Media

In Their Own Words

Editor
01.03.11 12:00 am

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

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Politics | Media

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHDOG SHAMES AUS’T OVER MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome
31.01.15 2:12 pm

A global human rights report has listed the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage as one of Australia’s human rights failings.

The 2015 Human Rights Watch global report slams Australia’s human rights record, citing discrimination in marriage alongside intrusive counter-terrorism laws, and the treatment of asylum seekers and indigenous people.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“The Human Rights Watch report is a timely reminder that the world is concerned about the issue of marriage equality in Australia and that we are falling further behind on the issue every day.”

“With marriage equality already achieved in most comparable countries, and likely soon in Alabama and Ireland, Australia will be isolated among western nations unless we act quickly.”

“We renew our call for Tony Abbott to allow a free vote on marriage equality so the reform has a fighting chance in federal parliament.”

According to the 2015 Human Rights Watch report:

“Despite increasing public support for same-sex marriage in Australia, marriage remains restricted to heterosexual relationships in accordance with the federal Marriage Act.”

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Bob Brown at Sydney Opera House for Steve Posselt Epic

Paul Thomas
31.01.15 1:06 pm

Former Greens Leader and veteran environmentalist Bob Brown will be at the Sydney Opera House at noon today to farewell veteran kayaker Steve Posselt on his epic trip up the Mississippi River en route to Paris, to draw attention to the need for action on climate change threatening the planet’s future.

Grandfather Posselt, 62, famous for his journey down Australia’s great Darling-Murray rivers system, will this time kayak North America south to north from the Gulf of Mexico via the mighty Mississippi to Hudson Bay before kayaking across England and the English Channel and then up the Seine River to Paris for November’s crucial global conference on climate change action. Posselt has a capsicum spray in case he is confronted by polar bears.

“Steve won’t get a knighthood from Tony Abbott but his paddling en route to Paris will highlight how far Tony Abbott is paddling Australia backwards on climate change,” Bob Brown said.

“Posselt is deeply committed to securing the planet from its current spiral into global warming, mass extinctions and riverine pollution. He is out of his armchair and doing all he can to get others to take action too,” Brown said.

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Indigenous Australians at War exhibition

Guy Barnett, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
30.01.15 6:13 pm

I am today proud to officially open the nationally significant Indigenous Australians At War exhibition at the Burnie Regional Art Gallery.

This exhibition features images that tell the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers and illustrates the experiences they shared with other soldiers as they fought together, often in countries far from home.

The exhibition was launched in October 2011 by the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and is now travelling throughout Australia. Burnie is the first port of call in Tasmania as part of the Centenary of ANZAC celebrations in 2015.

The Indigenous Australians At War exhibition examines the work of Aboriginal soldiers and defence personnel.

Australian Aboriginals have participated in our nation’s response to international war and conflict since the Boer War in 1899.

Over 1000 Australian Aboriginal fought in World War One, although in many cases they were not lawfully able to vote, marry a non-Aboriginal person, drink alcohol, own property freely, receive award wages or move freely around the country.

There is no definitive number or reliable identification of Tasmanian Aboriginal people who served in the armed forces. The actual numbers remain unknown.

During World War One approximately 21 Cape Barren Islanders served in the Australian Imperial Force and six were killed.

Private John William Miller, grandson of Fanny Cochrane Smith, served with the 12th Battalion. Private Miller was killed at the landing of Gallipoli. Another local Aboriginal man, Francis (Frank) Maynard also served 14 months with the Australian Imperial Force with the 26th Battalion (Infantry). Mr Maynard was killed in action at Sunken Road, France in 1916. Marcus Blake Brown, a Tasmanian Aboriginal from Cape Barren Island fought in the 40th Battalion, and died in France in 1917.

In World War Two, approximately 23 Tasmanian Aboriginal men fought overseas and another 10 served in the Vietnam War.

We know that while many experienced racism and discrimination in their civilian life, this often disappeared when they became soldiers and fought side-by-side with non-Aboriginal soldiers.

The exhibition features images that tell the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers and illustrate the experiences they shared with other soldiers as they fought together, often in countries far from home.

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TFGA regrets hemp knock-back

TFGA president Wayne Johnston
30.01.15 5:16 pm

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) says it regrets the decision by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation not to take at least the first step towards the use of low-THC hemp in food in Australia.

“We could at least have been placed on the same footing as New Zealand, which permitted the use of hemp for oil as a starting point,” TFGA president Wayne Johnston said today.

The forum vetoed the proposal on the grounds that concerns regarding law enforcement, roadside drug testing and marketing concerns had to be resolved first.

Hemp seeds and oil are used in health bars, salad oils, non-soy tofu, non-dairy cheeses and as an additive to baked goods as well as being used as the whole seed, raw or roasted.

New Zealand permits hemp seed oil to be sold as a food, but Australia still does not, yet both countries take their guidance from the same organisation, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which in turn is guided by the ministerial forum.

“This is a setback in terms of potential market and growth of the hemp industry,” Mr Johnston said.

“The TFGA will work with the state government to continue to lobby for a change under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

“An approval by the forum today should have been the icing on the cake after yesterday’s moves by the Tasmanian Government to remove some of the red tape that has been inhibiting the industry to move beyond the growing of hemp here just for fibre,” Mr Johnston said.

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Labor Misfires on Young Offender Intervention Program

Vanessa Goodwin, Minister for Corrections
30.01.15 5:15 pm

The Liberal Government was very pleased yesterday to confirm our commitment of $2 million over four years for an intervention program for young offenders who have committed motor vehicle related offences.

