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Sale of Public-Owned Assets

22 November 2018

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN


On coming to office in April 2014 you said, 'Let me be clear, we will not 
be selling any government or public-owned assets'. Five years later you 
have flogged 29 000 hectares of public plantation forest for substantially 
less than it cost taxpayers to establish them; introduced special enabling 
legislation to hand over the pinnacle of kunanyi to the Mt Wellington 
Cableway Company; announced plans to sell the historic Treasury building; 
entered into a secret, long-term lease to privatise Halls Island at Lake 
Malbena in the World Heritage Area; privatised vast tracks of public 
waterways for fish farm companies, and now Elizabeth Street Pier is to be 
sold off.

At no point were the true owners of these assets, the Tasmanian people, 
consulted. How can you justify misleading the Tasmanian people in 2014 
about your Government's rampant privatisation agenda?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Clark for her question. I am just 
getting a list of assets that were sold under the former Labor-Greens 
government, which I am happy to refer to as well. I make the point that 
all good governments sell assets that are no longer fit for purpose or 
that can be better utilised by others, and buy new ones that better serve 
the Government or the community. That is what drives this Government to 
repurpose properties, assets, that are no longer serving the best possible 
fit for purpose to our community.

The particular matter referred to involves the Government divesting itself 
from the Elizabeth Street Pier. In our view, it is simply not core 
business for the Government to own 56 serviced apartments, a conference 
centre and hospitality venues in the middle of Hobart. In our view, 
government should not conduct business of this type or provide services at 
the site. It is considered by this Government that its capital would be 
better invested in the Macquarie Point precinct renewal, which we all want 
to see progressing; the decommissioning of the wastewater treatment plant, 
which has long been a thorn in having that occur at Macquarie Point, but 
we now have a positive way forward thanks to the excellent work of the 
Treasurer and Minister for State Growth; and in commencing the development 
of the arts and cultural precinct in line with the MONA vision at 
Macquarie Point. They are laudable objectives and a far better use of the 
property in question but also the asset that will be realised to ensure 
that Tasmania continues to progress as it is under this Government. 

All governments sell assets from time to time that are not core business. 
Again, I am happy, as the Treasurer has done previously, to read through 
the list of assets that were disposed of by the former government of which 
the member who asked the question was a member, and to point again to the 
fact that it is hypocritical of members opposite to be so critical of this 
Government in seeking to repurpose -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, on relevance. This is about 
a promise the Premier made to the people of Tasmania. The question is, 
how can you justify misleading the Tasmanian people?

Madam SPEAKER - It is not a point of order, unfortunately, until we fix 
standing order 45.

Mr HODGMAN - Madam Speaker, I have made very clear that the justification 
for us doing these things, and certainly in the instance the member has 
referred to, is for the benefit of our community and that is what will 
occur here. If the Greens are seriously making an argument for the state 
to continue to own a property that contains 56 serviced apartments, a 
conference centre and hospitality venues, I do not think anyone would 
believe it given the recent attacks the member for Clark has made on 
Tasmania's strong tourism industry, but it shows how out of touch they are 
with what we are doing to better provide for Tasmanians and to better 
advance important agendas such as the redevelopment of Macquarie Point.