THE State Govt has handed down a $4.3b Budget that delays cuts to government jobs and spending until after next year’s election.
None of Tasmania’s 28,000 public servants are to be forcibly sacked and no new state assets or businesses sold other than Devonport Airport.
But 800 public servants will be offered voluntary redundancies from July, while government departments will have to find significant efficiency savings of $61 million in the next financial year.
The Department of Economic Development and parts of the environment and heritage portfolio have been particularly hard hit.
Employment programs aimed at helping older workers and the long term unemployed find jobs have been slugged with a $2.3 million cut back.
Funding for Parks and Wildlife services alone will fall 25 per cent over the next three years.
Annual spending on the police force, prisons, the magistrates’ courts and legal services has been cut and the urgent redevelopments of Glenorchy and Devonport police stations deferred.
But despite the cuts, the government is still spending more than it earns.
Its $4.2 billion annual income in 2009-10 will be exceeded by a public service wage bill and bureaucracy costing $4.33 billion.
The government has also forecast a horror year ahead for the Tasmanian economy, with the state tipped to suffer a two per cent plunge in job numbers and an economic recession.
By 2010, more than 8 per cent of Tasmanians will be unemployed.
The Budget also predicts economic recovery in Tasmania will be slow, lagging behind the rest of Australia by two to three years
Budget horror days
800 PS jobs face axe
Cuts across the board
Federal stimulus props up Budget spending
Opposition decries horror, vanity budget
Budget received as clear and credible
Stark choices in $4.3b Budget
800 PS jobs go in hunt for savings
The Green alternative