The TCCI send its collective congratulations to Will Hodgman on his premiership of Tasmania. His announcement in January to resign as Premier, effective immediately, came as a great shock. But as Tasmania’s 45th Premier, he has done a great job leading his State with his Cabinet team.
Mr Hodgman ranked his Government’s achievements in education as his proudest. And in the long-term sense, that will be important for the State, ensuring our young people are better educated and go onto further study, whether that be at University, in apprenticeships, TasTafe or VET.
He also deserves congratulations for his ground-breaking reforms in family violence. But the TCCI would also like to acknowledge and applaud the confidence and leadership he gave the Tasmanian business community.
He led the team, with Deputy-Premier Jeremy Rockliff and Treasurer Peter Gutwein, which delivered Tasmania from the economic stagnation of the Labor-Green years 2010-14.
Mr Hodgman led the Liberal Party to Government in 2014 after 16 years of Labor and Labor-Green Governments. The Liberal Party has not only lost perhaps its greatest Premier, but it has also lost its most popular member, as his election returns in 2014 and 2018 showed. The TCCI is committed to working cooperatively and constructively with new Premier Peter Gutwein.
There will be challenges, because the Party has lost the lead “spear” in the trident of Hodgman, Rockliff and Gutwein. In many ways, this trio has led Tasmania like the Jim Bacon, Paul Lennon and David Crean combination did back in 1998-2004, before Jim’s untimely death.
When Parliament returns in March, there will be renewed interest in how the Premier and Cabinet Ministers perform. The Labor Opposition and the Greens will also be fired up within two years of the 2022 election. And that will be good for Tasmania, because proper Parliamentary debate is good for democracy.
The TCCI will continue to lobby the new Premier for issues which we think are critical – local government reform and the return of the House of Assembly to 35 members being two of them.
The extent of the bushfires which have ravaged Australia’s mainland states is just mind-boggling. I saw a figure estimating that more than 6 million hectares of bush has been burnt in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
How big is 6 million hectares? Well, Tasmania is about 7 million hectares, so that’s an indication of how much land has been devastated. And the greatest losses have been the 20 lives the fires have claimed since October in those three States. Our deepest sympathies and support go out to those families and friends of the people who have died.
What is clear is that this disaster across four states will literally take years, perhaps even a decade to recover from … if people ever truly recover from such devastation and loss. When the Dunalley bushfires occurred in 2013, Tasmania received mass support from across the country.
I would urge all TCCI members to do the same … to support their fellow Australians, as I know many of you already have done.
Whether it’s the Red Cross or any one of the charities already in place or set up to help, I hope you can see your way clear to donate. The level of support internationally for Australia during this ongoing crisis has also been astonishing.
Whether it be Australian comedian Celeste Barber raising more than $32 million – and rising – or Elton John, Chris Hemsworth and others pledging $1 million personally. Can I again call on TCCI members, their families and their communities to ensure their safety as the summer continues.
In Tasmania, so far we have been lucky. We need to make sure that luck continues by being prepared and vigilant.
Image courtesy of the Mercury