Abetz calls for Auditor General probe into UTAS move

Liberal Senator for Tasmania, Eric Abetz, has addressed the organisation Save UTAS and concerned Hobartians at the official launch of a petition to Hobart City Council against the severe overreach of the University of Tasmania’s (UTAS) move to the CBD expansion plan ‘Reimagine Sandy Bay’.

The senator has also written to the Auditor General over the university’s proposal, enquiring that while:

…many valid arguments have been raised as to the wisdom of such a move on planning and educational grounds, I seek your assessment of the value for money of the proposed move and the sustainability and visibility of the funding model which is consuming substantial sums of taxpayer dollars which find their genesis from the Federal Government and fee-paying students under the HEC Scheme.

Speaking in the Senate in November, Senator Abetz was the first public figure to question the university’s plan for Sandy Bay, and said the university’s plan was bereft of public consultation, costs hundreds of millions of dollars and could end up causing more problems than it solves.

“There has been a severe lack of consultation with nearly every stakeholder, from locals to businesses to university students and staff. The most impacted – and many are here today are owed a better plan for their neighbourhood.    

“The cost of the move is concerning, estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars and it raises more questions than answers, not least being is it pertinent to shift vast amounts of infrastructure when a refit would be more appropriate?

“The university must rescind this plan and go back to the drawing board. ‘Reimagine Sandy Bay’ needs more consultation and less imagination.

“There has been an excessive amount of talk and PR about town planning, cars, green spaces etc. but not so much on research and educational outcomes which must surely be the priority consideration.”

The petition will likely gather enough signatures that Hobart City Council will host a public meeting regarding the petition.  

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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