Ministers car pool proposal under fire

CUTS to the ministerial car fleet and waiving headworks charges for developments were among the new Liberal government's first orders of business.

The Liberal cabinet met for the first time yesterday for what Premier Will Hodgman described as a ``long and very productive'' meeting. 

Cabinet ticked off on a plan to get rid of three cars and three drivers from the ministerial car fleet by moving to a pool system in a bid to save about $500,000 a year.   

Under the new system, ministers will no longer have access to a dedicated car and driver but will have to book a lift.  

Only the premier, opposition leader, speaker and Legislative Council president will have ready access to their own car and driver.

However, the plan has hit a stumbling block, with unions taking the matter to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission to force the new government to consult more before implementing the changes. 

Community and Public Sector Union secretary Tom Lynch said the system would be impractical. 

``The way they're going, if you book a driver and you're running late and the driver has to go to another job, you have to get a taxi or walk,'' Mr Lynch said. 

He said the new government advised drivers of the changes on Friday with no consultation, prompting the industrial commission to intervene. 

``The government's going to have to realise they have a mandate, but that doesn't override the normal process,'' he said.

Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff said MPs were also given a car and may have to make use of that if a driver was not available.   

Cabinet also approved the immediate introduction of a two-year holiday for headworks charges. 

Taxpayers will pick up the cost for water and sewerage connections for new developments. 

The initiative is capped at $5 million a year. 

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the move would bring forward up to $100 million of new private investment and generate 500 jobs. 

Following the first cabinet meeting, Mr Hodgman also flagged an early May recall of State Parliament. 

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