Tasmania has an opportunity to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis a better and fairer state with opportunities for all Tasmanians.
Labor Leader Rebecca White today released the party’s COVID-19 Recovery Package, which will form the basis of Labor’s submission to the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council.
“COVID-19 has had the greatest economic and social impact on Tasmania in a generation,” Ms White said.
“Many businesses have closed, some permanently, more than 20,000 Tasmanians have lost their jobs and, tragically, 13 people have lost their lives.
“The pandemic has also amplified inequality in our community. Before the virus, Tasmania had the highest rate of underemployment in the country and too many people relied on precarious causal employment. Many of these were the first to lose their jobs when COVID-19 hit.
“But out of the devastation, we have the opportunity to work with business, unions, local government and the community to recover and focus on our number one task – to create jobs for Tasmanians.
“The Hobart Showground Renewal Project presents a great opportunity to redevelop the site to provide more than 500 new homes, including affordable housing, community spaces, a new exhibition space and sports field.
“This is the type of project Labor believes will create jobs and also contribute to the social recovery of our state.
“Labor’s COVID-19 Recovery Package is the result of significant stakeholder consultation across the state with people who are deeply invested in our shared future.
“This package is designed to get people into jobs, help those hardest hit by the pandemic and create a better state for everyone.
“The Government’s response to date has been focussed heavily on infrastructure projects, all of which have the support of the Labor party. But, as important as this is, we also need to support other sectors and workers hardest hit by the shutdown.
“Labor’s number one priority is to create jobs. But this cannot be one dimensional. It must reflect that some sectors have been hit harder than others and that women and young people have been disproportionately affected.
“Recovery requires a comprehensive response that covers all sectors and all regions, with a place-based focus on buying local, building local and employing local. We need to strengthen our regions and empower them to rebuild.
“Businesses will need continued support to survive in the short term. But long-term recovery will rely on government working in partnership with business and industry to innovate and identify new market opportunities.
“Government assistance for industry must be tied to businesses building a better framework of economic security for workers. Job security builds consumer confidence and a stronger economy.
“But we also need to remember that social recovery is just as important as economic recovery. COVID-19 will have lasting impacts on people’s mental health, particularly our young people who require targeted support.
“We need to rebuild a sustainable state budget position to ensure we can deliver the highest quality government services in health, education, housing, our parks and beyond.
“Tasmania can be a beacon for fairness. We are small enough that no one should be left behind and clever enough that we can do great things that make us the envy of the world.
“From this tragedy, let’s find a way to build hope for the future – for all Tasmanians.”