Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN
On your Government's watch Hobart has become Australia's least affordable capital city - the hardest place to both find and afford a home in the rental market. Shelters National Rental Affordability Index demonstrates the failures of your Government, citing soaring house prices, the influx of tourists, slow wages, and a surge in the short-stay market as its causes. Do you agree your Government has failed Tasmanians who need a home and that it is driving people into homelessness? Do you have any confidence in your new Housing minister? He is yet to give any indication of action or capacity to deliver a plan. He also will not allow Housing Tasmania to brief Opposition and Greens members, deepening concerns that he has no idea what he is doing. Premier, what do you have to say to desperate Tasmanians who are being driven into acute housing distress and poverty by your Government's policy failure?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Yes, we do have confidence in the Minister for Housing and what he has achieved over a very short period of time compared to what we were left after a very long period of time by Labor and Greens housing ministers. This resulted in the need for us to very swiftly develop an affordable housing strategy with $125 million behind it on coming into government. This was endorsed not only by the broader community but those directly concerned with the interests of Tasmanians needing affordable housing and indeed addressing housing stress. This happened under the last term of government. It demonstrates the fallacy of any notion that there could be no such thing as a plan when there is $125 million and more that the minister has spoken about that we have added to it to support more Tasmanians into affordable housing to reduce housing and rental stress and to support those who are without a home.
Yes, I have every confidence in the minister. Yes, we have a plan and we are delivering on it. It is entirely within the ability, I would have thought, of any opposition party to propose an alternative - to offer a suggestion; to be part of the solution and not just part of the problem. You left us with a mess. You left us with an economy in recession, a budget in deficit and no capacity under the former government to make the sorts of investments that we are now doing.
Second, the most recent example of this is the Housing Summit. When we accept that there is a community issue here that is urgent and that is receiving priority attention from the Government, it is surely not beyond the capacity of anyone to come up with a single idea or to present something that might support our efforts to provide more affordable housing.
It is a classic example of the superficial opposition parties, that they would turn up to a summit, agree with all its recommendations and then decide afterwards that 'it serves our political interests better to disassociate ourselves from that process and just complain and criticise and offer nothing'. Tasmanians will not be fooled by this. When it comes to a plan that is backed by increased resources and new contemporary ways of dealing with these issues, this Government is doing everything it can. Over time we have invested more. We inherited difficult circumstances and we are dealing with current challenges and we accept those.
Yes, we do have a strong economy. Yes, we do have record numbers of tourists coming into our state. These things support the growth in revenues to our state, which has brought a budget back into surplus that now allows us to do so much more for Tasmanians in housing stress than ever happened under Labor and the Greens. We will get on with the job of delivering important reforms in investments as we are doing. We recognise the challenge that many Tasmanians have, but they are in a far better position now under this Government given where we were at when we were left with the mess of the last lot.