In Their Own Words...Liberals | Labor | Greens | Premier Will Hodgman | Labor Leader Bryan Green | Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor
27.09.09 5:44 pm
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.”
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:
Will Hodgman Liberal Leader
27.09.09 5:15 pm
There is no doubt that after 11 years of Labor, Tasmania is heading in the wrong direction. Tasmania needs leadership, vision and planning for the future.
The Tasmanian Liberals under Will Hodgman have an action agenda that will help Tasmania be a proud and united place to live in, and do business in. A place where more people want to be, and where our State achieves its true potential.
Today we are launching an advertisement detailing what our action agenda is.
Our Action Agenda will
Drive our economy forward – We will back Tasmanian businesses to create jobs and give them the environment they need to grow, usher in a new dawn for emerging industries, build infrastructure for the future, make Tasmania a population magnet, unlock the potential of our regions and cut government waste.
Deliver accountable government – We will establish an anti-corruption and ethics authority, implement a strict new code of conduct for ministers, advisers and public servants, and change the culture of government, making Open Government the law.
Deliver better health results – We will put a stop to endless waiting lists, resuscitating all of our hospitals, focus on keeping people well and out of hospital, provide better health services closer to home, strengthen our health workforce and get better value for your health dollar.
Raise education standards – We will boost literacy and numeracy standards, especially in high schools, so our children can achieve their potential. We will do this through more support for teachers, more support for students who fall behind and removing impediments to children getting to school.
Strengthen our community and protect our lifestyle – We will take strong and decisive action to protect our children, get tough on criminals, improve road safety, implement our Fairer Tasmania plan, and care for our precious natural environment.
We can do much better, but to do better we need to change the Government.
Brett Whiteley MP Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services
27.09.09 5:14 pm
Reports RHH asked to shed 80 full time jobs
Nurses/doctors at risk of burn-out if vital support positions abolished
Cut fat in bureaucracy first
The Liberals understand that the Royal Hobart Hospital has been asked to shed 80 full-time equivalent jobs in non-clinical positions.
It is believed other staff at other hospitals are also in the firing line, even though these employees, such as ward clerks and orderlies, provide a vital support role to health professionals to assist with the patient’s hospitalisation.
In June the Health Minister said frontline jobs (doctors, nurses and allied health professionals) would be protected, but that the jobs of 185 non-service delivery positions in health would have to go.
It would be of serious concern if as many as 80 of these jobs were to be from the Royal Hobart Hospital, where chaos would rein if such a large number of staff were made redundant.
The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services told the Budget Estimates Committee earlier this year that he would be concerned if job reductions meant “we were dumping further work onto other people. That is not the way we need to approach this”.
Yet it appears that is exactly what this Government is doing.
Targeting positions such as ward clerks, customer service staff, orderlies and even switchboard staff means that somebody else has to take on the job of this person.
Dumping those duties onto nurses, doctors and other health professionals who remain in the hospital takes those health professionals away from patient care and can lead to burn-out and resignations.
Instead of targeting these workers, the Minister must look to cut the fat in her own bureaucracy.
I have yet to see solid evidence of where this Minister has reined in waste in the overall health bureaucracy.
Vanessa Goodwin MP Shadow Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
27.09.09 8:08 am
The Government’s decision to stop funding Lifeline to provide a counselling service to victims of crime in the south and north-west is incredibly disappointing.
The fact that the Attorney-General wouldn’t even be up front and honest with Lifeline about her intentions for victims of crime services shows how uncaring this tired, 11 year old Government has become.
Can the Government guarantee that it will deliver victims of crime services to the same standard as Lifeline, or will the quality of service deteriorate under this new arrangement? This is a sign that the Government’s priorities are becoming increasingly warped and out of touch with what Tasmanians need and expect.
The number of victims receiving support has been increasing steadily, from 1,165 in 2003-04 to 1,405 in 2007-08. Now, instead of having a dedicated, caring organisation providing vital support, crime victims in southern and north-west Tasmania will be forced to deal with the Government for compassion and support.
Lifeline has a proud history of providing excellent services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community and the Attorney-General’s decision is a slap in the face to one of the most trusted organisations in Tasmania.
Chantel Gogia Marketing Manager St Helens and Hobart Private Hospitals
27.09.09 12:00 am
Hobart Private Hospital is hosting the launch of ‘Small Miracles’ in Hobart on Monday, October 5th. ‘Small Miracles’ was created by Bonnie Babes Foundation and offers support to families coping with infertility, miscarriage, still birth and premature birth.
“Small Miracles is a landmark Australian self-help book offering practical counselling and inspiring stories for anyone coping with the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or prematurity and related issues such as infertility. Based on the grief counselling and support services offered by the Bonnie Babes Foundation for over 15 years, Small Miracles contains the very moving stories of Australians, who have experienced the traumatic loss of a baby and how they coped with this very private tragedy. Compelling, uplifting, sad and intensely human, best of all, they are stories of healing and hope.” (http://www.bonniebabes.com.au)
On 17th September Malcolm Turnbull and his family launched the book at Parliament House in Canberra. The received a large amount of media coverage including front page of The Australian, ABC News, SBS News, Network 10 news, Network 7 news and on radio 4BC, 3AW, 2UE and 2GB. Here
The book launch at Hobart Private will be attended by guest speaker and founder of Bonnie Babes, Rachel Stanfield-Porter, and we are inviting all Media to cover this event. Rachel will be available for interviews during the day from 11am.
The book is now available at local bookstores or can be ordered directly from the Bonnie Babes Foundation. It retails for $24.99.
Save Ralphs Bay
26.09.09 7:23 am
Save Ralphs Bay Inc. strongly disputes claims made by Walker Corporation yesterday that no last minute changes were made to its canal estate proposal.
