Tasmania's economy `stagnant'

BUSINESSES in the North will be told today that the state's economy remains stagnant.

The latest state survey of business expectations shows that while the pre-Christmas period was busier than expected, economic conditions are still poor.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist Phil Bayley will today brief businesses in the North-West, North and South of the state on the results.

Overall, he described the state's economy as ``anaemic'', based on survey's completed by 150 businesses that represent a range of sectors.

``With few signs of improving confidence, as demonstrated by the 12-month outlook hovering at 27.1 index points, there are few emerging signs that conditions will improve in the short term,'' Mr Bayley said.

``Not surprisingly, the survey also showed that insufficient demand or slow economic activity remains the most important constraint on improving business outcomes, confirming that most employers are unlikely to increase staff levels or overtime, and will need to keep pushing for productivity savings.''

Long term, Mr Bayley said the state's economic future was bright, but the survey proved it would take time, patience and strong leadership to turn things around.

Premier Lara Giddings said the government was tackling Tasmania's economic challenges head on.

She cited the $24.5-million Tasmanian Jobs Package, and lobbying that led to a federal decision to allow mining in the majority of the Tarkine.

``The state government has been focused on rebuilding confidence and creating jobs and opportunities for Tasmanians,'' Ms Giddings said.

``We have never shied away from the challenges facing the Tasmanian economy, which are largely being driven by forces like the high Australian dollar, which are outside of our control, but we are doing what we can to strengthen the economy.''

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said decisive action was needed from government to improve the economy.

``Yesterday, we announced a majority Liberal government will put $33 million on the table to make sure Tasmania has an international shipping service once again,'' Mr Hodgman said.

``While the Labor-Green government has been sitting on its hands, we will act.''


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