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

Work to Begin on Esk Main Road Upgrade

Rene Hidding, Minister for Infrastructure
25.10.14 3:49 pm

As part of a major rollout of civil construction works this summer, making roads safer and more efficient, work will start early next month on safety improvements to the Esk Main Road – a key transport corridor connecting the Midland Highway with the State’s East Coast.

The Liberal Government is committed to improving road safety, and is investing in infrastructure that helps to grow our economy and create jobs by enhancing transport efficiency.

Tasmanian company Venarchie Contracting Pty Ltd has been awarded the contract to undertake the project, which forms part of a coordinated upgrading of the Esk Main Road as a high productivity vehicle route.

A section of the road west of Avoca, starting from Blanchards Creek Culvert through to Stynes Creek Bridge, will be upgraded, with work commencing early next month, subject to warm dry weather.

The work will include widening the road, repairing the road surface, upgrading safety barriers and removing vegetation from the roadside reserve.

In addition, a final seal will be applied to the road surface in the summer of 2015-16.

During the road works, motorists are reminded to slow down, follow the traffic signs and drive with care.

For more information on this project, visit http://www.transport.tas.gov.au/road/projects/esk_main_road

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Boost for Tasmania’s only ice rink

Elise Archer, Speaker of the House of Assembly Liberal Member for Denison
25.10.14 3:43 pm

Today I visited the Glenorchy Ice Rink to discuss planned improvements for the facility, including the purchase and installation of solar panels.

The Liberal Government is providing $23,095 towards the upgrade, which was a commitment I secured for Denison during the election.

The addition of solar panels will reduce electricity costs and enable the owner to keep Tasmania’s only ice rink open, as it enters its 35th year of operations.

The Glenorchy Ice Rink is used for recreational, figure and synchronised ice skating, as well as ice hockey and ice basketball.

In addition to the Figure Skating Association of Tasmania and Ice Hockey Tasmania and their members, Tasmania’s only rink is popular with schools, community groups and families, and the wider community.

As can be seen at today’s Tasmanian Artistic Figure Skating Championships 2014, the state’s reputation for excelling in figure skating nationally is well deserved, but wouldn’t be possible without the Glenorchy Ice Rink.

The Liberal Government is delivering on its promises and I am pleased that thousands of Tasmanians who use the rink can continue to enjoy it into the future.

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OPPOSITION LEADER BILL SHORTEN ADDRESSES AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LOBBY ...

Australian Marriage Equality acting director, Ivan Hinton-Teoh
25.10.14 3:43 pm

OPPOSITION LEADER BILL SHORTEN ADDRESSES AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LOBBY NATIONAL CONFERENCE REITERATING SUPPORT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Marriage Equality advocates have welcomed the strong statement of support for marriage equality reiterated today by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at the Australian Christian Lobby’s national conference, being held in Canberra this weekend.

In the powerfully worded keynote address the Opposition Leader re-affirmed his support for marriage equality and called for respect of the diversity that exists in Australia.

It is the first time a leader of either major political party has used the forum to challenge the agenda of the conservative lobby group.

Australian Marriage Equality acting director, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said,

“With an overwhelming majority of Australian Christians in support of marriage equality many will be heartened to hear a political leader share in their values.”

“It is powerful moment in our national history that a political leader, an affirmed Christian, has had both the confidence and conviction to use this forum to reflect the true diversity of Christian views.”

“Many members of the Coalition share similar values to the majority of Australians and we call of the Federal Government to allow a marriage equality free vote so this parliament can genuinely reflect the support that exists for this important reform.”

A recent Crosby|Textor poll indicated that an overwhelming 67% of Australian Catholics support marriage equality and 72% of the broader population.

In part of his keynote Shorten said,

“Australia is full of decent and generous people of good conscience, drawn from all faiths and none.  And no faith, no religion, no set of beliefs should ever be used as an instrument of division or exclusion.”

“In our society, under our laws, whether we be Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or athiests - we are all Australians and we are all equal.”

“So when I hear people invoking scriptures to attack blended families, I cannot stay silent.  I do not agree.  When I see people hiding behind the bible to insult and demonise people based on their sexuality I cannot stay silent, I do not agree.”

“When I hear people allege that ‘God tells them’ that marriage equality is the first step on the road to polygamy and bigamy and bestiality ...I cannot stay silent.  I do not agree.” 

“These prejudices do not reflect the Christian values I believe in.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shorten-to-confront-christian-lobby-over-samesex-marriage-20141024-11bbdz.html#ixzz3H6uB9ixv

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TASMANIANS ENCOURAGED TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON BIOSECURITY

SENATOR LISA SINGH SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
25.10.14 11:20 am

The strength of the Australian Government’s biosecurity measures is of paramount importance to Tasmania’s economy and the significant economic opportunities derived from our clean and green reputation.

So it is timely that the Australian Senate is holding an enquiry into the nation’s environmental biosecurity arrangements at the same time as the Government has established a review into invasive marine pests.

I encourage my fellow Tasmanians with a stake in biosecurityto ensure their opinion and expertise is heard and understood.

The Senate Inquiry on which I am sitting is investigating the adequacy of Australia’s arrangements to prevent the entry and establishment of invasive species likely to harm Australia’s natural environment.

It is holding a public hearing in Hobart on Monday 10 November and is still accepting submissions through its website at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/biosecurity. There have been 85 submissions so far and the terms of reference are available at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/biosecurity/Terms_of_Reference.

Tasmania’s fishing, aquaculture and shipping industries, marine infrastructure and the marine environment are particularly vulnerable to marine invasive species, particularly as climate change expands the distribution of invasive species like the Long-spined sea urchin.

Many marine pests in Tasmania, like the Northern Pacific Sea Star, Japanese Kelp and the European Green Crab, have the capacity to cause massive damage by displacing our native flora and fauna, by predating on native species or by becoming serious pests to our marine industries.