“Throughout the course of the public hearing, numerous significant changes were made with little or no notice to the other parties. These changes made it very difficult to determine exactly what was being proposed and what the impacts would be”, said Jessica Feehely, Principal Lawyer with the Environmental Defenders’ Office. Ms. Feehely worked with barrister Roland Browne to present the case for SRB in the recent RPDC hearings.
Examples of changes made to the proposed development include:
On the final day of the hearing, Walker Corporation announced that it was abandoning the plan to enter into a Part 5 agreement with Clarence City Council for the ongoing management of the canal estate. As noted in Council’s recent submission to the Commission, Walker Corporation has consistently failed to provide adequate details of how the canal estate would be managed in the long term.
In the fourth week of the hearing, Walker Corporation presented a new traffic layout plan including a third roundabout on the canal estate strip of the South Arm Highway. There was also discussion of restricting right turns from Ringwood Road onto South Arm Road.
The traffic experts for all parties agreed that these changes would require further modelling to assess local and regional traffic impacts.
The new layout was changed again when it was realised that the altered road design would cut through a planned recreation ground.
In the second week of the hearing Walker Corporation’s noise expert, Matthew Bryce, recommended that a 3 metre high fence be maintained around the site during years of construction activity, to provide a noise barrier.
The visual impact of such a fence had not been taken into account in any modelling undertaken for the Draft Integrated Impact Statement (DIIS).
Dealing with mercury
On the first day of the hearing, Walker Corporation announced a significantly changed approach to dealing with mercury-contaminated sediments, involving separate dredging of the contaminated sediment, isolation and treatment in a series of secured containment areas and disposal of the treated sediment in specified land masses. No detailed plans of the containment areas or treatment methods have been provided.
Walker Corporation’s experts also conceded that more rigorous testing was required to identify the extent of contaminated sediments.
SRB spokeswoman, Jane MacDonald, believes that the continuing changes to the project are futile attempts to fix a proposal that is fundamentally flawed.
“Given all the known impacts of the canal estate proposal, the ongoing uncertainty about how those impacts will be managed, and the alarm expressed by Clarence City Council this week, we call on the Walker Corporation to abandon its doomed, destructive canal estate proposition.”
Download a pdf version at: http://www.saveralphsbay.org/pdf/SRBEDOMedia26Sep09.pdf
Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
25.09.09 3:56 pm
The Tasmanian Greens today accused Treasurer Michael Aird of misleading Tasmanians over the details of his taxpayer-funded trip to Europe, after the Treasurer revealed that instead of attending a single meeting on behalf of Gunns, as he told Tasmanians before his departure, he actually attended a series of meetings as well as touring a number of pulp mills. 
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said with Tasmania’s Treasurer travelling around the world in his attempts to lure a financial backer for Gunns’ pulp mill, it is obvious that Gunns themselves are still a long way away from obtaining finance for their proposed mill.
“Treasurer Aird did a lot more spruiking on Gunns’ behalf than he told us he would before he left, and he should come clean about the details of his trip, as well as the total cost to taxpayers,” said Mr McKim.
“The government should do Tasmanians a favour and put the pulp mill out of its misery rather than throwing it yet another taxpayer funded lifeline.”
“So now we’ve had taxpayer’s money spent on a secretive mission despite Premier Bartlett’s personal commitment that government support for the project would end. What on earth will we see next?”
“The more this government tries to change its spots, the more it reminds me of the bad old days under Paul Lennon’s leadership.”
“With the Treasurer now active in the desperate search for pulp mill finance, it is increasingly obvious that Gunns are still a fair way off having the funds they need.”
Mr McKim also called on the Treasurer to provide more clarity about the mystery project that he originally claimed was the real reason for his trip.
“The Treasurer has flagged government support for any new project, so surely he should at least reveal the industry sector that is in play, which cannot possibly have any commercial confidence issues.”
 “While in Europe, Mr Aird also will meet potential financiers of the Gunns pulp mill proposal. Mr Aird’s involvement in the meeting was requested by Gunns.”
[Excerpt, “Overseas Jobs Mission,” Media Release, Treasurer Michael Aird, 15 Sep 2009,
http://www.media.tas.gov.au/release.php?id=27823, emphasis added.]
Senator Richard Colbeck Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
25.09.09 3:50 pm
The battle to save Tasmania’s dairy farmers continues to gather momentum and will not end until a fair price is announced by milk processors.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck welcomed the funding from the Tasmanian Government to assist dairy farmers in their campaign.
“This announcement is welcomed but the critical announcement is for multi-national milk processor National Foods to announce a fair price for dairy farmers,” Senator Colbeck said.
“Dairy farmers must be offered a milk price that, at the very least, meets the cost of production – not a cent less.
“With the help of dairy farmer representatives, I have sought and gained Senate inquiries into both the short and long term futures of our dairy industry.
“These inquiries, together with a grass-roots community campaign, will help to keep the pressure on National Foods.
“Tasmania’s dairy farmers can be assured the entire Tasmanian Liberal Senate team is behind their cause and will not relent until our farmers’ futures are assured.”
Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
25.09.09 3:25 pm
The Tasmanian Greens today urged Treasurer Michael Aird to investigate the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) proposal for the government to temporarily raise mining royalties, in order to fund a financial assistance package for 186 Mt Lyell miners who are stranded without income after the mine was closed by a weather-related mudslide.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said the AWU’s suggestion that all Tasmanian mines assist the stranded workers through a temporary three-to-five percent increase in mining royalties is a fair and reasonable response to the unfair situation confronting the Mt Lyell workers.
“The Mt Lyell miners are stuck in a difficult position through no fault of their own, and I would urge Treasurer Michael Aird to seriously consider the AWU’s proposal for a temporary rise in mining royalties to fund a financial assistance package for these workers,” said Mr McKim.
“If nothing is done it is likely that many of the Mt Lyell miners will have to leave the West Coast for work elsewhere, causing serious delays and difficulties when the mudslide is cleaned up and the mine is re-opened.”
“This proposal will not affect the State Budget and it is more than fair for the government to urgently investigate its viability.”
Mr McKim also said that he was a bit surprised that the Mt Lyell mine owner, UK-based Vedanta Resources, did not have a contingency plan in place to retain workers in the case of a temporary mine shutdown.
“I believe the mine owner should also contribute towards any financial package designed to keep the Mt Lyell miners on the West Coast and ready to return-to-work. It would be good for the company, and for the West Coast community,” said Mr McKim.
Peter Gutwein MP Shadow Treasurer
25.09.09 2:53 pm
Now that the Treasurer has returned to Tasmania, he should immediately start working to sort out the water and sewerage mess.
It’s not good enough for the Treasurer to say that he has nothing to do with it. These are his reforms.
Either the Treasurer thinks that the changes are going well and that no intervention is needed, or the Treasurer just isn’t interested in the price hikes, the poor service and the utter chaos that his reforms have caused.
The fact is that if people are upset by their latest bill, things are only going to get worse. Charges for water and sewerage will increase by 10% per year for the next two years, then they are expected to sky rocket. In some cases, people could be paying more than double for the same service that they are currently receiving.
The implementation of these reforms has been at best sloppy and it’s just another sign that this tired, 11 year old Government is stale and out of touch.
It’s time for the Treasurer to step in, take control of the situation and fix it rather than just making more excuses.
Paul O'Halloran Greens Candidate for Braddon
25.09.09 2:39 pm
The Tasmanian Greens today exposed that the Inland Fisheries Service (IFS) has been cut to the extent that there are now only three field officers operating on the ground statewide, with the north-west being cut back to just one field officer who is not provided a vehicle and has to operate without immediate back-up.
Greens Braddon candidate, Paul O’Halloran described the situation as a disgrace, saying that the cuts made by the Bartlett government are having devastating consequences for species such as whitebait and the freshwater lobster, both of which are falling prey to increased poaching.
Mr O’Halloran also called on the State government to confirm that there are currently only 26 IFS staff in Tasmania, consisting of:
4 field officers, one of whom is the office manager and is office-bound;
14 office staff;
1 hatchery manager;
1 carp control officer.
“Labor has gutted the Inland Fisheries Service to the extent that the north-west has only one Inland Fisheries officer on the ground, without a car and without back-up. This is a disgraceful dereliction of duty by the Bartlett government,” Mr O’Halloran said.”
“It is my understanding that statewide there are only four field officers left, one of whom is office bound as the office manager, which is a woefully inadequate number to maintain our freshwater fisheries.”
“There are serious concerns that due to the lack of officers on the ground that there has been an increase in poaching of freshwater lobster, spawning trout and also of whitebait, which is escalating out of control.”
“Labor needs to confirm that with approximately 26, 000 licence holders, the IFS revenue is 10 per cent of its outgoing costs, and therefore there should be sufficient funds to ensure adequate staffing and resourcing of this vital service.”
“This important industry plays a role in our tourism, environment and primary industry sectors, and the Tasmanian government should be investing in its protection and economic development. Six years ago the new Zealand industry was worth $150 million to the economy, while at the same time the Tasmanian industry was worth $4 million per annum.”
“The lack of on-ground resources means that policing is now reactive instead of proactive, as demonstrated by the recent example of the introduced yabbie. We are seeing flora and fauna being compromised by the gutting of the IFS, and increased degradation of our waterways through increased littering,” Mr O’Halloran said.
Jane MacDonald, Save Ralphs Bay
25.09.09 8:09 am
“To date, Council’s concerns about a number of aspects of the development have not been allayed and indeed, in some cases they have been compounded.”
Clarence City Council has expressed strong reservations about the Walker Corporation’s proposed canal estate at Lauderdale, in a report sent to the Tasmanian Planning Commission on Tuesday.
“Council expresses alarm at the level of risk which Clarence ratepayers could be exposed to in regard to the cost of maintaining the canal infrastructure… Hence Council cannot support the Lauderdale Quay project unless it is satisfied that the community of Clarence is not exposed to unacceptable and/or unquantified risks and any consequential costs.”
Save Ralphs Bay Inc. congratulates Clarence City Council for seeking further information about the problems associated with canal estate developments, during a recent visit to Western Australia. “We have been raising these issues for years,” said SRB spokeswoman Jane MacDonald. “Ratepayers should be grateful to the Council for conducting its own enquiries and warning about the considerable risks posed by the Walker Corporation’s canal estate plan.”
Council is not satisfied that questions relating to management of the canal estate have been addressed. The Council’s report states clearly, “It is of concern that, at this point in time, the most fundamental issue of how the development can and will be managed into the future has not been clearly articulated by Walker Corporation.”
At the conclusion of a section headed, “Risks associated with managing waterways”, the Council report states, “The proposal as it stands invites a great leap of faith based on the opinions of Walker Corporation’s experts.”
Council’s serious concerns regarding funding are expressed on page 5, where it is reported that, “Council does not believe that the funding of maintenance and repair of the development into the future … will be as straightforward as Walker Corporation’s closing submission … suggests.”
The Council report on its WA investigations also reveals that WA is currently reviewing the policy controlling canal estate developments, because it has been found to be deficient in dealing with the problems which have emerged with canal estates over recent years.
