Since the Hodgman Liberal team came to government in March 2014 more than 14,300 jobs have been created in our state.
This is no small feat and demonstrates our commitment to improving the lives of fellow Tasmanians.
We have long maintained that the most important action a government can take to support businesses, industry and workers is to put in place an economic environment that gives the private sector the confidence to invest, grow and create jobs.
The government’s long-term plan for Tasmania is working to foster just such an environment, and we are continuing this work with our successful efforts to bring the state’s finances under control and to balance the budget.
Last week I released the Treasurer’s Annual Financial Report for 2017-18, which confirmed that for the third year in a row we delivered a modest budget surplus and remained free of net debt, meaning that we can continue to fund essential services and invest in our future for the long term.
Thanks to our strong financial management in our first term of government, by the time of our 2018-19 State Budget we were able to commit to record levels of investment into health, education and infrastructure across our state.
A series of business surveys and economic reports released recently have confirmed that our booming economy is lifting the business community to new levels of confidence and favourable trading conditions that were almost unimaginable five years ago.
One of the most telling signs of the strength of our economy has been the consistent growth in retail trade turnover. When people are confident about their job and economic conditions, they spend more.
Retail trade ... has now seen 47 consecutive months of growth, and 28 consecutive months above the half-billion dollar mark.Peter Gutwein
Retail trade in the state has now seen 47 consecutive months of growth, and 28 consecutive months above the half-billion dollar mark.
And in September 2018, new vehicle sales in Tasmania grew 22 per cent over the previous year, in contrast to a fall in every other jurisdiction.
Sadly, with many Tasmanians struggling to find work under the Labor-Green government, many chose to leave the state, and in the last year of the previous government a net total of 551 people left our great island for opportunities on the mainland.
But since coming to government in 2014, we have turned this around and more people from the mainland are now choosing to live in Tasmania, with a net total 2,196 people moving here over the year to the March quarter 2018.
Tasmania also came out on top in terms of relative population growth in the latest Commsec State of the States report released last week, with the state’s latest annual growth rate being almost 78 per cent higher than its decade average, at 1.02 per cent.
The recent Deloitte Access Economics Business Outlook Report for September 2018 found that Tasmania’s business conditions lead the nation and confidence is high.
The latest CommSec report also confirmed that Tasmania topped annual growth in the nation in four of the eight indicators.
Tasmania was reported to have had the fastest annual pace of economic growth of all jurisdictions, up 7.1 per cent over the previous year and almost double the national average.
International merchandise exports figures released last week by the ABS confirm global demand for Tasmanian products remains strong, with exports totalling $3.78 billion in goods in the year to September 2018 – the highest level recorded in over a decade.
Total goods exports have grown by 26 per cent over the previous year – the strongest rate of any state or territory.
New federal government figures released in recent days show that a record 307,000 international tourists came to Tasmania over last year and spent more than half a billion dollars whilst here.
Both these statistics represent a 21 per cent increase from the previous year and were by far the nation’s strongest growth.
These export and tourism figures demonstrate that the world wants what we have here in Tasmania and people want to come here and see what we have on offer in our great State.
These continual achievements should not be underestimated; the Hodgman Liberal Government has worked hard since coming to office in 2014, but we know there is more work to be done and that some Tasmanians are yet to feel the full benefits of our improving economy.
We are heading in the right direction, our long-term plan is working to improve the lives of all Tasmanians, and we will continue to roll out initiatives that boost the economy and create jobs.
- Peter Gutwein is the Tasmanian Treasurer.