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Tasmania Report Confirms Need to Tackle Housing and Levy Visitors

3 Dec 2018

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

The TCCI’s Tasmania Report confirms the need to capitalise on the State’s visitor boom to pay for the disadvantage it helps to create.

Tasmanian houses are selling faster and at prices now out of reach to most locals. Housing finance commitments are rising, unsurprisingly, as a result.  Household debt is growing.

The demographics of interstate migration have shifted and we are seeing more working-aged people entering the state than before. Rental vacancies are down, rental prices are up, and Tasmanians are struggling to find a home or to afford the one they have.

The report once again highlights the need for the Hodgman Government to find more ways to improve the supply of affordable housing and to stem the conversion of properties to short stay accommodation.

The report backs consideration of a visitor levy, as the Greens have previously proposed.  It notes similar levies are common overseas, and help pay for tourist infrastructure and benefit the community broadly.

Tourists are flocking to our island, and our infrastructure and services are groaning under the added strain.

Today’s report confirms that we’re not prepared and locals are paying a price.  A levy on international visitors makes strong economic and social sense.

While long term unemployment has declined it is still high by historical standards, and higher than that of mainland States. Youth unemployment has grown and the proportion of young people not in the workforce or education remains high.

Tasmania is still the only state that receives more in welfare payments than we pay in personal income tax, and our health and education outcomes are poorer than our mainland counterparts. While we are experiencing an upsurge, many are still being left behind.

We hope the Liberals take heed of Mr Eslake’s Tasmania Report. They can’t continue to ride the wave of our tourist boom, without investing in ensuring Tasmanians aren’t being left behind.