“Included among the suggested options are a moratorium on canal estates and an outright ban on them as Victorian and New South Wales governments have done in recent years.”
Council’s report states that the following problems have been experienced in WA:
• “the failure of developers, authorities and their respective experts
to foresee future environmental problems or their magnitude;
• the enormity of undertakings and costs that can be required to remedy
• the fact that many natural processes are still not understood;
• the problems both political and financial of funding works and
remediation via rating or the public purse generally;
• even where supposedly clear contractual obligations exist, there is no
guarantee that disputes will not arise as to the extent of those obligations which ultimately may only be able to be resolved by recourse to the courts.
Added to this is the obvious consideration that once built, the canal estates exist in perpetuity.”
“Surely it is time for common sense to prevail?” said Jane MacDonald.
“Two states have banned canal estates; a third state is looking at banning them now, on the basis of its experiences. Walker’s proposal to destroy a Conservation Area, eradicate critical habitat for resident and migratory shorebirds and turn Lauderdale into a huge construction site until 2028 is unpopular, destructive and un-Tasmanian. Now we have the Council strongly
indicating its concerns and stating it cannot support this proposal.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, for all who would prefer to enjoy Ralphs Bay as a Conservation Area in perpetuity. We look forward to the rejection of the canal estate proposal and we call for a statewide ban on canal estates in Tasmania.”
Download pdf version: http://www.saveralphsbay.org/pdf/SRBMedia25Sep09.pdf
Brett Whiteley MP Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services
24.09.09 3:43 pm
· FOI reveals operating increases in several areas of Wilfred Lopes Centre
· Expenditure on pharmaceuticals has almost doubled in a year
· Budget for staff overtime and workers compensation show significant increases
The Liberals have questioned whether expenditure increases in several areas of the Wilfred Lopes Centre is the reason why this facility is not being used to its full capacity.
An inquest into the death in custody of two prisoners revealed the prison system had difficulty meeting the needs of prisoners with disabilities partly because the Wilfred Lopes Centre was running at half-capacity because of budget restrictions.
The Liberals recently sought information on the Centre through FOI, and this shows increases in operating expenses in several areas, including expenditure on pharmaceutical supplies, which has increased from $164,000 in 2007-08, to $280,000 in 2008-09.
There was also an increase in the costs of workers compensation increasing from $12,633 to $114,055, with 8 workers compensation claims, four related to violent incidents in the past year.
The FOI reveals DHHS paid a total overtime bill of $398,517 for the 69.8 FTEs at the Centre.
With reports that the Wilfred Lopes Centre could be more effectively used in taking on more patients with disabilities from the prison system, these expenditure increases must be questioned.
If budget blow-outs are causing the Centre to keep bed numbers down, this is of concern.
The Liberals are particularly mystified by the significant increase in pharmaceutical supplies, and would even more concerned if the reason for this was a reliance on the chemical restraint of patients.
Chemical restraint is usually defined as ‘when medication that is sedative in effect is prescribed and dispensed to control the behaviour rather than provide treatment’.
A recent national consumer and carer paper on seclusion and restraint in mental health services stated chemical restraint should never be used as first line or treatment intervention and recommended all States review their Mental Health Acts accordingly.
In Tasmania, the State Labor Government is up to its 14th draft Mental Health amendment Bill and the timeframe has now been extended beyond the next election.
In the meantime, we need to ensure every psychiatric facility in the State has clear and publicly-available policies on seclusion, physical and chemical restraint.
I call on the Minister to provide answers on why Wilfred Lopes is operating at reduced capacity and explain expenditure increases.
Sue Napier MP Shadow Minister for Education
24.09.09 3:41 pm
The Tasmanian Liberals share the concerns expressed by Rural Industry Training and Education Board member, Mike Badcock, about the uncertain future of Freer Farm.
Mr Badcock’s comments today reflect the concerned feedback that we are receiving from many people in the agricultural industry about the sale of the Clark and Freer training farms.
At the same time that the Premier is talking about creating a southern food bowl for Australia it is absolutely amazing that we have such a high level of uncertainty about the future of these farms.
The Tasmanian Liberals are absolutely committed to retaining the Freer Farm and given the way the two farms have in the past operated together, to ensure that they are operationally efficient we would like to see the University of Tasmania retaining the Clark Farm.
There is no reason why the operation of the farms couldn’t be leased out at the same time as ensuring they are available for training.
If the Freer Farm is sold now, it is unlikely that there will come a day where the Government can buy back the farm.
I will be visiting Freer farm and the training and education facilities at Hellyer College within the next month to personally meet with staff and students and acknowledge the concerns of people working and studying in the area over the lack of vision and leadership being shown by the Premier and Minister for Education.
Mr Bartlett should at the very least rule out the sale of Freer Farm and make a fresh commitment to skills and training in rural industries.
JUSTICE ACTION http://www.justiceaction.org.au
24.09.09 3:39 pm
“Upon legal advice Ray (Dennis) Ferguson will apply to the Local Court for an apprehended violence order (AVO) against the leader of the vigilantes in Ryde” said Justice Action spokesperson Brett Collins.
“Mr Sean Killgallon put a coffin outside Mr Ferguson’s home, issued statements to Mr Ferguson, others and the media that have put Mr Ferguson in fear and risk of physical harm. Mr Ferguson has done nothing to merit those threats. He wants to live his life in peace and safety and hasn’t had any apology or guarantee that his entitlement to be secure in his own home will be respected” said Mr Collins.
“This harassment has already led to Mr Ferguson having to leave his home and is conspiring to deprive him of access to his Ryde home and any future safe home” said Barbara Biggs child protection campaigner.
