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Major Projects Legislation - Possible Negative Consequences

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 27 August 2020

Tags: Political Donations, Major Projects, Corruption


Late last night this House this passed the major projects legislation with only the Greens voting against it. A point that has been made by Tasmanians concerned about the negative consequences of this bill is the potential for corruption and improper dealings between developers and government. To add to this concern, your Government has failed to strengthen political donations laws. CPSU secretary Tom Lynch said this morning:

It is a recipe for corruption, political parties taking donations from developers while refusing to make donation laws transparent and then passing legislation to take development decisions out of the hands of democratically elected councils.

What is your response to this statement? How is the major projects legislation not a recipe for corruption and improper dealings between developers and governments?



Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question and her interest in this matter.

I put firmly on the record my sincere congratulations to Roger Jaensch. Six years ago we started on this process to try to find a suitable legislative framework that would deal with major projects, not to fast-track major projects but to ensure major projects were properly assessed by the relevant assessment agencies and authorities, that would provide some clarity to developers early in the piece so they did not go through a two-, three- or four-year process whilst they were waiting for a linear set of assessments to be undertaken.

In terms of the comments raised by the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens with respect to Mr Lynch, I am not certain he has built anything, to be frank. He was not part of this debate last night that I carefully listened to.

I thought the minister responsible dealt with all the concerns and issues that were raised very confidently and fulsomely. I must admit that I hope this bill passes through the upper House because it will be a key part of providing certainty to those who want to invest in major projects in Tasmania and create jobs in Tasmania as we rebuild.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, under standing order 45. The question was asked through the prism of the potential for corruption and improper dealings. Would you be able to address that question please, Premier?

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order.

Mr GUTWEIN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. It sounds if you are slurring the independent TPC.

Ms O'Connor - No, we're talking about a relationship between developers and the minister.

Mr GUTWEIN - The TPC will put together the panel. It is at arm's length from the Government. I can understand your desire not to want things to be built; that is part of your DNA. On this side of the House we want things to be built, but more importantly we want to be able to provide certainty at an early part of the process so that money is not wasted and people understand very clearly whether there is a process that can be entered into to meet all of the necessary approvals. Nothing is taken away.

This bill will help us to rebuild Tasmania. It will provide confidence and it will provide jobs. I thought the Leader of the Greens would support that.