Will Tasmanian consumers end up subsidising new wind farms just so the latter can send their goods to market via the Marinus Link, asks Ruth Forrest
THE list of infrastructure projects that would enhance our standard of living and unlock the benefits that will make us a more productive, fairer and equitable society is limited only by our imagination.
Selecting which project, trying to assess costs and benefits, particularly the flow-on benefits from well-planned infrastructure, is the perennial challenge for public policy.
The crisis in the national electricity market has confirmed one thing: Despite the recently announced power price rises, we in Tasmania are better off than other eastern states.
We are now self-sufficient with renewable energy. Wind produces 20 per cent of our needs with hydro power comfortably providing the remainder. Basslink can also import electricity and Hydro has gas peaking units that can be used if needed.
Voters need to be well informed, and not succumb to the scare tactics of the major parties, writes Ruth Forrest
OUR parliaments, both federal and state, are made up of individuals elected to serve the people. But most have been anointed by the major parties, which are now run by a coterie of largely nameless officials. Other candidates are parachuted in as "captain's picks" with the party membership having no opportunity to vet or even contribute to the selection of candidates that are likely to represent the views of their party and electorate. As a consequence, members have deserted the major parties in droves because they feel unheard and ignored.
THE Premier's recent State of the State address, a rallying cry to Tasmanians seeking to assure us we're heading in the right direction.
The reality is it fails to adequately discuss the underlying problems that continue to face us.
That's not a criticism per se, more a comment on the nature of a small state in a much larger federation, where macro settings beyond our direct control have much more impact than anything state or local governments can do.
We need to understand and discuss the broader issues if we are to make real progress for the benefit of all.
Energy security, prices and the environmental impact of production all matter to Tasmanians. Much of the wheeling and dealing occurs behind closed doors. The information that enters the public arena is usually heavily redacted with claims of 'commercial in confidence' at every opportunity.
INDEPENDENT Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest believes the old UTAS Cradle Coast building would fit the needs of a new Burnie court complex.
Ms Forrest said the current complex needed replacing as it "isn't fit for purpose".
"Wherever it is located, it needs to be accessible to get there, the building needs to be accessible itself and it has to be made sure that it doesn't intimidate those that use the facility," Mrs Forrest said.
"There is a need for a new courthouse which is accessible and allows for the proper delivery of justice.
MOST of us want to leave this world in a better state than it is.
All the talk of renewable energy, hydrogen and the proposed Marinus Link suggest there's hope, but trying to get answers to the many questions is like pulling teeth. The government insists all three complement one another. Maybe but who will benefit and who will pay?
It's a terrible cliché but Tasmania is really at the crossroads.
The last few months of life in the corridors of powers has been a deeply unsettling experience.
The carefully nurtured growth in the Legislative Council as a respected house of review no longer has a majority of Independent Members. When both major parties join up there is little we can do to ensure full and proper scrutiny of legislation.
UNIVERSITY can be a daunting place. Historically universities were large formidable buildings full of academics and students with no doubt about their pathway in life through the gaining of a university degree.
For those who have no previous or family experience of university it can appear as an elitist and exclusive place where some may not feel welcome. Thankfully, time has moved on and universities have changed.
On a recent tour of our new UTAS Cradle Coast Campus (CCC) I was impressed to find rather than large daunting lecture theatres, learning spaces that are open, light and welcoming. There's a coffee shop open offering a great range of healthy foods and drinks and even more importantly, very welcoming, engaging and friendly staff.
The 2021-22 health budget includes many initiatives seeking to address the long-standing pressures and failures in our acute health services.
These pressures existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic which has clearly exposed many of our vulnerabilities.
Before, and as to be expected, during COVID we have continued to see waiting lists that are unacceptable, even with the latest figures showing some improvement - 11,007 people actually still waiting for surgery including 1033 people in category 1 (urgent cases where patients should be treated within 30 days), it is clear we have a lot of work to do.
Family violence is a shadow pandemic plaguing society and we must take urgent action the issue,
WE HAVE much to do to address the very real challenge of gender-based violence and all manifestations of domestic abuse and family violence. Changes to our consent laws and progress on making nonfatal strangulation a standalone offence are just two areas I have been promoting and actively working to see implemented.
The UN Declaration states: “Violence against women is any act of gender-based violence that causes or could cause physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of harm or coercion, in public or in private life”.
Stoking the fires of parochialism is easy. Anthony Haneveer's commentary on May 29 ("We love you Hobart, but get over yourselves") could be seen to perpetuate parochialism.
In response to the alleged noisy whingeing from Hobartians via their local newspaper about government largesse bestowed on those in the North and North-West, concluding with "(W)e're sick of the racket".
Being "sick of the racket" and the silly parochial games many in this state are so fond of, is where I find myself in complete agreement.
We can make honey forever from leatherwood forest, but we’re losing it fast
NORTH-WEST and Western Tasmania contain many unique tree species. Huon, King Billy and Celery top pines are well known. Leatherwood trees less so unfortunately. To walk through a stand of mature leatherwood trees in full flower is an unforgettable experience. Bees appreciate it even more.
Timber from leatherwood trees may lack the value of other iconic special species timbers, but the beautiful white flowers and the nectar they produce are of immense value. Leatherwood trees under 75 years old have few flowers while trees 175 to 210 years old produce the most flowers, and thus have the most value.
WHILE an early election was not unexpected, few expected such an indecent and a disingenuous rush to the ballot box. The signs had been there for weeks, a government clearing the decks, with promised legislation related to key election issues of political donations and pokies nowhere to be seen.
The Premier has led a stable government over the most challenging 12 months in recent history but now claims he needs certainty as he has lost his majority in the House, despite commitments of confidence and supply from crossbenchers.
Despite the challenging times, the government has continued to be stable and operate well, albeit with the defeat of some of its legislation, legislation that would have faced almost certain defeat in the Legislative Council — thus the same outcome.
My opinion piece, provided in full can been read here:
The signs have been there for some weeks. A government clearing the decks with promised, significant legislation related to key election issues of political donations and pokies nowhere to be seen.
But few expected such an indecent rush to the ballot box. The Premier has led a stable government over the most challenging twelve months in recent history, but now claims he needs certainty as he has lost his majority in the House. In reality he lost his majority some time ago.
Yet the government has continued to be stable during this time, operating well albeit with the defeat of some of its legislation, legislation that would have faced almost certain defeat in the Legislative Council - thus the same outcome.
Made up of many small communities, our beautiful North-West Coast provides economic benefit to our state well above many of the more populous areas. Every community is unique and special, offering different opportunities and challenges. The uniqueness and the relative isolation of many communities appears poorly understood or appreciated by policy makers tasked with meeting the needs of the state. This is evidenced by the 'one size fits all' approach taken in many policy decisions and subsequently in legislation.
COVID-19 caused enormous suffering and hardship, socially, economically and personally. Some were directly impacted more than others but no one remains untouched. We learned new ways of doing things and there are positive outcomes. Let’s hope the lessons that have seen the Australian economy survive COVID-19 aren’t quickly forgotten.
Parliament is a workplace. There are members, parliamentary staff, ministers and their staff and public servants of varying ages gender and seniority. Workplaces have a culture, the way they do things. Our parliaments generally have a poor culture with lack of clear 'rules' and few formal processes to address behaviours that would attract a formal and structured response in almost all other workplaces.
This year has been a challenging one in so many ways. Pressure on our relationships from family, to friends and colleagues, has been profound. For some, it has also heightened the risk and/or seriousness of family violence and abuse. Christmas, while a lovely family time for many, can be a time of great stress and heightened risk for those in abusive relationships.