Thursday, 5 December 2019
Matters of Public Importance
I listened to the member for Lilley and I actually took on board what she said about what the Australian public really think by seeing this interlude in this place. I tend to agree with her on that point, but that's about as far as it goes. Out of my peripheral vision I look at the topic for discussion—that is, matters of public importance. Where I come from, this particular subject means a lot to a lot of hardworking people. When it comes to telling people about what the government's doing in my patch, I want to tell you about the great state of Tasmania and what we're doing down home. In order to do that and as reference material for that, I go to the latest mail-out that we've put out from the electorate office on exactly what we've been doing, delivering and achieving throughout the electorate.
As far as small business is concerned, which is obviously the engine room and the backbone of the Braddon community, the State of the States report that was handed down recently sums up the north-west coast of Tasmania very well. It rated Tasmania, in fact it rated Braddon, as No.1 in business confidence throughout the nation. That business confidence has led to capital investment in businesses and money starting to flow, and people are now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, which is a stark contrast to where we were in the last years of Labor in our state. In fact, in the last years of Labor in Tasmania more than a thousand people left our shores for good. I can only imagine the conversations that took place around the kitchen table before those big moves took place. But, luckily, last year 2,250 came to make Tasmania their home. They see Tasmania as a shining light, a place that is growing, a prosperous place. They are confident, just like we have tried to demonstrate today that we are indeed confident, and we share that confidence with our electorates.
We've worked hard on freight equalisation and trying to level the playing field on that expensive piece of water between Tasmania and our mainland states. We've worked hard on transfer of irrigation projects so that we can eliminate risk from our agricultural operations throughout the coast. We've delivered water to farmers, which has actually doubled production throughout the agricultural regions of my electorate. We've worked on and delivered irrigation systems like the Duck, the Mersey and the Scottsdale. We've supported processors like Simplot, Agronico and Tasmanian Quality Meats. Biosecurity infrastructure is being put in place.
We've worked hard on health. We've introduced—and I actually delivered—an MRI machine to Devonport, the first one we've seen on the coast. A second LINAC for treating specific cells within cancer patients has been delivered to Burnie. Headspaces have been funded, supported and nurtured and have prospered throughout Devonport, Burnie and Circular Head. Small business has seen an increase of the instant asset write-off. We've lowered the 32.5 per cent small business tax rate to 30 per cent, meaning 94 per cent of taxpayers pay no more than 30c in the dollar. We've introduced a small business growth fund of $540 million, which was backed by a further $100 million from civil banks.
We've worked hard on trying to underwrite Marinus, the interconnector between Tasmania and the mainland, which is progressing well. We're ticking all the boxes in Tasmania for being totally renewable by the year 2022. That will mean that Tasmania can not only produce its own renewable, sustainable and dispatchable energy but we can also deliver that through project Marinus, through the mainland, gleaning an income for decades to come—a stark difference from what we saw from Labor, when those thousand people left our shores, with no concept of what could happen further on down the track.
We've also worked hard in schools and we've, again, been able to produce and to deliver funding which has been unprecedented within our education systems. We've produced many fine results when it comes to agricultural exports. In fact, our agricultural exports within Tasmania have grown 3.86 per cent, which is almost double the national average. This is a contribution between our transfer irrigation, capital investment, government support and businesses having the confidence to buy those big-ticket items which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And the list goes on. There are so many things that we've delivered but so little time to tell you about them.