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Written on the 11 February 2009

 

IT’S not all bad Brisbane.

As the Rudd Government launches a second economic stimulus package, this time to the tune of $42 billion, the Prime Minister alongside Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan believe the rescue package will save jobs and stave off a recession.
But with unemployment tipped to hit seven per cent within the next year, even Brisbane’s biggest companies are bracing for a level of uncertainty not seen since 1991.
In this issue, Brisbane Business News identifies the city’s top 50 publicly listed players to find out how they’re poised to tackle a tough year ahead. We interview the CEOs and managing directors of the top 50 and discover vast ranging opinions on the year ahead. Queensland’s sub-tropical capital is home to a wide range of public and private companies confident of combating major downturn.
While financial services, property and infrastructure are likely to be the hardest hit this year, companies who have done their homework and raised sufficient capital will see it through the next two years, according to corporate lawyer Glenn Vassallo.
Vassallo says the big movements to look out for in 2009 are the potential merging of banks, disputes between mining technologies and the accession of gold mining giant Lihir.
We also talk to Professor Tim Robinson, the head of the School of Economics and Finance at QUT, who says there’s no reason why Brisbane can’t recover from the downturn. He says that while demand may have dropped off for our resources in China, a fall to six per cent growth for our chief trading partner is still very respectable.
And while 2008 was a year that will go down in financial history with 50 per cent wiped off the share market, superannuation funds decimated and listed property trusts taken to the brink ­— Napier & Blakeley director Alastair Walker answers the big property questions.
He says we are in a ‘Catch 22’ market, which will make for a challenging year all round in property and development in Australia. The problem, he says, is credit and debt funding. Australian banks no longer have the cash funds and backing they previously had from the larger offshore investors which makes it much more difficult for them to lend, causing adjustment to their lending criteria.
Despite the negative sentiment, Brisbane will emerge as a culturally rich capital, with an unrivalled work and play balance making the city a perfect conference destination. In this issue, we talk to the conference and events experts and bring you a comprehensive guide to organising your next event.
According to Annabel Sullivan, Brisbane Marketing director of business events, Brisbane attracts business events that enhance the city’s profile and the opportunities for investment attraction in targeted industry sectors.
To quote Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens, ‘given the underlying strengths of the economy, about the biggest mistake we could make would be to talk ourselves into unnecessary weakness’.
 
Camilla Westerlund
 

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