Media

In Their Own Words

Editor
01.03.11 12:00 am

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

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Politics | Media

180 jobs created as Bald Hill Mine opens

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources
18.12.14 4:02 pm

The Liberal Government welcomes today’s start of civil works at the Bald Hill bauxite mine near Campbell Town and the economic benefits it will bring to the region.

Around 1.5 million tonnes of bauxite, the main ingredient in aluminium, will be mined by Australian Bauxite Limited (ABx) and shipped through Bell Bay for both domestic and international markets.
Up to 180 jobs are expected to be created from the Bald Hill Mine, including 45 direct jobs and around 135 indirect jobs.

The bauxite will be panel mined and topsoil will then be replaced on to the disturbed areas, while there will be no waste rock dump or tailings dump required.

Bald Hill is Australia’s first new bauxite mine in more than 35 years and comes at the perfect time for Tasmania, with the emergence of China as a major consumer of the type of bauxite Tasmania produces, which is in short supply worldwide. 

That supply shortage has led to a firming in the price which, coupled with the low Australian dollar at the moment, makes Australian bauxite more globally competitive and gives us a chance to become a long-term player in this market place.

ABx is also looking at other prospective sites in Tasmania and this project will provide a lead-in to other potential bauxite deposits.

Tasmania has a rich history when it comes to in mining but particularly in this area, as our state is where the Australian aluminium industry began after World War II, with the first bauxite screen process plant, alumina refinery and aluminium smelter in Australia all built at Bell Bay.

The opening of the Bald Hill mine will not only generate welcome economic activity but showcases the mineral diversity and potential of Tasmania.

Tasmania is open for business under the Liberal Government and we will continue to work with our mining sector to capitalise on the industry as one of our state’s key strengths.

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ADVOCATES HOPE GILLAR’D'S BEYOND BLUE APPOINTMENT ...

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome
18.12.14 2:50 pm

... SHOWS SHE IS EVOLVING ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Advocates are hopeful Julia Gillard’s appointment to the board of mental health awareness organisation, Beyond Blue, shows she is moving towards support for marriage equality.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said international research shows a clear link between marriage equality and mental health.

“Gays and lesbians in places with marriage equality are much less likely to experience the kind anxiety and depression that comes with legal and societal discrimination.”

“I hope Ms Gillard’s appointment to the board of Beyond Blue shows she is evolving toward support for marriage equality.”

As Prime Minister, Ms Gillard was against same-sex couples being able to marry despite being a left-of-centre atheist in an unmarried relationship.

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NBN connection process needs to be easier

Madeleine Ogilvie MP Shadow Minister for IT and Innovation
18.12.14 2:06 pm

Shadow Minister for IT and Innovation, Madeleine Ogilvie, says there is an urgent need for a connections process improvement to make it easier for customers to move onto NBN.

“It is clear to me that people want a single point of contact for the entire connection process,” Ms Ogilvie said.

“My small business priority list has delivered connections, as I promised, but I have only been able to assist companies who have asked. I have been able to help people connect.

“I see that people are frustrated with having to contact multiple providers, have multiple visits, and make multiple follow up phone calls.

“A better process would be to have a web based single ‘connections’ point of entry behind which sit telecommunications providers, contractors and ISP processes.

“My constituents should not have to understand three companies’ back end processes in order to be connected.

“The Federal Liberal government has completely failed to protect consumers during the cut over process, and must act to reform regulatory oversight in this critical area.

“Of the key sector regulators; the ACCC, ACMA and the Telecommunications Ombudsman, not one has direct oversight of the entire NBN connection process. It is not good enough.”

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A year of progress on many fronts for the Port Arthur Historic Sites

Andrew Ross Marketing Manager Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority
18.12.14 1:51 pm

The 2013-14 year has been a period of significant progress for the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA).

PAHSMA Chair, Professor Sharon Sullivan, named the recovery from the effects of the 2013 bushfire disaster, a massive project to restabilise the Penitentiary, the dramatic increase in Chinese visitation, a new pontoon for cruise ships and substantial progress at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site as just some of the highlights of what has been a very productive period for the Authority.

“The biggest challenge facing PAHSMA has been the re-stabilisation of the Penitentiary, a project that, based on professional engineering advice, needed to be completed as a matter of urgency,” said Professor Sullivan at the Authority’s final Board Meeting for the year.

“Financial assistance from both the State and Federal Governments along with continued strong visitor numbers and revenue enabled commencement of the project, which is nearing completion; the Penitentiary will be open again to visitors from this weekend.”

“The Port Arthur Historic Site achieved an 18% increase in visitor numbers over the previous year, which was impacted by the bushfires, but importantly it was a similar increase on the 2011–12 result.”

“The dramatic increase in Chinese visitors coming to the Port Arthur Historic Site is also a very pleasing outcome for PAHSMA’s long-term engagement with that market and investment in providing a quality visitor experience to Chinese visitors.”

As the State’s only tourism government business enterprise PAHSMA is committed to making a positive difference in Tasmania.

“The Port Arthur Historic Sites plays a significant role in attracting visitors to the State and encouraging regional dispersal. From an environmental and community perspective PAHSMA’s commitment to conserve and preserve these sites guarantees they will remain for future generations.”

