Tasmania lags in productivity, growth: report

The interstate housing boom may hold the key to stimulating Tasmania’s growth, an economist says.

Dr Peter Brain made the prediction in the wake of the 2017-18 State of the Regions Report, released on Sunday.

The report showed that Tasmania as a whole was languishing in productivity, and has high rates of unemployment and related welfare dependence.

It assesses the state by regions - the North-West, North, and South.

The North-West and North fared similarly in most categories, while the South (Hobart) showed on paper the benefits of its growing popularity.

Dr Brain is a co-author of the report, which is based on Australian Local Government Association data.

He said that a small population, coupled with a slow population growth, was a contributing factor to the two northern regions’ low rankings in household wealth.

It also played into the regions’ low productivity rates.

The North-West and North ranked 57th and 60th respectively in the national wealth per household ladder of 67 regions. The South came in at 37th.

However, Dr Brain said Tasmania was “doing as well as could be expected”.

He predicted that the state will start to pick up productivity growth, population, and employment as the housing boom interstate drives people to cheaper property prices, like those that are comparatively available in Tasmania.

“From that perspective … in a year or two, [that flow-on effect] will show up in the figures,” Dr Brain said.

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