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MORE FLORENTINE CHARGES TO BE DROPPED

Geoff Law
30.09.09 3:16 pm

Police to give reasons for discontinuing ‘assault’ charges in court 11.30 Thursday

The police have informed the lawyer for four Florentine protesters charged with ‘assault’ in May that the charges will be dropped.

Principal legal officer for the police, Mr Mark Miller, will make a statement on the reasons for discontinuing the prosecution against defendants Alishah, Keene, Platzer and Sargent in the Hobart Magistrates Court tomorrow at 11.30 am in Court No. 4.

On Monday, prosecutions against another 16 Florentine protesters were adjourned so that the police could seek advice from the Crown Law office and DPP regarding Forestry Tasmania’s claim that another exclusion zone had been found.

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Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Environment | Legal

Minister to sack workers, yet bureaucrats spend up on travel and accommodation

Brett Whiteley MP Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services
30.09.09 3:14 pm

·    Two top health bureaucrats spend $140,000 on travel and accommodation

·    Taxpayers paid nearly $1700 for the Health Secretary’s 48 hour trip to Burnie

·    Burnt-out Health Minister defends these expenses in Parliament

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the top two bureaucrats in the Health Department racked up a combined total of over $140,000 on travel and accommodation over the past 18 months.  One of them has only been employed since November last year.

While obviously, it is necessary for top bureaucrats to travel to meetings and have their accommodation costs met, it looks like these costs go way beyond what is reasonable.

For example, when the top health bureaucrat in Tasmania went to Burnie for 48 hours it cost taxpayers nearly $1700 in accommodation costs.  How on earth can that level of spending be justified? 

When the same person went to Launceston, again for little more than 48 hours, the accommodation bill was over $1500.

A single return flight to Perth cost taxpayers $3881. 

Meanwhile, the second highest bureaucrat racked up $15,000 in taxpayer funded travel expenses before even starting work with the Health Department and $10,000 in taxpayer funded travel and accommodation since starting work. That includes almost $6500 for 16 nights’ accommodation in Hobart when she first started work.

Tasmania’s burnt-out Health Minister gave a feeble excuse in Parliament today that it was ok to waste massive amounts of money, because it happened before the full effects of the global financial crisis were known.

That’s not acceptable.  There is never a good time to waste money. And this extravagant spending has also occurred after the Premier pledged belt-tightening in response to the economic downturn.

Just days ago the Minister confirmed she was looking at getting rid of 250 jobs in Health in order to save money.  It must be cold comfort to those people who could lose their job that while they could be forced out the Minister is happy to defend extraordinary travel expenditure by her bureaucrats.

That’s not leadership from the Minister at a time like this.

And it is more evidence of a Government that is tired and out of touch after 11 long years in office and which has its priorities wrong.

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Politics | State | Health

SUPPORT FOR TASMANIAN A-LEAGUE TEAM

Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
30.09.09 3:12 pm

The Tasmanian Greens today confirmed their support the Tasmanian United Football Club’s call for an A-League Tasmanian team.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP welcomed the TUFC’s work to establish that a State soccer team would be viable, saying that Western Sydney’s successful bid to join the League is encouraging.

“The Greens support the TUFC’s push for a State soccer team in the A-League, and the recent success of Western Sydney in joining the League is very encouraging, and should boost the TUFC’s efforts.”

“I would urge all Tasmanians who appreciate the fine football tradition, previously known as soccer, to get behind the TUFC’s bid,” Mr McKim said.

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Politics | State | Sport

BARTLETT CLAIMS ON PY10 RETENTION UNBELIEVABLE

Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
30.09.09 3:10 pm

Independent Audit Only Way to Find Out Truth

The Tasmanian Greens today called for an independent audit of Academy and Polytechnic enrolment levels, retention and absenteeism after raising doubts about the accuracy of the data which the Premier is using to support his claims that there has been a 12% increase in enrolments.

Greens Leader and Education spokesperson Nick McKim MP said that the Premier must investigate and clarify whether students who had enrolled but who have since left the system are still being counted as enrolled due to IT difficulties.

“Only an independent audit can now resolve the massive discrepancy between what the Premier is saying about retention, and what teachers are seeing on the ground.”

“AEU members at Hobart Campus have unanimously voted no confidence in the Premier’s claims on retention, and there are significant doubts about the capacity of IT systems to collate and produce accurate data. An independent audit would reveal the truth of the matter.”

“Mr Bartlett’s claims are quite frankly unbelievable, and are being contradicted by teachers who are doing the hard yards under the Premier’s disastrous restructure.”

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Politics | State | Education

Did Labor even ask for Rudd infrastructure funds for water/sewerage?

Peter Gutwein MP Shadow Treasurer
30.09.09 3:08 pm

·    When Labor embarked on its water and sewerage changes, it was banking on federal government support for infrastructure investment

·    Where is it? Did the government even ask for funds as part of Kevin Rudd’s recent mega-spending infrastructure funding packages?

·    Ratepayers now being asked to foot massive bills as a result of more Labor bungling

It’s time the State Labor Government revealed whether it even applied for the federal funding that it expected to underpin the infrastructure investment required as part of water and sewerage reforms.

When the State Government first contemplated water and sewerage reforms, in its discussion paper it said,

Reform of Tasmania’s water and sewerage sector needs to be consistent with the State’s obligations under the National Water Initiative. Reform outcomes would ideally ensure Tasmania is in the best position to access the Australian Government Water Fund.

Prior to the 2007 federal election, the State Government urged then Water Minister, Malcolm Turnbull to back the reforms financially.

But since the election of the Rudd Labor Government, and as these changes gathered speed, the State Government appears to have gone completely quiet.

In Question Time today, the Treasurer said there was no federal funding – or State funding for that matter - to support the reforms.

Given that billions have been splurged in infrastructure stimulus packages in recent times by the Federal Government, he needs to clarify exactly what the government sought for water and sewerage reforms, and if it failed, why.

Surely this is not another rail fiasco, where the government failed to even ask for a cent for our ailing infrastructure as part of a $22 billion federal government infrastructure spend?

As a result of the State Government’s failure to secure the federal funding it was banking on when it started this reform process, ratepayers are now unfairly being expected to pick up the tab. 

For residents of Launceston, Dorset, Sorell, Southern Midlands and Northern Midlands, they’re facing an increase of around 100% in water and sewerage charges to meet full cost recovery. 

This is all further evidence of the government comprehensively bungling the water and sewerage changes and it heightens the need for an urgent independent review of the whole Labor water and sewerage mess.

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Politics | State

Labor’s arrogant response to racing concerns

Jeremy Rockliff MP Shadow Minister for Racing
30.09.09 3:07 pm

·    Tasmanian racing industry in free-fall

·    Premier condemned for his arrogant, dismissive response to successive race cancellations

·    Labor has betrayed the Tasmanian racing industry time and time again


The Tasmanian racing industry is in free fall as a result of Labor’s mismanagement, incompetence and betrayal.
Successive race meeting cancellations at Elwick have seen losses for industry stakeholders mount – losses that stakeholders say could have been avoided with proper maintenance and drainage at $30 million new facility.
And this was the Premier’s response to an industry that is hurting:
“in the wettest winter since 1934, I think we can expect a few cancellations.”

