In Their Own Words...

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Concerns Public Hearings Exclude Small Businesses

Robert Mallett
11.02.16 10:29 am

The Tasmanian Small Business Council has hit out at proposals to discuss potential future Tasmanian health policies as being a process designed by bureaucrats for bureaucrats and little else.

TSBC Chief Executive Officer, Robert Mallett said just days prior to Christmas the Health Department released a discussion paper canvassing health options for the state into the future with a promise to consult.

“With the Christmas break over, we’ve now been given less than 10 days notice that the consultation on the Health Policy will be held throughout the state and it will occur during business hours,” said Mr Mallett.

“What a joke, if the Government was serious about this, they’d actually ensure that all of the community could attend the forums, but instead many small businesses who would love to comment, will be too busy running their business.

Mr Mallett said while he applauds the Government for setting about a process to make Tasmania the healthiest state in Australia by 2025, some of the initiatives are unworkable.

“In a practical sense, the suggestion to increase the smoking age to 21 or 25 will simply be unworkable,” he said.

“Why not simply enforce the existing laws, instead of introducing a system that will be confusing to implement, force tobacco sales even further underground and is unlikely to actually have any positive impact on youth smoking rates.

“When asked about this issue when it was floated by the State Government, the national head of the Australian Medical Association said prohibition simply does not work.

“Given we have the toughest anti-smoking laws in Tasmania and yet the highest rates of smoking, it is clear other approaches such as education and enforcement are what needs to be implemented.

“However, for small businesses throughout Tasmania who wish to say this must first register their interest and then attend forums during normal work hours, which is ridiculous.”


World Interfaith Harmony Week ...

Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP for Denison
11.02.16 10:20 am

With the support of Hon. Rob Valentine MLC and Madam Speaker Hon. Elise Archer MP, Religions for Peace Tasmania Branch is organising a colloquium entitled Reflections on Peace Building in honour of World Interfaith Harmony Week at 11.30 am for noon on Thursday 11 February 2016 at Parliament House, Tasmania.

Many faith leaders and representatives will be attending, including Christians of a number of denominations, Buddhist, Jewish,  Ahmadiyya Muslims, Hindu, Sikh and Baha’i.

We are expecting the colloquium to run for about an hour, followed by a light lunch. 

We know the value that faith communities bring to social cohesion in Australia and this gathering will be an opportunity for faith leaders and faith representatives to share their achievements, challenges and hopes for peacebuilding in our community.
There is no more important time than now to celebrate the work towards peacebuilding that is accomplished in the Australian community by faith groups.


Activists unfurl banner across Eastern Freeway bridge to protest refugee deportation

Helen War Spokesperson
11.02.16 7:49 am


Two climbers have suspended themselves from the Yarra Bend bridge above the Eastern Freeway and unfurled a banner reading “#LetThemStay”. They are peacefully protesting the forced deportation of 267 refugees to Nauru, including 37 babies and 54 children.
Katherine Woskett, 25, an arborist, and Hannah Patchett, 22, a professional rope access worker, suspended themselves around 7.30am this morning and are not obstructing traffic.
Ms Patchett said, “It’s outrageous that we even have to protest torture against children. We’re calling on the Australian government to uphold their obligations to international human rights conventions.”

The deportations of refugees could happen at any moment, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo telling senate estimates that some asylum seekers could be deported “within days.”

Ms Woskett added, “We’re here to raise awareness and encourage other Australians to take direct action and stand up for the rights of people who can’t.”

“Such a condemnable violation of human rights means the government should expect widespread protest.”



Free public talk by ‘A convict in the family?’ photographer Mine Konakci

Andrew Ross
10.02.16 2:14 pm

Pia Anderson photographed with items similar to those stolen by her convict ancestor William Roberts. Photograph (c) Mine Konakci

Mine Konakci, the photographer behind ‘A convict in the family?‘, will visit the Port Arthur Historic Site next week, and has agreed to give a public talk about her work and the show.

Now in its final weeks, the exhibition has been seen by thousands of visitors at Port Arthur and the Cascades Female Factory over the past couple of months.

Mine Konakci is an Australian with Turkish heritage. She holds a Masters in Documentary Photography, from the Sydney College of Arts, The University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Graphic Design from the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Istanbul, Turkey.

Her fascination with Australia’s convict past started when she was commissioned by a heritage publication in 2008 to photograph Anna, a high school student with convict ancestry. When she embarked on her Master’s degree in documentary photography, documenting direct descendants of convict settlers became the obvious choice for her major project.

