Tasmania’s official Opposition has hit out at the government of Premier Peter Gutwein, saying the Budget Update confirms that Tasmania will have lower economic growth and higher unemployment than the rest of the nation.
Shadow Treasurer, David O’Byrne, said the State Government’s “much-hyped” infrastructure program is nearly $600-million behind schedule.
O’Byrne said Tasmania’s unemployment rate is forecast to be 6.75 percent in 2022, compared to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s forecast of 5.5 percent for the rest of the country.
Predicted 2022 jobs growth of only 0.5 percent
He added that the state’s predicted jobs growth in 2022 would only be 0.5 percent, compared to the national RBA forecast of 1.5 percent. Tasmania’s economic growth of three percent in 2022 will lag well behind the mainland, at 3.5 percent.
“Already the government’s much-touted infrastructure program is falling further behind schedule which, put simply, means the Premier cannot reach his promised target of 25,000 jobs,” O’Byrne stated.
“Peter Gutwein seems satisfied that the Mid-Year Budget Update he delivered today sees Tasmania lag behind the rest of the country on most measures, when in fact that is not good enough.
No workable plan to lead state out of pandemic
He said Tasmanian Labor believed the Liberal Government does not have a genuine, workable plan to lead the state out of the pandemic.
“Mr Gutwein has confirmed today that his deeply flawed plan for an infrastructure-only led recovery is one-dimensional and is not working.
“This government underspent its 2019-20 infrastructure budget by $202-million and is on track to be nearly $600 million-behind on this year’s infrastructure spending. Over the last four Budget years, the Liberals will have underspent on infrastructure by nearly $1-billion.”
Almost 60 infrastructure projects behind schedule
He claimed that almost 60 infrastructure projects remain dangerously behind schedule, some by up to three years.
“If your one strategy is to build and you cannot build, it means you have no strategy. The Premier’s claim that his infrastructure program will generate 25,000 jobs is just not believable when it is plagued by delay, incompetence and complacency.
“Tasmanian needs more than tunnel vision for economic recovery and only Labor’s multi-faceted, fully costed Jobs Plan will deliver 35,000 jobs, lower unemployment and [create] higher economic growth.”