25th May, 2017
Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
The 2017-18 Budget is all about Building Tasmania’s Future.
It is a Budget which builds on our three years of hard work in Government.
It delivers better health and education services, more jobs, better roads and transport, action on cost of living, and continued investment in essential services such as public safety and supporting Tasmanians in need.
In our first Budget we had to take some difficult but necessary decisions to stem the bleeding.
Our second Budget was about consolidating the State’s financial position, and the third delivered last year - albeit after losing nearly $500 million in GST - was about reinvesting back into health, education and other essential services.
This Budget, the fourth budget delivered as a part of our long-term plan, will ensure that the hard work that has gone on over the last three years and the results that have been achieved are not squandered.
It continues our strong plan for Tasmania and delivers not only a balanced budget bottom line, but also key initiatives and sensible investments that will build Tasmania’s future.
Our economy continues to grow, and is forecast to expand above trend by 2.5 per cent in 2017-18.
When businesses are confident as they are under us, they invest more and they employ more people – since the election there are now over 6400 more Tasmanians with jobs. At 5.8 per cent, our unemployment rate is equal to the national average, and is one of the lowest among all States.
The 2017-18 Budget forecasts a surplus of over $54 million in 2017-18, and we will remain in surplus each and every year of the Forward Estimates for the first time in a decade, with a cumulative surplus of just over $200 million.
And rather than forecasting rising net debt as the State did three years ago, we now have a strong balance sheet and this budget forecasts positive net cash and investments across the forward estimates.
Net Cash and Investments will be more than $450 million as at 30 June 2018, which is an improvement of more than $277 million relative to the estimated 30 June 2018 figure in last year’s Budget.
We know like any household or business does that you must cut your cloth to suit your circumstances, that you can’t keep spending more than you earn and expect to retain a strong financial position.
Over the life of the Government under our settings the annual growth in spending through to 2020-21 is estimated to be around 2.4 per cent, while the annual growth in revenues over the same period is forecast to be 2.7 per cent, which is well below the long run trend of revenue growth of 4.7 per cent.
Key initiatives in this year’s Budget include: