Mrs ARMITAGE ( Launceston ) - Mr President, I have a couple of comments to make because I tried to keep fairly strictly to the budget. While much has already been covered in budget deliberations, I would like to take the opportunity to make a few comments regarding the state of the state.
First, I refer to some good news in the north of the state. We have a new $25 million Target store at Mowbray, expected to be completed by December; we have a $40 million Bunnings at Invermay on the old Gunns headquarters site; a $30 million C H Smith site finally being developed after many years of sitting idle and derelict; a new supermarket at Prospect worth about $10 million; and $18 million for student housing at Inveresk. It is hoped that the university will go from strength to strength but there has been some concern about the recent changes at UTAS and its effect on the north.
We have also seen the redevelopment of the Woolworths shopping complex at Mowbray and the establishment of the Reject and Shiploads stores at Kings Meadows in a newly built shopfront in Boland Street which is almost ready to open, and one proposed in the old Chickenfeed store at Mowbray. The latest proposed northern development is plans for an 11-storey, 68 unit, multi million dollar hotel with a bar, café, restaurant and conferencing rooms at the site of the old grain silos on Lindsay Street. This is a challenging project and developer Errol Stewart should be commended for attempting such a challenge in these difficult times. Then there was the $12 million rollout of water meters by Ben Lomond Water, plus millions of dollars on other infrastructure, upgrades and developments. The downside is that there are currently 30-plus empty retail spaces in Launceston.
I now bring my mind to water and sewerage and the possibility that the ratepayers of Launceston will be required to pay between $130 and $150 more in rates to cover a payment to the Tasmanian Water and Sewerage Corporation for a $5.8 million charge for its combined water and sewerage system. The corporation chairman, Miles Hampton, acknowledges that this cost is steep but says it would be inequitable on Ben Lomond Water customers not to charge the council. I ask, how so? As contributors to Ben Lomond Water, the Launceston City Council ratepayers have helped fund other water schemes without complaint, including contributing to the $5.2 million Campbell Town water treatment plant and the $5.5 million Westbury water treatment plant, not to mention the proposed multimillion dollar capital works project to bring the Bridport sewerage treatment plant within its licence conditions, and improve water quality in Anderson Bay. So how is this current circumstance deserving of different actions?
One of the reasons given for the reform of water and sewerage was to enable the cost of infrastructure to be shared across the state. Surely, when the water corporation took ownership of the assets they also took responsibility for all costs incurred to supply services to customers and even those in areas where there was no return on investment. I believe in this instance that any additional impost should be equally shared across the water authority's customer base and not levied solely on Launceston's ratepayers. It seems a decision to charge the Launceston City Council is being blamed on upcoming new urban drainage legislation that will not deliver a return to corporations for stormwater assets. However, it has been suggested that this situation could be easily remedied by a simple amendment to the legislation to broaden the definition of 'sewerage systems' to include combined systems.
We are blessed to live in such a safe and stable environment as Tasmania and while I agree that the current state of the state could be seen as something of a train wreck and has been described as such of late, I have no doubt that the economy will improve in time but, having said that, we must have balance and allow appropriate development to occur. While tourism is a wonderful asset for Tasmania we cannot survive on it alone. It needs to be in conjunction with forestry, aquaculture, agriculture, trade and manufacturing, to name a few.
When promoting the state we need to be mindful that we promote the whole state. Recently, at an AFL presidents' dinner at the Hawthorn versus Sydney game, which was attended by the Premier and her chief of staff, there was a marketing presentation featuring Tasmania. Unfortunately, the presentation forgot to mention anything north of Hobart. Apparently the entertainment was great and the presentation heavily featured the MONA Winter Festival and a sophisticated promotion of MONA but, sadly, there was a lack of content highlighting anything else that Tasmania has to offer, including attractions or events in Launceston and the Tamar Valley.
Ms Forrest - Were you surprised?
Mrs ARMITAGE - I am constantly told in this place that I do not just represent Launceston , I represent Tasmania, and I would have thought that when marketing tourism, particularly at an AFL game with so many people there, they would have remembered the rest of the state.
Ms Forrest - I agree with you.
Mrs ARMITAGE - If an opportunity presents for us to market Tasmania in a forum like this, surely it is fair and reasonable to expect that we ensure that we have content that highlights a variety of the wonderful attractions and events from regions across the state and not narrow our focus on Hobart and the south of the state. It is particularly concerning in this instance. While, admittedly, Hawthorn has state sponsorship, they play predominantly at Aurora Stadium, which is located in the north. Therefore it is reasonable to expect that any marketing exercise featuring Tasmania at a Hawthorn Football Club event should at least include some content that highlights Launceston attractions or events.
Mr Dean - At the Roos events, down here, they will market them all.
Mrs ARMITAGE - I have no doubt, but sadly on this occasion, where there is an opportunity to promote Tasmania, only MONA is presented. Given the lack of Launceston or Tamar Valley content I ask: how much involvement did we in the north have regarding the event program and organisation? Did northern Tasmanian tourism have any involvement and, if not, do we know why? I ask the leader and if I cannot get answers - and obviously I will not - I will phrase these as questions to ask at a later stage.
Additionally, one would think that our marketing budget would have been better spent if more attention had been given to more marketing towards the 54 000 in the crowd, rather than a small slip publicising MONA on the front of the football magazine, which is the record. The big screen could have been used before the start of the game and during the quarter-time and half-time breaks. We really need to get better than this. I am constantly reminded we represent the whole state - perhaps it is the government that needs reminding that they represent the whole state as well. Tasmania really has to be seen as more than Hobart for us to be successful in our strategies to build yield from tourism.
Mrs Taylor - The issue is partly that MONA actually is the one location and attraction in the state.
Mrs ARMITAGE - So it is the only attraction in Tasmania?
Mrs Taylor - No, no, but over the last year it has been winning all the national and international awards. If there were an equal attraction in the north or the west -
Mrs ARMITAGE - I do not have a problem being a part of it but I believe that it should not have been the only part of it.
Mrs Taylor - I agree and by the way, it is not in Hobart; it is actually in my electorate.
Mrs ARMITAGE - In the south of the state. As I was saying, yet again, Tasmania really has to be seen as more than the south of the state for us to be successful in our strategies to build yield from tourism. It shows just how much there is left to do to get a true unity of purpose in marketing our many attractions in this state to our principal target areas such as Victoria.
The question also needs to be asked whether targeting the 500 or so at the function was the right way to go when very little was done to engage the 54 000 people in the crowd. Hopefully in the future we will seize all opportunities to focus attention on our state as a whole. I note the state of the state address.