Funding available to enhance heritage places

Community groups across Tasmania are invited to apply for grants through the 2015-16 round of the Community Heritage and Icons Grants programme.

These grants are part of the Australian Government's $1.4 million commitment to provide opportunities for community groups to engage with and raise awareness of places recognised on Australia's National Heritage List.

I strongly encourage community organisations involved in the conservation, promotion, and awareness raising of places on Australia's National Heritage List, to consider making an application.

Grants of between $2,500 and $10,000 are available for community organisations to undertake activities that promote community engagement with places on Australia's National Heritage List.

Applications for funding are open until 22 March 2016.

Further information about Community Heritage and Icons Grants, including the programme guidelines and application form, is available at

Country of Origin Labelling - Tasmanian Information Sessions

The Country of Origin Labelling Taskforce is holding free information sessions for the community to find out more about the proposed changes to country of origin labelling.

The sessions planned for Tasmania are:

Tuesday 19 January 2016, 9--11 am
Best Western
156 Bathurst Street, Hobart

Wednesday 20 January 2016, 9--11 am
Hotel Grand Chancellor
29 Cameron Street, Launceston

Find out more information about country of origin labelling here -

Three Capes Track

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Tasmania's newest wilderness experience, the Three Capes Track, was officially opened on December 21 2015.

It is destined to be a major drawcard and will encourage people from across the world to come and experience the spectacular beauty of Tasmania.

The Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments have worked in partnership to achieve what is undeniably a wonderful world-class ecotourism attraction.

The multi-day walk spans 46 kilometres across the State's far south-east, leading visitors through Tasmania's breathtaking natural landscapes with exhilarating cliff top outlooks on Cape Pillar, Cape Hauy and stunning views to Cape Raoul.

Bookings can be made online at


  • Cradle Mt - by Senator Colbeck

I entered my photograph of Cradle Mountain in the Visit My Electorate competition being run by Tourism and Transport Forum Australia and Tourism Australia.

A great opportunity to promote Tasmania as a tourist destination - plus the chance to win a cash prize for a local community organisation or charity.

It'd be great if you could give my photo a 'like' on Instagram or Twitter!



Like me on Facebook

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I'm now on Facebook - check out my page here

Like my page to keep up-to-date with what I'm up to around Tasmania and in my ministerial roles.

Tourism Employment Plan for Tasmania

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A new employment plan is being developed for Tasmania's North West and West Coast tourism industry, to help re-skill the workforce and create the capacity to handle stronger growth in traveller numbers.

The Plan will promote tourism as a career path and help ensure we have enough skilled young people coming into the industry over the next few years

The Federal Government, through Austrade, will work closely with the Tasmanian Government and the region's tourism and hospitality industry to deliver the Tasmania Tourism Employment Plan.

More information about the Tourism Employment Plan and other Tourism 2020 initiatives is available here.

Ministerial Appointment

Senator Richard Colbeck has been sworn into theTurnbull ministry (21/9/2015), being named Minister for Tourism and International Education and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment. "I am very excited ...

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Labor's opposition to ChAFTA shows they don't care about Australian jobs

Please take a moment to read my opinion piece about the China Australia Free Trade Agreement, which was published in the Examiner Newspaper on 29 August 2015.

Labor's opposition to the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is based on xenophobia and false information - it shows they are against jobs, against farmers, against exporters, and against higher wages for Tasmanian workers.

Bill Shorten and the Labor party are giving in to the demands of anti-free trade unions but meanwhile we're hearing Labor luminaries like Bob Carr crying out for sensible decisions, saying "there will be more jobs and higher wages in Australia if ChAFTA goes ahead".

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson is also attempting to shake confidence by releasing research from the Parliamentary Budget Office about the cost of reducing and eliminating tariffs. However, he failed to divulge the information doesn't consider direct or broader economic benefits from increased bilateral trade; the PBO research states that:

FTAs could have significant benefits to Australian export industries such as improved market access in goods and services.

