Tasmanian Government hands down 2012-13 Budget

THE Tasmanian Government last week handed down its 2012-13 Budget, saying it will boost support for Tasmanians in need while prioritising core health and education services.

Premier Lara Giddings said the Budget strikes the right balance between protecting vital services while continuing to provide responsible financial management in the face of significant economic challenges.

"It is a Budget in the core Labor tradition; making sure we spend only what we can afford and in a way that will improve people's lives and grow our economy," Ms Giddings said.

The Premier said a further decline in GST revenue, a drop off in state-own taxes and demand pressures across departments had made this year's Budget particularly challenging.

The Budget projects that net debt will peak at $134 million in 2012-13 and will be eliminated in 2014-15. It is expected that there will be a deficit of $283 million in 2012-13 before a surplus of $53 million is achieved in 2013-14.

The Deputy Premier and Planning Minister Bryan Green said funding in the Budget would continue to underwrite major planning reform in Tasmania.

Mr Green said $1.6 million has been allocated this year as part of the Government's commitment to overhauling the State's planning system.

"We are implementing reforms for all types of development together with new planning schemes for every Tasmanian council under a single Statewide template," Mr Green said.

Mr Green said work was now also underway on streamlining approvals for villa units and town houses, following the introduction of a new residential building code for single dwellings last year to streamline approvals and cut costs.

Mr Green said further reforms would also address developments such as apartment and multi storey residential buildings.

"Planning reform is a key priority of the Government because it will help make Tasmania a more attractive place to live and invest.

Mr Green said also said the 2012-13 Budget provides the second instalment of a $6 million commitment by the Government to planning reform.

The Budget also allocates $240,000 to support existing work to prepare a new framework that aims to provide certainty around planning, management and protection of Tasmania's coastline.

"This additional funding will help ensure our approach is co-ordinated across Government so that we can progress this important work as quickly as possible." Mr Green said.

The Minister said the framework would also give clarity to local government and the community around liability issues.

A Steering Committee will be formed with Minister for Planning, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Climate Change to oversee the project.

Full details of the Tasmanian Budget 2012-13 are available from the Tasmanian Government Budget website at <http://www.budget.tas.gov.au/>.

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