In Their Own Words

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


Politics | Media

Will Hodgman still a wimp against Tony Abbott cuts

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
02.03.15 12:39 pm

Labor Leader Bryan Green today described Will Hodgman as a wimp when it comes to standing up for Tasmania against Tony Abbott .

“Mr Hodgman is trying to portray himself as some sort of hero at home but he’s a coward in Canberra,” Mr Green said.

“Mr Hodgman is a pushover for his Federal Liberal colleagues.

“Instead of fighting for a better deal for Tasmania, Will Hodgman has become an apologist for the policies of Tony Abbott which are hurting our State.

“To suggest he was ‘blindsided’ by the Federal budget is a pathetic excuse.

“Tasmania has suffered big cuts in Federal funding particularly in health and it happened without as much as a whimper from Will Hodgman.

“How can Tasmanians have any confidence that Mr Hodgman will stand up to Tony Abbott when it come to the threat of cuts to the GST?

“Mr Hodgman has rolled over on issues like the renewable energy target and failed to secure any Federal funding for the West Coast. He allowed Tasmania to be short-changed on irrigation funding and was forced to abandon his promise to duplicate the Midland Highway because of a lack of Federal support.

“Mr Hodgman always goes missing when it really counts.”


TFGA welcomes Swan Valley Irrigation Scheme water sales launch

TFGA president Wayne Johnston
02.03.15 12:38 pm

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association says new possibilities for east coast agriculture opened up today with the launch of water sales for the $17 million Swan Valley Irrigation Scheme that will service farms at Swansea, Cranbrook and Coombend.

Tasmanian Irrigation today opened the market for entitlements to 2000 megalitres of water to be pumped from winter flows in the Swan River to a dam at Cranbrook and fed via a pipeline distribution network to farms.

“At last, we can release the potential of farms that have been restricted by the lack of reliability of water, beautiful country yet hampered too often by near drought conditions,” TFGA president Wayne Johnston said today.

The Swan Valley scheme forms part of the second tranche of five TI projects for which the Australian Government is giving $60 million, the Tasmanian Government and farmers each about $30 million.

TI chief executive Chris Oldfield launched the water sales today at the Swansea Town Hall. Entitlements are available to owners or occupiers of land in those districts. The sales close on March 31.

“For the project to proceed, the scheme has to be fully subscribed. I am optimistic that will happen,” Mr Johnston said.


Public Meeting Tomorrow Tuesday 3 March 2015

Jenny Weber, The Bob Brown Foundation
02.03.15 9:55 am

Keep Wilderness Part of the Plan - Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area

Hobart Town Hall – 12 noon - 1pm

A Public Meeting will be held to raise awareness on the threats to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, including the Tasmanian Government’s plans to weaken wilderness protection and remove the wilderness zone from the property.


Champion Orienteer & Runner Hanny Allston
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s Ruth Langford
World Heritage Expert Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick
Environmentalist Bob Brown


Cars, Cucumbers and Cranes

Dave Groves
02.03.15 9:04 am


Read more here


MEAA condemns Data Retention Bill’s hunt for journalists’ sources

Paul Murphy – incoming MEAA CEO
02.03.15 7:13 am

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, the union and industry advocate for Australia’s journalists, condemns the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s recommendation to support the passage of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 without any provision for the protection of journalists and their sources.

Incoming MEAA chief executive officer Paul Murphy said: “It is puzzling how the Committee can on the one hand recognise the seriousness of the issues we have raised but still proceed to recommend the passage of the legislation without those issues being addressed. It is also concerning that in its report the Committee has confirmed that one of the intentions of the Bill is to pursue journalists’ sources. It remains our view that this Bill should not be passed but, if it is to be passed, it must include a media exemption.’”

The Data Retention Bill is the third tranche of national security laws introduced by the Abbott Government. The laws threaten whistleblowers and undermine the ethical obligation of journalists to protect the identity of confidential sources. MEAA’s submission to the Committee can be read here:

The Committee has postponed dealing with press freedom as part of its report despite numerous media organisations including MEAA highlighting these issues for months now, including appearing at the Committee’s public hearings.

Instead, the Committee has opted in recommendation 26 of its report to review the matter further before making a final recommendation to the Parliament in three months. Ironically, this caution and concern about press freedom was not apparent when the Committee and the Parliament rushed through the first two tranches of national security laws in late 2014.

But what is damning in the report is recommendation 27 which confirms that intent of the Bill is to pursue journalists’ sources. It recommends the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security be copied when an authorisation is issued seeking to determine “the identity of a journalist’s sources”. This suggests the Committee will allow government agencies to hunt through journalists’ metadata in pursuit of confidential sources.

It also suggests that the Committee intends to ignore media organisations’ requests for a media exemption across all three tranches of national security law in order to safeguard press freedom.

Overseas experience suggests that data surveillance and access powers are targeting journalists. Earlier this month, Britain’s Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (ICCO) found that police had accessed journalists’ phone and email data more than 600 times in three years. The Commissioner said retrieving journalists’ data was being used by nearly half of all UK police forces, without proper consideration of the fundamental principle of freedom of expression.

As recommendation 26 hints at, Britain is now seeking to narrow data surveillance laws to protect journalist sources.

However, even without the Data Retention Bill, Australian government agencies are actively trawling for journalists’ confidential sources. Media reports based on Freedom of Information requests have found that journalists from the Guardian, and the West Australian had been referred to the Australian Federal Police in an effort to identify the sources for stories on asylum seekers.

“Politicians who have voted for these three national security laws are not champions of press freedom or freedom of expression – quite the opposite. They have already introduced measures that will have a chilling effect on journalism. They have muzzled an important arm of a healthy democracy. It is a shameful outcome,” Murphy said.

“The failure of the Committee to promote press freedom from the outset and provide genuine recommendations that protect press freedom must be condemned. It is a half-hearted measure to recognise concerns on the one hand and then spend more time reviewing them. It is worse still to then acknowledge in recommendation 27, openly for the first time, that there is a definite intent to pursue journalists’ sources.

“These laws are the greatest assault on press freedom in Australia in peace time. Together, the three tranches represent a sustained attempt by government to control information. In the process, these laws attack freedom of expression, the right to privacy, the right to access information and press freedom,” Murphy says.

“These laws can be used to persecute and prosecute whistleblowers and the journalists who work with them They threaten jail terms of up to 10 years. They have handed the means for intelligence agencies and others to spy on journalists, their media employers and courageous whistleblowers who seek to expose misconduct, illegality and corruption. How can the Parliament that so recently enacted shield laws to protect the identity of confidential sources by acknowledging the principle of journalist privilege, now pass new laws that directly attack that principle?

“MEAA again argues that a media exemption to these laws is needed so that journalists won’t be pursued for simply doing their job. This exemption must ensure that whistleblowers can go to journalists, trusting that they can do so safe from harm,” Murphy said.

“Unless a media exemption is included across all three tranches, the end result is that journalists and their sources will have to utilise the tools of counter-surveillance to encrypt and protect their relationships to ensure that news and information in the public interest can still be published. That is a result of the political failure to protect press freedom, privacy and freedom of expression,” Murphy said

Earlier this month MEAA wrote to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye urging him to investigate the impact of the security laws and their effect on press freedom in Australia.

MEAA also calls on the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, former NSW Supreme Court judge Roger Gyles, to undertake an urgent review of the press freedom implications of Australia’s national security law regime with a view to ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place to promote and protect press freedom.

Authorised by Paul Murphy – incoming MEAA CEO
Web: | Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Phone: MEAA Member Central: 1300 656 513


The nightmare of consumption

via Isla MacGregor
02.03.15 6:36 am

Wake up call: End the nightmare of consumption


State of the State address

Will Hodgman, Premier
01.03.15 4:25 pm

After nearly one year of a Tasmanian Liberal Government our State is now headed in the right direction.

Since we began implementing our long term Plan for a Brighter Future nearly 7000 jobs have been created, business confidence has been restored and there are more police. We have reined in budget spending and boosted tourism. We are also rebuilding the forest industry and proceeding with bold plans to create a job ready generation and improve the health system.

It’s early days and there’s a long way to go, which is why it’s important that we continue to deliver on our long term Plan.

This year our job is to build on the momentum we have already created.

On Tuesday I will outline my Government’s Plan for the next 365 days.

We are prepared to be held to account and judged on outcomes.

As I said on election night, there are no silver bullets and we won’t be perfect, but we will always work hard, listen, and govern in the best interests of the Tasmanian people.

Our first year record demonstrates what a strong, stable majority government can achieve. There is still more to be done, but we have the Plan and the team to build a better Tasmania.


Record investment in education

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training
01.03.15 4:13 pm

The Hodgman Liberal Government highly values education, which is why we have invested a record $1.4 billion into education this financial year.

This record investment included a minimum 5 percent increase for every public school in the cash component of their School Resources Package and a $1 million increase into Launch into Learning.

We have employed 25 Literacy and Numeracy Specialists, we are implementing our Plan to extend high schools to year 12, and we are offering an extra week of paid work to Teacher Assistants.

We do however also have a responsibility to manage the budget, so we can continue to pay for education into the future.

Savings have had to be made. Regrettably, this has meant an average of around one teacher per school less as a result of the unions, Labor and Greens rejecting our sensible pay pause offer. Had this offer been accepted the savings measures occurring in schools would not be necessary.

The Government remains committed to delivering on our commitment to raise educational outcomes in Tasmania. Living within our means now will ensure that there is funding in future budgets to achieve this goal.


In-principle Government support for Parliamentary Inquiry into live baiting

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Racing
01.03.15 4:11 pm

The Hodgman Liberal Government has expressed in-principle support for a Parliamentary inquiry into the greyhound industry to examine if live baiting is occurring in Tasmania.

Any use of live baiting is illegal, disgusting and totally unacceptable.

