In Their Own Words...Liberals | Labor | Greens | Premier Will Hodgman | Labor Leader Bryan Green | Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor
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.
Senator Stephen Parry
22.09.09 12:57 pm
THE linking of alleged sexual assaults by young boys at a Queensland primary school with the early sexualisation of children should sound alarm bells, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Stephen Parry says.
Senator Parry said the reported comments of renowned child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg yesterday could be prophetic.
``Dr Carr-Gregg has been a vocal critic of the sexualisation of children and I share his concern at the growing trend that is seeing sexually-charged material and products being marketed at younger and younger children,’’ he said.
``In relation to the shocking allegations out of Queensland, Dr Carr-Gregg said:
`Usually they (children) are just imitating something they might have seen perhaps on the internet, on TV or a movie or tragically been a victim of some form of sexual assault.
`We do bombard them in virtually every form of media with sexuality in one way or the other.
`Young people are very impressionable and this could perhaps be a case of monkey see, monkey do.’
``If this is a case of children having been influenced by inappropriate material then it may only be an alarming sign of things to come.’’
Senator Parry, who served on a Senate inquiry into the sexualisation of children in the media, says the issue demands greater attention from governments and the wider community.
``Most of all it demands that those who are in a position to influence our children behave responsibly,’’ he said.
``Recently we have seen T-shirts marketed at very young children with adult slogans, while many dolls and video music clips are highly sexualised.
``At what cost comes this charge to deny our kids a childhood; to force our young people to grow up sooner?’’
Senator Parry said the Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts inquiry made a range of recommendations in its June 2008 report.
``First and foremost was recognition that `preventing the premature sexualisation of children is a significant cultural challenge’,’’ he said.
`This is a community responsibility which demands action by society. In particular, the onus is on broadcasters, publishers, advertisers, retailers and manufacturers to take account of these community concerns,’ the report said.
``The committee recommended that the steps being taken to address concern over child sexualisation in the media by industry bodies and others should be further considered by the Senate in 18 months.
``I call on the Australian Government to ensure action is taken in following up the committee’s report and addressing this very serious issue.’’
Senator Catryna Bilyk Labor Senator for Tasmania
22.09.09 12:32 pm
On Monday 21 September eight Green Corps participants graduated after completing work on the 26 week Peregrine School Community Garden and Community Access Green Corps Project in Hobart.
The Australian Government’s Green Corps program gives volunteers the opportunity to take part in projects that conserve, preserve and restore Australia’s natural environment and cultural heritage.
Green Corps is also designed to help community groups restore and rehabilitate the local environment and heritage assets.
Undertaken by a team of young people, learning new skills and establishing links with their communities, Senator for Tasmania, Catryna Bilyk, said the Peregrine School Project involved environmental restoration on the school grounds and around Nicholls Rivulet.
“The team’s work has created a community area where people can grow food, cultivate plants and connect with each other,” Senator Bilyk said.
“The Garden is a welcome addition to the area’s green spaces and offers community-based learning opportunities around horticulture and landcare.”
The work included weeding, tree planting, fencing and garden bed development, as well as building a pizza oven and chicken shed and designing and constructing an open learning area and 10 fitness circuit stations for community use.
“It will also enhance educational opportunities at the Peregrine School around good nutritious food through horticulture and landcare. In addition, there is the opportunity to create a sensory and mobility garden to help people with disabilities get involved in gardening.”
The Green Corps team, managed by Central Victoria Group Training, has worked in partnership with Peregrine School/Huon Valley Independent School Association and the Snug Land and Coast Care Group.
Senator Bilyk said community and government partnerships are a key ingredient to the success of Green Corps projects across Australia. “Participants have learnt many practical skills through their training and exposure to real work situations. This will certainly help them when they are looking for paid employment,” she said.
The eight participants all gained their Certificate 1 in Conservation and Land Management as well as OH&S and First Aid training.
