Tasmanian Times

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In their own words (Mar 24-29)

Media Release
JEREMY ROCKLIFF, MHA
Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Water and Environment
Tuesday March 29, 2005
Dry autumn reinforces vital need for
water development

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment Jeremy Rockliff said today that Tasmania’s relatively dry autumn underscores the need for the Lennon Labor Government to get water development back on track.

“The incompetent Lennon Labor Government has totally mismanaged water development in this state with one bungle after another,” Mr Rockliff said.

“Labor’s gross policy failure on water development is costing Tasmania hundreds of millions of dollars in delayed or lost production and we are yet to see one major dam project operational with the Meander Dam well behind schedule.

“The recent relative lack of rainfall highlights the potential vulnerability of sections of our agricultural industry because of the Lennon Government’s lack of determination and willpower to get major water projects progressed.

“After six and a half years you would think that the State Labor Government would have some major water projects up and running but instead we have heard practically nothing about a raft of projects on the drawing board.

“Earlier this year I highlighted the State Government’s gross failure on water development in the North East despite numerous options and unfortunately this lack of progress is reflected right across the state.

“In recent times the Minister Mr Kons appears to be running for cover about a range of projects including the Waterhouse Dam, Edith Creek, Long Marsh, Maloney’s Hill, Jordan River, Parramatta Creek and Iron Creek.

“It is an absolute disgrace that the Minister’s own Departmental website even says that the updates for specific water development projects have not been updated since July 2004, some nine months ago.
(See: www.dpiwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/JMUY-55B3BF?open )

“This Labor Government has lost all credibility on water development as exemplified by the bungling of the Meander Dam, the excessive bureaucratic hurdles that are stifling on-farm water storage, the failure to negotiate a deal for Tasmania under the National Water Initiative, and the failure to commit State Government funds to the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality.

“Minister Kons is spearing an obvious lack of willpower on water development that is engulfing the Lennon Labor Government.

“I call on the Minister to immediately provide a detailed update of the progression of all of Tasmania’s major water projects so that Tasmanian farmers can assess his performance.

“One can only presume that Mr Kons has not been providing this information because he is acutely embarrassed at what has become a scandalous gross policy failure of this State Labor Government.”

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Media Release
RENE HIDDING, MHA
Leader of the State Opposition
Tuesday March 29, 2005
Premier must intervene to save Corra Linn

State Opposition Leader Rene Hidding has today called on Premier Mr Lennon to immediately intervene to save Corra Linn and remove Lot 1 from auction.

“Minister for Primary Industries and Water Steve Kons has no interest in saving Corra Linn and is deliberately running down the clock while the auction date fast approaches,” Mr Hidding said.

“Minister Kons and Minister for Parks and Heritage Ken Bacon are more interested in squabbling among themselves than finding a solution to make Lot 1 a State Reserve and ensuring public access into the future.

“Ms Hay’s purported guarantees also appear to be worthless and unless the Premier immediately intervenes to order that Lot 1 be dropped from the auction list, this much loved recreation area will be lost to the public forever.

“I call on the Premier to show some leadership and instruct his responsible Minister Mr Kons to remove Lot 1 from auction. He should then force Mr Kons and Mr Bacon to bury the hatchet and sit down together and find a solution that allows Corra Linn Lot 1 to become a State Reserve so that it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations of Tasmanians.”

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Media Release
RENE HIDDING, MHA
Leader of the State Opposition and Shadow Minister for Seniors
Tuesday March 29, 2005

Seniors deserve better deal in State Budget

State Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Seniors Rene Hidding today called on the Lennon Labor Government to take responsibility to increase concessions for pensioners and low income self-funded retirees in the upcoming State Budget.

“The State Labor Government is reaping hundreds of millions of dollars extra from the GST and it is time that it returned some of this windfall to benefit our struggling seniors by making provision in its May Budget to increase concessions to pensioners and low income self-funded retirees,” Mr Hidding said.

“The Lennon Government should adopt the State Liberals policy to increase by almost 25 per cent the level of concession available to pensioners on their annual local government rates demand in recognition that the existing remission has not kept pace with increases in rates.

“By adopting this Liberal policy the present rates remission which is capped at $325 would be increased to $400 to help offset spiralling rates bills.

“Labor should also adopt the State Liberals policy to extend to low income self-funded retirees a range of benefits currently available to pensioners.

“If Labor adopted our policy then self-funded retirees, who qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, would also be entitled to pensioner discounts on council rates, car registrations and electricity bills.

“Tasmanian seniors are struggling on fixed incomes and it is incumbent on the Lennon Labor Government to share some of its $400 million election warchest with those who have already made enormous contributions to our community over their lifetime. I call on the Lennon Government to provide an assurance today to senior Tasmanians that they will not again be neglected by Labor in the upcoming State Budget.”

