Business Confidence Remains Fragile Mon 30 July 2012 David O'Byrne Minister for Economic Development The Minister for Economic Development, David O'Byrne, today welcomed encouraging early signs of improvement in business confidence in the latest TCCI Survey of Business Expectations. The survey showed that confidence in the performance of the Tasmanian economy over the next twelve months has improved, while confidence in the national economy has been softening. "Business confidence remains fragile, but has picked up from low levels seen last year," Mr O'Byrne said. "The Government has been taking strong action to boost confidence by securing the future of 1000 jobs at TEMCO and Pacific Aluminium at Bell Bay. "An improvement in Tasmania's Budget position will also give a boost to confidence. By 2014-15 Tasmania will be the only State in the nation to have a budget surplus and be net debt free," he said. Mr O'Byrne said that the high Australian dollar continued to place pressure on many traditional sectors of the economy including manufacturing, forestry, tourism and retail, which represent almost half of survey respondents. "Tasmania must diversify its economic base and that is what our Economic Development Plan is achieving," Mr O'Byrne said. "Through this plan we can double the size of our dairy and aquaculture industries along with the potential to quadruple our wine production. "Tasmania is starting to see some real momentum growing in private investment - more than $4.5 billion in the past year. "We are also driving reform in the energy sector which has delivered immediate price relief to all users and is laying the ground work for the introduction of competition for households and small businesses," he said. Mr O'Byrne also noted that today's Access Economics Investment Monitor recorded $6.5 billion in projects under construction or consideration. "Access Economics list more than $1.5 billion of construction activity currently underway, up 19 per cent over the year. They also forecast an 8.5 per cent boost in commercial construction activity over the coming year, which provides further reason to be optimistic about the future," Mr O'Byrne said.