MOTION – Premier’s Address
3 March 2022
Mrs PETRUSMA (Franklin – Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management) – Mr Deputy Speaker, as a proud member of the Tasmanian Liberal Gutwein Government it is a privilege to be back for this, the second year of the 50th Parliament of Tasmania, and I would like to congratulate the Premier on his 2022 address. I also want to thank the Premier for his friendship and for his calm, steady leadership. His reassuring manner has been of great comfort to all Tasmanians throughout the challenges of the past two years.
Under the Premier’s guidance Tasmania has weathered the worst
of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is
not over yet, we are in a good place and our reopening plan is progressing
well. We have worked hard to deliver our
plan to secure Tasmania’s future and we have kept Tasmanians safe. This week the Premier outlined a bold
long-term vision for the future of Tasmania, with significant announcements in
health, education, children and young people, women, family and sexual
violence, skills and training, housing, renewable energy, Aboriginal affairs,
tourism, agriculture, the environment and sporting infrastructure.
It is clear that along with current economic indicators and our
strong policy and infrastructure agenda that our beautiful state is poised to
maximise the opportunities and to thrive once again. Tasmania is now in a fantastic position with
unemployment at a record low of 3.8 per cent, which is half of what is was when
we came to Government in 2014. Tasmania
has been rebounding strongly from the worst of the pandemic with state final
demand in the December 2021 quarter growing at a massive 5.8 per cent over the
last 12 months. This was the second
highest growth rate in the nation. These
are just some of the reasons why CommSec has rated Tasmania as the best
performing economy in Australia for eight consecutive quarters.
I am honoured to be the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management and the Minister for Parks. The opportunity to work across all three of these portfolio areas is a great privilege and I am very dedicated to delivering on all of our commitments during our third term of Government. Like the Premier I also want to thank in the most generous of terms our hardworking, dedicated and talented public servants as well as all of our Parks personnel, police officers, fire fighters and state emergency service personnel who over the past two years have gone above and beyond in their efforts to keep our state safe and to assist those Tasmanians who needed support during these most challenging times.
Likewise, I want to acknowledge all of my wonderful ministerial
and electorate staff, each of whom work exceptionally hard and very long hours
to support me. From the bottom of my
heart a huge and big thank you to all of them.
I wish to also congratulate my wonderful parliamentary colleague and
fellow member for Franklin, the honourable Nic Street MP, for his well-deserved
promotion to Cabinet. I wish him every
success in each of his portfolios. I likewise
also congratulate the member for Clark, the honourable Madeleine Ogilvie MP, on
her promotion to Cabinet, Mr Tucker for his election as Deputy Speaker and
Chair of Committees, and Mr Ellis on his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary
to the Premier and Government Whip.
I would like to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of
both Sarah Courtney and of the honourable Jane Howlett MLC and their time as
ministers. We should all understand and
appreciate the difficulty in balancing the demands of public life and
family. The recent loss of family
members I know has been a devastating loss for both Sarah and Jane and their
families. To them both, I offer my
deepest condolences today.
I would also like to warmly welcome and congratulate our new
member for Bass, Lara Alexander MP, who has a wonderful and inspiring
background in community service and will bring a wealth of skills and
experience to this parliament, and to the Gutwein Liberal team. I am also proud to represent the great
electorate and wonderful people of Franklin.
I am delighted that there are an exciting range of commitments that this
Government is delivering for those living south and east of Hobart. Anyone who has travelled between the city and
Sorell recently cannot miss the significant works that are currently under
construction as part of our southeast traffic solution, with major upgrades at
the Hobart Airport interchange and Midway Point well advanced and on track to
be finished by the end of this year.
In addition to the significant investments we are already
making in our greater Hobart traffic solution, in the next few years we will
also be commencing the $60 million dollar upgrade to deliver a new grade
separated interchange at the Algona Road roundabout, and duplication of the
Kingston bypass. On the eastern shore,
we are also providing funding towards the commencement of the $55 million stage
three upgrade of the South Arm Highway through Rokeby, which will provide full
duplication between Pass Road and Oakdowns, and remove commuter traffic from
the Rokeby commercial district.
We are providing funding to a new $8 million multi-sports
facility at Bayview Secondary College, $6.5 million for a major redevelopment
of Lauderdale Primary School and $15.1 million dollars for a major
redevelopment of Cambridge Primary School.
These are all very exciting improvements that will vastly improve opportunities
and outcomes for our children and young people in these growing parts of the
electorate of Franklin.
Keeping our community safe from harm is a core function of
government and I am very honoured to be working with our brave police officers,
firefighters and SES staff and volunteers.