The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture has an issues paper on its websitewww.agriculture.gov.au/marinepestreview to guide submissions on the effectiveness of existing marine pest biosecurity arrangements in Australia.

Tasmanians can provide their views any aspect of marine pest biosecurity by making a written submission by 8 December 2014.

I urge Tasmanians who have something to say about biosecurity and its criticality to Tasmania’s future prosperityto provide their opinions to the Senate Committee and the Review.

As a State we need to make it clear that that a healthy Australian environment will always be the basis of a growing, well-managed Australian economy.

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Labor, Unions’ Criticism of Protest Bill Hollow

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources
24.10.14 7:24 pm

In spite of Labor and union criticism, the Liberal Government’s Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill provides a specific exemption for protected industrial action.

Our proposed amendments, meanwhile, reflect that we have listened and have acted to address specific concerns.

The onus is now on those opposing this Bill to explain exactly what it is they do not support about giving greater protection to Tasmanian workers from radical protesters intent on stopping them from going about their lawful business.

We took a clear position to the election to introduce these laws and protect the rights of workers to earn a living unhindered by workplace blockades and invasions.

With the exception of the Law Society, who we accept have an in-principle opposition to mandatory penalties, the criticism of those opposed to the Bill could best be summed up by “we don’t like the vibe of it”.

The Greens’ opposition is likewise unsurprising given they cheer on those who are not merely expressing a view but are denying the rights of others to work.

Labor and the unions, however, must explain what it is they find so objectionable about protecting Tasmanian workers from these radical protesters.

“It’s the vibe of it” or “we want to blockade access to workplaces and get away with it” simply will not cut it.

The lack of any argument shows that Labor is simply following the union movement in opposing these laws because they want unions to be able to take unfettered illegal strike action, blockading accesses to business, with impunity.

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Greens’ Breathtaking Hypocrisy

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources
24.10.14 7:23 pm

A statement by Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne today condemning a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) decision in Western Australia exposes the party for the hypocritical bullies that they are.

The Greens and their allies have shown that in spite of demanding that others do so, they will not accept the umpire’s decision if it does not go in their favour.

Senator Milne says “environmentalists have been participating in good faith in the current FSC assessment for Forestry Tasmania” and that “the WA decision erodes confidence in the FSC process”.
What hypocritical nonsense.

This is a disgraceful attempt to put pressure on FSC Australia and exhibits none of the “good faith” that Senator Milne claims.

The latter would require that the Greens actually respect the umpire’s decision and not seek to put political pressure on the FSC by seemingly demanding that they somehow even the score.

The Greens are trying to bully the FSC to deliver the outcome they want while signalling they will not accept any decision that runs contrary to their wishes.

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Tassie gets behind Cox Plate Contender

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Racing
24.10.14 7:21 pm

Tasmania’s full support will be with champion racehorse The Cleaner when it runs in tomorrow’s $3 million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

The Lion of Longford, as he’s been affectionately dubbed, has garnered national attention, winning over racegoers across the country with its gutsy front running style and remarkable underdog story.

Regardless of the outcome, The Cleaner and Longford trainer Mick Burles are to be congratulated on what they have already achieved and the exposure the local champion has received.

The Cleaner’s success has been an excellent opportunity to promote Tasmanian Racing, with Tasracing and the Mooney Valley Racing Club partnering in a national marketing campaign driving interest around the country.

Tasracing, in consultation with the Tasmanian Racing Club and SKY channel, have rescheduled the local race meeting originally set for last Sunday to tomorrow, to take advantage of The Cleaner running in the Cox Plate.

I would encourage all Tasmanians to get behind this local champion in its bid to make racing history.

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Guide to Encourage Community-Wide Effort to Improve Adult Literacy

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training
24.10.14 7:19 pm

A new guide offers communities around Tasmania the practical advice and tools they need to help improve adult literacy.

The nation-leading 26TEN network brings together organisations and individuals working to assist those who have difficulty with literacy and numeracy as a key initiative of the Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan.

Today, I was pleased to launch Becoming a 26TENCommunity: A Guide to Lifting Adult Literacy Levels at the Devonport LINC to mark the start of 26TEN Week.

This is really aimed at encouraging more communities to become involved with 26TEN and help create the truly whole-of-state effort we need to make a difference to Tasmania’s adult literacy levels.

The guide outlines the practical ways that community organisations can support those who want to improve their literacy and learning outcomes.

The Local Government Association of Tasmania is to be commended for taking the lead in establishing this publication with the support of the 26TEN Strategy Team in LINC Tasmania.

The growing number of organisations and individuals across Tasmania that have become involved in providing literacy and numeracy support and creating literacy-friendly environments is very encouraging.

Even more so is that more than 680 volunteer literacy tutors are currently supporting the LINC Tasmania literacy network in giving their time to this important cause.

By working together, business, community and government can make a significant difference to Tasmania by helping more adults get the skills they need for life and work in the 21st Century.

Those interested in joining 26TEN, or who would like to get help with their literacy skills, can go to http://www.26ten.tas.gov.au or call 1300 00 2610.

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New Leader Appointed to Help Reduce Tasmania’s Bushfire Risk

Rene Hidding, Minister for Police and Emergency Management
24.10.14 7:16 pm

The new chairman of the State Fire Management Council will champion a community-wide approach to reducing bushfire risk across Tasmania.

On behalf of the Liberal Government, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Sauer to a position that will take on increasing importance as we work to implement our comprehensive and strategic fuel reduction program.

Mr Sauer’s background as a respected farmer, land manager and volunteer firefighter gives him great insight into the threat that bushfires pose to life and property and of the need to act to prevent loss.

Mr Sauer will work to connect the State Fire Management Council with land managers and the wider community to deliver a Statewide fuel reduction program.

The Liberal Government is investing $28.5 million in this fuel reduction program, as promised before the March election, in recognition of the Tasmanian community’s demand that more be done to mitigate the bushfire risk, as identified by the inquiry into the Dunalley wildfire.

Mr Sauer’s understanding of the importance of fuel management to reduce bushfire risk will be highly valuable as we implement the program.

He will work closely with public and private land owners and encourage them to engage in the task of fuel reduction on their land, noting that catastrophic fires do not respect property boundaries.

We committed to Tasmanians at the State election to make it easier for landowners to undertake fuel reduction on their property with a ‘fuel-reduction first’ policy in a landscape-wide approach.

We also undertook to change the culture within government and the wider community to understand the critical importance of strategic fuel-reduction burning, and Mr Sauer will lead the effort to raise awareness and acceptance of our new aggressive approach.

Mr Sauer has 35 years’ experience in volunteer organisations and as a cattle and sheep producer in the Piper River area.

He is chairman of Tamar NRM, chairman of the National Gorse Taskforce and a long-term volunteer member of the Tasmanian Fire Service.

Ian Sauer will lead the State Fire Management Council, which comprises representatives from the Tasmanian Fire Service, Forestry Tasmania, the Local Government Association of Tasmania, the Parks and Wildlife Service, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and the Forest Industry Association of Tasmania.

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Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities Awards

Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage
24.10.14 7:13 pm

The Liberal Government congratulates the winners of the 2013-14 Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities Awards in Tasmania.

Westbury, Launceston and Richardson’s Beach in the Freycinet Peninsula were among this year’s winners presented with their awards by Liberal Member for Braddon Roger Jaensch this afternoon.
On behalf of the State Government, I congratulate Westbury for being the overall state winner of the Tidy Town award.

The Tidy Town award takes into account litter prevention, waste management and resource recovery efforts, as well as other factors such as natural environment conservation and environmental sustainability.

The City of Launceston has taken the top honours in the 2014 Sustainable Cities Award category while Richardson’s Beach in the Freycinet Peninsula has been chosen as the winner of the Clean Beaches Award.

The Tasmanian Government is proud to sponsor the Keep Australia Beautiful Awards in Tasmania.

The Government provided $30,000 grant to Keep Australia Beautiful (Tasmania) for the 2014-15 financial year.

Keep Australia Beautiful is a volunteer-based organisation and this grant funding recognises their ongoing efforts such as the annual Tidy Town Awards, educational programs and community and local council infrastructure initiatives.

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Will Hodgman: MONA FOMA Creates Summer’s Soundtrack

Will Hodgman, Premier, Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events
24.10.14 7:13 pm

MONA FOMA creates a soundtrack to the Tasmanian summer.

Every year the festival transforms Hobart’s waterfront into the perfect stage for an eclectic blend of artists that draws an audience from across the globe.

There’s no doubt word is getting out that our island is an emerging and thriving cultural destination and events like MONA FOMA are drawing the curious to our shores.

The Tasmanian Government is proud to provide $350,000 in funding and once again team with MONA to deliver this major summer event for locals and our visitors to enjoy.

MOFO creates a cultural centerpiece for Tasmania’s packed summer events calendar, which includes the Taste Festival, the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Cricket World Cup.

Last summer MOFO attracted more than 28,000 people to events over five days, with almost 45 per cent of tickets snapped up by interstate or overseas festival goers.

Events like MOFO will help the Liberal Government reach our target of attracting 1.5 million visitors to the state each year by 2020, which the industry says will create 8,000 new jobs.

The Lonely Planet has ranked our state fourth on the top 10 list of regions to visit in 2015, and our profile will continue to grow next month when Restaurant Australia’s Invite the World to Dinner kicks off in Hobart with 80 of the world’s most influential food writers and 200 of the nation’s leading culinary personalities.

That momentum could continue with the possibility of the Chinese President visiting a matter of days afterwards, creating unprecedented international exposure for Tasmania.

MONA FOMA will take place on Hobart’s waterfront from January 15 to 18.

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No Good Excuse to Reject Unions Savings Proposal

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader
24.10.14 4:21 pm

The Hodgman government has no good reason to reject the public sector unions’ two-prong savings strategy, which is a constructive attempt to meet budget imperatives while saving jobs, Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.

“It is very reasonable and constructive for the unions to put forward a realistic offer to the government which is consistent with the financial savings needed under the 2014-15 state budget, while offering to continue to negotiate for the forward estimate year,” Mr Booth said.

“It is incumbent, as the employer of the hundreds of hardworking Tasmanian public sector workers, that the Premier instructs his Treasurer, peter Gutwein, to treat this submission respectfully and in good faith.”

“There are 500 very good reasons why this proposal from the unions needs to be accepted by Mr Hodgman and Mr Gutwein.  These workers do not deserve to continue to have an axe suspended over their livelihoods.”

“If the Liberals reject even sitting down to negotiate the unions’ submission, then they should just be transparent and honest with the Tasmanian people that no matter what they just want, and intend, to sack 1200 public sector workers.”

“Accept this offer, Mr Gutwein, or stop treating the unions as the stalking horse, and just have the fortitude to admit you intent to gut the public service no matter what,” Mr Booth said.

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WW1 Headstones Unveiled

Elise Archer, Speaker of the House of Assembly
24.10.14 3:58 pm

I was honoured to represent the Liberal Government at the official unveiling of nine headstones for World War One veterans at Cornelian Bay Cemetery this afternoon.

The installation of gravestones for World War One veterans who rested in unmarked plots is being coordinated by the Tasmanian Headstone Project, led by historian Ms Andrea Gerrard.

The ceremony was an opportunity to recognise and honour the nine men, all who enlisted some one hundred years ago.

For a number of veterans who died in Tasmania after they returned from the War, their personal or financial circumstances meant that their graves were never marked or that since their interment, the marking of their grave has been lost.

The Liberal Government commends the work of the Tasmanian Headstone Project in ensuring that the service and lives of World War One veterans are respectfully recognised.

The work of the Project holds special significance as we start the commemorations of the Centenary of World War One.