Under Job Services Australia, which commenced on 1 July 2009, seven programs have been streamlined into one service. Local providers will provide a ‘one-stop shop’ providing assistance to job seekers. Green Corp activities continue to be available as a valuable work experience options for job seekers.
The new, more effective employment services will increase employment participation and help individual job seekers, particularly disadvantaged job seekers, find employment, with a greater focus on skill development and training.
More information about Job Services Australia is available at
Pic: Senator Bilyk with Members of the Green Corps Group and school community.
Jeremy Rockliff MP Deputy Leader of the State Opposition
22.09.09 12:23 pm
· Kirin revises up its earnings, noting dairy costs have eased
· Concerns the company isn’t aware of the impact National Foods prices are having on Tasmanian dairy farmers
· State Government still missing in action on dairy crisis
The Japanese conglomerate that owns National Foods, Kirin, recently revised upwards its net income earnings for 2009 to 60 billion yen, or about $750 million.
That’s up on the previous forecast if 57 billion yen; and in its June 30 financial results, the company notes that raw dairy input prices have eased.
Yet despite Fonterra yesterday offering struggling dairy farmers a small milk price rise, National Foods has indicated it won’t be moving on the slashed milk price it is paying Tasmanian dairy farmers this year.
The Tasmanian Liberals have written to Kirin to clearly spell out the devastating impact the reduced price is having on our dairy farmers. We have also urged Kirin to reconsider the price it is offering Tasmanian farmers, noting the company’s statements that it considers Corporate Social Responsibility integral to its business.
We will also continue to campaign for the State Government to provide some assistance to help farmers during this difficult time – with support for a dairy fighting fund and awareness campaign; subsidies or loans for fodder and veterinary assistance, and counselling support.
Labor has shown how Hobart-centric and out of touch it is with its failure to help our dairy industry during this severe and growing crisis.
Sue Napier MP Shadow Minister for Environment
22.09.09 10:42 am
· How will Parks and Wildlife manage a new National Park at the Bay of Fires on its shrinking budget?
· Labor’s lack of commitment to our Parks proven by its dismantling of the Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and Arts
· Time for some answers from the policy on the run Premier
The Premier must explain how the Bay of Fires area would be better off a National Park, when the parks budget cannot even sustain its current assets, let alone a new park.
The Premier should also outline progress on his grand announcement earlier this year that he had “added strength to the Government’s environmental credentials” with the plan to turn the Bay of Fires area into a National Park.
Does he even know where the boundaries might go? How will local residents be affected? How much will management cost? How will the Parks and Wildlife Service sustain that?
The Bay of Fires announcement has all the hallmarks of yet another one of the Premier’s ill-considered policies on the run – all spin and no substance.
Reports of significant job-shedding and plans for yet another National Parks fee rise in the wake of budget cuts raise real concerns about the ability of the service to sustain a new park.
The State Government has systematically downgraded Tasmania’s precious parks in recent years, culminating with the complete dismantling of the Department of Environmental Parks Heritage and the Arts earlier this year.
Parks Minister Michelle O’Byrne, has stood by and allowed this to happen without so much as a whimper, and is not the advocate in Cabinet that this crucial area needs.
The Tasmanian Liberals have committed to a stand-alone department of Environment and Parks if we win government, because we understand the significance of these sectors to our State achieving its full potential.
We have also called for a long-term strategic management plan to ensure the potential of the Bay of Fires area can be fulfilled, noting that we don’t believe a National Park is the answer. That is even more valid in light of the budget cuts the service is facing.
Cassy O’Connor MP Greens Parks Spokesperson
21.09.09 7:40 pm
Greens’ Release Consultative Committee Report
The Tasmanian Greens today accused the Bartlett Government of dissembling over the issue of job cuts and fee hikes in Tasmania’s National Parks, following the release of a leaked World Heritage Area Consultative Committee (WHACC) report that confirms fears raised by the Greens last week.
Greens Environment spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said the Greens have obtained a copy of the WHACC General Manager PWS Report (attached) which confirms that National Park fees are to be raised, that 30 jobs are to be lost, and that accessibility and services inside the Parks are to be reduced.
