he Launceston Chamber of Commerce has recently analysed the ABS Labour Force Data from November 2013 and compared Northern Tasmania with the Greater Hobart area, over the past three years. Maree Tetlow, Executive Officer of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce stated that “people of Launceston and Northern Tasmania have been making the point for some time with the Government that things are tougher in this part of the State compared to Hobart”.

The following information by way of comparison has been provided for the media to review:

1. Total Employment (number of people) - the greatest change has occurred in the past 12 months. From 2012 to 2013 Greater Hobart lost 2,700 jobs (employed people) Vs Northern Tasmania losing 4,200 jobs (employed people)

2. Unemployed (No of People). The greatest jump in unemployment occurred for Hobart in the 2010 -2011 period. Hobart’s unemployment numbers are now decreasing. Northern Tasmania has experienced the worst increases in the past 12 months, and is moving in an upward trajectory. Over the past three years: Hobart lost 1,100 jobs while Northern Tasmania lost 1,500 jobs. Northern Tasmania’s decline in 12 months was 17% whilst Hobart was steady.

3. Participation Rates (labour force participation rate is the percentage of working-age persons in an economy who are employed or unemployed but looking for a job) In the past 12 months from November this year Northern Tasmania has seen a big decline from 61.7% to 58.6% of people in employment or looking for employment. This compares with 60.6% for Greater Hobart and 64.4% for the rest of Australia.

This indicates a large proportion of people have given up looking for employment, and does not include those that are ‘under employed’ i.e. not working as many hours as they would like.

Ms Tetlow said “The comparison of the figures speak for themselves. I am also aware that other parts of Regional Tasmania are just as bad if not worse than Northern Tasmania. Hobart is cushioned from some of these effects – and there is a strong perception by our members that some politicians from Hobart are actually living in an unrealistic bubble compared to the rest of the State.”

“The Chamber is advocating that we need to maintain the jobs of our bigger industries as well as provide an environment that supports small business” she said.

“Questions still remain on how we can develop a sustainable forestry industry that value- adds to our timber resources; and how will businesses in Northern Tasmania access more competitive freight services with the impending release of the Freight Logistic Team’s final report. The Chamber will be posing these questions and more to the major parties in the lead up to the election” she concluded.

Media Inquiries Contact: Maree Tetlow 0408 825 060 or 03 6331 9364