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Farmers to be worse off if government's biosecurity plan becomes reality

Farmers to be worse off if government's biosecurity plan becomes reality

The Advocate, Richard Colbeck, 21 April 2024

Here is a simple question: why should Australian farmers pay the cost of the biosecurity risk created by imported products?

Shouldn't that cost be borne by those that created the risk, those importing the products?

You would think that the answer should be simple. 


NewsCorp: The AFL’s illicit drug policy is not fit for purpose

NewsCorp: The AFL’s illicit drug policy is not fit for purpose

Richard Colbeck, 5th April 2024

The AFL has a big problem.

The act of deliberately avoiding a drug test is a breach of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code – it must be.

Therefore, the act of giving a test to determine the presence of drugs to avoid game day testing and the risk of testing positive must be a breach of the WADA Code – it is an act of avoidance, a deliberate one.

If as it appears from reporting and admissions to date under the AFL’s illicit drugs code, then that code is likewise in breach of the WADA Code.

The Advocate - Politically Speaking: Labor chaos at both state and federal level on show for all to see

The Advocate - Politically Speaking: Labor chaos at both state and federal level on show for all to see

15 January 2023, Senator Richard Colbeck

The chaos of state and federal Labor was on full display yet again over summer with Labor's Tasmanian treasury spokesman complaining about a slowing economy all whilst federal Labor are taking credit for slowing it down.

We have all watched as state Labor opposes critical elements of hosting an AFL team in Tasmania, all whilst Federal Labor and the Prime Minister support it.

While all the bickering occurs, we hear nothing from either on the progress of a number of key environmental approvals or processes that are critical to employment and the economy in Tasmania, as well as the energy transition that Labor claims to be a key policy focus.


Dangerous Precedent by Minister

Dangerous Precedent by Minister

Senator Richard Colbeck

Senator Anne Urquhart seeks to downplay the seriousness of Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek's decision to reconsider an 11 year old decision by a previous Labor minister (Adv., Dec 4). What she does not say is that Ms Plibersek has created a precedent that opens the door to challenge any decision made under the EPBC Act. For the first time, a decision made so long ago, long after the project commenced, is being reconsidered - the precedent opens reconsideration for any other approval under the act. It creates uncertainty not only for the salmon industry in Tasmania, but every other industry in the country operating under an EPBC Act approval. That's what makes it so reckless and that's what creates so much uncertainty. Ms Plibersek could have made the decision not to reopen the approval, not create the precedent, not create the uncertainty. Clearly Ms Plibersek wasn't taking much notice of her colleagues Senator Urquhart or Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, when she made that decision.

Senator Richard Colbeck, Devonport

Question over GP numbers

Question over GP numbers

Senator Richard Colbeck

State Labor members of parliament continue to run around Tasmania trying to make out that supply of GPs is a state issue when clearly it is a federal one.

They have done so in Lyons where the federal member refuses to stand up for his local communities or pull his weight, and now in Braddon with the situation at East Devonport.

What is curious though is that the six-month overdue Devonport urgent care clinic can attract nine new doctors, while the East Devonport Medical Centre can't attract any.

It makes you wonder whether federal Labor have pushed doctors to its urgent care clinic at the expense of the more than 6000 patients of the East Devonport Medical Centre.

Senator Richard Colbeck, Devonport

  • Note - for transparency, Richard Colbeck has been a patient at East Devonport Medical Centre for more than 30 years.
Powerful US and UK committees lobbied to pressure PwC to release report sought in Australia

Powerful US and UK committees lobbied to pressure PwC to release report sought in Australia

Henry Belot, The Guardian, 4 November 2023

Exclusive: Richard Colbeck urged counterparts to seek document used to clear firm’s partners of wrongdoing

Powerful parliamentary oversight committees in the US and the UK have been urged to pressure consultancy firm PwC to publish a report used to clear its international partners of wrongdoing.

In response to a scandal involving the misuse of confidential Australian Treasury information about proposed multinational tax avoidance laws, PwC global commissioned the law firm Linklaters to investigate the conduct of its international partners.

Australian academics apologise for false AI-generated allegations against big four consultancy firms

Australian academics apologise for false AI-generated allegations against big four consultancy firms

Henry Belot, The Guardian, 3 November 2023

The Liberal senator Richard Colbeck, who chairs a separate inquiry into the consulting industry, said the incident was “a salient reminder to everyone to check your sources”.

“This shows how out of control things can get if basic facts are not correct.”

'Totally unacceptable': PwC boss sorry for tax scandal

'Totally unacceptable': PwC boss sorry for tax scandal

Andrew Brown

The new head of PwC Australia has issued a public apology for the embattled firm's role in a tax advice scandal.

Chief executive Kevin Burrowes appeared before a parliamentary inquiry into consultancy firms, where senators grilled him over PwC's conduct.

The Advocate - Politically Speaking: Government's lack of action is becoming evident

The Advocate - Politically Speaking: Government's lack of action is becoming evident

Richard Colbeck, 8 October

The inability of the Albanese Labor government to deliver is becoming more and more evident.

We are witnessing an ongoing narrative of broken promises and failure to deliver within committed time frames.

A most recent example is the delay in Urgent Care Clinics. Labor promised 50 Urgent Care Clinics would be established by 30 June this year, including four in Tasmania, with one on the state's North-West Coast.

Senate committee chair says the sale to private equity fund Allegro won’t solve cultural issues at PwC

Senate committee chair says the sale to private equity fund Allegro won’t solve cultural issues at PwC

Bridget Carter and David Ross, The Australian 23 June 2023

The chair of an inquiry examining PwC Australia says moves to sell the firm’s government consulting business, in a deal that could see private equity player Allegro Funds snap up the operation, would not solve broader cultural questions.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck, who is chairing the inquiry into the management and assurance of integrity by consulting services, told The Australian the touted sale of PwC’s government operation wouldn’t change facts on the ground.

PwC tax scandal an 'egregious breach of trust': report

PwC tax scandal an 'egregious breach of trust': report

Andrew Brown AAP, June 21 2023

A Senate committee has labelled embattled consultancy firm PwC's conduct in the tax advice scandal as an "egregious" breach of trust.

An interim report by the committee into PwC's conduct in the scandal where confidential information on tax avoidance was leaked and shared with other partners for financial gain with other client, urged for the firm's full cooperation with investigations.

The report recommended that PwC publish the list of names of partners who were involved in the scandal, as well as cooperate with investigations by the federal police and the Tax Practitioners Board.

Liberal senator and committee chair Richard Colbeck said other jurisdictions needed to examine the extent of PwC's actions.

Senate accuses PwC of contempt over handling of tax scandal inquiry

Senate accuses PwC of contempt over handling of tax scandal inquiry

David Ross, Herald Sun 21 June 2023

A Senate report has savaged PwC over its handling of calls to divulge how many staff were aware of the firm’s use of confidential information to shape client tax strategies.

Richard Colbeck urges the AFL to bring Gather Round to Tasmania

Richard Colbeck urges the AFL to bring Gather Round to Tasmania

By Simon McGuire, The Advocate, 3 May 2023

A North-West based senator has urged the AFL to consider bringing the Gather Round to Tasmania during the team's first season in the competition.

Westpac, NAB grilled over regional branch closures

Westpac, NAB grilled over regional branch closures

(Millie Muroi, Sydney Morning Herald, March 2, 2023)

Two of Australia’s big four banks have pointed to the rise of online banking to defend their decisions to close regional branches.

Facing a parliamentary hearing on Thursday morning, Westpac chief customer engagement officer Ross Miller said the lender’s regional closures were a direct result of customers preferring to do their banking transactions online.

“Ninety-six per cent of banking transactions are now done digitally,” Miller said. “Customers don’t want to travel. They want to be able to do their banking at any hour of the day from the comfort of their own home.”


The Weekly Times: New Zealand gives up its fight for manuka honey name in EU, UK

The Weekly Times: New Zealand gives up its fight for manuka honey name in EU, UK

Alexandra Laskie, 23 January 2023

In a win for Australian manuka honey producers, New Zealand has withdrawn its appeal in the UK and similar legal proceedings in the EU for exclusive ownership of the manuka honey name.

The Age: Djokovic welcome but Russians should be banned, says former Liberal sports minister

The Age: Djokovic welcome but Russians should be banned, says former Liberal sports minister

(James Massola and Scott Spits, December 31 December 2022)

Former Liberal sports minister Richard Colbeck has taken aim at Tennis Australia for listening to the wrong advice about Novak Djokovic’s entry to the country a year ago, and has also called for the Australian Open to reverse its decision to allow Russians to play in the tournament.

Anika Wells and Catherine King respond to Senator Richard Colbeck's criticism over Tasmanian AFL bid

Anika Wells and Catherine King respond to Senator Richard Colbeck's criticism over Tasmanian AFL bid

(The Advocate, 21 December 2022)  Federal Labor has said that it is in discussion with the state government over the proposed stadium at Macquarie Point.

The news comes amid Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck criticising the federal government over its stance on the stadium.

Opinion: With a bit of vision there is real opportunity in Mac Point stadium plan

Opinion: With a bit of vision there is real opportunity in Mac Point stadium plan

The Mercury, 20 December 2022

WHILE many of us remain grumpy at the AFL insistence on the development of a new stadium as a prerequisite for our deserved 19th license for entry into the competition, the reality is that they have and it has become the catalyst for a bigger conversation with an opportunity to have a vision for our future in many more ways than just an AFL team.

The bickering within Tasmania only gives those within the AFL who want to stifle our rightful entry, like Collingwood president Jeff Brown, the excuse to push back by reinforcing the stereotypes that we have been labelled with, unfairly for so long.

Examiner: Deloraine have been left high and dry amid federal funding confusion

Examiner: Deloraine have been left high and dry amid federal funding confusion

By Luke Miller

Tasmania's Liberal senator Richard Colbeck and Meander Valley mayor Wayne Johnston met this week to discuss the impact potential budget cuts could have on the state's communities.

Politically Speaking: First 100 days mired in blame games

Politically Speaking: First 100 days mired in blame games

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, 29 August 2022

The Advocate, 29 August 2022 (print version)


It won’t be easy under Albanese” appears to be one of the greatest understatements in recent political history.

Albanese promised to spend every day governing and not wasting a day, yet his first 100 days are mired in a pit of wasted time blaming the former government. 

But Australians aren’t easily fooled.

The Albanese government’s recent attempted penny pinching on COVID support measures at a time of the next big winter wave of COVID must have horrified Australians. Labor sought to make savings on things that help save lives all in the name of trying to out-economics the Coalition.

Their worst-attempted spin so far has been around debt levels. Labor’s fiscal mismanagement left the country in 2013 with significant debt and deficits, including through massive unfunded spending programs. It took the Coalition until 2019 - nearly 6 years – to get on top of Labor’s mess, all the while leaving us with hundreds of billions of debt. After this, and following the necessary COVID response measures, it can be argued that ultimately almost 60% of Australia’s current net debt is ultimately Labor’s debt.

It is insulting to the Australians the Coalition supported through the pandemic to criticise the Coalition for the level of debt the country now has. 4 million jobs supported and 1 million businesses supported by JobKeeper, 800 thousand businesses supported through cashflow and wage subsidy support for apprentices, let alone measures on healthcare.

The Coalition’s efforts have left Australia in a substantially better economic position compared to other parts of the world.

It saved lives and livelihoods, businesses and jobs.

Labor wanted to spend even more than the Coalition during the pandemic (of up to $81 billion of measures) including $6 billion to encourage people who were already vaccinated to get vaccinated and then also piled on another $7.4 billion at the election.

Labor has already broken its promises to reduce power prices and to reduce the cost of living and to cover their tracks by doing what Labor does best – deflect the blame to the previous Government.

Labor said they were going to make things easier – it’s only getting harder. They said they would be there with you all the way - yet by cutting off supports they have made it clear - you are on your own.


Liberals promise $3 million for aged care beds at Queenstown

Liberals promise $3 million for aged care beds at Queenstown

The Advocate (17 May, 2022) A $3 million election pledge is aiming to reduce the waiting list for an aged care bed on the West Coast. The Liberal Party has promised the money for an additional four aged care beds at Queenstown, if re-elected on Saturday. The commitment follows the federal government's $1 million promise at the 2019 election, which delivered one additional bed and upgrades to the West Coast district Hospital. 

Albo's key budget reply policy unravels just FOUR days after it was announced - as frontbencher admits 24/7 nurse plan may be too hard

Albo's key budget reply policy unravels just FOUR days after it was announced - as frontbencher admits 24/7 nurse plan may be too hard

Daily Mail (5 April, 2022) Anthony Albanese's landmark budget reply policy on aged care has unravelled just four days after it was announced. Last Thursday evening the Labor leader pledged to have a registered nurse in every aged care facility for 24 hours a day within a year of being elected. The policy was part of a $2.5billion plan to revolutionise aged care which also included improving food and supporting wage increases and was cheered by advocacy groups, unions and nurses sitting in the public gallery.    But in a radio interview on Monday, frontbencher Mark Dreyfus admitted the party may have to 'pause' the plan if there are not enough nurses.

Residential aged care still skimps on food, audit finds

Residential aged care still skimps on food, audit finds

Stephen Lunn

One in three nursing homes continues to spend less than $10 a day per resident on food despite being given an extra $10 a day by the Morrison government to focus on improving the standard of meals. A government audit of 2600 residential aged-care facilities’ spending on food and ingredients for the last six months of 2021 shows the average daily food spend per resident at the three in four nursing homes that prepare it themselves is about $12.35. 

Aged care workers to receive two payments to help retain staff amid COVID outbreaks

Aged care workers to receive two payments to help retain staff amid COVID outbreaks

ABC (1 February, 2022)  Aged care workers will receive two bonus payments totalling up to $800 by early May, as part of government support for the sector. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce the additional cash splash in a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday. The amount each worker gets will be determined by how many hours they have worked, with the first payment being made in February and the second at the beginning of May.

Tragic summer shows Australia no longer a nation of swimmers

Tragic summer shows Australia no longer a nation of swimmers

Research from the Royal Life Saving Society has revealed as many as one in four Australians are weak swimmers or cannot swim at all. The Christmas and New Year period saw at least 20 people lose their lives in the water alongside a 23 per cent spike in the nation’s drowning deaths. Since the beginning of summer, 43 people have drowned with that figure sadly anticipated to grow. Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said the Australian Government was working harder than ever to ensure people of all ages and backgrounds understood the potential dangers of the water. “We remain committed to ensuring Australians are equipped with the skills and understanding they need to prevent another holiday tragedy,” Mr Colbeck said.

Sports Minister, Surf Lifesavers call for vigilance after six drowning deaths in first three days of 2022

Sports Minister, Surf Lifesavers call for vigilance after six drowning deaths in first three days of 2022

Maeve Bannister (AAP)

7 News (4 January, 2022)  Lifesavers are pleading with beachgoers to stay vigilant after six drowning deaths in the first three days of the new year. Since the start of summer on 1 December to 3 January, there have been 20 drowning deaths at coastal waterways. That’s four more than the same time last year and already higher than the 10-year average of 16. The toll does not include the death of a two-year-old girl who drowned in a park pond in Melbourne in the lead-up to Christmas and a three-year-old at Lake Macquarie on Christmas Day.

New in-person support to navigate aged care system

New in-person support to navigate aged care system

Stephen Lunn

The Australian (27 October 2021) Older Australians struggling to navigate the My Aged Care website can soon visit a support person for face-to-face help. From next week trained aged care workers will be available in 15 sites across Australia to help older people navigate the “overwhelming” aged care system in person, health minister Greg Hunt said. “Planning for aged care can be overwhelming for many senior Australians and their families,” Mr Hunt said.

