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In Their Own Words...

Liberals | Labor | Greens | Premier Will Hodgman | Labor Leader Bryan Green | Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor

Phillip Adams: Malcolm in a muddle

Phillip Adams, The Australian
27.08.16 4:46 pm

A poem to the silly, wretched, foolish country I love

I love this sunburnt country
where a dissolution double
gets a new prime minister
into double trouble.

I love this silly country
where the Census fails to count;
where a Senate full of Paulines
make double troubles mount.

Where a PM’s foolish tactic
hands us over to a Hanson,
whose political galahs
hold Parliament to ransom.

Oh, what a wretched country
that leads us down a road
to Abu Ghraib in Darwin,
to kids Guantanamo’d.

Oh, what a kindly country:
when fleeing fear and fire,
your welcome’s warm embrace?
“Stop the boats!” and razor wire.

Can you love a bloody country
where the churches (this is strange)
protect the perps and not the victims?
It’s time for primate change.

I love the lovely country
of Streeton, Roberts, Rees.
The landscapes that they painted?
Let’s bulldoze all the trees.

(And is it really moral
to dump crap
on all the coral?)

I love this bloody country,
where our “man of steel” man
sent us on a killing spree
in Iraq, Afghanistan.

The coalition of the killing:
Bush and Blair and Howard.
Who cares about WMDs?
The last one in’s a coward.

(I admire a plucky nation
that at the top of its breath
sings a foreign anthem
as it charges their valleys of death.)

I love a foolish nation
where Abbott’s Forrest Gump
is turfed by a Prone Minister
as inept as Donald Trump.

He sought to rule Australia
from its Canberrean palace
only to drink bitter Bollie
from a poisoned chalice.

Fumble, stumble, tumble.
Poor Malcolm, he careens
twixt same-sex marriage
and worthless submarines.

So many problems all at once;
Rudd, GST or ISIS,
or Panama or S&P,
another blundered crisis.

“What’s the latest problem?
What could be the answer?
I try to be like Fred Astaire
but I’m a lousy dancer.”

(It isn’t over till the lady sings,
and Tony’s waiting
in the wings.)

We grieve for Mr Harbourside,
so urbane and so breezy.
It wasn’t meant to be like this.
Life was meant to be easy.

The Australian HERE

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Centenary of National Parks Highlights Failures of Minister

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
27.08.16 12:22 pm

On this weekend’s centenary of national parks, Parks Minister, Matthew Groom, should admit Tasmania’s protected areas are under unprecedented threat as a result of Liberal policies.

Mr Groom sure has a hide, trumpeting the State’s national parks at the same time as his government is opening them up to far greater commercial exploitation.

Shortly after taking office, the Hodgman Liberals joined the Abbott Government’s ill-fated bid to wind back significant extensions to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area which were secured under the Labor Green Government.

Then, Minister Groom’s first crack at enabling increased exploitation of Tasmania’s world class reserves was to sign off on a draft World Heritage Area Management Plan which would have allowed mining, logging and intensive development in the TWWHA.

The Minister then opened up a secretive Expressions of Interest process that is facilitating unprecedented commercial exploitation of the TWWHA and other protected areas.

On his watch, funding to the Parks and Wildlife Service has been slashed and its remote firefighting capacity remains critically under-resourced.

When the TWWHA was aflame in January and February this year, the Minister sat on his hands and refused to ask his colleagues in Canberra for help.

Sadly for Tasmania’s magnificent national parks on this centenary of Parks, the Minister responsible for them is actively working to undermine their integrity.

As Parks Minister, Matthew Groom is a failure.

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Celebrating 100 years of National Park success ...

Vica Bayley Tasmanian Campaign Manager The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc.
27.08.16 11:50 am

... reinforces calls for new parks in iconic forest areas

A weekend of celebrations in Tasmania, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of our first national parks and highlighting the environmental, community and economic benefits of national parks, reinforces longstanding calls for new national parks to be declared over spectacular forest areas that were protected through the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, but reversed by the current Government.

Almost 400,000 ha of forests were protected through the Forest Agreement, but now sit as ‘unallocated crown land’. These forests are distributed across regional Tasmania and have existing points of public access through roads, bridges and walking tracks.

“This weekend we celebrate the vision of Tasmania’s early leaders and the century of economic, employment, community and environmental benefits our national parks have delivered Tasmania,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

“Given both Government and conservationists agree on these benefits, it’s perplexing to have a Government hostile to creating new conservation icons.

“National parks protect outstanding natural and cultural values and give Tasmania a priceless identity that sets us apart from many other parts of the world.

Longstanding national park proposals in Tasmania include:

•              Tarkine National Park – to protect great rainforests, wilderness, wild coastline, threatened species, Aboriginal heritage and delivering an accessible national park icon and credible conservation story for far NW Tasmania.

•              Great Western Tiers National Park – now World Heritage listed but classed as ‘unallocated crown land’, in July this year the World Heritage Committee called for this area to be given ‘status as national park’ (recommendation 11 - UNESCO mission report). Government accepted this recommendation but is yet to outline when it will gazette a new national park.

