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In Their Own Words

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01.03.11 12:00 am

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Politics | Media

Renew Devonport Memorandum of Understanding!

Eric Mobbs, Chair Renew Devonport Working Group
25.07.14 6:35 pm

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At the signing of Renew Devonport Partners’ MOU today, are, (front) Devonport City Council Mayor, Alderman Steve Martin, Devonport Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Sylvia Sayers, (back) Tasmanian Regional Arts’ Renew Devonport Arts Liaison Officer, Eunice Horne, Tasmanian Regional Arts’ Board representative, Lee Cole and Devonport Chamber of Commerce and Industry Senior Vice President and Chair, Eric Mobbs.

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Today the Renew Devonport project was launched with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Devonport City Council, Devonport Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Tasmanian Regional Arts.

Supported by the Devonport Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the project is jointly funded by Tasmanian Regional Arts and the Devonport City Council. The project working group is also in negotiations for further funding from the State Government.

All parties are keen to begin the process of revitalising Devonport’s retail precincts. The model is based on Renew Australia which places creative producers in vacant shops on short-term leases to regenerate retail precincts.

Chair of the Renew Devonport Working Group Eric Mobbs said currently there are 25 vacant shops within the Devonport retail precincts.

“Many Tasmanians have looked at and explored a solution to the empty shops and the economic downturn – Devonport is doing something about it,” Mr Mobbs said.

“Serious interest from property owners was generated in the project when Marcus Westbury of Renew Australia and Marni Jackson of Renew Newcastle visited Devonport on July 14 to present the opportunities,” he said.

During their visit, Mr Westbury and Ms Jackson were given a tour of the city and provided advice to the Renew Devonport Working Group regarding the suitability of potential properties for the project and recommendations on the rollout.

“A number of the vacant shops were identified as potentially suitable, and at least one Renew Devonport project is envisaged to be active by early September,” Mr Mobbs said.

Tasmanian Regional Arts State Executive Member Lee Cole said strong interest has also been received from local artists, but the project team are keen to hear from more.

“We’re very fortunate that we have a diverse and talented creative community in the north-west, and this is a great opportunity for everyone,” Mr Cole said.

Creative thinkers, makers, and artists who are keen to incubate new ideas are invited to submit Expressions of Interest from August 1 to August 21, 2014 at http://www.tasregionalarts.org.au/renewdevonport. Once expressions of interest close, the Renew Australia team will visit Devonport again to assist in matching creatives with properties.

The project will be facilitated by Tasmanian Regional Arts with support from the Devonport Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

To get behind this exciting initiative, keep an eye on updates at http://www.facebook.com/RenewDevonport

For further information mail to: Renew Devonport, Devonport Corporate Centre, Bass House, 1st Floor Cnr
Edward & Best Street, PO Box 1262, Devonport, 7310.
ENDS
For more information and photo opportunities please contact , on 0407 588 700.

Tasmanian Regional Arts (TRA) is the peak organisation for regional arts
and community based arts in Tasmania.

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Government working to help industrial hemp industry achieve its full potential

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
25.07.14 6:18 pm

The Liberal Government has a vision of growing the value of our agricultural produce ten-fold by 2050 to create many more jobs in Tasmania.

To achieve Agrivision 2050, we must encourage all our primary industry sectors to achieve their full potential, and we must help to overcome the obstacles that they face.

That’s why the Liberal Government is taking action to assist Tasmania’s fledgling industrial hemp industry to grow.

We have directed AgriGrowth Tasmania, the body we established with a charter of promoting growth in agriculture, to develop options for cutting red tape and simplifying the regulation of the industrial hemp industry.

This work will involve coordinating a Government response to the 2012-13 House of Assembly inquiry into the industrial hemp industry, which I was pleased to have participated in as an advocate of this promising sector.

AgriGrowth Tasmania is to provide a report to me within three months.

Today, I have also released revised guidelines for the production of industrial hemp in Tasmania, which is important information for prospective growers, but we believe there is much scope to further reduce the regulatory burden on farmers.

The Liberal Government supports sensible regulation that allows this industry, which has actually existed in Tasmania since 1991, to achieve its potential.

We also support the use of industrial hemp products in food as it would open up new markets for the industry and will continue to lobby strongly for federal approval.

We will continue to work closely with the Industrial Hemp Association of Tasmania and also the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association to deliver positive outcomes.

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Jonathan Moylan sentenced to 2 year good behaviour bond by Supreme Court

Rick Laird, Maules Creek farmer
25.07.14 4:43 pm

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JONATHAN MOYLAN SENTENCED TO 2YR GOOD BEHAVIOUR BOND BY SUPREME COURT

3.40pm, Friday 25th July, 2014.  Supreme Court of NSW, 184 Phillip St, Sydney.

Jonathan Moylan, 26, was today sentenced to 1 year 8 months imprisonment, but will be released immediately on a 2 year good behaviour bond following a hearing at the Supreme Court in Sydney. 150 supporters held a vigil in support of Moylan outside the court.

“The determination of the movement to protect the Maules Creek community, farmland and Traditional Owners is only getting stronger and I’m confident that determination won’t be broken,” said Jonathan Moylan.

“In 30 years time our children will look back on us and we will have to answer to them,” he said.

Rick Laird, farmer from Maules Creek whose family has farmed in the district for over 150 years, travelled to Sydney to support Jonathan Moylan.

“Jono is a young man of great principle and conviction and we are incredibly grateful for the stand he took to support Maules Creek. We remain determined to fight off Whitehaven’s coal mine to protect Maules Creek and Leard State Forest,” said Rick Laird.

“To most people ANZ is just a bank, but to our community at Maules Creek their loan to Whitehaven Coal threatens to put an end to 150 years of farming in the region.”

“We’ve been fighting this mine for years but what Jono did means the world knows what is happening to Maules Creek farms and the Leard State Forest,” said Rick Laird.

In January 2013 Jonathan Moylan issued a press release on ANZ letterhead saying the bank had withdrawn its $1.2 billion loan facility from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Coal Project on environmental and ethical grounds. Whitehaven’s share price temporarily fell before quickly recovering.

