Associate Professor David Rooney of The University of Queensland believes the state must focus on developing its knowledge economy because modern economies with the best quality of life are typically dominated by a knowledge intensive service sector.
The approach previous Labor Governments took in attempt to foster and grow Queensland’s knowledge economy was to develop Smart State Initiatives (SSI’s). These initiatives primarily involved the construction and funding of several new research institutes at The University of Queensland.
According to a recent paper by Mark Dodgson and Jonathon Staggs of The University of Queensland, the SSI’s developed in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s have begun to gear the state economy away from “rocks and crops” based industries and have already provided substantial stimulation to our economy, although the full effect will not be known for many years.
While the full benefit of these institutes remains to be seen, this year the state budget has instead focused on agriculture, resources, mining and tourism as the main “pillars of growth” and left the future of Queensland’s knowledge economy in doubt.
This approach has concerned Professor Rooney, who says: “… it is a concern to me that we are not securing our future with long term investment in what matters in the future. Queensland and Australia cannot gamble on being able to rely indefinitely on our ability to make money out of digging holes in the ground; even though that is serving us well at the moment.”