While the Government has been advised by racing authorities that there has been no evidence of animals (dead or alive) being used to bait greyhounds in Tasmania since 2008, we believe the high level of public concern means a Parliamentary inquiry is warranted, and will assist to restore public confidence in the industry. 

The Government has full confidence in the review the Director of Racing and the Chief Veterinary Officer are currently undertaking into Tasmania’s arrangements for animal welfare in the greyhound racing industry, to ensure we have a robust system in our state. These two statutory officers are both independent from the racing industry commercial arm, Tasracing.

The findings of their urgent review, due to me by 13th March, will inform any subsequent Parliamentary inquiry which will be an additional longer term look at the state of the industry.

It is important that those in the greyhound industry who may be doing the wrong thing know that they are on notice. We will not tolerate live baiting, and I expect the Director of Racing and the Chief Veterinarian Officer’s findings will assist me in ensuring this practice does not occur in Tasmania.


Greens Secure In-Principle Liberal Support for Greyhound Inquiry

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson
01.03.15 1:13 pm

A Greens’ Motion to establish a Joint House Parliamentary Inquiry into Tasmania’s greyhound racing industry looks set to pass the House of Assembly this month.

Greens’ Animal Welfare spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said on Friday, Deputy Premier, Jeremy Rockliff, rang to indicate the Liberals are prepared to give in-principle support for a Joint House Inquiry.

“This is a significant step forward for animal welfare in Tasmania,” Ms O’Connor said.

“Mr Rockliff and I had a respectful and constructive conversation about the need for both Houses of Parliament to examine these allegations and for whistle blowers to be protected,” Ms O’Connor said.

“We agreed to work together on the Terms of Reference which I have drafted for the Deputy Premier to take back to his Party Room before Parliament resumes this week.”

“This is a significant step forward.  I hope the establishment of this inquiry will reassure all those many, many Tasmanians who have written to their MPs over the past two weeks that they have been heard.”

“I understand the Chief Veterinary Officer and Director of Racing Services Tasmania are also supportive of an Inquiry.  Their experience with the greyhound industry and the findings of their Review will make an important contribution to the Committee’s work.”

“My message to any compassionate person who has seen, or knows of, acts of unlawful cruelty happening in the name of greyhound racing, this inquiry will be your opportunity to come forward under the protection of Parliamentary Privilege.”

“Those who have done no wrong have nothing to fear as a result of Parliament’s focus on the greyhound racing industry.”

“The Greens are hopeful that once passed by the Lower House the Legislative Council will also support the establishment of this important inquiry.”

“The motion to establish the Joint House Inquiry will be debated in the first Greens’ Private Members’ Time in the Assembly on Wednesday, 18th of March,” Ms O’Connor said.

Download: Copy of draft Joint Select Committee into the Tasmanian Greyhound Racing Industry Terms of Reference, March 2015:



Liberals Out of Step Over State Container Deposit Laws

Nick McKim MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
01.03.15 1:11 pm

On Clean Up Australia Day the Greens have highlighted the need for a state-based container deposit, or ‘cash-for-containers’ scheme, saying that Tasmania is falling behind other states.

“Last month NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird committed to introducing reverse vending machines for bottles and cans as part of a container deposit scheme,” Greens Environment spokesperson Nick McKim MP said.

“The NSW Liberal plan will see people get 10 cents per recycled beverage container, with 800 reverse vending machines installed in parks, popular beaches and public spaces, and the NSW Labor Opposition have also indicated their support for the plan.”

“It is estimated that this scheme will generate approximately $65 million each year for NSW charities, schools and sporting groups alone.”

“In contrast, the Tasmanian Environment Minister, Matthew Groom, has resorted to knee-jerk rejection and beverage industry slogans to knock back a similar cash-for-containers scheme for Tasmanians.”

“Minister Groom is once again exposed as out of touch and regressive, this time by his own interstate Liberal colleagues.”

“Queensland could also soon be set to have a similar scheme given the new Labor government’s commitment to supporting either a national scheme or the introduction of a state-based scheme.”

“South Australia, and the Northern Territory already have container deposit schemes in place, while both NSW and Queensland are actively exploring similar schemes. Tasmania needs to catch up to enhance our clean green reputation while cleaning up our beautiful state for visitors and locals alike,” Mr McKim said.


Exportation of logs and lumber from Russia failed to increase ...

Hakan Ekstrom
01.03.15 8:36 am

Exportation of logs and lumber from Russia failed to increase in the 4Q/14 despite the advantage of an almost 50% depreciated Rouble, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly

The much-depreciated Russian rouble has given Russian exporters of logs and lumber a good opportunity to increase shipments of their products. However, softwood sawlog export volumes in the 4Q/14 were up only by 2-3% from the same quarter in 2013, while lumber exports declined over the same time period, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.

The full article can be downloaded here:



Tasmania needs a permanent ban on fracking: Greens

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne
28.02.15 5:23 pm

The Australian Greens Leader, Tasmanian Senator Christine Milne has welcomed the extended moratorium on fracking but says Tasmanians need the certainty of a permanent ban.