PAHSMA contributes to the economy, having directly employed 126 staff during the period and also engaging many local contractors to supply services and utilising local produce in the visitor centre and in food and beverage outlets wherever possible.

The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site broke visitation records, with 22,999 paying visitors during the year, which also saw the introduction of a $5 site entry fee that raised $40,935. The visitor experience continued to be developed, with the completion of the Yard 1 interpretation works and the Matron’s Quarters Conservation Project. The Heritage Tour saw a 97% increase in numbers whilst Her Story had an increase of 31%.

These and many other achievements are detailed in PAHSMA’s Annual Report for 2013-14.

The Report is available for download from http://www.portarthur.org.au/annualreports

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Backflip on land clearing to create forest chaos

Greens senator Janet Rice
18.12.14 12:44 pm

The federal government’s about-face on the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement’s land clearing controls signals a new level of chaos for forest management, Greens senator Janet Rice said today.

“Both state and federal Liberal governments have secretly colluded to give the go-ahead for environmental destruction,” said Senator Rice, who is the Greens spokesperson for forests.

“Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) were supposed to provide long-term certainty for conservation and the logging industry.

“Landholders have had ten years to prepare for the broad-scale clearing and conversion ban and millions of dollars have been spent helping them adjust.

“Without the broad-scale clearing ban we can wave goodbye to rare and threatened forest types found in dwindling pockets around the state.

“The Coalition’s lifting of a land-clearing ban within the Tasmanian agreement shows it can’t be trusted to honour its deals.

“RFAs have so far been a disaster for conservation, with many threatened and endangered animals sliding further into decline since the agreements were enacted.

“Australians want to see our forest heritage protected, not destroyed,” said Senator Rice.

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Investigation needed into how pirate vessel Thunder was let free by authorities

Greens spokesperson for Fisheries Senator Peter Whish-Wilson
18.12.14 11:55 am

The discovery by Sea Shepherd of the notorious pirate vessel, illegally fishing in the Southern Ocean between Heard Island and Antarctica indicates a worrying failure of international co-operation, Greens spokesperson for Fisheries Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “In December 2013 Interpol issued a Purple Notice alerting authorities that the Thunder was fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.

“In May 2014, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) reported that the Thunder had been arrested and impounded in Malaysia for illegal fishing from the Southern Ocean.

“What has happened between May and December 2014? When was this notorious pirate vessel released by authorities?

“Fisheries Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Richard Colbeck, has previously argued that their Asian port-side compliance efforts absolved the Government of their election promise to patrol the Southern Ocean for illegal fishing.

“Just like with the monitoring of whaling activity, again the Sea Shepherd has done the Government’s job.

“The Government needs to immediately conduct an independent investigation into how the Thunder was allowed to go free to plunder the Southern Ocean again.

“Why was it let go? Was it bribery, corruption or incompetence? Do laws need to be tightened? What did Australian authorities know, when did they know it and what did they do to stop the release of the Thunder?

“This is a scandal of the highest order. The Government has some serious explaining to do.

“The Government must also immediately indicate what it is going to do now it knows the Thunder is fishing over the extended continental shelf off Australia’s Territory of the Heard Island and McDonald Islands.

“When is the Government going to send its ice-rated patrol vessel ADV Ocean Shield to do the job it was purchased for, and stop a free-for-all for pirates in the Southern Ocean?

“These issues were precisely why the Greens established the Senate Inquiry into Southern Ocean management,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.

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POLITICAL LEADERS JOIN TO SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY FUND DRIVE

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome
18.12.14 11:53 am

With just a week to go in Australian Marriage Equality’s Pozible fundraising drive, leaders from across the political spectrum have joined to offer an exciting range of new rewards for donors.

Rewards include lunches with key Australian political figures like Deputy Labor Leader, Tanya Plibersek, Greens Leader, Christine Milne, key MPs including Martin Foley, Sarah Hanson-Young and Adam Bandt, and Liberal Sydney City Councillor, Christine Forster, who is Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s sister.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“The fact that political leaders have united in support of our fund raising drive shows how marriage equality brings people together from across the political spectrum.”

“Achieving our $50,000 target over the next week is crucial if AME is to successfully campaign into 2015.”

“Political insiders tell us 2015 is the key year for marriage equality and we have to be ready to expand our successful grass roots electorate campaign and make sure our voice is heard in Canberra.”

“I have no doubt many supporters of marriage equality will relish an opportunity to meet some of our key political leaders up close, as well as supporting the marriage equality campaign.”

AME has already raised $30,000 in donations but needs another $20,000 if it is to receive any of the money at all.

For more on the Pozible fundraising, click here: http://www.pozible.com/project/188757

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The real cost of a pet for Christmas

Alyssa Brown Elevate PR Account Executive
18.12.14 11:51 am

A wonderful animal that can fill your house with love and joy for years to come is the perfect gift for Christmas.

However, welcoming a new addition to the family household can carry unexpected costs, leaving pets neglected or dumped at shelters after the festive season.

In Queensland, 21 per cent of the dogs received in animal shelters were euthanized between 2012-2013, which totalled over 10,000 animals.

The RSPCA reports more animals are surrendered in January than any other time of the year, attributed to owners who find they cannot care for the pets they were gifted for Christmas.

Classified websites such as Gumtree also report advertisements for animals being given away for free increase to more than six times the average of the rest of the year after the holiday period. 

