07 August 2014

Farm a Queen Bee; Reserve Bank Board Membership Genius

Townsville and regional economies in Australia have specific and contextual demands impacting on cash flow and capital opportunities, risks and constraints and it must be acknowledged by Australia's political leadership and fiscal policy makers.

In the scope and context of Australia's economic contributions, regional Queensland's economic activity is a significant measure on the Reserve Bank's agenda in setting monetary policy and cash rates that regulate investment decisions and therefore business and consumer confidence.

Townsville Real Estate Blog supports the approach by local Townsville and Regional Queensland economist Colin Dwyer to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey and RBA Board to appoint the next Board Member from the pool of capable intellectuals and professionals from our region.

In the words of local economist Mr Colin Dwyer:
Regional Australian Member of the RBA Board

 It’s interest rate day today, and its time to prosecute a case for a regional Australian to become a member of the Reserve Bank Board. Not one of the nine members of the Reserve Bank board lives in Regional Australia. Not one of the past members of the monetary policy making body has ever lived in regional Australia. How can the RBA board make a decision on behalf of all Australians if they haven’t experienced the conditions in some of those locations?

Regional Australia comprises a third of Australia’s population, contributes most of its exports and many of its tourism destinations. In the past decade regional Australia with its mining industry kept recession and depression from Australia’s door. Its time for some regional Australia recognition.

I first raised this issue in 2010. Next year will be the first chance for a regional Australian to join the RBA board and express regional Australia’s rational expectation regarding monetary Policy and interest rates. In December 2015 Roger Corbett’s position comes up for re-election. Following that Catherine Tanna’s position is available on 29 March 2016, followed by John Akhurst role on 30 July 2016. Two other positions become available in 2017.

In total there are nine members of the RBA board with six non-executive members appointed by the Treasurer. The non-executive members are appointed for terms of up to five years. There is no limit on the number of terms a member may serve.

Are all the previous federal governments saying that there is no regional Australian who has the calibre to be appointed to the board? Next year, surely presents an opportunity for the current federal government to change this value judgement, honour the contribution of regional Australia and ensure regional Australia has a say in monetary policy decisions.

There are many worthy regional Australian contenders for this challenging role and some of them live in Townsville including, Company director Russell Laird, James Cook University Deputy Vice Chancellor Chris Cocklin and Chamber of Commerce president Stephen Moti.

After contributing our fair share over the past half century, its time a Townsville and regional Australian resident was appointed to the Reserve Bank Board. Only this way can a third of Australia’s population be confident that monetary policy decisions are including them.

The economic scorecard for Townsville and much of Queensland's regional economy certainly warrants unprecedented action from our political and business leaders. RBA Board membership is one positive step in a progressive Asian-centric trading zone in which Australia finds itself deeply entrenched.

Townsville is currently experiencing the highest unemployment rate at approximately 10 percent in the State and the property investment and accommodation economy is trending in negative territory with high vacancy rates and a notable decline in new mortgages being written by lenders.

Townsville Real Estate Blog will report on the specific factors our team believes has evolved contributing to the current property investment and accommodation economy in Townsville. Watch this space and visit our previous articles as follows:

North Queensland Strata Rental Market in Eye of Perfect Storm

Lead Indicators for Townsville Property Market

Time to Wake up and Smell the Roses; Queen Bees are Being Born

Townsville and Central Queensland's property market is experiencing significant challenges on the back of high unemployment, mainly due to misdirected, and perhaps in hindsight for the State government, unintended consequences from policy commitments aimed at remedial budget and economic measures. Many proponents believe these measures are excessive! Political judgement in the context of current sensitivities could cause political damage at the ballot box with a change likely in local representation.

Further uncertainty and policy risks to business from political instability is unwelcome developments in light of the most recent Stafford State bi-election in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. The appointment of a Townsville-based Reserve Bank Board Member could bring both strategic and practical benefits to the region where federal policy influence on military, research, education infrastructure is sustained by federal budgets.

Townsville Real Estate Blog supports Mr Colin Dwyer's insights and respect the foresight of such an important appointment impacting on regional monetary policy, which could also influence like never before, the formation of fiscal policy by incumbent and future governments.

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