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Commonwealth Games - Government's Plan

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Tags: Parliament, Housing Crisis, Hospitals

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Deputy Speaker, the Greens do have a vision for Tasmania. It is a Tasmania where everyone who wants and needs an affordable home is able to find one. It is a Tasmania where if you turn up to the emergency department of one of our outstanding public hospitals you are not left sitting there feeling sick for hours and hours because our hospitals are under-resourced. It is a Tasmania where you can feel confident when you send your children to a public school that this Government is resourcing those schools so that our NAPLAN results are not going backwards as they have since 2014.

This is about a government that is more focused on bread and circuses than the bread and butter of the lives of Tasmanians. It is a clear distraction technique. Whatever Mr Street says, there is the letter from the Premier, who on 10 February co-signed with the former Minister for Sport and Recreation offering to host the Commonwealth Games. Such is the level of grandiosity and self-delusion and being so out of touch with the lives of ordinary Tasmanians, that we have a Premier who put this state's hand up without any conversation with the people of Tasmania for a potential $2 billion hosting bill, the same Premier who, to distract from another embarrassing ministerial episode, splashed on the front page of our paper here a plan for a $750 million stadium with a retractable roof -

Dr Broad - Floating out on the Derwent.

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, floating out on the River Derwent. Seriously, it is so out of touch with what is happening in the lives of the Tasmanian people that you can have a premier, with no conversation or consultation, sticking up this state's hand for a $2 billion Commonwealth Games bid bill. There was no consultation with the people of nipaluna/Hobart before splashing on the front page of the newspaper a plan for a $750 million floating stadium with a retractable roof.

What about investing some of the sporting money he seems so keen to splash around on the big events out in the towns and regions? What about investing it in improving change rooms for women and girls across the state? How about investing it in giving public schools more capacity to include students in sporting events and to take them travelling to compete? How about some of those sporting priorities being identified? It reminds me of the fall of Rome.

Out there, there is so much suffering in our community. I do not believe a word I hear from the Premier and his ministers about what is happening in the lives of Tasmanians and how great this economy is. As Dr Broad said yesterday, people are leaving this state in droves because they cannot find a home. People are spending almost half of their income on rent. This Government since 2014 has massively underinvested in increasing the supply of social and affordable housing. They let the short-stay sector run rampant and opened the door to private investors, big property investors from the mainland and overseas. They basically gave the middle finger to Tasmanians who cannot find an affordable home. Then this Government sends off a letter to the Commonwealth Games organisation, some four years after the bidding process began, and we are supposed to take it seriously? Really? It is insulting being gaslit constantly by this Government. It is insulting how out of touch they are.

Question time - insult after insult. Ministers who do not answer questions get up and blather on, full of self-importance in response to a Dorothy Dix question for six minutes at a time. Meanwhile, out there in the community, certainly in my electorate of Clark, people are stressed. Housing affordability is so far out of reach. We have a government that is letting a potentially deadly and disabling virus run rampant through our people. A state with the oldest and fastest aging and highest level of disability and chronic disease in the country has a government that is letting coronavirus rip.

This Premier and his ministers do not apparently understand what is happening in the community. The level of fear, economic fear, inequality, is tangible. The level of fear of infection is tangible. I know people, and I have read from people who are suffering acute anxiety and depression, who are reduced to tears on an almost daily basis because it has dawned on them that this Government does not care about them. It does not care about their health. It does not care about their access to affordable housing. It continually underinvests in our children in our public schools and it has let thousands of primary and secondary and college students become infected with a novel brain-shrinking bat virus.

Seriously, Mr Deputy Speaker. But apparently everything is fine, because we are after a Commonwealth Games or to host some events or training. It is bread and circuses and we have all had enough of it.