Government | Regulation

Focus of the Tasmanian State Budget this year was getting back in the black: Treasurer Peter Gutwein

The focus of the Tasmanian State Budget this year was getting back in the black but also supporting the confidence and momentum in the economy at the moment, Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein has told a CEDA audience.

“The Budget that we brought out last week (May 28) has a reduced deficit for the current year, a small deficit next year and then we’re back in the black and back in surplus across the forward estimates,” he said.

“I must admit as a Treasurer, saying that you’re ‘back in the black’ is one of the nicest things you can actually get to say.

“What we wanted the Budget to do was support confidence, to consolidate the gains we had made over the last 12 months, and importantly build on the momentum that’s out there in the economy and across the broader community in the moment.

“We laid down a pathway last year for surplus. The framing of the Budget ensured that we took into account, as a government and I think for the first time in a long while, that you couldn’t continue to spend more than you earn.

“In the Budget last year, we built in a $1 billion turnaround which was based on a number of savings and revenue measures.

“It was important that we set a fiscal strategy that would be enduring.”

Mr Gutwein said the number one priority was job creation and “importantly getting out of the road of the private sector” while providing assistance where we can.

“It was important that we didn’t cut too deeply to damage confidence, and I think we got the balance quite right,” he said.

“For the first time, we had the NAB Business Survey come out, and we were able to put a Premier on the national stage to say very proudly that Tasmania had the most confident business community in the country.”

Mr Gutwein said government also wanted to ensure that they improved service delivery particularly in the key areas of health and education.

“What we want to do with the university (sector) is ensure they are front and centre in our thinking in regards to how we grow this economy, how we ensure we have a smarter Tasmania. If we get the balance right, we will see an influx of international students,” he said.

Mr Gutwein said the Budget also included $68 million for new facilities to “invigorate” high schools, which was the single largest investment in high schools in the last 20 years.