Virtual Tassie Footy Team launch to support 2023 AFL/AFLW bid

Tasmania’s bid for Tasmanian teams in the AFL and AFLW received a boost on Saturday with Federal Minister for Sport Senator Bridget McKenzie and Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin launching a virtual Tassie Team which is free for all to join.

“Steve Martin has been going on about this since the first day he arrived in Canberra and his Virtual Tassie team has my full support,” Minister McKenzie said in Launceston on Saturday.

“The Nationals in Government are investing record funding in sport and despite being a Victorian myself, I would love to see an AFL team and especially an AFLW team from Tasmanian in the national competitions.

Senator Martin said the idea of was to harness people power to convince the AFL hierarchy to “do the right thing”.

“Go to and sign up. Please also like the TeamTas2023 page on Facebook. This has nothing to do with party politics: the more Tassies join the team, the harder it will be for the AFL not to fix the injustice of our absence from the comp,” Senator Martin said.

“It is just ridiculous that non footy states like NSW and Queensland were given two teams and we have zero.”

He said 2023 was chosen because it coincided with the period when Hawthorn and North Melbourne’s current contracts to play a handful of games in Tasmania are up for renewal as will be the television rights deal.

“If we miss this window, we’ll have to wait another five to seven years and that’s not good enough,” Senator Martin said.

“I note the State Government has set up a committee to look at the issue but that’s not going to be enough to convince the hard heads in Melbourne.”

“A huge virtual Tassie Team though is a message even they will understand.”

He said the name of the new teams would be up to the members, but that so far Tasmanian Devils was a crowd favourite.

Roundtable tackles regional connectivity issues

Minister for Regional Services Bridget McKenzie and Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin today held a roundtable discussion on regional communications in Wynyard, Tasmania.

The forum brought together local and national stakeholders to share their experiences and discuss innovative solutions to the challenges of regional telecommunications.

“The roundtable was a terrific opportunity to speak with representatives from peak bodies and interest groups, local governments from the surrounding area and some of the larger businesses in north-west Tasmania,” said Senator Martin.

“The discussion was robust and productive, focusing on current infrastructure, service accessibility and the experiences of regional Australians.

 “We understand the importance of improved connectivity in the regions as it helps drive the local economy through improved local tourism services.”

Under the Liberal National Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP), 46 mobile base stations have been deployed in Tasmania by Optus, Telstra and Vodafone through the first three rounds of the program.

A total $32 million of funding went to infrastructure for Tasmania including $14 million from the Australian Government and $700,000 from the Tasmanian Government. Tasmania received 13 of Telstra’s 4G small cells under round 1 of the program.

Over 1200 square kilometres of new and upgraded handheld coverage has been delivered by the 46 base stations built under the MBSP.

“Hearing from locals, interest groups and businesses, it’s clear just how important reliable telecommunications are for those living and working in regional, rural and remote areas,” said Minister McKenzie.

“Good mobile coverage is essential for public safety, access to education and health services, and economic development for regional business and industry, which is why we are investing more than ever before to improve connectivity.

“With a country as vast as ours, ensuring all Australians have access to high quality communications services is a complex challenge, but one that the Government is committed to addressing through the Mobile Black Spot Program and the NBN rollout.”

“The roundtable is another way the Government is listening to the concerns of regional Australians, and working toward practical and proactive solutions.”

 The Government is also carefully considering the recommendations from the Regional Telecommunications Review and will be responding before 30 March 2019.

$150,000 from Canberra for Tassie children literacy

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (Tasmanian Branch) will be able to do more for local children’s literacy thanks to a $150,000 grant over three years from Canberra secured by Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin.

Senator Martin, a past member of the CBCA Tasmania committee, made the announcement at Devonport Library on Monday in the company of Council President Leanne Rands.

“The funds will be used to promote and support Tasmanian Children’s Book Week over the next three years,” Senator Martin said.

“They will also help spread the popular Readers Cup, which I brought from Hobart to the North West, right across the State.

The Readers Cup is an annual inter school event which encourages children to pick up a book by bringing elements of fun and competition to reading.

Senator Martin said he has passionate about securing better educational outcomes for Tasmania’s youngest citizens, pointing to his Books for Babies and Toast for Kids and initiatives.

Books for babies is a project that aims to provide a free children’s book for every newborn in Tasmania, so parents can read to their baby from day one.

Toast for Kids is about raising money for School Breakfast Clubs in Devonport and surrounding areas, as well as raising money for the Books for Babies program.”

Senator Martin said locals can get involved right now by booking a place at the annual Toast for Kids Charity Gala at Providore Place in Devonport on 30 March 2019.”

Tickets are priced at $67.50 per person and can be brought online at the paranaple arts centre box office or online.

