By MICHAEL BAILEY
POSITIVITY and profit aren’t inextricably linked but when it comes to Tasmania’s future economic prosperity, both are necessary and should be celebrated.
As we digest the State Budget and settle into a very long Federal Election campaign, it’s important for government to remember that its role is to ensure a healthy business environment.
Tasmania’s unemployment rate has fallen to 6.6 per cent in trend terms and we no longer have the highest rate in Australia, but without constant effort that figure can easily rise.
Participation has again fallen and needs addressing – as a community we need to encourage our senior school students to start reversing that trend by encouraging them into higher eduction or trade training.
Seeing a shift will take time as we point Tasmanian teenagers to the long-term positive benefits of finding work.
However, in the interim, initiatives such as the “Cadbury Cash’ jobs and investment fund will immediately stimulate further economic activity and should provide more jobs.
You only need to look at the positive publicity people like Marcos Ambrose can shine on the state, championing its beauty and location via his new Central Highlands lodge that received assistance through the fund.
It’s a positive story.
He’s been given assistance of $340,748 towards the $1,053,248 project. It’s now his job to ensure its profitability so it can employ the 13 people he predicted it would in the funding proposal.
There are 55 other businesses who have received a helping hand to bring their projects to reality and between them will employ more than 700 people.
To sustain those positions requires business profitability – it’s the lifeblood of all jobs.
The restrictions placed on business (regulatory, form filling, taxation, etc) make it so difficult to be profitable. And yet, at the same time, we want and need business to engage with the community, sponsor charities, and be employers.
It frustrates me that many in politics, including the bureaucracy, seem to dislike the concept of a business making a buck.
This drips through the narrative of some and is highlighted in comments we hear about business needing to be taxed harder and that we are somehow ripping off the nation.
Most jobs are in the private sector. And most of the private sector in Tasmania is small – in staff numbers and turnover.
We need a strong business sector in order to provide jobs. Jobs survive because businesses survive. And jobs are lost when businesses fail.
Business is not an employment agency. For a business to employ a person, it needs to be profitable. Yet many seem to expect business to employ people irrespective of profit.
The assumption is: Profit is wrong, it is dirty, it needs to be taxed hard. Business is all about avoidance, cheating, competition, all that nasty stuff. We need to control it – let’s tax it!
How wrong that is.
Sitting back and criticising investment and endeavour is not a option.
We must have long-term thinking, not short-term expediency.
Let’s be pragmatic, not ideological; realistic, not naive.
And a sprinkling of positivity never hurt anyone!