Media

In Their Own Words

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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

Will Hodgman out of step with Prime Minister on medical cannabis

Lara Giddings MP, Shadow Attorney General
17.09.14 3:15 pm

Premier Will Hodgman is even out of step with Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the use of medical cannabis.

“Mr Abbott has gone as far as to say if a drug is proven to be safe overseas and is needed here it should be available without the need to be tested again in Australia,” Shadow Attorney General Lara Giddings said.

“Will Hodgman is swimming against the tide of public and political opinion in relation to medicinal cannabis.

“If he needs any further convincing he need only talk to Tony Abbott.

“In Mr Abbott’s own words on the use of medicinal cannabis: ‘If a drug is needed for a valid medicinal purpose and is being administered safely there should be no question about it legality’.

“Mr Hodgman shouldn’t wait until 2015 when the Legislative Council Reports on their inquiry into the issue, to take further action on this issue.

“The Premier could ask his Health Minister to start clinical trials now in Tasmania or better still advocate for the TGA to accept clinical trial evidence from overseas and legalise medical cannabis sooner rather than later.

“In a paper in the Medical Journal of Australia (December 2013), Dr Alex Wodak cited 82 favourable control trials and nine unfavourable control trials overseas which would help inform the TGA’s decision to legalise MC.

“The longer the Tasmanian Liberals stall on the use of medicinal cannabis the more out of touch they are looking,” Ms Giddings said.

Text of Letter from Tony Abbott to Alan Jones:

“Thanks Alan.  Let me look into this.  I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates.  I was under the impression that personal use of cannabis was no longer an offence in New South Wales, not that I would ever support the recreational use of these sorts of drugs.  If a drug is needed for a valid medicinal purpose, though, and is being administered safely, there should be no question of its legality.  And if a drug that’s proven to be safe abroad is needed here, it should be available.  I agree that the regulation of medicines is a thicket of complexity, bureaucracy and corporate and institutional self-interest.  My basic contention is that something that’s been found to be safe in a reliable jurisdiction shouldn’t need to be tested here again.  And clinical trials that have been done elsewhere shouldn’t have to be repeated here.  I doubt the Haslams need a meeting, they need their problem addressed, so please let me see what’s possible.  Cheers, Tony”

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Parliament in chaos as Liberals dodge scrutiny

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
17.09.14 2:04 pm

The Liberal Government has lost control of the Parliament.

Labor Leader Bryan Green said despite having a majority, the Liberals have created chaos in the House of Assembly.

“Question Time had to be shut down today because Liberal MPs carried on with props,” Mr Green said.

“The Deputy Premier looked 50 years behind the times waving his blackboard around, triggering the suspension of parliament.

“If this is how the Liberals are going to avoid scrutiny, it’s very disappointing.

“The Government obviously feels under pressure over its wage freeze bill getting through the upper house but it doesn’t mean decorum has to be thrown out the window.”

Meanwhile, the Parliament will again sit late tonight as the Government tries to squeeze three sitting days into two.

“Michael Ferguson is failing in his role as the Leader of Government Business,” Mr Green said.

“The Government should consider more than just its political fortunes when it sets the parliamentary timetable.”

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Liberals at odds over Triabunna site

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
17.09.14 2:00 pm

The Liberal Government is sending out mixed messages when it comes to the Triabunna woodchip mill site.

Labor Leader Bryan Green says it’s not clear whether compulsory acquisition is still on the table.

“Yesterday, Braddon MP Joan Rylah categorically ruled out acquiring the mill but the Premier reopened the door this morning,” Mr Green said.

“Will Hodgman won’t rule anything in or out until Guy Barnett’s witch hunt of an inquiry is complete.

“For compulsory acquisition to still be on the Government’s radar is extraordinary.

“The Liberals are sending out very confusing signals to anyone wanting to invest in Tasmania.”

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Liberals continue to sit on their hands over cannabis trial

Lara Giddings MP Shadow Attorney General
17.09.14 1:04 pm

The Tasmanian Liberals continue to sit on their hands while other state governments move towards trials of medical cannabis and measures to allow people to use the drug for medicinal purposes, according to Shadow Attorney General Lara Giddings.

“Will Hodgman revealed today that he is prepared to sit back and effectively do nothing to support the medical use of cannabis, and for Tasmania to be the State where it is grown and manufactured,” Ms Giddings said.

“All the Liberals have done is pay lip service to the thousands of Tasmanians who are calling for a trial to produce, process and administer medical cannabis.

“Mr Hodgman is looking for every excuse under the sun to do nothing while Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia are moving forward.

“This issue requires strong leadership now, not just political platitudes.

“We heard today this matter is now on the COAG agenda, but not thanks to Mr Hodgman.

Ms Giddings called on Mr Hodgman to take the lead from his Liberal colleagues in NSW and Victoria.

“New South Wales Liberal Premier, Mike Baird, has announced support for a trial and moving to allow police to use their discretion so terminally ill people will not face the threat of arrest for possession of medical cannabis.

“It about time Will Hodgman showed the same sort of leadership.”

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Treasurer Confirms Backflip Over Forced Redundancies

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson
17.09.14 11:45 am

Liberal Treasurer Gutwein today confirmed that there was no other option on wage savings, it was pay freeze or further job losses.

Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson today questioned the Treasurer about his comments in the Legislative Council Estimates Committee Hearing, where he stated, “there are only two ways that you can reduce the wages bill. It is either putting a pay pause forward or to sack people.”

“The sack is the sack, whether you dress it up as a “downsize” or any other euphemism,” said Greens Leader, Kim Booth.

“It is now clear that the Hodgman regime has no Plan B and that if its legislation removing the power of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission fails, then it intends to sack public sector workers.”

“The Treasurer has confirmed today that it is his way or the sack.”

“This is a betrayal of all Tasmanians whom now realise the ‘no forced redundancies’ mantra was just another lie to buy a vote,” Mr Booth said.

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Government’s Poor Behaviour Forces Speaker to Suspend Sitting

Nick McKim MP | Greens Leader of House Business Tuesday, 16 September 2014
17.09.14 11:40 am

For the first time in living memory the Speaker of the House of Assembly has been forced to suspend Question Time due to the behaviour of government Members.

“In my twelve years in parliament I’ve never before seen the Speaker forced to suspend the sitting of the House due to poor behaviour from the government,” said Greens Leader of House Business Nick McKim MP.

“Government MPs today have shown how disrespectful, arrogant and out of touch they are with Tasmanians who expect better behaviour from their elected representatives.”

“If Mr Hodgman cannot control his own MPs, how can he claim to have what it takes to head up a government?”

“The problem started when Minister for Education disrupted the House by bringing in a prop to bizarrely claim that Labor and the Greens were somehow opposed to the Gonski education reforms. That is not only highly disorderly, but entirely dishonest.”

“The Speaker has confirmed that Mr Rockliff’s behaviour was unacceptable, and he now has to take responsibility for the resultant chaos,” Mr McKim said.

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Time to face reality on burning issue of state bushfire threat

TFGA chief executive Jan Davis
17.09.14 10:40 am

It is time for some consensus.

Experts are telling us that climate change, drier soils and an abundance of vegetation dictate Tasmania’s bushfire seasons are going to start earlier and continue longer each year. Benign summers are going to be the exception rather than the rule.

The consensus we need is over fuel reduction – and how best to address the problem while we can do something about it in a controlled manner.

The state government has committed $28 million to fuel reduction burns over the next four years. This process will be managed by Parks and Wildlife, in cooperation with the Tasmania Fire Service and Forestry Tasmania.

The risk in Tasmania is heightened with fact that more than half of the state’s area is now held in public ownership – in national parks, the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and other forms of reserves. In these tracts, our hands are tied unless we have a rethink about reducing risks.

The contraction of the forestry industry exacerbates the problem. We’ve lost an army of skilled forest workers and bush contractors who have been managing our forests so well for so long, who have always been on the front line in firefighting. These are the people, who, with farmers, have traditionally manned the fire trucks each summer.

The farmers’ view is that we can’t solve the problem of too much fuel in the forests in a matter of a year or two. It is going to take some years to address this; and it is going to be a case of eternal vigilance.

The small amount of funding allocated by the government is a good start – and most welcome. However, in reality, it is nowhere near enough to manage the risks that are increasing as land in public ownership expands and fuel loads worsen.

We also need to have some more informed discussion about the impact that fuel reduction burns on public lands will have on neighbouring private property; and of how private landowners can be engaged in these important activities to ensure the best possible overall outcomes.

Incredibly, there are those in our community who berate efforts to reduce the risk of bushfires to society at large. A correspondent in a cosy corner of northern Tasmania continually takes me to task on this matter. There is clear evidence, he writes, of air pollution causing lung cancer. Burning off 60,000 ha before the summer each year is just asking for trouble.

“The particulates from this burning that you say we should get on with quickly have been determined to cause lung and liver cancer so this can effect (sic) everyone, even the healthy…” he writes.

Of course, we are aware of the issues surrounding potential environmental smoke hazards, but the fatal pollution to which he refers mainly involves such things as smog haze where the particulate matter is 2.5 micrometres or less. They are not usually generated by agricultural land uses, hazard reductions, etc.

To suggest that planned and controlled fuel reduction burns are the equivalent of industrialised smog and vehicle emissions does not stand up to scrutiny in the Tasmanian context. On the contrary, summer bushfires that have high combustible fuel loads pose a much more significant risk.

Paradoxically, the people who would save our forests from the loggers, or who complain about smoke haze from fuel reduction burns, are often not those on the front line when forests are really endangered.

We saw the devastation caused by the Dunalley fires last year – and they could have been so much worse. I don’t have to remind you that 173 people died in the 2009 Victorian bushfires; 414 people were injured, many of them severely; 7650 individuals were displaced; more than 2000 homes were destroyed.

We all have a duty to support measures that protect the community from the ravages of bushfires and the inevitable heartache that incidents bring.

We all have a duty to minimise the risk we present to ourselves and to our neighbours.

It is time to garner some perspective on the real potential terror problem that we face in Tasmania, and to be realistic in how we go about minimising the risks to all Tasmanians.

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Aquaplan: the next five years in aquatic animal health

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK Senator for Tasmania Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
17.09.14 10:39 am

Australia continues to be a world-leader in aquatic animal health management, with today’s release of the third national plan for aquatic animal health—AQUAPLAN 2014-19.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the plan outlines industry and government priorities to improve national biosecurity and health management policies for aquatic animals.

“Our fisheries and aquaculture sector was valued at $2.3 billion in 2012, this is a major industry in Australia and we all need to work together to ensure it has a prosperous and sustainable future,” Senator Colbeck said.

“The plan gives an overview of aquatic animal health issues relevant to aquaculture, commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, the ornamental fish industry, the tourism industry and the environment.”

“Aquatic animal diseases rarely affect human health, but they can have a big impact on aquaculture and fisheries productivity.”

“AQUAPLAN describes many activities to improve aquatic health management and deal with infectious diseases of finfish, molluscs and crustaceans.”

“The plan was developed collaboratively by the Australian Government, state and territory governments and representatives from Australia’s aquaculture, commercial and recreational fisheries, and ornamental fish industries.”

“It’s all about having a shared vision of what the true priorities are in aquatic animal health over the next five years.”

“Australia is considered a leader in aquatic animal health, and it’s all because of the way industry and governments work together to manage issues and set priorities,” Senator Colbeck said.

AQUAPLAN 2014–2019: Australia’s National Strategic Plan for Aquatic Animal Health is available at: http://www.daff.gov.au/animal-plant-health/aquatic/aquaplan

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Harriss goes to new lengths to avoid scrutiny

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
17.09.14 7:34 am

Resources Minister Paul Harriss has displayed an extraordinary amount of arrogance by not participating in the Budget Estimates debate in Parliament.

Labor Leader Bryan Green says Mr Harriss couldn’t even be bothered responding to criticism of his performance.

“Ministers have a responsibility to speak when it comes to their budget committee but Paul Harriss threw the towel in,” Mr Green said.

“The Minister stood up but immediately sat back down to avoid scrutiny.

“Six months into government and it’s all a bit much for Mr Harriss.”

Labor used the lengthy Budget Estimates debate to sum up the Liberal Government’s secrecy and avoidance.

“The Liberals wasted precious parliamentary time last week by refusing to answer questions and now it appears they’ve simply given up,” Mr Green said.

“Tasmanians deserve better than an arrogant government intent of making a mockery of parliamentary process.”

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Families of French journalists detained in West Papua beg Indonesia for mercy

Jo Collins and Anne Noonan, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
17.09.14 7:33 am

French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois, imprisoned indefinitely for reporting in West Papua are waiting anxiously for news of their fate.

Jakarta: The families of two French journalists imprisoned indefinitely for reporting in West Papua without a visa have spoken out for the first time to beg the Indonesian government for mercy.

Valentine Bourrat’s mother Martine, and Thomas Dandois’s brother Marc, have told Fairfax Media that, 40 days after the journalists’ capture, their families do not understand why their loved ones are facing criminal charges in an Indonesian prison for a mere visa violation. They also do not know how long the legal process might take, nor how long Valentine and Thomas will spend in prison if found guilty.

Martine Bourrat said her husband Patrick, Valentine’s father, was a fabled French war correspondent who was shot and imprisoned during his career. He was eventually killed when he was hit by an American tank during manoeuvres before the second Gulf War in 2002. Valentine was 17 when he died.

“I’m used to this situation. You know it’s journalists’ life,” Martine Bourrat said.

But her daughter’s detention was longer and more stressful than those events.

“I was not afraid at the beginning, but now I am afraid; and Valentine, of course, she is fragile, and I am afraid for her ... it’s hard. It’s hard.”

The pair were caught by police on August 5 working using a tourist visa. They were filming a documentary for Arte TV in France on the separatist movement — a notoriously touchy subject for the Indonesian state.

For West Papua, Indonesian authorities require both a journalist’s visa and a special permission letter, which is difficult to get.

Even so, most reporters caught with tourist visas are simply deported, while immigration authorities say they want this pair jailed for the maximum five years. Dandois and Bourrat have both apologised to authorities and acknowledged their wrongdoing.

At first, Martine said, her daughter had been most worried about having her notes and videos erased, saying: “I lost my story.”

“And then [she was saying], ‘I am a prisoner’. Then, ‘I will stay here for days and weeks, and perhaps now for months — and I hope not for years’.”

“It’s very hard for us to understand because … my husband … went many times in Afghanistan and Iraq, in some countries that were very, very dangerous, and he was exposed, just like this. But he was not kept in a jail for that … I thought Indonesia was a country not so severe with the rules of immigration.”

Mrs Bourrat said her daughter had been doing what she loved, saying it was Valentine’s dream to get a job with Arte TV. Mrs Bourrat said she wanted clemency for her daughter from the Indonesian government.

“We think the sentence, even now, it’s disproportional, compared to what they did.”

Marc Dandois said his brother had two young twin children in France, a boy and a girl aged 2½, who were missing their father.

“For the family it’s quite difficult to live with on a daily basis,” he said.

“It’s a heavy burden [and] always the same thing; we don’t know what’s going to happen to them. We do know why they’ve been arrested but … we don’t understand why they weren’t [just] kicked out of the country.”

He said the two reporters had used tourist visas because if they’d sought permission to travel there, they feared they may have been followed by Indonesian security forces, preventing them from interviewing the people they wanted to meet.

“It would have been much more difficult for them to reach out to people and have interesting interviews and discussions and be able to report impartially on both sides,” Mr Dandois said.

The point was underlined by their lawyer, Aristo M.A. Pangaribuan, who said the procedure for a foreign reporter to get a journalist’s visa was “very difficult, and the bureaucracy is time-wasting”.

“So, personally, I understand that the journalists usually only obtain a tourist’s visa to do research and reportage in West Papua … Also, if you follow the procedure you will be followed by the authorities, so your movement is limited, and you cannot gather as much information as you wish.”

He said he was hoping the criminal charge would be dropped and they would simply face deportation or, if the case did go to court, that the pair would be sentenced to time served. However, it would take at least another two months for the trial to be held, Mr Aristo said.

At one point, West Papua police were considering charging the pair with sedition after making an attempt to link them with an ammunition-swap gone wrong in which two Indonesian police officers were shot dead.

Mr Aristo said that was still a possibility, but seemed increasingly unlikely, because there was nothing in the evidence dossier to link the journalists to the shooting, which happened well before they landed in West Papua.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/families-of-french-journalists-detained-in-west-papua-beg-indonesia-for-mercy-20140916-10hfmk.html

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Paying Tribute to Jeremy Ball

Will Hodgman, Premier
16.09.14 6:56 pm

It was with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Jeremy Ball.

Alderman Ball has served with integrity, compassion and conviction since he was elected to the Launceston City Council in 2007, and Deputy Mayor in 2011.

He was an exceptional man who was closely connected to the community and worked hard to champion the interests of his home city and our state.

On behalf of the Government we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family at this very difficult time.

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Tasmania Has Lost One of its Brightest Young Politicians

HELEN BURNET HOBART CITY COUNCIL ALDERMAN AND CANDIDATE FOR LORD MAYOR
16.09.14 6:46 pm

I am incredibly saddened by the tragic death of my colleague Jeremy Ball, Deputy Mayor of Launceston. Tasmania has lost one of its brightest young politicians and many have lost a dear friend.

Jeremy, who died yesterday in an accident on the Bass Highway, was only 40 years old. He is survived by his wife Karina and two young children.

In the sometimes stuffy atmosphere of local government, Jeremy was a breath of fresh air. In his early thirties when first elected to council in 2007, he had already accumulated a wealth of life and professional experience that informed his actions on council.

He studied dramatic arts at NIDA before working both interstate and overseas in education, business and the arts. By the time he returned to his native Launceston, Jeremy had acquired French and Japanese and cultivated a cosmopolitan outlook. Perhaps it was this that gave him a passion for working with Launceston’s migrant community and led to his role in establishing Safe Asylum; a group dedicated to standing up for people’s legal and human right to seek asylum.

Jeremy’s experience overseas allowed him to see the yet-to-be-fulfilled potential Launceston’s CBD held. One of his most recent initiatives was the Launceston City Heart Project, a visionary and timely joint effort between Launceston City Council and The UTAS School of Architecture to try out new ways to activate Launceston’s CBD with a series of pop-up prototypes using temporary materials.

Jeremy was also an effective and powerful advocate for the natural environment, including active participation in the fight to save the Blue Tier.

January’s Forest Festival this year was the last time that I saw Jeremy. As always, he was overflowing with energy and enthusiasm. These were some of the qualities that always made him such an inspiring person to work with and be around.

Jeremy’s death will be a great loss to the City of Launceston, and to Tasmania. My thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones. He will be greatly missed.

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Vale Jeremy Ball

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader
16.09.14 6:45 pm

Greens Leader and Member for Bass Kim Booth MP today paid personal tribute to Launceston Deputy Mayor, Jeremy Ball, describing him as a close friend and colleague with whom he had worked with closely over the years.

“On behalf of the Tasmanian Greens State Parliamentary team, I extend our most sincere and deepest condolences to Jeremy’s wife, Karina, their two beautiful boys of whom he was so proud, Griffin and Jasper, his loving parents John and Caroline, his brothers and their families, as well as his many friends and workmates,” Mr Booth said. 

“Jeremy, I and others of my team, go back before the 2002 state election when he was my campaign manager. Jeremy’s enthusiasm and dedication played an instrumental role in my successful election that year, and he then continued on working for me as my Executive Assistant in my Bass electorate office until 2009, after which he carved his own enthusiastic path, representing the people of Launceston on Council as Deputy Mayor”

“The tragic death of Jeremy leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of so many Tasmanians who valued him both as a person and as an advocate for all the best things in Tasmania.”

“Jeremy was a passionate, hard-working and loyal team member, with an outrageous sense of humour and an all encompassing love of life and Tasmania.”

“It was a privilege to work with Jeremy as both a colleague and a close mate, over the years.”

“Jeremy Ball will be remembered for his courage, passion and determination, with which he stood up with the community, over issues which affected them, especially the pulp mill, pokies and for those doing it tough.”

“He was instrumental in bringing progressive politics to the Launceston Council, addressing local and global issues such as his action on climate change, the pulp mill, heritage and bicycle lanes to name a few.”

“The Greens feel this tragic loss of Jeremy keenly.”

“Personally, I have lost a dear friend and a colleague, with whom I shared so many laughs and adventures.”

“Jeremy touched so many hearts and Tasmania is a lesser place without him.”

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Recycle, create and donate

Michele Matthews, Events Coordinator, SLT
16.09.14 6:02 pm

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MobileMuster, the official recycling program of the mobile phone industry will donate $5 to Sustainable Living Tasmania (SLT) for every mobile phone recycled at their offices until end of December.*

These phones will help create the largest mobile in Tassie from old mobiles at the Sustainable Living Festival on the Prince’s Wharf 1 forecourt on 8th & 9th November. 

MobileMuster, with the help of local students and volunteers, will arrange 5,000 old and unused mobile phones into a feature artwork on mobile phone recycling, designed by internationally renowned eco-artist Chris Jordan.

“This represents just 1% of the number of old mobiles Tasmanians have in storage lying idle and going to waste” said Rose Read, Manager Recycling, Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).  “We estimate that there are over half a million old, broken or unused old mobile phones stored in homes, offices and garages throughout Tasmania ready for recycling.  MobileMuster accepts and recycles for free all brands of mobiles, chargers and accessories” continued Ms Read.

“Your mobile can be recycled at the Sustainable Living Festival or at our CBD office, so get involved by either bringing down your old mobiles to the festival to help create this massive artwork or recycle them at Sustainable Living Tasmania, 1st Floor, 71 Murray St, Hobart.  You’ll be supporting SLT and helping the environment” said Michele Matthews, Events Coordinator, SLT.

For every mobile recycled at the Festival or at the Sustainable Living Tasmania offices in Hobart between October to December 2014, MobileMuster will donate $5 to Sustainable Living Tasmania.

All phones used in the artwork will be recycled.

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*donations capped at $500.

MobileMuster is the only not-for-profit government accredited mobile phone recycling program. http://www.mobilemuster.com.au

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Getting the Balance Right

Will Hodgman, Premier
16.09.14 5:57 pm

The Liberal Government’s first budget delivers on our promises, begins fixing the budget mess and lays the foundations for the future.

Our budget has been well received by Tasmanians. According to a REACHtel poll of 2,600 voters last week 64 per cent of Tasmanians were supportive of it.

The budget gets the balance right; delivering on our promises, fixing the budget mess, while not cutting too hard.

A key part of delivering the balance is the wage freeze, which is an integral part of the budget and prevents an additional 500 jobs being cut.

If the pay freeze is not passed, we will have no option but to make equivalent savings, which equates to reducing the size of the public service by an additional 500 positions.

We’re fighting for the pay freeze because we’re fighting to save those 500 jobs.

During the election we said we would fix the budget mess, and that’s what we’re doing.

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Tas farmers welcome new forest body – and the prospect of change

TFGA chief executive Jan Davis
16.09.14 4:01 pm

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA), which also represents private forest owners in the state, today welcomed the new federal Forest Industry Advisory Council that is to advise the Australian Government on revitalising the forest industry.

The council includes Blessington farmer and forester Ian Dickenson, who has played a key role in forest industry affairs over many years. Mr Dickenson is also a long-standing advisor to the TFGA on forestry matters.

TFGA chief executive Jan Davis said the move followed the Tasmanian government’s recent appointment of a forest industry body that includes TFGA representing the private industry.

“Tasmania’s private forest estate has to remain front of mind with governments following recent years in which our views have been largely ignored,” Ms Davis said.

“We look to governments to create a pro-business, pro-investment climate for Tasmania’s private forests, which remain among our greatest renewable resources and market advantages.

“Tasmania’s private forest owners are looking for early signals that a change is under way,” Ms Davis said.

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Parks Unsafe in Liberal Hands

Nick McKim MP | Greens Parks spokesperson
16.09.14 2:57 pm

The Tasmanian Greens have laughed off suggestions from Tourism Industry Council Tasmania CEO Luke Martin that the Greens should trust Liberal Ministers to protect the natural and cultural values of Tasmania’s National Parks and World Heritage Area.

“We thank Mr Martin for taking a break from spruiking a cable car up kunanyi/Mt Wellington, but history has shown that the Greens were right to champion our protected areas as a key foundation for the tourism sector,” Greens Parks spokesperson, Nick McKim MP said.

“And history will show that we are right not to trust the Liberals as stewards of our National Parks and World Heritage Areas, particularly given their recent attempt to reduce the size of our World Heritage Area.”

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Premier refuses to reveal cost of fly-in, fly-out media advisor

Michelle O’Byrne MP Labor Deputy Leader
16.09.14 1:59 pm

Deputy Labor Leader Michelle O’Byrne today condemned Will Hodgman’s blasé defence of hiring a highly paid ‘fly-in’ ‘fly-out’ media advisor during last week’s Budget Estimates hearings.

“Mr Hodgman refused to reveal how much Victorian-based Ian Hanke was paid for his latest visit.

Mr Hodgman’s only response in question time today was: “It’s not such a bad thing to have fly in, fly out advisors.”

“Tasmanian’s have a right to know how much they are paying for Mr Hanke’s advice to the Premier.

“Mr Hodgman already has a team of media advisors in his office but paid big money for so-called specialist advice to wriggle his way out of questioning during Budget Estimates.

“Mr Hodgman is obviously too embarrassed to reveal the cost of hiring Mr Hanke to Tasmanian taxpayers.

“It is a terrible double standard when the Liberals are cutting jobs and pay across the public sector which includes health workers, teachers and police,” Ms O’Byrne said.

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The withdrawal of the Australian Federal Police from Hobart Airport.

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Denison
16.09.14 1:12 pm

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has discussed new revelations about the withdrawal of the Australian Federal Police from Hobart Airport.

“The consequences of the withdrawal of the Australian Federal Police from Hobart Airport are even worse than we first feared,” Mr Wilkie said.

