Media Releases

Rebecca White MP | Labor Member for Lyons

  • Jobs Hub for the West Coast
  • Major funding commitment for Unconformity Festival
  • Major funding for bushwalk upgrades and improvements

Significant support for jobs, tourism, the creative and cultural industries and housing on the West Coast will be delivered in addition to major health funding under a Majority Labor Government.

Labor Leader Rebecca White today released a package of commitments for the West Coast that would be delivered by Labor to ensure the region realised its full potential after seven years of neglect by the Liberal Government.

Vising the West Coast with Braddon MP Anita Dow, Ms White announced:

  • $40 million for sealing the Western Explorer
  • A $1.75 million Jobs Hub in Queenstown to help locals into jobs with a focus on readiness for work and additional support services such as career advice and social work
  • $1 million to upgrade the Strahan Port Precinct
  • A creative and cultural industry package, including $525,000 each year for four years for the Unconformity Festival and a commitment to underwrite $10,000 for insurance costs to provide certainty to event organisers
  • $150,000 per year for the West Coast Heritage Centre in Zeehan
  • $600,000 to complete the Horsetail Falls Walk and $600,000 to upgrade the Confluence Walk
  • $250,000 each year for four years to tackle gorse weed
  • An in-principle agreement with Council to undertake a housing stock assessment within the first year of government to tackle the housing shortage on the West Coast
  • A commitment to the Next Iconic Walk project
  • $100,000 to reinstate flights between Hobart and Strahan

Ms Dow said the West Coast would also benefit from Labor’s $4.6 million TAFE regional delivery fund so Tasmanians wanting to train for future careers had access regardless of where they live.

She said was crucial government properly fund important tourist events like the Unconformity Festival and attractions such as walking trails which were critical for the region’s economy.

“Tourism and outdoor recreation are vital parts of the West Coast economy, however council has identified that several short and medium walks need additional funding to complete or improve safety,” Ms Dow said.

“That’s why Labor is committed to properly funding these walks to ensure they are the best they can be to attract tourists and keep them safe.

“In that regard, the West Coast Council has identified a significant weed problem in the region, with high levels of gorse and other weeds along state highways and on Crown Land which are a fire danger, particularly to Zeehan and are encroaching on World Heritage Areas.

“The Liberals have neglected the need for action on this issue.”

Ms Dow said the West Coast has a shortage of quality housing and a Labor Government would address this in the first year of government.

“The lack of quality housing means there is a reduced ability to attract and retain employees to key positions on the coast such as teachers.

“Again, the Liberals have neglected the need for jobs on the West Coast by failing to attract and retain staff by providing quality housing which is crucial to the economy.”

 

  • A majority Labor Government will commit to build a boutique rectangular stadium
  • Stadium to hold 10-15 thousand people
  • Labor is working for Tasmanians to deliver better sporting outcomes

A majority Labor Government will commit to build a boutique size rectangular stadium with a capacity capable of holding 10 to 15 thousand people in Hobart. 

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the stadium would be suitable to host professional football and rugby, along with helping attract other sporting and live music events to the state. 

“Tasmania needs a rectangle stadium,” Ms White said. 

“Our state missed out on hosting games in the 2023 Women’s World Cup due to our lack of a rectangular stadium and we can’t let this happen again. 

“The Tasmanian football community sees a rectangle stadium as critical for the development of the sport in the state and this is why a majority Labor Government will build one.”

Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Sport David O’Byrne said Labor will establish a high-powered taskforce to ascertain an appropriate site, partners and funding to achieve this outcome, with the taskforce reporting back to the State Government by the end of 2021. 

“Football is the biggest sport in Tasmania in terms of participation and they deserve the infrastructure that reflects this,” Mr O’Byrne said. 

“This stadium will be based in Hobart and will be capable of hosting events across a number of sports, along with potential for hosting large capacity concerts and events. 

“Tasmania is the only state that does not have a purpose-built rectangle stadium to host football, league or union and that is simply unacceptable. 

“A rectangular stadium would bring Tasmania in line with all other states and help drive a greater involvement in the national sporting landscape.  

“Labor is working for Tasmanians to deliver the sporting infrastructure they need to live happy, healthy and connected lives.”

