Malcolm Turnbull given industry and community wishlist

Tasmanian business and community leaders have outlined the key issues they want addressed when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visits Launceston.

Mr Turnbull will visit on Thursday morning to co-chair a meeting of the Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council.

The council was formed to drive reforms to boost Tasmania's long-term growth and benefit individuals, households and businesses.

Ahead of the meeting, leaders of Tasmania’s business, innovation and community industries spoke to The Examiner about issues their sectors faced.

TasCOSS chief executive Kym Goodes called for an end to poverty. 

“With one in five Tasmanian children living in jobless households relying on income support, the most critical area the Turnbull Government could take action on is to recognise the inadequacy of a range of social security payments,” she said. 

“Tasmanians on a low income who go without basics such as food, where meat is considered a luxury and warm, affordable housing is what other people have, there is no choice, just day-to-day survival. 

“They want the Prime Minister to prioritise an adequate social security system so people can live.”

Representing the business community; Tasmania Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Bailey said the trend of fewer full-time jobs and more part-time or casual roles should be addressed. 

“The first thing we need in Tassie is that surety in industries,” he said. 

He said underemployment, people having jobs but wanting more hours, also needed to be discussed.

“That harks back to training and education and those grander policies of how you lift communities,” he said. 

Mr Bailey said there was a “whole range of underpinning issues” affecting Tasmanian businesses.

“We’re seeing high levels of business confidence in Tasmania economy but far less confidence in the Australian economy,” he said. 

Chief executive Will Kestin, of peak technology body TasICT, said the government should promote coding in early education and projects that improved digital literacy in Tasmania.

“If you’re talking about innovation you’ve got to teach young people how to code otherwise they’re not going to be innovative,” he said. 

Mr Kestin also called for continual investment in the National Broadband Network.

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