Throughout the pandemic, Tasmania Police has had a central role in
protecting our community. Commissioner
Hine as the state controller has had the responsibility for the
whole-of-government response. I want to
offer my thanks and deepest appreciation to Commissioner Hine for his steady
leadership, as well as to all of our hard-working police officers and emergency
services personnel who have helped protect us from the threat of COVID-19. Their dedicated efforts have enabled us to
reopen our borders safely and to re-join Australia and the rest of the world.
Tasmania is one of the safest places in Australia to live and
raise a family because of this Government’s commitment to tackling crime and
investing in policing. Tasmania Police
recorded 24 089 total offences in 2020-21, the lowest number recorded in
eight years. This is an outstanding
result. We know that there is more to
do, which is why last year’s Budget committed $348 million over the forward
Estimates to Tasmania Police as part of our plan to keep Tasmanians safe. This includes capital funding of $100
million. The Government has also
committed to recruiting an additional 308 police officers, which is a
30 per cent increase since we came to Government in 2014. To deliver on this commitment, we have
another course of recruits that will be graduating at the academy next
week. I am very much looking forward to
welcoming them to the force.
We continue to make investments to ensure that our emergency
services personnel are well supported and have fit-for-purpose
infrastructure. I was delighted last
week to open the new $5 million New Norfolk police station. In a couple of weeks we will be opening the
new $1 million northern Special Operations Group facility as well as the new $5
million Longford police station.
We also have a new $6.5 million state control centre, which
will provide our emergency services personnel with the state of the art
technology and space they need to respond to emergencies, with the Tasmania
Fire Service and the air desk already operating from this facility throughout
the bushfire season. Linked to this
investment we will be expanding the team of skilled staff in the state
operations centre, with an investment of $900 000 to set up our permanent
multi-hazard intelligence team, that will work from the state control centre to
plan and provide rapid advice to incident response.
Tasmanians can be proud of our magnificent Tasmania Fire
Service and State Emergency Service volunteers.
This Government is delivering for our volunteers: $2 million in grants
funding on top of the $2 million committed in 2018, $2 million to roll out
enhanced standard equipment for brigades, $250 000 for new-generation defibrillators,
which are already being distributed around the state; $2.4 million for
staff to recruit and retain volunteers, and we have also doubled our investment
in the health and wellbeing program to $3 million, with this program being
fully expanded to all of our volunteers in the TFS and the SES.
Over the coming year, we will also complete the new Sorell
Emergency Services Hub, with a contract awarded to Tasmanian company
Fairbrother. Construction is already
underway. In addition to this, we are
investing $7 million to refurbish the Launceston Police Station and will
be delivering a new $3.6 million Southern Special Operations Group
facility, which is being built by another Tasmanian firm, Voss Construction and
As well, we also have our rollout of the $567 million
Tasmanian Government radio network contract, which is progressing well. Over the forward Estimates, we will also see
the commencement of a new $12.5 million Bridgewater Police Station and a
new $7.5 million St Helens Police Station.
This Government understands that we face increasing climate‑related
threats and challenges, which is why last year’s Budget provided
$125.6 million across the forward Estimates for bushfire and flood
prevention and safety, ensuring that our communities are ready and
resilient. To date, we have invested
$55 million in fuel reduction and over the forward Estimates, we will
deliver another $48.3 million to reduce the risk of bushfires. This will be a massive investment of
$103.3 million in fuel reduction since 2014.
We are also diversifying our approaches to fuel reduction. Last year’s Budget provided $2.5 million
through the fuel reduction program to support mechanical clearing in places
where burning is not appropriate. While
fuel reduction burning does not prevent bushfires from occurring, the potential
damage from fires is greatly reduced, making it easier and safer for
firefighters to control them. We have
seen this on several occasions in this summer’s bushfire season, with fuel
reduction burns already undertaken in recent years being credited with reducing
intensities of fires at Dynnyrne, Sisters Beach and Olegas Bluff in south-west
I want to thank all of our brave firefighters in the Tasmanian
Fire Service, Parks and Wildlife Service and Sustainable Timbers Tasmania and
the staff who support them for everything they do to keep our community safe
and protect our homes and our natural and cultural values and heritage.
The voices of all victim‑survivors matter. All victim‑survivors of child sexual
violence, whether historical or contemporary, need to know that they can come
forward and that when they do they will be heard and appropriate action will be
On 26 February 2021 Tasmania Police released the
Tasmania Police Outcomes Report in relation to the police investigation of James
Geoffrey Griffin. The outcomes report
demonstrated that collaboration between government agencies was not optimal and
service to victim survivors needed to be improved. Tasmania Police and other agencies have also
acknowledged this need for improvement.
