Bass Liberal MHR Andrew Nikolic with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Home Point. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLERPRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull was greeted with enthusiasm, debate and passion on his whirlwind trip to Launceston on Friday.
He shook hands and listened to several stories from the public as his tour of Launceston’s central business district unfolded – he even found the time to donate $10 to a busker.
Selfies with onlookers were a common thing as Mr Turnbull and Bass MHR Andrew Nikolic, who was never far from the Liberal leader’s side, spruiked the China free trade agreement, business confidence and the state’s potential.
Mr Turnbull, who holds a 68 per cent national approval rating, was greeted like a rockstar during his street walk until Gladstone’s Anke Skrandies bailed him up to debate the government’s policy on energy resources.
The tour then turned to the Tamar River to discuss its long-running siltation problem, before a quick doorstop for a waiting media pack.
The PM then met with eight Green Army participants at their graduation ceremony for a chat until it was time to inspect the completed Kings Meadows connector project.
‘‘It is the most exciting time to be a Tasmanian,’’ Mr Turnbull said.
‘‘The opportunities for this state, which has always been geared to export, whether it’s exporting services or goods or food or manufactures, the opportunities for this have never been greater.
‘‘You are starting to see that in improving employment … the China Free Trade Agreement alone is already seeing big increases in export orders from Tasmania.
‘‘The innovation, the initiative, the enterprise of Tasmanians led by a great premier in Will Hodgman is going to take this state to greater heights.’’
Also during Mr Turnbull’s two-day Tasmanian visit – the first since he became prime minister in September – he announced plans to replace Antarctic icebreaker the Aurora Australis, toured Fonterra’s factory at Spreyton, fended off Australian Maritime Union protesters in Devonport and had a beer with North-West tradies.
While there were no policy announcements for the North, his visit was seen as an opportunity to meet and greet Tasmanians.
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