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Media Release
BRETT WHITELEY, MHA
Shadow Treasurer
Tuesday March 29, 2005

Labor’s shocking backdoor tax bonanza

Shadow Treasurer Brett Whiteley today slammed the Lennon Government for belting battlers in a shocking backdoor tax bonanza that was reaping tens of millions of dollars by stealth.

“The arrogant Lennon Labor Government has become the biggest backdoor taxing government in Tasmania’s history,” Mr Whiteley said.

“Not only is Labor now the highest taxing government in the State’s history it is also now the biggest backdoor taxing one as well. This Labor Government has become expert at belting battlers with backdoor taxes while it amasses its massive $400 million election warchest.

“An examination of a range of backdoor tax hikes inflicted by this arrogant Lennon Government reveals why battlers are feeling the pinch under Labor. Just some of Labor’s outrageous backdoor tax hikes include:

· massive increases in public school levies;
· significant increases in national park entry fees raising an extra $1.75 million;
· a seven per cent jump in TAFE fees;
· a 50 per cent increase in MAIB premiums since coming to office;
· exorbitant building levies and accreditation fees;
· a 40 per cent increase in public dental fees; and
· a 5.3 per cent jump in MAST charges and a more than 600 per cent increase in vessel registration and incident investigation fees.

“The Lennon Labor Government has become so out of touch it seems to be deliberately targeting battlers with the burden of its backdoor tax increases. I call on the Premier and Treasurer Paul Lennon to explain how he justifies these massive backdoor tax slugs and why he is seemingly forcing battlers to pay more than their fair share.”

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Media Release
MICHAEL HODGMAN, QC MHA
Her Majesty’s Shadow Attorney General
Monday March 28, 2005
Appointment to Supreme Court welcome but should be permanent
Shadow Attorney General Michael Hodgman QC has today welcomed the appointment of Magistrate Michael Hill as an acting judge to the Supreme Court but has slammed Attorney General Judy Jackson for making an appointment on an acting basis.

“Magistrate Michael Hill will be a very capable acting judge of the Supreme Court,” Mr Hodgman said.

“The Attorney General Judy Jackson however, stands condemned for making an appointment on an acting basis.

“Having to make an appointment to the Supreme Court proves the State Liberals case that an additional judge is required to manage the caseload and reduce the backlog of cases.

“Judy Jackson has shot herself in the foot after repeatedly claiming that an additional judge was not required but this acting appointment will only be a bandaid solution.”
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Monday March 28, 2005
Baker calls on Murchison candidates to state their positions on further Aboriginal land transfers
The Federal Member for Braddon, Mark Baker MP, has called on candidates for the Legislative Council seat of Murchison to publicly state their respective positions on further Aboriginal land transfers in the lead-up to the May election.

Mr Baker said the two parcels of land which were now the target of Hobart-based Aboriginal groups were both within the Murchison electorate, and all candidates should be very clear with the local community on whether they would support further land transfers.

“I am calling on those who have declared themselves as candidates for the Upper House seat of Murchison to be upfront before the election on where they stand on this potentially divisive issue,” he said.

“Since the Cape Barren and Clarke islands were approved by the Tasmanian Parliament for transfer to Aboriginal ownership, I have received several calls from concerned members of the community.

“And I have to say the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania has not helped the matter by immediately turning its attention to Rocky Cape and Sundown Point.”

Mr Baker said if any Aboriginal land transfers were to truly achieve reconciliation, then they would need to have the majority support of the local community and involve local Aboriginal and community groups in their management.

“I do not believe the Circular Head community, including the local Aboriginal community, is prepared to accept Hobart-based Aboriginal groups being handed the ownership and management of land of local significance, such as Rocky Cape, and nor should it be,” he said.

“Such a case would certainly see parallels being drawn with the Australian Labor Party’s disgraceful act during the Federal election last year of selling out the Tasmanian forestry industry, and with it regional communities, in a vain attempt to win over marginal voters in interstate seats.

“The Lennon Labor Government should be warned that communities such as Circular Head will not respond kindly to being sold out in favour of a Hobart-based interest group.”

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Media Release
SUE NAPIER, MHA
Liberal Member for Bass
Monday March 28, 2005
Action not weasel words are needed to save Corra Linn public access
Liberal Member for Bass Sue Napier today slammed Primary Industries and Water Minister Steven Kons for his total inaction over the saving of public access for Corra Linn.

“The clock is ticking with the auction date on April 15 and we still have Mr Kons using weasel words that he is ‘still looking at these options’ of ‘ensuring public access’ and ‘no decision has been made’, Mrs Napier said.

“The solution to maintaining public access to this popular recreation site is simple – halt the auction of Lot 1 and Mr Kons is fast running out of time to do this.

“Anything less than halting the auction of Lot 1 is just weasel words to get the sale through. It also shows Ms Hay’s earlier ‘guarantee’ of public access as being a total fabrication.