What an arrogant response from Mr Bartlett.
He has demonstrated typical Labor disregard for the racing industry, and the thousands of Tasmanians who depend on it.
And he has again reinforced how out of touch this government is after 11 long years in office.
The racing industry is the State’s 4th largest employing industry and worth tens millions of dollars to Tasmania.
Current and emerging problems for the industry include continued race cancellations at Elwick estimated to cost upwards of half a million dollars, a budget shortfall of $5 million as a result of the State Government’s inability to pursue a product fee, and then the continued uncertainty surrounding the sale of TOTE – a sale the industry was told last year by this government wasn’t going to happen.
On top of major reform late last year, the industry deserves greater respect from the State Labor Government and the Liberals have raised these concerns as a Matter of Public Importance in Parliament today. We are deeply concerned about the government’s betrayal of the Tasmanian racing industry and its lack of understanding of the impact that its mismanagement is having on the many stakeholders involved.
The industry is hurting and the Minister for Racing cannot continue to be a hands-off spectator. The Premier, meanwhile, should get up to speed on the contribution that this industry makes to Tasmania and start backing it, not fobbing their concerns off.

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Politics | State | Sport

These are not teething problems, Premier!

Sue Napier MP Shadow Minister for Education
30.09.09 3:04 pm

·              No confidence in the Premier’s claims about student retention and engagement in new PY10 system

·              Premier challenged to release the evidence to support his claims, which are totally out of whack with feedback on the ground

·              Premier continues to dismiss the myriad of concerns about his rushed Tas Tomorrow reforms as mere ‘teething problems’

The Premier has been challenged to release the evidence on which he bases his claims that there is 95 per cent retention into Term 3 in the new polytechnics and academies.

The figure is totally out of whack with what teachers are telling us and the Premier dodged backing up his claims with data and evidence in Parliament today.

For the Premier to also continue to dismiss the myriad of issues plaguing the Tasmania Tomorrow system as ‘teething problems’ – as he did again in Parliament today – is arrogance and incompetence of the highest order.

Yesterday, in an answer to our questions over what he was doing to ensure a proper and full response to the Ivan Webb “Needing to be Heard” review of the Tasmania Tomorrow reforms, Mr Bartlett indicated that there was a 95 per cent retention rate.

At the same time, however, the Premier effectively admitted that there were problems with enrolment and attendance records by announcing an investment in ICT reforms which have been one of a number of major ongoing criticisms coming from staff.

Today, when questioned about the issue again, the Premier refused to admit that late last month at the Hobart Campus there was a motion of no confidence in claims that student retention and engagement have improved this year.

I have been told that ICT Services at Hobart Campus have been so inefficient that there was no facility for removing students from the Campus books, despite requests from staff to do so.

And rather than a 95 per cent retention rate, I am hearing that some Polytechnic classes are running at only 30 per cent capacity. Indeed, teachers continue to tell us that their Year 11 and 12 Polytechnic class attendances are dropping dramatically.

Although Mr Bartlett conceded that there were some ICT issues at campuses generally, he continued to spin the line that the reforms have another two years to run to meet COAG targets and that these ‘teething problems as they are’ would eventually be sorted out. He also refused to have an independent audit of current active enrolments, suggesting that we wait for figures from the Annual Report. These will not provide an up-to-date assessment of current enrolments, nor overcome what appear to be massive inaccuracies in the data systems.

Well, Premier, that is simply not good enough.

For the Premier and Minister for Education to continue to refuse to take genuine action to resolve the myriad of issues and concerns demonstrates his total lack of leadership. 

His failure to address the many major sources of concern will not only result in even further alienation and deterioration in profession success and well being, but will further undermine improved student participation and the needs of Tasmania’s skilled workforce.

I call on the Premier to finally show some leadership and guarantee that he will initiate a full independent audit of current active (i.e. attending) enrolments, so that we can have full confidence in the data, as well as to commit to ensuring that course completion and success results are available to the public by the end of the year.

In the interim, Mr Bartlett should at least release the data and definitions used to substantiate his 95 per cent retention rate.

And if he refuses to believe reports of poor attendance, then Mr Bartlett should go up to Hobart College to talk to teachers and witness it for himself.

The Tasmania Tomorrow system is in crisis and it is the Premier’s responsibility to implement real action to improve the current situation and get the system back on track as soon as possible.

Right now, there appears to be very good reasons for a ‘time out’ on the further transfer of remaining Colleges.

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Politics | State | Education

Liberals will protect pensioners from government rent rise

Will Hodgman MP Leader of the State Opposition
30.09.09 3:01 pm

·    Pensioners to receive a further two-year Housing Tasmania rent holiday under a Hodgman Liberal Government

·    We back the Federal Treasurer, who said it would be unacceptable for the States to pick-pocket from pensioners who have just received a hard-won, one-off pension increase

·    Challenge to Labor to follow our lead

A Hodgman Liberal Government will ensure the hard-won pension increase is not pick-pocketed by the State Government in the form of higher Housing Tasmania rents. This is line with our strategy to create a Fairer Tasmania and support disadvantaged Tasmanians.

Our government will exempt the one-off pension increases from public housing rent calculations for a further two years. 

This will enable approximately 6000 Tasmanians to spend their pension increase on food and other essential needs – not have it siphoned into State Government coffers.

The Bartlett Labor Government must follow our lead and rule out clawing back pensioner incomes after the 12 month rent holiday expires next September. This is a test of the Premier’s so-called commitment to social inclusion and improving the situation facing some of our most disadvantaged citizens.

I wholeheartedly agree with the Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, who said yesterday:

There is no justification whatsoever that any premier can claim for the increase…For the State Government to come along and pickpocket some of that is unacceptable…(the pension rise is) not to be clawed back in some sneaky way by NSW Premier, Nathan Rees, and the State Premiers.

The plight facing pensioners has been exacerbated by a range of State Government imposts. And today in Parliament, we’ve again shown the extraordinary level of waste of taxpayers’ funds that continues from this tired and out of touch government.

The Premier needs to understand that despite his claims that Tasmania is enjoying an economic renaissance, out in the real world, many Tasmanians are doing it tough.

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Politics | State

BAN TRIAZINE CHEMICALS E-PETITION LAUNCHED

Tim Morris MP Greens Water spokesperson
30.09.09 11:05 am

The Tasmanian Greens today announced that an e-petition calling on the State Government to ban the use of the triazine group of chemicals has been launched, and is now available on the Parliament House website (see link below).

Greens Water spokesperson Tim Morris MP, who has sponsored this e-petition, said that triazines, such as Atrazine and Simazine, have appeared in Tasmania’s rivers and waterways with alarming frequency for over a decade, and that it is past time that the Bartlett government took decisive action to protect the health of both the community and the environment.

“For far too long, triazines, which include Atrazine and Simazine, have polluted our waterways, including Atrazine being found in the River Derwent, and have appeared in drinking water,” Mr Morris said.

“These chemicals are known to be persistent endocrine disrupters, and have been linked to many serious health issues including impacts on immune system functioning, and cancer risks.”

“It was once the policy position of the State Labor party to ban the triazine group of chemicals, but unfortunately they did not have the courage of their convictions at the time and failed to follow through.”