Not all goods that are imported are for final consumption. Reducing tariffs on imports that are used as inputs to Australian production would benefit domestic production.

ChAFTA will provide the opportunity for Tasmanian businesses, currently hindered by high tariffs and other barriers, to expand into the Chinese market. For example, it will eliminate tariffs on all fruit, vegetables and nuts, ranging up to 30%- presenting opportunities for our horticulture industry.

Once ChAFTA enters into force, the Meat and Livestock Association estimates an $11 billion boost to the meat and livestock industry to 2030; our red meat industry estimates benefits over the next 15-16 years of $3.3 billion; $1.8 billion in sheepmeat exports; and $6 billion for the sheepskin, hides and offal industry.

It will create opportunities for Tasmanian businesses like Oz Honey, the largest honey company in Tasmania, which will be able to export product to China without the 15% tariff which will be eliminated. The opportunities for this company are enormous and will have flow on effects for jobs and economic growth.

Abalone Farms at Bicheno is already enjoying the benefits of the Japanese free trade agreement, capitalising on the elimination of the 7% tariff on fresh and frozen Abalone and the 9.6% tariff on prepared or preserved abalone under JAEPA. This has given them a significant advantage over competitors and they're now exploring how they can capitalise on tariff reductions from ChAFTA.

We've seen the opportunities the free trade agreement with South Korea has created in Tasmania, with cherry grower Reid Fruits experiencing a more than 30 -fold increase in exports in just the first few months of the agreement. KAFTA immediately eliminated the 24 per cent tariff on cherries and Reid Fruits said it represents several million dollars more in the bank - ChAFTA will represent a similar story for Tasmanian businesses.

The National Farmers' Federation describe ChAFTA as a game-changer for Australian agriculture. They estimate that delaying the agreement could cost the agricultural export trade up to $300 million in 2016 alone, with untold flow-on effects to rural and regional communities across Australia. For example, the three FTAs are forecast to create almost 8,000 jobs in 2016, peaking at almost 15,000 new jobs in 2020.

Labor and the Greens must put Australian families, workers and businesses first by supporting the entry into force of ChAFTA this year, to allow the enormous opportunities that will flow from this agreement.

G20 Agriculture Ministers' meeting, Istanbul

  • G20 Agriculture Ministers' Meeting

Below is the statement that I delivered on behalf of Australia at the G20 Agriculture Ministers' meeting in Istanbul on 8 May 2015.

Thank you for the warm, generous and hospitable welcome.

It is my great pleasure to be with you all in historic and beautiful Istanbul, a meeting point of cultures and civilisations today and for centuries past. I congratulate Turkey on the excellent arrangements, hospitality and this stunning location today.

In Brisbane our leaders set an ambitious goal to lift our Gross Domestic Product by an additional 2.1 per cent by 2018 through our comprehensive growth strategies. Our agriculture sectors can, and should, be part of that growth. Stimulating growth and creating jobs helps improve people's ability to purchase food. Poverty and lack of income is a key cause of food insecurity.

Leaders agreed to a Food Security and Nutrition framework, to focus G20 attention on the actions needed over the long term - increasing investment, incomes and productivity. This framework takes a big-picture view across all of the G20's work.

Australia welcomes the Turkish presidency's focus on three 'I's in 2015 - Inclusiveness, Implementation, and Investment for Growth, which capture well the G20's work on food security and agriculture.

Agriculture is iconic in Australia as elsewhere. It built our economy and is a foundation for our nation's story and values. Waves of immigration brought cuisines to Australia from around the globe; something from each of your great cultures is now a part of ours. As mentioned by our host last night our food is a reflection of who we are.

Australians want a sustainable food system in Australia and worldwide. This will require advances in productivity, market systems, resource management and governance. But what is a sustainable food system in Australia?

The Australian Government wants our agriculture and fisheries sectors to be vibrant, innovative and competitive. We want to create jobs and encourage investment, strengthen rural and regional communities, and contribute to global food security. Farming, fishing and food businesses need to be profitable and more reliant on their own skill than government. Natural resources should be maintained and enhanced.

We support this vision through broad market-oriented policies and regulations to create public goods like infrastructure and to avoid distorting markets. We reduce trade barriers not just because we export, but because global competition makes our businesses more productive, innovative and resilient. This is Australia's approach to achieving a sustainable food system.

The cost of food losses and waste was estimated at nearly $20 billion in Australia, with nearly $3 billion lost on farm. Businesses, governments, research agencies and civil society are working in different ways to reduce food loss and waste. These include better business practices, raising awareness and recovering food.

Some loss and waste is inevitable, but at one-third of global production it is too much. Surely this is an opportunity to feed more people and create rural growth. The problem is different in each country and we need diverse solutions.

What can the G20 do? We can acknowledge the problem and its part in food security. Better understanding the problem with data and analysis, as well as policy innovation, will help each of us reduce food loss and waste. So Australia commends the Turkish presidency for encouraging new work on this issue.

We can reduce waste in agricultural trade within and between our countries, and the global value chains that connect us. For example, reducing the time to process perishable goods at our borders will reduce loss. We should work together and with our trade and infrastructure ministers to accelerate efforts on trade facilitation, particularly for perishable goods.

The Australian Government is progressing its domestic ratification of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation and supports its timely entry into force.

We must also remember our bigger task, feeding over 9 billion people by 2050.

We each need to keep laying the foundations for ongoing reforms. I would highlight three short- and medium-term challenges. First, as the growth of agriculture requires capital, investment rules should enable the flow of capital which in turn helps drive increases in innovation and productivity.

Second, as trade through global value chains grows economic value is created in different ways. We need to help farming, fishing and food businesses grow from these opportunities, with policies and regulatory frameworks that help not hinder.

Third, trade in services and expertise will be more important as technology expands. We should share such expertise more to support innovations that help feed our future populations.

We need to recognise that trade is now a much larger part of the world economy. There has been a change in way that global trade operates, and this affects food and food processing. In terms of food availability, trade enables production to be located in areas where resources are used more efficiently as a result of a country's comparative advantage. Trade has an essential role in balancing supply and demand. This means trade helps get product from surplus to deficit areas.

A free and open trading environment has a key role to play in enhancing food security but is not the only policy response needed.

In closing I thank once again the Turkish presidency for this opportunity to discuss these important issues. They are not simple to tackle, but by working together and taking a long term view we can make a difference.

Thank you.

Supertrawlers to be banned from Australian waters

The Australian Government will move to ban supertrawlers from Australian waters. Supertrawlers were defined by Labor and ENGOs as factory freezer vessels more than 130 metres - the Coalition will adopt ...

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Coastal Shipping regulations hurting Australian business

Opinion piece by Senator Richard Colbeck, published on The Advocate's website November 10 2014.

You really do have to wonder if the Labor Party and the Labor movement are genuinely supportive of Australia's manufacturing and agriculture industry or whether it's just something they bluster about in the Senate.

While there is no doubt the high Australian dollar negatively impacted industry the situation was made so much worse by unions and Labor who chose to impose additional costs into the economy.

The Coalition is determined to reduce unnecessary red tape that increases the cost of doing business. We have done as we promised and removed the impost of the carbon tax and the mining tax. We now turn to dealing with some of the more hidden imposts on our local economy that are making it impossible to compete, or in some circumstances even participate, in markets.

One of those additional costs is the sweetheart deal that Labor did with the maritime unions on coastal shipping. It was supposed to revitalise the Australian shipping industry but had the opposite affect and destroyed real competition on coastal shipping routes around Australia and increased shipping rates.

This has had a disastrous impact on the shipping industry, including:

  • Significant cost increases to shipping users
  • Continued decline in the amount of coastal freight loaded at our ports;
  • Reduction in capacity of Australian-flagged vessels of 64 per cent;
  • 2 million tonnes less freight being moved by foreign vessels;
  • Less voyages;
  • Less Australian vessels

The number of major Australian registered ships with coastal licences is down from 30 in 2006/07 to just 13 by 2012/13.