Another nine regional Tasmania projects funded by Nationals in Government

A series of community projects in Launceston and regional Tasmania will get off the ground or improve thanks to nine grants worth a total of $843,00, thanks to a Nationals in Government program known as the Building Better Regions Fund, Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin announced on Saturday.

“This is central to the Nationals’ mission to build stronger communities and get a fair share for Regional Tasmania,” Senator Martin said.

“The Nationals hold key ministries like Infrastructure, Local Government and Sport and that is how I am able to help get these projects approved.”

  • In Launceston, the Door of Good Hope Church has won $275,000 towards a project that will convert an unused warehouse into a centre for young adults with disabilities.

  • Tourism Northern Tasmania has won $11,300 for a professional leadership program.

  • Rural Youth Tasmania has been awarded nearly $100,000 for an accommodation block at Carrick.

  • Derwent Valley Council will use $123,650 towards building public toilets in Westerway next to the Hall.

  • $19,200 will fund a a project called Sustainable Tourism and Agricultural Growth in the Derwent Valley.

  • Northern Midlands Council has won two grants. $80,000 will fund “wayfinding” sculptures to help with directs to local tourism attractions. A further $17,800 will go towards theatrical performances showing the lives of early convicts in Tasmania.

  • The Tassie Scallop Fiesta at Bridport will be bigger and better with $19,500 invested to include family friendly fringe activities.

  • Dorset Council has won $200,000 to build a seven kilometre mountain bike trail linking Branxholm and Derby.

Senator Martin predicted the Nationals in Government would be delivering more grants for regional Tasmanian communities in the coming weeks and months.

Bass Nationals candidate Carl Cooper particularly welcomed the funding for Launceston, Bridport and Dorset.

“It is all about getting a fair share for regional Tasmania, building stronger regional communities and future proofing regional jobs,” Mr Cooper said.

Another $850,000 for Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trails in Kentish

The popular Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trails are set to get bigger and better with a an $850,000 grant from a Nationals in Government program known as the Building Better Regions Fund, according to Tasmanian Nationals Senator, Steve Martin.

Senator Martin said the project would build on regional Tasmania's growing reputation as a premier mountain bike destination, creating a new sustainable tourism product that the private sector can value add to.

“More eco tourism to Tasmania, means more local jobs and prosperity and it helps us get our fair share in regional Tasmania,” Senator Martin said.

“This goes about half way towards the extension of Stage 2 and the construction of Stage 3 and will deliver an extra 35 kilometres of trails and associated infrastructure,.”

The Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trail Project, progressed in partnership with Kenitsh and Latrobe Councils, will provide over 100 kilometres of world class mountain bike trails.

Senator Martin predicted the Nationals in Government would be delivering more grants from their Building Better Regions Fund for regional Tasmanian communities in the coming weeks.

“It is all about getting a fair share for regional Tasmania, building stronger regional communities and future proofing regional jobs,” he concluded.


Nationals in Government invest $4.8m in Flinders Marina and Harbour Project

Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin has announced a further major grant for Flinders Island following Thursday’s $1.8 million from the Nationals in Federal Government to upgrade the Flinders Island airport runway.

“We are funding another major item on the Flinders Council wish list, the Flinders Island Marine Access and Safe Harbour project.”

“The Nationals in Government will provide up to $4.8 million to fully fund this excellent project,” Senator Martin said.

It involves the development of a marina precinct to enable marine access and safe harbour. It includes a rock breakwater, a boat ramp and floating pontoon jetty, floating marina berths, amenities, sewage pump out, water out, water supply, power and fuel, car and trailer parking and slipway upgrade.

“This is all about getting a fair share for regional Tasmania and building stronger communities on Flinders Island,” Senator Martin said.

Carl Cooper, the Nationals candidate for the electorate of Bass, which includes Flinders Island, also praised the positive outcome.

“This vindicates my decision to run for the Nationals. We punch above our weight and deliver outcomes for smaller communities that wouldn’t otherwise happen,” Mr Cooper said.

Tas Government must buy Devonport meatworks to save local jobs

The Tasmanian Liberal Government must buy the Devonport City Abattoir to save local jobs and fix the Tasmanian lamb and sheep processing crisis, Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin said today.

Senator Martin said indecision on this issue by the Tasmanian Liberals would be “costing Tasmanian jobs, costing Tasmanian shoppers and costing animal welfare”.

The issue ignited because JBS now takes Tasmanian lamb and sheep previously processed in Devonport to Victoria for slaughtering before sending the meat back to Tasmania.

“This has cost hundreds of Tasmanian jobs, added about $1.30 a kilo to the price of lamb for the Tasmanian consumer and cost farmers $20 per head,” Senator Martin said.