“I thank Dr. Alison Bleaney and the Break O’Day Catchment Group for bringing forward this matter, I am proud to be sponsoring this very important petition and I urge everyone who is fed up with the ongoing chemical contamination of our waterways to get online and sign up to this call to have Triazines banned,” Mr Morris said.

Atrazine is no longer used by Forestry Tasmania, however Simazine is still in broad use across the forestry and agricultural sectors.

Parliament House Web Address for Petition:  HERE

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Politics | State | Environment | Health

Natural disaster support for Tasmania’s dairy farmers

Senator Richard Colbeck Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
30.09.09 10:57 am

The dire situation facing dairy farmers as a result of lengthy power outages around Tasmania rural areas must be addressed through State and Federal Government natural disaster assistance.

Many dairy farmers without power have been forced to hire generators to milk their herds, to operate milk storage vats and to power water pumps.

Farmers unable to access generators are losing thousands of litres of milk and all of the income from that milk - even at the current low prices being offered to farmers, this means they are forgoing additional income they just can’t afford to lose.

Senator for Tasmania and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Richard Colbeck called on the State and Federal Governments to provide natural disaster financial assistance to affected farmers.

“Some dairy farmers will be without power for several days, placing extra costs and extra stress on an industry already under enormous pressures,” Senator Colbeck said.

“The severe wet and windy weather which caused these power outages is beyond the control of the dairy farmers and they should not be punished financially for it. Aurora Energy has already ruled out any form of compensation.

“The Federal Government’s Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDDRA) may be used as a guide to provide affected dairy farmers with financial help to offset the costs of these power outages.”

NDRRA specifically caters for, among other things:

“purchase or hire/lease costs for equipment essential to the immediate resumption of farming following a natural disaster.”

“I have written today to the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett asking for immediate consideration of natural disaster assistance,” Senator Colbeck said. (see letter below)

Senator Colbeck said the lengthy power outages were yet another major blow to the Tasmanian dairy industry.

In recent weeks, dairy farmers have been hit with below-cost-of-production milk prices, flooding rains and now lengthy power outages.

“The dairy industry is under serious threat in Tasmania. It is incumbent on all levels of government as well as industry organisations to support the farmers, their families and local communities.”

Download: colbeck300909_Colbeck_letter_to_Prime_Minister.pdf

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Politics | State | Economy

Precedence for government assistance for Mt Lyell workers and the Queenstown community

Senators Stephen Parry and Guy Barnett
30.09.09 10:09 am

Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team to visit the West Coast

THE state and federal governments should be working with rather than attacking the owners of the Mt Lyell mine and also the wider West Coast community, Tasmanian Liberal senators said today.

Senators Stephen Parry and Guy Barnett, who are visiting Queenstown today ahead of a Tasmanian Liberal Senate team tour of the West Coast tomorrow, said the standing down of almost 200 miners due to a mudslide was not only a blow to those workers and their families but also to the local community.

``We note the position being taken by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and the State Government at this point is to put pressure on the parent company to maintain the Barminco workers on its pay roll,’’ Senator Parry said.

``But we also note there is precedence for government assistance in similar circumstances, targeted at both affected workers and the community.

``According to media reports, the AWU national secretary drew a comparison to the Beaconsfield mine, pointing out workers there were paid after the 2006 rock fall despite the mine owner being under administration.

``What has perhaps been forgotten in that case is that the previous Liberal government provided $8 million to assist the Beaconsfield community, of which more than half – or $4.87 million – was granted to the mine operator `to support the workforce’.

``More recently, we have seen the current Australian Government commit to effectively paying the wages of Holden employees one day a week.

``At the state level, the Tasmanian Government has been paying the wages of workers at the King Island abattoir for some time.

``Only last month the state government unveiled a $3.16 million assistance package for the Excelior Call Centre in Burnie.’’

Senator Parry said the point would not be lost on the Mt Lyell workers and their families or the wider West Coast community.

``Premier David Bartlett’s criticism of mine owner Vedanta is a smokescreen for his own Government’s failure to act in support of the workers and the community,’’ he said.

``What action, for example, has his Government taken on proposals for job creating projects on the West Coast developed in cooperation with the local council some months ago?’’

Senator Barnett was also supportive of the local community and said he looked forward to speaking with Queenstown residents and small business people about the situation, and more generally about local issues.

“The workers and their families are doing it tough but so is the rest of the community and I intend to listen and learn about the impact of the mudslide and what we can do to help,” Senator Barnett said.

“Our offices have spoken to Mayor Gerrity and we know the Mt Lyell mine issue will be at the top of the agenda when the Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team meet with representatives of the West Coast Council tomorrow morning,’’ he said.

“The state and federal Governments both need to do more to achieve a workable outcome for workers and the Queenstown community generally.

“Other issues to be discussed during the Senate visit include a proposed geo-park and tourism development,’’ Senator Barnett concluded. 

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Politics

GOVERNMENT MUST BE HONEST WITH TASMANIANS OVER NW COAST PROJECT

Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
30.09.09 12:51 am

Will Native Forest be Used, and if so, from Where?

The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Bartlett government to be honest with the Tasmanian community over the mystery north-west project, after Treasurer Michael Aird failed to refute claims that the project is be a silica mine, with an associated smelter or refinery, which is planned to produce raw materials for a range of products including photovoltaics.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that Mr Aird had failed to rule out the use of native forest in the refinery, or to guarantee that a bona-fide manufacturing facility will be part of the proposal.

Mr McKim also said that the Greens want to see appropriate projects proceed, and that while this project may be an appropriate project that Tasmanians can be proud of, the community deserves an assurance from the Government that this will not be yet another divisive proposal like the Tamar Valley pulp mill.

“Taxpayer’s money has already been used on this project, and with certain government support should the project proceed, Tasmanians have a right to much more information than the government is releasing,” Mr McKim said.

“There are no genuine commercial-in-confidence issues preventing the Treasurer from talking about issues like whether native forest will be used, and what the energy source might be.” 

“The last thing we need is another pulp mill style saga which divides our community, but that’s what we may be facing if Mr Aird continues to be secretive and hide beyond false claims of commercial confidence.”

“A smelter is not a manufacturing plant, and it is very telling that Mr Aird refused to take the opportunity today to guarantee that a genuine manufacturing facility will be included.”

“Mr Aird was also silent on whether the government was considering entering into a secret contract with the company to offer cheap electricity, and what the opportunity cost of such an arrangement would have, as opposed to selling it into the National Electricity Market.”

“The danger here is that the government will do a secret deal, and the Tasmanian community will be presented with a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum. If Labor tries that one again after the pulp mill debacle, it will show how out-of-touch they are as a government,” Mr McKim said.

20 comments

Politics | State | Environment

Labor out of puff, out of ideas

Will Hodgman MP Leader of the State Opposition
29.09.09 8:09 pm

·    16 days of Parliament left

·    Parliament resumed today after a lengthy break and Labor ran out of legislation

·    Where is Labor’s vision for the future; the battle of ideas; the reform agenda? It simply doesn’t exist

The State Government ran out of substantive business for the Parliament to debate today, as Parliament resumed after a lengthy break, and with just 16 sitting days remaining for the year.

The government is tired, stale, out of puff, and out of ideas.

With no legislation to debate, the government brought on a puerile motion based on a completely false premise designed to create a scare campaign on industrial relations. It was designed to somehow suggest we have a Workchoices agenda when we have categorically ruled out that this is the case.