“After announcing a halt to the auction of Lot 1, Mr Kons needs to put aside his differences with Parks and Heritage Minister Ken Bacon and come up with a solution that makes this valued parkland a State Reserve.

“I call on Minister Mr Kons to immediately publicly announce today that he has withdrawn Corra Linn Lot 1 from auction.

“I also call on all concerned Tasmanians to pick up the phone and tell Mr Kons what they think of the Lennon Labor Government’s arrogant decision to flog off this much loved recreational area. Mr Kons can be reached on 6233 8807.”

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Media Release
BRETT WHITELEY, MHA
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure
Monday March 28, 2005
Bus safety education affordable
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Brett Whiteley said today he supported calls from the Tasmanian Bus Association for the reinstatement of bus safety campaigns in schools.

“In light of recent accidents involving children it is clear that there is a need for a renewed bus safety campaign,” Mr Whiteley said.

“The Lennon Labor Government is sitting on a $400 million election warchest and it should not be penny pinching on the safety of our children.

“It is ridiculous for the Lennon Labor Government to be crying poor when it can find $650,000 for the ex-Governor, nearly a million dollars for extravagant office upgrades for Mr Kons and Ms Hay and is costing taxpayers more than $500,000 a year for an incompetent ninth Minister Ken Bacon.

“So far this year we have seen two bus related accidents involving children which clearly shows the need for more bus safety education.

“I call on the Lennon Labor Government to not arrogantly dismiss this vital bus safety education and reinstate a program funded from its $400 million election warchest.”

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Media Release
PETER GUTWEIN, MHA
Shadow Minister for Police and Public Safety
Monday March 28, 2005
Llewellyn must rule out cash for quotas
Shadow Minister for Police and Public Safety Peter Gutwein has today called on Police Minister Mr Llewellyn to categorically rule out a system of financial rewards for meeting traffic quotas to clear the air once and for all that surrounds this scandal.

“Rather than ruling out cash for quotas the Minister has, in an exercise in damage control, wheeled out the author of the internal report in an attempt to deflect attention from himself,” Mr Gutwein said.

“Any fair reading of the internal report clearly shows a proposal to link pay rewards to the attainment of quotas.

“The report says in black and white that ‘one possible solution is to offer a reward within the pay system’ and that ‘this approach may have budgetary implications.’

“Mr Llewellyn rather than attempting to downplay the concerns expressed by the State Liberals and the Police Association about linking financial rewards to the attainment of traffic quotas should categorically rule out the introduction of any such system by the Lennon Labor Government.

“Until the Minister says categorically that there will be no system of financial rewards linked to a police officer’s performance in meeting traffic infringement quotas then this system remains on the table and attempting to downplay an internal report will not change this.”

“The question that Mr Llewellyn needs to answer is: will police be rewarded with any extra payment for their performance including the attainment of quotas for minor traffic infringements?”

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HEALTHY SCHOOL COMMUNITIES GRANTS STILL GOING BEGGING
‘Barnett writing to all schools’
Monday, March 28, 2005
Seven months after being alerted to a $1500 Healthy Schools Communities grant only 39 schools or 13.9% of total schools in Tasmania have taken up the free offer, Senator Guy Barnett said today.

Senator Barnett said he would write to all schools in the State to remind them of the offer because somehow it hadn’t got through to them that the grant existed.

“I find this poor take-up rather strange, given the Tasmanian Government’s complaints over Federal funding last week,” Senator Barnett said.

He said Tasmania had one of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in Australia.

The grant is designed to promote healthy eating in both government and non-government schools, such as nutrition in school canteens. It can also be used to promote other activity such as healthy cooking classes, school vegetable classes and awards for students.

“I first highlighted the poor take-up from Tasmania schools in January when only 35 schools had applied for the offer, but two months later it appears that only four more schools have taken it up,” Senator Barnett said.

“This is not singling out Tasmania, because some other States have an even worse take-up rate. However, 39 out of 281 schools is still a poor effort,” he said.

The Australian Government notified all Tasmanian schools and those in all other States and Territories of the grant in August last year after it was flagged in Launceston by the Prime Minister in June last year.

“This means there is more than $420,000 available for Tasmanian schools and only $58,500 has so far been taken up,” Senator Barnett said.

The $15 million Healthy Schools Community grant is part of the Prime Minister’s $116 million national package to combat childhood obesity, announced in Launceston last June.

Other parts of the package include $90 million for after school activity, a minimum two hours a week compulsory PE in schools and an $11 million information campaign for parents on healthy living.

“Childhood obesity is one of the new epidemics of the 21st Century. It has doubled in the past 10 years, while 40% of children either play no sport or do not engage in any physical activity. More of them are eating fast food regularly,” he said.

“This is a social war we must fight and win, lest our children grow into middle age as biological time bombs. Half the obese children in Australia will remain obese through to their adult life, and then they will become vulnerable to early onset of stroke, heart disease and loss of limbs and blindness through diabetes,” he said.

