The latest CommSec State of the States Report shows Tasmania remains in fourth spot on the national economic rankings.
We’re ahead of Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia but trailing New South Wales (1st), the ACT and Victoria.
It’s a fair snapshot of how our economy is going, with some obvious bright spots but also some big challenges.
We’ve made ground when it comes to unemployment with the rate in Tasmania now down to 5.8 per cent, but unfortunately it doesn’t tell the full story.
The participation rate is stubbornly low – it’s at 59.7 per cent and has been below 60 per cent for more than a year.
It was Treasurer Peter Gutwein himself who argued that when a participation rate is below 60 per cent it means people have given up looking for work. He also argued a low participation rate makes the unemployment rate look better than it actually is.
That’s why we have been urging the Government to address the challenges we are facing on top of rightly recognising the positive signs in the economy.
We’ve seen a significant trend away from full-time employment to casual and part-time work.
Comparing now to this time last year, we’ve actually lost 4100 full-time jobs, despite the fact total employment is up.
The latest Deloitte Access Economics report makes the point that there are less full-time jobs in Tasmania now than there were 10 years ago.
No one has an overnight fix to reverse the trend but the first step is acknowledging it.
The benefits of more full-time jobs across the state are obvious.
Tasmanians are telling us they want to earn enough to look after their families without the stress and pressure of living from one pay day to the next.
We want to talk to employers about what’s needed to convert part-time and casual jobs into full-time employment.
We want to hear from Tasmanian businesses about their opinion of the current economy and what’s influencing their employment decisions.
I look forward to meeting with as many people from the business sector as possible as we count down to the next election.
By Scott Bacon, Tasmanian Shadow Treasurer