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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Navy not responsible for whale deaths.

Navy not responsible for whale deaths. 01/12/2005. ABC News Online

The Navy has been cleared of blame over the recent death of 145 whales on Tasmania's east coast.

The long-finned pilot whales died in three separate strandings at Marion Bay in October.

Around that time two Australian Navy mine-hunters were using high frequency sonar to find a historic anchor nearby.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell commissioned a panel of experts to evaluate the possible effects of sonar transmissions on the whales.

It found the first stranding could not have been caused by sonar because it happened six hours before the ships reached the area.

It also found sonar transmissions were highly unlikely to have had any effect on the second and third strandings.

Senator Campbell says the reasons for the strandings remain unclear but it seems they are likely to be related to natural phenomena such as the geography of the area, the health of the animals or other oceanographic effects

TAGCLOUD -- all things tasmanian -- 1dec05

abc news online ahead australia bird birds bluestone bryan coast copenhagen cricket crown crown prince frederik deaths email giddings gunns hobart jackson lara giddings launceston local mercury mole creek news online parliament paul lennon paula wriedt primary industries prince prince frederik princess mary princess mary of denmark pulp pulp mill punters queensland rise royal scientists service south spirit state state government sydney tasmania tasmanian government timber west coast wildlife service

Tasmania?s Economy Maintains Momentum -

Tasmania?s Economy Maintains Momentum - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Building and retail figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today confirm Tasmania?s economy continues to grow strongly.

Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings said that ABS retail trade data for October 2005 and preliminary data on construction work done for the September quarter 2005 demonstrate the sound economic management of the Lennon Labor Government continues to make Tasmania a great place to work, invest and live.

?The total value of construction work done in Tasmania during the year to September 2005 was slightly more than $1.5 billion, which is 15.9 per cent above the level of the previous year.

?Tasmania?s performance is even better when compared with the national increase in the value of construction of 12.3 per cent.

?Residential building work in Tasmania increased by 15.0 per cent to $602.3 million for the year to September 2005.

?The increase in the residential sector is not surprising when our strong and steady population growth is taken in to account.

?The strength of the building sector is a good gauge of the ongoing strength of the State?s economy.

Ms Giddings said the good economic news is not confined to the building sector.

?Tasmanian retailers have had a very good year also,? Ms Giddings said.

?The growth in Tasmania?s retail trade is more than double that of the rest of Australia.

?The nominal value of retail trade in trend terms in Tasmania rose to $380.4 million, an increase of 7.2 per cent above the level recorded one year earlier.

?Growth was recorded for most components of retail, including clothing and personal items and households goods.

?These categories traditionally rise when people are feeling confident in the future.

?These growth figures are a tribute to the innovation of those in the Tasmanian building and retail sectors and a reminder that a stable and economically sensible State Government is vital for business to succeed and to create jobs for Tasmanians.?

Hodgman Just Does Not Get Gas -

Hodgman Just Does Not Get Gas - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings has welcomed Deputy Opposition Leader Will Hodgman?s newfound support for natural gas.

Ms Giddings said the State Labor Government is looking seriously at a range of measures that came from the 2003 report of the Joint Standing Committee on the Environment, Resources and Development on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

?The Government is working closely with Powerco to develop the infrastructure to support CNG vehicles,? Ms Giddings said.

?My department is looking at options including running Metro buses on CNG, as well as fork lifts in large factories and warehouses.

?Additionally, Powerco is talking to the trucking and heavy haulage industry about the applications of CNG as a fuel.

?CNG is potentially a great source of cleaner energy which could be used in the Tasmanian vehicle fleet.

?Unfortunately, Mr Hodgman does not seem to understand the technical and economic issues involved in converting fleets of vehicles to compressed natural gas.

?Unlike the financially footloose Liberals, the Lennon Labor Government is looking at economically sustainable ways to encourage the use of natural gas in our State.

?Mr Hodgman seems to think the State Government should throw millions of taxpayers dollars at projects before their economic sustainability has been proven.

Ms Giddings said that Mr Hodgman should acknowledge the only reason Tasmania has natural gas available is because of the policies of the State Labor Government.

Testing to begin on Basslink project.

Testing to begin on Basslink project. 01/12/2005. ABC News Online

Commissioning of the controversial Basslink project will begin today after a series of mishaps and delays.

Planning for the Basslink power connector between Victoria and Tasmania started six years ago.

The project has been delayed by a drawn out public consultation process, technical problems and equipment damage.

But construction is now complete and the cable will be tested to check its 600 megawatt capacity.

John Richards from National Grid says formal tests will start today.

"That involves testing it from end to end so all the overhead line and underground cable in both Victoria and Tasmania, and also the sub sea cable," he said.

There are reports the project could come on line as early as January.

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Kiwi cruiser a real glass act

The Mercury: Kiwi cruiser a real glass act [01dec05]

THE builders of a tourism vessel on its way to New Zealand hope other orders will follow in its wake.

With sides and ceilings of glass, the Patea Explorer has been custom-designed for viewing the sheer cliffs of Doubtful Sound, on the South Island's far south.

Hobart firm Richardson Devine Marine built the 31m ship, which sailed from Sullivans Cove yesterday.

Tourism firm Real Journeys, owned by Fiordland Travel, bought the ship, which can seat 175 but is expected to carry 130 in style for most tours.

Richardson Devine managing director Ron Devine was in the delivery crew of six.

There's plenty of viewing, lots of glass and a full walkaround deck,'' he said yesterday.

Almost all the work on the aluminium vessel was done in-house, he said, with only specialised electrical and hydraulics work done by contractors.

``This vessel is a huge breakthrough for us,'' Mr Devine said.

``We're pretty busy at the moment negotiating contracts and we're hoping to lay a keel before Christmas.''

Real Journeys engineer Jim Young said the ship's destination got 7m of rain annually, so the Patea Explorer's ability to carry many people under cover while still taking in the view was crucial.

``They've done a really nice job ... it meets all the design and performance criteria,'' he said..

``Because we get 7m of rain a year, there's lots of covered exterior, which means 130 people can be outside and under cover. All our scenery is vertical.''

The ship is expected to arrive at the far-southern town of Bluff tomorrow then travel to Doubtful Sound.

Passenger trips will begin soon after the new service's launch on December 10.

Trainee figures decline steeply

The Mercury: Trainee figures decline steeply [01dec05]

THE number of new apprentices and trainees in Tasmania plummeted by 10 per cent in the past year _ despite a skills shortage in the state.

It made Tasmania the worst performing state in the nation, with new apprentices and trainees rising on average by 4 per cent across Australia.

The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the poor result was a wake-up call.

TCCI employment, education and training unit manager Jodie Stevenson said the Government needed to boost the profile of apprenticeships and offer more school-based training.

She said Tasmania had a skills shortage and apprenticeships and traineeships could address the problem.

``We can do better and we should be doing better,'' she said.

But Education Minister Paula Wriedt said Tasmania's decline in new apprenticeships had been from a historically high level.

``The decline in training commencements in Tasmania was mainly in positions such as secretaries, clerks, cleaners, keyboard operators and sales assistants,'' Ms Wriedt said.

``This should not be cause for alarm as there aren't skills shortages in these areas and there are still thousands of Tasmanians undertaking training to fill these positions.''

The trainee figures, for the 12 months to June 2005, were released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

The best-performing state was the Northern Territory, with a 29 per cent rise in new apprenticeships, followed by Western Australia with an 11 per cent rise.

The most popular in-training package in Tasmania was business (14.2 per cent), followed by retail (9.4 per cent) and hospitality (9.3 per cent).

Ms Stevenson said the areas of retail and hospitality had particular skills shortages.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Govts weigh future of Tas rail freight -

Govts weigh future of Tas rail freight - Breaking News - Business - Breaking News

Tasmania's freight rail service hangs in the balance as the federal government considers two reports about its viability.

The independent reports were instigated by the Tasmanian and federal governments after calls from Toll Holdings-Patricks' Tasmanian joint venture Pacific National, demanding the federal government foot a multi-million dollar bill to fix the ailing network.

Furious at Pacific National threats to withdraw its container service unless the government backed the rescue plan, Transport Minister Warren Truss and his Tasmanian counterpart Bryan Green ordered the two independent assessments.

The governments will sift through the reports, which take into account the requirements needed to keep the Tasmanian rail service operating.

"I will be working closely with my Tasmanian counterpart and Pacific National towards an acceptable outcome," Mr Truss said.

"We are aware of the urgency of the issue and hope for a resolution in the near future."

Mr Truss said he would take into the importance of freight rail to Tasmanian industry as part of a response to the issue.

The federal government discovered Pacific National's demands for $78 million in capital investment and $4 million a year for maintenance through media reports.

There was no mention of concerns over the viability of the Tasmanian rail network in meetings that Mr Truss held with Toll Holdings and Patrick Corporation earlier this year.

Mr Truss has already said Pacific National should not expect taxpayers to subsidise profitable companies.

The company bought the lease for the Tasmanian rail network two years ago.

In a statement last month, Mr Green said his government had received advice from Pacific National in February that government investment may be needed in five to seven years, and the amount was "tens of millions" less that their later request.

