In Their Own Words...

Liberals | Labor | Greens | Premier Will Hodgman | Labor Leader Bryan Green | Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor

Uber arrives in Tasmania

Will Hodgman, Premier
02.12.16 12:51 pm

Ride-sharing has now arrived in Tasmania.
The Tasmanian Liberal Government is embracing the sharing economy because it offers greater competition and efficiency, more choice and lower prices for people.
The launch of Uber in Tasmania has been made possible by government legislation to enable ride-sharing, which also includes appropriate passenger protections.
With a rapidly growing visitor economy it is important we keep pace with innovative products like ride-sharing which tourists have become accustomed to elsewhere, and we want Tasmanians to also enjoy a greater range of services that are available in other states.
Uber represents additional job opportunities for Tasmanians, with around 70 people already registered locally as drivers.
Uber’s expansion into Hobart is also another sign of confidence in the Tasmanian economy.
I warmly welcome Uber to Tasmania, a state that is going places.


SEFR meets the EPA and Forestry Corporation in Tantawangalo State Forest

Scott Daines
02.12.16 12:49 pm

Following the Tantawangalo forest protests and the submission of several breach reports by South East Forest Rescue (SEFR) to the regulator, a meeting was held on Wednesday afternoon between SEFR the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Forestry Corporation at one of the rocky outcrop breaches. SEFR also met with the EPA on Tuesday afternoon and inspected two rocky outcrop breaches. The EPA was in agreement with SEFR at the size and composition of the outcrops inspected. They also informed SEFR they had found an outcrop themselves.

At Wednesdays meeting Forestry Corporation was in complete denial that they were in breach even when confronted with undeniable visual proof right in front of them. They failed to justify their reasoning for the wrong marking of the exclusion zone and following this told the EPA and SEFR that the meeting was over and left.

“It was a complete farce,” said Mr Scott Daines spokesperson for SEFR. “Forestry Corporation realised they did not have a leg to stand on and so rather than admit they are in breach they stormed off without looking at the other 4 areas. It was also sad to see the change in attitude of the EPA with Forestry present. They went from all but confirming the breach to we need to go and ‘crunch the data back in the office.’ “

“Investigations by the EPA invariably take at least 6 months and some take 2 years, and then all they seem to do is give Forestry Corporation a warning letter or an official caution,”  said Mr Daines, “Because it’s a government department investigating a government corporation there seems to be a lack of urgency and enforcement in their actions. Unfortunately the Government has also taken away the public’s right to take legal action against Forestry Corporation over breaches of the law. It’s a lose lose situation for the forests.”

“The Government needs to reinstate third party rights for the public and immediately make sure the EPA responds faster and with more enforcement action to the environmental damage being caused by forestry. The native forest industry is a complete basket case of an industry, highly subsidised, loss making, legally shielded, unregulated and environmentally destructive,” said Mr Daines.

  SEFR calls on the Minister for the Environment Mark Speakman to stop the logging of the remaining area in Tantawangalo as compensatory habitat for the damage already caused by Forestry Corporation and their contractors and for them to be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. “After years of breaches and lack of enforcement, it’s the only credible option the Minister has,” said Mr Daines.


Glenorchy Carols by Candlelight

Michael McLaughlin Cultural Programs Officer Moonah Arts Centre 23- 27 Albert Road, Moonah
02.12.16 12:40 pm

Glenorchy City Council with the YMCA and The Lions Club of Glenorchy are putting the final touches on their 2016 Glenorchy Carols by Candlelight event to be held on Saturday the 10th of December at Tolosa Park, Glenorchy.

Glenorchy Carols is renowned as a traditional family friendly event, where patrons get to join in the singing.

“We appreciate many people at this time of year are looking for a genuine Carols experience where they can celebrate the season by joining in the singing with our onstage performers” said Dr Annette Barratt one of the organisers of this event and a long term chorister with the Tasmanian Song Company. “ We all enjoy seeing and hearing great performers but at Glenorchy Carols there is the added extra of coming together as a community through song and our feedback is that people love it.”

Assisting with that community feel this year is the engagement of a number of local not for profits involved in the event who underscore the spirit of Christmas as a chance to give something back.