“I have learned that the two AFP detection dogs have already gone. One detected drugs and cash, and the other detected explosives.

“And I have also learned that the Hobart-based AFP officers who are being removed were in the practise of inspecting Launceston Airport on a weekly basis, visits that will obviously no longer be possible.

“In other words, Hobart Airport will be the only capital city airport without a permanent AFP presence and Hobart, and Tasmania more broadly, will be left without a range of law enforcement capabilities and advice.

“Not only does the withdrawal of the AFP make Hobart Airport vulnerable to innovative home-grown terrorists looking for a symbolic and soft target, it also makes the whole of the State more vulnerable to a range of other criminal activities.

“I call again on the Federal Government to urgently review this matter.

“If the Government is fair dinkum about the increased terror threat then it needs to maintain a permanent AFP presence at Hobart Airport.”

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The death of Jeremy Ball ...

Christine Milne, Kim Booth, Peter Whish-Wilson, Cassy O’Connor, Nick McKim, Bob Brown, Peg Putt, Austra Maddox.
16.09.14 1:11 pm

It’s with great sadness that we have to inform you of the death of a valued colleague, friend and long-term Green: Jeremy Ball.

Jeremy was the man involved in the fatal accident with the log-truck at Carrick that has been reported in the media over the past 24 hours.
                               
Jeremy was a long-term member and supporter of the Greens, becoming active when he returned to Launceston in 2002 after years of working and living abroad.

He worked on Kim Booth’s 2002 successful election campaign and continued to work for him for many years, stood for the Greens at federal, state and council elections, and went on to become a councillor and then deputy-mayor of Launceston Council.

An actor and community activist, one of his most recent projects involved devising and coordinating a jobs program to help refugees and migrants in Launceston get on their feet.

As a councillor and then deputy mayor, Jeremy championed the arts, social enterprise, regional and local economics and improved systems and designs knowledge.

A popular and energetic Greens member and council representative, he will be sorely missed by people in Launceston but also the wider Tasmanian community.

Our deepest sympathies and support go to Jeremy’s wife Karina, sons Griffin and Jasper, his parents John and Caroline, and the rest of his family.

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The cable car ...

ROCC
16.09.14 1:04 pm

Detailed analysis of the results of a survey on a cable car for Mt Wellington can be found here:

http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/polling-on-mt-wellington-cable-car.html?m=1

and the Mercury’s coverage is found here:

http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/statewide-support-for-cable-car-on-mount-wellington/story-fnj4f7k1-1227058350935

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Government still dodging questions on budget and job cuts

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
16.09.14 12:38 pm

Revelations that the new Liberal Government took the axe to health workers’ jobs only weeks after assuming office highlights its secretive budget cutting agenda.

“During Budget Estimates hearings last week the Liberals refused to answer any questions about where cuts would be made and worse lied about protecting front line jobs,” Mr Green said.

“This clearly demonstrates the way Liberal ministers from the Premier down are wilfully misleading Tasmanians.

“The fact is that the Government is making additional savings in the budget purely and simply to honour election promises that it knew at the time were not affordable.

“No one working in the public sector, including health workers, teachers and police, is immune to the cuts and the Liberals arrogant and tricky approach to answering questions is wearing extremely thin.

“The only way we can get information is from Right to Information requests because we can’t get any straight answers from the Government.

“We now know it cut 16 jobs in the health sector almost immediately after the election while planning to get rid of 60 front line jobs in education.

“The Liberals commitment not to axe front line jobs is laughable.

“The Government is still refusing to provide any detail on budget savings while threatening to cut more jobs if pay cuts are opposed,” Mr Green said.

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Delivering commitment to forestry industry

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK Senator for Tasmania Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
16.09.14 12:32 pm

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, announced the establishment of the Forest Industry Advisory Council at the Australian Forest Products Association dinner in Hobart last night.

“The establishment of a Forest Industry Advisory Council was one of the Coalition’s key election commitments to revitalise the forestry industry. I am pleased to deliver on that promise and announce the members of the council,” Senator Colbeck said.

“The council will advise Government on building a positive future for the forestry industry in Australia. Members will also provide informative consultation and recommendations on proposed legislation and policies impacting on the industry,” he said.

Senator Colbeck said council members have a broad range of forestry expertise and are well-placed to inform Government about key issues impacting the sector.

“The councillors come from a range of sectors within the forestry industry and community, including sawmilling, private forestry, plantations, wood product importers, and manufacturers,” he said.

“I congratulate members on their appointment to the council and look forward to working with them to revitalise the forestry industry.”

The council will meet in a few weeks to discuss issues including research and development, opportunities for commercial forestry under the Carbon Farming Initiative, investment for new forests and processing, update of the National Forest Policy Statement, and emerging uses for wood fibre and cellulose products.

Senator Colbeck will co-chair the council alongside experienced forester, Mr Rob de Fégely.

Senator Colbeck recognised the previous forestry advisory council and thanked members for their contribution to the industry.

