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Budget back in the black over the Forward Estimates

26 August 2021

Peter Gutwein MP

Premier and Treasurer

The 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget will secure Tasmania’s future by building on the success of our financial and economic management over the past seven years, and our success in facing the challenges of COVID-19.

It will deliver all of the commitments we made at the Election, as we said we would - commitments that will keep us safe, deliver better hospitals and schools, provide more houses for those in need and support better education and training outcomes, while also investing in the necessary road and community infrastructure we need.

Prior to the pandemic we had a strong financial position, and as at 31 December 2019, just months before COVID-19 hit, we held $788 million in net cash, deposits and investments - in stark contrast to net debt, like every other government in this country.

Our strong financial position and the strength of our economy has enabled us to deal with the challenges we have faced, and Tasmania has come roaring back.

There are now more than 263,000 people employed in Tasmania, and our unemployment rate at 4.5 per cent is below the national average.

At the height of the pandemic last year we laid out a plan to kick-start our economy and build our way out and by any measure, our plan has worked.

In June 2021, dwelling approvals were up 43.7 per cent from the previous year, and the value of retail trade increased 10.9 per cent over the year to June 2021.

And, when others were experiencing negative growth in their exports, the value of our goods exports increased by 5.2 per cent over the year to June 2021.

Confidence is up, jobs are up and importantly the unemployment rate is down.

These results don’t happen by chance. We worked hard to keep people safe, we invested record amounts in support and stimulus packages, confidence stayed strong, investment increased and the jobs have come back.

This Budget will build on the momentum we have created, and will deliver our plan to secure Tasmania’s future and keep our economy strong as we move forward.

Over the course of the Budget and Forward Estimates period, our infrastructure program and other job creating initiatives are expected to support in excess of 28 000 jobs.

And as I’ve said, we have delayed the budget’s return to an operating surplus by one year so that we can invest even more into this critical service area for all Tasmanians.

Pleasingly, the budget is on track to be back in the black over the Forward Estimates period, with a cash operating surplus of $368.8 million in 2022-23, a modest operating surplus of $39.4 million in 2023-24, and an operating surplus of $126.8 million in 2024-25.

However, we know we live in very uncertain times and there will be twists and turns as we move forward.

That’s why we have a clear plan to secure Tasmania’s future, to keep people safe and to deliver an even stronger, more diverse and resilient economy.