Tas eyes fast-tracked infrastructure build

Tasmania is expected to next week unveil details of a fast-tracked infrastructure program aimed at kickstarting the state’s economy amid COVID-19.

State Treasury is examining the $3.7 billion program, announced last year, to determine which projects can be brought forward.

“I expect to announce the reprofiled construction and infrastructure program next week,” Premier Peter Gutwein said on Monday.

“This will be the first major step in our rebuild program.”

Projects include school and government building upgrades, affordable housing and roads.

An economic and fiscal update released by Treasury this month showed that instead of growing by three per cent, the state’s economy will contract by 1.75 per cent this financial year.

It also forecast an unemployment rate of 12 per cent in June and for the predicted $11 million 2019/20 budget surplus to become a $716 million deficit.

“We have rebuilt our economy once before when we first came to government in 2014,” Mr Gutwein said.

“We have had the most confident businesses in the nation and the most engaged community, and we will do it again.”

The state has gone 10 days without recording a new coronavirus case, with just 10 of 226 confirmed cases remaining active as of Monday night.

There are no active cases in the south and north, with all 10 in the northwest.

Restrictions on visits to aged care homes eased on Monday, bringing the state in line with the national standard of two people once a day.

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