"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Some suggestions for bushfire control authorities in Tasmania (and elsewhere)

Image for Some suggestions for bushfire control authorities in Tasmania (and elsewhere)

Ivo Edwards* Pic: Isla MacGregor. First published February 10
11.02.16 4:00 am

Summary: This article details some criticism of the Tasmanian Fire Services website, explains widespread frustration at the direction and focus of bushfire control in Tasmania, and suggests some operational changes.  It pleads for a comprehensive overhaul of the understanding of threats to Australia’s security, whereby bushfires are our enemy more than far-away terrorists, and where bushfire initiation could easily be employed as an act of terrorism, with consequences as disastrous as the 9/11 Twin Towers attack in the US, with no chance of apprehending any perpetrators.  It is argued that the defence and security forces should be involved in bushfire control and that their enormous budget for new submarines and fighter aircraft should be significantly diverted to fire-fighting aircraft purchase.

… The fire-fighting crews are likewise all deserving of Australia Day medals.  Couldn’t the insurance companies and the government contribute more though by improved resource prioritising?  (e.g. for the cost of the farcical fox eradication program poisoning for imaginary foxes, we could have purchased 2 very useful sky cranes, just for Tasmania!) …

4. The terrorism angle: Surely no-one in Australia could argue that bushfires are not more terrifying than far away nasty people with IED’s and AK47’s.  Every summer all country-based people, in nearly all States, are on edge, for 2 – 3 months, waiting nervously for the next extreme day with high temperatures and strong winds. …

• Robert LePage in Comments: In regard to the expense of new Submarines when the “old” ones are still usable I would like to add that the order for F35 aircraft is a nonsense. They are yet to work properly, have so far not proved to be any better than existing aircraft and are going to be inferior to aircraft from China and Russia their most likely adversaries. The cost is horrendous and there is still no end to the delays in providing them. I would suggest that they are only on order because of the ex prime minister being of a warrior disposition and open to suggestion from the US who wish to bolster their military manufacturing sector.

Nick McKim in Comments: Draft TWWHA Management Plan Shows Groom’s Fire Failure ...

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9 comments

Lapoinya: The Blog ...

Ruth Groom, Tasmanian Community Organiser in Launceston The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc First pub: Feb 9
11.02.16 3:45 am

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TUESDAY, February 9 ...

On Monday night new arrivals received their “Peaceful Community Protest” training.  All participants learned about the basic principles of peaceful protest including why non-violence is quintessentially important, consensus decision making, and all agreed to abide by the following agreements ...

MONDAY, February 8 ...

Letter from Lapoinya (Mon 8th Feb) The peace of the forest is broken; instead of bird song the whine of the harvester screams its death song in the Lapoinya forest. The stream, one of the last sixteen on earth where the world’s largest freshwater crustacean – Astacopsis Gouldi breeds, is battered and bridged.

A retired doctor, a nurse, a local builder and a psychiatric nurse have all been arrested from this community.  Despite the assurances of a disingenuous government that “mum and dad” protesters would not be targeted – they have been. Everyone looks tired, including the longsuffering police, whose skills it must be said would be put to better use protecting our society from actual criminals.  You know – rapists, killers and perpetrators of violent assault. In Tasmania right now, these crimes can incur lesser penalties than standing peacefully in the forest of your childhood and saying “no”.  For any work to be completed, forestry workers must be babysat by police, at the expense of the taxpayer.  Police do not babysit our paramedics that face volatile situations every day, but forestry gets special treatment; subsidies, comfort money, exemption from laws that apply to everyone else and police protection from community elders and concerned citizens.  In the words of local arrestee, nurse Jessica Hoyt “It’s wrong, it’s just wrong.” …

• PB in Comments: The hapless ENGO signatories to the Tasmania Forest Agreement backed the wrong horse enabling the Malaysian timber mafia to entrench forest destruction and extract $26 million in Commonwealth compensation on the pretext of forfeiting nearly half of its timber supply – supply which it never took due to declining markets and supply which can only be achieved by overcutting Tasmania’s public forest at less than the cost of production (thanks to contracts signed when Rolley was previously Managing Director at Forestry Tasmania).  Ta Ann Executive Director Evan Rolley has previously said Ta Ann’s overseas customers will not buy timber products manufactured from contentious forests ( HERE ). “We’ll do everything possible to convince people in the political process that customers are king, customers require wood from non-contentious forest.” On the basis of that statement Ta Ann should be forcibly telling Forestry Tasmania to cancel all logging operations at Lapoinya.

