Coalition’s Tassie growth plan will build on state’s strengths, Tony Abbott says
A media release today from federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott outlines the Coalition’s growth plan for Tasmania:
The Coalition will develop a ‘Growth Plan for Tasmania’ that will encourage investment, restore economic growth and create jobs.
The Tasmanian economy has drifted under the policies of federal and state Labor. Labor’s economic mismanagement has delivered low state growth, the loss of employment and the steady decline of Tasmania’s competitiveness. It does not have to be this way.
The ‘Growth Plan for Tasmania’ will seek to draw on Tasmania’s traditional strengths – forestry, agriculture and tourism – and will identify any impediments to building a stronger economy in Tasmania.
We are determined to boost Tasmania’s economic growth. We must draw on Tasmania’s natural strengths, lift productivity and improve the state’s competitiveness.
We want a stronger and more resilient Tasmanian economy, underpinned by robust and sustainable industries – delivering more jobs and a higher standard of living.
Our ‘Growth Plan for Tasmania’ will include a commitment to abolish the carbon tax. The carbon tax is applied to the fuel costs of aviation and maritime vessels and has increased transportation costs to and from Tasmania. Qantas, Virgin and the Spirit of Tasmania all impose additional costs on travel to and from Tasmania due to the carbon tax. The Coalition will abolish the carbon tax and reduce transportation costs to and from the Australian mainland.
Our existing commitment to provide funding to upgrade the Midland Highway to a dual carriageway will also reduce freight costs along the major highway passenger and freight route linking north and south Tasmania.
The Coalition has established a Working Group that will meet with business leaders, investors, community leaders, academics, local government and the community to develop a plan for growth.
The Working Group will consist of the four Liberal Senators for Tasmania, Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck, Senator Stephen Parry and Senator David Bushby.
The Working Group will inform Coalition policy development and develop a plan for growing the Tasmanian economy. The Group will report to the Leader of the Opposition by 1 March 2013.
As well as considering the report’s recommendations, we have announced that a Coalition government will establish a review into the effectiveness and efficiency of shipping to and from Tasmania. This review will contribute to the promotion of more competitive industries and a stronger economy for Tasmania.
The review will examine whether Tasmania’s lifeline to the mainland and the rest of the world is efficient and competitive. It will incorporate an examination of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and give careful consideration to whether reforms are necessary to ensure the Scheme provides the best possible net benefits for Tasmania and the nation.
Tasmania is an island State and its economy is strongly reliant on transport networks for the growth and movement of its goods and services. The competitiveness and ongoing development of Tasmania’s key industries – such as food processing, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture and fisheries – depends on affordable, reliable and efficient transport across the Bass Strait.
The Coalition recognises the important work already conducted by Tasmanian Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Will Hodgman MP, who recently outlined a Roadmap to Recovery and Growth in Tasmania. The Working Group will consider the work already conducted by Mr Hodgman and his team as part of its deliberations.
The abolition of the carbon tax, the establishment of a Working Group to develop a plan for growth, the upgrade of the Midland Highway and the commitment to undertake a review into shipping reflect our determination to restore growth, create jobs and help all residents of Tasmania get ahead.