State of the State speech

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 05 Maret 2013 | 19.55

THE full text of Premier Lara Giddings' State of the State speech to State Parliament.

Premier's Address 5/3/13

PREFACE -- THE JANUARY BUSHFIRES

Mr Speaker, they say adversity brings out the best in people.

Never has this been more true than in the days following the terrible bushfires across the State early in the New Year.

The Forcett fire devastated communities like Dunalley, Murdunna, Boomer Bay and Connellys Marsh.

The Bicheno fire destroyed shacks and outbuildings at Courland Bay and Butler's Point.

The Lake Repulse fire destroyed farms, fences, livestock and crops.

There were further damaging outbreaks at Montumana, Molesworth and Lefroy.

On the 4th of January and in the following days:

• 203 homes and shacks were lost;

• more than 200 other buildings and structures were destroyed, including Dunalley's Primary School and Police Station;

• and millions of dollars of damage was done to farms and other businesses, either directly or indirectly.

Mr Speaker, when the fires broke out I was on the other side of the world but my first instinct was to get back home to support those affected.

It was heartbreaking to see families who lost everything: their homes, treasured possessions, and a lifetime of memories.

To meet farmers who saw years of hard work destroyed in minutes.

To visit communities that were torn apart.

But at the same time it was inspiring to be Premier of a State that responded with extraordinary compassion and generosity.

Tasmanians rallied around those affected.

They opened their wallets, their hearts and their homes.

They provided boats to evacuate people.

They lent a helping hand when it was needed -- like Mel Irons and her Facebook page, and those who responded to the calls for help through social media.

They provided feed for livestock -- like the Member for Lyons, Rebecca White, and the many volunteers across the State who collected and distributed countless truckloads of hay.

On behalf of all Tasmanians, I thank everyone who helped those affected by the fires.

This level of support should come as no surprise, because Tasmania has always been a close-knit and supportive community.

But to see that community spirit in action was heart-warming and awe-inspiring and I hope it is a quality we never lose.

As Premier, I was incredibly proud of the efforts of our fire fighters, police and other emergency workers.

I was proud of the Aurora crews who restored electricity two weeks ahead of schedule, and staff across government agencies who responded so strongly during the fires and their aftermath.

The recovery process is now well underway and staff across government will continue this effort for the 18-months or so that it will take to get affected communities back on their feet.

On behalf of all Tasmanians, I thank them for their efforts.

I also thank the emergency workers who came from interstate and as far away as New Zealand, just as Tasmanians helped them during recent disasters in Queensland, Victoria and Christchurch.

Our thoughts are particularly with the family of Victorian fire fighter Peter Cramer, who died so far from home while helping Tasmanians during our time of need.

I thank the Australian Government, which in partnership with the State Government has distributed almost $9 million in financial assistance to residents, businesses and community groups.

I thank the Red Cross and everyone who helped to raise close to $7 million by donating or pledging funds to the official bushfire appeal.

And I thank the private companies that are helping to rebuild homes and communities -- like Hazell Bros, who are cleaning-up bushfire affected homes, with work at 76 properties already completed.

There is no doubt this summer's bushfires were the worst since 1967.

We must learn from these events to ensure we're better prepared in future, because climate change will result in more extreme weather, more often.

That will mean more bushfires.

Making sure that we learn what we can, and preparing accordingly, will be the focus of the inquiry to be held into this summer's fires.

I will soon announce who will undertake that inquiry, but today I release for public comment the terms of reference under which the inquiry will be conducted.

They include:

• the immediate causes and circumstances of the fires;

• all aspects of the emergency response;

• the adequacy of the transition from response to recovery;

• the preparation and planning by all levels of government; the effectiveness of the strategies and plans related to managing bushfire risk;

• the use and efficacy of various forms of social media during such events, and any other relevant matters.

We must get this inquiry right.

I encourage people to have their say on the terms of reference so we can ask the right questions and get the answers we need.

