Throughout COVID-19, our focus has been on protecting the health and safety of Tasmanians, as well as rebuilding our economy and getting Tasmanians back to work.
One year on since our first COVID-19 case was identified, I want to take this opportunity to thank Tasmanians for their compassion and resilience as we’ve come together to rebuild and recover.
The good news is that those efforts have made a difference and our plan is working. Employment is back to pre-pandemic levels, we have the lowest unemployment rate of all the states, and there are almost 4,000 more full-time jobs than January last year.
These positive economic results are because we took strong action at the height of the pandemic to help businesses, with the largest economic and social support package in the country as a proportion of our economy, at over $1 billion.
That was followed by our Construction Blitz and HomeBuilder package in June, and our landmark $5 billion infrastructure investment package in the November Budget that will support 25,000 jobs over the next four years, and underpin confidence and demand statewide in the years to come.
And it is working – the latest data as of yesterday shows 2,635 HomeBuilder Grant applications for new home builds and substantial renovations.
Pleasingly, our businesses are the most confident in the country according to Sensis, and because they’re confident, they’re investing and hiring, with job vacancies for January 36 per cent higher than 12 months ago – the highest growth in the nation.
It’s clear evidence our plan is working and our economic recovery is well underway, with our economy ranked the number one performing economy in Australia for the fourth quarter in a row according to CommSec.
And this comes despite the constant negativity and misleading assertions from Labor’s Prophet of Doom, Shadow Treasurer David O’Byrne, who cannot bring himself to welcome any good news.
In fact, Mr O’Byrne is now resorting to simply making things up to try and generate negative headlines – as seen last week following the release of the ANZ Stateometer Report that said Tasmania’s economy is performing above the national average and better than four other jurisdictions, as measured by the Stateometer index.
We won’t be distracted by Labor talking down our State. We have a strong plan to support jobs, rebuild confidence, and rebuild our community as we continue to recover from the pandemic, and that’s exactly what we are doing.
But we know there is more to do, and we will continue to focus on growing our economy and creating more jobs as we rebuild a stronger Tasmania.