media team - 1300 138 917

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

There's something about China Poly Group

The Aquis flying circus landed in town at the weekend with an investor roadshow covered in traditional enthusiastic fashion by Nick Dalton at the Cairns Post: Hong Kong tycoon encouraged by interest in Aquis resort plan

There was one potential investor particularly noted:
They included China Poly Group Corporation president Zhang Zhengao – on his first visit to Cairns – who has had a business relationship with Mr Fung for 20 years
Poly Group specialises in international trading and real estate and is ranked 63rd in the top 500 Chinese companies. Its assets total more than $67 billion.
China Poly Group is a large State Owned Enterprise (SOE) with historical links to the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Poly was founded and directly controlled by the PLA until 1999 when it was formally handed over to the central authority. It's reported to retain close links to the PLA.

It does indeed specialise in international trading and real estate. However the international trading component would appear to be mainly military arms which has attracted some controversy: China's Poly Group: The most important company you've never heard of
Picture the China Poly Group Corporation as the first of a set of Russian nesting dolls. Each of the larger wooden baubles represents a new line of diverse subsidiaries that shield its cloistered, princeling-controlled core.
It does sound like an interesting company ideal as an investor in Australia's largest casino:
On any given day, observers say, Poly might ship arms to Zimbabwe or Sudan, announce plans to build a highway from Iraq to Syria or win China distribution rights for Ferrari or Maserati. The next day, it might hold a public offering on the Nasdaq for a movie distributor, win a lengthy exclusive fishing rights deal for Mauritius’ economic waters, be accused of bribing a former Namibian defense minister or get linked to missile sales to Iran or Saudi Arabia.
But, until recently, it was mainly known for Poly Technologies, China’s biggest arms exporter.
The arms trading activities have attracted the interest of Amnesty International for human rights issues and also arms trading violation sanctions from the USA as recently as last year:
On 11 Feb 2013, the US Department of State imposed sanctions Poly Technologies, saying that the company had violated the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA). Poly Technologies denied exporting weapons or technology to nations or regions under UN Security Council Resolution sanctions.[9]
With the usual opacity around the Aquis structure and funding 'Fung-o' indicated in the CP report that investors may be tied to specific components of the project but was vague about the gaming licence. So it isn't clear how any potential investors maybe linked to the gaming licence itself where the applicant is Fung as the sole shareholder. Presumably any further investors in the licence if approved would also require probity clearance. SOE reform has been on the agenda in China recently.

Anyway, our local members managed to share a Chinese feed during the visit where Trouty informs us Mr Zhang "asked pertinent questions about the political stability in Queensland and Australia."
Source: Gavin King via Facebook

I hope nobody took home any brown paper doggy bags!

Update: The past associations of Tony Fung and China Poly Group have included business deals such as this previous post here at Loose Change:  Tony Fung: Past business deals and the BVI. You can also visit the ICIJ offshore leaks database to explore the extensive British Virgin Islands corporate network around Zhang Zhen Gao.

Monday, August 18, 2014

FNQ annexes Townsville

I only recently became aware of the Vacancy report Australian Government Department of Employment:
The Vacancy Report contains the Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) which is based on a count of online vacancies newly lodged on SEEK, My Career, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch. The IVI is the only source of detailed data on online vacancies, including for around 350 occupations (at all skill levels), as well as for all states/territories and 38 regions.
The regions here on the map don't appear to correlate with the current SA4 data from the ABS. FNQ looks more like the old Far North zone including Cape York and also extending down to annex Townsville. However this still should be quite useful and trend employment estimates in Cairns and Townsville seem to have tracked quite closely in recent years.

Rick Carr has now adjusted his job ad series in CairnsWatch to include internet ads but not yet sure on the validity of this series over such a short time frame. Counting internet ads isn't always easy and I believe there were issues with the long running ANZ series during the transitional phase some years ago.

Anyway, as an initial post a quick compilation of the internet job ads for 'FNQ' by ANZSCO category. This is the 3 month moving average numbers with an index series also provided.

Indexed series for Queensland regions:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why does Manunda need roads anyway?

Subsequent to a recent post on benchmarking council rates there was some productive feedback and exchange with council. The difficulty is how to provide a rates benchmark to which the average punter can relate when there are often extreme differences in land valuations between councils. The relationship between land valuations and rates is frequently misunderstood and misrepresented.

While that is appreciated the council methodology still benchmarks land valuations rather than rates. The previous post related specifically to rates for the land category for a residential home on a block of urban land. This is the way I would do it and benchmarked against Townsville.

This expresses rates compared to the median for each council across a range up to twice the median value. Cairns is lower across the entire spectrum and this included the 15% "early payment" discount on the general rate component in Townsville. Cairns maybe however be less progressive and minimum rate structures generally are actually something I perceive as a problem.
The median for each council area is 1.0 irrespective of differences in land valuations between councils. Twice the Cairns median is above the median for any suburb and for perspective probably puts a property higher up the hill in a suburb like Freshwater with an outlook. Babinda is about half the median value.
The current median residential value for rates in Cairns is $143k while Townsville is $147k. The average indicated by Cairns is $165k while I think Townsville refers to $161k. This is probably what you would likely expect with a different distribution and Cairns skewing higher on the average with a longer tail above the median. The Cairns average is 1.15 x the median.
Fixed charges should also be taken into account although this doesn't make much difference relative to Townsville. Townsville is cheap on garbage and expensive on water access which evens out to within a few dollars. Comparisons on water usage are probably not much use really. If water per kL isn't cheaper in Cairns than elsewhere there would be something wrong. A comparison with Mackay is intended as soon as I get my head around some baffling components of the Mackay banding numbers.
That doesn't mean this category is the only consideration. My speciality of strata rates is mind boggling in complexity and would defy any comparable benchmarking of this kind. My own strata general rates would be about 25% less in Townsville. Perhaps revenue per rateable property by category would be appropriate along with revenue per category.
Finally as an aside, why should there be a progressive element in general rates related to land valuation at all? The principal argument actually relates to the virtues of land taxes of which I am an advocate. However for those living on more highly valued blocks in the suburbs who may complain about progressive rates you were done no favours this week by Joe Hockey: Fuel expenditure and vehicle ownership
To re-paraphrase Joe it would seem that more affluent people drive more and with bigger vehicles which contribute proportionally more to road use and damage. Consequently Joe has provided a reason why the more affluent should be paying higher rates on a cost recovery basis. I don't even know why Manunda needs roads anyway?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Parsing Participation

Regional employment data for July released today by ABS with commentary at Conus: Great jobs results for Cairns in July

The only problem I have is this:

Highlighted is a trailing 12 month rolling average of the difference in percentage points between the Cairns participation rate and the Queensland rate, although the trend does appear also to at least have halted the decline and started to turn around. Still a difficult position to reconcile though and I will resist gender commentary on the role of the female rate in that decline. However I will note that as for the last couple of months the female - male unemployment rate split remains unlikely at 3% - 10%.

Further commentary today at Conus: TSV v CNS; jobs and the Participation Rate