Retired athletes being recruited for new study

Retired athletes being recruited for new study

Jade Gailberger

Herald Sun (8 October 2021) The brains of retired elite athletes will come under the microscope as part of a new study to prevent concussion in Australian sport. The federal government will on Friday unveil a new $340,000 study to improve research about brain injuries. The investment follows degenerative brain disease CTE being found during the post-mortems of former AFL players Danny Frawley, Shane Tuck and Polly Farmer. 

Bonus payments to retain aged care nurses

Bonus payments to retain aged care nurses

SBS News (4 October 2021) Aged care nurses who stay in the sector will receive bonus payments in a federal government bid to boost the country's workforce. Full-time registered nurses who work for the same aged care provider for 12 months can receive the $3700 payment in 2022 and 2023. Part-time and casual registered nurses are eligible for the payment on a pro-rata basis.

‘Hugs are in’: The plan to get visitors back into aged care

‘Hugs are in’: The plan to get visitors back into aged care

Rachel Clun

The Age / Sydney Morning Herald (22 September, 2021) Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck has promised people will be able to hug and touch family members and friends in aged care facilities as part of a plan to allow visitors back as soon as possible. Visitors to residential aged care facilities could still be required to wear masks, undergo rapid antigen testing and maintain social distancing when they return with some protection measures needed to shield unvaccinated workers and residents.

‘We’re ecstatic’: Federal government to fund medal bonuses for Paralympians

‘We’re ecstatic’: Federal government to fund medal bonuses for Paralympians

Sarah Keoghan and Tom Decent

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the federal government is set to provide funding to Paralympics Australia to ensure Paralympic athletes are given the same cash bonuses as Australian Olympic medallists. Olympians are awarded medal bonuses by the Australian Olympic Committee and received $20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze at this year’s Tokyo 2020 Games. In comparison, Paralympians were set to receive $0 for their medals.

Morrison Government urges aged care workers to get vaccinated

Morrison Government urges aged care workers to get vaccinated

Stephen Lunn

The Australian: (19 August 2021) The Morrison government has written to every nursing home operator in Australia warning that it will not extend the September 17 deadline for all staff to be vaccinated, despite about 100,000 workers not yet having had a jab. From Monday, it will begin publishing staff and resident vaccination rates in individual nursing homes in a bid to accelerate inoculations in the sector. Health Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck wrote to providers on Wednesday advising them that nursing homes would be held to the cut-off date, after which unvaccinated staff would not be permitted to work.

Brisbane named as Olympics host: dawn of a new Games generation

Brisbane named as Olympics host: dawn of a new Games generation

The Australian: (22 July, 2021) Australia has been elevated into the storied ranks of nations to host three Olympics with the ­announcement that Brisbane will ­anchor a new-look Games in 2032 to make the world’s greatest sporting event affordable. International Olympics Committee president Thomas Bach set off a night of Covid-defying celebration across southeast Queensland as exultant crowds cheered a 40-year campaign to bring the Games to Brisbane.  “The Games of the 35th Olympiad are awarded to Brisbane, Australia,” Mr Bach declared, as green and gold-coloured fireworks lit up the city skyline. Thousands had packed riverside South Bank to ring in the news at 6.32pm on Wednesday. A delighted Scott Morrison said the Games would be a “great ray of hope” for a nation gripped by the pandemic and enduring lockdowns in Sydney, Melbourne and South Australia. “How good is Brisbane, how good is Queensland and how good is Australia? We’re just absolutely stoked about this,” the Prime Minister said.

A commitment to generational change

A commitment to generational change

Leading Age Services Australia Winter Issue

The Royal Commission and the COVID-19 pandemic have proven to be the greatest incentives to change the way we care for senior Australians—to support them with dignity, care and respect as they age.

The Australian Government has embraced the opportunity for true and lasting reform, and we stand with the sector to implement the once-in-a-generation reforms over the next five years.

Surf Lifesavers awarded National Rescue Medal at Parliament House, Canberra

Surf Lifesavers awarded National Rescue Medal at Parliament House, Canberra

Surf Life Saving Australia

Surf lifesavers from South Australia and Queensland have been honoured at Parliament House in Canberra today with Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Rescue Medal for their outstanding rescues this season.

Surf lifesavers from West Beach SLSC in Adelaide in South Australia, as well as Tallebudgera and Pacific SLSC’s on Queensland’s Gold Coast were invited to the nation’s capital to be recognised for their exceptional and selfless service to their local communities as part of SLSA’s Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving event.

Rugby Australia launches bid to host 2021 Rugby World Cup

Rugby Australia launches bid to host 2021 Rugby World Cup

Aus Leisure

Predicting that hosting the 2027 Rugby World Cup would deliver a $2.5 billion economic boost with over two million fans projected to attend 48 matches, Rugby Australia has this morning formally launched its bid to host the tournament.

Launched in Sydney with the theme ‘Game On’, Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan stated that hosting the 2027 World Cup would be a “once-in-a-generation opportunity”, suggesting the tournament would feature 20 nations and 48 matches over seven weeks and be played at between eight and 10 venues.

Snow Australia Awards Celebrates Past and Present Champions

Snow Australia Awards Celebrates Past and Present Champions

Snow Australia

Australia’s snowsport community gathered at the Snow Australia Awards in Melbourne to celebrate the remarkable performances produced by Australian athletes and coaches over the last 12 months.

The outstanding success achieved by Australian athletes on the World Cup circuit and at the World Championships meant it was extremely difficult to single out an individual performance. World Championship gold medalist and back-to-back FIS Aerials Crystal Globe winner Laura Peel won the coveted Athlete of the Year awards (Olympic disciplines) alongside Snowboard Cross Team event World Champions Belle Brockhoff and Jarryd Hughes. The three edged other finalists Matt Graham, Tess Coady and Scotty James for the award.

80,000 home care packages in $17.7b aged care fix

80,000 home care packages in $17.7b aged care fix

Andrew Tillett, AFR

Aged care operators will receive an extra $10 a day per resident to improve the standard of care, while 80,000 new home care packages will be created as part of a $17.7 billion budget injection aimed at rectifying the widespread neglect of older Australians.

Nursing home residents will also be guaranteed to receive a minimum of 200 minutes a day of care time, while the government will recruit tens of thousands of more workers and abolish the existing bed licence system, encouraging greater competition in the sector.

Liberals pledge $3m to relief organisations, Labor reiterates commitment

Liberals pledge $3m to relief organisations, Labor reiterates commitment

10 May 2019 - The Examiner

The Coalition has announced a $3.4 million funding package for Tasmanian emergency relief organisations.

But Labor says the government cut the funding for some of these organisations in the first place, leaving them in need of support.

If the Coalition is re-elected, it will give funding to 10 emergency relief organisations across the state.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said he and his Liberal colleagues had been working with the organisations "for some time" to "secure the best possible funding outcome for these services to continue".

"This new package is in addition to more than $10 million of funding over the next [four-and-a-half] years for emergency relief and financial counselling support for Tasmanians who need it most," he said.

"The package will ensure people in need can access other services available to them such as emergency relief, crisis accommodation and preventative and educational assistance."

Among the organisations that would benefit from the funding are Launceston City Mission ($75,000), Launceston Benevolent Society ($200,000) and Helping Hand Association ($80,000).

Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said the Liberals had originally cut funding to organisations like these, "putting their future at risk".

"This government has been in power for six years," he said. "Promises made by them at the eleventh hour just before election day to undo the damage their cuts have caused simply can't be believed."

"Labor has always been committed to restoring this funding."

Enter the Women in Sport Photo Action Awards 2021

Enter the Women in Sport Photo Action Awards 2021

News Corp

Women Sport Australia and its new media partner News Corp Australia is launching this year’s competition to find Australia’s best professional and amateur women’s sport action photograhers.

Now in its third year, the Women in Sport Photo Action Awards (#WISPAA 2021) aims to generate greater recognition and respect for the power and athleticism of Australian women actively participating in sport.

Sydney confirmed as 2027 Netball World Cup host

Sydney confirmed as 2027 Netball World Cup host

ABC News via AAP

Sydney will host the Netball World Cup for the third time when the sport's global showpiece returns to Australia in 2027.

The number-one-ranked Diamonds will again be among the favourites to win the 16-team tournament — with the host nation twice crowned world champions when it was previously hosted in the NSW capital in 1991 and 2015.

Australia was runner-up in 1967 when Perth became the first Australian city to host the quadrennial event — then contested by only eight teams.

Devonport jobs fair to boost bounce back

Devonport jobs fair to boost bounce back

Molly Appleton, The Advocate

Those on the job hunt have the opportunity to browse over 700 work opportunities on offer at the Devonport Jobs Fair on Thursday.

Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Minister Stuart Robert said the jobs fair would promote a wide range of employment opportunities for Tasmanians looking to get into work.

"As we see COVID-19 restrictions ease, the federal government is committed to connecting Tasmanians with businesses looking to hire," Mr Robert said.

New AIS program accelerating careers for women athletes

New AIS program accelerating careers for women athletes

The AIS Athlete Accelerate Program aims to increase career pathway options for women athletes so they can continue to progress their leadership skills in sport well beyond their athletic careers.

The inaugural program will be available for up to 15 athletes and is funded by the Australian Government’s Office for Women and supported by Sport Australia.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said this investment in our elite women athletes will provide them with development opportunities to reach their leadership potential.

Links to support older Australians this Easter

Links to support older Australians this Easter

We all love taking time out with friends and family over the holidays, and the Easter break is no exception.

But for many older Australians, this can be a particularly isolating time- and sometimes feelings of loneliness can creep up, which may be overwhelming.

There are many support services on offer for older Australians, including the Government’s free digital mental health gateway - Head to Health.

Australian Rowing Championships wrap up at Lake Barrington

Australian Rowing Championships wrap up at Lake Barrington

Rob Shaw, The Advocate

Lake Barrington received state, national and international endorsements as 1600 rowers wrapped up a hugely successful Australian championships on Sunday.

About 5000 people flocked to the picturesque venue to watch 129 events this week with International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates joining the home state's Olympic Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman and Rowing Australia chief executive Ian Robson in a chorus of praise.

BeyondBlue fundraiser in memory of Scott Luttrell runs at Devonport Credit: Simon Sturzaker

BeyondBlue fundraiser in memory of Scott Luttrell runs at Devonport

Molly Appleton, The Advocate

Golfers hit the greens of Devonport Golf Course in force to raise money for BeyondBlue in memory of Scott Luttrell.

Friends of the Scott Luttrell banded together to run a 3bbb ambrose competition in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with anxiety, depression and suicide.

Josephine Sukkar appointed first female chair of Australian Sports Commission

Josephine Sukkar appointed first female chair of Australian Sports Commission

Julian Linden, The Australian

Respected business figure Josephine Sukkar has been appointed as the first female chair of the Australian Sports Commission, one of the most important and influential roles in the country’s sporting ecosystem.

The co-founder and principal of Buildcorp Group as well as the President of Australian Women’s Rugby, Sukkar takes over the reins from John Wylie, who finished up in November after eight years at the helm, and also former marathon champion Steve Moneghetti, who briefly served as temporary chair.

Vehicle subsidy a welcome boost following

Vehicle subsidy a welcome boost following "tough year for tourism"

Claudia Williams, The Advocate

The influx of visitors expected to take advantage of vehicles travelling for free on the Spirit of Tasmania will be a welcome boost for the state's tourism. However, one operator has warned the industry's battle is far from over.

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania deputy chair and Stanley Seaview Inn owner Clint Walker said the federal government's $6 million subsidy to allow vehicles to travel for free in both directions across the Bass Strait from March 1 to June 30 was the "type of stimulus that our industry really needs".


$1bn boost for aged care in mid-year economic and fiscal outlook

$1bn boost for aged care in mid-year economic and fiscal outlook

Geoff Chambers, The Australian

Scott Morrison will inject an ­additional $1bn into the aged-care sector, supporting 10,000 new home care packages and bolstering nursing facilities hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The major spending item in this week’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook comes ahead of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety handing down its final report in February and as overall spending on aged care is projected exceed $27bn in 2023-24. The $850m home care package increases the overall number of places funded since the royal commission handed down its ­interim report last year to almost 50,000, at a cost of $3.3bn. With the number of Australians aged over 70 having increased by 28 per cent since 2012, home care packages are estimated to have spiked by more than 200 per cent.

Australian athletes given $115m funding boost through to 2022

Australian athletes given $115m funding boost through to 2022

Julian Linden

Anxious Australian athletes have been guaranteed over $100 million in extra funding to prepare for major international events over the next two years, ending a spat between officials over how to carve up public money or cash-strapped sports during the global pandemic. Under the new agreement, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) will provide more than $115 million to Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports for the 2021-22 financial year.  Most sports will receive close to their existing levels, with swimming once again the biggest beneficiary at almost $12 million, but the biggest increase is for Paralympic sports, which will get a $3 million raise, up 40% since 2012.


Federal Government commits $8.8 million dollars to bring the RWC to Australia

Federal Government commits $8.8 million dollars to bring the RWC to Australia

Julian Linden

Australian rugby has assembled a powerful team for a contest even more important than regaining the Bledisloe — winning the right to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup. The Saturday Telegraph can reveal the federal government is committing an extra $8.8 million to help Australia secure the right to host the 2027 RWC, the third biggest sporting event on the planet. Hosting the tournament will create 12,000 jobs, bring in more than 200,000 international visitors and generate an estimated $2.2 billion. “Events of this magnitude have huge flow-on effects through the entire economy,” federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said. “While we are not in a position to welcome international visitors right now, any inroads we can make to secure large events that will bring more tourists to Australia will be critical to the overall rebound of our tourism industry.”  The last time Australia hosted the Rugby World Cup was in 2003, with the tournament captivating the nation. Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said 2027 would be an even bigger party after the gloom of coronavirus. “It’s been a challenging time for the Australian sporting community, with the rescheduling of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021, and a number of other high-profile sporting events cancelled or postponed,” he said.


Budget 2020: Spend on seniors lifts home services

Budget 2020: Spend on seniors lifts home services

7 October 2020 - The Australian

The federal government will spend $1.6bn on 23,000 more home care packages to support ageing Australians to live longer in their own home, but will wait until the 2021 budget for a significant overhaul of the system. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told parliament aged care is “one of the greatest challenges we face in delivering essential services to Australians”, but said the government wanted to see the aged care royal commission’s final report in February before making any big spending commitments. “The government will provide a comprehensive response to the final recommendations following receipt of that report,” Mr Frydenberg said. “This will involve significant additional investment.” He said along with the new home care packages, the budget also invested in improving skills in the aged care workforce and providing additional dementia training and support. The new home care packages take the overall number to a projected 185,597 by June 30 next year. They will be provided across all package levels, from the low level packages offering help with gardening and shopping to the higher levels that assist with more intensive personal care.

'Hundreds of millions of dollars': 2023 World Cup a huge boost for economy, says minister

'Hundreds of millions of dollars': 2023 World Cup a huge boost for economy, says minister

26 June 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

The FIFA Council has voted in favour of Australia and New Zealand’s joint bid to host the Women’s World Cup in 2023. Australia and New Zealand will host the next Women's World Cup after being selected ahead of a bid from Colombia by the FIFA Council in the early hours of Friday morning. The result sparked celebrations around the country and is already regarded as a significant uplift to Australia's post-COVID recovery, according to federal Youth and Sports Minister, Richard Colbeck. "It has been estimated in the context of hundreds of millions of dollars. This is a huge event, this is a big deal. It’s the biggest women’s sporting event on the planet as the Premier said," he said. "We will have the eyes of the football world on Australia. It is the world game, it is a huge opportunity for us and so soon after COVID to have such a strong input back into the economy is really important." The tournament will be the biggest football event to be held in Australia. Football Federation Association modelling is braced for a surge in female registration in the coming years, leading towards a 50-50 gender split by 2027.

