Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
Tasmanians hit hard by the social and economic costs of the coronavirus pandemic are looking for meaningful, long term solutions but they have been sadly let down by the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council.
The report of the Council presents more of the same. It’s a business as usual approach that pays lip service to longstanding social and economic disadvantage and makes no mention of climate change.
As the Greens pointed out in our interim submission* to the Council, the pandemic presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to tackle entrenched social and economic disadvantage through meaningful action on climate, electrifying Tasmania, affordable housing and developing green skills through TASTAFE.
Regrettably, the Council has not presented a vision for a sustainable, post-COVID Tasmania where we lift people out of disadvantage and give young people, who are terrified about the state of the climate, hope for the future and the skills to equip them for a heating planet.
It’s ironic that an interim report which talks about taking a wellbeing focus, fails to address the biggest factor that will impact on the lives of young Tasmanians – climate change.
Seven months after Australia’s worst ever bushfires torched mainland states, and eighteen months after fires tore through southern Tasmania and the TWWHA, the Premier’s hand-picked Council has completely dodged the enormous social and economic wellbeing benefits of training, skills and employment in bushfire prevention and community resilience.
It's sad, but the interim report represents the same stale thinking that has held Tasmania back for decades. It pushes private sector investment and divisive major projects legislation, but doesn’t go near the elephant in the room.
Tasmania faces twin crises of COVID-19 and accelerating climate impacts. A genuine response to the State’s social and economic recovery would not ignore the need for climate action. It would make it a centrepiece.
It was a mistake, that has now become very apparent, for the Premier to stack the Council with business interests and ignore environmental and climate scientists.
The result is a weak report to government.
We hope the Council will find its way to more evidence based, 21st century solutions to Tasmania’s recovery as it prepares further recommendations for the Premier.
* The Greens’ submission is available here - https://tasmps.greens.org.au/submission/interim-submission-recovery-council