 

  • Labor will match the Liberals $10 million base camp commitment
  • Labor will commit to build a rectangle stadium in Hobart
  • Labor is working for Tasmanians to deliver better sporting outcomes

A majority Labor Government will deliver upgrades to football facilities state-wide and match the Liberals commitment of $10 million towards the upgrade of base camps for the Women’s World Cup. 

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Labor will support infrastructure proposals from Football Tasmania, along with building a rectangle football stadium. 

“A majority Labor Government will match the Liberals commitment to spend $10 million to upgrade Valley Road, Churchill Park, Birch Avenue and Lightwood park as base camps for the 2023 Women’s World Cup,” Ms White said. 

“We will also support infrastructure proposals across the state including:

  • $350,000 for Clare Street
  • $950,000 for Montello Road
  • $1.5 million for Prospect Vale
  • $650,000 for Somerset
  • $600,000 for Ulverstone
  • And $774,500 for Wentworth Park

“This will equal to $4,824,500 for football infrastructure across Tasmania along with the $10 million base camps promise.”

Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Sport David O’Byrne said the funding will work alongside Labor’s plan to build a boutique rectangular stadium.

“A majority Labor Government will commit to build a boutique size rectangular stadium in Hobart to help create a pathway to a future professional football team,” Mr O’Byrne said. 

“Labor have listened to the Tasmanian football community and we believe the infrastructure proposals along with a rectangular stadium will deliver the best outcomes for football in Tasmania.

“Labor is working for Tasmanians to deliver the sporting infrastructure they need to live happy, healthy and connected lives.”

  • $31.8 million healthy lunch initiative will feed all government primary school children
  • Providing lunch will lead to improved concentration, better attendance and better student relationships
  • Healthy eating habits learned early leads to better outcomes for life

 

A Majority Labor Government will introduce government-funded healthy lunches in all government primary schools across the state over the next six years in a $31.8 million initiative which will improve school attendance and lead to better educational outcomes and healthier lives for future generations of Tasmanian children.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said while the Gutwein Government had made only a token effort in relation to good nutrition and healthier eating habits for Tasmanian children, Labor was dedicated to a wholesale change across all government primary schools to give kids the best possible start in life.

“Too many Tasmanian children are being left behind because of poor nutrition when they should be supported to engage in education and live healthier lives,” Ms White said.

“Approximately 30 per cent of Tasmanian kids aged between 12 and 15 are overweight and nearly 10 per cent of these children are obese but evidence shows that if children aged between five and 11 are given the chance to eat healthy lunches they will learn behaviour that will continue into their teens and beyond.

“Governments need to be making genuine investment in children’s health and wellbeing to ensure our kids lead happy, healthy and active lives and are able to contribute to their communities.”

Labor’s plan will see government-funded healthy lunches rolled out over six years at a cost of $31.8 million at full implementation starting with 25 schools in the first year and adding remaining schools over the following five years.

The fully costed plan includes funding for healthy menus, additional staff, equipment support and kitchen upgrades.

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said the staged roll-out over six years would enable schools that were not already equipped to provide lunches to build capacity and become involved through an expression of interest process.

“When kids eat a healthy diet with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, there are benefits like improved concentration - the government’s own school lunch trial and other jurisdictions delivering lunches demonstrate that,” Mr Willie said.​

“Tasmania has some of the best produce in the world and a program such as this provides fantastic teaching and learning opportunities.

“The Liberals have turned this into a welfare issue, when it should be about establishing healthy habits early which, in turn, will lead to better education engagement and outcomes.

“Labor’s plan is far more equitable - providing lunch on a universal basis minimises any stigma associated with food insecurity. The focus should be on improving health and education outcomes and all Tasmanian children deserve this investment.”

  • More funding for Tourism Tasmania’s marketing campaigns
  • Investment to upgrade Tasmania’s iconic tourism destinations
  • Call for Federal Government to extend free car travel on the Spirit

Tasmania’s tourism, hospitality and events sector are a key driver of the state’s economy, a major job creator and an important contributor to the strength of Tasmania’s brand. 

Labor Leader Rebecca White today unveiled Labor’s Tourism, Hospitality and Events Package with a focus on supporting increased visitation to the state, improving infrastructure in Parks and keeping small businesses strong. 

“Labor has already announced a substantial package of initiatives in our fully costed Jobs Plan that will support our tourism, hospitality and events sector,” Ms White said. 