Therapy an adventure with northern suburbs sport program

Therapy an adventure with northern suburbs sport program

Frances Vinall

A pilot program to help disengaged young people through sport in the northern suburbs will continue, after it received a $433,640 federal government grant. Family members had noticed marked improvements in participants of Adventure PlayNorthern Suburbs Community Centre general manager Denise Delphin said. "It's increased attendance at school - parents and carers are saying they've noticed [the young people] managing things a lot better." Adventure Play connects young people with constructive activities like mountain biking, archery, horse riding, and team sports. Its aim is to help them overcome trauma and mental health issues through the benefits of sport, including physical activity, goal-setting, teamwork, confidence, and having fun. Young people are referred in through the centre or the neighbourhood house, through schools, or through the Migrant Resource Centre. "It was something that was needed in our community," Ms Delphin said.


FIFA Women's World Cup coming to Australia and New Zealand

FIFA Women's World Cup coming to Australia and New Zealand

Jackson Worthington

Launceston is set to host World Cup football after Australia and New Zealand were successful in their joint bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. The historic trans-Tasman bid beat out a bid from Columbia 22 to 13 at the FIFA Council meeting in Sweden this morning. Launceston's UTAS stadium was nominated as one of 12 playing sites in the bid. Liberal senator for Tasmania and Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck said the successful bid would bring football fans from all over the world to Tasmania. "It will be great for tourism and local economies from the State's north down to Hobart and it will help elevate the women's game like never before," he said. "This will be the first ever co-confederation hosted FIFA World Cup, the first ever FIFA Women's World Cup to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, and the first ever to be held in the southern hemisphere. "Tasmania will now play an important part in that." FIFA president Gianni Infantino said they are hoping to build on the success of the 2019 World Cup in France. "We have and will organise the best ever Women's World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand, that is our ambition," he said. Football Tasmania chief executive Matt Bulkeley said the result was a huge coup for the state.

Federal government to launch $23 million scheme protecting senior Australians from abuse

Federal government to launch $23 million scheme protecting senior Australians from abuse

SBS News

The Morrison Government says it is setting up a serious incident response scheme to protect senior Australians from abuse and neglect. The Morrison Government says it is spending an initial $23 million to set up a serious incident response scheme to protect vulnerable and senior Australians from abuse and neglect. It comes as new figures show more than 50,000 incidences of assault and abuse in aged care across the country are going unreported each year. Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck said the scheme will be an important measure to guarantee transparency and keep loved ones safe. Under the scheme, residential aged care providers will be required to manage all incidents, with a focus on the safety and wellbeing of consumers and reducing preventable incidents from re-occurring. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will receive incident reports and will have enhanced powers to take regulatory action where needed. "We understand there is still much work to do," Senator Colbeck said in a statement on Sunday. "Improving aged care for senior Australians continues to be one of the Morrison government's key priorities."


Sport a key recovery tool for the Coast, says Richard Colbeck

Sport a key recovery tool for the Coast, says Richard Colbeck

Alex Fair

While acknowledging there are still many challenges ahead, federal sports minister Richard Colbeck says the role that community sport will play in his home region's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic shouldn't be downplayed. The Devonport-based senator, who helped put into place the national principles for sport's resumption alongside the Australian Institute of Sport's "Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment", was speaking as the uncertainty around the viability of community sport conducting a season grows, highlighted on Sunday when the DFA announced it had decided against running a season in 2020. Senator Colbeck, who knows firsthand the important role sport plays on the North-West Coast as a former player and vice-president at the Devonport Football Club, said when sport was able to return it would be a significant moment for the region's economic and social recovery after it become a hot spot for the virus via the hospital outbreak. Training has either restarted or is about to on a restricted basis, with the earliest any competition could resume would be during stage three of the state government's "road map to recovery" in July. "I think it is going to be a really important part of us reconnecting with our communities, and if you look at all the different sporting codes that we play in this region, and I think we live in a great place in that sense as we have this fantastic town rivalry between people across the Coast,'' he said. "That is how we develop relationships and make connections and we need those things to be actively working, so the sooner we can get back into it the better," he said.

COMMENT || Principles provide a pathway to get back on the paddock

COMMENT || Principles provide a pathway to get back on the paddock

24 May 2020 - Minister Richard Colbeck

Those famous song lyrics have never seemed more relevant.

"Don't it even seem to go," Joni Mitchell once sang. "... that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." Ain't that the truth?

In the absence of competitive sport across the North-West Coast - or any organised activity anywhere for that matter - sport fanatics have sat idle. It has been a tough ask of Coastal residents who have always been passionate participants.

Whether it's lining up for a local team on a frost-bitten footy oval, or pacing themselves at a fitness centre - our competitive spirit has seemed unstoppable.

Almost, anyway. The spread of COVID-19 has changed how we conduct community competitions.

As restrictions ease, the return of local sport has never been more anticipated. It will be a balancing act. Overstep the mark and we risk undoing our efforts to stop the spread and save lives.

National Cabinet agreed sport and recreation will play a significant role as Australia emerges from the pandemic.

Developed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee in consultation with sporting bodies across Australia, the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities provide a pathway for a staged return of community and professional sport, as well as recreational activities, without compromising the health of individuals or the community.

It makes clear the return of activity at any level must not compromise the health of individuals or the community.

The principles are complimented by the work of the Australian Institute of Sport's Framework for Rebooting Sport.

Additionally, earlier this month the federal government announced the establishment of the COVID-19 Sports and Health Committee comprised of an expert team. The committee will closely monitor and report on any COVID-19 related issues or outbreaks during the resumption phase.

The timing of when sport resumes will be guided by the advice of each state and territory government and public health authorities. Together with the National Principles and AIS framework, the COVID-19 committee will help inform, educate and ensure safety. Downloading the COVIDSafe app will also be key.

The safe return of competition on the North-West Coast will rely on a responsible rollout where everybody follows advice and takes precautions. It will require us all to keep an eye on the ball.

  • Senator Richard Colbeck is the federal Minister for Sport
Senator Richard Colbeck urges elderly to keep up their home care services

Senator Richard Colbeck urges elderly to keep up their home care services

16 April 2020 - The Advocate

A number of elderly people have started refusing home support visits because they are worried about getting infected.

Aged Care Minister Senator Richard Colbeck said he was hearing from Commonwealth Home Support Programme providers that many older people were 'quite anxious' about the pandemic.

"They are self-isolating and refusing services from CHSP and home care packages.

"They are saying 'no' because they are concerned about people coming into their homes.

"A lot of (seniors) are taking self-isolation literally, but it's important they get the service they need."

Senator Colbeck said providers were supposed to be going into their elderly clients' homes as that was part of the service, but they would have infection control systems to protect everyone.

"They are safe to go into homes. They have systems to ensure they are safe."

He said members of the Older Persons Advocacy Network would call any elderly person who had refused their home service, and talk to them about starting it up again.

"It's important that even though you might be self-isolating, you don't get isolated.

"There are services that can help you. Please take advantage of them."

Senator Colbeck now has very limited contact with his own parents, who are in their eighties.

"We've made a decision that we don't visit, we don't go into the house, but we talk regularly."

He talked to his mother a few weeks ago about doing video calls, which he believed she was using with her grandchildren.

"Mum's a great cook. She spent the whole day baking the other day, but I'm not sure where it's all going.

"We're staying connected, but I'm looking forward to the day I can give Mum a hug again."

He strongly urged seniors to use services such as:

  • My Aged Care contact centre 1800 200 422 - for information and services
  • Prioritised supermarket delivery - register with My Aged Care
  • Telehealth services - for those with a Medicare card
  • Free Community Visitors Scheme - volunteers can register at My Aged Care
  • Meals on Wheels and similar services - prioritised with extra $59.3 million
  • CHSP services - available for up to six weeks without assessment.
Let kindness be what defines us, long after this virus has been beaten

Let kindness be what defines us, long after this virus has been beaten

9 April 2020 - Minister Richard Colbeck

For every ugly moment in this season of uncertainty – the panic buying, finger pointing and supermarket spats – there has been just as many bright spots.

Neighbours have leaned across the fence and reacquainted.

Families have phoned loved ones. Letters have been written and food has been dropped at front doors.

There has been a reconnection.

In this year of unprecedented change, the most favourable of human qualities shines bright.

It remains something to cling to as Easter nears.
We must look out for everybody.

But the need to ensure the care of the elderly has never been more important.

For those with healthy immune systems, COVID-19 can pass with barely a sniffle.

But it can be deadly for senior Australians.
The tireless efforts of our health care workers and researchers will eventually result in us getting ahead of the curve – but it will be no easy battle.

To date, more than 40 Australians have died from the virus. 

The majority of the victims have been aged over 70.

Evidence, both in Australia and overseas, tells us that the risk of coronavirus causing serious illness and death increases with age.

With no vaccine, preventing exposure is the single most important step we can take to protect senior Australians who are at greatest risk.

Restrictions are now in place to protect residents of aged care homes.

Visits to all public hospitals and aged care homes in Tasmania have been banned.

Strict guidelines remain in place for facilities in all other states.

Some have closed their doors in a bid offer the best protection.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s strong advice to seniors was simple: Those aged over 70, over 65 with a chronic medical condition, indigenous Australians over 50 or anybody with a compromised immune system should stay home.

It’s not a recommendation handed down lightly but it reflects the seriousness of the health emergency we’re facing.

It’s why the Federal Government has set about boosting services for senior Australians.

Meals on Wheel and similar services will be reinforced and prioritised as senior residents across Australia are urged to heed restrictions and stay home.

A $59.3 million injection will ensure more prepared meals, food staples and essential daily items are delivered to those who need them most.

Supermarkets have prioritised online delivery services for those who need them most.

Telehealth services have been bolstered so the elderly can consult with a GP without leaving home.

Pharmacies now have the capacity to deliver medicines direct to homes.

Announced funding measures of $444.6 million is expected to strengthen the aged care industry, with specific mechanisms to reinforce the workforce.

It comes atop of $2.4 billion for health and aged care already committed.

This global pandemic remains the greatest challenge we have faced as a nation since World War II.

Back then the requirements forced on society were far greater.

So it puts the current recommendations in perspective.

But an order to stay at home presents its own challenges.

Loneliness, already a major issue for many senior Australians, is compounded.

Not being able to spend time with grandchildren can be heart-breaking when a visit from a little one can prove the highlight of a week. 

Take a look at the images from Manly Beach this week and it’s clear the concept of social distancing remains a difficult one for healthy adults to come to terms with.

But as a community, we all have a role to play to help each other.

That’s why I’m asking everyone to look out for the elderly and vulnerable.

The Government is hopeful a $10 million injection into the Community Visitors Scheme will provide another mechanism for support of older Australians struggling with loneliness.

A national advertising campaign is also now focused specifically on reinforcing connection with the elderly.

But it will be the small gestures from each of us every day – acts of kindness that will make the greatest difference.

So, make that extra meal. Do some shopping for somebody else, lean over that fence or just make a call.  

Smart phones and tablets can keep us connected better than ever and could be invaluable to your parents or grandparents.

Teach them to use communication software like Facetime, Skype and Zoom.

Staying at home doesn’t have to mean living in isolation.

In a society that can so often be quick to anger – where judgement is piled high on social media and critics jostle for position – there has never been a greater need to lean into the innate qualities that have defined us from the very start.
Like a club banner raised to the cheers of a packed stadium, this message of kindness should be one that defines us, long after the siren sounds and this dogged virus has been beaten.


Senator Richard Colbeck is the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, and the Minister for Youth and Sport

Elderly Australians told to self-isolate at home, outdoor gatherings restricted to two people

Elderly Australians told to self-isolate at home, outdoor gatherings restricted to two people

29 March 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Australians aged over 70 have been urged to remain at home and all outdoor gatherings will be restricted to just two people, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison imposed a further social crackdown on Sunday night to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

All Australians have now been told to leave their homes only to shop for food or other essential supplies, to seek medical care, to exercise under public gathering rules or for work and education if these cannot be conducted remotely.

Mr Morrison warned that trips to the shops should be only for "what you need", and should be "as infrequently as possible" while public playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks will be closed from Monday.

"The strong advice is don't gather together in groups," he said on Sunday night.

"Just don't do it. It is not helpful. When you are going out for shopping, you should be going for just stuff you need and do it and get home."

The national cabinet, made up of Mr Morrison and state premiers, is resisting further restrictions on work sites and businesses across the nation, as authorities grow quietly confident that social distancing practices and harsh measures already implemented are slowing the rate of infection.

The number of Australians who have contracted the coronavirus will top 4000 on Monday, with 16 deaths as of Sunday night after a Victorian man in his 80s and a 75-year-old Queensland woman who was a passenger on board the Ruby Princess cruise ship became the latest victims.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was much less than it would have been without mitigation measures, and early signs of a flattening of the disease curve were welcome.

He said daily rates of increase, which were between 25 per cent and 30 per cent last week, were now in the "low teens".

“But it is not enough. We have to slow it further. We have to slow it further and we have to stop the thing that's worrying us most, which is community transmission,” Professor Murphy said.

Mr Morrison said the rule of two people in public would not include members of a person's household and warned that limits were now enforceable by authorities in most states and territories.

He said the rule would allow people to complete their daily exercise and was important, particularly for women, as they would not be forced to walk or run alone.

Mr Morrison said older Australians should self-isolate for their own protection to the "maximum extent practical".

"This does not mean they cannot go outside. They can go outside and be accompanied by a support person for the purposes of getting fresh air and recreation, but should limit contact with others as much as possible," he said.

He said those with chronic illnesses who were aged over 60 and Indigenous people over the age of 50 should also undertake similar measures.

National cabinet also agreed on a moratorium on evictions from commercial and residential rental properties, with Mr Morrison saying there would be a six-month ban on evictions of people as a “result of financial distress if they are unable to meet their commitments”.

Billionaire Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes on Sunday urged Australians to comply with social distancing measures put in place by the federal government as the nation confronts the coronavirus pandemic.

"Stay the f--- at home," he said. “Be sensible. Educate yourself. This is incredibly serious. We must flatten the curve or many more people will die.”

But John Dwyer, an emeritus professor of medicine at the University of NSW, said the outcomes for Australia would "surely be better" if governments moved quickly to a lockdown instead of allowing another week to pass.

"Better to do it now for a limited period when we can make a real dent in the spread of the virus, than a few weeks from now when it will be so much harder and take so much longer," he writes for Monday's Sydney Morning Herald and Age.

"There are still too many crowds in our supermarkets for shopping to be safe – same for the long queues for Centrelink. Scenes of large groups picnicking in parks and on the lawns above Bondi beach are also cause for concern."

State and territory governments spent the weekend negotiating with private hospitals to keep their facilities and workforce on standby amid claims from the sector facilities would be forced to close and nurses stood down unless there was financial assistance.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday that private hospitals were a critical part of the system and the states had made "extraordinary progress" with what was an indispensable part of the system.



Home, community providers to benefit from support package

25 March 2020 - Community Care Review

New measures against COVID-19 have been unveiled for the aged care sector including a $235 million staff retention bonus for residential and home care providers.

Making the announcement last Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said an additional $92.2 million would be provided for home care and CHSP providers, including services like Meals on Wheels.

The government will also provide $12.3 million to My Aged Care to respond to increasing demand.

“This additional funding is being focussed on those who are most vulnerable, to get them the additional support so they can get access to the essential things they need, particularly through things like Meals on Wheels and home care support and the other things older Australians will need going through this time,” the PM told a media conference.

The announcement followed a meeting of the newly-formed national cabinet which has been established to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

However there was no mention of the rapid response teams promised by the aged care minister Richard Colbeck at a webinar for home care stakeholders on March 16, as reported by Community Care Review here.

CCR understands a number of providers do not have enough PPE and have been unable to find out how to access a team.

CCR has sought further information from the government on when the teams will be available and how to access them but has not received a response.

In the meantime, the Department of Health has launched a process for aged care providers to order personal protective supplies and a new learning module for aged care workers.

Retaining staff

The $234.9 retention bonus is designed to create an incentive for workers to stay with their employers via significant tax-free bonuses

It will mean a payment of up to $800 after tax per quarter – paid for two quarters – for direct care workers and two payments of up to $600 after tax per quarter – for two quarters – for those who provide care in the home.