Her exhibition reveals through rich, large-scale photographs the connections between convict settlers, their direct descendants and the petty crimes that changed the course of their families’ histories. Drawn from a diverse cross-section of the community, sitters have been photographed alongside a representation of the item, or items, stolen by their ancestors. Thirty-one of 40 images have been presented at Port Arthur, with the remaining nine on display at the Cascades Female Factory.

In the talk, Mine will discuss her background and the history behind this project including how she found her subjects. Mine lives and works in Sydney and A convict in the family? is her first solo exhibition. The show is a travelling photographic exhibition from Sydney Living Museums.

The talk will occur on Thursday 18 February, 2016 at 5.30 pm in the Asylum at the Port Arthur Historic Site. The talk is free, but anyone planning to attend is asked to RSVP by calling 03 6251 2324.

Read more here


Event: Golden rules of crisis communication and social media crisis

Johnathon Parker
10.02.16 2:08 pm


Evening event at The Old Woolstore, 1 Macquarie Street, Hobart
Speakers: Greg Ray and Becher Townshend
5-7pm, Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Read more here


AMC unveils plans for new, world-class autonomous underwater vehicle research facility

UTAS Media Office
10.02.16 10:05 am

An artist’s impression of the new AUV facility

Building plans for a new $750,000 state-of-the-art facility set to position Tasmania as a world leader in underwater robotic technologies will be revealed today.

The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) facility, located at the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College, will be home to a fleet of robots used to survey the ocean’s depths and collect scientific data on research missions.

AMC Principal Professor Neil Bose said the development would bring a range of social and economic benefits to the Launceston region.

“This is an exciting new development for AMC, the University and the state of Tasmania. It will be unique within Australia and one of just a handful of comparable facilities globally, allowing us to be on the cutting-edge of research in this field,” Professor Bose said.

“Building our underwater robotic research capabilities not only enhances our reputation on the international stage, it also helps stimulate the local economy through the recruitment of specialist personnel and the use of a local architectural firm and other related industries.”

Five new staff members have been recruited to help run the facility, including facility coordinator Peter King, lab manager Alfian Marzuki and engineers Isak Bowden-Floyd, Nathan Kemp and Konrad Zurcher.

“This facility will be a hub for world-class AUV research and technology. Through local and international collaborations, we aim to develop new data collection capabilities, improve reliability and increase autonomy of underwater vehicles,” AUV Facility Coordinator Peter King said.

“One of these projects, the Antarctic Gateway Partnership, will see us acquire and develop an AUV that tackles the great engineering challenges of venturing far beneath ice-covered waters to further our understanding of the Antarctic’s role in the world’s climate.”

The facility’s fleet of autonomous robots includes UBC-Gavia, Mullaya and the soon-to-be-procured Antarctic Gateway Partnership AUV.

The $24 million Antarctic Gateway Partnership is a Special Research Initiative of the Australian Research Council bringing together the University of Tasmania, CSIRO and the Australian Antarctic Division to build further polar research capability in Tasmania as a gateway for Antarctic research, education, innovation and logistics. The Antarctic Gateway Partnership has contributed $3.6 million in funding for the new AUV and four of the new staff positions, with a further $3.75 million and one staff position contributed by AMC.

Launceston firm Artas Architects were tasked with designing a facility big enough to accommodate the Antarctic Gateway Partnership AUV, which will measure up to eight metres long, weigh three tonnes and be capable of transiting more than 100 kilometres while collecting data from the sea floor at depths of about 4,000-5,000m, and beneath ice shelves and sea ice.

Artas Principal Heath Clayton said the project provided an opportunity to highlight how thoughtful design could transform existing building structures into functional, modern spaces.

“We’ve been able to take a simple storage area that was largely unused and convert it into a contemporary research facility utilising modern building products. The design of the building, its colour and materials, complements the other structures in the area while still maintaining its own identity,” Mr Clayton said.

Building works are expected to be completed in late 2016.


Information and commentary on key issues covered in today’s Meander Valley Council meeting

Meander Valley Councillor Andrew Connor
09.02.16 6:11 pm

NBN upgrade for Westbury and Hadspen

Council decided to release cost estimate information received from NBNCo for a potential upgrade of the NBN rollout in Westbury and Hadspen.  It revealed that the incremental cost to install fibre-optic broadband rather than second-rate copper (Fibre-to-the-Node) broadband was between $2,200,000-2,750,000 million for Hadspen and between $2,750,000-$3,300,000 for Westbury.

“These amounts are clearly beyond the resources of a small council such as Meander Valley to fund” Cr Connor said.  “Furthermore, there was little substance as to how the figures were arrived at and it appears that no on-the-ground investigation was undertaken to support these estimates”.

Council will write to NBNCo and demand a refund of the $10,000 application fee due to the lack of information supporting these estimates.  Cr Connor continued “ballpark figures such as those provided could have been arrived-at with publicly available information, we needed more substantive figures and supporting information to even consider progressing this upgrade”.

Holding a Council meeting in Prospect Vale – Rescinded

Council today rescinded their decision made in the November meeting to hold one regular meeting in 2016 in Prospect Vale.  Usually council meetings are held monthly at the chambers in Westbury during the afternoon, however in recent years’ council has opted to hold one meeting per year in Prospect Vale during the evening. Cr Connor said “This was done to make the democratic workings of council more accessible to the 42% of the Meander Valley ratepayers who live in the urban areas of the municipality”. 

Some Councilors sought to overturn their earlier decision on the basis of a miniscule cost saving and supposed safety concerns of staff driving in the dark.

“Council needs to be open and accessible to its community. It needs to accommodate community needs, not dictate them” Cr Connor said.  “It is disappointing that council time is wasted on this kind of motion when there’s far more important issues to consider” he added. 

Councilor Connor foreshadowed a motion that will mandate Internet streaming of council meetings using recently installed audio-visual equipment that will make all meetings more accessible to ratepayers.



Judy Charnaud
09.02.16 2:53 pm


Read more here


Quick Strike the Latest Victim of Horse Racing

Chris Simcox
09.02.16 6:40 am

Animals Tasmania are renewing the call to end horse racing following the death yesterday of Hobart Cup starter Quick Strike.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Quick Strike as a result of yesterday’s Hobart Cup.

“Our message during our action at the Cup yesterday was that horses are being exploited and often pushed beyond their natural limits.

“Quick Strike is the latest vicitim of an industry driven solely by greed.” said Chris Simcox, spokesperson for Animals Tasmania.

“Horses are too often regarded as mere property. They are intelligent and sensitive beings. It is time we all started to recognise them as individuals, and treated them as equal with our own kind.” said Mr Simcox.

Animals Tasmania exists to promote respect and kindness towards all non-human animals. We represent all animals, no exceptions.


Lambie’s Senate Estimates questions reveal Tasmanian Government King Island complacency

Rob Messenger for Senator Jacqui Lambie Senator for Tasmania
09.02.16 6:39 am

During Senate Estimates today Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie’s questions, revealed the Tasmanian state government have made no move to fix King Island’s freight crisis.

``When I visited King Island late last year, I discovered it will lose its shipping service within 12 months, as the SeaRoad Mersey will be replaced by a larger vessel.’’ Senator Lambie said.

``As a result, King Island Port needs an upgrade before it can accept any larger vessels. When I spoke to the King Island Shipping Group, they estimated the port needed a $60 million upgrade to satisfy the larger ships necessary to continue the King Island freight service.

``When I asked the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Senate Estimates Committee, led by Senator Richard Colbeck, if they planned to assist King Island with its shipping crisis, imagine my shock when the committee said the Federal Government has not received proposals from the state government.’’ Senator Lambie said.

``The Tasmanian Government’s lack of care or simple incompetence towards their own port is a devastating blow for the King Island community, who rely on their shipping services to make a living.

``Without an investment of $60 million in the King Island Port, the residents face a jump in their cost of living – which is already high – and/or decimation of their primary industries.

``Tasmanian Senator Colbeck admitted to me during Senate Estimates this week that King Island would most certainly require an infrastructure upgrade when King Island loses their shipping service – So why haven’t his state counterparts formed a proposal seeking assistance?’’ Senator Lambie asked.

``It is time the Tasmanian Government stop ignoring King Island, recognise its residents are Tasmanians too and treat them as such.’’



Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP for Denison
08.02.16 2:23 pm

The Minister for Social Services’s answer to my question in the Federal Parliament today about the impact of changes to the income test for defined benefit pension recipients is misleading.

Of course we need to means test government payments to ensure that wealthy people don’t receive government assistance. But most of the people who will be affected by this change are not wealthy – in fact 68% of those affected have a defined benefit income of less than $35,000.

The Tasmanian Association for State Superannuants calculates that the average reduction in pensions because of these changes is $86 per fortnight or $2,242 per year. This is an enormous reduction for people who are receiving modest incomes.

It’s also unfair for the Government to have sprung this decision on superannuants, who have paid into their super fund throughout their working life and made decisions some time ago about how to manage their retirement benefit. If nothing else, these changes should have included grandfather provisions to protect existing superannuants.



Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP for Denison
08.02.16 11:12 am

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will ask the Treasurer the following in Question Time today. Please check against delivery.

“Treasurer, the Government claims the recent change to the income test for defined benefit pension recipients will principally affect superannuants on big incomes.