That this juvenile politicking was the best the government could do with the Parliament’s time when Tasmanians need leadership and vision for the future is a disgrace.

Where is the legislation Tasmanians have been waiting years for such as laws for mandatory screening for people who work with children?

Where is the new Mental Health Act – five years after a review was announced and some 14 draft Bills later?

Where is the legislation to create an integrity commission, an updated Disability Act, heritage reforms – the list goes on.

Where is the government’s reform agenda?  Where is the Premier’s so-called “battle of ideas”?

With just 16 sitting days to go after today, not only this year but in this Parliament, Labor is not only out of legislative business, but out of ideas.

Tasmania needs leadership and vision for the future and today Labor proved it has neither.

This was a waste of the Parliament’s time and a cringe-worthy performance from Ms Singh, who showed why she was overlooked for a Ministry until she became the last person standing.

1 comments

Politics | State

GOVERNMENT RUNS OUT OF BUSINESS – FIRST DAY BACK!

Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
29.09.09 8:07 pm

Waste of Taxpayers’ Money as Labor Resorts to Filibustering

The Tasmanian Greens today accused the Bartlett government of running out of business at 4pm on the first day of a parliamentary sitting and of wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars by padding out the parliamentary day with spurious motions.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that it is symptomatic of a tired government which lacks a policy agenda, and offered Greens legislation to fill up the slack left by Labor’s lack of vision for Tasmania’s future.

“If the government cannot run the House of Assembly, how can it govern Tasmania?”

“This is the first day back after a four week recess, and incredibly the government has run out of legislation and is happily wasting taxpayer’s money by padding out the day until the 6pm adjournment.”

“The Greens currently have at least six pieces of legislation ready to debate, and if the government has run out of Parliamentary business we are more than happy to take up the slack,” Mr McKim said.

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Politics | State

Liberals demand independent review of Water and Sewerage debacle

Peter Gutwein MP Shadow Treasurer
29.09.09 8:06 pm

Water and Sewerage concerns mount
Treasurer describes concerns over prices as a “myth” and fails to accept that full cost recovery would bring more pain
Urgent need for independent review of water and sewerage debacle

The Treasurer is completely out of touch with the concerns of many Tasmanians who are struggling to cope with the increases to the cost of water and sewerage they are being asked to pay.

Today in Parliament the Treasurer has described concerns about cost increases associated with the changes as a myth.

And he has failed to acknowledge that whilst the 30% increase over the next three years will be difficult enough to manage, the real pain will come if full cost recovery is introduced in future years.

The massive increases that Tasmanians would have to pay under a full cost recovery model in future years on average will be around 90% in the North, 56% in the South and 52% in the North west. This fact was kept from Tasmanians for nearly 6 months by the Government.

Some unfortunate ratepayers in a number of municipal areas will require increases of more than 100% on what they paid for water and sewerage last year if full cost recovery is implemented in future years as the Government wants it to be.

Launceston and Dorset councils are hardest hit in the North with greater than 100% increases whilst in the South Sorrell, Central Highlands, Southern Midlands and Tasman are all greater than 100% as well. In the North-West, Burnie and Central Coast ratepayers will receive increase of around 80% and 90% respectively

That level of increase is unacceptable and will mean the final straw for many struggling Tasmanians.

The Government’s reforms have been poorly managed, poorly implemented and will ultimately unfairly financially burden many Tasmanians.

That the Government cannot even accept this, and that it believes the pricing pain is a myth, indicates how out of touch they are with ordinary Tasmanians who are struggling with not only these reforms but also higher energy, MAIB and public transport costs as well.

0 comments

Politics | State

TREASURER UNDER PRESSURE OVER WATER &SEWERAGE 33%PRICE RISE

Tim Morris MP Greens Water Spokesperson
29.09.09 7:52 pm

Aird Admits Further 22% Increase Still to Come

The Tasmanian Greens today succeeded in getting the Treasurer, Michael Aird, to admit that Tasmanians will be receiving a 22% increase in their Water and Sewerage accounts over the next two years, and said that the cost of living is spiralling out of control under the Bartlett government.

Greens Water spokesperson Tim Morris MP said called on the Treasurer, Mr Aird to include the remainder of the proposed Water and Sewerage 33% price increases for the next two years in the review of the Interim Price Order that he is obliged to undertake under section 2.2 of the initial Interim Price Order, as stipulated in the Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008.

“We finally forced Treasurer Aird to fess up and admit that the government intends for there to be at least a 20% increase on top of those water and sewerage bills appearing in people’s letter-boxes right now,” Mr Morris said.

“Since water and sewerage accounts had started arriving in the last couple of weeks many people had been shocked at the 10% increase from last year’s accounts, and yet many people are still unaware that the Government has ordered the Water and Sewerage Corporations to increase these accounts by a further 22% over the next two years.”

“The Greens are calling on the Treasurer to review the proposed price increases as many people have already been shocked by the magnitude of the price increase this year alone, and there are fears that a 30% price rise over three years may indeed be too great a financial imposition for many low and fixed income Tasmanians.”

“There is a cost of living spiral under this Labor government, with these latest water and sewerage hikes on top of price increases in public transport charges despite cuts to services, increases in MAIB premium fees, power bills increasing by a third over the last two years.”

“This has been a bungle of the highest order, and once again the Tasmanian people have to foot the bill.”

“Under section 2.2 of the Interim Price Order the Treasurer must review the order every year and must consult on any proposed changes. We want to see this review process to introduce a mechanism to allow an equitable two-part pricing system to be implemented.”

The Greens were the only Party in the House of Assembly to vote against the Bartlett government’s water and sewerage reforms due to concerns over implications of the reform’s implementation for the community.

Download: Interim-Price-Order.pdf

0 comments

Politics | State

Tas Tomorrow: a system in crisis

Will Hodgman MP Leader of the State Opposition
29.09.09 7:44 pm

Survey of Tas Tomorrow teachers and staff by well respected educator Ivan Webb reveals huge concerns about the Premier’s rushed changes
·      Teacher emails also claim that the Premier has created a “Frankenstein”

These are much more than teething problems and they require leadership from the Premier

The Tasmania Tomorrow system is in crisis.

A progress review, “Needing to be Heard”, conducted by respected educator Ivan Webb for the Australian Education Union, has exposed many extremely concerning reports about how the new post year 10 structure is actually functioning on a day to day basis.

The report found:

At this stage, many but not all, staff members in all PY10 organisations are reporting high levels of frustration, anger and in some cases hopelessness as well as concern for their colleagues and students

The vast majority of respondents are not thriving and are in need of very substantial and immediate assistance.

Some of the Academy’s teacher responses included:

I can’t think of one thing that is better in the new system

The best are the things that have been there all along. I can’t think of one new thing that is even satisfactory

A Polytechnic teacher said:

My qualifications and experience are being wasted. The polytechnic leadership is focused on meeting budgets and has little regard for outcomes for students

And feedback provided to me by some teachers yesterday included:

It is a long while since I have had to endure such unequivocal drivel and bull**** as I did at the meeting yesterday…whoever thought of this whizbang new delivery model has obviously never worked in a college…anyone with half a brain can see that it is unworkable

And

It is so frustrating that there seems to be no avenue for action against this abomination, no way to vent our spleens and let the world know that David Bartlett’s baby is a Frankenstein.

Despite this the Premier continues to wipe his hands of the bungled implementation of the reforms and, importantly, refuses to take genuine action to resolve the myriad of issues and concerns.

He’s also ignoring the need to call time on further transition to the new regime so that everyone can take stock and ensure we get this shambles right.

The Premier refused to postpone the implementation of the reforms as moved by the Tasmanian Liberals. The AEU was also initially led to believe that the reforms would be delayed until 2011, and when the Premier changed his mind, they branded him a liar and attacked his betrayal.

The students who are being failed by this government are the same students who were the Essential Learnings debacle guinea pigs.

And the Government’s failure to address the many major sources of concern will not only result in even further alienation and deterioration in profession success and well being, but will further undermine improved student participation and the needs of Tasmania’s skilled workforce, particularly in light of the worrying nature of many of the responses collected by the survey.

The Premier claimed that there has been a 12% improvement in enrolments in post-year 10 education, a claim that we cannot verify as the current August Year 11 and 12 census data of active enrolment (those actually attending) in Colleges and the Polytechnic and Academy has not been released. It is certainly completely at odds with what teachers are telling us – that is that there is significant non-attendance by students.

Enough is enough. Real action is needed from the Premier now to improve the current situation and get the system back on track as soon as possible. The information collected from the survey needs to be taken seriously. It’s time to see some leadership from the Premier on the implementation of these reforms, but we are not getting that now.

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Politics | State | Education

Dairy farmers need help now; this situation is more than “awkward”, Minister

Will Hodgman MP Leader of the State Opposition
29.09.09 7:42 pm

·    The government cannot waste any more time in getting practical support onto the ground to assist dairy farmers

·    That includes subsidies or low interest loans for grain, assistance with animal health, reconfiguring the Drought Taskforce and extending counselling support

·    Labor’s understated, bureaucratic approach to this crisis provides further evidence of how out of touch the government is

The Tasmanian Liberals have today taken to State Parliament the urgent need for practical, on the ground assistance to Tasmania’s dairy farmers, who are in crisis.

The understated and bureaucratic response of the government is simply not acceptable. For the Primary Industries Minister to brand this an “awkward” situation for dairy farmers just shows how out of touch his government is with the community after 11 long years in office.

Many of these farmers are struggling to feed their stock and to even put proper food on the family table, as a result of a miserly milk price, atrocious weather and reduced production – exacerbated by higher power prices and power outages.

In Question Time, and through a Matter of Public Importance debate, the Liberals have stepped up pressure on the government to immediately modify the Drought Taskforce into a Rural Taskforce and deploy it to the dairy crisis.

We’ve repeated our calls for subsidies or low interest loans for grain to feed stock, and also for animal welfare assistance.

There needs to be the provision of more counselling support to farmers and their communities, who are in extreme distress. And the government needs to understand the impact that its massive power price rises have had on dairy farmers, along with recent power outages.

It was pleasing last week to see the government respond, finally, to our calls for it to support a fighting fund to assist farmers campaign against the prices they are getting for their milk. But the government’s job is far from finished. There is no more time to waste in getting practical assistance out on the ground to these farmers. The government has already waited too long.

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Writers | Bob Hawkins | Buck Emberg | Politics | State

GIDDINGS SHOULD SUPPORT VITAL RFDS SERVICE …

Cassy O’Connor MP Greens Health Spokesperson
29.09.09 7:36 pm

… Instead of Undermining Employment Security for RFDS Staff

The Tasmanian Greens today accused Health Minister Lara Giddings of placing the electoral interests of the Bartlett Government ahead of the best interests of rural and remote Tasmanians who may need the Launceston-based Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), after Minister Giddings acknowledged that the RFDS is under review, but that any decision on its future will be delayed until after the next State election.

Greens Health spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said that instead of recognising and supporting the vital service provided by the RFDS, the Bartlett Government is undermining employment security for the RFDS staff until 2011.

“The Bartlett Government and Minister Giddings are clearly placing their own electoral interests ahead of the best interests of the RFDS by delaying any decision on the future of the Service until after the next State election,” said Ms O’Connor.

“The RFDS has a proud history of saving lives across Australia. They have been operating out of Launceston since 1997, providing a first-class service for rural and remote Tasmanians in need of assistance.”

“Minister Giddings must cease undermining RFDS staff and service, and instead publicly recognise and support the vital role they play in Tasmania,” said Ms O’Connor.

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Politics | State | Health

GREENS ANNOUNCE KINGBOROUGH COUNCIL CANDIDATES

Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
29.09.09 7:33 pm

The Tasmanian Greens today announced Councillor Michele Higgins, Jane Bange and Marie Giblin as their candidates for Kingborough Council in the upcoming local government elections, with Councillor Higgins also running for Deputy Mayor.

Greens Leader and Member for Franklin Nick McKim MP said the challenges facing the Kingborough municipality include the lack of affordable and flexible public transport, and long term strategic planning issues.

“In this election, Kingborough ratepayers can vote Green for better public transport, and for more vital community services in their local area,” said Mr McKim.

“The Greens are the only party to have consistently stood alongside the Kingborough community to deliver sustainable public transport options, and these elections will allow Kingborough ratepayers to send a strong message that traffic problems need to be solved for both the short, and the long term.”

“Michele Higgins has been a strong voice on Council for sustainability and long term strategic planning, and will be a brilliant Deputy Mayor if given the opportunity.”

“Jane Bange has extensive experience working in the defence force and as a dentist, as well as serving on local council in NSW, and her commitment to community learning through English language teaching makes her an excellent representative for the people of Kingborough.”

“Marie Giblin is a life-long resident of Kingborough who is actively involved in Scouts, Aged Care, Community Houses, Adult Education and community art exhibitions, and takes a special interest in cultural heritage through her work for the Channel Folk Museum,” said Mr McKim.

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Politics | Local

Gov’t must work with Greens for safe climate; Libs chaos matches climate chaos

Senator Christine Milne
29.09.09 10:04 am

The chaos in the Liberal Party and the warnings of 4C warming by 2060 if a weak agreement is reached in Copenhagen send a clear signal to the Rudd Government: work with the Australian Greens towards a safe climate outcome.

“The Rudd Government faces a clear choice between two cynical political wedges and meaningful climate action,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

“The Government seems to be focussed on choosing whether it prefers to wedge Malcolm Turnbull by forcing him to agree to its appalling scheme as it stands or wedge him by browning down the scheme even further.

“But the stark reality is that both of those options condemn Australia, our region and the planet to a future that none of us want to live in.

“The only safe and sensible approach, the only approach the Prime Minister could take if he wants to look his grandchildren in the eye, is to work with the Greens towards an environmentally effective and economically efficient emissions trading scheme.

“The Greens provide 5 solid Senate votes, and the Government can find the remaining two from the cross-bench or the increasingly fractured Opposition.

“Let’s not forget that it is the Government that holds the key here, not the Liberal Party.

“If the Government chooses to reach a deal with the Opposition, it will do so. If it chooses to go to an early election, it will do so. If it chooses to take meaningful action to avert climate crisis, it will also do so.”

