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Matter of Public Importance - Sale of Public Assets

22 November 2018
Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, what we have just heard from 
the Treasurer is the sort of slippery language and spin that people 
associate with the very worst characteristics of politicians. Shame on 
you, Treasurer, for bringing us all into disrepute for being incapable of 
speaking the truth. That is a problem for this Liberal Government. You 
cannot speak the truth. You have no confidence in your convictions. If 
you did you would be open and transparent and you would consult with the 
community about the things you are proposing. 

There has been no public consultation about whether the Treasury building 
should be sold. An iconic sandstone part of our heritage is about to be 
flogged off and the people have not been asked whether that should even 
happen, let alone how and if it should happen. You have been incredibly 
slippery in your language about 99-year leases, which are a sale by any 
other name. In the ACT, where I grew up, people have 99-year leases on 
their property and they own them. They own their land because nobody is 
going to live for 99 years on that property. They will sell it on. This 
Liberal Government is unable to be honest about what it is doing. 

The Premier this morning told the House he would not be privatising any 
publicly owned assets, except those deemed 'not fit for business' and 'not 
a core asset'. How can it be that privatising public waterways to fish 
farm companies without independent, scientific consultation is not of 
public concern? How can we possibly consider marine environments not fit 
for purpose but fit for sale to private companies when those private 
companies have a direct line to the department and the minister so they 
have a say over which bits of the publicly owned resources they want. 
That is what is happening around Tasmania.

The previous minister, Matthew Groom, had a chat to his friends, to his 
relatives and bits of South Arm - nature conservation areas - were being 
flogged off to members of the family. The beautiful Opossum Bay nature 
conservation area has been slated to become a golf course. It will 
probably receive a subsidy from this Government for an expensive 
underwater pipe from the Taroona side of the river to water the golf 
course. Who pays for it? The public. Who makes decisions about what 
happens in our wilderness areas? Matthew Groom made that decision when he 
was the minister by having a chat with private companies about which parts 
would be suitably iconic and appropriate for them to put their business on
. What we now have are expressions of interests which are effectively a 
contract for sale to private companies of our wilderness areas, which the 
Tasmanian Government holds in perpetuity for the planet.

There has been a consistent exercise of looking around the state at Crown 
land and choosing the bits that can be privatised. Rosny Hill has been 
protected since 2003 as a nature recreation conservation area. The 
Premier has made it clear he will not be preventing a major development 
going ahead on that site. As Ms O'Connor mentioned, people are rising up. 
They are realising what is going on in this state. The things they care 
about are being sold off and the only thing they have left to prevent this 
happening is their bodies. 

People are prepared to use their bodies. They are prepared to make a 
stand against the corrupted process which has given the fish farm 
companies, Tassal and Huon Aquaculture, the approval to move into Storm 
Bay. Two members of the panel, the best two key scientists, resigned in 
protest over the disgusting sham of a scientific so-called 'expert' report 
that came out of that panel. It clearly was nothing of the sort. The 
questions that were left unanswered were so huge it caused the two most 
important scientists on that panel responsible for fish health and 
biosecurity and environmental management to resign. That is because there 
was no proper independent process. It was never going to be a process 
other than to hand over the keys to those two companies to get out into 
our marine environment and expand their companies into that area.

Mr Deputy Speaker, people will be forced to speak because the Government 
is not listening.