The Australian forestry industry is vital in many regional communities around Australia and contributed about $7 billion to our national gross domestic product in 2012–13.
The council members are:

• Mr Rob de Fégely, with experience in forest management, NSW
• Mr Ian Dickenson AO, with experience in private forestry and farm forestry, Tas
• Mr Vince Hurley, with experience in the sawmilling industry, Vic
• Mr Andrew Hurford, with experience in the sawmilling industry, NSW
• Ms Linda Sewell, with experience in plantation management, Vic
• Mr Nils Koren, with experience in timber importation, Vic
• Mr Andrew Leighton, with experience in pulp and paper manufacturing, NSW
• Mr Ron Adams, with experience in research and development, WA
• Ms Karina Coombes, with experience in Indigenous forestry,  NT
• Ms Michelle Freeman, with experience in forestry communities, Vic
And the observers are:
• Mr Ross Hampton, representing the Australian Forest Products Association, ACT
• Mr Gavin Butcher, representing the Forestry and Forest Products Committee, WA
• Mr Ric Sinclair, representing Forest and Wood Products Australia, Vic
• Mr Michael Hartman, representing ForestWorks, Vic

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Huon Valley: The mystery of the missing $millions

Peter Coad, Deep Bay, Cygnet, Tas
16.09.14 7:41 am

In 2006, the Huon Valley Council invested a substantial amount of public (ratepayers’) money in speculative investments known as collateralised debt obligations (CDOs). A significant amount of funds invested in CDOs was from council’s water and wastewater accounts.

Prior to 2006, the HVC was approached by investment brokers offering CDO investments. Rightly, it declined them. So what was it that made council change its mind in 2006? Was it the Commonwealth Bank, or perhaps some person or persons, who caused that decision to be made? What was the reason for investing in CDOs, and who made the final decision to do so?

To ensure nothing like this happens again, it is important that we are told how all this came about. In the years since, council’s leadership has failed to explain its actions. 

The decision to invest some $4m — about a third of council’s total cash and cash-equivalent portfolio — in speculative financial products should only have been made after a logical, sensible and essential decision by council’s elected councillors to take independent advice prior to making investments on such a large scale. Did council seek such independent advice?

The annual accounts of the HVC for June 2010 state that “the $3m CDO investment was reported at a $0.00 balance in the 2008/9 financial year and an unrealised impairment applied”. The Commonwealth Bank, it seems, had advised council that the principal was lost.

Council documents show that another investment of $1m was “sold” by council in 2011 for $240,000. This resulted in a gain on the investment’s written-down value of $146,000. It is believed that council sought to investigate all means to recover its losses. Did this actually happen? If so, what was the cost to ratepayers for this decision? And what were the outcomes?

With the mayor seemingly no longer running council, it is up to the deputy mayor to provide an explanation to ratepayers what actions council has taken to recover these funds, and how much they have cost ratepayers?

HVC’s own reports acknowledge that the loss of these funds was a serious financial blow. What is needed are specifics. For example, what is the total financial impact of the loss? Did councillors know what was going on when these investments were made? If not, council’s leadership should have fallen on their swords, as would directors of any corporate board in similar circumstances. There was no such outcome at the HVC. “Trust us,” seemed to be the response, “we’re here for another electoral term.”

Every local government councillor has a corporate duty to be fully aware of the financial operations of a council, including details of its investment portfolio.

The deputy mayor tells us that council has an open-door policy. If that is so, let it provide its electors (council’s shareholders) with a detailed explanation of what has been going on concerning the lost monies.

With an all-out, all-in election due, it is up to council to abandon its secrecy over what has all the hallmarks of a long-time cover-up of an unacceptable financial loss, and tell it like it is before the October election. And, if I’m elected to council next month, I’ll be asking more questions from the inside on this issue.

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The search for budget detail continues

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
16.09.14 7:40 am

Labor Leader Bryan Green says the Opposition will be forced to ask questions in Parliament this week that should have been answered in Estimates.

“Liberal ministers wasted valuable time during Budget Estimates, ducking and dodging questions about cuts in their departments,” Mr Green said.

“Labor will again search for answers during Question Time this week.

“It’s not good enough for ministers to avoid scrutiny while public servants are being asked to pay for their pre-election promises.

“The Liberals got themselves into this mess, now they have to explain exactly how Tasmanians are going to pay.

“Treasurer Peter Gutwein’s threats to the Legislative Council are a worrying sign.

“The Liberals failed to consult with public sector workers over the so-called pay freeze, now they expect upper house members to rubber stamp the change.

“Legislative Councillors are rightfully wary of these Liberal tactics.

“Voting against the pay cut does not amount in any way to blocking supply.”

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Senior Appointment

Will Hodgman, Premier
16.09.14 7:08 am

Today (Mon) I have appointed Martin Gilmour to be a Senior Advisor (north) within my office.

Mr Gilmour, who has been Editor of The Examiner for four years, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about the issues impacting on the north of the state.

Under his editorship, The Examiner won the PANPA Newspaper of the Year award.

He will commence the role at the end of the month, based in Launceston.

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Australian Government Standardises on Acquia for Digital Government Platform

Acquia
16.09.14 7:01 am

govCMS to Drive Innovation for Citizen Engagement, Lowering Costs and Increasing Efficiency Across Departments and Agencies

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – September 15, 2014 – Acquia, the digital business company, today announced that the Australian Government selected Acquia for govCMS, its Government Web Content Management System. govCMS will help agencies decrease costs and increase their agility as they better engage citizens with government services. The Department of Finance has selected Acquia to provide an open cloud platform for the development and continuous delivery of its Drupal-based govCMS service. Australia.gov.au and finance.gov.au are among the most prominent federal sites that are already on Drupal and planned for migration to govCMS.

