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Noting - State Budget 2022-23

Wednesday 31 May 2022

Budget Papers and Appropriation Bills (No. 1 and No. 2) 2022 - Noting

[4.43 p.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - You probably could have a chance, Mr President. You could come down to the Floor.

Mr PRESIDENT - That is fine, thank you.

Ms ARMITAGE - I welcome the opportunity to provide my input into the 2022‑23 Budget and all fiscal and policy measures it contains. This is the first budget handed down by Tasmania's new Treasurer, Michael Ferguson, and we are in a very different world than we were in two to three years ago. Adapting to these changing conditions within the state, across the country and around the entire world has taken a collective effort and has required detailed and at times difficult decision-making.

Tasmania has been in an undeniably advantageous position since the start of the COVID‑19 pandemic. I cannot believe we are still talking about it now in 2022. However, its effects are continuing to reverberate and will continue to do so for some time. Sadly, the pandemic was not without its costs and I pause here to acknowledge the 73 Tasmanians who have died as a result of the virus.

We saw business activity halt, people forced to stay at home and people's lives put on hold. As we ensured that people would not be left without their jobs and without the basic services that it is up to our public sector to provide, the costs mounted. The result of low interest rates significantly heated up our property and rental markets, and now that we are looking at interest rates beginning to rise again, and inflation increasing, we are faced with a number of difficulties.

People are struggling to pay for a basket of groceries that was much more affordable only a few months ago. I am pleased to read in the Treasurer's budget that the Budget does provide over $305 million in concessions to support vulnerable Tasmanians to meet essential costs of living, including the cost of water and sewerage, electricity and council rates. We know that they are considerable costs that do not go away. Whether they are deferred or whatever might happen, they are still there and need to be paid. We certainly do not need more people to be homeless because they cannot afford to pay their bills.

People are finding their rents increasing, and the utilities and basic necessities far less affordable than they once were. I worry for young people in these conditions, as with less money to put towards things like a house deposit, the less better off they will be than the generations before them - and I consider we are a very lucky generation.

Those who are in a position to purchase a property are finding themselves competing in an extraordinarily hostile property market. Those who are building are waiting years and years for construction to start, owing to blown-out waiting lists, inability to find available construction companies, and supply and resource shortages - not to mention the resources increasing in cost.

Places like Hobart and Launceston are becoming extraordinarily appealing for families looking for a relaxed and good quality of life, and they are providing opportunities for skilled people wanting a change of pace.

We want to see the dividends from everything we sacrificed during the COVID-19 pandemic go to everyone. After all, every Tasmanian, during the past three or so years, has had to sacrifice something, and many drastically altered the way they worked, parented their children and received their education. We cannot let anyone be left behind now - not when we have so much potential as a state to become one of the best places to live in Australia and the world.

Despite the economy's strong performance over the past couple of years, we are seeing our net debt rise to $5.23 billion in 2026. The prospect of servicing increases in net debt is also uncertain. I understand that the bulk of these borrowings reflect the significant infrastructure projects that are slated over the next few years. The notion that this debt equates to $5400 owed per person is quite stark. Ideally, we would see these infrastructure projects worked on and completed in time, and without any blowouts. I hope that the Government will exercise appropriate oversight to ensure that these significant investments represent a good return for the Tasmanian people, and good multipliers across supporting businesses and services throughout the community.

I know that it is easy to be startled by numbers such as these, and I do not want to come across as being overly cynical. The state and the economy have been in such an enviable position over the past few years, particularly when you look at assessments like the CommSec State of the States report. I want Tasmanians to be rewarded for their efforts and sacrifices, and not be left with a big bill at the end of it all.

I will speak briefly about some of the bigger picture parts of the Budget, and then turn to what they mean for my electorate of Launceston.

This year, in addition to the Budget itself, we saw a gender budget statement included, a first for Tasmania. This statement highlights how the Budget targets inequality experienced by women, men and gender-diverse Tasmanians. Members here may recall discussing a motion on gender responsive budgeting, only back in March. On this motion, I stated:

Policymakers who fail to consider the interests of half the population cannot possibly hope to adequately represent them, nor lawmakers to properly legislate for them.

