Kenneth Binns


Kenneth Binns (left) as a member of the Tasmanian Industrial Mission to Britain, 1960 (AOT, PH30/1/3601)

Kenneth Johnstone Binns (19121987), economist, was born in New South Wales, and studied at Melbourne University and Harvard. He moved to Tasmania in 1939 as consultant to the State Finance Committee, and in 1943 became head of the new Economic and Investigation Branch at Treasury.

Binns was appointed Under-Treasurer and State Commissioner of Taxes in 1952. His record term of nearly 24 years as the government's key economic and financial policy adviser covered a prolonged recession, an extended period of economic restructuring and industrial expansion, widespread questioning of government economic and environmental policies, and major changes to commonwealth-state financial relations, on which Binns published many influential papers. He had an international reputation as an economist, with several major overseas secondments. Greatly admired for his professionalism and integrity, Binns retired in 1976.

Further reading: R Ferrall, Notable Tasmanians, Launceston, 1980; H Felton, From commissariat to treasury, Hobart, 2004.

Heather Felton