Payments will be delivered to providers, with  part-time workers to be paid a pro-rata rate.

Home care providers and organisations that deliver CHSP, including services such as shopping and meal delivery for people in self-isolation, will get an additional $92.2 million.

Meanwhile there will be $12.3 million to boost the capacity of My Aged Care to meet the surge in aged care specific COVID-19 enquiries and pay for additional staff.

Aged care minister Richard Colbeck says the measures are designed to protect older Australians and the sector as transmission of COVID-19 increased.

“Aged care is a critical sector that faces staffing challenges as existing staff are either subject to self-isolation requirements due to COVID-19 or are unable to attend work,” he said.

“We know we are asking a lot of this critical workforce as we face this unprecedented health emergency.”

Industry says measures welcome but more needed

Aged care industry bodies welcomed the additional support but said it still fell short of what will be required well COVID-19 continued to spread.

“Our sector is at the frontline of a major public health crisis,” an alliance of providers  including ACSA, Aged Care Guild, LASA, Anglicare Australia and Baptist Care Australia said.

It said the sector would make a joint proposal to the government outlining the further measures to safeguard older Australians through the pandemic.

The pandemic would create more financial and operational pressures for already stretched providers, the group said.

“These financial risks are as real as the challenges faced by airlines, tourism and hospitality.”

The alliance also said it was happy the government was recognising aged care as an essential service by promising workers prioritised access to diagnostic testing if needed.

COTA said the package provided much-needed support for home care services, which would become increasingly important if social distancing and isolation measures widened.

The union representing aged care workers said it was a recognition of an overworked and understaffed aged care workforce.

But the United Workers Union said the promised funds must not be “soaked up by the top layer or go missing” in red tape.

“The challenge for the Federal Government is to make sure the workers who will be running aged care in this time of crisis get the money they have been promised,” national aged care director Carolyn Smith said.

“We need a fair, transparent and equitable system to deliver the funding as quickly as possible to aged carers – they need this to go straight into their pockets.

“Aged carers will be on the front line of this crisis, and they need all the support they can get.”


$101m puts staff to work on aged-care emergencies

11 March 2020 - The Australian

Nursing home “surge” staff will be deployed to facilities where an ­urgent health response is required under a $101m government funding commitment to counter the impact of coronavirus on older Australians.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the new funding, part of a $2.4bn COVID-19 healthcare response, would also provide a program to upskill aged-care workers in infection control and ensure nursing home residents can access pathology services on site for potential virus cases.

“Our objective is to ensure Australia’s aged-care sector is ready and able to protect our most vulnerable,” Senator Colbeck said. “It remains our highest priority.

“While those aged over 70 are at greater risk from the virus, it’s important to understand Australia has a robust health system.”

He said the aged-care sector was well-practised in implementing infectious disease guidelines.

Aged-care representatives met with government officials last week to lay out their concerns in relation to how the coronavirus might affect nursing homes and those receiving aged-care services in their own homes, and will this week further discuss current issues in an online forum.

The sector was broadly supportive of the government’s funding package, but warned that more support might be required as the virus’s reach spreads.

“This is a strong start,” Leading Age Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said. “We applaud the government’s timely action to bolster protection for some of our most vulnerable Australians and the dedicated workforce who care for them.”

Catholic Health Australia chief executive Pat Garcia said it was a good initial step “but at this stage we just don’t know if that is going to be enough to protect the 282,000 Australians who are currently in residential aged care”.

“We hope the government will keep an open mind when it comes to the level of funding required to deal with a major outbreak in Australia’s aged-care homes.”

Aged and Community Services Australia chief executive Pat Sparrow said: “We are pleased that aged care was identified as one of the four key pillars in today’s ­demand-driven health package.

“The support for testing and staffing is really important and welcomed, and a lot of the other measures will assist elderly people being cared for at home.”

Senator Colbeck said a $30m national communication plan would also support older Australians and aged-care workers in their understanding of the impact of coronavirus and how best to ­ensure their personal safety.

Minister Richard Colbeck’s plea to nursing staff: don’t abandon elderly

Minister Richard Colbeck’s plea to nursing staff: don’t abandon elderly

6 March 2020 - The Australian

Nursing staff are vital for the welfare of vulnerable older Australians and should continue to turn up to work in aged-care homes, Richard Colbeck says.

An emergency forum of aged-care providers, consumer and worker representatives, bureaucrats and state governments met with the Aged Care Minister on Friday to discuss the latest information on how best to protect residents and workers from the spread of the coronavirus.

Senator Colbeck said the health, safety and welfare of older Australians were “paramount” and the government’s advice to the aged-care sector was no different than to the wider community — to practise good hygiene and go about their lives as they normally would.

Yet workers do have a particular responsibility to those in their care, he said. “There is no reason for staff at aged-care centres to avoid going to work unless they are showing symptoms, have been in contact with somebody showing symptoms or have been specifically ordered to isolate,” Senator Colbeck said.

The aged-care sector has been a particular point of concern during the coronavirus crisis, with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly saying the worldwide experience so far was that “people who are elderly and those with chronic conditions are more vulnerable to this virus”.

A Sydney aged-care centre, Dorothy Henderson Lodge in Macquarie Park, has already seen two workers and four residents test positive, with authorities worried the numbers could rise.

Senator Colbeck said the aged-care sector would continue to be provided with the best available ­advice on the virus and how it should be managed.

Sean Rooney, chief executive of aged-care provider group Leading Aged Services Australia, said the sector was “working ­extremely hard to protect our most vulnerable Australians and stands ready to continue the fight, for as long as it takes”.

National influence at state regatta hailed a success by Rowing Tasmania

National influence at state regatta hailed a success by Rowing Tasmania

20 January 2020 - The Advocate

Australia will host the women’s and men’s T20 World Cups in 2020, while the Australian Olympic Committee is taking a fresh approach to the Tokyo Games.

Tasmania's top rowers mixed it with the best in the country at Lake Barrington on the weekend and nobody was happier by the end of the regatta than Rob Prescott.

The Rowing Tasmania chief executive was delighted at how everything panned out for the fifth round of the state pennant series as members of the men's and women's National Training Centre teams, who had relocated their training bases in the aftermath of the bushfires in New South Wales, took part.

"To see the level that the national crews race at and how they prepare themselves was very impressive," Prescott said.

"Every time there was a national boat racing on the water there was a real buzz around the place, especially when the eights were racing.

"The athletes themselves and the national coaches were very generous in the time they spent with our local students and coaches and we couldn't have asked for anything better - everyone is still on a high over the whole event."

Prescott hopes that the exposure the venue received over the two days can lead to more use from national teams and programs.

"That's my hope and intention and I was fairly blunt when I dropped it on Rowing Australia chief executive Ian Robson on Sunday morning when we talked about where the new men's national training centre would be built," Prescott said.

"There are also conversations being had in regards to the future of the Australia Institute of Sport and the structure of that in the future."

On the water, the regatta was dominated by national teams along with Launceston and Hobart crews, but there were wins to North-West rowers in seven events.

Ulverstone's Michael and Sandra Wilson took out the master's mixed double scull in division one, clubmate Andrew Streeter was part of the victorious division two crew, and Belinda Schultz led a club sweep of the senior women's single scull.

Mersey Rowing Club success came from Ella Marshall in the under 21 women's single scull, Meg Castles in the under 17 women's single scull, and Jack Pears in the masters men's single scull, while the Kentish Rowing Club pairing of Sarah Welch and Luka Mansell claimed the under 17 women's double scull.

Russia gone in less than 60 minutes

Russia gone in less than 60 minutes

10 December 2019 - The Sydney Morning Herald

On Monday night in Launceston, Australian Sports Minister Richard Colbeck settled in for what he expected to be a long, difficult discussion with his fellow executive committee members of the World Anti-Doping Agency about what to do about Russia.

Instead, what had been booked as a three hour meeting was over in less than one. Russia, one of the great powers of the world, was promptly turfed out of international sport and according to Senator Colbeck, the only disagreement was whether WADA should have gone harder.

Russia has been banned from world sport for the next four years by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“When you read the report of the compliance review committee it was pretty clear that what had been occurring was calculated, it was deliberate, it was sophisticated and it was pretty blatant,’’ he told The Age.

“There was no choice. The only discussion was whether the penalty was enough.”

The WADA decision, which International Olympic Committee president Tomas Bach says he must accept, means Russia will not field a team at the Tokyo Games and Paralympics, the next FIFA World Cup and for the next four years, the world championships of any sports covered by the World Anti-Doping Code.

Russian officials are barred from holding positions on the IOC, Russia is prohibited from bidding for major sporting events and there is no guarantee that they will be welcomed back onto the field once they have served their four years in the doping sin bin.

“They are banned from comps, they are banned from hosting, they are banned from bidding and the hurdle to come back into the system is a significant one,’’ said Senator Colbeck, once of 12 WADA executive committee members who took Monday night's the unanimous decision.

Russia has already vowed to take WADA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. President Vladimir Putin questioned the lawfulness of applying a collective punishment to individual athletes who had committed no doping offence. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev dismissed WADA's move as “chronic anti-Russian hysteria.’’

In Australia, the decision unified our normally fractious sporting chiefs.

In the lead up to the Rio Games in 2016, Australian Olympic President John Coates put his organisation at odds with the Australian government, the then Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority any many of our leading athletes by backing the IOC decision to allow Russia to send a team to Rio.

This time, Coates and AOC are lockstep with Sport Australia chairman John Wyle, ASADA chief executive David Sharpe and Sports Minister Colbeck in backing the WADA sanctions.

The WADA decision in effect expands the IAAF prohibition against Russia fielding a track and field team in Rio to all Olympic sports at next year’s Tokyo Games. As in Rio, Russian athletes who demonstrate they have regularly been passed tests conducted by anti-doping agencies other than RUSADA will be permitted to compete under a neutral flag.

The exemption for individual athletes who can “prove” they are clean will help the sanctions survive an appeal before CAS, which through a series of previous decision upheld the IAAF ban. It also blunts Russia’s political attack against the WADA decision.

“I reject any assertion from Russia that this is something we are doing to their athletes,’’ Senator Colbeck said. “They did this to their athletes, quite blatantly. The target of this investigation was their system. The unfortunate consequence of that clean athletes within the Russian system suffer.”

Mr Sharpe said the Russian ban was critically needed to restore confidence in anti-doping. “The Russian state sponsored doping campaign is the worst case in the history of anti-doping and must be met with the harshest sanctions possible.”

AOC vice-president Ian Chesterman said the sanctions sent a powerful message. “This was a shocking betrayal of fair sport and there are severe consequences for that.”

Swimming Australia president John Bertrand said the evidence against Russia was overwhelming. “It is highly significant globally for world sport,’’ he said. “It gives athletes hope that in this super competitive world of Olympics the sport is becoming cleaner.”

The politics of doping are still likely to play out on the Tokyo pool deck, where Russian breaststroker Yuliya Yefimova, a swimmer who previously banned for a doping infraction, will renew her rivalry with America’s outspoken Lilly King.

Efimova has lived in California for eight years and already established in a case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport that she played no part in Russia’s doping regime.

American anti-doping campaigner, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart, was one of the WADA executive council members pushing for a blanket ban against all Russian athletes.

The Russian doping scandal first broke in late 2014, when the German television channel ARD aired allegations of a state-sponsored doping regime. This and worse was confirmed by an independent commission established by WADA, which exposed a protection racket for Russian drug cheats at the Sochi Winter Olympics run by corrupt government officials, drug testers and secret service agents.

WADA’s sanctions announced late Tuesday are based on further, damning revelations of a concerted effort by RUSADA, as recently as January this year, to manipulate their records and conceal evidence of doping. This included the mass deletion of testing files.

Op-Ed - Aged Care Royal Commission is about putting people at the centre of care

Op-Ed - Aged Care Royal Commission is about putting people at the centre of care

12 November 2019 - Minister Richard Colbeck - The Advocate

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety it was a solemn acknowledgement that we, as a nation, are on notice.

We must do better.

The systemic failure to care for too many senior Australians has been detailed in the recent Royal Commission Interim Report.

Abuse, while not the norm, is still far too common. Too often the system has focused on matters other than the people in care.

This is wrong.

The prime minister said when he announced the Royal Commission that we needed to be prepared to hear some difficult revelations.

We have been shocked at the extent of what we've found.

But importantly, what has happened is that this process has given senior Australians a voice - a voice in how they receive care and what needs to happen into the future.

Fundamentally, aged care is all about people. An aged care system that works well is one that puts people at the centre of care.

We owe all the seniors in care the utmost dignity and respect. We have a duty to deliver high quality care, care that respects their choices and their priorities.

The failures in aged care are intergenerational, and have occurred as the system has evolved across all levels of Government and over decades.

And while it should be acknowledged that there's a lot more that's good about the aged care sector than there is bad, the bad must be reformed.

While the Royal Commission has been holding hearings we have been doing what we said we would do in making the reforms that we know will make a difference for seniors and their families.

There have already been some significant reviews into how Australia cares for our elders, which have formed the basis of the decisive action we have taken as a Government.

In January this year we established the new independent aged care regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, with strong powers to sanction providers and uphold objective standards of care.

In July the Aged Care Quality Standards came in to effect, which set out benchmarks of quality and safety for which providers can be held accountable.

In July the new Aged Care Charter of Rights was also established, which sets out in plain English what seniors and their families can expect from care.

As we speak we have legislation before the Parliament to transfer all the final regulatory powers from the Department of Health to the Commission, which means the sector will have, for the first time, a truly independent regulator.

New regulations have been delivered around the use of chemical and physical restraints. The regulations require that restraint be used only as a last resort.

We are also providing record funding for a record number of in-home care packages and trialling reforms to the residential aged care funding model. It is important that we provide the right incentives to deliver high quality care.

These and other measures already delivered will form part of the foundation of reform. But there will be further significant change in this sector over the next 18 months.

It will be driven by the outcomes of the Royal Commission.

The interim report has already highlighted three key areas for immediate action: home care packages, regulations around restraints and young people with disabilities in residential aged care.

The prime minister has already indicated we will be moving swiftly to address these critical areas of need by Christmas. This will be followed by a range of medium and long term reforms.

Our government will be working closely with seniors and families, providers and staff, to further ensure that we are in the best position to respond as quickly as possible to what comes out of the Royal Commission.

Finally, I'd also like to pay tribute Commissioner Richard Tracey, who tragically passed away recently, very shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. Commissioner Tracey put significant effort into ensuring that his work in the Interim Report was completed, and perhaps even put that work in front of himself.

As a nation we owe him and his family a debt of gratitude.

The Interim Report is a significant document in its own right, and it is only fitting that we honour his legacy.

We need to have attitudinal change to the way that we interact with, and care for older Australians.

Because that's what Australian families demand of us; that's what they deserve; and that's what we must deliver.

  • Senator Richard Colbeck is the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians.
Aged Care Royal Commission chair Richard Tracey QC dies after a short battle with cancer

Aged Care Royal Commission chair Richard Tracey QC dies after a short battle with cancer

14 October 2019 - The Australian

Aged Care Royal Commission chair Richard Tracey QC has died just seven weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Commissioner Lynelle Briggs announced Mr Tracey’s death aged 71 at the opening of the commission’s session on Monday, saying he had died last Friday in California, where he was seeking treatment for his condition.

Ms Briggs said the news of his death was “a complete shock and absolutely shattering.”

“He was experienced. He was wise. He was admired. He knew the law like the back of his hand,” Ms Briggs said.

“He was prepared to take a punt if it meant getting a better outcome for older Australians.”

Mr Tracey’s fellow commissioner Tony Pagone QC will take over as chair. He said Mr Tracey’s work on the commission was “solid, selfless and significant.”

