Premier happy with work so far

IT IS early days, but Premier Will Hodgman says his majority government is off to a successful start. 

``The discipline, the unity and the energy that we took into the election campaign has just continued seamlessly into government,'' Mr Hodgman says. 

``I've been pleased with what we've been able to deliver in a very short time frame.''

Speaking in Launceston on the second leg of a roadshow to spruik the government's performance during its first 100 days, Mr Hodgman insists the ``landmines and skeletons'' left by the former state government or the unexpected hits to health and education funding from the Commonwealth will not stop them delivering their promises.

Mr Hodgman is determined to get that message across but is no more willing to offer details about how the state will deal with these new problems than he was in opposition. 

The Premier and Health Minister Michael Ferguson continue to engage in ``strong discussions'' with their Canberra counterparts in a bid to soften the blow of the estimated $2.1 billion shortfall in health and education funding over 10 years. 

With the first of the cuts - $27 million to the health system - to take effect on July 1, time is running out. 

Asked if he was confident of securing a better deal for the state from the Commonwealth, Mr Hodgman said he was optimistic.

Until now, many of the tactics of the state Liberals - from the disciplined messaging to the first 100 day plan - have been copied straight out of the Coalition government's playbook. But as its fortunes have plummeted after handing down a horror federal budget, Mr Hodgman is determined not to follow its example when it comes to the state budget.

There will be tough decisions and up to 1500 public servant positions are set to go, but the Premier was this week reassuring businesses and community groups that it would not be a ``slash and burn'' budget.

He denied he's sending mixed signals.

``It depends on your definition of slash and burn and I'd consider that to be more a budget where there are wholesale public sector sackings, where a government might contemplate shutting 20 schools like that, where hospital wards are being closed and beds shut. 

``Ours will be far more strategic but we will reduce the size of the public sector, we will reduce the public sector wage bill and public sector expenses because we've got to rein that in, that's where it will be tough.'' 

The scope of cost-saving reforms to the education and health system may not become clearer until August 28 after the new government delayed its first budget until then. 

``I thank heavens we've given ourselves more time to do that. It gives us a chance to make it a Liberal product and not an inheritance from the Labor Green government, but also to take into account what are very significant shifts in fiscal relations between the Commonwealth and the state with significant impacts.''

Nothing he's learnt in the first 100 days in the job has knocked his confidence about finding $500 million worth of savings in four years. Yesterday, he indicated that figure was only the minimum and there could be greater savings made. 

``It would be completely unacceptable, I would suggest, for any government member and minister to not be looking at ways to increase efficiencies to deliver better outcomes, to cut waste and non-essentials. That's what we're there to do.''

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman tells Rosemary Bolger what his first 100 days in office have been like. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman tells Rosemary Bolger what his first 100 days in office have been like. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

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