Senator Milne welcomed the growing chorus of voices joining the Greens in saying that a weak deal is worse than no deal at all as it will lock in failure.

Last week, Sir David King and Lord Stern told the Financial Times that it would be far better that no global climate deal is reached this year than that we get a weak deal that locks in climate failure.

Now, the Global Humanitarian Forum meeting in Geneva, involving Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, Rajendra Pachauri, James Wolfensohn and many other global luminaries, has come to the same conclusion.

The GHF concluded that:

“No deal is better than a bad deal”: it would be more constructive to avoid conclusion at the 2009 UN Climate Conference at Copenhagen of any climate change agreement that would not provide for basic levels of safety, equity and predictability.”

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Politics | National | Environment

Another Pedestrian Accident Waiting To Happen

Corey Peterson Greens Candidate for Hobart City Council
29.09.09 9:59 am

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The intersection of Collins and Molle Streets remains a dangerous location for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars alike.

Hobart City Council Greens Candidate Corey Peterson wants a safer crossing arrangement than a few “kerbing bulbs” currently proposed.

Peterson says, “the confluence of pedestrians, cyclists and cars into this currently uncontrolled intersection is an accident waiting to happen.  Here you have a busier and busier Hobart Rivulet track used for non-car access to the city, a very large surface carpark catering to commuters using it at the same times as well as a couple of businesses operating out of the adjoining building and they are all forced to cross a 60 km per hour three lane thoroughfare without benefit of any safety features.”

Peterson continues, “I have been monitoring this intersection over the past few months and have counted over 160 people and dozens of cyclists crossing this road from 8-9 a.m. and another 180 from 4-5:30, which is also the peak period for commuter traffic on Molle Street.  I watched as people with prams, travel bags, children on bikes all dodged traffic as they crossed the road.”

“It took a lot of effort by Sandy Bay residents and city workers to get pedestrian lights on Sandy Bay Road, Regent Street, and Bathurst Street near the 50 and Better Centre with fewer hourly crossings, so I would expect swifter action on this unsafe intersection.  Safer solutions could include slowing the speed limit on Molle Street as well as pedestrian lights with the kerb bulbing or an under road crossing,” Peterson added.

“As we are encouraging more people to commute to work on their own two legs or to cycle, we need to ensure that we do not then dump them from Council-supplied tracks into unsafe areas just short of the city centre.  Addressing this crossing issue ties in neatly with Council’s Sustainable Transport initiatives, especially considering the pedestrian getting hit yesterday just down Collins Street.”

As a candidate, Peterson believes that one of the Council’s main duties of care is to the safety of residents and providing safe street crossings is critical, especially in areas of such obvious heavy use from competing transport modes and businesses. 

Corey Peterson
Sustainability and Resilience Promoter

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Politics | Local

Faces of the Florentine

Inger Visby, Faces of the Florentine
28.09.09 7:53 pm

Ordinary people standing up for an extraordinary forest

NEW MYSTERIOUS EXCLUSION ZONE IN FLORENTINE FOREST

CASE AGAINST 20 FLORENTINE FOREST CONSERVATIONISTS ADJOURNED TWO WEEKS, WHILST FOREST STILL THREATENED  

The case against 20 Upper Florentine forest conservationists has been adjourned for two weeks, after Forestry Tasmania in a stunning last gasp effort produced information of a new mysterious exclusion zone that the conservationists apparently have broken.

The police prosecutor chose to seek an adjournment of two weeks, needing the extra time to forward this new information from Forestry Tasmania to Crown Law and the Department of Public Prosecution for review and advice.

The trespass charges were expected to have been withdrawn by the Tasmanian Police due to Forestry Tasmania’s more than 200-metre-wide bungle in defining its own exclusion zone, which caused a test case regarding this same matter against Ellendale resident Lynda Blyth to be dropped last Monday, after the police chose not to present any evidence.

“We are very suspicious of Forestry Tasmania and their alleged new exclusion zone, which the police prosecutor stated in today’s Magistrates Court was “unpublished”, and that the Police had not been instructed to enforce,” said one of the defendants, New Norfolk resident Inger Visby.

“We call on Forestry Tasmania to immediately publish a list of all other secret exclusion zones – the public has a right to know.”

The case has been adjourned to Tuesday 20th Oct at 2.15pm.

The conservationists, mostly middle-aged Derwent Valley and Central Highlands residents, are among the 22 people who were arrested in the Upper Florentine forest on Mother’s Day this year. The arrests took place during a rally at which more than 200 people voiced their dissent against the destruction of the World Heritage quality values of the Upper Florentine forests. 

The Upper Florentine valley is virtually surrounded by Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and is largely untouched by industrial logging. The forest contains large areas of old growth forest, as well as caves containing evidence of Aboriginal occupation stretching back around 30,000 years.

Faces of the Florentine will continue to encourage fellow Tasmanians to visit the Upper Florentine forest, and invite all to a Community Information Day in the forest on 11th Oct at 11am.

http://www.facesoftheflorentine.com

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Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Environment | Legal

Priorities show the Government is heading in wrong direction

Will Hodgman MP Leader of the State Opposition
28.09.09 7:43 pm

·    Government cutting funding for Lifeline, hospital jobs and maybe even the Flying Doctors

·    The Government should start by cutting waste, like spin doctors and advisers before it attacks public services

·    Government is putting itself first, rather than the interests of Tasmanians

Earlier this year the Government announced it would try and save money without affecting frontline services.  But it looks like the Government’s priorities are to save itself and abandon some of the services that Tasmanians rely on, breaking its promise to Tasmanians to save frontline services from budget cuts.

Last week we found out that the Government was withdrawing support for Lifeline’s victims of crime counselling services in the south and north-west of the State.

Yesterday the Tasmanian Liberals revealed that as many as 80 jobs would be cut at the Royal Hobart Hospital, increasing the workload on the remaining staff and putting an already stretched health system under even more pressure.

Today we see that the Government now has the Royal Flying Doctor Service in its sights.  In 2007-08, the Flying Doctors helped 1,654 patients.  Targetting essential services, such as the Flying Doctors, to make savings is absolute madness.  Relocating the service to Hobart would also be a mistake.  Launceston is the more effective base, because it minimises travel times to the Bass Strait Islands and for transferring patients to Melbourne.

These three examples show that this Government is incapable of making the right decisions.  The place to start making savings is in the army of ministerial advisers and spin doctors.

It shows that this Government has warped priorities when it would rather cut funding to Lifeline or the Royal Flying Doctors rather than non-essential services.

Before the Government starts hacking away at vital community services, we need to know if the savings measures in other areas are being made.  For example, what cuts have the Premier and Treasurer made to their own budgets, or are they expecting Tasmanians to bear the brunt of the pain while maintaining their own empires?

I have long been concerned that this Government was so focused on short-term politics and looking after itself rather than the long-term interests of Tasmanians.

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Politics | State

TCCI survey shows Labor lacking on skills

Will Hodgman MP Leader of the State Opposition
28.09.09 7:40 pm

Today’s TCCI survey shows that Tasmanian businesses think that the Government was more of a burden on business than the global financial crisis.

While there is no doubt that the global financial crisis is still hurting Tasmanian businesses and leading to predictions from business that more jobs will be lost, their biggest concerns are still skills and taxes.