This is definitely not the revitalised shipping industry that Labor promised. Labor's bungled regulations are costing our local industry money and markets.

The Australian Peak Shippers, representing companies like Sunrice and Bega Cheese tell us:

"When it is cheaper to buy product in New Zealand and land it in Brisbane for blending than it is to purchase the equivalent Australian raw material from Victoria and ship it to Brisbane, or indeed when it is cheaper to ship product from Melbourne to Singapore than it is to ship the same from Melbourne to Brisbane, it is not hard to realise that our Australian exports, who are competing with Singapore based companies for the same market are finding it tough to do so."

Labor's disastrous regulations require a vessel to sit in port for a day before it can start loading - at a cost of up to $10,000 each day for foreign ships and a whopping $20,000.00 per day for Australian ships!

As a state almost entirely reliant on shipping, my home state of Tasmania has been even more severely affected.

The changes were one of the reasons that the AAA international service left Tasmania and this loss of the competitive pricing in the market resulted in an increase in costs for all exporters.

During the first year of Labor's Coastal Trading Act, Bell Bay Aluminium saw their shipping freight rate from Tasmania to Queensland increase from $18.20 per tonne to $29.70 per tonne. The rate offered by foreign vessels sits at $17.50 per tonne.

That is a whopping 63 per cent increase and added an extra $4 million per year cost to Bell Bay Aluminium.

Another Tasmanian business, Simplot Australia, had an additional $550,000 per year added to their annual costs and have lost markets as a result. This is a crushing cost burden at a time when they are considering the future of their Devonport plant, which is the last vegetable processor in the country and an important employer in the region.

I have spoken with another major employer who suffered an annual cost to their business of $1 million as a result of the Labor/union deal. They told me it's cheaper to ship product from New Zealand to every port in Australia (except Melbourne) than it is to ship product from Tasmania.

That is even after they have the benefit of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme rebate which the Kiwis don't get!

Labor's so called 'coastal shipping reforms' are facilitating the replacement of Aussie made products with imported products. We're now in a position where we can't even be competitive in our own market let alone export markets.

Before the election I said we could save Tasmanian business more in reforms that don't cost taxpayers money compared with the sums that Labor were waving around during the election - this is something we can achieve.

We have removed the impost of the carbon tax and we are slashing red and green tape. It's now time to make our logistics more competitive with changes to our coastal shipping regime and put Australian business back on a competitive footing.

This will realise tangible savings, make our industries more competitive in local and export markets and open up opportunities for growth and employment

Our plan to combat illegal logging

Opinion piece by Senator Richard Colbeck - Illegal logging The harvest and trade of illegal timber is a significant issue around the world and it would be irresponsible for an Australian ...

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Forest Industry Advisory Council announced

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, announced themembers ofthenew Forest Industry Advisory Council at the Australian Forest Products Association dinner in Hobart on September 15.

The establishment of a Forest Industry Advisory Council was one of the Coalition's key election commitments to revitalise the forestry industry.

The council will advise Government on building a positive future for the forestry industry in Australia andprovide informative consultation and recommendations on proposed legislation and policies impacting on the industry.

Members have a broad range of forestry expertise including sawmilling, private forestry, plantations, wood product importers, and manufacturers.

Senator Colbeckcongratulated members on their appointment to the council and said helooked forward to working with them to revitalise the forestry industry.

He alsorecognised the previous forestry advisory council and thanked members for their contribution to the industry.

The Australian forestry industry is vital in many regional communities around Australia and contributed about $7 billion to our national gross domestic product in 2012-13.

