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A COMMITTEE tasked with devising a blueprint to restart Tasmania’s economy amid the coronavirus crisis will provide its first advice back to the government next month.

Premier Peter Gutwein on Monday joined the Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council to discuss the steps towards rebuilding the state as it emerges from the health and economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

The council of community and business leaders, chaired by former Treasury chief Don Challen, was announced in Parliament last month and has already met several times.

Council chair Don Challen. Picture Chris KiddCouncil chair Don Challen. Picture Chris Kidd

Also on the committee are business leaders Dale Elphinstone, Tim Gardner, Samantha Hogg and Paul Ranson; community advocate Kym Goodes, UTAS vice chancellor Rufus Black, tourism operator Brett Torossi and Children’s Commissioner Leanne McLean.

Mr Gutwein said the council had been established to provide recommendations to government on strategies to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This includes ways to best mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, and to identify opportunities for economic and social renewal,’’ he said.

“Importantly, this will be done in consultation with all Tasmanians, with the council to undertake a three-stage consultation process geared around the timing of key deliverables.”

First meeting of economic recovery council, Chair Don Challen, Director Office of the Superannuation Commission Adrian Christian, Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance Tony Ferrall and Premier Peter Gutwein at Hobart. Picture Chris KiddFirst meeting of economic recovery council, Chair Don Challen, Director Office of the Superannuation Commission Adrian Christian, Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance Tony Ferrall and Premier Peter Gutwein at Hobart. Picture Chris Kidd

Mr Gutwein said he expected to receive a stage one report by the end of June, to ensure economic and social recovery is progressed ahead of the budget being handed down in November.

The Premier said the government was working with Treasury on a review of the state’s $3.7 billion infrastructure program to identify projects that could be brought forward.

Premier Peter Gutwein meets with the Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council on Monday. Picture Chris KiddPremier Peter Gutwein meets with the Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council on Monday. Picture Chris Kidd

He said they would include affordable housing, school upgrades, roads and other government infrastructure, and the program is expected to be announced next week.

Braddon Labor MP Shane Broad said investment in key regional infrastructure projects and a strong focus on the state’s North West needed to be central to recovery packages.

“The North West outbreak and associated extended lockdown period means the impacts of COVID-19 have been deeper and will be felt for longer than in other parts of the state,’’ Dr Broad said.

“We know the North West region will be vulnerable in recovery because of our demographics, our high exposure to global markets and the lower level of economic growth in recent years, compared to other parts of the state.

“That’s why it will be important to supercharge investment in critical regional infrastructure, to stimulate the economy and rebuild confidence.”

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the party hoped the council would focus on delivering more green skills and jobs, and a housing-led recovery.

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“The worst of all outcomes is that the direction is set early for more roads, more forest destruction and environmental damage, more raging social inequality,’’ she said.

“We’ve got the opportunity now, presented by crisis, to reshape Tasmania for the better, fairer and greener, a place where young people have real hope for the future.

“Making the right decisions now will not only help our economy recover, but will also tackle the cycle of inequality that has disadvantaged far too many Tasmanians for too long.”