Thursday, 3 December 2015
Braddon Electorate: Economy
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry, you'd better not pout, 'cos I'm telling you why: Braddon in Tasmania is heading in the right direction. I would like to give a 2015 report card to my electorate. In the midst of some ongoing challenges that probably every electorate faces but which we certainly do in the north-west of Tasmania, there is a great story to tell. But you would not know that if you just listened to thee opponents of the government. You would only hear the bad news stories—and the glass is always half empty; it is never half full. I want to say to the people of Braddon: chins up and let us be confident about the future, because there is a great story to tell.
In August 2013, just before this government was elected, the unemployment rate in Tasmania was 8.2 per cent. It now sits at 6.2 per cent. The Braddon unemployment rate was 9.2 per cent and two years later it is 7.2 per cent. The youth unemployment rate was 21 per cent before we came into government. It is now still too high, but it is 16.5 per cent. Housing approvals are up and there are green shoots everywhere in the Tasmanian and north-west Tasmanian economies. Confidence in the advanced manufacturing sector of the north-west coast is enormously high. It is not misguided confidence; it is because we know we can. We know we can compete at a global level and we know we have the competence and the capacity in our workforce.
On the ongoing challenge of the Caterpillar factory closure, heads are held high at the moment as we look forward to many opportunities. We are involved locally in a high-level consortium bid to produce and manufacture the LAND 400 Defence contract. We have a local company called Haulmax that is in a current negotiation and a strategic build of Orica's mining explosive trucks. We have just announced the Hydrowood project, which is an exciting project, not to mention the high-level excitement in our agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture—all -cultures—of the north-west coast when it comes to free trade agreements. We are about to prove to the world not only that Australia is producing some of the best produce in the world but also, over and above that, that Tasmania will compete on a global market now as it has not done before. The glass is more than half full in the state of Tasmania and in the electorate of Braddon. This is on top of the support by the government through irrigation—$60 million—and there will be new projects rolling out there. The exciting news for all our exporters is that on 1 January the expansion of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme will come into effect and those who export will be able to make an application for $700 for every 20-foot container.
I want to say to the people of Braddon: have a great Christmas and a wonderful new year. Stay confident because we can. It is not misguided confidence but a confidence built on a very positive outlook.