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Infrastructure and Jobs

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 13 June 2019

Tags: Transport, Housing, Traffic Congestion, Housing Crisis, Hobart Light Rail

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Deputy Speaker, it has been interesting listening to this debate this morning, which is a Liberal matter of public importance debate, after around 20 minutes of question time was dedicated to Dorothy Dixers and the best the member for Braddon can come up with as a topic is infrastructure and jobs.

There has been a lot of discussion about roads and bridges, and it is important. We understand that infrastructure comes in many forms. The kind of infrastructure the House needs to be debating more is social infrastructure, housing infrastructure, 21st century infrastructure like cycleways, pedestrian accesses, light rail and ferries. The member for Braddon's interpretation of infrastructure is very linear. It is confined to roads and bridges and, in the 21st century, we need to have a much more diverse mix of infrastructure, we need to make our cities more liveable and we need to make sure that our infrastructure is climate resilient.

Sea levels are rising and we are facing much higher temperatures. I do not know if anyone caught one of the most horrifying pieces of news I have read all year. At Cape Grim this week, they have recorded CO2 equivalent readings of 500 parts per million. That is a horrifying figure. It compels us to look at every piece of infrastructure in Tasmania and at our forward planning through the prism of climate adaptation and the need to build infrastructure that is strong, resilient, zeroemissions and that protects people. That is our obligation as a parliament and as leaders in our community.

In this Budget, for all the talk of infrastructure and jobs, we have little to nothing to deal with the congestion problem that Hobart faces daily. It is chaos between 8 a.m. or 8.15 a.m. and 9.15 a.m. every morning in the city of Hobart. It is a big clag-up. It was clear to me this morning when I was coming into work that the lights are not properly synced. The flow of traffic through the city is not smoothrunning; it obstructs easy movement through the city. There is a failure of this Government to even have a look at some of the basics like the synchronisation of lights.

All we have in this year's budget is $1 million for a traffic study for greater Hobart. What an insult to people who live in and around Hobart. For five years the Liberals have been in Government and the best they can do is spend $1 million on a traffic study. All they need to do is stand on the corner of, say, Murray and Davey Streets on any given morning and vox-pop motorists. You could do that for a week and there is your traffic study. They will tell you exactly what is wrong with the system as it is. To give the impression they are doing something about congestion, which they are manifestly not, this Government has allocated $1 million towards a traffic study.

There is also a $2 million council matching grants program for cycleways. Only $2 million? That is nothing relative to a $1.6 billion roads and bridges infrastructure budget. It pains me to say this but we saw it during the federal election campaign; the Liberals in Government prioritise spending in the north at the expense of the south and they will not take the congestion issue in and around Hobart seriously because, for many of them, it does not impact on their lives on an ongoing basis. It is a failure to service the people of southern Tasmania because everyone, whether coming in from Sorell, the Channel or from Brighton, is affected by this Government's failure to deal with traffic congestion.

I also wanted to talk about the target of 10 000 jobs the Government says it is going to create. This is one of the biggest scams in the Budget because it looks like, if you go to page 278 of State Growth, we will be importing around 6000 jobs over the same period with skilled visas; imported labour. This Government is counting on the importation of labour to meet their jobs target and we are talking about 6000 extra workers coming into Tasmania through the State Growth visa program.

My concern, and the Greens concern, is to make sure that young Tasmanians who need a job, who deserve a job and who have the talent and capacity, are given every opportunity. If there are going to be 10 000 jobs created, do not cheat, which is what this Government is doing. It is cheating on the numbers because two-thirds of that projected jobs increase will be skilled labour that has come in from overseas. Do not give false hope to young people. Take their concerns for the future seriously and dedicate those jobs to young Tasmanians.