It was a bittersweet end to the decade for Tasmania's Treasurer.
As the state continued to top numerous national economic rankings, Peter Gutwein received sobering news from Canberra.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down his Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in December, in which he explained there would be a writedown of the national GST pool over the next four years.
For Tasmania, this means a $280 million blow to its single biggest source of revenue, but Mr Gutwein says the growth in state own-source revenue would help to mitigate against the reduction in GST receipts.
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Fronting the cameras on the day of MYEFO, Mr Gutwein attempted to assure Tasmanians that the state government had implemented strategies in its latest budget to ward off headwinds in the national economy.
He has, however, acknowledged that the GST writedown will present a challenge for the state.
"When we were looking at the budget, it was very apparent that there were headwinds in the national economy," Mr Gutwein told The Examiner. "The national economy was slowing."
"What was of particular concern earlier on [in 2019] was the fact that the Melbourne and Sydney house markets had largely collapsed."
Accordingly, the 2019-20 state budget was a bit different to Mr Gutwein's previous few.
The Treasurer often talks of a need to "sandbag" the Tasmanian economy in anticipation of difficult economic circumstances.
His approach to this is two-pronged: spend big on infrastructure ($3.6 billion across the forward estimates) and, therefore, work to stimulate business confidence, attract investment and create jobs; and pursue an efficiency dividend ($450 million) by cutting costs in the public service.
Referring to the infrastructure spend, Mr Gutwein said: "Our whole objective in that was to ensure that we could keep confidence levels high in the Tasmanian economy, that the economy would continue to grow and, importantly, that we would see corresponding growth in our own-state revenues".
"In terms of the budget that I brought down, and the forward estimates, three-to-four years out we move back into net debt," he said.
"But I think that there's never been a better reason to invest in infrastructure than right now on the basis that we have a growing population, we need to service that population appropriately and interest rates are at their lowest rate that they've been in my lifetime.
"It's a good time to invest intergenerational debt into intergenerational assets."
The Treasurer highlighted the government's irrigation scheme developments - jointly funded by the Commonwealth government - as a prime example of investing in infrastructure that will stand the test of time.
"In 100 years, people will still be drawing water to feed stock and to grow crops out of those schemes that we're building today," he said.
The Treasurer's Annual Financial Report, released in October, showed that the total state sector had net cash investments of more than $1 billion.
But Labor finance spokesman David O'Byrne has accused the government of propping up its budget bottom line by "raiding the coffers" of government businesses. Mr O'Byrne has pointed to figures from the Auditor-General showing that of the $443 million in underlying profit reported by government businesses as a whole in 2018-19, the government took $435 million.
The government's infrastructure splurge is set to plunge the state into $1.1 billion of net debt by 2023, while modest surpluses in the net operating balance are forecast for each year of the forward estimates.
"Whilst there's always some criticism around budgets, I believe that we got the last one right and that's now bearing fruit for the Tasmanian economy," Mr Gutwein said.
"We lead the country in terms of growth in housing development approvals, in work done, the number of building permits that are being put through by our local councils; all of those indicators show growth and that indicates the strength in the Tasmanian economy."
The Revised Estimates Report, a mid-year budget update, is due to be unveiled early this year. Mr Gutwein was coy when asked if Tasmanians could expect to see many surprises in it.
"Like any Treasurer, you never will talk about surprises before the day," he said.
Even after the GST writedown, Mr Gutwein said it was "certainly not my intention" to hit the public service with new savings measures.
"We've outlined the savings in the budget and my intention would be that we would remain within that," he said.
"I do firmly believe, though, that the public sector can be more efficient."
Despite the state's strong economic performance in recent years, the challenges facing vulnerable Tasmanians are acute.
Whilst there's always some criticism around budgets, I believe that we got the last one right and that's now bearing fruit for the Tasmanian economy.Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
In 2019, Hobart retained the ignominious title of the least affordable capital city to rent in, public frustration with the health system continued to dog the government, unemployment remained high relative to other jurisdictions and inflation outpaced wage growth.
"Any year, there are always issues that you've got to deal with," Mr Gutwein said.
"Whilst there will always be challenges, I've always got an eye to the future and I think Tasmania's future is in great shape.
"I go into this year with great confidence."