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Media Release
RENE HIDDING, MHA
Leader of the State Opposition
Thursday March 24, 2005

Aboriginal Lands Bill

Opposition Leader Rene Hidding today said the overwhelming majority of the Furneaux community would be angry and upset over the passing of the Lennon Government’s Aboriginal Lands Bill.

Mr Hidding said the State Liberals had always maintained that we would consider positively land return proposals where there was local community support and where it was in the interests of reconciliation.

“In this case local community support simply was not there, nor did the majority of the community believe this Bill was in the interests of reconciliation,” Mr Hidding said.

Mr Hidding said it was now incumbent upon the Premier to take positive steps to heal the bitter divisions in the Flinders community that have been caused by Labor’s arrogant foisting of this land return upon it.

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Nick McKim MHA
Thursday, 24 MARCH 2005
PRESS COUNCIL REFUSES HERALD SUN APPEAL
Over Misleading Attack on Greens Policies
The Tasmanian Greens today said that the Australian Press Council has dismissed an appeal from the Herald Sun against a Press Council ruling that its 31 August 2004 article attacking the Greens policies was irresponsible journalism which seriously misled readers.
Greens Opposition Justice spokesperson Nick McKim MHA said that the article, a version of which was published in the Mercury, had now been completely discredited, and that the Herald Sun would now be forced to publish the original Press Council ruling.
“The disgraceful and maliciously misleading attack run by the Murdoch empire against Greens policies should now cease, as should State Minister David Llewellyn’s rerun of Family First attack ads which he attempted in State Parliament yesterday,” Mr McKim said.
“The drugs issue requires a rational debate, not the knee jerk rubbish peddled by political opponents of the Greens.”

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Media Release
MICHAEL HODGMAN, QC MHA
Her Majesty’s Shadow Attorney General
Thursday March 24, 2005
Belated child pornography laws welcome
The State Liberals have shamed the Lennon Labor Government and Attorney-General Judy Jackson into at last taking action to increase Tasmania’s appallingly soft penalties for child pornography.

However Shadow Attorney General Michael Hodgam slammed the delay saying at least one major child pornographer had been able to escape with an unacceptably light sentence as a result.

“After repeated calls last year from the State Liberals for massively increased penalties for this disgraceful crime, the arrogant Lennon Labor Government and Attorney-General have finally acted with the Justice and Related Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, which we naturally strongly support.

“As long ago as October last year I pointed out that under the Lennon Labor Government the horrendous crime of possessing child pornography was treated ‘like slap on the wrist stuff.

“Possession of child pornography only attracted a maximum jail term of 12 months imprisonment the lowest in Australia. The Northern Territory had ten years, Victoria, Queensland, WA and the ACT already had five years and Queensland was moving to ten years.

“Now, this sleepy Attorney-General has finally woken up and Tasmania is going to make a quantum leap to 21 years maximum imprisonment, a move we applaud.

“It is however extremely disappointing that the State Labor Government did not move with more speed last year.

“Had Ms Jackson implemented tougher penalties when the State Liberals called for them, we might not have seen the situation where a man convicted of possessing 37,000 images of child pornography in December was only sentenced to one year’s jail the maximum penalty available.

“The public is entitled to know why, on a law and order issue as serious as child pornography, the Attorney General left it almost six months to respond.”

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Nick McKim MHA
Thursday, 24 MARCH 2005
GREENS TABLE PROTECTION OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION BILL 2005
The Tasmanian Greens today tabled the Protection of Public Participation Bill 2005, which is designed to protect the right of citizens to participate in the public debate.
Greens Opposition Justice spokesperson Nick McKim MHA said that the Bill, if passed, would mean that a court could strike out a lawsuit made for improper purposes, including a claim designed to prevent participation in public debate.
“Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suits are anti-democratic and we must pass laws to defend our democracy against corporations attempting to silence dissent.”
“Most US States now have Protection of Public Participation legislation to protect people from vexatious corporate law suits, and it is time that Australian law makers caught up,” Mr McKim said.
“Greens Parliamentarians in WA, NSW, SA and ACT will soon be tabling similar legislation in their own Parliaments as part of a national campaign,” said Mr McKim.
Mr McKim said that he would seek to brief other Members of Parliament in an attempt to gain tripartite support for the Bill.

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Nick McKim MHA
Thursday, 24 MARCH 2005
GREENS WILL HOLD LENNON TO RESOURCE PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION COMMITMENT
The Tasmanian Greens today said that they will hold Premier Lennon to his commitment today that his Government will not overrule or change any order made by the Resource, Planning and Development Commission in relation to the Gunns Pulp Mill proposal.
Greens Opposition Planning spokesperson Nick McKim MHA said that section 26(7) of the State Policies and Projects Act 1993 gave the Premier the power to make an order contradicting any RPDC position, but that Premier Lennon has today ruled out using that provision.
Mr McKim also said that he hoped that the Premier’s commitment held firm in the face of timber industry heat if the RPDC report is unfavourable to Gunns.
“The Labor Government has form on ignoring Tasmania’s planning system, and we can only hope that the commitment made by the Premier today is maintained in the event that the RPDC knocks back or imposes onerous conditions on the pulp mill,” Mr McKim said.
“The Government has invested serious money and political capital into supporting the pulp mill, and the Greens will hold him to the commitment he made today not to change any RPDC decision or condition.”

