Press Conference Hobart - Hobart City Deal

Eric Abetz: Welcome everybody to a glorious Hobart, Clarence, Glenorchy and Kingborough day. We are in the greater Hobart area for the Implementation Plan of the City Deal to be announced. This is a great collaboration between Federal, State and Local Governments and as a local Senator from this area it's a delight to be able to welcome the Federal Minister, the State Minister, the Lord Mayor who will speak on behalf of the Mayors, but all the Mayors as well, for this important occasion.
The weather's great. You look over our shoulders here, you can see the Aurora Australis which will be replaced or part and parcel of what we are planning for the future of Hobart in the Greater Hobart area over the next 10 years. So if I may, welcome Minister and look forward to your comments.

Alan Tudge: Thank you very much Senator. Well thank you very much Eric, and Mr Ferguson, and to the Lord Mayor and the other Mayors who are here. This is a great day for Tasmania and just earlier this year we made a series of promises to Hobart and Tasmania. Today we outlined the implementation plans to deliver upon those promises with action beginning immediately. And as you'll see this is a plan, not just for Hobart but for the whole Island because there are commitments in here which will really turbo charge the economy across the State. And I'd like just to mention a few of the ones which are mentioned in this document.

First up of course the we would now, by the end of next year, we'll have the capacity for International flights to be taking off from Hobart itself. Now that will be a boon for tourism right across the State but will also be a boon for industry in the State as well because you could imagine the fresh produce which is produced here so well will be able to be produced and cut one day, and potentially on the flight and into Asia the next day.

So it'll really make a difference for the economy as well as for the tourists who'll be coming here to visit this wonderful Island.

Second I’d talk about the Antarctic and Science Precinct which will be developed on Macquarie Point behind us. Tasmania is already known as being one of the world's experts in Antarctic research and this Implementation Plan will absolutely secure this, and we've got work which will be underway soon.

The business case, looking at how that can be further developed and attract private investment as well as potential other public investments, will be underway very shortly. As the Senator mentioned the new icebreaker will be coming next year so it's all happening in relation to that.

I'd also mentioned in this plan hundreds of millions of dollars of congestion busting Infrastructure, of course the biggest one of those being the Bridgewater bridge. There's further work to be done on that next year with Infrastructure Australia but then we want to get it under construction by 2022. It needs to be built, we’re 100 per cent committed to seeing it built along with the State Government and that's one of the key commitments in here along with other key pieces of Infrastructure as well.

Including actually, since we announced the City Deal an extra $130 million of commitment from the Federal Government towards the Tasmanian highway between, from Hobart to Sorell was the first one of the projects within that envelope, kicking off next year and will be absolutely underway. Finally, I’d just mention as a highlight of this, the affordable housing package and as you'll see we've got $30 million allocated to build 100 new social houses by the end of 2021.

So in all cases across here we've got stated timelines and commitments to get going on all of these important announcements which we've already made. We want to get the action done. The document itself outlines KPI’s, it outlines the funding, it outlines the Implementation Plans and we're getting cracking immediately.

This has, as Senator Abetz said, been a great piece of work across the three levels of government and I'd like to just commend the State Government, Minister Ferguson, as well as the Mayors who are here today, for the cooperative way that they've worked together with us to pull this document together. This is about making Tasmania an even stronger economy and even better place to live.

Eric Abetz: And now State Minister Ferguson.

Michael Ferguson: Thank you Alan and thank you to our Local Government Mayors as well, and to Eric. It's great to be here and this is an important delivery as the deal was only signed in February. This $1.6 billion arrangement between all three levels of Government is a comprehensive team effort to help the City of Greater Hobart, the cities that make up Hobart, and the Greater Hobart area to set it up for the next generation.

We want to leave decisions that are helping to establish this as a great place to live, as a safe community but one which is economically vibrant, one where people are healthy, one where families can enjoy this wonderful community. And importantly that we can deal with some of the growing pains that we've been experiencing particularly through traffic congestion, the need for more affordable housing, the need to activate the Northern Corridor, and ensuring that we can indeed get the produce to market just as Alan has indicated.