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Richard Colbeck: Green groups should respect independent process

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK Senator for Tasmania Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
24.10.14 2:53 pm

Green groups have again demonstrated they will say absolutely anything to shut down the native forestry industry in Australia.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) this week fabricated claims that a West Australian forestry company harvests old growth forests in an unprecedented attempt to have them stripped of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) controlled wood certification.

“This is a complete fabrication as old growth harvesting in WA ended more than ten years ago when the state government implemented the ‘Protecting Our Old-growth Forests Policy’,” Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said.

“Green groups do not have veto over the granting of FSC certification – it is based on the assessment of independent third party organisations. The granting of controlled wood certification recognises the WA forestry business for protecting high conservation values.”

“FSC certification is a rigorous process that was initially designed for native forest certification and is used to certify native forest operations around the world.”

“Like other certification systems such as PEFC, it gives recognition to organisations that support responsible forest management. It gives customers confidence they are supporting a sustainable forestry operation and good management practices.”

Senator Colbeck said ACF’s threat to withdraw their support for FSC reveals their true objective of destroying the Australian native forestry industry.

“ACF and many other anti-industry activists continue to mislead Australian’s about the truth of certification,” he said.

“It appears that green groups just want to lock up our renewable resources and throw away the key. They don’t care about sustainable management practices or our communities that rely on these resources for their livelihoods.”

“ACF also used false claims to attack Australia Paper – another example they are intent saying anything to try and destroy the reputation of our forestry industry.”

Senator Colbeck said timber is internationally recognised as a sustainable building material that provides a win-win situation for the environment, for the industry and for our communities. He called on ACF to cease its unfounded attack on the industry.

“Timber is the building material of the twenty-first century and has proven environmental benefits. For example a study by Yale University found that using wood products for construction consumes less energy than steel or concrete and could save between 14% and 31% of global CO2 emissions,” he said.

“The Coalition is committed to revitalising Australia’s forestry industry and providing a sustainable long-term future.”

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Silencing Dissent: Forests no longer mentioned in laws

Trevor Gauld, State Secretary – CEPU Tasmania
24.10.14 2:30 pm

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) said the Liberal Government had broken their election commitment of cracking down on violent protests in forests and instead are focussed on removing Tasmanians rights to peaceful protests.

CEPU State Secretary, Trevor Gauld today described the Governments change in position as having no mandate and no credibility.

“In the lead up to the election the Liberal Government spoke only of stopping violent protests in the forest industry. Their policy clearly shows this.” Mr Gauld said “Now they don’t even mention forests and are instead targeting peaceful protest activities anywhere in the State. Just read their latest media release (attached), the words forest and forestry don’t appear a single time.”

The CEPU attended a briefing with the Attorney General Venessa Goodwin yesterday and heard firsthand the broad application of the proposed amendments.

“Yesterday the Attorney General said the Government had listened to community concerns and had narrowed the application of the laws. How on earth she believes making it illegal to perform peaceful protests out the front of construction sites, mine sites, manufacturing sites, near Government owned businesses such as the Hydro, TasNetworks and TasRail, on farms by the actual farm owners, waterfront workplaces and any “head office” related to the above locations has got anything to do with stopping violent protests in forests is completely beyond me.”

The CEPU was shocked to discover that farmers would face prosecution if they protested on their own property.

“If the Legislative Council approves these amendments then the Attorney General confirmed yesterday that farmers will face fines and even jail time if they protest against fracking or mining on their own property. This is a disgrace.”

The CEPU has demanded the Government explain how creating rushed laws will actually stop a single violent protest in a forest.

“There are already laws around trespass, laws which allow Police to move people on and arrest people who are doing the wrong thing and health and safety laws which can prosecute people doing dangerous activities in workplaces. If Police and regulators aren’t currently resourced enough to enforce the laws which already exist how will creating more laws make a single forestry workplace safer?”

“These laws are an ideological attack from this Government against anyone who has an opinion different to theirs. The Liberals are simply trying to silence dissent against their bad policies and poorly planned budget cuts.”

• The Paul Harriss Media Release ...

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources: Protecting Workers from Radical Protesters

The Liberal Government is committed to protecting the rights of law-abiding Tasmanians to earn a living without interference by radical protesters.

For too long Tasmanians have had to put up with the actions of a few who are not simply expressing an opinion, but who are forcing their will on to others by invading businesses and stopping people from going about their work.

We went to the March election promising to protect workers from radical protesters and, as Tasmanians already know, the Liberal Government is keeping its promises.

We have always said that this Bill is not about limiting the rights of free speech or peaceful protest.

Rather, this is about those radical few for whom voicing their opinion is not enough; who instead have such arrogance and contempt for the rights of others that they act to physically stop a business from operating.

We understand, however, that there were genuinely held concerns about some aspects of the original Bill, which may have left some potential for unintended consequences.

We have listened to those concerns and we will seek to address those that are reasonable through carefully considered amendments.

These amendments will ensure against unintended consequences while maintaining the core principles of the Bill.

Following briefings with stakeholders and Legislative Councillors, the Government intends to bring this bill on for debate in the Legislative Council in coming weeks.

Download Libs’ Forest Policy ...

Rebuilding_the_Forest_Industry_-_cracking_down_on_protestors.pdf

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TCAL requests urgent action from Department of Industry over VET-FEE-HELP sign-ups

Steve Cooke President, Tasmanian Council for Adult Literacy
24.10.14 1:07 pm

In a letter to the federal Department of Industry today Steve Cooke, president of the Tasmanian Council for Adult Literacy (TCAL) requested Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane urgently address the issues around unethical practices being used by some brokers and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) enticing adults to sign up to VET-FEE-HELP supported courses.

TCAL request that the Department of Industry:

• Urgently look into the issue of unscrupulous and unethical practices some brokers and RTOs are using to sign new learners into VET-FEE-HELP supported courses in Tasmania;
• Make training and employment pathway plans and assessments compulsory for each prospective learner, with the assessment benchmarked to the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and retained as evidence the new learner has the capacity to complete the course; and
• Require RTOs to set up any laptops and iPads being offered as incentives to the needs of individual learners, and this should be made clear at the time the person signs up.