Sustenhance Veterinarian Dr David Isaac said it is important to understand the costs associated with pet ownership and how to give and care for animals responsibly before gifting a pet for Christmas.

“The first cost is registration; depending on the dog and council regulations, most dogs need to be registered by 12 weeks of age and this starts from $120.00,” Dr Isaac said.

“The second cost is having the animal desexed. Veterinarians recommend desexing your dog or cat to prevent unwanted pregnancies, resolve behavioural issues, cease bleeding for females in season and can reduce or eliminate ‘spraying’ in cats. These procedures can start from $80. 

“Another cost for pets is immunisation. A disease such as parvovirus is very serious and can be fatal even with treatment. Puppy vaccinations can commence from six weeks of age and aim to be completely vaccinated by 12 weeks of age. It is recommended that your puppy or kitten doesn’t socialise with other animals, or go for walks in parks until at least one week after their last vaccination.

“Worming is also essential for pets, as worms are a common cause of ill health in pets and cause problems such as, appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and in severe cases can even be fatal. At this time of year fleas and ticks are an issue in pets, which can cause allergic reactions and even death.

“Finally dogs need to be trained and cared for appropriately. Dogs need between 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, require house-breaking training from an early age and need to be sourced from an ethical seller.”

Dr Isaac urges consumers to consider the person they are purchasing a pet for and if their lifestyle can fit an animal in it.

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Today’s Catch: Recreational Fishing Survey

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
18.12.14 10:33 am

A fresh feed of flathead continues to be top of the menu for Tasmania’s recreational fishers according to the latest What’s the Catch? survey.

The survey commissioned by DPIPWE, and funded through recreational sea fishing licence fees, is conducted by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies every five years.

It provides updated details on key trends that are vital to ensuring our recreational fisheries continue to be sustainably managed for generations to come.

The 2012-13 survey found that recreational fishing is a hugely popular past time for Tasmanians, with almost one in four dropping a line in at least once in 2012-13.

Flathead remains the catch of the day, with more than 1.6 million taking the bait, and almost half of those released. Australian Salmon is the second most hooked fish, followed by trout.

Fishing is most popular among men, with the highest numbers of fishers aged between 45 and 59 years of age.

There are major spin-offs for the economy, with fishers spending an average of $1,000, or a total of $93 million on boats, fuel, fishing gear and other equipment.

Recreational fishing is one of the many wonderful experiences enjoyed by thousands of locals, and it also attracts fishers from interstate and across the globe.

A brochure summarising the key findings of the survey and copies of the full report are available at http://www.fishing.tas.gov.au/recreational-fisheries-research

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No values, no policies, no ideas - just another deal with the Greens

Adam Brooks, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Trade
18.12.14 10:33 am

Despite Tasmanians giving Labor an historic drubbing at the March election, Bryan Green has learned nothing.

The Opposition Leader has confirmed once again he is Green by name and Green by nature.

In an interview with the Examiner newspaper, Mr Green has confirmed that under his leadership Labor is so directionless that that he is consulting with the party about their “values”.

He has also revealed that Labor will remain a policy free zone until at least the second half of next year.

Without any policies of their own, Labor’s constant carping and rock-throwing simply have no credibility.

Worst of all, Mr Green has confirmed that he is still willing to form minority government with the Greens if it means he can get his hands on treasury benches.

“If there was a minority situation and the Labor Party was in a position to govern as such then we would just do that based on the numbers on the floor.” *

Mr Green has confirmed that a vote for Labor is a vote another Labor-Green minority government.

*Examiner Newspaper December 18.

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Liberals’ tough talk in support of mining amounts to nothing

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
18.12.14 10:32 am

The Liberal Government is not living up to its promises to stop legal action aimed at obstructing Tasmania’s mining industry.

“It’s clear that the Liberals are all talk and no action when it comes to the kind of support they pledged to mining companies and investors before the election,” Labor Leader Bryan Green said.

“The Liberals said nothing would stand in the way of mining developments and they would stop third party appeals, yet Shree Minerals is now facing more uncertainty following a successful appeal by conservationists.

“Resources Minister Paul Harriss remains deathly silent and all the tough talk from Adam Brooks has amounted to nothing.

“The reality is that Tasmania’s mining sector is going backwards under the Liberals.

“Investment in mineral exploration is disappearing which doesn’t bode well for new mines in the future.

“Under Labor, mineral exploration was at record levels because we invested heavily in technology like 3D mapping to support and encourage investment.

“The challenge for the Liberals now is to reverse the slide in mineral exploration and build more confidence in the sector.

“The mining industry is doing it tough because of the exchange rate and lower commodity prices and now more than ever the government must step up and show it’s not all talk and no action.”

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Michael Ferguson sends damaging message to developers

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
18.12.14 9:45 am

As pressure grows on Health Minister Michael Ferguson to answer questions over hospital funding, Labor Leader Bryan Green has criticised the Minister’s attack on the proponents of the CenoTas project.

In an opinion piece for the Mercury, Mr Ferguson derided the CenoTas proposal.

“Dean Coleman and his team put forward a bold project and they’ve been disparaged by the Liberal Government,” Mr Green said.

“This sends a very worrying message to developers who want to invest in Tasmania.

“Instead of working with the CenoTas consortium, Michael Ferguson has decided to run down the project in the local paper.

“It’s not the behaviour of a mature government and it’s certainly not the behaviour of a government claiming to be open for business.

“The CenoTas consortium deserves nothing but praise for putting forward a bold plan and consulting with hundreds of stakeholders.

“It doesn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of pot shots from a minister who cannot handle criticism.

“Michael Ferguson needs to come out today and explain where he will find the additional $70 million needed for the redevelopment.

“He has also failed to stand up to Tony Abbott over a predicted $86 million dollar hit to the health budget due to a worsening federal budget position.”

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It’s going to be a long hot summer for the Hodgman Government

Teresa O’Leary, South Hobart Primary and Taroona High parent
18.12.14 6:12 am

Tomorrow will be the last day of school for the year and the last day of my personal protest against the education cuts.

I will pack up my signs and take a short break for Christmas.

Is this the end of the road for my campaign?

Certainly not. 

I take heart that out of adversity a community of articulate, thoughtful individuals has been formed.

We now have a working group who are prepared to plan and lead protest actions over the summer.

The first big protest event will be at the opening of the Taste of Tasmania. School Associations are now communicating with each other daily and sharing information so they can speak with one voice, they can demystify the rhetoric the Government is so determined to use as a response to our protests. 

When Peter Gutwein thought the easy road to cutting the budget was to take teachers out of schools, he was mistaken.

It’s now going to be a long haul for the Hodgman-Gutwein team to gain the trust and respect of Tasmanian parents. 

I for one, look forward to the summer, it sure is going to be a hot one for the Government.

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Australian mooring network - a global blueprint for coastal ocean observing

Dr Tim Lynch, Tim Moltmann, Marian Wiltshire
18.12.14 6:05 am

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CSIRO technicians Clare Davies and Ryan Crossing prepare bottles to collect water samples at Ningaloo in Western Australia. Image credit: T.P. Lynch, CSIRO.

A network of nine National Reference Stations deployed by Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) is providing the latest physical, chemical and biological information to help scientists and industry understand our coastal seas.

The network of National Reference Stations is described for the first time today in a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0113652.

Lead author, Dr Tim Lynch from CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, says “Scientists have already been able to use the IMOS data to observe extreme events, such as marine heat waves and coastal flooding and rare events such as plankton blooms.”

IMOS has implemented the network of reference study sites to build on three long-term locations where monthly water sampling commenced in the 1940s and 1950s.

The modern network adds in-situ moorings and enhanced monthly water sampling to collect more than 50 data streams, some in near real time. Building on sampling for temperature, salinity, and nutrients, the network now observes dissolved oxygen, carbon, turbidity, currents, chlorophyll a, phytoplankton and zooplankton. Additional information to understand ocean acidification and bio-optics are also collected at a subset of the sites. All of the data are made freely and publically available via the IMOS Ocean Portal https://imos.aodn.org.au.

“Sustained observations allow us to track changes in ocean and marine ecosystems, however until IMOS these have been rare in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Dr Lynch.

“For the first time in Australia, we have combined forces across our various marine institutes and research organisations to build a continent-wide sampling of our coastal seas and ecosystems, so we can continuously track and understand variation at daily, seasonal and annual time scales.”

IMOS Director, Tim Moltmann says, “Australia’s large ocean territory provides massive social, economic and environmental benefits to our nation.”

“However we haven’t been very good at sustaining marine observing programs over the years, making it difficult to distinguish things like short-term variability and longterm change,” says Tim Moltmann.

“IMOS has overcome this problem by putting in place a single national collaborative system, made possible by core funding by the Australian Government, to deliver efficient and effective marine observing and data management on an ongoing basis.  The National Reference Station network is an excellent example.”

IMOS is a national collaborative research infrastructure, supported by Australian Government. It is led by University of Tasmania in partnership with the Australian marine and climate science community.

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Westpac report shows jobs growth leading to a stronger Tasmanian economy

Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
17.12.14 5:36 pm

Today’s report on Tasmania’s economy by Westpac shows that employment is on the rise, our population is growing and our housing sector remains strong.

The Liberal Government’s number one priority is jobs and this report shows that under the Liberals, Tasmania is finally heading in the right direction.

Since the election over 6,000 jobs have been created, business confidence is through the roof, retail sales are at their highest ever levels and the building and construction sector is heading into a boom that is seeing housing and major construction projects being built right around the State.

Our long-term Plan will see more jobs created through building business confidence, fixing the planning system, making sure Tasmania is open for business with our innovative EOI process for developments in our national parks and World Heritage Areas and grabbing opportunities in China with both hands.

The report notes that:

• “State population growth has improved.  Employment is on the rise and the unemployment rate has declined.”
• “Total employment in the State has rebounded sharply in 2014, trending 4% higher.”
• “Consumer spending is advancing against this backdrop of a housing upturn and a strengthening labour market.  Consumption expanded by 0.7% in the September quarter and by 1.8% over the past year, a turnaround from a 0.4% decline over the previous year, representing a solid rise in per capita spending.”
• “Tourism and education provide opportunities, particularly with the currency down sharply against the US dollar.  Agriculture is another sector offering opportunities for growth.”
• “Tasmania also experienced an acceleration in consumer spending in 2014 as home building activity rebounded sharply.”

