Jobs and the Economy
Thu 17 May 2012
The Premier, Lara Giddings, said Tasmania is moving towards a better future, with today's Budget predicting continued economic growth and job creation on the horizon.
"There is no doubt that times are tough in many sections of the Tasmanian economy; the high dollar is hurting our manufacturing and forest industries and low consumer confidence continues to impact on our retailers," Ms Giddings said.
"It is times like these that we need to work together to make the most of the opportunities on the horizon and to support the local businesses that will create jobs and drive our state's recovery."
The job-creating initiatives announced in this year's Budget include:
- $5 million for a Tasmanian Government Innovation and Investment Fund, which will be used to support private sector investments that generate new economic activity and long term employment for Tasmanians.
- Support for regional communities through a $950,000 investment over two years to bring the Sirolli Enterprise Facilitation model to the towns of Scottsdale, George Town and Smithton.
- Boosting support for the tourism industry through an additional $5.2 million investment in major events funding, bringing the total events budget to $18.3 million over the Forward Estimates.
- $380,000 to provide specialist one-on-one coaching to help businesses boost their online presence and take advantage of the online sales boom.
"Our added investment in tourism events puts us in a strong position to maintain and enhance the existing events calendar, including the Women's International tennis, Targa Tasmania, V8s and Mona Foma," Ms Giddings said.
The overall events program brings more than 30 000 visitors to Tasmania with an estimated direct spend in excess of $36 million
Despite the current challenges, Ms Giddings urged Tasmanians not to be despondent about the future, outlining a number of positive signs that the State economy is on the road to recovery.
"Over the past year we have exported more than $3.2 billion worth of goods and our trade has grown by almost 12 per cent over the past quarter," Ms Giddings said.
"We have seen $4.5 billion worth of private sector investment growing at a faster rate than any non-mining state.
"And local businesses have put more than $1.4 billion toward productivity enhancing machinery and equipment over the past year at a growth rate more than double the rest of nation.
Treasury has predicted some further easing of employment levels in the coming financial year, before returning to trend growth in 2013-14.
"So while we have further short-term challenges we hope to see the creation of 8000 new jobs over the next four years," Ms Giddings said.
"Similarly Treasury has estimated growth in Gross State Product for 2011-12 to be 1¼ per cent, followed by same rate in 2012-13.
"While this growth is modest compared to recent years, it still means our economy is expanding, not contracting."
With an improvement in business confidence and the possible confirmation of some new large projects, this could see the potential for economic growth to improve by a further one per cent to 2¼ per cent in 2012-13.
"My Government is determined to support our economic recovery, both through responsible financial management, and the targeted initiatives outlined in today's Budget."