As the end of 2022 rapidly approaches, our community prepares for the festive season and for many, a break from work and time for family and reflection.
After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic many people are feeling tired and feeling the pressure of rising costs of living, housing shortages, prolonged waiting times for healthcare and ever-increasing power bills, just to name a few.
In an illuminating answer on November 10th to my Question on Notice, Resources Minister Barnett gave a fresh insight into Hydro Tasmania.
Without Marinus, Battery of the Nation (BotN) projects proposed by Hydro won’t proceed leaving Hydro struggling to maintain its “existing and ageing assets”, Minister Barnett revealed.
The glory days of the first wave of hydro industrialisation are over.
It’s been 30 years since the last hydro power station was built, yet Hydro still owes $720 million and is finding it more difficult to hang onto funds needed to look after its ageing assets, in part due to the point-blank refusal by successive governments to find other sources of revenue, instead using Hydro as a convenient ATM.
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.
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.