• Nicholas Higgins in Comments: To Richard Colbeck MR: When you remove a process of review by the public, and allow a company to ride roughshod over communities, for NO economic gain, for NO social benefit and for NO environmental benefit, then you leave no option EXCEPT to protest in any way that is available, regardless of the law. … You can stop this by telling Harriss to pull his head in, stop the clearfelling and start selective logging. Then it will all go away. Until then, you will have to keep on sending the police in. When this coupe is done, there will be another and then another. We WILL NOT STOP. Tasmanian Native Forests are too precious to sacrifice at the alter of Paul Harriss’ ego. I await more legislation from the bullies in government to try and stop us. …

• Fiona White in Comments: I have walked through this forest many times before Forestry Tas put up their signs telling me I can’t. The government has declared protesters risk arrest, a $10,000 fine or months of imprisonment. I am willing to risk all that to save this forest. The archaic practice of clear felling needs to stop in native forests. To reduce a forest to smouldering stumps is a crime.  To kill or displace the native animals is a crime. To risk Tasmanian Devils and the Giant Freshwater Crayfish is a crime. All to fulfill the peeler contract to Malaysion owned company Ta Ann. It is the people that stand up for what is right that are being treated as criminals. This government disgusts me.

• Mike Bolan in Comments: This dreadful situation is yet another example of the lack of power available to citizens and the infinite access to power and our money available to anyone who can influence government. What is needed is a change in the way that citizens protest so that governments can be more responsive to community outrage. Such a change may be more likely to be achieved if the conflict were understood to be created by governments working against the interests of their citizens, rather than governments fighting anti-development ‘greenies’.  With that in mind some further observations might be useful. It is noteworthy that while green NGOs like the Wilderness Society may have support and ideas to offer, their involvement creates a real risk of a genuine ‘community initiative’ being converted into an ‘environmental initiative’. That perception then feeds the conflict fantasies of the forestry industry and government, and stimulates simplified stereotypes in the media that presumably appeal to readers’ preconceptions …

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19 comments

Solar report an epic fail – Minister should tell regulator to start again

Jack Gilding, Executive Officer, Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance Media Release
10.02.16 6:50 am

Image for Solar report an epic fail – Minister should tell regulator to start again

The Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance today called on the Energy Minister to reject the draft report on the solar feed-in tariff (FiT) for Tasmania and commission a new report which recognises the full benefit of solar PV for Tasmania. The Minister has vowed to consider all options to reduce the chances of an energy crisis including greater incentives for solar. “The Minister seems to have neglected to tell the economic regulator that the world has changed.” said Jack Gilding, Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Read for yourself: Liberal energy promises ... and solar reality ...

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NATION, Philip Ruddock: Appointing a cigarette company CEO to champion health ...

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic: of Philip Ruddock
10.02.16 6:22 am

Image for NATION, Philip Ruddock: Appointing a cigarette company CEO to champion health ...

In appointing the flawed, deeply compromised, former Attorney General, counter-terror warrior, Philip Ruddock as his government’s special envoy for human rights to the UN, Malcolm Turnbull has achieved a gesture worthy of Tony Abbott’s appointment of himself as Minister for Women.

The Drum, ABC: Four Australians with better human rights credentials than Philip Ruddock The choice of Philip Ruddock to represent Australia internationally on human rights issues makes as much sense as appointing a cigarette company CEO to champion health …

Elizabeth Farrelly, SMH: The breathtaking irony of Philip Ruddock’s UN human rights appointment

• Andrew Wilkie in Comments: Sending kids to Nauru is a crime ... ICC at The Hague notified of latest outrage

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Read for yourself: Liberal energy promises ... and solar reality ...

John Thirgood, Managing Director Jessups Solar Squad, Co-Ordinater Save Our Solar Tas.org Pic: Bob Burton
10.02.16 5:30 am

Image for Read for yourself: Liberal energy promises ... and solar reality ...

Dear Minister Groom,

… In regard to the value of P.V. solar to be embraced and not crippled instead, as I see we have lost some 90% of installations and with that some 1800 equivalent full-time jobs! 12 in my business alone! Some 80% of my workforce!

Our data also demonstrated that the cost increase per KW (kilowatt) year one was close to 2 tenths of one cent! and grew with the predicted installation rate then budgeted under 1-1 F.I.T. regime of two cents per kw by year ten, whilst maintaining those full 2000 jobs & GST revenues.  Simply this could be doubled to 4000 jobs plus!; with a waiting commercial sector now ready to emerge as well. But whilst we have been to a large number of commercial prospects, we currently have had a small number invest. We found by-in-large that most small and medium businesses paying rack rate are keen about the concept, but the current portrayed negatives surrounding the politics, coupled with the poor feed-in rate, are the barriers against investment here …

• Estelle Ross in Comments: Now that there are batteries capable of storing energy ready for release at night or on cloudy days, solar can be relied on as a base power source. Zinc-bromine batteries are taking over from the more expensive lithium variety which will bring down the price. See the very interesting ABC Catalyst report on this new technology HERE

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9 comments

Five arrests, thousands of dollars in fines and almost 50 notifications to “Move On”

Stewart Hoyt, Friends of Lapoinya Action Group Media Release
08.02.16 10:40 am

Image for Five arrests, thousands of dollars in fines and almost 50 notifications to “Move On”

Lapoinya Update Three weeks of peaceful protests on a daily basis has seen five arrests, thousands of dollars in fines and almost 50 notifications to “Move On”.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ..

Tim Upston: Lapoinya: A slow walk ...

Save the Native Forest of the Mutual Valley ...

• Richard Browne in Comments: The whole world should be made aware of the environmental destruction being carried out in Tasmania now authorised by the Tasmanian Govt ... The tourists that this state so badly needs should boycott Tasmania completely until the 3rd world destruction and constant burning/smoke stops.

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4 comments

Save the Native Forest of the Mutual Valley

Peter Coxhead and Tim Slade. Pic*
08.02.16 5:15 am

Image for Save the Native Forest of the Mutual Valley

A couple of weeks after the community of Lapoinya tried to keep its local forest, Paul Harriss and FT are targeting another community’s local forest ... On Saturday, 13th February, we invite YOU to come into the Mutual Valley, Derby, to share in a moment of reflection, to contemplate what it is that is about to happen here,  and to add your energy, in the hope of a better future for this forest. The Mutual Valley community has decided that on Saturday, 13th February, we will welcome every interested person to participate in a day of presence, meditation and prayer. Forestry Tasmania’s work in the Mutual Valley is to satisfy a purely financial obligation.  The people of the Mutual Valley wish to flag this unsustainable process to the notice of the public, by use of a non-confrontational, inclusive and peaceful method …

It is evident to us that Forestry Tasmania no longer wish to achieve Forest Stewardship Certification.  Forestry Tasmania do not understand sustainability as it is applied to forestry.  Or, if they do, they are desensitised to the principals of sustainability – a process encouraged by governments who have hurled money at them to prop them up …

Sign this PETITION for the Right to peaceful protest in Tasmania

Roger Bradley: We want to secede

From wet sclerophyll to dry sclerophyll forests

Blair Richards, Mercury: Forestry’s $480,000 consultants’ splurge FORESTRY Tasmania has spent almost half a million dollars on consultants, much of it on reports informing the State Government’s efforts to restructure the forest industry. Labor is calling for the release of reports to allow Tasmanians to get the full picture on Forestry Tasmania’s viability and the state of the forest industry. However, Resources Minister Paul Harriss says the reports are either Cabinet or commercial in confidence. Documents released after a Right to Information request from Labor show that between December 2014 and July last year Forestry Tasmania spent $481,779 on external consultants. The spending included ...

• John Hawkins in Comments: … On top of that to supply the billets and keep Forestry Tasmania in business we now subsidise this now leaderless bankrupt Government Business Enterprise to the tune of a million dollars a week via our electricity bills. You have even written and passed the laws that enable your government to jail your fellow Tasmanians when they have the temerity to protest against your appalling behaviour. It is your Liberal Party and its right-wing goons under Abetz who has designed and promoted the legislation that will put us behind bars. Yet it is you that is incompetent. It is you who should be sacked.

• Derbytas in Comments: It depends on what you mean by “local jobs”. One guy in Derby has worked on this coupe for a few days. No other Derby people (to my knowledge) have had Forestry jobs in this valley. With this coupe there will be no more work for local people until the next 100 years comes round when it is scheduled to be logged again. The residents of Derby proposed 3 business plans to Forestry Tas which we feel will employ 20 people on a permanent basis. One of these business plans would gross over 1 million dollars a year and probably much more. The clearfelling of this coupe CC104B will make it harder to get these businesses off the ground and one of these businesses will become impossible to start here but could be started somewhere else.

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16 comments

Lapoinya: A slow walk ...

Tim Upston*
08.02.16 5:00 am

Image for Lapoinya: A slow walk ...

… Amid the sounds of massive trees thumping into the ground the surreal sensation of watching the clearly-distressed Bob Brown refusing police orders to leave, was matched only by the more surreal sound of myself also refusing, despite the clear and threatening consequences posed by the State. Perhaps that need to protest was driven from a deep realisation that I was standing in the same land my forefathers had settled, where my father and his six elder sisters were born, and where my grandfather and grandmother had forged a hard living in the backwoods behind Wynyard during and after the First World War. The stories of my Auntie Kath Doherty came flooding back of a life of hardship , tempered by a loving extended family. Her writing tells of a family living on the aptly named Hyena Rock Road, and of the day in 1919 when the whole region came alive after my grandfather Frank Upston, captured a live Thylacine, then known in Tasmania as a hyena.

The machinery used to smash apart this piece of Tasmania was operating while barely 40 kilometres it could have been used to save pristine areas in the Tarkine which were on fire for the first time in thousands of years. …

Sign this PETITION for the Right to peaceful protest in Tasmania

Roger Bradley: We want to secede

From wet sclerophyll to dry sclerophyll forests

Blair Richards, Mercury: Forestry’s $480,000 consultants’ splurge FORESTRY Tasmania has spent almost half a million dollars on consultants, much of it on reports informing the State Government’s efforts to restructure the forest industry. Labor is calling for the release of reports to allow Tasmanians to get the full picture on Forestry Tasmania’s viability and the state of the forest industry. However, Resources Minister Paul Harriss says the reports are either Cabinet or commercial in confidence. Documents released after a Right to Information request from Labor show that between December 2014 and July last year Forestry Tasmania spent $481,779 on external consultants. The spending included ...

• Chris in Comments: Good to see this state (in photo above) prosecuting bogans from Tasmania for protesting. (ignore illegal destruction of tree ferns nearby.) The same type of martial law utilised in Putin’s territory. Do not protest; we will severely hurt you. Will Will prosecute you to the final limit of the law, throw you in gaol and make a criminal of you, (like Gay) who also destroyed our native forests and contributed to the Lib/Lab via the government grants so willingly given to allow Forestry Tasmania and Gunns to operate while bankrupt.

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8 comments

Flogging off the (dairy) farm to China ...

Charles Wooley
08.02.16 4:45 am

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The disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers should be disturbing news for those who think that flogging off the (dairy) farm to China is the hope of the side.

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13 comments

Road Safety: Inaction by our local and state politicians and relevant authorities ...  (5)

Mark Temby* First published February 8
08.02.16 4:42 am

Image for Road Safety: Inaction by our local and state politicians and relevant authorities ...  (5)

The Forgotten Roads, Link Roads and Back Roads Not all is lost! We did have a win in late 2015. It is a short story of bureaucratic incompetence, inertia and a dearth of leadership. The Ranelagh-Judbury Road turns away from the Huon Highway near Huonville in an 80kph zone.

• Mark Temby in Comments: I should add some of my perspective and motivation at this moment. At first I was quite surprised at the varying speed zones across the region as my wife and I mapped the route. Having lived in the area for over 25 years we were also aware of many local fatalities. Our research led to a concept proposal and we met with several stakeholders including DSG. We experienced push back and were referred to local councils. There were no rational reasons given at any time for refusing consideration. Some reasons offered included the lack of public support. This led to surveys. We did not know what the results would be and were stunned with 88% support along Huon Road. Each rejection led to more research and the rejections were shown to be without foundation. Our politicians have listened to the noisy motorists for too long. I see motoring enthusiasts, motor cyclists, families and business drivers acting responsibly. I see about 1% of drivers acting irresponsibly. I intend to do my bit to change the aggressive culture on our roads. We need increased penalties and better assessments of speed limits aligned to the functions and conditions of our roads. No more should the average Tasmanian family have to endure a tragic fatality caused by an idiot on our roads (who escapes relatively free) or a visiting tourist unaware of local road conditions.

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Following in the footsteps of our First People

Hilary Burden, Hilary Burden* https://hilaryburden.wordpress.com/ Pic*
08.02.16 4:37 am

Image for Following in the footsteps of our First People

We’re on a route that takes you directly to one of the rich Aboriginal sites on the wild West Coast. This sea country fills you with awe. The track itself is an adrenaline-rush: deep, rocky ruts and soft sand make it four-wheel-drive only.

I think of these flat rocks at our feet on drifting sands as are our Stonehenge, our Macchu Picchu, our Leaning Tower of Pisa. For non-Aboriginals the journey of discovery is neither obvious nor easy. Access to these coastal sites has been won, it seems, without a robust framework for deep appreciation. We are still learning how best to protect and manage Aboriginal living heritage. A Liberal election promise advocated the upgrading and re-opening of a number of 4WD tracks in the Arthur-Pieman. But, the Federal Court ordered an interim injunction to close them, ruling heritage must come first. …

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Why does international condemnation on human rights mean so little to Australia?

Amy Maguire Senior Lecturer in International Law, University of Newcastle, The Conversation
08.02.16 4:36 am

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Australia’s human rights record is increasingly subject to international critique alongside pariah states like Saudi Arabia and North Korea. On the face of it, this juxtaposition is easily rejected. But strong evidence backs the increasing weight of international sentiment opposing Australia’s record.

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Biomass for future renewable energy

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources Media Release. First published February 7
08.02.16 4:34 am

Image for Biomass for future renewable energy

The recent unprecedented events including the failure of Basslink and low rainfall has been challenging, and the Government is determined to ensure Tasmania’s future energy needs are catered for. One option that the government is actively considering is biomass – residues from value-added forestry operations sourced from timber production areas and used as a renewable energy source.

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: Here are some figures for a 20 Megawatt woodchip burning biomass plant in the US: Fuel 1 Bone dry tonne per Megawatt hour. So it needs 20 BDT of woodchips per hour to output 20 Megawatts. According to Paul Harriss he is considering putting in a 90 Megawatt generator so it would use around 90 BDT per hour of fuel. That is 788,400 tonnes of woodchips per annum, remembering that this is Bone Dry woodchips so that is equivalent to 1.5768 Million tonnes of green wood. The cost of the fuel in the US varies between $15 and $60 per tonne depending on distance but for an 80 kilometre carting distance it is around $38 per tonne. So the fuel for Mr Harriss plant would cost $59,918,400 if it was carted a similar distance. I am sure that the fuel would be carted much further than 80 kilometres in Tasmania ... so a lot more. So we have $38 per tonne of fuel to produce 1 Megawatt/Hour of power, not taking into account the cost of the power station the input cost is going to be around 3.8 cents a Kilowatt Hour for fuel. Doesn’t sound like it would stack up. Someone has to make a profit, someone has to maintain the plant, pay wages etc. I have to agree here with Jack Lumber ... it is a dud.

• Luigi in Comments: Hello?  Hello?  Anyone home? Here we are up to our neck in alligators.  We’ve got no water in the dams and floods in the streets.  The state is on fire.  Some idiot scrapped the Bell Bay power station.  Bass Link is broken. No electricity.  And nobody’s home. Except for Paul!! Where would we be now if Paul didn’t have the nous to start burning the forests to make electricity?  And water, being a by-product of biomass combustion, will be an unexpected dividend, too!  We just need to condense it and pipe it back upstream! The rest of the government may be missing in action, but at least we have Paul Harriss’s intellect to rely on in extremis.

Blair Richards, Mercury: Forestry’s $480,000 consultants’ splurge FORESTRY Tasmania has spent almost half a million dollars on consultants, much of it on reports informing the State Government’s efforts to restructure the forest industry. Labor is calling for the release of reports to allow Tasmanians to get the full picture on Forestry Tasmania’s viability and the state of the forest industry. However, Resources Minister Paul Harriss says the reports are either Cabinet or commercial in confidence. Documents released after a Right to Information request from Labor show that between December 2014 and July last year Forestry Tasmania spent $481,779 on external consultants. The spending included ...

• Elizabeth Viney in Comments: Luigi is right.  This state is in more strife than Flash Gordon and nothing is happening. The government seems to be bereft of ideas and has gone into hiding.  The Premier was last seen in Cygnet wearing a false moustache. Is it any wonder that stupid ideas like this latest one from Paul Harriss can get coverage when the rest of the government seem to have gone on furlough.

• Shane Humphreys in Comments: Between 500,000 and 1 million tonnes per annum of general waste going to landfill every year in Tasmania. Plasma gasification (low carbon emission and not incineration) produces 60-80 KWh Net per tonne of waste. Yet no one wants to address it. Chuck it in the bin (we all do it) close the lid and forget about it or turn a blind eye as it gets trucked off to become someone else’s and some other generations problem in huge landfills. Let’s not forget that our big renewable energy source in this state relied on dams in our iconic river systems altering them forever and solar, wind, batteries etc also all require mining for significant resources some of which are highly toxic in the case of lithium batteries. There is no truly cost-free option. It’s a question of an acceptable cost-benefit ratio.

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Basslink: A short summary of risks ...

Chris Harries* First published January 29 Pic*
08.02.16 4:34 am

Image for Basslink: A short summary of risks ...

Without warning, Tasmania’s power link to the Mainland suddenly ruptured in December 2015, just as it was being called upon to shore up power supplies. This event has sent shockwaves through the Tasmanian administration.

… Tasmania generates approximately 90 percent of its power demand (in average rainfall conditions) thus requiring us to import the remaining 10 percent – so this need can be seen as a necessity in the absence of the state lifting its renewable capacity. By exporting high value peaking power and importing low value base load this gap could theoretically be made up at a profit and with a net greenhouse emissions reduction. Environmental arguments went both ways, but the Tasmanian Greens and the broader environmental movement generally disapproved the project fearing that it would result in a net transfer of coal-fired power from the mainland to Tasmania, thus breaching our valued reputation as an all-renewable electricity island. As it turned out this is, in fact, what has transpired. During the ten years since the project was officially started up in 2006 the net power transfer has been from north to south by a strong margin …

• Anne Cadwallader in Comments: Chris, which large industrial consumer is likely (as you write) to pack up and go?  That does, as you indicate, seem to be a massive game changer.
Hydro industrialization was a major part of our state’s development, but can’t last forever.  But if we once again become awash with electricity, surely it positions us well for a low carbon world?  I never minded the idea of being Australia’s national park (a lot better than being its disused quarry, as W.A. is rapidly becoming).  But being Australia’s hydro power battery pack sounds wonderful.  We can be both profitable, and a positive force in the world.  Then there will be no more dying old people lying on the floor of the Royal Hobart on towels:

• asoka nelson in Comments: on the 28th of jan 2016 a vast amount of moisture was in the atmosphere above the fires on the west coast, if a 747 aircraft was loaded with 50 ton of dry ice…..it would have induced a significant rainfall it the area it was most needed…..I contacted Greg Carson at Hydro Tasmania and he automatically said no we will not help you and we will not investigate the concept….I also contacted CSIRO and they said we do not investigate other peoples ideas…I contacted the fire department but they were all busy ...I sent an email to the premier and doubt it will be investigated….the fire team actually has large aircraft but did not fly on the 28th because there was cloud cover was too heavy,....50 ton of dry ice injected into those cloud could have produced 500,000 ton of rain. the fires are changing the weather system, as the hot air rises it pushes moisture out of that area….. cloud seeding is required to induce rain

• Andrew Wadsley in Comments: There never was a business case for Basslink to be profitable, even in the good old days. Submissions to the JAP on Basslink clearly showed that the project was uneconomic and under sustainable trading would lose at least $70m / year. Hydro Tasmania have been selling the State’s resources (in this case water) just like Forestry Tasmania sells our trees (Lapoinya?) for short-term gain with long-term loss.

• Jack Gilding in Comments: … Thanks Campbell (Gizmodo). A good summary of an aspect of the Basslink break that hasn’t got much coverage so far. It’s not explicit in your article but I presume that the fibre failed on 20 December at the same time as electricity connection was lost. I’m surprised we are not feeling more pain if we have dropped from 645 to 5 Gbps. Alternative explanation is that fibre is still in operation but will be lost when the cable is cut to repair the electricity break.

Mercury: Wind backed as power solution

• Shaun in Comments: … I do think the media is a lot to blame however. Throughout the current situation there has been a lot of words but very little hard, factual data presented to the public. Very few seem to understand the true situation and there’s a real risk that we’ll end up spending a fortune on unnecessary and potentially pointless “fixes” as a result. What’s the bet that we end up over-building new sources of supply and the next problem is how to deal with the financial consequences of doing so? Pretty likely I expect given the general misunderstanding that we’re not actually short on long term electricity supply as such, it being a question of the very short term only in that sense plus a question of the merits of imports from Victoria versus gas versus something new. It’s like saying someone could have earned $130K last year in their occupation but chose to not work too much and is now short on cash. That doesn’t mean they need to move interstate or do another degree to increase their earning potential, it just means they need to go back to work.

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From Wet Sclerophyll to Dry Sclerophyll Forests ...

Karl Stevens
08.02.16 4:32 am

Image for From Wet Sclerophyll to Dry Sclerophyll Forests ...

In January 2016 Tasmania was experiencing unprecedented climate change and ecological breakdown in the form of drought, bushfires, water shortages and energy shortages. Many of the drivers of this calamity were external to Tasmania but some were domestic. As one of the world’s largest coal exporters and one of the world’s largest deforesters, Australia has a pathetic ecological record. Has Tasmania been intelligently managing it’s evolved ecology? No.

Sign this PETITION for the Right to peaceful protest in Tasmania

Blair Richards, Mercury: Forestry’s $480,000 consultants’ splurge FORESTRY Tasmania has spent almost half a million dollars on consultants, much of it on reports informing the State Government’s efforts to restructure the forest industry. Labor is calling for the release of reports to allow Tasmanians to get the full picture on Forestry Tasmania’s viability and the state of the forest industry. However, Resources Minister Paul Harriss says the reports are either Cabinet or commercial in confidence. Documents released after a Right to Information request from Labor show that between December 2014 and July last year Forestry Tasmania spent $481,779 on external consultants. The spending included ...

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3 comments

NATION: Turnbull has no time for democracy over GST

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . First published February 8 Pic*
08.02.16 4:21 am

Image for NATION: Turnbull has no time for democracy over GST

Friday afternoon, Malcolm Turnbull drops a bombshell. He intends to ignore the will of the people over tax reform. Speaking on ABC Adelaide he says ...

Four months into his Prime Ministership and eight months out from an election, as Lenore Taylor reminds us, Turnbull may not have a clue who he is or what he stands for but he knows what he doesn’t like. Unpopularity. The PM may have a pathological need for approval but that aside he’s shrewd enough not to sign his own political death-warrant. If only it were so easy. Turnbull’s change of policy on consultation will come as a shock to those hundreds of Australians who made submissions to The White Paper in good faith that they might be listened to; that their voices might influence policy, by a politician who came to power promising a consensus model which ‘respected the intelligence’ of the electorate. Now at least he’s cleared up something. The people’s voice doesn’t matter. …

Fairfax: Tax white paper: why Turnbull killed the green paper and probably a higher GST

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Zero tolerance of fires in Australia: a new paradigm for want of new technology and tactics?

Lyndall Rowley* Pic* First published February 3
08.02.16 4:20 am

Image for Zero tolerance of fires in Australia: a new paradigm for want of new technology and tactics?

Enough is enough.

Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies in the School of Land and Food at UTAS, Mercury Opinion: Charred heritage the burning issue … It is easy to rapidly rebuild houses and bridges. It is impossible to rebuild the Huon pine and King Billy pine forests that make Tasmania so special and attract people from all over the world to admire their beauty. The East and West of Tasmania are different worlds, but in both areas our floral natural heritage is in danger. In the grasslands, heaths and dry forests of eastern Tasmania, a reduction in fire frequency has resulted in local losses of biodiversity, while protections against clearing and degradation of significant places for threatened vegetation types and plant species have been politically subverted. Forest and woodland dominated by black gum picks out the most fertile and moist ground in eastern and northern Tasmania, so only 4 per cent of its original area was uncleared in 1997, the time of the Regional Forest Agreement, which therefore “protected” it. Yet a casual perusal of the reports from the Forest Practices Board, which monitors forest clearance, reveals a continued substantial attrition of this vegetation type, all politically approved, if not encouraged, as in the case of the Meander Dam. The smoke screen of offsetting has been used with much of this clearance. …

• Isla MacGregor in Comments: I applaud Lyndall and Jamie for speaking out about this devastating problem of fires in our landscape and agree enough is enough with prescribed burning.

• WATCH Wandering Foxbat’s aerial pictures of the fires, captured February 1: HERE

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• Simon Warriner in Comments: … Unfortunately the TFS play a major role in the SFMC and as can be demonstrated comprehensively, that organisation does not understand the mantra “a stitch in time saves nine”. A member of the government has sufficient details to institute a judicial inquiry into the conduct of the TFS management going back at least a decade, and while some of those responsible have retired, there are current officers who stood and watched and did nothing while bad things happened, and that calls into question their judgement and thus their suitability to be involved in such a critical role. It is clearly time for the government to differentiate between the TFS management and the firies on the ground, and hold the management to account for their actions. At present they use the rightful public appreciation of the actions of the troops as a shield against proper scrutiny. For our government to fail to properly scrutinize is to fail in a clear duty to the public good, and right now many in the public realm can see the problem very clearly and are getting more than a tad pissed off with the delay in addressing it.  Clear enough? (I admit some culpability, in that I could have taken the facts to the media back in 2013 but elected to work through “proper” process because I was concerned that if the public knew what was going on in the TFS at that time the volunteer force would have been negatively impacted. That was a mistake and my family has paid a very high price for it. )

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• Jack Jolly in Comments: #62 It seems to me that Lyndall Rowley has stayed on topic in this thread with commendable focus on positive discussion. Despite two unfortunate attacks on her very right to contribute to this topic she continued to engage rather than return fire in same. A rare bird on this site indeed. If one cares to read back the substance of the two most conspicuous attacks there may be a few take home lessons. These jump right out and smack you in the face if you have been sitting on the sidelines reading this thread like I have - and quite a few others by the look of my inbox. A review would be good. Gee, it might even be nice if people like Lyndall were included in the process.

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82 comments

We want to secede ...

Roger and Maureen Bradley, Boat Harbour
08.02.16 4:15 am

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… I (Maureen) have been a volunteer fire fighter for the past 20 years. On numerous occasions putting my life in danger fighting fires in Forestry Tasmanians plantation.  I have been peacefully protesting with hundreds of other passionate people who care about their environment, trying to save the Lapoinya coupe from destruction from our government and Forestry Tasmania. All I get from peacefully protesting is a heavy fine or imprisonment under the new anti-protest laws which seems to favour governments and big businesses. …

Sign this PETITION for the Right to peaceful protest in Tasmania

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Climate science on chopping block as CSIRO braces for shake-up

ABC
08.02.16 4:10 am

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The CSIRO’s climate science divisions are expected to be pared back as part of a massive shake-up of the organisation.

• Peter Whish-Wilson, Adam Bandt in Comments ...

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12 comments

As much resemblance to a Festival of Voices line-up as I do to Leonardo di Caprio ...

Leo Schofield AM Artistic Director, Brisbane Baroque. Artistic Director, Sydney Sings. Pic: of Leo ... First pub: Feb 4
08.02.16 4:09 am

Image for As much resemblance to a Festival of Voices line-up as I do to Leonardo di Caprio ...

