Call to set economic goals for Tasmania

Julian Amos

Julian Amos

BUILDING on economic strengths and setting strong goals are suggestions for getting Tasmania out of a gloomy situation revealed in new figures.

Former Labor minister and unsuccessful March poll candidate Julian Amos yesterday commented on official statistics that he had collated for Tasmania.

Deloitte Access Economics has also released new figures, saying retail sales were up strongly in the March quarter, jobs growth was having a small rebound, and a lower Australian dollar was helping manufacturing and tourism.

But a poor population outlook would limit retail growth.

Now a consultant, Dr Amos said migration was negative and the gross state product was shrinking.

But a bright spot was retail sales - in trend terms the total spend was up by between 0.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent for each of the first four months of the year in Tasmania.

Cityprom executive officer Vanessa Cahoon said Launceston retailers had reported recent sales boosts.

Sectors such as general clothing were doing OK, but luxury sectors were not doing as well.

Dr Amos said both the Liberal and previous Labor governments did not have strong economic targets with defined timelines.

He said the way to boost the state's prospects was through strong leadership and goals, as that would encourage investment.

Dr Amos said the Liberal government should be doing more than proclaiming the state as "open for business".

This should include encouraging existing clusters of excellence - including high-value manufacturing at Bell Bay in the North, art at Salamanca in the South and agriculture in the North-West.

A government spokesman said the Liberals were elected to clean up the mess left by Labor.

Some 1700 new full-time jobs had been created since the March poll and the participation rate was at a three-year high.

Building approvals for April were 32 per cent higher than a year ago and retail trade was 10 per cent higher over the same time.

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