Federal opposition transport spokesman Kerry O'Brien said the federal government needed to accept responsibility for the mess that was created when it sold the Tasmanian rail system.

"It sold the rail system off lock, stock and barrel, and reaped some $20 million into government coffers in the process," Senator O'Brien said in a speech to the Transport Victoria Conference in Melbourne on Tuesday.

"But it forgot to put measures in place to ensure that the infrastructure would be maintained, without compromising the viability of the service," he said.

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World Class TV and Film Studio in Hobart -

World Class TV and Film Studio in Hobart - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

The Minister for Economic Development Lara Giddings today opened the first stage of a new world class film and television studio in Hobart that will be used over the next 12 months to film a national TV series.

?The studio, run by Screen Tasmania, will provide a valuable resource for the local, interstate and international screen industry,? Ms Giddings said today.

?We believe the well equipped facility will attract interstate and overseas producers and encourage people to create films and TV programs in the state.

?When completed the studio will be among the best in Australia in terms of the quality of its fit out and the facilities.

?The air conditioning, sound insulation, lighting, floor space, technical features, dressing rooms, storage, make up and wardrobe facilities will be second to none.

?The floor has been precisely levelled to allow for smooth camera movements, there is a lighting grid supported from the roof and a large curved wall has been built, which is especially useful for creating digital backgrounds,? Ms Giddings said.

?The ABC TV series The Collectors has been moved to prime time next year and filming on the series started today at the new studio.

?The studio will be available for general hire from May next year, when stage two of the development has been completed,? she said.

?Also local advertising producers will be able to walk into a purpose built studio when previously they had to improvise for any substantial shoot.

?I have a particular vision of seeing Tasmania become renown for its creativity.

?Our screen industry is a key component of that vision and this new studio is an important initiative towards achieving that vision.

?The studio is another key initiative in the Government?s goal of developing and growing the film industry in Tasmania,? Ms Giddings said.

Ms Giddings thanked Fox Studios in Sydney for a very generous donation.

?Project team member and Moulin Rouge producer Martin Brown, through his contacts at Fox Studios, secured the substantial donation of 21 fully motorised lighting battens which Fox had installed in one of its television studios but rarely used,? Ms Giddings said.

Ms Giddings said the studio was the latest addition to the Technopark which had seen substantial growth in the number of new companies and activities over the last 12 months.

Media Opportunity -

Media Opportunity - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

For planning purposes only

Minister for Economic Development Lara Giddings will TODAY open the first stage of a new world class film and television studio in Hobart that over the next few months will be used to film a national TV series.

The opening will coincide with the first day?s filming of the national TV show ?The Collectors? which will move to prime time next year.

There will be an opportunity to observe filming of ?The Collectors?.

When: TODAY at 1.20pm

Where: The Technopark, Innovation Drive Glenorchy

Tas east coast logging to go ahead.

Tas east coast logging to go ahead. 30/11/2005. ABC News Online

Forestry Tasmania says a letter alleging a coupe at St Marys on the east coast has been sabotaged will not stop logging.

The letter, signed by an unknown group 'Friends of the Forests', said several trees have been filled with nails and plastic in an attempt to halt woodchipping.

Kim Creak, Forestry Tasmania general manager, says police will investigate.

"There's no plans at all at this stage to change the activities in the area but we will have to be careful when people make threats like this," he said.

"It puts in direct danger a number of people's livelihoods, as well as themselves, going into that area and operating in that area."

Gunns, Govt reject truck overloading claim.

Gunns, Govt reject truck overloading claim. 30/11/2005. ABC News Online

Tasmanian timber company Gunns and the State Government have rejected fresh claims the company has been allowed to overload log trucks with impunity.

The allegations were raised in Parliament yesterday.

An email to the Premier from an engineer with a commercial trucking interest, John Lambert was tabled by the Greens yesterday.

Spokesman Kim Booth told the House it alleges Gunns has benefited from overloaded heavy vehicles and its contractors have not been penalised by transport authorities.

Similar allegations were made earlier this year.

Gunns says it does not pay for overloads and requires contractors to obey laws.

Premier Paul Lennon will not yet consider referring the email to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

"I want to have a look at it first but I could ask the obvious question, why Mr Booth hasn't done that," he said.

Mr Lennon says Mr Booth has abused parliamentary privilege.

Infrastructure Minister Bryan Green says he is confident inspectors enforce regulations and says the accusations against are a disgrace.

"I will defend our transport inspectors to the hilt. I know that they do not compromise with respect to the work that they do, and beyond that, if you look at the statistics of the number of vehicles that have been pulled over and the infringement notices that have been handed out," he said.

"Mr Booth raises these allegations knowing full well that the company in question, Gunns, has ruled out and said that will absolutely not be paying for any overloaded vehicles," he said.

Tim reveals his tunnel vision

The Mercury: Tim reveals his tunnel vision [30nov05]

THE tunnel that gave its name to Tunnel Hill is used for cosmic ray research -- but former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer would like nothing better than to see trains running through it again.

The historic tunnel at Mt Rumney -- which formed part of the old Bellerive-Sorell railway line -- operated from 1892 to 1926.

Although it's unlikely to be used as a railway again, with his iconic Akubra tourism hat firmly on, Mr Fischer said: "Let's salute our heritage.

"It's the greatest tunnel in Tasmania.

"It is over 110 years-old and it's structurally as sound as it was when it was built."

Train buff Mr Fischer was launching The Bellerive to Sorell Railway Revisited, which captures a wide sweep of historical and present importance of rail, both for passengers and freight.

The 162-page book, with more than 150 images, tells the stories of hundreds of individuals and families connected with the railway at the time and since. It took the Bellerive Historical Society a year to write.

It covers the planning of the railway, its construction, operation and demise. And it features newspaper reports, official documents, drawings and old and new maps.

Mr Fischer praised the Bellerive Historical Society for its valuable contribution to rail tourism.

He said there was a vital role for railway in the state.

Bellerive Historical Society Committee member John Houghton said yesterday was a magnificent moment in the railway's amazing history.

"We still have the ceremonial spade that dug the soil in 1891," he said.

When the tunnel was closed off it was used as a Defence Department store for records from Anglesea Barracks.

Now, part of it is used by the Physics Department at the University of Tasmania, and the Antarctic Division, for cosmic ray research.

The owners of the remaining part, Dean and Anita Smith, said the tunnel would be used to cultivate mushrooms.

Mr Smith said he'd heard about old railway tunnels in NSW being used for mushroom farms, as they provided perfect growing conditions.

The book retails for $33. It is available from The Bellerive Historical Society.

Population see-saw on the cards

The Mercury: Population see-saw on the cards [30nov05]

TASMANIA'S population is expected to peak in about 20 years before going into decline.

But Hobart's population is expected to withstand the decline as more people leave rural areas in favour of an urban lifestyle.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures out yesterday show Tasmania's population is projected to peak at 504,500 in 2021.

But then the population will fall to 453,000 in 2051, 6 per cent fewer than the 482,000 living in Tasmania in 2004.

Only Tasmania and South Australia are expected to suffer declines, with the rest of Australia showing healthy rises.

Overall there is expected to be 28 million Australians by 2051, Sydney and Melbourne growing to beyond five million people.

In Hobart, the population (202,000 in 2004) is predicted to grow to 220,000 in 2021 -- a figure which will be maintained in 2051.

In its high-growth assumptions, the ABS says Tasmania could grow to 620,000 in 2051. And in low-growth, the state could fall to as low as 335,000 in 2052.

Australia's population will be significantly older in the future. In Tasmania the median age is likely to rise from 38.4 years now to between 48.4 and 54.7 by 2051.

The number of children aged 0-14 years is projected to decrease from 20 per cent now to 12-16 per cent in 2051.

During the same period the number of people aged 65 years and over will grow from 14 per cent to 31-36 per cent.

Deaths will start to exceed births in 2027.

Tasmanian population expert Natalie Jackson said the figures were based on a slightly pessimistic migration outlook.

Dr Jackson, senior lecturer in social demography at the University of Tasmania, said it was more likely Tasmania's population would plateau around the 500,000 mark beyond the 2020s.

"I don't think Tasmania should panic," she said.

But the state was ageing at a phenomenal rate and more was needed to attract young families.

Sacred Heart bid for Bishopscourt [

The Mercury: Sacred Heart bid for Bishopscourt [30nov05]

A CATHOLIC school wants to use the historic mansion Bishopscourt as a Year 9 campus.

Sacred Heart College plans to make minor changes to the multi heritage-listed property in Fitzroy Place, Sandy Bay.

Bishopscourt was bought from the Anglican church by Victorian Herman Rockefeller last year for more than $1.5 million.

Applications have been made to Hobart City Council and the Heritage Council for minor refurbishment to the property and demolition of the garage.

Representations are being accepted until Tuesday.

In the plans submitted to council, the co-educational Sacred Heart would move Year 9 from the school's main New Town campus to Bishopscourt.

It estimated 110 students aged 14 or 15 and five teachers would use the new site, with some visits to New Town for some science and other subjects.

The proposal presented by Ireneinc Planning says "findings indicate students in this age group respond well to a year away from the main campus as preparation for final school years."

