Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania

Menzies Research Centre: 100 Day Plan

Will Hodgman - Premier

29 June, 2018

The 100 day concept is not something new.

In fact, I have read it dates back to Napoleon who in his first 100 days after escaping exile was able to rally his old army and unify much of France behind him.  Of course, things didn’t quite work out as well as he might have liked, but the value of a concerted and deliberate plan was significant.

Following Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration as U.S. President over a hundred years later - and in the depths of the worst economic depression in the country’s history - over the course of his first hundred days in office he took swift action to calm the country’s financial nerves, passed an unprecedented amount of legislation, and set a benchmark against which all future presidents would be compared

Now, I accept for me that’s where the comparisons with these gentlemen probably end.

But a 100 Day Plan is something my Government had ready - for the very first day, the very next morning after the election of a majority Liberal Government four years ago.

And we also had a 100 Day Plan ready for the Election this year. A plan for us to hit the ground running; to set the tone and the pace; to focus the government; and to have something that we were prepared to be held to account against.

Now in 2014 things were quite different. For a start, it was the first time the Liberal Party had been in Government for sixteen years, and only one in our ranks had been part of that Government.

And on coming into Government we were inheriting an economy that had stalled under the previous a minority government, and had even fallen into recession.

Ten thousand jobs had been lost, and business confidence levels were the worst in the country.

And they left us with a Budget of a billion dollars in deficits

The Department of Treasury and Finance released analysis in 2014 that showed under the previous government expenses continued to be greater than revenues. They had consistently spent more in government than they we earning. They had a spending problem. They were living beyond their means.

And in 2013 the Menzies Research Centre reported, having looked at 20 years of Labor Governments across Australia including here in Tasmania, that “Labor has mastered the art of doing less with more, and leaving Liberal governments to do the hard remedial work”.

Labor governments spend more, favour expensive bureaucracies and higher public sector wages, without the proportionate improvement in outcomes for the people they represent.

That was exactly what we were getting ourselves into in 2014. It was just what happened here.

$1.1 billion dollars in deficits; net debt anticipated to reach $400 million; a $1.5 billion provision account set aside to pay for our superannuation liabilities had been spent, every single cent of it by Labor.

But we accepted the responsibility on being elected to govern immediately set about implementing the plan we'd taken to the 2014 election. We had developed it in Opposition and would implement it if elected.  And it did include a 100-day plan that we also released publicly, spelling out what we would do.

Our immediate priority was to kick-start our economy that had slipped into recession.  In our first 100 days we wanted to restore confidence in Tasmania’s business community and to intervene, step in and take action where previous Governments had failed to do so and show Tasmanian business that we would back them; to restore confidence that had fallen to the lowest levels in the country under a minority government.

So we removed development charges, and that brought forward millions of dollars of investment.  We introduced a local benefits test that allowed more of our businesses to get Government work.

We extended payroll tax relief to support local businesses to create more jobs.

We fought hard and saved jobs that were at risk – like hundreds at the Qantas call centre that were under threat.

We started the process to turn Tasmania’s twenty nine separate planning systems into a single planning scheme – the only one of its kind in the country.

And we launched a bold call to the world for expressions of interest to develop exciting and unique tourism experiences in our World Heritage Area and National Parks – the first policy of its type in the country.

Our other main priority was to stop the bleeding in our State finances – which we started in our first hundred days – with the release of my Government’s first Budget.

We made some difficult but necessary Budget savings, and we started living within our means.

On day one of our first term in Government, we started to turn it all that around. Day by day.

Now, in 2018, with the recent release of my Government’s fifth budget, it confirms that Tasmania has the strongest performing economy in the country.

State Final Demand is well above the national average and in the past year grew at the second highest rate in the country, but our export sector has had the highest rate of growth in the country.

The number of international visitors coming to our state is the highest of any state in the country.

Investment in private new capital is 19% higher than last year and is the strongest in the country.

Dwelling approvals are up 28% from the year before, compared to a national increase of 1.8%.

Motor vehicle sales are the highest in the nation. In retail trade we’ve had 42 consecutive months of growth.

Our population is growing at the fastest rate in seven years. There are now more people wanting to be here and fewer wanting to leave.

And business confidence has been restored and is again consistently ranked the highest in the country. And that is of course what’s helping to drive the investment, the economic growth, and the jobs.

We are a more confident, prouder, stronger place to be.

And there are now 13,400 more people in work than when we came to government – and more people are wantingto work because they see opportunities here.

And our Budget confirms our finances are in good shape. We’ve turned the deficits into surpluses, and ahead of what was forecast. And we are net debt free.

And we will continue to manage our finances well, and to live within our means.

In this Budget we will deliver all our election policies in full.

And that includes the 100 Day Plan we took to the March election. For the same reasons as in 2014, we developed a Plan to implement if we were elected.