“We need to send a signal now to all the companies involved, and the financial institutions behind them, to say we are never going to allow fracking in Tasmania, full stop, it is over,” said Senator Milne.

“Farmers are going to be worried sick that while the public has been calmed down thanks to this moratorium, everything is actually business as usual behind the scenes.

“The temporary moratorium just lets the companies keep exploring, keep working on their licences, then when the five years is up hoping that they’ll be able to proceed.

“Farmers need to be sure they can farm their land and look after their water without having this risk lurking in the back rooms,” said Senator Milne.

“Tasmania’s huge competitive advantage in this century is in renewable energy and in our agricultural land and water.

“I can’t emphasise enough that in an age of global warming, where food security is a big issue, agricultural land and water are gold. You do not destroy them with fracking, and that’s why there should be a ban.”


PM’s “captain’s call” disastrous for Tasmania, must not be repeated

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne
28.02.15 5:12 pm

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne says Tony Abbott has once again made a disastrous captain’s call in backing his Liberal ideologues on Tasmanian forests, and now risks repeating the mistake.

“The disaster that is the Tasmanian forest industry is clearly at the feet of Tony Abbott with his stupid captain’s call. Don’t do it again, Prime Minister.

“Forestry Tasmania is never going to get FSC certification and the blame lies squarely with Mr Abbott and Tasmanian Liberals.

“He listened to his blind ideologues like Eric Abetz, Richard Colbeck and Paul Harriss over the advice of the Environment and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Departments.

“It’s clear to everybody that it was a stupid policy from the Liberals to try to remove important forest from the World Heritage Area, but the Liberals in Tasmania wanted them logged.

“Tony Abbott went with them against the best advice of the Departments, humiliating Australia on the global stage.

“I’m now calling on Tony Abbott not to do it again. We’ve got the same ideologues wanting to open up the TWWHA to destructive infrastructure developments that will undermine wilderness values.

“The mismanagement plan put forward by the Tasmanian Liberals for the TWWHA must not be endorsed by Australia and sent up to the World Heritage Committee,” said Senator Milne.

“Tasmanians deserve a government that will work to achieve important conservation goals, not just their own backward ideological political goals.”


Prime Minister kept faith on forestry

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources
28.02.15 4:33 pm

For there to be criticism that Prime Minister Tony Abbott kept an election promise to the Tasmanian people is totally bizarre.

Prior the last Federal election, Mr Abbott made it clear that in Government he would seek to reverse the damage done by Federal and State Labor to the Tasmanian forestry industry, damage that resulted in the loss of thousands of local jobs.

While the United Nations rejected the Federal Government’s proposal to reverse Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage boundary changes, the job destroying forest deal is dead, and good riddance to it.

The Prime Minister should be congratulated for sticking to a key election commitment, despite the pressure on him to renege from Green groups who refuse to accept the democratic outcome of the election.

Claims that the delay in renegotiating the RFA are somehow linked to this are false.  While there was a request for a short delay to avoid a clash between consultation on the RFA and consultation on the Forestry Tasmania bid for FSC certification, the big delay in the RFA process was initiated by Labor, the Greens and the conservation movement.

The third five-yearly review of the RFA was due in 2012, but was delayed by the then Labor-Green Governments in favour of their job-destroying Tasmanian forest deal.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government and the Coalition Government in Canberra have resurrected the five-yearly review and will also negotiate an extension to implement the election commitment to establishing a rolling 20-year Agreement.


Early Years Foundation

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training
28.02.15 4:30 pm

The Hodgman Liberal Government has listened to the Tasmanian community about the value they place on the work of the Tasmanian Early Years Foundation.

We have worked closely with the Chair of the Foundation to support them to look at options that would enable the Foundation to continue its work using philanthropic grants and business support. This means that winding up the Foundation as a statutory entity will be postponed to enable that work to happen.

While winding up the Early Years Foundation had been identified as a budget savings measure it would be wrong to ignore the strong community desire to see the Foundation’s work continue.

I have also invited the Chair of the Foundation to sit as a community member on the Department of Education’s Early Years Reference Group, which will be an important avenue for providing advice to me about the early years, which we know is so crucial as a foundation for life.

While we work through establishing a new structure for the Early Years Foundation it will continue to fund the Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (EPEC) for a further 12 months.

This will provide an opportunity to explore longer term funding and delivery arrangements for this valued program.


Greens to move for Permanent Fracking Ban

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader
28.02.15 11:01 am

The Tasmanian Greens will move to introduce a permanent ban on fracking when Parliament resumes next week, Greens Leader and Mining spokesperson Kim Booth MP announced today at the frack-free rally in Hobart.

“Today’s rally, and all those people who took the time and effort to submit to the recent review raising concerns about the unacceptable impact of fracking, have demonstrated that short term reprieves are not enough,” Mr Booth said.

“The Greens will heed this call, and we will move in the Parliament for a permanent ban to be implemented.”

“While a welcome first step, all the extended moratorium guarantees is ongoing uncertainty, especially given the bizarre provision allowing exploration to continue during the moratorium.”

“Our farmers deserve complete certainty about investing in long term cropping and stock business cases.”

“Landowners deserve the certainty that they can say not on my land, should mineral exploration identify any shale oil or unconventional gas deposits beneath them.”

“The community deserves the certainty that our crucial groundwater aquifers and waterways will remain clean and unpolluted by fracking-related chemical contamination.”

“The mining sector should also have complete clarity about what the Tasmanian people will not accept, now or into the future, and that is the fracking of our land.”

“The Greens will be moving on the resumption of Parliament to have the recently extended moratorium made permanent,” Mr Booth said.


Electric Bike Rally buoyed by vigorous market in Hobart

Alan Whykes of Bicycle Network Tasmania. Pub: Feb 25
28.02.15 7:30 am

Strong growth in electric bike sales in Hobart sales means the second Annual Electric Bike Rally is very timely, organisers said today. The Rally is on Saturday 28 Feb from 11am to 2pm at Bellerive Regional Park.

“Our estimate is that sales in the Hobart area have increased around 15% this year,” said coordinator Alan Whykes of Bicycle Network Tasmania. “A lot of people are interested in a mode of transport that is fun, cheap, effective and environmentally friendly.”

The main focus of the rally is free test rides of latest-model electric bicycles. Members of the public can take the bikes on an off-road section of the Clarence Foreshore Trail to see how they like the machines.

“Electric bikes are bringing new people to cycling, and people who haven’t ridden for a very long time,” Whykes said. “They feel that the electric assist can enable them to cover distances and conquer hills they otherwise wouldn’t feel confident about.”

Melbourne-based You Tube channel Axis of Epic is sending a team to cover the event. For the socially-minded there is a group ride to the Rally starting at 10.15am at the office of Bicycle at 210 Collins St. Cartoonist Jon Kudelka will be signing copies of his ‘Spiritual Journey’ book about a Tasmanian whisky tour undertaken by electric bike last year.

BNT also made the point that e-bikes being sold in Hobart were legal for use on roads and on bike paths. “Some of the petrol-powered contraptions on the other hand are technically motorcycles. They need registration and a motorcycle helmet to go on-road and cannot legally be ridden on bike paths. We think e-bikes are a much better solution which is why we encourage new riders to make a sensible choice.”



Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison
28.02.15 6:03 am

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will speak at this morning’s Ban Fracking Now Rally and urge the State Government to permanently ban the contentious mining technique.

WHEN:11am TODAY Saturday 28 February 2015. WHERE: Parliament Lawns HOBART

Mr Wilkie said the State Government’s five-year moratorium on fracking was welcome but still left the door open to allowing fracking in the future.

``The State Government must slam the door shut on fracking once and for all,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

``A ban is the only way to protect Tasmania’s brand and water and provide certainty for our agriculture and tourism industries.’’

Mr Wilkie said fracking was highly controversial in other states and countries largely due to the trampling of land owners’ rights, health risks and concerns about water contamination and damage to the environment, not to mention the vast quantities of precious water required for the process.

``Many countries and jurisdictions have banned the practice as a direct result of particular instances of fracking having gone badly wrong,’’ he said.

``In Tasmania people from all walks of life lined up to say no to fracking.  Lettuce growers, dairy farmers, winemakers, doctors, lawyers and even the Government’s own Department of Health and Human Services have expressed concerns and are urging the State Government to apply the precautionary principle to this contentious mining technique.

``Fracking poses a major risk to Tasmania’s brand. We’re the flavour of the month due to our clean, green image and world-class produce, but this would all be put at risk if the State is opened up to a fracking free-for-all.

``It is the Government’s duty to protect Tasmania’s water, economy, clean green image and the rights of landowners and the only way to do that is to ban fracking once and for all.’’

Fracking is the pumping underground, under great pressure, of vast quantities of water, sand and chemicals to fracture rocks to access otherwise unreachable oil and gas deposits.


Public Sector Update shows Budget on Track

Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
27.02.15 5:22 pm

An update on Tasmania’s public sector released by the Hodgman Liberal Government today confirms we remain on track to deliver the savings outlined in the Budget.

We said that the nearly 25,000 public sector Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) would be reduced by 821 FTEs this year.  As of the end of January this year, the public sector had already been reduced by 668 FTEs, meaning we are well on track to reach our target by the end of June.

It’s important to note that while the public sector workforce has declined by 668 FTEs during this financial year, around 7,000 jobs have been created in the broader economy since the election in March 2014.

No one has been sacked and there have been no forced redundancies .The Government has reduced the size of the public sector through voluntary redundancies and vacancy control while also reducing the cost of the public sector through the Workforce Renewal Incentive Program (WRIP).

The cost of the voluntary redundancies to date has been $10,356,433 – an average of just over $58 000 per redundancy, while the total cost of WRIPs is $10,704,269, an average of just under $21,500 per WRIP. These costs are one-off and will mean ongoing structural salary budget savings in future years.