Brett Whiteley MP Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services
24.09.09 3:37 pm
· Labor’s latest RHH plan is a short-term solution
· Even Labor says it is still committed to a $2 billion new hospital some time down the track
· The Liberal Plan for a New Generation Royal Hobart Hospital continues to show the leadership and vision that Tasmanians deserve
Labor’s latest plan for the Royal is a short-term fix necessitated by the lack of proper maintenance of the facility in recent years.
And the State Government is still planning to build a new $2 billion hospital when economic conditions improve.
There is no coherent strategy from the government on the Royal.
In 2006, the State Government said it was committed to rebuilding the Royal from the inside out and said plans to build a new hospital on a greenfield site would be a “massive waste of money.”
Later that year it announced it would build a new $1 billion hospital anyway – on the Hobart waterfront. In the face of massive public opposition and leadership from the Liberals, as we presented a visionary proposal for a New Generation Royal Hobart Hospital on the existing site – the government then backflipped again and cancelled plans for a waterfront hospital.
But while the Premier and Deputy Premier said that a $1.5 billion-$2 billion hospital was not affordable right now, they said were still committed to a new Royal when economic conditions improved and that $100 million would be spent maintaining the current hospital until then.
Their proposals to spend $20M each year renovating the existing facility for the next 5 years is no substitute for a rebuild.
A few extra beds here and there will not even meet its own projections of a 47% increase in demand at the hospital.
The Liberals are committed to our plans for a New Generation Royal Hobart Hospital that would create a hospital that is 60% operationally larger after just stage one. That stage could be completed in three years.
The Liberals have also released longer-term plans for the hospital included a specialist women and children’s hospital and moving outpatient clinics off-site and it seems the Minister is also adopting these plans.
The reason why so much money is now required just to keep the Royal serviceable is because it was completely neglected by Labor over the last few years while it blindly pursued its waterfront hospital folly.
Labor’s Royal Hobart Hospital fiasco of recent years is proof positive of its lack of leadership and vision, and its failure to properly plan for the future.
Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
24.09.09 3:35 pm
Call for Tripartite Support for Proposal
The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the release of the Western Tasmania: A Place of outstanding universal value report, commissioned by Senator Bob Brown, which identifies a range of natural and cultural World Heritage values outside the existing Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said the report has identified an exciting opportunity for the Tasmanian World Heritage Area to be expanded to protect its values and enhance its contribution to the Tasmanian economy.
“Extending the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area will boost Tasmania’s national and international reputation, and enhance the contribution these special places make to the Tasmanian economy,” Mr McKim said.
“A recent Federal government report identified that visitors to the current Tasmanian World Heritage Area pump over $200 million annually into the Tasmanian economy, and create over 5000 direct and indirect jobs.” 
“The same report identified that visitors to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area contributes over $700 million in annual business turnover, and over $300 million in added value, and states that, ‘The Tasmanian Wilderness WHA is by far the largest contributor of economic activity to the Tasmanian economy…’ 
“About 85% of the proposed extension is already in existing reserves. It’s time that the values in those areas were properly protected and enhanced with WHA status, with extra federal funding an inevitable result.”
“This proposal should receive broad political support as exemplifies a respect for Tasmania’s special places, and will underpin a broad economic foundation for Tasmania’s future.”
“Tasmania is bucking the national trend with an increase in visitors despite the economic downturn. It clearly pays off to protect our natural assets for their own sake, and as a sound investment in a broad based economic future.”
 Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts; Economic Activity of Australia’s World Heritage Areas, July 2008; pg 48.
 ibid; pg 49.
Jeremy Rockliff MP Deputy Leader of the State Opposition
24.09.09 3:34 pm
· Dairy crisis exacerbated by more rain
· Labor Government still missing in action
· Support for fighting fund, fodder, animal health and counseling should be provided
More heavy rain this week has only exacerbated the crisis facing Tasmanian dairy farmers and the urgent need for government assistance at this time.
That the government says it is still assessing what it should do, after the Treasurer said he’d seen no formal request for assistance, is bureaucratic nonsense. It can act with indecent haste when it wants to, yet well into this emergency, it is still missing in action.
We have for been calling for some time on the government to take a range of steps to help secure the long term future dairy farmers currently doing it so tough.
That includes supporting a fighting fund to help dairy farmers campaign against the low milk prices they are receiving, and the discrepancy between what they are paid for milk, and what consumers get charged.
The government needs to offer loans or subsidies for fodder to ensure farmers can afford to keep feeding their stock, and look at animal welfare assistance such as veterinary help.
There should be the provision of more resources for counselling. The drought taskforce needs to be reconfigured and urgently redeployed to the dairy crisis.
The government cannot surely leave it any longer to get behind our dairy farmers who are in severe financial and emotional distress, and which has deepened as a result of this week’s rain.
Vanessa Goodwin MP Shadow Attorney-General
24.09.09 3:32 pm
· Frontline services for victims of crime could be cut by the Government
· This Government has a history of wasting money on itself and this is where savings should be made, not by cutting services to victims of crime
The Government must rule out any cuts to the budget for supporting victims of crime in Tasmania.
And it should be up front and honest with Lifeline about its plans for the service, not leave it in limbo the way it has done.
That the Government would even consider making cuts to this vital service is abhorrent and out of touch. The number of victims receiving support has been increasing steadily, from 1,165 in 2003-04 to 1,405 in 2007-08. So while demand from victims for support is increasing, the Government wants to cut back on support.
Labor has previously shown its disregard for victims of crime when it recently tried to axe the victims of crime compensation scheme in Tasmania.
The Attorney-General has not provided appropriate assurances to concerns regarding the future of the Victims of Crime Service in Tasmania beyond October 30.
