By BECHER TOWNSHEND.
IN HIS first week as Premier, Will Hodgman has sent a clear message to Tasmania and the rest of the nation — that the state is again open for business.
After being delivered a resounding majority by the Tasmanian community, Mr Hodgman took time from his busy schedule to speak exclusively to the Tasmanian Business Reporter and outline his agenda for the first 100 days of office.
In outlining his priorities, Mr Hodgman boiled his ambition as Premier down to one simple priority: to deliver jobs.
‘‘Tasmanians have resoundingly voted for change and the days of uncertainty under a minority government are behind us,’’ Mr Hodgman said.
‘‘The new majority Liberal government has made creating jobs its number one priority — and we are determined to deliver.
‘‘We have listened to the business community and developed a longterm plan to restore confidence, cut red and green tape to encourage investment and build a modern economy supported by our competitive strengths to create jobs.
‘‘Already we have commenced the process of establishing a planning reform taskforce, which will have responsibility for establishing a single statewide planning scheme that is faster, simpler, fairer and cheaper.
‘‘We want to see a greater share of Tasmanian government tenders going to local businesses instead of interstate, which is why I have instructed Treasury to immediately begin work on implementing a local benefits test and industry participation plans.
‘‘Re-establishing an international shipping service is another major priority of my government, as is appointing a Regulation Reduction Coordinator, to start work on cutting the red and green tape that strangles business.
‘‘We will create a new Department of State Growth by merging DED with DIER, so the key drivers of economic growth are all under one roof.
Mr Hodgman said the new super department would be charged with attracting investment to Tasmania and removing road blocks to development.
‘‘The secretary of my department has already been instructed to begin this process,’’ Mr Hodgman said.
‘‘I expect the Department of State Growth to be operational within months.’’ In welcoming the moves by the government to act, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive, Michael Bailey, said it was heartening to see a government so keen to get on with the job.
‘‘The TCCI on behalf of its members called for majority government and the community has delivered it,’’ he said.
‘‘Now the hard work begins and we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with the new government.’’
Mr Hodgman said as premier, he looked forward to continuing the strong relationship the Liberals had built in Oppositionwith the business community.
‘‘Now, as the new Tasmanian government, we will always work hard to create a positive environment for business confidence and economic growth,” Mr Hodgman said.
‘‘But I believe that often the best thing a government can do is to get out of the way of business.
‘‘I look forward to working together to deliver a brighter future for Tasmania.”