Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN
You came to office promising to deliver 8 000 new jobs. Instead, in the past 11 months, according to the ABS 5 200 jobs have been lost, youth unemployment is soaring and the participation rate is at its lowest level in a decade. By any measure your government is failing on a core promise to Tasmanians. Why don't you have the courage to agree with TasCOSS CEO, Kym Goodes, that this is a jobs crisis? Your Treasurer has dismissed TasCOSS's sensible suggestion for a jobs task force as a talk fest. Why wouldn't you bring together key industry, business, government and community stakeholders to focus on employment growth and develop a jobs plan? Outside the perpetual spin cycle your government seems to be trapped in, what is your government's actual plan to deliver jobs, because whatever you are doing now clearly is not working?
Madam SPEAKER - Order, the Premier has the call.
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question, notwithstanding she is the last person who should talk about strengthening the economy and more job opportunities for Tasmania, given the devastating, very nasty impact of a Labor-Greens government on business confidence, our budget and our economic performance. We saw a much worse position for Tasmanians seeking jobs and job security.
Ms O'Connor - What's your plan?
Mr HODGMAN - I welcome the opportunity to remind the member for Denison of our plan, which goes to the heart of economic growth and job security, unleashing Tasmania's economic potential through supporting our economic strengths -
Ms Woodruff interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, I warn the member for Franklin, Ms Woodruff. If she keeps it up she will be ejected.
Mr HODGMAN - reducing red and green tape that was a hallmark of the Labor-Greens government, fixing our budget and getting it back into surplus, because that allows us to better invest in essential services and support the most vulnerable. There is a correlation between a government's financial performance and confidence in the business community, which still ranks amongst the highest in the nation. We are supporting Tasmanian business to expand into new and emerging markets and we back them in innovation and diversification with a government that believes in business and industry-led policy.
I have always said we are quite prepared to listen to anyone who has sensible ideas for job growth and economic growth. We do not have a single one from members opposite, I hasten to add. We are more than prepared to talk, as I have done, with TasCOSS about opportunities, or any other community organisation, as well as business and industry leaders, to understand how we can best deliver more for Tasmanians. It is hypocritical and fanciful for members opposite, who delivered some of the worst economic conditions in our state's history and a budget in disrepair, to now claim they can make any positive contribution to this debate. Their track record speaks for itself. Our track record has been a far cry from what life was like under Labor and the Greens.
Ms O'Byrne interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, I warn the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
Mr HODGMAN - You did not wind yourselves into such a frenzy when the unemployment rate was at 8.6 per cent; you called it 'disappointing'. Now you are calling an unemployment rate that is 2.2 per cent less than it was under you a 'crisis'.