The Government has shocking form on both fronts and businesses have been crying out for the Government to deliver results for years.

The Government has announced at least seven different ‘plans’ over the past 11 years to address the skills crisis, yet they have not worked.  Tasmania’s skill levels are still appallingly low and business is suffering as a result.

A Hodgman Liberal Government will focus on lifting skill levels, not just rearranging the system and giving it a new logo.  I will focus on results, not headlines.

We will also work with business to reduce the tax burden, another key constraint identified by the TCCI survey.  As a start, we will make sure that fewer people have to pay Land Tax.  Cutting Land Tax will reduce the burden on small business and will also reduce the burden on ordinary Tasmanians, who will then have more money to spend in the local economy.

We need to make Tasmania the most competitive place to do business in.  We need to back Tasmanian businesses to create local jobs and to drive investment in our economy. 

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Politics | State | Economy

Royal Flying Doctors

Brett Whiteley MP Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services. Sue Napier MP Liberal Member for Bass
28.09.09 7:35 pm

·    A role for both fixed-wing and helicopter medical retrieval needed

·    Government must talk to all operators and base decisions on health needs and fact

Tasmanian has been well-served by the Royal Flying Doctor Service for many years. 

This not only includes medical retrieval, but the RFDS has invested in remote health services in Tasmania, such as improving dental services on Flinders Island, through its own fundraising efforts.

RFDS provides a vital lifeline, particularly for those living in the remote Bass Strait islands and isolated areas of the State.

The 2007 Sharley report re-opened the decade-long debate of fixed wing vs. rotor wing aircraft (helicopter) for medical retrieval.  It recommended increased use of the existing Police helicopter as a “cheaper” option than buying a second fixed-wing plane to be based in Hobart, or a second helicopter to be based in Launceston. 

The Liberals have always supported the use of both fixed wing and helicopter services. Both aircraft have their benefits and limitations, but together all bases can be covered.
The Liberals believe the Government must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. 

We understand the RFDS would welcome discussions with the Government on best utilisation of whole of State resources, and their role in helping deliver medical retrieval particularly for the Bass Strait islands (where helicopter retrieval is prohibitive), but unfortunately this Government tends to base its decision on funding alone, not the health interests of patients.

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Politics | State | Health

Creative Directors chosen for Australian Pavilion at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale

Australian Institute of Architects
28.09.09 7:00 pm

The Australian Institute of Architects today announced that John Gollings and Ivan Rijavec will head the creative team for the Australian Pavilion at the upcoming 12th Venice International Architecture Biennale. 

The team’s two-part ‘NOW + WHEN Australian Urbanism’ exhibition will highlight three of Australia’s most interesting urban regions as they are ‘now’, before dramatically representing futuristic urban environments as they may be ‘when’ we reach 2100. 

Opening in September 2010, the exhibition will feature a range of dazzlingly visceral digital stereoscopic images*, which will fill the two-level Philip Cox-designed Australian Pavilion and represent both the NOW and WHEN components. 

On the pavilion’s upper level, NOW will feature current urban environments in Sydney, Melbourne and Surfers Paradise. Stereoscopic visuals will show contrasting views of these cities from macro-scapes at 20,000 feet to ‘helicoptering’ views of urban and architectural icons at close range. All three cities will be filmed at dusk, when the ‘Australian urban spectacle becomes luminous and articulate in conveying the way our cities work’. 

On the pavilion’s lower level, WHEN will dare to imagine Australian urban spaces in 91 years time, with the intent of ‘catapulting urban debate into eye-popping visceral entertainment set in a soundscape’. Australian architects will be asked to submit 3D entries for inclusion by entering an ‘Ideas for Australian Cities 2100’ national competition. A range of entries will then be chosen focusing on the creative potential of architecture.

Two stereo screens mounted back to back at the rear of the upper and lower exhibition spaces will be the focus of the installation. An urban themed black and white geometric matrix will be projected on the walls, floors and ceilings of both levels leading to two stereo screens, which will feature the urban environments in continuous three minute loop cycles. 

Announcing the Creative Directors at functions in Sydney and Melbourne, recently appointed Venice Biennale Commissioner Mrs Janet Holmes à Court said: “As countries around the world continue to move into a post-GFC economic recovery phase, it’s vital that Australia maximises every opportunity to reinforce the nation’s competitive strengths and standing on the world stage.” 

“The Venice Architecture Biennale, now widely regarded as the most important event on the international architecture calendar, is one of these un-missable opportunities.  While the 2008 event attracted 130,000 informed visitors from around the globe over 10 weeks, we have every reason to believe the 2010 Biennale will eclipse this.
 
“I have every confidence that the appointment of our 2010 Creative Director team – led by John Gollings and Ivan Rijavec – affords us a great head-start in the promotion of the nation’s incredibly rich and diverse architectural talent.” 

The full 2010 Creative Directors Team comprises Australia’s preeminent architectural photographer John Gollings, leading Melbourne-based architect Ivan Rijavec, graphic designer David Pidgeon, astrophysicist Professor Jeffrey Shaw, architect and sound designer Nick Murray and 3D experts Sam Slicer and Daniel Flood. 

A total of 29 submissions were received for the role of Creative Director, with five proposals shortlisted in a rigorous selection process ahead of today’s announcement of the winning team. 

The Venice Architecture Biennale was inaugurated in 1980 and is now held every two years, alternating with the Art Biennale. Thousands of the world’s leading architects and city planners plus more than 52,000 people visited the 2008 Australian Pavilion.

Australia’s attendance at the Venice Architecture Biennale is an initiative of the Australian Institute of Architects, who pledged funding for each of three Venice Architecture Biennales - 2006, 2008 and 2010. Fundraising efforts continue to guarantee an ongoing presence in Venice.

The Institute would like to thank our Network Venice practices, significant donors, and our sponsors, specifically Austral Bricks, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Zip Industries, Architecture Media, Café di Stasio, and the Australia Council for the Arts

*Stereoscopic imaging will form the basis of this exhibition. Stereoscopy, stereoscopic imaging or 3-D (three-dimensional) imaging is any technique capable of recording three-dimensional visual information or creating the illusion of depth in an image. This illusion of depth - in a photograph, movie, or other two-dimensional image - is created by presenting a slightly different image to each eye. 

BACKGROUNDER

2010 Venice Architecture Biennale Australian Pavilion: Creative Director biographies

CO-CREATIVE DIRECTOR - JOHN GOLLINGS, GOLLINGS PHOTOGRAPHY
Gollings Photography is a photographic business based on the use of the latest digital technology producing strong iconic photographic imagery. John Gollings is one of Australia’s premier architectural photographer’s, who successfully applies a visionary ideology across all areas of his work - weather it be corporate, advertising, commercial, architectural, aerial or environmental. John’s works is characterised by strong formal composition but with a didactic, and wider, contextual viewpoint. He brings the technical resources and craft skills of a very experienced photographer to a discipline which often lacks either a point of view or the ability to express it. Recently more time has been spent on longer term projects with academic or cultural significance for books, exhibitions and fine prints.

CO-CREATIVE DIRECTOR - IVAN RIJAVEC, RIJAVEC ARCHITECTS
Director B Arch M Arch FAIA
Rijavec Architects is headed by Principal Ivan Rijavec and is an innovative Australian architectural practice established in January 1979. Since then, the firm has been acknowledged in design journals, books, by way of Australian Institute of Architects’ merit awards, invitations to participate in forums and artists-in-residence programs, and requests to address professional and academic institutions throughout Australia. 

