One week has already passed since a state election was called and the Liberals are, as expected, in front. Given the election is 10 months earlier than planned, it's no surprise to see Labor scrambling to catch up and the Libs racing ahead with some impressive announcements. The announcement for a national agricultural centre of excellence in the North and for the Mount Pleasant Laboratories to be moved opening up land in a highly-sought after area of Launceston is the vision Tasmanians should be looking for this election.
Time and time again The Examiner has highlighted the opportunities COVID-19 has created. We do need social and economic recovery, but it doesn't mean recovery has to look like the past decades. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be innovative and world-leading. While the Libs plan to save 500 jobs for a business in the south, based in an electorate where Libs need to pick up seats, or Labor's plan to move the prison to unknown place and still keep jobs may buy votes, we need more than this.
Health must be a focus, but the area of preventative health. Meaningful initiatives and funds must be committed to deliver health outcomes to reduce the increasing pressure on our health care system. Policies and process for a co-located hospital must be prioritised. Is it time to start looking at solicited bids? Housing needs complete reform. We know that homelessness can lead to poor literacy, health and social outcomes. People fleeing domestic violence need to know they have a safe future, not an unknown wait period for social housing. Even the justice system would benefit in terms of children who are remanded because it's the safest option for them or adults who re-enter society without a home.
We will also watch closely over the next four weeks for a commitment to the Tamar River. The TEMT report should be released before May 1, but regardless of the report a first step would be an independent authority. Public sentiment is that something must be done to improve the community's relationship with the river, and meaningful results will happen with an authority removed from all arms of government.
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