Event sponsor the YMCA will be assisting by spreading their Safe Summer message. YMCA CEO, Melissa Carlton said the ‘Y’ was delighted to be sponsoring one of Tasmania’s most popular Christmas events again this year.

“Glenorchy Carols is always such a highlight for families at this time of year and we are very pleased to be involved as a way of promoting the Y’s Safe Summer message,” she said

“As the YMCA is very much a family orientated organisation, promoting a fun, healthy and above all a safe summer, is always an important message within our local community, but particularly at this time of year .”

Event partner the Lions Club of Glenorchy will have a strong presence at the event again this year collecting for the local Anglicare Giving Tree appeal, while onstage MC Mr Ryk Goddard will be encouraging patrons to be generous in donating to a range of charities and causes supporting those doing it tough at this time of year.

Held in the beautiful bush setting of the Tolosa Park Soundshell,  features of the evening will include , Tas Circus Arts, The Glenorchy City Concert Brass, Big Monkey Theatre, as well as a terrific line up of school and community choirs and of course a visit by Santa! 

A family friendly event, entry is by gold coin donation for a Lions Club Candle and Songbook, with gates open to the Park from 6pm.

A range of affordable food options will be available in the Park from sausage sizzles to wood fired pizza or patrons are welcome to bring their own picnic.  Onsite parking is available or patrons are encouraged to make use of the park and drive shuttle bus, with a fully accessible Metro bus shuttle leaving the Glenorchy Bus Interchange every 20 minutes from 6pm to 8pm and then returning from 9:30pm. 

Glenorchy Carols by Candlelight
Sat Dec 10, 2016
Tolosa Park Soundshell
210 Tolosa St, Glenorchy TAS 7010
Gates open at 6pm. Full Stage program from 7:30pm

MAC is a program of Glenorchy City Council


Fact Check: Justin Trudeau’s claim that Castro made ‘significant improvements’ to

Washington Post
02.12.16 12:37 pm

Read here


Safe Pathways update

Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Human Services
02.12.16 11:26 am

Yesterday at around 12.45pm my office was informed by my department that they had taken the decision to remove children from the care of Safe Pathways.
Later in the afternoon at around 4pm I received preliminary verbal advice that the interim independent financial audit had revealed some anonomalies.
I’m also advised the ongoing media attention has caused a level of distress to some children at home and at school.
To be clear the 11 children remain safe – however on the basis of the latest advice and the ongoing media attention, it has been deemed prudent to transfer the children to alternative care until the review is completed – a decision I fully support.
The transfer will take place as soon as possible, but allowing time to ensure that all children are placed in appropriate alternative care with as little disruption as possible.
I am advised that the review of Safe Pathways is ongoing and I expect a report in coming weeks.


Why is Jacquie Petrusma still in charge of Tasmania’s most vulnerable children?

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
02.12.16 11:25 am

 Minister’s position untenable after Safe Pathways debacle
 Petrusma’s response result of media pressure not genuine concern
 Hodgman must act on Minister who has lost control of responsibilities
 Vulnerable children badly let down by incompetent Minister
Premier Will Hodgman has no option but to demand the resignation of his Child Protection Minister Jacquie Petrusma over her incompetent and unacceptable handling of the Safe Pathways debacle.
Labor Leader Bryan Green said Mrs Petrusma could not be permitted to remain in charge of Tasmania’s most vulnerable children after she had provided a lucrative contract to a for-profit care provider which had then been the subject of serious allegations of neglect stretching back almost a year.
Mr Green said yesterday the Premier had tried to reassure Tasmanians that 11 children in the care of Safe Pathways were safe but overnight they had been removed.
“Typically Mr Hodgman was completely hands-off throughout this debacle but he cannot continue to let down vulnerable children by allowing Mrs Petrusma to remain in the portfolio,” Mr Green said.
“After weeks assuring Tasmanians that children in the care of Safe Pathways were safe, they have now been removed as a result of media and political pressure.
“As the guardian of Tasmania’s most vulnerable and at-risk children, the Minister has one of the most important roles in government and she has very badly let these children – and others - down.
“Mrs Petrusma is responsible for paying Safe Pathways $9,000 a week to care for each of these children, even after a Four Corners report last month exposed serious and very distressing allegations of serious neglect.
“Serious questions remain unanswered and the Minister’s story has kept changing.
“At first she claimed to have only learned about these claims in October but then changed her mind on the floor of the Parliament and admitted she had been informed in August.
“Now there are fresh claims dating back as far as February.
“Serious questions need to be asked of the Premier also – why did he not act immediately and take control when clearly Mrs Petrusma had lost control?
“He must act today to remove this Minister to ensure Tasmanians that everything possible is being done in the best interests of protecting these very vulnerable children who were entrusted to the government only to be horrifically failed.”


