By TCCI CEO Michael Bailey
By the time members read this column, the New Year will be but a distant memory – but I hope still a happy one – as 2019 charges on.
As we look ahead, what sort of outlook is there for Tasmanian business?
We know that Tasmania’s economy is growing; we know that business confidence remains high around the State.
The major bogey is the Federal election come May or thereabouts.
Tasmanian demonstrated its intentions at the last national poll, when four Labor members were elected and one independent in Andrew Wilkie in Denison.
Interestingly, the reality is, on current and previous polling, we will most likely have a new, majority Labor Government and a new Prime Minister, Bill Shorten.
If that eventuates, the current cross-bench power of MHR’s such as Mr Wilkie, Cathy McGowan (Victoria), Bob Katter (Queensland) and Rebekah Sharkie (South Australia) will be diminished significantly.
With a majority Government, it enables whichever side of politics to ignore the independents and their policy concerns (at least in the Lower House, the Senate being another, different kettle of fish!).
As I have said previously, the Morrison Coalition Government will obviously fight hard on its economic record.
The Prime Minister and Treasurer have already prefaced the hand-back of $9.23 billion in tax cuts from an anticipated surplus of $37.2 billion over the next three years.
And, on paper, a less than 30% return of the surplus to Australian households and business sounds reasonable.
We will all watch the “Spendometer” tendencies of both sides of politics with great – and grave interest.
On a technical financial front, inflation here and abroad has been painfully weak for years.
Even the mid-year forecasts note that it has fallen this financial year compared with last.
Next financial year, however, it’s forecast to rise to 2.25 per cent before moving up to sit right in the RBA sweet spot of 2.5 per cent in 2020-21.
It’s a similar story for wages. Wages growth has barely risen after an extended period of record lows, currently sitting just about 2 per cent.
By 2020-21, however, it is due to rise to 3.5 per cent, well above the inflation rate.
The TCCI is committed to fight for Tasmanian business interests whoever wins the election.
In fact, four Tasmanian Labor members in a Shorten Government could be an excellent outcome for the State, particularly if Franklin’s Julie Collins retains her Opposition spokesperson responsibilities in the Cabinet.