01.03.11 12:00 am
MEDIA RELEASES: •Government •Greens Tasmania •Australian Greens, Bob Brown •Australian Greens, Christine Milne •Tasmanian Liberals •Tasmanian Liberals, Will Hodgman •Tasmanian Labor, David Bartlett •Federal Labor •Federal Liberal •Australian Democrats •Tasmanian Socialist Alliance •Australian Socialist Alliance •Ethics & Sustainability Party •Senator Online - Australia’s first and only internet based political party •Sustainable Population Party
Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Health & Human Services spokesperson
24.05.15 1:42 pm
The Hodgman Liberals came into office promising to ‘rebuild’ essential services.
Instead, they have made deep cuts to public health and education, putting a projected 1200 public sector workers out of work while pledging to spend the bulk of a projected $560 million GST windfall on roads and infrastructure works over the next four years.
The new government has diminished essential services, overseeing the loss of key hospital staff, community supports and classroom educators, with the cuts embedded across the forward estimates of the 2014-15 Budget.
This government has its priorities all wrong. Given an opportunity reinvest in our social infrastructure as an economic enabler, it is putting concrete, bitumen and steel before the health and educational outcomes of Tasmanians.
They are effectively using the wages of discarded public sector workers to build more roads.
If new money is flowing from Canberra, the Premier and his Cabinet should spend the bulk of it repairing damage they have done to essential services after promising to ‘rebuild’ them before the last election.
Anything less will be a grave breach of the contract they made with Tasmanian voters.
Tony Reidy, CEO, TasCOSS
24.05.15 12:08 pm
On the back of a year of significant spending cuts and the recently confirmed GST windfall, TasCOSS expects the State Government to reveal its social goals through the priorities it funds in this week’s Budget.
“The Government reached its economic savings goals through last year’s cuts and has promised to invest its confirmed $130 Million GST windfall ‘wisely’,” TasCOSS CEO Tony Reidy said.
“All this points to a 2015/16 State Budget that must reveal how the Government will invest to create a healthier, better educated and more resilient Tasmania. While a Government can cut to meet economic goals, social goals are achieved only through investment,” Mr Reidy said.
“This week’s Budget will demonstrate whether the Government understands that building a healthy, employed population starts with ensuring Tasmanians have secure housing and the family and community support to access education and then the workforce.”
Mr Reidy said that, to date, the Government had spoken of social change in terms of job creation and education retention.
“Until appropriate investment is made by Government in the groundwork of social change—housing, transport and the early years—these other initiatives can’t succeed,” he said.
“The Government’s visions for health, education and employment will be met only by setting people up for success with secure, affordable housing, effective transport to get them to services, higher education and jobs, and the involvement of the entire community in supporting children and families from the start.”
“TasCOSS made these points to Government in its submission to the Budget process in January: Our members are the experts in this area and we look forward to confirmation that we have been listened to.”
TasCOSS advocates for the interests of low-income and disadvantaged Tasmanians and is the peak body for the Tasmanian community services sector.
Michelle O’Byrne MP Deputy Labor Leader Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation
24.05.15 12:00 pm
Deputy Labor Leader Michelle O’Byrne today announced a new Labor initiative to boost Tasmanian children’s participation in sport.
The program, ‘Active Kids – Active Communities’, will provide grants to children between 5 and 15 years of age to join registered sporting organisations in their communities.
“Labor believes that all children regardless of their financial circumstances should have the opportunity to take part in and enjoy organised sports,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“Children’s participation in sport and recreation is recognised as a critical part of building healthier communities.
“Unfortunately, all too often the cost of membership fees and equipment prevents some children from becoming involved.
“In our first year of Government, Labor will establish the ‘Active Kids – Active Communities’ pilot program.
“This will provide 1000 eligible children with a $150 grant to join a registered sporting organisation.
“By joining a sporting club, young people and their families can engage with positive role models, establish new friendships and become more involved in their communities.
“The success of the program will be evaluated after 12 months with the intent of extending it into the future.”
Vanessa Goodwin, Attorney-General
23.05.15 4:52 pm
The Hodgman Liberal Government is delivering on our election commitment to exempt faith-based schools from certain provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act.
This amendment has already passed the Lower House of Parliament and will soon be debated in the Legislative Council.
As promised, the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill will allow faith-based schools to give preference in their admissions to students who have religious beliefs, affiliations or activities consistent with those of the school.
It will not allow discrimination on any other grounds.
This is hardly a radical change.
The amendment brings Tasmanian law into line with all other states and territories.
In addition, under existing laws, religious schools are already able to apply for an exemption to the Act, but this can be a cumbersome and uncertain process as it is difficult for schools to predict in advance whether a year group may be oversubscribed with students seeking admission.
While it is not surprising to see the anti-change AEU against this move, it is passing strange that the Council of Civil Liberties are against a proposal that enshrines the freedom of religion.
Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd
23.05.15 1:12 pm
All 6 pirate toothfishing vessels of the Bandit Six have been intercepted and shut down. Today the Yongding and Songhua were boarded by police in Cape Verde.
Sea Shepherd’s Captain Peter Hammarstedt not only chased the Thunder for 110 days until it was scuttled on 6 April 2015, he also located, identified and reported the Yongding and Songhua to Cape Verde police with the assistance of the Sea Shepherd vessel Jairo More Sandoval. Operation Icefish is a massive success.
“The successes of Operation Icefish clearly demonstrate that Sea Shepherd’s arsenal in the fight against poaching extends far beyond high-seas patrols. We have the tools and the experience required to eradicate IUU fishing operations from the Southern Ocean. With the welcomed cooperation from law enforcement authorities, coordinated by the expertise of the Environmental Crime Unit of Interpol, that’s exactly what we will do,” said Captain Chakravarty.
Operation Icefish was Sea Shepherd’s 11th Southern Ocean Defense Campaign, and the first to target IUU fishing operators in the waters of Antarctica.
Hobart has a direct connection with Operation Icefish Hobart is the Honorary Home Port for the Bob Barker and the ship and crew have spent many months here. More at:
Paul Watson, Facebook comment @7 am AEST 23/5/15
SIX FOR SIX. WE DID IT.
All six of the Bandit Six have been intercepted. The THUNDER scuttled off Sao Tome. The VIKING and the PERLON detained by Malaysia. The KUNLUN detained by Thailand and today the YONGDING and the SONGHUA boarded by the police in Cape Verde.
Captain Peter Hammarstedt in command of the BOB BARKER not only chased the THUNDER for 110 days until it was scuttled on April 6th, he also located, identified and reported the YONGDING and the SONGHUA to the police with the assistance of the crew of the Sea Shepherd vessel JAIRO MORE SANDOVAL in Cape Verde.
Little did the owners and Captains of the YOUNGDING and the SONGHUA know that when they voyaged all the way to Cape Verde from the Southern Ocean that a Sea Shepherd vessel the JAIRO MORA SANDOVAL was patrolling Cape Verde waters for poachers.
What an incredible year. Sea Shepherd went for six poachers (the Bandit Six) and helped to shut down all six.
Operation Icefish has been a huge success.
Meanwhile Captain Sid Chakravarty and Sea Shepherd Hong Kong director Gary Stokes were in Indonesia to witness the destruction of 41 poaching vessels by the no nonsense Indonesian Minister or Fisheries.
NICK McKIM MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
23.05.15 12:51 pm
The Tasmanian Greens welcome today’s announcement that an extra $8m will be invested into Parks, but said it should be spent on genuine priorities and with respect for natural and cultural heritage values.
“Any extra funding into Parks is welcome, but this announcement does not even come close to covering the cuts to Parks funding imposed without mandate by the Liberals,” said Greens Parks spokesperson Nick McKim MP.
“There is no doubt a need to invest in tracks, interpretation and facilities such as toilets, but there are also other priorities such as threatened species management plans and invasive species responses that have been put on the back burner thanks to the Liberals savage cuts to Parks’ recurrent funding.”
“While any extra funding is welcome, the way the Liberals say it will be spent is further evidence that they see our National Parks as economic assets rather than the unique natural and cultural landscapes that they are.”
Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health
23.05.15 12:50 pm
The Hodgman Liberal Government has today advertised for proposals to deliver residential rehabilitation treatment services for people with drug or alcohol dependence.
Last month we announced there would be an additional $4.8 million in the upcoming state budget to tackle the problem of ice and other drugs in Tasmania.
The funding, which will be delivered over four years, will deliver 12 new residential rehabilitation beds, with a priority on delivering a residential rehabilitation program based on the North West.
The request for proposals advertised today is seeking an organisation or organisations to deliver this program.
The successful organisation(s) will work with people with severe alcohol and other drug dependencies and their families/carers to deliver 24 hour 7 day a week residential rehabilitation treatment and support.
There has been a longstanding service gap in this area on the North West and we are pleased to now be in a position to address it.
As well as increasing residential rehabilitation services; the Liberal Government’s $4.8 million in new funding will also enable:
• Employ two new positions within the Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS) based in Launceston and Ulverstone to work across the North and North West with the broader health system and community services.
• Deliver transport options so North and North West clients can access the southern specialist Inpatient Withdrawal Unit when appropriate.
• Develop data collection and information systems which will give us a clearer picture of up-to-date evidence which can be shared across Government and non-Government services.
Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage
23.05.15 12:49 pm
This week’s 2015-16 Budget will confirm the Hodgman Liberal Government’s commitment to our parks and reserves, with an additional $8 million over two years for funding high priority infrastructure renewal and maintenance.
Tasmania’s natural environment is one of our greatest assets, containing significant natural and cultural values and providing an abundance of opportunities for recreational, educational and tourism experiences.
This new funding will provide significant additional opportunities for the Government to refresh tourism infrastructure in high visitation areas. This will mean that visitor expectation is matched or exceeded and we build on our world-class reputation while at the same time supporting growth of jobs and economic activity in the tourism sector.
This additional funding will provide for the redevelopment, refurbishment and replacement of high priority infrastructure in Tasmania’s parks and reserves including signage and interpretation, walking and multi-use tracks, roads, fire trails, amenities and car parking.
Having the right infrastructure is vitally important for enhancing visitor experience, as well as facilitating good management outcomes such as improving visitor safety and providing additional protection to sensitive values.
The Government will identify priority projects in consultation with local government, regional and other stakeholders.
We recognise the importance of getting the balance right. The Government is genuinely committed to the protection of Tasmania’s unique and precious natural and cultural values while at the same time providing opportunity for using, sharing and celebrating our natural areas with Tasmanians and the world.
The Hodgman Liberal Government is unlocking the potential of our natural areas and considering ideas for sensitive and appropriate tourism offerings in Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, national parks and reserves that are genuinely respectful of the natural and cultural values of those areas.
We have a goal to transform Tasmania into the environmental tourism capital of the world, to create jobs for Tasmanians and help reach a target of 1.5 million visitors a year by 2020.
Tasmania is now heading in the right direction and we need to build on the momentum. We want to give more Tasmanians and visitors the opportunity to experience our unique, world class parks and reserves and this additional funding will help support growth in visitation and enhance visitor experience for these areas.
Elise Archer, Speaker of the House of Assembly Liberal Member for Denison
23.05.15 12:48 pm
A new purpose built early learning centre for busy families juggling child care has opened in South Hobart, creating 35 jobs.
Today I was pleased to officially open Child’s Play which is a fine example of a state-of-the art facility with premium fittings, play spaces and equipment for early learning.
Owners Tina and Zekri Palushi, along with centre director Mirela Djukanovic deserve credit for what they have achieved in developing the centre.
This project represents a $2 million investment in our community and is another sign of the growing confidence in the local economy.
Once fully up and running, the centre will have capacity for 127 children and will employ 35 experienced staff. The new centre is a welcome addition to the southern Tasmanian childcare community.
I wish all those involved every success.
Elise Archer, Speaker of the House of Assembly Liberal Member for Denison
23.05.15 12:40 pm
Today I am looking forward to attending the ‘Red Saturday’ TSL Magpies clash between Glenorchy and Devonport at KGV from 1pm, which is raising money and awareness of the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal.
As Chair of the Red Shield Appeal in the Moonah and Glenorchy districts, I am proud that my local team, the Glenorchy District Football Club, is such an enthusiastic community partner of the Salvation Army’s major annual fundraiser, and it is wonderful to see other football teams, such as the Hobart City Demons, following their ‘Red Game’ lead.
In the spirit of the Red Shield Appeal, players will wear red socks or red arm bands as they contest the Neil Conlan Cup, donations will be collected by volunteers and ‘Shieldy’ the Red Shield Appeal mascot will join children for a half-time kick.
‘Red Saturday’ is a fitting way to ‘kick-off’ the first week of the Red Shield Appeal, which was officially launched on Thursday with a $30,000 donation from the Tasmanian Government.
I’m sure the attendance will be high as locals show their support for the wonderful work the Salvation Army does as well as help those less fortunate in our community.
The Salvation Army hopes to raise $2 million across the state during the Red Shield Appeal, which will help to fund the charities’ 70 community and social services across its 20 Tasmanian centres.
The official period for the Red Shield Appeal is 27 May until 6 June, with the doorknock weekend on 30-31 May.
Donations can be made by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or online at http://www.salvos.org.au
** Ms Archer, Lieutenant Amy Jones from the Salvation Army’s Moonah Corps and Community Centre, and Glenorchy Magpies’ President John McCann will be available for interview at the ground if media would like to pre-arrange a suitable time.
23.05.15 7:06 am
Simon Pilkington, TasWater
22.05.15 7:44 pm
TasWater has good news for the residents of Ellendale, lifting its long standing boil water alert.
TasWater has completed the installation of an improved filtration process at Ellendale’s water treatment plant to provide a supply which meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the provisions of the Tasmanian Public Health Act (1997).
Following extensive testing in the plant since December last year, the Department of Health and Human Services has now confirmed the official end to the need for residents to boil their water.
Like all TasWater supplies, Ellendale’s will continue to be monitored and tested regularly to ensure it meets water quality standards into the future.
“I am really pleased to be able to formally lift Ellendale’s boil water alert as it is one of our top priorities to supply small towns across the state with good quality drinking water,” TasWater’s CEO, Michael Brewster said.
“Over the next three years TasWater plans to spend more than $330 million on upgrading water and sewerage facilities and reducing the number of town on boil water alerts or do not consume notices from 26 down to eight by 2018.”
“Progress is also being made elsewhere in Tasmania. A 29km pipeline from Fingal to Avoca has been approved for construction. This will connect the town to a brand new water treatment plant at Fingal which is going through a rigorous testing program to ensure it meets Australian Water Quality Guidelines.
“Other projects underway include a new 28km water supply pipeline on King Island to upgrade water to the towns of Currie and Grassy, and water treatment plants undergoing design for the Flinders Island towns of Whitemark and Lady Barren as well as Rosebery and Ringarooma,” he said.
