Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN
Despite your half-hearted protestations and need to re-announce old money, you must be disappointed in your federal colleagues after last night. Do you agree that Scott Morrison's first budget left Tasmania out in the cold? Tasmania's ailing public health system still faces a $1.8 billion black hole. There was nothing for Tasmania's education system, no extra funding for years 5 and 6 of Gonski. No money for affordable housing. Nothing new in infrastructure, just repackaged grants for road and rail funding, and a cut to Parks funding. Only one in five Tasmanians earn enough to benefit from the tax cuts. Will you admit you failed to make the case for Tasmania and the state has been absolutely left off the map in last night's budget?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Denison for her question. I certainly don't believe we are failing Tasmania when you look at the highest levels of growth in our economy, the fastest rate for six years. Thousands more are employed in Tasmania than under the Labor-Greens coalition. The budget is now back under control and on track, in contrast to a billion dollars in deficits we were left by the former Labor-Green government, and there are record levels of business confidence.
I understand you are not optimistic about our state's future. You drove our state's economy into the ground when you were in government. Now you are the only people who want to see our economy continue on that trajectory, but it is not. Recent reports reveal a very strong sense of optimism and confidence about business prospects in Tasmania and about Government policy.
I will correct a few things in that grab-bag question. Your claims about no additional funding for infrastructure - wrong. Your claims about no additional funding for education - wrong. Your claims about no additional funding for health - wrong as well. It is significant that 94 per cent of Tasmania's business community, small businesses, will access tax relief which will allow them to continue to confidently invest, to broaden their operations, to ensure that Tasmania's economy keeps moving in the right direction, and to employ Tasmanians, which is the other thing happening under a state majority Liberal Government.
Ms O'Connor interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. The member has asked her question she will allow the Premier to answer it.
Mr HODGMAN - That did not happen under a former Labor-Greens government in this state.
Jobs and economic prosperity, particularly among the small business sector, are significant in our state, not only because they are the largest component of our economic foundation but also because they are the people who work in our tourism industry. They are the people who work on their farms and in retail outlets. They are the Tasmanian businesspeople who are feeling more confident about their future than ever before, certainly more that they were under a Labor-Greens government.
It is important to recognise that this budget has targeted plans for youth unemployment, and to get more people into employment generally, but particularly with a focus on young Tasmanians. It is great to see there are more young Tasmanians now in employment than there were under the Labor-Greens government. There is a lot more to do. We want to bring down the level of youth unemployment in this state, but that is a significant $840 million scheme to boost their job prospects. That is not something that should be overlooked.
We will continue to work very closely with our federal counterparts to deliver the best possible outcomes for our state. I have already outlined a number of major infrastructure projects which are going to sustain our economic prospects and seize key opportunities for growth. Those matters cannot be overlooked because they are significant investments in our infrastructure. When it comes to what Tasmanians expect it is a plan for our state, a vision and a sense of where we are heading. Any plan that has economic growth and jobs at its heart is a fantastic plan, because it is just like ours.