Mr Tracey was appointed chair of the Aged Care Royal Commission in December last year after a distinguished military career. He served in the Australian Army from 1975 to 2014, achieving the rank of Major-General. He was Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force from 2007 to 2014.

Health minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care minister Richard Colbeck acknowledged Mr Tracey’s “professionalism, compassion and leadership” at the Royal Commission.

“Commissioner Tracey travelled widely to hear evidence from across the country and his work will play an integral role in the Royal Commission’s recommendations,” they said in a statement.

Law Council President, Arthur Moses SC, described Justice Tracey as “a man of the highest integrity”.

“On behalf of the Law Council I recognise and honour the important and enduring legacy of Justice Tracey to Australia’s legal community,” Mr Moses said.

“I note Justice Tracey’s particular contribution to military law and military justice, as a member of the ADF and important roles in the military justice system.”

Mr Tracey is survived by his wife Hilary and their children Jack, Philip, Fiona and Rosie.


Prime Minister announces funding for improving aged care sector

25 November 2019 -

Scott Morrison has been through the pain and family distress, and so have tens of thousands of other Australians.

It is the emotional decision to settle an elderly loved one in a facility that will probably be their final address.

The Prime Minister today called it “a very uncomfortable exercise for all” as he announced an extra $537 million as a response to the interim report of the royal commission into aged care.

“I think there are few families around the country, my own included, who are unfamiliar with the difficult decisions that are made about relatives and loved ones who are placed into aged care facilities,” the Prime Minister told reporters in Canberra.

The package released today, with more funding to come when the royal commission issues its final report next year, was dominated by $496.3 million for an extra 10,000 home care packages.

About $25,000 would go to improving medication management after the royal commission’s findings of the practice of “chemical restraint” on aged care residents, and new restrictions and education on them being prescribed.

Further, $10 million will go specifically to training in support of dementia patients in homes, and $4.7 million to hasten the removal of young, disabled people from aged care homes and their placement in appropriate facilities for their age group.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck raised the prospect of funding support for care facilities along lines not yet highlighted by the royal commission. He called it “a new methodology for the remuneration of aged care facilities”.

Senator Colbeck said the system, started in 2008, was “generally recognised as not being fit for purpose any longer”.

One of the changes, and the source of anguish for all involved, is the growing incidence of people staying at home longer, and having only a short time in residential facilities.

Mr Morrison said it was well-known in the sector that “people when they’re going into aged care now are going in for a shorter period of time”.

This was requiring “a much higher level of service” for treatment of dementia and related ailment of the elderly, which might affect the financial stability of facilities.

“The funding and structure of these commercial centres, and not-for-profit too, by the way, obviously is impacted by the change in how demand is finding its way into the system,” Mr Morrison said.

“A lot of facilities have been built on the long-stay, lower care requirements.

“People sometimes choosing not to take those places up and stay at home and get in-home care places.

“It’s a sector going through a lot of structural change.”

He said the Government wanted to help people make the difficult choices of aged care as health care and support needs changed.

“It’s not to run an institutional system,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s not an end in itself. The purpose is to help people with the choices they want to make about their futures.”

Tasmania is ready for an AFL club, says Federal Sport Minister

Tasmania is ready for an AFL club, says Federal Sport Minister

22 September 2019 - Sydney Morning Herald

Federal Sport Minister Richard Colbeck has thrown his support behind Tasmania's bid to join the AFL, arguing the state had been "taken for granted" by the league for too long and was ready for its own club.

Tasmania's most senior member of the Morrison government says while taxpayer money should not be spent on acquiring the licence there would be opportunities for the Commonwealth to invest in major infrastructure linked to a new club.

He has given his backing to the Hodgman government-appointed taskforce which looks certain to bid for a provisional AFL licence by the end of this year, with a potential 2025 entry into the national competition.

Senator Colbeck, a former administrator of the Devonport Football Club who played alongside Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan in the 1980s, said the priorities of the AFL and some some of its sponsors to look for new markets had ignored "a natural" Aussie rules state.


"They've had an attitude of: 'We'll just keep on taking the players and taking the advertising revenue. Thanks very much'," he told The Age. "I don't think that's good enough. It is clearly an ideal state. Some of the greatest players ever to play the game have come from there."

He said there had been a "very positive" change in attitude the past 18 months from league headquarters and said the outside notion that Tasmania was "too parochial" to support one team was overstated.

"The excuse of a North-South rivalry has been used against us, I think as an excuse, rather than a genuine reason not to do something," he said. "It's historical. It's like Sydney and Melbourne. That will never disappear, but it's also part of the passion that makes a game work.

"It's our national game, but it's not played at a national level from a state point of view."

Senator Colbeck said he had advised the state's taskforce, headed by founding Virgin Australia chief executive Brett Godfrey, to ensure any Tasmanian AFL club worked alongside institutions such as the Tasmanian Institute of Sport or the University of Tasmania to do develop elite-athlete training programs and establish a wide-spread network.

Federal Labor has pledged $25 million towards establishing both men's and women's Tasmanian league clubs, contingent on an AFL decision to issue a licence.

Almost 30,000 people have registered support to the taskforce's United We Stand grass-roots campaign, with Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman urging the state's football community to "stand united".

Australia bans sale of pure caffeine power after caffeine overdose death of NSW man

Australia bans sale of pure caffeine power after caffeine overdose death of NSW man

20 September 2019 - 7News

Australia is banning the sale of pure caffeine powder after a young man died of an overdose.

“Lachlan Foote’s death was an absolute tragedy and our government is determined to prevent something like this occurring again,” Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck said today.

“The dangers of pure caffeine powder cannot be underestimated.”

The 21-year-old died from acute caffeine toxicity in early 2018 after ingesting one teaspoon of powder.

A single teaspoon of pure caffeine can be the equivalent of between 25 and 50 cups of coffee.

The ban will not affect products such as coffee, energy drinks and sports foods, which have much lower concentrations of caffeine.

Senator Colbeck cautioned young people against buying caffeine supplements online.

“Australians are also reminded to be cautious about the products they may be purchasing from overseas or online, which may not be safe,” he said.

Pure caffeine levels in listed medicines have also been restricted to limit the risk of accidental overdoses.

Lachlan’s father, Nigel Foote, previously told A Current Affairfinding his son dead in the bathroom of their Blackheath home was “the most unbelievably riveting, profound, shocking moment you could ever go through”.

He welcomed the Government’s decision to protect other consumers and save lives.

“Highly caffeinated products are an international problem and the sooner people are educated about the associated health risks, the better,” he said.

Mr Foote, who taught his son to play guitar, called on politicians to next look at emulating the UK and banning the sale of energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster to children under 16.

Three year $1.75 million national pilot scheme aims for happy seniors in aged care homes

Three year $1.75 million national pilot scheme aims for happy seniors in aged care homes

26 August 2019 - The Advocate

The ink has just dried on a $1.75 million contract aimed at improving the mental health of seniors in Tasmanian aged care homes.

Not-for-profit Richmond Fellowship Tasmania signed a deal on Monday with the federal government to provide mental health services in aged care homes.

The three year national pilot scheme will see the Richmond Fellowship working with an aged care residential facility in the North-West as well as in two other regions of the state.

A study points out that more than 40% of India's corporate employees suffer from depression and anxiety. It's a common illness, yet talking about it is still a taboo. And it costs the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.

In the trial, mental health professionals will offer face-to-face or group sessions to help improve their mental health.

Federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said since taking up the portfolio he'd had many conversations about how to improve the mental health of the nation's seniors.

"We know that for a lot of people, when they go into aged care facilities their mental health drops quickly," he said.

"We are seeing a growth in the number of older people 65 years old and over who have mental illness issues.

"The trial will offer them psychological support, for example, for managing grief."

Senator Colbeck said the trial aimed to help 120 people in the first year.

"We want to see more people having access to mental health services.

"It's all part of a way to improve the aged care system.

"We have invested heavily in aged care and this is a new way of doing things. We're very hopeful this new approach will help improve the quality of life of Tasmanians living with a mental illness in residential aged care."

NW Coast one of three trial regions

Hobart-based Richmond Fellowship CEO Miriam Moreton said staff would be working in aged care homes in three regions across Tasmania.

She said the funding was for the trial only and was not on-going.

"We expect to start the program in November or December this year statewide.

"It's a three year program, and in the first year we will work with (the aged care facility) operators on how to best introduce and run the programs in their facilities."

She said results would be measured by the number of people seen, their satisfaction and the regions they are in.

For the first year of the trial, Richmond Fellowship would be hiring one person in the North-West.

Latrobe's Strathdevon aged care facility adds 37 rooms and new facilities in ambitious makeover

Latrobe's Strathdevon aged care facility adds 37 rooms and new facilities in ambitious makeover

6 August 2019 - The Advocate

The Latrobe region has had a welcome boost in rooms for aged care residents, with the official opening of the new Henley wing at Uniting AgeWell's Strathdevon facility.

The $10 million addition was opened by Aged Care Minister Senator Richard Colbeck on Tuesday.

He congratulated Uniting AgeWell for its investment, which adds 37 rooms and many new facilities.

"When things are tight in the aged care sector, the fact that you were prepared to go ahead with such an investment - you should be congratulated."

He said changes were coming in aged care in the next 18 to 24 months. "It will take a lot of investment, and it will take the two parties (Coalition and Labor) working together."

He hinted there would be additional funding for the sector, on top of the $5 billion in the recent budget.

Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly said the Henley Wing already had 21 residents. 

"There is a pressing need for more aged care and for it to be more affordable.

"We want to provide care where people can stay in their community with their family and friends."

He said the group had had more big projects in the pipeline.

"There is a pressing need for more aged care and the need for it to be more affordable. 

"We are committed to meeting this need as best we can."

He added that the 37 extra rooms would bring more jobs to the local community.

The capital works were funded by Uniting AgeWell and were backed by about $4.5 million in annual funding from the federal government.

Melbourne in prime position in advertising campaign to lure more Indian tourists

Melbourne in prime position in advertising campaign to lure more Indian tourists

29 July 2019 - Herald Sun

Australia will spend $5 million on a new advertising campaign to lure Indian tourists to our shores ahead of next year's T20 World Cup.

The marketing drive — which will kick off next month — will use several high-profile Indian celebrities and Australian cricketers who resonate with the Indian market.

Melbourne is in prime position to take advantage of the new campaign, with the MCG to host the final as well as two round matches for the Indian men’s side.

India is Australia’s fastest-growing tourism market and is already worth $1.7 billion a year. The Morrison Government will today announce the new campaign, which will be used to drive visitation to both the women’s and men’s tournaments next year, as well as increase Australia’s broader appeal as a holiday destination.

More than 171,000 Indian visitors spent time in Victoria to the year ending March 2019, up 10 per cent from the previous 12 months. Spending by Indian visitors was $544 million — up 19 per cent.

Federal Minister for Tourism Simon Birmingham said the T20 World Cup would deliver significant benefits to Australia’s tourism industry and the broader economy.

“We know from research that major sporting events have far-reaching impacts and are significant drivers of visitor demand, with 16 per cent of all international visitors attending a sporting or cultural event during their trip,” Senator Birmingham said.

“These visitors are also known to stay longer and spend more than the average international traveller.

“These World Cups represent the perfect opportunity to encourage Indians to book a flight to Australia to cheer on their team from cities and stadiums all over the country.”

Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said next year’s event would shine a spotlight on the nation as a global leader in sport and major events.

“Securing major sporting events for Australia is crucial to nurturing our rich sporting culture,” Mr Colbeck said.

The ICC T20 World Cup 2020 will be contested across eight host cities: Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Perth and Sydney.

The MCG will host the ­Indian men’s team for two round matches, while Junction Oval will host two Indian women’s matches.


'It's unbelievable': Barty celebrates French Open title win after breaking Australia's 46-year drought

10 June 2019 - SBS

Ashleigh Barty is Australia's first French Open singles champion in 46 years after crushing Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3 in the women's final.  

The 23-year-old crowned her incredible comeback to tennis with a stunning French Open final triumph.

Speaking to SBS News after the win, she thanked Australian fans for their support. 

"The support has been incredible - not just at home but even here in Paris. The amount of Aussie accents I heard the crowd has been amazing. 

"And it has just been really nice to have the support from everyone. I am a very lucky girl."

Five years after quitting the sport in despair, Barty joined Australian legendsMargaret Court (1962, '64, '69, '70, '73), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1971) and Lesley Bowrey (1963, '65) on the Roland Garros honour roll with a ruthless 6-1 6-3 victory over unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova.

The win caps off a phenomenal turnaround since returning to tennis in 2016, with a ranking of 623, following an 18-month sabbatical where she played cricket in the WBBL with Brisbane Heat.

'I played the perfect match'

“It’s unbelievable... I played the perfect match today. I am so proud of myself and my whole team... it has been a crazy two weeks,” said Barty after going one better than Fed Cup teammate Samantha Stosur, who lost to the 2010 final in Paris to Francesca Schiavone.

"It [Roland Garros] is a special place for for Australian players ... Sam has been so close before and I am incredibly proud of what I have been able to achieve in this amazing two weeks."

The new queen of clay will also pocket a cool $3.74 million after taking out her maiden grand slam at a tournament where she'd never passed the second round in her five previous visits.

Barty's maiden grand slam victory rockets the 23-year-old to No.2 in the world and franks her name as one of the early favourites to land tennis's greatest prize at Wimbledon next month.

Her new ranking will be the highest by an Australian woman since Goolagong Cawley reached top spot in 1976, and she follows her idol's footsteps by becoming the second Indigenous Australian to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup.

Barty joins the ranks of Australian tennis legends

The Queenslander is also the first Australian singles champion in Paris since Court clinched the last of her five titles 46 years ago.

Barty's win puts her in exalted company as she became only the 17th Australian woman to win a major - and first since Samantha Stosur at the US Open triumph in 2011.

'This is just the start', says Barty

The Ipswich-born talent powered through the first set in just under half an hour, breaking the sweet-swinging southpaw three times.

It was the first time Vondrousova - who was looking to become the first teenage winner since Iva Majoli 22 years ago - had dropped a set in the tournament.

Barty stormed in to a 2-0 lead early in the second set and then closed out the one-sided final in an hour and 10 minutes.


Political leaders also quick to congratulate Barty

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Prime Minister Scott Morrison are the among the many Australians to heap praise on Ash Barty for her French Open tennis title victory.

"I think everyone across Queensland is once again very proud of Ash Barty," Ms Palaszczuk told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday.

"She is a great role model and inspiration to many young Queenslanders, I hope that they will dream to follow in her footsteps.

Earlier Mr Morrison had tweeted his congratulations to Barty "on a stunning victory in the French Open. Our newest Aussie champion!"

Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said Dylan Alcott also deserved praise for defeating American David Wagner 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to record his eighth Grand Slam Singles win.

“Ash Barty is the first Australian woman to win the French open since Margaret Court and follows in the footsteps of Evonne Goolagong Cawley as one of Australia’s greatest ever Indigenous tennis players," he said in a statement.

"Dylan Alcott has proven himself master of men’s singles wheelchair tennis and has become the inaugural French Open Quad Wheelchair Champion.

"Ash Barty and Dylan Alcott have shown they are also true ambassadors for their sport and Australia, sports fans across the country will celebrate with them."

Cabinet history in the making as new agenda shaped

Cabinet history in the making as new agenda shaped

27 May 2019 - The Australian

Scott Morrison has drawn sharp new priorities for his government by elevating the National Dis­ability Insurance Scheme into cabinet as a stand-alone ministry, reintegrating the climate and ­energy portfolios and creating a federal agency to improve public service delivery.

The overhaul sets a number of historic precedents, with 11 women on the Coalition frontbench including seven in cabinet, and ­Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie becoming the nation’s first female agriculture minister. Linda Reynolds will become defence minister and Marise Payne will stay in Foreign Affairs but also take responsibility for Women while Michaelia Cash will have responsibility for Employment, Skills and Small Business.

