In Their Own Words

01.03.11 12:00 am

MEDIA RELEASES:GovernmentGreens TasmaniaAustralian Greens, Bob BrownAustralian Greens, Christine MilneTasmanian LiberalsTasmanian Liberals, Will HodgmanTasmanian Labor, David BartlettFederal LaborFederal LiberalAustralian DemocratsTasmanian Socialist AllianceAustralian Socialist AllianceEthics & Sustainability PartySenator Online - Australia’s first and only internet based political partySustainable Population Party


Politics | Media

Natural marriage: what lies behind Ireland’s rejection?

Mrs Roslyn Phillips, BSc DipEd National Research Officer FamilyVoice Australia: a Christian voice for family, faith and freedom
25.05.15 8:12 pm

“There were Bibles in every Irish polling place last Friday – but over 60% of voters rejected its teaching that marriage is a man-woman union, and has been from the beginning of history,” FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said today.

“Jesus said in Matthew 19:4,5 – ‘Haven’t you read that in the beginning, the Creator made them male and female … and said, For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father, and be united with his wife …?’”

In Matthew15:17, Jesus also referred to porneia – a Greek word, often translated as sexual immorality (or, in the King James Bible, “fornications”).  It refers to all sexual activity outside marriage, and it includes fornication, adultery, sodomy and bestiality.  Jesus condemned porneia as evil.”

Ros Phillips said the Irish referendum result in favour of same-sex marriage was no surprise.  “Continual revelations of serious child sex abuse committed or condoned by Irish church leaders have led to widespread rejection of church teaching as hypocritical,” she said.

“But in reality, what voters did last week was to throw out the baby with the bathwater – literally.  It is Irish children who will suffer from the passing of the referendum, because it effectively denies them their basic right as far as possible to know and be cared for by their natural parents (Article 7, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child).  Already we are seeing reports of donor-conceived children who suffer serious identity problems leading to depression and drug abuse,” Ros Phillips said.

Dr David van Gend of the Australian Marriage Forum has commented: “Ireland has written a social suicide note, and we grieve for her.  But we will not follow her.”

Ros Phillips agrees.  “At present there seems to be a hysterical rush to change the meaning marriage has always had,” she said.  “Federal Labor MP Tony Burke claimed today that this change would make no difference, but experience elsewhere suggests that it could ultimately destroy marriage itself.  If marriage can mean anything, it will come to mean nothing.  People will no longer bother to marry – to the detriment of their children.

“Australia can afford to sit back and observe what happens.  We should wait and see,” she said.


New ICT jobs in Tasmania

Will Hodgman, Premier
25.05.15 8:11 pm

Supporting and creating new jobs is this Government’s number one priority, and will be a key theme of this week’s State Budget.

That’s why it such great news that Australia’s largest locally-owned ICT company, in partnership with the Government, has agreed to expand its operations in Tasmania.

UXC will transform its existing 12 person operation in Hobart into a large Customer Support Centre, creating 50 new full time jobs, and securing the existing positions.

The expansion of UXC in Tasmania is a major vote of confidence in Tasmania’s economy, and an opportunity for jobs growth in the rapidly advancing sector.

To ensure UXC expanded into Hobart, rather than taking these jobs offshore, the Government has agreed to provide $1.7 million over five years to establish the new support centre in Hobart.

The Department of State Growth is working with UXC to find appropriate office-space, as well as exploring opportunities for a collaborative graduate employment program with the University of Tasmania.

Information and Communication Technology is a rapidly expanding industry and offers huge opportunity for economic growth and jobs in a range of other sectors.

We are committed to building on the momentum in the economy and creating jobs, and this agreement with UXC will help to achieve this.

Provision for the $1.7 million in jobs-support will be made in Thursday’s budget.



Federal Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson
25.05.15 7:35 pm

SEVEN towns in Tasmania’s Lyons electorate are among 450 country towns nationally who will find it easier to attract doctors under an overhauled GP Rural Incentives Program, Lyons MP Eric Hutchinson said today.

Under changes announced by Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash, 450 country towns will receive an increased subsidy to attract and retain doctors.

Mr Hutchinson said the new system would mean that smaller rural communities like Beaconsfield, Beauty Point, Deloraine, Port Sorell, Sheffield, St Helens and Westbury would be able to more easily attract and keep GPs.

``The new system will deliver a fairer system for smaller towns, redirecting money to attract doctors to these towns that have genuine difficulty attracting and retaining doctors,’’ Mr Hutchinson said.

``I’m pleased that these seven towns in Lyons have qualified for the subsidies.’’

Other changes introduced by Senator Nash include:

• Doctors will be able to take leave from a rural practice for up to five years with no loss of incentive status on their return.
• Four existing programs have been streamlined into a single retention payment.
• Doctors will need to stay in a rural or regional area longer – two years instead of six months – before they receive the incentive.

The new incentive arrangements will start from July 1 this year.


Skills forum a chance to continue to build the momentum

Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth
25.05.15 7:34 pm

Under the Hodgman Liberal Government, Tasmania is heading in the right direction and we are building on the momentum to drive economic growth and create jobs.

A key part of our Plan is engaging with and investing in our Tasmanian workforce. The importance of investment in our workforce through training, skills and development, cannot be understated.

Today I spoke to attendees at the annual TCCI Skills and Workforce Development Conference, starting in Hobart this morning, about the Liberal Government’s investment in real skills for real jobs.

Skills development is a partnership between government, employers and employees. This partnership is targeting growing jobs and our economy. The State invests more than $100 million annually in training across Government, and the benefits are clear.

We are committed to supporting economic growth and prosperity in Tasmania through developing the skills of its people and supporting the strategic workforce development of its industries.

The number of Tasmanians undertaking skills training and subsequently gaining employment is a real positive. Skills Tasmania saw a 14% increase in the number of government funded VET students in 2014 over the previous year. The total number of students in 2014 was 33,735 and this level of engagement is a strong endorsement of our investment in training. Student Outcome Survey results in 2014 found that 78% of students were employed after training.

The Liberal Government is determined to continue to build on this momentum and create more skilled jobs for Tasmanians.



Nick McKim MP | Greens Member for Franklin
25.05.15 3:50 pm

Tasmanians are set to receive a budget this week that’s short on vision, compassion and empathy.

Instead of using the windfall GST gain to re-fund the essential public services that they slashed, the Liberals will invest in concrete and asphalt to try to prop up their seats at the next election.

Mr Gutwein’s laughable attempt to take credit for the GST windfall is like a lottery winner saying their million dollar prize is due to robust management of their household budget.

Infrastructure investment should transition Tasmania out of the old economy and into the new, but the Liberals are still focused on chopping it down, digging it up and building more roads.

The Liberals promised before the election that frontline jobs and services would be quarantined from cuts. They now have a chance to deliver, but the budget will show that that roads are more important to them than people.



Federal Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson
25.05.15 3:21 pm

A NEW $14 million forestry training centre at the University of Tasmania is a significant vote of confidence in one of the state’s major natural resources, says Federal Lyons MP Eric Hutchinson.

``This is a fundamental step on the way to supporting this important industry into the future,’’ Mr Hutchinson said.

Mr Hutchinson told Federal Parliament today he shared the university’s view that there is huge potential for Tasmania’s forestry sector to be transformed from the commodity driven, low-technology industry of the past into something very special.

The Federal Government last week announced funding of $3.6 million for the University of Tasmania which will be matched by industry and university contributions to provide the $14 million required for the centre.

The training centre aims to build the capacity to transform the Australian forest products sector by providing advanced training and research.

It plans to train a workforce capable of improving use of the resource which should allow the sector to exploit emerging markets in the use of renewable materials.

The centre’s partners range from forest managers to architects and engineers to ensure a flow of information from forest to design and manufacture.

Mr Hutchinson said that the Federal Government’s support for the project recognised the use of timber and wood fibre as a product for the 21st century.

``There is so much that is possible from downstream manufacturing from laminated timber to plastic alternatives,’’ Mr Hutchinson said.

``Tasmania is really good at growing trees and this is about looking forward to support our industry into an innovative future.’’


Family Violence

Will Hodgman, Premier
25.05.15 1:11 pm

The Tasmanian Government is determined to take action to reduce the appalling incidence of family violence.

There must be a cultural change in attitudes towards family violence.

Every perpetrator of family violence must understand it is unacceptable to be violent towards women and children and every woman must be secure in the knowledge they and their children have a right to be safe.

Across Government each year we contribute $16 million in direct and $24 million in indirect funding to address family violence and this week’s Budget will see some additional funds.

But despite these resources, money alone is not enough.

It is for this reason I will take a leadership role in addressing this social ill. As Premier I will take responsibility for a whole of government response, and to help drive change.

It is estimated that one in three women have experienced some form of family violence in their lifetime and the majority of domestic violence cases include children as victims as well.

Tasmania has already committed to being the lead jurisdiction to draft model legislation by the end of 2015 to underpin a National Domestic Violence Order Scheme.

Tasmania is also part of a new national campaign to raise awareness and change negative attitudes. Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hine has been appointed to the panel to advise the Council of Australian Governments.

I announce today that the Tasmanian Government will join the national OurWatch initiative, a campaign which partners with sporting codes and peak bodies to identify ways to prevent violence against women and children.

My Department will prepare a comprehensive action plan to target family violence over the short, medium and longer term. This plan will be released in August.

We will work directly with service providers and those affected by domestic violence to change behaviours and attitudes in our community, improve services for those who are affected and strengthen the legal framework to deal with perpetrators.

Family violence is an incredibly serious problem, and very much a top order priority for my Government.


Menzies researchers shine light on footballers’ knees

Miranda Harman Marketing and Communications Manager Menzies Institute for Medical Research University of Tasmania
25.05.15 1:07 pm

The prevalence of knee injuries among Australian Rules footballers has prompted researchers at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania to take a closer look at structural changes taking place in the knees of active players.

