With our public health situation in such good shape, Tasmanians can rightly be proud of their efforts to keep the state free from COVID-19.
But for many Tasmanians, the struggle is far from over. Thousands remain out of work or working reduced hours, and many businesses continue to fight for survival.
That’s why our recovery has to be well-thought-out and executed – to drive jobs creation, solve existing community problems and set the state up for a better and fairer future.
With infrastructure front and centre of the government’s recovery plan, we must invest in the right projects and get them moving.
As well as creating much-needed jobs, the right investment will give communities access to services and service improvements they’ve been promised, including better schools and healthcare, and help resolve issues like traffic congestion and road safety.
Unfortunately, too many government infrastructure projects have stalled – among them the promised upgrade to Launceston’s Charles Street bridge.
Even though work was supposed to begin last year, there is still no shovel in the ground, causing major concerns for Launceston residents, with ongoing traffic congestion and delays.
Labor identified upgrades to the Charles Street Bridge as a project of regional importance in our COVID-19 Recovery Package, and the government needs to listen and commit to getting the job done.
Our package identifies other priority infrastructure projects that should be fast-tracked including the Launceston Eastern Bypass, Tasman Highway overtaking lanes, West Tamar Highway duplication, and the Launceston Private Hospital Colocation and Launceston Health Precinct.
We also need more investment in social housing, particularly in the North and other regional areas.
We’ve seen positive steps in Launceston including bringing forward the expansion of supported accommodation for young people and a women’s shelter, and delivery of transitional units, but we also need facilities to meet the region’s rising housing demand.
If the government is to fulfil its promise to build Tasmania out of recession, it must get on with it and get it right. Labor’s proposals provide an opportunity for Tasmania to build a lasting legacy.
As we did with our health response, we can work together to get Tasmanians back into jobs, help those hardest-hit by the pandemic and create a better, fairer Tasmania.
- Rebecca White is Tasmania’s Opposition Leader