CONSULTANT TEAM

DESIGN BY PIDGEON
Design By Pidgeon’s work has been described as satisfying the eye and the mind. Their approach, whether designing an identity, signage system, book or packaging, always starts
with a strong conceptual idea designed to engage their audience while communicating to them. Their strength is in the analysis of the brief, which allows the development of concepts that may be obvious or abstract, but always contain an element of the unexpected. The independent nature of the studio ensures that the creative direction of any project is managed hands-on by David Pidgeon. 

PROFESSOR JEFFREY SHAW
Professor Jeffrey Shaw is regarded as one of the key international researchers in the field of interactive digital cinema. Professor Shaw is currently Director of the iCinema Research Centre, at the University of NSW’s Creative Media Institute. Under his direction, the Institute has become one of the world’s premier research institutes in the field of interactive digital cinema. Professor Shaw has initiated, supervised or commissioned some of the most important international research projects in interactive narrative forms, including The Tree of Knowledge, 1998, by Bill Viola and Sonomorphosis by Bernd Lintermann.

FLOODSLICER
FloodSlicer is a pioneer in the production of architectural 3D imagery using new technologies. Australia’s leading exponent of digitally-produced stills and animations, they are known for grand iconography and sweeping cinematic scope, and are the acknowledged masters in photo-real architectural visualisations. The directors are Daniel Flood and Samantha Slicer.

The Australian Institute of Architects is the peak body for the architectural profession, representing more than 8000 members across Australia and overseas. The Institute actively works to improve the quality of our built environment by promoting quality, responsible and sustainable design. Visit the Institute at architecture.com.au.

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Arts | Environment | Society

CONSECUTIVE RISES IN BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ARE WELCOME NEWS

Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
28.09.09 6:39 pm

Skills Retention Now Vital

The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the results from the latest Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) Survey of Business Expectations, which revealed a second consecutive quarterly rise in Tasmanian business confidence.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that while the latest rise in business confidence is heartening, it should not be taken for granted, and all efforts should now be directed towards retaining skills in Tasmania to prepare the state for the eventual economic upturn.

“It is heartening to see business confidence on the rise again in Tasmania, but it is worth noting that businesses still believe the economy will contract over the next 12 months,” said Mr McKim.

“We must now work hard at retaining skills in the state while we ride out the Global Financial Crisis, to give us a headstart when the better times return.”

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Politics | State | Economy

GREEN COMMITMENT TO CITY VITALITY

Helen Burnet
27.09.09 5:44 pm

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Helen Burnet

GREENS LEAD WAY FOR CLEAR VISION FOR HOBART

Hobart Alderman Helen Burnet and candidate for Deputy Lord Mayor today joined with Greens Denison MP Cassy O’Connor to articulate a comprehensive direction for City of Hobart. Speaking from Parliament House, Ald Burnet stated:

“Today the Greens are leading the way with a clear vision for our city. In the face of climate change and the looming threat of peak oil, the Greens wish to work collaboratively between tiers of government and the local community with the helps of leaders in the area of urban re-vitalisation.

“With the help of local and global experts under the direction of a well-resourced State Architect, this comprehensive approach will help shape, re-energise and sustain our city and its people well into the future.”

“The current movement towards greater self-sufficiency is happening not only as a response to climate change, but by motivated communities who are seeking their own solutions too, in this era of resilience.”

Alderman Burnet emphasised that the Renaissance Plan for Hobart did not set out to slavishly copy from other cities. However there were elements from many success stories such as Copenhagen and Melbourne which would be simple enough to adopt for a brighter and better future.

“Hobart has a unique, very special feel, with its natural beauty of the mountain, and the Derwent, as well as the magnificent built heritage. The Greens want these elements of our beautiful city to be set apart for what they are.

“We can design in elements that will make our city centre more inviting in which to work live and play. Greater inner-city housing options, better people spaces, and that connection so often missing in our city streets because of traffic flow and poor street-level design are part of the solution I believe the people of Hobart would warm to.

“The Greens on Council will continue the work of improving urban life for our city. With Green initiatives for more community gardens, the Summer Sundays project in North Hobart in early 2010, the quest for better pedestrian lighting all continuing apace, an overall strategy and direction is required. Capacity building and a very active central district with greater inner city housing projects as part of this plan will ensure a bright future for Hobart and its people.”

Alderman Burnet threw out a challenge.

“Renaissance Hobart provides a recipe for the state government to work together to make this city great. Whilst the Council currently is looking for experts to take up the challenge of the Inner-city Development Plan, the proposal here is even more far-reaching – there is a need for a coordinated, thoughtful approach as to where we – the people of Hobart – want to take our city. We cannot stand around and wait for that to happen. The time to act is now.”

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Politics | Local

PLACES FOR TASMANIA’S PEOPLE

Cassy O’Connor MP Greens’ Environment and Parks Spokesperson
27.09.09 5:16 pm

Greens’ Plan For More Sustainable and Liveable Urban Centres to Meet Big Challenges Ahead

The Tasmanian Greens today released a detailed policy initiative outlining the steps to transform Tasmania’s cities and towns to meet the 21st century challenges of liveability, climate change and peak oil.

Greens Environment and Health spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP and Greens’ Hobart City Council Alderman, Helen Burnett, released ‘Places for Tasmania’s People: Part 1 – Renaissance Hobart’ today.

Ms O’Connor said the policy initiative shows how Hobart can be a world leader in sustainable design and people-friendly places while addressing the urgent need to equip Tasmania’s population centres to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century.

“The Greens’ Places for Tasmania’s People agenda aims to establish a cooperative framework between all three levels of government to accelerate and facilitate the implementation of a statewide liveable cities and towns policy,” Ms O’Connor said.

“It’s time that our cities and towns are developed within a framework that provides for community and expert input, with a focus on liveability and sustainability. The Greens want Tasmania’s cities and towns to be better places to live, work and play.”

“If we act now, drawing on cooperation across Federal, State and Local Governments in Tasmania, we can leapfrog ahead to proudly join the world’s most liveable cities, where design and construction are founded on sustainability principles and the health and wellbeing of people come first.”

“Our plan, which focuses on Tasmania’s capital and major population centre in the first instance, would see our streetscapes become greener through shade trees and community gardens.”

“It would see more pedestrian and cycle access to the city centre, fewer cars and more places for people to sit and relax.  It would ensure old buildings are retrofitted for new life and energy efficiency wherever possible, and new buildings built to six star green building standards. These are the places of the future,” Ms O’Connor said.

Highlights of the Greens’ policy initiative include:

q   Establishing a Places for Tasmania’s People Program within the Office for Climate Change

q   Establishing a Places for Tasmania’s People Fund;

q   Establishing a Panel of Experts, chaired by the State Architect;

q   Renaissance Hobart: initial blueprint for change.

Download: Places for Tasmania’s People: New Life for Our Cities and Towns. Part 1 – Renaissance Hobart, Cassy O’Connor MP, September 2009:
Places_for_Tas_People_Policy_Initiative_C_OConnor_ATTACH.pdf

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