Dr WOODRUFF question to TREASURER, Mr GUTWEIN
The social and economic crisis caused by coronavirus has been massive and will continue to impact upon our state for years to come. That is why the 2020-21 State Budget was widely understood as the most important since the Second World War. Like most Tasmanians, we hoped for a budget full of ambition and a positive vision for our state's future. Unfortunately, it was mostly a continuation of the last six years of Liberal policy and it failed to rise to this crucial moment.
There are plenty of big and exciting ideas out there to address unemployment and inequality. In September, this parliament called on your Government to investigate the Tasmanian job guarantee. We have heard nothing since. Should we interpret your silence to mean you are ignoring the will of the House? Why would you not take a look at a policy that would be a game changer for thousands of Tasmanians who are out of work through no fault of their own? Will you commit today, finally, to undertaking this investigation as soon as possible?
Madam Speaker, I thank Dr Woodruff for that question.
What you are asking me is whether I am interested in supporting jobs for Tasmanians. That is what this Budget is all about: jobs, confidence and the community. The point you made regarding the budgets we brought down for the last six years, at the beginning of this year we had the fastest growing economy in the country, with record jobs growth and confidence that was leading the nation. Our business community felt that our policies were the best in the country. Unlike when you were in government with Labor, back in 2013-14, when two out of three small businesses in this state felt that your policies were working against them -
Dr Woodruff - We wrote to you six weeks ago about that and you have not answered. What are you doing? That is what we want to know.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Mr GUTWEIN - What we have done over the last six years is brick by brick, rebuilt the state that you took into recession. Rebuilt the state brick by brick over the last six years after Labor and the Greens took it into recession. We went into this pandemic with not only one of the strongest economies in the country -
Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Standing order 45, relevance. The question I asked was not about what the Liberals might be doing. It was about the will of the House and the action that the Premier will be taking to investigate the jobs guarantee.
Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order, but I ask the Premier to be relevant.
Mr GUTWEIN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is important to provide context when answering this question. Over six years, Tasmania became the most confident jurisdiction in the country. We had, going into this pandemic, one of the strongest economies in the country and the strongest balance sheet out of all of the states and territories.
I made this point on Friday: you do not manage the finances well for any other reason than to have capacity in your balance sheet when you need it -
Dr Woodruff - Are you going to investigate a jobs guarantee or not?
Mr GUTWEIN - That is exactly the position we found ourselves in, which is why we were able to roll out the single largest, as a percentage of our economy, economic and support package in the country. The Government is focused on creating jobs and supporting jobs in our economy. That is what this Budget is all about.
Regarding the jobs guarantee, we are about investing and ensuring that we build confidence. If we build confidence then further investment will flow and more jobs will flow.
Dr Woodruff interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Mr GUTWEIN - I have no interest in the policy the member has raised. On this side of the House -
Dr Woodruff - Hold on, this is not up to you. This was the will of the House that your Government investigate a jobs guarantee for Tasmanians.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr GUTWEIN - I have no interest in that policy. We will continue to ensure that we invest, that we build confidence and as a result of that we will attract further investment and create more jobs.