CommSec report confirms Tasmania's economic challenges Mon 22 October 2012 Lara Giddings Premier STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY OCTOBER 22, 2012 The latest CommSec State of the States report highlights the challenges of the two-speed economy, the Premier, Lara Giddings, said today. "There is no doubt that Tasmania is struggling to match the supercharged growth of Western Australia or the resilience of the more populated states of NSW, Victoria and Queensland," Ms Giddings. "Our smaller population makes it harder to absorb changes occurring in the forest industry and traditional manufacturing industry that are driven by factors outside of our control. "And the two-speed economy means that factors such as the high Australian dollar and falling GST receipts disproportionately impact on Tasmania. "The State Government is managing change by building jobs and opportunities in other sectors of the economy like dairy and aquaculture. "It is exactly why we are strengthening our relationship with Asia, which is the jobs engine of the world. "My recent trade mission to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam opened the doors to a range of new opportunities such as growing our share of the international student market and attracting Chinese Antarctic vessels to Hobart." Ms Giddings said the CommSec report identified high levels of equipment investment as a key strength for Tasmania. "The significant investment in plant and equipment is a positive sign that despite the economic challenges businesses continue to grow and invest, which is good news for the future. "In recent weeks we have had further announcements like the $12 million expansion of Boags Brewery, a new $ 25 million Bunnings store in Launceston and the expansion of the salmon industry, which will create more than 200 jobs." Ms Giddings said rather than acknowledging and fostering these early signs of confidence, the Liberal Party was actively working to quash Tasmania's economic recovery. "One thing is for certain - Tasmania's economic challenges will not be overcome by talking the state down and they cannot be solved by an Opposition that has its head in the sand. "Rather than celebrating bad news as Will Hodgman and the Liberals are doing, the State Government is working hard to build jobs and opportunities in Tasmania."