Ms O’Connor also pointed out that Tasmania’s tourism sector is currently performing well and bucking a national decline in visitation numbers, and that the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania believes this is most likely due to Tasmania’s reputation as a “premier natural destination,” a reputation that has been built around Tasmania’s National Parks.
“Despite the deafening silence of the Bartlett Government over this issue the cat is now out of the bag and we now know that they are planning to cut jobs, increase fees, and reduce services in Tasmania’s National Parks,” said Ms O’Connor.
“Tasmania’s tourism sector is heavily reliant on our beautiful Parks and this decision threatens to kill the goose that continues to lay the golden eggs for Tasmanian tourism operators and workers.”
“Successive Labor and Liberal State Governments have gouged the Parks and Wildlife budget to the bone. There is no more fat left in this area, and this latest round of budget cuts will have serious ramifications for our Parks.”
“The Bartlett Government have been less than upfront about their plans for our National Parks, and I am calling on them to acknowledge the damage they are doing to Tasmania’s National Parks, as well as the tourism industry that relies so heavily on those same Parks,” said Ms O’Connor.
Senator Christine Milne
21.09.09 7:37 pm
Tasmanian National Parks are under-funded and undervalued leading to a crisis in their protection and management, says Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne.
“It is not good enough to splash photos of wilderness and wild animals on airport walls and TV ads, milking the environment for all its worth, while refusing to look after the animals and ecosystems on display.”
“Both inside and outside our Parks, native species are battling infectious illnesses which a healthy immune system should be able to overcome. The fact that our wild animals are succumbing to these infections suggests an immune system collapse and it is incumbent on the government to asses the state of the environment to establish whether chemical contamination is a driver.”
“Experts have found high levels of pollutants in our diseased devils, echidnas and platypus to name just a few, and they are fearful of finding more chemicals in more species if given the funds and support of the state government.”
“But how is this going to happen when government funding for our Parks and Wildlife service has been cut to the bone?”
“The government says monitoring of the situation has been improved, and it has implemented an emergency disease hotline, but what use is any of this without people looking, without the rangers on the ground?”
“Currently our parks have one ranger for every 30,000 hectares, compared with one for every 5000 in Victoria.”
“Without rangers, our diseased species are in danger of edging their way to extinction unnoticed. It’s madness, the government says it is employing one person, a wildlife health officer, to manage the situation while axing the department, slashing funding and reducing the people on the ground who can make a real difference.”
“I recently released a report detailing the government’s use of our parks as a cash cow for the Treasury. It showed how tourist needs are receiving the lion’s share of funding while conservation and habitat management are being treated as the poor, insignificant cousin.”
“The crisis of Tasmanian wildlife disease highlights an urgent need for effective habitat management. It will be too late for many of our native species unless the Bartlett government increases funding for research and management, and gives serious thought to the presence of pollutants in some of the world’s most valuable wilderness areas.”
Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
21.09.09 7:32 pm
Strahan Foreshore Walks & Local Cemeteries Commitment
The Tasmanian Greens announced a $500, 000 funding commitment for foreshore walks around Strahan, and a West Coast Cemeteries Restoration program, as Stage One of their West Coast Infrastructure and Skills package.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP, who announced the commitment while visiting the West Coast with Greens’ Braddon candidate Paul O’Halloran, said that the funding would help retain skilled workers on the West Coast, and fill the gap in state government assistance under Labor.
“Strahan is a beautiful village, but people are telling us that locals and tourists alike would benefit from better walkways around the coastal area.”
“Labor’s slashing of the Parks and Wildlife Service budget has meant that many tracks around Strahan need urgent work, which will be funded by the Greens.”
“The communities of Rosebery, Zeehan, Queenstown and Strahan all have significant historic cemeteries, but many of them are in a state of disrepair.”
“There is rich West Coast heritage in many of these pioneer cemeteries, and the Greens will help to restore them to their former glory.”
$200, 000 - West Coast Cemeteries Restoration Program
· Restore and maintain historic and current cemeteries within the towns of Rosebery, Zeehan, Queenstown and Strahan
· Employ 2-3 full-time workers for up to six months
· Provide a skills and training component
· Provide a vehicle, tools and equipment
$300 000 – Strahan Foreshore Walks
· Development of new sections of walking tracks
· Maintenance and upgrades of existing tracks
· Provide signage and interpretation materials
Mr McKim also said that the Cemeteries Restoration package was one of the West Coast stimulus asks put forward by local Mayor Darryl Gerrity, but which has been ignored by the Bartlett government.
Peter Gutwein MP Shadow Treasurer
21.09.09 7:18 pm
Monday 21 September, 2009
The Government’s credibility is on the line if it can’t say if budget savings are being made
The redundancy program finishes in just days. How much money has it saved?
Has the budget gone off the rails already?
The State Government is covering up its performance in meeting key budget savings, reinforcing as a sham the Premier’s so-called commitment to restoring trust.
After patting itself on the back for introducing budget savings measures, including voluntary redundancies, cutting the number of senior staff, reviewing middle management and cutting departmental budgets, the Government has gone suspiciously quiet on whether or not these savings are being implemented.
Yesterday the Acting Treasurer failed to say if the budget savings were being implemented and if targets were being met.
This is why the Government needs to adopt the Liberals’ policy of quarterly reports on the budget, so that all Tasmanians can see if their Government is doing what it said it would. This is another case of a tired 11 year old Government that refuses to be transparent, open or accountable.
For example, the Government said that it would offer a voluntary redundancy program between July and September. Now that the redundancy program is nearly over, the Government should say how successful it has been. How many applications were there? How many were accepted? What savings will there be to the budget as a result of the redundancy program?
These are simple questions that the Government would be able to answer. The fact that they are refusing to be transparent on the voluntary redundancy program or the budget savings in general means that there is a distinct possibility that the budget may have gone off the rails.
Peter Gutwein MP Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation
21.09.09 6:12 pm
Our long-term aim should be for a Tasmanian AFL team
However, in the short-term, we cannot afford to lose Hawthorn
Concern over Labor secrecy on AFL business case
The business case for a Tasmanian AFL team - that the Government did not want made public - shows that the long-term aim of entering the AFL is not beyond us. The business case appears sound, however the main obstacle remains this secretive, bungling Government. They have a history of making a mess of major reforms and projects and now they are blocking taxpayers’ from having basic information about this push.
Just look at water and sewerage reforms, the natural gas roll-out, the TOTE sale, the management of rail to name a few. This is a Government that has a reputation for not delivering.
Already, there are signs that Tasmania’s bid for an AFL team is losing some steam.
For a start, there appears to be no ongoing dialogue with the AFL. Without ongoing discussions with the AFL and the AFL’s CEO, a Tasmanian team will not get past first base.
The lack of transparency from Government on the business case is also not a good sign. If the government wants to bring the people of Tasmania with it on this campaign to secure a Tasmanian AFL team, then it has to be open and honest with taxpayers.
That the Government initially blocked the release of this report is a sign that absolutely nothing has changed about the way Labor does business, after 11 long years of secrecy and backroom deals.
The other concern is that the Government may take its eye off the ball and lose Hawthorn or at the very least damage the current relationship. Our long-term aim should be for a Tasmanian AFL team, but in the short-term we cannot afford to and must not lose Hawthorn. Our partnership with Hawthorn is vital in showing the rest of the country that not only is AFL viable in Tasmania, it is absolutely thriving.
The Government compromised this relationship with the ham-fisted and ill-conceived manner in which the Premier contemplated putting the Hawthorn deal out to tender; only to back down in the face of a furious public reaction.
Labor’s handing of the Hawthorn issue, and its attempts to block the release of the business case for a Tasmanian AFL team, do not inspire confidence about its ability to manage AFL in Tasmania for the future.
