Handing down a $4 billion budget will be one of the first and most difficult tasks for the Bartlett minority government.
With the state’s economy in deficit, it’ll no doubt be looking at ways to save money.
Tasmania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s CEO Robert Wallace says minority government is bad news for big business.
“At the moment we’re in a budget deficit and the last thing we need is for that to continue. That would undermine all the resilience the state’s built up over the last 10 or 15 years,” he said.
“With this government, what we’d be hoping to do is to act as an advocate and to work with the new government to assist them in identifying areas there may be savings that will allow us to return to a sustainable budget over the next three to five years.”
The chamber once again has the public sector in its sights.
Robert Wallace says new technology should be used to reduce the need to employ more public servants.
“It could be in communication efficiencies, through telecomuting (sic) for meetings and those sorts of things.”
“It would mean the number of people employed in the public sector could plateau off.”
The TCCI’s position has riled the Public Sector Union’s Mat Johnston who says a strong public sector is crucial to buffering the instability a minority government can create.
“They’re going to rely heavily on the public service to provide them with advice,” he said.
“The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce seems to be going back to their common reprise of cutting jobs in the public sector to fund their pet projects,” he said.
The union is about to launch an advertising campaign reminding all three political parties of their promise of job security.
Political analyst Dr Richard Eccelston says both groups will need to tone down their budget wish-lists under a minority government.
“What it requires is a degree of compromise, not only from political parties but from all stakeholders, from business, from unions and everyone that’s got an interest in a sound economic strategy,” he said.
Dr Eccelston is suggesting the government expand the current system of Lower House committees to include non-MP members from interest groups.
“It would help in working out where the Tasmanian community stands on these issues such as the economy before they go to parliament,” he said.