As a result of the outcomes report, the Government allocated
$1.5 million for the establishment of a child sexual abuse joint review
team, which has been given the task of implementing the recommendations from
the outcomes report, along with a need to deliver a historical complaints
review process and to provide recommendations to government on structural
reform for best practice service provision to victim-survivors of sexual
violence. The joint review team includes
experienced child safety professionals from the Department of Communities,
detectives and intelligence analysts.
Since its inception the joint review team has undertaken a significant
body of work, including: undertaken a
review of thousands of records held across government agencies to assess any
potential risk to children; developed MOUs between Tasmania Police, Communities
Tasmania, Justice and Education to ensure that information is shared promptly
across agencies; and they have also developed training and investigation
guidelines for police officers and child safety professionals.
The work of the joint review team in reviewing reports and
records has been meticulous and thorough.
This process has involved the review of thousands of records held across
government systems and agencies, with a focus on the approximately 136 000
individuals who are registered to work with vulnerable people in Tasmania, as
these individuals have access to our children through their work or
volunteering. I am advised that after
all these thousands of records were reviewed by the joint review team there
have been no children identified as being at current risk of harm. Furthermore, that reviewing intelligence
holdings will continue to be a key focus to ensure that information holdings
are maintained, evaluated and used to protect children and identify and respond
to potential risk.
The impact of child sexual violence is devastating and it is
critically important that we provide the most comprehensive and supportive
response for victim‑survivors. This
Government wants to ensure that we do everything we possibly can to make sure
that our children and young people remain safe and protected. This is why, last year, the Premier asked the
Commissioner of Police for advice on structural reform across government to ensure that we are providing
a best practice sexual violence response for Tasmania that puts victim-survivors
at the centre.
Having received the Commissioner’s advice, the Premier
announced this week the Government’s intention to establish next level
multi-disciplinary centres in Tasmania.
Multi‑disciplinary centres are a proven model in other jurisdictions,
both nationally and internationally as they ensure that victim-survivors of
sexual and family violence receive immediate and integrated wraparound support
in a safe place from a range of services.
This is a landmark outcome for victim-survivors who will be at
the centre of this new support model. In
addition, this will be the most significant change to how we respond to family
and sexual violence since we came to government in 2014. These new facilities
will be a place where victim-survivors can access the support and the services
they need and, if they are ready, to formally report to specialist police
investigators through the provision of multi‑disciplinary support teams
including family and sexual support and counselling services, witness
intermediaries, police and other related services.
These multi-disciplinary centres will also have specialist
analysts embedded in them so that any and all information regarding the
abhorrent criminal behaviour of child exploitation will be subject to immediate
review and information sharing across agencies so that we can better protect
our children, improve investigation outcomes and make our community safer. In addition, these new centres will recognise
the intersection between sexual and family violence by expanding the
capabilities and resourcing of the Safe Families Coordination Unit to include
sexual violence more broadly, creating a multi-agency response and intelligence
hub with more effective working relationships between agencies for both sexual
and family violence.
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the
reporting of sexual violence which comes amid unprecedented public disclosure,
media attention and awareness around sexual violence and consent. The provision of multi-disciplinary centres
will address the increasing need for services for both adult and children
victim-survivors, and I am pleased to know that funding will be included in
this year’s budget for the first of these centres.
Victim-survivors are at the heart of this major reform, therefore
planning work has already commenced and will be coordinated alongside the
development and release of the Government’s third Family and Sexual Violence
Action Plan. The prevention and elimination of family sexual violence is a top
priority for me and this Government.
Violence against anyone in any form is simply unacceptable but the harm
caused by family and sexual violence is particularly devastating.
Today I would like to pause and acknowledge and pay tribute to
the courage of all victim‑survivors of family and sexual violence. I also thank all those in our Government and
NGOs who assist victim‑survivors of family and sexual violence and help them in
their most vulnerable time of need, as well as for their strong dedication and
ongoing efforts to support Tasmanians impacted by family and sexual violence.
Every Tasmanian has the right to live free from all forms of
violence and abuse. All of us have the
responsibility to help make this happen.
This Government takes our role very seriously. This is why since the launch of our first
nation-leading action plan in 2015 and under our second action plan launched in
2019, this Government has continued to build upon its commitment, investment
and scope in preventing and responding to family and sexual violence in Tasmania. We have invested over $300 million in
direct and indirect services in responding to family and sexual violence,
including $63 million for specific measures under our first and second
action plans and the $19 million in direct funding and $59 million in
indirect funding that the Tasmanian Government spends to address family
violence each year.
