Put money where your mouth is 


IT WAS a novel concept during the week for Premier Lara Giddings to encourage Tasmanians to spend their savings this Christmas to help local retailers.

It was novel because Ms Giddings made the comments at the launch of a Christmas appeal for a local charity - which helps out people low on their luck.

In basic economic terms, Ms Giddings has a valid point about spending.

People spending more locally will stimulate the local economy, but they will only do this if they have confidence in their income-earning capacity and can see a bright future.

When people are concerned about the future it is a natural reaction to save for that proverbial rainy day.

At the moment there are plenty of Tasmanians sheltering under an umbrella.

This is the reason many Tasmanians were simply dismayed by the Christmas spend-up call because the government is doing one thing and saying another.

Ms Giddings has made no secret of the fact that her Labor-Green government has no money and is cutting jobs and cutting spending to live within its budget.

If it is good enough for the state government, surely that's what other Tasmanians should do as well?

The job of government is to create the right economic climate to encourage community confidence, which automatically leads to increased spending.

It is a measure of this administration's inertia that Tasmanians are nervous about their future.

Ms Giddings will argue that this is not the case, but perception is reality.

When voters see a minority government party like the Greens virtually running the state they get nervous - they didn't vote for this and, in fact, it was vehemently ruled out by Labor.

Deputy Premier Bryan Green is a classic example of a Forestry Minister who got clear-felled by Nick McKim over breaking up Forestry Tasmania. This does not engender confidence.

It's not surprising that Hydro was also on the Greens hit list and a Labor plan to improve efficiency and competition has been sitting idle for nearly six months while the Greens try to get their way.

It was revealed this week that the state's preferred container port, Bell Bay, handled just 1 per cent of the container traffic in the past year - down 88 per cent.

Tasmanian companies now have no choice but to freight their goods all the way to the North-West Coast where Burnie is being artificially advantaged thanks to a deal by a previous Liberal government, supported by Labor.

Phase out this Burnie subsidy and get Bell Bay moving because we can be the food bowl for Australia and the world, but that is no good to anyone if it is too expensive to transport.

The cost of business and trying to compete on a national and world market is killing Tasmanian businesses.

Tasmania is still the only state without a first home builders or buyers grant. The building industry is on its knees and tradesmen are leaving the state.

Ding, ding ... those warning bells are nearly worn out.


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