“But the truth is that most of those affected are on modest incomes and nowhere near wealthy. Take one Tasmanian couple, for example, whose only assets are a caravan and a car but have lost $164 a fortnight from their Age Pension.

“Treasurer will you immediately reconsider this policy?”

WHEN: Approximately 2:15pm TODAY 8 February

WHERE: House of Representatives (watch live at


2016 Tasmanian Craft Fair, Deloraine TCF announces new Craft Fair Director

Tasmanian Craft Fair
08.02.16 10:34 am

The Tasmanian Craft Fair (TCF), Australia’s largest display, sale and working
demonstration of arts and crafts has announced Mr Tim Biggs as the 2016 - 17 Craft
Fair Director.

Mr Biggs brings experience in marketing, finance, administration and arts
management and has been a member of the TCF organising committee since 2009.
Mr Biggs comes highly endorsed by outgoing TCF director Maree Matanle.

Ms Matanle said ‘Tim and I have worked together on a number of community
projects through our association with the Rotary Club of Deloraine and I am confident
that his skills and experience will be invaluable in ensuring the success of the event.’

Mr Biggs’ focus is to raise community awareness of the variety on offer at the Craft
Fair, whilst continuing to generate a surplus to go to the many community projects
Rotary supports.

Mr Biggs’ said ‘I am determined to raise the bar this year to ensure that our attendees
from around the state and the mainland are able to come to Deloraine and enjoy our
truly unique event.’

‘It’s a great weekend and we have everything on offer from paintings to plum
puddings and it’s also just a fun family outing.’

Mr Biggs also seeks to raise the quality of the exhibitors and to provide the
opportunity for the public to see how the artists and artisans create their their work.

Mr Biggs said ‘I am really looking to encourage stallholders to demonstrate the
process that goes into their craft. We (the Craft Fair Committee) believe this is one
thing that sets our event apart from some of the other events that have appeared over
the last few years.’

Mr Biggs said ‘We also want to see some more new faces this year, in particular some
of the weird and wonderful lost arts and crafts.’

Mr Biggs relocated to Deloraine 10 years ago from Queensland after being drawn by
its natural beauty and innovative community.

A not-for-profit event run by the Rotary Club of Deloraine, the Tasmanian Craft Fair
hosts over 200 arts and craftspeople, involves more than 1000 community volunteers
and attracts around 25 000 people annually from Tasmania, interstate and overseas.

All funds raised through the Craft Fair are put back into every area of the community.

Since the Tasmanian Craft Fair’s inception, $3 million has been raised and used to
complete a variety of local, national and international development projects.

The Tasmanian Craft Fair will be held in Deloraine later this year from November 4 – 7.


Stop Abuse of Horses in Racing. Action at Hobart Cup

Chris Simcox
08.02.16 6:15 am

  8 February 2016

Animals Tasmania want to see an end to the needless exploitation of horses used in racing. This is part of a wider call for an end to the treatment nonhuman animals as property.

“Horse racing puts all horses involved through uninmaginable suffering. They are typically pushed far beyond their natural limits and then discarded when they cease to be competitive. It’s not about what is best for the horses, it’s about humans greedily getting what they want.” said Chris Simcox, spokesperson for Animals Tasmania.

“Horses are not property, they are sentient beings, like humans, pigs, cattle and dogs. They think, feel and suffer. And they each have very real intrinsic worth. It is time humans started treating all nonhumans with respect and understanding.” said Mr Simcox

Action at Hobart Cup
Tattersall Park

Animals Tasmania exists to promote respect and kindness towards all non-human animals. We represent all animals, no exceptions.


Lauderdale School & Community Festival

Michael Long
08.02.16 2:11 am


Come and join us for an afternoon of fabulous fun, gourmet food, boutique wine, live music and a variety of entertainment on Friday 18th March 2016, 3-8pm.

This year marks the 50th year celebration of the opening of Lauderdale School at its current location - so the festival is bigger and better than ever!

Each year the Lauderdale School & Community Festival has been expanding - last year saw us introduce more fine foods, wines, rides and entertainment, and it was a great event for all ages.

This year is set to take the event to even greater heights again - so come along and stay into the evening, have some dinner and a bevie whilst enjoying the live music from local artists…

And be sure to stick around and watch the fireworks display too!

This is NOT a small scale school fair - but more of an epic food, wine and entertainment event in its fifth year!

We are offering a wider spread of entertainment, more rides for the kids (and adults too) along with more food and wine from local producers this year.

There will be super heroes and snakes, balloons and face painting, and too much more to list!

Here’s hoping that you can add us to your online advertising space and assist us in making this year’s event the biggest possible – if indeed you can/do add us, please email a link so that we can add it to our records.


The Launceston meeting ...

Ray Norman
06.02.16 8:24 am



Tasmanian organisation marks 120 years of vital health services

Kate Pendlebury
06.02.16 7:28 am

Hobart District Nursing Service Inc. is celebrating a significant milestone, marking 120 years supporting the Tasmanian community and to mark this milestone, they are holding party in the local community park for employees and families to enjoy a day full of entertainment and fine food.

The organisation was founded at a time when there was increasing concern about public health, when women were undertaking increased public participation, and when nursing was starting to be accepted as a profession.

To mark this milestone Hobart District Nurses’ CE Kim Macgowan reflects on the core mission of the not-for-profit organisation and the change they have undergone in her 16 years as CE and where they are going in the future.

“The organisation’s mission statement, ‘committed to care’, has not only underpinned the strong work ethic and culture for our employees but has ensured our focus remains on the principles of primary health care for all as well as constantly improving our services through evidence-based best practice policies,” Mrs Macgowan said.

“The Tasmanian health system has undergone considerable change since establishment, which has had a considerable impact on the structure and administration of our organisation. This has included the expansion and constant development of the concept, parameters and the very definition of district nursing. “Our aim is to maintain people of all ages in their own homes where possible, prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital and residential aged care facilities.

“We do this through providing support and advice to clients, cares and their families in the areas of health promotion, health education, community development, general wellbeing, as well as providing the highest quality nursing care, domestic assistance and end of life care.” Mrs Macgowan attributed Hobart District Nursing Service’s longevity to innovation and continuous improvement as well as delivering a high standard or services at all times. The organisation’s services are now offered state wide, with offices in the south, north and north west,
employing over 200 staff to deliver services to all Tasmanians. Hobart District Nursing Service Inc. grew out of the Amateur Nursing Band of the Young Women’s Association, formed in 1896 by Lady Gormanston the then wife of the Governor of Tasmania.
“Committed to Care”



Clark Cooley President - Tasmanian State Branch National Union of Students
06.02.16 5:52 am

5th February 2016

The National Union of Students today welcomed the announcement of State Government and university funding for the University of Tasmania Hobart Art School and the new Creative Industries and Performing Arts Development at Campbell Street.

Clark Cooley, President of the National Union of Students Tasmania said “This investment shows that the State Government is serious about the creative arts and higher education sector in Tasmania”

“Without such funding Tasmania risks loosing it’s momentum forward into the emerging creative arts industry, including benefiting from it’s economic and cultural advantages”

Clark Cooley continued “Many students feared losing such a important part of the learning infrastructure that could of forever damaged the integrity of the school”

“The creative arts are an important part of the states future, and the school plays a vital role in creating the next generation of artists, signers, performers, photographers, and creatives”

The National Union of Students (NUS) is the peak representative body for Australian university students. The NUS seek to advance the rights and protect the interests of students by working with campus-based student organisations, running campaigns, and making sure the voices of students are heard by parliamentarians, policy makers, university leadership and the wider community.


Full Bench grants suspension of decision

AMA Tasmania President A/Prof Tim Greenaway
05.02.16 1:41 pm

Following an application by the Minister Administering the State Service Act 2000, the Full Bench of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission today suspended the operation of a decision made by President Abey on 12 January 2016 which concerned the inclusion of a clause in the Medical Practitioners (Public Sector) Award relating to Private Practice Arrangements and Allowance.

Following the hearing today the AMA Tasmania President A/Prof Tim Greenaway said he wished to clarify the AMA Tasmania’s position in regard to the Private Practice Arrangements.

“Contrary to Premier Hodgman’s comments reported in the Mercury this morning, doctors are not seeking a 35% pay increase,” said A/Prof Greenaway.

“Suggesting also that money would be diverted from patient care is incorrect. We are simply wishing to enshrine current payments, which doctors are already receiving, as part of the Award.

“This is so we can ensure we retain and attract high quality doctors in the Tasmanian Health Service and have complete transparency.”

The hearing of the appeal is listed for 29th April 2016.

We acknowledge the commitment given by Counsel of the Minister today during the hearing that the Government will continue to pay the same benefits which have been in existence for many years.

The private patient scheme is a system whereby doctor use their provider number to claim for private patients in public hospital which assists the State Government in funding the hospital.


TIC decision

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health
05.02.16 1:40 pm

The Government welcomes this morning’s decision by the Tasmanian Industrial Commission’s full bench to grant the Tasmanian Government’s application relating to the Private Practice Scheme.

We support the long-standing arrangement for doctors to retain earnings from treating private patients in our public hospitals, but not at the expense of public patients and services.