West Australian Liberal Ken Wyatt will become the first Aboriginal person to hold the post of minister for indigenous affairs, and he will become the first indigenous MP to serve in cabinet in Australia’s history.

The frontbench shake-up is the first step by Mr Morrison to assert his new authority over the ­Coalition following his “miracle” election victory, with the new ministry to be sworn in on Wednesday following a joint partyroom meeting tomorrow.

Mr Morrison yesterday said Mr Wyatt — who has served as minister for indigenous health, senior Australians and aged care — would be supported by a “new ­national indigenous Australians agency” to be established within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The new frontbench line-up will focus on delivering Mr ­Morrison’s promised 1.25 million new jobs, maintaining the forecast budget surpluses, paying down debt, delivering tax relief and guaranteeing funding for essential services. “This ministry brings together the experience of those who have been serving in roles across the government for many years now,” Mr Morrison said. “And it brings together some new members who will bring their skills, experience, passion and energy to the government, as we set about the task of realising the aspirations for all Australians.”

The biggest winners in the frontbench shake-up include Attorney-General Christian Porter, who will take on the key portfolio of Industrial Relations and serve as Leader of the House, as well as Stuart Robert who is a key ally of Mr Morrison.

Mr Robert will be handed responsibility for the $22 billion NDIS. Mr Morrison appointed Mr Robert to the outer ministry position of assistant treasurer in August following the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull. Mr Robert was forced to resign from the Turnbull frontbench in 2016 after breaching the ministerial code. Mr Morrison yesterday said the NDIS was a “very big social reform”, with the Coalition aiming to ensure that 500,000 Australians were able to access assistance under the scheme over the next five years.

A Government Services portfolio has also been created for Mr Robert, who will have responsibility for a federal agency aimed at improving service delivery, including through the use of digital platforms. The economic team will remain unchanged, with Josh Frydenberg staying on as Treasurer and Mathias Cormann continuing to serve as Finance Minister. Greg Hunt will keep Health, but take-up a new role as minister assisting the Prime Minister for the public service and cabinet.

Dan Tehan will stay in Education while Peter Dutton will continue to serve in his signature role of Home Affairs.

The revised Morrison cabinet — due to meet for the first time on Wednesday — will maintain its record level of seven women, with two females from the outer ministry, Sussan Ley and Anne Ruston, taking up seats around the cabinet table.

Ms Ley will return to cabinet to take over the environment portfolio from Melissa Price — the biggest loser from the shake-up. Ms Price was yesterday demoted from cabinet and handed the Defence Industry portfolio.

Senator Ruston will enter cabinet as social services minister while two other women, Jane Hume and Nola Marino, will join the outer ministry. Senator Hume will serve as assistant minister for superannuation and financial services while Ms Marino will become assistant minister for regional development and territories. Energy Minister Angus Taylor will also take over responsibility for meeting Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction targets. His portfolio was yesterday renamed Energy and Emissions Reduction.

Victorian MP Alan Tudge has been elevated into cabinet and retains responsibility for population, cities and urban infrastructure, while Sydney MP Paul Fletcher has been moved from Social Services. Mr Fletcher will take over Senator Fifield’s portfolios and become minister for communications.

Tasmanian Liberal senator Richard Colbeck will pick up responsibility for Aged Care, Youth and Sport.

The Nationals will have a diminished representation in cabinet, moving from five seats to four. Senator McKenzie will take agriculture while David Littleproud will have responsibility for water resources, drought, rural finance, natural disaster and emergency management. Matt Canavan will retain responsibility for resources while Michael McCormack will continue in his role as Infrastructure and Transport Minister.

Taiwan grants Tasmania fruit fly free status

Taiwan grants Tasmania fruit fly free status

24 May 2019 - The Advocate

Taiwan has recognised Tasmania as fruit fly free.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck said the decision is good news for Tasmanian fruit exporters.

"It is also good news for growers state-wide because it affirms Tasmania's reputation as an exporter of high-quality, safe product."

Taiwan represents a $5.6 million market for Tasmanian fruit exports and has been closed to growers in the affected zones in the north of the state since January 2018.

Taiwan joins other protocol countries like Japan, South Korea and New Zealand in recognising Tasmania's fruit fly free status..

"Our trading partners take their biosecurity as seriously as we do and they make their own assessments based on their own data requirements and timetables.

"This is another demonstration of the strong work that has been done to ensure that Tasmania regains its fruit fly free status and is a pleasing result for our exporters."

Liberal Gavin Pearce has won the seat of Braddon from Labor’s Justine Keay

Liberal Gavin Pearce has won the seat of Braddon from Labor’s Justine Keay

18 May 2019 - The Mercury

A TRIUMPHANT Gavin Pearce says his victory in Braddon came thanks to the Liberals’ focus on northern Tasmanians.

The new Braddon MHR told family, friends and Liberals in Burnie that he won the seat from Labor candidate Justine Keay because his party had unapologetically put Braddon first — a contrast, he said, to the Opposition.

The Tasmanian Liberals had played on Labor’s pledge to give Mona and the AFL funding as evidence the party only cared about the south, despite other funding commitments made throughout the state.

Mr Pearce drew on a friend’s quip in describing Tasmania as a funnel where wealth flowed through the top of the state and went to the bottom — Hobart.

“I’m here to stop it running out the bottom,” Mr Pearce said to cheers.

An emotional Mr Pearce last night paid tribute to his family — including partner Megan McGinty, daughter Isla, 4, and son and “best mate” Hamish, 17 — as well as Liberal state director Sam McQuestin, party president Geoff Page, senator Richard Colbeck and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Mr Morrison earned special praise from Mr Pearce. The beef farmer tallied Mr Morrison’s visits to Braddon at 10 during the campaign — and he received a final boost from the Liberal leader with a fly-in visit on polling day.

“I will follow him for the rest of my dying days,” Mr Pearce said.

Ms Keay conceded the seat to Mr Pearce about 9.45pm. Her supporters had gathered at the Ulverstone Surf Club.

Mr Pearce’s election night party was attended by high-profile Liberals including Senator Colbeck, Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff and Housing Minister Roger Jaensch.

Hobart City Council alderman and Liberal senate candidate Tanya Denison, Braddon Liberal MHA Joan Rylah and former Braddon MHA Adam Brooks also partied with Mr Pearce.

Despite the Liberal’s success in picking up two seats, voters drifted away from the major parties across the state.

Labor’s primary vote in lower house contests was down 4.5 per cent, the Liberals were down about the same. The Greens vote statewide was almost unchanged from the last election at 10 per cent.

Andrew Wilkie’s improved result accounted for much of the 13 per cent won by independents, along with Craig Brakey in Braddon, who picked up 11 per cent of the vote in that tightly-contested seat.

And the new right wing micro parties posted patchy results in their first outings in Lower House contests in Tasmania.

Statewide, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation managed to secure 2.6 per cent of the primary vote. The party’s best result was in the seat of Lyons where candidate Tennille Murtagh won 7.8 per cent of the primary vote.

On the back of an advertising blitz, the United Australia Party managed four per cent: its best result in Franklin at 6.6 per cent.

And Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party managed 1.7 per cent in Franklin and one per cent in Braddon.

Almost 20 per cent of Tasmanians voted early — the Australian Electoral Commission reported 69,000 prepoll votes were cast statewide in the lead-up to the poll. Those votes will prove important, particularly in deciding the outcome in the Senate.

Claire Chandler likely to sit in the Senate

Claire Chandler likely to sit in the Senate

18 May 2019 - The Examiner

The Liberals as of last night were likely to get an extra seat in the Senate through the election of former Young Liberal president Claire Chandler and re-election of Richard Colbeck.

The Nationals, however, failed dismally in the count on Saturday night on a ticket led by sitting senator Steve Martin, only winning 2348 primary votes - or just over 1 per cent of all votes counted.

With just over half of the Senate ballots counted, the Greens achieved close to a progressive quota which should see Nick McKim returned. 

Labor senators Carol Brown and Catryna Bilyk will certainly be returned, and Jacqui Lambie is likely to be returned although her numbers so far fall well short of a quota.

It is likely she will benefit from the flow of preferences from minor parties candidates and leakages from the major parties.

Ms Lambie was ousted from her seat in 2017 after being found to be a dual citizen by descent.

Mr Martin ran second on her party ticket in the 2016 election and was awarded the seat.

He was expelled from the party by Ms Lambie for failing to step aside to allow her to return to the Senate - a move which sparked a bitter feud between the two.

Labor sitting senator Lisa Singh will almost certainly not make the cut after being pushed into an unwinnable fourth position on the party's Senate ticket.

Ms Singh faced this fate in 2016 during the double dissolution election but managed to win enough below-the-line votes to return to the chamber.

This time she will need to double the fete.

Despite a high-profile campaign, independent Steve Mav failed to make much of an impact as did minority parties like the United Australia Party and One Nation.

Mr Mav won 2054 first-preference votes, the UAP 5343 votes, and One Nation scored 7349 votes.

Anti-salmon farm candidates Craig Garland and Mark Duncan also failed to make much of an impact despite their perceived popularity on the North-West, winning 2195 votes between them. Counting is set to resume on Sunday.

Braddon Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce will campaign until the final minute

Braddon Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce will campaign until the final minute

17 May 2019 - The Advocate

Fighting until the last minute is Braddon Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce's tactic for the final day of the election.

He was joined by Premier Will Hodgman in Devonport on Friday afternoon to meet with constituents outside the pre-polling centre.

"I'm positive that we have done the work. We have been out in the electorate. We have completed everything that we really needed to do, and we are in the final approach now," Mr Pearce said.

He said he was fighting for the people of Braddon.

"I feel a little ripped off and disappointed that the opposition has placed their priorities down south with MONA and the AFL. I'd like to finally just reassure all voters of Braddon that I am wholly and solely focused on them.

"I'm here for Braddon. I'm here to make sure that Braddon has the jobs it needs.

"A wise old gentleman once told me, that Tasmania is geographically shaped like a funnel. The wealth runs in the top and runs out the bottom... I'm here to plug that hole. 

"I think it just shows a difference in priorities. We prioritise jobs, health and that wonderful Tasmanian way of life. That's our priority... what happens down south has got no benefit up here on the coast."

He said running against independent candidate Craig Brakey, and the Nationals candidate Sally Milbourne hasn't made his task harder.

Mr Pearce's said his lack of political experiences shouldn't concern Braddon voters as "real life experience" was more important.

Mr Hodgman said there was a lot at stake for the state.

"I've read today that this election could go down to the wire and it could be just a matter of a few seats and in Braddon, there's a great opportunity not only to elect a fantastic local candidate who will stand up like no other for this region... but it could also determine partially the outcome of the election and who forms the next government," he said.

Mr Hodgman said he didn't support Labor's funding proposal for a state AFL team.

"It's a fraud, it would likely pay for a football team for half a season."

Comment | Scott Morrison

Comment | Scott Morrison

17 May 2019 - Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Tasmania is Australia's turnaround state.

Through the combined efforts of your federal and state Liberal governments we are creating jobs, strengthening the health system and protecting the Tasmanian way of life.

Tasmania's turnaround has been a major success after six wasted years of a federal and state Labor-Greens alliance where Tasmania ended up in a recession.

Tasmania's turnaround is being driven by the strong economy, which the Hodgman Government, working together with our Government, is achieving here.

Wherever I go in Tasmania, I meet people excited about their future in Tasmania and Tasmanians coming home to Tasmania.

Keeping our economy strong is how we will secure your future and your family's future. It is how we will secure your wage, your job, your business or the business you work for.

Because of our economic management, we are delivering the first budget surplus in more than a decade. Nationwide 1.3 million new jobs created during this government, including almost 17,000 in Tasmania.

Labor and the Greens put all of this at risk.

Last financial year more than 100,000 young Australians got a job!

That's something I'm most proud of - because it is setting our young Tasmanians up for bright, successful futures in whatever they want to do.

With a stronger economy we will create another 1.25 million jobs over the next five years.

We've repaired so much of the economic damage caused by Labor and the Greens.

Our approach is proven: deliver Budget surpluses, pay down debt and do it without increasing taxes.

A Liberal Government will keep delivering tax relief for families and small businesses, because I want hard working Tasmanians to keep more of what they earn.

And because we are back in surplus, we can guarantee the increased funding for the essential services that Australians rely on. Schools, hospitals, medicines, roads - all guaranteed by a stronger economy.

We will keep Australians safe as we always do, and we will keep our borders secure, as you know we will.

We will deliver $40 million for the Cooee Crawl on the Bass Highway to add new overtaking lanes, upgrade key sections of the Bass Highway while ensuring the future safety of the Cam River Bridge.

Our Tasmanian Health Plan will strengthen your health system, providing affordable and accessible health services, where and when you need them.

Burnie will host an Industry Training Hub to strengthen partnerships between local schools, employers and industries, and ensure vocational education programs are tailored to meet local needs and skills demands.

A strong Tasmanian economy depends on ongoing investment in infrastructure to unlock the potential of regional areas.

That's why we're investing $2.7 billion over the decade in infrastructure to get you to your destinations quickly and safely, and help businesses efficiently transport goods and products.

We've opened access to overseas markets for Tasmanian exporters, and we will open up even more markets for Tasmanian producers with new export agreements.

All of this delivered by a plan that has kept our economy strong, without increasing taxes. This is how we will make your life easier in the years ahead. This is how we will take the pressure off you and your family.

Elections are a choice - and at this election, there is a clear choice.

You have the choice between the Liberal Party that is building our economy and securing your future, or Bill Shorten and the Labor Party who are proposing billions of dollars in new and higher taxes that will not only weaken our economy, but be wasted on multi-million dollar handouts for an AFL team and MONA.

Just this week Labor have admitted their Retirees Tax will hit more than 7000 older Australians across North-West Tasmania who use their franking credits to support their incomes. They don't have big incomes but Bill Shorten and Labor want to take that money away from them if they are elected on Saturday.

It is a choice that will determine the economy that Tasmanians live in, not just for the next three years but for the next decade.

Now is not the time to turn back. Australia is the best country in the world but our future depends on a strong economy.

Only the Liberal Party has the plan that will continue to build a strong economy and secure your future.

Tasmanian Transport Association have welcomed the Coast's proposed truck washes

Tasmanian Transport Association have welcomed the Coast's proposed truck washes

16 May 2019 - The Advocate

The Tasmanian Transport Association has welcomed the Coalition's election promise of $4 million for four truck washes on the Coast.

TTA's Michelle Harwood said the proposed truck washes in Devonport, Smithton, Burnie and King Island would help with biosecurity and animal welfare.

"The opportunity to have truck washes and effluent dump facilities established provides more opportunities for our industry to operate in a safe and biosecure and in a way which is also responsive to the needs of other road users," she said.

"Currently there are limited opportunities for livestock transporters to actually dump the effluent, which builds up within their trailers and that is not a great outcome for any road user or for the operators."

Truck driver Jane O'Reilly said sometimes loads will miss the boat because they can't get trailers washed in time due to travelling.

"The washes are just not convenient...Burnie is not viable for us.

"Another factor is if your cattle are not curfewed for long enough, your tanks will fill very quickly, and there are no dump points."

Work to start soon on communications boost for West Coast: Coalition

Work to start soon on communications boost for West Coast: Coalition

15 May 2019 - The Advocate

The battle for Braddon continues with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield here to add to the Coalition plan announced in July to boost mobile coverage for the West Coast's 4000 residents and tourists. "The commencement of works is imminent on the Coalition plan to upgrade West Coast mobile backhaul to improve speeds and service quality and provide a new mobile base station for Tullah," Mr Fifield said. "The Government's $700,000 commitment is part of a co-contribution which will also see 4G upgrades in Zeehan, Savage River and Waratah and will more than double the backhaul capacity for areas such as Zeehan, Strahan, Tullah, Savage River, Waratah, Rosebery and Queenstown." A Liberal spokesman said Telstra had expanded its commitment to $4.3 million making it a $5m project.

