Nationals in Government deliver sporting upgrades across regional Tasmania

Eight regional Tasmanian sporting clubs will benefit from major upgrades thanks to grants from the Nationals in Federal Government announced on Monday by Australian Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie and Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin.

Senator McKenzie, who visited the sites at Launceston, Devonport and Deloraine with Steve Martin, said her Nationals colleague had lobbied hard on behalf of the successful applicants, notably through videos on his Facebook page.

“He is a tenacious advocate for regional Tasmania and we both share a love for sport because we understand its benefits, particularly for the development of children,” Senator McKenzie said.

Senator Martin said the positive outcome vindicated his move to join the Nationals in Government earlier this year.

In politics, like in sport, you can sit on the sidelines and complain or get on the field and score goals. I am glad I chose the latter,” Senator Martin said.

  • Launceston Tennis won $500,000 towards much needed changing room, toilet and office facilities;

  • Devonport City Soccer Club was awarded $385,000 for changing rooms (particularly for female players who had to use the board room);

  • Meander Valley Council is getting $50,000 towards two new flood lit courts at Deloraine.

  • Leven Yacht Club at Ulverstone will improve beach access for sailing thanks to a grant of $11,680.

  • Huon Valley PCYC has won $65,000 for solar power and energy efficient lighting.

  • The fields at Kingsborough Sports Centre will soon be usable all year round thanks to a $113,000 investment in sub soil drainage.

  • Weily Park Oval facilities in Bridgewater, including the changing rooms, kiosk and verandah will undergo a $192,000 upgrade.

  • Oatlands Golf Club has won $54,000 for solar power and upgrading catering facilities.

Senator Steve Martin demands Royal Commission into fuel prices and supermarkets

A Royal Commission into supermarket behaviour and fuel prices is needed to stop Tasmanian families being ripped off at the bowser and Tasmanian farmers being ripped off by Coles and Woolworths, according to Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin.

“I am launching a petition so I have the backing of people power when I try to convince the federal Government to initiate a Royal Commission into the misuse of market power by Australia’s supermarkets, and petrol retailing in Australia, Senator Martin said.

“Tasmanians are being gouged every time they fill up. The average price for unleaded at the end of November was between $1.22 and $1.25 a litre in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane but $1.60 a litre across Tasmania.”

“With very little public transport options in Tasmania and the longer distances travelled in regional Tasmania, it is a huge financial burden on local communities and businesses,” Senator Martin said.

“And just like with the banks, only a full blown Royal Commission will force the supermarkets to reveal and correct the exploitative way they treat Tasmanian farmers and food processors.”

“Coles and Woolies are bullies taking advantage their 75 per cent share of the supermarket industry.”

“It has become almost impossible for independent butchers and grocers to compete even though we produce the best and cleanest food in the world,

The petition can be signed on the Senator Steve Martin Facebook page or search for Royal Commission at gopetition.com.

Regional Tasmanian students disadvantaged by Uni housing costs

The University of Tasmania needs to do more on the accommodation front to ensure regional Tasmanians are not dissuaded from pursuing and continuing further education, according to Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin.

“Constituents have approached me to advise the University is not renewing leases on student housing, causing considerable angst among regional students who cannot afford Hobart’s very expensive private rental market,” Senator Martin said.

“This is unfair on students from the country because Hobart students often already have their own accommodation or live with their parents.”

“I have written to the Vice Chancellor offering to go into bat in Canberra for him and suggesting the University tackle the problem by increasing the supply of student accommodation and offering more courses outside Hobart.”

“Further expanding the University’s footprint in regional Tasmania will give all Tasmanian students a fairer go, it will boost economic activity in regional centres, and make it a truly all of Tasmania university,” Senator Martin concluded.

 

Long term plan needed to fix Tasmanian health crisis

Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin has applauded Speaker Sue Hickey’s intervention into the Tasmanian hospitals debate, saying he had been making similar points for over a decade.

“With successive State Governments it has always been about short term fixes and never about the long term planning needed to get our hospitals off life support,” Senator Martin said.

“Despite record health funding from the Commonwealth to Tasmania, there is a deadly game of musical beds being played out between Launceston General Hospital, North West Regional Hospital in Burnie and Mersey Community Hospital at Latrobe”

“The State Government’s response to this endemic crisis is to fly nurses and clinicians in from the mainland and build helipads to fly patients to other hospitals.”

“This is an incredibly expensive and short sighted response to the crisis and has clearly not worked for the past decade.”

“That is why I share Speaker Hickey’s view that the Hobart Liberal Government does need to sit down with stakeholders including those from regional Tasmania and set a new course.”

