Rates decision helps to rebuild confidence Tue 5 June 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version The Premier, Lara Giddings, today welcomed another interest rate cut at a time when businesses and consumers need a confidence boost. Ms Giddings urged banks to pass on the full 0.25 basis point cut so the benefits could flow through the whole economy. "The Reserve Bank's decision is welcome at a time when confidence continues to be hit by economic uncertainty in Europe as well as local factors such as the downturn in our forest industry," Ms Giddings said. "I hope this decision will help consolidate the recovery we have seen in recent times in retail spending and the modest increase in building activity." Ms Giddings acknowledged the low business confidence levels reflected in the Sensis Business Index, released today. "Business confidence is down across the nation, which reflects the uncertainty coming out of Europe and the United States. "While it is encouraging to see that the survey shows confidence is holding up well in urban areas of Tasmania, we know that regional businesses are doing it tough in industries like forestry, manufacturing and tourism. "That is why we have focussed our efforts under the $276 million Tasmanian Forests Agreement on supporting regional communities and job-creating industries. "We are investing $950,000 to bring the Ernesto Sirolli model of regional economic development to the regions hardest hit by the down-turn in the forest industry. "We are supporting the roll-out of NBN, which will not only create more than 800 on-the-ground jobs in the final phase of construction, but open up new business opportunities for the future. "And we are supporting the tourism industry by quarantining the marketing budget, working to increase access and investing more in the events that generate tourist activity throughout the year. The latest $250 million Tourism Australia campaign, which heavily features Tasmania, will also help to increase visitation to the state." Ms Giddings said despite challenges in the local economy, there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future. "Only last week we saw the announcement of developments across the mining, salmon farming and retail sectors which are worth tens of millions of dollars and have the potential to create 700 new jobs. "The Liberal Party will never acknowledge the positives in the economy because it doesn't suit them politically but the facts speak for themselves." Positive economic indicators include: Private new capital expenditure of $345 million in the past quarter, up 73 per cent on the low recorded just over two years ago; A 26.9 per cent increase in investment in plant and equipment; A 16.7 per cent increase in investment in buildings and structures; An increase of 2.8 per cent in building approvals in March; and Three months consecutive growth in retail spending.