Letter to Tasmanian Times … The dates of the new festival and a couple of elements thereof were mentioned in the Minister’s press release and in the Sydney Morning Herald, but no detailed program was announced. And yet for some unaccountable reason, Mr.Tony Bonney, with whom I am unacquainted, chose to see sinister motives behind the bland details of name and dates. Mr. Bonney, who it transpires is the director of Hobart’s annual Festival of Voices, telephoned the Deputy Arts Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald to accuse me of ‘stealing’ his event. Why did he not speak to me? …

• Luke Martin in Comments: Oh, gawd, haven’t we heard enough from this bloke?

• Leo Schofield in Comments: Ah yes, Luke Martin. How soon we forget. Isn’t he the soi-disant tourism guru who never returns telephone calls, never keeps appointments and is so alert to the possibilities of a good idea that he didn’t even know the dates of the baroque festival and went to nothing. Too busy I suppose issuing daily press releases, the all-purpose pundit. if anyone qualifies for the sobriquet of ‘media nymphomaniac’ it’s good ole’ Lukester. His understanding of cultural tourism is on a par ...

• Luke Martin in Comments: No, no one “exiled” Mr Schofield. He didn’t get what he wanted, chose to leave Tasmania, and has since seen fit to engage in some bizarre campaign to belittle the State and use forums like this to publicly settle scores against those he has grievances with. Grow up, Leo. Be a Gentleman.

• Leo Schofield in Comments: … Over the twenty-four festivals and major events for which I have had responsibility throughout Australia I have had the most cordial and helpful relationship with tourism authorities, starting with a remarkable collaboration with Bob Annells when he was head of Tourism Victoria. Both Queensland and NSW were equally enthusiastic.partners. It was only in Tasmania that I encountered the kind of aggressive indifference from bodies such as the ‘peak tourism authority’ whose interest you purport to represent. I am currently in Tasmania enjoying glorious weather and the generous, warm welcome from those those who know how much I did to promote this state and who lament the loss of an event destined on current evidence to be one of the southern hemisphere’s most visible and successful cultural attractions.

• Mark Temby in Comments: This story was done to death when it happened. It was reported Leo first heard of the funding cut from a journalist. Neither Mr Martin nor Mr Hodgman extended the courtesy of a phone call. Leo’s ego was probably quite bruised but the job of a politician or Tourism bureaucrat is one of networking. They failed. An honest personal observation on this thread is my amazement at the unprofessional language and attitude of Luke Martin as head of our Tasmanian Tourism authority in the public arena. Sometimes the position is greater than one’s personal anger or opinion and one needs to know when to put a cork in it.

• Luke Martin in Comments: In response to post 11. I’m not a ‘bureaucrat’. I work for an independent industry body, not the government. Judging by his comments, I’m also not sure if Mr Schofield is also confused on this matter. Referring to Tony Mayell, the ex head of Tourism Tasmania - different organisation. For the record, I actually checked our records today. No record of a single phone message, email or invite from Mr Schofield relating to his event. Ever. But enjoy your time in the State, Leo. It’s magnificent.

• Jane Rankin-Reid in Comments: … Are you sure Mr. Martin has or should have so much power to be making decisions about cultural funding, against social welfare spending needs? His is not an elected position after all, although it does require a government endorsement…If I were Luke Martin, I’d get a professional arts advisor position funded asap so that in his role, he would not be caught on the back foot again, nor would he need to add to the problem of perception as is currently occurring, by claiming that Leo’s phone calls were never received…I would love to list each and every government ministry, department, agency, or industry council in this state that does not answer or return phone calls…some never, some within a week, some with such ear burning hostility for one’s crime of daring to try to get through…What is clear here is that cultural entrepreneurs don’t feel their work is respected by the tourism industry’s representatives, which must change at every possible level. In comparison, Mr. Martin would not be seen evaluating local jam flavours or chosing between cheeses, all of which are also part of Tasmania’s allure for visitors. …

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16 comments

Andrew Robb is running scared on independent TPP scrutiny

Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson Media Release. First published February 4
08.02.16 4:08 am

Image for Andrew Robb is running scared on independent TPP scrutiny

Today Andrew Robb has signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) on behalf of the Australian government. Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments ...

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Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

Some suggestions for bushfire control authorities in Tasmania (and elsewhere) 

Media

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Concerns Public Hearings Exclude Small Businesses 

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Despard: WATERLINE GEOFF DYER 

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COW FOR CALF 

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Tasting Tasmania ... 

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Looking for Napoleon 

What's On

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Despard: WATERLINE GEOFF DYER 

Satire

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Lapoinya ... 

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Which humans are you referring to Robin, are the ones protesting about the wholesale destruction, which you no doubt applaud,…

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