TCAL are concerned at the lack of assessment provided by brokers and RTOs to determine a person’s best path into training and employment that can inform their training needs and capacity to complete a course being signed to. In the state with Australia’s lowest levels of literacy it is essential that foundation courses be offered where required to get people ready to succeed in the higher levels of training that are supported by VET-FEE-HELP scheme.

TCAL requests that such assessments be compulsory for each prospective learner, and benchmarked against the ACSF. The onus should be on brokers and RTOs to retain the assessments as evidence that those they sign up have the capacity to complete the training.

TCAL also believes that laptops and iPads offered to learners as enticements to sign up for courses need to be set up for individual learners. The devices should include all applications and bookmarked links the learner requires to complete the course they have signed for. Adults being targeted by brokers and RTOs are mainly from low socioeconomic areas, and possibly may not have the skills required to correctly set the devices up. A device that has not been set up for the individual learner is not fit for purpose and this is unacceptable.

Download: Letter to the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, federal Minister for Industry:

TCAL-Letter-FedIndustryMinister-20141023.pdf

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Christine Milne: FSC decision rings alarm bells in Tasmania

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne
24.10.14 12:55 pm

The disastrous decision to give accreditation to high-conservation value karri forest logging in Western Australia rings alarm bells for Tasmania, Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne said.

“Major environmental groups have slammed the Western Australian Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) decision,” Senator Milne said.

“Environmentalists have been participating in good faith in the current FSC assessment for Forestry Tasmania.

“The WA decision erodes confidence in the FSC process.

“The Greens do not agree with industrial-scale logging in native forests but were hoping that FSC oversight would at least keep the worst practices in check.

“I am now extremely concerned that FSC is not serious about enforcing sustainable logging practices and could be just another rubber stamp.

“We will not sit by and allow the destruction of high conservation value forests to be given a tick of approval.

“FSC Australia needs to rectify this decision quickly if it’s going to maintain goodwill in Tasmania,” Senator Milne said.

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Identifying and supporting mental health at work

Lucinda Bray, Font
24.10.14 9:55 am

Mental health is one of the largest health issues in Australia after heart disease and cancer, making
mental health awareness a priority during WorkSafe Tasmania Month.

Statistics reveal around 45 per cent of Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 will experience a
mental illness at some point in their life, while one in five Australian adults will experience a mental
illness in any given year.

Held as a part of WorkSafe Tasmania Month 2014, Identifying and supporting mental health and
wellbeing issues in the workplace is a free information session aimed at arming Tasmanian workers
with the knowledge and tools needed to address mental health problems at work.

Hosting the free information session is mental health advocate and CEO of OzHelp Tasmania, Doug
Vautier.

“Preliminary research shows Australian businesses lose over $6.5 billion each year by failing to
provide early intervention or treatment to employees with mental health conditions, with a total of
3.2 days per worker lost each year through workplace stress,” Mr Vautier said.

“Stress related workers’ compensation claims have doubled in recent years with a survey of 5000
workers indicating that 25 per cent took time off each year for stress related reasons.

“When you consider the health risks and financial costs involved, these statistics highlight how
mental health is just as important as physical health, and with the right knowledge and tools,
workplaces can prevent and appropriately aid mental health problems effectively.”

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Let’s see our glass half full

TFGA chief executive Jan Davis
24.10.14 9:51 am

Someone asked me today what I would do if I had a magic wand to improve the state of play in Tasmania.

I told him that my vision for Tasmania is not radical. This would be a Tasmania where we’re self-sufficient, playing to our strengths and recognised for our strongly balanced approach to everything we do.  It is based on celebrating what Tasmania has always done best within the parameters of our climate, our population size and the unique skills of the people who choose to live here.

Too many people here have a glass-half-full approach to life – and find reasons why things should not happen, or pretend to be things we are not and never will be.

We have so much going for us here in Tasmania – and the potential to be so much more than we are now. Rather than being an overall disadvantage, we need to see our isolation as our strength and build on the assets we already have here. Rather than smothering businesses in over-zealous rules and regulations, we need to focus on creating an environment that ensures balanced and sustainable development.  Rather than apologising for being small, we need to be proud of the unique character that has sustained our communities through many tough times. Rather than being seen as accepting, we need to be see ourselves as leaders, out in front of the pack. Remember, perception becomes reality!

Our farmers produce more high quality products than will ever be required by our small population. Climate change will enhance our ability to produce an even greater diversity of food and fibre, wine and pharmaceutical crops, even products for emerging carbon markets. That means that Tasmania’s traditional strength since the first days of settlement, our ability to grow things, remains the formula for our future prosperity. In a century, when all the cable cars, poker machines and V8s will have rusted where they rest, our farmers will continue to drive the economy.

Farming is a traditional enterprise that has to be as modern as tomorrow. In an environment with such diverse climate and geography as we have here, the technology to improve farming practices has to be both up-to-date and evolving.

Tasmanian farmers are innately clever. They adapt to changing market conditions; they adopt new technology; they use their heads before they put their hands to work. Up until recently, we have been totally at the whim of the weather gods. However, research through initiatives like the Sense-T program is giving farmers far more reliable information on which to base sound decisions and risk assessment and transforming the agricultural landscape.

That is why agriculture in Tasmania is approaching $2 billion pa and growing, pardon the pun.

A warmer climate; much more information about our physical environment; and expanded irrigation schemes and 95 per cent surety of water in our main growing areas will broaden the canvas upon which our farmers will work. We will see more intensified horticulture and livestock production across wide areas of the state; we’ll see new crops and products; and we’ll see expanded production of staples like wool and potatoes.  The future will bring developments and opportunities we can’t even begin to imagine today.

And this growth will be the powerhouse of a vibrant and sustainable economy, which provides a solid base for all Tasmanians to be the best they can be.

