One of Tasmania’s biggest companies, Hazell Bros, has hired 50 new employees since Christmas to work on demolishing a government building.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein hailed the additional workers as a sign of a strong Tasmanian economy.
“Tasmania is the most confident state in the country,” Mr Gutwein said.
“We have created 11,000 new jobs and there is further investment to come with a new university in the North and a new North-West university campus.”
Mr Gutwein said soil testing had been done for the UTAS building in Launceston and a development application was being finalised.
“We would hope to see that building (the university) coming out of the ground later this year,” he said.
Hazell Bros managing director Geoffrey Hazell said the 50 new employees were hired to work on the demolition of 10 Murray St, Hobart, which is expected to be completed by the end of June.
“This is the biggest building ever demolished in Tasmania,” Mr Hazell said.
“There is growth in the construction industry in Tasmania.
“Many are people coming back from the mainland because they see a sea change happening and all the activity is leading them to return.”
Mr Hazell said the 50 new employees would also work on the Midland Highway.
He is optimistic about adding more staff to his 250-strong workforce if the company secures another big contract.
“We have a full order book and will need more people if we sign this new contract,” Mr Hazell said.
The 17-storey building, an example of brutalist architecture, is being demolished as part of the new Parliament Square development.
Mr Hazell said work began on the structural demolition in January.
“The project required three excavators to be craned to the top of the 17-storey building to allow demolition one floor at a time,” he said.
“The excavators are currently working on the fifth floor.”
Mr Gutwein said the Sensis Business Index for March 2018 showed Tasmania’s small and medium-sized businesses were the most confident in Australia.
“The Tasmanian government became even more popular, appealing to SMBs more than any other state and territory government,” the Sensis report said.
Mr Gutwein said Tasmanian SMBs confidence levels lead the nation at +54 index points, equal with the ACT.
“Tasmania’s SMBs are also the most confident about the direction of the economy.”