This gender budget statement is a good start to ensuring that Tasmanian women are respected, represented and supported from childhood, to adulthood, through to retirement. The Budget further makes good on implementing one of the Premier's Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC) key recommendations.

The Government should support further industry programs to enhance workplace development pipelines for women. I understand that $800 000 has been allocated in this Budget over the next four years, to implement the Tasmanian Women's Strategy 2022‑27.

Also, $740 000 additional funding has been allocated to develop and implement a women and girls in sports strategy. I have noticed obviously in football where they have women's teams but, in soccer, the number of females taking up the sport is quite incredible. Sometimes, they tend to be overshadowed by AFL, but the number of people playing soccer, particularly young women, is quite extraordinary.

Moreover, funding has been provided to develop Tasmania's third family and sexual violence action plan, a focus on not just ensuring that women are equipped with basic levels of support - budget measures that assist women to thrive are also important. To this end, the women's workforce participation strategy and Women on Boards will be vital to ensure women will be able to meaningfully participate in the direction of this state and to properly represent the interest of our population.

I commend the Government and the Treasurer for the inclusion of this important statement to the Budget this year and hope it heralds ongoing progress toward equity and equality for Tasmanian women in the years ahead. Hopefully, with detailed analysis, clear targets and measurable benchmarks to assess our progress as we go.

I am privileged to represent the interests of the Launceston electorate. It is the diverse groups of people and projects about which they are passionate which make my job so interesting and satisfying. Launceston is home to thousands of families, a thriving business community, significant educational institutions, a vibrant community and non-government sector. It is therefore important to ensure the interests of Launceston are taken seriously by the Government and funded adequately.

In this Budget, a lot of funding has been provided to Launceston health facilities including $38.24 million to the LGH stage one redevelopment over the next three years and $50 million towards the LGH stage two redevelopment, including the mental health over the next four years. Also, over the next four years, $7 million for operational funding for additional paramedic crews at Launceston. I do hope there will be additional funding, also, to staff the other developments. It is great to have capital works and to be building, but you really do need to have ongoing funding to actually be able to employ the nurses and the doctors needed to work there. I will be watching with interest to see how this might ameliorate waiting times for those in Launceston and the outer urban areas it will service.

In Kings Meadows, the Government allocated $9 million towards the acute care facility at the Kings Meadows Community Health Centre over the next two years and that apparently includes federal funding. I assume that is still going to happen with the Labor government, I am sure that was part of the Labor government's funding commitment if I recall.

In the more immediate future, $2.5 million was allocated to improve the LGH's respiratory unit capacity. Funding health facilities and services are always popular, and I always support additional funding for our hospitals, community health workers, and preventive health initiatives. The LGH is an integral asset to the northern community and everyone who works there - from the CEO's office, to the nursing staff, to the ancillary staff, to the cleaners, orderlies, and the list goes on, including volunteers - deserves support and needs to be listened to.

I am hoping that the waiting list will go down, but I am also aware while there is a waiting list, there is also a waiting list to go on the waiting list. It is quite concerning many people get their referral from their GP to go, and the first thing they actually get back is a notification they are waiting to go on the waiting list. It is unfortunate that many people believe they are on the waiting list, when in fact they are not. They are simply waiting to get a spot on the waiting list. We really cannot understate the importance of health.

On education, I note the Budget indicates $250 million has been allocated for new and upgraded schools, classrooms, child and family learning centres over the budget and forward Estimates, which is a significant figure.

A lot of money, particularly by way of capital investment funding, is going towards the construction of six new child and family learning centres, with $28 million being committed to centres in Sorell, Kingborough, Glenorchy, East Tamar, West Ulverstone and Waratah-Wynyard, a measure which I am very hopeful will ease families and children into early leaning, connection with others, socialisation and provide access to support.

