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.

More choice for Tasmanian parents

Nationals Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin said the Federal Government had guaranteed choice in education for local parents through its agreement with the Catholic and Independent school sectors.

Senator Martin said there were nearly 40 Catholic and Independent schools in Tasmania.

“We have wonderful schools in Tasmania and the Government has now guaranteed that parents will continue to have a choice about where to send their kids to school,” Senator Martin said.

“Our Government is providing increased funding to our schools to ensure better results for our students. In fact, our Government is providing record funding for education – record funding for child care, record funding for schools, record funding for higher education.

“Our record funding will be matched by a focus on results. We want to ensure that every student in Tasmania gets the best possible education to realise their potential.”

Senator Martin said the Government would transition to a fairer model for determining how non-government schools were funded as part of its response to the National School Resourcing Board’s Review of the socio-economic status (SES) score methodology.

“From 2020, we will use a new direct income measure to determine the capacity of a school community to contribute to their operating costs,” he said.

“To support schools during the transition, the Commonwealth Government will also provide $1.2 billion over the next ten years to guarantee choice in education in Tasmania.

“Ensuring we have low fee Catholic and Independent schools providing choice across the nation is a key government priority. This means that schools that need the most support will get the most support.”

The Government is providing record funding over 10 years to all Australian schools with $113.6 billion to State schools, $88.9 billion to Catholic schools and $68.5 billion to Independent schools.

Tasmanians urged to contribute to aged care Royal Commission Terms of Reference

Tasmanians can have their say on the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into the aged care sector through an online feedback tool.

This Royal Commission will primarily look at the quality of care provided in Residential and Home Aged Care for senior Australians, but also include young people with disabilities living in Residential Aged Care settings.

“As the Prime Minister has said, there are thousands of operators, facilities, care providers, nursing and other clinical staff, volunteers, cleaners, cooks and therapists here in Tasmania and across the nation who are out there improving the lives of senior Australians every day.  This is something we should all be proud of,” said Senator Martin.  

“However, following intensified policing and inspections of the aged sector over the past year, information has come to light through the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Department of Health that makes the case for a Royal Commission into the sector compelling.”

The final terms of reference will be determined in consultation with the community, including residents and their families and aged care providers.  However, it is expected the inquiry will cover:

  • The quality of care provided to older Australians, and the extent of substandard care;

  • The challenge of providing care to Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care, particularly younger people with disabilities;

  • The challenge of supporting the increasing number of Australians suffering dementia and addressing their care needs as they age;

  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering aged care services in the context of changing demographics, including in remote, rural and regional Australia;

  • Any other matters that the Royal Commission considers necessary.

Senator Martin said local residents could have their say on the terms of reference via the Commonwealth Department of Health’s website at consultations.health.gov.au/  or they are welcome to write to Minister Hunt or Minister Wyatt.

Consultation relating to the Terms of Reference will be open until 25 September.

We expect that all residents will be able to be engaged as the Royal Commission commences.

“Our Government’s commitment to safe, quality, compassionate, flexible and affordable aged care services for our senior Australians is absolute.

“Aged care funding has grown by $1 billion a year since we were elected in 2013 and is at record levels. In 2017-18, alone, aged care spending is estimated to reach $18.6 billion. Over the next five years funding will grow by $5 billion to $23.6 billion a year.”

Senator Martin said the Department of Health had closed almost one aged care service per month since Oakden, with an increasing number under sanction to improve their care.

“Incidents of older people being hurt by failures of care simply cannot be explained or excused. We must be assured about how widespread these cases are,” Senator Martin said.

“As a community we expect high standards for the quality and safety of aged care services and we share these expectations.

“This Royal Commission will be about proactively determining what we need to do in the future to ensure these expectations can be met.

“Evidence to date shows that the problems are not restricted to any one part of the aged care sector, whether it is for profit or not for profit, large or small facilities, regional or major metropolitan. The Royal Commission will look at the sector as a whole, without bias or prejudice. It will make findings on the evidence. “

If you or a family member have immediate concerns, please contact the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552 or you can lodge a complaint with the Commissioner online. Complaints can be made completely anonymously.

 

Tasmanian services invited to share in $40m aged care boost

Tasmanian aged care services are being invited to share in $40 million now available to improve their operations, for the benefit of local seniors.

Nationals Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin said aged care providers could apply for one-off grants of up to $500,000 to undertake infrastructure extensions.

“Whether it’s improving accessibility, extending a kitchen or carrying out much-needed upgrades, I urge local operators to consider applying,” said Senator Martin.

“The new Aged Care Regional, Rural and Remote Infrastructure Grants scheme is an important part of the Morrison Government’s commitment to providing the best quality aged care for our treasured senior Australians.”

Funding will be provided via an open and competitive application process.

“Existing Government-approved residential and home care providers can apply,” Senator Martin said.

“Approved Commonwealth Home Support Program providers such as Meals On Wheels may also be eligible, where there is an exceptional need.”

Senator Martin said applications for the Aged Care Regional, Rural and Remote Infrastructure Grants will close at 2pm AEDT on 24 October 2018.

The application form, guidelines and FAQ can be access via GrantConnect: www.grants.gov.au