•              North East Highlands National Park – linking the spectacular peak of Mt Arthur and the Blue Tier this park responds to scientific calls for linked landscapes of conservation reserves to assist nature respond to the pressures of climate change.

New opportunities, such as a ‘Lobster Forests National Park’ are emerging from the recommendations of Government auspiced threatened species protection plans. The 2016 draft recovery plan for the giant freshwater lobster identifies the need for the formal reservation of critical forested catchments key for the survival of the lobster. Many of these are also ‘unallocated crown land’, promised back to a logging industry that should never be allowed to log them.

“The case for new national parks has long been made by scientists based on sound environmental and reserve design principles. Now it’s clear and agreed that national parks are delivering jobs, economic growth and community benefits, expanding the national park network is a logical win-win all round.

“As we celebrate 100 years of national park success, we call on today’s leaders to expand the benefits and take steps to unlock the potential of new national parks in Tasmania.

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The dysfunction of offshore detention on Nauru

Martin McKenzie-Murray, The Saturday Paper
27.08.16 7:05 am

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A file photo of asylum seekers held on Nauru, at right, talking through a fence with international journalists.

Last week, the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, responded to the leak of more than 2000 Nauru incident reports to The Guardian.

The 8000 pages detailed allegations of rape, sexual harassment and intimidation, as well as cases of self-harm and suicide. Despite the scale, the leak was far from exhaustive. But Dutton tried to quell what he characterised as “hype”. “Some people have even gone to the extent of self-harming and people have self-immolated in an effort to get to Australia,” he said. “Certainly some have made false allegations.” …

Read the full article HERE

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Spring fuel reduction program begins

Rene Hidding, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management
26.08.16 7:32 pm

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to protecting lives and property in Tasmania from the risk of bushfires.

I am pleased that our Fuel Reduction Unit has now commenced their spring fuel reduction program to ensure Tasmanian communities will be safer from the threat of bushfires.

This program, which is the first of its kind in Australia, is a tenure blind, risk-based approach to managing vegetation fuel loads and reduce state-wide risk from bushfires.
The Government invested $28.5 million over four years to significantly increase fuel reduction burning when we came to Government after Labor, captive to the Greens, ignored proper investment during their time in Government.

The importance of proper fuel reduction was underlined after the 2015-16 fire season that saw over 300 reported bushfire incidents that required a response, and while fuel reduction cannot completely eliminate the risk of bushfires, it does reduce the potential for serious damage and increases safety for firefighters and the community.

The TFS will provide a regularly updated schedule of fuel reduction burns through local media and online via the http://www.fire.tas.gov.au website, which features a map of planned and current burns.

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Court confirms Tarkine National Coalition entitled to reasons for grant of mining leases

Save The Tarkine, Environmental Defenders Office
26.08.16 4:04 pm

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Pic: Facebook HERE

Minister administering the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 v Tarkine National Coalition Inc

The Full Court of the Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the Tasmanian Government’s appeal
against an earlier ruling that the Tarkine National Coalition (TNC) was entitled to reasons for the
Minister’s decision to grant mining leases for the Venture Minerals’ Mt Lindsay and Livingstone
projects.

In the lead judgment, his Honour Justice Estcourt found (at [34] – [36]):

“There is no merit in the Minister’s appeal…The present appeal is, in my view a shining example of
an appeal failing to identify an error on the part of the primary judge.”

The State Government had argued that parliament intended to confine rights to reasons for
decisions under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 to those directly affected by the
decisions – landowners and mining companies.

However, the Full Court upheld her Honour Justice Wood’s decision that the TNC was a “person
aggrieved” by the Minister’s decisions, and therefore entitled to understand the reasons the mining
leases were granted. Justice Estcourt noted (at [27]):

“…her Honour found that there was ample evidence that the [TNC} had an interest greater than
an ordinary member of the public, that its interest in the Tarkine was long-standing, and that its
reason for existing was to protect the natural values of the Tarkine.”

Claire Bookless, EDO Tasmania’s litigation lawyer, said:

“This decision is significant because it reaffirms that environmental groups, such as the TNC, also
have a legitimate interest in mining decisions. These groups have a right to know why government
decisions are made, and to challenge those decisions where the government has not complied
with the law.”

The Full Court ordered the Minister pay the TNC’s costs of the proceedings.

The TNC’s victory comes 18 months after it formally requested the statement of reasons. Ms Bookless
said that this demonstrates the need for greater transparency:

“While the TNC in this case was able to establish it had ‘standing’, doing so took nearly 18 months
and exposed both TNC and the Government to considerable costs.

We urge the Government to heed the Full Court’s decision and adopt a broader approach to
the release of information. Doing so would improve the accountability of government decisionmaking,
and avoid similar expense and delays in future.

For full background information about this case, please click here: http://www.edotas.org.au/resources/unsolicited/

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Save the Tarkine Decision Welcome

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader
26.08.16 4:03 pm

The Tasmanian Greens commend the Full Court of the Supreme Court on its unanimous decision to dismiss the Liberal Government’s appeal, and order to the Minister to provide a statement of reasons for the decision to grant mining leases for the Mt Lindsay and Livingstone projects.

