The December half results from Fairfax and Crane Group started a trend that’s likely to continue through the reporting season – kicking NSW as the sick man of the Australian economy.

Both companies bagged NSW and weren’t too happy with New Zealand either.

“Solid growth in Western Australia and Queensland was tempered by NSW where market conditions remain poor,” said building materials and supplies outfit Crane, along with “patchy market conditions, particularly in NSW and NZ”.

“Persistent weakness in the NSW economy,” observed Fairfax more than once. (Mind you, the official release also said BRW “has benefited” from its relaunch, whatever that means.)

The tale of two states was mostly simply told by contrasting the Fairfax performance with West Australian Newspapers – WAN profit up 25%, Fairfax saved from a nasty fall by its non-newspaper activities.

There will be more of the same as the numbers roll in across the corporate sector – it’s one of the things the CBA should be asked about when it reports tomorrow.

If there was an opposition political party in NSW, you might expect it would be bringing such commentary to the attention of the electorate, instead of leaving it buried on the finance pages.

Meanwhile the Pubs, Clubs and Developers Party has been using plenty of taxpayers’ money to run plenty of bogus television ads about some sort of “state plan” for the economic future. The only plan evident so far is getting re-elected.

The PCD (alias Sussex Street Labor) hasn’t bothered to dip into its own pocket yet for its election advertising, but there’s plenty there, topped up last night by the pokie publicans with a fat fundraising dinner dutifully attended by the politicians.

That’s the great thing about poker machines – mugs pour money into them whatever the state of the economy.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey