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Big Business over the Majority of Tasmanians

28 November 2019

 

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

Under your watch Hobart now has the least affordable rental market in the country, homelessness is soaring and house prices skyrocketing preventing young Tasmanians from owning their own home. With short stay listings continuing to rise your Government still stubbornly refuses to regulate short stay accommodation. You are also attempting, of course, to pass laws to silence political protests.

Your Government has spent five years diverting public funding to big business, including Liberal Party donors, and underfunding social services . Your Government has been regulating for big business and stripping rights away from individuals. We have just heard there are 10 837 Tasmanians languishing on the elective surgery waiting list. When will you stop governing for the wealthy and the big end of town at the expense of everyone else? Are you so out of touch you failed to see that your policies unjustly disadvantage the majority of Tasmanians for the benefit of those who do not need government support?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for the question and the typical Greens' lines we usually get not backed by any substance. There is nothing to back the assertions she has made, but it is typical rhetoric from the Greens without foundation.

We acknowledged, welcomed and noted the Shelter Tas and the economics report released this week, which does again confirm we are in the midst of not only strong activity in our housing sector, but also there is of course and we acknowledge, stress right across the housing spectre.

It is important to acknowledge and will be a foreign concept I know to the Greens and their coalition colleagues, the Labor Party, there is increased demand across our housing sector as we have acknowledged. That includes in the tourism industry which is booming under this Government and our private sector has responded accordingly. It is important to acknowledge this because it is essential we not only have more capacity to build additional supply right across that housing sector, but a strong buoyant and confident building and construction sector, which we now have.

When we talk about nation leading data, we have the strongest performing housing and construction in the country. Dwelling approvals and commencements, completions and work done with more happening in Tasmania than any state in the country. In the year to September 2019, our first home buyer growth -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, on relevance. I asked the Premier to talk about human beings, Tasmanians, not money, not the economy . There were serious questions in there he needs to address.

Madam SPEAKER - Unfortunately, it is not a point of order because I cannot make the Premier do anything other than he chooses.

Mr HODGMAN - It is a puerile point of order and puerile point. Self evident is the fact these homes being built, and I will get to what the Government is doing, by the most buoyant building sector in the country are being built by people for people to meet that additional demand, to get more Tasmanians into their first home.

Dr Woodruff - Not for Tasmanians. They cannot afford to buy them.

Mr HODGMAN - They are. We have the highest rate of first home buyers in the country. So, this is dishonesty again from the Greens. It is important to acknowledge the role the private sector is playing. They are supported by Government with our first home builders boost, stamp duty concessions, HomeShare and our StreetsAhead programs.

As to what the Government is doing, it is farcical for it to be suggested by the Greens that we are not responding to the demand in our housing system. When you consider what is an unprecedented investment in our affordable housing strategies, our first and now onto the second, $258 million over eight years on programs to increase access to supply. Social housing for people, reducing homelessness for people and improving housing supply across our state for people. It is the largest ever state government investment into affordable housing in our state's history. We have allocated an additional $5 million for immediate action to reduce homelessness and housing stress for those people suffering. It was this Government, as I said yesterday, that secured the forgiving of the historic housing debt -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. The Premier is now misleading the House. His government had nothing to do with the waiving of the housing debt. You can thank Senator Lambie for that.

Mr HODGMAN - Absolutely wrong. It was in fact my Government. Yes, Senator Lambie, as I acknowledged yesterday, played a very important role in it. It was also the Morrison Government so you are right, there were three parties who played a role in that. The two parties that had 16 years to do something about it, Labor and the Greens, did not.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Until this parliament reflects on its behaviour today and gets a grip on the way it is behaving, I will be standing up like this every so often and just glaring at you all, hoping you remember why you are here and what you are here to achieve. I do not think yelling at each other at the decibel levels we are hearing is appropriate.

Mr HODGMAN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. Noting that and wanting to inform the member who asked the question as to what the Government is also doing, in addition to a very buoyant housing and construction sector it is all about providing additional housing and secure accommodation for Tasmanians and it is possible because our budget is in strong shape. It is possible because we have additional capacity through a strong economy to invest more, as we are doing, and it builds on the work of previous action plans.

I am advised that as of September this year our Affordable Housing Action Plan has assisted a total of 1747 households with their housing needs, including supply of 1050 affordable lots and homes. They are the people the Leader of the Greens speaks about who have been assisted. We recognise there is more to -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker.

Mr Ferguson - Oh, come on.

Ms O'CONNOR - No, this is quite serious. The Premier stated earlier that Tasmania has the highest rate of first home ownership in the country. The data is that first home buyers are the least active in South Australia and Tasmania, so he is misleading the House. He has told a direct untruth in an answer. Does that not matter anymore?

Madam SPEAKER - I am sorry but that is not a point of order. If you have accusations, you have to make them in a substantive motion. Thank you.

Mr HODGMAN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will certainly check the record and if there is any inaccuracy to what I say, of course, but for the Leader of the Greens to not acknowledge that our building and construction sector is the best performing in the country, as has been identified by economic data and reports, is equally untrue because she should acknowledge that. That is the support we are giving to small businesses right across the state in a sector that is strong, that employs Tasmanians and most importantly, is building homes for more Tasmanians.