Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader
The Hodgman Liberals have delivered an unsurprising pre-election Budget.
Having slashed funding to essential services in their first Budget, now the Liberals are trying to repair some of the damage caused in health and education particularly.
The cost of living measures are tinkering that will provide temporary election-year power price relief to Tasmanian households and the promise of cheaper water and sewerage bills through legislation we have yet to see or pass.
Despite the big talk, the affordable housing measures in the Budget will do almost nothing to lower the housing waiting list, now soaring to almost 4000 due to a lack of investment in increasing housing supply in the first two Hodgman budgets.
With a growing number of Tasmanian households struggling to find an affordable home to buy or rent, a proportion of the $60 million windfall gain from stamp duty should have been invested in increasing affordable housing supply.
We welcome the establishment of a Housing Working Group initiative and trust it will be empowered to comprehensively address the affordable housing crisis in Tasmania.
Regrettably, the Liberals have squandered the opportunities granted to them by a massive 5.4% increase in revenue totalling $300 million.
Instead of investing this windfall in State-building infrastructure like light rail and the sub-partners cable, they are scattering the money around like confetti without any cohesive vision.
The Liberals don’t seem to have the guts for meaningful change or policies that will set Tasmania up for the future.
We all want to see young Tasmanians in meaningful, secure employment but this Budget does too little to deliver jobs for young Tasmanians.
The Budget invests too little in skills’ development and contains youth employment incentives that have largely failed across the globe. The claim that 7,600 jobs will be created for young people sounds like an empty pre-election promise to young Tasmanians struggling to find work.
The environment is once again a big loser in the State Budget. It didn’t even get a mention in the Treasurer’s speech.
One environmental investment worth noting is funding in the Liberals’ overdue Climate Plan. This non-existent plan is now more than six months overdue.
The increased health investment repairs some of the damage caused by past cuts, but not all. The Liberals’ have big-noted their investment, but it’s no great feat to revive a service that was gutted in the first Budget.
This Budget delivers no leadership, vision, or evidence-based policies that will cause any meaningful change in deeply entrenched structure issues like youth unemployment.
A big positive in this year’s Budget is the long overdue and much needed investment in mental health services and increased funding for biosecurity to protect and strengthen our brand, which is the foundation for Tasmania’s export and visitor economies.