Labor have got it dead wrong, yet again, in claiming the program has been axed. We have committed funding for the program right through the forward estimates. This is money that Labor didn’t have in their last budget.

The program has now been operating for over 10 years and there is no doubt there is room for improvement to ensure that it represents the best value for money possible. The program will have a renewed focus on 18-25 year olds to deliver even better outcomes for a target group where there is a well-recognised gap in current service delivery.

Mission Australia will continue to operate U-Turn in its current form through to June this year and an improved program will be put in place after that.

Mission Australia has done a fantastic job running U-Turn to date and they continue to work closely with the Government as the program is improved and put to tender for future years.

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DISAPPOINTING DECISION ON HEMP

Federal Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson
30.01.15 5:13 pm

FEDERAL Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson is surprised and disappointed that a government regulatory body has again refused to allow hemp to be grown for food.

“I’m extremely disappointed by this bureaucratic mess,’’ Mr Hutchinson said today.

``We’ve been working on this for such a long time now and it makes sense, particularly for Tasmanian farmers to say yes to hemp for human consumption.’’

Mr Hutchinson said that Tasmanian farmers in his electorate of Lyons had been campaigning for a positive decision to allow the development of the hemp industry for more than a decade.

The removal of prohibitions on the production of hemp seed and oil products would provide farmers with a greater range of viable markets for a crop that has been proved grows particularly well in the southern regions of Australia and New Zealand.

But the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation resolved today to reject a variation to regulations that would allow hemp to be grown for human consumption.

Concerns were raised by several forum members including law enforcement issues particularly from a policing perspective in relation to roadside testing.

There was also concern that marketing of hemp as food might send a confused message to consumers about the acceptability and safety of cannabis.

But Mr Hutchinson said that the forum has received huge amounts of information over many years on the subject.

‘’We’ve answered all the questions - many countries around the world have been growing hemp as food for many years and have had no problems,” he said.

``And the tragic irony is that you can buy those imported food products here in Australia.

``In the past six months, I’ve written to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and all the state health ministers seeking their support. That’s why it is so disappointing.

``This decision in New Zealand today is bureaucratic bungling at its worst.’’

Mr Hutchinson said that he would continue to lobby for approval of hemp for food.

``For a start I will be writing to Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan and all state and territory police ministers this week,’’ he said.

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Secrecy over Waterfront Woodchips and Log Trucks Unacceptable

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Member for Denison
30.01.15 11:59 am

The people of Hobart and Southern Tasmania are entitled to know whether or not the Hodgman Government is serious about exporting woodchips from Macquarie Point and whether it would in fact mean up to 50 000 log truck movements through the city of Hobart each year, Greens’ Denison MP, Cassy O’Connor said today.

“Every thinking citizen of Hobart knows it’s a dumb idea to export woodchips from Macquarie Point but, like the Hobart City Council and other key stakeholders, they’re being left in the dark by this government,” Ms O’Connor said.

“The world market for native forest woodchips has crashed but the Resources Minister, Paul Harriss, wants to flog a dead horse and make the people of Hobart and southern Tasmania pay for his head-in-the-sand approach to his portfolio and the future of forestry in Tasmania.”

“There has been deafening silence from Mr Harriss on what his half-baked plan would mean for the waterfront and the city of Hobart.”

“How many log trucks would be trundling through the city each day if Macquarie Point becomes a woodchip export facility?”

“Is it 50 000 log truck trips in and out of the city of Hobart?”

“The projected 50 000 annual log truck movements equates to more than 130 daily log truck trips through and around the city.  This represents a potential threat to commuter safety and public amenity, as well as a dirty, polluting taint on the image of Hobart as a modern, cosmopolitan and clean city.”

“Imagine what interstate visitors enjoying the next MOFO festival will think while they try to enjoy the music and entertainment as a steady stream of log trucks trundle through the city to the waterfront.”

“Come on Minister.  Tell us the truth.  Are you serious about doing this to our beautiful city?” Ms O’Connor asked.

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#discovertasmania #milestone #100,000

Will Hodgman, Premier Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events
30.01.15 11:46 am

Tasmania is gaining increasing global exposure with Tourism Tasmania’s Instagram reaching a milestone 100,000 followers this week.

Again, we are punching above our weight with Tourism Tasmania ranking second most popular of all the nation’s tourism organisations.

This is staggering growth from just 14,275 one year ago, and is another sign of the world’s fascination with Tasmania.

Over recent months, Tourism Tasmania has received about 1,300 images a week through Instagram from snap happy tourists and locals proud to show off their home.

But this is more than just a virtual gallery, this is having a very real impact.

It is clear in comments from the Instagram followers that these snap-shots make them want to come and see Tasmania for themselves:

• “This Instagram page was actually the reason why I visited Tasmania, otherwise I probably would not have taken notice of this little beautiful island while being in Australia! Thanks for that, love Tasmania!”
• “We’re been watching with envy (and delight) your adventures with @discovertasmania. Wonderful stuff. Loved all the photos. And definitely adding Tasmania to the list.”
• “So glad I started following. I knew a little about Tazmania (sic) before but this has really opened my eyes to what a beautiful country it is. I will definitely visit one day. Keep the photos coming!!”
The Liberal Government is committed to attracting 1.5 million visitors to our state every year by 2020, and social media will play a very important role in helping us achieve this.

Share your images by using the hashtag #discovertasmania on social media.

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Tasmania’s medical community joins forces

LUCINDA SZCZYPIOR (nee Bray) MPRIA SENIOR CONSULTANT Font PR
30.01.15 11:45 am

Tasmania’s general practitioners will join forces on Sunday to develop a strategy to address the Federal Government’s proposed $5 cut to most GP services and the freeze on MBS indexation.

AMA Tasmania President Associate Professor Tim Greenaway said Tasmania’s GP Forum was just one of a series of meetings happening across Australia.

“These gatherings will be held across the country in every state and are open to AMA members and non-members alike to offer everyone the opportunity to advocate for a strong health policy for general practice,” A/Prof Greenaway said.

“The proposal for a $5 rebate cut for most GP services from 1 July 2015 and the planned freeze on MBS indexation until 2018 is a serious concern,” he said.

“It is our job to bring sensible health policies to the table for discussion with Government.

“We want to be part of the solution in order to strengthen general practice by offering a better way to structure the way Medicare funds general practice.”

The Federal AMA Vice President Dr Steve Parnis and the Secretary General Anne Trimmer will attend the GP Forum to take the messages back to Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Tasmanians can register to attend the GP forum at http://www.ama.com.au/gprally.

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Getting our future farmers job ready

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth
30.01.15 11:43 am

The implementation of the $450,000 Agricultural Skills Plan election commitment is part of the Liberal Government’s plan to grow the annual farm gate value of produce in the state to $10 billion by 2050 and create jobs.

Our primary industries are a valuable competitive strength and that’s why we’re investing more than $6.5 million over four years through the Cultivating Prosperity in Agriculture policy.

“To grow our primary industries we need people with the right skills. That is why we are investing in the future workforce,” the Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff said.

“We are pleased to today launch the $450,000 investment to implement an Agricultural Skills Plan, which will be spearheaded by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association.

“The Agricultural Skills Plan will directly involve the agricultural industry in setting the training and skills priorities to ensure there is a job-ready workforce to meet their growing demands.

“It will also promote the diversity of career pathways into agriculture – from traditional on-farm roles to wider agribusiness, scientific, technology, marketing or professional services careers.

“Importantly the plan is also about improved and increased jobs and pathways into agriculture for youth in rural and regional Tasmania.

“Industry leadership is critical. As part of our election commitment to establish a representative body to advise on agricultural training needs, a new Workforce Development Implementation Reference Panel will be charged with providing advice and feedback on the quality, effectiveness, relevance and future training priorities.

“As the Minister for Primary Industries I will shortly be inviting a broad range of stakeholders from across agriculture to participate on the Panel.”

Additional support will be provided by Skills Tasmania, in the Department of State Growth, and AgriGrowth Tasmania, in the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

“Our investment in training and workforce development will be guided by strong industry engagement,” the Minister for State Growth Matthew Groom said.

“It’s vital that we move towards training that is influenced by the job market and industry, through workforce development plans like this.

“This is not just about credentials; it is about ensuring Tasmanians have the skills for real jobs.”

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Clarence community celebrates its wonderful world of wetlands

JACQUIE RAY MPRIA SENIOR CONSULTANT Font PR
30.01.15 11:42 am

World Wetlands Day 2015 falls on the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.

The theme for this year’s World Wetlands Day is Wetlands for the Future. Clarence will be celebrating a little early on the 31 January, the Saturday preceding World Wetlands Day, at the Lauderdale Football Club, 10 Dona Road, Lauderdale.

The Clarence World Wetlands Day Celebration is focussed on the outstanding unique natural values of Tasmanian saltmarsh wetlands, and has been organised in collaboration with several other agencies, including UTAS, DPIPWE, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, The Derwent Estuary Program, Birdlife Tasmania, Sorell Council, The Southern Coastcare Association of Tasmania and the Folkmusic Federation of Tasmania.

The celebration will provide a smorgasbord of children’s activities, including: the Discovery Rangers; a wetlands bird walk, followed by a dogs’ breakfast event both hosted by Birdlife Tasmania; a guided wetlands saltmarsh walk; a book launch of the new Guide to the Plants of Tasmanian Saltmarsh Wetlands by Vishnu Prahalad, with invited guests distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick and Tasmanian poet Pete Hay; a series of expert short talks on topics ranging from sea-level rise to frogs; a concert; a new bush dance composed to commemorate the plants of the Tasmanian Saltmarsh Wetlands; and hands-on learning of scientific illustration of wetland plants with Georgina Davis.

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Hope grows for hemp crops

TFGA president Wayne Johnston
30.01.15 10:53 am

For many years now, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has been behind the push to demystify the growing of hemp for industrial and food use.
We want to enable those growers who have become pioneers of this industry to realise their considerable potential for what we know is a safe and extremely useful crop.

At last, a Tasmanian Government has got behind us.

First, let’s get the picture straight. This is not marijuana. The term “hemp” refers to the industrial use of the cannabis stalk and seed for textiles, foods, papers, body care products, detergents, plastics and building materials.

“Marijuana” refers to the medicinal or recreational use of smoking cannabis flowers. Industrial hemp contains between 0.3 and 1.5 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinoids (THCs). Marijuana contains between five and 10 per cent. Hemp is one of the most durable of all natural fibres. The seed and seed-oil are high in protein, essential fatty and amino acids, and vitamins.

Hemp is cultivated in Australia and New Zealand under strict licensing arrangements. Industrially, it is used for fibre, textiles, paper and building materials.

Hemp seeds and oil are used in health bars, salad oils, non-soy tofu, non-dairy cheeses and as an additive to baked goods as well as being used as the whole seed, raw or roasted.

New Zealand permits hemp seed oil to be sold as a food, but, unbelievably, Australia does not. Yet both countries take their guidance from the same organisation, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). In 2012, it recommended for a second time that Australia lift its restrictions on the use of hemp for food.

The stumbling block in Australia appears to be that its use has to be approved by all states and the national government under Council of Australian Government (COAG) arrangements. It may be that that approval is at hand. We hope so.

Meanwhile, the state government is doing its share to remove a lot of the red tape that has blocked the development of this industry. Firstly, it will change the allowable THC content in hemp to one per cent (from 0.35 per cent). That will bring Tasmanian growers in line with those in other states.

There was never any scientific reason for the difference, it was just one of many commercial disadvantages placed on our growers. Now they can compete on a level playing field.

Five-year licences instead of one-year should help the industry to expand commercially. Only a year or so ago we had about 60 ha growing hemp. Now we have 116 ha under 11 licences.

Our farmers, who have proven themselves to be consistently good and safe growers of poppies are doing the same with hemp. The hemp we grow for fibre has a consistently high quality. It is in great demand. We need more investment. We need more crops in the ground. We need more markets for its wider uses.

Perhaps the key reform for us in Tasmania is the streamlining of approvals. Special industrial hemp legislation will mean that the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) will be sole managers. Instead of dealing with three government departments – Health, Justice and DPIPWE – growers can deal directly with just one. It’s a real win in the battle against red tape.

It has been a constant mantra of ours that the agricultural industry in Tasmania could run more effectively if only the cold hand of bureaucracy could be lifted in so many areas of our activities. Red tape and green tape have bound us for too long.

Reforms in the hemp area are a good sign that change is on the way.

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TFGA welcomes farming skills plan funding

TFGA president Wayne Johnston
30.01.15 10:30 am

Without the proper level of skills training for those wanting to enter the industry, Tasmanian agriculture could never realise its full potential, could not deliver on the dream of $10 billion annual production by the year 2050, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) president Wayne Johnston said today.

“That is why today’s State Government commitment to fund our Agrivision project, our agriculture industry skills plan, is a milestone moment in the pursuit of that ideal,” he said.

“Without an education program tuned to the needs of farming businesses through to 2050, we cannot deliver what this great farming landscape in Tasmania offers,” he said.

“More and more, farming is a business like any other. It requires business skills, financial risk management, cost controls and realistic budgeting as well as the traditional skills of the farmer in the paddock.”

The Tasmanian Government today launched its $450,000 funding of the three-year program, which the TFGA will administer and which will be delivered in conjunction with other agricultural industry organisations in the state.
“This project is exciting in that it will bring together all industry sectors, working together, to ensure that tomorrow’s agricultural workforce requirements are being met,” Mr Johnston said.

“Advances in on-farm technology through programs such as Sense-T and the continued investment in irrigation water infrastructure are changing the face of farming here.

‘We have to ensure that we continue to deliver the workforce and the skills to maximise the returns to the state. If we are to meet the training needs of the agricultural sector in the not too distant future we must act now. This demonstrates that we are.”

Mr Johnston said co-operation would be the key.

“The project will enable the training needs of the industry to guide registered training organisations and the government to ensure the best value from the skills training budget.”
Mr Johnston said farmers appreciated the state government’s strong backing of agriculture across the spread of portfolios and noted particularly the extension of Years 11 and 12 to regional high schools, a move that he said would help to keep a viable farm labour force in the regions.

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Jetstar partnership paying off

Will Hodgman, Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events
30.01.15 10:04 am

The Liberal Government’s partnership arrangement with Jetstar is paying dividends this summer with more people than ever before flying to Tasmania from interstate with Jetstar.  There is no doubt that record bookings on Jetstar will create more jobs in tourism and hospitality right around the State.

In August, we partnered with Jetstar to create a $600,000, 12 month cooperative marketing campaign across TV, print, online and radio and it’s clearly working and I’d like to thank Jetstar for joining us and investing in Tasmania as a key tourism destination.

This news follows comments from the Master Builders Association this week that the increase in visitors and the growing tourism sector is contributing to a construction boom right across Tasmania.  It’s clear that increased visitors is not just good for the tourism and hospitality industries, it’s great for the whole economy and is leading to job creation.

The Government is focused on developing our tourism industry to create jobs, grow the economy and raise Tasmania’s profile across the country and around the world.  We’re already investing an extra $16 million into marketing, we’re opening up our national parks and World Heritage Areas to new, exciting and sensible developments to attract even more visitors and we’re encouraging investment and development in the tourism and hospitality industries by cutting red and green tape, fixing the planning system and supporting the growth in confidence that has emerged since the last election.

In the 12 months to September, 1.06 million people visited Tasmania, which is a new record.  We’re pulling out all the stops to make sure that we can top that figure and record passengers on Jetstar shows that we are on the right track.

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Child Protection

Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Human Services
30.01.15 9:37 am

Most Tasmanians would like to forget that the incompetent Labor-Green alliance was ever in Government, but few have done as well as Cassy O’Connor in erasing their memories of that dismal period.

Ms O’Connor has called the 2014-15 budget “the only explanation” for issues in Child Protection in 2013-14. The problem with this analysis is that last year’s budget was released several months after the 2013-14 year ended.

Ms O’Connor has clearly forgotten that she was the Human Services Minister when the 2013-14 budget was brought down.

The appalling performance of the previous Labor-Green government is the reason we took to the election a commitment to, and acknowledgment of, the need for a major cultural shift in child protection.

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Unidentified gunmen shoot two civilians in Papua

Anne Noonan, Jo Collins
30.01.15 5:45 am

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - Unidentified gunmen shot two civilians in Popome sub-district, Lanny Jaya District, Papua Province, on Thursday morning.

Read more here

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Liberal Government caught out breaking U-Turn promise

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
29.01.15 6:53 pm

The Liberal Government has broken another election promise, this time around its commitment to the crime prevention program U-Turn.

Labor Leader Bryan Green said the Liberals’ election promise was explicit.

“They promised $2 million dollars to keep the program running for four years,” Mr Green said.

The Liberal Party’s policy document said in black and white:

“As part of our Plan for a Brighter Future, a majority Liberal government will provide a total of $2 million over four years to re-instate the highly successful U-turn program for youth at risk.”

“Now the program’s funding is only secure until June this year.

“Vanessa Goodwin can dress it up any way she likes but the bottom line is she has broken a direct promise to fund U-Turn for four years. 

“Those people who work and volunteer on U-Turn’s courses, not to mention the young people who benefit from the program, have been badly let down by this dishonest government.

“Rather than giving the program “the lifeline they need”, the Government has hung U-Turn out to dry.”

The Liberals’ original policy document can be found here: https://www.tas.liberal.org.au/sites/default/files/policy/Project%20U-turn.pdf

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Positive Changes Ahead For Young Offender Intervention Program

Vanessa Goodwin, Minister for Justice
29.01.15 4:12 pm

The Liberal Government has confirmed its $2 million commitment to an intervention program for young offenders who have committed motor vehicle related offences.

U-turn is a restorative justice program that has been operating in Tasmania for 10 years, designed for young people 15-20 years of age who have been involved in, or been at risk of being involved in motor vehicle theft.

Mission Australia will continue to operate the program in 2014-15 through a partnership with Community Corrections, which is now administering the program. Community Corrections is recognised for its expertise in managing offenders and delivering intervention programs.

The youth justice landscape has changed since the introduction of U-Turn 10 years ago with a number of programs and services assisting youth at risk funded by the State Government.

The Government has committed to the provision of $3.3 million over the next three years to a statewide network of other youth justice programs to break the cycle of youth crime, which include:

• $600,000 per annum to Save the Children’s Supporting Young People on Bail program, and Post-Detention Transition program, with both programs to be delivered state-wide. Save the Children will also contribute $250,000 per annum;
• $270,000 per annum to extend the TOOL program, to assist over 300 young people each year to return to school, or access employment or traineeships, in industries like construction, horticulture and hospitality;
• $100,000 per annum for Whitelion in a Youth Employment Partnership, to help up to 200 at risk young people to become job ready and find long-term employment. Whitelion are contributing an additional $20,000 a year;
• $250,000 per annum for Tasmania’s PCYC Network to improve relationships between Police and young people and help divert young people from anti-social or criminal behaviour; and
• $50,000 per annum for JLD Restorative Practices to deliver restorative practice training to teachers and staff in primary and secondary schools, to reduce problem behaviours and suspension rates.

An identified gap in service delivery exists for young offenders aged 18-25yrs committing motor vehicle related offences.  As a result, we are working with the University of Tasmania to ensure the program delivers an intervention model appropriate for this target group.

A stakeholder workshop will be convened in early March for interested parties to provide input.

With the transfer of responsibility for administering the program to Community Corrections, this is an ideal time to develop and implement an intervention model for an older target group. Once this work is complete, the tender for delivery will be advertised.

The Government acknowledges the significant role U-Turn has played in diverting young people from the criminal justice system and commends the efforts of Mission Australia in delivering the program.

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Time for a jolt of reality for Gutwein on energy

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
29.01.15 4:07 pm

Peter Gutwein is trying to rewrite history over the purchase of the Tamar Valley Power Station to mask his own fiscal incompetence.

Labor Leader Bryan Green said the Liberal Opposition wholeheartedly supported the purchase of the asset in 2008.

“Peter Gutwein’s claim that the purchase of the Tamar Valley Power Station is to blame for the financial woes of Hydro Tasmania beggars belief,” Mr Green said.

“The TVPS was bought in the middle of a serious drought to avoid the very real threat of black outs and brown outs. The issue was thoroughly debated and supported by the then Liberal Opposition.”

At the time Mr Gutwein told Parliament: “At the end of the day it appears that this could be a very reasonable deal for the State to get itself in, to buy for $100 million a partially-constructed station that has had around $240 million spent on it so far.  Obviously it appears on the surface to be a very good deal.

He went on to say: “It appears to me that we could end up in a very positive situation where a significant generating asset that the State owns, after buying it at a knock-down fire-sale price, might provide some opportunities in regard to pricing in future years.”

Mr Green said Tasmanians would see through Peter Gutwein’s rank hypocrisy.

“Mr Gutwein continues to blame anybody but himself for the economic challenges he faces as Treasurer and congratulates no one but himself for positive economic news.

“The reality is that Mr Gutwein’s irresponsible spending spree during the election campaign has resulted in real pressure on our economy. The Government is eroding public services and stripping more and more money from our GBE’s to pay for election pork barrelling that we cannot afford.”

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Tasmania’s Vulnerable Children Being Woefully Let Down by Hodgman Government

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Human Services spokesperson
29.01.15 3:11 pm

The latest Productivity Commission Report on Government Services (RoGS) reveals the alarming damage to vulnerable children caused by the Hodgman Government’s flawed priorities and underfunding of child protection in Tasmania, Greens’ Human Services spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said today.

“Having assured Tasmanians that child protection is a priority for the Hodgman Government, Minister Petrusma has some serious questions to answer about this manifest failure to protect Tasmania’s vulnerable children,” Ms O’Connor said.

“The statistics, sadly, speak for themselves and those statistics aren’t just numbers; they represent some of our most vulnerable children.”

“The latest RoGS data shows a dramatic decline in the number of notifications of child abuse and neglect that are being investigated and substantiated in Tasmania, with completed investigations by Child Protection at their lowest level in a decade.”

“Of 12 862 notifications made to Child Protection Services in 2013-14, only 1278 investigations were finalised.  That is a woeful less than 10% of allegations of child abuse and neglect being investigated by the government in Tasmania.”

“It is no good blaming previous governments for this alarming decline.  The Hodgman Government has been in office almost a year and it made no extra allocation for staffing and resourcing to boost the capacity of Child Protection Services in its first budget.”

“Over the past year of data collection (2013-14), despite a 4% increase in the number of notifications of child abuse or neglect there were 28% fewer completed investigations than the year before and, correspondingly, 25% fewer substantiations.”

“A massive 86% of Tasmanian notifications were “dealt with by other means” which means they were either not investigated, or they were ignored or a referral was made to an underfunded Family Support system.”

“The only explanation for this appalling response to vulnerable children in Tasmania is the Hodgman Government’s harsh cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services budget and the non-renewal of child protection workers’ contracts as a result of those cuts.”

“Anecdotally, I am hearing from people who work in this sector that the child protection workforce has noticeably declined.  This is clearly having a dangerous impact on the protection of vulnerable children in Tasmania.”

“Fewer child protection workers means fewer investigations and more children at risk of abuse and neglect, and that is simply unacceptable to every decent Tasmanian, I am certain.”

“This government found at least $50 million to prop up the forest industry in Tasmania, yet not one extra dollar to protect Tasmanian children.  It’s, frankly, a warped set of priorities.”

“The Premier and Minister Petrusma have some urgent explaining to do,” Ms O’Connor said.

Reference:
http://www.pc.gov.au/research/recurring/report-on-government-services/2015/community-services/child-protection

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Belated Action on Hemp Welcome

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader
29.01.15 3:09 pm

The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the government’s undertaking to amend legislation to remove the shackles from the state’s industrial hemp industry, a reform for which they have long advocated. 

“It is great news for local farmers and the state economy that finally the government intends to remove the roadblocks from the local hemp industry, in line with the position the Greens have long been on the public record advocating,” said Greens Leader and Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP.

“Minister Rockliff has been proceeding at the rate of a comatose snail in adopting the recommendations of the parliamentary committee, whose terms of reference were proposed by the Greens in the previous parliament.”

“Unfortunately it has taken nearly 12 months for this Minister to act on the unanimous recommendations of the parliamentary committee, handed down years ago.”

“We have been calling on the Minister to get agreement at COAG for Hemp oil to be allowed as a food product and Minister Rockliff should have secured support by now from the other states prior tomorrow’s meeting of Australian and New Zealand ministers.”

“The Greens will be watching closely any progress on recognition of industrial hemp oil as a food product, as further delays in realising the full potential of this industry would be unacceptable,” Mr Booth said.

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Amnesty International to hold a public vigil in Hobart for death row prisoners in Indonesia

Clare Wiseman Branch President, Amnesty International Australia (Tasmania)
29.01.15 3:02 pm

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Hobart will be lit by the glow of candlelight on Wednesday 4th February evening, when Hobart residents will stand in solidarity with at least 64 people who are on death row in Indonesia for drug smuggling offences.

“The people are part of the worldwide Amnesty International movement that opposes the death penalty in any circumstance, for any person,” said Clare Wiseman, Tasmanian Branch President.

“We invite Hobart residents to the corner of Murray and Macquarie Streets, Hobart at 5.15 pm to light the flame of justice, and send a public message that Australians oppose state-sanctioned executions.”

The event is a response to comments by incoming Indonesian President Joko Widodo late last year that he would not grant clemency to at least 64 individuals who have been sentenced to death for drug-related crimes and that there were plans to execute all of them. These include Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, whose claims for clemency have been rejected in recent weeks.

Amnesty International is asking Australians to use the hashtag #KeepHopeAlive and sign Amnesty International’s petition calling for the executions to be stopped.

The death penalty has been proven not to work in deterring crime. It is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and it has no place in today’s justice system.

Amnesty International has been campaigning against the death penalty for the last 30 years, and most countries in the world have recognised the justice in this stance. When Amnesty International first pledged to abolish executions in the ‘70s, only a handful of countries had stopped killing people as a form of punishment; now 140 countries have abolished the practice.

Candlelight vigil against the death penalty

5.15 pm
Wednesday 4th February, 2015
Corner Murray and Macquarie Streets, Hobart

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Tasmanians push for inclusion in interstate cannabis trials

Lara Giddings MP Shadow Attorney-General
29.01.15 1:21 pm

Shadow Attorney-General Lara Giddings has written to New South Wales Premier Mike Baird on behalf of Nicole Cowles and her daughter Alice.

Ms Giddings has asked Premier Baird to consider including Alice in his government’s trial of medicinal cannabis.

“While Will Hodgman has done nothing to progress this issue his Liberal colleague in New South Wales has been prepared to take the issue on,” Ms Giddings said.

“I have written to Mike Baird asking that Alice Agnew be considered for inclusion in their medicinal cannabis trial.

“Alice’s story has been well publicised and it’s a shame a trial is not being carried out here, nor is the Tasmanian Government contributing resources to the interstate trials.

“We are hopeful Alice and Nicole could participate in the NSW trial without having to leave Tasmania.

“Parents like Nicole have been fighting to keep their children alive by personally sourcing the medicinal cannabis.

“Not knowing the quality of the product creates much angst for parents, carers and patients.

“These families need the help of our governments and medical professionals.

“We have a responsibility to ensure people like Alice Agnew get the best possible care and treatment.”

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Improving family support services in Sheffield

Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Human Services
29.01.15 1:20 pm

Families in the Sheffield community will benefit from strengthened family support services following the official opening of the Kentish Family Support Service.

I was very pleased to officially open the Service today.

The Government has allocated $500,000 over four years towards the new service to ensure that individuals and families in the Kentish community have access to services in their local area.

The new service will be run by Glenhaven Family Care and will be based at 5 Austin Place, Sheffield.

Glenhaven will work closely with the Kentish Council and local service providers, in consultation with the local community, to deliver services tailored to meet the needs of the Kentish community.

It will provide a range of services to at-risk individuals and families including drop-in weekly sessions for parents and children, parent effectiveness training, tailored playgroup sessions and a range of workshops for parents and family members on topics relevant to their lives and their community.

The Liberal Government’s provision of $500,000 to the service demonstrates our commitment to supporting families and empowering local communities.

Helping families ensure the health, wellbeing and future of all Tasmania’s children and young people is a priority for this Government.

We have made clear commitments to a wide range of initiatives which will contribute significantly to the advancement of this goal.

This includes developing a joined up approach to human services across government and the community sector, and developing early intervention and support services to assist families to address problems and stay together.

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Criticism of Rockliff’s decision grows

Michelle O’Byrne MP Deputy Labor Leader Shadow Education Minister
29.01.15 1:19 pm

The chorus of criticism over Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff’s decision to replace the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority with himself is growing louder by the hour.

Education and policy experts are lining up to condemn the move that’s being labelled ‘naïve’ and ‘mind boggling’.

Shadow Education Minister Michelle O’Byrne says Mr Rockliff has started 2015 in inglorious fashion.

“Not only is there unprecedented upheaval in our schools as a result of the Liberal Government’s savage cuts, but Jeremy Rockliff is losing support of senior education employees,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“Leaders in education are telling me that Mr Rockliff’s plan is a backwards step for Tasmania.

“Scrapping an independent body and replacing it with a model susceptible to politicisation is a dangerous move.

“And the Government’s claim that the decision will save $3 million is being heavily disputed.

“Sources close to the TQA say the real savings figure is closer to $250,000, unless the Government plans to gut the integrity of the examination and assessment system, which makes up the bulk of the TQA budget.

“Following the backflip on the Tasmania Community Fund, this is another case of the Liberals proposing significant pain for very little gain.

“The Liberals need to focus less on their half-baked one liners from the election campaign and more on the future of education in Tasmania.”

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Unlocking the potential of Industrial Hemp

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
29.01.15 11:46 am

The Liberal Government has a long-term Plan to grow the value of our agricultural produce tenfold by 2050 to strengthen the economy and create jobs in Tasmania.

The industrial hemp industry has great potential for growth and job creation and that’s why we are committed to cutting red tape and simplifying the regulation of the industry.

Today, I am pleased to announce we are making significant reforms to make things easier for farmers, including:

• Introducing special purpose Legislation for the cultivation and supply of industrial hemp for commercial production and other legitimate uses;

• Immediately extending licencing from one year to five years, to give farmers more certainty and allow them to get on with the job of growing the crop; and

• Increasing the allowable THC threshold from 0.35 to 1.0 to bring the state in line with New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT and allow for easier trade of material.

The new legislation will streamline the licencing under the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment rather than the current system under the Poisons Act and Department of Health and Human Services.

AgriGrowth Tasmania will work with the DHHS, Tasmania Police, stakeholders and the industry on developing appropriate Legislation, with a Bill expected to be introduced late this year.

These reforms are in line with recommendations by the 2012-13 House of Assembly Inquiry into the Tasmanian Industrial Hemp Industry, in which I was pleased to advocate for this sector.

Industrial hemp refers to varieties of Cannabis that contain very low levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and at the allowable threshold there is no psychoactive (drug) inducing effects.

The Liberal Government supports sensible, practical regulation without compromising drug law enforcement, to allow this broad acre industry, which has existed in Tasmania since 1991, to achieve its full potential.

We also continue to strongly support and lobby for Federal approval for the use of industrial hemp products in food, which has huge potential to open new markets for the industry.

We will continue to work closely with the Industrial Hemp Association of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association to promote expansion of the industry.

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TFGA welcomes government moves on hemp

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) President Wayne Johnston
29.01.15 11:41 am

Tasmanian farmers today applauded the state government’s positive approach to the hemp industry in Tasmania.

Hemp is cultivated in Australia and New Zealand under strict licensing arrangements. It is used to make fibre, textiles, paper and building materials

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) President Wayne Johnston said that farmers had been trying to grow industrial hemp as fibre for years, but had struggled with the regulatory hurdles, many of which were unique to Tasmania.

