Premier Hodgman’s State of the State speech: The key takeouts
Premier Will Hodgman today delivered a confident State of the State speech, in which he clearly laid out his Government’s plan for continued economic growth and reiterated his commitment to delivering the Government’s election policies, while wisely eschewing calls from some quarters for radical policy reform.
The hallmark of the Hodgman Liberal Government’s success has been its ability to manage a growing economy and surplus budget while undertaking only incremental economic change, and voters and the business community alike will be reassured by the Premier’s “business as usual” speech, despite the recent trials and tribulations the Government has faced.
To the tune of “hear hears” from returned Braddon member Joan Rylah, the Premier coined and then repeated several times a new catch-phrase for the year ahead: “strategic growth” – which he explained as ensuring that economic growth is shared across the state’s regions, and that no-one is left behind.
The centrepiece announcements of the speech were around health, particularly a new $91 million investment in the next stage of the Royal Hobart Hospital over the next three years, including an expansion of the Emergency Department, expansion of the ICU, and refits of A and J Blocks.
A small but notable announcement was $1 million to investigate the feasibility of a new Western Bypass for Hobart, including tunnels.
On addressing the current housing challenge, developers and community groups alike are likely to welcome new rules to make it easier to build apartments and townhouses, for medium sized infill development.
The Premier saved his strongest words for a strident defence of the Government’s Expression of Interest Process in National Parks and World Heritage Areas, pointedly noting (presumably in relation to the recent controversy around the Lake Malbena project) that “we should not allow opposition to one particular project to lead to assaults on the very idea of nature based tourism in Tasmania.”
In conjunction with his speech, the Premier released the Government’s Second Year Agenda, an impressive plan for the year ahead with over 280 action items.