Tasmania has the best performing economy for seventh consecutive quarter: CommSec

James HallNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

Tasmania was largely left alone off Australia’s mainland for many decades, until a sequence of extraordinary global events.

Australia’s soaring currency in the aftermath of the global financial crisis meant international travel was comparatively expensive and domestic tourism boomed.

The natural beauty and relative obscurity of Tasmania became a drawcard, with admiration of the Apple Isle translating to strong interstate migration and rising property prices.

And when Australia was plunged into isolation throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the state’s walking trails, wineries and restaurants were again flooded with older tourists as the mainland’s population again abandoned the major cities.

Supplied Editorial Cape Wickham golf course on King Island. Picture: Tourism Tasmania
Camera IconDomestic tourism has flooded to Tasmania. Credit: Supplied

Its popularity has been a boon for the state’s economy, with Tasmania the best performing Australian jurisdiction for the seventh consecutive quarter, according to CommSec’s regular State of the States report.

From the eight indicators used to measure local economies, Tasmania leads on four and is ranked second on another three.

CommSec chief economist Craig James said visitors to the isolated state “liked what they saw, with a lot of people deciding to move there and work there”, which was boosted further by an influx of government investment.

“Certainly over the Covid period, Tasmania has been one of those in perfect isolation and managed to hold up its economic performance,” Mr James told NCA NewsWire.

ACT ranks second, followed closely by Western Australia and NSW in equal third place and Victoria and SA in equal fifth, with all Aussie jurisdictions proving buoyant overall, Mr James said.

“We do believe all the states and territories have performed well during the Covid period and provided they continue to support their consumers and businesses on the way out and don’t tighten policy too quickly, then the momentum should be sustained through the next calendar year,” Mr James said.

“But then, that's always the risk — when you have gone through a period of crisis and you’ve had fiscal and monetary policy support, you’re always concerned that perhaps the taps will be turned off a little bit too quickly.

“That is one area the states and territories really have to focus on to make sure they exit stimulus in an orderly fashion and they don’t leave their consumers and businesses exposed.”

In September, WA Premier Mark McGowan declared his state “the strongest in the nation, with the brightest future” and Mr James said it had benefited from a run of high iron ore prices.

“Mining commodity prices more generally and population growth has been picking up in Western Australia. It is also the second fastest in terms of population growth at 0.6 per cent,” he said, noting its low unemployment rate of 4.1 per cent and pace of economic growth.

“It certainly has got a lot of momentum on its side and has the potential to move further up the leaderboard – it’s already done quite well moving from around sixth or seventh up to equal third.”

Queensland benefited most tangibly from the highest percentage change in population, recording annual growth of 0.85 per cent, while Victoria remains the only state languishing in this category.

The most locked down state in the country was the only population to go backwards, losing 0.64 per cent.

CommSec's state of the states report
Camera IconPopulation, annual per cent change, March 2021 quarter (latest). CommSec, ABS Credit: Supplied

Originally published as Tasmania has the best performing economy for seventh consecutive quarter: CommSec

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