Man speaking

Election on: statement by the premier

THIS is the unedited text of a statement issued by premier Jeremy Rockliff announcing that the governor, Barbara Baker, has accepted his advice that a general election should be held:

“Today I visited the Governor to advise that the House of Assembly be dissolved, and that a general election will be held on Saturday, 23rd March. The Governor has accepted that advice. Can I say, very clearly: This election is about who is best able to restore the stability and certainty Tasmania needs, so we can take action on the issues affecting you right now.

“We do have a Strong Plan which is all about addressing these important issues, but the Parliament has become unworkable.  I am not going to allow myself and my Government to be held to ransom for the next 12 months. It’s bad for Tasmania, and it’s bad for Tasmanians. So, I have taken the decision to call an election, so that Tasmanians can have their say.

“Tasmania has come a long way over the last 10 years under majority Liberal Governments led by Will Hodgman, Peter Gutwein and myself and my team. Under our Plan, we have gone from the worst-performing state to the best-performing state on most economic measures.

“We have delivered historically low unemployment and 53,000 new jobs have been created on our watch. Construction of the new Bridgewater Bridge is underway, and the first of two new Spirit of Tasmania ferries will soon sail into Devonport. And we’ve done all this – and much more – while maintaining the lowest debt of all the states, and without introducing any new taxes.

“But I understand that, like the rest of Australia, we too are facing some serious challenges right now. We’ve delivered an additional 298 hospital beds and employed an extra 2500 health professionals including 1390 nurses – but there’s more work to do and our health system still needs to be better. Our energy prices are already among the lowest in the country, and our new Renewable Energy Dividend is driving bills lower – but I know we need to do more to support those struggling with the cost-of-living challenge.

“And while we’re building a record number of new houses – 3000 delivered since 2019 – for many Tasmanians, their first home lies beyond reach, and rental prices are still too high. So, we’ve done a lot. But there’s more to do.
That’s why we’ve developed our Strong Plan for Tasmania’s future to address these issues – it’s our 2030 Tasmania Plan, and it’s all about how the Tasmanian government can take more pressure off you.

“It’s a Strong Plan which is all about taking more action on the issues affecting us most right now, such as cost of living, health, and housing. Importantly, we’ll be taking action straight away, with my Liberal government ready to deliver key parts of the Plan immediately, so you can feel the benefits sooner. And over the course of the election campaign I’ll be releasing more details.

“As I said at the outset – there’s a lot more to do. And there’s also a lot at risk. Labor’s been in Opposition for a decade, but the truth is Labor and Ms White still haven’t learned the lessons of their disastrous deal with the Greens, and they are not ready to govern.  Never forget – under the Labor-Green minority Government, Tasmania went into recession, 10,000 jobs were lost and unemployment neared 8 per cent; the forest industry was shut down, the $1.5 billion superannuation fund was raided, hundreds of nurses and police were sacked, and they tried to close 20 schools.

“Ms White and Labor sit on the fence on every major issue, and they have no credible plan for the future of Tasmania. Tasmanian Labor’s infighting and disunity is so bad they they’ve only just been given their training-wheels back from Canberra. It’s pretty simple – if Labor can’t govern themselves, they can’t govern Tasmania.

“The Liberal position is clear and consistent. We know majority government is the best thing for our state, and past experience proves it. Minority government is destabilising, it destroys confidence and is bad for our state and for Tasmanians.

“I’ve heard our opponents say otherwise, but the fact is, only we – only the Liberals – can credibly claim to be seeking majority government at this election. The only way that Labor could conceivably form even a minority government is by doing a deal with the Greens. And we all know they will, if given half a chance. So, the choice this election is crystal clear.

“A majority Liberal Government led by me, with our 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future; or a Labor-Green-Lambie-Independent Coalition of Chaos, which would crash our economy, crash jobs, and crash our health system.”

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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