While on education, I could have mentioned earlier, with regard to the COVID‑19 pandemic, it was very pleasing to see in the Treasurer's Budget Speech about the learning from home throughout the pandemic and the fact that the Budget provides $4 million for laptops and tablets for students, which is in addition to the $1 million already invested in this technology. That is very important for the students who cannot actually go to school, who need to study from home, so that they are not disadvantaged by being at home.

Mr Valentine - What was that figure again?

Ms ARMITAGE - It was $4 million on top of the $1 million that has already been in the past. I also note that over two years $1.95 million has been allocated towards upgrading the Glen Dhu Pool, an asset that services a large part of the Launceston community and which is in need of refreshing and updating.

I was very pleased to recently see at Summerdale Primary School, where I volunteer for the breakfast club from time to time, that they were installing new ovens and stoves. The other equipment was very outdated. It is important for our education system to have an approach which not only teaches our children reading, writing and arithmetic, but also how to develop and maintain good habits, like nutritious home cooking, gardening and other life skills. Summerdale Primary School does have a great little vegetable garden where the children go out and grow and then learn to cook from the produce they have provided in their garden.

In the Delivering for Bass budget fact sheet, I note that over the next four years $6.95 million has been allocated to go towards upgrading outdated classrooms statewide, including Mowbray Heights Primary and Glen Dhu Primary. The budget papers named 12 schools across the state with a funding allocation of $10 million over the next five years to be given renewed and upgraded classrooms, with a focus on schools in low socio-economic areas.

I do wonder, given the expanded functionality and flexibility these upgraded facilities will have, whether this initiative will be extended beyond these 12 schools, and funding of more than $10 million will be provided in the future. Right now, $10 million does not go very far when we are considering works of this nature. Given the importance of having good facilities, particularly in low socio-economic schools, I would question whether this initial five‑year allocation will be enough for the commitment.

I say this because the $7 million allocated to upgrade the 43-year-old Launceston Police Station I believe is going towards installing a new reception area, elevators and toilets, which is not very much at all considering it is several million dollars. I do need to ask - and I am assuming, I did not have the last budget with me - I know it is at $6 million, so I am assuming $1 million had already been allocated in the previous budget papers, which I have not got here. Looking at the investment at the police station, I am concerned when it says - in the Budget Speech - refurbishing the Launceston Police Station, and I did read that it was to make it a nicer place to work for the police. I know initially when it was built there were 120 people there but if you are only looking at reception area, elevators and toilets - and I spend quite a lot of time at the police station -

Madam ACTING PRESIDENT - We do not need to reveal too much

Ms Rattray - As an Independent person.

Ms ARMITAGE - As an Independent person, but I know what their rooms are like, and I know what the charge room is like. I know what the interview rooms are like, and they are terrible. They are old and they are shabby. If you go up the lift - I accept that they are having a new lift - but if you actually go up into the police station into any of the offices - particularly the interview rooms - they are small, awful, little boxes. That is the only way I can describe them.

The charge room has never changed in the 27 or 28 years I have been an Independent person. It has never improved. I am surprised that we are talking about improving the police station for those who work there, because my understanding is, from officers I have spoken to, that all the $7 million will provide is the reception area, the toilets, and the elevators.

I would be interested to hear from the Leader, if you believe it is going to provide more than that, because those at the station have told me that is what it is going to cover.

Mrs Hiscutt - I cannot give an opinion on that.

Ms ARMITAGE - That is all right. I am not sure that we have this time in Estimates, but it did not gel with what I was reading, having been there. If you are looking from the outside you might think that is okay, but when you spend time inside the police station you understand how old and awful it is, and you see that $7 million is only going to do the reception area, elevators and toilets. You start to question the amount of money, and how that is going to improve the lot for the officers who work there. As I have said, I do not believe it is such a bad investment.

Turning to community, Madam Acting President. I further note that the Government has provided $1.9 million to Launceston to continue to provide Safe Spaces. Launceston, like other cities across the state has not been immune to the significant issues surrounding access to affordable housing. Initiatives to help vulnerable people who are sleeping rough without secure access to housing and necessities, and are perhaps influenced by issues like addiction or mental health issues, are essential. I acknowledge that continued support of a Launceston Safe Space is a positive step. However, I encourage the Government to continue working with our local councils and organisations that work at the front lines with people experiencing homelessness.

