Giddings hits back at Barnett, blames mining for weakness

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has hit back at Colin Barnett's criticism of her state's economy, and blamed the mining boom for contributing to weakness in other parts of the country.

Giddings's comments follow WA Premier Colin Barnett's most recent criticism of GST distribution, claiming it was unfair that WA was forced into “subsidising weaker states” like Tasmania.

 

Barnett said TAS did not do enough to boost business activity and improve its economy, with the state instead reliant on funding from the Federal Government.

 

“It's all very well, whether it's a local or regional thing, to reject development and say it's dreadful for the environment,” he told ABC Radio.

 

“But if we continue to reject investment and opportunity, other parts of Australia will go the way of Tasmania.”

 

According to The West Australian Giddings said she would not be lectured on business development by a Premier who “still presided over regulated shopping hours”.

 

“Tasmania is open for business. The average development application approval time in Tasmania is 28 days compared with 100 days in WA,” she said.

 

Giddings said the mining boom had created a strong dollar and skills shortage that had hurt non-mining economies, and WA had also benefited from GST distribution.

 

“It's easy for Mr Barnett to beat his chest as he basks in a once-in-a-lifetime mining boom, but as recently as 2007 WA was a net recipient from the GST distribution system,” she said.

 

Giddings has previously talked up the prospects of the fledgling TAS mining industry, and has also expressed support for a pro-mining rally in the state following opposition to the industry from some parts of the environmental movement.

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