Source: The Mercury, Friday, October 10, 1997, p.1
By DAVID CARRIGG Business Reporter PREMIER Tony Rundle hit out at anti-development groups yesterday as shock unemployment figures rocked the state. Tasmania's unemployment rate hit 11.5% - a jump of 0.5% in a month and the worst rate in 3 years. And workforce participation slumped to 58.4%-also the worst of any Australian state. Tasmania and South Australia were the only states to record an increase in the unemployment rate in the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for September. The Tasmanian figures defied the national trend which saw a fall in the unemployment rate to 8.6%. Mr Rundle said people could not object to development and then complain about the high unemployment rate. He said anti-development groups opposed the proposed $100 million Princes Wharf project before details had been released. And he expected resistance to the proposed $60 million industrial maritime park at Margate. "We must be more positive about investment and jobs or face high unemployment," he said. "You can't oppose development then complain every time unemployment figures are released. "Tasmanians need to encourage developers investing in projects such as this "We must stop trying to knock Continued Page 2
FROM PAGE 1 projects on the head before they see the light of day. But Deputy Opposition Leader Paul Len-non yesterday hit out at the State Government. "The Government has a history of announcing big projects before they come to fruition and we hope they aren't preannouncing projects again to try and deflect public attention from the very poor state of the Tasmanian economy." Mr Lennon said investors were being scared away by minority government. "Tony Rundle and (Greens leader) Christine Milne are jointly running the state and that's scared investors away," he said. "The Government has created this unstable political environment, it promised people at the last election it wouldn't allow minority government to exist in Tasmania and it has. "Tasmania's economic position continues to worsen while the Australian economy has picked up substantially over the past month." A State Government spokesman said the Government did not know when potential Princes Wharf developer Oceanport would release details of its proposal. Oceanport won the tender to develop the site last year. He said the Tasmanian Greens' concern about the height of the project was unfounded. Kingborough Land Care Group chairman Flora Fox said the organ- isation would examine the Margate shipyard proposal. "If the developer looks after existing industries and meets environ- mental guidelines we can have a win-win situ- ation, no one's anti- development or anti- jobs," she said. Seasonally adjusted figures show Australia's September unemploy- ment rate fell to 8.6% in September, with partici- pation rate at 63.3%. Mr Lennon said the State Government was committed to shedding 1,000 public sector jobs by the end of the year. "There are 10,500 Tas- manians who have lost their job since Tony Run- dle became Premier and they must accept res- ponsibility for these fig- ures." Mr Rundle said the Opposition continued to talk down the economy for political reasons. The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the unemployment figures should shake Tasman- ians out of their lethargy and accept that radical changes were needed quickly. Chief executive Tim Abey urged the Govern- ment to proceed "full steam ahead" with its Directions Statement and the Nixon rec- ommendations. The September ABS figures show Tasmanian women and youth hit hardest by unemploy- ment. While the unemploy- ment rate for women jumped from 11% to 12.7% in September, the rate for men dropped from 11% to 10.6%. The workforce partici- pation rate for women also continued its down- ward spiral, hitting 47.7%. The youth unemployment rate is 42.5%.
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