“We designed govCMS to save costs while empowering agencies to act independently. We’re supporting innovation by relying on Drupal, a technology proven in governments around the world,” said John Sheridan, Australian Government CTO. “Open source technologies like Drupal, when paired with an open cloud platform like Acquia Cloud, are creating efficiencies in government and disrupting the way we deliver digital citizen experiences—for the better.”

govCMS is an important service offering for Australian Government entities. It reflects the Government’s eGovernment and the Digital Economy Policy pre-election commitments regarding, using shared or cloud services. Agencies using govCMS will benefit from a standardised procurement model and achieve compliance for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Acquia helps the Australian Government meet these requirements in various ways:
• govCMS will incorporate Acquia Cloud Site Factory, a SaaS application for Drupal that simplifies the operation, management, and governance of hundreds of sites.
• govCMS is delivered on Acquia Cloud, which provides a secure development and delivery environment that speeds time to market and ensures application quality, a critical component for site scalability and resiliency.
• Government agencies can tap into the innovation of the global Drupal community, connecting new applications and technologies to their sites as they emerge. govCMS also incorporates the aGov Drupal distribution, which was developed specifically for Australian government organisations.
A recent survey from Accenture Digital reports that 70 percent of citizens want to access government services online. This trend, coupled with increasing budget pressures, is inspiring a wave of innovation in how government delivers information and services. In addition to the Department of Finance, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Environment, and the Department of Employment, more than 100 Federal and State government agencies rely on Drupal today to deliver citizen services and information.

“Drupal is rapidly becoming the gold standard among governments around the world. We’re proud to see the Australian Government taking a progressive approach to delivering citizen-centric digital experiences,” said Chris Harrop, Director for Asia Pacific and Japan, Acquia. “Acquia helps organisations as vast as the Australian government deliver services at a far lower cost and achieve a faster time to market with our resilient cloud platform and world-class professional support.”

About Acquia
Acquia is the digital business company. Flight Centre, IAG Insurance, and the NSW Department of Premier & Cabinet are among the more than 4,000 organisations that are transforming the delivery of government services with Acquia’s open platform for integrated digital experiences. Global 2000 enterprises, government agencies and NGOs rely on Acquia to create new revenue streams, lower costs, and engage audiences more deeply through content, community, commerce, and context.

For more information visit http://www.acquia.com

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The Global Forest Industry This Quarter

Hakan Ekstrom Wood Resources International LLC Seattle, USA
16.09.14 6:46 am

Excerpts from the 2Q 2014 issue of the Wood Resource Quarterly. To subscribe to the full 52-page market report, please visit http://www.woodprices.com

Sawlog prices moved up in North America, Eastern Europe and Latin America, while falling in Western Europe.

Both the softwood and hardwood pulpwood prices were generally higher than in the 1Q/14 in the 20 countries tracked by the WRQ.

The price discrepancy continues to widen between NBSK pulp and BHKP pulp.

Lumber production fell in the US and Canada.

Lumber exports from the Nordic countries were 10% higher 1H/14 as compared to 1H/13.

China imported record volumes of lumber in July.

Wood pellet export from North America to Europe rose in the 1Q/14, BC shifting to Asia.

Special report in the current WRQ issue: Timber harvests and end-uses of logs in North America in 2013

The full news brief from the latest issue of the Wood Resource Quarterly can be found here…

The_Global_Forest_Industry_in_the_2Q-14.pdf

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SurfSpotting Aus/NZ app

Andrew Scales
16.09.14 6:27 am

image

AUSTRALIA, 15 September 2014 – SurfSpotting, a Sydney based start up, today announced the availability of the all *NEW* SurfSpotting Aus/NZ app. Building upon the existing functionality of the original version, SurfSpotting Aus/NZ offers one of the most comprehensive surf atlases for Australia and New Zealand.

The app, what we think may be the first for Australia and New Zealand, is a surf atlas with the inclusion of real-time surf forecasts. These two components have not been combined within an Australia and New Zealand app yet they provide huge advantages to surfers who are on the road and at home. 

Surfers and beach goers alike can now get up to date information about the conditions for surf breaks on the go plus the addition of automated alerts when their favourite break is on. Select your favourite surf spot to be automatically notified when conditions are optimum for the following day. That way you can plan ahead to avoid missing that perfect sessions.

But that’s not all… the app is loaded with great images from some of our finest local surf photographers.  The gallery page provides high quality images with the purpose of giving photographers the chance to show off their talent to a targeted audience.

We believe that photography plays an integral role in the cultural significance of surfing and SurfSpotting Aus/NZ aims to bring high quality images for all to enjoy and share in unique and inspiring images related to surfing, its culture and relaxed lifestyle.

So, whether you’re heading to your local break or packing for a road trip, we seek to symbolise our fascination and love for the ocean by providing a high quality surf atlas for all to enjoy.

We believe this is the perfect addition to anyone’s dashboard.                                                                                       

SurfSpotting Aus/NZ is now available for download here:

https://itunes.apple.com/app/id914515062

SurfSpotting was founded in Sydney in 2012 by Andrew Scales.
SurfSpotting is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and runs on iOS 5.0 or later. Also available on Android.
To learn more about SurfSpotting please click on this link now: http://www.surfspotting.net

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