The State election is on and as you might know, the Chamber is co-hosting with The Examiner and NTDC, a debate between Peter Gutwein MP and Rebecca White MP next week at the Country Club. There are still tickets available, but they’re going quickly.  If you’re planning to attend please book soon. 
While we’re not out the other side of the pandemic yet, we think it’s time to switch focus from triage and crisis- support to economic recovery & growth. With an election on, maybe it’s time to dream a little. Dream of what we might be and set some long-term goals that clearly articulate Launceston’s identity to the world. The Chamber has focussed on a few areas where we think there’s room for improvement. There’s more than these, but these are top-of-mind. 
HealthThe idea of a co-located hospital isn’t new. The model has been proven multiple times around the county. Every time you co-locate a private and public hospital the health outcomes are immediately better and the economic outcomes from planning, construction, fit-out, staffing, training and operations don’t hurt either. It’s a win-win-win and we think there needs to be bipartisan support for this to be actioned without delay. Stop talking, start building.  Let’s also find a way to delay entry into the public health system in the first place. We need more GP’s in the regions and we need them to bulk-bill so people can gain access to localised health care and stay out of the hospital system to ease the loads and clear the backlogs. A dedicated and properly resourced population attraction program would be a great place to start coupled with some health reforms.

Housing and livability New arrivals of course need housing and housing needs trades. It’s not an easy puzzle to solve, but it can be if it’s prioritised by those who form government. We’ve expanded on the opportunities for Northern Tasmania that arise from the proposed Hydrogen investment opportunity in Bell Bay. They’re immense, but to attract skilled migration, we first need to solve Health, Housing, access to Trades and oh… Education too. We’d like to see some housing solutions from anybody who may form government. Not just affordable housing, but all housing. It’s a mess.  

kanamaluka The health of the estuary has been an issue for years. It’s an important part of our heritage and a big part of our future. Its taken 150+ years to get to where the estuary is now; so we need a river health masterplan – one that takes a short and long-term view of restoring the amenity of the river with a focus on a triple-bottom-line: environmental sustainability as the foundation for recreational amenity and economic value. TEER and TEMT are doing a great job of collecting, examining and interpreting the science behind various options, but somebody needs to take that science and turn it into policy. Policy with teeth that provides real solutions.  The Chamber believe that can only come from an independent, adequately resourced, and legislatively empowered authority that can form and invoke a masterplan that takes an intergenerational view and elevates the management of the estuary above political cycles. It’ll take time, big-thinking and a commitment from this and successive governments to stay the course.

There’s more than these. Of course there is, but a serious tilt at resolving some of these issues would play well into Launceston positioning itself as a great regional city of the world. We’re keen to hear from you also. What are you seeking in this election cycle? Let us know by reply email and have a great week.

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