Another mention that I'd like to specifically make here is that the Macquarie Point development is vital here. It's been strongly supported by all of us here and it's one of the ways that we're going to make Hobart the Antarctic and science gateway that it already is and that we can enhance. Work is underway in every one of the areas that has been signed up to in the Hobart deal. Vitally, in February, all of us made a commitment that we would deliver an Implementation Plan.

Now many of you in the media would be well aware of the Hodgman Government's, we've made a virtue out of setting out in advance what our key deliverables are and holding ourselves to account. Well this is exactly the same, that we all here today, have made commitments to so that not just the Federal Government, not just the local councils, but also the State Government can indicate what our respective commitments are as our contributions to meeting these goals and the timeframes that are involved. And so far, everybody is keeping their commitments and that's to be applauded. We've got a lot of work yet to do because the community are now looking to us to deliver. And the Implementation Plan that we're releasing today will be updated annually; it's a three-year implementation timeframe. Each year we’ll set out the further three years and that means that over the life of this deal that the people of Tasmania and of course, especially of Hobart and the surrounding municipal areas, can have complete confidence that the commitments that are being made are going to be delivered on time and in a way that enhances the life and lifestyle of people in Southern Tasmania.

So I thank in particular the Commonwealth and our four local councils for the very constructive way in which we've been able to work together collaboratively by agreement. And I would also like to conclude on this point - we know that there will be future opportunities that will come through and we will work through those also, extra and greater than what is already in the current deal.

And if there are Infrastructure or liveability or housing initiatives that are offered, then we'll work through those and find a pathway for funding and delivery of those as well - potentially they could even be added into the City Deal. I thank all of our colleagues for the teamwork and that we now give a commitment that we will crack on and deliver this.

Eric Abetz: And now the Lord Mayor.

Anne Reynolds: Thank you.

Well thanks everyone for coming today. And I'm speaking on behalf of the four mayors from Hobart, Glenorchy, Clarence and Kingborough. We're very excited about the fact that we're starting a new era of collaboration and cooperation amongst the three levels of government. What the deal and this implementation provides is a really, a sense of focus on where we're going to put our effort, where we're going to work together. The local government in particular is very keen to see the work that's going to be done in affordable housing and more public transport and easing traffic congestion because we know that these are issues that our communities are struggling with and they would like to see action in that area. So we're very keen that to see that all of these issues are highlighted in this Implementation Plan and there is a way forward. The other thing to note is that this is a living document as Minister Ferguson said. This isn't everything that will happen in the City Deal over the next 10 years, it is going to be a document that we work together, we update and we add to over time. And we're really looking forward to that opportunity to work with State and Federal in a much more focused, coordinated and collaborative way to actually ensure that our city grows and develops in a really sustainable and a way that is great for the people who live here.

Eric Abetz: Questions?

Journalist: Are all four Mayors happy and Councils happy that the Bridgewater Bridge is going forward?

Anne Reynolds: Yes, certainly we recognise that the Bridgewater Bridge is a key part of this deal. All four Councils have formally acknowledged the advice of the Infrastructure Australia in our decisions about the Implementation Plan and we are going to continue the conversation about the options and the design options for the Bridgewater Bridge. But that's all part of the conversation that we'll be having with State and Federal Government. But certainly we recognise that the Bridgewater Bridge, a bridge crossing is a really fundamental and central part of this deal.

Journalist: Just for Minister Tudge, just on the Bridgewater Bridge. There are local Councils that say that the money could be better spent. Why is the Government continuing to go ahead with the plan as it stands?

Eric Abetz: Well, there are other Councils that agree.

Alan Tudge: We made a commitment to this. We've got $461 million on the table to get it built and we're going to deliver on that commitment. It's outlined in this document here and we absolutely will deliver on our commitments that we promised to the people of Tasmania.

Now Infrastructure Australia has also said that that bridge is nearing the end of its natural life. It's obviously a single lane each way and it needs to be broader than that. So it is- still has it on its priority list. What is required though is for the State Government to work with us to update the design in keeping with the Infrastructure Australia requirements and then we get on with it.

Journalist: But why not update the plans potentially to make it significantly cheaper to build?

Alan Tudge: If it can be done more affordably, then terrific, but the key thing is that it has to be built, and that's what both the Federal Government and the State Government have committed to doing and working in cooperation with them alongside Infrastructure Australia to see it built.