Despite the frequency of injury, very little is known about the clinical relevance of knee changes in athletes, although there is evidence suggesting that some knee changes commonly seen in osteoarthritis may also be present in athletes.

Osteoarthritis expert Dr Dawn Aitken, a Senior Research Fellow at Menzies, performed knee MRI scans on a group of Australian Rules footballers playing in the Tasmanian State Football League during the 2014 season.

The scans showed that knee changes were common (67% had a bone lesion, 16% had meniscal damage, 43% had cartilage changes and 67% had inflammation). These changes appeared to be clinically important because they were linked with pain, dysfunction and past knee injury and surgery. During the course of the season, players who reported a new injury were more likely to develop bone lesions, cartilage changes and meniscal damage.

“While many players had knee changes resembling what is seen in osteoarthritis, at this stage, it is unclear whether they constitute an acute injury response - they may present a stress response to heavy loading and be ‘normal’ in this population. We are still unsure of their implication for long-term knee health and we now need to gain a better understanding of what happens to the knee changes over time in these players.” 

The study reiterates the importance of knee injury prevention. The researchers hope that gaining a better understanding of knee health in athletes will help to develop more effective prevention, treatment and rehabilitation strategies for acute knee injury, which may have the potential to prevent the subsequent development of osteoarthritis in the future.

“What we would really like to do next is follow players over a longer timeframe and see if their knee changes do contribute to the future risk of developing osteoarthritis and whether it is possible to intervene early to prevent this from happening,” Dr Aitken said.

The research was presented at the Australian Rheumatology Conference in Adelaide at the weekend



The Hon Peter Dutton MP Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
25.05.15 1:05 pm

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Vessel (ACV) Ocean Shield will return to Australia tomorrow after a 42 day patrol in the Southern Ocean.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck said the voyage had covered more than 6385 nautical miles of the vast Southern Ocean.

The patrol included Australia’s sub-Antarctic territories, Macquarie Island, Heard Island and McDonald Islands to the French waters in the Southern Indian Ocean surrounding the Kerguelen Islands.

Mr Dutton said that the Coalition Government was committed to patrolling the Southern Ocean.

At the weekend two more suspected Southern Ocean illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels had been detained by authorities in Cabo Verde, off the west coast of Africa. 

This follows the detention of the IUUs Kunlun and Perlon in Asian ports in recent months.

Mr Dutton said the decision to undertake the patrol at this time had been informed by a number of maritime risk factors, one of which was the success of the Government’s enduring Operation Sovereign Borders policy.

“With Border Protection Command personnel no longer having to intercept vast numbers of suspected illegal entry vessels to the north of Australia, Australian officers and vessels are able to protect our maritime border in areas that haven’t seen a patrol for many years,” Mr Dutton said.

“This patrol complements enforcement action against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing vessels earlier this year, and sends a clear message to those who engage in illegal fishing, people smuggling, marine pollution, and similar activities: the Australian government is committed to combatting organised transnational crime in even the most remote locations.”

Senator Colbeck said the patrol reinforced Australia’s commitment to protecting its sovereignty in the Southern Ocean, and the latest vessel detentions are testament to the high levels of international cooperation which exist to combat illegal fishing.

“Australia works closely with our international partners to close the net on illegal fishers,” Senator Colbeck said.

“Australia’s patrols are part of a wider effort, involving international cooperation and diplomatic initiatives, to combat illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean. 

“As witnessed with the detaining of the IUU vessels Songhua and Yongding over the weekend, action taken by Australia with international cooperation is leading to a significant reduction in IUU fishing in the Southern Ocean.

“I congratulate all countries involved with this international effort, and reinforce this government’s commitment to stamping out this global problem.”


Hello Friends ....

Dave Groves Photography
25.05.15 1:03 pm


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Keep Our Rail lines Tasmania (KORT): The North-East multi use trail

Clinton Brown, KORT
25.05.15 6:13 am

Keep Our Rail lines Tasmania (KORT) is a group dedicated to keeping existing unused railway lines for tourism, preservation and potential future use. We also wish to assist in the opening up of rail trails on removed rail lines.

The North-East multi use trail
KORT’s real “multi use” plan for the North-East line

KORT has announced an alternative plan for the North-East line which combines the better of two forms of tourism.  Their suggestion leaves the rails in place for small railcars but also includes the infilling of the gap between the rails to allow the rail trail to proceed.  Spokesperson for KORT Clynton Brown said this way everyone would be catered for; young and old, whereas if the rail is removed only those fit enough to ride the 60 plus kilometres to Scottsdale along the line which has steep gradients, and at times is quite remote, will benefit.  The shared use idea lets those who want to, to challenge themselves by riding along the line but will also allow others to enjoy the scenery from the railcar; a more accessible activity for the wider population.  The railcars would cater for people who also want to enjoy stops at the wineries – without this service, who really wants to ride a bike after a few wines and a decent meal? It is expected that with shared use, the tourism traffic would also be less seasonal as the railcars could operate all year round, in most weathers. Furthermore, there would be the possibility to run the railcars for special events such as the very popular murder mystery trains, operated by Don River Railway until the mid 2000s.

