In Their Own Words...Liberals | Labor | Greens | Premier Will Hodgman | Labor Leader Bryan Green | Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor
Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Climate Change spokesperson
05.06.17 5:26 pm
On the same day as he released the government’s review into the floods of June and July last year, the Premier dismissed the Greens’ concerns about the lack of leadership on climate change.
This year, for the first time in many years, there is no Estimates time allocation for scrutiny of the climate change portfolio. It’s ironic, given last week the Environment Minister released the government’s Climate ‘Action’ 21 plan.
Clearly, they are embarrassed by the plan’s lack of substance and want to avoid scrutiny on its contents.
The fires, then severe floods, of last year are connected to a changing climate and scientists tell us we will experience more extreme weather events, of increasing intensity in the future.
In his advice to government, former Auditor-General, Mike Blake, found there is a need for improved responses, and recommends the establishment of a Flood Policy Unit.
If the Hodgman government wants to protect Tasmanians from the effects of accelerating climate change, this Unit should be put in place as a matter of urgency, in the Climate Change Office, but we believe it should be a more broadly and well resourced focussed Adaptation Unit.
When the Liberals came to office, they abolished the Climate Change portfolio, abolished the Tasmanian Climate Action Council and tore up the former government’s comprehensive ‘Climate Smart’ 2020 action plan. Soon after they announced plans to pursue the burning of native forests for energy, in ‘forest furnaces’.
In this year’s estimates schedule, the Liberals removed the last bastion of pretence, the half an hour questioning on climate change.
Any future-thinking, responsible government must prepare for climate change. The Hodgman Government, however, is so plagued by conservative ideology, they refuse to take climate seriously and better prepare Tasmanians for devastating climate events, such as last year’s floods.
Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training
05.06.17 5:25 pm
An important part of the Hodgman Government’s Reset the Relationship initiative is to include the history and culture of Tasmanian Aboriginals in the curriculum of all Government schools.
As part of this ongoing commitment, the Department of Education has developed a number of resources in collaboration with the Tasmanian Aboriginal people to ensure teachers can share this history confidently and effectively in the classroom.
A series of five classroom videos, providing professional learning for teachers, have been developed along with two videos supporting the implementation of the educational resource Gumnuts to Buttons.
Additional multimedia resources called Ochre and Stone Tools will be available in classrooms this year.
The resources feature Aboriginal people sharing their history and culture as well as provide support for teachers with lesson plans and links to the Australian Curriculum.
This Government is committed to Closing the Gap in education outcomes for Aboriginal students, and these resources will be a valuable addition to the classroom.
05.06.17 4:45 pm
The SV May Queen is Australia’s oldest sail trading vessel and is one of only a handful of wooden vessels of her era still afloat in the world. And she turned 150 years old on 5 June.
Built at Franklin on the banks of the Huon River in Tasmania’s south in 1867, her working life spanned a century of development in southern Tasmania. She, like the other trading ketches, was a true workhorse, literally the semi-trailer of her day until road networks finally improved in the 1950s.
Her primary cargo was construction materials, sawn timber, shingles and railway sleepers, carried to Hobart for house building and industry. But she also brought coal to Hobart, as well as quarried stone, apples, pears and other fruit. On her outbound journey from Hobart she carried food supplies for settlements, hay and oats for the horses and bullock teams used in the forests to pull logs to the mills, steel railway lines, coffee pot boilers and steam engines for use by the timber industry.
“She is a vitally important part of Australia’s maritime heritage and must be preserved at all costs. She represents all those vessels that helped to develop Tasmanian industry and our rural economy”, said Mary Marsh, long-time member of the May Queen Trust.
The May Queen was a shallow draft vessel that had a retractable centreboard allowing it to enter river mouths to load or unload cargo, often at small jetties linked to individual farms. During her 106 year working life as a sail trading vessel (1867 - 1973) the May Queen was largely used by Henry Chesterman and his successors in the business Chesterman and Co. She operated mostly in south-east Tasmania carrying sawn timber from the Raminea sawmill near Dover to Hobart, a journey that she could complete in 8 hours in favourable weather.
Trading ketch races were a feature of many local regattas, particularly the Royal Hobart Regatta until 1954. The ketch race at the Royal Hobart Regatta was the glamour event of the year, known as the Cock of the Derwent Race. There was intense rivalry between the ketches when they raced for the honour of flying the ‘Golden Cock’. The May Queen raced with great success, winning her first Hobart Regatta in 1868 and competing in the last trading ketch race in 1954. During the races between 1882 and 1954, May Queen achieved a record haul of placings, with nine firsts, eight seconds and two thirds.
At the end of her working life, May Queen was gifted to the Tasmanian Government by her owners, H Jones and Co. She passed into the care of the Hobart Marine Board until the Friends of the May Queen were formed in 1997 to take over restoration. She is now well-cared for by the members of the May Queen Trust, supported by the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and a number of other sponsors, including Graeme Phillips of the North Western Shipping and Towage Company Pty Ltd.
To commemorate this anniversary, an event will be held of Franklin at the end of the month on the site of where this grand old lady was first built and launched.
HACSU ASSISTANT STATE SECRETARY, ROBBIE MOORE
05.06.17 4:35 pm
MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT SUBSTANDARD MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES. “IT’S CHAOS EVERYWHERE”!
HACSU Members have raised significant concerns with the union over the weekend about significant work pressures that they are encountering, which prevents them from providing the best possible care for patients who deserve much better.
There remains a lack of critical mental health beds within the hospital and a complete shambolic system of interim or short term community placements post the hospital setting. Emergency departments are consistently at maximum capacity with patients waiting unreasonable periods for better care in the specialised care environments, they wait in emergency, because there are no beds available in the ward setting.
We are aware of one patient recently being transferred to Launceston from Hobart for a bed, only to be returned to Hobart due to lack of available beds in Launceston when they arrived.
Unfortunately we are seeing patients randomly discharged to provide places for ‘critical care’ before those patients are ready to go to another facility or being sent home. Some areas are discharging without alternate options in the middle of the night anyway, this can’t be acceptable. The links between the state systems and community providers are broken. One worker described the current situation as “Its chaos everywhere”.
HACSU has significant concerns about the lack of strategic policy and facilities in this space, with patients being removed from beds and forced into waiting areas pending discharge, without adequate care or regard.
Risk assessments are not being completed for work environments or for patients. Staff are not being consulted about the constant changes as senior bureaucrats make decisions in crisis mode without involving front line staff.
Quotes attributable to Mr Robbie Moore, Assistant State Secretary of HACSU
“The bureaucrats are making short term ad-hoc decisions in crisis mode, without consulting the experts, their staff, and they are making incorrect decisions.”
“This decision making on the run process is impacting on the front line staff and make for worse outcomes for patients from a clinical perspective.”
“There appears to be no regard for Coroner Coopers report from November last year, he warned of the impact of removing beds from the system and was dismissed by bureaucrats and the Health Minister as scare mongering.”
“The Tasmanian health system is in crisis, it needs urgent resources, it needs a total re-think in terms of crisis management; the government can’t rely on rhetoric about fixing someone else’s mess, or it takes time. The time for decisive action is now, there is only one solution beds, beds and beds.”
“We are aware of patients are being discharged to promote ‘bed flow’, not because they are well enough to go home, what an appalling mess this is”.
Greens Senator for Tasmania Nick McKim
05.06.17 2:40 pm
The Hodgman Government’s decision to abandon the ban on broad scale land clearing will impact on forests, threatened species, water catchments and Tasmania’s carbon emissions, Greens Senator for Tasmania Nick McKim says.
“This policy sends Tasmania back 20 years, and risks creating an explosion in land clearing rates,” Senator McKim said.
“The current RFA commits the Tasmanian and Commonwealth governments to retaining 95% of the 1996 area of native forest. This so-called policy abandons that cap.”
“This is 19th Century policy of dig it up and chop it down with loopholes big enough to drive a convoy of log trucks through.”
“Even Paul Lennon and John Howard didn’t go anywhere near this far.”
“We need stronger land clearing controls, not weaker, to protect our native forests.”
05.06.17 2:24 pm
Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader
05.06.17 2:19 pm
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse estimated 7500 Tasmanians who would be eligible for a national redress scheme at a cost to the State of around $13.5 million over the next decade.
In Estimates today, the Premier refused to state that his government is committed to contributing towards the Scheme.
Tasmanian survivors of childhood sexual abuse have been denied justice and let down enough. They needed to hear a commitment from the Premier today.
Instead, he waffled and squibbed on questions the Greens were asking on behalf of those Tasmanians who still carry the scars of their abuse at the hands of churches, charities and State-run institutions.
When asked about the lack of funds in the State Budget for redress for survivors of institutional sexual abuse, the Premier was non-committal. He had the opportunity to reassure survivors, and he failed to take it.
When asked by Ms Dawkins about the lack of State funds, or intention to fund across the forward estimates, the Treasurer indicated that any funds could come from the government’s surplus.
We hope the Treasurer is correct and that the State will commit to contributing towards the national Scheme, that these funds will be made available, and that survivors will be able to access funds as a measure of compensation for a life affected by horrific, damaging sexual abuse.
Rebecca White MP Labor Leader
05.06.17 2:18 pm
• Premier caught out using government logo inappropriately
• Tasmanians funding government’s political advertising
The Premier has been caught red handed improperly using the government logo in political propaganda.
It comes amid questions about how much taxpayer money has been spent on highly politicised advertising, including on social media and in full-page newspaper advertisements.
The Premier initially agreed that the government logo should not be used for political purposes.
However, he was caught out when confronted with a post from his own Facebook page which was clearly in breach of the government style guide.
When asked if there were any consequences for misusing the government logo Mr Hodgman simply replied: “No”.
What’s worse, the Head of the Public Service has admitted he has no power to police the government communications policy.
“Tasmanians would be rightly outraged that the Liberal Government is using taxpayer money and the government logo to spread political propaganda,” Labor Leader Rebecca White said.
“We believe the Premier’s Media Unit is placing pressure on government departments to use their own budgets to promote the Liberals’ policy agenda.