Sacred Heart said it had done a traffic study.

Bishopscourt has a colourful history which includes a series of bishops, one of whom, P.H. Montgomery fathered Bernard, later World War II hero Field Marshall Montgomery, who spend much of his boyhood there.

Legislative Council president and controversial judge, Oxford-educated Thomas Horne, lived at the home, which includes additions by architect Henry Hunter.

The original building was estimated to be built at 1838 and additions from 1877.

From 1887 many Tasmanian bishops lived there until 2003, when Archbishop Harrower moved to a private home.

The Anglican Synod voted to put it on the market in 2003 and it was sold last year.

A public appeal in 1991 raised more than $200,000 to restore the home to its former glory.

It has four storeys including basement and attic, 17 main rooms, 10 bedrooms, four bathrooms, a separate chapel and grounds including an orchard and vegetable garden.

A conservation report done in 1992 by architect Peter C. Cripps examined its heritage significance and history, noting the combination of colonial Georgian and high Victorian, with the 1877-78 drawings for additions an "unusual understatement by Hunter".

College closer to merging with uni

The Mercury: College closer to merging with uni [30nov05]

THE Australian Maritime College has agreed in principle to affiliate with the University of Tasmania.

Although the internationally renowned AMC, which is considered one of Australia's top tertiary institutions, stressed yesterday that no deal had been done with the university, a closer relationship between the two appears likely as the AMC aims to secure funding.

Both institutions will discuss their future with federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson tomorrow.

The AMC has relatively low student numbers and high capital spending and changes to funding rules involving increased reliance on equivalent full-time student load mean the college may have long-term funding fears.

In the controversial ranking system used by the Federal Government to reward top-performing institutions, the AMC was ranked No. 2 in the country -- while the university was 34th out of 38.

In Launceston the AMC and university campuses are side by side and already share some facilities.

AMC vice-president Paul McShane said yesterday speculation that a merger would occur was premature -- it was simply a possibility to be discussed.

"There are all sorts of possibilities. Call it a takeover, a collaborative alliance, a merger, whatever you want," Mr McShane said.

He said it was also possible the AMC could continue as a separate entity, although the council recognised the benefits of greater collaboration with the university, particularly in terms of developing a pre-eminent marine science facility in northern Tasmania.

The issue of recurrent funding was peripheral.

The merging of the two institutions has been an issue for the past decade, but former AMC principal Neil Otway, who resigned in July, was opposed to such a move, and tried unsuccessfully to turn the college into a university in its own right.

In exchange for a share of the university's equivalent full-time student load funding and the ability to attract more international students by being a university, the AMC would contribute its status as a leading specialist institution equipped with some of the best learning and research aids in the southern hemisphere, including the hi-tech towing tank and ship simulator.

Bass MHR Michael Ferguson said from Canberra yesterday he would prefer the AMC to remain independent.

Mr Ferguson said he planned to attend the meeting with Dr Nelson.

Tasmanian Business Maintains ?Sensis? of Optimism -

Tasmanian Business Maintains ?Sensis? of Optimism - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

The latest Sensis Business Index figures for Small and Medium Enterprises show the Tasmanian Government is the only State or Territory Government to score a net positive rating from small business.

Minister for Economic Development Lara Giddings said today the latest Sensis Business Index shows that small business knows the State Government has built the structural reforms that keep the economy on a stable footing.

?Tasmania?s economy has never been in better shape,? Ms Giddings said.

?At 62 per cent, business confidence in Tasmania is well above the national average of 55 per cent.

?The greatest sign of business confidence is the level of private investment, and over the last financial year, private investment has increased by more than 31 per cent.

?Also, according to Sensis our small and medium enterprises recorded the greatest jump anywhere in Australia in terms of employment growth over the last quarter.

Ms Giddings said the Sensis Business Index highlights the need small business has for a stable State Government.

?Obviously the dark old days of minority government still haunt the business sector.

?Small business knows, perhaps better than anyone, the importance of a stable economic environment.

?Small business operators remember the economic chaos of the Liberal -Green minority government.

?Imagine what would happen if we saw another Liberal-Green minority government.

?In the first week the Liberal?s $800 million in unfunded promises would bankrupt the State.

Ms Giddings said that whilst the State economy was strong, small business operators are becoming wary of the 700-pages of John Howard?s complex and extreme industrial relations laws.

?Instead of one award ? a one-stop negotiation for all their workers - small business owners will be negotiating individually with each employee,? Ms Giddings said.

?Tasmania?s 30,000 small businesses will have to become industrial law experts over night.

?And if they put something into the individual agreements that the Federal Minister doesn?t like, they?ll have to pay a $33,000 fine.

?The Lennon Labor Government is a strong supporter of Tasmanian small business because this Government knows it is fundamental to our economy and a key driver of jobs growth.

?It is the Howard industrial relations package, which Mr Hidding and Mr Hodgman fully support which makes the future uncertain for Tasmania?s small business operators.

A Drift Of Derwent Ducks -

A Drift Of Derwent Ducks - Paul Lennon, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Premier Paul Lennon helped officially launch a new book today tracing Tasmania?s links with Ireland through the transportation of female convicts in the 1800s.

Mr Lennon contributed a foreword for Dr Trudy Cowley?s book, A Drift of Derwent Ducks, which he described as an important part of Tasmania?s early historical record.

The book immortalises the lives of 200 female Irish convicts transported from Dublin to Hobart.

The subject is close to the Premier?s heart, as he is a descendant of Irish convict Jane Smith, who arrived in Van Diemen?s Land aboard the ship Australasia on September 28, 1849.

?Today, I am happy to share the launch of this book with many other fellow descendents of the Australasia convicts,? Mr Lennon said at the launch at ?The Female Factory? in South Hobart.

?Dr Cowley?s book is about real people; real women with real hardships and real strength of character.

?They had suffered the famine in Ireland and their punishment of transportation outweighed their crimes.

?This book is invaluable because they help us build a more accurate picture of Tasmania?s past.

?But it does more than document history - it challenges us to reflect on important concepts, such as endurance and survival, family and community, crime and punishment, human dignity and human nature.?

Mr Lennon congratulated Dr Cowley on her meticulous research and noted that she, too, was a descendent of a female convict who arrived aboard the Australasia.

?I congratulate Dr Cowley for the completion and publication of this book,? he said.

?It is a book that will continue to tell the story of Tasmanian history and the lives of the Australasia convicts for years to come.?

Hidding?s Disgraceful Attack On The Tourism Industry

Hidding?s Disgraceful Attack On The Tourism Industry - Paul Lennon, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

The Premier said he was appalled by Rene Hiding?s scathing attack on the Tasmanian tourism industry in Parliament today.

Mr Lennon said Mr Hidding had wrongly claimed that the State Government was directly responsible for Tasmania?s tourism-related tactical advertising strategy.

Decisions on how marketing funds were best spent for major impact were, in fact, taken by the Tourism Tasmania Board, chaired by widely-respected industry expert John King.

?Therefore, Mr Hidding?s attack on tourism marketing spending is, in fact, directed at respected industry experts on the Tourism Tasmania Board, not at the State Government,? Mr Lennon said.

?Who is Rene Hidding to question the experts? His record on support for the tourism industry is a disgrace.

?He and the State Liberals opposed the Government all the way on the introduction of the Spirit of Tasmania ships.

?Then they had a different policy for each part of Tasmania in one of the most cynical political exercises seen in Tasmania for years, as has now been documented in the Cheek book.

?I?m amazed that Mr Hidding now has the audacity to criticise this State Government, which has provided the highest level of support ever to Tasmanian tourism.

?The State Government has spent $109.3 million on tourism advertising and promotion since Labor came to office, with TT-Line spending another $45 million on top of this promoting the Spirits, which the Liberals did not support in the first place.

?Tourism is our flagship growth industry, now employing more than 40,000 Tasmanians.

?We?ve seen more than $85 million worth of tourism investments completed in the last 12 months, including the $20 million Cornwall Boutique Hotel in Launceston, $5 million at Moorilla, $6.5 million at Barnbougle Links Golf Course and $5.2 million by World Heritage Cruises at Strahan.

?Decisions on Tasmania?s tactical marketing spending are determined by detailed market analysis but Rene Hidding has clearly signalled today that he thinks politicians should interfere in these decisions.

?Let today?s attack by Rene Hidding be a warning to Tasmanian business that when it comes to industry and economic policy, the Liberals will do and say anything if they think there are votes in it for them.

?What a disgraceful approach to industry development. Where would the tourism industry be now if Labor had taken the same shoddy approach?

?With no strategy for the future and the constant threat of political interference in spending decisions that should be left to the experts, it?s clear the Liberals would bankrupt Tasmania given half a chance.?

Tasmania Sick Of Being Greens? Punching Bag -

Tasmania Sick Of Being Greens? Punching Bag - Bryan Green, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

The Tasmanian Government has defended the State?s brand and reputation against attack from extreme conservationists.

Infrastructure, Energy and Resources Bryan Green says Tasmanians are sick and tired of being used as a punching bag for whatever the latest environmental cause.

?Last weekend they were at it again, a handful of animal rights activists lining up at each of the TT Line terminals in Sydney, Melbourne and Devonport.

?They have become fanatical about damaging the Tasmanian brand for their causes, without the least regard for the livelihoods of ordinary Tasmanians.

?Their calculated attack on our economy was demonstrated in what

Kristi-Anna Brydon from animal Liberation New South Wales had to say on television news at the Sydney demonstration?

?We want the public to know that by supporting Tasmanians; by supporting their produce, as well as supporting the tourism industry, that they?re essentially saying that they?re okay with this poisoning going on?.

?She was referring to 1080 use.

?But in tactics straight out of the Greens? handbook of trickery and deceit, she doesn?t bother to mention Tasmania used only about eight kilograms of 1080 or less than a third of what was used in her home state.

?There?s no appreciation that the Tasmanian Government has moved to stop the use of 1080 in State forests by the end of this year.

?And there?s no acknowledgement that through the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement there will be $4 million to research and work on alternatives to 1080 for farmers and other private land owners.?

Mr Green said Tasmania was serious about minimising the use of 1080.

?How serious are other Governments around Australia which use 1080 by the truckload compared to Tasmania?

?In New South Wales about 30 kg are used each year, in Western Australia 40 kg are used, including being thrown out of aeroplanes, Queensland uses about 50 kg and New Zealand?s usage is measured in tonnes.

?We have become the environmental conscience for the country with an unparalleled conservation system.

?Yet we remain the whipping boy for these hypocritical zealots.?

Mr Green said a House of Representatives committee had approached the subject from a different perspective, recommending Tasmania reconsider its commitment to phasing out the use of 1080.

?Our commitment on 1080 in State forests stands, but until there are viable alternatives for farmers and other forest owners it will remain an option on private land as it is in all other states.?

Superb New Ship Bound for New Zealand

Superb New Ship Bound for New Zealand - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Minister for Economic Development Lara Giddings today joined with Ron Devine from Richardson Devine Marine to inspect the company?s superb new 32 metre vessel which is set to begin operation with New Zealand?s biggest tourism operator.

?The Patea Explorer is a great example of the high quality ships being built by our world class ship building industry?, Minister for Economic Development Lara Giddings said today.

?The vessel will leave for New Zealand this week where it will be officially greeted by the Minister for Tourism for New Zealand and other government dignitaries.

?The Patea Explorer can accommodate a maximum of 175 people in complete comfort and will cruise at a speed of around 25 knots.

?This vessel has three viewing decks, a bar and will operate in Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park which has world heritage status.

?The Patea Explorer will operate for New Zealand?s biggest tourism company Fiordland Travel, a company which runs a variety of tours, and owns boats, coaches and planes.

Ron Devine from Richardson Devine said he was delighted with the finished product.

?This vessel handles superbly and we have been delighted with the sea trials.

?We are very pleased to have been able to create a good relationship with Fiordland Travel throughout the project.

?This vessel represents a huge breakthrough for us and bodes well for the future,? Mr Devine said.

Toll ready to flog ships to get Patrick -

Toll ready to flog ships to get Patrick - Business - Business - smh.com.au
TOLL Holdings has offered to sell ships, abandon the automobile freight market and loosen its hold over east-west rail to win competition approval for its $4.6 billion bid for Patrick Corp.

The transport giant's undertakings, released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, aim to meet the ACCC's main concerns about the proposed takeover.

The regulator's concerns centre on the potential of the two companies' rail joint venture, Pacific National, to shut out freight forwarders and rail rivals, particularly on the main rail line to and from Perth; their dominance of Bass Strait shipping services to Tasmania; and their control of the autologistics market.

Specifically, Toll has undertaken to sell the two ships used by Patrick on Bass Strait and berthing rights at Webb Dock East in Melbourne and Burnie in Tasmania.

It will also sell its 33 per cent stake in PrixCar Services, which carries cars to and from the port.

On the east-west rail corridor, Toll has offered to lease six locomotives to Chicago Freight Car Leasing Co (CFCL) so it can lease them to other rail operators. This aims to meet the ACCC's concern about the availability of second-hand or leased locomotives.

CFCL declined to comment on Toll's offer. Toll managing director Paul Little said if no deal was reached with CFCL, Toll already had in mind other independent leasing companies.

Toll has also undertaken to allow the Australian Rail Track Corp to change train path allocations to allow another operator to use the east-west track.

The Federal Government-owned ARTC regulates the interstate rail network and controls access to the track.

Toll Holdings said it would not make any undertakings on terminals because rail competitors had access to terminals in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. "Those companies most likely to expand on the east-west rail corridor are SCT Logistics, Queensland Rail and Australian Rail Group," Toll said.

But Toll did not respond to one of the ACCC's other concerns: the potential of the two companies to create too powerful a position in the broader land logistics supply chain for international containers.

Patrick said Toll had ignored the issue of freight forwarding in Tasmania, and had not addressed the competition issues raised by the merged entity owning all the major rail freight terminals in the capital cities.

Patrick managing director Chris Corrigan said Toll's undertakings on Bass Strait and Pacific National were not in the interests of Patrick shareholders.

"Those few Patrick shareholders who have accepted Toll's offer are entitled to withdraw and retain their shareholding in Patrick," he said.

Toll shares closed 11c higher at $13.71, while Patrick shares fell 9c to $7.26.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Report shows high animal road kill toll in Tasmania

PM - Report shows high animal road kill toll in Tasmania

MARK COLVIN: Tasmanian car number plates may proudly bear the slogan 'the Natural State'.

But evidence just released could well warrant a less marketable title: 'The Roadkill State'.

It comes with figures showing that more than 100,000 animals are killed on Tasmanian roads each year.

And with many of those killed being Tasmanian Devils - a species already threatened by a mystery disease - it's got researchers looking for ways to reduce the carnage.

Tim Jeanes reports.

TIM JEANES: Tasmanian highways have long proved a shock for tourists, says roadkill researcher Dr Alistair Hobday.

ALISTAIR HOBDAY: Tourists who have gone back to their home state and have written back to say the most distressing part of their holiday was driving along Tasmania's roads and seeing just a slaughter of animals.

TIM JEANES: Dr Hobday is from the University of Tasmania's School of Zoology.. and has been among presenters at the Australasian Wildlife Management Society's annual conference being held in Hobart.

Dr Hobday clocked up more than 15,000 kilometres criss-crossing Tasmania for his study. He estimates 113,000 animals are killed on Tasmanian roads each year, and that's a conservative estimate, considering the number of animals that crawl off the road to die:

ALISTAIR HOBDAY: Similar studies in the US and also in Western Australia and also Victoria, the densities that we have seen in Tasmania are higher. We're averaging about one animal every almost three kilometres. Elsewhere in Australia it's about one animal every five or six, to they're almost double in Tasmania.

TIM JEANES: Dr Hobday has identified 51 species killed on Tasmania's roads. Brushtail possums and red-necked pademelons are the most vulnerable.

ALISTAIR HOBDAY: Where it does shock me, I guess, is for things like, say, a Tasmanian Devil, where it may be up to one-and-a-half or two per cent of the adults are being killed each year on the roads. And I think with the situation of Tasmanian Devils are under at the moment, that is a source of concern.

TIM JEANES: Doctor Hobday says roads with sharp curves, poor visibility and roadside banks are the worst areas for roadkill. Tasmania's narrow roads compound the problem.

ALISTAIR HOBDAY: The research demonstrates that roadkill is concentrated in small portions of the road. We estimate that about 10 per cent of the road captures 50 per cent of the road kill.

TIM JEANES: But might a high rate of roadkill indicate healthy wildlife populations?

Dr Menna Jones is from the University of Tasmania's Zoology Department.

MENNA JONES: Roadkill is a good sign that there are healthy populations there, but in particular local situations roadkill can cause local extinction of populations in particular situations, and this occurred at Cradle Mountain in the early '90s when the road in as far as the park was sealed, and it caused a local extinction of eastern quolls and halved the Devil population in 18 months.

TIM JEANES: The solution to roadkill, says Alistair Hobday, is to encourage or force drivers to slow down in high-risk areas.

ALISTAIR HOBDAY: A typical journey in Tasmania is from Hobart to Launceston, a distance of 200 kilometres. That takes you two hours. If you?re prepared to slow your journey by three minutes, and that three minutes being a reduction on some parts of the road, from 100 kilometres an hour to 80 kilometres an hour, we think you would have an impact of reducing roadkill by about 50 per cent.

MARK COLVIN: Roadkill researcher Doctor Alistair Hobday ending that report from Tim Jeanes.

Potential Suppliers Attend a Pulp Mill Forum

Potential Suppliers Attend a Pulp Mill Forum - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Potential pulp mill suppliers had the opportunity today to gain a better understanding of the size and complexity of modern pulp mill developments.

Minister for Economic Development Lara Giddings said today?s seminar at Country Club Resort in Launceston was the first of a number of seminars planned as part of the State Government?s Pulp Mill Supplier Development Program.

Ms Giddings said the aim of the program was to ensure local businesses are prepared to maximise opportunities generated by the proposed pulp mill.

?Experience of similar projects overseas indicates that more than 60 per cent of the capital expenditure can occur domestically.

