Wednesday 12 October 2005
Premier’s Address Response
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I have just a small contribution. Much has changed since the Premier delivered his state of the State address; that is the nature of politics. The economic outlook, particularly in the State's tourism industry, is now not so optimistic. The TT?Line may need more support if the predicted downturn in passenger demand proves correct. We may have to work harder and spend more to attract visitors. It is good to note some television advertising recently and also I notice in the Mercury this morning there was a small offer for more tourists to come here.
Mr Aird - Did you read the rest of the Mercury? I didn't get past the first page.
Mr FINCH - No, I started from the back and I only got a few pages in.
Mr Aird - I don't know why they wrap the Mercury that way. Why don't they wrap it the other way?
Mr FINCH - You spent all night wrapping them, did you?
Mr Aird - No, I don't have a plastic wrapper at home.
Mr FINCH - The Premier said that new spending areas he announced were sustainable and would not have an impact on existing spending. He is almost certainly right. There seems little threat to the State Government's income base. Income from the GST and other taxes seems to be under no threat at all but the problem is the future spending pressures. For instance, I mentioned the help for Tasmania's tourism industry with visitor numbers down.
The Premier says Tasmania has overcome many of its old obstacles. As he put it: 'We are now in a strong position to invest in the future and set the State up for years of sensible progress.' Mr President, there is a pressing need for much greater spending on infrastructure in Tasmania. Our sewerage systems are inadequate and far too many houses use malfunctioning septic tanks. Not a summer passes without a warning for people to boil drinking water from local supplies. Some of our roads are inexcusably dangerous. Some of our rivers and water catchments need urgent protection. The list goes on and on. There is no reason for complacency.
The Premier says we are a 'can do' community and we are thinking ahead but some things seem to have been left behind, Mr President. The Premier says Tasmania has the most consultative government in the nation. Well, let us have more consultation, more participation and more community feedback, and get the jobs that I have mentioned before done that seem to have slipped from the screen in the past.