“Clearly the Liberals intend to continue to abuse government resources in the lead up to the election.”
TFGA CEO Peter Skillern
05.06.17 2:17 pm
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) has worked closely with the Government on the State’s Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy.
“We are pleased with the position that the Government has now taken,’’ TFGA CEO Peter Skillern said.
“Comments that this policy will mean an ‘open slather’ are ill-informed. The Nature Conservation Act and the EPBC Act will still apply, and clearances will be overseen, from a governance point of view, by the Forest Practices Authority.
“This is a positive step forward for agriculture in Tasmania as we seek to meet the increasing global demand for food.”
05.06.17 2:09 pm
BRIAN MITCHELL MP FEDERAL LABOR MEMBER FOR LYONS
05.06.17 2:07 pm
Tomorrow Tuesday 6 June 2017 marks 12 months since devastating floods took the lives of 3 Tasmanians and caused widespread destruction across our state.
Such was the devastation that campaigning for the federal election was voluntarily suspended across Tasmania in order to focus every effort on rebuilding.
Today we pause to remember the impact, the resilience of the Tasmanian community and the hard and brave work undertaken by emergency services personnel and volunteers, some of whom battled to help others while their own properties were inundated by flood waters.
Government, industry and community came together over the past year to repair and rebuild. For many, the rebuilding will take years.
Twelve months on is also an appropriate time to reflect on what can be done better.
The release today of the Independent Review into Tasmanian Floods 2016 provides some insights and recommendations on how to move forward.
“Today my thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones a year ago, and with those who’ve spent the past 12 months repairing their properties, restocking, and rebuilding their lives,” said federal Lyons MP Brian Mitchell.
“Floods and fire are a fact of life, but how we prepare for them, and respond to them, is in our own hands.
“It is up to those of us entrusted with Government to ensure we learn, and implement the measures that are necessary to lessen future risks.”
Peg Putt, Markets for Change
05.06.17 2:05 pm
Deforestation to undermine Regional Forest Agreement, crucial environmental services, and endangered forest types under Tasmanian government’s forest clearance policy
The Tasmanian government’s announced changes to the Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy substantially overturn provisions put in place to safeguard biodiversity in the most heavily impacted forest types and to tackle the devastating impacts of deforestation on soils and water across rural areas of Tasmania, according to Markets For Change.
The claim that this is not broadscale clearance in the Tasmanian context is disputed, as is the implication that Minister Guy Barnett having discretion to approve such deforestation is not laissez faire.
“All three components of the Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy are being substantially undermined by the Tasmanian government. These are the protection of forests in reserves, ending land clearing, and ensuring a strong Forest Practices system,” said Markets For Change CEO, Peg Putt
“Provisions endorsed in the Regional Forest Agreement to cease clearance of endangered forest types that have reached the critical limit for survival are now to be hollowed out to allow incremental deforestation on farms across Tasmania,” Ms Putt continued.
“Weakening the RFA to allow deforestation that it previously ruled out with land clearance controls under the Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy is one of many problems with relying on this outdated agreement skewed to facilitate logging.”
“This situation is exacerbated by the failure of Tasmanian governments to adopt new biodiversity provisions in the Forest Practices Code that were recommended by scientists in a thorough review of its effectiveness. We know that controls needed to save endangered forest types have been evaded.”
“It’s curious to try and imagine how crops grown at the expense of deforestation could possibly be marketed as clean and green. It’s possible that instead the image of Tasmanian produce will be tarnished by this new outbreak of sanctioned environmental vandalism,” Ms Putt concluded.
Will Hodgman, Premier, Rene Hidding, Minister for Police and Emergency Management
05.06.17 1:14 pm
The Government has today publicly released the Report of the Independent Review into the Tasmanian Floods of June and July 2016.
Premier Will Hodgman said:
“Last year’s floods devastated large parts of Tasmania, particularly the north, tragically taking three lives, damaging houses, farmland and infrastructure, and costing more than $180 million.
“It was important that we had a thorough and independent analysis of the response by all levels of Government, which is why we commissioned respected former Auditor-General Mike Blake to prepare this report.
“Overall, Mr Blake has found that the response of all levels of government, emergency services and the community to the floods was generally robust; however, with the benefit of hindsight it is clear that the overall response could be improved for future events in some areas.
‘Mr Blake also finds that there was a “good focus on recovery.”
Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Rene Hidding said:
“I would like again to personally thank all emergency services personnel, volunteers, government agencies and GBEs for their roles during last year’s floods.
“While this period in the State’s history was tragic and devastating, it was also a fine example of the people of Tasmania pulling together when they had to.”
Key findings and conclusions of the report included:
• Hydro cloud seeding had “no impact on precipitation”, with this finding having a “solid scientific basis”;
• The State Government should undertake a comprehensive assessment of flood mapping in Tasmania;
• The SES align their community education programs, sharing resources with the Tasmanian Fire Service;
• The Government should establish a central Flood Policy Unit;
• The Department of Premier and Cabinet should become the standing Recovery Management Authority;
• While it “may be” that State and Local Government under-invests in flood mitigation, a lot more work is required to understand whether measures such as additional flood levees are appropriate;
• The response to the Huonville Floods in July was an example of “effective planning, preparation and collaboration that other flood management authorities should learn from.”