The report can be accessed here: https://wibiq.westpac.com.au/wibiqauthoring/_uploads/file/Australia/2014/December/WestpacCoasttoCoastDecember2014.pdf

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Supreme Court Finds for Tarkine Against EPA

Nick McKim MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
17.12.14 5:32 pm

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) must now move to ensure Shree Minerals fully rehabilitates any mining activity undertaken under the company’s amended permit, now the Supreme Court has declared those amendments unlawful.

“This judicial review finding is a fantastic Christmas present for the Tarkine, and an affirmation of the role community and environmental organisations such as Save the Tarkine play in our democracy,” Greens Environment spokesperson Nick McKim MP said.

“Now it has been confirmed that the EPA’s amendments to Shree Minerals permit is unlawful, the government must act to ensure the company puts this toxic material in a safe underground storage facility as required by the original permit.”

“The EPA should also learn from this judicial finding and stop the unnecessary secrecy surrounding mining and permit processes.”

“Civic involvement and environmental sustainability are threatened by the Hodgman government’s agenda to water down environmental protection and shut down public participation.”

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New Chair for Tasmanian Development Board

Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth
17.12.14 5:22 pm

I am pleased to announce that Brian Scullin has been appointed as the new chair of the Tasmanian Development Board.

Mr Scullin has extensive finance sector and government experience including roles in the Commonwealth Departments of Treasury and Prime Minister and Cabinet.

He was also the inaugural Executive Director of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, where he was closely involved in establishing a regulatory regime to accompany the introduction of compulsory superannuation in Australia.

Mr Scullin has also held a range of Board and Chairperson roles in the finance and not-for-profit sectors.

In December 2013 he was appointed the President of RBF Tasmania and he is also the Director of Optia Inc, a not-for-profit provider of services in the disability sector, and Chair of Life Education Tasmania, a not-for-profit provider of health education services to primary schools.
We are very pleased to have someone of Mr Scullin’s skills and experience to lead the Tasmanian Development Board.

The Board supports the industry development activities of the Tasmanian Government. Its primary focus is the creation of investment and associated employment through supporting the implementation of government policies.

The board has specific areas of responsibility under the Tasmanian Development Act 1983 and provides independent advice to the Minister on matters relating to development and investment in Tasmania.

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Health experts call for an indefinite moratorium on fracking in Tasmania ...

Dr Rohan Church, Doctors for the Environment Australia
17.12.14 4:37 pm

...  as evidence of health threats rise

A group of health experts are calling for an ongoing moratorium on fracking operations in Tasmania until a though assessment of health issues has been done, and it’s made obviously clear who will benefit from this controversial technique.

Spokesperson for Doctors for the Environment Australia, Dr Rohan Church, says evidence against the exploration and mining of unconventional gas reserves is growing both in Australia and internationally and should be cause for extreme caution.  Most recently, the UK’s chief scientific adviser Mark Walport, warned in his annual report that fracking could carry unforeseen risks in the same way that thalidomide, asbestos and tobacco did.

Dr Church says these concerns are particularly relevant to Tasmanians who are now waiting on the findings of the Hodgman government’s review of the possibility of hydraulic fracturing in Tasmania, as well as the continuation of the one- year moratorium on the granting of new permits for exploration and mining for unconventional gas.

In its submission to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment (DPIPWE), the body responsible for the fracking review, DEA raised concerns about threats to public health of introducing this controversial practice to Tasmania.

“There is a clear lack of evidence to suggest that fracking in Tasmania would be safe for the future of our water supply, agricultural industries or for the health of Tasmanians,” says Dr Church.  “And it’s crucial that any decision on fracking prioritise public health first and foremost.”
Fracking uses a cocktail of potent chemicals, sand and water which are used to fracture shale rock deep beneath the surface in order to extract gas. One study has found that as many as one in 40 unconventional gas wells fail and leak in some way. 

“As doctors we’re very concerned that some of the chemicals added by the extraction process have not been properly assessed for human or environmental toxicity- some of the chemicals have not even been disclosed by industry,” says Dr Church.
Some chemicals which have been used in Australian unconventional gas operations can affect human hormones at extremely low concentrations,  while there is increasing evidence that individuals living within proximity of unconventional gas wells have a higher rate of health problems, in particular respiratory and skin conditions. 

These added chemicals are in addition to the many naturally occurring contaminants, including heavy metals and radioactive materials, which are dislodged from the earth by fracking and which are then brought up closer to the surface.

DEA also stated in its submission that fracking can impact on light and noise pollution, and has the potential for tarnishing Tasmania’s image as a holiday destination and reputation as a high quality food and wine destination.

“Until we know the risks and do a proper cost/benefit analysis, we must continue to have a moratorium on fracking,” says Dr Church.

Resources
DEA submission: http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/Documents/75%20-%20Doctors%20for%20the%20Environment.pdf

Dr Rohan Church is a doctor working in North-West Tasmania and a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia

About DEA

DEA is an independent health advocacy organisation of medical doctors addressing the health impacts of environmental damage http://dea.org.au
DEA is supported by a scientific committee consisting of:

Sir Gustav Nossal, Professor Peter Doherty, Professor Fiona Stanley, Rosemary Stanton, Professor Stephen Boyden, Professor Bob Douglas, Professor Michael Kidd, Professor David de Kretser, Professor Steve Leeder, Professor Ian Lowe, Professor Robyn McDermott, Professor Peter Newman, Professor Hugh Possingham, Professor Lawrie Powell, Norman Swan, Professor David Yencken.