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Nick McKim MHA
Thursday, 24 MARCH 2005
JACKSON MISSES FERAL CAT RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY
As Frozen Carcasses Dumped on Landfill Site
The Tasmanian Greens today accused Environment Minister Judy Jackson of failing to take seriously the economic and environmental threat posed by invasive species.
Greens Opposition Environment spokesperson Nick McKim MHA said that the Government had missed the opportunity to conduct studies into feral cats by dumping a freezer full of cat carcasses shot by Fox Task Force members onto a landfill site.
“Feral species have a massive impact on primary industry and the environment, and Mrs Jackson must get focussed and show some interest in the issue,” Mr McKim said.
“Mrs Jackson’s response today showed a complete disregard for the impacts of feral cats and she has blown a perfect opportunity to conduct some initial research into their impact on our environment.”
“Feral cats are damaging to human health, primary industry and the environment, and Mrs Jackson has abrogated her Ministerial responsibilities by displaying her indifference to the loss of such an important research opportunity.”
Mr McKim said that Mrs Jackson’s comment that she saw no problem with missing research opportunities due to the dumping of feral cat carcasses on landfill sites demonstrated her lack of engagement on the issue of invasive feral species.”
“On the day after a well-attended forum on feral and invasive species in Tasmania, the Minister has shown that she is blithely unaware of the economic and environmental damage they are causing,” said Mr McKim.

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Tim Morris MHA
Thursday, 24 MARCH 2005
SOUTH SISTER EXCLUSION ZONE NEEDS LIFTING
Who Is In Charge? Forestry Tasmania Or The Minister?
The Tasmanian Greens today are disappointed that the Minister for Forests, Bryan Green would not give a commitment to lift the exclusion zone around a contentious forestry coupe at South Sister, near St Marys, in order for locals and experts to be able to access legally the coupe to collect evidence for a Resource Management and Appeals Tribunal hearing set for June.
Greens Member for Lyons, Tim Morris MHA said it appears that Forestry Tasmania is running the show after being fobbed off by Minister Green when requesting him to act to have the exclusion zone lifted, in today’s Question Time.
“The Greens are concerned that Forestry Tasmania by retaining the exclusion zone could have an unfair advantage at the Appeal Tribunal,” Mr Morris said.
“We now call on Forestry Tasmania to immediately lift the exclusion zone and not replace it until at least the conclusion of the Resource Management and Appeal Tribunal hearing.”
“It appears that Minister Green has been pulled into line by Forestry Tasmania for daring to make a decision regarding no logging at South Sister last week without checking with them first, and so he is not prepared to stick his head up again.”
“Minister Green shirking his responsibility by saying this morning it was “not my decision to make” begs the question as to who is in control here, the Minister or Forestry Tasmania?”
“Any failure to lift the exclusion zone will compromise the opportunity for the appellants to prepare their case by denying them a level playing field,” Mr Morris said.

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Peg Putt MHA
GREENS OPPOSITION LEADER
Thursday, 24 MARCH 2005
TASMANIA STONEWALLS RFA LAND CLEARING CONTROLS
Blocking Action on Howard’s Forest Promise
The Tasmanian Greens today believe that the continued refusal of the Tasmanian government to agree to implement proper, effective land clearing controls is an ongoing impediment to resolution in Canberra of negotiations on implementing John Howard’s forests promise.
Greens Opposition Leader and Forestry spokesperson Peg Putt MHA pointed out that at the time of the Federal election the failure of Tasmania to meet their RFA commitments on land clearing (designed to ensure that all forest communities are maintained at adequate levels into the future) was at issue, and a Commonwealth website noted the continued deficiency of Tasmanian actions to date.
“Tasmania continues to flout their RFA obligations for proper land clearing controls and while Canberra is insistent that we come into line with accepted conservation practice in other states this has become a sticking point standing in the way of getting a resolution on Howard’s forest promise,” Ms Putt said.
“It is imperative that adequate levels of all our forest communities are maintained, and that Tasmania live up their RFA commitment to do so.”
“Yet the Premier indicated to Parliament that he is apparently only prepared to discuss public land and will not go near restraint of the destruction of unique forest communities across the landscape,” Ms Putt said.

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Media Release
BRETT WHITELEY, MHA
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure
Thursday March 24, 2005
Lennon Government nets massive fee
increases from fishing operators

Infrastructure Minister Bryan Green has approved a massive hike in charges and a new range of fees for commercial fishing operators, Shadow Infrastructure Minister, Brett Whiteley said today.