Strike It Out, for example, is working towards providing access to safe, mobile bedding and storage lockers for those sleeping rough in the Launceston area. This is in addition to the work they do every day, providing food, clothes, toiletries and other necessities to vulnerable people who deserve safety and dignity. Recently, at about 6.30‑7 p.m, Strike It Out and some of the other service providers had their food vans in Civic Square. It was not a party, by any means; it was to enable members of the public to get to know and see who are homeless, and to talk to homeless people. We also purchased some of the food to see what the food was like - and it was good food. They have a van which has been provided to them by a very kind donor in Launceston. It is a big van, so they can work, and cook the food, like you would if were somewhere like Agfest.

It was great to go along. It opens your eyes to actually be there and talk to people in the community who are homeless, and who are sleeping rough. I cannot imagine it now, when it is so cold. We can go home to a warm bed, we can turn on the electric blanket and, if you get really cold, you can have a hot shower. It is great that they are trying to provide even the showers for them to be able to get warm.

I know that the council was locking some of the toilets in Launceston at night. That was really unfortunate, because those who are disadvantaged were going in and using the hand warmers, trying to stay warm. I cannot imagine what that would be like - to have a rainy night, get your clothes wet, not be able to get dry, and the next day try to get up and spend the day with still nowhere to sleep.

Sometimes we forget, and it was really good to have Strike It Out in Civic Square so people could see that there were a lot of homeless people, and a lot of children were there too. A lot of volunteers also had children with them, and were working hard to help these people.

I also visited City Mission, and I have been there in the past. As well, the Salvation Army has been doing their street walk. I would suggest it to anyone. There are a lot of forms to fill out, I have to admit, and I am still on my final forms. It is not a simple thing.

It is a good thing to go along at night to see the people who are out there between 11 p.m. in the evening and 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. in the morning. It does tend to open your eyes.

I must admit, I have not seen it since my boys were younger when I used to pick them up at 5 a.m. in the morning when they would phone me, and you would see many people out there. Sometimes we need to - not shock ourselves, but have a realisation that we are very lucky and there are a lot of people out there who are not so lucky, and sometimes it is through no fault of their own, and to get out of that situation, anything that we can put towards helping vulnerable people. It is a terrible development that in this day and age, in this safe part of the country and world, we have so many people who struggle to find somewhere safe to sleep or have access to hot, nutritious food. Keeping our community engaged and including people who have few options for social interaction is important.

Recently, the YMCA in Kings Meadows has signalled its dire financial position, and will likely close its doors this Saturday. I have been over there several times. I have done three different classes on a Monday, Wednesday and a Friday to actually meet some of the participants. The groups that I have been to are for the senior health classes. The sadness that is there from people aged from 60 up to over 90 and one lady, I think she was 92, told me that she believes these classes keep her fit and they keep her out of hospital. It costs $7.50, they go along, but not only do they do the class for an hour, it is a social outing, they have a cup of tea beforehand, they have a cup of tea afterwards, they meet up with their friends. It was so sad that a couple of the ladies were crying because of the fact that this was not going to continue. The staff out there were in a very sad state as well. Some of them had been there - one lady I think 35 years, another 14 years. They had absolutely no idea what was going to happen to them after Saturday. A very sad situation there.

I have facilitated stakeholder meetings in an attempt to devise a solution, unfortunately to no avail. It is a terrible shame to lose a Launceston institution that many have called home for the past 142 years, but I must say - and I do not want it to be taken that either federal or state government had let them down, when I am saying I organised stakeholder meetings I totally accept that it is very hard for the federal government or the state government to put substantial funds in when the organisation has lost a lot of money over the last few years, a lot of money. I can understand that.