The Ringarooma Water Treatment Plant will also provide drinking water for the towns of Derby, Legerwood and Branxholm.
Tasmanian company Stornoway has just constructed a treatment plant at Tunbridge and Ouse, with water from Ouse being piped to Hamilton, again through a brand new 14km pipe which will come on-line in a few months.
Stornoway Chief Executive Officer, Brad Johnson says his company is delighted to have been awarded the contract to build plants at Ouse and Tunbridge.
He says Stornoway has a long history of delivering significant and important services and projects in Tasmania, and values the opportunity to deliver new state of the art, water treatment facilities for the State’s communities.
“Stornoway has developed a strong working relationship with TasWater, and is very pleased to be involved in projects which mitigate boiled water alert issues.
“We’re currently delivering the construction projects at Ouse and Tunbridge in addition to providing operations and maintenance services for King Island’s water and sewage services. We look forward to continuing to work with TasWater to fulfil their community infrastructure needs,” Mr Johnson said.
Mr Brewster says “with TasWater approaching its second anniversary since taking over Tasmania’s three regional water bodies, the restructure is well and truly starting to demonstrate the benefits of one strong and coordinated organisation to manage Tasmania’s water and sewerage services.”
TasWater thanked residents in Ellendale for their ongoing support and patience and looks forward to maintaining a reliable and safe drinking water supply for locals and visitors.
HELEN POLLEY, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR AGED CARE SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
22.05.15 7:42 pm
There are a lot of nasty cuts to aged care hidden in the 2015-16 Federal Budget and Tony Abbott needs to explain why he is slashing $20 million from dementia initiatives, and $40 million from the aged care workforce fund.
This is the second time the Abbott Government has ripped funding away from dementia care and the aged care workforce.
“We need to make sure that older Australian’s receive the care that they need and deserve, which is why the correct strategy and policy decisions need to be made now,” Senator Polley said.
The tardy funding announcement to keep the John L. Grove Centre in Launceston open was welcomed, but did not pull the wool over our eyes. The Government’s disregard for dementia care and aged care in Tasmania remains reflected in the imminent closure of the Jasmine Unit at the Roy Fagan Centre in Hobart, and Scottsdale’s aged care facility, Aminya.
Lead Organiser, Health and Community Services Union Tasmania, Joanne McEvoy says the announcement of Aminya’s closure was a bombshell.
“The 50 staff at Aminya are shocked and devastated, not only for themselves, but for the 23 residents and their families,” Said Ms McEvoy.
“This Government forgets that the closure of these facilities has a human face. These closures will result in fear and uncertainty for many residents. Some residents will be forced to relocate to other facilities meaning they will be further from their loved ones, and may be forced to travel long distances to see them,” Senator Polley said.
According to Alzheimer’s Australia there are almost 8000 Tasmanians living with dementia, with that figure set to rise to 13,500 by 2040.Tasmania’s population is ageing faster than any other state or territory and closing these facilities is not a solution.
“Repercussions of these unfair cuts extend past vulnerable older Australians, and directly hit aged care workers, aged care providers and the community. The Government’s lack of action over the closure of these facilities will only fuel more instability in the sector.” Senator Polley said.
Dr Rosalie Woodruff Local Government Member, Huon Valley Council
22.05.15 3:16 pm
“I can confirm that I have decided to nominate for pre-selection as a Senator for the Tasmanian Greens.”
“The Tasmanian Greens Party has established a pre-selection process. I will not be making further public comment about my candidacy until this process has been completed.”
Dr Woodruff has been a councillor on the Huon Valley Council since 2009. She ran for the Tasmanian Greens for the seat of Franklin in the 2013 federal election, and in the 2014 state election.
TFGA president Wayne Johnston
22.05.15 3:14 pm
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has welcomed the new forestry training centre to be established at the University of Tasmania.
TFGA president Wayne Johnston said it was welcome news after the recent closure of the Cooperative Research Centre for Forestry on the Hobart campus.
“There can be no doubt that Tasmania has research expertise in silviculture and timber production that is unparalleled anywhere else in the country,” Mr Johnston said.
“We had been in danger of losing it”.
“The key to the new $14 million institution announced this week is that it is looking outside the traditional parameters. It will be looking at new industries and fresh approaches to wood products.”
The TFGA represents private forest owners, responsible for about 880,000 ha of the state’s forest cover.
“This is particularly welcome news for those of us who still see a great future in timber production,” Mr Johnston said.
Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Human Services
22.05.15 3:10 pm
The Hodgman Liberal Government is continuing to introduce Housing Connect, a fairer, more equitable, one-stop shop for all Tasmanians’ housing needs.
This replaces the previous fragmented housing services that were disjointed and failed to ensure those most in need were prioritised.
Misinformed scaremongering about this reform is not only wrong; it is potentially causing unnecessary worry to many Tasmanians.
Contrary to what some have claimed, prisoners will be able to apply for housing assistance before they are released, from July 1 when the new process begins.
Through Housing Connect, this assistance can take a number of forms, including supported accommodation, public housing, community housing, and rental assistance for private housing.
