SUBJECTS: Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to Tasmania and his failure to put funding on the table or answer key questions about GST/university funding.
JOURNALIST: Senator what’s your response to the Prime Minister’s visit out here today?
POLLEY: I was quite surprised to see the Prime Minister slinking into Tasmania today. We know that in Hobart he didn’t bring his cheque book - he’ll only bring out his cheque book when his own election and job is on the line. But when it comes to Launceston and the University of Tasmania (UTAS) it took the Liberals six weeks to catch up to us with our commitment that we made prior to the last Federal Election. It’s good to see that he’s finally found his way back to Tasmania but as always his disappointed us. He’s put a freeze on university funding, we have O-Week coming up in a couple of weeks and young Tasmanians still don’t know what the cost of their degrees are going to be.
JOURNALIST: It’s fundamentally a good thing that the Government is supporting the city deal and UTAS relocation though?
POLLEY: It is very good that they’ve come on board with the university transition to Inveresk here in Launceston but what we really need to see is more young Tasmanians going on to university – the uncertainty around the freeze in university funding has put that in jeopardy for Tasmania. We know that our economy actually relies on having more Tasmanians going on to university and we know that the jobs that will be created in the transition to Inveresk are all good for the economy. So yes I take my hat off to him for finally coming to Tasmania, but he’s left Tasmanians off the map, he’s done nothing to secure the GST funding, he’s done nothing to reassure Tasmanians that the funding will continue and he’s done nothing at all when it comes to health. We’re on the eve of a State Election and we know that’s why Malcolm Turnbull has come to Tasmania. The Hodgman Government is in dire straits. We’ve got a crisis in our health system, they’ve gutted education.
The Prime Minister needs to come with his cheque book if he wants to win the hearts and minds of Tasmanians who are already very cynical about him.
JOURNALIST: You mentioned that he finally made his way to Tasmania. I think I’ve seen him at least four times this year. My impression is that he’s desperate to be seen here to get some of those lower house seats back.
POLLEY: He’s definitely desperate. But this is his first trip to Tasmania this year. In the New Year. He has to deliver good policies and they have to do everything they can to create jobs. There’s no new jobs being created, he’s hurting Tasmanian workers by cutting penalty rates and frankly, it shouldn’t be your credit card that determines whether you go to university or not. This Prime Minister’s done no favours for Tasmanians and I think Tasmanians understand that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
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