Heat on Labor to continue their support for Major Projects legislation

Roger Jaensch,Minister for Planning

With the Major Projects legislation set to be debated in the Upper House today, the heat will be on Rebecca White and Labor to support the Bill and not bow to pressure from the Greens and their fringe groups.

This is vitally important legislation that will form part of our recovery process from the COVID-19 pandemic and will provide certainty, support investment and jobs for Tasmanians at a time when we need them most.

It will provide the framework our State needs to attract complex proposals by providing clarity and certainty for investors, in part by ensuring that projects are assessed independently, at arm’s length from politicians.

Labor moved some amendments in the House of Assembly, all of which were debated and some were agreed to. All Labor members then voted with the Government to support the Bill.

Now they need to stay the course and back this Major Projects Bill and the jobs and investment it can attract to our State, like they said they would.

Already, Labor is flagging amendments that will render the Bill unusable at best, and create massive uncertainty in our broader planning system. In particular, insertion of a merit appeal process would seriously undermine the State’s preeminent expert planning authority, the independent Tasmanian Planning Commission.

Our State needs certainty as we recover from COVID-19 and that’s exactly what the Major Projects legislation provides. The Government cannot and will not support these changes to the Bill should it be forced back to the Lower House.

The legislation is supported by the Master Builders Association, the Local Government Association of Tasmania, Housing Industry Association and other key stakeholders, and its passing will send a clear signal that Tasmania is open for business.

This is a real test of Rebecca White’s leadership. If Labor does vote against the legislation or attempt to amend it just to play politics, it will prove once and for all they are in lockstep with the Greens, to the detriment of our State.

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