Tender opens for drug and alcohol services

Jenny Denholm Manager – Communications and Marketing
02.12.16 10:13 am

Primary Health Tasmania will today open a tender for the delivery of treatment services for alcohol and other drugs.

Services – including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – will be funded from early 2017 until June
2019. They will focus on early intervention, treatment, coordination of care, and preventing relapse.

In 2013, 15.1% of Tasmanians reported using an illicit drug in the previous 12 months1

. And 18.6% of Tasmanians

consume alcohol at a level that presents a lifetime risk of harm (more than 2 standard drinks per day)2
Primary Health Tasmania general manager Mark Broxton said for some people, alcohol and other drug
dependence is a chronic relapsing condition.

“These people require support and treatment from a holistic and well integrated system and specialist services,” he

“It is likely that these people will cycle in and out of treatment over time, hopefully making incremental gains along
the way.

“Effective alcohol and drug treatment and support changes people’s lives by improving their physical and mental

The Australian Government is funding the 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) around Australia – including
Primary Health Tasmania – to commission treatment services for alcohol and other drugs.

The aim of this drug and alcohol treatment funding is broader than commissioning extra treatment services. It’s
about building an effective and sustainable drug and alcohol service system into the future.

Tasmania’s drug and alcohol treatment services sector is relatively small, with a limited number of service

“This tender also seeks proposals to increase the capacity of the sector to deliver effective services through better
regional coordination and by targeting areas of need,” Mr Broxton said.

“This could include activities such as increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
qualified to work as alcohol and other drug workers, and helping the general practice workforce to better support
people who misuse alcohol and other drugs.”

1 DHHS Health Indicators Tasmania 2013
2 Under the 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines, adults - regardless of gender - are at risk of long-term harm if
consuming more than two standard drinks a day on average


Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency Department under increasing pressure

02.12.16 9:57 am

Read here


Backpacker tax resolution welcomed

TFGA Communications Officer Kirsten Woolley
02.12.16 9:56 am

Tasmania’s peak farming organisation has welcomed the news that Federal politicians have finally reached an agreement on the controversial “backpacker tax”.

TFGA CEO Peter Skillern said that it was pleasing to see that some groups and cross bench members had finally found consensus with the Federal Government.

“It is unfortunate that this issue has been used as a political football at the expense of Tasmanian farmers,’’ Mr Skillern said.

“There are many lessons to be learned from this fiasco, and we will be looking to our Federal representatives, in both the lower and upper house, to act in the interests of Tasmanian agriculture in the future.

“We now urge the Federal Government to actively ensure that backpackers around the world are aware of these changes, and that there is proactive promotion to ensure that the sector has labour resources moving forward.”


Angels for Animals offer message of peace

Clare Knight, Animals Tasmania
02.12.16 9:48 am


Three beautiful angels and one baby angel with wings and halos will be out in Hobart to spread a message of peace for animals, at the start of the Christmas season. The angels will provide tasty samples of vegan Christmas food with the message “Be an Angel for Animals this Christmas, leave them off your plate.”

“Turkeys, chickens, pigs and fish are traditionally served up at the dinner table at Christmas time, but tradition does not justify cruelty” says Animals Tasmania spokesperson Clare Knight. “Many of these animals spend their entire life crammed by the thousands in atrocious conditions in sheds and cages. Turkeys and chickens are forced to grow so large so quickly their legs often cripple underneath them, pigs have their tails chopped off without pain relief, fish can barely swim in underwater cages, or they experience painful decompression when dragged out of the water. We urge people to include animals in their celebrations this Christmas. There are so many delicious foods available that spare animals living a life of misery. Be an angel for animals, Go Veg this Christmas”.

Clare continued, “Many people don’t realise the animals they eat at Christmas (and the rest of the year too) live interesting lives like we do – if given the chance. Turkeys form strong social bonds, sometimes travelling in the wild with groups of 200 or more. Pigs can learn their own name and show affection just like the family dog. A mother hen will cluck to her chicks before they hatch so they recognise her voice.

Some fish species have long memories, recognise individuals and even warn each other of dangers, and lobsters often walk ‘hand-in-hand’. Animals experience pain and fear, happiness and love, just as we do. They deserve peace and freedom, just as we do.”

Angels for Animals @ Salamanca
When – 11am, Saturday 3rd December 2016
Where – The Rotunda at Salamanca Square

Animals Tasmania exists to promote respect and kindness towards all non-human animals. We represent all animals, no exceptions.


Which Queensland state seats could One Nation win?

02.12.16 9:41 am

Read here


USA: Ruins of Viking settlement discovered near Hudson River
02.12.16 6:43 am

Read here


George Brandis went on anti-Abbott book buying binge, expenses show

02.12.16 6:40 am

Read here


Tasmanian tiger sightings: ‘I represent 3,000 people who have been told they’re nuts’

02.12.16 6:39 am

Read here


ABC bosses ‘morally and spiritually bankrupt’ for axing Catalyst, RN presenter says

02.12.16 5:49 am

Read here

EARLIER, Amanda Meade in the Guardian ...

Former News Corp CEO wins Radio National slot as full ABC cuts revealed


Aussie artists are up in arms ...

02.12.16 5:06 am

Dear Anne,

New ABC boss Michelle Guthrie just axed almost all of Radio National’s music programmes.

Aussie artists are up in arms—many of them rely on Radio National for the fundamentals of their career—sufficient exposure so they can tour and survive. Regional Australia’s music lovers also depend on Radio National for free, interesting, new local music.

But news broke last night that the decision isn’t final. If we come together now with artists and create a huge outcry from Radio National listeners, we can give ABC management the space to back pedal on the decision.

Sign the petition now and GetUp will work with musicians to deliver our call to the ABC head office in Ultimo, loud and clear!

For people in the country—Radio National is a lifeline. Where there is no reliable and fast internet, podcasting and digital radio is not a viable alternative. Often Radio National is the only reliable service. The ABC is supposed to serve everyone—taking music off the biggest network is a huge blow.

For Australian arts, losing music on Radio National is a massive cultural loss. Artists are among the loudest critics of the proposed cuts.

The Head of Music at ABC Radio told Mark Colvin on PM yesterday that management are keeping an eye on the outcry from the community and admitted that “perhaps we haven’t got the mix right”.

We know they’re listening now—sign now to support Aussie music:

Together we can work for the ABC that we all love.

Thanks for all that you do,
Emily, for the GetUp Team


Greens announce end to backpacker tax deadlock and $100mil for Landcare

Senator Richard Di Natale, Australian Greens Leader
01.12.16 7:35 pm

Senator Di Natale, Australian Greens Leader said today, “This is a victory for farmers who have been watching their fruit wither and die on the vine. Farmers have already lost tens of thousands of dollars waiting for politicians in Canberra to agree on an outcome. With this agreement, they will wait no longer.

“Rural communities have been desperate for someone to clean up this mess with a sensible solution and the Greens have heard them.

“Our sensible circuit breaker has delivered farmers the certainty they’ve been calling for. The Government has made a complete hash of this issue but we are pleased that common sense has prevailed today.

“The Greens were not willing to stand by and risk the tax rate for backpackers jumping to 32%; that would have been a disaster not just for farmers, but for entire rural communities and the tourism industry as a whole.

“The compromise we’ve struck with the Government will see backpackers taxed at a nominal rate of 15 percent, but at the same time the tax rate on their 9.5% superannuation will drop from 95 to 65 percent. This is an outcome that will place this new package at an equivalent rate to the 13 percent favoured by Labor and some crossbenchers.

“The agreement on super is an especially good outcome for rural economies. This is money that will be spent in rural communities, providing a much needed boost for rural economies.

“At the same time as we’ve been able to deliver certainty to farmers, we have secured a big victory for our environment, with the Government pledging $100 million for Landcare.

“This is significant. Around half a billion dollars has been gutted from Landcare in recent years and this agreement goes a long way towards restoring the funding this long standing and effective program that farmers have been calling for.

“This funding is a giant first step in fulfilling our election pledge to put over $770 million back into Landcare. This money will help to fund community revegetation and landscape rehabilitation projects.

The Australian Greens have secured:

• Nominal tax rate of 15 percent but at the same time the tax rate on their 9.5% superannuation will drop from 95 to 65 percent.
• This amounts to a revenue neutral solution which will be equivalent to the 13 percent tax rate offered by Labor and the crossbench.
• $100 million for Landcare (a program that helps farmers with natural resource management, weeds and pest control) which is an important step towards returning the funding that was cut in the first Abbott Budget.


Greens backpacker outcome provides security for Tasmania

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson
01.12.16 4:58 pm

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson is relieved to see the backpacker tax impasse finally resolved to provide certainty for Tasmania’s agriculture and tourism industries and to have helped deliver additional funding to landcare groups right across the state.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “What a bloody relief to get this finally done. It should never have gotten to this point, but I am relieved it to finally have it resolved.
“The Greens are the only party who had strong consistent position on this this bad policy and everything we have done in parliament is to get the best possible deal for Tasmanian farmers.
“The Greens have stepped up and delivered some certainty for Tasmania this Summer. This was not a time and issue for brinkmanship, it was a time for commonsense negotiation.
“I have been in contact with producers over the backpacker tax debacle since the beginning. I stood with local growers during the election campaign against the government’s 32% tax rate.
“I thank all the Tasmanian small business in the agricultural and tourism sector for engaging with us in good faith.
“The additional $100 million towards landcare funding will provide groups across Tasmania the ability to better care for our amazing natural resources. The Greens are proud to have delivered for groups who care for our land and wildlife,” he concluded.


Lambie welcomes Liberal’s Backpacker Tax deal with the Greens

Rob Messenger for Senator Jacqui Lambie Senator for Tasmania
01.12.16 4:57 pm

Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie on the behalf of desperate Tasmanian farmers - has welcomed the news that the Liberal / National parties have cut a deal with the Greens which leaves the Backpacker tax rate at an effective rate of 13%.
“I genuinely welcome the news that the Greens have negotiated a deal that delivers an effect Backpacker tax rate of 13%. I hope it works. Our Tasmanian farmers should never have been put through this bureaucratic and political hell, for the last 18mths. The government’s inaction, arrogance and incompetence have caused terrible harm to many Tasmanian farming families.
Our farmers deserve a fair share of the extra $100M announced in this National, Liberal and Greens deal for Land Care. I’m calling for details of this deal – and the total amount of money to be allocated to Tasmania - to be released to our Farmers as soon as possible. We know our farmers have lost and will continue to lose money because of government incompetence – perhaps some of this money can be put aside for compensation.
And I hope that a Backpacker deal which has a headline rate of 15% - but incorporates superannuation concessions that lower the headline rate to an effective value of 13% - is recognised internationally as competitive. With New Zealand’s backpacker rate set at a headline rate of 10.5% - and with NZ poaching a lot of Australian bound backpackers – I still have concerns for the long term viability and competitiveness of this deal.
I hope that once this matter is dealt with today in Parliament – that a lasting and viable solution is put in place. It would be a disaster if we had to revisit the Backpacker crisis in another 12months. I will continue to listen closely to Tasmanian farmers and vote according to their best interests.
Unfortunately, this crisis has shown that mainland dominated farming organisations like the NFF – cannot be trusted to represent Tasmanian farmers in Canberra. The NFF’s actions in this Backpacker crisis show that they have become the lap dogs of the National and Liberal parties – rather than being the watch dog for regional and rural Australia.” said Senator Lambie.