?Tasmanian supply opportunities associated with a pulp mill will maximise the economic benefits to Tasmania.

?Since we launched this initiative in May, there has been strong interest from many companies that have indicated a desire to take advantage of the significant level of activity expected to be generated by this project.?

The seminar provided businesses with:

� a briefing on the recent international experiences of the Pulp Mill Task Force

� an explanation of the Pulp Mill Supplier Development Program

� a case study of the successful VISY Tumut Kraft mill in New South Wales ? presented by one of the contractors

� technical aspects of the proposed Bell Bay project from Gunns Limited and international consultants Jakko Poyry.

Ms Giddings said the seminars also provided the opportunity for Tasmanian businesses to network with other enterprises.

?This creates the possibility of business joining together to offer the larger contractors enhanced capability with a Tasmanian base.

?The Pulp Mill Supplier Development Program will provide assistance for developing business cases, transferring technology, training, improving business capability and supporting new capital investment to Tasmania.

?This program is intended to send a clear signal that Tasmania is committed to creating and exploiting new business opportunities.?

Tasmania In Spotlight At Ecotourism Australia Conference -

Tasmania In Spotlight At Ecotourism Australia Conference - Paula Wriedt, MHA and Judy Jackson, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Tasmania?s abundance of natural assets will be in the international spotlight this week through hosting the 13th annual Ecotourism Australia Conference.

The wealth and diversity of Tasmania?s landscape and natural appeal will be showcased to more than 250 delegates from Australia and around the world as part of the week-long Conference.

Tourism Minister Paula Wriedt today officially welcomed the Ecotourism Australia Conference delegates at the Conference opening at Wrest Point.

?The Conference program is designed to showcase our island state and its exceptional natural assets,? Ms Wriedt said.

?With themed workshops in regional Tasmania and the conference based in Hobart, delegates will experience why Tasmania is such a unique and compelling destination.?

?Regional workshops will take delegates to Freycinet, Port Arthur and the Huon Valley where they will map out the future direction of the national and international ecotourism industry and management practices.?

?There are significant flow on benefits to regional communities as a result of the Conference with delegates staying at local accommodation providers, eating out at local cafes and restaurants and a large proportion of delegates staying on to see more of Tasmania,? said Ms Wriedt.

?Networking functions at Henry Jones Art Hotel, Cascade Brewery, Freycinet Lodge, Kermandie Hotel, Port Arthur and Moorilla Estate will also allow delegates to sample our fine food, beer and wine and experience our natural and built heritage.?

?The Conference has also attracted a strong international representation with the calibre of keynote speakers such as Professor David Bellamy, Hitesh Mehta (leading ecotourism architect), Professor Sam Ham and other notable ecotourism experts from around the globe.?

Minister for Parks and Heritage Judy Jackson said the Parks and Wildlife Service and Tourism Tasmania were major sponsors of the Conference that will highlight Tasmania?s proactive and innovative approach to protected areas and tourism management.

?Tasmania?s collaborative approach through the establishment of the State Government?s Department Tourism, Parks, Heritage and the Arts has seen a new era in tourism and natural and cultural asset management in Tasmania including such places as Cradle Mountain and Freycinet,? Ms Jackson said.

?This partnership approach has really set the precedence and shown what can be achieved in developing sustainable ecotourism destinations.?

Ms Jackson said two of the regional workshops focused specifically on protected area management looking at the balance of protection, profits and people, and at World Heritage sites.

?Tasmania will benefit from the knowledge shared at the Conference and will have the opportunity to hear from field experts giving fresh perspectives to contribute to our overall management of national parks and destinations.?

The Ecotourism Australia Conference is held from Monday 28 November through to Friday 2 December.

For more information and a copy of the Conference program please visit http://www.ecotourism.org.au or contact Conference Media Liasion Natalie Lennox on 0408 179 715.

Further information: Tasmanian

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hobart cop now a sex worker

The Mercury: Hobart cop now a sex worker [27nov05]

Jody Hanson gets the inside story on the life of a consort

WHEN Alexander Black walks into the bar it's easy to see why women pay for his services -- he's tall, muscular, with film-star looks.

He exudes an air of confidence, not cockiness, akin to an aphrodisiac. Then he catches my eye and a smile spreads across his face as he approaches and introduces himself.

Five minutes later I find myself wanting to tell him my sexual fantasies and my deep, dark secrets.

Alexander Black, 41, Hobart-born and bred, was a police officer in the state for 20 years, rising to the rank of sergeant. He also received National and Commissioner's medals.

Snakes in the grass ::

Snakes in the grass :: ABC Northern Tasmania

Time to clear up your backyard and make it safe for children and pets, says North West vet Dr Peter Holm.

There are 6000 cases of dogs and cats being bitten by snakes in summer in Australia. And in Tasmania, copper heads and tiger snakes are among the most lethal species in the world.

North West vet Dr Peter Holm told Afternoons presenter Elaine Harris that 'no hiding place' is the best backyard policy, so "Tidy up!"

Effects of snake bite tend to be acute in dogs and cats, leading to rapid death, because their noses have no hair for protection. First signs of snake bite in pets are vomiting, collapse, acute diaroreah and very dilated pupils. If you see a combination of these signs, take your pet to a vet immediately. Anti venom treatments can cost as much as $500. And long term effects of snake bites can cause kidney treatments later in life.

Also, beware the water feature; snakes will be attracted to this area of your backyard, particularly at the end of the season when water is scarce.

Redeeming values of Hobart's Synagogue ::

Redeeming values of Hobart's Synagogue :: ABC Tasmania

Whilst only small, Hobart's Jewish community certainly has a colourful history...and an historic place to worship. The Hobart Synagogue is Australia's oldest, and it's having its 160th anniversary celebrations.

Rabbi John Levi resides in Melbourne but visits Hobart a couple of times a year to conduct services. He told Tim Cox that Hobart can lay claim to having Australia's oldest synagogue but not the oldest Jewish congregation...

Here's Rabbi John Levi
Runs 8:38 in Real Audio

So Australia's oldest synagogue doesn't have a rabbi but it does have a website: www.hobartsynagogue.org Details of the 160th anniversary celebrations are on their website but are described thus:

Friday 25 November - we start our weekend with a Reception at Government House, hosted by His Excellency the Governor of Tasmania (The Hon William Cox) and Mrs Cox. This will be followed by a Progressive Friday night service in Shul lead by Rabbi John Levi.

Saturday 26 November - Shabbat morning Progressive service will be lead by Rabbi Levi and in the afternoon there will be an NCJW afternoon tea ? our guest speaker will be the National President of NCJW, Mrs Robyn Lenn OAM.

Sunday 27 November - we will have a superb concert at the Shul arranged by Cantor Joseph Toltz from Temple Emanuel in Sydney and featuring his renowned choristers and local musicians.

Rabbi Levi describes the concert (which starts at 4pm) as a "re-enactment" of the original dedication service. And, in telling Tim Cox that the synagogue seats only 150, he explained that the seats were originally numbered to reflect the seniority and social standing of the congregation. Seat number 150 was for the most recalcitrant member...the man who founded The Mercury newspaper.

Committee calls for national pest initiative.

Committee calls for national pest initiative. 28/11/2005. ABC News Online

A federal parliamentary committee considering the cost of pest animals in Australia has recommended the creation of a national pest and weeds committee to control invasions of feral animals, such as pigs, cane toads and camels.

The House of Representatives Agriculture Committee has found pest animals cost the economy more than $700 million a year.

It says the 23 million feral pigs roaming the country that could cause devastation if foot-and-mouth disease broke out in Australia are an example of the problem.

The committee has called for a national approach, recommending for all governments to substantially increase funding for pest eradication.

Other recommendations include the employment of animal controllers, the Federal Government encouraging states and territories to ensure 1080 poison remains available and encouraging commercial uses for pest animals

Beekeepers call for forestry changes to ensure industry's future.

Beekeepers call for forestry changes to ensure industry's future. 28/11/2005. ABC News Online

A new report is calling for changes to timber harvesting, in southern Tasmanian forests, to ensure the survival of the state's unique leatherwood honey industry.

Beekeepers have welcomed the Forests and Forest Industry Council study that has looked at how much leatherwood is needed to sustain their hives.

Julian Woolfhagen, from the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association, says the forestry industry now needs to develop a plan for alternative timber harvesting methods.

"We need absolutely to get leatherwood mentioned specifically within the forest practices code, so that it is protected, so any rich areas within forest coups that are to be harvested, the leatherwood rich portions are excluded."

Works tell tale of small town

The Mercury: Works tell tale of small town [28nov05]

LANDSCAPES often overlooked by other artists feature in an exhibition which opened in Hobart yesterday.

Short Stories from a Small Town is Stephanie Tabram's interpretation of her home town of Ranelagh, in the Huon Valley.

The 47-year-old artist said she was overwhelmed by the state's natural beauty when she arrived 11 years ago.

But over time, she became interested in the places other artists overlooked, she said.

"It's not entirely factual, but painting is like a good story, always sprinkled with fiction," she said. Ms Tabram, a mother of four, moved to Ranelagh a few years ago because "an artist needs to work from where they come from".

A lot of her work involves a technique called chiaroscuro, where light tones are developed on darker backgrounds.

Her skies are intense and brooding -- and very Tasmanian.

"My first consideration, long before pencils, paint and canvas appear, is light," Ms Tabram said.

The exhibition of 19 paintings at The Salamanca Collection is Ms Tabram's fifth exhibition in Tasmania.

Twain saw Tassie tourism potential

The Mercury: Twain saw Tassie tourism potential [28nov05]

CELEBRATED American author Mark Twain was, arguably, Tasmania's first ecotourist, Tourism Australia chairman Tim Fischer said on the eve of an ecotourism conference in Hobart.

The former deputy prime minister said Twain had sung Hobart's praises after a visit in November 1895.

"Mark Twain sailed from the port of Melbourne direct to Hobart, arriving on Saturday, November 2, before ultimately proceeding to New Zealand and the rest of his famous journey Down Under, which saw him visit five state colonies of Australia," he said.

"It is his description of the Derwent Valley and Hobart that supports the claim he was the first ecotourist."

Mr Fischer quoted Twain's trave book More Tramps Abroad, in which he described the hills around Hobart being "clothed in woodland loveliness and over the way that noble mountain, Mt Wellington, of stately bulk, a most majestic pile".

How beautiful is the whole region," Twain wrote.

Mr Fischer said Tasmania had enormous ecotourism potential -- as discovered by the thousands who followed in Twain's steps.

The five-day Ecotourism Australia annual conference will feature tourism operators from around the nation and guests from as far away as the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

Mr Fischer was National Party leader from 1990 to 1999 and deputy prime minister from 1996 to 1999.

Bad taste forest plan

The Mercury: Bad taste forest plan [28nov05]

ANIMALS could be encouraged to avoid future forest coupes if their taste was less appealing, researchers say.

Methods to deter animals from Tasmania's eucalypt plantations are being developed as the use of the highly controversial 1080 poison is phased out on public land.

Measures being considered are using trees bred for browsing-damage resistance, no heavy fertilisation, planting cover crops and, as extra protection, applying wallaby repellent.

Tasmanian researcher Julianne O'Reilly-Wapstra unveiled the latest research into non-lethal 1080 alternatives at the Australasian Wildlife Management Society conference in Hobart last week.

She told the conference there was no single strategy that could easily replace 1080.

She said a non-lethal alternative, an integrated pest management approach that addressed both the trees' and the plantations' characteristics, appeared the most likely way forward.

The conference heard that some varieties of eucalyptus contained more of the chemical sideroxylonal than others, and that the more sideroxylonal a tree had the more resistant it was to browsing.

Breeding trees to contain more sideroxylonal and using them in plantations could help make them less appetising to Tasmania's browsing animals, which include wallabies and possums.

Dr O'Reilly-Wapstra, from the University of Tasmania and the Sustainable Production Forestry Co-operative Research Centre, said her research also showed that the time-honoured practice of fertilising young trees before they were planted in the field to get them off to a flying start had a direct impact on making them more desirable to browsing animals.

She said fertilising increased the nitrogen, and increased nitrogen made them more palatable.

Enough fertiliser could even counteract a tree's natural browsing resistance, making it more susceptible than less resistant species.

Dr O'Reilly-Wapstra outlined how the planting of cover crops could also play a crucial role in protecting young trees from being eaten.

She said studies showed plantations planted in bracken fern suffered decreased browsing, with the common fern proving not only to be unpalatable but also a physical barrier.

She said plantations planted in areas of palatable grass were more heavily browsed, with the animals effectively being led to the seedlings, whereas unpalatable cover crops prevented this.

A similar result was also seen for seedlings planted with a cover crop of unpalatable bitter lupins, with the bonus that the trees planted with bitter lupin cover were almost half as tall again after 12 weeks as those planted without the lupin cover, possibly due to the need to compete with the lupins for light.

Dr O'Reilly-Wapstra said trials of repellents showed that WR-1 resulted in a significant reduction in browsing over a 10-week period.

She said the research showed an integrated pest management approach could be the non-lethal alternative to 1080.

Sound Preservation Association Of Tasmania?

Sound Preservation Association Of Tasmania?s 20th Anniversary Concert - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

The Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania has celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a concert highlighting its unique role.

Arts Minister Lara Giddings, who attended the concert, said the Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania has played a vital role in the collection and preservation of old style phonographs, wirelesses and 78s, LPs and cylinders since it was formed in 1985 by the late Gwen D?Emden.

From the original meeting place in Gwen?s home, the Association has moved and grown, and it now resides in the old Bellerive Post Office.

The work of the Association and its many volunteers is vital to the development of a distinctive and authentic Tasmanian voice,? Ms Giddings said.

?The significance that small museums, historic sites and other collections play in the formation of the Tasmanian identity should not be underestimated.

?Members of the Association, all of whom volunteer their time and expertise, not only protect that past but also ensure that we all have access to it ? and assist with its understanding.?

Ms Giddings also paid tribute to the founder of the Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania, Gwen D?Emden.

?We were all saddened to hear of Gwen?s passing last year, but the legacy that she has left is one that will be appreciated for generations to come,? she said.

?It is a legacy not only tangible through the continuation of the Association, but also intangible in that spirit of giving that she embodied.?

This initiative is part of the State Government?s commitment to progressing Tasmania Together Goal 11 ? Have Tasmania recognised nationally and internationally for its innovation, pursuit of excellence and creativity in arts and culture.

Report To Help Ensure Beekeeping Future -

Report To Help Ensure Beekeeping Future - Bryan Green, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

A report that will help planning for the future of Tasmania?s honey industry has been released.

The Minister for Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, Bryan Green, said the Tasmanian Apiary Industry Profile provides a valuable snapshot of the industry and a platform to help address ongoing management issues.

It gives comprehensive information on Tasmanian beekeeping via an industry-wide census and shows the importance of different flora to honey producers

?Information of this nature is vitally important to beekeepers, land managers, honey producers and pollinators,? Mr Green said.

Mr Green said he was also willing to look at initiatives to help put the beekeeping industry on a stronger commercial footing through more secure licensing of sites.

He said it was important for the industry to build on the outcomes of the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement.

?We are now in a good position to consolidate the industry and move forward.

?Commercial forest operations provide the means for leatherwood beekeepers to access the resource and that has been greatly enhanced through the Community Forest Agreement.

?As part of the Agreement, $3 million has been allocated to improving access to special species timber stands within Special Timber Management Units (STMUs) in State forests through low-impact roading.

?Aerial reconnaissance to identify possible leatherwood sites will be conducted over summer and will involve beekeepers.?

Mr Green said the low-impact roading would provide access to STMUs, which contain special species timber, including leatherwood, managed on long-term rotations.

?This is about securing the resource and making it accessible for beekeepers to provide sustainable supplies of leatherwood honey.

?It will also improve access to long-term supplies of special species timbers for Tasmania?s furniture and craft industries.?

Mr Green said there needed to be a balance between the range of interests in State forest, remembering that 60 per cent of Tasmania?s leatherwood was now formally protected in reserves.

?Forest reserves in Tasmania have increased five-fold in a generation, which is why we need to ensure honey producers continue to get access to leatherwood on both State forest and in existing reserves.?

The industry profile, commissioned by the Forests and Forest Industry Council of Tasmania, showed the majority of Tasmania?s annual honey production worth about $4 million came from leatherwood.

?Changes to harvesting practices also mean more mature leatherwood is retained for apiarists in our multiple use forests.

?These reforms, along with more certain and long-term tenure, will produce a stable investment base for the Industry.?

Mr Green said close consultation within the apiary industry and with all stakeholders would be the key to successfully developing the industry.

International Visitors See More Of Tasmania -

International Visitors See More Of Tasmania - Paula Wriedt, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Tasmania has been identified by the Australian Tourism Export Council as a good example of how to disperse international visitors to regional areas.

ATEC Managing Director Matthew Hingerty commented that Tasmania?s performance in this area was proof that the state?s commitment to regional tourism development and promotion is paying off.

According to the release of a Tourism Research Australia report released earlier this month on ?Expenditure by Domestic and International Visitors in Australia?s Regions?, 45 per cent of the $163 million international visitor dollars spent in Tasmania went to regional areas.

Minister for Tourism Paula Wriedt today said that the ?Expenditure by Domestic and International Visitors in Australia?s Regions? report showed that the 45 per cent achieved by Tasmania was considerably higher than the national average of 23 per cent spent in regional areas.

According to the report, State comparisons of international visitor dollars spent in regional areas:

� Tasmania 45 per cent

� Victoria 9 per cent

� New South Wales 11 per cent

� Northern Territory 82 per cent

� Western Australia 14 per cent

� Queensland 48 per cent

� South Australia 18 per cent

Ms Wriedt said that international visitors are more likely to spend longer in the State and on average spend more per visit than domestic visitors.

?The Report showed that international visitors to Tasmania spent $73 million dollars in regional Tasmania which is great news for our Tasmanian communities.?

?In the current tourism climate and the challenging environment this news is certainly welcomed,? she said.

