Tassie economy outperforms the pack, as borders reopen and events plan is rolled out


Falls Festival in Marion Bay, Tasmania. Source: Facebook.

Tasmania is leading the pack of Aussie states and territories in terms of economic performance, as the COVID-19 pandemic leaves the usual powerhouses of Victoria and New South Wales floundering.

That’s according to CommSec’s quarterly State of the States report, analysing economic performance.

The report considers eight key performance indicators: economic growth; retail spending; equipment investment; unemployment; construction work done; population growth; housing finance; and dwelling commencements.

Results are compared to the states’ average performances over the past decade.

For the third quarter in a row, Tasmania has taken the top spot, although for Q1 2020, it shared that with Victoria.

In particular, Tassie has recorded strong relative population growth, and a dip in unemployment.

As the territory enjoys more relaxed COVID-19 restrictions than some of the other states, it’s also predictably ranked highest for retail spending, recording an 11.4% uptick compared to the 10-year average.

The report comes as Tasmania opens its borders to travellers from low-risk parts of Australia, and from New Zealand.

Travellers from Queensland, the ACT, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and New Zealand are not required to quarantine on arrival.

Those from New South Wales are required to quarantine for 14 days, either in ‘a suitable premises’ or in government-designated quarantine.

Travellers from Victoria will face mandatory 14-day quarantine in government-designated quarantine.

The reopening follows Tasmania’s ‘Make Yourself at Home’ scheme, which pledged a total of $12.5 million in travel vouchers, encouraging locals to visit — and spend at — local tourism hotspots.

This weekend, the local government also unveiled a framework for Tasmanian events, with outdoor events of up to 10,000 people being revived from December.

All of this is in stark contrast to the state of affairs in Victoria, where Melbourne’s second lockdown continues, and regional businesses are still operating under restrictions.

This has led the state to slide to third place, behind Tassie and the ACT.

The result marks the ACT’s highest ranking for three years, and Victoria’s lowest.

That said, Victoria is still leading in terms of relative economic growth. Economic activity is up 23.2% compared to the 10-year average.

South Australia and New South Wales share fourth position, followed by Queensland and Western Australia in joint sixth, and the Northern Territory, bringing up the rear in eighth place.

The ACT recorded the strongest job market, with unemployment down 4.2% on the 10-year average.

All other states and territories have seen an increase in unemployment. And New South Wales has copped the worst of it, recording a 37.8% increase on the average.

According to the report, the unemployment rate in New South Wales is the highest it’s been since May 1998.

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