We offer our warmest congratulations to Save the Tarkine and the Environmental Defenders Office, who have both fought for the information against the odds.

Tasmania is fortunate to have such a fair judicial system that allows environmental and community groups to raise concerns through the court system.

The Tarkine is a globally unique wilderness, recognised for its beauty, biodiversity, ecological, social and economic value.

The Greens look forward to seeing what the Statement of Reasons reveal as to why those values were apparently ignored to allow mining in this globally important wilderness.

We also congratulate the Supreme Court for awarding costs to Save the Tarkine. Justice has prevailed and the State Government will finally have to give the EDO some funding - albeit reluctantly - to continue its vital work representing community groups and protecting Tasmania’s wild places.

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ASC Fish Farm Stamp of Approval Flawed

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
26.08.16 4:01 pm

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council team’s recommendation that Petuna Seafoods gets a “good stewardship” credit for their Macquarie Harbour fish farms is deeply flawed.

The ASC stamp of approval is despite many non-compliances, no independent testing, and inconsistencies with publically available data elsewhere. They didn’t talk to environmental stakeholders, and only relied on data supplied by the company itself.

Tasmanian salmon farmers have been handed an ASC loophole that means they don’t have to provide information about the water’s dissolved oxygen levels. This is incredibly alarming for our marine environment.

A 2016 Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies report on the endangered Maugean Skate found that, “the environmental health of Macquarie Harbour, in particular implications of low dissolved oxygen concentrations, represents a major threat to the species”.

Even the State Government’s own report from last year found a “harbour-wide decline” in dissolved oxygen levels.

Reduced oxygen levels as a result of fish farms are an acknowledged problem. Ignoring that science makes a mockery of the ASC stamp of approval.

The ASC certification process being used to give Tasmanian fish farms an environmental licence is flawed. It also raises serious questions for the Government about the assessment process for Okehampton Bay.

If Minister for Fisheries, Jeremy Rockliff, truly believes Tasmanian fish farms are the best regulated in the world, he needs to take note of the problems with the ASC assessment process.

When it comes to Okehampton Bay and the East Coast, the ASC approach won’t wash with the local community or environment groups.

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Call for more consultation on ‘radical’ & ‘damaging’ Tas Gov hate-speech amendments

Rodney Croome, TASMANIAN GAY AND LESBIAN RIGHTS GROUP
26.08.16 3:17 pm

Gay rights advocates have written to the State Government asking for a longer consultation period and a community summit on amendments watering down the state’s anti-hate speech laws.

Yesterday, the Government released a bill that allows hate speech under the guise of religion, providing for a brief two week consultation period.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson and 2015 Tasmanian of the Year, Rodney Croome, said,

“The Government’s proposal is radical, far reaching and will have a damaging impact on the LGBTI community.”

“There must be longer for LGBTI people and our families to respond to such a serious and dangerous change in the law.”

“The law also disadvantages other groups that could face hate under the guise of religion, including Muslims, Jews, women and people with disabilities.”

“The consultation period should be at least four weeks and there should be a summit of representatives from the LGBTI community, other affected communities and the Government to thrash out the issues at stake.”

In his letter Mr Croome expresses deep disappointment that the Government’s proposal goes even further than conservative religious lobby groups have asked for and defends existing hate speech laws as “a symbol of our shared Tasmanian values of friendliness and inclusion”.

He also cites a recent social media post by Tasmanian-born comedian, Hannah Gadsby, in which she describes the long-term psychological damage she suffers from anti-gay hate she experienced growing up in Smithton in the 1990s.

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Call for Labor/Crossbench to follow Greens’ lead in voting against Plebiscite

Ivan Hinton-Teoh, just.equal
26.08.16 3:15 pm

LGBTI community advocates have welcomed the Greens’ decision to vote against enabling legislation for a marriage equality plebiscite and have called on the Labor Party and cross bench senators to follow the Greens’ lead.

Spokesperson for national LGBTI lobby group, just.equal, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said,

“I congratulate the Greens on prioritising the aspirations and interests of the LGBTI community by opposing a marriage equality plebiscite.”

“Earlier this month the largest LGBTI community survey of its kind ever conducted found the LGBTI community is united against a plebiscite with opposition running at 85%.”

“A key concern of LGBTI Australians is that a plebiscite will be a platform for hate and that it will not actually lead directly to marriage equality.”

“I call on Labor and cross bench senators to follow the Greens’ lead so that a plebiscite is blocked and we can have a free vote in Parliament instead.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hinton-Teoh dismissed claims by Liberal MP, Trevor Evans, that LGBTI community representatives are more concerned with who takes credit for marriage equality than getting it done.

“Our concern is not which party achieves marriage equality but only to avoid plebiscite and have a free vote instead.”

“We would be over the moon if the Coalition Government allowed a free vote and marriage equality was achieved under its watch.”

Earlier this week the co-chair of the Irish “Yes Equality” marriage equality referendum campaign, Dr Grainne Healy, wrote to all federal MPs and senators asking them not to support a plebiscite because the Irish referendum had been “brutal”.

