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Sale of Public Assets


Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 22 November 2018

Tags: Public Assets, Privatisation, Treasury Building

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, what we have just heard from the Treasurer is the sort of slippery language and spin that people associate with the very worst characteristics of politicians. Shame on you, Treasurer, for bringing us all into disrepute for being incapable of speaking the truth. That is a problem for this Liberal Government. You cannot speak the truth. You have no confidence in your convictions. If you did you would be open and transparent and you would consult with the community about the things you are proposing.

There has been no public consultation about whether the Treasury building should be sold. An iconic sandstone part of our heritage is about to be flogged off and the people have not been asked whether that should even happen, let alone how and if it should happen. You have been incredibly slippery in your language about 99-year leases, which are a sale by any other name. In the ACT, where I grew up, people have 99-year leases on their property and they own them. They own their land because nobody is going to live for 99 years on that property. They will sell it on. This Liberal Government is unable to be honest about what it is doing.

The Premier this morning told the House he would not be privatising any publicly owned assets, except those deemed 'not fit for business' and 'not a core asset'. How can it be that privatising public waterways to fish farm companies without independent, scientific consultation is not of public concern? How can we possibly consider marine environments not fit for purpose but fit for sale to private companies when those private companies have a direct line to the department and the minister so they have a say over which bits of the publicly owned resources they want. That is what is happening around Tasmania.

The previous minister, Matthew Groom, had a chat to his friends, to his relatives and bits of South Arm - nature conservation areas - were being flogged off to members of the family. The beautiful Opossum Bay nature conservation area has been slated to become a golf course. It will probably receive a subsidy from this Government for an expensive underwater pipe from the Taroona side of the river to water the golf course. Who pays for it? The public. Who makes decisions about what happens in our wilderness areas? Matthew Groom made that decision when he was the minister by having a chat with private companies about which parts would be suitably iconic and appropriate for them to put their business on . What we now have are expressions of interests which are effectively a contract for sale to private companies of our wilderness areas, which the Tasmanian Government holds in perpetuity for the planet.

There has been a consistent exercise of looking around the state at Crown land and choosing the bits that can be privatised. Rosny Hill has been protected since 2003 as a nature recreation conservation area. The Premier has made it clear he will not be preventing a major development going ahead on that site. As Ms O'Connor mentioned, people are rising up. They are realising what is going on in this state. The things they care about are being sold off and the only thing they have left to prevent this happening is their bodies.

People are prepared to use their bodies. They are prepared to make a stand against the corrupted process which has given the fish farm companies, Tassal and Huon Aquaculture, the approval to move into Storm Bay. Two members of the panel, the best two key scientists, resigned in protest over the disgusting sham of a scientific so-called 'expert' report that came out of that panel. It clearly was nothing of the sort. The questions that were left unanswered were so huge it caused the two most important scientists on that panel responsible for fish health and biosecurity and environmental management to resign. That is because there was no proper independent process. It was never going to be a process other than to hand over the keys to those two companies to get out into our marine environment and expand their companies into that area.

Mr Deputy Speaker, people will be forced to speak because the Government is not listening.