Premier Paul Lennon delivered Tasmania’s State of the State address on Tuesday, 16 October 2007.
Link to full address: http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/publications/State%20of%20the%20State%20-%202007.pdf
This address announced a range of initiatives, including the following:
Community Development and Social Services
- The State of Our Communities report being developed by the Stronger Communities Taskforce is to be used as the starting point for developing a whole-of-government social inclusion strategy. This will include initiatives to tackle the causes and consequences of poverty in Tasmania.
- An additional $8 million is to be invested in family support services over four years. This is to enable the implementation of recommendations arising from KPMG’s review of Family Support Services.
An independent Environment Protection Authority is to be introduced in legislation in November 2007.
This body of environmental experts will ‘police’ the environmental performance of Tasmanian industry.
The EPA Board will have the full statutory powers allowed under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act, including the ability to refuse applications for development and close industry down if activities are causing environmental harm. It will conduct monitoring and investigation of industry to ensure compliance.
The EPA Board will take the place of the EMPC Board. However, it will have increased independence. The Environment Minister will no longer have the power to make decisions or to override rulings.
- Effort is to be put into reducing the ‘carbon footprint’ of Tasmania’s public service. Environmental academic Kate Crowley is to develop a ‘framework for action’ for the Tasmanian Government. This will include an audit of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the Government’s day-to-day business.
- A $50 million investment is to be made in wind energy development through a funding transfer arrangement. The Government will transfer $50 million from Transend Networks to Hydro Tasmania, to capitalise on growth opportunities available to Roaring 40s, a wind technology company established as a partnership between the Tasmanian Government-owned Hydro and Hong Kong company China Light and Power.
- A housing summit will be convened on 2 November 2007 to consider new approaches for helping Tasmanians access accommodation.
- A State Policy on Housing is to be developed. This will ensure housing affordability is considered by local government when preparing land use strategies and planning schemes, and fast-track the approvals process for the development of more affordable housing.
- An additional $36.5 million over 3.5 years in electricity price concessions will be provided from 1 January, 2008. This will be available to Pensioner Concession Card and Health Care Card holders.
- The Premier’s Reading Challenge is to commence in Tasmania, in order to improve literacy amongst primary aged children.