Did you live here in the early 1990's? Things weren't nearly as bad as the conservatives painted them out to be; I actually think there's more unemployment now than there was back then - it's just that they're better at hiding the unemployed now-days in 'work for the dole' and the universities . Selling the SEC has pushed our retail prices to among the highest in the world; however Jeff saw the opportunity as the first state to push mass privatisations and because we were the first it was the most successful.
Pyramid was beyond anyone's control but making the decision to guarantee the damn thing was a stupid mistake in my opinion. On the other hand, if they hadn't done that then tens of thousands of (mostly rural) people would have lost their life savings... damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I had family members who lived in one of the towns that lost their rail service under Jeff; not only did they lose their train but there were mass-sackings in services like health, justice and the water services. You can't attract new residents (a la their current campaign to convince people to move to the 'regions') by stripping services; city people are already turned off by the fact that you can't get services easily in the bush. Tourism and businesses really suffered - you could drive down the main street and every third shop was empty... it recovered for a while about 10 years ago but it's even worse than the early 90's today.
No, I lived in Tassie (Launceston) at the time. I worked at the newspaper to pay by way through Uni. Tassie was supposed to be the worst in the country, but trips to Melbourne used to shock me with all the closed shops etc. For some reason it was more in your face, living in Tas I never felt like I lived in a depressed economy. But alot of the jobs were at factories in regional areas and the pay outs were generally large. I (as a main lander) got job through word of mouth in Tassie which was no mean feat.
No, unemployment back then was much higher. 12-13% in Tas, 10+% in Vic if I recall. Tas stop spending money period. No Police recruitment for a number of years, 5000 teachers/PS etc gone. When you are broke, the govt needs to do what it takes to stop the leak or end up like Greece. Living in denial only results in ending up like Greece or Spain. They haven't just lost their jobs, they have lost services. PT networks closed, airports closed, hospitals closed.
25% office vacancy is a strong tell tail of the lack of jobs back then. Kennent (LNP) turned Vic around relatively quickly. Tassie took much longer nearly a decade as they have less to work with. Jim cox (ALP) made all the hard decisions in Tas, but the Greens didn't like the cutting of education and divorced the govt leading to a further election and LNP got back in, but I remember the political guys on TV saying, who ever gets in doesn't matter, they have no budget of party policy.
Vic doesn't have the highest power prices in the world. They are similar to the other states which are still some of the cheapest in the developed world. Kennent sold stuff because he had to. $60B is $2000 in interest per man woman and child per year. It wasn't an Kennent LNP thing, Tassie ALP and Fed ALP's all were on that band wagon and subsequent VIC ALP govts have no chosen to reverse the trend.
Alot of regional towns are struggling to justify their existence with the modern era of online retail/govt services and general business rationalisation. The days of needing a town within a half days horse ride of a farm are long gone. The ability to finish school at 15/16 and find well-paid life long employment with no further training is also getting more difficult. The govt allows employers to recruit using a 457 visa because it cannot find a skilled worker with a trade or degree, not unskilled labour.