Moylan was charged under section 1041E of the Corporations Act, pertaining to the making of false or misleading statements.

BACKGROUND

ANZ provides a $1.2 billion loan facility to Whitehaven Coal, primarily intended to develop the Maules Creek Coal Project. The Maules Creek Coal Project is a new open-cut coal mine being developed in Leard State Forest and adjacent farm land near Maules Creek in north west NSW.

On the day of the hoax, Whitehaven Coal’s (WHC) share price dropped from $3.52 to $3.21 before a trading halt, and bounced back to $3.53 within an hour of trading resuming.  Since January 2013, Whitehaven’s share price has plummeted in the face of the slumping global coal price, closing at $1.68 yesterday.

Leard State Forest is located between Narrabri and Boggabri, it includes the most extensive and intact stands of the nationally-listed and critically endangered Box-Gum Woodland remaining on the Australian continent. The forest is home to 396 species of plants and animals and includes habitat for 34 threatened species and several endangered ecological communities.

The Maules Creek Coal Project is approved to extract up to 13 million tonnes of coal annually, and is estimated to produce 30 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. The mine is expected to operate for more than 30 years. The coal will be railed from the mine in north west NSW to the port of Newcastle for export. The coal mine project boundary is approximately 5 kilometres from the Maules Creek township.

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SecondBite Launceston Expansion

Will Hodgman, Premier
25.07.14 4:31 pm

The upcoming State Budget will be about delivering our promises, fixing the Labor-Green mess and laying the foundations for the future.

Today’s announcement is about delivering on our election commitment to rebuild essential services.

With the assistance of the State Government, emergency food relief providers such as SecondBite play a valuable role in providing support to vulnerable Tasmanians.

It was a great pleasure to officially open SecondBite’s new cool room in Launceston today, which will significantly increase the amount of fresh surplus food they can provide to Tasmanians in need.

SecondBite will now support 36 community food programs in the state’s North and North–West from this warehouse, boosting its weekly reach to 156 food programs and approximately 140,000 meals state-wide.
Funding from the Tasmanian Community Fund has provided for the new cool room, and also the addition of a new refrigerated van, a truck and fork lift.

Last month the Liberal Government stepped into to extend funding to emergency food relief providers such as SecondBite.

Funding for providers including SecondBite, Produce to the People and Foodbank of Tasmania was due to be cut under the previous Labor-Green Government.

We are committed to working with SecondBite and other organisations to develop sustainable services into the future, as well as initiatives that address the underlying causes of food insecurity.

We will also double funding for mobile food van services in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport, and provide an additional $100,000 to resource 15-20 start-up food cooperatives in communities, to help families and individuals access low cost, healthy and fresh food.

I thank all the volunteers who keep things moving at organisations like SecondBite, including fifteen volunteers at the Launceston warehouse, and also the business community who partner with these organisations to get help get fresh food distributed across the state to those in need.

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EDO BULLETIN ... 25 July 2014

Environmental Defender's Office, Tasmania
25.07.14 4:28 pm

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Read more here

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Funding Boost for Neighbourhood and Community Houses

Will Hodgman, Premier
25.07.14 4:26 pm

The upcoming State Budget will be about delivering our promises, fixing the Labor-Green mess and laying the foundations for the future.

Today’s announcement is about delivering on our election promise to help Tasmania’s disadvantaged by investing more than $1.7 million in the state’s Neighbourhood and Community Houses.

Tasmania’s 34 Neighbourhood houses provide lifeblood to many communities through a network of co-ordinators and volunteers who bring thousands of locals together to support each other and address local issues.

Our Government is providing every house with an additional one-off funding injection of $50,000 which will impact positively on communities.

Community houses will use the funding in various ways to suit local community and individual house needs, such as;

• Increasing Community Lunch programs;
• Employing staff to run an After School program;
• Recruiting a Community Advocacy Networker to offer support and access to services;
• Installing solar panels to reduce electricity costs; and
• Hiring a Volunteer Coordinator to ensure volunteers are managed well.

Neighbourhood Houses provide crucial support to some of our most disadvantaged communities.

We are also providing $300,000 for mental health outreach services through the Neighbourhood House network. And $100,000 will also be provided to resource 20 start-up food cooperatives to increase access to low cost, fresh and healthy food by establishing partnerships between Neighbourhood Houses, communities, local food producers and food relief organisations.

The Liberals have always been strong supporters of the Neighbourhood House network and this support is evidenced by our ongoing investment at a time of budget constraint.

We are committed to working with our Neighbourhood and Community Houses and thank their staff and volunteers who play such an important role in supporting them.

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$11m fund supporting new investment in Lyons

Eric Hutchinson Federal Member for Lyons
25.07.14 4:23 pm

Local businesses in Lyons are being encouraged to create projects to diversify the local economy, with an application under the Australian Government’s $11 million Innovation and Investment Fund for Tasmania, said Eric Hutchinson MP, Federal Member for Lyons.

“This fund is an important part of a regional economic diversification package for Tasmania and will support local businesses to deliver sustainable industry opportunities, help diversify Tasmania’s economy and create new jobs,” he said.

“I meet regularly with local business owners and operators in our area, and while they recognise there are challenges in our region, they’re also very keen to see new economic growth, new jobs and long-term business opportunities created in the region.

“The fund is part of a $106 million Australian Government package aimed at stimulating economic growth and new jobs in Tasmania, in addition to other initiatives under the Government’s Economic Growth Plan for Tasmania.

“The Australian Government is working with the local community to help strengthen industries across Tasmania to become more competitive by investing in technology, modernisation and business capacity building.

“The fund will stimulate real action to build a strong and prosperous Tasmania by making a difference in terms of growth, jobs and raising living standards.”

Applications will be assessed to ensure they represent value for money. Grants, from a minimum of $50,000, will be awarded through a competitive, merit-based process to ensure that funded projects are commercially robust.