My Government is determined to ensure that through this process, Tasmania is even better prepared for future bushfires that we know are inevitable.

Introduction

Mr Speaker, I announced last December that my Government's agenda for this year would focus on: creating jobs; caring for people; and generating new opportunities for the next generation of Tasmanians.

Underlying this agenda are the principles of sound financial management and sustainability, and a focus on maximising our opportunities in Asia.

Why is this Agenda important? Because it's about the future.

It's about helping Tasmanians to get a job and build a life for themselves and their families.

It's about building communities where everyone has an equal chance to enjoy the opportunities offered by our great State.

The world is changing, driven by factors like technology, the transformation of the global economy and climate change.

The same factors are driving change in Tasmania too, but we shouldn't be afraid of it.

We can and must seize the opportunities offered by our huge natural advantages and our skilled and talented people.

We can build stronger communities and create greater prosperity for our children.

At a State and Federal level, our political opponents say they'll tear up the forest agreement and scrap the carbon price -- jeopardising Tasmania's investment in renewable energy.

They'll also scrap the NBN, and even the GST formula that ensures Tasmanians can enjoy the same quality of government services as other Australians.

That's not the future -- that's going backwards.

The future is what my Government is seeking to embrace by: investing in irrigation; making the most of our great natural advantage in renewable energy; supporting the digital economy; and working to maximise our opportunities in Asia.

We are helping Tasmanians to capitalise on our clean, green brand in dairy, wine, and aquaculture.

We are transforming the Tasmanian economy by making the most of our growing reputation for world class produce, products, and services.

We are seizing the opportunities offered by MONA, Barnbougle, our tourism industry, our outstanding University, our world class arts and cultural industry, and our status as a gateway to the Antarctic.

That's the future of Tasmania.

Jobs

Mr Speaker, the State's economy remains under pressure.

Too many Tasmanians are unemployed or worried about their job security.

Industries like forestry and manufacturing are going through tough times as a result of the strong Australian dollar and weak markets.

As I said during my recent speech at the National Press Club, what's happening with forestry reflects the broader transformation that we are seeing in parts of the State's economy.

As a result of market forces, jobs in forestry have halved since 2006, and just last week we had a third independent report that predicts more job losses ahead unless the industry adapts.

My Government is not prepared to sit back and let that happen.

We believe the industry can have a vibrant future, with secure market access and guaranteed supply from sustainably managed forests.

That's why, along with key stakeholders on both sides of the debate and the Commonwealth, we've made the tough decisions that were needed.

The challenge now is for the Upper House to allow this transition to happen by passing the Forest Agreement legislation when it next sits.

But while some sectors are struggling, there is strong potential for growth and job creation in others.

We're seeing rapid expansion in dairy, and 800 jobs created with the NBN rollout.

And just last week, we saw Vodafone's decision to bring 750 jobs back from Mumbai in India -- doubling employment at its Kingston call centre.

The changes that are taking place will result in a Tasmanian economy that's more diverse, more resilient, and more modern.

But I recognise that the transition we are going through is not easy.

That's why I said at the start of 2012 that jobs were my number one priority, and despite the ongoing challenges we achieved some important outcomes last year.

We helped to secure more than 2000 direct and indirect jobs in our major industrials, like Norske Skog, Pacific Aluminium and BHP TEMCO.

We made significant progress towards our goal of doubling Tasmania's irrigated farmland and growing jobs in the agricultural sector, not to mention the construction jobs created through projects like the Musselroe Wind Farm.

And we continued to reform the State's planning system to make it easier for businesses and home builders to invest and create jobs.

But there is still more to be done.

That's why just a few weeks ago I announced the $24.5 million Tasmanian Jobs Package, aiming to create more than 3000 jobs and leverage $375 million worth of private investment.

Supporting existing jobs and creating new ones through initiatives such as these will remain firmly at the top of my Government's agenda in 2013.

Clearing the way for major job-creating projects

Mr Speaker, one of the key contributions that governments can make towards boosting employment is clearing the way for major job-creating projects.

That's what our planning reforms, the biggest ever undertaken in Tasmania, aim to do by delivering a more streamlined system that gives investors and developers more certainty, clarity and consistency.

We are already seeing results, like: the $100 million worth of investment projects being progressed in Launceston under our new interim planning scheme, which would have been impossible under the old scheme; and the $85 million Claremont Golf Club housing re-development that was announced just last month.

Late last year we also took strong action to clear the way for the $100 million Parliament Square project, with the legislation passed by this Parliament supporting the creation of 400 jobs.

The Tasmanian company, Macquarie Builders, is already working on the site to remove asbestos, the designs are being finalised, and I look forward to the transformation of the precinct when construction starts later this year.

Mr Speaker, Tasmania has significant mineral wealth that provides big opportunities to create jobs and economic growth in Tasmania, particularly in the North West.

The Deputy Premier and I fought hard to persuade the Australian Government not to impose a blanket National Heritage listing on the Tarkine.

And we welcomed the decision made by the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, which will allow the region's mineral wealth to be developed for the benefit of all Tasmanians.

Mining currently accounts for some 56 per cent of our international exports, delivering almost $1.7 billion in income.

We're seeing record levels of mineral exploration and mining investment.

Mining and exploration operations on the West Coast have identified in ground resources worth more than $11 billion in current values.

The Minister for Energy and Resources recently approved Shree Minerals' new mine near Balfour and Venture Minerals' Riley Creek iron ore mine west of Tullah.

Venture is also finalising planning for its Mt Lindsay tin and tungsten mine, which is worth close to $200 million and will create 1000 jobs during construction.

Projects like this are also creating indirect jobs across the State -- in small companies like Welding Works in Rocherlea, who I visited just last week, a family-owned business with 20 employees that supplies Caterpillar Underground Mining.

But we must ensure that in clearing the way for job-creating mining projects we do so sustainably -- that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past that saw rivers polluted and hills stripped of vegetation.

We will continue to ensure that all such projects adhere to the strict environmental guidelines required by both State and Federal laws.

And it's worth noting that despite the strong growth in the mining industry, all of the current and proposed mines in the Tarkine still add up to just 1 per cent of the region.

Building business and consumer confidence

Mr Speaker, unlike our political opponents, on this side of the House we aren't interested in talking the State down for our own political ends.

In fact, one of the best ways we can support jobs-growth is to help restore business and consumer confidence, and that's one of the key goals of the Tasmanian Jobs Package.

We will continue to implement the measures in the package in the coming months, but we are already seeing results.

Just a few weeks ago I met an inspiring young Tasmanian in 22 year old Kayla Brabazon from Somerset.

I stood there watching with Kayla as Wilson Homes started work on building her new home, which she can now afford thanks to the $15,000 grant through the First Home Builders Boost in the Jobs Package.

Rising prices have made it increasingly difficult for young people like Kayla to break into the housing market.

Many are forced to keep living with their parents or spend their savings on rent instead of paying off their own home.

But Kayla was determined to build a home that she could put her own stamp on, and by helping her to do that we are also helping to create jobs in Tasmania's construction industry.

Each new home requires input from up to 30 small businesses, from plumbers to plasterers, and from electricians to kitchen installers.

I've had positive feedback from local builders who say this initiative is generating strong interest and has given them confidence for a brighter 2013.

Our Payroll Tax Rebate is also boosting confidence, with 72 businesses already registered for a scheme expected to support the creation of some 850 new jobs.

Vodafone's decision to employ an extra 750 Tasmanians is in no small part due to our willingness to waive up to $14 million in payroll tax over five years, along with an $850,000 contribution for infrastructure upgrades and the Australian Government's $4 million commitment.

The fact that Tasmania has been able to attract Vodafone jobs currently based in India, reversing the long trend of jobs lost to cheaper overseas markets, is a huge bonus for this State.

It shows that Tasmania is open for business.

It shows that Tasmanian workers have the skills and experience to deliver an internationally competitive service.

It shows Tasmania is an attractive place for investment, and that we have a State Government prepared to open the doors for that investment to occur.

We worked hard to attract Vodafone to Tasmania in the first place, and we worked with the company to help it expand its operations at Kingston in 2009.

The 750 new jobs announced last week are a great return on that effort, and I hope they will help to silence those who have nothing to contribute to this State but negativity and criticism.

More importantly, I believe they will help with the task of rebuilding business and consumer confidence that is at the heart of the Tasmanian Jobs Package.

Mr Speaker, sound financial management has been a hallmark of successive Labor governments since 1998, just as it is a feature of the Government that I lead today.

When I became Premier in January 2011, the loss of $1.8 billion in GST and State tax revenue left us with no option but to seek savings across Government that were both difficult and unpopular.

The challenge we faced was so serious that every option was on the table, including the unthinkable prospect for a Labor Premier that we could not rule out forced redundancies.

I always said we'd do all we could to avoid going down that path, but it was a tool of last resort if our other savings strategies didn't work.

We could have shirked it, as the Gray Liberal Government did in the 1980s, and led the State deep into debt.

But that would have jeopardised Tasmania's future and we were not prepared to do that.

Now, just two years later, and as a result of the strong budget decisions we have made, Tasmania is forecast to be the only State in the country that is both net debt free and in surplus by 2014-15.

The measures we announced in 2011 have slowed the growth in expenditure and are returning the Budget to a sustainable position.

Twenty two thousand public sector employees and their unions have accepted agreements that help us limit wages growth to 2 per cent, as have Senior Executives and Members of Parliament.

Agencies and staff across government have also responded to the challenge and worked with us towards their savings targets.

As a result, today I can announce that we will now rule out the possibility of forced redundancies.

There has not been one single forced redundancy over the last two years, and indeed there have been no forced redundancies since Labor was elected in 1998.

And now there won't be any while I'm Premier of this State.

But while Labor can stand on its record, Tasmanians are right to be increasingly concerned about what plans our political opponents have when it comes to public sector jobs and services.

We've all seen what Liberal Premier Campbell Newman did when he came to office in Queensland.

In opposition, Mr Newman used the same 'small target' tactics that his Tasmanian colleagues are copying now -- he promised to be all things to all people, and said there was no need for public sector job cuts.

But once elected, he sacked 14,000 public servants.

He also removed permanency for all others apart from police.

That won't be happening while I'm Premier of this State.

Growing Tasmania's natural advantages

Mr Speaker, Tasmania's natural advantages are the envy of the nation and indeed the world.

We have abundant water, unmatched renewable energy resources, a moderate climate, fertile soils, clean air and a stunningly beautiful environment.

Making the most of these assets is one of the keys to job creation and future prosperity.

Tasmania is just over one per cent of Australia's landmass but has almost 14 per cent of its water.

We're working to make the most of that advantage through a series of major irrigation schemes, driving investment and jobs growth in food and agriculture.

Overall, this $400 million program is expected to achieve an extra 37,000 hectares of irrigated farmland -- a 40 per cent increase on the current area.

In the process, it's also creating indirect jobs for local companies like Mitchell Plastic Welding in Castle Forbes Bay.

They recently received a grant through my Government's Innovation and Investment Fund so they could buy new machinery and employ 11 extra staff to take advantage of the growth in agriculture and aquaculture.

Australia doesn't need Tony Abbott's plan to make the Northern Territory the country's food bowl.

Here in Tasmania we're already achieving that vision, with support and investment from farmers and the current Australian Government.

It's widely accepted that high-value agriculture will be the next industry to benefit from the strong growth in demand from Asia.

When that happens, Tasmania will be ready to seize the opportunity.

The plans and investments we are working on with Tasmanian producers will double dairy production, double the aquaculture industry, and quadruple wine production over the next decade.

