Deloitte outlook highlights commercial investment decline

House construction in Tasmania has fallen in the past year and commercial investment is declining, Deloitte’s latest Business Outlook publication highlights.

Although the report suggested the state was in relatively healthy shape, with employment increasing and wage growth being among the fastest in the nation, the forecaster warned people not to go overboard with their celebrations.

“The good news here should be celebrated but not taken to town,” the Deloitte Access Economics publication said.

“This state’s fundamentals point to ongoing modest growth rather than rapid growth – Tasmania’s population growth is too slow, and the state’s population is ageing faster than the national average – a combination which points to ongoing tight constraints on potential growth rates.

“… Business investment as a share of total spending, which is comfortably below the national average, has been relatively low for a while, and is trending down rather than up.”

Treasurer Peter Gutwein took a different tone, saying small to medium businesses believed the government’s policies were the “best in the country”.

“And we’ve seen confidence levels that have consistently been in the top two or three out of all of the jurisdictions around the country so Tasmania is a confident place – investment is occurring, and, importantly, jobs are being created.”

The Deloitte publication said house construction in Tasmania also fell in the past year. “Latest data show that indicators of housing in Tasmania remain something of a mixed bag. Housing finance commitments have edged lower in recent months after a period of rising strongly. Hobart house prices have shown a rise in the latest data.

"Yet, while the above suggests some positive signs in housing prices and in the housing rental market, residential building approvals have continued to trend lower, and they are at a lower level than a year ago.”