A copy of Dr Healy’s letter can be found here: http://ymlp41.com/znGtba

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Parents praise Greens’ vow to block Plebiscite

National spokesperson, Sharyn Faulkner, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
26.08.16 1:21 pm

PARENTS PRAISE GREENS’ FOR VOW TO BLOCK PLEBISCITE

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays has welcomed the Greens’ decision to vote down a plebiscite.

National spokesperson, Sharyn Faulkner said,

“Our LGBTI children should not have to plead with millions of other Australians to have their fundamental rights recognised, while at the same time enduring hate and bile.”

“Everyday Australian families like mine will be adversely affected by a plebiscite campaign and that’s why we want a free vote instead.”

“I praise the Greens for doing the right thing by our children, our families and Australia.”

Mrs Faulker called on the Labor Party and cross bench senators to also declare their opposition to a plebiscite under any circumstances.

“There is no such thing as a better plebiscite or a worse one, any plebiscite will cause harm.”

Just over a fortnight ago PFLAG launched a new webform - makeitlaw.com.au - that allows those opposed to a plebiscite and in favour of a free vote to write to their federal representatives.

Over 100,000 emails have been sent to federal MPs and senators since the webform was released.

Yesterday, PFLAG released a new video to highlight the problems with a plebiscite, specifically that it is not binding.

The video will appear on social media and television.

Webform: http://www.makeitlaw.com.au

Video: http://ymlp41.com/zDoLIk

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AME calls on political parties to deliver marriage equality

Australian Marriage Equality Chair, Alex Greenwich
26.08.16 1:20 pm

Australian Marriage Equality (AME) today said Australians have waited far too long for marriage equality and called on the leaders of all federal political parties to come together and deliver a pathway to achieving equality in this parliament.

“We call on the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, Leader of The Greens and Nick Xenophon to meet before parliament resumes and agree on a pathway for marriage equality”, Australian Marriage Equality Chair, Alex Greenwich said.

“No one party has the numbers by themselves to achieve marriage equality through a parliamentary vote or a plebiscite. We call on our leaders to urgently come together and deliver marriage equality in line with the wishes of the Australian people.

“Every Australian should be afforded the same opportunities in life to marry the person they love in the country the love.

“Australians have waited for too long for this simple reform and should not have to wait any longer for a reform that takes from no one.

“This is an issue about people, not politics, and we must remember that this straightforward reform is about families, neighbours, friends and workmates and our shared Australian values of fairness for all,” Mr Greenwich concluded.

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Fox fabrication hunt continues as preliminary police inquiry wraps up

Mercury
26.08.16 12:17 pm

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A PRELIMINARY police investigation into allegations that evidence was fabricated within Tasmania’s Fox Eradication Program has wrapped up.

The review has been handed to Assistant Commissioner Glenn Frame who will decide whether a full-blown criminal probe is warranted.

It comes as questions are raised about the State Government’s official list of evidence used to support the presence of foxes in Tasmania.

A 2009 internal report, released publicly for the first time last month, analysed 39 fox scats which were part of the evidence collection.

Five of the scats were found to belong to completely different animals – namely a snake, wallaby and birds.

Rather than removing the false scats, fox officials have retained them as evidence of the pest’s incursion into Tasmania.

The documents, released under right to information, uncover further irregularities.

Two of the fox scats contained an identical foam rubber substance despite being found six months apart in different parts of the state.

It is understood police are interested in this anomaly. Several scientists have told the Mercury it is very unusual …

Read more HERE

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New evidence of fish farming’s ecological crisis in Macquarie harbour

Laura Kelly, Strategy Director, Environment Tasmania.
26.08.16 11:04 am

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s (ASC) has released an audit report of Petuna Seafoods fish farms in Macquarie Harbour. It shows serious breaches of ASC conditions but still recommends the company be awarded ASC certification.

“From plummeting oxygen levels to use of WHO-listed Critically Important antibiotics, the ASC’s audit report for Petuna provides a snapshot of the ecological disaster in Macquarie harbour,” says Laura Kelly, Strategy Director at Environment Tasmania
.
“The fact that the ASC Audit team still recommends certification for farms where 85,000 fish were suffocated in March 2015 because of low oxygen levels, raises serious concerns about the integrity of the ASC label,” Ms Kelly said.

“Consumers buying salmon with an ASC logo expect environmental best-practice. They would be shocked to discover their salmon came from farms that are discharging pollution into a World Heritage Area and threatening listed endangered species.

Leading researchers have described Macquarie Harbour as a ‘biological system under stress’, certifying salmon from these farms will destroy any trust consumers have in the value of the ASC logo,” Ms Kelly said.

Even more worrying than the 28 criteria Petuna is shown to be in breach of, are the criteria they should be found in breach of but have received a tick for.

“The report finds the company has complied with local regulations, when publicly available Government data shows the company is in breach of licence conditions relating to water quality and build-up of fish faeces.