?We have continually been stressing the importance of visitor dispersal to regional areas in Tasmania and it is pleasing to see that this is in fact translating to visitor numbers and expenditure,? she said.

?It is even more pleasing to be recognised for our efforts and approach to move visitors around the state and for our regional tourism development strategies.?

?Mr Hingerty?s comments that to achieve a strong and sustainable tourism industry a partnership approach towards investment and the development of new product and experiences is needed to continue to attract foreign visitors ? is not new to Tasmania,? said Ms Wriedt.

?Our Government/industry approach has been the foundation of our tourism success for the last decade and with more than $600 million worth of tourism investment currently planned or under construction, we have enormous potential to continue to attract international visitors to Tasmania.?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Golden prospects for Cala Resources.

Golden prospects for Cala Resources. 25/11/2005. ABC News Online

The Tasmanian company Cala Resources says it has identified substantial gold deposits in the state's north-east.

The company has announced results of its conceptual geological model today.

Cala Resources plans to spend $5 million over the next few years on a gold exploration project at Mathinna.

If all goes well, it will then spend another $10 to $20 million on building a processing plant in the region.

The executive director, Rod Holden, is confident there is a lot of gold to be found.

"We've got a conceptual model, geological model that we believe is conservative and we're looking at 10 million ounces," he said.

The company says the project has the potential to create up to 150 jobs.

It plans to begin exploration early in the new year.
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Poppy growers say heavy rains bring crop misery.

Poppy growers say heavy rains bring crop misery. 25/11/2005. ABC News Online

Tasmanian poppy growers are experiencing what is being described as the state's worst ever season.

Last month's heavy rain has caused a 30 per cent reduction in this year's crop.

The rain came while many crops were being sown.

Field operations manager with Tasmanian Alkaloids, Rick Rockliff, says while it is unlikely many farmers will make a profit this season, there is a silver lining.

"We'll be increasing our area again because we would've used up our reserves or most of them, so there will be more contracts available for morphine poppies in the north of the state," he said.
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Strahan is very similar to Kathmandu

The Mercury: Best of both worlds [27nov05]

Live in Tasmania and work in Tibet? One couple does, Luke Sayer reports

TASMANIA'S wild West Coast is now home for a couple who used to have the rooftop of the world as their back yard.

Gary McCue and Kathy Butler still run tours to the Himalayas but now call Strahan home.

They say there is something about the small town on Macquarie Harbour that draws them back.

Gary, who has had a link with Strahan since the early 1980s when he worked there as a river guide, said they couldn't find a place where they would rather live.

He first arrived the day before the Gordon River blockade erupted, a young visitor from the US keen to work as a river guide.

He began a long friendship with former Strahan warden Harry McDermott that endures to this day and was vital to the couple's return to Tasmania.

In between seasons as a river guide, Gary began leading treks in the Himalayas with an Australian company, eventually moving to Nepal.

He and Kathy met in 1985, and the following year the nurse from Jamberoo in southern New South Wales also moved to Nepal to live.

"I worked as a nurse in Kathmandu for a year and then started leading treks," Kathy said.

In 1987 Gary began writing Trekking in Tibet, published in 1991, which has become as the definitive guide.

"As the book was close to being published we moved to leading private tours and groups," he said.

"Since then Tibet has really become our specialty.

"Growing political problems in Nepal made us realise it was going to be more and more difficult to operate in."

Kathy said Kathmandu was still a wonderful place but had changed, so they began looking for somewhere else to live.

"You couldn't really go out for a pleasant walk down the street," she said -- which is what began leading them back to Tasmania.

"We always said if we ever leave Nepal, Tasmania's our first choice," Gary said.

They had kept in touch with the McDermotts and used Strahan as a base for their search across Tasmania for a new home in 1999.

A circuit of the state failed to inspire them until they returned to Strahan and found the house across the road from the McDermotts was being cleaned up for sale.

"Within about three days we'd bought it," Gary said.

A key factor was the arrival of a reliable internet service at Strahan, which gave them what they needed to keep their business running.

"It meant we could conduct our business from here, and that really was the last piece of the puzzle," he said.GARY'S last visit to Tibet was a trek in temperate rainforest with amazing similarities to the Tasmanian wilderness.

"People think of Tibet as being just big and barren, but it's very amazing," Kathy said.

The couple's love of Tasmania is also beginning to rub off on their trekking clients around the globe.

While there hasn't been a rush to Tasmania from their regular customers, it is starting to grow.

"Once we get them here they're blown away," Kathy said.

Gary said one of the drawbacks in Tasmania was that many people felt they could find their own way around -- but not so in Tibet.

"But we haven't really worked that hard on marketing Tasmania, mainly because we operate on word of mouth, and that's what works for us.

"Our client base is getting older and older, as we are, and we think more and more will come to Tasmania."

One of the similarities between Tibet and Tasmania, Kathy said, were the amazing characters they met.

"In Tibet we meet wonderful people and have been fortunate to spend a lot of time there," she said.

"And the people we take along can have really nice interaction with the people.

"It's the same here in Tasmania; the people are very friendly."

Gary said returning to Tasmania was destined for him.

"After we bought the house [at Strahan] I found my journal from the day before I left Tasmania and it said 'I hope to come back here one day, perhaps even live here'. I'd forgotten I'd written that," he said.

In an odd way, Kathy said, Strahan is very similar to Kathmandu.

"Kathmandu is now a mega-city, but when we first went there it was a real community, very much the same as here."

For now the couple are content to retreat to Strahan and continue their regular stints at the roof of the globe -- knowing they have the best of both worlds.

Our `undeclared war' on wildlife

The Mercury: Our `undeclared war' on wildlife [27nov05]

TASMANIA'S wildlife is under attack, says wildlife carer Suzy Manigian.

Ms Manigian, from the Tasmanian Conservation Trust, said an "undeclared war" on wildlife was happening in the state.

"Everywhere biologists look, they find species in trouble," said Ms Manigian, who will lead a protest against the "war on wildlife" this morning at the Devonport Spirit of Tasmania terminal.

It has the backing of Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust, in conjunction with Animal Liberation NSW and Victoria.

"We want to raise public awareness of the plight of Tasmania's wildlife and meet the cars rolling off for a visit to the natural state," Ms Manigian said.

Devil facial tumour disease is still a big problem, the platypus is suffering from fungal ulcers.

"Pademelons are going down with toxoplasmosis in a big way and blundering blindly on to roadways and elevating the incidence of roadkill. Wombats are coming down with sarcoptic mange.

"Our frogs are being decimated by chytrid fungus infections and now there is some suggestion that quolls may have some pathogen in their population.

"What about all the species that no one is studying?

"It's most of the small and inconspicuous birds and animals, there are no comprehensive surveys, so we don't have any idea how they are faring."

She said there was no systematic survey of native fauna species and no up-to-date, accessible database plotting their wellbeing.

She said Tasmania's wildlife was routinely persecuted by:

- 1080 poison and unregulated poisoning.

- Recreational hunting using dogs.

- Crop-protection shooting.

- Commercial shooting and trapping.

- Dog and cat attack.

- Logging, clearing and habitat modification.

- Introduction of foxes and other feral animals.

- Roadkill.

Basslink process defence

The Mercury: Basslink process defence [27nov05]

BASSLINK underwent the most rigorous examination of any energy project in Australian history, says Hydro Tasmania.

Hydro Tasmania communications officer Helen Brain said the Joint Advisory Panel (JAP) which assessed the $2.3 billion project had conducted an exhaustive process.

"Hydro Tasmania met JAP's exhaustive requirement for information, evidence and the provision of expert witnesses," Ms Brain said.

"As the JAP's recommendation that the project be given approval to proceed was accepted by the Commonwealth, Victorian and Tasmanian jurisdictions, obviously those jurisdictions considered that the JAP had covered all aspects of its task."

Ms Brain said Hydro Tasmania had provided University of Tasmania researcher Ronlyn Duncan with access to information.

"Hydro Tasmania provided her with access to senior managers who talked to her on numerous occasions about the aspects of Basslink in which she was interested," she said. "Where she sought commercial-in-confidence information, that was declined, as it was with other observers and commentators on the project, such as the media."

Ms Brain said Hydro Tasmania was not responsible for the JAP process but had met its requirements.

"If Dr Duncan has issues with the process, then she needs to address them with the JAP but we would be surprised if the JAP concedes her point that it focused on the environmental impacts because it was charged with investigating the social, environmental and economic implications of its task," she said.

Project viability tests 'rigorous'

The Mercury: Project viability tests 'rigorous' [27nov05]

BASSLINK'S economic viability was adequately examined, says the executive commissioner of the Resource Planning and Development Commission.

Julian Green said the RPDC's Joint Advisory Panel (JAP) had rigorously cross-examined expert witnesses.

Mr Green, who chaired the JAP, said environmental impacts had predominated throughout the hearings but not at the expense of the economics.

He said the environment had been the major focus of most submissions.

"Most submitters were concerned about the environmental impacts," Mr Green said.

"Very few were about the economic, but we did certainly address the economic impacts.

"We operate on the best evidence, that's the rule you operate on, it's either best evidence or no evidence. Everything was tested and nothing was taken for granted."