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Funding for Emergency Food Relief Providers

Will Hodgman, Premier
17.12.14 4:10 pm

The Liberal Government has taken action to ensure food security for vulnerable Tasmanians, with more than $1.1 million in funding for the food relief sector over three years.

We recognise the crucial role that emergency food relief providers play in collecting and redistributing donated food to thousands of Tasmanians from families, to the elderly, children, and the homeless.

That’s why we will provide new ongoing funding of $300,000 per year over three years for Foodbank, Secondbite and Produce to the People.
The funding will flow immediately and includes $200,000 per year for Foodbank, $75,000 per year for Secondbite, and $25,000 per year for Produce to the People. These funds will be sourced from within existing resources, consistent with our commitment to budget discipline.

Foodbank and Secondbite have a significant state-wide reach, supporting 220 organisations and 150 community food programs respectively, while Produce to the People has a strong local network and capacity in the North-West.

The funding is in addition to our election commitment of $180,000 to boost mobile food services over three years, and $100,000 for start-up food cooperatives from next financial year.

The new funding follows the completion of an internal review into the funding for and provision of emergency food relief in Tasmania, which took an in-depth look at demand, social value and the cost and benefits of continued Government investment.

The review found providers offer a value for money service, effectively sourcing food at the state level and redistributing through a network of hundreds of volunteers to thousands of Tasmanians.

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Hayes Prison Farm Sale

Vanessa Goodwin, Minister for Corrections
17.12.14 4:00 pm

The Government has received and accepted an offer for the sale of the former Hayes Prison Farm property.

Further details of the sale will be released after the 30-day settlement period.

Hayes Prison Farm was originally put up for sale by the former Labor-Green Government in 2011, but was just another example of a botched process that ended up costing the taxpayer around $200,000 per year for maintenance and ongoing costs.

It is very pleasing that an acceptable offer has been made and we look forward to settlement being reached next month.

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Police Now Better Protected From Assaults

Rene Hidding, Minister for Police and Emergency Management
17.12.14 11:43 am

From today, Tasmania Police officers will have greater protection from assaults as the Sentencing Amendment (Assaults on Police Officers) Act comes into effect.

The Liberal Government made an election promise to give greater support for our police officers and we are pleased to have delivered on that commitment.

We have introduced into law a minimum mandatory jail sentence for those convicted of causing serious bodily harm to on-duty police officers, which will help to deter assaults on police.

This will also assist in restoring community respect for those who put their safety on the lines for others, while giving some reassurance to their families and friends.

Policing can be a dangerous job, and the Liberal Government is committed to supporting our officers and that includes restoring the 108 police who were cut from the frontline under the previous Labor-Green government.

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Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Patron

Elise Archer, Speaker of the House of Assembly
17.12.14 11:41 am

Today I was honoured to be named Chair of the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal in the Moonah and Glenorchy districts for 2015.

The announcement was made by Salvation Army Captain, Scott Norman, at Northgate Shopping Centre, where we were joined by players for the Glenorchy Magpies (community partners of the Salvation Army) and members of the Salvo’s band.

Having been actively involved with the not-for-profit for many years, to be named a Salvation Army patron is a great privilege.

The Red Shield Appeal is its major annual fundraiser to help finance its substantial network of social and community services, delivered through the Salvation Army’s 20 community centres across Tasmania.

While the main component, the Doorknock Appeal weekend, is in May (23 & 24), the funds raised ensure Tasmanian families in need are provided with support at times when emergency relief is in high demand, such as Christmas.

The Salvation Army hopes to raise $220,000 in Tasmania during the Red Shield Appeal in 2015, with the help of 1,500 volunteers across the state.

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Drive Carefully This Holiday Season

Rene Hidding, Minister for Infrastructure
17.12.14 11:40 am

The Liberal Government is rolling out a number of new road safety initiatives aimed at reducing serious injury crashes on our roads and save lives.

As we count down the days to the holiday season, we are calling on all road users to do their part because road safety is everyone’s business, and we need everyone to take responsibility over Christmas and New Year.

The Government is particularly focussed on improving the safety of vulnerable road users – bike riders, pedestrians and motorbike riders – who do not have the protection of a motor vehicle.

Working with the Road Safety Advisory Council, we have developed several new road safety campaigns urging all road users to look out for one another and respect everyone’s right to use the road.

Next year, we will be installing bike rider warning signs on popular riding routes and there will be a public education campaign to encourage drivers to maintain at least one metre when passing a bike rider in speed zones up to 60km/h and 1.5 metres in zones above 60km/h.

Over the next few weeks, we ask that all Tasmanians be alert when on the road, slow down, and enjoy the holidays safely.

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Is Harriss in Breach of RFA – or Has it Been Changed Secretly?

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader
17.12.14 10:24 am

The Minister for Resources Paul Harriss must come clean on whether he has secretly negotiated a formal change to the Regional Forests Agreement (RFA) with the Commonwealth, or whether he is in breach of the RFA with his announcement to overturn the January deadline for an end to broad-scale clearing and conversion of native forest on private land, Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.