Kim Booth MP Greens Forests Spokesperson
21.09.09 6:09 pm
If FT Can’t Read Maps Properly, How Accurate Are Their Coupe Boundaries, and How Good is Their Governance?
The Tasmanian Greens today called on Forestry Tasmania (FT) to apologise, and to compensate those affected, after providing false information to Tasmania Police regarding the boundaries of an exclusion zone in the Upper Florentine Valley, a failure that led directly to Police wasting enormous amounts of public resources wrongfully arresting and charging dozens of people for walking through State Forest.
Greens Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said Forestry Tasmania’s patent inability to correctly read maps raises serious questions not only about the logging that is being, and has been, carried out across Tasmania in areas identified via mapping work done by FT, but also about the competence of FT at the highest level.
Mr Booth also called for Forestry Tasmania to provide the maps and information required to back-up their ongoing claim that 90 percent of the Upper Florentine Valley is protected from logging, a claim that has yet to be proven by FT despite being repeatedly called on to do so.
“FT’s inability to read maps accurately meant that Tasmania Police officers have wrongfully arrested dozens of people for walking through State Forest, and FT should immediately apologise to the people they caused to be arrested, to the Tasmania Police officers involved, and to the people of Tasmania,” said Mr Booth.
“Forestry should also compensate those convicted on false evidence, and pay the costs of legal action to set aside any convictions.”
“Forest coupes across Tasmania are being clearfelled and burned along boundaries that have also been identified by FT mapping techniques, and I have no confidence that any of these coupe boundaries are any more accurate than the incorrect exclusion area boundary being used in the Upper Florentine.”
“There have been repeated calls for FT to provide maps and information to back up their claim that 90 percent of the Upper Florentine Valley is protected from logging, and now is obviously an appropriate time for FT to release this information.”
“FT must apologise to all those arrested, to the Tasmania Police officers whose time and efforts were wasted, and to the people of Tasmania for demonising people who, it turns out, were arrested for simply walking through State Forest.”
“This is yet another example of this rogue agency out of control and Forestry Minister Llewellyn must take responsibility for the wrongful arrest of citizens who were lawfully going about their business until falsely accused by Forestry Tasmania of breaking the law,” said Mr Booth.
Jeremy Rockliff MP Deputy Leader of the State Opposition
21.09.09 10:25 am
· Dairy crisis could take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the State’s economy
· The government is still missing in action
· Further evidence that the State Government is Hobart-centric and not representing rural and regional Tasmania
The Bartlett Labor Government’s Hobart-centric focus, and its lack of regional and rural representation in Cabinet, is badly letting Tasmanian dairy farmers down.
If this was a government in touch with the needs of rural and regional Tasmania – and whose MHAs for Braddon were more focussed on the needs of the community than their own futures – then there might have been a meaningful response to this crisis by now.
With just two Labor Ministers residing outside of Hobart, and none on the North West Coast, the government doesn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation.
I’m advised the cost of reduced milk prices and production to the communities west of Wynyard alone could be about $100 million; and the blow to the State could be in the order of a quarter of a billion dollars.
This will have serious flow-on to the entire Tasmanian economy.
For weeks now the Opposition has been urging the government to take some positive and proactive steps to help secure the long-term future of our dairy farmers, who are in severe financial and emotional distress following massive cuts to milk prices, and an extremely wet winter.
We need a fighting fund to help dairy farmers campaign against the disgracefully low prices they are receiving for their milk, and the government needs to support it.
The campaign also needs to highlight the stark discrepancy between what dairy farmers receive for their milk compared to what consumers pay for it.
There should be the provision of low interest loans, or subsidies, to help farmers buy the grain or fodder they need to keep their stock in condition, and consideration of measures to assist with animal health, such as veterinary help.
And resources need to be made available for counselling and support.
We’ve said that the state’s drought taskforce should be reconfigured and deployed to deal with the dairy crisis as a matter of urgency.
