Michael Ferguson,Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
The Labor Party and its Acting Leader, Anita Dow, seem intent on whipping up unnecessary fear and confusion on the issue of the Tasman highway and Wielangta Road, rather than working with the Government and community on the ongoing assistance we are putting in place to support the community through this unprecedented event.
What Anita Dow fails to mention is that the Government and Department of State Growth have been providing regular updates on the situation daily through either the website, media releases, press conferences or Facebook posts, including providing vision of the work underway on the Tasman Highway.
We communicated immediately our intention to offer Business Critical Support Hardship Grants, with a number of businesses expressing an interest prior to applications opening last Friday.
We are communicating in a timely and transparent way, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to suit the Opposition’s negative narrative.
The Government intends to get Wielangta Road sealed. While our priority right now is keeping it upgraded for continued local access, after we have reopened the Tasman Highway, I will have the Department assess the cost of sealing, and to then secure funds in partnership with the other road owners and begin the job.
The Tasmanian Government will undertake further work to resolve the Wielangta Road ownership issues and explore the feasibility and estimated cost of a staged upgrade and sealing of the road. We will also work to secure any additional funding required to undertake these works.
I have made it clear that the road has proven its importance as an ongoing access route for the East Coast and that’s been communicated widely.
Despite the current mixed ownership of the road we will continue to ensure it is part of the network resilience we need, and able to support all Tasmanians who need to access it.
Creating confusion and unnecessary fear is not what the Tasmanian community needs from the Labor Party right now and I call on Ms Dow to start working with us as we continue to respond to this situation.
During all this time, the Labor Party has played politics and tried to undermine what is widely regarded as a swift and comprehensive response to a serious public safety issue.