KORT has made contact with as many parties as possible to gain support for their plan.  Labor shadow Ministers Craig Farrell (infrastructure) and Scott Bacon (tourism) have given verbal support for the idea.  Mr Farrell said Labor’s position is not to remove any closed lines at all.  KORT have been in contact with the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) and a meeting will be arranged to discuss the plan further. It is hoped the result will be constructive based on the fact that with the line remaining in place the railway act will remain active against trespassers on motorbikes; with the trespassers being one of TFGA’s main concerns.  Another group contacted by KORT was the North East Rail Trail committee who were semi supportive of the idea but are no longer interested now their grant has been received.  Future Transport Tasmania (FTT) was also contacted, with spokesman Tobin Rowallan saying there is the future potential for logs, mining and farm produce traffic on the line. Both state and federal liberal parties have been contacted with no reply.

Mr Brown said the shared use idea would save money on the costly removal and remediation of the rail and track bed and there also would be more volunteers to help in the line/trails maintenance. He states that concerns on the condition of the track are unfounded as the railcars could run safely on most parts of the line immediately. There is also the potential for man powered railcars or rail mounted bikes to be available alike the successful rail track riders in southern Tasmania.

Currently KORTs main concern is that the grant received by the North East Rail Trail committee will lead to removal of the rail for a trail to only be used by a select few, when there is the potential to benefit so many with KORTs alternative plan which still incorporates the rail trail. Ultimately, the reality is that the 130 year old railway line is facing the risk of removal which would consequently take with it a huge part of Tasmanian history which can never be regained.

For more information and to contact KORT, please find Keep Our Rail lines Tasmania – KORT on Facebook.



Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome
24.05.15 5:41 pm

Marriage equality advocates have welcomed Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s, support for debate on the issue in parliament and have called on him to personally back a free vote for Coalition members.

Responding to the successful Irish referendum on marriage equality, Mr Abbott said the issue was properly one for parliament, not a referendum, and recommitted to letting the Coalition party room decide whether MPs should get a free vote on the issue.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“Mr Abbott is right that a referendum is unnecessary and parliament is the right forum for marriage equality to be debated.”

“But if he genuinely supports a fully-fledged parliamentary debate on marriage equality he should throw his personal backing behind a Coalition free vote.”

“Regardless of their own views on marriage equality, conservative leaders across Australia and around the world have backed a free vote on the reform, including Mike Baird, Colin Barnett, Will Hodgman, David Cameron and John Key, and it’s time Tony Abbott did too.”

“Just as Tony Abbott respects differing views in his own family, he should respect differing views in his own party by backing a free vote.”

Speaking about the views in his family Mr Abbott said, “there are a range of views inside the parliament, there are a range of views inside my party room, frankly there are a range of views inside my family. Inside the Abbott family I’m probably the last holdout for the traditional position.”

Mr Croome said the now defunct Irish Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage necessitated a referendum and that no such constitutional barrier exists in Australia.

“An Australian marriage equality referendum would be costly, polarising and completely unnecessary”, he said.

For news reports about Mr Abbott’s response to the Irish vote:


Ad campaign a powerful reminder of the dangers of smoking

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health
24.05.15 5:29 pm

Today I helped to launch a powerful new campaign warning Tasmanians of the dangers of smoking.

The ‘16 Cancers’ campaign, an initiative of Quit Tasmanian and Cancer Council Tasmania, includes graphic television advertisements showing the terrible impacts of smoking-related cancers.

Smoking can and does have appalling effects on the human body. Campaigns such as this one, which depict the full, shocking impact which smoking-related cancers have on quality of life, have been proven effective in reducing the rates of smoking.

We must continue to inform Tasmanians, particularly children and young people, of the deadly effects of smoking. I thank Quit Tasmania and Cancer Council Tasmania for their continuing efforts in the fight against smoking-related disease.

The Hodgman Liberal Government has set the challenging target of making Tasmania the healthiest state in Australia by 2025 and reducing the rate of smoking will be a key part of this.

That is why we are working to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based five-year preventative health strategy for Tasmania. A committee of the Health Council of Tasmania led by Dr Tim Greenaway is already working on the development of this strategy.


First Home Builders Boost

Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
24.05.15 5:27 pm

Tasmania is heading in the right direction and the Hodgman Liberal Government’s second budget is all about building on the momentum.

Jobs are the Government’s number one priority and the budget reflects this with a job creation package of $315 million which over the forward estimates will create more than 8,000 new jobs.

This is on top of the 4,200 new jobs which have been created since the last election.

The heavy lifting to get the budget back on track after the mess left by Labor and the Greens has been done and there will be no new savings measures in Thursday’s Budget.

I can announce today the Government has decided to again extend the First Home Builders Boost.

Rather than scrapping the $20 000 First Home Builder Boost at the end of this financial year,  the Government will extend the Boost for a further six months at the rate of $20 000 and then continue it at $10 000 per new home built after that.  This will provide a smoother transition for the building sector and first home builders.