“We now have the ludicrous situation of 850,000 sheep and lamb a year being live exported to Victoria only to come back a few days later as boxed meat.

“It’s time for the Tasmanian Liberals to stand up for Tasmanians instead of big multi-national corporations who are screwing Tasmania over.

“JBS shut the Devonport City Abattoir in November last year at a cost of 120 direct jobs with a huge effect on the local economy. JBS has also closed the meatworks on King Island, the sheep and lamb export floor at Longford and now they closed Devonport.

“The Devonport Abattoir has been valued at $1.02 million. TAS Quality Meats has re-opened the pig line and wants to do more but JBS refuses to lease the whole facility because it does not want competition against its own sheep and lamb operations.

“The State Liberal Government needs to bring lamb and sheep slaughtering back from Victoria to Tasmania so regional Tasmania can get its fair share.

“The State Government’s only response to date has been to establish a ‘Tasmanian Meat Industry Working Group’, which issued its third meaningless one page communique on 28 February.

“Tasmanians need action, not more chit chat and holding hands with companies that are screwing Tasmania.

“A legal opinion from former Crown Solicitor Leigh Sealy is that the State Government has the power to acquire the site. It must do so without delay,” Senator Martin concluded.

Nationals in Government invest a further $1.8m for Flinders Island airport

Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin arrived in Flinders Island on Thursday bearing $1.8 million in grant money from the Nationals in Federal Government.

“I have been pushing Flinders Island Council’s wish list with Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for some time and I am pleased he has agreed to the upgrade of Flinders Island airport,” Senator Martin said.

“$1.8 million will allow Council to rebuild Flinders Island Airport’s runway to provide for continued growth and expansion of passenger services and general aviation activities.”

The Nationals in Government had earlier provided another $1.8 million which was used for runway work, expanding the apron and fencing.

Senator Martin said the airport was the Flinders Island lifeline to both mainland Tasmania and mainland Australia and this development would help future proof that vital link.”

Carl Cooper, the Nationals candidate for the electorate of Bass, which includes Flinders Island, also praised the positive outcome.

“The airport is critical, particularly for medical emergencies, so any upgrade makes the community safer,” Mr Cooper said.

Nationals in Government deliver $100,000 to strengthen King Island and Wynyard communities

A Wynyard Community Hub is one step closer, the King Island Club in Currie will get a new roof and the successful Coasters initiative will expand to King Island following $100,000 in grants from a Nationals in Government program known as the Building Better Regions Fund, Tasmanian Nationals Senator, Steve Martin has announced.

“$19,635 will deliver a strategic plan for the Wynyard Community Hub, as well as ten breakfast meetings for business people in the region to develop networks,” Senator Martin said.

“$61,875 will cover most of the bill to replace the leaking roof on the 75 year-old King Island Club in Currie, which is used by all variety of local sporting and community groups.”

“$17,500 will help shape future King Island leaders with the expansion of the successful North West Tasmanian Coasters initiative to the Island, helping young locals overcome isolation and thrive in their community.”

The announcements follow a $3.2 million grant from the same program for Wynyard’s waterfront, reported over the weekend.

Senator Martin predicted the Nationals in Government would be delivering more grants from their Building Better Regions Fund for regional Tasmanian communities in the coming weeks.

“I’ll go into bat in Canberra for every grant application.”

“It is all about getting a fair share for regional Tasmania and building stronger regional communities,” he concluded.

Senator Steve Martin asks PM for a Royal Commission into fuel prices

Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging him to ask the Governor General to instigate a Royal Commission into Fuel Prices.

“Depending on the day, Tasmanians are paying between 15 cents and as much as 40 cents per litre more at the bowser for petrol and diesel than other Australians,” Senator Martin said.

“That difference, currently 17.4 cents, cannot be explained by freight costs”

“It affects everything Tasmanians do. Families pay more to get their kids to school, do the shopping, go to sport and use what little public transport we have in regional Tasmania.

“The advice I have received in the past is to go to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. However the ACCC has held countless inquiries to zero effect.”

Senator Martin said that the Royal Commission into financial institutions had gone a long way towards correcting bad behaviour by the banks and the current Royal Commission into Aged Care was likely to have a similar impact.

“While this is good news for people who have been ripped off by the banks or whose families are getting sub-standard aged care, every Tasmanian is being ripped off at the bowser and only a Royal Commission will fix the problem,” Senator Martin said.

He has also written to Tasmanian stakeholders seeking their support for the initiative, including the other 16 Tasmanian federal politicians, the Mayors of Tasmania’s 29 Councils, the RACT, the Tasmanian Transport Council, freight, bus and taxi companies, the TFGA and Rural Youth.

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