Minister Hidding said that the report had a total of 24 recommendations, which the Government will now carefully consider before responding.
The Government has today also released the Final Report of the Tasmanian Floods Recovery Taskforce.
Mr Blake’s report is available at http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/government_flood_review
The Flood Recovery Taskforce Report is available at alert,tas,gov.au/floodrecovery
Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
05.06.17 1:12 pm
Salmon farmers and other marine farmers will be more closely monitored on the containment of their equipment and infrastructure to within their marine farm leases under a new initiative by the Hodgman Liberal Government.
Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) officers will be authorised to monitor and respond to breaches, where marine farm equipment is found outside of marine farm lease areas.
The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment is currently working with Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) to double the number of authorised officers under the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995. This will bring the total to 4 DPIPWE officers and 4 MAST officers.
With this authorisation, MAST staff, in addition to DPIPWE authorised marine farming officers, will be able to monitor and issue infringement notices where marine farming equipment is found to be inappropriately out of area.
Marine farmers such as salmon farmers have a responsibility to ensure they appropriately manage their equipment, so that they don’t pose a safety risk to recreational and commercial boat operators or allow debris to wash ashore in our waterways.
The Tasmanian Government is committed to the sustainable growth of our world-class salmon industry. The salmon industry supports more than 5200 jobs in regional Tasmania but it must also take responsibility for its equipment and how it is secured and maintained.
This initiative will form part of a Sustainable Salmonid Industry Growth Plan which is being developed with the industry to guide future sustainable growth.
Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
05.06.17 1:10 pm
In marking the 12-month anniversary of last June’s devastating floods, it is a time to reflect on the tragic loss of life and the many families, farms and communities that were impacted.
Once in a century floods swept across 20 of Tasmania’s 29 municipalities with enormous speed and causing catastrophic damage to farms and infrastructure and people’s livelihoods.
It is difficult to adequately describe the heartache of missing family members, farmers losing stock or a family seeing their home go under water – it has a different impact on every individual.
The community, including the Tasmanian Government, stood beside these families and communities as they rebuilt and we continue to help with rehabilitation grants, loans and financial advice.
The total damage bill is estimated in excess of $180 million and my thanks go to the many organisations like the local councils, TFGA, Dairy Tas, Rural Business Tasmania, Rural Alive and Well, and DPIPWE who all worked magnificently together to help affected families and communities.
The Tasmanian Government quickly responded with a series of Emergency Assistance Grants, Community and Primary Producer Clean-up Grants, funding to the Rural Relief Fund, established the Flood Recovery Taskforce, the Flood Recovery Loan Scheme and also successfully liaised with the Australian Government for the affected regions to be covered by the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement.
We are also looking at land rehabilitation schemes so that our waterways are better able to cope with these sort of weather events in the future and we will also review Mike Blake’s recently received review into the floods with our intention to release it in full as soon as possible.
The flood recovery has been a major consideration in our two most recent Budgets with an additional $2 million in the 2017/18 Budget for agricultural landscape rehabilitation, which is on top of the $2 million announced in December 2016.
This is on top of the $2.15 million in disaster funding to restore areas of the Mersey-Dasher river system announced by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments in March 2017.
Administered by NRM North on behalf of the three regional NRM bodies, landholder projects from the Agricultural Landscape Rehabilitation Scheme are currently being finalised and will be announced soon.
Other flood support includes:
As of June 2, 2017:
· Over $3.3 million has been paid in assistance through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) which includes 334 applications for Clean-up Grants totalling over $2.99 million and 87 applications for Transport Subsidies totalling over $312,000.
• Eight loans totalling $1,199,600 under the Flood Recovery Concessional Loan Scheme have been approved by Department of State Growth, with a further five loans totalling $550,000 under consideration.
• Additionally, the Tasmanian Government provided $135,000 to Rural Business Tasmania’s Rural Relief Fund for individual grants of up to $2,500 to meet the immediate needs of primary producers and their families.
As we again reflect on this anniversary, the pain and loss has been tempered for many by the absolutely brilliant support they received from their local communities.
The Tasmania Government is committed to continuing to work and support farmers, landowners, primary producers and communities impacted by the flood events of 2016 as they recover and rebuild.
• Financial counselling and support is still available through Rural Business Tasmania (1800 883276) or Rural Alive and Well on 1300 4357 6283.
Alex McKinnon, The Saturday Paper
05.06.17 1:03 pm
Good morning, and welcome to The Briefing.
London’s Metropolitan Police Service has made 12 arrests in connection to the terror attack on London Bridge and Borough Market.
Seven people were killed on Sunday local time when three armed men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, before moving into the market on foot and attacking people with knives. The three attackers were shot dead by police, and 36 people remain in hospital. US President Donald Trump responded to the attack by criticising London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter.
Vica Bayley Tasmanian Campaign Manager The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc.
