Jan 16, 2018

Hobart City Deal – An Agreement to Work on an Agreement

Today the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Hodgman could not have picked a better site to showcase their governments’ inaction when it comes to cities policy.

The fact is in 2012, the former Federal Labor Government invested $50 million to kick start the Macquarie Point precinct as a major urban renewal project.

The purpose of this funding was for remediation works, which would have opened up the site to a range of possibilities including tourism and scientific opportunities as well as low cost and medium density housing.

The do-nothing Tasmanian Hodgman Government have not progressed the redevelopment in their term and the Federal Coalition has ignored this transformative project.

Malcolm Turnbull first floated the idea of a City Deal for Hobart in 2016, however what is crystal clear is that it has taken the upcoming state election to compel him into action.

It is extraordinary that it has taken more than a year to produce today’s announcement, which is simply a to-do list with no new funding attached.
It is an agreement to work on an agreement.

I also note the commitment to create a Greater Hobart Transport Vision. At the July 2016 election, Labor announced it would create a Greater Hobart Transport Plan to serve this exact purpose.

While it is refreshing to see such a ringing endorsement of Labor policy, it does beg the question – what took the Prime Minister so long?

The fact is people in Hobart need real investment, not just more rhetoric.

Labor has a strong track record when it comes to investing in Tasmania.

The former Federal Labor Government almost doubled annual infrastructure spending from $157 to $264 per Tasmanian.

In contrast all that the Coalition Government has delivered is cuts.

In its first four Budgets, the Coalition Government said it would spend $589 million in Tasmania’s infrastructure, but they actually spent $479 million – $110 million less than promised.

The truth is the Coalition Government has cut funding for major road projects, cut funding for major rail projects, and cut funding for fixing dangerous blackspots on local roads.

This comes on top of the fact that within months of being elected, the Coalition Government also cut all funding allocated to Hobart’s light rail project.