To me, that is a vision splendid.

The release earlier this week of the long-awaited Green Paper into Agricultural Competitiveness by federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, highlights just how achievable this vision can be.

Five schemes identified by Tasmanian Irrigation for tranche 2 of the state’s irrigation program were included in the list of high-priority national projects. These shovel-ready projects are now in the running for funding as part of $100 million set aside in the federal budget for game changing agricultural investments. We’ve long known the great potential for growth in the agriculture sector in Tasmania.  This sort of recognition at the national level underscores just how right we are.

We will all have different ideas of what we would like to see Tasmania become.  However, it is long past time for us to have a real community discussion about what the common themes are, and agree to focus on the future rather than the past. It is up to all of us to make this happen – and to hold our political leaders accountable for delivering on our shared expectations.

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THE CONVICTS TAKE ON KINGSTON CITY ROLLERS IN THE LAST HOME GAME FOR 2014

Vanessa Armstrong
24.10.14 9:45 am

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Convict City plays their last home game for the season on Saturday 25th October.

Kingston City Rollers (VIC) has drafted a team of experienced and guest skaters to take on Tasmania’s number
one roller derby league.

This game is a week out from the Bendigo Rebellion tournament, where Convict City is placed in the top
division, playing against Victorian Leagues.

The league is on a high after receiving news that it has been accepted into the Women’s Flat Track Derby
Association (WFTDA), the international governing organisation of the sport.

According to Alabama Hurley of the Convicts,

“The Convicts work to build our sport in Tasmania and to provide our members with as many opportunities to excel as
possible. We believe that our affiliation with WFTDA will enable us to do this even better in the future by giving us
access to resources and information from women’s flat track roller derby leagues from across the world. We have
always fought hard to stop our relative geographic isolation from the rest of the country being a barrier to our
development and we are already seeing the benefits of being involved with our sport’s international association.”

A highlight of the 2014 season, this is the last chance the home crowd will have to see the Convicts compete
before the team travels to Bendigo, Sydney then Newcastle in January for further interstate competitions and
tournaments.

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The EDO Bulletin ...

Environmental Defenders' Office
24.10.14 9:31 am

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Read more here

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Independent auditor approves the Forest Products Commission for Controlled Wood

FSC Australia CEO Natalie Reynolds
24.10.14 7:13 am

Australia, Friday 24th October 2014: Independent forest management auditor, the Soil Association, announced the West Australian Government-owned Forest Products Commission (FPC) has met the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) International Controlled Wood standard.

To comply with the Controlled Wood standard the FPC will undertake staged harvesting of select portions of the forest certificate coverage area of 244,612 hectares under strict provisions, which includes the protection of old-growth High Conservation Value areas.

FSC Australia CEO Natalie Reynolds said it was important to understand that Controlled Wood is not full FSC Certification and is not an endorsement of responsible forest management.

“Controlled Wood evaluations allow companies to avoid unacceptable wood being mixed with full FSC Certified and/or FSC recycled wood in products carrying the FSC Mix label,” Reynolds said.

“For many forest managers it is the first step towards achieving full Forest Management Certification and provides assessment against only the FSC’s most fundamental prerequisites, such as ensuring wood is not illegally harvested and harvesting does not threaten High Conservation Values.”

“Wood sourced from the identified harvesting zones cannot carry the FSC label unless they are mixed with fully FSC Certified or recycled wood under strict conditions. No labelling or claims for promotional or marketing purposes are allowed.”

“Under the FSC Australia High Conservation Values Evaluation Framework, designed to assist in interpreting the FSC Controlled Wood standard, the FPC cannot harvest ecologically mature forest where the effects of disturbances are now negligible, even where they have been logged in the past, but where they retain such characteristics.”

As a result of the additional requirements on the FPC under the Controlled wood standard, at least an additional 84ha of forests with these characteristics have now been protected. Continued identification of old-growth forest is an ongoing requirement of the Controlled Wood standard.

Following a preliminary assessment in January 2013, which identified 15 non-compliances (seven minor and eight major), the Soil Association said the FPC had undertaken significant work to resolve the issues and demonstrate adherence to the Controlled Wood standard throughout the extensive formal auditing process.

Under the FSC International’s rules, the whole forest management area must be assessed, harvest zones and plans within that forest are then reviewed and stakeholder feedback on all forest management practices are taken into account.

“FSC standards have been designed to ensure the fundamental nature and composition of forests remains over time and FSC Australia encourages managers of natural forests to publicly commit to making changes to their forest management practices in line with these standards,” Reynolds said.

All FSC certified forests are audited yearly to check their long-term management plans continue to meet relevant local standards. Stakeholder feedback is a vital component of the independent auditor’s assessment to identify potential issues and provides local communities and stakeholders with an avenue for constant feedback, which wouldn’t otherwise be required.

“We encourage all stakeholders with an interest in the area managed by the FPC to continue to provide feedback to the auditors, enabling them to conduct thorough assessments going forward.” Reynolds said.

Background ...

• For information regarding the auditor’s findings please contact the Soil Association or view their full report here: http://info.fsc.org/details.php?id=a024000000Kcf67AAB&type=certificate&return=certificate.php
• FSC Controlled Wood ( http://au.fsc.org/controlled-wood.207.htm ) ensures the avoidance of wood in FSC Certified products that come from unacceptable sources such as:

o Illegally harvested wood
o Wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
o Wood harvested from forests where High Conservation Values are threatened
o Wood harvested from forests being converted to plantations or non-forest uses
o Wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted

• No claims of ‘FSC Controlled Wood’ are allowed for promotional purposes and no labelling is allowed for products sold as ‘FSC Controlled Wood’. FSC certified processors and manufacturers can only mix ‘FSC Controlled Wood’ into products containing FSC certified or recycled sources under specified conditions. These products can be labelled ‘FSC Mix’ ( http://au.fsc.org/buy-fsc-certified.188.htm ).

