Feb 17, 2014

Abbott cuts hurting Tasmania – Hodgman is silent

Tony Abbott’s mania for spending cuts is smashing the fragile Tasmanian economy and costing jobs – and the Tasmanian Liberals have done nothing to stand up for their state.

In only five months since taking office Mr Abbott has sliced $100 million from the Midland Highway upgrade project, dumped fully-funded community infrastructure grants and broken a promise to honour existing contracts under the National Broadband Network.

Despite all this, we have not heard a whimper from Will Hodgman, who is starting to look like the Marcel Marceau of Australian politics.

Tony Abbott’s trail of destruction includes:

  • Cutting the existing Commonwealth Budget’s allocation for work on the Midland Highway by $100 million;
  • Reneging on six fully funded grants under Labor’s Regional Development Australia Fund (see list below); and
  • Refusing to honour existing contracts for the delivery of fibre-to-the-home broadband under Labor’s NBN despite explicit pre-election promises that he would honour existing contracts.

In the meantime, the government has had the gall to re-announce a series of infrastructure projects that were fully funded by the previous Labor Government, including the Tasmanian Freight Revitalisation program and upgrading work on the Brooker, Domain, Huon and Tasman highways.

The Abbott Government has no agenda of its own beyond slashing infrastructure funding and pretending those Labor projects that remain were delivered by the Coalition.

Today I visited Leslie Street in Launceston. Half the street will have fibre connected to their homes under the NBN, while the other half will have to manage with Mr Abbott’s copper-based Fraudband service.

Mr Abbott promised much to Tasmanians when touting for their votes but he has given them nothing but cuts and broken promises while presenting Labor’s good work as his own.

And the Tasmanian state Liberals are silent.

They are more interested in winning government on March 15 than in actually delivering services for their state.



These grants were all awarded and fully funded by Labor under Round 5 of the RDAF program. Mr Abbott has ripped $150 million out of the fund, which was to have delivered a grant to every local council in the nation to fund local projects to improve community facilities and create jobs.

  • Meander Valley Council: $170,000 to upgrade Cluan Road
  • Dorset Council: $140,000 for outdoor gymnasiums and playgrounds
  • West Tamar Council: $128,000 for a shelter shed at Greens Beach
  • Launceston City Council: $128,000 to the Northern Tasmanian Cricket Association to upgrade its facilities
  • George Town Council: $100,000 for Windmill Point upgrade
  • Flinders Council: $79,140 for its Let’s Get Together Project