Over the same period, we have also successfully secured
$8.5 million in investment from the Australian Government, which has
enabled the very successful Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program as well
funded a range of family sexual violence supports under the national
We have also always taken a flexible and responsive approach so
that we can continue to be responsive to emerging needs and issues. For example, rather than wait for the current
action plan to expire, we committed to investing a further $11.5 million
through our 2020-21 state election policies to address current family and sexual
violence priorities and related initiatives.
As well, we have already provided additional funding to the family and
sexual violence sector to maintain increased organisational capacity to meet
demand up to the 30 June 2022.
We were also the first state in Australia to implement a COVID
response support package in anticipation of increased family violence. This is why since the onset of the COVID-19
pandemic in March 2020 we have invested an extra $10.8 million in state
and national partnership funding for additional service responses to meet demand.
As well, despite the challenges, we continue to deliver
significant new responses and key activities under Safe Homes, Families,
Communities to date, including:
increased investment in primary prevention, including establishing a national
first partnership with Our Watch;
committing all Tasmanian government departments to implement the Our
Watch Workplace Equality and Respect Standards; the launch of our new
Safe from Violence website, Tasmania’s central point of information for family
and sexual violence, and I am delighted to say that in February, this website
had a 535 per cent increase in monthly page views because of the
launch of the Hearing Lived Experience survey on 11 February.
We have also established a harmful sexual behaviours program; we
have extended forensic medical examinations to a statewide service; and there
has also been ongoing legislative reform including amending the Evidence Act
2001 to allow victims of sexual offences the right to speak out publicly and to
We have also continued our focus on holding perpetrators to
account by continuing funding for electronic monitoring following outcomes of
the trial that showed: a
76 per cent decrease in high risk incidents; a 75 per cent
decrease in assaults; an 81 per cent reduction of threats; a
74 per cent decrease in property damage; a 100 per cent
decrease in reports of stalking; and that 80 per cent of offenders
did not reoffend in the six months following the removal of the electronic
monitoring device. These extraordinary
results are why Project Vigilance won a silver award in November at the 2021
Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.
I am also pleased to note that this year, my colleague, the
Attorney-General will introduce amendments to the Criminal Code to introduce a
new standalone criminal offence of strangulation, choking and suffocation and
to amend the definition of consent in relation to stealthing.
Recent national conversations have highlighted the importance
of hearing from people with lived experience, which is why the Tasmanian
Liberal Government is putting the voices of victim‑survivors at the centre of
our consultation approach in developing our next Family and Sexual Violence
Action Plan. Through a comprehensive
consultation process with people with lived and diverse experience, the
community and key stakeholders, we will develop a range of evidence-based
initiatives based on feedback from those who are most impacted.
I was pleased to recently launch the public consultation
process to inform the development of our next Family and Sexual Violence Action
Plan. I want to say how grateful I am
and thankful that Mayor Mary Knowles OAM, who is a victim‑survivor herself, has
kindly agreed to be our consultation ambassador so as to encourage other victim‑survivors
to share with us their own personal experiences.
There are five key elements of our
community consultation including: the
Hearing Lived Experience Survey 2022; establishing a Victim‑Survivors’ Advisory
Council; partnering with Tasmanian Aboriginal people; targeted workshops with
stakeholders, especially those with diverse lived experience including people
with disability, women from CALD communities, women from rural and regional
communities and LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians; and public written submissions.
The Hearing Lived Experience Survey
2022 is an online public survey of adult victim‑survivors with lived experience
of family and sexual violence. Through
providing an opportunity for victim‑survivors to share their experience, the
survey will also build upon our previous survey that we did in 2018, by also
including people’s experience of sexual violence in addition to family
violence. Importantly, it provides
people the opportunity to share their story anonymously. The survey is being promoted through family
and sexual violence service providers and a statewide advertising
campaign. It can be accessed through the
QR code on promotional posters or via the Tasmanian Government’s Safe from
I am pleased to note that as of today we have already received 419 completed survey responses, which is a fantastic level of take up in such a short time. The survey will also be open for 12 months giving people a chance to have their say at a time that is safe for them.
The Government will establish Tasmania’s first ever Victim Survivor Advisory Council. The advisory council will inform our next action plan as well as provide ongoing advice to the Government during the life of the action plan, ensuring our policy and program design continues to be informed by lived experience.
Additionally, the Government will work in partnership with
Tasmanian Aboriginal people during the development and implementation of the
action plan, enacting the priority reform areas of the national agreement on
Closing the Gap and empowering Tasmanian Aboriginal people to lead responses in
Development of the action plan will involve collaboration
across government and we will be working with the Family and Sexual Violence
Community Consultative Group as well as with a large number of government and
non‑government stakeholders and service providers.