05.06.17 12:59 pm
The Hodgman Government has abandoned a longstanding promise to limit and end land clearing in Tasmania, removing protections for Tasmania’s native forests in a policy reversal that takes environmental protection back over 20 years.
Yesterday the Hodgman Government released its Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy which:
• Abandons a ban on broad scale landclearing - allowing broadscale land clearing if it fits under a number of new loopholes
• Abandons a 20-year commitment that at least 95% of 1996 levels of native forest must be retained statewide – there is now no minimum amount of native forest that must be maintained (ie there is no maximum that can be cleared)
• Allows the Forest Practices Authority broad ‘discretion’ to approve broad scale land clearing
• Doubles down on the lack of protections afforded rural zoned land, given this Zone is exempt from the new ‘Natural Assets Code’ of the State-wide Planning Scheme
“This policy takes Tasmania back 20 years, to before the Regional Forest Agreement and John Howard’s commitment to end land clearing in Tasmania,’ said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.
“Premier Will Hodgman and Environment Minister Matthew Groom are abrogating their responsibility to protect Tasmania’s environment by stripping away protections against land clearing and giving the green light to every landowner who thinks their native forest is getting in the way of development.
“Land clearing is antiquated and destructive - permanently destroying habitat, degrading waterways and emitting massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.
“20 years ago when the RFA was signed there was to be a limit on clearing. Over 10 years ago, John Howard and Paul Lennon reconfirmed that limit. Now it’s gone thanks to the Hodgman Government and we can expect a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ for our important native forests as people exploit the loopholes and lack of clearing limits.
“This is a bad policy for Tasmania, its environment and threatened species”.
Land clearing is the permanent conversion of native forest to another use, such as plantations or agriculture. Native forest that is clearfelled, burnt and ‘regenerated’ back to native forests is not considered land clearing and therefore not captured as part of this policy.
05.06.17 12:57 pm
The State Government’s forced takeover of TasWater may not be legal according to high-level advice
received by the council-owned water and sewerage business.
TasWater Chairman Miles Hampton said preliminary legal advice obtained by the company
concluded the State Government could not legislate to override the application of the Federal
TasWater is a company established under the Corporations Act 2001, and the 29 Tasmanian Councils
are shareholders in the company.
Mr Hampton said that as part of its normal fiduciary obligations, the Board had sought independent
advice on whether the proposed takeover by the State Government was legal.
He said while the preliminary legal advice had been formulated prior to the Government’s legislation
being tabled in the Parliament, it provided a clear indication that any State law could be subject to
challenge under section 109 of the Australian Constitution.
Shaun McElwaine SC has advised: ‘‘No provision of the Corporations Act entitles a person to
compulsorily expropriate a share from a shareholder, nor to diminish or expunge [their] rights.” Mr
McElwaine also advised, “no provision of the Corporations Act entitles a person to transfer the
entirety of the property of TasWater to another entity, unless TasWater agrees.”
Mr McElwaine noted that section 109 of the Constitution provides that where a State law is
inconsistent with a Commonwealth law, the Commonwealth law will override the State law.
Mr Hampton said that in light of the legal advice and the clear resolve of Councils at the LGAT
meeting held on 11 May 2017 to retain ownership, the Board of TasWater had determined that the
company would take such action as was appropriate and necessary to determine the legality of the
The Chief Owners’ Representative Mayor David Downie said it was extraordinary that the
Government was proposing a course of action that may not be legal.
“If the government has not obtained legal advice it is obviously important that they do so before
they introduce legislation into Parliament.
“Rather than provoke a potential legal battle, it is time for the State Government to commence
working collaboratively with Owner Councils and TasWater for the benefit of all Tasmanians,” Mr
The President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) Mayor Doug Chipman said
he was very concerned about the implications for all Tasmanians if poorly thought out legislation
was ultimately subject to an expensive legal challenge.
“We have repeatedly called on the Treasurer to provide his modelling and details of how he plans to
speed up TasWater’s work plans, but nothing has been provided. Now it seems that the forced
takeover may not even be legal” he said.
BRIAN MITCHELL MP FEDERAL LABOR MEMBER FOR LYONS
05.06.17 11:14 am
Last week in budget estimates the Department of Social Services said they are currently experiencing problems with the proposed changes to the funding of volunteer support organisations, and have placed on record that they are reconsidering their proposal to remove their dedicated funding stream.
Volunteering organisations are worried that if the redesign of the Strengthening and Communities stream goes ahead, many regional volunteer support centres would be forced to close if they lose funding.
As a result vital community organisations would not receive the support they need to manage and recruit their volunteers. These organisations already do everything- from the delivery of meals on wheels, environmental rehabilitation, animal welfare, sports coaching and more. Therefore it is critical that they are supported in this role and that the Turnbull Government reconsider the redesign.
In Tasmania, 4 in 5 people give time, unpaid to the community donating over 7.1 million hours. This has a huge social, cultural and economic value to Tasmania with a cost benefit analysis generating $4.9 billion per annum. (Volunteering Tasmania)
“We need to support the people who support our community.” Brian Mitchell MP said.
“I implore the Government to drop these changes and give the sector the certainty they need.”
