The thing that drives me above all else as Leader of the Labor Party is fairness.
I believe in equality, I believe in decency and a fair go for everyone – no matter where you are from, no matter your personal circumstances.
A fairness agenda is a good economic agenda.
A fairness agenda is about making sure people can access essential services like health, education, housing and get a secure job.
If people are well, safe and have a job then the economy does well too. Investing in people, investing in what’s fair, is an investment in a better future. The government I lead will be an inclusive one.
It will be responsive to the needs of the people of Tasmania and will tackle the challenges our state faces with maturity and with decisions guided by what is fair, what is responsible and what is in the public interest.
We will be an honest government. We will be an open government.
I have been clear that health is my number one priority.
A future Majority Labor Government will inject $560 million into our health system to fix the health and hospital crisis.
Our plan will support the opening of more hospital beds and employ up to 500 new health professionals, to clear bed block, reduce waiting times and deliver more appointments and more elective surgery.
Providing more Tasmanians with secure and affordable housing will allow them to focus on the sorts of things that seem impossible without a roof over their head – things like engaging with education and training, entering the job market, volunteering at the local service club and fully participating in our community.
We have committed $106 million, over the next six year to help 12,800 Tasmanians into new or vastly improved housing
Labor will address the increasing cost of living by providing truly free public education for all Tasmanian families.
This will save a family with three kids around $1800 a year.
We will invest in our schools, not only by employing more teachers, but recruiting more speech pathologists, social workers and psychologists.
We will reduce energy prices – both through regulatory reform and smart investments in renewable energy, including installing solar and battery storage on all new social housing builds.
And, of course, we will seize the once in a generation opportunity to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs.
This is an economic policy, a job creation policy and a cost of living policy.
It will put the $110 million that is lost on poker machines every year, back into the community.
I recognise that we need to change the approach of government decision making to provide for more community consultation and empowerment.
My commitment is to embed community consultation more deeply in our decision
making process.By listening to the needs of communities and of their advocates we can ensure that the decisions that we make are well informed, considered and evidence based.
I want to congratulate the Tasmanian Council of Social Services for your tireless advocacy for social reform and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Rebecca White MP
Tasmania Labor Leader
Member for Lyons
21 February 2018
Parliament House, Hobart, TAS 7000
Ph: (03) 6212 2127 Fax: (03) 6212 2104
NOTE: This is the first in our series of messages to TasCOSS Members from Leaders of political parties in the lead up to the State Election on Saturday 3 March.