In other words, it is about matching the individual needs of clients because the fact of the matter is that those re-entering society after a custodial sentence need a wider range of services than REO alone.
Since Housing Connect is delivered by five community service organisations, including the Salvation Army, clients are also able to access more housing options.
It is also not true to say that funding has been cut as this funding has gone into housing services.
The program was originally funded for only two years under the previous Labor-Green government, with this Government then providing an additional year of funding through to 30 June to ensure Housing Connect was ready to subsume its role.
Housing Connect did not exist when REO was introduced.
During 2013-14, Housing Connect undertook 4318 support assessments for a range of clients to determine their level of need.
During the same period, only 71 clients were supported through the REO program, which is a fraction of those released after serving their sentences each year. For example, 701 ex-offenders were released in 2014.
The number of former REO clients accessing Housing Connect is, therefore, likely to be only around 1.6 per cent of all Housing Connect assessments.
However, they will now have access to the full range of Housing Connect services that they did not have in the past.
Under the Housing Connect model, all Tasmanians in need of housing will be assessed and prioritised according to their individual circumstances.
We do not believe Tasmanians would consider that it would be fair to provide housing to ex-offenders ahead of, for example, a young family who are homeless and literally living on the streets.
Ex-offenders will continue to receive housing services through Housing Connect and, in fact, will have access to a wider range of services that better meet their needs.
But we will not be putting ex-offenders ahead of those who are in greater need and we will make no apologies for that.
22.05.15 3:08 pm
... over Climate and Reef-wrecking Coal Financing Proposal
Hobart- Today, concerned CommBank customers were joined by 60 residents in an action calling on CommBank to publicly rule out financing for the dangerous Galilee Basin coal mining project and the associated Abbot Point coal port expansion on the Great Barrier Reef.
Over 50 residents participated in the action, which included public speakers, Stuart Barry from TasEthical, Vicky Fysh from 350 Australia, and Ben Ross, a CommBank customer. A street procession of tropical fish moved its way to the action through the Hobart CBD, highlighting the threats to the marine life posed by the coal mining project.
This was one of over 100 community actions that are taking place at CommBank branches across Australia and around the world this week.
“We are here to show CommBank that their customers and communities right across Australia don’t support mega coal mines in the Galilee Basin nor massive coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef,” said Ben Ross, CommBank customer.
A vast majority of Australians say they would not support a bank that finances a fossil fuel project that puts the Great Barrier Reef in danger. Yet CommBank, already Australia’s largest funder of fossil fuel projects on the Great Barrier Reef, is rumoured to be in advanced talks with Indian mining company, Adani to fund this next dangerous and unpopular project.
“The one thing that’s crazier than sending millions of tonnes of toxic coal on barges through the Great Barrier Reef, is believing that customers will stand by you after you’ve helped to bankroll such a disastrous plan. This campaign won’t stop until CommBank publicly rules out the projects” concluded Vicky Fysh.
Most of the coal mines slated for the Galilee Basin would be larger than any others ever built in Australia. They would be responsible for sending thousands of ships directly through the Great Barrier Reef every year.
Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
22.05.15 3:07 pm
Labor Leader Bryan Green has secured a commitment from the Victorian Government to receive a delegation of Tasmanian shippers and exporters to discuss rent costs at the port of Melbourne.
Mr Green said, contrary to claims from Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein, negotiations over port fee increases were still ongoing.
“I have had a very constructive meeting with Daniel Andrews yesterday where I stressed the importance of the Port of Melbourne to Tasmanian exporters.
“While it is true that the Victorian Government is sympathetic to Tasmania’s situation, I was told that negotiations are still ongoing.
“Mr Gutwein’s claims that Tasmania’s concerns over port fees will be addressed in Victorian legislation are simply untrue.
“Legislation dealing with the lease of the Melbourne Port is completely separate to commercial discussions over port fees.
“Mr Gutwein has either misunderstood the process, or he is deliberately misleading Tasmanians.”
Mr Green said he was pleased the Victorian Government had agreed to receive a delegation of Tasmanian shippers and exporters to discuss port costs.
“This is a positive step which will allow Tasmanian shippers and exporters to put their concerns directly to the decision makers in Victoria.
“I wish to thank Premier Andrews for his constructive approach to this issue. It is critical that we secure a positive outcome for Tasmanian exporters.”
Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth
22.05.15 3:06 pm
Today’s announcement about the loss of around 80 positions at the Cadbury Factory in Claremont is extremely disappointing.
The Government is committed to working with those affected through this difficult time and the Department of State Growth’s Rapid Response Unit has been sent to Claremont today to assist those impacted by this decision.
Cadbury’s parent company Mondelez International has indicated it remains committed to the Claremont site but has made a shift change to better match production and demand.
On a regional basis, employment is up 3.7% over the past year in Hobart and the South East, however, we recognise there’s still more to do, which is why the upcoming budget will have job-creation front and centre.
Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
22.05.15 12:56 pm
Labor Leader Bryan Green is calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to guarantee funding to the Mersey Community Hospital will not be cut.