The boost has been a fantastic success.  The Boost is helping lift building approvals, with the number of dwellings approved in the year to March 2015 at 2633, compared to 1985 in the year to March 2014.

Tasmania’s building and construction sector is worth $2 billion a year and employs 17 500 Tasmanians and while we need to maintain fiscal discipline to ensure we can afford essential services in the future, we believe this job creating initiative will drive economic activity across the State.

Since January 1 2013, 1,395 grants have been approved Statewide, with a total value of grants at just under $38 million.

The boost is helping Tasmanians achieve their dream of owning their own home and it is supporting the construction sector as it recovers from the downturn and creates new jobs across the state.



Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Health & Human Services spokesperson
24.05.15 1:42 pm

The Hodgman Liberals came into office promising to ‘rebuild’ essential services.

Instead, they have made deep cuts to public health and education, putting a projected 1200 public sector workers out of work while pledging to spend the bulk of a projected $560 million GST windfall on roads and infrastructure works over the next four years.

The new government has diminished essential services, overseeing the loss of key hospital staff, community supports and classroom educators, with the cuts embedded across the forward estimates of the 2014-15 Budget.

This government has its priorities all wrong. Given an opportunity reinvest in our social infrastructure as an economic enabler, it is putting concrete, bitumen and steel before the health and educational outcomes of Tasmanians.

They are effectively using the wages of discarded public sector workers to build more roads.

If new money is flowing from Canberra, the Premier and his Cabinet should spend the bulk of it repairing damage they have done to essential services after promising to ‘rebuild’ them before the last election.

Anything less will be a grave breach of the contract they made with Tasmanian voters.


Time for effective investment in Tasmanians

Tony Reidy, CEO, TasCOSS
24.05.15 12:08 pm

On the back of a year of significant spending cuts and the recently confirmed GST windfall, TasCOSS expects the State Government to reveal its social goals through the priorities it funds in this week’s Budget.

“The Government reached its economic savings goals through last year’s cuts and has promised to invest its confirmed $130 Million GST windfall ‘wisely’,” TasCOSS CEO Tony Reidy said.
“All this points to a 2015/16 State Budget that must reveal how the Government will invest to create a healthier, better educated and more resilient Tasmania. While a Government can cut to meet economic goals, social goals are achieved only through investment,” Mr Reidy said.

“This week’s Budget will demonstrate whether the Government understands that building a healthy, employed population starts with ensuring Tasmanians have secure housing and the family and community support to access education and then the workforce.”

Mr Reidy said that, to date, the Government had spoken of social change in terms of job creation and education retention.

“Until appropriate investment is made by Government in the groundwork of social change—housing, transport and the early years—these other initiatives can’t succeed,” he said.

“The Government’s visions for health, education and employment will be met only by setting people up for success with secure, affordable housing, effective transport to get them to services, higher education and jobs, and the involvement of the entire community in supporting children and families from the start.”

“TasCOSS made these points to Government in its submission to the Budget process in January: Our members are the experts in this area and we look forward to confirmation that we have been listened to.”

TasCOSS advocates for the interests of low-income and disadvantaged Tasmanians and is the peak body for the Tasmanian community services sector.


Labor initiative to boost children’s participation in sport

Michelle O’Byrne MP Deputy Labor Leader Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation
24.05.15 12:00 pm

Deputy Labor Leader Michelle O’Byrne today announced a new Labor initiative to boost Tasmanian children’s participation in sport.

The program, ‘Active Kids – Active Communities’, will provide grants to children between 5 and 15 years of age to join registered sporting organisations in their communities.

“Labor believes that all children regardless of their financial circumstances should have the opportunity to take part in and enjoy organised sports,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“Children’s participation in sport and recreation is recognised as a critical part of building healthier communities.

“Unfortunately, all too often the cost of membership fees and equipment prevents some children from becoming involved.

“In our first year of Government, Labor will establish the ‘Active Kids – Active Communities’ pilot program.

“This will provide 1000 eligible children with a $150 grant to join a registered sporting organisation.

“By joining a sporting club, young people and their families can engage with positive role models, establish new friendships and become more involved in their communities.

“The success of the program will be evaluated after 12 months with the intent of extending it into the future.”


Anti-discrimination Amendment Bill reduces red tape

Vanessa Goodwin, Attorney-General
23.05.15 4:52 pm

The Hodgman Liberal Government is delivering on our election commitment to exempt faith-based schools from certain provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

This amendment has already passed the Lower House of Parliament and will soon be debated in the Legislative Council.

As promised, the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill will allow faith-based schools to give preference in their admissions to students who have religious beliefs, affiliations or activities consistent with those of the school.

It will not allow discrimination on any other grounds.

This is hardly a radical change.

The amendment brings Tasmanian law into line with all other states and territories.

In addition, under existing laws, religious schools are already able to apply for an exemption to the Act, but this can be a cumbersome and uncertain process as it is difficult for schools to predict in advance whether a year group may be oversubscribed with students seeking admission.

While it is not surprising to see the anti-change AEU against this move, it is passing strange that the Council of Civil Liberties are against a proposal that enshrines the freedom of religion.


