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

paranaple and Providore Place open, now for Devonport waterfront

Redeveloping the waterfront is next on the list, Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin declared at the opening of Stage 1 of Devonport’s Living Cities project.

“I am proud to have led the Council that secured $10 million from the Liberals and Nationals Federal Government for Stage 1 and to have obtained a further $10 million for the next phase, this time as a Tasmanian Nationals senator,” Senator Martin said.

“After 30 years of dreaming and numerous attempts, the vision for Living City was born in February 2012 and set to change our city’s heart and to revive our region.”

“This project shows just how vibrant and dynamic Devonport is today.”

“This is only the beginning. The next stage is attracting private investment for a 150 room Hotel that will overlook the new Waterfront precinct.”

Senator Martin said Living City was a long term project and through its futuristic vision would provide 830 ongoing jobs and inject $112 million into the local economy each year.”

“It is the largest urban renewal ever undertaken in regional Tasmania,” Senator Martin said.

“It will lead by example that It is OK to dream, to be aspirational, to back yourself and the aim to always leave behind a better place than what you started with, one with more opportunity and one with more possibilities,” Senator Martin concluded.

New Tassie Nationals demand action against fake food and AFL discrimination

The newly formed Tasmanian National Party has gone straight into bat for regional interests, calling on the Federal Government to take action against fake food labelling and support the local push for Tassie teams in the national AFL and WAFL competitions.

Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin said he was more than happy to continue taking up those causes with his colleagues in Canberra.

“Nationals Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie has taken to carrying a jar of real Tasmanian honey around with her and misses no opportunity to warn people against fake honey imports which are ripping off consumers and farmers alike,” Senator Martin said.

“I also have the Deputy Prime Minister on video supporting my push for Tassie teams in the AFL and WAFL by 2023.”

“The AFL fat cats in Melbourne have been taking Tasmania for granted for decades and that has to stop.”

“Either grant us what is rightfully ours, or we’ll court other sports federations,” Senator Martin warned.

The Tasmanian Nationals branch meeting followed the party’s first ever conference in the state and was attended by delegates from all over Australia including Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

“The Nationals fight hard for regional areas and they deliver in spades. That is why I joined,” Senator Martin concluded.

New look waterfront opens in Derwent Valley

Tasmania’s Derwent Valley waterfront will host even more events and festivals thanks to a revitalisation of the New Norfolk  Esplanade.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Liberal and Nationals’ Government worked in partnership with the Derwent Valley Council to deliver an important piece of infrastructure for the entire New Norfolk region.

“The revitalised Esplanade will create a more attractive destination for increasing visitors to the region and provide better public amenities and recreation facilities for the whole community to enjoy,” Mr McCormack said.

Senator for Tasmania Jonathon Duniam said the Esplanade is the largest open community space in the Derwent Valley.  

“The Esplanade has traditionally been the main hub for the community to come together for various social activities and sporting events. It’s great that we’ll now see more people getting out and involved along the waterfront,” Senator Duniam said.

Deputy Nationals Leader and Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation Bridget McKenzie said the precinct also includes a campground and the town swimming pool.

“It’s so important for people of all ages to get active and this new precinct will encourage the whole community to get outside and enjoy nature while also improving their health,” Senator McKenzie said. 

Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin said 30 jobs were supported during construction and the project will support one ongoing position.

“The new improvements will allow for greater outdoor recreational activity, with lighting, new play facilities and multi-use trails,” Senator Martin said.

Mayor of Derwent Valley Martyn Evans said the revitalisation works had transformed and modernised the river waterfront area, enhancing the local character and ambience of New Norfolk and the Derwent River.

“The Esplanade can now become a place for regular events and is a real asset to our community,” Cr Evans said.

The Derwent Valley Waterfront Revitalisation project was jointly funded with the Australian Government committing $600,000, and the Derwent Valley Council $76,659.

First Qantas Group Pilot Academy announced

Nationals Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin has expressed his disappointment at Toowoomba being announced as the home for the first Qantas Group Pilot Academy, however he says Tasmania is still in with a chance for the second school.

“While it is disappointing we’ve missed out on the first school, we’re still very much in the running for the second site which is due to be announced later this year,” Senator Martin said.

“Toowoomba obviously put in an exceptional bid, and I congratulate them on their efforts.  Tasmania has also put in a strong and compliant bid for the Qantas Group Pilot Academy with Qantas identifying Launceston as a preferred option,” he said.

“The securing of the second site would be a huge win for the State. It would lift our profile on the international stage as a provider of world’s best training facilities.”

Applications open for $200 million regional funding round

Tasmanian communities are invited to apply for a share in $200 million under Round 3 of the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the projects delivered under Round 3 will ensure regional and remote communities continue to thrive.

“We have had fantastic outcomes over the first two funding rounds of the Coalition Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and I expect Round 3 to deliver more of the same with up to $45 million earmarked to increase tourism,” Mr McCormack said.

“Tourism is a major industry in many of our regional areas, and this investment in tourism-related infrastructure projects will draw more visitors to remote and regional Australia and the economic benefits they bring with them.

“In this third round we are investing a further $200 million – a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to investing in projects that create jobs, build regional economies and ensure strong and resilient regional communities into the future.”

Nationals Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin is urging communities around the State to take advantage of the fund and get local infrastructure and community-building projects of all sizes off the ground. 

“This fund is dedicated to unlocking the economic potential in remote and regional Australia and I encourage all eligible organisations with a great project idea to apply for the third round of funding,” Senator Martin said.

Applications are now open and close on 15 November 2018.

Further information on eligibility and how to apply is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/bbrf

Safety improvements for Launceston Hospital

The Launceston General Hospital is now a much safer place for locals, patients and visitors following a series of new pedestrian and road safety upgrades.  

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the safety improvements are a great outcome for Launceston, encouraging more people to visit the busy area.

“The project will help ensure locals, tourists and visitors can easily access this part of the city, with the upgrade including a dedicated pedestrian crossing point, improved footpaths, road resurfacing and new line marking,” Mr McCormack said.

Senator for Tasmania David Bushby, who joined the local community for the opening, said the project identified the area as a ‘hospital zone’ and includes a number of initiatives designed to slow down traffic.

“The design is aimed at making motorists more aware of pedestrians, and particularly those with mobility impairment, which is absolutely essential for ensuring patients and visitors can access the hospital more safely,” Mr Bushby said.

Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin, who joined Senator Bushby today, said this section of road carries up to 10,000 vehicles each day.

“These upgrades will improve pedestrian safety and also provide better access for cyclists, with continuous bike lines now on both sides of the street,” Senator Martin said.

Mayor of City of Launceston Albert Van Zetten said the city is grateful for the support of the Liberal and Nationals’ Government toward this important pedestrian safety project.

“There’s a high volume of pedestrians in the area around the Launceston General Hospital, but until recently there was no dedicated crossing point for people on foot, and we believe these improvements will make the area around Launceston General Hospital safer for all road users,”
Cr Van Zetten said.

The $500,000 Launceston General Hospital Pedestrian safety improvement project was jointly funded with the Australian Government investing $230,000 and the Launceston City Council $270,000.