Like many Tasmanians, our parks and reserves are dear to my
heart and I absolutely love getting out and about with my family to experience
Tasmania’s natural beauty. The Tasmanian
Government is very committed to the delivery of upgrades and improvements to
enhance our national parks and reserves as well as creating world-class visitor
experiences for locals and visitors alike.
This Government committed an unprecedented $127 million in infrastructure
investment at the last two elections to futureproof our parks and
reserves. This investment is continuing
to support our regional economies in terms of economic activity and jobs
Just this year alone, we will be completing upgrades around the
state including the new Dove Lake viewing shelter as part of our
$29.8 million investment in the Cradle Mountain Gateway precinct which
will complement our award‑winning Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre. We will also be completing our joint
state-federal $3 million investment in new huts on the Overland Track,
with renovated huts at Kia Ora and Windermere, which will improve the quality
and experience for those completing this iconic bucket-list walk with modern,
larger fit-for-purpose facilities.
I am pleased to note that this year with the assistance of
Australian Government funding, we will be completing campsite and track
upgrades in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and a new foreshore link track
at Freycinet. We will also be undertaking
a range of upgrades to camping facilities on the east coast including at Dianas
Basin, Humbug Point, Scamander, Little Beach and Mount William National Park.
Our planned program of works for the future also includes
investing $8.4 million to upgrade the waste water treatment systems at
Freycinet National Park. The contract
has been awarded and preparations are already under way. As well, we are committed to our $3 million
revitalisation at the Hastings Thermal Pool to contemporise this jewel of the
south. In addition, we will be
continuing our program upgrades on Maria Island with a further
$6.8 million committed for investments in waste water treatment, energy
generation and rainwater capture and storage.
We also have stage two of our camping and access upgrades at
Cockle Creek with $3 million committed to deliver realignment and
construction of new camping areas for caravans, motor homes and camper
trailers. Over the next three years, we
also will be investing $10 million to provide improved and enhanced
opportunities for recreational driving in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area
and the broader west coast region, as well as increasing the management and
enforcement of regulations in the APCA through increasing the resourcing of the
Parks and Wildlife Service at Arthur River as well as undertaking review of the
legislative tools available to PWS staff to deal with behaviour which poses a
risk to the area’s natural and cultural values.
Other identified priorities include upgrades to the shack nodes
in the APCA and the development of a four‑wheel drive strategy, which will
inform the investment of our $10 million with tenders for the development
of the four‑wheel drive strategy for the APCA and west coast, closing on Monday
I was pleased to announce in September last year that the
Tasmanian Government will develop amendments to the National Parks and Reserves
Management Act 2002 to recognise the RAA process as a statutory process to
improve transparency and opportunity for public comment and appeals. The current RAA process has been in existence
for some time, having been first implemented in 2005, and it has served both
the previous Labor-Greens government as well as this Government in managing and
mitigating the impacts of activities on reserve land.
Over the last 18 months, the PWS has undertaken extensive
review of the RAA system and it has been progressively implementing
improvements to the system for greater transparency and consistency. This includes earlier consultation with
experts such as the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council and earlier
engagement and consultation with Tasmanian Aboriginal people, through
Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania and for matters to be referred to the Aboriginal
Heritage Council, as well as formal, consultative and expert review of
proposals that may affect reserved land managed by the PWS.
The next phase of RAA improvements is to develop a statutory
and binding environmental impact assessment process for major use and
development proposals. This work has
commenced and I am advised that the Department of Natural Resources and
Environment Tasmania has established a project team to lead all aspects of this
RAA reform. A consultation paper is
currently being prepared to be released in April 2022 to support further
discussions and engagement. Critical to
ensuring the success of the RAA reform will be public consultation, especially
with key stakeholders and the broader Tasmanian community. Therefore, the NRET project team will be in
contact with key stakeholders when the consultation process commences, and to
invite them to provide a submission.
Informed by this feedback, the Government will prepare a draft bill
which will be released for public consultation with a view to tabling a final
bill this year.
In parallel to this, the Department of Natural Resources and
Environment will shortly commence a program to collate and review existing
leases and licences with the intention that NRET will be ready to start
publishing these once the legislation is in place. This will include engagement with existing
lease and licence holders later this year and will be an important achievement
in the delivery of the Government’s transparency agenda and a more robust
In conclusion, I thank the Premier for his address. We have an exciting vision ahead for Tasmania
and for the next 10 years.