A generation ago, Queensland's economy relied heavily — as did the standing of the state government — upon a booming resources sector, a bountiful agricultural sector and a still-growing tourist market. ‘Rocks and crops’ (to use a favourite phrase of Peter Beattie's) were mainstays of the state's economic activity, and had long underpinned the government's investment, development and budgetary planning. While to a large extent the same might be said today, critical changes have taken place in the local economy in the intervening period, cultivated by successive state administrations with the express aim of diversifying an economy that was overwhelmingly geared towards primary production. Now it can be argued that Queensland's economy has metamorphosed into a modern, knowledge-based economy that demands greater emphasis on technology, expertise and innovation — what Premier Peter Beattie liked to promote with his catch-all phrase ‘Smart State’. But how effective was this push for diversification in renewing the state's economic foundations? Since the advent of the Goss Labor government in late 1989, has Queensland really moved from a ‘farm and quarry’ to a ‘smart’ economy?