The Hodgman Liberal Government’s first priority is jobs, and that’s why we are working with business to help grow the economy.

Across the State, we are continuing to see evidence of a growing economy and growing confidence.

But we were clear to point out in this year’s Budget that more needs to be done because the North and North-West haven’t recovered as quickly as the South has.

Earlier this year, I put forward a proposal to the Premier to develop a loan guarantee program that will help local small businesses to grow and diversify by making it easier to secure finance from mainstream lenders.

I am very pleased that following input from the Treasurer and Deputy Premier, the Government has now agreed to pilot this program on the North-West and West coasts as part of the response to the recent disappointing news from Caterpillar.

Under this program, the Government will provide a guarantee to successful applicants of up to 20 per cent of the total principal required, capped at $50,000, which potentially will unlock loans of up to $250,000 for individual businesses.

With a total portfolio value of $500,000 for a 12-month trial on the North-West and West Coast, the guarantee program could help realise up to $2.5 million in local economic activity.

The program will be run by the Tasmanian Development Board (TDB) and funded through its existing loan book.

Detailed program guidelines are currently being developed by the TDB.

With my background in financial advice, I understand the difficulties many businesses experience obtaining commercial finance, and I am pleased my proposal to trial a Government-backed guarantee program has been endorsed and will be implemented.

There are small businesspeople across the Coast who have ideas, who have the confidence to take a risk and who are looking for a hand up, not a hand out, to help realise their vision.

This is about helping those small businesspeople overcome a barrier to investing in their businesses and, ultimately, to create more local jobs.

It is also not a free ride as successful applicants will pay an appropriate fee to secure the guarantee.

The guarantee program demonstrates how we can provide practical assistance to help create jobs.
Joan Rylah, Liberal Member for Braddon