Sea Shepherd: Bandit Six shut down

Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd
23.05.15 1:12 pm

All 6 pirate toothfishing vessels of the Bandit Six have been intercepted and shut down. Today the Yongding and Songhua were boarded by police in Cape Verde.
Sea Shepherd’s Captain Peter Hammarstedt not only chased the Thunder for 110 days until it was scuttled on 6 April 2015, he also located, identified and reported the Yongding and Songhua to Cape Verde police with the assistance of the Sea Shepherd vessel Jairo More Sandoval. Operation Icefish is a massive success.

“The successes of Operation Icefish clearly demonstrate that Sea Shepherd’s arsenal in the fight against poaching extends far beyond high-seas patrols. We have the tools and the experience required to eradicate IUU fishing operations from the Southern Ocean. With the welcomed cooperation from law enforcement authorities, coordinated by the expertise of the Environmental Crime Unit of Interpol, that’s exactly what we will do,” said Captain Chakravarty.

Operation Icefish was Sea Shepherd’s 11th Southern Ocean Defense Campaign, and the first to target IUU fishing operators in the waters of Antarctica.

Hobart has a direct connection with Operation Icefish Hobart is the Honorary Home Port for the Bob Barker and the ship and crew have spent many months here. More at:

Paul Watson, Facebook comment @7 am AEST 23/5/15


All six of the Bandit Six have been intercepted. The THUNDER scuttled off Sao Tome. The VIKING and the PERLON detained by Malaysia. The KUNLUN detained by Thailand and today the YONGDING and the SONGHUA boarded by the police in Cape Verde.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt in command of the BOB BARKER not only chased the THUNDER for 110 days until it was scuttled on April 6th, he also located, identified and reported the YONGDING and the SONGHUA to the police with the assistance of the crew of the Sea Shepherd vessel JAIRO MORE SANDOVAL in Cape Verde.

Little did the owners and Captains of the YOUNGDING and the SONGHUA know that when they voyaged all the way to Cape Verde from the Southern Ocean that a Sea Shepherd vessel the JAIRO MORA SANDOVAL was patrolling Cape Verde waters for poachers.

What an incredible year. Sea Shepherd went for six poachers (the Bandit Six) and helped to shut down all six.

Operation Icefish has been a huge success.

Meanwhile Captain Sid Chakravarty and Sea Shepherd Hong Kong director Gary Stokes were in Indonesia to witness the destruction of 41 poaching vessels by the no nonsense Indonesian Minister or Fisheries.



NICK McKIM MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
23.05.15 12:51 pm

The Tasmanian Greens welcome today’s announcement that an extra $8m will be invested into Parks, but said it should be spent on genuine priorities and with respect for natural and cultural heritage values.

“Any extra funding into Parks is welcome, but this announcement does not even come close to covering the cuts to Parks funding imposed without mandate by the Liberals,” said Greens Parks spokesperson Nick McKim MP.

“There is no doubt a need to invest in tracks, interpretation and facilities such as toilets, but there are also other priorities such as threatened species management plans and invasive species responses that have been put on the back burner thanks to the Liberals savage cuts to Parks’ recurrent funding.”

“While any extra funding is welcome, the way the Liberals say it will be spent is further evidence that they see our National Parks as economic assets rather than the unique natural and cultural landscapes that they are.”


Proposals sought to deliver new drug and alcohol rehabilitation beds

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health
23.05.15 12:50 pm

The Hodgman Liberal Government has today advertised for proposals to deliver residential rehabilitation treatment services for people with drug or alcohol dependence.

Last month we announced there would be an additional $4.8 million in the upcoming state budget to tackle the problem of ice and other drugs in Tasmania.

The funding, which will be delivered over four years, will deliver 12 new residential rehabilitation beds, with a priority on delivering a residential rehabilitation program based on the North West.

The request for proposals advertised today is seeking an organisation or organisations to deliver this program.

The successful organisation(s) will work with people with severe alcohol and other drug dependencies and their families/carers to deliver 24 hour 7 day a week residential rehabilitation treatment and support.

There has been a longstanding service gap in this area on the North West and we are pleased to now be in a position to address it.

As well as increasing residential rehabilitation services; the Liberal Government’s $4.8 million in new funding will also enable:

• Employ two new positions within the Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS) based in Launceston and Ulverstone to work across the North and North West with the broader health system and community services.
• Deliver transport options so North and North West clients can access the southern specialist Inpatient Withdrawal Unit when appropriate.
• Develop data collection and information systems which will give us a clearer picture of up-to-date evidence which can be shared across Government and non-Government services.


Parks Infrastructure High Priority in Budget

Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage
23.05.15 12:49 pm

This week’s 2015-16 Budget will confirm the Hodgman Liberal Government’s commitment to our parks and reserves, with an additional $8 million over two years for funding high priority infrastructure renewal and maintenance.

Tasmania’s natural environment is one of our greatest assets, containing significant natural and cultural values and providing an abundance of opportunities for recreational, educational and tourism experiences.

