Contrary to some media reports, Premier Newman has ditched Queenslanders' main objective in the $5 million Queensland Plan.
The plan, revealed on July 31 after seven months of tinkering with the draft report, no longer seeks to have nearly 4 million people living in regional Queensland by 2044.
The Premier himself announced in the draft plan: "In 30 years we aspire to have half of the population living outside South East Queensland."
This target was the subject of the first sentence in the main media release for the draft plan.
But the revised plan contains some overlooked wording which occurs halfway through a paragraph about an entirely different topic.
It says: "The preliminary target seeking to encourage 50 per cent of population growth outside South East Queensland was refined to better reflect historical growth patterns and future projections."
This claim is wrong. The original target was always - as Mr Newman said - to have half of the projected Queensland population of nearly 8 million living outside the South East.
At the moment our population is 4.7 million. The growth is expected to be more than 3 million.
The misleading claim about a "preliminary target" would have given regional Queensland about 3 million people by 2044 - its present population of 1.5 million plus half of the growth.
That's a million short of what was originally targeted.
So what is the Government setting as a target now?
The revised target seeks "to double Queensland's regional population within 30 years".
But hang on, isn't that the same target as the disowned "preliminary target"?
It is. And it is still ridiculously impossible.
As I asked in an earlier blog: how do we add tens of thousands of people to centres such as Longreach, Winton or Hughenden – all with existing populations of less than 4,000?
Where would the water supply come from? The Great Artesian Basin is just that – a basin rather than an inexhaustible supply.
And jobs? The government could locate a section of a department in somewhere like Julia Creek but what would the partners of the public servants do for a living?
Let’s face it, some local councils out west have advertised plots of land for nominal amounts and they’ve not exactly become thriving new towns.
Being realistic, such regional development has to refer predominantly to a massive influx to seven existing major cities on or near the coast plus Toowoomba.
But the plan does not say the target is to increase the size of these cities.
The Government has painted itself into a corner with what was intended to be a simple but vastly expensive propaganda campaign.
It expected that it could guide participating Queenslanders into a series of wish lists for 2044 which it could safely massage into a non-demanding but impressive-looking website and booklet.
Instead, it is stuck with a Sisyphean problem of forever trying to push people into areas such as the Gulf Country, Cape York, and Southern and Western Queensland only to find a continuous trek to the big cities. This will lead to a backlash from National Party supporters who will feel cheated when the Government fails to deliver the promised hoards to Outback Queensland.
Mr Newman has added to this expectation this week by talking about relocating government departments to the regions.
But the plan includes some weasel words which it can fall back on when some regions continue to empty instead of growing.
It says the revised target "remains ambitious and will require sustained regional focus over the long term. It is anticipated that as we implement the Queensland Plan we will continue to refine our aspirations to reflect our progress and refocus our efforts."
And in another section it says with a large dose of reality: "However, our regions also face challenges in the 21st century, particularly in retaining a critical mass of population in the face of a worldwide trend of migration to large metropolitan cities."
How long will it be before entirely new population targets are set?
Other worrying statistics are contained in the document.
On a page entitled "Then, now and future" examples are given of how the state is faring at the moment along with projections for the future. Included is a headline which says simply: "10 of Australia's major cities are in Queensland."
It is not clear whether this is intended as a fact or an aspiration.
Unfortunately - and hugely embarrassingly - Mr Newman made it clear at a media conference: "Ten of Australia's 30 major cities or larger cities will be in Queensland. That's a very big commitment and it sets Queensland apart."
It is a very big commitment because it means holding one of our cities back because according to Australian Bureau of Statistics population figures on a Wikipedia page, Queensland already has 11 of Australia's 30 largest cities.
The Newman Government is focusing growth and employment efforts on what it calls the four-pillar economy of tourism, agriculture, resources and construction.
The plan waxes lyrical about becoming "the food bowl for the Asia-Pacific" and of being a resources giant.
But it carries figures for the share of gross state product expected in 2040/41 - agriculture 3.1%, mining 11.3%, construction 7.7%. There's not even a figure for tourism.
These four pillars don't appear in the list of growth industries for the next seven years. Two of the three growth industries identified are 'education and training' and 'professional, scientific and technical services', which were part of the rejected Smart State strategy.
Still on the Smart State theme, the plan says: "The amount of expenditure on research and development is an indication of economic strength and confidence...Higher levels of investment in Queensland compared to the rest of Australia are an indication of our opportunity for growth and diversification."
Unfortunately, the figures provided in the plan do not support that claim. Queensland has a fifth of the Australian population (4.7m of 23.5m) but only a seventh of R&D investment. We are ahead of only South Australia and Tasmania.
A large evocative photo illustrating the Queensland Plan's "vision for our state" in 30 years shows two lads holding surf boards over their heads as they gaze at the tempting waves.
It sums up the final version of the $5 million plan which remains a glorious wish list for a better life in 2044.
There is major target which, unexpectedly, remains unchanged from the first draft. The Newman Government still sets as its target: "We operate our government in an open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy manner at all times. We inform and involve the community in decision-making processes."
Try telling that to the legal profession, the Quandamooka People and many others who have been ignored or trampled on by the Newman Government.
Mark that target as having been completely missed.