At our last meeting, there was a representative from the federal government, Bridget Archer, a representative from the state government, one of the members of the board, and my understanding is that it is now operating as Y Tasmania under a three-member interstate board. One of the members from the interstate board from the Y was asked if they could provide some money to keep the Y going for six months. Bridget's thought was if they could show they could be sustainable for six months, then perhaps the federal government could look at some grants, if there was some way. Unfortunately, Dr McMillan from Y Victoria was very clear when he said no, that he could not provide that. As I said, I wanted to point out that I am not actually saying that it was a shame that we could not get a solution. We have talked to many different groups, and it certainly was not on the state or federal government, they had come up with a number of different plans.

Unfortunately, Y Tasmania at this stage - unless they surprise us with something next week - did not seem to have any plan in place to keep the Y going. It is a terrible shame to lose it after 142 years. It is my fervent hope that another organisation will be able to come in and continue to offer a safe place for the people to go to exercise, catch up and feel safe and accepted.

I have written to the Launceston City Council and suggested to them that perhaps the PCYC would be a good fit. We are quite aware that the PCYC into the future will be moving out to the northern suburbs and it would be really good to have a PCYC at both ends of town, one at Kings Meadows and one in the northern suburbs. They did not mention that in the response they provided to me, but I intend to raise it with them yet again, and perhaps with PCYC.

Mr Willie - Running out of time, though. Is it this week it closes?

Ms ARMITAGE - It closes this week, but in an interim capacity, the council will have basketball and netball operating there at night. Daytime will not have any of these classes. However, perhaps they can keep it going. I have to commend Bridget Archer in the week before the election, when I asked her for a meeting, she did give an hour and a half to the group to sit down with Lindsay McMillan from the mainland who was one of the three board members, and other stakeholders, so I cannot say they did not actually try.

I do accept what you are saying, however. Yes, Saturday is the last day, but even if it had a hiatus for a period of time, many of the older people who are doing the exercise classes said if it does not go for a few weeks as long as they know it is coming back. I am aware one of the teachers of the class operates in one of the fitness facilities and they are arranging for these people to actually go down there and pay the same amount in the interim to keep them going until perhaps something can happen again at the YMCA, because it is a great facility.

The saddest part, apart from the other stuff, is they have a child care facility for special needs children. That was the really difficult thing. When I was talking to the instructor, Deb, who had been there for 35 years, she said some of the children she has are not accepted anywhere else because they are considered to be disruptive in other playgroups and child cares. The concerning question is where do they go, because about five children go there and it gives their parents respite. No-one else will take them because they are disruptive and I found that really sad. These little kids were playing and having a great time, but where do they go when they cannot go there, when that door shuts during the day?

I know the basketball and netball will be using it of a night and that will bring some income to cover some areas of cost, but it does need to be more utilised during the day.

It is very sad. I acknowledge the work of the staff who have given their all to ensuring people see a friendly smile and get a warm hello when they walk through their doors. As sad as they feel, they put on a happy face and you never see the tears until you talk to them later and they tell you how worried they are about what they are going to do. A terrible situation.

Traffic and infrastructure: I was pleased to see $75 million allocated to the Launceston and Tamar Valley Traffic Vision including improvements to Invermay junctions, upgrades to the Batman Highway, Frankford and Berrilee roads and planning for a new Tamar River crossing. I am hoping the $75 million includes some actual works as opposed to just reports, but I know how much reports can cost, which is very unfortunate. While this policy spans across Launceston, Windermere, and Rosevears electorates, I hope to see some outcomes from this traffic vision that will ease congested traffic in the city, improve safety outcomes for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and provide good quality roads for our transport sector.

I have spoken before about how the need for improved traffic solutions in and around Launceston has become more and more urgent. We have in fact been speaking about concepts like a Launceston ring-road for several decades now. Getting around Launceston, especially over our bridges, seems to be getting harder, not easier.

One of the centrepieces of this Budget has been the progress on the Bridgewater bridge and I am pleased to see this moving along. It is needed and it will, hopefully, improve traffic flow and safety in the south of the state. Hopefully, in the next budget or two we will see similar flair and alacrity around the construction of a new Tamar River crossing, not simply commissioning more and more reports that tell us the same things over and over again.

