Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Launceston on Thursday

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to land in Launceston at 10.30am on Thursday. 

Mr Turnbull will 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.

Mr Turnbull is expected to address the media at 12.30pm.

Tasmanian business and community leaders outlined key issues they want addressed when Mr Turnbull visits Launceston.

A press conference was held at 9.30am in which Treasurer Peter Gutwein, Mayor Albert van Zettan, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Angus Taylor and Senator David Busby handed over documents for the Launceston City Deal. 

Fairfax Tasmania will bring you live coverage throughout the day. 

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ROLLING COVERAGE

Planned hydro growth

Tasmania’s hydro power capacity is set for expansion which could cost more than $3 billion, with potential to provide enough extra energy to power half a million homes.

Two big pumped hydro storage projects involving the Mersey-Forth scheme  and one each at the Great Lake and Lake Burbury would be examined, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Will Hodgman revealed on Thursday, plus an alternative of nine smaller projects.

They said the governments would start expanding the state’s hydro system to “provide affordable, reliable electricity as we transition to a lower emissions future”. Read more

A second interconnector cable to the mainland was also proposed, with supporters arguing it would underpin wind farm expansion.

A study into the second cable by John Tamblyn was released on Thursday.

He found another cable might be of benefit, but it would depend on growth in the state energy system and the National Energy Market.

Launceston City Deal snapshot

Senator David Bushby, Treasurer Peter Gutwein, Mayor Albert van Zetten and Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor come together to announce the Launceston City Deal. Picture: Scott Gelston

Senator David Bushby, Treasurer Peter Gutwein, Mayor Albert van Zetten and Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor come together to announce the Launceston City Deal. Picture: Scott Gelston

The centrepiece of the Launceston City Deal will be the $260 million UTAS campus relocation but a number of other initiatives were also announced.

The deal includes the creation of a Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce which will oversee the development of a River Health Action Plan by the end of 2017.

Plans for UTAS Inveresk $300m upgrade

Plans for UTAS Inveresk $300m upgrade

An investment of $2 million will be used to identify priority actions in the River Health Action Plan to reduce pollution in the Tamar Estuary.

Further funding for upgrades to Launceston’s combined sewerage and stormwater system are still to be investigated but could include funding through the Clean Energy Finance Corportation.

The CEFC was announced by the Australian Government as a $10 billion commercially oriented “green bank” as part of the Clean Energy Future Package.

The objective of the CEFC is to overcome capital market barriers that hinder the financing, commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.

The deal will also see funding for the City Heart Project to be implemented by 2020 with major CBD upgrades including the Brisbane Street Mall, Civic Square and St John Street.

Transport connections are also set to be improved to support a more walkable city.

A new Australian Army cadet facility will be created in the northern suburbs to help young people and the Northern Suburbs Revitalisation Plan is to be delivered by 2018.

Community reacts 

The City Deal process has been criticised by Meander Valley councillor Andrew Connor who said ignored the needs of significant parts of the Launceston Urban Area because they are in different local government areas. 

"The major suburbs of Prospect Vale, Riverside and adjacent areas of Hadspen and Legana, accepted as being part of Greater Launceston, are administered by the Meander Valley and West Tamar municipalities, however these councils have had little if any consultation about the City Deal," he said.

"About 10,000 residents of Meander Valley Council live in Prospect Vale and Hadspen, a similar number live in West Tamar Council’s Riverside and Legana but these residents will receive no benefit from the CBD-centric investments of this City Deal, despite its brief mention of wider flow-on benefits to the region."

Greens' Northern Tasmania spokesperson Andrea Dawkins said the Launceston City Deal is a welcome investment but could not succeed without the city’s water and sewerage issues being addressed.  

“The City Deal, being signed by the Prime Minister today, will be put at risk without funding to fix Launceston’s ailing water and sewerage infrastructure, and storm water system,” she said.

“The University of Tasmania’s relocation to Inveresk and projected student increase would be compromised by its current state of disrepair.”

City Deal announced 

Mayor Albert van Zettan

Mayor Albert van Zettan

Jobs, better wages and driving a strong economic future for North Tasmania is the aspiration of the Launceston City Deal.

Signed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Premier Will Hodgman and Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten, the deal is the second in Australia to be signed.

The first milestone payment is expected in August with major projects to include the University of Tasmania relocation and $19.4 million support for the City Heart project. Read more

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