Pensions leave big hole in Tas budget

Ethan James

In the year Tasmania was meant to have paid for its pension plan for government workers, the unfunded scheme has punched a $286 million hole in the Apple Isle's latest budget.

The now defunct superannuation scheme for public servants remains an almost $6 billion burden on the state's coffers.

Covering those payments has soaked up nearly five per cent of Tasmania's 2017/18 budget, more than the amount spent on transport and communications.

"Superannuation is a significant liability," Treasurer Peter Gutwein said but added it was manageable.

Under plans by previous Tasmanian governments, the liability was to have been paid for by money assigned to a special fund set up in the early 1990s.

However subsequent administrations deferred the initial 2017 end date and by 2010 the funds had been reallocated and the state was left to start from scratch.

"What we saw for five or six years was Mr Bartlett (former Labor premier) get the hay out of the barn and squander what was ultimately $1.7 billion that had been saved over two decades," Mr Gutwein said.

Estimates show that the superannuation liability is expected to be extinguished by June 30 2078, according to budget papers.