05.06.17 6:07 am
No Cashless Debit Card Hinkler Region
By Kathryn Wilkes
LNP MP Keith Pitt is pushing to bring the Welfare Debit Card to the entire Hinkler Electorate. Hinkler includes all towns from Bundaberg down to Hervey Bay and including River Heads to the Maryborough border. This is the biggest area being proposed for roll out of the card.
In the media this last 3 weeks, Keith Pitt has claimed “a steering committee” will be deciding which payments will be included in the “trial”. Yet when pushed on his facebook page with reasonable questions from concerned residents from all the towns involved, all comments not in support were deleted.
Likewise, any comments containing references to the Indue Terms and Conditions or the DSS Trigger payments that show that Keith Pitt was changing position or reworking his claims from day to day.
Following “Tudge’s Fudges” we see “Pitt’s Porkies”. Most fibs and spin seem to originate with the LNP Federal Minister.
Recently Keith Pitt asked for a poll in the Newsmail Bundaberg paper that was greeted with an 84% NO vote. Not satisfied with that, Pitt then used tax payers funds to seek a selected postal vote. Some residents reported that there were 2 different letters sent to homes, some with the ability to vote yes/no, others with no choice.
After 3 weeks of local and national media interest, Mayor Allan Suter from Ceduna jump into the Newsmail and Fraser Coast Chronicle repeating the same rhetoric and spin.
Considering the amount of information and reports that have been shown to the public in the region as to how well we are seeing Ceduna and their people suffering under the loss of autonomy and the costs to business and reputation to Ceduna. Mayor Suter and Keith Pitt are reading from the same song book and ignoring the public views already being shown in the comments on all media facebook pages of either the Fraser Coast Chronicle or Newsmail Bundaberg pages.
Saturday 3rd June saw a huge full page advert promoting the card. It quoted a 25% pass rate from the incomplete and unpublished Orima Report. The very same unpublished report cites a 77% fail rate. 49% of the people surveyed in CDC Wave report said it has made their lives worse. 4 out of 5 said it made their childrens’ lives worse. At least one business owner now $100,000 out of pocket and facing closure after 87 yrs servicing the customers of the town of Ceduna.
It is claimed that income management does not allow enough flexibility for people to manage their own affairs. Once Indue has control of welfare money, card holders can only access a balance and a number to beg to be able pay bills not listed. They must wait to see if they will be permitted.
Given slow processing times, it is not exactly working just like any other debit card.
This week there will be actions to stop the card from coming to the Hinkler Electorate:
Monday Evening 5 June 2017 at 5.30pm in Bundaberg is a public meeting and rally at the Bundaberg Bowls Club, 21 Quay St Bundaberg.
Event link on the No Cashless Debit Card Facebook Page or on Leanne Donaldson State ALP Member for Bundaberg’s FB page:
Wednesday 7 June Alan Tudge will be visiting for an early coffee with “select business” to reassure them that they will thrive under the card.
(Ceduna businesses received similar assurances before they began to fail). This business meeting is from 7am-8am at the bookshop next to the Torquay Post Office. The public have not been invited.
Members of the public will nonetheless will be arriving at 6.45 am on the footpath outside the Torquay Post Office for a snap rally action.
Greet Mr Tudge and show him how we see his Fudges!!
Thursday 8 June 2017 we have 2 community events.
Public rally and meeting at the Hervey Bay Community Centre. We have a lunch time session at 1pm for families and people who cannot get there in the evening.
A similar 5.30 pm session for working people and other smaller business sole operators that were not included in the “select” invite for business with Alan Tudge.
This event is being organised by George Seymour, Deputy Mayor Fraser Coast Council, and supported by the No Cashless Debit Card Hinkler Facebook page.
So far the public voice is being ignored. Select groups are already being hand-picked for the “steering committee”. Do we accept this process? Who should determine the level of “steerage” Keith Pitt foists on our region?
The region consists of approx 18 towns across the electorate, with the focus on Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. It may be quietly expanded to include Wide Bay region next.
Given the experience in current trial sites, it seems fair to conclude that our region does not want the card. It is paternalistic and disempowering. It brings division of our community and the segregation of people purely based on their economic circumstances. There is already enough shaming of people and constant media attacks on people not working or too sick to work. ,
The card is not only cruel but also jeopardises local small businesses, the well-being of our people, their physical and mental health.
Many are worried about being left homeless as Indue Terms and Conditions are not compatible with flexibility. The terms remove choices every other citizens enjoys.
This LNP attack on our most vulnerable to relegate people on Centrelink to “steerage class” within our society is disgusting to say the least. Classism redundant since WW2 is re-emerging. Moreover, Indue and shareholders will profit from that same disadvantage.
We are still the citizens of this country, we are human beings not commodities for non-elected billionaires and their mates to make more money from.
This program is entrenching poverty and forcing people to become totally dependant on a system outside the Social Security sector.
Privatisation of the Social Security Safety Net By Stealth (by exaggerating rates of addiction among those on welfare) is wrong. Welfare is set so far below the poverty line that feeding children is already a challenge. The Indue card which is tied to expensive supermarket chains, will not make that any easier.