You've heard me talk many times in this place about the expansion in dairy that's creating hundreds of new jobs, particularly in the North West.

Next week I will again be in Smithton for the opening of Tasmanian Dairy Products' new $80 million milk processing facility, which will send 90 per cent of its powdered milk to Asia and the Middle East.

Industry research shows 40% of dairy farmers plan to expand production in the coming year, with an extra 550 on-farm jobs expected to be created over the next 3-5 years.

My Government is supporting this growth through the Tasmanian Jobs Package by providing $400,000 for dairy conversion planning, as well as through our investment in irrigation and funds allocated through our forestry agreement with the Commonwealth.

Mr Speaker, the outlook for our wine industry is equally positive.

Tasmania is Australia's finest cool-climate wine producing region, and our wine is highly valued.

Last year the average price per ton of Tasmanian grapes was $2 389 -- more than five times the national average price of $457 per ton.

The industry employs more than 1000 Tasmanians full-time and contributes $73 million to gross State Product.

Yet we still have less than one per cent of Australia's total hectares under vine -- currently just 1600 hectares -- and produce less than half-of-one per cent of the national grape crush.

The industry needs to expand to achieve economies of scale and reliability of volumes, and we're working with key stakeholders like Wine Tasmania to help achieve that.

Establishing new vineyards costs up to $50,000 per hectare and it can be six years before the first bottle of wine hits the market.

That makes it difficult to attract finance.

My Government will therefore fund a new $1.2 million Vineyard and Orchard Expansion Program, providing grants to support the planting of an additional 200 hectares in 2013.

This will result in a 12 per cent increase in land under vines, as well as an increase in orchards producing tree fruits, and nuts.

It will also generate an estimated $10 million in private investment and create more than 370 jobs.

Asian Century

Mr Speaker, our agenda for 2013 is firmly underpinned by our determination to ensure Tasmania benefits from the Asian Century.

Our Asian White Paper, building on the work done at a national level, will be released at the end of this month.

But while it's being written, we have not been sitting on our hands.

The investments we are supporting in dairy and wine, for example, are already delivering results, and we have a great opportunity to work with our tourism industry to maximise the benefits from the strong growth we are seeing in visitors from Asia.

This summer we also saw direct benefits from the Asian trade mission that I led last year.

In January, Tim Reid packed his first shipment of cherries for export to Beijing as a direct result of the talks we had with Chinese quarantine officials.

Around 100 tons of fruit are being sent to China by 10 local growers this season, but that's expected to grow to between 500 and 1000 tons within a few years.

Following our meetings with Chinese Antarctic officials, this summer saw the first visit by an ice breaker from that country, building on expected visits from Korean and Japanese vessels and consolidating our key role in Antarctic logistics and research.

And last month I attended the official signing of Hydro Tasmania's agreement with Shenhua Clean Energy Holdings, finalising the deal signed in Beijing during our trade mission.

Hydro has sold a 75 per cent share in the Musselroe Wind Farm for $89 million, along with the transfer of $270 million in debt, allowing it to invest in future renewable energy projects.

Along with the Asian White Paper, these developments will help to create jobs by securing Tasmania's role in the Asian Century.

People

Mr Speaker, the second priority area in my government's agenda for this year is about people.

It's about doing more to care for people in need, to reduce inequality, and to ensure no one gets left behind.

It's about giving all Tasmanians the opportunity to build a better life and contribute to their community.

It's also about intervening at the right time to give people the support they need.

That's what we're doing by tackling the social determinants of health through our Child and Family Centres.

The Minister for Health will also be progressing health and wellbeing strategies for children, young people and families, with a focus on nutrition, mental health and active lifestyles.

By investing in preventative health measures we're helping people to live healthier lives and reduce pressure on our hospital system.

That's what our nation-leading anti-smoking measures have been all about.

And that's what we're trying to achieve through initiatives like the 'Find Thirty Every Day' campaign, driven by the Premier's Physical Activity Council, and other public awareness campaigns that encourage people to eat better and be more active.

