14 years on and Labor is still delivering for Tasmanians Sun 5 August 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version The Labor Party is continuing its proud history of social reform, with Premier, Lara Giddings today committing to an apology to mothers and children who were victims of forced adoptions. This August marks 14 years since Jim Bacon's Labor Government was elected to power. Addressing the Labor Party state conference, Ms Giddings highlighted Labor's achievements over the past 14 years, along with the State Government's plans to maximise Tasmania's potential for the future. "Labor members and supporters can be rightly proud of what we have achieved and what we are still achieving," Ms Giddings said. "The 1998 election was the catalyst for the State's transformation, which included essential social reform, ambitious infrastructure projects and strengthening Tasmania's brand interstate. "In particular, Labor has been at the forefront of key social reforms including the introduction of the Anti-Discrimination Act, recognising same-sex relationships, cracking down on domestic violence and making formal apologies to members of the Stolen Generation and people who had been abused in State care. "Today we are announcing another symbolic but important step to acknowledge the hurt caused by the past practice of forced adoptions. "I cannot begin to imagine the trauma and sense of loss those women and their children feel after having the parental bond torn apart. "While nothing can make up for the pain of a mother losing a child or a child losing their mother, a formal apology may help with the healing process." Ms Giddings said Labor had also delivered economic and infrastructure reforms to set the course for future growth. Labor has helped to strengthen communities through the construction of new Child and Family Centres, LINCs and Neighbourhood Houses around the state. The Government has reinforced the economic backbone of Tasmania through the introduction of Basslink, the roll-out of natural gas, and the reform of Tasmania's water and sewerage sector, along with major infrastructure like the Brighton Transport Hub, Kingston Bypass and Brighton Bypass. Ms Giddings said the party was by no means finished with its reform agenda and she envisioned an exciting future for Tasmania, drawing further on the state's natural strengths and tapping into the potential of the NBN. "Our $320 million irrigation program across the State is supporting primary producers to create new jobs and realize the vision of Tasmania as the nation's food bowl. "We are already seeing results, with more than $400 million in private investment set to double the size of our dairy industry in the next decade. "There is also potential to double our aquaculture industry and quadruple wine production. "We currently have record levels of mineral exploration and mining exports and our sustainable energy sector is set for a massive boost with the $400 million Musselroe Wind Farm now underway. "The visionary roll out of the NBN is creating 800 jobs in Tasmania right now. "It will create many more jobs in the future when we have nation-leading access to the digital economy - allowing Tasmanians to fully participate in the new global economy while enjoying our unique lifestyle. "It will also provide opportunities to improve services, such as health services in regional areas through eHealth initiatives." Ms Giddings took aim at Liberal Opposition's cynical approach to politics and said Labor is the right party to be leading Tasmania through a time of significant challenge. "Labor has always been the party of reform and progress. "In contrast, if you think about the hard issues like the budget, forestry, energy and health the Liberals have gone to water every time. "Will Hodgman is petrified of making a tough decision and, as a consequence, his only response to difficult issues is a chorus of hollow slogans, feigned anger and a deeply furrowed brow. "When Labor sees that changes are needed, we don't bury our heads in the sand like the Liberals, we roll up our sleeves and get to work. "We have taken the tough decisions to put our finances back on a sustainable footing and to diversify the economy and I am confident that we are beginning to see the rewards of that hard work."