“The Government recognises the importance of reinvigorating the Tasmanian economy and identifying new opportunities.  We are determined to create the right environment to facilitate new investment.  We’ve scrapped the carbon tax and we are getting rid of red tape and other disincentives for investment,” Mr Hutchinson said.

The Australian Government is delivering on its election commitment for an economic package for Tasmania, with a range of initiatives to support a strong and prosperous local economy including $38 million to expand Hobart International Airport, $24 million to establish a new Centre for Antarctic and Southern Ocean research and $400 million to upgrade the Midland Highway.

Alongside this investment, the newly opened Tasmanian Major Projects Approval Agency is working as a one-stop-shop to assist investors on projects worth more than $50 million. 

For more information visit http://www.business.gov.au, call on 13 28 46 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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TFGA welcomes government move on hemp

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis
25.07.14 2:20 pm

Tasmanian farmers today welcomed the state government’s expressed resolve to facilitate the island’s potentially lucrative industrial hemp growing industry by removing unnecessary red tape that has so far hindered its development.

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said this had been a potential industry going nowhere despite a 2012 Legislative Council recommendation that the government remove unnecessary red tape to allow it to proceed.

Hemp is cultivated in Australia and New Zealand under strict licensing arrangements. It is used to make fibre, textiles, paper and building materials. Hemp seeds and oil are used in health bars, salad oils, non-soy tofu, non-dairy cheeses and as an additive to baked goods as well as being used as the whole seed, raw or roasted.

New Zealand permits hemp seed oil to be sold as a food, but Australia does not. It still has to be approved by all states and the national government under COAG arrangements. This is despite the fact that in 2012 FSANZ recommended for the second time the lifting of restrictions on the use of hemp for food production.  The federal government has again delayed a decision on this matter, now saying they will not make a finding until January 2015.

“Tasmania has about 100 ha under cultivation, mainly in the north and north-west,” Ms Davis said. “Yet there is far too much state-based regulation and red tape for farmers to be able to do this profitably. There are more rules covering hemp than there are for growing opium poppies. It’s ridiculous,” she said.

“And we need it to clear COAG restrictions on use of hemp for food products as a matter of urgency. This lengthy procrastination on what is a straightforward matter is unacceptable.”

Ms Davis said removal of prohibitions on production of hemp seed and oil products would provide Tasmanian farmers with a greater range of potential products and encourage more to consider growing it commercially.

“We have shown we can grow poppies safely; and we know we can grow hemp successfully too,” she said.

“Of course, people must realise that growing industrial hemp for food and fibre is an entirely different matter to producing medicinal cannabis, the subject of the latest debate.

“Our view is that we should remove the unjustifed constraints on the industrial hemp industry before we start thinking about production of medicinal cannabis,” Ms Davis said.

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Jetstar strides ahead with Little Athletics Australia

Nellie McWaters
25.07.14 2:16 pm

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. L-R David Hall, Alexandra Stillman, Cameron Hilderbrand, Cody Rodwell, Alana Stillman, Martin Stillman

Jetstar today announced a new partnership with Little Athletics Australia (LAA), becoming the first ever official naming partner for one of Australia’s best loved junior sports.

The two year partnership further cements Jetstar’s commitment to Australian communities and demonstrates that the airline stands for more than just low fares.

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand CEO, David Hall, said LAA’s mission to develop children of all abilities by promoting positive attitudes and a healthy lifestyle through family and community involvement in athletic activities aligns well with the airline’s brand values. 

“We are proud to partner with Little Athletics Australia, a unique Australian organisation that promotes having fun, being healthy and community involvement,” Mr Hall said.

“Little Athletics aligns with Jetstar’s values of creating new memories and special moments and we look forward to supporting Little Athletics communities nationwide as we take this new journey together.”

The partnership will provide LAA with funds to provide more backing to the 500 plus Centres throughout the country while giving Jetstar the opportunity to engage with the Little Athletics community.

Martin Stillman, Chief Executive of Little Athletics Australia, said “Little Athletics is an iconic brand in the Australian junior sporting landscape and we are thrilled to partner with Jetstar Airways as our new naming rights partner. The Jetstar partnership will enable Little Athletics to provide more support and resources at grassroots level and ensure further growth within the sport. 

“We recently celebrated 50 years of Little Athletics in Australia, and are now excited to embark on this new chapter in our history with Jetstar.”

Former Little Athlete and current captain of Australia’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games team, Sally Pearson said, “When I was thirteen, my coach at Helensvale Little Athletics Centre introduced me to hurdling and I haven’t looked back since. It taught me to aim high and be my best from an early age which undoubtedly set me on the journey towards winning Olympic Gold. Little Athletics is a unique program and one that I am very proud to have been part of.”

Little Athletics is a unique Australian athletics program for children from 5 to 15 years based upon track and field activities that have been modified to suit the age, developmental stage and ability of the children. Little Athletics is a volunteer-driven sport which is reliant on the assistance of parents and other adult volunteers to deliver the weekly sessions to more than 100,000 girls and boys.

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White Ribbon Night

Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Women
25.07.14 12:34 pm

Tackling violence against women is a priority for the Liberal Government and the Tasmanian community.

Today is White Ribbon night, an Australia-wide event to raise funds for prevention programs aimed at changing attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence against women.

Men across Australia are being encouraged to have ‘a night in to get the word out’ that violence against women is totally unacceptable.

White Ribbon Australia (WRA) is a non-profit organisation that is the largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women.

Violence against women is sadly widespread in our community, with one in three Australian women experiencing some form of physical violence.

Through primary prevention initiatives and an annual campaign, WRA seeks to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to and perpetuate men’s violence against women by engaging boys and men to lead social change.

The Liberal Government is pleased to support the White Ribbon cause in seeking to end violence against women.

We are also involved in a number of other initiatives to tackle domestic violence and sexual assault, including contributing $35,000 a year to help the new Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety investigate factors behind violence and sexual assault against women.

We’re also providing an additional $924,000 over four years towards the prevention of sexual assault and increasing after hours sexual assault services.

