Over the past 24 hours, the worst-kept secret in Australia was confirmed with the announcement of $305 million in Federal funding for Tasmanian sporting stadiums by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
This news will be of no comfort to the many thousands of Tasmanians who are fighting hard to make ends meet.
This approach (which is notably opposed by the State Labor Party and by some of Mr Albanese’s Tasmanian Federal colleagues including Senator Catryna Bilyk and his own Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, Senator Carol Brown) has underscored that Federal Labor’s priorities for Tasmania continue to be out-of-touch. And, to exacerbate this problem, it appears from the Prime Minister’s media release and his comments at his press conference that today’s announcement is completely lacking in detail – and that consultations and work with key local stakeholders have barely even begun.
Spending on sporting facilities and ‘urban renewal’ is fine in principle, but not at the same time as Tasmania’s Federal Labor representatives have gone missing on the delivery of essential services for their electorates.
The Member for Lyons, Brian Mitchell, has nodded his head to this spending and yet has failed to secure a single dollar of funding for an urgent care clinic in Lyons or deliver on the critical need for rural GP services across his electorate. That includes his ongoing failure to secure a single GP for the Central Highlands community.
Similarly, the Member for Franklin, Julie Collins, must now explain whether the sports funding will compromise the delivery of her election promise of $30 million for the Mornington Roundabout.
Mr Albanese’s Tasmanian Senators must also explain whether the $305 million will be matched by the rollout of Labor’s promised new community pool at George Town, the St Helens RSL renovation, the Cradle Mountain Cableway and many other Tasmanian projects.
And, collectively, Tasmania’s Federal Labor representatives must immediately clarify whether they will reverse the disastrous actions taken in their Budget last October to rip funding out of essential roads infrastructure in Tasmania, including for the Northern Roads Package, the Hobart to Sorell Corridor, and the Scottsdale sideling upgrade.
If Mr Albanese and his local representatives can splurge $305 million on sports stadiums and ‘urban renewal’, then they must also immediately deliver the money that is desperately needed for high-priority services and projects in Tasmania.