Commitment to fiscal responsibility maintained Fri 18 May 2012 Lara Giddings Premier The Premier, Lara Giddings, addressed the business community today emphasising the State Government's ongoing commitment to sustainable financial management. Ms Giddings said the Government recognised the direct correlation between good Budget management and confidence in the business community. "We have not retreated at all from our commitment to reduce spending in the face of a $1.8 billion write-down in GST and state-own revenue," Ms Giddings said. "While we have reprioratised some savings to take some pressure off health and other frontline services, we are driving efficiencies across all other Departments to ensure we meet our long-term saving target of around $1.4 billion. "A further decline in revenues means we have been unable to avoid net debt but importantly, our Budget forecasts a strong return to surplus within two years based on the strong savings we have made in the past 18 months, along with the recovery in GST and future benefits from the carbon tax. "This forecast is based on the same approach used by all other states and is not inconsistent with the expectations of the Victorian Government, which is forecasting GST revenues to be $1 billion better over their Forward Estimates than the figures used by the Federal Government." Ms Giddings said the message she had received strongly from the business community was the importance of fostering confidence in the community. "Like me, the business community is concerned that doom and gloom can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as households stop spending and fewer jobs are created. "While it is true that we are facing challenges, there are also encouraging signs of recovery, with $4.5 billion in private investment growing faster than any non-mining state. There are many examples of major projects underway including: • Hydro Tasmania's $400 million Musselroe wind farm project; • the $300 million final stage rollout of the National Broadband Network; • more than $400 million in dairy investment; and • the $30 million West Coast aquaculture expansion. "I hope the Liberal Opposition heed the message about the importance of confidence and stop trying to talk the Tasmanian economy into a hole. "Will Hodgman and Peter Gutwein need to stop carping from the sidelines and put forward a credible alternative for how they would manage the current challenges. "They comprehensively failed last year and next Tuesday's Alternative Budget is shaping up to be the biggest test of Will Hodgman's leadership."