Tasmania must plan for continuous economic growth

The Property Council of Australia today congratulated the government on a move to surplus of $77 million and significant infrastructure investment outlined in the 2016/17 State Budget.

Tasmanian Executive Director Brian Wightman also acknowledged a number of announcements which will stimulate the state’s economy.

“Tasmania must put the building blocks in place to ensure that the state is underpinned by continuous economic growth.

“$1.8 billion in infrastructure projects is a welcome announcement.

“The doubling of the First Home Builders Grant together with $113 million investment in schools, and an additional $60 million for the Affordable Housing Strategy should provide the project pipeline that Tasmanian businesses are looking for,” he said.

Mr. Wightman encouraged the state government to continue to focus on population growth as a key consideration when developing economic strategy.

“We remain hopeful that the First Home Builders Grant will drive population growth.  The Government should also consider stamp duty relief to encourage young people to move to Tasmania,” he said.

The Property Council of Australia acknowledged the unique challenges currently being experienced in North and North West Tasmania, particularly in relation to employment and jobs growth.

“The North and North West of Tasmania are not booming like Hobart. And far from looking for excuses, the Property Council wishes to assist through providing ideas and stimulating discussion.

“$90 million including an additional $30 million to support the University of Tasmania’s Northern Expansion to Inveresk and Burnie, and the Devonport Living City Project remains a game changer. 

Mr. Wightman reiterated that water and sewerage remained a major challenge for Tasmania and looked forward to the state government, together with their local and federal government counterparts providing leadership that included substantial funding sooner rather than later.

“Launceston is crying out for water and sewerage infrastructure investment.  TasWater should increase their borrowings, councils should pay back dividends, and the state and federal governments should sit down with the owners and plan for the future.

“Investment in water and sewerage infrastructure will create jobs now and enable them into the future.  It’s difficult to create a University City in Launceston with inadequate services,” he said.

The Property Council of Australia commended the State Government for including $400,000 to support the essential work of the Planning Reform Taskforce, and $1.9 million for the iPlan project. 

“The Planning Reform Taskforce has undertaken a huge task, recently releasing the State Planning Provisions well ahead of time.  We remain of the view that the leadership provided to reduce more than thirty planning schemes into one should be complemented by local government reform.

“Sydney with a population of 5 million people now has 25 councils.  In Tasmania, we have 29 councils for 516,000 people.  That fact is plainly ridiculous and requires tough leadership to resolve,” Mr. Wightman said.

Media contact:  Brian Wightman |M 0429 073 773 |E bwightman@propertycouncil.com.au