Billion dollar COVID deficit in Tas budget

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Tasmania is expecting a budget deficit in excess of $1 billion for the current financial year, following a COVID-19 financial sideswipe.

Premier Peter Gutwein on Friday said latest calculations suggest a $1.1 billion black hole will be outlined when the state's 2020/21 budget is revealed on November 12.

"Due to the impact of the pandemic on our revenues, particularly GST as a result of the national downturn, and our $1 billion economic and social support package ... the deficit for 2020/21 will be in the order of $1.1 billion," he said.

The premier made the comments after releasing the Treasurer's Annual Financial Report for 2019/20, which showed a net operating debt of $338 million.

"The pandemic has been one of the largest shocks to our way of life, our economy and our budget," Mr Gutwein said.

He noted that two-thirds of Tasmanians who lost their jobs at the height of the pandemic are back in work.

A recent CommSec report ranked Tasmania's economy as the nation's best performing for three successive quarters.

The island state has launched a $3.1 billion construction blitz to drive the economy and support an estimated 15,000 jobs.

The state's Labor opposition said the government had failed to deliver previously-promised key infrastructure spending, which cast doubt over the stimulus plan.

"The state budget will be judged by whether it sets out a plan to create jobs across the economy, not just in the construction sector," shadow treasurer David O'Byrne said in statement.