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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Page: 1063


Ms COLLINS (Franklin) (18:49): As children go back to school in Tasmania, as parents go back to work and as our tourist season has reached its peak in recent weeks, Tasmanian infrastructure is under strain. Tasmanian infrastructure is under strain for two reasons. One, because of the amount of road works, which were funded by the former Labor government back in the 2013 budget, that are finally being done to our roads. They were delayed by the state Liberal government. Two, because of the state Liberal government's lack of investment in tourism infrastructure, particularly in our national parks, but also in dealing with the traffic congestion around Hobart's streets. It has been many years since we commissioned a study, under the former Labor government, to look at the traffic flow in Hobart. It recommended some extension of clearways in peak times. The state Liberal government have done absolutely nothing about that for the last three years—nothing. Just 12 months ago they commissioned a committee to tell them what needed to be done to deal with congestion in Hobart's streets. It recommended the extension of clearways in peak times, which we had told them the year before. Today, very little has happened in terms of dealing with peak hour traffic in Hobart. Due to our geography, because of the large mouth of the Derwent River and because the southern outlet of the Tasman Bridge and the Brooker Highway are the main inlets in to Hobart, there are constraints about what can be done, but the state Liberal government has done absolutely nothing about planning for this.

Over the last three years they have also invested very little in our national park infrastructure. It was former Labor governments, state and federal, that invested in infrastructure in our national parks. At the last federal election federal Labor committed, as part of our tourism package to Tasmania, a $42.5 million package where were we were going to invest in the Three Capes Tracks, but also in Cradle Mountain for the upgrading of infrastructure, which everybody says is needed. Unfortunately, the Liberal Party did not match Labor's commitment during the election campaign. They committed $1 million for Cradle Mountain, but that money has also not been forthcoming. So tourism infrastructure in Tasmania is under great strain and our road infrastructure currently is being developed, but late and badly planned by the state Liberal government. Indeed, some of the construction of the Midland Highway has had to be repeated because of bad weather and the timing of it. In 2013, federal Labor committed $500 million to the Midland Highway upgrade. The current Liberal government committed only $400 million, so it is spending $100 million less on the Midland Highway, and all we have seen with the projects is delays.

I want to talk, in particular, about a delay that is incurring in my electorate. On 31 January the state Liberal minister turned a sod on the Summerleas Road-Huon Highway intersection. Again, this was money that was committed in the budget in 2013 by federal Labor. Indeed, we committed $17.5 million for the upgrade of this section. In estimates in 2014 we asked the government what it was doing about that and whether it had negotiated with the state Liberal government. There has been great failure by state and federal Liberal governments to get this road construction underway. I was pleased to see a turning of a sod on 31 January, but unfortunately since then very little has happened. I think the minister went and turned a sod simply because he knew that I was watching him and he knew that the community was watching him. Indeed, there is very little major construction work happening at all in that area, and having wasted the quiet summer break, when they could have done the work, they are now, as school is going back, trying to start construction. It was clearly a stunt by the Liberal state minister to go and turn that sod at the Summerleas Road-Huon Highway intersection and pretend that something was happening, because local residents tell me that there is still no significant work underway—none at all.

The state Liberal government has a bad record for planning and it is compounded by the federal Liberal government cutting funding from Tasmania for infrastructure—for example, the Midland Highway cut. We have also had a cut to rail revitalisation. We have not seen the investments that we need for Cradle Mountain. We have seen the Hobart airport runway extension delayed—that too is now underway, thankfully. It seems that the state and federal Liberal governments just cannot get it together to properly fund infrastructure in our state.

At the last federal election there was again a commitment for the Hobart airport roundabout. Labor committed $32 million and the Liberal party committed $24 million.

Given that the Summerleas Road-Huon Highway intersection has now taken almost four years—before anything has happened—I am really concerned that we are going to wait another four years before we deal with the Hobart airport roundabout and the flyover that is needed there.

They just cannot get it together. We have congestion in Hobart. We have tourism infrastructure under strain. We have delays on infrastructure in my electorate. We have delays on infrastructure that has been promised elsewhere. We have had cuts to rail infrastructure. They just cannot get it right. One might ask, 'Why can't they get it right?' I think it is because the federal Liberal government is no longer committed to Tasmania. They lost some seats there, so they seem to have given up on Tasmania. We saw that this week when they wanted to move a major approvals office out of Tasmania. My colleagues here, the member for Braddon and the member for Bass, have called them out on that and asked what is going on. But clearly there is no commitment from the federal Liberal government to plan long-term infrastructure in Tasmania, and we have seen that via the cuts that I have talked about.

We have also a state Liberal government that seems completely inept. It appears to me that they have now sacked so many public servants in the Department of State Growth, and the roads and transport section, that they do not have anybody left to plan anything. Indeed, there was a situation where we had some issues with the timing of lights where they had to hire some consultants to come and tell them how to get the timing right for the lights. They did this and now we have another problem and it still cannot be fixed because there are not enough public servants in our state departments.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 18:5 7