Labor’s Plan for Jobs
Tasmania faces its biggest economic and social crisis since the Second World War.
We know the anguish and shock felt by the thousands of Tasmanians who have lost jobs and income, or who have seen their small businesses and livelihoods destroyed.
We must urgently rebuild. Our biggest priority must be jobs and unemployment.
Labor has a jobs plan with ambition for Tasmania’s economy and compassion for Tasmania’s disadvantaged regions and people. A plan for 35,000 jobs. A plan that will actually reduce unemployment.
We will invest over $470 million in a Jobs and Innovation Fund, in rebuilding and renewing TAFE, in tourism and hospitality, in small business, in careers and jobs placement, in environmental protection, and in our disadvantaged and neglected regions. And we will directly support Tasmania’s manufacturing, mining, agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.
Labor will encourage the growth of the advanced manufacturing, IT and premium food, wine and spirits sectors.
And we will use debt responsibly to deliver 25,000 infrastructure jobs and make sure projects are delivered on time. We will upgrade the Burnie, Devonport and Bell Bay ports to help our exporters get their products to market quickly and efficiently.
Labor does not blame the Gutwein Government for the recession or the current unemployment crisis. We gave bipartisan support to public health and economic measures designed to save lives and to prevent an even bigger economic calamity.
But we will hold the Government to account on plans to get Tasmania out of recession as the pandemic crisis recedes. Because behind every unemployment statistic is a real worker with bills to pay and a family to support.
We need to remember that it is easy to fall into recession, but hard to find a path to sustained recovery. And this is particularly so for Tasmania.
After the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s and the Global Financial Crisis, Tasmania’s employment recovery took several years longer than the nation as a whole.
The Tasmanian people want and deserve bold action. A crisis unprecedented in living memory requires an unprecedented response.
Our plan is in stark contrast to the Budget released last Thursday by Peter Gutwein.
The Gutwein Budget lacks ambition. The Premier does not believe that Tasmania can be the equal of the nation on economic growth and unemployment.
The Premier has a plan for unemployment and a jobless recovery.
The Premier says he will create 25,000 new jobs. But the Budget has unemployment climbing to 8.5 per cent in the coming year and remaining at 8.25 per cent by the middle of 2022. And it forecasts the loss of nearly 7000 more jobs over the next two years.
The Budget forecasts two consecutive years of recession with economic growth falling by 1.5 per cent in the coming year. Growth in 2022 will only be 3.75 per cent compared to national growth of 4.25 per cent.
The Government has so little ambition that it does not even bother to provide forecasts for employment and economic growth in the last two years of the Budget estimates. It won’t even try to tell the public when unemployment will come down.
What an insult to the Tasmanian people.
How can anyone have confidence in the revenue and expenditure projections for 2023 and 2024 when the Government refuses to tell us the underlying economic conditions it expects in these years?
Other Governments do not hold back this Budget information.
Despite having no forecasts, we are asked to believe that growth in total Budget revenues will be 8.2 per cent in the final two years, or 32 per cent more than in the first two years. And we are asked to believe that growth in expenses will be only 3.3 per cent in the final two years, or 35 per cent less than in the first two years.
Labor questions the wisdom of producing a small cosmetic – and probably fictitious – surplus at the expense of actively supporting jobs and growth.
Peter Gutwein has put all of his employment eggs in the infrastructure basket, but this Government’s infrastructure track record is woeful and its package a con.
Late last week Moody’s Ratings Agency confirmed what every Tasmanian already knows – the Gutwein Government will likely fail to meet its infrastructure targets.
The Budget papers reveal that of the 96 existing infrastructure projects funded by the Liberal Government, 58 – more than half – are already delayed, sometimes by two and even three years. Collectively they are delayed by 90 years!
Beyond the infrastructure package this Budget has no other plan to create jobs.
Record debt and near record unemployment is a poor return on Tasmania’s investment.
Labor understands the power of an active Government. Manageable debt and deficit will drive real growth, directly support businesses and permanentlyinvest in skills and training.
Labor’s fully costed and carefully constructed Working for Tasmania plan will create 35,000 jobs and actually reduce unemployment. It shows that Labor is ready for Government.
And Tasmania desperately needs new Government – a Rebecca White Labor Government.
A new Government of ambition and compassion – ambition to make Tasmania’s economy and employment growth the equal of the nation – and compassion to make ensure that all Tasmanians share in the fruits of growth.