The political landscape has changed

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Hold on tight ladies and gentlemen for what is likely to be a radical change emanating from the Executive Building in lower Murray Street, Hobart.

This process of renewal will not only be driven by the new state government emboldened with a resounding majority delivered by regional Tasmania, but also by the Federal Government, which will most likely have a fair say in the future direction of the state.

To understand this, you only need to look closely at the noises coming out of the Abbott Government and the issue of an ‘end to entitlement’.

For Tasmania, a state that has often turned towards the Federal Government, this probably means the party is over, at least from a funding point of view.

My suspicion is that while on the one hand the Federal Government will give, on the other it will take away.

So while no doubt there will be various forms of assistance offered to the Tasmanian Government, it will come with strings attached, as the Federal Government uses the funding to ensure that reforms are driven on a state level.

So far the Federal Government has worked its way through a number of Labor-funded initiatives such as the Home Insulation Scheme and various subsidies to the car industry.

This may well place a cloud over funding for the affordable housing scheme, which is currently earmarked for student accommodation in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

Elsewhere you would suspect funds for the Royal Hobart Hospital and the railyards just down the road will receive scrutiny as will, no doubt, forestry funding.

Happily there is welcome news in securing the funding for the extension of the Hobart International Airport, but for the rest, it probably won’t be until the May Federal Budget that we get some idea of where we sit.

Just as well then that Premier Hodgman has delayed the State Budget until August, as if he ran with the existing timetable there simply wouldn’t be enough time to put the government’s stamp on the financial direction of the state.

For now Premier Hodgman will work to bed down his new team and roll out his first 100-day agenda.

We’ve already seen moves towards the creation of a single statewide planning scheme, while Premier Hodgman’s decision to meet with business representatives less than four days after the poll sent a clear message that the new government is keen to get on with business.

In the meantime, there will be some soul searching by both Labor and the Greens as they reinvent themselves in response to the election.

Regardless of your view, a change in government after 16 years is going to have a huge impact on the operations of Tasmania and only time will tell what it really means for the state.

At this stage you’d have to say Premier Hodgman and his team have a clear mandate and four years to implement their vision for Tasmania.

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