Taxes on the way up, public sector job cuts

Taxes on the way up, public sector job cuts

TASMANIA is headed for net debt for the first time in nine years as the state government continues to deal with falling revenues and rising costs in its 2012 budget.

Major announcements in the budget are:

* Health, education and police exempted from further cuts

* Other agencies must save an extra $68 million over four years

* Budget to go into net debt for two years to avoid harsher cuts

* Taxes will rise, including car registration fees

* $5 billion spending on services and $438 million on capital works in 2012-13

* Unemployment expected to get worse in the next 12 months

* $110 million bail out for Forestry Tasmania

In the next financial year, Treasury expects net debt to peak at $134.2 million.

The last time the state was in the red was 2003-04 with $114 million in net debt.

At the same time, Premier and Treasurer Lara Giddings remains determined to deliver a surplus and eliminate the debt by 2014-15.

To achieve that all departments except health, education and police will be asked to find a further $68 million in savings over four years, and some taxes will go up.

Ms Giddings said she was not able to steer away from her savings measures, because revenues continued to fall.

However, she said some concessions had been made as to where those savings were found to protect the most needy Tasmanians.