Turnbull breaks promises on mobile blackspots in Bass

01.12.16 4:51 pm

Ross Hart MP, Federal Member for Bass, has slammed a decision by the Turnbull Government for failing to fund any new mobile base stations in Bass under round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program announced today.
“Round 2 of the program will fund 266 mobile sites around Australia, just 6 of those are in Tasmania but none in Bass despite the former Liberal member Andrew Nikolic promising on the 30th of May 2016 that the following areas would receive new mobile base stations if the Coalition were re-elected”, Mr Hart said.
• Flinders Island
• Beechford
• Lefroy
• Musselroe Bay
• Blackstone Heights
“Labor fully supports a Mobile Black Spot Program to improve mobile phone coverage in regional Australia, but the Turnbull Government is simply failing to deliver on its promise to Bass because did not elect a Liberal member.
A recent report by the Australian National Audit Office into Round 1 of the Black Spot program was damning, with findings of poor assessment criteria in terms of coverage, financial and technical return on investment. 
“In Round 1 of the program, the Turnbull Government was shown to be playing politics with 80% of funded base stations put in Liberal and Nationals electorates. Sadly this has continued under the Round 2 with only 11% of funded base stations going to Labor electorates including 2 marginal electorates in Tasmania, Lyons and Braddon.
“73 blackspot areas were identified by the community in Bass and as Member of Parliament Mr Nikolic had every chance to give some sites a Priority Nomination to improve their chances of funding under round 2 of the program but he either failed to nominate them or his nomination was not robust enough.
“The few mobile sites in Bass which were funded under Round 1 have still not gone live almost a year and a half after the announcement was made.  Their failure in fixing mobile black spots along with botching the NBN rollout is further evidence that the Turnbull government is incompetent when it comes to improving essential communications for Australians.” Mr Hart said.


Tandem Freefall:  Parachute Fails For Macquarie Harbour and Fish Farm Industry

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
01.12.16 2:52 pm

A public spat between two CEOs of Tasmania’s largest regional industry employer on ABC radio this morning told us everything about the disastrous state of our salmon farming industry and the marine environment that sustains it.

There is no oxygen for biological activity in large parts of Macquarie Harbour, and no inflows of water to move the piles of waste from fish pens. Junk science from the Primary Industry Minister’s department has been used to promote fish farm expansions at any cost.

Frances Bender, CEO of Huon Aquaculture, said the ecosystem of Macquarie Harbour is at collapse, and she pointed the finger of responsibility at successive Liberal and Labor government mismanagement.  She said the reputation of Tasmania’s salmon industry has been “trashed”, and she fears for the jobs in Strahan if massive fish deaths occur.

The survival of this industry, employer of over 5000 Tasmanians, is now threatened by the loss of biological activity in the waterways where the salmon grow, and national consumer backlash at a damaged brand.

People don’t want to buy and eat farmed fish that have helped cause the death of iconic waterways and threatened species.

The Greens congratulate Ms Bender for writing to the Federal Government asking for a review of the State’s management of the industry.

In the cynical world of government regulation that is supposed to protect the environment, “adaptive management” has only meant the fish cap goes up, not down.

Ms Bender is now pulling the plug on the cosy government and salmon industry regulatory relationship that has existed so far. She can see what conservationists, marine scientists and communities having been warning for over a decade.

Intensive salmon farming is ruining life in our waterways and the existence of the industry along with it. Healthy marine ecosystems are the only way to keep long-term jobs in the fish farming industry for regional areas like Strahan.

The EPA’s 8% reduction in the Harbour’s biomass cap will be woefully inadequate to save the marine life in the Harbour.  According to Ms Bender, in September there was 11,000 tonnes of farmed salmon, and the Harbour was already in trouble. How can an increase to 14,000 tonnes over summer be enough to save the basin?

Minister Rockliff has to act immediately and put the health of the marine environment at the top of his priority list.  It’s time he listened to conservationists and independent scientists who are not paid by the salmon industry.


Premier needs to step in and help struggling Minister protect vulnerable children

Josh Willie MP Shadow Minister for Housing, Disability and Child Safety
01.12.16 2:51 pm