About FSC Australia:

• FSC Australia is a national office of an international non-government, non-profit organisation that promotes responsible forest management practices through multi-stakeholder standard setting and an internationally-recognised certification labelling program.

• The FSC scheme exists to protect biodiversity and is recognised globally as having the most rigorous environmental, economic and social standards for responsible forest management.
• FSC certification assessments and preliminary assessments are carried out by accredited certification bodies, such as the Soil Association, that are internationally qualified and managed by Accreditation Services International.

• FSC Australia is not involved in decisions about who receives FSC certification or which independent auditor does – we are the guardian of the scheme and organise the membership to set the standards.

• In Australia 1.1m hectares of forests have been certified to full FSC Forest Management standards.

• Globally the FSC has certified more than 180 million hectares of natural and plantation forests in more than 90 countries.

• FSC Australia has tasked nine representatives from economic, environmental and social backgrounds with developing the first unique set of Australian owned forestry standards. Through three rounds of stakeholder consultation and expert input the group is currently halfway to creating a locally relevant standard in line with the FSC International’s Generic Indicators, scheduled for completion by the end of 2015.

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Wood pellets exports from North America to Europe plateaued ...

Hakan Ekstrom Wood Resources International LLC Seattle, USA
24.10.14 6:13 am

Wood pellets exports from North America to Europe plateaued during the 1H/2014 with Canadian shipments declining and exports from the US South continuing upward, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review

Pellet shipments from the US and Canada to Europe have gone in opposite directions in 2014, with the shipments from the US South being up ten percent from the 4Q/13 to the 2Q/14, and Canadian volumes declining 25% during the same period, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. The new expanding markets for pellet producers in Western Canada have instead been Japan and South Korea. 

The full article can be downloaded ...

GTWMU_North_American_exports_of_wood_pellets_in_the_2Q_2014.pdf

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Tasmania Leading on Business Confidence

Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
23.10.14 5:56 pm

The latest National Australia Bank Quarterly Business Survey shows Tasmania leading the country on business confidence.

Tasmania recorded the highest levels of business confidence on four out of five measures for the December quarter, with a 53 per cent trading index almost twice that of the next best state, Victoria at 29 per cent.

Profitability and cash flow outlooks were also stronger than for all other states.

Importantly, the NAB survey also showed local businesses reported faring well in the September quarter, leading all states on cash flow and employment, and sharing first place with Western Australia on trading.

Tasmanian businesses have clearly been buoyed by the fact that we have in this State a majority Liberal Government that is getting on with the job of implementing its long-term plan to grow the economy and create jobs.

The survey follows the release on Monday of the CommSec State of the States report, which highlighted “encouraging” signs of recovery in Tasmania.

Today’s result is equally encouraging, but we remain in no doubt about the task that is before us, particularly in terms of turning confidence into growth.

Our plan includes payroll tax rebates and incentives for small businesses to create new jobs, and fixing the planning system and opening up national parks for sensible tourism investment to drive development.

There is much to do, but we are getting on with the job of making Tasmania the place to live, work and invest.

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Encouraging Young Drivers to be Safer, More Responsible on Our Roads

Rene Hidding, Minister for Infrastructure
23.10.14 5:54 pm

Creating a generation of more aware and responsible motorists is the aim of a program that the Liberal Government is proud to support.

The Rotary Youth Driver Awareness Program (RYDA) targets Year 10 students who are on the cusp of learning to drive, seeking to change attitudes and develop a greater awareness of the dangers they will encounter.

We committed before the March election to provide funding to support this program and today I am pleased to confirm that, as promised, the Liberal Government will provide $300,000 over four years through the Road Safety Levy.

As part of the funding agreement, Rotary will work in partnership with the Department of State Growth to review how the program is conducted across the State to help make it more sustainable into the future.

Delivered by Rotary Tasmania volunteers, this is a great program that addresses the fact that those aged between 16 and 25 years are heavily over represented in Tasmanian crash statistics.

Young drivers are the most vulnerable road users, particularly in their first six to 12 months of unsupervised driving, and largely due to their inexperience and risk-taking behaviours.

We need to work with younger drivers to raise awareness of how crashes can occur in an instant and change lives forever.

The Liberal Government is also pleased to help disadvantaged learner drivers in gaining their licences with a $1.5 million commitment over three years to support driver mentoring programs.

Supporting young people to learn to drive and to be more responsible, law-abiding motorists takes a community effort, and I want to commend Rotary and all those groups and volunteers who are helping to make our roads safer.

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Jan Davis: Green Paper heading in the right direction

TFGA chief executive Jan Davis
23.10.14 3:30 pm

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) has welcomed the release of the Federal Government’s long-awaited Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper.

The paper was unveiled at the National Farmer’s Federation Congress by Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, in Canberra earlier this week.

The paper identifies nine key policy principles, including reducing unnecessary regulation at all levels of government, maintaining access for all Australians to high-quality and affordable fresh food, infrastructure for the 21st century and greater returns to the farm gate.

The Green Paper is heading in the right direction with its attempt to stop unjustified over-regulation.

In our submission earlier this year, the TFGA called for an end to burdensome regulations at all levels of Government.

Farmers simply can’t continue to absorb the excess costs that result. It will put paid to our capacity to drive much needed growth for Tasmania.

The TFGA has also emphasised the importance of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (TFES) to the State’s farmers.

There is no road across Bass Strait; that is what needs to be remembered when future infrastructure decisions are being made. It is vital that the TFES is maintained to ensure that Tasmanian farmers can continue to compete with their counterparts in other states.

The Green Paper has also committed the federal government to consider plans to build more dams and fund extra irrigation projects across the country.

Mr Joyce said many submissions to the Green Paper raised the issue of securing water supplies for agriculture.

“I think the Prime Minister has made it quite clear that we shouldn’t have a ‘dam phobia’, to use his lexicon.

“There are always going to be people who just don’t like the idea of progress, don’t like the idea of dams, who don’t like the idea of roads,” Mr Joyce said.

