TASMANIAN businesses will soon be able to compete for a slice of a $24 million jobs and investment fund offered up by the federal and state governments.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday told the Liberal Party State Council the $16 million promised in 2013 to upgrade Cadbury's Claremont factory would be diverted into the kitty, with the state government stumping up the remaining $8 million.
Proponents will need to chip in at least $2 for every $1 of government investment, with Mr Abbott estimating the scheme could create $72 million worth of new tourism, agriculture and advanced manufacturing projects.
"The $16 million committed to Cadbury will remain in Tasmania and will be invested in projects that deliver jobs and productivity growth to the state," Mr Abbott said.
"Above all else, we want to work with people who are prepared to put skin in the game because if they've got skin in the game, they haven't got their hands out, they're seeking a hand up."
Mr Hodgman said the state's money would be drawn from consolidated revenue and budgeted across three years.
The two tiers of government are still determining how the funds will be allocated and distributed, but applications are expected to open by the end of this year.
Franklin Labor MHR Julie Collins is sceptical about the funding announcement.
"How can Tasmanians trust that this money won't end up being delayed or not delivered?" she said.
"I think Tasmanians will only believe this money is actually going to come to Tasmania when they see it hit the ground and jobs on the ground."
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chairman Simon Currant said it was disappointing the money may be scooped up by other sectors.
"Our industry's fear is that from a promise which was made to tourism development, now this fund is being spread right around," he said.
However, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and seafood company Petuna both welcomed the commitment.
Denison Independent MHR Andrew Wilkie blasted the announcement as a broken promise to voters in his Southern electorate.
"To instead spread the $16 million across the state means that this money is little more than a political slush fund to get the three amigos in Bass, Braddon and Lyons re-elected," he said.
But Bass Liberal MHR Andrew Nikolic said there were a number of worthy projects in the state's North.
"There are numerous, innovative proposals in Northern Tasmania that I know will compete strongly for these funds," he said.
THE Liberals must "focus on the enemy" to win the next federal election, the party's state council has heard.
Tasmanian Liberals director Sam McQuestin told party faithful he was hopeful of winning more parliamentary seats when voters went to the polls next year.
"I believe we will hold the three seats we currently hold in Tasmania and I believe we will add an additional Senate seat," Mr McQuestin said.
He said the fight to win the next election had already begun.
"We need to stay focused on the enemy, Labor and their Green bedfellows," he said.
"If we stay focused and energised, we will win the election, and I firmly believe Tasmania can improve on our very strong representation in the Federal Parliament."
Sitting Liberal members Andrew Nikolic, Eric Hutchinson and Brett Whiteley have been re-endorsed for the contest.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott talked up an upturn in the state's fortunes since the Liberals claimed power at a state and federal level, saying investment and jobs growth were on the up-and-up.
"Thanks to a good government in Canberra and over the past 12 months or so, a very good government in Hobart, Tasmania has gone from being just a great place to live and a great place to visit, to being a great place to work and a great place to invest," he said.
Premier Will Hodgman is expected to echo his sentiments in a keynote address on Sunday.
Delegates at day one of the division's annual conference yesterday backed an inquiry into "the merits and deficiencies" of the Hare-Clarke electoral system.
However, Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff said there was no way his government would tinker with the multi-member electorate system during its first term in office.
A push to abolish stamp duty was quashed, while debate on the federal government's response to climate change drew heated debate among Liberal delegates about whether global warming was real or just "green propaganda".
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