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Strategic Growth – Purview of Portfolio

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 23 November 2020

Tags: State Budget, Cabinet

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, I have come in a little late but I do not think you have any questions from us and I would be interested to understand what Strategic Growth is. We do not understand why Strategic Growth has a mandate for improving only social and economic outcomes across the state. I do not understand why it does not also aim to improve environmental outcomes across the state because, by your own writing about this mysterious portfolio, it is about investing in local communities to support local resilience.

Clearly, in a future where we are in a climate emergency, there is a biodiversity crisis. There are enormous environmental challenges. Why aren't we also investing in environmental outcomes that can benefit local communities, and create new industries?

Ms COURTNEY - I feel confident through the ministers responsible for environment and climate change, that they would be happy to outline the work that the Government has been doing and in the commitments that we have going forward.

Strategic Growth: the portfolio was stood up earlier in this year based on previous work that had been done. I won't read my opening statement again, which goes somewhat to explaining that. It is about ensuring that as many Tasmanians as possible can have access to the opportunities that are available here in Tasmania. Earlier in the year, we knew that the economy was very strong, and through this recovery we are seeing, I am very hopeful that we will return to that. I wanted to make sure that the benefits that we have in our growing economy, the participation within it, that people are able to access the opportunities to be able to participate.

There is a range of different impediments for people about why they can't participate in the economy. Some of these are regionally based, some of them are about age, gender, access to transport. There is a large range of factors that make it difficult for people to engage. We want to make sure that as many Tasmanians as possible have access to the opportunities that are available in Tasmania. We see that very keenly through each of these different projects.

The Sorell hub is looking at how we can provide those pathways into employment in that particular area. If we look at our investment into Hamlet and Troublesmiths, they are focused on a cohort of young people here in Hobart. I met some of these amazing kids. They have some complex challenges and adversity that they have to deal with. I am very hopeful that having the right support around them through those mechanisms will provide them with the pathway that they need. There is a large breadth in this portfolio in the type of support that involves.

Dr WOODRUFF - In similar fashion, minister, other departments are responsible for literacy and training and a whole lot of other social inclusion aspects. I don't understand why your portfolio isn't taking the opportunity to look at the transformations in some of these communities. Strategic Growth is looking at the changes in the future that are facing these communities. The biggest ones are the environmental transformation and the industry transformation. That will happen. Whether communities are prepared for it or are happy about or not, it will happen. We must transition out of native forest logging and look at new industries that are about rewilding and storing carbon.

This is a great opportunity for this portfolio to be looking at how we can transition communities, and have a plan for that. I don't see there is anything to be lost in doing that, do you?

Ms COURTNEY - This portfolio is about helping those Tasmanians who, for whatever reason - and there is often a broad range of reasons, and often the reasons are multifaceted - haven't had the opportunity to participate as fully as they would like, or be able to provide opportunities towards employment or training. We are working hard in this portfolio to look at the different types of challenges in different locations, working closely with communities. As I said in response to an earlier question, each of these different initiatives, takes time to develop. It is not a portfolio where we can simply rollout the same thing for a range of different towns.

We work very closely with communities to ensure that the model of engagement, the local governance that they have around their initiatives is appropriate. There is a lot of opportunity for this portfolio going forward. COVID 19 has been a very challenging year to be able to stand up many of these initiatives. With the enormous shock to the economy, it was a very difficult time to implement new things. However, saying that, we havecontinued to work very closely, particularly with Glenorchy, about the commitment that was made there. We are continuing to support Sorell and we have had positive community engagement with George Town. It is really exciting to see that they have now announced the three projects that they are going to implement in their local community.

We will continue to engage with a range of communities through the funding that has been provided in this Budget and through the recommendations from PESRAC. I look forward to providing further information and advice to the parliament and the community.