I encourage Tasmanians to support White Ribbon Night and help get the message out that violence against women, in any form, is unacceptable.

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Jan Davis: Let’s fire up and cut the fuel risk

TFGA chief executive Jan Davis
25.07.14 11:03 am

It might seem odd to be talking about bushfires in the middle of winter, but summer will soon be upon us. Last year was one of the hottest on record, but it was also wet at times, which means that fuel loads increased significantly. There is much to be done if we’re to survive another fire season relatively unscathed.

The so-called ‘forestry wars’ may be over, but the consequences continue to play out across the state.

Despite what some would have you believe, this island is covered in forests which, without proper management, are a disaster waiting to happen. Forestry Tasmania, Gunns and forest contractors were in many cases our first line of defence, and they must share some of the credit for our good record over the past four decades. With less people and less equipment available to assist in this task, there is inevitably increased risk. We saw that in the Dunalley fires on a small scale, even though these were not really in forested areas: volunteer brigades were stressed, there were manpower shortages and equipment shortages.

If the potential fuel for fires is not actively monitored and reduced, if roads and bridges are not kept open to assist in fire fighting; we face a looming disaster – especially with forecasts for another drier than average summer ahead. 

Where will the resources come from without the work FT, Gunns and forestry contractors have always done in the past on the ground as unfunded - and largely unrecognised - community service?  You cannot expect to remove the on-ground people who deal with these issues every day without a significant impact.

These issues were sidelined in the debate over the future of our forests, yet will have far-reaching and fundamental impacts on all Tasmanians.

Hardest hit will be our farmers who live in some of the most fire-prone parts of the state. Their families, homes and livelihoods are at significant risk in bushfire season.

Many farmers are active in volunteer bushfire brigades. They give up their time and put their lives on the line every summer to protect their communities. The heightened risks resulting from decreased investment in on-ground resourcing from forest managers are causing them serious concern.

A 2012 report commissioned by the Australian Workers’ Union contains some sobering thoughts. I quote: “The 2009 Victorian bushfires highlighted how the accumulation of fuel, resulting from passive management, reduced prescribed burning (often related to smoke management concerns), and conservation philosophies combined with increased urbanisation to result an intensification of fire extent and severity.”

The Victorian Royal Commission report into the 2009 bushfires recommended prescribed burning annually of a minimum 5% of public land; reporting, data collection and modelling with respect to targets, area burnt, funds expended and impacts on biodiversity; and development of a Code of Practice for Fire Management on Public Land.

The situation in Tasmania is - if anything - even worse.  The 2013 Hyde review identified approximately 2.57 million hectares of in Tasmania on which fuel reduction burning could reasonably be under taken. Of this, 0.86m ha are in reserves managed by PWS, 0.6m ha are in state forest or unallocated Crown lands, and the balance (1.1m ha) are on privately owned and other lands.

So what is happening here to address these recommendations?

The state government has committed $28.5 million to allow fuel reduction burning of treatable public land in Tasmania to be increased to 60,000 hectares per year. They have said they will replace the current fragmented approach to fuel reduction which is split between Parks, Forestry Tasmania and the Tasmanian Fire Service, with a new specialist Fuel Reduction Unit, to be located within the Parks department.

We welcome initiatives that will allow for increased fuel reduction burning on private land.  They have outlined a “fuel reduction first” policy that will reverse the onus of proof when it comes to environmental impacts, and require it to be proven that a fuel reduction burn will have an adverse environmental impact for a permit to be denied.

However, these initiatives will only deliver results if there are adequate resources and funding to changing the culture within government, the bureaucracy and the wider community, to understand the importance of fuel reduction burning in protecting Tasmanians and also our environment.

In its first 100 days report, the government said it has received a comprehensive report from State Fire Management Council on implementing its program. That’s a good start - but we need to move more quickly. We need to know what is in the report; and the government needs to get moving on whatever recommendations have been made. The targeted fuel reduction burns have to be strategic and effective, in high priority areas and not “easy” areas picked to ensure the 60,000 ha target is ticked off.

No-one wants to be sitting here after a bushfire disaster saying ‘I told you so’.

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Andrew Wilkie: One health organisation a good idea ... but not Launceston

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Denison
25.07.14 10:55 am

A STATEMENT ON THE POSSIBLE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SINGLE TASMANIAN HEALTH ORGANISATION IN LAUNCESTON

I have learned this morning the Tasmanian Government is actively considering establishing a single state-wide health organisation based in Launceston. 

Collapsing the current three Tasmanian Health Organisations into one is a good idea.  But to contemplate basing it in Launceston would be an absurdity. 

To base the new health organisation in Launceston would effectively disconnect the organisation from the state’s main hospital and the weight of clinical and tertiary health services which are obviously in Hobart. By implication there would be a further reduction in the delivery of health services to the entire Tasmanian population, which has already been poorly served by decades of poor political decision making.

To locate a single health organisation in Launceston would be parochialism gone mad.  This is the Launceston mafia hijacking public health planning in Tasmania.  In a state of only half a million people to continue to locate large chunks of the public health system in regional areas is patently ridiculous.  All Tasmanians will enjoy better public healthcare with not only fewer, but also more sensibly located, public health structures and facilities.

There is also the important matter of the Health Minister’s personal conflict of interest.  If he was to decide to put a single health organisation in his home town and own electorate, then that would be political pork barrelling on an industrial scale at the expense of good public health planning.

I call on the Premier and the Health Minister to rule out anything other than a single health organisation based in Hobart.

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Andrew Wilkie: Don’t leave pensioners out in the cold

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Denison
25.07.14 10:51 am

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, joined Glenorchy Alderman Kristie Johnston to urge Premier Will Hodgman to fall into line with every other state and territory and maintain concessions to eligible pensioners in next month’s State Budget.

In the recent Federal Budget, the Abbott Government axed the National partnership on certain concessions for pensioners and seniors card holders.  The $9m funding allocated to Tasmania substantially subsidised the State Government’s concession program. 

All other states and territories have now committed to making up for the loss of Commonwealth funding.  But in Tasmania there’s fear and uncertainty as the State Government has only committed to maintaining existing concessions until the budget next month.

Mr Wilkie has been contacted by many pensioners worried about how the loss of concessions for electricity, rates and water and other necessities will affect their strained household budgets. 

``These concessions are not a luxury; for many they are the difference between being able to pay their electricity or water bill or have these essential services disconnected,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

``This is now a uniquely Tasmanian problem.

``If Premier Will Hodgman does not cover the shortfall, Tasmania will be the only place in Australia to leave pensioners out in the cold.’’

Background

Tasmania
The Tasmanian Government has not committed to maintaining existing concessions beyond the August budget. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-29/government-to-fill-pensioner-concession-gap-for-two-months/5486336

Australian Capital Territory
The ACT has absorbed the loss of Commonwealth funding for pensioner concessions in its Budget.

New South Wales
The NSW Government committed to make up the funding shortfall in its 2014–15 Budget. http://www.governmentnews.com.au/2014/06/states-bail-pensioner-rates-concessions-except-wa/

Northern Territory
The NT Government has tightened eligibility for its concession scheme in its 2014–15 Budget but the new conditions will not affect pensioner concession card holders (will affect other groups such as seniors not holding a concession card). http://www.cotant.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/COTA-Coomalie-Newsletter33.pdf and http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/05/13/new-pensioners-squeezed-nt-budget

Queensland
Premier Newman stated the Queensland Government would cover the loss of Commonwealth funding for pensioner concessions. http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F3207215%22

South Australia
The South Australian Government committed to funding the shortfall in its 2014-15 budget. http://servicesa.cdn.on.net/budget201415/media/concessions-standing-up-for-pensioners-and-low-income-earners.pdf

Victoria
The Victorian Premier has stated that it will make up for the shortfall in Commonwealth funding for pensioner concessions for one year. http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/vic-health-concessions-safe-premier-says/story-e6frfku9-1226927012810 and http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F3252577%22
Western Australia

The WA Government has not changed the concessions provided to pensioner concession card holders covered by the National Partnership agreement. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-24/cost-of-living-rebate-for-seniors-slashed/5546872

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Senator Bilyk lends support to Ukraine peace program

Senator Catryna Bilyk Labor Senator for Tasmania Deputy Opposition Whip in the Senate
25.07.14 10:44 am

Senator for Tasmania and Chair of the Australia-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, Catryna Bilyk, is encouraging Tasmanians to give generously to U-Help, an Australian program promoting Ukraine’s sovereignty, democracy and path to peace and prosperity.

Senator Bilyk, who has family ties to the Ukrainian community, said that the tragic incident of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, in which 27 Australians were killed, demonstrated that it was in Australia’s national interests to promote peace in troubled areas like Ukraine.

“We also owe it to our brothers and sisters in the Ukrainian community in Tasmania to support a peaceful and prosperous future for their homeland,” Senator Bilyk said.

U-Help—or the Ukrainian Humanitarian Educational and Leadership Program—was established by the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations to:

• fund medical and humanitarian assistance to people injured in the self-defence of Ukraine, and
• support educational and leadership programs that promote Ukraine’s democratisation and prosperity through increased Ukraine-Australia social, political and economic ties.

“Australia has much to offer Ukraine as a model of a successful and peaceful democracy,” Senator Bilyk said. “Supporting a democratic and prosperous Ukraine is not only good for global peace and security, but also our business ties, which will benefit Australia’s economy.”

Flyers with further information about U-Help are available from Senator Bilyk’s office in Kingston Plaza.

Tasmanians wishing to donate to U-Help can deposit funds in the following account using the payment reference ‘U-Help’:

BSB: 704-235
Account Number: 00015958
Account Name: Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations

Download:
U-Help_Flyer_03072014.pdf

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7th International Woodfibre Resource & Trade Conference November 2014

Hakan Ekstrom Wood Resources International LLC Seattle, USA
25.07.14 7:29 am

Download:

7th_International_Woodfibre_Resource__Trade_Conference_2014.pdf

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No New Taxes: The Liberal Party is the party of lower taxes

Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
24.07.14 7:28 pm

Today I addressed the 2014 States’ Taxation Conference in Hobart where I reaffirmed our commitment to no new taxes in the coming budget.

The reason the State Budget is in its current unsustainable position is because Labor and the Greens had a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Over the three years from the 2011-12 Labor-Green “austerity” budget, revenue forecasts were about right, yet they continued an uncontrollable spending spree of around $1 billion more than budgeted at the same time.

The former Labor-Green Government left a $1.1 billion budget black hole, 1,000 job cuts embedded in the budget, rising debt and rising interest payments.

The Liberal Government will fix the budget mess. We will be responsible, this will not be a slash and burn budget. However there will be some tough decisions, such as pausing public sector wage increases to save jobs whilst also reining in expenses.

In a nutshell we will keep our promises, clean up the budget mess and lay the foundations for the future.

We are also determined to make sure Tasmania remains one of the lowest taxing states in Australia.

Tasmania will have a key role to play in national discussions around tax reform when the White Papers on Federation and Taxation are released next year, but if we are going to get Tasmania back on track we have to start now.

The Liberal Government is already laying the foundations to make Tasmania the most competitive state to do business. Our policies, including the payroll tax rebate, removal of water and sewerage headworks charges, buy local policy and reducing red and green tape, are already seeing results.

Since the March election, more than 2,000 new jobs have been created and business confidence has dramatically increased.

Retail spending, business investment and population growth are all showing positive signs.

The Liberal Government is putting the budget on the pathway to sustainability and creating a brighter future for all Tasmanians.

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Ageing well: Housing solutions for older Australians

Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Human Services
24.07.14 5:48 pm

The Liberal Government is committed to delivering improved housing options for older Tasmanians.

We are committed to developing a State Affordable Housing Plan, which will provide a clear framework for the next decade around home ownership, affordable rental, public and community housing, and crisis accommodation.

