Booms bust: Tassie budget misses chance to invest in future

Today’s State budget has reflected our strengthening economy, built on the back of our clean and green image. The boom, fuelled by growth in tourism and the property market, has increased revenue, delivering a surplus of $54 million dollars.

The Australia Institute Tasmania have warned that if investment is not made in vital long-term prosperity building projects, the State risks squandering hard fought gains.

“Tasmania is enjoying a boom in tourism and real estate. But booms are temporary – that’s why they’re called ‘booms’,”  Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at The Australia Institute, said.

“History tells us that smart investment in boom times can underpin future prosperity. In Tasmania, that means investing into our natural advantages – our environment and our people.”

“Sadly, this budget was more about scattering breadcrumbs to feed the Pidgeons before the election rather than genuinely trying to build industries in Tasmania.” Grudnoff said.

Senior economist at The Australia Institute, Matt Grudnoff, who was in the budget lockup, identified missed opportunities for supporting growth industries in the state:

Promoting Tasmania as a centre of excellence in science, technology, engineering and maths.  Already overlooked in the federal budget, the University of Tasmania’s, Launceston STEM project has missed out again the State budget

Skills and training of our workforce

  • No funding for closing the digital literacy divide between Tasmania and the mainland
  • Only $3 million into training Tasmanians for the  tourism and hospitality workforce (the industry underpinning the states’ economic recovery with an identified shortfall of staff)

Promoting industries where we have a natural advantage

  • No money for increasing solar or wind energy generation that could transform Tasmania into a renewable energy centre of excellence, building of our Hydro base
  • No money to connect into an intercontinental data pipe that could transform our ICT sector. The two cables cable, totalling almost 10,000 kilometres, will start in Singapore before heading south to Jakarta, Perth and through the Bass Strait to Sydney.
  • Minimal spending on upgrading infrastructure and maintenance in nationals parks, a key driver of our tourism economy

“The $3 million dollar training fund is woefully small. The tourism and hospitality industries have delivered the states’ economic recovery, are now facing a shortfall of staff.”

“A good rate of return on the public investment is delivered by creating jobs, stimulating economic activity around core projects, providing access to infrastructure and ensuring a multiplier effect into the future. 

“Instead the budget has picked winners, allocating money to specific projects and companies resulting in some immediate full time jobs, but with no long term vision.

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