I was also pleased to see money in the Budget to do with the Workers Memorial Garden. Every year on 28 April, we go to the Workers Memorial Garden at Inveresk and every year the families of those who died at work plead for it to be completed and finished. It is a very sad place to go, but they go along there to celebrate the lives of their loved ones. It is usually their children - the people who I have seen there, it is generally their children who have died at work. One man I see every year brings his son's work boots along, sets his work boots there. They let balloons go, the little children who are there let the balloons fly. They have a prayer and talk about it, and every year they say, 'When is this going to be finished?' It has been promised for years to be finished. I do not know whether $150 000 will finish it, but I am really hoping that it goes a long way towards doing some more work on the Tasmanian Workers Memorial Park in Elizabeth Gardens in Invermay.

The things that make Launceston so special are things that are done by our communities for our communities. Our markets, our libraries, our migrant groups putting on events for our families and getting people out and active are the special little features that make living in Launceston such a gift. Over the past weeks, like many other members, I have spent a lot of time at presentation events for bowls clubs, and team nights, lots of other sporting clubs, and cricket clubs. I have several cricket clubs in my electorate that have all gone very well and won a number of flags this year. The Northern Tasmania Softball Association put on a terrific finals weekend a couple of months ago, and I was absolutely delighted when they asked me to return for another year as their patron. We all know it is great to be the patron of these great clubs and go along and support them and help them out where we can.

It is fantastic to see so many kids and families involved with sport and developing teamwork skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. As I have said, one of the growth sports that I really noticed was soccer. Going up to soccer one night, they were short of someone working in the bar, so my son and I went up and worked. I have got my RSA, and he was free that night - so we worked in the bar for one of the games. It is interesting when you are actually up there. First of all, I must say, he did think it was probably an hour and a half. I did not realise that it was going from 5.30 p.m. to about 10.30 p.m., because there were several games, but in fairness to him, he did stay and assist in cleaning out the fridge and doing all sorts of things as someone who works in a bar all the time does.

It was amazing to see the number of children and young people who were there playing soccer. It is a huge sport, and I am always amazed at the difference in funding, and I know it has been explained when I have asked why there is a variation. They try to tell me that they get the same amount per person as AFL, but I really do not believe they do. The numbers really just do not stack up, because there seem to be huge numbers playing soccer. I would realistically like to see soccer given a little more funding when you consider that sport is so good for keeping healthy and keeping kids off the streets and doing things they love.

Mr Gaffney - It is 34 000 people who play or are involved with soccer. Football ‑ from my recollection - is 23 000. There is about an 11 000 difference in participants.

Ms ARMITAGE - I know when I have asked for the comparison I have been told, 'Oh, no, when you look at this,' and there is always some excuse to say there is some way of reconciling that they are getting as much, but it is very hard to actually see that. I certainly agree that it is a sport that is worth funding.

We had Western United come to Launceston for two games. That was really great because they were either top of the ladder or second on the ladder, and in the grand final. It was really good for them to come down. I know that Launceston City got to play a game at UTAS Stadium. They were so delighted to be there in front of the crowds. It gave them such a boost, which is what we all want for our kids, to enjoy it and be spurred on to continue.

The biggest part of my job is not necessarily what I do here in the Chamber; it is doing my best to represent the feelings and views of the people of Launceston. I cannot do that unless I stay in touch with the people and organisations in the community which make things happen. I call them the 'doers', not the people or groups you might necessarily see in the paper every week, but the quiet ones who keep their heads down, work hard and get things done. The people whose work brings benefit to the community, establishes a sense of pride and makes Launceston feel like home.

This Budget, like those before it, and those that will come, contains impressive numbers, and I am sure it will enliven our health and education sectors, assist our community development organisations, and keep our economy ticking along through infrastructure and capital works. We have seen plenty of analysis this week on those numbers and what outcomes they will have.

I have some questions that the Leader might be able to answer for me, regarding electric vehicles and the electric vehicle fleet. I have a constituent who regularly brings up issues and concerns with me. We all know how important climate change is, but we have to be sure that we do things properly and steadily.

