Tasmanians were promised the world by the Labor Party before the last election.
We were promised a safe pair of hands, that all families would be better off, aged care would be fixed, power prices would be $275 lower, mortgages would be cheaper, real wages would be higher and taxes wouldn’t be touched. Life would be better.
Now, with a year in office and two budgets under the Labor government’s belt, this has not materialised. Major promises have been broken, and Tasmanians pay the price.
The government had an opportunity in their last Budget to combat inflation by containing their natural instinct to spend big.
Astonishingly, instead of driving down inflation, their Budget drove it up. We are seeing interest rates ramped up in response. These rate rises are a result of Labor policies.
On top of their irresponsible fiscal policy, they are enacting other policies that will further fuel the inflation fire and make matters worse.
Labor’s policies on energy, for example, are a key driver of inflationary pressure and higher power prices. We all understand basic market mechanisms, the concept of supply and demand. Labor are reducing energy supply by not bringing on reliable, cheap, baseload energy, which means demand cannot be met, driving up prices.
Labor’s second round of industrial relations reforms will, as businesses have said, have disastrous impacts. The pleasantly named ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ proposal will actually cost many Australians their jobs and remove the concept of reward for effort from our workplaces.
Despite the pledge that taxes wouldn’t be increased, the government’s tax burden on Australians increases. Changes to superannuation mean more than two million Australians under the age of 25 will be pinged. An aged care tax is incoming and franking credits are in the firing line.
Across Tasmania, community pharmacies that my Senate Liberal colleagues and I have visited recently, from West Hobart to Railton, worry about how they will continue to operate following the 60-day dispensing changes that will potentially affect critical community services.
The aged care sector is in crisis in Tasmania, and the Labor government are not doing enough. They promised improved food and better conditions for residents. The residents of Yaraandoo, who expected so much more, don’t see this. They promised an around-the-clock nurse in every aged care facility. It is obvious that Australians were sold a lemon on this one too.
All the while, Labor senators and members fail Tasmanians on the stadium deal.
Even after the announcement – while federal and state Liberals have asked to exempt the $240 million payment from our GST payments, not one Labor senator or MP has sought a guarantee. We should not lose federal health funding to pay for a stadium. They failed a critical test, and Tasmanians are likely to bear consequences that could cost us hundreds of millions of dollars.
This is in stark contrast to the Liberal government’s actions on the Mersey hospital that me and my Liberal colleagues fought so hard to save. We managed to secure $730 million in federal funding, completely exempt from our GST payments, for the hospital to continue its operations for the benefit of northern Tasmanians.
Liberal and Labor’s records in Tasmania on GST funding are chalk and cheese. A review of the GST arrangements is coming, too. How hard will Labor MPs push? I know I would be fighting tooth and nail to keep our fair share. But I won’t be holding my breath.
The Coalition has a strong record of prudent economic policies: restraint when needed, assistance when necessary, while allowing our private enterprises to flourish.
We established JobKeeper. We supported 15,000 social and affordable dwellings and, in our last full year in office, our housing policy mix saw 160,000 Australians buy their first home.
Between 2013 and 2021, the Coalition government cut Australia’s emissions by 17 per cent while growing the economy and creating jobs. And we assisted industries that are incredibly important to Tasmania, such as funding for the Tasmania Forestry Hub and the forestry sector, and the $800 million Antarctic package that will see Tasmanian businesses contribute to our world-leading scientific efforts.
The Coalition has a positive plan for our future that will benefit Tasmanians. We will ensure age pensioners and veterans will be able to work more and not affect their pension, incentivise unemployed Australians to take up work by increasing how much they can earn before JobSeeker is reduced, help make sure that our hard-working middle class do not become Australia’s new working poor.
It’s hard out there. Tasmanians are doing it tough. It’s high time that Tasmanian Labor MPs and Senators recognised this reality and advocated for policies that won’t leave Tasmanians worse off.
This government needs to start living up to their promises – it’s what Tasmanians expect and deserve.