“Clause 45 of the 2005 Supplementary Regional Forest Agreement details the 10 year deadline for the end of broad-scale clearing of native forest vegetation on private land as formally agreed by both the federal and state governments,” Mr Booth said. [1]

“Clause 51 of the Supplementary RFA goes on to state:

51. The Parties agree that, if the actions outlined in clauses 45, 46 and 48 have not occurred, then the Commonwealth may suspend funding to the State, in whole or in part, until such time as the actions have occurred.” [2]

“Any change, including an open-ended deferral as announced by Minister Harriss, would require both governments agreeing to that serious change to the RFA.”

“The Minister does not have the authority to unilaterally stop this process.”

“Mr Harriss has some serious questions to answer.  Has the Tasmanian RFA been changed in secret by both governments, or is the Minister acting in breach of the agreement?”

“If Paul Harriss has had the RFA formally altered in secret then he must disclose immediately when and how that occurred.”

“The Greens find it hard to believe that the Commonwealth would be keen to drop this requirement to end broad-scale clearing of native forest on private land by the agreed timeframe, given the Supplementary RFA saw Tasmania receive federal funding of $45.9 million for private forest conservation.”

Mr Booth also described as “nonsense” complaints that the 1 January 2015 deadline was sudden or unworkable.

“The Supplementary RFA was signed in 2005, so Tasmania, and all those affected have had 10 years warning, plus almost $46 million, to plan for and adjust to the agreed 2015 deadline.”

“The permanent native estate is there to try and ensure the survival of critically endangered forest types and their habitat.”

“Biological diversity is critical to our survival and it is ruthless and uncaring to allow these forests to be driven to extinction on a political whim,” Mr Booth said.

[1] Supplementary Regional Forest Agreement May 2015; Clause 45. (NB the initial 10 year date was 13 May 2015, but this was later changed to 1 January 2015.):
http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/rfa/regions/tas/rfa/supplementary_tas_rfa_13_may_05.pdf

[2] Supplementary Regional Forest Agreement May 2015; Clause 51:
http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/rfa/regions/tas/rfa/supplementary_tas_rfa_13_may_05.pdf

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Feet up Ferguson thinks his job’s finished

Rebecca White MP Shadow Minister for Health
17.12.14 10:22 am

Having finally made a decision on the future of the Royal Hobart Hospital, Health Minister Michael Ferguson appears to think his job is done.

Before work has even restarted the Minister’s already declared “this project is officially now rescued”.

But Shadow Health Minister Rebecca White says Mr Ferguson has many more questions to answer.

“The Health Minister still hasn’t explained how the additional cost of the redevelopment will be paid for,” Ms White said.

“Michael Ferguson lambasted the previous government for cost overruns but now he’s in charge it’s suddenly not an issue anymore.

“Where will the additional $70 million come from?

“Labor supports redeveloping the Royal Hobart Hospital but it’s only fair that the Liberal Government is open about the cost.

“The Liberals continue to be very tricky when it comes to the budget, claiming a record spend in health at the same time they’re cutting jobs.

“And the Minister has failed to address the issue of decreasing funding from the Federal Government.

“Michael Ferguson doesn’t seem to care that Tasmania is being short changed by the Commonwealth yet again.

“Analysts suggest we could be $86 million worse off as a result of the Midyear Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Mr Ferguson must explain how this shortfall will be funded or what services will be cut as a result.”

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Australia’s fisheries to benefit from research investment

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK Senator for Tasmania Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
17.12.14 10:20 am

More than $6.5 million will be invested across Australia’s fisheries following the announcement of 22 new research projects from the Australian Government’s Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, today announced the funding and said the investment builds on Australia’s credentials as a leader in sustainable and science-based fisheries management.

“Australia has an excellent record when it comes to the sustainability of our fisheries – they are well managed and will continue to be so under this Government’s watch. This new round of funding will help ensure we stay at the leading edge.”

Key research projects will focus on reducing bycatch and interaction with other marine species and developing more flexible and responsive management approaches. This includes a project by the FRDC Indigenous Reference Group to map livelihood values associated with Indigenous customary fishing.

“We are committed to working effectively with the indigenous fishing community and ensuring their views are understood and heard. Enhancing the interactions between indigenous fisheries and broader fisheries management was a Coalition election commitment,” Senator Colbeck said.

Other projects include:
• Low cost management regimes for sustainable, small low-value fisheries based on coastal inshore species.
• Maximise yield or minimise risk in the Blacklip Abalone fishery: using biological data to direct abalone harvest strategies.
• Future Proofing Western Australia’s Iconic Marron.
• Improving Indigenous Australian access to and involvement in the management and use of Australia’s fisheries resources.
The FRDC is funded by the Australian Government with contributions from the fishing and aquaculture industry.
                                 