“We will add to this with an additional $18 million in funding to Tourism Tasmania to continue their excellent destination marketing campaigns and we will back the visitor economy with a massive $40 million program to fund infrastructure upgrades at some of Tasmania’s most iconic Park destinations and regional sites, including Maria Island, Mt Field National Park, Flinders Island Camping Facilities Upgrade, Reimagining Hastings Caves Master Plan Development and Walls of Jerusalem.”

Ms White said Tasmania had the advantage of owning the two Spirit of Tasmania vessels and a majority Labor Government will ensure they are working for Tasmanians to maximize the benefit to the state.

“Labor will lobby the Federal Government to extend the subsidy for free car travel on the Spirit of Tasmania beyond June 30 to make sure visitors continue to travel to our state throughout winter.

“Given the shortage of hire cars in the state we need to do everything we can to get people travelling to Tasmania with their own vehicle. 

“This is why a Labor Government will direct the TT Line Board to increase the number of day sailings over winter and spring by 30 to support regional tourism destinations that are more heavily reliant on drive tourism.

“Labor will also support our hospitality businesses with an $8 million package that will continue the important work of the Great Customer Experience Program and Clubs Tasmania, ensuring there is appropriate mental health support and resources provided to the sector. 

“Labor has led the debate on workforce development and TAFE training and have identified tourism and hospitality as two key areas in our economy experiencing skills shortages. Therefore, under a majority Labor Government both the tourism and hospitality sector will benefit from Labor’s free TAFE policy.

“We understand the necessity to provide a pathway into work for Tasmanians who want a career in the tourism sector and this is why Labor has a plan to rebuild TAFE. We will rebuild TAFE from the ground up and restore the reputation of Drysdale, to give people the best possible chance to get a foot in the door to a job and support growth across the tourism and hospitality sector.

“A majority Labor Government will support the aspiration for Tasmania to become a carbon neutral tourism destination by 2025 and we will continue to support the important cultural events that make Tasmania so iconic as a visitor destination. 

“Labor is working for Tasmanians to deliver better tourism outcomes and real economic growth.”

  • Heartless Gutwein Government have told vulnerable Tasmanians they are on their own
  • New $52.2 million commitment will build emergency accommodation for Tasmanians falling through the cracks under Gutwein
  • Additional case workers will support people at risk to get secure housing 

Tasmania’s deepening homelessness crisis is a direct result of the Liberal Government’s heartless and deliberate decision to place the state’s most vulnerable in a too-hard basket.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said after seven years of neglect, the Gutwein Government had no priority to address Tasmania’s growing homelessness crisis and only a Majority Labor Government would provide solutions with a $52.2 million package to build additional emergency accommodation and employ additional case workers to assist the state’s most vulnerable.

Ms White said Labor would commit $12.6 million over four years for case workers across a range of areas to help secure housing for homeless Tasmanians and those at risk of homelessness and $39.6 million over four years to build and fund additional supported and emergency accommodation.

“Every night in Tasmania more than 1,600 people are homeless and that’s a sad and shocking situation,” Ms White said.

“What’s also shocking is that Peter Gutwein and members of his government have been prepared to walk past the homeless, those Tasmanians at risk of homelessness and some of our most vulnerable and turn the other way.

“There has been no priority by this Liberal Government to address this critical issue and provide shelter to Tasmanians who are sleeping in their cars or tents or relying on the kindness of friends or family for a roof over their heads.

“Too many people are falling between the cracks of a broken service system rather than getting the support they need to get into secure housing and maintain their tenancy.

“We will employ additional case workers to assist people within and leaving crisis or temporary accommodation, people at risk of homelessness when they are discharged from the health system, people exiting the justice system and Aboriginal people at risk of homelessness.

“It’s time to be realistic about the spiralling homelessness situation in our state and provide Tasmanians with the services they need to find shelter.”

Ms White said a Majority Labor Government will invest $39.6 million to build and fund supported and emergency accommodation services including:

  • $6 million for disability accommodation
  • $6 million for children and young people exiting from out of home care in the north and north west
  • $9 million to reduce the risk of young people becoming homeless
  • $7.6 million to build and operated a men’s shelter in the north west
  • $6 million to expand Rapid re-housing and
  • $5 million for transition independent living units for drug and alcohol and mental ill health patients

“This package will support 647 vulnerable Tasmanians experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“Crisis and supported accommodation facilities will be built state-wide in consultation with specialist homelessness services in areas with the greatest demand.”