When the Government announced it would be looking to make savings in its Budget, it was at pains to point out that frontline service would be protected.
We’re seeing yet again that this tired, 11 year old Government is taking Tasmania in the wrong direction.
The Government is not good at keeping its promises, it’s not good at getting its priorities right and it’s not good at supporting victims of crime.
Currently, Lifeline provides a fantastic service to those Tasmanians unfortunate enough to become a victim of crime. It beggars belief that the Government would look to rip money out of supporting victims of crime.
How could the Government even consider this is a necessary saving when it has allowed the number of advisers and the amount wasted on Government spin to balloon out of control?
If the Government needs to make savings, it should come from Government waste, not from cutting the services provided to some of Tasmania’s most vulnerable people.
Kim Booth MP Member for Bass
24.09.09 3:07 pm
And Stop Wasting Money on Junkets to Europe
The Tasmanian Greens today accused the Justice Minister Lara Giddings of penny-pinching at the expense of victims of crime, after it was revealed that Tasmania’s Victims of Crime Service is facing an uncertain future due to the government failing to re-negotiate the current three-year tender, which runs out in five weeks, and then refusing to discuss the issue with the tender operators, Lifeline.
Greens Member for Bass, Kim Booth MP, said that after wasting $50,000 sending Treasurer Michael Aird on a week-long junket to Europe, the Bartlett Government must rule out any cut to the Victims of Crime Service budget.
“The Victims of Crime Service is facing a possible 25 percent cut to its funding which will severely impact on its ability to assist victims, including the potential loss of the 24-hour counselling service, and the reduction of the northern service to just four days a week,” said Mr Booth.
“The ill-considered waste of public funds during 11 years Labor mismanagement has now led us to this shocking situation, where essential services are being cut without any justification.”
“People become victims of crime at all hours of the day and night, not just four days a week during office hours.”
“Make no mistake, this service is vital to help repair the damage done to innocent members of our community who have become victims of crime through no fault of their own.”
“The Bartlett Government just wasted $50,000 sending the Treasurer to Europe, money which could have helped victims of crime who are now facing an uncertain future.”
“Justice Minister Lara Giddings must acknowledge the damage that the current uncertainty is causing the Victims of Crime Service, and immediately commit to continuing the Service in its current format,” said Mr Booth.
Jim Playsted, State Liberal candidate for Lyons
23.09.09 7:56 pm
Liberal Candidate for Lyons and proponent for the establishment of the Georges Bay Trust Mr Jim Playsted said today he had no reply from Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges concerning establishment of the Trust as a long term solution to the problems of maintaining safe and reliable port access to St Helens.
Mr Playsted said the incident involving the fishing vessel ‘Anmaropa’ on Tuesday night was another stark reminder of the need for change from occasional spending, to regular maintenance of safe access to St Helens in order to underpin a return of confidence in the port.
A public meeting convened by Jim Playsted on August 13th which was attended by fishing industry, charter operators, tourism, police, coast guard and council representatives endorsed the Georges Bay Trust proposal and asked Minister Sturges to inquire into the merits of this new approach to solving the problem of safe and reliable port access to the port. A letter was sent to the Minister on August 17th but nothing has been heard since.
While commercial and pleasure craft have increased in size and number over recent years, port traffic at St Helens has halved in the same period due to uncertainty over the bar way and Pelican Point areas of access to the bay. Since the public meeting on August 13th the largest commercial vessel operating from St Helens has moved away for this season as has the latest addition to the ports game fishing fleet, now relocated to Port Stephens in NSW. “The ‘St Helens’ brand is badly damaged by these developments”, Mr Playsted said
“Safe access to the port is vital for local business investment and job security, concern about reliable and safe port access is a major disincentive for mariners and industry alike. This has put the local economy at serious risk,” Jim Playsted said.
“The concept of a ‘Georges Bay Trust’ which is jointly managed by stakeholders with an annual income from a variety of sources including Local, State and federal Government could be a superior model to provide for ongoing and regular dredging maintenance which will provide the safe and reliable access which will encourage commercial operators back to the port.
“Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Jeremy Rockliff and Liberal Member for Lyons Rene Hidding are supportive of further discussion of its possibilities.”
Brett Collins, Justice Action
23.09.09 7:16 pm
“Premier Nathan Rees’ response to the vigilante actions in Ryde against Ray (Dennis) Ferguson leaves him looking like a political lightweight with no principles. Cancelling the lease on his home is an abuse of power of the worst sort. To offer him instead a room outside Long Bay Prison controlled by the Department of Corrective Services as Mr Ferguson’s “right to alternative housing” under his new Act is another outrage” said Justice Action spokesperson Brett Collins.
“Justice Action has consulted with Mr Ferguson, numerous individuals and community organisations around Australia and internationally and has put a proposal to Government this morning on Mr Ferguson’s behalf. This is an opportunity to properly deal with housing Mr Ferguson and sex offending generally in our community. We call upon Premier Rees to accept the offer by Mr Ferguson to not return to Ryde whilst an independent Inquiry into sex offending policy occurs” said Ms Barbara Biggs, child protection campaigner. The proposal is downloadable from the Justice Action homepage http://www.justiceaction.org.au/
“Mr Ferguson has asked for a meeting with members of Parliament today before they consider the Bill which is designed to evict him from his home. He wants them to recognise him as a disabled blind pensioner from birth, a citizen with rights who has been vilified for twenty-two years, and recently suffered public death threats including a coffin on his doorstep. He wants to tell them he has dealt with his guilt and wants to get on with his life with their support. He is still awaiting their responses” said Mr Collins.