“That is what we did to save Mersey Community Hospital from the Hobart axe in 2007 and that is what must be done now,” Senator Martin concluded.

Meetings between industry and government "positive for Tasmanian coastal shipping"

Tasmanians can be confident of a positive future for Tasmanian coastal shipping following meetings between the industry and the federal government brokered by Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin.

"All industries need legislative reform from time to time. The key to success is making sure legislators understand the impact of their proposals, especially in Tasmania which so often has different challenges and opportunities compared to the Mainland," Senator Martin said.

"Coastal Shipping in Tasmania is well represented by the Tasmanian Logistics Committee chaired by Ability Logistics Tasmania General Manager, Brett Charlton.

"I arranged meetings between Mr Charlton's Committee and Federal Government officials in both Canberra and Tasmania this year."

"As a result, there is increased mutual understanding and, in particular, a recognition that Tasmania is a special case."

Tasmanian Logistics Chairman Brett Charlton said the meetings had been positive.

"What Tasmanian business needs is both reform to make the sector more competitive and protection to ensure temporary international entrants to the market don't damage permanent local players," Mr Charlton said.

Sparing wealthier churches does not justify fire sale of the others, Senator Martin says

Tasmanian Anglican bishop Richard Condie’s partial backflip on property sales is cold comfort for parishioners and supporters of the dozens of regional Tasmanian churches that remain on the chopping block, according to Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin.

“I note Bishop Condie said most of the properties removed from the list were where parishes had raised the funds equivalent to their redress contribution,” Senator Martin said.

"In other words wealthier communities were able to buy a lifeline for their place of worship but if you can’t send enough cash to Hobart, you have to kiss your church goodbye.”

“The redress money is important but this is a short-sighted and highly questionable fund raising strategy, particularly when 75 per cent of the proceeds won’t be used for that purpose.”

“I have received heartfelt pleas from people all over Tasmania, like one older lady desperate to save the beautiful St James Church in Colebrook.”

“As she wrote to the Bishop, it features a stained glass window in memorial to soldiers of the Great War and ‘if we lose our history, we lose part of ourselves’.”

“Unfortunately, she was unable to change the Bishop’s mind.”

Senator Martin said numerous people had signed his petition at saveourchurches.com.au and pledged he would not give up until the ink dries on the last sale deed.

“The rest of Australia should pay heed because if the Anglican hierarchy gets away with this in Tasmania, they’ll likely follow suit on the mainland,” Senator Martin warned.

Tasmanian Anglican churches facing sale and closure

All Saints Church, Melton Mowbray; All Souls Church & Cemetery, Patersonia; Christ Church, Low Head; Church of the Ascension & Hall, Lilydale; Church of the Good Shepherd, Hadspen; St Alban’s Church, Pipers River; St Andrew’s Church & Hall, Lenah Valley; St Anne’s Church and Hall, Lutana; St Augustine’s Church, Macquarie Plains; St Barnabas’ Church & Hall; St Barnabas’ Church and Hall, South Arm; St Bartholomew’s Church, Forest; St David’s Church, Riverside; St George’s Church & Cemetery, Gagebrook; St George’s Church, Mathinn; St James’ Church & Hall, Northdown; St James’ Church and Hall, Montague Bay; St James’ Church, Colebrook; St James’ Church, Jericho; St James the Less Church, Osterley; St John the Baptist Church, Buckland; St John the Baptist Church, Branxholm; St John the Evangelist Church, Lower Marshes; t John’s Church & Cemetery, Franklin; St John’s Church & Cemetery, Plenty; St John’s Church, Railton; St John’s Church, Ross; St Luke’s Church & Hall, Latrobe; St Luke’s Church, Judbury; St Mark’s Chapel of Ease, Bellerive; St Mark’s Church & Hall, Bridport; St Mark’s Church & Hall, Launceston; St Mark’s Church, Cressy; St Martin’s Church & Hall, Chigwell; St Martin’s Church, Dunalley; St Mary’s Church, Gretna; St Mary’s Church, Hall & Burial Ground, Kempton; St Michael’s Church, Kimberley; St Olave’s Church, Stony Rise; St Oswald’s Church & Hall; St Oswald’s Church, Tunbridge; St Paul’s Church & Hall, Stanley; St Paul’s Church/Hall, Myalla; St Peter’s Church & Rectory, Fingal; St Peter’s Church, Blackmans Bay; St Peter’s Church, Hall and Rectory; St Stephen’s Church & Hall, Sandy Bay; St Thomas’ Church & Cemetery, Tea Tree; and St Thomas’ Church, Avoca.

Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin recovering from surgery

Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin is recovering at his Devonport home following successful surgery to replace a heart valve at Royal Hobart Hospital last week.

“I am very grateful for the dedication and skills of Tasmanian health professionals and for the strong moral support I have received from family, close friends and my staff,” Senator Martin said.

“We may disagree on the levels and distribution of public hospital funding in Australia, but we have the best public health system in the world and I would not want this procedure done anywhere else.”

Senator Martin is expected to take some weeks to fully recover following the operation but stressed his office is running as normal.

He has politely respected that his privacy be respected during his convalescence.

Economic report tells Hobart not to forget the regions, Nationals senator argues

News that Tasmania is beginning to outpace mainland states economically on the back of a booming tourism industry is a stark reminder to governments that it needs to invest much more in regional Tasmania, according to Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin.

“The latest Commsec State of the States report shows Tasmania no longer holds the economic wooden spoon and the Liberal State Government deserves credit for that, but it needs to start spending a lot more outside Hobart,” Senator Martin said.

“The report credits a surge in tourism for the economic turnaround and, according to Tourism Tasmania, a majority of visitors are coming to regional Tasmania not Hobart and that gap is growing.”

“That is why the State Government needs to rethink its Hobart-centric approach.”

“For example it initially agreed to a deal I secured to scuttle HMAS Darwin off the East Coast as a permanent tourism draw for dive enthusiasts but then balked at the cost at the last minute.”

“Another example is a recent ministerial statement on the Tasmanian health system. It was almost exclusively about Hobart Hospital; the only mention of our other great regional hospitals was the provision of helipads and bus services.”

“Launceston, Devonport, Burnie and all the rest of regional Tasmania contribute more than our fair share and we deserve our fair share in return,” Senator Martin concluded.

Canberra chips in $12m for Simplot UIverstone

Simplot Ulverstone has won a $12 million Liberal and Nationals Government grant to boost production and create and secure much-needed extra jobs for regional Tasmanians, local Nationals Senator Steve Martin has announced.

“The company is contributing $37 million to the $49 million project with the remainder coming from the Regional Growth Fund secured by the Nationals in Government,” Senator Martin said.

“The project which upgrades the company’s potato processing facility will create 117 jobs during the three year construction period and, importantly, secure hundreds of existing jobs which could have been lost overseas.”

“I visited the plant only last week. It is a model company in every sense: they are major players in Foodbank and the day I was there they broke their 465 safety record,” Senator Martin said.

“It is a state-of-the-art potato processing factory employing more than 400 Tasmanians and buying about 300,000 tonnes of spuds from 150 Tassie farmers each year.”

“Agriculture is a huge part of the Tassie economy, but farming is not enough. We need companies like Simplot which value add and create more local jobs and more income for regional Tasmania.”

The Simplot site was developed in 1942 firstly as a rabbit skin factory, then a fishery. In 1995 the J.R. Simplot Company purchased the site and began trading as Simplot Australia  

Hobart Libs sink East Coast jobs hopes

A decision by the Tasmanian Liberal State Government to turn down an offer of a free decommissioned Navy frigate to become a tourism-boosting diving wreck in the Bay of Fires’ Skeleton Bay on Tasmania's east coast has drawn heavy fire from Tasmanian Nationals senator Steve Martin.

"The State Government asked Canberra for this ship so it just beggars belief that it now says it doesn't want it," Senator Martin said.

"I am skeptical about the State Treasurer's claim that the scuttling and ongoing costs are prohibitive."

"The State Government says the money would be better spent on health and education. I would be more sympathetic if it committed to redirecting the alleged $12 million cost to regional hospitals."

Senator Martin said the Liberal State Government deserved praise for making strong progress in terms of the state's finances, but that this was another example of it neglecting economic growth outside Hobart.

"This dive wreck would be there forever thus permanently boosting dive tourism for a part of the state in much need of jobs and growth," Senator Martin said.

"The Queensland Labor Government accepted HMAS Tobruk which was in June sunk off the coast between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay and is set to attract dive enthusaists from all over the world."

"If it is good enough for Queensland, it should be good enough for Tasmania."

HMAS Darwin was a guided missile frigate which defended Australia for thirty-three years before its decommission ten months ago.  

Notable achievements include peacekeeping in the Persian Gulf and off the Solomon Islands and East Timor.

It was responsible for the seizure of a ton of heroin off the African Coast and more than six tons of hashish in the Indian Ocean