Mr Green said he had been provided with a copy of Ronlyn Duncan's PhD thesis.

"Ronlyn sent me a copy which I haven't yet read," he said.

Hydro's link of faith

The Mercury: Hydro's link of faith [27nov05]

Mystery still surrounds Basslink, writes Simon Bevilacqua

BASSLINK economics have been cordoned off from the public, says a researcher who spent three years studying the project.

Tasmanians are expected to have blind faith that the Hydro got its sums right, she says.

University of Tasmania researcher Ronlyn Duncan fears a "zealous" commitment to the Basslink idea may have blinded Hydro Tasmania and compromised judgments about the $2.3 billion project's economic viability.

Dr Duncan says the business case for Basslink was not explained to the Joint Advisory Panel (JAP) which assessed and approved the project -- or to the Tasmanian community which will pay for it.

"The JAP was given a fait accompli and was left to do the best it could with the project within the constraints already imposed on it," Dr Duncan said in her thesis.

She said the process was not an integrated assessment based on social, economic and environmental impacts as required by law. It was little more than an environmental impact assessment.

"The broader implications of this project of state and national significance, particularly its economic aspects, were cordoned off from discussion," she said.

Dr Duncan spent three years studying the Basslink assessment process for her PhD.

Before coming to Tasmania in 2001, Dr Duncan graduated from the University of New South Wales with both a science and an arts degree.

She spent two years with the NSW Government's Sustainable Energy Development Authority, working with business to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

She came to Tasmania and attended all but one of 16 days of Resource Planning and Development Commission public hearings in 2001.

Dr Duncan read Tasmanian submissions and accessed 67 audiotapes of RPDC proceedings.

She became intimately familiar with the Basslink Draft Integrated Impact Assessment Statement (DIIAS) -- 6000 pages in 10 volumes with 75 additional reports.

"If stacked, the Basslink DIIAS would stand over one metre high," Dr Duncan said.

Quantity, however, does not equate to quality.

She said the DIIAS fell short of world's best practice, as sold to the Tasmanian public.

"If size was the criterion by which the rigour of an impact assessment statement and process should be judged, then Basslink's would be in the running," Dr Duncan said.

"In terms of comprehensibility, however, it would rank low. I found the DIIAS extraordinarily difficult to navigate. I was not alone."

Many public submissions complained about the DIIAS.

Basslink consultants Brown and Root Services Asia Pacific Pty Ltd (now Halliburton KBR Pty Ltd) also noted its unwieldy structure and shortcomings.DR Duncan's central concern was that economic impacts were a minor part of paperwork and consultation.

Evidence about Basslink's fiscal dimensions was restricted to two reports annexed to the DIIAS -- both predictive computer modelling.

Fiscal predictions were anchored in one predictive model called PROPHET -- about which there was little critical literature and no scrutiny.

She said modelling and inputs went unchallenged.

During RPDC hearings the line rental, or facility fee, to be paid by the Hydro to use Basslink was kept secret.

Dr Duncan said it was impossible to judge Basslink's viability without knowing how much it was going to cost the Hydro.

"With the economic aspects of the project embedded within predictive modelling and information about how the use of the link would be paid for deemed not for discussion, assessment of the viability of the project was cordoned off from independent analysis and verification and expected to be accepted on trust," Dr Duncan said.

The Hydro recently revealed the line rental, or facility fee, was about $92 million a year for 25 years.

This was at the top of the range suggested during the RPDC hearings -- the Greens and Victoria's Basslink Concerned Citizens guessed the annual fee to be between $60 million and $90 million.

"With issues of economic viability and the cost of the project out of bounds, the Tasmanian Government and the people of Tasmania have only the [Hydro Tasmania] board to rely on to make decisions about the viability of Basslink," Dr Duncan said.

"This is not to criticise the integrity or calibre of the board but it may be that zealous adherence to the ideas of Basslink has blinded the representatives of [Hydro Tasmania] and compromised their judgments about economic viability of the project."

Rescuing The Rescuers -

Rescuing The Rescuers - David Llewellyn, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Deputy Premier David Llewellyn today recognised the hard work done by Tasmania?s eight Volunteer Coast Guard flotillas.

Mr Llewellyn thanked the members of the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association and the former members of the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol in bringing about a unified off shore rescue organisation.

?The closure of five former divisions of the RVCP and the way this closure came about was horrible, but we have persisted and now we have a truly state-wide organisation available to assist with off shore rescues.

?I was more than pleased that the government could step in when it did and ensure the assets of the former RVCP divisions were not lost to the state.

These assets have now been returned to the communities that need them and are there for these, often unsung, volunteers to use.

Mr Llewellyn said Tasmania was well served by the eight flotillas and during the coming summer months their skills and expertise would be used in assisting members of the boating community who may require some sort of help or assistance.

The major boating areas around the State are well covered from the Channel, the Derwent, Frederick Henry Bay, across the East Coast, the Tamar and along the North West Coast.

?I am also pleased to hear that there is a possibility of a ninth flotilla being formed on the far North West Coast.

?I have said many times that Tasmania is blessed with the many volunteers who give up their time freely to assist others.

?The public is usually unaware of the Coast Guard?s activities as the volunteers work quietly in the background, never seeking recognition for their wonderful efforts,? Mr Llewellyn said.

Tasmania?s Fisheries Already Secured -

Tasmania?s Fisheries Already Secured - Steven Kons, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

he Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Steve Kons, commended the $220 million Commonwealth fisheries package announced on Thursday, but stressed Tasmanian fisheries had already been secured.

?I commend the Commonwealth on taking steps to ensure the Commonwealth fisheries around South East Australia are put on a sustainable footing and welcome the discussion to reduce the Total Allowable Catch in a number of fisheries,? Mr Kons said.

?However, I am concerned that the Parliament Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Richard Colbeck, has implied that the package offered will secure the future of Tasmania?s fisheries.

?It?s disappointing that Senator Colbeck disregard the measures already agreed to by Tasmanian fishermen to guarantee the sustainability of their resource.

?Tasmania?s fisheries are already managed in a sustainable manner and the Commonwealth measures are a matter of catching up.?

He said Tasmania?s rock lobster and abalone fisheries were among the first to be given accreditation for sustainability by the Commonwealth Minister for Environment.

Mr Kons said Thursday?s announcement concerned Commonwealth fisheries adjacent to Tasmanian fisheries.

?We are now in the enviable position of concentrating on getting maximum benefit out of our fisheries, which are based on a total catch management system.?

Amplified: Sounds from Tasmania inaugural award winners announced

Amplified: Sounds from Tasmania inaugural award winners announced - Lara Giddings, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Eight awards for outstanding contributions to original music in Tasmania were announced last night as part of the inaugural 2005 Amplified Awards.

The awards were presented amongst a host of celebrities, national music industry personnel and live music as part of the Amplified: Sounds from Tasmania festival.

Arts Minister Lara Giddings said Amplified had fulfilled its aim of showcasing the quality and depth of talent of Tasmania?s musicians, songwriters and producers.

?The festival has increased public awareness, both within Tasmania and abroad, of the unique contemporary music industry that is making its mark on the national and international scene,? she said.

Amongst other awards, Ms Giddings announced David Blanche as the winner of the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Original Tasmanian Music category for 2005.

?This award celebrates the achievements of an individual or an organisation that has been involved in the Tasmanian original music industry for a minimum of five years,? Ms Giddings said.

?David, who is from Launceston, is an avid supporter of original music in Tasmania. He has set up and teaches numerous courses at TAFE and College level and has produced numerous compilation CDs of original Tasmanian music.

?He was even involved with setting up a Launceston radio station focusing solely on Australian and Tasmanian music. He also helped to set up and is still on the TasMusic board as well as organising live shows and giving his time and advice to many of Tasmania?s up and coming artists.?

Seven other awards were presented and the winners are:

1. REDD Award - Best Original Tasmanian act ? Sir Veto

2. Best Tasmanian CD release ? Waiter Moving Objects CD

3. Best Up and Coming Original Tasmanian Act ? Jordan Millar, and The Que Experience (joint winners)

4. Most supportive venue ? The Trout

5. Best studio ? Red Planet Recording

6. Best live engineer ? Gregg Ransley

7. Peoples choice (Best Live Act) ? The Styles

As winners of the REDD Award for Best Original Tasmanian act, Sir Veto will receive a development package provided by Celtex Ltd valued at approximately $50,000.

This fantastic award consists of pre-production, recording, mixing and mastering for a five track E.P at Metropolis Audio, in Melbourne. It also includes studio time, producer, engineer, artwork, packaging, distribution and promotion of the EP via the ?Variety Store? distribution network as well as an Ausmusic education and training package for band members.

Other winners receive an Amplified trophy and an award generously supplied by the following sponsors; TasMusic, Australian Hotels Association, Edge Radio, The Falls Festival, and Sauce Street Press.

Amplified: Sounds from Tasmania will continue until Sunday 27 November 2005 and features 15 national music industry experts, and over 20 local music industry experts speaking at the forum program, as well as over 80 Tasmanian acts covering a wide range of musical genres performing live.

A program detailing the festival and its participants is available from festival venues or check the Arts Tasmania website at: www.arts.tas.gov.au.