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Long-time supporters of passenger rail in Hobart, the Greens are working towards a passenger rail policy to include the regions.
”We’d like to see more passenger rail, and not just in Hobart,” Ms O’Connor said.
She said the Greens were fleshing out and testing their ideas, and a policy could be expected in the lead-up to the March 3 election.
She said it was a “real shame” some of the beautiful scenery near rail lines was not available to Tasmanian passengers and visitors.
Ms O’Connor was speaking in the context of the Greens’ infrastructure priorities.
She said public infrastructure had been neglected.
“I’m not just talking about roads here,” she said.
“There’s been an under investment in key infrastructure for at least the past decade, and where you’re seeing this impact on the lives of everyday Tasmanians is in relation to visitor numbers.”
She argued the strong growth in visitor numbers exposed a lack of good visitor infrastructure in parks and protected areas.
She said that included “simple things” like toilet blocks and inadequately maintained camping grounds.
”Some of that smaller visitor infrastructure needs to be a priority,” Ms O’Connor said.
“We also need to be be thinking infrastructure for a generation and climate ready.”
Ms O’Connor said the Greens believed the North-West’s future was based on “this incredible region’s brand and its rich soils, and also its really good skill base in manufacturing”.
“There’s this large well of talent here and capacity, but, because the manufacturing sector during the Global Financial Crisis underwent all this upheaval in Tasmania, we have all these people who were displaced.”
She acknowledged progress had been made since then, but said there were still “real opportunities to skill up and move people into advanced manufacturing”.
Related to that, she said the Greens would like to see more resources for education and training in the region.
She said the area had capacity to build further on its agricultural branding .
She was also keen for more social enterprises.
This article first appeared on www.theadvocate.com.au
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