Today I opened the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute’s event ‘Ageing well: housing solutions for older people’ in Hobart.

The event featured a panel of distinguished experts and outlined a body of significant research.

There are around 90,000 Tasmanians over the age of 65. That means 17 per cent, or almost one fifth, of all Tasmanians are over 65.

An ageing population impacts on housing in several ways. There is a significant growth in the need for housing for smaller households and there is also an increased need for accessibility, with more people choosing to remain in their home and community for longer.

Partially in response to these needs, Housing Tasmania has adopted Liveability Development Principles, which include new housing being close to services and facilities, transport and recreation, as well as accessibility and energy efficiency.

It is important to look for solutions in both public and private housing that provide older Tasmanians with the opportunity to stay in the community they call home.

One of the topics at today’s conference was looking at models and developments which will allow older Tasmanian to do this.

Housing Tasmania has a number of initiatives underway to grow the number of units available for older Tasmanians.

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Libs’ softened medicinal cannabis stance welcomed

Lara Giddings MP Shadow Attorney-General
24.07.14 4:30 pm

Shadow Attorney-General Lara Giddings has welcomed a reported softening in the Liberals’ stance on medicinal cannabis.

“It is pleasing to see the Liberal Government finally supporting the Legislative Council committee’s investigation of the benefits of medicinal cannabis and leaving the door open to a trial in Tasmania,” Ms Giddings said.

“It has taken growing community support across the state and country to get the Liberal Government to soften its stance on this issue.

“There are now over 1500 signatures on the e-petition calling for legalising the production, processing and administration of medicinal cannabis in Tasmania and many more on hard-copy petitions being collected across the State.

“Unfortunately the slowness of the Liberals to respond has given other states a chance to overtake Tasmania in the debate around medical cannabis, with the NSW Premier Mike Baird indicating support and now Queensland’s Premier Campbell Newman has joined the bandwagon.

“The Liberals’ failure to act earlier could cost Tasmania a multi-million dollar industry similar to the poppy industry in this state and leave patients without access to medication which could be beneficial to their health.”

The petition is available from Labor MP’s offices while the e-Petition is on the Parliament of Tasmania website at http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/EPetitions/House/ and go to Current Petitions.

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Labor paves way for another ALP/Green Government

Sam McQuestin State Director Liberal Party of Australia (Tasmanian Division)
24.07.14 4:00 pm

The ALP is paving the way for another Labor/Green government after the next state election, a close reading of motions to be debated its State Conference reveals.

The ALP’s State Election Review, to be considered at the Conference, tacitly admits that it cannot win the next election saying only that it is “poised to win a minimum of ten seats.”

However in motions dealing with “Minority Government” it is revealed that Labor is planning on forming another Labor/Green government.

Motion 2.2 says “The Parliamentary Labor Party and its members shall not enter into a power sharing or coalition arrangement with any other political party where a member of that political party holds a ministerial or any other position within the Cabinet.”

At first blush that would appear to rule out a coalition with the Greens. But in Motion 2.3 the Administrative Committee subtly ads to the motion.

“In the event the Party finds itself in a position to form a minority government following a state election, the Parliamentary Labor Party shall not form a minority government unless that decision has firstly been referred to referred to the Administrative Committee for endorsement.”

Effectively this means that the Administrative Committee can allow the Parliamentary Labor Party to form a coalition government with Greens as Parliamentary Secretaries or even as Cabinet Ministers.

It is clear that Labor is calculating that it can win ten seats at the next election and the Greens four allowing them to form another Labor/Green government of some sort.

Labor has learnt nothing from the March election where it won just 27% of the primary vote because of the disastrous Labor/Green alliance, yet it will avariciously seek power yet again by getting into bed with the Greens.

Equally disturbing is Recommendation 10 of the Review:

“That the Party institute a regular meeting with the Parliamentary Party and affiliated unions through a Tasmanian Labour Advisory Committee (TLAC) as per the Party Rules. The meeting should be attended by the relevant state and federal parliamentarians, trade union and Party officials. It should be chaired by the Party President.”

Unions represent just 13% of the private sector workforce, yet the ALP is giving them even more influence within Parliamentary Party.

The Labor Party has learnt nothing from the last election.

It wants to get back into bed with the Greens and is intent on giving even greater influence to unions despite the current scandals surrounding various unions – not the least the apparent misuse of funds from the Solicitors Guarantee Fund.

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New Tourism Tasmania Chairman

Will Hodgman, Premier Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events
24.07.14 3:59 pm

The Liberal Government is committed to building on our competitive strengths such as tourism, and key to this is the new stand-alone Tourism Tasmania.

Our plan is to grow the number of visitors to Tasmania to 1.5 million per year by 2020, which the industry says will create up to 8,000 new jobs.

Tourism Tasmania will help reach this target with its new focus now firmly set on being results and market driven.

Today, I welcome the new chairman of Tourism Tasmania James Cretan, who will play a pivotal role in realising Tasmania’s tourism potential.

Mr Cretan is a passionate Tasmanian with experience on the boards of the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania and the Tasmanian Skills Institute.

He also brings practical experience having founded the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village, and work on other ventures in his portfolio including the Swansea Chalets, Swansea Holiday Park and the Shoreline Hotel.

As chairman, Mr Cretan will oversee Tourism Tasmania’s strategic direction and play a significant role in communication with government and industry.

The latest figures show Tasmania is fast becoming a must-see destination with a record number of visitors in the 12 months to March, with about 1.06 million interstate and international visitors touring our island.

I look forward to working closely with Mr Cretan to build on this encouraging trend.

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New Zealand’s EPA Questions For Chatham Rise Phosphate Mining Raise Alarm

George Clement, chief executive of the Deepwater Group
24.07.14 3:49 pm

Alarm bells should be ringing in light of the hard questions asked by Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) of Chatham Rock Phosphate’s mining application.

“EPA is rightly asking the hard questions of CRP, showing that CRPs application is so loose that it puts the marine environment, and consequently the health of New Zealand fisheries, at huge risk,” says George Clement, chief executive of the Deepwater Group.