The council members are:

  • Mr Rob de Fgely, forester, forest management, NSW
  • Mr Ian Dickenson AO, private forestry and farm forestry, Tas
  • Mr Vince Hurley, sawmilling industry, Vic
  • Mr Andrew Hurford, private native forestry and sawmilling industry, NSW
  • Ms Linda Sewell, plantation management, Vic
  • Mr Nils Koren, timber importer, Vic
  • Mr Andrew Leighton, pulp and paper manufacturing, NSW
  • Mr Ron Adams, research and development, WA
  • Ms Karina Coombes, Indigenous forest communities, NT
  • Ms Michelle Freeman, forester and forestry communities, Vic

And the observers are:

  • Mr Ross Hampton, Australian Forest Products Association, ACT
  • Mr Gavin Butcher, Forestry and Forest Products Committee, WA
  • Mr Ric Sinclair, Forest and Wood Products Australia, Vic
  • Mr Michael Hartman, ForestWorks, Vic

Second round of Farm Finance open for Tasmanian farmers

Tasmanian farm businesses can apply for the second round of the Australian Government's Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme from August 11, 2014. The Australian Government is providing up to $15 million ...

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RIRDC Rural Women's Award - nominations now open

Nominations are now open for the2015 RIRDC Rural Women's Award,which recognises the commitment and innovation of women working to improve life in rural Australia. Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the ...

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Have your say on the National Landcare Programme

The Australian Government is visiting Tasmania in August to seek community engagement on the National Landcare Programme

Community information sessions will be held in Hobart and Launceston and I encourage you to attend to find out how you can get involved in local projects.

The sessions will give farmers, environmental groups, local Landcare bodies and natural resource management organisations a chance to have a say about how the National Landcare Programme could benefit their local area.

Information on the consultation survey and community sessions is available on

Below are details for the Tasmanian information sessions:


Thursday 7 August


Churchill Room Salamanca Inn, 10 Gladstone Street Hobart


Friday 8 August


Tramsheds Function Centre, Inveresk Rail Yards, 4 Invermay Road, Inveresk

Supporting sustainable fisheries in the Pacific

  • OzNiueSoloNTSA2July

The Coalition has renewed commitment to combat illegal fishing and support sustainable fisheries management in the Pacific.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister to Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, became the first Australian Government executive member to visit Tokelau, in the South Pacific, when he attended the Tenth Annual Session of Pacific Fisheries Ministers in early July 2014.

During the visit Senator Colbeck committed Australia to take the lead on the development of a draft conservation and management measure (CMM) on tuna harvest strategies.

"Australia recognises the importance of sustainable fisheries across the Pacific. The development of a harvest strategy approach for key tuna species will lead to greater management of these valuable resources," Senator Colbeck said.

"Australia's fisheries are among the most sustainable and best managed in the world. To get to this situation we've made some hard decisions to put in place management measures that ensure sustainability."

"We have the opportunity to share this experience and knowledge with our regional partners as we continue to work together to ensure the sustainability of the Pacific Fisheries that play such an important role in the economies of many Pacific Island states."

Another key outcome of the meeting is a focus on reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, demonstrated by Australia's signing of the Agreement on Strengthening Implementation of the Niue Treaty on Cooperation in Fisheries Surveillance and Law Enforcement in the South Pacific Region (NTSA).

Australia also announced a $2 billion Pacific Patrol Boat program to replace the fleet of boats gifted to Pacific Island countries from 1987 to 1997.

"This program reflects Australia's ongoing commitment to work with regional partners to broaden and strengthen the region's capacity to respond to maritime security, fisheries protection and transnational criminal threats," Senator Colbeck said.

Senator Colbeck said the Tenth Annual Session of Pacific Fisheries Ministers was a great opportunity for fisheries ministers to work together to ensure the long-term sustainability of an important and valuable resource.

Managing the risk of bushfires

  • Back row (l-r) Captain Jean-Michel Dumaz, Mr Eric Soulier, Dr Anne Gantaume, Mr Tom Harbour, Mr Tim McGuffog Front row (l-r) Minister Victor Trevino, Ms Alison Mann, Mr Cédric Prieto, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Ms Alison Mann, Mr Nathaniel Rein

Senator Richard Colbeck delivered the opening address at the International Symposium on Bushfire Management on May 1 and highlighted the opportunity to learn from other countries' experiences with bushfires.