It’s also important to remember that all WRIPs are offered only because they have a viable business case on each position being renewed and refilled at a lower salary level.

In the interests of full transparency the update released today also shows FTE levels and changes across each agency, including across broad job classifications.

Wherever possible we have done everything we can to protect frontline services while making the necessary savings –  remembering it is a fact that no frontline adjustments would have been necessary had the pay freeze proposal been accepted.

These savings need to be made to ensure that the budget returns to a sustainable position so we can afford to pay for essential public services into the future.

We know there is still a lot of work to be done but this shows what a sensible, disciplined Government can achieve.


Next round of public information sessions on the TWWHA draft Plan

Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage
27.02.15 5:21 pm

The next round of Public Information Sessions will be held across the State to answer queries about the new draft management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).
Sessions will be held in Burnie, Queenstown and St Helens during March.

The Hodgman Liberal Government recognises there is significant community and stakeholder interest in the proposed management of the TWWHA and these sessions are part of an extensive consultation period to allow full consideration of the draft Plan

The draft Plan was last month released for public comment and representations are required to be submitted by 22 March 2015.

The consultation period is an important part of the process of developing an effective management plan for the TWWHA and anyone with an interest in the management of the TWWHA is encouraged to make a representation.

The open Public Information Sessions will provide members of the public with the opportunity to understand the content of the plan, the representation process and the process required for the development of a final approved plan.

Members of the TWWHA Management Plan Project team will be available at the following locations –

• Queenstown on Wednesday 4th March – West Coast Council Chambers, 11am to 3pm
• St Helens on Tuesday 10th March – Tidal Waters Resort, 11am to 3pm
• Burnie on Thursday 12th March – UTAS Cradle Coast Campus,  11am to 3pm

More information about the draft Plan, and the Public Information Sessions, including locations, is available on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment’s website:


Plans to overhaul the definition of volunteering in Australia

Volunteering Australia CEO Brett Williamson
27.02.15 5:19 pm

The definition of volunteering in Australia is being reviewed to consider the new ways people give
their time under a proposal released today by Volunteering Australia.

Volunteering Australia CEO Brett Williamson said the definition of volunteering in Australia was
developed almost 20 years ago (1996) and did not reflect the extent of volunteering today.

“A lot of volunteering that is common today simply didn’t exist 20 years ago,” Mr Williamson said.
Mr Williamson said the current definition that it only recognises formal volunteering undertaken for
non‐profit organisations.

The narrow definition does not recognise aspects of virtual volunteering, social entrepreneurship,
corporate volunteering, volunteering for government organisations such as museums nor does it
cover informal volunteering in the community.

“The spirit of volunteering hasn’t changed, but it’s important we refine what volunteering means in
Australia to make sure we better recognise, measure and support it,” he said.

“ABS figures show one in three Australians – 6.1 million people – volunteered in 2010. If we don’t
accurately recognise the types of volunteering people do, we risk undervaluing it.

“In reviewing what volunteering is, we also need to be clearer about what volunteering isn’t.”

“The rise of internships, work for the dole programs, and community service orders has created grey
areas for organisations. They want to know if these activities overlap with volunteering, particularly
around roles, rights and responsibilities.”

Volunteering Australia’s issues paper raises the following key issues for consideration:

 Benefit to the community (versus primary benefit to an individual or organisation)
 No payment or financial reward
 Only unpaid work? (should certain types of activity be included or excluded?)
 Choice? (whose choice is it and are there degrees of choice?)
 Structure– is it only volunteering if performed for a charity? Can organisations volunteer?

The release of the Issues Paper today marks the start of a national engagement on the definition of
volunteering. Stakeholder information sessions will follow and an online survey for all Australians to
submit their views will be open from 16 March to 17 April 2015 on Volunteering Australia’s website.

The Issues Paper, titled National Review of the Definition of Volunteering in Australia is available
from today on Volunteering Australia’s website at


Review of the Definition of Volunteering in Australia
About the National Review: Volunteering Australia’s current definition of volunteering was developed in 1996
and may be too narrow for the breadth of volunteer activities undertaken today. The review of the definition
spans two phases:
 Phase 1: The development of an Issues Paper regarding the reasons, implications and opportunities
around changing a definition.
 Phase 2 – National Engagement which will result in a final recommendation on a definition of
volunteering to be made to the Volunteering Australia Board.
Current Definition of Volunteering
The current Volunteering Australia definition of volunteering states:
Formal volunteering is an activity that takes place:
‐ in non‐profit organisations or projects and
‐ is of benefit to the community
‐ and undertaken of the volunteer’s own free will and without coercion
‐ for no financial payment
‐ and in designated volunteer positions only.
Other potential definitions include
Option 1
Volunteering is an activity undertaken as an individual or in a group, for the benefit of the community, without
expectation of financial reward. Volunteering is a choice freely made by each individual and can include formal
or informal community participation.
Option 2
Volunteering is doing something willingly, for no financial gain, that aims to benefit the environment or
someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives or the individual.
Option 3
We define volunteering as any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to
benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives.
Volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual. This can include formal activity undertaken
through public, private and voluntary organisations as well as informal community participation
As a result of the Australia wide engagement process, one of these definitions may be adopted (or the current
definition re‐affirmed), one of these may be modified, or an alternative definition may emerge.
Your views
Volunteering Australia is encouraging stakeholders to have their say on the definition of volunteering. Please
see the Issues Paper: Review of the Definition of Volunteering in Australia at
We will be updating our website and social media channels with new information throughout the National
Engagement period.



Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson
27.02.15 5:17 pm

Northern Midlands Mayor David Downie and Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson cross the Westmoor Bridge, on the Powranna Road, which will have a major upgrade with the help of Federal Government Bridges Renewal funding

FEDERAL Lyons MP Eric Hutchinson welcomed the funding announcement today of more than $8.5 million for the replacement of two bridges in his Lyons electorate.

``This will make possible the much-needed upgrade to local bridges as part of the Federal Government’s $300 million Bridges Renewal Program,’’ Mr Hutchinson said.

He met with Northern Midlands Mayor David Downie, at Westmoor Bridge, on Powranna Road, near Cressy, this morning to view the bridge which is one of the two to be replaced.

Councillor Downie said he was pleased that the council had secured $922,000 in federal funding towards the new bridge across the Macquarie River on the Powranna Road.

The council will contribute the remainder of the money for the $1.8 million project.

Councillor Downie said that the replacement bridge had been needed for some time on what has become a main connector road between the Midland Highway and the rapidly developing agriculture industry zone at the other end of the road near Cressy.

``This area has attracted a great deal of investment in recent years which has led to much more traffic on Powranna Road so that the bridge replacement was necessary,’’ Mr Downie said.

Mr Hutchinson said that the upgraded road infrastructure would help industries like award-winning Tasmanian Quality Meats, Burlington Berries, Petuna Seafoods hatchery and a new seed farm, in Burlington Road as well as operations like the Roberts saleyards, near the Midland Highway.

A further $3.3 million funding announced today from the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program for the Lyons electorate will go towards a $6.7 million State Government project to replace two under-strength bridges on the Esk Main Road near Fingal and Avoca.

Mr Hutchinson said that the bridge works on Powranna Road and in the Fingal Valley would improve road access for local traffic and increase efficiency on these important arterial roads.

The Federal Government has committed $114 million nationally under round one of the Bridges Renewal Program with a total commitment of $300 million over five years, starting this financial year.



Shayne Neumann, Helen Polley
27.02.15 3:05 pm

The Abbott Government has been unable to provide details about the dementia “flying squads” in Senate Estimates.

The Severe Behaviour Response Teams (SBRT), referred to by the sector and Department alike as “flying squads,” will replace the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement (DSBS), axed by the Abbott Government over seven months ago.

Senate Estimates heard that the “flying squads” were an experimental measure, having been untested or tried anywhere around the world.

To date the Abbott Government has been unable to provide details on the composition, capacity or even the function of the SBRTs.

Labor remains concerned with the Abbott Government’s band-aid approach to dementia care.

The Abbott Government has to provide certainty for the aged care sector, for those living with dementia as well as their carers and loved ones.

The “flying squad” concept was first raised at the Ministerial Dementia Forum in September 2014, and was one of eight options raised by forum attendees.

To date, no one has been able to explain why the existing Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) could not be expanded to take in severe behaviours.

Labor has called on the Abbott Government to provide details on the “flying squads” including:

• Will they primarily support providers or deal with individual resident’s behaviours?
• What capacity will they have to service remote, rural and regional communities?
• Will they be available on a 24 hour, seven day a week basis?
• Will they be deployed on an ad hoc basis or a needs basis?
• How will they interact with DBMAS?
• What happens if demand is significant and the funding runs out?




Long-wait elective surgery patients to finally get treatment

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health
27.02.15 2:58 pm

Tasmanians who have spent years on waiting lists for elective surgery will finally get treatment under a $26 million partnership between the Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments.

The Department of Health & Human Services will soon release a tender to establish a panel of public and private surgery providers to treat Tasmanians who have been on waiting lists for up to ten years.

A key component of the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Health Services in Tasmania Action Plan signed with the Commonwealth in August last year consists of the purchasing of additional elective surgery and non-surgical procedures to treat long-wait patients. As a result of this agreement $25.9 million has been made available to support this activity.

The patients targeted under this initiative are those patients who are on waiting lists but have not been scheduled to receive their surgery in Tasmanian public hospitals.

This is a valuable opportunity to finally get people who have waited for treatment for up to ten years off the waiting list and into treatment. It will complement the critical work we are currently doing to fix the broken health system and ensure better services are available for all Tasmanians.

In Tasmania we have a completely unacceptable situation where people have waited for up to 10 years for elective surgery. In 2013-14 11.5 per cent of all Tasmanian elective surgery patients waited longer than 365 days for their surgery, compared with 2.4 per cent nationally.

There are currently around 35,000 Tasmanians waiting for care, including more than 26,000 on outpatient lists hidden from the public under the previous government.

It is expected that the establishment of a panel of elective surgery providers will provide the capacity to undertake significant volumes of surgery, well beyond what can be achieved in our public hospitals. With our public hospitals operating at capacity, this additional funding to utilise other providers gives us the chance to reduce waiting lists and get people the help they have been waiting for.
It is possible that interstate providers may be able to assist Tasmanian services in doing this and obtaining participation from interstate as well as Tasmanian providers allows us options if Tasmanian services are unavailable.

Getting people who have waited too long for treatment into surgery was a key election commitment for the Hodgman Liberal Government and that’s what this program will achieve.


Gutwein has nothing to brag about

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
27.02.15 2:57 pm

The Liberal Government is crowing about throwing teachers and nurses on the scrap heap.

Labor Leader Bryan Green said Peter Gutwein should not be congratulated, he should be condemned for breaking his promise to protect frontline services.

“Today’s update shows the human toll of the Government’s budget cuts,” Mr Green said.

“The 668 full time jobs that have been axed equate to more than 800 individuals.

“We know we now have less teachers and less nurses. That’s a massive broken promise.

“Despite the pain, the job losses and the service cuts, Peter Gutwein’s budget is on track to deliver a $300 million deficit. 

“He’s spent more than $20 million on redundancies and WRIPs as he desperately tries to meet his job cutting target.

“And after saying he wouldn’t provide a running commentary, he’s been forced to cough up a few details because Right To Information requests were due to be released.

“Tasmanians won’t fall for Peter Gutwein’s tricks.”


EDO Bulletin February 27, 2015

Environmental Defenders' Office
27.02.15 2:17 pm


Read more here


Supporting Safer Farms

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
27.02.15 12:53 pm

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committing $435,000 over the next three years to improve workplace health and safety on Tasmanian farms.

We understand that across our agricultural industry from our land to the sea, it is our people who are our greatest asset.

They are dedicated employees, who often work in challenging conditions, exposed to the elements or in charge of heavy machinery, from sunrise to sunset, and we have to ensure their safety.
The farm is also a unique work environment, where family homes are often part of the workplace.

The personal and economic cost of farm injuries in Australia is unacceptably high with farm workers accounting for 15.33 deaths per 100,000 compared to 1.93 for workers across all industries
That’s why we have developed the FarmSafe Tasmania Program, to improve the health and safety of the dedicated workers across all our agricultural sectors.

The new program will:

• Raise awareness of farm safety issues across the state, including the packing and processing aspects of farm safety;
• Produce and distribute targeted information about farm safety; and
• Work with industry stakeholders to provide training and education on farm issues, to reduce farm work-related death, injury and disease.

A reference group of key industry stakeholders will be established to inform and advise the program, including: Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers
Association, Primary Employers Tasmania, Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group Dairy Tas, Wine Tas and Proactive Agricultural Safety and Support.

A dedicated full-time FarmSafe advisor will be appointed within Worksafe Tasmania to implement the project and fulfil an educational role.

The advisor will also partner with organisations including the TFGA, Rural Youth, Rural Alive and Well, Women in Agriculture to deliver the program.

Of the program’s funds, $100,000 will be set aside to enable WorkSafe Tasmania to fund events and initiatives with industry partners.

While the FarmSafe Tasmania Program is based on the successful advisory services model already supporting general workplace safety, this will be specifically tailored to the needs of the industry.

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.

We believe we can grow the value of Tasmania’s agricultural produce ten-fold to $10 billion a year by 2050.


Farmers laud government’s safety injection

TFGA president Wayne Johnston
27.02.15 12:24 pm

Farmers have applauded the state government’s $435,000 commitment today to improve health and safety on Tasmanian farms, which they say are workplaces that are often overlooked in terms of both their potential danger and subsequent economic cost when things go wrong.

“Farming is a dangerous occupation, let there be no mistake,” Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association president Wayne Johnston said.

“We have to perform a range of tasks under varying conditions in the course of a typical working day. It’s physically tough work, often undertaken alone, with heavy, complex machinery and with forces not totally under our control – the weather and the behaviour of our animals.”

Mr Johnston said a farmer’s danger list included:

tractors and quad bikes, especially those without roll-over protection. A tractor death occurs every 11 days on a farm somewhere in Australia.
harvesting, cropping, milking machinery
unfenced dams, ponds, rivers and creeks
kicks, bites and crush injuries from animals
farm chemicals

Mr Johnston cited one recent study, at the Sydney Medical School, that showed that farm-related fatalities are a significant problem in Australian agriculture, averaging more than 100 deaths a year.

Seven years ago they were costing the national economy $650.6 million or nearly three per cent of the then farm gross domestic product. The main culprits were tractors, ATVs, drownings, utilities and motorcycles. They accounted for half of the fatalities.

“For some years, through our submissions on State Budgets, we have been pressing for this sort of money to address issues of farm safety,” Mr Johnston said.

“At last, we have the response we wanted. This is great news for us and we applaud the State Government on this outstanding initiative.”