Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Australian Greens spokesperson for small business, said Tony Abbott's offensive statements in Launceston today exposed his lack of vision for Tasmanian small business, the engine room of our State economy.
"Tony Abbott claimed today he has a 'special focus' on the Tasmanian economy but what his statements really show is that he has no vision for the small business sector that is the backbone of this state," said Senator Peter Whish-Wilson.
"Instead of a plan that supports Tasmanians, Abbott delivered an arrogant attack on small businesses that dismissed their importance to our economy, especially the tourism and hospitality industries, which employ thousands of Tasmanians.
"These are proud, hardworking Tasmanian business people and employees who don't need the offensive remarks of someone who claims to aspire to lead this nation - he should apologise for his remarks.
"If Abbott listened to experts like Saul Eslake, chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia, he would know that a 'cargo cult' mentality is not an economic development policy and that Tasmania's future economic success is far more likely to be found in the production of highly differentiated goods and services.
"By pandering to big business and talking up white elephant "mega-projects" like the divisive Tamar Valley pulp mill proposal Abbott has shown the Coalition has no vision or plan for Tasmania except a return to community conflict and failed business models.
"And Abbott will need to spend up big before he can replace the vital clean energy revenues lost to the Tasmanian budget from removing a price on carbon - a hit on the Hydro bottom line of up to $70m per annum.
"The Greens are the only party standing up for small business, and who have a long term vision for growing employment in this state," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.