Government | Regulation

Public sector cuts required to repair budget: Tasmanian Premier

Tasmania must focus on its strengths in agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, mining and tourism to expand the economy but public sector cuts are required to repair the budget deficit and finance essential services, Premier the Hon. Will Hodgman has told CEDA's State of the State in Hobart.

"We must back our competitive strengths - which includes our established, traditional industries where we also have advantage - forestry and mining - and support them to also invest, diversify and expand," he said.

On the topic of Tasmania's fledgling economy, Mr Hodgman said the Government is working hard to fix it by developing a strong vision for the State's future.

"Though it's true to say it is a challenging task, and you simply can't turn things around overnight, we are getting on with the job," he said.

"Our vision for the future is bright."

This vision includes plans to cut red and green tape, deliver a state-wide planning scheme, restore an international shipping service and rebuild essential services, he said.

In order to invest in services including 108 extra police, $76 million for hospital surgeries and a $1.4 billion investment in education, the Government must implement public service cuts, he said.

"It falls on us to repair the State's financial position, and if we don't start straight away, the job will become harder and harder," he said.

"We need to save $50 million a year, either through temporary pay freezes or through reducing the size of the public sector."

Despite the $1.1 billion forecast in accumulated deficits and net debt close to $400 million, Mr Hodgman is optimistic about the state's economic future.

"Business confidence is returning; retail turnover is up, and well above the national growth rate," he said.

"Tourism is buzzing with the number of visitors and their spending far outstripping the national rate.

"As a government, we will strive to encourage and build this renewed confidence, this optimism, and hope for a brighter future."