“The report finds they comply with requirements for no use of antibiotics the WHO lists as Critically Important for human health, when data in the report itself shows the company is using oxytetracycline – a WHO-listed Critically Important antibiotic.”

Environment Tasmania will be appealing ASC certification for any salmon farms in Macquarie Harbour – including Tassal’s operations.

Download a copy of Environment Tasmania’s submission to the ASC Audit team:

RED_ALERT_and_GREEN_WASH.pdf

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Three Capes Track closer to completion

Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage
26.08.16 11:00 am

The Hodgman Liberal Government is a strong supporter of Tasmania’s award-winning tourism sector, and we are committed to growing the sector to create jobs and grow the economy.

The Three Capes Track is the new jewel in the crown of Tasmania’s wilderness walks, and I am very pleased to announce that Parks and Wildlife will be advertising this weekend for tenders to complete Stage three of the Three Capes Track.

This is the final stage of the project and will complete the extraordinary Three Capes walking experience on the Tasman Peninsula.

I am also pleased to advise bookings have now exceeded the 10,000 mark, which is a phenomenal result that confirms the Three Capes Track as one of the world’s top tourism destinations.

It validates the Government’s policy of unlocking our national parks and reserves to sensitive and appropriate tourism developments that showcase our world-class natural assets, while providing significant economic and social benefits to regional areas.

Stage three will see an upgrade to the Cape Raoul and Shipstern lookout tracks that will complement the existing walking experience operating on the eastern side of the peninsula or be an amazing day walk in its own right, and provide walkers with the opportunity to experience all Three Capes. The Cape Raoul and Shipstern lookout tracks will be upgraded to a class 3 dry boot standard track consistent with the existing Three capes experience and will be available for any walker with a valid PWS visitor pass.

The tenders will be for the construction of the tracks and provision of helicopter services required for the supply of material for the tracks upgrade. Work will also be undertaken to expand the car park at the start of the Cape Raoul track and install long overdue toilet facilities in this location.

The works will take around two years to complete and will provide for up to 20 jobs during this period, which is great news for the Tasman Peninsula and further demonstrates the Government’s commitment to providing employment opportunities in our regional communities.

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Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care and Feros agree that age is but a number

Feros Care Media and Marketing Director Lisa Murray
26.08.16 10:30 am

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Jennene Buckley & Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt

Federal Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt applauded Feros Care on rejecting the general notion that ageing kicks in on a milestone birthday.

Visiting Feros Care’s headquarters in Coolangatta today, the Minister was briefed on Feros’s approach of not pigeon-holing seniors into ‘old age’, and finding fun and innovative ways to encourage people to stay healthy, active and engaged, irrespective of age.

The Minister said “I have visited many countries where people in their 90’s are tending the farm, and they live busy purposeful lives. You don’t suddenly hit ‘old age’ when you reach 65 or 70, and we need to change community attitudes around this. Ageing is part of living, from 0 to 105.”

Feros Care’s CEO Jennene Buckley briefed the Minister on a variety of the organisation’s projects that are currently underway and that connect seniors to doctors and social activities, without them having to leave their own home.

“These technologies have a wide range of benefits including people better understanding their health and being able to manage their chronic conditions, fewer hospital visits, which then translates into significant savings to the tax payer, and reduced pressure on the health system.”

Feros has made a name for itself by being quirky and taking an unconventional approach to ageing and aged care services. To that point, the Minister was invited to guest hosts Feros’ first Q and A session in its Virtual Senior Centre pilot.

Minister Wyatt video-conferenced five seniors who were in their own homes, to discuss a range of issues and topics.

About Feros Care

Feros Care is a multi-award winning not-for-profit organisation that’s been offering quality care and support services for older Australians since 1990. We strive to be a strong ambassador and partner in the lives of seniors. Our focus is on helping seniors to remain living independently, socially connected, healthy and fulfilling lives for as long as possible. Feros Care offers industry leading services in At Home Care, Residential Care, Telehealthcare, Case Management, and Health & Wellness.
www.feroscare.com.au

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Letter to the Editor ...

C Frost
26.08.16 9:21 am

Dear Sir/Madam,

as a Pensioner on a basic Pension I am alarmed at the Government’s targeting of pensions and those who have hard earned assets (their home) and small amounts of saving.

I wish to know a few things to help me understand why Mr Turnbull and his Finance Minister are attacking those at the bottom as against starting at the top with cuts and so called savings.

Firstly, however I would like to raise a few points.

Politicians continue to have increase after increase with their salaries and continue after being in office additional perks on top of lucrative pensions (Free flights etc.), which are hardly
necessary given the size of their pensions.

We are advised of the Country having a huge Debt crises(up to a Trillion within 10 years).

The Finance Minister does not name how exactly where the Debts have originated and been allegedly allowed to spiral out of control.

Please advise us where the Debts have occurred and spiralled (is it through Government over spending and if so where) other than servicing the Debt?

How much has been wasted on ill thought out schemes or schemes that have been spent on developing but do not go on to be implemented?

What does it cost to run the Government (wages, perks, vehicles etc.); are we over managed, there are another 39 MPs entering Parliament, this excludes all the ancillary staffing to support MPs both in Government and the Opposition parties (excluding Independents).