Shadow Housing Minister Alison Standen said the number of Tasmanians experiencing homelessness had steadily increased over the past seven years of the Liberal Government and data from Shelter Tasmania shows the vast majority were aged under 44.

“Younger Tasmanians aged between 12 and 24 make up a quarter of all people experiencing homelessness followed by Tasmanians aged between 25 and 34,” Ms Standen said.

“The majority of those 1,600 Tasmanians experiencing homelessness every night are couch surfing or staying in severely overcrowded houses, boarding houses or simply sleeping rough in tents and parks.

“This is information that has been readily available to Peter Gutwein and his government but over seven years but there has been absolutely no priority given to finding a solution and, in fact, there has been an appalling attitude to simply turn the other way.

“The situation has to change and only Labor has a plan to address this crucial issue.”  

●        25 additional nurses and 12 new specialist doctors for North West

●        New mental health facility for hospital

●        Waiting lists for north west Tasmanians have spiralled to unacceptable levels under Liberals

A Majority Labor Government will significantly boost frontline medical staff at the North West Regional Hospital after seven years of cuts and neglect under the Liberals.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said 25 additional permanent nurses and 12 new permanent specialist doctors would be employed at a cost of $23.4 million over the next four years to help slash waiting lists and solve the disaster the Gutwein Government has created for both patients and staff in the region.

Additionally, Labor will fund a new $67.5 million mental health facility at the hospital as well as funding upgrades, more beds and bringing back maternity services.

“The situation the Liberals have created at this important regional hospital has become intolerable for patients and the dedicated frontline staff alike,” Ms White said.

“The Gutwein Government has made it near impossible for staff to carry out their jobs and provide the community with the best possible medical care.

“Additionally, we know that mental ill health is one of the biggest issues facing Tasmanians and the Gutwein Government has done little to increase access to care over the past seven years.

“The new mental health facility at the hospital will increase access and finally allow Tasmanians suffering mental ill health to get the treatment they require and deserve.”

Shadow Health Minister Dr Bastian Seidel said the health crisis the Liberals had created and presided over meant that north west Tasmanians simply could not receive treatment at a time when more than 50,000 people are waiting for a specialist appointment and more than 12,000 languish on elective surgery wait lists.

“It is an impossible situation with people living in pain and actually dying waiting for the Liberals to get them help and that is help the Gutwein Government is clearly not interested in delivering when you look at their disgraceful track record over the past seven years and, in particular, since the last election three years ago,” Dr Seidel said.

“Surgery waiting lists at the NWRH have increased by 106 per cent since the last election.

“The waiting list to see a specialist at the NWRH has increased by 82 per cent since the last election

“The time it takes to get a hip replacement at the NWRH has blown out from 155 days to 341 days since the last election.

“The time it takes to get a knee replacement at the NWRH has blown out from 240 days to 423 days since the last election.

“Those are the kind of sad statistics that paint a true picture of the Liberals’ health crisis.

“Peter Gutwein and his Health Minister Sarah Courtney are well aware of this disaster but their lack of action and their failure to address this unacceptable situation speaks volumes.”

●        Labor will expand clinical services and establish the Mersey as a National Centre for Rural Health and Integrated Maternity Care

●        Labor will ensure high-quality clinical care for the north-west community

●        Only Labor is working for Tasmanians to deliver better health outcomes

The Mersey Community Hospital will be transformed into a National Centre for Rural Health and Integrated Maternity Care under a Majority Labor Government.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Labor’s vision would see the Mersey Hospital take advantage of its unique position as a national leader in high-quality clinical care, build on its regional and rural health workforce and deliver additional funding for building upgrades.

“The Mersey Community Hospital provides critical health care to the community,” Ms White said.

“Across the north-west the importance of the Mersey and North-West Regional Hospital cannot be underestimated and Labor has a plan to ensure they continue to meet the needs of Tasmanians for decades to come.

“Labor will invest $2.5 million towards establishing the National Centre for Rural Health and Integrated Maternity Care and an additional $5 million for capital works at the Mersey.

“It’s critical that maternity services are delivered at the Mersey. It’s critical that this hospital delivers for the north west community after the Gutwein Government disgracefully abandoned both staff and patients with its cruel cuts to resources and their neglect.”

