Tasmanian budget: did Gutwein just out-Hockey Hockey?

The Tasmanian budget mirrors the recent federal effort, a classic second-year conservative affair. In both cases, public sector cuts were handled by mandarins with blunt instruments rather than strategic ministerial leadership.

With a conservative government declaring the “heavy lifting” of its austere first budget is now finished and hoping infrastructure projects will create thousands of private sector jobs in the next few years, there are a lot of parallels between today’s Tasmanian budget and that recently released by Joe Hockey.

The $58.6 million deficit in 2015-16 was halved from the forecast last year. A healthy $101.5 million surplus is now forecast in 2016-17.

Coincidentally, there’s even a plan to build up the northern parts of the Apple Isle to match the federal government’s overtures towards the north of the continent.

There’s $50 million more for health and another $14 million for patient transport to help calm the horses, along with $300 million to subsidise things like rent, travel, utilities and rates for the elderly and disadvantaged groups. But all that was announced ahead of time and, by design, Treasurer Peter Gutwein didn’t drop any bombshells this afternoon.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.