The EPA has raised the issue of Chatham Rise seabed sediments containing a ‘range of trace elements including heavy metals and radioactive elements’ like uranium, strontium and caesium and their potential impact on water quality, in an extensive letter that questions a number of aspects of the application.

“The EPA’s decision to seek independent advice from radiation experts in regards to the elevated levels of radioactive minerals like uranium, and their impact on human health and marine organisms, highlights the seriousness of this issue, which seems to have been ignored by CRP,” says Mr Clement.

EPA’s questions also cover the lack of information around the impacts of dredging on the environment, the limitations and validity of CRP’s modeling to identify areas of high biodiversity, and seeking from CRP full details of their research which underpins their conclusion that phosphate mining would have ‘little or no impact on commercial fishing.”

Deepwater fishing interests have opposed mining the Chatham Rise stating that the widespread habitat destruction will put the health and quality of New Zealand’s sustainable fisheries at risk.

The EPA’s request for further information can be found in its letter of 17 July 2014 to CRP.  Download a copy:
EPA_NZ.pdf

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Save the Tarkine lodges appeal against Nelson Bay River permit amendments.

Scott Jordan, Campaign Coordinator, Save the Tarkine
24.07.14 3:20 pm

Save the Tarkine have today filed an application for Judicial Review in the Supreme Court challenging the amendments made to the Shree Minerals’ Nelson Bay River mine environmental permit.

The original permit required that acid producing waste rock be stored inside the open cut pit, but following disclosure that the Shree Minerals’ mine would produce twenty times as much acid producing waste as disclosed in the assessment documents, an amendment was issued allowing acid producing waste to be stored above ground. The Environment Protection Authority’s original assessment had deemed above ground storage to be neither safe or secure.

“Save the Tarkine believes the Director of the EPA acted unlawfully in approving the permit amendment, and has done so in contradiction of the EPA’s assessment and the EPA Board’s original permit”, said Save the Tarkine Campaign Coordinator, Scott Jordan.

“The above ground storage of acid producing waste exacerbates the risks to the Nelson Bay River catchment, soils and groundwater, and threatened species within the vicinity of the mine”.

“While we remain of the view that this mine should not have been approved at all, this Judicial Review seeks to overturn the amendments and restore the original conditions for the storage of acid producing waste rock of the original permit.”

Shree Minerals has sought and been granted three permit amendments since November 2013.

The Nelson Bay River Mine is currently not operating.

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Andrew Wilkie: The Daily Struggle of single mums on Newstart

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Denison
24.07.14 3:15 pm

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has congratulated the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children for highlighting the plight of single mothers struggling on Newstart.

The National Council of Single Mothers and their Children has produced a documentary of 10 mothers speaking about the struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head on Newstart.

``Bringing up children is the most important job in the world and doing it as a single parent is as tough as it gets,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

``Single parents deserve support but instead governments have been stripping away the little help they get.

``They have the perennial difficulty of finding gainful employment between dropping the kids off at 9am and picking them up at 3pm—and when it comes to the parenting payment they have already taken a big hit with the reduction in the qualifying age of children from 16 to eight.

``But now they face cuts to family tax benefits, co-payments for seeing the doctor and getting their scripts filled, and even more to fill the tank in the car.

``What is going on here? Why are single parents, and in particular single mums, being singled out for even harsher treatment than the rest of the community?

``I urge the Prime Minister to take the time to watch these individual stories and increase support to single mothers so they can focus on their children.’’

The film will premiere in Adelaide tomorrow, July 25, at the Mercury Cinema at 6pm.  For more information http://www.10storiesofsinglemothers.org.au

 

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Time for Government to Approve Cannabis Trial while MLCs Examine Bigger Picture

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Health spokesperson
24.07.14 3:00 pm

While it is very encouraging to hear Treasurer Gutwein indicate that the Hodgman Government may now have an open mind on medical cannabis, it needs to be understood that a medical cannabis trial at UTAS could proceed without waiting for the Legislative Council inquiry to finish its work, Greens Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP said today.

“The Terms of Reference for the Legislative Council inquiry relate to broader questions about the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis and the potential establishment of a medicinal cannabis industry in Tasmania,” Ms O’Connor said.

“This is a big picture inquiry and it will take a number of months to gather submissions, call witnesses to give evidence, and to report its findings.  With the stroke of a pen, Health Minister Michael Ferguson could approve a secure trial at UTAS to begin in the near future.  He doesn’t need to wait for the Legislative Council Committee to finish its important work.”

“The New South Wales Premier, Deputy Premier and Opposition Leader have voiced support for medicinal cannabis use on compassionate grounds, with legislation likely to be debated in NSW this year.”

“A new national ReachTel poll also shows strong majority support for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.  The momentum of public support will not subside, and can only grow.” [1]

“Tasmania, with its internationally regarded poppy industry, is the ideal location for a scientific trial at UTAS.  We risk losing an early mover advantage.”

“Minister Ferguson can fix that with the stroke of his Ministerial pen and ensure Tasmania is at the forefront of this important area of medical research,” Ms O’Connor said.

[1]:  https://www.reachtel.com.au/blog/7-news-national-poll-21july2014
Question 8:

Do you support the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes?

image

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Female Candidates Express Solidarity

Allderman Helen Burnet
24.07.14 2:57 pm

The macho environs of the Aldermen’s Room in Hobart Town Hall were transformed last night as a host of female politicians - both seasoned veterans and first-time candidates - gathered to discuss the benefits of having more women in leadership roles at a community level.

Women in Local Government, an event timed to coincide with this week’s ALGWA conference was the brainchild of Hobart City Council Alderman Helen Burnet. “For a long time I have wished that we had equal representation of the sexes in local government,” says Alderman Burnet. “I also know what a challenge it can be to run for the first time, so I wanted to organise this soiree to allow female candidates to meet and learn from experienced female politicians.”

