Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council was set up by the Abbott Government in 2013

Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council was set up by the Abbott Government in 2013

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A joint Federal and Tasmanian Government economic development body, which has not met for nearly two years, is still in operation, the Federal Government says. The Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council was set up by the Abbott Government in 2013 to advance Tasmania’s interests and included the membership of the Prime Minister, Federal Treasurer as well as State Premier and Treasurer. But it has not officially met since April 2017 when Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister. The meeting before that was in April 2016. The JCTEC was originally proposed to meet quarterly but has actually met just seven times since 2013. “The Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council (JCTEC) has not been wound up, ” a Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said. “The Australian Government continues to engage with the Tasmanian Government on next steps for the JCTEC as part of our ongoing collaboration aimed at fostering strong employment and economic growth in the state.” Franklin MP Julie Collins said it was time the Morrison Government came clean on why the council hadn’t met and what it was doing. “Tasmanians expect and have a right to know how much this Council, which appears to be doing very little, is costing taxpayers and whether it still exists,” Ms Collins said. “The failure of the Council to meet is just another Liberal failure in Tasmania. “This is particularly disappointing when so many Tasmanians can’t get well paid, decent jobs in this state. JCTEC has had a business adviser’s group under the leadership of Burnie businessman Dale Elphinstone for several years. Other members have been former Tasmanian Minerals Council chief executive Wayne Bould, University of Tasmania professor Janelle Allison, former Local Government Association president Lynn Mason and Coca Cola Amatil chief executive Alison Watkins. In 2017 then Treasurer Scott Morrison wrote to business group members thanking them for their efforts with JCTEC. However, after media speculation about the body’s demise the Tasmanian business group members were reinstated. Most members , aside from Ms Watkins, were reappointed in July 2018 and again in July 2019. Australian Community Media understands that members met with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in March 2019 but the meeting is not recorded in the minutes on the JCTEC website. The spokesman added:”The Australian Government is supporting Tasmania’s economic growth through a range of measures, inlcuding a $173 million package of infrastructure projects to boost Tasmania’s economy and create local jobs, announced on 25 November 2019. “The Government works closely with the Tasmanian Government through a range of initiatives such as the Launceston City Deal the Hobart City Deal as well as ongoing engagement to support industry and employment. “Regional Development Australia (RDA) Tasmania also continues to work closely with local councils, the State Government and other stakeholders to boost growth and development in Tasmania’s regional communities. The minutes for the 2017 meeting suggested that at their next meeting, “before the end of the year”, the Council would focus on opportunities for Tasmania including in the energy sector. The Council was credited for its role in championing a $203 million increase to the Freight Equalisation Scheme in 2015 and $120 million for Tranche 2 irrigation projects.

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A joint Federal and Tasmanian Government economic development body, which has not met for nearly two years, is still in operation, the Federal Government says.

The Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council was set up by the Abbott Government in 2013 to advance Tasmania’s interests and included the membership of the Prime Minister, Federal Treasurer as well as State Premier and Treasurer.

But it has not officially met since April 2017 when Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister.

The meeting before that was in April 2016.

The JCTEC was originally proposed to meet quarterly but has actually met just seven times since 2013.

“The Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Council (JCTEC) has not been wound up, ” a Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said.

“The Australian Government continues to engage with the Tasmanian Government on next steps for the JCTEC as part of our ongoing collaboration aimed at fostering strong employment and economic growth in the state.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Franklin MP Julie Collins said it was time the Morrison Government came clean on why the council hadn’t met and what it was doing.

“Tasmanians expect and have a right to know how much this Council, which appears to be doing very little, is costing taxpayers and whether it still exists,” Ms Collins said.

“The failure of the Council to meet is just another Liberal failure in Tasmania.

“This is particularly disappointing when so many Tasmanians can’t get well paid, decent jobs in this state.

JCTEC has had a business adviser’s group under the leadership of Burnie businessman Dale Elphinstone for several years. Other members have been former Tasmanian Minerals Council chief executive Wayne Bould, University of Tasmania professor Janelle Allison, former Local Government Association president Lynn Mason and Coca Cola Amatil chief executive Alison Watkins.

In 2017 then Treasurer Scott Morrison wrote to business group members thanking them for their efforts with JCTEC.

However, after media speculation about the body’s demise the Tasmanian business group members were reinstated. Most members , aside from Ms Watkins, were reappointed in July 2018 and again in July 2019.

Australian Community Media understands that members met with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in March 2019 but the meeting is not recorded in the minutes on the JCTEC website.

The spokesman added:”The Australian Government is supporting Tasmania’s economic growth through a range of measures, inlcuding a $173 million package of infrastructure projects to boost Tasmania’s economy and create local jobs, announced on 25 November 2019.

“The Government works closely with the Tasmanian Government through a range of initiatives such as the Launceston City Deal the Hobart City Deal as well as ongoing engagement to support industry and employment.

“Regional Development Australia (RDA) Tasmania also continues to work closely with local councils, the State Government and other stakeholders to boost growth and development in Tasmania’s regional communities.

The minutes for the 2017 meeting suggested that at their next meeting, “before the end of the year”, the Council would focus on opportunities for Tasmania including in the energy sector.

The Council was credited for its role in championing a $203 million increase to the Freight Equalisation Scheme in 2015 and $120 million for Tranche 2 irrigation projects.

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