By Rebecca White
Leader of the Opposition
As we begin a new year and a new decade, we need to ask ourselves whether people all around Tasmania are sharing equally in the benefits of relatively good economic conditions. The jobless rate is still well above the national average and the number of people in part-time work who need more hours is the highest in the nation. If you can’t get a job, like thousands of young Tasmanians, you will stay unemployed for longer than anywhere else in the country.
While the cost of living continues to rise, wages in Tasmania aren’t keeping pace. The number of Tasmanians waiting for important surgery is the highest on record, almost 11,000 people.
Almost 3500 families are on the waiting list for public housing and private rentals in parts of Tasmania are the most expensive in the country. It is clear to me that too many people are being left behind and many of these problems will be felt harder the further away you get from Hobart.
Creating a better, fairer Tasmania for everyone has to be our focus. Too often this is seen as a social challenge, rather than an economic one. When people are healthy, have a roof over their head and have access to secure work they can be more productive members of society.
This was confirmed in the TCCI’s recent Tasmania Report.
The report found that growing inequality and deteriorating public services like health, housing and education are acting as a handbrake on our economy.
In 2020 Labor will be leading a conversation about how we can reduce inequality and create a better, fairer Tasmania.
Labor’s focus is on giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy the dignity that comes from having a secure, well paid job. We want to ensure that everyone has access to timely, affordable and quality essential services like health care and education.
Creating a better, fairer state for all Tasmanians is our greatest challenge, and the longer we wait to tackle that challenge, the more it will prevent our great state from reaching its full potential.