Concessions

Mr Speaker, my Government recognises that rising costs for basic needs like electricity have put pressure on all households, particularly low income families with the least capacity to pay.

That's why in the 2012-13 Budget we: boosted the country's most generous electricity concessions; further invested in initiatives to help people in need to eat well and stay warm in winter; and took action to halve potential electricity price rises.

We've also moved to put downward pressure on energy costs by introducing the biggest energy reforms ever seen in Tasmania.

But we need to ensure the most vulnerable people in our community don't get left behind through that process.

Today I advise the House that to further support Tasmanians in need, we will extend our $33 million electricity concession system by:

• introducing a new Medical Cooling Rebate for electricity concession customers who have a proven medical need for air conditioning;

• taking over from Aurora responsibility for the Life Support Discount, which will be rebased to take account of price rises since it was first set in 2002, and indexed to take account of future increases;

• and taking over from Aurora responsibility for its contributions to the Salvation Army's hardship program and the No Interest Loan Scheme.

These changes will directly assist low income earners, particularly those who are struggling to meet the additional energy costs that result from an illness or chronic condition.

They will also give customers certainty about concessions as we move towards retail competition through the Government's energy reforms.

SACS fair pay

Mr Speaker, the social and community services industry is another vital component of the support system for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Workers in the sector fought for many years to achieve a fair and equal wage.

The industry predominantly employs women, who for too long have been disadvantaged by low wages and the stress of struggling to make ends meet.

We supported them when their case went before Fair Work Australia.

We welcomed the decision in their favour.

And we were one of the first governments in the nation to announce extra funding to help the sector meet the additional costs.

In the 2012-13 Budget I announced we would assist the organisations that we fund to meet the extra salary costs by providing an additional $3 million, rising to $12 million in 2015/16.

I also said we'd work with the sector to determine the full impact on community organisations, and I urged the Commonwealth to contribute its fair share.

Since then we've worked closely with the sector to discuss their needs, and I can now confirm that we will receive $7.5 million over four years from the Commonwealth.

Today, I announce that the Tasmanian Government will provide an additional $7 million over the next three years, bringing our total contribution over four years to more than $37 million.

This funding will help service providers to pay salary increases to more than 9000 staff across Tasmania.

This is a red letter day for community sector workers, the organisations they work for, and the many Tasmanians they assist.

It's what progressive governments do.

By providing wage equity for thousands of hard working people on low incomes, we are also ensuring that disadvantaged people in our community will continue to receive a helping hand.

That's our Agenda for People, in action.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme

Mr Speaker, to ensure all Tasmanians have an equal opportunity to build a better life and contribute to their community, we need to help remove the barriers that hold people back.

Homelessness.

Disability.

Mental illness.

Illiteracy and poverty.

That's why my Government is such a strong supporter of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which has the potential to transform the lives of people living with a disability.

When I was Minister for Health and Human Services, I met people living with a disability who wanted to take more control over their own lives and the decisions that affected them.

I met people who could contribute so much more to their community, if only they had the right support.

I met parents who were worried about who would look after their child when they could no longer provide their care.

Despite significant increases in State Government funding in recent years, too many Tasmanians with a disability still have unmet needs.

Through the NDIS, they will finally be able to access the support they need and deserve.

Tasmania's role as a launch site will allow nearly 1000 young people to take more control over their lives.

From the 1st of July, eligible Tasmanians aged between 15 and 24 will start to receive support through the first stage of the scheme.

By taking a lifelong view of a person's support needs, and focusing on their individual goals, the NDIS will provide certainty and dignity for people with disability, their families and carers.

It will be a huge step towards equality for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

We will also provide up to 70 new packages of care for people with severe and persistent mental illness to stay well in the community, with vital investment from the Federal Government.

And we will transfer delivery and management of mental health services to the Tasmanian Health Organisations, enabling greater local community decision-making through their governing councils.