Mr Whiteley said that Minister Green has recently approved a CPI increase of 5.3% across all existing Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) charges for commercial fishing vessel operators. This follows an increase of these charges in 2002.

The Minister has also approved a separate and additional hike in fees which includes:
· vessel registration increases from $15 to $115 per annum per vessel, depending on the length of the vessel
· incident investigation increases from $23 to $173 per annum per vessel, depending on the length of the vessel

“This massive extra slug on commercial fishing operators by the arrogant Lennon Labor Government is a disgrace when the State Government itself has not increased its own contributions to MAST since it came to office,” Mr Whiteley said.

“The commercial fishing industry is outraged and believes that these new charges may force some commercial fishing operators out of business.

“The Lennon Government’s new hikes on commercial fishing operators are even worse when it is considered that they are sitting atop a massive $400 million-plus election war-chest.

“The State Liberals call on Minister Green to review his decision to approve these massive fee hikes on commercial fishermen and, at the same time, provide substantial additional funding to MAST in the next Budget,” Mr Whiteley said.

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Media Release
BRETT WHITELEY, MHA
Shadow Treasurer
Thursday March 24, 2005
Lennon takes $643.6 million, gives NOTHING

The Premier today arrogantly refused to provide any new tax relief to Tasmanians and Tasmanian businesses, despite returning from Canberra knowing he has secured a windfall of $643.6 million from the Federal Government, Shadow Treasurer, Brett Whiteley said today.

Mr Whiteley introduced into State Parliament a motion calling on the Lennon Government to stop hoarding away massive increases in State tax collections and start using some of its $643.6 million GST revenue windfall over the next five financial years to provide tax relief.

“Premier Lennon thinks Tasmanians are stupid when he cries poor,” Mr Whiteley said.

“Tasmanians know that when the GST was introduced back in 2000, it was suppose to replace a raft of State and Federal taxes. It was not introduced to help the Lennon Government hoard away a massive election warchest.

“The Lennon Labor Government is the highest ever taxing State Government in Tasmania’s history following its tax hikes over the past few financial years. It’s about time that he provided real, new tax relief to Tasmanians and Tasmanian businesses.

“The State Liberals call on the Premier to end his unfair, arrogant stance and announce his intention to reduced the tax slug on Tasmanians by providing real and new tax relief in the next State Budget in May,” Mr Whiteley said

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Media Release

RENE HIDDING, MHA
Leader of the State Opposition
Thursday March 24, 2005

Labor hypocrisy on waterfront

The incompetent and arrogant Lennon Labor Government has been completely hypocritical over development on the Hobart Waterfront.

After wresting planning powers from the Hobart City Council for waterfront developments, citing non-performance, the State Labor Government has completely failed to meet its own deadlines for establishing a new Hobart Waterfront Authority.

“It has been almost four months since the State Government advertised for a CEO, and for expressions of interest from people wanting to be on the design panel, of the controversial new Hobart Waterfront Authority, and still no appointments have been made,” Mr Hidding said.

“This is despite Labor MHA for Denison, and Minister in waiting, David Bartlett, announcing in December last year that it would be up and running by the end of February.

“Today, the Premier still was not in a position to provide information about when the Authority would be up and running, nor who would be on it.

“The State Government, through its delays and indecision, is sending a very poor message about doing business in Tasmania to would-be investors and developers in relation to the waterfront.

“It has also displayed gross hypocrisy effectively ripping up the partnership agreement with the Hobart City Council, stripping it of planning powers claiming it could do a better job and then hardly leading by example.

“It cannot even meet its own timeframes in relation to the authority.

“Little wonder the Hobart City Council is absolutely livid with the State Labor Government.”

Mr Hidding said it was ridiculous that it should take four months to decide the make-up of the Authority.

“Again, is just seems to be more evidence of Labor delays, arrogance and incompetence.”

Mr Hidding said the State Liberals had consistently maintained that the Waterfront Authority had merit, although we have well-documented concerns about the arrogant way the State Labor Government bypassed the Hobart City Council, and was hand-picking the appointments.

He repeated his call for the State Government to make the appointments on the basis of merit, not Labor party allegiances.

The State Labor Government has made jobs for the boys an art form.

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Media Release

RENE HIDDING, MHA
Leader of the State Opposition
Thursday March 24, 2005

Lennon refuses to rule out reintroducing stamp duty slug likely to trigger an unhelpful market rush by first home buyers

The State Labor Government has today arrogantly refused to rule out reintroducing the unacceptable stamp duty slug on first home buyers.

Opposition Leader Rene Hidding today condemned the Premier Paul Lennon for refusing to inform prospective first home buyers whether they needed to get in and purchase their homes before the end of June.