However, we believe Commissioner Abey’s original ruling erred in law when he said the PPS arrangement should be included in the award. For this reason we had to challenge the ruling.

Today’s suspension means the issue can be heard.

It is important to note, the suspension only relates to the section about the PPS and the remainder of the award, including doctor pay rises will continue unaffected. The pay rise that the Government agreed to last year is already being paid.

The matter will return to the TIC on April 29.


NTD65/2015 Gravener v MARIC & Deloitte Private Pty Ltd Darwin - 5th February

Georgina Gartland
04.02.16 1:01 pm

Tomorrow, the Federal Court case Gravener Vs Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Indigenous Corporation, Borroloola NT and Deloitte Private Pty Ltd Darwin continues this Friday 5th January 2016 at 2pm at the Federal Court in the Supreme Court building in Darwin.

It will address further directions in the case in regards trial processes.  Also there will be an attempt to have the case presented by Michael Gravener to be struck out of the court.  Michael Gravener the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was sacked by the Mabunji Organisation after 9 weeks without warning.  It would appear that because he was attempting to clean up an organisation which was allegedly being run illegally and subsequently allowing corruption and irregular activities to take place unabated that he was removed by some members of the Mabunji Board.

Subsequently the Office for the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) have issued a report of non compliance in the operating of the corporation including the announcement that almost $200,000 of overtime payment, 93% of overtime achieved within an organisation of over 110 employees, was obtained by a mother and daughter team who was the previous Chief Executive Officer and Human Resource Manager (HR) respectively.  The CEO achieved the overtime while working off site in Hervey Bay, QLD approximately 20 days a month; and the HR Manager absent from her office, over 95% of the time, while living in a Corporation house in Borroloola due to her inability to attend her work space.

Michael Gravener adds, “The Corruption within many Aboriginal Corporations and their partners is endemic.  A Royal Commission is being called into the ‘Aboriginal Industry’ which continues to fail its people while the few who prey on disadvantage amass their wealth.”


Public forum to discuss how nature is responding to climate change

UTAS Media Office
04.02.16 12:08 pm

Shifts in regional and global climate and the way they are impacting Earth’s biodiversity will be the focus of a free public forum in Hobart at 8pm on Tuesday, 9 February, leading into a major international conference next week, Species on the Move.

Marine species in eastern Australia, wild and farmed animals in the Arctic, and migratory birds in the Southern Ocean are all exhibiting signs of change.

Conference organiser IMAS Associate Professor Gretta Pecl said the public forum would provide a fascinating insight into the emerging field of science which is researching the impact of climate change on species around the world.

“We’re tracking animals, birds, fish and mammals to identify how and where species will move with climate change, the impact of these changes in our environment, and how to sustainably manage natural resources such as commercial fish populations in the face of such changes.”

In a 90-minute panel discussion the forum will hear from scientists about studies into the changing distribution of species, the impact these changes are having, and conservation options.

Speakers include:
• Professor Will Steffen, from the Australian National University, researcher and member of Australia’s Climate Council;
• Professor Camille Parmesan, marine biologist, University of Texas at Austin and Plymouth University;
• Associate Professor Gretta Pecl, Chair of Redmap and ARC Future Fellow at IMAS;
• Professor Stephen Williams, Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change, James Cook University and Director of the National NCCARF Adaptation Network for Natural Ecosystems;
• Dr Tero Mustonen, traditional knowledge and Arctic biodiversity advocate with Snowchange Cooperative.

While about half of all studied species have changed their distributions in response to recent climate change, scientists are starting to see negative impacts for the most vulnerable species (those occurring solely in sensitive systems or those that have already been highly impacted by stressors like pollution and habitat loss).

The status of species and the direction for scientists engaged in their study is also the basis for the Species on the Move conference in Hobart from February 9 to 12, which has attracted 250 scientists from 40 countries around the world.

Entry to the Public Forum at Hobart’s Grand Chancellor Hotel is free and registrations to attend can be made at

More information:


Senior Medical Staff vote on resolution

AMA President A/Prof Tim Greenaway
04.02.16 11:10 am

At a well-attended meeting last night of AMA members and senior medical staff, a resolution was passed overwhelmingly which called on the Tasmanian Premier, The Hon. Will Hodgman to stop attempts by the Liberal Government to cut remuneration of any specialist medical staff.

The meeting also called on the government to immediately withdraw its appeal against Tasmanian Industrial Commission President Tim Abey’s decision which updated the award for medical staff and to enter into genuine negotiations to finalize the Enterprise Agreement as a matter of urgency.

AMA President A/Prof Tim Greenaway said the meeting was appalled that the government is appealing the decision of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission.

