The Preliminary Outcomes Report for 2020-21, released today, demonstrates our economic and fiscal recovery from COVID-19 continues to progress ahead of expectations.
We took strong action at the height of the pandemic to support our economy and create jobs, including through our successful Construction Blitz and Homebuilder Programs, and today’s Report confirms our plan to secure Tasmania’s future is working.
Our strong economy is resulting in increased revenues to be able to invest more into essential services. Tasmania’s forecast preliminary Net Operating Deficit for 2020-21 will be $411.5 million, which is a $706.5 million improvement on that budgeted last year. The State’s Net Debt is estimated to be $459 million which is an improvement of $1.395 billion on last year’s Budget.
Pleasingly, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, private sector construction activity has remained strong, underpinned by Government infrastructure investment of more than $640 million, which was 23 per cent higher than investment in the previous year.
In light of our improved Budget position, the Government has made a decision to allocate increased funding over and above that committed to at the election to meet additional demands on our health system and to support vulnerable Tasmanians, as well as ensuring we have the flexibility to respond further should we need to in terms of Covid.
This decision, which commits more than an additional $600 million to meet both the demand in health, as well as ensuring we have the ability to respond to Covid should we need to, means that whilst we are forecasting cash surpluses from next year and over the forward estimates, that we will now return to a net operating surplus one year later than originally planned in 2023-24 and also in 2024-25.
There is no doubt our economy has bounced back strongly, with more Tasmanians in work than ever before, and CommSec ranking us once again as the best performing economy in the country, for the sixth quarter in a row.
However as we’ve seen recently, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an ever-present threat and we know there is more work to do.
That’s why we will continue to deliver our Plan to secure Tasmania’s future with our key focus on the health and safety of Tasmanians, while keeping our economy strong and creating jobs, right around the State.