Top welfare state

Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Tony Reidy.
Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Tony Reidy.

TASMANIANS receive social security benefits above the national average in all areas, according to the 2014-15 State of the Regions report.

From disability support to single parenting payments, long and short-term unemployment and youth allowance, the state leads the nation.

However, the annual report, produced by National Economics and published by the Australian Local Government Association, also shows a bleak picture of other aspects within the state.

In many of the areas investigated, the three regions of Tasmania – Hobart/South, North and North-West – feature in the 10 lowest performing, from a decline in property values to non-residential construction.

Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Tony Reidy said the results were not surprising.

He said it was well known that a third of the state’s population received some kind of Commonwealth benefit, which is well above the national average of 23 per cent.

He said the state topped the list for the highest rate of unemployment, youth unemployment, oldest population, fastest ageing population and we also have the greatest proportion of disability pensioners.

‘‘We can’t continue to sustain the unemployment rate, however, underemployment is also a big issue,’’ Mr Reidy said.

He said three quarters of people working part-time were seeking additional hours.

That was supported by the report, which stated that the North-West – with the highest rate of unemployment in the country at 20.5 per cent – also shows that part-time employment in the region makes up 42.2 per cent of all employed people.

Although unemployment declined in both Hobart/South and the North, across the country the regions still ranked in the top 10 in the fastest rise in unemployment rates from 2009 to 2014.

The report also showed:

●The North-West is the least wealthy region in the country.

●The North ranked as eighth least wealthy.

●Property values in the North-West declined by 9.7 per cent from 2010 to 2014.

●In the North it declined by 9.5 per cent.

●In non-residential construction, both the North and Hobart/South saw a more than 30 per cent decline and the North-West 12 per cent.


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