The 2022-23 Tasmanian Budget was delivered on Thursday 26 May 2022.
The Budget showcases Tasmania’s strong economy. The Government has sought to leverage this strength by announcing additional spending initiatives which are primarily aimed at targeting cost of living pressures, health services and infrastructure investment. Some minor tax related measures have also been announced.
The spending initiatives are expected to keep the Tasmanian Budget in deficit in 2022-23 before returning to a modest surplus in 2023-24 and in following years. Consistent with Commonwealth forecasts, the initiatives are also forecast to increase Tasmania’s net debt in each year over the forward estimates.
Cost of living and affordable housing initiatives
The Government has committed $305 million to support vulnerable Tasmanians to meet increased cost of living pressures over the next four years. This includes:
- $186 million in concessions towards electricity bills;
- $79 million in council rate remissions; and
- $39 million in concessions for water and sewerage bills.
The Budget also allocates $538 million in social and affordable housing and homelessness initiatives over the next four years. The funding incorporates commitments towards the Government’s goal of constructing 10,000 new homes by 2032. Overseeing this initiative will be a newly created Housing Authority, whose responsibilities will include the building and acquisition of new homes in Tasmania, and partnering with community housing organisations.
The Budget also extends the $30,000 First Home Owners Grant by one year (to 30 June 2023) and makes “enhancements” to the existing shared equity program (including by reducing the required house deposit to 2% for certain participants of the home share program). These announcements seek to support prospective homeowners in Tasmania, particularly individuals and families on lower incomes.
The Budget has announced a number of significant commitments to health spending over the next four years. The health-related measures amount to over $11 billion in spending and comprise approximately a third of the total Budget expenditure.
One of the major platforms of the Government’s health program is a $150 million investment into digital health. The investment is designed to improve access to health care and supports existing regional telehealth services. It aims to create a fully integrated health care system in Tasmania, while increasing capacity and efficiency by better connecting community health care and hospital sectors.
Other health initiatives announced in the Budget include:
- $50 million on retaining hospital beds in Tasmania that were opened when travel restrictions eased last year;
- $48.6 million to Ambulance Tasmania for paramedic services;
- $30 million on the Community Rapid Response Service across Tasmania; and
- over $20m for the Safe Staffing Model and additional staff in rural hospitals.
The Tasmanian Government has announced an intention to invest $5.6 billion over the next four years towards key infrastructure projects. Key projects include:
- $2.7 billion towards roads and bridges, including $731 million on the new Bridgewater Bridge, and $81.5 million on maintenance of existing road networks;
- $222.9 million on law and order infrastructure;
- $64 million towards road safety projects;
- $19 million to permanently implement the new Bellerive-Hobart ferry service; and
- $17 million on new “Park and Ride” facilities aimed at reducing congestion.
Tax and revenue announcements
The Budget makes provision for a number of previously announced or extended tax relief measures. These measures are minor in nature and relate to:
- Land Tax: Under the measures, the tax-free and upper land tax threshold in Tasmania will be increased (to $100,000 and $500,000 respectively), and the rate of land tax applying to land valued between those amounts will be reduced to 0.45%.
- Payroll Tax: The Payroll Tax Rebate Scheme for the employment of apprentices, trainees and youth employees will be extended to 30 June 2024.
- Stamp duty: Stamp duty concessions for first home buyers and pensioners in Tasmania have been extended to 30 June 2023 and the eligible dutiable value threshold has increased to $600,000 (to apply retrospectively from 1 January 2022).