Shadow Minister for Health Dr Bastian Seidel said these investments would compliment Labor’s plan to employ an additional five full-time and permanent specialist medical doctors in specialties such as General Medicine, General Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 

Additionally, the emergency department will be staffed by two additional Emergency Medicine Specialists. Labor is also funding an additional 15 permanent positions for nurses and midwives at the Mersey Community Hospital. 

As a National Centre for Rural Health and Integrated Maternity Care, the Mersey will also become the statewide training hub for Rural Generalist Doctors with specialist skills in Obstetrics, Anesthesiology, Emergency Care, Mental Health and Palliative Care, as well as Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Endoscopists. 

Labor also announced an additional 10 permanent medical specialist positions at the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie as well as two additional FTE permanent emergency medicine positions.

Labor is also committed to provide $7.5 million to integrate maternity care with all other publicly available medical services at the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie. This will ensure the return of highly accessible, publicly funded and comprehensive and continuous care which will improve outcomes for mothers and children in the North West.

“The Latrobe community is one of the fastest growing local government areas in Tasmania and it is only right that health services are in place to match this population growth,” Dr Seidel said.

“The future of our north-west public hospitals is now.

“The awful truth is the Liberal Government – with Peter Gutwein as Treasurer before he was gifted the Premiership – not only failed to fund the Mersey Hospital, but in fact ripped funding away making it near impossible for dedicated frontline staff to do their jobs.

“Healthcare needs are ever evolving and planning and consultation with the community needs to be genuine and meaningful.

“For seven years the Liberals have watched over a health system in crisis and Tasmanians cannot afford another four years of this government that is prepared to do nothing while more than 50,000 Tasmanians wait for an appointment to see a specialist and more than 12,000 wait in pain and often impossible circumstances for necessary surgery.

“Only Labor is working for Tasmanians to ensure better health outcomes for everyone, no matter where they live.”

  • Decline of regional hospitals and health care under Liberals has been a disgrace
  • 30 Community Health Centres upgraded to provide 24/7 nursing care 
  • Upgrading 17 rural hospitals and similar facilities to have 24/7 emergency care

A Majority Labor Government will take immediate steps to fix the health system in rural and regional Tasmania after seven years of neglect by the Liberal Party.

More than $197 million will be invested to upgrade 17 rural hospitals as well as providing 24/7 care at 30 Community Health Centres around Tasmania.

Labor leader Rebecca White said the health of Tasmanians living in regional areas had been ignored over the past seven years by the Liberal Government and the situation required an immediate solution.

“The sad fact is that people in regional areas have poorer health and die younger,” Ms White said.

“The neglect of regional health facilities in light of this fact is just another health failure by the Liberal Party, who have created and overseen the biggest hospital crisis in our state’s history.

“Just half of all emergency patients are seen within recommended timeframes and Tasmanians are becoming sicker waiting for help.

“Labor’s solution is to treat more people in their community by providing local 24/7 nursing, access to allied health, a mental health social worker and a vehicle for patient transport.

“Better community care services delivered by a local team of experts will offer improved preventative health services and reduce emergency department presentations, ambulance call-outs and hospital admissions.”

Shadow Health Minister Dr Bastian Seidel said Tasmania’s 17 small rural hospitals are integral to the well-being and identity of rural communities.

“But currently under this failing Liberal Government they are being under-utilised, with no provision for after-hours emergency care or for an inpatient facility to allow early discharge of patients from our larger hospitals,” Dr Seidel said.

“We will support our rural doctors and rural community hospitals by investing in local solutions and boosting the local workforce of doctors and nurses.

“Our regional health system will simply not survive another four years of Liberal chaos.”

Rural Practitioners & Hospitals Package

  • All 17 Rural Hospitals to offer 24/7 emergency care through 85 new on-site Nurse Practitioners and remote area nurses 
  • Commitment to re-write the Rural Medical Practitioners Agreement
  • Training package for 50 Rural Generalists
  • Rural hospital capital upgrade package

Community first - Labor’s integrated community health care strategy

  • Labor commits to upgrade all Community Health Centres in Tasmania with 24/7 coverage.
  • Services will include community nursing, palliative care, home visits with an additional 90 nurses to be employed across the state
  • Community health centres will also be staffed by 60 additional physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and exercise physiologists

Prince Philip served the Commonwealth for nearly 80 years and I know there will be Tasmanians who will be saddened by his passing, particularly because the Duke of Edinburgh had strong ties to Tasmania and to Australia.

I send my condolences to the Royal Family on this sad occasion.

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