Tasmania’s economic upturn has continued thanks to population growth and “firmer activity in home buying and building”. (Supplied: Hobart City Council)
Population growth in Tasmania is the strongest in nearly eight years, according to the latest CommSec State of the States report.
Tasmania has held on to fourth position on the economic performance rankings behind Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT in the quarterly report for the Commonwealth Bank’s advisory service.
It comes as the Apple Isle welcomes a boom in migrants from overseas and interstate.
CommSec chief economist Craig James said the state’s population growth performance was a standout.
“The annual rate of population [growth] is 0.9 per cent. That’s still a fair bit slower than Victoria and New South Wales and the ACT, but for Tasmania it’s 65 per cent above the decade average,” he said.
“It’s the fastest population growth in almost eight years and that’s very, very important for the economy because it’s driving activity in terms of the housing sector, retail spending and also in terms of the job market.”
Mr James said Tasmania had previously lagged in population growth.
“People have gone down to Tasmania and realised it’s good value for money and good lifestyle as well,” he said.
“More people are moving to Tasmania, creating demand for homes and building new homes. If you look at the performance in terms of housing, finance and dwelling starts, Tasmania ranks third in the nation on both those indicators.”
Mr James said unemployment was a reasonable result and had not advanced since the last quarter.
“The other standout for Tasmania was second position in terms of business investment in plant and equipment, so that basically shows that Tasmania has a fairly balanced economy,” he said.
In a statement, Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the report showed Tasmania’s economy was recovering.
“It’s further proof our long-term plan is working to improve the lives of all Tasmanians, and we will continue to roll out initiatives that boost the economy and create jobs,” he said.
“That’s why we are supporting businesses by cutting payroll tax, making it easier for people to build their first home and encouraging interstate businesses to relocate to Tasmania.”
In a statement, Labor MP Scott Bacon said he welcomed the report, but said the Tasmanian Liberals, who won government in 2014, were still without a signature economic reform.
“Positive global and domestic economic conditions and a low Australian dollar continue to drive our export-orientated economy,” he said.
“I continue to be concerned that these positive global economic conditions are being wasted. Historically, governments use these kinds of conditions to embark on fiscal or economic reform, but the Hodgman Government does not have a reform agenda.
“After four years enjoying the benefits of a stronger global economy and a low Australian dollar, the Government is still without a single economic reform to its name.”