The Liberal Government’s pledge to return Tasmania to “normal” in the wake of the COVID pandemic will mean a return to broken promises, cuts, disappointments and a failure to deliver across the critical areas of health, housing and skills and infrastructure delivery.
Delivering the State of the State reply today, Labor Leader Rebecca White said Tasmanians understood they were already at a vast disadvantage before the pandemic under the Gutwein Government which had failed the health and hospital system, done nothing to address the housing and homelessness crisis, failed abysmally to deliver key infrastructure and now had a plan to blow up TAFE which would set back our state’s economic recovery.
“For too long Tasmanians have been conditioned to accept mediocrity – we have been desensitised to having the worst outcomes in health and education in the country,” Ms White said.
“Intergenerational poverty and regional disadvantage have been normalised and put in the policy too-hard basket.
“A regional breakdown of jobs data shows Tasmania’s economic recovery is highly uneven and, outside Hobart, much weaker than the rest of Australia.
“The unemployment rate on the west and north-west coast is 8.3 per cent.
“It’s 7.9 per cent in the south-east. And it’s 7.1 per cent in Launceston and the north-east.
“Whatever the Premier says about jobs coming back, it’s clear regional Tasmania is being left behind.
“Returning to normal means returning to mediocrity.”
In health, the most recent Report on Government Services found 52 per cent of category one patients for surgery wait more than the recommended 30 days – up from 16.1 per cent in 2015.
Almost 3,600 Tasmanians are on the public housing waiting list – up 65 per cent.
The Liberals have failed to deliver a single major infrastructure project that they promised including Hobart’s underground bus mall, the Northern Suburbs Passenger Rail, Project Marinus and Battery of the Nation, the Northern Prison, the Tamar River Bridge, the fifth lane on Hobart’s Southern Outlet, the duplicated Sorell causeways or the duplication of the Charles Street Bridge.
“The Liberals promised to address traffic congestion in our cities, they promised to deliver more affordable housing. they promised to improve the delivery of mental health services, they promised to be more transparent and more accountable – after seven years with Peter Gutwein as Treasurer the Liberal Government has failed on every measure,” Ms White said.
“Only Labor has a fully costed jobs plan that will deliver 35,000 jobs across all regions and sectors of the Tasmanian economy.
“Unlike the Gutwien Government, Labor would not just sit back and hope that jobs return – we will partner with businesses and the public sector to drive innovation and create jobs.
“And at the heart of Labor’s plan – unlike Mr Gutwien’s plan to blow up TAFE – Labor will rebuild TAFE from the ground up, employ more teachers, expand course delivery to the regions and make TAFE free in areas of known skills shortages including building and construction, tourism, hospitality, agriculture and aged and disability care.”
Rebecca White MP