The Tasmanian economy
Tasmania is Australia’s island state, situated off the south-east corner of the Australian mainland. It has a varied climate and topography, ranging from mountains and forests in the west, to warm, dry conditions on the east coast.
Our ingenuity is earning the state a reputation as a dynamic and forward thinking investment environment but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. It is our ability to innovate and adopt new ideas and technology that will help us keep the momentum going. Not too many years ago, the world viewed Tasmania as ‘isolated’ and its economy as a ‘basket case.’ Tasmania is now isolated only from the scourges of big city life - overcrowding, pollution, high-priced real estate, stress, poverty and crime.
In 2007 Tasmania is breaking all sorts of economic records, making the rest of Australia and the world sit up and take notice. Apart from lifestyle and natural beauty, one of Tasmania’s big draw cards is the quality, range and affordability of urban and rural real estate. Although prices have recently risen in many areas, new arrivals can still find a bargain - often with water views, a large landholding and access to nearby wilderness.
Tasmania’s population of 480,000 is evenly dispersed around the island. The capital city Hobart, nestled beneath beautiful Mt Wellington and boasting one of the world’s best deep water harbours, is simply stunning. Despite the real estate boom, Hobart still offers the second cheapest capital city housing in Australia.
Launceston, in the state’s north is Tasmania’s second largest city. With its graceful, well preserved Victorian architecture and green parks Launceston is an important commercial centre deriving its wealth from wool, wine, agriculture, niche manufacturing and resource processing at the nearby Bell Bay industrial site.
In the fertile north-west, Burnie’s thriving dairy processors and specialised manufacturers now complement the traditional port, pulp and paper industries. Nearby Devonport is the gateway to the state, being home port for Tasmania’s super fast ferries.
Tasmania gross State product is growing at 3.1 per cent which is higher than the national rate.
Strong fiscal management
$1.6 billion of general government net debt eliminated and Tasmania will remain net debt free. As a result, there is $150 million a year extra to spend on services and infrastructure.
Credit rating upgrades
Moody’s updated Tasmania from Aa1 to Aaa in December 2006 and this was confirmed in October 2007. Standard and Poors from AA to AA+ in 2004.
32,000 new jobs created since January 1999. Record people employed at June 2006. Strong jobs growth is also reflected in Tasmania’s steadily rising participation rate that is now around 61 per cent.
Private investment is currently 25 per cent above the long-term average. At present in Tasmania there is around $4 billion worth of private investment underway or planned.
Long-term unemployment has more than halved since 1998. Strong economic growth has driven the unemployment rate to record lows.
Consumer spending reached a record high, rising by 8.2 per cent in the year to June 2007. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show retail trade in trend terms in September 2007 is at the record level of $426.5 million. Tasmania deregulated shop trading hours in 2002, leading to significant investment opportunities and growth in the retail sector.
More people (492,000) are now living in Tasmania than ever before. Population is growing by more than 3,000 per year.
Exports rose by over 17 per cent to around $3.71 billion in the year to September 2007.
Tasmania has the second lowest taxation severity of all states and territories. No new state taxes or increases in the rate of existing taxes.
(source: Dept of Treasury and Finance (Tasmania)
and Australian Bureau of Statistics)