Official opening of LIVING CITY Stage 1

It was a very proud moment for me to speak at the official opening of the much anticipated LIVING CITY Stage 1

Over the past few months I have had the privilege of being a National Senator representing Tasmania on the federal stage boasting about our opportunities and possibilities.

The 26th largest island in the world being only 68,401 sq kms, with annual agricultural production valued at $1.5 billion, fishery production at $913 million and forestry wood products valued annually at $383 million.

20% listed as World Wilderness heritage; 2000 km of walking tracks; an island of opportunity and an island of possibilities.

However, conversations always lead to Devonport and how it is becoming more vibrant, dynamic and a city that is truly moving ahead.

After 30 years of dreaming and numerous attempts, the vision for LIVING CITY was born February 2012, set to change our city’s heart and to revive our region.

As Mayor of Devonport, I proudly accepted in May 2015 a $10 million National Stronger Regions Grant from the National Liberal Coalition government and the State Government commitment of $12 million, enabling construction of Stage 1 to commence in mid-2016.

So here we are today six and a half years later, with the $70 million stage one built. This magnificent parnaple Centre, the 500 space multi-storey car park and Providore Place.

Building a new direction for Devonport and building confidence for our city and the region.

Where tourist can base themselves for day trips:

Sheffield – Latrobe – Central Coast – Burnie – Waratah Wynyard – Circular Head – West Coast

This is only the beginning next stage is attracting private investment for a 150 room hotel that will overlook the new Waterfront precinct.

Again a proud moment, as a National Senator having secured the $10 million funding needed for the waterside precinct having recently announced alongside the Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the National Party Michael McCormack.

LIVING City is a long term project and through its futuristic vision will provide 830 ongoing jobs and inject $112 million into our local economy each year.

It is the largest urban renewal ever undertaken in regional Tasmania.    

As a Devonport resident, I’m proud that LIVING CITY will help provide a future for our children and our grandchildren one we all can be proud of.

It will lead by example that it is OK to dream, to be aspirational, to back yourself and the aim to always leave behind a better place than what you started with, one with more opportunity and one with more possibilities.

I am very proud to be here today, to have played a major role in securing funding as a new National Senator.

But no more proud to have been involved with a great Council, a Council that showed great vision, boldness and courage.

Congratulations to all the Aldermen who fully supported the vision for LIVING CITY and in making it real.

Congratulations to Council’s management, especially, General Manager Paul West and Deputy General Manager Matthew Atkins.

Now it is about continuing with the vision, not resting on our laurels and always asking what’s next.

Notice of Motion - 25 June 2018

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move – That the Senate:

(a)    Notes that:

(i)    28 years after the creation of the Australian Football League’s national competition, Tasmania remains without a team in either the men’s or women’s competitions.
(ii)    Along with Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, Tasmania is an original foundational state for Australian Rules football.
(iii)    Australian Rules football remains one of the biggest social institutions in Tasmania, and plays an important role in in the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians, as well as supporting the strength and cohesion of communities throughout the state.
(iv)    Tasmania has been a regular and proud source of talent for the AFL and AFLW since its inception.
(v)    Despite three decades of support by the community and many politicians, including the bipartisan recommendations of a Senate Committee, the AFL has not committed to a Tasmanian AFL Team.
(vi)    Tasmanian football is at the crossroads and with limited talent pathways there is significant risk to community interest and enthusiasm which is compounded with increasing competition from other sports.

(b)    Expresses its support for the establishment and inclusion of a Tasmanian team in the AFL and AFLW at the soonest feasible opportunity; and

(c)    Calls on the AFL to commission new business plans for the inclusion of a Tasmanian team in the men’s and women’s national league by 2023.

This motion was co-signed by all Tasmanian Senators and unanimously passed in the Senate on 26 June 2018.

Incolink Business Dinner - Monday 23 April 2018

Recently I spoke at the Infolink Business Dinner about what can be done to unlock investment and job creation in Tasmania's construction industry.

Here are the opening lines of my speech or if you would like to read the speech in full please click on the link below:

I want to thank Dan O’Brien and Incolink for the invitation to speak here tonight, as well as Tim O’Halloran from the Shaping Agency for doing a great job helping to organise it.

I also want to commend Incolink for the crucial work it does in supporting members of the construction industry here in Tasmania.

As you would all appreciate, construction is an industry with arguably the greatest exposure to fluctuations in the broader economy.

Because of this, a strong safety net remains a key feature of the industry landscape.

Things like the administration of redundancy entitlements, transferrable sick leave, income protection insurance, and mental health support services might not be the most glamourous aspects of the industry.

But they really do matter.

I tend to think of them as a bit like oxygen. Very easy not to think about when everything’s going well. Pretty much all you think about when things go bad and they’re not available.

There is another dimension of Incolink’s business model which rates an important mention.

Most of you are probably familiar with the Ensuring Integrity Bill – I dare say some of you might even have strong feelings about it.

We can talk a bit about the substance of that bill in discussion later on.

For now, suffice it to say that in my brief parliamentary career so far, especially in discussions over that piece of legislation, it has not been lost on me how bitter and deeply conflicted workplace relations in the construction industry often are.

In some cases, I emerge from stakeholder meetings wondering how anything ever gets built at all.

Incolink offers a rare and refreshing counterpoint to that picture.

Along with Industry superannuation funds, the organisation stands out as a great example of what can be achieved when employer-organisations and unions, capital and labour, cooperate closely in the boardroom to achieve beneficial outcomes for members.

For that, I offer my sincere commendation.

To read the full speech click here

First Speech - 21 March 2018

On Wednesday 21 March I delivered my First Speech in the Senate as Senator for Tasmania. Below are the opening lines, to read the speech in full please click on the link below:

Mr. President, Senators, ladies and gentlemen, I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, and pay my respect to elders both past and present.

Mr. President, A few weeks ago, a local journalist from the Advocate, a tough little North West paper not known for giving away easy free-kicks, came to see me. While a kind profile piece was run, it was accompanied by the headline:


(As we know, Stephen Bradbury is of course the Australian speed-skating legend who came from behind to win gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics, as the other skaters skittled each other at the final bend).

Mr. President, others might take this headline as an insult or a back-handed compliment.  Perhaps that was even my instinctive response.  But, on reflection, I have come to welcome the comparison.  If nothing else, I’m in good company.  We now have a small army of Bradburies in this chamber, thanks to Section 44 of the Constitution.

But more importantly, there is a hidden moral in Bradbury’s unlikely success story about being positive – about having a dream, backing yourself against the odds, and giving things a red-hot go.

Stephen Bradbury was not the world’s best speed-skater.  He wasn’t the strongest or the fastest.  Frankly, his prospects were pretty dim.

Imagine the self-doubt he had to overcome and the set-backs he faced along the way.  But there he was at the Olympics.

He drew on all his courage and determination to get there.  He put in all the hard work.  And then, at that fateful final turn, (twice) the gods smiled, the luck came on his side.  And the glory was his.

Mr President, The Advocate was right.  It is positivity and determination, along with the good fortune that sometimes follows, which has delivered me into this most rare and humbling position: as a Federal parliamentarian representing Tasmania in the Senate.

It is a responsibility and an honour which I take with great seriousness and humility.

To read the full speech click here