Gutwein ascends to Tasmanian Premier

Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein has replaced Will Hodgman as the state's premier.
Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein has replaced Will Hodgman as the state's premier.

Tasmania's new premier Peter Gutwein says more needs to be done on climate change and job creation on the island state.

The treasurer ascended to premier on Monday, replacing Will Hodgman who stood down last week for family reasons.

"A rapidly changing climate is now the new normal and we must learn from the recent lessons of the mainland bushfires and once again we must do more," Mr Gutwein said in his first press conference as premier.

"I also understand very clearly not every Tasmanian is reaping the benefits of our stronger economy and not every Tasmanian is able to grasp the opportunities that presents.

"My vision for the state is for a Tasmania that no matter where you live, no matter what your background is, no matter what your circumstances are, opportunities will be there and if you want to grasp those opportunities, a better life will be within your reach."

Mr Gutwein was unanimously endorsed as the 46th premier on Monday, after the only other person running, senior minister Michael Ferguson, stepped away from the race hours before a vote.

Mr Gutwein will be sworn in on Monday.

State Liberal president Rod Scurrah said he had no doubt Mr Gutwein will be a great premier.

"Along with continuing Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff, Peter has been an integral part of the leadership team of the Tasmanian Liberal Party since his election in 2002," he said in a statement.

Mr Gutwein and Mr Ferguson were vying for the top job in what was seen as a contest between the party's moderate and conservative factions.

Mr Ferguson had planned on running with Attorney-General Elise Archer as his deputy.

But Mr Ferguson pulled out of the race on Monday morning after spending the weekend talking to colleagues.

"As I said last Thursday, my position, as always, is to do what is best for our party, the government and most importantly the Tasmanian people," he said.

"Peter Gutwein and Jeremy Rockliff have made significant contributions to Tasmania in their Parliamentary careers and they will be a strong and dependable leadership team. We respect them. They will have our full support."

Mr Gutwein represents the moderate faction of the party, with devout Christian Mr Ferguson the more conservative option.

Mr Hodgman last Tuesday stepped down as premier after six years in the role and 18 years in politics, citing a desire to spend more time with family.

He said a mid-term exit was the right time for fresh leadership ahead of the next state poll in 2022.

Mr Gutwein hails from the electorate of Bass, meaning Tasmania will have a premier based in the state's north for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Australian Associated Press