Kim Booth MP Greens Forests Spokesperson
23.09.09 3:07 pm
While Trashing and Incinerating Thousands of Tonnes of Real Blackwood Every Year and Exporting Furniture-Making Jobs to China!
The Tasmanian Greens today questioned whether Gunns Limited is fraudulently selling so-called Blackwood furniture that is actually built out of Radiata Pine, made in China, and coloured with a blackwood stain.
Greens Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said Gunns fells, windrows, and then incinerates thousands of tonnes of Tasmanian specialty timbers every year, including Blackwood, in its quest for export woodchips, and the discovery that Gunns are falsely claiming imported Chinese furniture is made from Blackwood is a shocking indictment on the company’s business practices and priorities.
Mr Booth also said the Bartlett Government regularly justifies the clearfelling of old growth forest in Tasmania on the basis that it will be used to source specialty timbers including Blackwood for furniture-making, and called on Premier David Bartlett to explain why Gunns are importing Chinese-made Radiata Pine furniture and claiming it is made from Blackwood.
“Gunns’ Father’s Day pamphlet clearly advertises a range of timber furniture with the choice of “Country Cedar,” or “Blackwood,” but when consumers get home and open the packaging containing their furniture, they discover Blackwood-stained Radiata Pine, imported from China,” said Mr Booth.
“Year after year Gunns trashes and burns thousands of tonnes of Tasmanian Blackwood, and to now advertise imported Chinese furniture as Blackwood is hypocritical, utterly fraudulent and an insult to Tasmanian timber workers and their families.”
“Gunns have been mouthing platitudes of concern about Tasmanian jobs for years, but at the same time they have also been exporting Tasmanian furniture-making jobs to China. ”
“I will be lodging a complaint about this fraud and taking the evidence to the Minister for Consumer Protection, Lisa Singh, and I expect her to take action about this blatant misleading of consumers.”
“Premier David Bartlett must explain why he and his government use furniture-making to justify the destruction of high conservation value areas of Tasmanian forest, while the number one logging company in Tasmania is importing timber furniture from China, falsely advertising it as Blackwood, and effectively exporting Tasmanian timber workers’ jobs,” said Mr Booth.
 Gunns Mitre 10 Fathers Day Catalogue, “Lachlan 3-drawer Bedside,” p14.
 Photo of packaging for “Lachlan 3-drawer Bedside,” taken 23 September 2009.
Tim Morris MP Greens Water Spokesperson
23.09.09 3:06 pm
Low Income Earners to be Hit Hard
The Tasmanian Greens today released a new water and sewerage bill from the new Southern Water Corporation and raised concerns about the large number of recent rises in cost-of-living expenses for Tasmanians after 11 years of hard Labor.
Greens Water spokesperson Tim Morris MP said people living in properties with a higher Annual Assessed Value (AAV) and who live on fixed or low incomes are going to be hit particularly hard by these new water and sewerage bills, which are coming on top of a large hike in the price of electricity, and an increased MAIB surcharge.
Mr Morris also pointed out that people living in municipalities with water meters will be hit with another bill for an as yet unknown amount for their water consumption, and called on the Acting Treasurer and Water Minister David Llewellyn to publicly reveal the rate that this new water consumption charge will be set at.
“The increasing spike in living costs under Labor will be highlighted by these new water and sewerage bills appearing in people’s letterboxes,” said Mr Morris.
“Tasmanians are now paying the price for 11 years of hard Labor, with fees, charges and rates all rising while the Bartlett Government continues to waste scarce taxpayer funds on a ridiculous priorities like a private pulp mill project, a divisive new Tarkine road, overseas junkets, racetracks, and an army of spin doctors and media minders.”
“Tasmanians on low or fixed incomes who are living in homes with a high AAV are going to be shocked when they receive their new water and sewerage bill, and when that happens I hope they remember all the money that has been wasted on mates’ projects by this Labor State Government instead of being invested into essential infrastructure.”
“Those living in municipalities with water meters are also facing a water consumption charge of unknown proportions, and I am calling on the Acting Treasurer to publicly reveal the rate that the new consumption charge will be set at, so people have time to prepare for that expense,” said Mr Morris.
Attached: Copy of water and sewerage bill from Southern Water received this week by a Brighton Council resident.
Will Hodgman MP Leader of the State Opposition
23.09.09 7:46 am
· Social Inclusion strategy welcomed as a blueprint for immediate action for current and future governments in Tasmania
· The Plan paints a sad picture of disadvantage in Tasmania in 2009
· Liberals committed to our Fairer Tasmania strategy, and we will use this report to build upon it
I warmly welcome the solid blueprint for action on social inclusion by Tasmania’s independent Social Inclusion Commissioner, Professor David Adams.
Professor Adams has not only provided sound evidence of the unacceptable level of unmet need and disadvantage in our community, but has produced a plan which can ensure immediate action by current and future governments.
As Professor Adams rightly points out “social inclusion matters to the future of Tasmania”. Getting people off welfare benefits and into the workforce and ensuring Tasmanians are healthier and well educated is a sound investment in Tasmania’s future and budget sustainability.
The Liberals will use the Commissioner’s plan to build upon our Fairer Tasmania strategy, which we announced in 2007.
Our Fairer Tasmania strategy outlines the Liberals’ vision for, and commitment to:
· A Tasmania that provides better access to services
· A Tasmania that supports disadvantaged people and disadvantaged places
· A Tasmania that reduces barriers to opportunity
· A Tasmania that gives equity to rural and regional people; and
· A Tasmania where people have rights and respect
A number of policies have been announced as part of this strategy – many of them backed by the Commissioner in this report, including food security programs, accessible and affordable public transport, community youth employment and justice programs and better access to assistive technologies.