Mr Hidding said Paul Lennon’s arrogant and secretive behaviour had the potential to skew the market; and it would be even worse if he was plotting to reintroduce this unacceptable tax after just one year.

“At a time when the State Labor Government is belligerently refusing to honour the GST agreement, which was supposed to result in the abolition of a range of state taxes, and at a time when it has never been so cashed-up, it would be an outrage if Labor reimposed the $4000 stamp duty slug on first home buyers,” Mr Hidding said,

“With the May Budget now effectively finalised and about to be printed, Premier Paul Lennon is today in a clear position to inform first home buyers whether or not they need to rush onto the market to take advantage of the stamp duty relief announced last year after a concerted campaign by the State Liberals,” Mr Hidding said.

“In last year’s Budget, the State Labor Government only committed to providing this concession until the end of June 2005.

“Arrogantly, the Premier refused to reveal whether the upcoming Budget will continue this concession and alarmingly, Mr Lennon refused to rule out the reintroduction of this unacceptable and onerous tax.

“While Treasurer’s obviously have a tendency for keeping big-ticket announcements up their sleeve until Budget day, in this case, Mr Lennon has a responsibility to would-be home buyers to let them know what is going on otherwise they may rush in and make purchases they could later regret, pay more because of an influx of demand on the market or alternatively, miss out on the $4000 relief because they waited, expecting the State Government to continue the scheme.’’

Mr Hidding said it was State Liberal policy to waive the first $5000 of stamp duty for first home buyers on an indefinite basis an infinitely better policy than Labor’s.

“At a time when Labor is wallowing in money, and refusing to cut a range of other onerous taxes and charges, it would be a disgrace if the stamp duty relief was not continued.

“Either way, though, the Premier owes it to prospective Tasmanian first home buyers to let them know whether they will still receive this relief after June 30 this year.’

………………………………………………..

Peg Putt MHA
GREENS OPPOSITION LEADER

Wednesday, 23 MARCH 2005
GIDDINGS BACKFLIP ON 10 DAYS BURNING BAN
Forestry Rules
The Tasmanian Greens are appalled that the Arts Minister was forced to do a backflip over a ban on forestry burning during the 10 Days on the Island Festival and tell Parliament that the fires would not be banned for the duration, in contradiction to her earlier statement today.
Greens Opposition Leader and Forests spokesperson Peg Putt MHA said that there is now effectively no change to the conduct of the massive autumn fires which will continue as usual across the state with an attempt to “ensure the impacts are minimal” in the vicinity of festival events.
“The burning blight will continue with very little relief now that the Arts Minister has been pulled into line by Forestry whose interests rule in Tasmania,” Ms Putt said.
“It will be burning as usual and the only restraint will be an attempt to ensure that the impacts of fires which will be conducted near festival events are minimised.”
“Tasmania’s reputation and the enjoyment of festival goers will probably be adversely affected by the burn offs going ahead.”
“It’s a shame that Minister Giddings would not go in to bat for the best possible experience for artists and audience members at 10 Days on the Island.”
“How she construes the Greens wanting the burning blight to cease for the festival as anything other an attempt to back the festival over forestry I cannot imagine,” Ms Putt said.

…………………………………………………

Media Release

RENE HIDDING, MHA
Leader of the State Opposition
Wednesday March 23, 2005

Two Ministers forced to admit they gave incorrect answers

Two Labor Government Ministers have this evening been forced to issue embarrassing corrections to their Question Time answers, in further damning evidence of the incompetence of the entire Lennon Labor Government.

Opposition Leader Rene Hidding said Ken Bacon’s affliction of not being across the detail of his portfolio and not being able to answer questions correctly was clearly very catching.

“The State Labor Government has become an absolute rabble and Premier Paul Lennon was clearly spot on when he held Ken Bacon up as a model of competency for Ministers,” Mr Hidding said.

“The Tasmanian community cannot trust the State Labor Government with anything it says as this week in Parliament has clearly demonstrated, the answers are generally either wrong or a misrepresentation of the truth.

“In addition to Minister Bacon’s litany of mistakes and misleading of Parliament, and Health Minister David Llewellyn’s complete lack of knowledge as to whether or not his department had provided waiting time statistics to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, came two more blatant Labor Government blunders today.

“Minister Llewellyn was forced to rise on the Adjournment Debate tonight and admit he had provided an incorrect answer during Question Time.

“And Arts Minister Lara Giddings after falling all over herself after receiving her first question from the Tasmanian Greens got the answer wrong when she said there would be no forestry burn-offs during 10 days on the Island, and was forced to correct herself.

“This continues the shameful incompetence of the State Labor Government incompetence which seems to reach new lows with every day.”

…………………………………………….