“In fact, if they had their way, they don’t like the idea of us being on the land. That’s a great idea to have if you want to go broke.
“If you want to security, you’ve got to build the capital that brings about that security. And dams do that.”

New dam projects will be paid for by a mix of private funds and government money. This is the model that has been successfully used in Tasmania to deliver development of water infrastructure over the past few years.

It was pleasing that the paper acknowledged the work of Tasmanian Irrigation (TI) in pioneering this model. The fact that five Tasmanian irrigation projects (Southern Highlands, Scottsdale, Circular Head, Swan Valley and North Esk) were identified in the Green Paper as being high on the agenda to receive federal investment in the next 12 months is testament to the work that TI is doing.

The Green Paper also calls for changes to the way supermarkets and farmers negotiate prices, suggesting more farmer-owned co-operatives could play a key role in that relationship. The paper says that the federal government will consider what it can do to foster more co-operatives in the agriculture sector, noting that regulation of co-operatives is in the jurisdiction of the states.

It also suggests states and territories should adopt a ‘co-operatives national law’ which would make it easier to run a co-operative across different jurisdictions. While co-operatives are regulated by the states, the federal government says it is interested in understanding obstacles to establishing new co-operatives and whether there are any government initiatives that could be undertaken to promote take-up.

Mr Joyce says prices paid to farmers was an issue that came up repeatedly in submissions received by the federal government to the Green Paper. The recommendations in the paper about improving relations between farmers and supermarkets come after years of talks around a code of conduct, with only an interim voluntary code currently in place.

Tensions between supermarkets and farmers have also been the focus of investigations by the ACCC in recent months, with pending Federal Court action against retailer Coles.

Minister Joyce has indicated that the government believes unconscionable conduct should be controlled. He has committed to ‘doing more’ if more is required to bring about a more honest approach by those who wish to exploit their market position in such a way that is hardened and discriminatory against smaller players who are trying to supply them.

The recommendations in the paper about improving relations between farmers and supermarkets come after years of talks around a code of conduct, with only an interim voluntary code currently in place.

The Green Paper also covers other areas including foreign investment, drought, biosecurity and education and training.

In the end, it will be up to industry to ensure that the government remained focussed on the policy’s key objective.

A better return for our farm gate sounds good in theory, but it will be up to all of us to make sure that the government keeps its promises.

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Legislative Council Should Stay Strong on Anti-Protest Legislation

Nick McKim MP | Greens Justice spokesperson
23.10.14 3:28 pm

The Legislative Council should reject the Hodgman government’s proposed amended anti-protest legislation on the grounds that stakeholders’ concerns have not been addressed.

“The amendments fail to address the overwhelming majority of stakeholders’ concerns and the Legislative Council should stay strong and reject the Bill even in amended form,” Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim MP said.

“No matter how hard Mr Harriss tries to polish the cowpat, it’s still a cowpat.”

“The Bill remains a radical and extremist attack on freedom of association, and should be consigned to the rubbish bin where it belongs.”

“The amendments may also make the Bill more likely to be knocked off by the High Court as its mandatory sentencing provisions will become even more disproportionate,” Mr McKim said.

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Woodchip pile at Macquarie Point: Will you immediately quash this plan?

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Denison
23.10.14 3:25 pm

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development the following question TODAY at approximately 2.15pm in Federal Parliament.

“I helped secure a $50m grant to refurbish Macquarie Point in Hobart and unleash $1bn in investment.

“This is the largest brownfield site left in any capital city, but yet the State Government’s now talking about using it for a woodchip pile.

“Surely this is at odds with any agreement with the Commonwealth, in which case will you immediately quash this plan?”

You can watch the proceedings live here: http://www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/Watch_Parliament

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$1 billion Sunk in Offshore Detention Camps Should be Reinvested in Tasmanian Asylum Haven Push

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader
23.10.14 11:42 am

The growing calls for the reopening of Pontville to facilitate more humane onshore processing of asylum seekers are welcome and timely, said Greens Leader Kim Booth MP whose call for Tasmania to become an asylum seeker haven was the centre-piece of his key note speech at the Greens’ State Conference last month.

“The cruel Abbott regime of offshore detention centres offends humanity and also makes no economic sense,” Mr Booth said.

“It has been revealed this week that in this financial year already the federal government has spent more than $1 billion to keep 2200 asylum seekers in the offshore detention hell-holes in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.”

“Senate hearings heard that it cost taxpayers $632.3 million to run the Manus Island detention centre, and $582.4 million to run Nauru’s facility.  At the same costing our nation’s humanitarian reputation internationally as the world stands shocked at the deaths, the self-harm, the children in custody, and the misery.”

“Only this week we saw Papua New Guinea Prime Minister announce PNG will be delaying taking confirmed refugees for resettlement, leaving these people in further limbo.  This flawed and cruel scheme is not working at any level.”

“We have to stop this.”

“This is why the Greens pledged last month to work with other community organisations, churches, and individuals to help develop proposal such as that suggested by Julian Burnside QC, that some of that $1 billion is instead reinvested in making Tasmania an asylum seeker haven, and to then put that developed proposal to both State and Federal governments.”

“Under this proposal we would see asylum seekers detained initially, potentially in facilities such as Pontville, for a short period for health and security checks, after which these people would be released into the community on an interim visa until the person’s refugee status is determined.”

“The benefits this scheme would have for Tasmania and Tasmanians include boosting skills available and money circulating through our regional and local economies, as asylum seekers pay rent, buy food, and pay other bills.”

“Following my announcement of this commitment at last month’s state conference, my office received many supportive calls and correspondence from Tasmanians who were so ashamed of the Abbott offshore internment camp policy, and who also wanted to stand up and say ‘not in my name’.”

“Tasmania, whether at Pontville or elsewhere in our state, can do the right thing by our fellow human beings, and in a careful manner which also secures skills and economic benefits for our local and regional economies, Mr Booth said.

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