I would suggest that any pruning/axing/reductions start at the top where MPs and High paid Government Departmental staff are on high salaries.

Prune as you would trees at the top working down.

Place a freeze on Government salaries and Pensions.

Reduce the cost of governing Australia, reduce the numbers of MP’s (also local Governments in each State, and of course Governor generals).

We have heard about huge profits going offshore from Large Companies who avoid paying Taxes, change this (we have heard for 5 years or more about this – do something about it).

Reduce aid going overseas (some of which is not necessary, name who and where the aid goes).

Close Manus and other refugee places, if after 18 months we cannot establish a bone fide refugee repatriate them or send them to International refugee centres.

Sorry but we are not a country that is a haven for those seeking a better lifestyle only (why do alleged refugees pas through many counties before seeking refugee status in Australia),
I think we all know why?

If this is the best the Finance Minister and Turnbull Government can do they really need to think again.

I suggest all that read this letter ask similar questions of their MP’s and start challenging these cuts to hard earned so called Welfare; it is inaccurate to call a Pension from the State as
Welfare many of us did not have access to Pensions paid by employers or lucrative pensions that MPs attract.

Bring back Grey Power I would support it.

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National Action: “Close the Camps and Bring Them Here” August 27th 2016

Neylan Aykut, Carol Bristow
26.08.16 8:38 am

In the wake of the thousands of leaked files documenting the abuses to refugees and asylum seekers detained on Nauru this month, rallies held this weekend will build upon the momentum to put an end to Australia’s offshore detention centre policies.

A national day of action has been called with rallies occurring in Australian capital cities this Saturday, August 27th, as well as in Tokyo and London.

People in Hobart will be gathering in Franklin Square between 1:30pm and 2:30pm for a group picnic and to add their voices to the call to immediately close offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, and for all people currently detained in these camps to be brought to Australia for processing. A group photo will occur at 2:00pm.

Neylan Aykut, spokesperson for Rural Australians for Refugees, Southern Tasmania, said; “We are joining thousands of Australians calling for a more intelligent and humane approach to processing refugees and asylum seekers in line with International Law. We don’t believe this policy has ‘stopped the boats,’ it’s a huge waste of money, and punishing innocent people by leaving them in these conditions indefinitely is both cruel and stupid.”

Other groups supporting this action are Amnesty International’s Tasmanian Refugee Rights Group and The Tassie Nannas, who have been holding weekly ‘knit-ins’ in the Hobart Mall in protest the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention centres.

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Dairy Symposium

TFGA Dairy Council Chairman Andrew Lester
25.08.16 6:40 pm

Representatives from Tasmania’s peak farming body today attended the Dairy Symposium, convened in Melbourne by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

TFGA Dairy Council Chairman Andrew Lester said that, while the mood varied amongst delegates at the symposium, he hoped that the event would result in some positive outcomes for the industry.

“There were a lot of key issues on the table today, including the need for transparent contract arrangements,’’ Mr Lester said.

“We welcome the news that the ACCC will conduct a detailed inquiry into the industry. We hope that this will see some of these issues sorted out as soon as possible.

“The TFGA has been in constant contact with dairy stakeholders and other industry bodies to ensure that the best outcome can be reached for the state’s dairy industry. We are looking forward to some much needed step ups into the future.”

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Liberals Release Draft Amendments to Weaken Anti-Discrimination Act

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader
25.08.16 6:39 pm

The Liberal Government has released divisive, potentially dangerous and completely unnecessary proposed changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998.

The draft amendments are a sign of Premier Will Hodgman’s weakness.  They are clear evidence of the Premier caving in to some church groups and right wing conservatives in his own party.

This is not about ‘getting the balance right’ as the Premier has stated.  This is about allowing language that the Premier surely knows will cause hurt as opponents of marriage equality feel free to depict the lives, loves and desire for equal treatment of LGBTI people as illegitimate.

These are cynical changes in the lead up to a possible plebiscite on marriage equality.  We remain concerned for the wellbeing of LGBTI Tasmanians who may find themselves in a poisonous public debate, inadequately protected by the law.

The question remains; what is it that religious groups want to say that they can’t already?  We’ve asked that question in Parliament, but the Premier has been unable or refused to provide an answer. 

The Anti-Discrimination Act already provides for respectful free speech.  These changes would have the effect of allowing language that hurts people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

The proposed changes to give religious groups an exemption under Section 55 of the Act have been condemned by the Equal Opportunities Commissioner and the Australian Lawyers Alliance, as well as LGBTI Tasmanians.

These stakeholders recognise the proposed changes are likely to unleash a torrent of discriminatory language towards LGBTI people by those who are opposed to marriage equality.

The Greens will fight any weakening of the Anti-Discrimination Act.  The draft amendments are open for public comment, and we encourage all concerned Tasmanians to join the campaign to uphold the State’s strong anti-discrimination laws.