“Tony Abbott had a golden opportunity today to end uncertainty about the level of funding to the Mersey but he wouldn’t,” Mr Green said.
“If the $70 million promised to run the Mersey is to be maintained, why are the State and Federal Governments still negotiating over funding?
“If that money is in the budget why is it even a matter of negotiation?
“Why can’t anyone point to the exact amount of funding that Brett Whiteley claims is in the budget?
“Remember it was Tony Abbott himself who put the funding model in place when the Federal Government took over the Mersey, so what has changed?
“In 2007 you couldn’t keep Tony Abbott away from the Mersey, now he just drives straight past.
“Mr Abbott has returned empty handed.
“It’s time for Mr Abbott, Brett Whiteley and State Health Minister Michael Ferguson to at least be honest and up front about funding for the Mersey.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck
22.05.15 12:52 pm
A joint proposal by Australia, Maldives and the European Union to guide sustainable catch limits on key tuna stocks has been adopted by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission at its annual meeting in April.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the adoption of the proposal was a significant result for sustainability in the world’s second largest tuna fishery.
“This binding measure will help ensure these shared tuna stocks are fished sustainably, which benefits our domestic industry and helps ensure the profitability of fishing enterprises across the Indian Ocean,” Senator Colbeck said.
“The Australian Government worked closely with the Maldives and the European Union to develop and present the proposal to the Commission.
“It sets revised targets and reference points based on principles used in Australia’s world-class Commonwealth fisheries, as well as a work plan that focuses on avoiding and addressing stock depletion.
“Tuna species are highly migratory and move across international boundaries, making the sustainable management of this fishery a regional responsibility.
“The adoption of our proposal is a great result in a complex, multi-national regulatory setting.”
Senator Colbeck said Australia is recognised among the world’s best fisheries managers.
“Our expertise on harvest strategies and measuring biomass was critical in developing this proposal to better manage fish stocks sustainably into the future,” Senator Colbeck said.
“This follows on from a similar Australian-sponsored agreement at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission last year to implement a harvest strategy approach for key commercial stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
“We also provide funding for capacity building workshops for developing coastal nations in the Indian Ocean region, to strengthen knowledge and conservation practices in our region.
“There are still major challenges for sustainable fishing in both the Indian and Pacific oceans, but implementing core fisheries management measures, such as harvest strategies, are important first steps in our regional approach to address them.
“It is a testament to Australia’s world-leading fisheries management that we are able to provide this expertise to continue to drive sustainability at a global level, and it shows a commitment to sustainability outside our borders.”
Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
22.05.15 12:49 pm
Labor Leader Bryan Green said the loss of 80 jobs at Cadbury’s Claremont factory is unacceptable.
“This is a devastating blow,” Mr Green said.
“How can we go from a situation where the Prime Minister of Australia is promising an expansion to the company shedding 80 workers.
“The Federal Government has been in ongoing discussions with this company which makes these job losses even harder to swallow.
“Tony Abbott came to Hobart during the election campaign and promised a $16 million dollar investment would create 300 new jobs and secure 1000 jobs at Cadbury.
“Around 20 months later we haven’t seen a cent of that money spent in Tasmania and 80 hard-working Cadbury employees are being shown the door.
“It’s just not right and the Prime Minister should be very embarrassed.
“The State and Federal Governments need to do everything in their power to minimise these job losses.
“We hear nothing from the Liberals until the horse has bolted.
“The dark clouds continue rolling in despite the Liberals’ slogan of a brighter future for Tasmania.
“It is a far cry from the utopia the Liberals promised Tasmanians in the lead up to the election.
“Hobart has felt the brunt of public service job cuts and the community cannot afford more pain.”
Toby Rowallan Spokesperson Future Transport Tasmania http://www.futuretransporttas.org
22.05.15 12:48 pm
Future Transport Tasmania Condemns Rail Trail Campaigns
Community-based public transport lobby group, Future Transport Tasmania (FTT), today said that rail trail proposals that involve ripping up existing railway lines in Tasmania should not go ahead. Both the North-East Railway line from Launceston to Scottsdale, and the Derwent Valley Railway line should be retained, with the intention to reopen them in the future for possible rail freight and rail heritage trains.
The Derwent Valley Line in particular has an enthusiastic and active rail heritage group ready to operate tourist trains to National Park as soon as all the necessary conditions are fulfilled. To remove that railway line after all the effort of the Derwent Valley Railway Preservation Society would be an ill-thought out decision. FTT doubts the tourism potential of these two rail trails, especially given the existing unrealised potential of the lines for freight and tourism.
Toby Rowallan, spokesperson for FTT, said; “What the community in both Scottsdale and the Derwent Valley need to understand, is that if these railway lines are pulled up then they are gone forever. There will be no going back. The removal of the lines means that there will be no chance to get heavy trucks off the roads in those areas, and no chance to have heritage rail tours come back either. There are very few cases where a railway line has been rebuilt from an actively used trail.”