Meantime, Labor's Justine Keay said the West Coast had waited long enough to get improved coverage. She said Labor pledged $2m to improve coverage on the West Coast, Circular Head and King Island.

PM commits to

PM commits to "Cooee crawl" cure

14 May 2019 - The Advocate

Hot on the heels of opposition leader Bill Shorten, Prime Minister Scott Morrison ducked down to the banks of the Cam River on Tuesday afternoon to announce a $40 million crackdown on the Cooee Crawl.

Liberal candidate for Braddon Gavin Pearce described the issue as 'growing pains' for a strong economy.

"It's been a bottleneck for quite some time, but as our economy grows, as our exports come through at the great rate of knots as they are, then that exacerbates the issue here," he said.

Mr Morrison said the project was an 80/20 partnership with the State, which would contribute $10 million.

The Prime Minister said the issue was "holding Tasmanians back".

"This has been a real challenging issue here in Northern Tasmania, and the need to deal with it has been highlighted by the strength of the Northern Tasmanian economy," he said.

"Regardless of where it is in the country, what you see... is a sensitivity and awareness of the things that are holding Australians back.

"It's like a surgeon that's operating on the road network of our country and ensuring we're dealing with the blockages and the problems that are holding Australians back."

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the commitment had come from the results of a study promised at the last election, and confirmed the project was separate to funds allocated to the Bass highway between Marrawah and Detention.

"That study has come back, this is the project that comes off the back of that," he said.

Labor member for Braddon Justine Keay has questioned the study.

"It took them three years just to conduct a study on the Cooee Crawl and no work has even started on the Bass Highway from Detention to Marrawah," she said.

"I conducted my own survey in March and April to help them with the consultation phase.

"Work needs to start now, with priority for upgrading and widening the road at Britton Swamp and Togari Straight as well as new turning lanes from Detention to the Stanley turnoff."

Latrobe Council's proposed Camp Banksia redevelopment funding unclear

Latrobe Council's proposed Camp Banksia redevelopment funding unclear

13 May 2019 - The Advocate

A cloud has gathered over funding for Port Sorell's Camp Banksia redevelopment.

Liberals Senator Richard Colbeck has accused Labor of 'committing' to ripping up the project, which aimed to significantly upgrade the ageing facility.

In late March, Nationals Senator Steve Martin announced a $4 million pledge, saying that the funding 'had become available and confirmed'.

When asked where the funds for the project were, the Coalition responded with a copy of the announcement, but not the source or timing of the money.

Labor's Justine Keay said Camp Banksia wasn't even on the government grants list, so Senator Martin's announcement was an election promise, not a grant.

"Documents released by the Coalition Government clearly show this Camp Banksia promise was never allocated a grant under the Community Development Grants Programme."

Ms Keay said a Labor government would work constructively with the Latrobe Council to fund local projects.

Camp Banksia has been losing money for some years and a Latrobe Council report last year said although the facility was a valuable community asset, patronage was continuing to decline.

Fishing group warns of industry pain under Labor's plan to reinstate marine parks

Fishing group warns of industry pain under Labor's plan to reinstate marine parks

13 May 2019 - ABC

The national body representing Australia's $3.2 billion commercial seafood industry has warned that a plan by Labor to return to its 2012 Marine Park Network would force people out of the fishing industry and threaten financial stability.

Key points:

  • Ahead of the Federal election, the seafood industry's national body has expressed concern over Labor's plan to reinstate its 2012 Marine Park Network
  • The plan would impact commercial fishers as it covering offshore waters surrounding every state and territory and impacting fishers
  • Seafood Industry Australia said the lack of security in commercial fishing was taking its toll on the mental health of those in the industry

Ahead of the federal election, Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) has called upon a newly-elected Federal Government to give the fishing industry better security of access and fishing rights.

SIA CEO Jane Lovell said a pledge from Labor to reinstate its original 2012 Marine Park Network in full was concerning and would push fishermen out of the industry.

Under Labor's plan Australia would have had the world's largest network of marine parks which covered offshore waters surrounding every state and territory.

"The very fact that this is back on the agenda again removes confidence, increases uncertainty, and this is one of the things that has been found by to be the key driver of the mental health problems in our industry is this constant lack of certainty about the environment they work in," Ms Lovell said.

"I don't want to be a doomsayer, but if people can just imagine what its like to not know, you've got a large investment, you've got repayments you need to make, and to really have no certainty that you're going to be able to do your job and make your money to cover those repayments, I don't know how people can live with that level of uncertainty."

Labor did not return repeated requests from the ABC to respond to these concerns.

Instead more security and fishing rights are needed

Ms Lovell said overall the commercial fishing industry needed more security of access and fishing rights, and while she agreed the industry needed to improve its social licence and build better public engagement, she said governments also needed to hold it in higher regard.

"Some of the other threats come to us through governments preferencing recreational fishing over commercial fishing, and that's happening in Victoria with about 20 per cent of the commercial catch under threat, some of it already lost," she said.

"Similarly in other states we have reforms going ahead that are based on, we think, often outdated information, and we also have concerns in the Northern Territory of access through inter tidal zones to get out to commercial fishing grounds due to Indigenous issues.

"We have a responsibility in this country to use our resources sustainably, effectively and efficiently and make sure that we are doing our very best to feed ourselves.

"When you play off the commercial fishing sector against, for instance, recreational, you actually threaten part of that food security task, so I think that's the first thing, that's where government should focus."

WA lobster industry an example of what can go wrong

Ms Lovell said a now-thwarted plan released earlier this year by the Western Australian Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, to take a 17 per cent share of the industry's catch, highlighted the vulnerability of fishing industries.

"One of the things that was a consequence of the proposal for the West Australian Government to get more actively involved as a quota owner, was that it sent shockwaves around the industry, and it went to our investors," she said.

"Banks that support our businesses are saying that 'if that can happen in Western Australia on the whim of a government, is my investment in the Australian seafood industry secure and safe?' — and that is absolutely an undesirable position for us to be in."

Fisherman and chair of the industry body Western Rock Lobster, Terry Lissiman agreed more security was needed.

"Minister Kelly absolutely highlighted the risk that we faced of government intervention on the scale that he was suggesting," he said.

The WA lobster fishery is managed by the WA State Government, and each year fishermen must apply for a Managed Fishery Licence.

"It makes it very difficult to operate as a business, because in any business you have to borrow money, and the banks don't recognise an MFL, which is essentially a piece of paper, as being really good asset backing for a loan to you," Mr Lissiman said.

"In trying to keep a vibrant, growing industry, that's the sort of thing we regard as a paramount concern."

Mental health needs more money

In its election commitments, the Coalition promised a $29 million fishing package, of which $20 million is earmarked for recreational fishing and camping facilities, $8 million for fisheries habitat restoration and $600,000 for mental health support.

Ms Lovell welcomed the mental health spending but said it was well shy of the $4 million requested for mental health support, and did not include any spend in requested areas such as vessel support and resources to work with the oil and gas industries.

"We have nobody, no tailored assistance to take fishers and help them overcome some of the stigma associated with saying that things are going so well for them at the moment and they need a bit of help," she said.

"Six hundred thousand is good, but when you look at it out of $29 million, we do feel a little disappointed."

A statement from assistant Minister for Agriculture Richard Colbeck said the Coalition had a track record of protecting fishing rights and securing access for fishers.

"The Coalition, in contrast, is developing a National Fishing Plan and a Commonwealth Resource Sharing Framework and strengthening fishing rights through increasing the duration of Commonwealth fishing permits to five years for some fisheries, and are considering the others, and we're and making it easier for fishers to secure finance for fishing quotas," the statement said.

Morrison government to fund a social welfare program in Burnie

Morrison government to fund a social welfare program in Burnie

12 May 2019

The Coalition has decided to make Burnie a centre of social welfare support, regardless of the election result.

The Stronger Places, Stronger People program will allocate $1.8 million in funding for the Burnie Works initiative, coordinating support for children and families in the region.

Federal minister for families Paul Fletcher said the funding was an example of "place-based social policy".

"This funding will be used for such functions as coordinating and partnering existing local services and organisations to better focus on the needs of individual children and families," Mr Fletcher said.

"It will also enable services to better use data to target their actions and track performance against outcomes."

Liberal Braddon candidate Gavin Pearce said Burnie showed evidence of "entrenched disadvantage", which he said he was committed to wiping out.

"This funding will help our community work towards the best future for our children," he said.

Tasmanian government housing minister Roger Jaensch said the state was working towards assessing support for the initiative in Burnie.

Burnie City Council Mayor Steve Kons said the Burnie Works program is an opportunity for all levels of government to work together.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck also announced funding for several grassroots football clubs across the North-West at the weekend.

As well as funding for facilities upgrades at Wynyard, Ulverstone, Rosebery and Queenstown, Senator Colbeck announced the Coalition would match Labor's $300,000 funding upgrade for East Devonport's Girdlestone Park facility.


Labor pro RFAs unless EPA or Greens interfere

7 May 2019 - Timberbiz

The federal ALP has backed the Regional Forest Agreements and denied the party’s proposed federal Environment Protection Authority would overrule the RFAs. Labor’s shadow minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joel Fitzgibbon, said the party was committed to the ongoing RFAs. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz

He was speaking during a debate in Launceston last week with the federal Coalition’s Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, that was organised by the Australian Forest Products Association.

“The RFAs underpin the certainty for industry. From a policy perspective, we are committed to the five-year reviews and a long-term future. We will try and rebuild confidence in RFAs to ensure the reviews take place in a timely way,” he said.

“We want to strengthen Commonwealth-state ties further. The Coalition abolished the COAG committee in forestry for some reason. We want maximum co-operation between the Commonwealth and the states.”

The ALP’s forestry statement stipulates that the RFAs should be based on the best available science taking into account social, economic and environmental factors.

“Labor supports proper, independent and full scientific assessments of RFA outcomes as part of the agreed framework. This includes all relevant science, including climate science and impacts on threatened species,” the policy says.

AFPA chief, Ross Hampton, queried whether some ‘guidance’ could be recommended to the states, which had regularly unilaterally removed taken productive forests from industry despite the RFAs.  Victoria just recently removed another 5000 hectares from production, he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon answered: “We expect the states to adhere to the principles of the RFA.”

Senator Colbeck said to take land out was part of the negotiation process.

“That’s how most of the changes have occurred …. States do have sovereignty over their own land and they do make decisions in that sense,” he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said the reserve system was a matter for state governments.

“No one wants the Commonwealth to take over forestry management. We have RFAs because the Commonwealth has constitutional impediments to manage the forests. We try to do that through agreements with the Commonwealth, but the management of forests is with the states,” he said.

“We want the states to make their own decisions, but we hope the states consult their own communities, and produce the economic, social and environmental benefits we expect as a community.”

Former Tasmanian forestry leader, Terry Edwards, queried whether the RFAs’ exemption from the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act would remain if Labor won government.

Mr Fitzgibbon said: “I believe it will remain exempt. We won’t have an agreement with the states and override it at the first opportunity.”

Senator Colbeck said it was a legitimate question whether the new EPA arising from the review of the EPBCA would have an effect on the RFAs. The rhetoric of Labor’s environment spokesman, Tony Burke, emphasised damage to the natural environment and spoke about stricter management on land clearing.

“My concern is the influence of Tony Burke on environment policy at the national level.  What is the impact of the EPA? That is a hanging question, it is a serious question. They will need the support of the Greens to get it through the Parliament and the Greens will extract their pound of flesh for that. We know the Greens hate the RFAs and they will want to have some impact on the RFAs to pass the legislation,” he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon rejected the suggestion as a “scare campaign”.

“Tony Burke will be environment minister. He’s a former forestry minister, he knows the issues well,” he said.

“We want farmers and forests to be in the CFI (Carbon Farming Initiative), to earn money in the carbon economy, which they can’t do currently. They will be able to get carbon offsets, so that when the big polluters can’t keep below their targets, they can buy offsets from a farmer or tree growers.”

On the issue of the environment and native forest, Senator Colbeck said the broader science confirmed that the landscape approach was the best way to harvest the forest.

“You can spread the impact and cycle of forestry over a wider area … to manage the forest and biodiversity and other values, the more widely it’s spread across the landscape, the less the local impact can be, the better you can manage the forests and all the potential impacts,” he said.

While not wishing to provoke an argument between the native forest and plantation sectors, Senator Colbeck said in the context of timber supply, environmental values were better managed by native forest.

“A native forest regime is better for biodiversity, water quality and carbon storage, and can assist with fire management,” he said.

“Plantations are really important for a strong supply of a common, consistent product. Both have their place but the native forest industry should be the basis of high-quality products because the best quality timber is slowly grown in a native forest regime.”

Senator Colbeck said the Coalition had completed RFAs with Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia, and “we are in conversation with Victoria”. The 20-year rolling RFAs had five-yearly reviews. The minimum time for resource security was 15 years, which was extended to 20 if the reviews were done.

“That is our continued commitment. We must stop mucking around with them. That’s been the problem, particularly since 2004, when we keep chipping away at them to get votes in Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.

Before 2004, forestry policy was bipartisan, but then Labor leader Mark Latham changed that in 2004. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years meant there was no continuation or extension of bipartisanship in the forest industry, especially in Tasmania, he said.

Political football: Federal funding for AFL in Tasmania up against the might of the mainland

Political football: Federal funding for AFL in Tasmania up against the might of the mainland

13 May 2019 - The Examiner

With under one week to go in the election, the Liberal Party has produced its own advertising football in an attempt to increase pressure on Labor over its $25 million funding promise to help establish an AFL team in Tasmania.

But Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck refused to answer why the coalition government had, in 2019, provided $15 million each to the Sydney Swans, Adelaide Crows and Brisbane Lions for capital works while at the same time criticising funding for Tasmania.

Labor's Tasmanian funding promise was conditional on a successful business case.

In April, Liberal Party candidate for Wentworth Dave Sharma faced a backlash for hosting a funding announcement at the SCG when he was not the local member. The $15 million was for the Swans' Moore Park training centre.

In March, the coalition announced it had funded $15 million for the Adelaide Crows to establish new headquarters in the city centre, while in January the Brisbane Lions was told it would receive $15 million for its training facility at Springfield.

The coalition government also chipped in $15 million for the Princes Park redevelopment in Melbourne, a project that would turn the historic ground into the home of AFLW.

The funding commitments have already been budgeted.

When asked about the funding comparisons, Senator Colbeck said they had other priorities for Tasmania.

"We've clearly demonstrated our priorities here in Tasmania, and our priorities were to invest in health, jobs and the Tasmanian way of life, not an AFL team in Hobart, and certainly not in MONA," he said.

Labor has also promised $50 million for MONA - a decision that has been widely criticised, particularly in the state's North and North-West.

Labor's AFL and MONA funding promises have formed the basis of the Liberal Party pitch to Tasmanian voters ahead of the election.

The Nationals launched a website to gauge community interest in an AFL team for Tasmania at the start of the election campaign.

The Liberal Party's football - adorned with "$25m for health not $25m for Hobart AFL" - was handballed between Senator Colbeck and the candidates for Bass and Braddon during a media event in Kings Meadows on Sunday.

The Liberals met at the Kings Meadows Community Health Centre which was included in the party's $25 million North and North-West health funding package.

When asked if Tasmanians could consider their health system well funded, Senator Colbeck said it was doubtful that Labor could do a better job.

"I think it's disingenuous for Labor to think that they can now see the health system better under them," he said.

"We've brought the budget back to surplus next year and when the budget is strong, the economy is strong, you have the resources to invest in the things that are important to Australians."

Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said health funding in Tasmania would be lower under the Liberals compared with Labor.

New mother and baby services for North-West

New mother and baby services for North-West

10 May 2019 - The Advocate

Devonport's Jemima Hamer has welcomed a $4.5 million election funding commitment from the Liberal government.

The funding will go towards perinatal infant and mental health services for the North-West and the North of the state.