This new funding will provide significant additional opportunities for the Government to refresh tourism infrastructure in high visitation areas. This will mean that visitor expectation is matched or exceeded and we build on our world-class reputation while at the same time supporting growth of jobs and economic activity in the tourism sector.

This additional funding will provide for the redevelopment, refurbishment and replacement of high priority infrastructure in Tasmania’s parks and reserves including signage and interpretation, walking and multi-use tracks, roads, fire trails, amenities and car parking.

Having the right infrastructure is vitally important for enhancing visitor experience, as well as facilitating good management outcomes such as improving visitor safety and providing additional protection to sensitive values.

The Government will identify priority projects in consultation with local government, regional and other stakeholders.

We recognise the importance of getting the balance right.  The Government is genuinely committed to the protection of Tasmania’s unique and precious natural and cultural values while at the same time providing opportunity for using, sharing and celebrating our natural areas with Tasmanians and the world.

The Hodgman Liberal Government is unlocking the potential of our natural areas and considering ideas for sensitive and appropriate tourism offerings in Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, national parks and reserves that are genuinely respectful of the natural and cultural values of those areas.

We have a goal to transform Tasmania into the environmental tourism capital of the world, to create jobs for Tasmanians and help reach a target of 1.5 million visitors a year by 2020.

Tasmania is now heading in the right direction and we need to build on the momentum. We want to give more Tasmanians and visitors the opportunity to experience our unique, world class parks and reserves and this additional funding will help support growth in visitation and enhance visitor experience for these areas.


Early Learning is Child’s Play

Elise Archer, Speaker of the House of Assembly Liberal Member for Denison
23.05.15 12:48 pm

A new purpose built early learning centre for busy families juggling child care has opened in South Hobart, creating 35 jobs.

Today I was pleased to officially open Child’s Play which is a fine example of a state-of-the art facility with premium fittings, play spaces and equipment for early learning.

Owners Tina and Zekri Palushi, along with centre director Mirela Djukanovic deserve credit for what they have achieved in developing the centre.

This project represents a $2 million investment in our community and is another sign of the growing confidence in the local economy.

Once fully up and running, the centre will have capacity for 127 children and will employ 35 experienced staff. The new centre is a welcome addition to the southern Tasmanian childcare community.

I wish all those involved every success.


Magpies See Red for The Salvation Army

Elise Archer, Speaker of the House of Assembly Liberal Member for Denison
23.05.15 12:40 pm

Today I am looking forward to attending the ‘Red Saturday’ TSL Magpies clash between Glenorchy and Devonport at KGV from 1pm, which is raising money and awareness of the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal.

As Chair of the Red Shield Appeal in the Moonah and Glenorchy districts, I am proud that my local team, the Glenorchy District Football Club, is such an enthusiastic community partner of the Salvation Army’s major annual fundraiser, and it is wonderful to see other football teams, such as the Hobart City Demons, following their ‘Red Game’ lead.

In the spirit of the Red Shield Appeal, players will wear red socks or red arm bands as they contest the Neil Conlan Cup, donations will be collected by volunteers and ‘Shieldy’ the Red Shield Appeal mascot will join children for a half-time kick.

‘Red Saturday’ is a fitting way to ‘kick-off’ the first week of the Red Shield Appeal, which was officially launched on Thursday with a $30,000 donation from the Tasmanian Government.

I’m sure the attendance will be high as locals show their support for the wonderful work the Salvation Army does as well as help those less fortunate in our community.

The Salvation Army hopes to raise $2 million across the state during the Red Shield Appeal, which will help to fund the charities’ 70 community and social services across its 20 Tasmanian centres.

The official period for the Red Shield Appeal is 27 May until 6 June, with the doorknock weekend on 30-31 May.

Donations can be made by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or online at

** Ms Archer, Lieutenant Amy Jones from the Salvation Army’s Moonah Corps and Community Centre, and Glenorchy Magpies’ President John McCann will be available for interview at the ground if media would like to pre-arrange a suitable time.


Protect Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area

23.05.15 7:06 am


Read more here


Ellendale boil water alert lifted

Simon Pilkington, TasWater
22.05.15 7:44 pm

TasWater has good news for the residents of Ellendale, lifting its long standing boil water alert.

TasWater has completed the installation of an improved filtration process at Ellendale’s water treatment plant to provide a supply which meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the provisions of the Tasmanian Public Health Act (1997).

Following extensive testing in the plant since December last year, the Department of Health and Human Services has now confirmed the official end to the need for residents to boil their water.

Like all TasWater supplies, Ellendale’s will continue to be monitored and tested regularly to ensure it meets water quality standards into the future.

“I am really pleased to be able to formally lift Ellendale’s boil water alert as it is one of our top priorities to supply small towns across the state with good quality drinking water,” TasWater’s CEO, Michael Brewster said.

“Over the next three years TasWater plans to spend more than $330 million on upgrading water and sewerage facilities and reducing the number of town on boil water alerts or do not consume notices from 26 down to eight by 2018.”