 Minister’s track record badly lets down children in care
 Premier must step in and take charge of Child Protection portfolio after new revelations
 Important responsibilities require genuine care and leadership, not mismanagement
Premier Will Hodgman has no option but to step in and take charge of Tasmania’s critical Child Protection area after the latest revelations of unacceptable mismanagement by his Minister Jacquie Petrusma.
Shadow Child Safety Minister Josh Willie said the Premier must show leadership and take charge of Tasmania’s child protection system and ensure the upmost protection is being given to children after new revelations about for-profit care provider Safe Pathways aired on the ABC.
Mr Willie said that Mrs Petrusma had signed off on a $240,000 bill for Safe Pathways to care for a 12-year-old girl but then it allegedly failed to even provide her with accommodation.
He said Minister Petrusma is ultimately responsible.
The latest concerns about the company follow a damning Four Corners report a fortnight ago which exposed the fact that Tasmanian taxpayers are footing a bill of $99,000 each week for Safe Pathways to care for children but, in some cases, had failed to provide them with basic essentials.
“Tasmanians need to be abundantly clear about what has happened in the crucially important child protection area on this Minister’s watch,” Mr Willie said.
“We’ve witnessed an extremely vulnerable youth provided with a tent and forced to sleep at the Hobart Showgrounds in the middle of winter.
“We’ve seen an unacceptable bungle when 151 child protection reports in the north-west were overlooked.
“The details of an alleged incident at the Ashley Detention Centre were kept secret from Tasmanians and still have not seen the light of day.
“Her department remains critically understaffed and is still without the permanent senior leadership she says will steer an overhaul of the child protection system.
“Now we have the Safe Pathways debacle.
“Mrs Petrusma first claimed she only knew about these allegations in October, then admitted she had been informed in August but the latest concerns raised by the ABC occurred in February.
“It’s disingenuous for the Minister to accuse Labor of playing politics -Tasmanians are right to question why the investigation the Minister claims is still underway is taking so long when 11 children are still in the care of this group.
“How many more times will Mrs Petrusma be allowed to get it so wrong before the Premier takes action to ensure the best possible protection is being given to children?
“What will it take for Mr Hodgman to admit that his Minister is clearly struggling with her important responsibilities and that he must step in give her the support she clearly needs.”


Ferguson’s RHH Christmas Chaos

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Health spokesperson
01.12.16 2:50 pm

Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, needs to take his fingers out of his ears and start listening to the doctors and nurses in the Royal Hobart Hospital. If he doesn’t, southern Tasmanians are looking at a Christmas-crisis in the Emergency Department.

The Royal Hobart Hospital Medical Staff Association and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation have presented at least three options to create more beds and protect Tasmanians’ lives during the Christmas and New Year peak period. Mr Ferguson needs to respond immediately.

Minister Ferguson’s mismanagement is causing constant Emergency Department bed block at the Royal, and he’s depending on tired staff to continue working double shifts.

Just yesterday, 12 patients had been waiting more than 12 hours for beds.  There’s nothing normal, or responsible, about waiting that long for emergency medical care. 

The situation has got worse with the decant to the temporary hospital building of upstairs wards.  The Minister knew this would be a consequence of the redevelopment, but hasn’t accounted for it.

So far the Minister has refused to put in the minimum resources that the Royal Hobart Hospital needs to deal with the everyday inflow of patients in acute need.

The Minister can take the advice of his staff on the ground, or he will be responsible for a bedlam at Christmas that nobody wants.


Petrusma Must Cancel Safe Pathways’ Contract

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader
01.12.16 2:50 pm

The Minister for Human Services has no choice but to accept responsibility for the Safe Pathways scandal and cancel the government contract with the for-profit provider.

Following damning revelations last month of the neglect of vulnerable children in State care by Safe Pathways, former staff have come forward with further details that compel the Minister to act.

It has been alleged by the former staff that Child Protection delivered a 12 year old girl into the ‘care’ of Safe Pathways, despite not knowing where she would be taken.

The former staff allege the 12 year old stayed at a staff member’s house for three weeks, until a home could be found and that it was nearly impossible to get money out of the company to provide for the child’s basic needs.

The State is guilty of neglecting this vulnerable child, by handing her over to a private company, despite there being no certainty surrounding her housing and in fact, no home to go to apart from the support worker’s.

The Minister needs to explain. 

This scenario points to a dangerous lack of checks and balances within Child Protection, a failure for which the Minister must accept responsibility.

The Minister appears to be dragging her heels since the first allegations about this company arose three months ago. 

Continuation of the contract with Safe Pathways is untenable.


Tasmanian Wedgies: the shocking truth ...

