Fed spend on Tas unprecedented: Hodgman

Ethan James

Tasmania's Liberal premier has hailed an "unprecedented" federal budget infrastructure spend but understands why some have labelled the promises pre-election sweeteners.

Almost $1 billion went towards road and rail upgrades for Tasmania in Tuesday's budget, including two big-ticket items in marginal seats.

In the electorate of Lyons - one of three Tasmanian seats the coalition lost at the 2016 election - $461 million was allocated for a long-awaited replacement for the ageing Bridgewater bridge.

A further $400 million will be spend on the Bass Highway that runs through the marginal Bass and Braddon.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie described the budget as a "mixed bag" but the state Labor opposition wasn't so forgiving.

"This is a budget that is purely looking at the next federal election, it hasn't got any serious reform in there," Labor's shadow treasurer Scott Bacon said on Wednesday.

Premier Will Hodgman said the Commonwealth spend was unprecedented but could understand cynicism over the timing of the funding.

A new Bridgewater bridge has for years been touted as a federal spend.

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten in March pledged $100 million towards the project, if elected.

"There may be reasons for Tasmanians to be cynical about a project which could have been delivered in fact back when there were Labor governments in power," Mr Hodgman said.

Mr Hodgman said construction on the bridge would begin "as soon as possible" but couldn't give a time frame.

The Tasmanian government was happy with an extra $190 million in its GST share across the forward estimates.

But Mr Bacon called on the state government to use it to help solve the state's affordable housing shortage.

"We've seen no investment from the federal government to tackle what is a huge problem here in Tasmania," he said.

Tasmania's biosecurity program got a $20 million boost after fruit flies were found near Devonport, threatening the island's fruit export industry.

Tasmania will receive $3.8 billion in federal funding through GST and grants in 2018/19, with Canberra supporting a clinical system redesign at the Royal Hobart Hospital and the Launceston General Hospital to relieve pressure on emergency departments

Greens Senator Nick McKim said the budget was a missed opportunity to protect Tasmania's wilderness and wildlife.

"There are cuts in funding to manage the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which faces growing threats from climate change and private sector developments," he said.

"There is also no new money to protect Tasmania's iconic threatened species like the swift parrot and giant freshwater crayfish."