“Today we also want to show our support for a new group that has recently been created, called “Keep Our Rail Lines – Tasmania, and we strongly believe in their very simple and clear aim, to keep our closed railway lines.”
“We appreciate that the groups who are lobbying for these ‘rail trail’ proposals believe that under current conditions these railway lines will never reopen. However the business case for the North East Rail Trail pays no consideration to the cost of increased heavy truck use in these areas in future. There has been no assessment of the possibility of freight returning to these closed lines. We have log trucks passing through the Scottsdale area all the time, freight that used to be carried by rail. There is potential for farming produce and possibly bauxite ore that could also go by rail.”
“In the Derwent valley we also have log trucks in use, again another freight task that used to be on rail. We do not support the rail trail proposal for the Derwent Valley, given that it would condemn the Derwent Valley Railway Society to the status of a static museum for their heritage vehicles, and totally prevent the use of the railway for freight trains in the future.”
“We know that heavy trucks are involved in a much higher proportion of serious crashes than private or light vehicles. We should be doing more to make sure that we reduce the use of these vehicles wherever possible. We also know that the vast majority of Tasmania’s carbon emissions are transport related. Rail freight is around six times better for emissions than road. The solutions are obvious, and the need is clear. We cannot afford to lose these railway lines,” finished Mr Rowallan.
TFGA president Wayne Johnston
22.05.15 12:46 pm
Soon after it came into office the Hodgman Government determined there should be a review of Forestry Tasmania (FT) to establish its place in the industry and what the Government termed its “pathway to long-term sustainability”.
Like the majority of Tasmanians, I believe FT has an important role in the stewardship of our public forests, but that role has become compromised over the years because of the commercial role that FT adopted in selling and marketing timber and, of course, the incessant pressure on its staff from forest activists.
It got to the stage where many FT staff did not advertise where they worked.
At the same time, FT became a liability on the public purse rather than contributing to it.
That review of the business recommended job cuts and the sale of hardwood plantations. At the same time the company had to find $40 million in savings over the next two years.
It is still unclear how many jobs will go. My reading is that FT has said about 50, but unions claim it is more than 80.
According to Unions Tasmania state secretary Steve Walsh, these workers are “just being treated like disposable goods” and the redundancies are a broken promise.
There is more than a hint of hypocrisy here. Unions supported the former Labor government pouring money into FT to the tune of $30 million a year, which had to be at the expense of people being employed in other government areas, notably education, health and human services.
They also backed the closed-door, secret deal that put hundreds of forestry workers on the scrap heap as the Greens and their fellow travellers went to the World Heritage Committee to lock even more of Tasmania up in perpetuity.
Therefore, it’s a bit rich of them to complain now that a government, not of their persuasion, wants to axe FT staff.
The process that FT and the Government are following is the right one. The organisation has been reviewed and the way forward is being implemented.
If there is to be no ongoing taxpayer subsidy of its operations, then there has to be belt tightening. FT is consulting with its staff around the state to see how that can be achieved with the least disruption. In other words, if you want to go, go now.
My own view is that Tasmania cannot afford to lose FT’s pool of expertise. We have already lost the Co-operative Research Centre for Forestry based at the University of Tasmania. The science and research as well as nurturing of our forests are in the hands of the last forest scientists standing, at FT. We can’t afford to lose them. The forests can’t afford to lose them.
Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie
22.05.15 9:57 am
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has joined calls for the State Government to reinstate funding to the Salvation Army’s Reintegration for Ex-Offenders (REO) program.
Mr Wilkie has written to the Human Services Minister, Jacqui Petrusma, to warn that the budget saving is actually a false economy that will increase the likelihood of ex-offenders re-offending.
``I have been told that an evaluation of this program found that for every $100,000 spent by government there is an expected saving of $1.1 million in terms of incarceration, court and policing costs,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
``Cutting this program therefore is clearly a false economy and frankly I think it is downright irresponsible. Turfing ex-offenders out into the community without housing or social supports leaves them much more likely to reoffend. I understand it will also mean that prisoners applying for parole will automatically be rejected because they will not have access to appropriate accommodation upon release.
``I ask that the State Government fully fund the REO program over the next financial year and through the forward estimates.’’
Mr Wilkie’s call comes as a coalition of leading Tasmanian social service, housing, legal and union voices warn that cutting the program will lead to increased costs to the state and reduced community safety.
Download a copy of Mr Wilkie’s letter to Minister Petrusma :
Rebecca White MP Shadow Health Minister
21.05.15 7:52 pm
Shadow Health Minister Rebecca White has welcomed the belated funding announcement for the John L Grove Centre in Launceston.
“The funding uncertainty has dragged on for far too long but the commitment from the Federal Government is welcome,” Ms White said.
“I congratulate the Health and Community Services Union, the ANMF and the community for the effective campaigning that has led to this afternoon’s announcement.
“For the staff who work at the John L Grove Centre this must be an enormous relief.
“I note with interest the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Centre will become the responsibility of the Tasmanian Government from 2017 onwards.
“We’d expect to see that decision reflected in next week’s State Budget.”
Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
21.05.15 7:38 pm
Labor MP Scott Bacon has today confirmed that if given the chance Labor would bankrupt the State – again.
When we came to office we inherited $1.1 billion of accumulative deficits, net debt approaching $400 million and 1,000 job cuts embedded in the budget, and no attempts by Labor to rewrite history will erase that fact.
Mr Bacon should stop attacking Treasury over the Risks Report. Blaming Treasury for describing just how bad the finances were when he was Finance Minister is taking shooting the messenger to new lows.
In response to the mess Labor and the Greens left, we are taking strong and disciplined action to put the budget back on track.
As Mr Bacon noted, our GST relativities are now at record highs. Over time and as our economy strengthens our GST revenue will inevitably decline, which is why it’s so important that the GST windfall gain not be spent on recurrent expenditure we won’t be able to afford in the future.
As for Mr Bacon’s Green-like conspiracy claims, the fact is, none of the states knew what their share of GST would be for 2015-16 until the independent Commonwealth Grants Commission released its findings a few weeks ago.
Tasmanians would remember that we had to fight tooth and nail for Tasmania’s share to be confirmed by the Federal Government at last month’s COAG meeting.
The Liberal Government is getting on with the job of fixing the budget mess, creating jobs and delivering better results in health, education and public safety, and next Thursday Tasmanians will be able to see more details about exactly how we plan to deliver.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck
21.05.15 4:09 pm
Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, welcomed yesterday’s announcement by Minister for Infrastructure Warren Truss that the Australian Government is moving ahead with coastal shipping reforms.
Senator Colbeck has advocated strongly about the need for coastal shipping reform since Labor bungled the system with their Coastal Trading Act which destroyed real competition on coastal shipping routes around Australia and increased shipping costs.
“As a state that relies heavily on shipping to move products to market, Tasmania will benefit from a more competitive and efficient coastal shipping industry. It will be vital to the state’s ability to compete in the market and will provide greater flexibility for businesses,” he said.
“I have spoken with a major business who told me it was cheaper to ship product from New Zealand to every port in Australia except Melbourne than it was to ship product from Tasmania – that is the result of Labor’s bungled handling of coastal shipping.”
“Another Tasmanian business, Simplot Australia, had an additional $550,000 per year added to their annual costs due to Labor’s bungled changes to coastal shipping.”
“This is costing Tasmanian business important markets.”
“That’s why our coastal shipping reforms are so important – they will deliver competitive, efficient services that Australian businesses need.”
Labor’s bungled reforms have resulted in less freight carried, less employment and fewer vessels on coastal routes, the exact opposite of what they promised.
Senator Colbeck said draft legislation was being developed and would be introduced before the end of the Winter Sittings.
Key features include cheaper freight costs, greater choice between shipping companies, simplified rules for moving cargo and more efficient services.
Further information about the Australian Government’s plan for coastal shipping is available online at - http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/wt/releases/2015/May/wt149_2015_setting_sail_brochure.pdf
Scott Bacon MP Shadow Treasurer
21.05.15 2:31 pm
The Liberal Government’s rationale for axing nurses and teachers has been exposed, with revelations revenue forecasts have been grossly and deliberately underestimated.
Shadow Treasurer Scott Bacon today released analysis which showed the sacking of public servants had been based on a lie.
“There is over half a billion dollars in additional GST revenue flowing into Tasmania over the next four years and Mr Gutwein has an obligation to repair the damage he has done to our schools and hospitals,” Mr Bacon said.
“The 2015/16 Federal Budget reveals a massive increase in Federal funding. GST revenues alone have increased by $590.9 million dollars compared to the 2014-15 State Budget.
“On the back of these figures, the opposition anticipates the Budget will return to surplus during this current term.
“After winning office last year, Mr Gutwein claimed that Tasmania’s budgetary position had unexpectedly deteriorated and GST revenue forecasts had been slashed.
“He produced a politically convenient ‘Risks Report’ designed to scare and mislead people about the state of the Budget.
“He has used that report ever since to justify his attack on our frontline services and to axe hundreds of hard working Tasmanians including 266 teachers and 224 health workers.
“The Government concocted a budget emergency knowing full well GST levels would rise. Their heavily redacted RTI documents prove they were intent on hiding the real GST forecasts from the public.
“Last week’s Commonwealth Budget finally exposed the level of deceit this Treasurer has engaged in.
“Far from plummeting revenues and budget emergencies, we now know his ‘Risks Report’ was nothing more than a manufactured excuse to gut our health and education systems.
“We now have a Treasurer benefiting from historically high GST relativities, a booming tourism sector, rapidly expanding dairy and aquaculture sectors, a ready-made strategic relationship with China and yet sick, elderly and vulnerable Tasmanians are worse off than ever before.
“The Liberals are squandering a hard fought opportunity to improve the lives of struggling Tasmanians by restoring the services they need and creating the opportunities they deserve.
“It is time Peter Gutwein and Will Hodgman stopped blaming everyone else for their own destructive and unnecessary decisions and got on with the job of repairing the damage they have caused.”