The symposium was hosted by the Australia-New Zealand Forest Fire Management Group (FFMG) and was attended by forest fire experts from countries including the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Senator Colbeck said the respective countries continue to learn a great deal from each other about the most effective ways to mitigate the risk of bushfires.

He used the example of North America where we are now seeing the mechanical removal of biomass, particularly near built-up areas, to reduce the amount of fuel load in the forest.

The FFMG used the symposium to release National Bushfire Management Policy Statement for Forests and Rangelands which lays the foundation for future bushfire management in Australia.

The statement has been endorsed by members of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

Read the transcript of Senator Colbeck's opening address here -

World Heritage mockery - photographs

  • Inside the TWWHA at Lake Gordon area
  • Inside TWWHA near Mother Cummings Peak, showing an area of plantations - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Inside TWWHA extension at Lake Gordon area
  • Inside the TWWHA extension at Butlers Gorge
  • Inside TWWHA at Great Western Tiers area
  • Inside TWWHA at Catamaran
  • Inside the TWWHA at Lake Gordon area
  • Inside the extended TWWHA at Butlers Gorge- Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Inside the TWWHA at Butlers Gorge area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • (Inside TWWHA at Butlers Gorge - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck)
  • TWWHA extension at Catamaran
  • Inside TWWHA at Great Western Tiers, showing regenerated forest - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Inside TWWHA at Lake Gordon area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Inside TWWHA at Lake Gordon area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Inside the TWWHA at Butlers Gorge - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Inside the TWWHA at Catamaran
  • Inside the TWWHA extension at the Hartz-Esperance area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Inside the TWWHA in Mt Wedge- Upper Florentine area- Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Private property adjoining the 2013 TWWHA Extension - Great Western Tiers Photo Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Forestry activity in the Styx Valley in the 1940s
  • Great Western Tiers area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • (Lake Gordon area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck)
  • Butlers Gorge area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • (Catamaran area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck)
  • Butlers Gorge area - photo by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Butlers Gorge area - photo by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Extensive selective harvesting in Butlers Gorge area - photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Lake Gordon area - photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Inside extended TWWHA Area at Butlers Gorge - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Catamaran area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Butlers Gorge - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Photo taken inside the extended TWWHA in the Lake Gordon area. Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Butlers Gorge
  • Butlers Gorge map
  • Butlers Gorge - photo by Senator Colbeck
  • TWWHA 2012 extension - Recherche Bay
  • Catamaran - Photo by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • (Styx/Tyenna area - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck)
  • Mt Wedge/Upper Florentine - photo by Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Upper Florentine - showing high voltage power line, a road and regenerated coupes
  • Quarry within the TWWHA extension boundary
  • Evidence of forestry operations in the TWWHA extension - Catamaran
  • Special species contingency coupe within the TWWHA extension boundary - Lake Gordon

Check out more photos here

These photographs and aerial maps of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area extension reveal it is riddled with recently harvested forestry coupes, forestry access roads, quarries and high voltage power lines.

Closer inspection shows extensive areas of regrowth forests with clear age delineations exposing areas that have been harvested and regenerated over many years.

Map of TWWHA minor boundary modification

Following a review of the 2013 extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) the Australian Government is seeking a minor boundary modification that will remove areas from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area that the Government considers detract from the overall Outstanding Universal Value of the property and diminish its overall integrity.

The map of this minor boundary modification is available on the Department of Environment's website -

Tasmanian Jobs Programme starts six months early

Tasmanian employers will receive incentive payments to hire job seekers under the Liberals' plan to kick-start the state's employment market. The payments will be available six months early, from January 1. ...
Read More Tasmanian Jobs Programme Factsheet - General (2)
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