Volume 5, Issue 1
Inside this Issue The ’Winners’ and ’Losers’ of our economic recovery
From the Driector’s Desk 2 TSPC Report
Tasmanian Medicare Action Group
Consumer Issues Project Update
Training for Electricity 5 Consumers The Changing Relationships Project
The Just Jobs Conference
The Poverty Coalition
Wage Increases for 8 Tasmanian Community Workers Changes to the Tenancy Act
A New Report from SARC
News in Brief
ISSN 1446 — 2796
Tasmania’s Economic Recovery: David Owen ‘Winners’ and ‘Losers’
Policy Officer TasCOSS
Tasmania’s economy is growing. Really growing not just Government spin, but real growth and real employment creation. It has been as welcome as it has been unexpected for some of us. Count me in as one of the skeptics who thought we had no chance of significantly closing the unemployment-rate gap with other states in such a short time. I would have wagered my very last sheep-station that the 2003 calendar year would produce no more than about 3000 extra jobs and a small reduction in the unemployment rate. I was wrong. David Crean, who seemed to be ludicrously optimistic with his predictions, was right. Some 9000 new jobs were created, and the gap with other states narrowed dramatically. I guess that’s why he was Treasurer, not me. Where does that leave us? Can we now leave it to the Tasmanian Government to consolidate that very welcome growth spurt? Can we avert our eyes from the employment picture and concentrate on other issues instead?
Clearly not. If we take a closer look at the impacts, thus far at least, of Tasmania’s economic recovery we will see that much needs to be done to tackle some deeply entrenched patterns of poverty and disadvantage. We need to remind ourselves that our interest in boosting job numbers was driven by our strong
full citizens communities.
So we need to pose the question: what impact is the current economic recovery having on the incomes of those Tasmanian households who have been struggling to avoid both deprivation poverty and participation poverty? Has it made a difference to date, and is it likely to make a difference in the forseeable future?
If we compare two important indicators Much needs to be done derived from Centrelink statistics to tackle some deeply - the number of entrenched patterns of Newstart recipients and the number of poverty and disadvantage Tasmanians holding Health Care Cards or Pensioner Concession Cards we see a disturbing trend. evidence base that longNote first, however, that term unemployment has the use of Newstart figures been the most significant is not an attempt to push ‘driver’ of poverty in this aside the Australian Bureau state in recent years. Yes, of Statistics employment/ we are interested in unemployment figures. employment as a source of TasCOSS has consistently fulfilling, identity-forming relied on the ABS trend activity for all of us. figures in its public However our primary statements on changes in interest as a sector is in our labour market and will employment as a source of continue to do so. But we income - income that will need to remember that it is allow Tasmanian possible to be struck off the households to not only meet their basic material (Continued on page 6) needs but to participate as