INTERVIEW WITH QUEENSLAND PREMIER

Premier Wayne Goss talks about the uniqueness of Queensland, and about changes that are occurring in the state on Australia's northeastern coast.

What makes Queensland different from the other states?

Queensland is the California of Australia. Look at the lifestyle, look at the beaches, look at the population growth. We're the low-tax state in Australia. There is a better mood here, a better psychology compared to other states.

Are Queenslanders' values changing?

I think they've changed, but not radically. Part of it is a growing awareness that we are a part of Australia and the world and we can't maintain the backwards, head-in-the-sand approach.

Are the demographics of Queensland changing?

Yes, up until the last few years we were the most decentralized state. No one else has so many country towns. What you are seeing now is the increasing urbanization of Queensland, particularly in the triangle from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane to the Gold Coast to Toowoomba. There is more than half the state's population in one urban sprawl with urban values instead of country values.

Are you concerned that this state might become one large golf course and you might become a caddy working for someone else?

I'll be a very well paid caddy.... I don't think we should be afraid of foreign investment. The attitude in this country since World War II is: ``It's the Lucky Country and She'll be right, mate.'' I'm one of those people who think that went on far too long and we've got to get our act together and be more competitive.

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