Tasmania back into net debt

TASMANIA has slipped back into net debt, according to a quarterly update on the government's finances released yesterday.

The report shows that Tasmania's debt deteriorated by $235.9 million from June 30 and stood at $15.6 million at September 30.

The report also shows an operating deficit of $148.6 million, more than half the $239.4 million full-year deficit forecast in the Preliminary Outcomes Report in August.

Finance Minister Scott Bacon said the results were substantially affected by "seasonal and timing factors".

"Fluctuations in revenue for land tax, dividends and Australian government grants, as well as seasonal patterns of departmental spending, are reflected in the results," Mr Bacon said.

He said the $209 million Consolidated Fund deficit prompted the return to net debt.

Opposition treasury spokesman Peter Gutwein said the report showed that the government was on track to deliver another record budget deficit.

"You simply can't trust Labor and the Greens with money - they're effectively spending over $1.5 million a day more than they're earning," Mr Gutwein said.

He called on the government to match the opposition's promise to offset any election spending promises with savings.

However, the government has frequently criticised this claim, saying the savings that the opposition claimed to have found to fund things such as its $33 million freight promise did not stack up.

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