“It is pleasing to see the government move forward on the recommendations of the industry inquiry that was tabled in parliament in 2013. This will finally allow a potentially profitable and competitive young industry the scope to grow within the State,’’ Mr Johnston said.

The announcement that the government will change the allowable THC content in hemp to one per cent (from 0.35 per cent) will bring Tasmanian growers in line with their competitors in other states.

“There was never any scientific reason for the difference, it was just one of many commercial disadvantages placed on our growers. Now they can compete on a more level playing field,’’ Mr Johnston said.

He said that the move to introduce five-year licenses (currently 1 year) will also help the industry to commercially expand. There are currently 11 licenses covering an area of 116 ha. in Tasmania.

“Our hemp farmers are now gaining a sound reputation as suppliers of consistently high quality hemp fibre. We could sell as much hemp as we could grow. This move will give growers more certainty and encourage them to make further investment in the sector.”

But Mr Johnston said that the icing on the cake for hemp growers would be the introduction of the Industrial Hemp Bill – a special purpose legislation to be managed by DPIPWE.

“Instead of dealing with three government departments – Health, Justice and DPIPWE – growers will be able to deal directly with just one. It’s a real win in the battle against red tape,” he said

The 2013 inquiry also included the recommendation that the state government lobby for the removal of the federal ban on the use of low-THC hemp products in food.

Hemp seeds and oil are used in health bars, salad oils, non-soy tofu, non-dairy cheeses and as an additive to baked goods as well as being used as the whole seed, raw or roasted.

New Zealand permits hemp seed oil to be sold as a food, but Australia does not. It still has to be approved by all states and the national government under COAG arrangements. This is despite the fact that in 2012 Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recommended for the second time the lifting of restrictions on the use of hemp for food production.  A decision on this matter is now due to be made later this week at the Australia/ New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.

“The TFGA has long advocated for the removal of COAG restrictions on the use of hemp for food products. We look forward to a positive outcome at the meeting on Friday. The removal of even more prohibitions on the production of hemp will provide Tasmanian farmers with an even greater range of potential products,’’ Mr Johnston said.

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

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Fruit wines and ciders ferment accord

Dane Hunnerup Program Officer Arts & Events Clarence City Council. Arts & Events eNews: http://eepurl.com/i2pNb
28.01.15 4:54 pm

The Sixteenth Tasmanian Fruit Wine and Cider Festival is a foray into the trends and tangents of the non-traditional wine and cider market in Australia.

As mass manufactured beverages continue to decline and the rise of boutique and craft liquors delight the palates of an increasingly discerning public, this festival serves as a great barometer with over 120 fruit wines, liqueurs, ciders and meads.

Ciders, especially those involving blends with a wide range of berry fruits dominate this year’s tasting line-up including the introduction of a range of ‘cysers’. Made by fermenting various fruit juices as you do to make a cider, this digestif is accented by the inclusion of honey. The result fills your taste buds with a sweet and spicy after dinner drink.

Accompanied by a range of street food and music from Mama K and the Big Love and Billy Whitton and the Men of Steel, it’s a great Sunday outing which also presents a unique opportunity.

This event precedes the judging of all Tasmanian entries into the Australian Fruit Wine Show, and as we’ve seen with speculation in the Tasmanian whiskey market, it’s a golden opportunity to pick up a favourite drop before medals are awarded.

The Tasmanian Fruit Wine and Cider Festival is a project of the Rotary Club of Sorell. Entry is by gold coin donation with unlimited tastings for $10. Funds raised are used to support local charities.

The Sixteenth Annual Tasmanian Fruit Wine and Cider Festival

Sunday February 1, 12-4pm

Bellerive Boardwalk, Cambridge Road, Bellerive

Information at http://www.clarenceartsandevents.net

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Managing Tasmania’s energy businesses

Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
28.01.15 4:53 pm

The Government is committed to prudently managing taxpayer-owned government businesses.

The capital structure of the Energy Businesses has been reviewed and advice has been provided to Government from Treasury, Pricewaterhousecoopers and the energy businesses.

As a result the Government has made a decision to rebalance the way debt is allocated between our energy businesses, and approved the transfer of $205 million of Hydro’s debt to TasNetworks.
A further $120 million of debt (making a total of $325 million) is intended to be transferred over the next two financial years.

The $205m debt transfer will relieve Hydro of the debt burden placed on it by the former Labor-Green Government when they transferred to Hydro the debt associated with the purchase of the gas-fired Tamar Valley Power Station (TVPS).

Labor inexplicably paid $160 million above the actual value for the TVPS. This has proven to be one of worst decisions in the history of energy policy in Tasmania.

As outlined at GBE Estimates last year, Hydro is considering the option of divesting the closed cycle gas turbine at the TVPS and running the remaining turbines as peaking units.

Under the current circumstances, it’s clear that Labor and the Greens forced too much debt onto Hydro.

Hydro operates in a highly dynamic and competitive market and its current level of debt is impacting on its ability to compete in the market.  This Government will support Hydro in its efforts to be right at the forefront of power generators in Australia and to deliver on the historic investment in Hydro that generations of Tasmanians have made.

Equity transfers through the restructuring of debt between Government Businesses are not unusual and will not in any way impact on power prices, which are strictly regulated.

This is an equity transfer that TasNetworks is more than capable of handling, with no impact on power prices, and which will help Hydro reach its potential.

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