In this Budget Speech, it says:

We will invest a further $2.3 million towards transitioning the Government fleet to electric vehicles by 2030, reducing our dependence on imported fuels, increasing demand for our renewable energy and reducing emissions and operating costs. This has the added benefit of bringing more electric vehicles to the Tasmanian used car market.

This was raised with me with regard to the Tasmanian used car market. I assume that the government fleet would be retired at around 60 000 kilometres. However, if you read up on electric vehicles, they need a new battery at around 100 000 kilometres, and batteries are extremely expensive. I wondered about the cost of that.

Mr Valentine - Through you, Madam Acting President, I believe there is at least 10 years life for a battery.

Ms ARMITAGE - If you look on the internet, it says 10 years or 100 000 kilometres, whichever one comes first.

Mr Valentine - It does not mean that they just stop working. They just gradually decrease in their capacity.

Ms ARMITAGE - I wondered whether they would be hybrid. I know that the member for Hobart has a hybrid, and that must work well because you have that dual power source.

Then I looked at the charging stations, and that is where I was confused. The member for Hobart might be able to answer the questions, as well as the Leader. I am concerned that when you read about all the charging stations around the state, they seem to be different.

The one at Brighton is a 350 kilowatt. Is that for trucks? Is that why it is 350 kilowatts? The majority are only 50 kilowatts. There are some that are 11 kilowatts. That is only for Tesla in Hobart. There is another one that is only 22 kilowatts.

Mr Valentine - Through you, Madam Acting President, it varies according to the speed at which they charge the vehicle. If it is a fully electric vehicle like a Tesla, a 350 kilowatt charger might charge it within the space of 20 minutes.

Ms ARMITAGE - It is not going to blow your car up if you use a 350 kilowatt, as opposed to the 50 kilowatt?

Mr Valentine - No, but some would say that sometimes the life of the battery might decrease more. It is the difference in speed in which they charge. Some vehicles could not possibly take the 350 kilowatt. Mine would not take that.

Ms ARMITAGE - I was interested that there are not just two different ones. There is 14 kilowatts, there is 22 kilowatts, there is 11 kilowatts, there is 7 kilowatts at all of these different charging stations.

Mr Valentine - Basically, it changes the speed at which they charge.

Ms ARMITAGE - So, when you go to a charging station, you are not really going to know how long it is going to take you to charge. I had not realised they were all different until I looked it up.

Mr Valentine - The app would tell you what the likely charge rate is.

Ms ARMITAGE - I was interested that they had all different kilowattages for different ones. I know if I was driving a car, and I thought I was going to a charging station, I would not be aware that they are all charging at different times. I would have thought they were all the same.

Mrs Hiscutt - Through you, Madam Acting President. The member for Hobart is very much across that sort of stuff, and thank you for those comments.

Mr Valentine - Sometimes it is older information, but it is mainly a rate at which it charges. The app that you get, which tells you where these things are, would indicate what level of charge rate it was.

Ms ARMITAGE - I wondered how long you had to be there if you only had one that was 7 kilowatts, as opposed one that was 50 kilowatts, or 350 kilowatts, because they are not all together and all in different parts of the state. Thank you, it was an interesting thing I had noticed when looking them up.

As we move into a post-COVID-19 world and the somewhat extreme circumstances we have experienced recently, we have moved into a more stable and predictable rhythm. I hope we get a chance to do more with our community groups. Our successes in recent years have come off the back of a strong volunteering sector and through the tireless work done by community groups who work for free and expect nothing in return for what they give. Obviously, if we had to pay the volunteers we have in our state the budget would be a great deal higher.

Ms Webb - It has been costed at $4 billion a year.

Ms ARMITAGE - I hope these people can continue to volunteer because it is getting harder and harder because more people have to work longer hours. If you are working longer hours, you have to find the time to be able to volunteer as well, particularly if you have a family to go home to and look after and, in those cases, it is not always getting easier.

In the months and years to come, I will continue working with them and see what we can actually provide them with so they can thrive and continue to make places like Launceston the wonderful places they are.

Madam Acting President, I note the Budget.


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