The Commissioner’s report paints a bleak picture of life for many Tasmanians in 2009.
It’s unacceptable that after a decade of strong economic growth, many Tasmanians do not have access to such basic needs as food, electricity, housing, education, transport and health services.
The Liberals will consider the Commissioner’s report as part of our ongoing policy development process to build upon our strategy, and we applaud this body of work as a step towards a fairer Tasmania.
Cassy O’Connor MP Greens Environment and Tourism Spokesperson
22.09.09 8:03 pm
Insult to Stakeholders Who Took Part in Genuine Consultation Process, Only to be Ignored
The Tasmanian Greens today said that Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges’ three-and-a-half hour journey to the North West Coast to launch a taxpayer-funded pamphlet promoting the divisive, destructive and unpopular Tarkine loop road smacks of desperation.
Greens Environment and Tourism spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said the Bartlett Government simply does not understand the meaning of the word consultation, which is about asking the community what they think and what they want instead of telling them what they will get at their own expense.
“Minister Sturges traversing the length of the state to launch a taxpayer-funded pamphlet promoting a divisive, destructive and unpopular road smacks of desperation,” said Ms O’Connor.
“The Bartlett Government knows its $25 million loop road proposal is deeply flawed, unpopular in the community, and an insult to those stakeholders who took part in a genuine consultation process initiated by the Cradle Coast Authority (CCA) and conducted over two years.”
“The CCA consultation resulted in the Tarkine Tourism Development Strategy which sets out a genuine vision for sustainable jobs growth in the region.”
“The Forestry Tasmania-inspired Tarkine loop road does not even have Commonwealth approval yet, so why is the Bartlett Government using taxpayer funds to promote it?”
“The Tasmanian Greens believe that protecting the Tarkine in a National Park, and investing the funds set aside for the loop road in sustainable infrastructure, strategic marketing and wilderness brand protection, will grow jobs on the North West Coast and help to create a sustainable diverse regional economy into the future,” said Ms O’Connor.
Scott Jordan, Tourism Project Officer
22.09.09 3:22 pm
The Tarkine National Coalition has expressed disappointment that a day after announcing cuts to Park’s staff, they are wasting precious funds on promoting a road that has yet to be submitted to the Commonwealth for environmental assessment.
“It strikes us as odd that when there is insufficient funds to have rangers change the bins in the Arthur River campgrounds, that there is money to gamble selling an unpopular and ill-conceived Government lemon, that has not even been submitted for EPBC assessment” said TNC Tourism Project Officer, Scott Jordan.
“The Tarkine needs appropriate management, and that means more on the ground staff. That should be the priority.”
Kim Booth MP Greens Pulp Mill spokesperson
22.09.09 12:59 pm
And Who Is Paying The Ferryman?
The Tasmanian Greens today called for a full and honest account from the Treasurer Michael Aird of precisely who he is with and where he is going in Europe, following media reports today that he is travelling with Gunns’ boss John Gay.
Greens Pulp Mill spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that today’s Australian Financial Review has reported that “Gunns chairman John Gay and Tasmanian Treasurer Michael Aird are in Scandinavia trying to finalise finance for Gunns’ plan…”, and said that if this report is correct then Treasurer Aird has a lot of explaining to do.
“Treasurer Aird was forced to admit last week that he was acting as John Gay’s messenger boy with regard to the pulp mill, but he failed to mention that his travelling circus also included Gunns’ boss John Gay,” Mr Booth said.
“Treasurer Aird is on hopefully his last taxpayer funded junket however even the last supper had a public guest list.”
“If in fact John Gay is being squired around Europe by Mr Aird then the public has a right to know what is going on and who is paying the ferryman.”
“Premier Bartlett has already been exposed over his deceitful line in the sand claim and it looks like this dishonesty may have spread right through the Labor government if it is a fact that the Treasurer is travelling with John Gay but have chosen to not disclose this detail to the Tasmanian public.”
News Report Reference: The Australian Financial Review, Tuesday 22 September 2009; pg 19.
Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
22.09.09 12:58 pm
Further Boost to West Coast Skills Retention and Investment
The Tasmanian Greens today announced their $200,000 funding commitment for a feasibility study into a new walking track between the historic Lake Margaret Power Station and the world-famous Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair Overland Track.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP, who has just concluded his visit to the West Coast, said it is crucial to retain skills on the West Coast during the downturn caused by the Global Financial Crisis, and a new walking track between Lake Margaret and the Overland Track would do exactly that, as well as boosting the local economy and increasing national and international exposure of the region.
“A new walking track linking the historic Lake Margaret Power Station with the iconic Overland Track would be a fantastic boost for the West Coast, and the Greens are announcing an election commitment of $200,000 for a feasibility study to consult with the community and stakeholders, determine the best path for the new track, and the best way to build it,” Mr McKim said.
“This walk would provide better access to a spectacular part of Tasmania, and help take the pressure off the Overland Track.”
“The Global Financial Crisis has caused a downturn in some mining sectors, and it is vital that the West Coast retains its skilled workers at this time to allow for a quick recovery when the economy turns.”
“Building and maintaining a new walking track, as well as the associated facilities, will require skilled workers who are based on the West Coast.”
“The Greens have suggested a number of other projects aimed at boosting the West Coast economy while retaining skills in the region, including:
Ø the establishment and promotion of an iconic new Tarkine National Park;
Ø $300 000 – Strahan Foreshore Walks
Ø $200, 000 - West Coast Cemeteries Restoration Program
Mr McKim also said that the Lake Margaret-Cradle Mountain walking track is one of the West Coast stimulus asks put forward by local Mayor Darryl Gerrity, but which has been ignored by the Bartlett government.