Many parents are on DSP or are Carers. School leavers may never experience autonomy or privacy as all stakeholder associated groups will have access to everyones’ Centrelink, Medical and Financial Information.
This is not a free Australia. If they plan to roll this out across the country, piece by piece town by town , region by region, how long before full time workers realise what is going to come of this, after all people working part time receiving any of the “trigger : payments will also be on the card.
“Creating Parity” was used as one of the catch cries for the Indue Welfare Debit Card. In reality the card does the opposite. It reinforces Disparity. The card effectively identifies, labels and publicly segregates people from all ages 16-64 not in full time work right at the checkout. It divides our community and society and creating social and financial exclusion from access to normal living. Making every dollar stretch becomes harder. It prevents purchase of secondhand goods privately from FB buy sell sites, markets and private people and smaller business that do not take card.
It will have a detrimental effect on our local economy. We are a seasonal tourist region, but local business still need money coming in the door in the off season. The multinationals will be receiving the profits and the $$ while our locals business are at risk.
We ALL pay taxes. Forty five percent of people over the age of 40 are already out of work. Most have worked and paid income taxes and still pay the normal taxes everyone else does. 35% of people on newstart are already working but cannot get enough hours to break free from the Centrelink Job Agency Trap. We are not “bludgers” and “loafers”, nor “layabouts” and “lackeys”. We are families, parents, disabled, youth carers. Above all, we are the people of Australia. To remove us from the economy of our regions and funnel the “welfare money” away from our economy is stupid at best. It will not make up for the governments’ failure to create jobs, fund training. Nor will it address any impacts of austerity cuts to vital public services. Indue is no substitute for appropriate supports like: drug rehabilitation, shelters, public housing, adequate mental health and more. $53million has been removed from the Maryborough Dental Unit alone.
To then blame the people in the regions for not having jobs is just an insult.
For local First Nations People, this is no more than history repeating as they are once again returned to what they call the “whiteman’s card” or “rationcard”.
- Kathryn Wilkes
04.06.17 5:30 pm
Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Member for Franklin
04.06.17 5:26 pm
A packed public meeting opposed to the Kangaroo Bay foreshore development moved to censure Clarence City Council for failing to uphold the community consultation guidelines, and called on them to rescind the development approval.
More than 170 residents packed the meeting, facilitated by the Greens on behalf of community group, Voice of Kangaroo Bay.
Residents expressed outrage at Council’s betrayal of the community, the secret deals over several years between the State Liberal Government, TasTafe and the developer, Shandong Chambroad, and changes to the Kangaroo Bay Development Plan the community only heard about in the week before Christmas.
A community-endorsed Development Plan was passed by the Tasmanian Planning Commission in 2011, which allowed a maximum three-storey building height, large public open spaces, and connection with the water. The approved development directly contravenes that, and has buildings more than five stories high, with public space effectively gone.
Premier, and local MP, Will Hodgman did not attend the meeting to defend his government’s gift of $2.5 million of Crown Land for the development, despite being invited by concerned community members.
Clarence City Council Mayor, Doug Chipman, told the meeting the Council’s decision to advertise on 17 December was “out of its hands”, but didn’t comment about the approval disregarding the Kangaroo Bay Development Plan, and failing to uphold its Community Participation Policy.
Eastern Shore residents present at the meeting moved a motion demanding Clarence Council and State Government come clean with the community about the deals they’re striking on six other Kangaroo Bay developments.
The same company, Shandong Chambroad, has been described as “the preferred developer” but, again, there’s been no consultation with the community about the sale of public land, or the scale of these developments.
The Hodgman Government has sold Tasmanians a lemon with their anti-community Tasmanian Planning Scheme legislation, that the Kangaroo Bay development falls under.
The Greens stand with Kangaroo Bay residents - and all Tasmanians - sick of deals being done in secret to trade away public land, and to approve developments without community consultation.
Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Leader
04.06.17 5:23 pm
The Hodgman Government is letting down Tasmanian victims of past sexual abuse by failing to allocate funds in this year’s Budget towards the National Redress Scheme, a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Established by the Gillard Government in 2013, the Royal Commission has held hearings around the country, including Tasmania, listening to harrowing stories of the sexual abuse of children placed in the ‘care’ of church run and other institutions.
The Commission found that the many thousands of survivors of this abuse around the country carry deep, terrible psychological and emotional scars into adulthood.
It recommended State and Commonwealth governments contribute towards a National Redress Scheme to ensure a measure of justice through monetary compensation for victims of past abuse.
In its Redress and Civil Litigation Report handed down in September 2015, the Commission estimates 1750 Tasmanians abused as children in institutional settings may be eligible for civil compensation under the National Redress Scheme. *
All States and Territories are expected to commit funding yet there is no allocation in this coming, or any subsequent State Budget year, towards the Scheme.
More than 18 months after the report was handed down, and with the Turnbull Government allocating $33.4 million in this year’s Federal Budget, there is no excuse for the Hodgman Government’s failure.
The Premier needs to explain why his government has ignored the Royal Commission’s recommendation and why it hasn’t prioritised Tasmanian survivors of past abuse who are carrying lifelong scars.