“The Tasmanian Health system is moving through a period of significant change and we need to retain our specialists,” said A/Prof Greenaway.

“Such actions will undermine the ability of the Tasmanian Health Service to attract and retain specialist medical staff.

“This flies in the face of efforts to reform the system and decrease waiting lists.”

The appeal is against a decision handed down by TIC President Tim Abey to ensure that specialists retain a minimum 35% private practice allowance. (T14358 of 2015)


Homelessness in Tasmania

Therese Taylor, CEO Colony 47
04.02.16 7:07 am

Therese Taylor, CEO of Colony 47 confirms the findings of the new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) which shows that the proportion of Specialist Homelessness Services clients who had a current mental health issue rose to 1 in 4 in 2014–15, while domestic and family violence continues to be the most common reason for seeking homelessness support.

Therese Taylor said,

“The majority of people coming through our Housing Connect front door in southern Tasmania are indeed showing why they are in their current situation is because of domestic violence and/or mental health issues”.

Colony 47 recognises that homelessness is not a choice, reflected in a statement made by a client of Housing Connect, Nathan, 38, who said,

“I’m a capable, intelligent person who used to have a fantastic career. I stopped working, then my relationship ended badly and now I’m living in a shelter. Now that I find myself in this situation, I have realised that homelessness can happen to anyone.” 

State funded Housing Connect is a collaboration between Colony 47, Anglicare, the Salvation Army, Catholic Care and Hobart City Mission. The southern front door entry point is managed by Colony 47 providing assistance to Tasmanians to access:
• Emergency accommodation and support services;
• Public and community housing;
• Private rental accommodation; and
• Long term accommodation and housing solutions.
Housing Connect local area Coordinator, nDidi Okwechime, said,

“We have two Domestic Violence Specialists working closely with domestic violence services statewide to provide specialised pathways to clients.

“Housing Connect has seen an increase in the last year of people presenting because of domestic violence issues, and this may possibly be a consequence of the raised level of community awareness that domestic violence is not acceptable,” she said.

For people in a housing crisis situation please call Housing Connect on 1800 800 588. Housing Connect is based at 181 Collins Street, Hobart.



Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome
03.02.16 5:00 pm

Advocates have welcomed reports that the Federal Government may reconsider its plan for a plebiscite on marriage equality.

Pro equality MP, Warren Entsch has said the Liberal party room may decide to have a free vote in parliament when presented with issues raised by a plebiscite including the estimated cost of $160 million.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“Coalition members should welcome an opportunity to revisit the plebiscite plan because a lot has changed since it was first adopted.”

“Polls show there is community concern about the price tag of $160 million, and there is deep concern about the fact some politicians won’t abide by the outcome.”

“It’s also clear the plebiscite plan has failed to get marriage equality off the table or erase differences in the Coalition, as some Coalition members hoped.”

“By contrast a free vote in parliament would cost nothing, allow all politicians to express their view, and now that we have the numbers it would resolve the issue once and for all.”

Australian Marriage Equality recently announced there is sufficient support in parliament to pass marriage equality now. It has also released polling showing strong support for a parliamentary vote, and little support for a plebiscite, in three National Party seats and in the Prime Minister’s own electorate.


Ban Duck Shooting on World Wetlands Day

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
02.02.16 1:26 pm

Today’s celebrations of World Wetlands Day are tainted by the plans to shoot native ducks on our wetlands in a matter of weeks.

Wetlands are under immense pressure worldwide, with over 64% of wetlands destroyed since 1900.
Because of their international significance, we have ten Ramsar listed wetlands in Tasmania. From the first weekend in March the sound of rifles will be heard over several of them.

On our wetlands each year we see birds shot in mid-flight, in many instances hitting the water alive, riddled with shrapnel. Too often our native birds die a slow, painful, pointless death.

The University of New South Wales’ Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey reported bird numbers down across the board, due to dry conditions. It’s inexcusable to put more pressure on our bird populations.

In the spirit of World Wetlands Day, we should announce we’ll join Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland and ban our annual duck shooting season.

Successive state governments have let this brutal tradition continue. This is about satisfying the amusement of a very few shooters, at the expense of broad community expectations.

We can’t celebrate our wetlands and their inhabitants one day, and then commit to killing them in a month’s time.

It’s time for Minister Groom to do his job, speak up and protect Tasmania’s wetlands and the native animals living there.


NUS launches Talk About It Survey

Sinead Colee National President | National Union of Students
02.02.16 12:29 pm

Today, the National Union of Students Women’s Department has released the results from the 2015 ‘Talk About It,’ survey, revealing a range of alarming statistics about the experiences of women studying at Australian Universities.