Journalist: I'm not sure who wants to step in on this one so I’ll just throw it broadly. Just a little bit about the Airport Upgrade and what people can expect to see. I’m not sure who.

Alan Tudge: I’ll say in relation to that, obviously from the Federal Government's perspective we've spent money extending the runway and in this deal here we've got over $80 million to ensure that there is border security in place for International flights to take off from the end of next year.

And then, our expectation is and what we have heard is that it's highly likely then that there will be International flights taking off at the end of next year, but obviously that needs to be negotiated with individual airlines to actually come in and out of Hobart.
But it would make such a big difference to the economy here. As I said, from a tourism perspective, your international tourist numbers are already growing by about 10 per cent per annum at the moment. You put an International Airport here and that will absolutely take off. And that means jobs right here in Hobart and across Tasmania; but it also is so critical for the export industries, and Tasmania is renowned across Australia as having such great fresh produce produced here. And as I was saying earlier, you can imagine it being picked one day and literally on the plane and into Asia the next.

Journalist: What destinations could we expect to see when international flights commence?

Alan Tudge: Most likely, I would expect into Asia. But obviously that would be decisions which are made by the airlines themselves with the Hobart Airport.

Journalist: When will that be known by?

Alan Tudge: My expectation is that this will be known towards the end of next year. So, we put in place through this deal and through the investments which we've already made, the capacity for International aircraft to take off by the end of next year, particularly through the $80 million commitment for the border security services to be in place, which is the critical thing which is required, so now they can go ahead.

Journalist: What point of next year is it expected they’ll be in place?

Alan Tudge: Again, these will be negotiations which individual airlines will strike to make the determination. We're providing the capacity for International Airlines to be able to take off from the end of next year, and our full expectation is that they will.

Journalist: What's been the level of interest from airlines in terms of putting a service in and out of Hobart?

Alan Tudge: My expectation is that they will start the end of next year. I understand there has been some interest and I know the Airport is already working on it.

Journalist: What’s happening in the short term to bust congestion on the roads? What’s going to be seen immediately?

Michael Ferguson (*): Look, it's a vital point actually, and in the Implementation Plan you will see that a range of initiatives are already in place, and indeed we're already in the market right now, currently, for the additional capacity on the Southern outlet. In the coming weeks, you'll see further advertisements being placed for initiatives that are going to support the investigation of the Northern Transport Corridor, and in the very near future we'll be releasing the results of our tender process for the Hobart Airport Interchange. So, this is a 10-year deal with a three-year Implementation plan. But we are already taking action in line with the Government's previously stated commitments at the State election and at the Federal election.

Journalist: How advanced is the discussions around the Northern Suburbs Transit Corridor?

Michael Ferguson (*): Well very mature actually, and working with our Local Government colleagues and the State and Federal Government, we're actually advancing a piece of work that will investigate: what is the best way to activate that corridor? We're all taking an open mind to this in terms of the way it should best be delivered in a way that's feasible and meets the needs of our community. And that will in fact be going to a tender specifically for that piece of work, that study, in the next week.

Alan Tudge: And we have $25 million there.

Michael Ferguson (*): It’s suts set out within the plan to get more people to use public transport and carpool are realistic for Tasmanians?

Michael Ferguson (*): They are ambitious but they need to be. Our city's been growing and it's met capacity in terms of the congestion issues that people who regularly use the streets of Hobart are experiencing. That is a good problem to have, because it means that more people are making their home here and getting jobs, and where we've seen that increase in economic activity it is, however, causing congestion issues. We need to deal with that, and the Government, working with our Councils, is absolutely determined to ensure that we do open up more capacity so that more people can use our roads efficiently. But the public transport piece is a vital one as well. And you will see as part of the work that we're doing, for example, on the Park and Ride and the Fifth Lane on the Southern Outlet that, in fact, that's a stated goal – of encouraging more people to use public transport. And we'll certainly have more to say about that in future months.

Journalist: Just a couple on other issues if that’s alright?

Eric Abetz: Yeah, two more questions, yeah but on this topic. Anymore on the deal, and then we’ll go to other issues? Alright, other issues.