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Estimates Reply - Ferguson

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Tags: Transport, Infrastructure, Planning

Dr WOODRUFF - Chair, I want to raise the minister for Transport and the Treasurer's comments in relation to some questions I asked on behalf of the Greens for constituents. One was in relation to transport planning for the massive eastern shore development proposed at Droughty Point. This is the largest housing subdivision on the books in Tasmania by a long shot at the moment. The number of dwellings that may be constructed range somewhere between 1700 and 2700. There is a huge impact on the movement of people. Some estimates done by the local community group that has developed to look into this proposal - 5000 vehicle movements a day. That is by any stretch a big addition in Tasmania.

We have Ocean Grove Road which is very much a single arterial road, which funnels people from that Droughty Point end of Tranmere through towards Bellerive and over the bridge, ultimately. That is a suburban road with a number of small places that go onto that road. One of those places is proposed to be an access point for development on what is currently, I believe, conservation environmental living land on the top of the Droughty Point hill. There are so many problems with the transport movements being proposed for this development, which is in the Clarence City Council.

I asked the minister what the involvement of his department had been in this area and we found out that there has been no formal engagement by State Growth around this development. It has been through the Greater Hobart City Council Group and to the Clarence City Council but not to the developers themselves. I appreciate that but it is incredibly important that we have a Hobart-wide coordinated transport plan for such a massive development, especially when the main part of the developers' transport solution is to have a ferry terminal that the minister had never heard about.

It is concerning that a developer will put in their development plan notional ideas for ferry travel, which are great to talk about in theory. But when you are resting a 2400 lot development on the basis of moving people to and from work, recreation, hospitals, et cetera, on the basis of having a ferry service and there has been no conversation with the state Government about that, I find that concerning.

I find it concerning because it sounds as though it is spinning a story to Clarence city councillors that the transport plan has been solved. Clearly, there is an enormous amount of work to be done and I would expect that the minister will be taking a more directive-engaged role with the project. I encourage him,, on behalf of residents on the eastern shore to do that because it affects traffic movements over the Tasman Bridge, traffic movements into an already very congested Davey Street. We need to understand where these vehicles are going to be moving, particularly if there are talks about a marina.

I understand there is a conversation for a ferry marina in the Ralphs Bay conservation area. What a joke. It could not possibly be that we want to start that fight again. We could not possibly want to consider a conversation on putting ferry infrastructure in that Ralphs Bay conservation area, home to the handfish, home to a vast number of shorebirds and other wildlife, which has been fought for and protected in the past by the Ralphs Bay Conservation Area Group.

We would expect the Government to look very carefully and closely at what is being proposed by this development, make sure it is possible and make sure it is being done with the environmental assessments and community consultations that need to occur.

I want to talk about electric cars because what I found out through my questions to the minister and the targets presented in the Budget is that there is a fair degree of spin and heroic assumptions underpinning the Government's aim of getting to 100 per cent electric vehicles in the government fleet by 2030.

The numbers that have been delivered so far are tiny. We are talking handfuls of electric vehicles in the government fleet. It is important to distinguish and separate entirely hybrid vehicles, which do not fit the definition of an electric vehicle.

Staff raised the problems that have occurred with the supply of electric cars over the last couple of years, during COVID 19. There is no doubt that is true. There has been a problem world wide with the supply of electric cars. That is why we need the Government to supercharge the investment they are putting into this area over the next couple of years. The Government is not meeting its target, by the estimates the Greens have done, . Its target is really for only a 2 3 per cent increase over the next couple of years in the electric vehicle fleet. There is no way we will be able to replace the almost entirely fossil fuel-driven cars, which are the great majority of our fleet at the moment, with fully electric by 2030, unless we make some really big investments early on. It seems as though the Government's intention is to talk big about this but not to put the money in in the near term. Unless we are doing that, we will not get there.

I want to make the point that the Treasurer does not seem to understand that there is an urgency about this. He said:

No one is saying it should happen rapidly or suddenly, although you might be.

Well, yes, Treasurer, I am saying it is rapid and urgent because I am listening to the scientists and they are very clear it is rapid and urgent. We cannot get to a situation where it is 2027 and we have 90 per cent of the government fleet to replace. We cannot do that in that period of time. That means we have to bite off large chunks of it year on year. We would be looking, just by straight maths, to be replacing the fleet at a rate of at least 13.5 per cent a year. That means a whole lot more money than the Government has put in at the moment.

Finally, I want to talk about the climate risks and conversation we had in relation to insurance. This is in planning, in relation to those parts of Tasmania that may, in the short or medium term, communities may find areas to no longer be covered by the insurance industry if their properties are damaged or destroyed through natural disasters. This is not something we can leave to the market. We have to have an intervention. We have to have much more responsibility from the Government to coordinate with local councils what the planning will be and which areas may need to be vacated if houses are lost during extreme events and where they are going to be put. Councils cannot make these decisions alone in isolation. We need a government that is helping to do this planning for us all, for the future.