It is indeed a great honour to be given the privilege and the responsibility to govern our great State. Only the second time in our State’s history a majority Liberal Party has been elected to do so.

But again, we were prepared to hit the ground running, and this time around with our plan to take Tasmania to the next level.

With a strong economy and a strong budget, we are now better able to invest in the essential services that Tasmanians need, so that more Tasmanians can feel the benefit of that strong economy and that balanced budget.

So while we’ve got more Tasmanian school kids getting their TCE now and staying in our school system, because we are extending our high schools to offer Years 11 and 12 and to give those kids the very best shot in life, we do understand that parents want their kids to have the same quality of education here that you might get interstate.

And while our elective surgery waiting lists have fallen to the lowest level ever, we recognise that there are still Tasmanians needing healthcare sooner and to have the very best care they deserve.

And while our power prices are actually lower now than when we came into Government, because of deliberate action we’ve taken to keep cost of living pressures down, we understand power bills are a very real issue for Tasmanian households and businesses.

We’ve put more police into our communities. In fact, our Government has employed more nurses, more teachers, and more police. They were cut under the Labor-Green Government. But we understand that Tasmanians do want to feel safer in their communities as well.

So, that’s what taking Tasmania to the next level is all about. It’s ensuring that all Tasmanians feel the benefit of our strong economy, our balanced budget, and that we deliver those essential services that Tasmanians expect.

Today, I can confirm that each and every one of our commitments in that 100 Day Plan has been delivered.

In this time we’ve delivered our budget which confirms those surpluses; confirms record investments into health and into education; and a $2.6 billion investment into the infrastructure Tasmania needs to support our growing economy, to make our roads safer, to reduce traffic congestion.

And since the resumption of Parliament we’ve passed legislation to restructure our Tasmanian Health Service, so it’s less bureaucratic, and delivers more local decision-making for our hospitals. And we’ve commenced the work needed to employ the 1,300 more staff that we will need in our health system over the coming years.

We've passed more legislation to reduce the tax burden in our state, to have the most competitive payroll tax regime in the country; to reduce payroll tax rates and also provide incentives for Tasmanian businesses to take on a trainee or an apprentice. We’ve extended the first home owners grant to sustain the growth in our building and construction sector, and stamp duty relief for home buyers to reduce cost of living pressures and make housing affordability something more Tasmanians can enjoy.

Joint State and Commonwealth funding has secured massive investments into our road networks as well, which we welcome.  $576 million for the Bridgewater Bridge to finally get that massive infrastructure project up and running.  Almost $90 million from both Governments to invest in one of our greatest assets, Cradle Mountain, and to restore its place as one of our nation's iconic destinations.

We've reached an agreement with TasWater and our local government to ensure that we are improving the state's water and sewerage infrastructure, reducing the forecast price increases and accelerating upgrades. We're developing the state's first trade strategy.

We're reviewing and strengthening our Family Violence laws to ensure that we give the greatest protection to those at risk. We brought forward funding to deal with our affordable housing strategy, representing the greatest ever investment in affordable housing by any Government in our state's history. We passed legislation for Metro to start operating ferries on the River Derwent.

There's a lot in this year's budget and a lot to do. And that's just a snapshot of it.

But today we're also releasing our quarterly report on our first-year agenda, and this continues the practice that we've taken into Government from day one; of publishing and also tabling in Parliament our annual work agenda, so that all Tasmanians can see what we've committed to do. We can be held to account for it, and it's an important legislative, economic, social and fiscal reform plan.

It's not especially sexy, and some might say this is a classically business-like approach by a State Liberal Government. But we believe in it, and we hold ourselves to account for it as well. It’s something, of course, that happens in any good business year in year out.

In my view, the most exciting thing about all we are doing is to take Tasmania to the next level; to not only lift quality of services that Tasmanians depend on, but also to seize the opportunities for our state.

Our economy is already strong, but when you consider our opportunity to be the nation's renewable energy powerhouse through massive investments by the State and Commonwealth Governments that will deliver billions of dollars of investment and also hundreds, if not thousands of jobs for Tasmanians, it's an exciting opportunity that we are embracing.

So, a very enthusiastic Government returned.  We are a strong and unified team.  We have a common sense of purpose and we are very deliberate in all that we do.  Our preference is not to make headlines, but to deliver, and that's what our budget and our plan is about.

I do genuinely believe that Tasmania is in a much different state now to what it was just four years ago.  We are a stronger, more resilient, prouder and more confident state on so many measures.  It hasn’t happened by chance.  This State Government, and our National Government are certainly playing a part through the plans that we are delivering and that are delivering results.

Having a goal without a plan is just a wish; having a plan without action, is worthless. The Tasmanian tiger is roaring again, and it all started with a change of government, a change of mindset, and a 100 day plan