And we’ve written to Kirin, the Japanese conglomerate that owns National Foods, to spell out the devastating impact these price cuts are having on our dairy farming community.
It’s time we saw some action from the government.
The Fromelles Project
21.09.09 10:05 am
Presented by Lieutenant Colonel James Brownlie, Australian Fromelles Project Group
Date: Thursday, September 24th, 2009
Time: 5:30pm till 6:45pm
Location: Auditorium, Tramshed Function Centre & Auditorium, 4 Invermay Rd. Inveresk, Launceston
Free to members of the public
With a replica uniform and memorabilia provided by the SSAA Militaria Collectors Tasmania Inc.
Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
20.09.09 8:42 pm
The Tasmanian Greens today released their election commitment to develop a world class North West Coastal Cycleway to provide a single uninterrupted link between Devonport and Smithton, with Stage One estimated to cost $15 million and create 75 new direct full time jobs during construction.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that based on data from national and international examples the project will inject at least $2.5 million per annum into the local economy.
Mr McKim was joined by Greens Braddon candidate Paul O’Halloran to release the election commitment on-site of the proposed shared cycleway route along the Old Coast Road corridor.
“The Greens’ policy commitment to construct a shared North West Coastal Cycleway will assist establishing Tasmania as a world leader in bicycle tourism, will create direct and indirect jobs, boost local economies, and will be kind to the environment as it will encourage residents to leave their cars at home,” Mr McKim said.
“This proposal will create jobs, build local infrastructure, and help diversify the economy of the north-west coast.”
“This is the first step towards the Greens’ vision for Tasmania as one of the world’s premier cycle destinations.”
Mr McKim outlined the Greens’ North West Coastal Cycleway vision:
• Consists of two stages: Stage One is a 75 kilometre route linking Devonport to Wynyard, Stage Two would extend the cycleway another approximate 75 kilometres from Wynyard to Smithton, totalling an approximate 150 kilometres;
• Stage One will have an estimated $15 million construction cost for the corridor, plus $350, 000 for a feasibility study;
• Will create 75 new direct full time jobs in the construction phase;
• Will create at least 5 new permanent full time maintenance jobs;
• Will inject at least $2.5 million annually into the local economy;
• Will create flow on benefits, such as indirect jobs in accommodation, hospitality, and other areas within local communities;
• Will provide a safe recreational and commuter path for locals and visitors alike;
• Will grow Tasmania’s tourism industry while reducing the overall carbon footprint of visitors;
• Upon completion of both stages, Tasmania will have a cycleway of approximately 150 kilometres in length, rivalling the very successful Otago Central Rail Trail in New Zealand.
“The Greens envision that following the completion of a feasibility study and consultation with local governments and stakeholders, that Stage One of the NWCC will link the smaller existing pathways to provide a continuous 75 kilometre path of a consistent and safe standard from Devonport to Wynyard via Ulverstone and Burnie.”
“Stage Two of our proposal involves identifying a suitable route connecting Wynyard with Smithton, which would then provide a 150 kilometre cycleway capable of tapping into the rapidly growing bicycle tourism market.”
“This proposal will provide an obvious starting point for cycle tourists arriving in Devonport on the TT Line, and should encourage them to hit the trail to explore the north-west rather than immediately head inland or east towards Launceston,” Mr McKim said.
20.09.09 8:30 pm
Picture: Matt Newton, Image from: Here
Over 90 former defendants to be contacted
Conservationists convicted of trespass in the Upper Florentine valley will be contacted and urged to appeal against their convictions, according to Still Wild Still Threatened.
The organisation that spearheaded protests in the old growth forests of the Upper Florentine said that more than 90 charges of trespass have been laid and gone before the courts since February 2007. Still Wild Still Threatened will put a call out via the internet sites Facebook and Myspace, as well as email contact lists, to the 90 plus people arrested in the Upper Florentine for trespass, including many international visitors, urging them to get legal advice to appeal against their convictions.