The NUS ‘Talk About It’ survey collected information about the experiences of women university student’s in Australia, looking at accommodation, safety, student services, sexual assault, harassment and economic difficulties that women enrolled in tertiary education institutions face.

In the survey, it was found that women students have a range of experiences which impact on their ability to participate in and succeed at university including financial difficulties, health problems and family responsibilities.

Over 70% of respondents also said that they had experience some form of sexually harassed while studying

The President of the National Union of Students, Sinead Colee said, “the survey has a number of implications for universities and their provision of student services”.

While many of the women who participated in the survey said that student services such as financial aid and counselling were of assistance; many said that the assistance they received from their university were inadequate or unhelpful.

“When such a large number of women are still feeling that their cases are not serious enough to report (81%), universities need to have a complete overhaul of what can be very haphazard reporting processes and provide improved safety measures, such as increased lighting and security.”

“It is clear, now more than ever, that universities must do more for women on campuses so that they feel safe and able to complete their studies.”

A copy of the Talk About It Survey report can be found at


AMA Tasmania calls on State Government to withdraw Industrial Commission appeal

AMA Tasmania President A/Prof Tim Greenaway
02.02.16 8:44 am

AMA Tasmania President A/Prof Tim Greenaway has called on Premier Will Hodgman and Health Minister Michael Ferguson to withdraw the government’s appeal of the recent decision by Tasmanian Industrial Commission (TIC) President Tim Abey with respect to the Medical Practitioners (Public Sector) Award.

A/Prof Greenaway said appealing the TIC’s decision is a petulant act by a government which is prepared to use millions of dollars of tax payers’ money to support a locum service in the north west of the state, yet appears unwilling to invest in a sustainable and affordable medical workforce in general.

“The appeal makes a mockery of the government’s rhetoric about the need to work with doctors to ensure that important structural reforms to the health system occur,” said A/Prof Greenaway.

“By rejecting the independent industrial umpire’s decision, the government has thumbed its nose at Tasmanian salaried doctors.

“If specialists cannot be guaranteed a competitive income, they will not work in Tasmania.

“The appeal threatens the future of the Tasmanian medical workforce and the health reforms of the White Paper.”

A/Prof Greenaway stated that the AMA and Tasmanian Salaried Medical Practitioners’ Society had always negotiated in good faith and had repeatedly assured the government that it would abide by the TIC’s decision.

“The government’s decision to appeal the TIC’s decision simply reinforces the view of many doctors that the government cannot be trusted,” he said.

“It is a very poor decision which will have significant effects on relations between doctors and the government and is a matter of profound regret.”



Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome
02.02.16 6:42 am


Media Release
Tuesday February 2nd 2016


Voters in three National Party-held seats have said “no” to a plebiscite on marriage equality labelling it “poor value” for money and preferring a vote in parliament as soon as possible.

The poll comes as pressure mounts to dump the plebiscite proposal which was originally championed by the National Party during a Coalition meeting on the issue in August last year.

Australian Marriage Equality National Director, Rodney Croome, said:

“This poll shows regional and rural Australians want parliament to move on marriage equality soon and for the government to drop its plan for an expensive, divisive and delaying plebiscite.”

“Rural and regional Australians want government money spent on essential services like hospitals and schools, not wasted on what is basically an elaborate, expensive and pointless opinion poll.”

“The message to the National Party, and the Coalition broadly, is to abandon the plebiscite and allow its federal members a free vote so parliament can pass reform as soon as possible.”

“The political reason for the plebiscite was to smooth over divisions in the Coalition and take marriage equality off the agenda in the lead up to the election but that hasn’t worked.

“It’s time for Malcolm Turnbull to bring back marriage equality legislation, allow a free vote and get this done straight away so Australia can move on.”

The poll of 1207 residents of the electorates of Capricornia (Qld), New England (NSW) and Gippsland (Victoria) was commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality and conducted by Reachtel on January 28th.

Results at a glance

57.5% oppose a plebiscite vs 28.1% in favour
56.3% support a parliamentary vote vs 33.6% against
63.5% believe expenditure on a plebiscite is poor or very poor value
61.9% want it sooner rather than later


China has become the major destination for Eucalyptus chips from Australia

Hakan Ekstrom, Wood Resource Quarterly
02.02.16 6:41 am

China has become the major destination for Eucalyptus chips from Australia with record-high shipments in 2015, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly

Australia has increased exportation of Eucalyptus chips by 58% in three years to reach a record-high in 2015, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Shipments to pulp mills in China have gone up substantially and the costs for chips landed in this growing market have increased the past two years to practically equal those of chip costs delivered to Japan.