Birdlife Australia
01.12.16 2:31 pm

Read here


First Dog: Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin’s 10-point plan to siphon off the billabong

01.12.16 1:32 pm

Read here


TasWater brings Whitemark’s water up to the mark

01.12.16 1:15 pm

Residents of Whitemark on Flinders Island have good cause for celebration today with TasWater in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services confirming the town’s long standing do not consume alert has been lifted.
TasWater CEO Michael Brewster said it is great news for both residents of Whitemark and the broader Flinders Island community that the water is now fully drinkable straight from the tap.
Restrictions on the use of water in Whitemark have been in place since May 2011 due to the presence of lead in the water supply.
“The lifting of the do not consume alert is the result of TasWater building a new water treatment plant.”
“Whitemark’s water will continue to be sourced from the South Pats River where it will be pumped to the existing raw water storage reservoirs before being treated at the new Cannes Hill water treatment plant. The fully treated water, having undergone a process of membrane filtration, UV disinfection and chlorination, will be stored in a new treated water storage tank and then distributed to Whitemark.”
It will be this water that residents will be able to drink straight form the tap, confident it meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
“TasWater is really pleased to be able to make today’s announcement as it backs up our commitment to every corner of Tasmania,” Michael Brewster said.
“The Whitemark treatment plant and additional facilities have cost in excess of $4 million and represents a significant piece of infrastructure which will serve the community well into the future.”
Whitemark is the latest community to benefit from TasWater’s 24 Glasses program to remove restrictions on the drinking of water in 24 small towns and communities across Tasmania over two years.


IBM contract shows Coordinator-General isn’t working

Scott Bacon MP Shadow Treasurer
01.12.16 9:46 am

 Government pays IBM $249,000 to attract investment
 Admission the Coordinator General is not delivering for Tasmania
 Labor would abolish the expensive office

The Liberal Government’s decision to pay computing giant IBM a quarter of a million dollars to help attract investment is another sign the Coordinator-General experiment isn’t working.

Shadow Treasurer Scott Bacon said the $249,000 tender is proof the office of the Coordinator-General is not doing what the Government promised it would.

“Matthew Groom’s decision to pay IBM a quarter of a million dollars to prepare a foreign investment strategy is an admission that the Coordinator-General has failed miserably,” Mr Bacon said.

“Mr Groom is paying his hand-picked Coordinator-General $466,000 annually - $2 million over the life of the government – but he cannot name a single legitimate project that this office has actually attracted to Tasmania.

“He has been specific that the role of his Coordinator-General is to attract foreign investment to Tasmania but if that’s the case, why has he now turned around and hired IBM?

“The duplication and waste associated with this office is outrageous and unnecessary.

“A future Labor Government would immediately abolish this office – something Mr Groom should be doing now.”


Job losses under Liberal state and federal governments becoming a habit ...

01.12.16 9:44 am

Job losses in the seat of Bass are becoming a habit under the Federal Coalition Government of Malcolm Turnbull and the State Liberal Government of Will Hodgman after Hazard Systems announced today 24 job losses and a relocation plan to move to Melbourne.

The Member for Bass Ross Hart and Senator Helen Polley said that their thoughts today were with the workers of Hazards and their families as the company offers staff redundancy packages and redeployment opportunities.

“It is sad that this company after 30 years in Launceston will be forced out of the state to remain competitive,” Mr Hart said

“The fact is, this is not the first business in Launceston to close its doors in the last few months. Last month Honeywell announced it was closing its Elster Metering foundry at Youngtown with the loss of 30 jobs. Now we hear of these 24 job losses. Malcolm Turnbull and Will Hodgman need to show some leadership to improve business confidence in Bass,” Senator Polley said.

Hazard systems is expected to close its doors at the end of 2017. 

“The silence is deafening. Where is Will Hodgman or Malcolm Turnbull? They were ready and willing to stand in front of cameras and exult that three word slogan ‘jobs and growth’ during an election campaign but now they stand silent. When it comes to making real economic decisions and creating business confidence in Bass they clearly have no answers”, Mr Hart said

Launceston can be a manufacturing hub, the conditions just need to be created to support such an endeavour. Government must work with business to sustain these Launceston industries.

“Definium Technologies based in Cameron street is a strong local manufacturing business which has been supported by government, they are now looking to create another 15 jobs. It can be done. Jobs can be supported and industries can be supported to grow. It is up to Will Hodgman and Malcolm Turnbull to work with local business and the local community to ensure employment opportunities for families.

Today they are silent and it just isn’t good enough,” Senator Polley said. 


Tasmania almost doubled its median wait time from 38 to 72 days ...

01.12.16 9:37 am

Read here