After two years of a Hodgman Liberal Government, the Budget - and the State - are now Back on Track. With more than 237,300 people in work, Tasmania’s unemployment rate has fallen by 0.9 percentage points since the election. Last year, the unemployment rate briefly matched the national average, but there’s still a lot more to do.
Tasmania’s economy is growing at its fastest rate in six years and business confidence is among the highest in the country. Our building and construction sector is continuing to grow, with the value of work up 25 per cent. Retail spending and tourism numbers are soaring.
For the first time in seven years, Tasmania’s Budget will be in surplus – almost $80 million this year. Due to our budget discipline we can now afford to reinvest in essential services and help all Tasmanian’s share in the State’s growing strength.
This Budget contains more than $425 million in initiatives to support industry and help create jobs.
An additional $30 million will be invested in the Northern Cities Major Development Initiative to revitalise the North and North-West, bringing the spend to $90 million. This funding boost will allow the Government to play its part in revitalising Launceston, Devonport and Burnie so that these cities can share in the economic growth seen elsewhere. We will support regional areas and jobs through a new $13.9 million Community Infrastructure Fund.
We will provide $1.9 million to support small business to drive job creation including $900,000 for Work Readiness for Growth Industries, $600,000 for apprenticeships and traineeships and $400,000 to support small business development. And we
will continue to invest more than $100 million every year in skills development. The $5.4 million Business and Jobs Attraction program will support initiatives in defence, advanced manufacturing, population growth and business events.
This Budget will see the grant for building a first home doubled from $10,000 to $20,000. More and more Tasmanians will achieve their dream of building their first home, with the increased grant available until June 30, 2017.
$18 million additional funding to Metro for 100 new buses to address its ageing bus fleet. This will provide Tasmania’s advanced manufacturing sector the opportunity to bid for customisation and fit out work.
$1.8 billion for infrastructure projects are funded, including $113 million to revitalise Tasmanian schools and TasTAFE. Key infrastructure needs will be addressed with an investment of $656.3 million in road and bridge improvements, funded jointly by the State and Federal Governments. These projects will support jobs in the civil construction sector and put in place vital infrastructure needed to support our growing economy.
Funding will be boosted by $8.8 million to support our booming tourism sector. Our world renowned parks will also receive $5.7 million for Priority Parks and Recreational Infrastructure, plus there is $3.9 million for the Three Capes Track.