Upon becoming Premier 12 months ago, I said I would lead a government of conviction and compassion, and our priority was to ensure Tasmanians, no matter their circumstances or background, would have the opportunity to benefit from our growing State.
We have held these fundamental priorities and values steadfast through one of the most challenging years in living memory as we took the strong actions necessary to keep Tasmanians safe and secure through the coronavirus pandemic.
During 2021, our focus will be on the key priorities of the health, wellbeing and safety of Tasmanians while rebuilding our economy and creating jobs.
We have already put in place a plan to recover and rebuild, and backed that with a budget for our times, with a record $5 billion infrastructure program to underpin around 25,000 jobs around the State.
Our plan is already making a difference, with Tasmanian businesses among the most confident in the country and jobs coming back.
In February, the national COVID-19 vaccination program will commence, and work is well underway here in Tasmania on what will be one of the biggest health logistical exercises in recent history. Preparations continue for a mass vaccination emergency coordination centre, programs for regional areas and a comprehensive education and communications campaign.
We will also continue with our program of removing unnecessary red tape, to ensure that businesses can get on with the job of investing and employing more people. And to ensure our land tax arrangements remain contemporary and fair and equitable for those required to pay it, I have asked Treasury to conduct a review of the thresholds and rates associated with the application of land tax.
We will soon be announcing the President for the upcoming Commission of Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and it remains our expectation that this critical inquiry will start as soon as possible.
While this Government has provided more information and released more reports than those who have preceded us, I have asked the Department of Premier and Cabinet to develop a new online portal, making increased routine disclosure of Government information easier to find for Tasmanians and there will also be improvements in the management of the Right to Information process this coming year. As I had previously committed to, we will also release the final report of the review of the Electoral Act next month, as well as the Government’s response.
When it comes to competing on the national stage, we continue to punch above our weight, with our own team to enter the NBL later this year for the first time in 25 years.
We will also be pursuing a licence for an A-League football team to be based right here in Tasmania, and our aspiration remains for our own Tasmanian AFL team. We will continue to push for a pathway for our own team, and I have made it clear to the AFL that we will not finalise arrangements with Hawthorn or North Melbourne until we have clarity from the AFL in terms of our own licence.
While 2020 was one of the most difficult years in living memory, there are brighter days ahead, and we look to 2021 with a sense of hope and optimism as we implement our plan to rebuild a stronger Tasmania.