This follows the revelation that Forestry Tasmania bungled the exclusion zone boundary and gave wrong information to the police, resulting in the trespass charge against Derwent Valley grandmother Lynda Blyth being dropped. The police have also communicated that trespass charges against others accused of trespass would also be dropped if they fall into the same category as that of Ms Blyth, who was arrested over 200 metres from the exclusion zone.
“Dozens of people have stood up to the Government, Forestry Tasmania and the logging industry to defend the ancient forests of the Upper Florentine and they have been wrongly accused of breaking the law,” said Natalie Keene, Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson. “Many have been wrongfully convicted because the police blindly accepted the word of Forestry Tasmania.”
“Those wrongly convicted should have legal and other costs incurred through their arrests and trials reimbursed by Forestry Tasmania,” Ms Keene said.
The Upper Florentine exclusion zone has been in place off and on according to the bungled boundaries since April 2006. Since then, there have been a constant community presence and numerous protests resulting in over 90 charges of trespass.
“Forestry Tasmania should apologise to all the members of our community they have wrongly accused of breaking the law,” said Ms Keene. “We demand that the Tasmanian Government put in place a more effective watchdog for Forestry Tas, whose incompetence continues to be exposed.” Ms Keene said.
“Premier Bartlett has egg on his face because he blindly accepted Forestry Tasmania’s claims that people were breaking the law. We hope this development will encourage him to be less gullible - and more clever - in his approach to the forest issue.” said Ms Keene.
Jeremy Rockliff MP Shadow Minister for Racing
20.09.09 8:27 pm
· More than $27M has been spent upgrading Elwick
· Governor’s Cup meeting today has been cancelled
· Thoroughbred track only the tip of iceberg in gross project mismanagement
The cancellation of another race meeting at Elwick Racecourse today raises serious questions about gross mismanagement of the development of the tri-code facility.
Well over $27 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent at Elwick improving facilities and upgrading the course.
But today the second race meeting in a fortnight has been cancelled because 300 metres of the track is reportedly unsafe to use.
Even with the heavy rain Tasmania has experienced, the track should have adequate drainage infrastructure to cope.
A facility that has so much money spent on it should, at the very least, have proper drainage, but this problem is only the tip of the iceberg.
All three codes of racing have experienced problems and at times been highly critical of the infrastructure relevant to their code. The blame can be laid squarely on Labor Government mismanagement.
Even participants in the industry concede that the management of the Elwick redevelopment has given the Tasmanian racing industry a bad name.
The Racing Minister, Michael Aird, seems to have adopted a ‘hands-off’ approach to his responsibilities for an industry which employs thousands of Tasmanians and brings millions to our State each year.
His backflip on the sale of TOTE Tasmania just highlights Mr Aird’s disregard for – and lack of understanding of – the industry.
In the absence of Mr Aird, the Premier must explain precisely how one of our premier racecourses could be in this situation, after so much public money has been spent to improve it.
Will Hodgman MP Leader of the State Opposition
20.09.09 7:33 pm
The State Government must not squander the once in a lifetime opportunities presented by the National Broadband Network.
Too many opportunities have been wasted by this government over the past 11 years and the broadband roll-out must not be one of them.
I believe we do need a high-level advisory committee to coordinate a strategic whole-of-government approach to identify and seize the opportunities from being the first State to benefit from the NBN roll-out.
But there are concerns amongst the ICT sector that this is not happening.
In the June budget, the Premier said he would form a committee to “identify and capture development, employment and investment opportunities that are likely to arise over the next 12 months.”
Has the committee been established? Has it met? If so, when? The Premier must outline progress.
It is not good enough for him to pose for pictures in a hard-hat next to trenches and not do the strategic work to ensure our State capitalizes on this important infrastructure.
The government should also appoint an ICT Minister to provide greater government focus to this critical portfolio.
High-speed broadband and other technological advances are essential to Tasmania’s future prosperity and we must not blow this once in a lifetime opportunity to get ahead of the game.