Backing infrastructure and technology for a stronger Hobart

The return of the Gutwein Government is good news for Tasmania - and good news for the Hobart City Deal.

Signed in February 2019, the City Deal contains major commitments by all three levels of government to help develop this great city.

There are major improvements to transport corridors including replacement of the Bridgewater Bridge. This is the largest single transport infrastructure project in Tasmania, with the Morrison government currently investing $461 million, and it is designed to ease congestion and reduce travel times on this key transport and freight link.

The City Deal also commits $25 million to reduce urban congestion, with the first step a $2 million scoping study on Hobart's Northern Suburbs Transit Corridor.

The City Deal commitments are supported by other important transport projects such as the Morrison Government's joint funding of the $46.4 million Hobart Airport Interchange, alongside the Gutwein Government.

Improving connections to the airport will reduce traffic congestion through greater capacity, saving time for locals and visitors. We are also spending $130 million for the South East Traffic Package, to help maintain liveability of Sorell and Southern Beaches by improving travel time reliability through a more efficient and safer road network.

As reported in the Mercury last month, the University of Tasmania will complete its move from Sandy Bay into central Hobart by 2030. All levels of governments understand the importance of improved public transport networks to the relocated campus. The Deal includes more than $850 million to improve transport solutions.

But transport commitments are just part of the overall vision of the City Deal. It is a partnership between three levels of government, building on Hobart's strengths to make the city even more vibrant, liveable and productive.

For example, the joint objective of attracting international flights to Hobart Airport has been supported by an $82.3 million commitment from the Morrison Government to provide border and customs personnel at Hobart Airport to allow the processing of international passengers. Just a few weeks ago I was pleased to join Premier Peter Gutwein to welcome passengers from the first flight from Auckland.

Another joint objective is to redevelop Macquarie Point, turning it into a lively area with a mix of commercial, residential and other uses. Part of the vision is for an Antarctic and Science Precinct for Hobart. The next step is to develop a detailed business case, examining the feasibility of the relocation of facilities like the Australian Antarctic Division from Kingston to Macquarie Point.

Also part of the City Deal is the delivery of social housing. A $30 million investment by the Commonwealth is delivering more than 100 social housing units. I was pleased to visit Claremont recently to meet residents enjoying their comfortable modern homes.

The Hobart City Deal is just one of the many ways in which the Morrison Government is supporting the greater Hobart community. The NBN rollout is making Hobart a more connected city, with further upgrades on the way as part of our nationwide $4.5 billion investment announced last year.

This includes 280 new Business Fibre Zones around Australia, where businesses can order business-grade optical fibre for blazing fast broadband services of up to 1,000 megabits per second.

The Hobart Business Fibre Zone is one of 14 nationally centred around a major hospital; it will help transform this area into a health precinct attracting high-technology health businesses.

And of course Hobart is getting its fair share of our record-breaking national arts funding, reflecting its status as one of Australia's arts and culture hot spots.

Hobart's Terrapin Puppet Theatre for example received more than $250,000 under the RISE fund; we are also providing funds to four live music venues in Hobart and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, among others in this sector.

Hobart is one of Australia's great cities and the Morrison Government is working with the Gutwein Government and local councils to deliver a city deal which helps this great city become even greater.

First published in The Mercury, 4 June 2021.