The Royal Commission recommended the Scheme be in place by 1 July 2017 and estimates Tasmania’s funding share towards the Scheme to be around $13 million over the next decade. Our Alternative Budget allocates $5 million over four years.
This is not a huge sum of money in the context of a multi-billion dollar State Budget and $300 million windfall gain from GST and stamp duty.
Tasmanian survivors of past abuse and their families will be asking why the Liberals are abrogating the State’s responsibility to contribute.
The Royal Commission’s final report is due to be delivered in December this year.
Michelle O’Byrne MP Shadow Education Minister
04.06.17 5:21 pm
Labor will grill Ministers in each portfolio area
Too many questions remain unanswered
Tasmanians want honesty on health, education
A week of Budget Estimates Hearings will be a huge test for the Hodgman Government’s honesty and openness.
Deputy Labor Leader Michelle O’Byrne said Ministers have a long list of questions to answer after a turbulent year for the Government.
“In almost every portfolio area there are big questions left unanswered,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“The Government knows it will have to answer questions on everything from the Treasurer’s hostile takeover of TasWater to the role Ministerial offices play in the Right To Information process.
“The Health Minister will have a chance to finally be upfront about the crisis in our hospitals, including the controversial escalation policy he’s been accused of controlling.
“The Education Minister will have to explain the disconnect between him and his department, after he claimed he was unaware of parents being sent to debt collection agencies for overdue school fees.
“The hallmark of the Hodgman Government has been secrecy but as we saw last year with former Minister Brooks, the truth can come out during Estimates.
“The big question is, have the Liberals learnt their lesson or will they continue to be tricky and evasive when asked simple questions?
“This week is a big test for the Premier’s leadership and the culture of his government.”
Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources
04.06.17 5:17 pm
The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to supporting Tasmanians farmers and our plan to grow the value of agriculture to $10 billion by 2050.
Today, I am pleased to announce that we will be simplifying the State’s Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy reducing the regulatory burden on resource managers.
Under the current rules, farmers were set to be banned from clearing parts of their land for agriculture.
Under the new policy, farmers will sensibly be able to convert up to 40 hectares of native forest to agricultural purposes per property per year, in rural planning zones. Clearing for routine management activities like constructing or maintaining fences or infrastructure is also not limited by the policy.
This revised policy strikes the appropriate balance, giving farmers the ability to utilise their land, while also protecting native forest from broad-scale clearing.
Appropriate forest practices, regulatory and environmental rules still apply , including the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act if applicable.
This is a good outcome for farmers who, along with their representative body, the TFGA, have worked positively with the Government in reviewing the existing policy.
The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania and other key stakeholders were also closely involved with the development of the policy.
The new policy remains consistent with the Regional Forest Agreement and our Forest Practices System and has been developed after an extensive period of stakeholder and public consultation, which commenced in 2015.
The new policy will come into effect at the end of this month and will shortly be available on the Department of State Growth website.
04.06.17 8:43 am
04.06.17 6:15 am
03.06.17 6:53 am
The Saturday Paper
03.06.17 6:49 am
The Uluru statement is a landmark document, one that is the culmination of years of negotiations. Cape York leader Noel Pearson reveals that he began conversations with “constitutional conservatives” years ago to determine the nature of compromises for Aboriginal political representation.
“Some will see the behind-the-scenes negotiations with constitutional conservatives as sinister, writes Karen Middleton. “Others will argue that it is simply sensible pragmatism, that it is better to design a model that will win support than one that won’t and that some of something is better than more of nothing. What is clear is that among indigenous Australians, the Uluru statement has ignited a sense of hope.”
Plus: Paul Bongiorno on how the folly of the government’s reversal on carbon capture, and Mike Seccombe on Quadrant’s slide into deluded extremism.
Coordinator of Animals Tasmania, Chris Simcox
03.06.17 6:00 am
1pm, Friday 2 June
Hobart Magistrates Court
Yvette Watt, the artist behind the 2016 “Duck Lake” performance at Moulting Lagoon for the opening of duck shooting season will be in court Friday June 2. Watt was charged over the event by Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife service, for failing to comply with the conditions of a permit.
According to Watt:
Our actions were peaceful and aimed at protecting the native waterbirds that the hunters take pleasure in killing. To be charged over this event is a terrible waste of time and resources, especially when Parks and Wildlife do not even have the resources to properly police the duck shooting season.
Supporters, some dressed in the hot pink tutus and hard hats used in the original performance, will gather on the steps of the Hobart Magistrates Court at 1pm on Friday.
Coordinator of Animals Tasmania, Chris Simcox said:
I am hopeful that justice will be done and that we will have a win in court for the ducks. Regardless of the outcome, while recreational duck shooting continues in Tasmania, the ducks are the real losers, paying with the lives so that hunters can enjoy their deadly activity. We will continue to call on the Tasmanian Government to follow WA, QLD, NSW and the ACT and ban recreational duck shooting.
Animals Tasmania exists to promote respect and kindness towards all non-human animals. We represent all animals, no exceptions.