“Progress is also being made elsewhere in Tasmania.  A 29km pipeline from Fingal to Avoca has been approved for construction. This will connect the town to a brand new water treatment plant at Fingal which is going through a rigorous testing program to ensure it meets Australian Water Quality Guidelines.

“Other projects underway include a new 28km water supply pipeline on King Island to upgrade water to the towns of Currie and Grassy, and water treatment plants undergoing design for the Flinders Island towns of Whitemark and Lady Barren as well as Rosebery and Ringarooma,” he said.

The Ringarooma Water Treatment Plant will also provide drinking water for the towns of Derby, Legerwood and Branxholm.

Tasmanian company Stornoway has just constructed a treatment plant at Tunbridge and Ouse, with water from Ouse being piped to Hamilton, again through a brand new 14km pipe which will come on-line in a few months.

Stornoway Chief Executive Officer, Brad Johnson says his company is delighted to have been awarded the contract to build plants at Ouse and Tunbridge.

He says Stornoway has a long history of delivering significant and important services and projects in Tasmania, and values the opportunity to deliver new state of the art, water treatment facilities for the State’s communities.

“Stornoway has developed a strong working relationship with TasWater, and is very pleased to be involved in projects which mitigate boiled water alert issues.

“We’re currently delivering the construction projects at Ouse and Tunbridge in addition to providing operations and maintenance services for King Island’s water and sewage services. We look forward to continuing to work with TasWater to fulfil their community infrastructure needs,” Mr Johnson said.

Mr Brewster says “with TasWater approaching its second anniversary since taking over Tasmania’s three regional water bodies, the restructure is well and truly starting to demonstrate the benefits of one strong and coordinated organisation to manage Tasmania’s water and sewerage services.”

TasWater thanked residents in Ellendale for their ongoing support and patience and looks forward to maintaining a reliable and safe drinking water supply for locals and visitors. 


Abbott fuels instability in Aged care in Tasmania

22.05.15 7:42 pm

There are a lot of nasty cuts to aged care hidden in the 2015-16 Federal Budget and Tony Abbott needs to explain why he is slashing $20 million from dementia initiatives, and $40 million from the aged care workforce fund.

This is the second time the Abbott Government has ripped funding away from dementia care and the aged care workforce.
“We need to make sure that older Australian’s receive the care that they need and deserve, which is why the correct strategy and policy decisions need to be made now,” Senator Polley said.
The tardy funding announcement to keep the John L. Grove Centre in Launceston open was welcomed, but did not pull the wool over our eyes. The Government’s disregard for dementia care and aged care in Tasmania remains reflected in the imminent closure of the Jasmine Unit at the Roy Fagan Centre in Hobart, and Scottsdale’s aged care facility, Aminya.

Lead Organiser, Health and Community Services Union Tasmania, Joanne McEvoy says the announcement of Aminya’s closure was a bombshell.

“The 50 staff at Aminya are shocked and devastated, not only for themselves, but for the 23 residents and their families,” Said Ms McEvoy.

“This Government forgets that the closure of these facilities has a human face. These closures will result in fear and uncertainty for many residents. Some residents will be forced to relocate to other facilities meaning they will be further from their loved ones, and may be forced to travel long distances to see them,” Senator Polley said.

According to Alzheimer’s Australia there are almost 8000 Tasmanians living with dementia, with that figure set to rise to 13,500 by 2040.Tasmania’s population is ageing faster than any other state or territory and closing these facilities is not a solution.

“Repercussions of these unfair cuts extend past vulnerable older Australians, and directly hit aged care workers, aged care providers and the community. The Government’s lack of action over the closure of these facilities will only fuel more instability in the sector.” Senator Polley said.


Statement from Dr Rosalie Woodruff, Huon Valley Councillor

Dr Rosalie Woodruff Local Government Member, Huon Valley Council
22.05.15 3:16 pm

Rosalie Woodruff

“I can confirm that I have decided to nominate for pre-selection as a Senator for the Tasmanian Greens.”

“The Tasmanian Greens Party has established a pre-selection process. I will not be making further public comment about my candidacy until this process has been completed.”

Dr Woodruff has been a councillor on the Huon Valley Council since 2009. She ran for the Tasmanian Greens for the seat of Franklin in the 2013 federal election, and in the 2014 state election.


TFGA welcomes UTas forestry centre

TFGA president Wayne Johnston
22.05.15 3:14 pm

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has welcomed the new forestry training centre to be established at the University of Tasmania.

TFGA president Wayne Johnston said it was welcome news after the recent closure of the Cooperative Research Centre for Forestry on the Hobart campus.

“There can be no doubt that Tasmania has research expertise in silviculture and timber production that is unparalleled anywhere else in the country,” Mr Johnston said.

“We had been in danger of losing it”.

“The key to the new $14 million institution announced this week is that it is looking outside the traditional parameters. It will be looking at new industries and fresh approaches to wood products.”

The TFGA represents private forest owners, responsible for about 880,000 ha of the state’s forest cover.

“This is particularly welcome news for those of us who still see a great future in timber production,” Mr Johnston said.