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.
I caught up with the Circular Head Council General Manager this week on one of my regular visits to CIRCULAR HEAD to ask what the main matters occupying the time and energy of Circular Head Council are. I always appreciate the opportunity to chat with the Local Government GM’s to ensure I am aware of the challenges and opportunities communities in my electorate are dealing with.
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.
If there’s one policy that’s kept the wolf from the door for millions of Australians, it’s the JobKeeper payment.
While imperfect, it was timely and worked because it was a relatively direct payment to those in need.
One of the federal government’s first responses to the pandemic in March was a tax deduction for spending on plant and equipment up to $150,000 to stop the economy collapsing. Who was going to borrow to install plant with unemployment set to soar and demand about to fall off a cliff?
The task ahead, the economic "fight of our lives", requires understanding of current challenges before designing a recovery plan for the post pandemic world.
All states will be facing similar problems. New ways of thinking and responding are necessary. The need for change has to be understood, as do the challenges. Hopefully our new pragmatic Premier will continue as to put his cards on the table for all to see.
For every dollar received this year, Tasmania will spend $1.29. Spending on health will help, says Ruth Forrest
NEVER waste a crisis.
It’s a hackneyed phrase for sure, but it accurately sums up the sentiment of people I talk to. We need to take advantage of new opportunities as we rebuild and not squander any positives this extraordinary time has presented. We also need to explore which things we can do better.
It was pleasing to hear the Prime Minister announce a continuation of the National Cabinet following its success as a decision-making forum during the pandemic. A continuation of cooperative federalism will be needed to ensure recovery of state government finances and is crucial to service delivery at the coalface. The plight of state governments has scarcely rated a mention as all focus has been on the millions of private businesses and their employees, but they have suffered similar revenue losses.