Respected economist Saul Eslake believes three key issues are impacting Tasmania’s economic health: education, jobs, and healthcare, with education leading.
Without strong improvement in all three areas, Mr Eslake says Tasmania won’t see the kind of growth needed to bring its economic welfare up to the national standard.
At the John West Memorial Lecture, hosted by the Launceston Historical Society at the University of Tasmania’s Newnham campus on Thursday night, Mr Eslake said education was the strongest investment the state can make, pointing to Australian Bureau of Statistics data that reveals Tasmania’s low school completion rates. “There is now an enormous accumulated body of evidence demonstrating a strong correlation between educational attainment and economic outcomes,” Mr Eslake said.
“A smaller proportion of Tasmania’s population has a bachelor’s degree or higher than that of any other state or territory: and a much larger proportion of Tasmania’s population than that of any other state or territory has no educational qualification beyond Year 10 of high school.”
Mr Eslake warned that if Tasmania does not achieve “significantly higher levels” of education completion, the state’s rapid population aging will see living standards continue to decline.
He pointed to John West’s own words warning of the dangers of “neglect[ing] the education of the rising generation.”
- Read Mr Eslake’s speech on The Examiner website.