Peg Putt MHA
GREENS OPPOSITION LEADER
Wednesday, 23 MARCH 2005
HOORAY! ABORIGINAL LAND RETURNED AT LAST
The Tasmanian Greens today expressed their elation at the Legislative Council vote to accept the return of Cape Barren and Clarke Islands to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.
“The return of these islands to the Aboriginal community is a significant step in righting the wrongs of the past and healing our relationship,” Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt said.
“The Greens are elated that the Legislative Council has voted for the return of Cape Barren and Clarke Islands and congratulate all of those people who have put so much time, energy, heart and soul into achieving this outcome.”
“It is marvellous to contemplate that Aboriginal citizens on the islands can now wake up to a new day in which this precious land is theirs again.”

……………………………………………..

Kim Booth MHA
Wednesday, 23 MARCH 2005
CORRA LINN OUTCRY SHIFTING KONS?
Government Talks Public Access But Votes Private Ownership
The Tasmanian Greens today used their Private Members Time to bring on for debate their motion calling on the government to immediately halt their ill advised and hugely unpopular sale of the public recreation ground of Corra Linn outside Launceston, as the government began to show signs of responding to public pressure and rethinking their knee jerk reaction to privatise the area.
Greens Member for Bass, Kim Booth MHA, said that it was an issue of critical importance that public land was retained for the enjoyment of the people and not sold off lock, stock and barrel and that the enormous public response had obviously embarrassed the Minister into rethinking his position.
“The Minister could have saved himself a lot of humiliation by simply checking with the people as to how much Corra Linn meant to them and he would have realised there was no way the government could sell the asset and privatise such a popular spot without a huge backlash,” Mr Booth said.
“We heard this afternoon that the Minister has sent up an IFS officer to talk to the real estate firm handling the sale but he would be better off negotiating immediately for the excision and covenanting of the road and foreshore so that the public can enjoy Corra Linn in perpetuity.”
“We called a division on this vote and it was interesting to see the government line up like Lemmings to vote for the sale of a public icon without any thought for the wellbeing of the community.”
“This issue is only going to get bigger and the Minister says he will be providing an answer to the people tomorrow. Hopefully the answer will be “yes’ to the retention of public land for the people of Tasmania in perpetuity.”
“What we don’t want to see is the government thinking it has resolved the problem by locking us into a private ownership situation, where public access is guaranteed but with an entrance fee attached,” Mr Booth said.
“We welcome the support of the Liberal Opposition who voted for the Greens’ motion today.”
Text of Greens’ Motion Debated Today:
Tabled by Kim Booth MHA
That

1. This House notes with concern the intention of the Lennon Labor government to dispose by auction on the 15th April this year of the public recreation area on the banks of the North Esk river known as Corra Linn;

2. Further condemns the government for not conducting any public consultation on the proposal, which is opposed by residents, swimmers anglers and business because of the loss of public access to this popular recreation area; and

3. Directs the government to withdraw the property from sale immediately and instead maintain it in public ownership.
Result: Lennon Labor government voted to sell 12 vs 10 (Greens & Liberals)

…………………………………………………..

Media Release

SUE NAPIER, MHA
Liberal Member for Bass
Wednesday March 23, 2005

Labor hoax on Corra Linn exposed as it votes against public access

All members of the State Labor Government including Bass MHAs Kathryn Hay and Jim Cox have today voted in State Parliament against retaining public access to the popular Launceston recreation area Corra Linn.

And in disgraceful scenes during the Private Members Time debate, Primary Industries Minister Steven Kons ridiculed the importance of the site to the Launceston community, questioning “what’s there?”.

Liberal MHA Sue Napier said it now seemed clear that Labor would pursue the sale of Corra Linn Lot 1, irrespective of public feeling and weasel-word statements from the Bass Labor MHAs, and this was a disgrace.

“The State Labor Government was given a clear opportunity today to put its money where its mouth is in terms of guaranteeing public access to Corra Linn by supporting the Motion during Private Members Time, which expressed concern about the impending sale, condemned the lack of consultation on the proposal and directed the State Government to maintain the property in public ownership.

“As far as the State Liberals and community are concerned, maintaining the property in public ownership relates to Lot 1 which covers the iconic recreation area so loved by generations of Launceston residents.

“But Labor would not support this Motion despite the Labor MHAs claiming to be working on ensuring public access and Minister Steven Kons arrogantly questioned the Greens MHA Kim Booth as to what was there to preserve for public access anyway.

“This is just more evidence of an arrogant and incompetent Labor Government that is completely out of touch with the community.”

Labor’s true feelings on Corra Linn as expressed this afternoon came after Parks Minister Ken Bacon confirmed in Question Time this morning that neither he nor the Parks and Wildlife Service are involved in saving public access at Corra Linn and confirmed that he had had no representations to do so from either Ms Hay or Minister Cox.

The State Liberals will fight the decision to sell off Corra Linn Lot 1 until the State Labor Government backs down and makes this part of the property a State Parks Reserve. Anything less does not guarantee public access into the future.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. James

    December 13, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Is that the order you think we should vote Ed?

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