“I was delighted how eager these seasoned pollies were to share their wisdom as well as war stories of the challenges they have faced in council.” The new candidates received more than just expressions of solidarity from their more experienced counterparts, Alderman Burnet notes, “They got practical, concrete advice that they can now take on board in their campaigns.”

A non-partisan affair, this event drew politicians from across the political spectrum. “I wanted to emphasise that equal representation is not a Left/Right issue. Whatever our political affiliations, I think that those in attendance all agreed that our community is better served when we have equal representation of the sexes at a leadership level.”

The centrepiece of the evening was an open discussion in which various invited guests spoke incisively about their experiences. “Females still hold only about 27 percent of elected roles in local government, and much of the discussion centred on the prejudice that female politicians continue encounter, both from their aldermanic colleagues and a public that still sees council as a male-dominated domain.”

“What was grimly apparent from this discussion was the amount of sexism female aldermen still have to face today. Many of the speakers noted that such attitudes required considerable mental and emotional rigor to surmount, but that doing so is an important and valuable endeavour.”

“There is a culture of complacency in many councils, and the injection of new faces with fresh perspectives can be the healthiest of disruptions.”

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Australian Medical Association lash out at nasties lurking in trade deal

Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson
24.07.14 2:55 pm

Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, lends his support to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) in its calls for the Australian government to reject provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) that “could undermine the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and compromise the ability of governments to improve public health.”*

The Greens, like the AMA, have had long-held concerns about how the secretive TPP negotiations may undermine the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, extend the time it takes for new medicines to be sold as low-cost generic-branded products and limit Australia’s ability to protect our Plain Packaging tobacco laws.

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said, “The details of many of the trade deals currently under negotiation are being kept secret. The Government has rejected on several occasions the demands of the Australian Senate to reveal the details of what is being traded away in our name.

“If these trade deals are as good for Australia as the Government tells us, why not disclose the details?

“Ultimately with the TPP the Government is going to decide whether they will give up control over our health system to be able to sell more beef and rice into Asia-Pacific markets.

“The Government likes to spin trade deals as being entirely a good news story. What they don’t tell you is ‘you have to give something to get something.’

“What the world (i.e. multi-national pharmaceutical companies) wants Australia to give up is our first-class Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“I also welcome the AMA’s expression of alarm at the Trojan Horse Investor-State Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) provisions. These provisions will allow multi-national corporations the right to sue Australia for making laws that negatively impact their profits.

“The Greens currently have a Bill before parliament to ban these Trojan Horse provisions. It is worth noting that the Chair of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee has recently called for ISDS to be removed from their impending trade deals.

“I don’t trust Andrew Robb not to trade away our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. These deals should be negotiated in public, and parliament should be allowed to scrutinise any agreement well before it is signed,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.

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Investment boost on the East Coast

Guy Barnett, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
24.07.14 2:44 pm

The Liberal Government is committed to growing our tourism industry to 1.5 million visitors per year by 2020.

As part of this commitment the Liberals will provide $3 million to assist the development of the Solis Louisville Golf Course.

The Solis Louisville development languished under the Labor-Green Government. Our commitment will provide $1.5 million in both 2015-16 and 2016-17 to fund public infrastructure costs which have left the project stagnant.

In more good news for the East Coast, the Federal Government today committed to support Tasmanian salmon producer Tassal’s construction of a fish by-product processing facility near Triabunna.

The job creating plant is expected to create 30 jobs during construction and 20 jobs once operational. The plant is a welcome development for the Triabunna region which has been severely affected by the closure of the Triabunna Woodchip Mill.

The Federal Government’s $3.85 million support is part of the $106 million Tasmanian Jobs Package.

The Liberal Government remains committed to keeping Tasmania open for business.

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Zucco calls for a freeze on Council Allowances for 2 years

Hobart Alderman Marti Zucco
24.07.14 2:32 pm

Long-time Hobart Alderman Marti Zucco has tabled a notice of motion to freeze Aldermanic allowances for the next 2 years.

Ald Zucco said that he is seeking Council to support his initiative for a report that considers writing to the relevant Minister with the Hobart City Councils views on this issue and is hoping that the Council will support a freeze for 2 years.

Alderman Zucco pointed out that as the Capital City it is imperative that the HCC takes a lead on this matter as Aldermanic allowances are due for review and considering the budget constraints and Alderman seeking cost savings it would be “fiscally responsible” that the Alderman play their role in this domain.

Ald Zucco said even though the amount for each individual Alderman may not be an excessive, collectively with the increase for the Mayoral positions over two years this amount would make some impact.

I am seeking Council support for the HCC to work with the Minister and the Tasmanian Government to show the leadership and write to all Councils to support a statewide freeze.

This is an opportunity for Local and State Government to work cohesively together and show that all Tasmanian Politicians can play a role in the States economy. 

The General Manager has accepted the notice of motion and will have it tabled to the next appropriate committee meeting.

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Labor announces candidate for Windermere

Michelle O’Byrne MP Deputy Labor Leader
24.07.14 2:21 pm

Tasmanian Labor is pleased to announce community worker Jennifer Houston will contest next year’s Legislative Council election in Windermere.

ALP state secretary John Dowling said Jennifer Houston has extensive experience in the community sector.

“Labor’s proud that Jennifer has decided to put her hand up for election and we’re proud she’s chosen to represent Labor,” Mr Dowling said.

“With a majority Liberal Government controlling the lower house, Tasmania needs progressive, forward thinking members in the upper house.

Jennifer Houston was born in Launceston and has lived and worked in the area all of her life.

A sociologist, Jennifer currently works as a community development officer with Anglicare Tasmania.

Prior to that, Jennifer has held senior positions with the Migrant Resource Centre Northern Tas.

“I’m passionate about community development that doesn’t leave anyone behind”, Ms Houston said.

“I believe I can make a significant contribution to public life through my energy, drive and sense of social justice.

“The Legislative Council needs progressive voices to make sure legislation reflects community values and expectations.

“By joining Labor’s team, I’ll have the necessary support around me to make sure my voice is heard.”

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