There are encouraging signs in Tasmania’s economy which the Government is well within its right to acknowledge.
The latest CommSec State of the States Report saw us jump up to fourth on the overall rankings, from seventh.
The improvement was driven by demand for housing and promising retail spending. Labor will also recognise good economic news.
But we urge the Liberal Government to also address the obvious challenges facing the economy, in particular when it comes to employment.
Over the past 12 months we have seen an alarming shift from full-time to part-time work. If you crunch the numbers, we have actually seen 4600 full-time jobs disappear since April last year.
It’s a worrying trend and it’s one neither the Premier or Treasurer has publicly addressed. We are not saying there is an easy fix to this challenge but the first thing the Government needs to do is acknowledge the trend.
The strength of our tourism and retail sectors mean part-time jobs are being created but where will new full-time positions come from?
We want to see the Government making serious investments in infrastructure. Without proper investment in areas like water and sewerage we’ll hold the economy back and limit its capacity to grow.
Aquaculture is one sector that has consistently created full-time employment right across the state. But we’ve seen with a sewerage contamination on the East Coast just how critical modern infrastructure is to that part of the economy.
Oyster growers will be shut down for three weeks, costing them dearly and severely limiting their ability to take on new staff.
The Government needs to recognise this and spend money on infrastructure now.
There’s $185 million in unallocated infrastructure funding in the state budget, it should be brought forward and spent sooner rather than later.
Water and sewerage upgrades are a matter for all three tiers of government, not something that only local councils and TasWater have responsibility for.
Labor wants to see Tasmania’s economy thrive and more people able to support their families by finding full-time work.
By Scott Bacon, Opposition Treasury Spokesman