Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN
At Triabunna Community Hall, on Sunday, around 250 quietly furious Tasmanians gathered to express their strong objection to fish farming in Okehampton Bay. They are concerned the Tassal fish farm your Government has approved will damage and spoil their near-pristine marine environment, as it has in Macquarie Harbour and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. Locals and ratepayers at the meeting clearly felt completely ignored by your Government. They recognise the cosy cronyism that exists between your Government and Tassal. Why do you and your ministers place so little value on Tasmania's incredible marine environment and the communities it supports? Why have you ignored legitimate and growing concern about the threat to Okehampton Bay and east coast waters?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question, which cannot be characterised as a serious question when she inserts invective about cronyism and the like.
Ms O'Connor - That's the word that kept coming up on Sunday.
Mr HODGMAN - If you are accusing us of strongly supporting Tasmania's iconic salmon industry, the companies and the businesses that work within it, which employ over 5000 people and in so doing produces one of the products for which Tasmania has a world-class reputation, then we strongly support it. We have a strong agenda to grow our economy and to back our competitive strengths. Our aquaculture industry is one of those. It is an industry that has been expanding rapidly. It is a major employer. It provides opportunities for people in regional communities to work in an industry that is strongly backed with very good practice, strong regulations, including additional regulations that we put in place, and is increasingly an investor in regional Tasmania.
We will support it. We have put in place additional regulatory processes and systems, which those opposite had the opportunity to do when in government but did not. We believe they should provide people in the community with greater confidence about the industry. This particular leasehold was subject to an additional layer of inquiry and scrutiny by experts. Again, if you were asking me and my Government whether we put our trust and faith in scientists over the emotive and false claims that so often come from the Greens on these matters, then we will back the science.
We want to provide certainty and a level playing field for all businesses in the Tasmanian economy. We want to provide appropriate regulatory arrangements to ensure that what is a strong and growing industry can do so against that backdrop, but also for communities that might be concerned about it to know that the decision has been based on science, on evidence and facts, not the sort of emotion that the Leader of the Greens will peddle and whip up.