A FLYING visit to Brisbane this week for the 2005 OPSO Media Awards enabled me to spend several hours on the Brisbane River.

Coming from Hobart where public access to the foreshore is a contentious issue, it was wonderful to see walkways stretching for miles on either side of the river.

It was also wonderful to see small ferries and sleek cats zig-zagging across the river and taking people from east to west, while an off-peak ticket, between 9am and 3.30pm, gives locals and tourists unlimited use of the water service. Imagine a water service plying the Derwent, not just across the harbour, but from Blackmans Bay to Bridgewater …

Amanda Lohrey (HERE: Comment 6) suggested that Hobart could learn from Brisbane and she’s right.

The walkways are varied, according to the terrain and surroundings. There are floating walks, board walks, metal paths and more, which give people access to the foreshore without intruding on private property or ruining the scenic qualities of the river.

And in places where it isn’t possible for a path along the riverbank, there is one around whatever blocks the way — just as there could be around Muir’s slipyards in Battery Point.

The Fogies

But back to the Older People Speaking Out (OPSA) Awards … which were established in 1997 to encourage positive media coverage of older Australians, their contribution to society and the issues that confront them.

There are Queensland and national categories and I was a finalist in the national metropolitan daily and Sunday newspapers category, for a feature in The Mercury about remarkable Tasmanian artist Max Angus and his views on life at ninety. It was won by Paol Totaro from The Sydney Morning Herald, for a terrific feature on an extraordinary doctor’s work after he retired.

Good news for Tasmanians was that Andrew Denton’s ABC TV interview with Peter Cundall won the national category for television current affairs, documentaries and interviews over five minutes. Denton was in Paris but Enough Rope’s producer accepted the award from Federal Minister for Ageing Julie Bishop on his behalf, saying the Peter Cundall interview was the best he did all year .

She read a message from Denton, who has twice won an OPSO. He suggested that the awards could lift their profile by taking a leaf out of the Logies book and renaming them the Fogies. All 230 people at the awards night at Queensland’s Parliament House roared with laughter. But what a brilliant idea!

Margaretta Pos is a candidate in the Hobart City Council election. Written and authorised by Margaretta Pos, 13 Crelin St, Battery Point 7004.

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