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Regional Infrastructure


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Tags: Infrastructure, Tasmanian Forest Agreement, Regional Forest Agreement, Regional Development

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Deputy Speaker, I was quite surprised not to hear my colleague, the member for Braddon, Ms Dow, talk about the Greens policy that was adopted at the Labor State Conference, which is the royalties for regions policy, formulated by former member for Braddon, Greens member for Braddon, Paul 'Basil' O'Halloran, which aims to return some of the profits from royalties from mining back into regional communities. Congratulations, Ms Dow, for picking up on that Greens policy.

Also, congratulations to Labor and Ms Dow for getting so firmly behind the Coastal Pathway project, which again is an idea that was initially put forward by Paul O'Halloran as the Greens member for Braddon. Good on Labor for adopting those two Greens policies.

Regional infrastructure - you would not know from the Labor Party state conference on the weekend that there was any particular concern or focus for regional communities or infrastructure. What you do know from the Labor Leader's speech is that the best she had to offer was an attack on the Greens after adopting a couple of our policies, and then putting forward a vision for Tasmania, which comes down to in essence: going for a fish, camping out in a swag, or spotlighting for a few wallabies. That is the best that the Leader of the Opposition could offer in terms of a vision for Tasmania at Labor's state conference.

Those activities are part of the Tasmanian way of life and the Tasmanian identity, but they do not go to the heart of the significant issues that are confronting Tasmania today. It is interesting to have a look at some of the garbage that was debated and voted on at the Labor state conference. Would you believe that Labor acknowledges that modelling suggests that climate change is happening? Well, there is a revelation for Labor. They are committed to national action. What that means is complete apathy and inaction on the climate emergency at a state level. When they talk about national action, they are talking about a federal Labor Party which has thrown its full support behind the Adani coal mine, which has signed itself up to the parliamentary 'friends of coal', and whose Queensland Labor colleagues on the weekend revoked native title on the Carmichael mine site.

There is a sickness and a rot at the core of the Labor Party federally, and in Tasmania. It is manifest every single day. In the motions that went to the state Labor conference, they have committed to federal Labor's policy, which is not to protect any more of the extraordinary carbon-banking forests that were set aside under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, with the agreement of the forestry industry. They have backed in the Regional Forest Agreement, which is driving species towards extinction and continuing old-growth logging right across Tasmania. Of course Labor ardently backs in the logging of rainforest species inside conservation areas and regional reserves. That will do nothing to deliver long-term sustainable jobs to the regions. There was no meaningful mention by the alternative premier of what Labor will do to prepare Tasmania for the climate emergency, no mention of Labor's plan for making sure our infrastructure, whether it is in the city or in the regions, is resilient to a changing climate. What is Labor's plan? We had some lip service from Ms Dow about coastal pathways and sea level rise, but what is Labor's plan for climate-ready infrastructure? What is Labor's plan to make sure that our roads and our bridges along our coastline are resilient? What is Labor's plan to make sure that our social infrastructure, affordable housing, is climate-resilient so we are not consigning poor people to living in ovens in summer and iceboxes in the winter time? None at all.

Mr O'Byrne - More energy from wind farms would assist in that challenge.

Ms O'CONNOR - Your time will come, Mr O'Byrne, I predict probably within about six months. Clearly you are sniffing away at Ms White's heels, as ever. Of course it is exactly what you did to Lara Giddings when she was the Premier. We know your form, Mr O'Byrne. We have seen it all before.

Unlike the Leader of the Opposition and in fact the entire Labor Party, we have a set of policies and a vision for Tasmania which we know, if implemented, will hold this state in good stead for the future. I recommend to Labor yet again our alternative budget, the same thing we do every single year, a fully costed alternative budget that has at its core quadruple-bottom-line accounting - society, economy, environment and democracy and human rights. Labor does not have the courage to do that so when Labor talks about the so-called jobs emergency there is not one single tangible idea they have put forward that would grow jobs in the regions. Not one.

Pardon the cynicism of Dr Woodruff and I but we have heard the sort of garbage that came out of Labor on the weekend before. It is the natural cycle of things where Labor veers and tilts a bit towards the left and then auto-corrects and lurches back towards the right. It is part of the natural political order of things. We have seen it in Tasmania and federally. Labor is lurching to the right. They are Liberal-lite. Any party that can revoke native title of Aboriginal people over their own lands in order to enable a toxic climate nightmare coalmine to proceed deserves the condemnation of this and future generations, and they will be condemned. They will be condemned by their own children as the climate emergency accelerates and accelerates, yet here they sit fiddling and playing childish politics while the planet burns. They are an utter disgrace and Tasmanians deserve better.