Pro Number Title Applicant
2015-302 Social and economic evaluation of NSW coastal aquaculture University of Technology Sydney
2015-300 Social Science and Economics Research Coordination Program Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
2015-223 Constraining total east coast catch as stock grows – policy/governance research Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
2015-216 Informing inter-jurisdictional snapper management in eastern Australia Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (QLD)
2015-215 Low cost management regimes for sustainable, small low-value fisheries based on coastal inshore species CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
2015-208 National bycatch reporting IC Independent Consulting
2015-205 Indigenous Fishing Subprogram: Mapping livelihood values of Indigenous customary fishing Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
2015-203 Towards consistent standards for Australian fisheries management CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere Flagship
2015-202 Maximising net economic returns from a multispecies fishery CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere Flagship
2015-028 Future proofing Western Australia’s iconic Marron (Cherax cainii) Fishery Ecotone Consulting
2015-026 Understanding recruitment variation (including the collapse) of saucer scallops stocks in Western Australia and assessing the feasibility of assisted recovery measures for improved management in a changing environment Department of Fisheries Western Australia
2015-025 Patterns of interaction between habitat and oceanographic variables affecting the connectivity and productivity of invertebrate fisheries Deakin University
2015-024 Managing ecosystem interactions across differing environments: building flexibility and risk assurance into environmental management strategies University of Tasmania
2015-022 Understanding the movement, behaviour and post-release survival rates of Swordfish to sustainably develop a new large pelagic game fishery off the coast of Tasmania – a pilot study Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
2015-021 Application of molecular methods to ageing of Australasian abalone University of Tasmania
2015-019 Refining a Nordmøre grid to minimise the incidental catch of cuttlefish and crabs in the Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery South Australian Research and Development Institute
2015-018 Do commercial fishery data reflect stock status in South Australia’s Southern Garfish fisheries? South Australian Research and Development Institute
2015-017 Maximise yield or minimise risk in the blacklip abalone fishery: using biological data to direct harvest strategies South Australian Research and Development Institute
2015-014 Estimating the impacts of management changes on bycatch reduction and sustainability of high-risk bycatch species in the Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (QLD)
2015-006 Research to support the upper slope Dogfish management strategy CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere Flagship
2015-003 Aquatic Animal Health Subprogram: Development of standard methods for the production of marine molluscan cell cultures Department of Primary Industries (NSW)
2015-001 Aquatic Animal Health Subprogram: Bonamiasis in farmed Native Oysters (Ostrea angasi) Department of Environment and Primary Industries (VIC)

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Tarkine: The Verdict

Scott Jordan, Campaign Coordinator, Save the Tarkine
17.12.14 7:09 am

Justice Estcourt will hand down judgement in the case of Save the Tarkine vs. Director of the Environment Protection Agency in the Supreme Court today at 12.30 (Wednesday 17th December).

Save the Tarkine are challenging the lawfulness of permit amendments to the Shree Minerals’ Nelson Bay River Mine approvals that allowed the company to operate with storage of acid producing wastes in a manner prohibited by the original permits, and to allow for a twenty-fold increase in the quantity of the acid producing wastes.

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Zero tolerance

Tony Mulder MLC for Rumney
17.12.14 5:45 am

The Legislative Council Member for Rumney, Tony Mulder, the former Counter terrorism Commander for Tasmania Police, commented today, “The events in Sydney these past days have been horrific and are a grim reminder of the violence faced by police and emergency workers every day”.

“Family members of perpetrators are especially at risk and random attacks in our city streets are all too frequent.

“It is time for zero tolerance of all violence that causes bodily harm”, Mr Mulder said.

“Two strikes and you are in - literally! Not to rehabilitate, not to punish, just to protect society until perpetrators learn that violence is never the answer”.

“There must also be a presumption against bail for any second charge relating to violence, based on the risk to the community, not the personal circumstances of the attacker.

“Additionally the criminal law needs to be amended to permit evidence of previous violent behaviour to be admitted in evidence.

“Much violence is fuelled by drugs so there should be 3 months mandatory de-tox detention for any offence involving drugs like methyl-amphetamine that are known to cause aggressive behaviour.

“Protection of society against violence is more important than the civil liberties of repeatedly violent offenders!” Tony Mulder said.

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Peter Gutwein has a surprise for the New Year

Teresa O’Leary, South Hobart Primary and Taroona High parent
17.12.14 5:43 am

The School Year is inexorably drawing to a close. Two more days to go and final assemblies are happening in so many schools. 2014 is the year that so many teachers will be leaving their school communities along with the students they have taught.

This Christmas Holidays spare a thought for the 266 teachers that will no longer have jobs.  But like in those annoying ads there’s the “but we have more”clause. Yes that’s right, this year the Department of Education only had to shave oh no sorry that’s right “save” $21.6 million (1.7%)* from their budget. Next year the Department will be required to shave another $38 million (3%) but wait there’s still more.  In 2016-17 the Department will need to find a way of cutting their budget by wait for it a whopping $44.3 million (3.4%). So sorry Peter, I’ve let the cat out of the bag, I know you were saving that as a surprise for next year.

So ask me again why I am out on the streets protesting and I’ll tell you that I’m there because in the next few years we will see this Government rip education in this state to shreds. We need the Government to stop fixating on filling their budget black hole and have a long term view with the interests of our kids first and foremost. Isn’t that what they put out in their policy “Students First” ? Well I am calling on this Government to stop talking and start walking in the right direction. Fund education, it’s the future of our children and Tasmania that you are putting at stake.

*Source; TasCOSS Tasmanian State Budget 2014-15, Analysis and summary.

http://tascoss.org.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=w4qEG_ldeUM%3D&portalid=0

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