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Tasmanian Times published this article by Jarvis Cocker The Naked Emperors on May 18 after Labor handed down its budget. A few days earlier John Lawrence published Where to Tasmania? following an earlier article State of the State: What your Mother didn’t tell you, graph by graph. Five months later Moody’s has downgraded Tasmania’s credit rating:

Credit agency Moody’s has downgraded Tasmania’s rating.

Tasmania’s rating now sits at Aa1 but is stable.

In a statement, the agency says the ratings downgrade reflects persistent large deficits which first emerged in 2008 and the likelihood the debt burden will not show any significant decline over the medium term.

It cites slow growth in GST receipts despite weakness in the local economy and spending outpacing revenue.

Moody’s also blames the high Australian dollar and global uncertainty for the downturn in the woodchip, manufacturing and tourism industry, resulting in the state’s slow growth nationally by less than one per cent in 2010-11.

However, the agency says the stable outlook reflects the Government’s commitment to reducing the budget deficit.

Read the rest, ABC Online here

All Jarvis Cocker here

All John Lawrence here

• MOODY’S DOWNGRADE CONFIRMS NEED FOR TAX REFORM

Tim Morris MP
Greens Treasury Spokesperson
Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Tasmanian Greens said today’s credit downgrade by ratings agency Moody’s was further confirmation of the urgent need for root-and-branch reform of Tasmania’s taxation system.

Greens Treasury spokesperson Tim Morris MP today renewed calls for the Premier to restart the valuable work of the now-defunct State Tax Review Panel, by requesting Treasury to formulate a White Paper for discussion on the issue.

“If Labor and the Liberals hadn’t teamed up last year to sink tax reform in Tasmania, we could have a better taxation system in place by now delivering a more stable revenue stream that reduced the risk of further credit downgrades,” Mr Morris said.

“With the state’s projected budget deficit at about a quarter of a billion dollars, now is exactly the right time to push this process forward, and to create a fairer tax system that delivers more certainty and less red tape for business.”

“Ultimately it’s going to cost us jobs and investment if Labor and Liberal don’t grow some backbone, and join the Greens to fix our messy and inefficient system of state-based taxes.”

Mr Morris said that the Liberal Leader Will Hodgman should also accept responsibility for the downgrade because if his party’s negativity and its immature approach to the challenges facing the State Budget.

“The Liberals stand condemned for helping bring about this credit downgrade because of their relentless negativity, which has had a big impact on confidence in the state.”

“Their immature and populist approach to bringing the State Budget back into balance has done nothing to help address the challenges we are facing.”

• FIXING FREIGHT EFFICIENCY A PRIORITY FOR BUSINESS

Tim Morris MP
Greens Infrastructure Spokesperson
Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today said the Federal Government’s announcement today of a new taskforce to examine inefficiencies in Tasmania’s freight transport system was welcome, but long overdue.

Greens Infrastructure spokesperson Tim Morris MP said that the new Tasmanian Freight Logistics Coordination Team would need to work quickly to find long term freight solutions for Tasmania.

“Tasmania is long overdue for a freight strategy that addresses the costly inefficiencies and infrastructure bottlenecks that are holding back productivity,” Mr Morris said.

“The efficiency of the whole logistics chain in Tasmania needs to be examined to identify areas for cost reductions in getting products to and from markets interstate and overseas.”

“The multi-million dollar freight assistance package announced by the Federal Government recently was only ever a stop gap measure, and it did not address the serious structural problems in Tasmania’s freight chain.”

“The lack of an international freight service, the under utilisation of rail transport and the high cost of transporting goods across Bass Straight are just three issues that need to be urgently addressed.”

“They are serious long-term problems that act as a choke hold on business productivity and investment, and that cannot be fixed by one-off, band aid solutions.”

“It’s going to require some tough decisions and some potentially significant financial investments to be made in the long term interests of the economy.”

• Mercury, Thursday: S-l-o-w train to transport hub

HANNAH MARTIN | October 04, 2012 12.01am

THE $79 million Brighton Transport Hub is in danger of becoming a “white elephant”, with one of the key intended occupants admitting it is looking at other sites for its business.

Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said the situation was “embarrassing” for the State Government.

The development was meant to create a modern road-rail facility and freight distribution centre for the south of Tasmania and was expected to be operating 10 months ago.

Cr Foster said Toll Tasmania was meant to be a key occupant, relocating from the Hobart railyards site in Evans St.

The transport giant had been at the “forefront” of discussions about the hub’s development.

But a Toll spokesman yesterday said the company had not committed to moving to Brighton.

“We may move our Hobart operations there — but we are still considering the commercial benefits of other sites versus Brighton,”
he said.

Uncertainty about the Brighton hub’s future has also cast doubt on a start date for remediation work at the Hobart railyards site, which would pave the way for an expected $1 billion worth of development in the city.

“I’m as frustrated as everyone about this,” Cr Foster said.

“It just seems the Government haven’t been able to come to any agreement with Toll to be the main operator. Is [this] just going to become a white elephant?”

Cr Foster said the project had stalled, while other businesses waited to see what Toll would do. “They need certainty before they’ll move their operation out of the city,” he said.

“The Government haven’t progressed this site at all.”

Federal Denison MP Andrew Wilkie was involved in negotiations with the Federal Government for $50 million to remediate the railyards site.

He said: “[At the time] I was advised by [Mr] O’Byrne that earthworks would start virtually immediately on some parts of the site and tenants like Toll Tasmania could likely be persuaded to shift to Brighton well before the end of their leases … [but] indications are that Toll mightn’t be off the site for as much as 18 months from now.

“What is it about the State Government? Why is it that everything it touches runs off the rails, runs behind schedule or doesn’t run at all?”

Read the full story, Mercury here

Andrew Wilkie was highly critical of the calibre of Tasmanian politicians in the TT annual lecture last year: Has politics failed us?