Federal Government must not leave Tasmania off the map on Budget night

Michael Ferguson, Treasurer

The Tasmanian Government welcomes the Prime Minister’s announcement over the weekend of further investment in Tasmanian roads.

The Prime Minister’s announcement recognises the importance of the road projects we recently announced in our 2030 Strong Plan, such as our investment in the Lyell Highway between Granton and New Norfolk.

This commitment by the Prime Minister, together with the additional funding for the full cost of the Mornington roundabout replacement, both appear to recognise the importance of the Australian Government contributing 80 per cent of the required funding, which ensures we can maximise our leverage of our State investment.

We look forward to seeing the full detail of the Prime Minister’s roads announcements in the Federal Budget on Tuesday night, and trust that these projects will be funded over the next four years to allow construction in a time frame consistent with our policies.

As Liberal Member for Bass, I was very disappointed to see that there was no funding announced on the weekend for the Tamar Bridge, and I will be closely scrutinising the Federal Budget for this project.

The State Government has committed $80 million to this iconic project and has submitted a draft business case to the Australian Government; we are hoping to see the Australian Government commit to funding 80 per cent of the cost of construction of this important northern upgrade, providing continued support to the Tasmanian civil construction industry and the broader economy.

We will also be looking for funding to support the extension of the Southern Outlet Transit lane toward Kingston, funding to progress the staged rollout of Rapid Buses, further funding for enabling infrastructure for Hobart bus and ferry services, together with funding to support the transition to zero-emission buses.

In other portfolios, we will also be looking to the Australian Government to use its fiscal capacity to:

  • Provide a contribution of $350 million toward the Launceston General Hospital Masterplan, and further support to GPs in Tasmania, given the Commonwealth’s responsibility for primary health care;
  • Improve funding for education in Tasmania, by increasing the Australian Government’s contribution to the Schooling Resource Standard to 25% and expanding the supply of Commonwealth Supported Places to incentivise teaching students in Tasmania;
  • Provide a commitment of $150.6 million to make the Greater South East Irrigation Scheme a reality, delivering jobs and economic benefits to the south east of Tasmania, producing a range of high value crops, including grapes, salad greens and berries;
  • Deliver $10 million over five years to support measures to control the invasive long-spined urchin, which threatens jobs in Tasmania’s commercial fisheries and recreational fishing sector; and
  • Provide $15 million to incorporate a court space for the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia within the new Burnie Courts Complex.

I note the reporting that Dr Chalmers is pleased to see State Governments putting funding into supporting their economies – but it is incumbent upon the Australian Government to step up and shoulder its share of the burden on health, housing, education and infrastructure.

We will therefore be looking forward to seeing significant further support for Tasmania in tomorrow night’s Budget to enable the delivery of services, and the continued support of Tasmanian jobs and our local economy.

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