COVID-19 had an immediate economic and social effect on all Australians. As businesses shut, state borders closed and millions of Australians lost all or part of their income, State Governments stepped in and provided immediate relief.
The Australia Institute Tasmania
The Australia Institute has released a new report looking at how key economic criteria can be used to assess the effectiveness of future stimulus measures in Tasmania.
The report has been sent to all Members of the Tasmanian Parliament, some members of the Premier's recovery taskforce, industry and community leaders and unions.
“As stimulus money starts to flow, it is important that Tasmanians understand what and why decisions are being made,” said Leanne Minshull, Tasmanian Director of the Australia Institute.
The economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic requires fast, large, effective and well targeted fiscal stimulus. While the size of the federal government’s initial three spending packages is appropriate as an initial response, both the shape of that response and the design of future spending measures need to be carefully evaluated.
A prominent group of Tasmanian individuals and organisations have today called for the establishment of a multi-party parliamentary oversight committee to ensure adequate scrutiny of the COVID-19 response while the Tasmanian Parliament is not sitting.
Such a body has already been established in New Zealand to help fill the accountability gap. Known as the Epidemic Response Committee, it is an all-party special select committee with similarly broad powers as those of a Privileges Committee regarding calling witnesses and the provision of documents. The select committee was set up by consensus with all parties represented, and hearings are publicly broadcast.
In the last week of March 2020, both the Tasmanian State Parliament and New Zealand’s Parliament voted to suspend sittings. New Zealand adjourned for about five weeks (till the 28th of April) and the Tasmanian parliament for about five months, until August.
Before the Tasmanian Parliament adjourned, it granted extraordinary powers to the government through the enactment of the Covid-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (the Covid-19 Bill).
Before the New Zealand Parliament adjourned, it – by consensus – established the Epidemic Response Committee, a special select committee to examine the Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Australia Institute welcomes the Tasmanian Government’s announcement to invest into the hydrogen industry.
‘Green’ hydrogen is produced by splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen through a process of electrolysis.
“Hydrogen has been touted as a renewable energy source, but that is only true if the energy used to create it in the first place is not a fossil fuel like coal or gas,” said Leanne Minshull, Director of the Australia Institute Tasmania
An open letter signed by Australian and international forestry and climate experts, published by the Australia Institute today, has called for the immediate nationwide cessation of all native forest logging in response to the climate, fire, drought and biodiversity loss crises currently facing Australia.
The letter, signed by scientists from countries including Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and more, warn that native forest logging increases fire hazards and calls for the redeployment of forestry workers into fire services and national park management roles.
The Australia Institute wishes Premier Will Hodgman, one of Tasmania’s most popular premiers, all the best for his future endeavours.
The Premier can be proud of many of his achievements, particularly leading the government into a pro-renewable energy stance.
Will Hodgman’s retirement will present both a challenge and opportunity for the Tasmanian Government, The Australia Institute has said. At the last election he secured 38% of the first preference vote in Franklin, 4% above all of the ALP vote combined.
A Ucomms poll commissioned by the Australia Institute of 1,136 residents across Tasmania on the evening of 22nd October, found almost two thirds of Tasmanians want to see takayna/Tarkine protected rather than logged.
Despite state government plans to log old growth and rainforest in takanya/Tarkine, support for preserving the forests in a national park remains strong at just under 66%
“We wanted to test community attitudes, given the governments strong advocacy for logging over the past 12 months and see if it had had an effect” Said Leanne Minshull, Director The Australia Institute – Tasmania
Several market and physical challenges exist for a new proposed coal development in Tasmania’s southern midlands, according to a new briefing paper released by the Australia Institute Tasmania today.
The company seeking to develop the project, Midland Energy, is looking to raise capital in the U.S.A. where it is claiming coal demand is “rampant” in Asia and increasing globally.