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Tasmanians Paying for Liberals’ War On Councils

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Local Government spokesperson
25.08.16 6:34 pm

The Liberals’ relentless war on councils risks local service delivery and increases in rates for Tasmanians.

Local Government Minister, Peter Gutwein’s amalgamation agenda is written into all of his actions since taking office.

The Liberals’ key planning adviser openly campaigned for years on council amalgamation as Director of the Property Council.

Minister Gutwein refuses to act as umpire in council disputes. He’s left the Glenorchy and Huon Valley Councils to stew for years, and refused to refer matters for independent investigation.

He constructed the charade of the Huon Valley Council Board of Inquiry, but is now making a mockery of acting on its findings.

Minister Gutwein refused to help TasWater fix the State’s ageing water and sewage infrastructure. The cost of living for Tasmanians is set to rise due to expected sewerage, water and rates hikes.

Minister Gutwein leaves councils in an impossible situation. They will be forced to pass on the costs to their ratepayers, or cut services.

The Minister read local councils the riot act at the recent LGAT conference. Now he’s demanded they keep rates low, despite a yawning income gap that is not of their making.

Local Government can’t win under the Liberals. Ratepayers will be forced to foot the bill for Peter Gutwein’s amalgamation agenda, and only property developers will benefit.

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Government bill to allow hate speech slated

Rodney Croome, Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group
25.08.16 6:27 pm

TASMANIA RISKS RECLAIMING ‘BIGOT’S ISLAND’ TAG

Tasmanian gay rights advocates have slated the State Government for its proposal to water down the state’s anti-hate speech laws, saying it will take Tasmania back to the dark days of public anti-gay hatred and that it goes further than religious leaders have called for.

In a bill to water down hate speech provisions released today, the Government allows hate speech if it “conveys, teaches or proselytises” a religious belief.

The religious exemption applies to incitement to hatred (section 19), as well as offensive conduct (section 17), despite Catholic Archbishop, Julian Porteous, telling ABC radio that he wants no change to the former provision (ABC local radio, Mornings with Leon Compton, Friday August 19th).

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“The Government’s proposal gives the green light to the kind of hate speech not seen in Tasmania for almost twenty years.”

“This bill will take Tasmania back to the dark times before homosexuality was decriminalised in the 1990s when the most degrading and disgusting things were said publicly about LGBTI people with impunity.”

“With this proposal we risk again being labelled ‘Bigot’s Island’ just as we were in the 1990s when we were the last Australian state to decriminalise homosexuality.”

“The Government is either so zealous or so incompetent that it has gone even further than conservative religious figures have called for, and has watered down all the hate protections in the Anti-Discrimination Act.”

“I will be writing to Premier Will Hodgman seeking on immediate meeting with LGBTI community leaders so we can put our case for retaining Tasmania’s strong anti-hate laws.”

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Dairy Crisis and Barnaby

Rob Messenger for Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie
25.08.16 6:24 pm

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Lambie’s Plan to stop Morrison’s Recession

Rob Messenger for Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie
25.08.16 6:19 pm

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Greens’ Hypocrisy on Jobs Shown by Attack on Native Forestry

Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources
25.08.16 2:07 pm

The Greens have shown their gross hypocrisy by crying crocodile tears about jobs while calling for thousands of Tasmanians to be thrown out of work.

Alarmed that the Hodgman Liberal Government is working to grow forestry, the Greens’ Cassy O’Connor gave notice of a motion yesterday calling for Parliament to commit to “halt native forest logging”.

That would mean putting the axe through every job that relies on the native forest sector.

This is a threat that carries real menace because of the Greens’ history of destroying jobs in the forest industry, aided and abetted by Labor.

We saw the devastating impact of the previous Labor-Green government’s forest deal on jobs and regional communities throughout Tasmania, and given a chance Ms O’Connor would seek to kill off the native forest sector.

Clearly, it offends the Greens’ ideological sensibilities to see new confidence, new investment and new jobs in forestry.

Their most recent attack comes as applications are drawing to a close for our new Wood and Fibre Processing Innovation Program.

This will provide grants of up to $100,000 to support the development of projects that use wood residues and/or agricultural plant residues to create value-added products and more jobs.

In stark contrast to Labor and the Greens, the Liberal Government is working to help grow the forest industry to create jobs – not destroy them.

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Resources Minister Misleads Parliament over Forestry Jobs

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson
25.08.16 2:06 pm

Resources Minister, Guy Barnett, needs to back up his claim made in Parliament today that there are ‘thousands’ of Tasmanians employed in the native forest industry, or come back into the House and correct the record.

We believe Mr Barnett is the most recent Minister to mislead Parliament.

The most recent NAB State Update for Tasmania confirms that the forestry sector is in continued structural decline. 

All the growth in forestry in Tasmania is via FSC certified plantation timber and this has precisely zero to do with anything the Liberals have done in the forestry space.

An analysis of Tasmania’s forestry sector undertaken by the Department of State Growth in October 2014 states there were 1155 people employed in the native forestry sector in November 2013, down from 3459 in August 2006.

The decline in native forest logging began a decade ago because globally, customers have rejected timber sourced from high conservation value forests.  That decline continues to this day.

