ABS figures put Tasmania in recession

Tasmania’s opposition has slammed as a “Labor-Green recession” the state’s first negative growth for a financial year in more than a decade.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show Tasmania recorded negative growth of 0.6 per cent in 2012/13, the only state to do so.

Tasmania’s economy last went backwards over a financial year in 2000, local media reported.

With the state heading to the polls next year, most likely in March, and the Liberal opposition was quick to seize on the figures.

“This is the Labor-Green recession that we didn’t have to have and it’s clear that the only way we will get the economy back on track is by electing a strong, stable majority (Will) Hodgman Liberal government,” shadow treasurer Peter Gutwein said in a statement.

“This government has had 15 years and they have failed.”

Retail, construction, agriculture, forestry and manufacturing all fell over the year, the bureau said.

Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings said the economy had picked up in the five months since the end of the financial year.

She said government schemes such as boosting the first home builders’ grant to $30,000 would soon kick in.

“We’ve actually started to see (the economy) turn around, we’re seeing retail spending strengthening, we’re seeing confidence strengthening,” Ms Giddings said.

Ms Giddings’ government, which includes two Greens cabinet ministers, has fought a wave of bad economic news in recent months and is languishing in the polls.

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