Affordable housing

Mr Speaker, access to safe, affordable and secure housing is the foundation of any family.

With a place to call home, Tasmanians can feel confident about looking for work and building a relationship with local health and education services.

In recent years high interest rates and rising living costs have put many people on low incomes into housing stress, unable to afford the secure housing that most of us take for granted.

That's why the State and Commonwealth governments have invested heavily in boosting the supply of affordable housing.

More than 1400 new affordable homes were delivered between January 2009 and June 2012.

A further 1000 will be built over the next four years, funded by private and not-for-profit organisations as well as my Government, through projects like the $14 million Trinity Hill proposal in North Hobart.

We're also supporting initiatives like the Brighton Industrial and Housing Corporation, which is building new affordable homes for people like Adam and Angela Banks, who I met last July at the launch of a project that aims to deliver 400 new homes and generate $100 million in economic activity.

And we have made significant progress in reducing homelessness, with Tasmania's rate of 32 homeless people per 10,000 head of population the lowest in the nation.

But there is still more to do.

In 2013 we will continue the transformation of our housing services with the introduction of Housing Connect, a new one-stop shop that will make it easier for people to access the assistance and the services they need.

From 1 July, Housing Tasmania will partner with non-government organisations to provide 'front door' and specialist support services through offices across the State.

This new approach will require applicants to undergo a single assessment for their housing and support needs, rather than going to multiple services.

Shared information systems will ensure clients go to the service that best meets their needs, whether government or non-government, and allow better coordination of follow-up support.

We will also further progress our Better Housing Futures program, giving tenants more choice, access to more services, and new opportunities to own their own homes.

The program will see the community housing sector taking over the management of up to 35 per cent of our public housing stock by June 2014.

We're taking the first step this month, with Mission Australia to begin managing 500 homes in Clarendon Vale and Rokeby, along with land valued at around $6 million.

Opportunities

Mr Speaker, I will soon unveil more of the Government's agenda for investing in opportunities for the next generation.

Integrating government services for children from birth to 12, and developing skills to meet the needs of new and emerging industries, are vital to Tasmania's future.

We've already made a strong start on better integrating our services by building 12 Child and Family Centres across the State.

The CFCs will help children to get the best possible start in life by better coordinating health and education services in their local communities, and by giving parents better access to the support they need.

They will ensure the next generation of Tasmanians is as well-prepared as possible to contribute to their community and benefit from the opportunities that we have as a State.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, I love this State.

I love the people who call it home.

I love the Tasmanian lifestyle and the supportive communities that we live in.

I love the shared sense of living in a unique and beautiful place that binds us all together as Tasmanians.

Tasmanians have an incredible capacity to debate and disagree over what we want for our State.

That's because we all care so deeply about our island, and I would be worried if we ever grow too apathetic to have our say.

Mr Speaker, Tasmanians will have the opportunity next March to have their say on who should govern this State.

When that happens, I urge them to think seriously about the choice they're being offered.

The challenge for voters is to differentiate between an Opposition that's all marketing slogans and no substance, and a Government that's been honest and upfront about the challenges we face and our solutions to them.

As my Government continues to prove, delivering real results requires the heavy-lifting of detailed policy work and a preparedness to make decisions -- even when those decisions might be tough or unpopular.

Leadership takes much more than 89 glib 'one-liners' and trying to be all things to all people.

The evidence is there, when you look around the country, that what the Liberals say before an election and what they do once in office are two entirely different things.

You simply can't trust their word.

That's why I believe Tasmanians will support the direction and the hard decisions my Government has taken to help create a better future for Tasmania.

All the ingredients are there: fantastic natural advantages, a wonderful lifestyle, strong communities, and skilled and resilient people.

The future is ours to grasp.

If we make the right decisions and choices now, Tasmania's potential is unlimited.

We are a resilient state.

This is a resilient government.

Together we stand ready to meet the challenges of the twenty-first Century head on.

Getting it right for the future is what my Government's Agenda for 2013 is all about.


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