Mr Barnett needs to present the proof of his claim, or come into Parliament, apologise for misleading the House and correct the record.

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Anti-Discrimination Act changes released for consultation

Vanessa Goodwin, Attorney-General
25.08.16 2:05 pm

The Government is committed to allowing all Tasmanians to express their views reasonably and in accordance with their beliefs, as the right to free speech is a fundamental tenet of our democracy.

The Government has today released draft legislation for public comment that proposes changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998.

The proposed changes seek to strike the right balance between providing protection from discrimination and unlawful conduct, while still allowing for genuine public debate and discussion on important issues.

The Bill also seeks to make clearer the ground rules for everyone wishing to express views in any public debate.

The Bill seeks to amend the current exception provisions relating to freedom of speech to:

• include a “reasonableness” test;
• Extend section 55 of the Act to include “religious purposes” (noting that it already provides exceptions for “academic”, “artistic”, “scientific” and “research purposes”); and
• amend the Act to require the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to reject a complaint about unlawful conduct in certain, specified circumstances.

Importantly, the Bill will not allow for hate speech under section 55 of the Act, as falsely claimed by some.

Section 55 already provides an exception for a public act done in good faith for academic, artistic, scientific or research purposes, or for any purpose in the public interest.  All we are proposing is to add “religious purposes” to this, and specifying that it must be done “reasonably” and in good faith. This is consistent with provisions in interstate jurisdictions such as NSW and Victoria.

In other words, it does not provide a blanket exception.

We support balanced free speech for all Tasmanians, and these changes will ensure the Act allows appropriate protection for genuine respectful public debate and discussion.

The draft Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill is available online now at http://www.justice.tas.gov.au

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Taking Tasmania to the world with free Wi-Fi network

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Information Technology and Innovation
25.08.16 2:04 pm

The Hodgman Liberal Government is delivering on our promise to roll out free Wi-Fi across Tasmania including to regional areas.

As part of stage one of the Wi-Fi network, there are now 50 live locations across Tasmania.

The government is proud to have partnered with Telstra, which has been contracted for four years to deliver free Wi-Fi at popular tourist destinations such as Port Arthur, Cradle Mountain, Salamanca and Hobart’s beautiful waterfront.

We already know that tourists like to show off their Tasmanian experiences with the world, and free Wi-Fi will only make this easier.

Wi-Fi sites were selected after consultation with the state’s regional tourism organisations and will supplement existing free networks to provide tourists with greater access to services as they travel throughout Tasmania.

More than 120 access points, at the 50 locations, have been installed throughout the state.

Regional locations such as Queenstown, Derby, Oatlands, Sheffield, Latrobe, Geeveston and Cygnet, have also been switched on which we hope will help encourage people to venture wider as they explore our beautiful island state.

The public can access 30 minutes free Wi-Fi, for each of their device, at each network location, each day.

The government’s Wi-Fi network website and downloadable app, maps all the locations in the network and provides links to the relevant Discover Tasmania page for each location.

The website shows where free Wi-Fi services are offered by other government departments, tourism organisations and relevant local bodies, while the app alerts the user to the nearest hotspot.

Both also offer all information in Mandarin.

For more information visit http://www.freewifi.tas.gov.au

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Beautiful Failures review: Lucy Clark’s look at problems in our education system

Fairfax, Review by Anne Susskind
25.08.16 1:51 pm

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… Clark’s heartfelt plea – “Abolish private schools, get rid of selective schools, stop streaming and segregating gifted and talented kids. Tolerance, compassion, equality, ethical thinking are the things to shoot for, also inclusivity, mostly inclusivity” …

Read more HERE

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Rail Trails passes Lower House

Rene Hidding, Minister for Infrastructure
25.08.16 11:58 am

The Hodgman Liberal Government is pro-actively supporting tourism projects and jobs in regional Tasmania and legislation passed the Lower House last night to enable non-operational rail lines to be used for uses other than rail.

The Tasmanian Government has adopted a policy of retaining all non-operational rail corridors within the State, a policy known as ‘rail banking’ for the future. However, the Government will consider alternative uses of non-operational corridors where there is no foreseeable need for rail services, and where the alternative use has a demonstrated community benefit and does not preclude future rail use.

Linear recreational trails, both for pedestrians or bicycles, on disused railway corridors have been successfully introduced in many locations in Australia and overseas, and offer local tourism and economic growth opportunities, as well as community recreation and health benefits.

The Tasmanian Government has been working closely with the Dorset Council to facilitate the development of the North East Rail Trail project, using the non-operational North East rail corridor.

Dorset Council has secured funding of $1.47 million from the Australian Government through the National Stronger Regions Fund to develop this project.

The Tasmanian Government has also provided in-principle support to the Burnie City Council and Waratah-Wynyard Council for the development of a coastal cycleway on the Wiltshire Line rail corridor.
The development of these types of projects will always be on the basis that the corridor can be “banked” and reclaimed if required in the future.

The new legislation will enable the alternative use of non-operational rail corridors for recreational purposes, and provide a framework for their ongoing management.

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