"I think it's fantastic and absolutely needed particularly in North-West Tasmania, where it's not currently available.

"I know the service is available in Hobart and I know of mothers that have accessed it and have just found it tremendously valuable to the transition into motherhood and parenthood.

"The transition into parenthood is something that you can't necessarily prepare yourself for. Anything that can be done to make that smoother and easier for families is fantastic.

"Not having to move away from home to access these services will be so valuable for families that need to access them."

Liberal senator Richard Colbeck said the funding would give an essential boost for new mothers.

"Supporting new mums is a priority for our community, and we will ensure that mums are given the care they need so they can best care for their babies.

"We will be providing new mental health services closer to home so that when new mums need these services, they also have their families and support networks close by.

"Around 13 per cent of women develop severe and complex mental health issues after pregnancy, and it is important we provide support for them in our North and North-West public hospitals."

Braddon Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce said it would be great for local families.

"In rural and regional areas like the North-West Coast, we know how important it is for our future that we support families to access health services in our local area.

"This brand new money will ensure brand new mums in our region with post-natal depression, for example, have dedicated services that cater specifically for the unique needs of mother and baby mental health issues.

"Health for the North-West Coast is one of my main priorities and what could be more important than making sure we support new mums to be healthy, happy and to be the best mums they can be?"

Coalition pledges $40 million to replace 60-year-old shiploader at Burnie Port

Coalition pledges $40 million to replace 60-year-old shiploader at Burnie Port

9 May 2019 - The Advocate

A brand new bulk minerals shiploader at the Burnie port could be critical in transforming the future of the region, Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck has claimed.

The Coalition has promised $40 million to replace old machinery that has been in use for more than 50 years.

Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council chief executive officer Wayne Bould said the new shiploader would be capable of loading materials at a rate of 3500 tons per hour, a 350 per cent increase on the current loading rate.

Mr Bould said time is money in terms of shipping - the longer a boat has to sit in port, the higher the expense for the exporter.

"It's like paying your parking rates to the council," he said.

"It's important to have whole port infrastructure developed around the capacity to lift the bulk rate, to lift the loading rate, and to bring in cheaper, more economically sized vessels."

Senator Richard Colbeck said the money had been pledged after discussions with the State Government, which developed plans for an $80 million upgrade last year.

The planned upgrades include deeper berths for new vessels capable of carrying 75,000 tons.

"The older vessels we have at the moment have a highly sulfuric fuel, they... are not likely to comply with new emissions legislation that will be in place in the next couple of years," Mr Bould said.

"(new vessels) with a slightly deeper, dredged port access would be carrying 70-75 thousand tons, so you can load them quicker, you can get them in and out quicker, and you can get much more bang for your buck in terms of the freight rate to overseas markets."

Mr Bould said the shiploader and the bigger vessels would help reduce 'bottlenecking' at Burnie, opening up opportunities for miners to increase production.

"There's no point in doing all that work if you can't ship your products out, you're just making that bottleneck worse," he said.

Burnie Chamber of Commerce president Ian Jones also welcomed the promise from the Liberals.

"We're talking about an industry that, I think, exports over half a billion dollars worth of ore and concentrates out of Tasmania," he said.

"It's our number two export, so anything that helps our exports, helps locals in jobs, keeps jobs and expands the workforce (is welcome)."

The project appears likely to receive matching funding from Labor.

"I've been in discussions with the proponents and Labor is very supportive of Burnie port upgrades," Braddon MP Justine Keay said.

"We will make our own announcement in coming days."

Timberlink to complete Bell Bay sawmill upgrades with $3.5 million in bipartisan federal funding

Timberlink to complete Bell Bay sawmill upgrades with $3.5 million in bipartisan federal funding

6 May 2019 - The Examiner

Both the coalition and Labor have promised $3.5 million to Timberlink to complete the upgrade of its Bell Bay sawmill, allowing the company to continue competing with mainland and international timber competitors.

Tasmanian Liberal senator Richard Colbeck and candidate for Bass Bridget Archer made the announcement on Monday morning at the site, which Labor matched later in the day after also being in discussions with the company.

It was the final funding needed for the $30 million upgrade and would enable the purchase of a green mill vision scanning system which identifies the highest quality timber during cutting.

Timberlink executive general manager David Oliver said the works - scheduled to be complete by the end of this year - would secure the future of the business in the competitive structural timber market.

"We're seeing logs getting smaller, and a lack of prune log into the future, which has really been the backbone of this facility," he said.

"This new laser scanning equipment will ensure we can pull high value structural timber for house construction in Tasmania and outdoor applications well into the future.

"What this is about is providing a viable, efficient, internationally competitive facility way into the future."

The Timberlink sawmill at Bell Bay was the largest in Tasmania and employed almost 200 people, providing timber for housing and outdoor uses such as decking and pergolas.

It also provides timber to the mainland where the company encounters strong competition. Australia imports about 20 per cent of its structural timber.

Mr Oliver said it was vital to ensure the company kept up with the evolving industry.

 Timberlink has already spent $27 million upgrading its Bell Bay facility, and the company said it was important that the federal government also showed confidence in the local industry. Picture: Scott Gelston

"The challenge for the timber industry in Australia is there are large capital investments then long periods of decline," he said.

"It's a rapidly evolving industry and if we don't invest and are unable to invest, over time the facility becomes less efficient and we're unable to compete internationally."

Timberlink has already spent $27 million on the upgrades.

Mr Colbeck said the funding showed the coalition's commitment to business and jobs in Northern Tasmania.

In a statement, the Labor Party said the funding was in addition to its commitment to guaranteeing native feedstock supply.

Tasmanian forestry industry calls for federal funding support

The peak Australian and Tasmanian forestry industry bodies are calling for millions of dollars in federal funding for road upgrades and to secure the future of Launceston's National Institute for Forest Products Innovation ahead of the upcoming election.

The industry is seeking $35 million over three years with matching funding from the state government for road and rail projects recommended by a forestry report.

These include the Plenty Link Road and related rail infrastructure to transport between the Huon and Derwent valleys with links to the northern ports.

The industry is also asking for $1 million over four years for the south east Tasmania regional forestry hub.

The federal government has already committed $1 million for a forestry hub in the state's north and north-west.

Major parties commit $3.5 million to timber mill upgrade in marginal seat of Bass

Major parties commit $3.5 million to timber mill upgrade in marginal seat of Bass

6 May 2019 - The Mercury

TASMANIA'S largest timber processor is the latest beneficiary of a tight election contest in the marginal seat of Bass, with Labor taking just hours to match a $3.5 million Coalition funding announcement for an upgrade to its Bell Bay mill.

Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck announced the pledge for the Timberlink mill on Monday morning, with the money to be used to buy new equipment to increase its ability to process smaller softwood logs.

Labor was not to be outdone though, announcing its own $3.5 million pledge just five hours later.

The matched promise effectively locks in the final stage of the upgrade to Timberlink’s Bell Bay mill, which employs almost 200 people.

Senator Colbeck, the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, said Timberlink had already invested more than $27 million of its own money in upgrading the mill.

“This upgrade will also have statewide benefits, as the softwood plantations it takes wood from for processing are located right around the state,” he said.

“It’ll also support the domestic construction sector and help reduce our reliance on imported timbers.”

The announcement came after a forestry debate in Launceston last week between Senator Colbeck and Labor’s agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon.

At the event, Senator Colbeck announced the Coalition would make $500 million available in low interest loans for plantation growers to expand, while Labor reiterated its commitment to scrapping a rule that restricts new plantations and farm forestry in high rainfall areas from competing in the carbon market.

Labor's MONA, AFL cash promises not popular in regional Tasmania

Labor's MONA, AFL cash promises not popular in regional Tasmania

1 May 2019 - The Advocate

Labor's election promises of $50 million for MONA and $25 million towards a Tasmanian AFL team look to have gone down like lead balloons in the state's north.

The funding commitment towards MONA's planned luxury hotel north of Hobart was opposed by a thumping 77 per cent of respondents in Braddon, 68 per cent in Lyons and 62 per cent in Bass, Telereach polling for the Liberals found.

The promise was supported by just 14 per cent of respondents in Braddon and 18 per cent in each of Bass and Lyons.

The AFL funding promise was even more unpopular in Bass, with 72 per cent of respondents opposing it.

It was also marked down by 73 per cent of respondents in Braddon and 67 per cent in Lyons.

Just 15 per cent of respondents in Braddon supported it, 17 per cent in Bass and 19 per cent in Lyons.

The Liberals have argued it should be up to the AFL, rather than taxpayers, to fund a Tasmanian AFL team.

Labor Leader Bill Shorten, at Forth on March 23, said: " ... it is the sort of the great white whale, the Moby Dick issue of AFL is why can't Tasmania have a team?"

"So my government, if elected, would put (in) $25 million; it's got to be matched by the AFL.

"But we want the AFL to do it in conjunction with Tassie footy, and we want to make sure that that investment's occurring here, not elsewhere."

In Hobart on April 27, Mr Shorten said: "Tasmanian tourism, with the flagship which is MONA, is not only leading in Australia, it's leading throughout the world."

" ... what Labor wants to do is we want to back in the future of Tasmanian tourism, and we want to back in the investment which has been made by private investors in MONA."

The Liberals slammed both promises, suggesting there should be other priorities for federal funding, particularly in health.

"Our priorities are clear," Liberal Bass candidate Bridget Archer said.

"We want to invest an extra $25 million into northern health.

"Unfortunately, Labor wants to cut that and give it to the AFL for a team in Hobart."

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said: "We all love our footy and understand the value of MONA, but health is much more important."

"The Liberal team can't and won't support a $25 million handout from the taxpayer to one of Australia's richest sporting organisations.

"And while we recognise the importance of MONA to our tourism industry, we simply cannot countenance providing them with a $50 million gift."

The Telereach polling was done on April 29.

Respondents were asked:

  • "Do you support taxpayers providing $50 million to MONA for their new luxury hotel?" and
  • "Do you support taxpayers providing $25 million to help establish a Tasmanian football team in the AFL?"

The poll had 614 respondents in Lyons, 548 in Braddon and 520 in Bass.


Labor retreats on forests in bid to save seats

1 May 2019 - The Australian

Labor has shifted its position on forest policy, abandoning support for more native forest reserves, as it attempts to retain three under-siege Tasmanian marginal seats.

The party amended its platform in December to “support the implementation of” the 2012 Tasmanian Forestry Agreement, which includes placing 356,000ha of forest in permanent reserves.

However, sections of the timber industry no longer support the detail of the TFA, also known as the “forest peace deal”, and have been lobbying Labor to guarantee “no more forest lock-ups”.


Yesterday, Joel Fitzgibbon, Labor agriculture, fisheries and forestry spokesman, toldThe Australian that while still committed to the TFA objectives of consensus where possible between industry, unions and green groups, Labor did not support further reserves.

“Labor also believes that Tasmania has struck an appropriate balance between timber production and conservation of its forests through the years of negotiations leading up to the TFA,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“As such, we do not support a Tarkine national park nor the transfer of any other timber production forests into reserves.”

Labor has been agonising over forest policy since the December 2018 conference decision to back the TFA, which was partially ­implemented before being stalled by the state Liberal government.

In January, Labor environment spokesman Tony Burke told The Australian the TFA could still ­deliver “certainty, conservation, certification and long-term market access”.

“The only people who don’t seem to want peace in the forest sector and certainty for industry and their markets are the Liberals,” Mr Burke said in January.

Mr Fitzgibbon, who will take part in a forestry policy debate with Liberal senator Richard ­Colbeck in Launceston tonight, said yesterday the party platform reflected an “ongoing commitment to the TFA’s principles and objectives”.

“However, the TFA’s progress must be led by consensus among the signatories — industry, conservation groups and the trade union,” he said.

That consensus has faded, with key timber signatories to the deal telling The Australian they no longer believed it relevant. Ross Hampton, chief executive of the Australian Forest Products ­Association, welcomed Mr Fitzgibbon’s pledge not to support further “forest lock-ups”.

“If Labor was to be elected, we will absolutely be reminding them constantly of this commitment that’s now been given in relation to no more locking away of productive areas,” Mr Hampton said.

While a signatory to the TFA, the group said the situation had changed.

“Industry never walked away from that agreement but the agreement has become quite academic,” he said.

“So many years have moved on and bushfires have ravaged enormous amounts of the (production forest) estate — up to 50,000ha have evaporated — so there’s a whole new world that’s in play.”

Conservationists will be ­disappointed at Labor’s shift, which ends hopes of permanent protection for forests in the Tark­ine, Bruny Island, Douglas-Apsley and Ben Lomond, which under state law can be logged from next year.

Labor is desperate to hold three marginal seats in Tasmania — Bass, Braddon and Lyons — where in the past further forest protection has not played well, overall, with voters.

A uComms poll to be released today, commissioned by the AFPA, shows 84.6 per cent of ­voters in Braddon support the timber industry as being important or very important.

Smithton's Britton Timbers sawmill on a more sustainable footing

Smithton's Britton Timbers sawmill on a more sustainable footing

30 April 2019 - The Advocate

Less waste and higher quality timber - that's the result of two new facilities at Smithton's Britton Timbers sawmill and timber processing plant.

The company has built two drying sheds, and supported them with newly paved loading and unloading areas.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack commented that the development would vastly improve the plant.

"The facility will supply a more consistent product to mainland and international markets, thanks to the ability to control the drying conditions of 1700 cubed metres of Tasmanian Oak and 650 cubed metres of Tasmanian Blackwood.

"The project has created a more sustainable sawmill with less wastage, churning out higher quality, higher value timber from the same level of fresh-cut timber, delivering an additional 165 cubed metres of saleable timber."

Assistant Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Richard Colbeck said the project would help secure the future of Tasmanian timber jobs.

"The project created five jobs during construction, and there will be five ongoing roles - two of which will be highly skilled kiln drying technicians."

Britton Timbers began building the pre-drying sheds in 2018.

Director Shawn Britton said at the time the company had worked with the University of Tasmania for two years on the science behind the timber drying process.

The federal Liberal and Nationals Government put $367,836 into project, and Britton Brothers Pty Ltd committed a further $367,837.

OPINION: Liberal Plan: Jobs, health, protecting the Tasmanian way of life

OPINION: Liberal Plan: Jobs, health, protecting the Tasmanian way of life

28 April 2019 - Senator Richard Colbeck

The Liberals have the best plan and the best team to deliver on jobs, health and protecting the Tasmanian way of life.

There is clear choice between the Liberals who have a plan for lower taxes, more jobs and better healthcare for Tasmanians, or Shorten Labor who have an agenda for higher taxes and a $25 million gift to the AFL.

The Liberals' Tasmania Package delivers on key priorities for voters in the North-West, West and King Island.

Boosting funding for Tasmanian healthcare, with a $91.9 million Tasmanian Health Plan that addresses health care needs and provides affordable and accessible healthcare for Tasmanians, and an additional $25.6 million for North and North-West Tasmania - not $25 million for the AFL in Hobart.

Creating jobs by investing in new infrastructure to grow the Tasmanian economy, bust congestion and improve safety, including a $530 million investment in key freight routes including the Bass Highway and the Murchison Highway.

Supporting Tasmania's Battery of the Nation, including for the Marinus Link second electricity cable to the mainland and associated skills development.

Tackling high youth unemployment with a jobs plan and training hub on the Coast.

$100 million for Tasmanian Irrigation Tranche 3 as part of our efforts to grow Tasmania's world-class primary industries, and establishing a forestry hub for North and North-West Tasmania.

Delivering Tasmanian households the largest personal income tax relief since the Howard government, with tax relief of up to $1080 for single income families earning up to $126,000. For a dual income family that's up to $2160 back in families' pockets in a few weeks' time.

Backing small and family businesses, with lower taxes and an increase in the instant asset tax write-off to $30,000, now expanded to medium-sized businesses.

Delivering safer Tasmanian communities by maintaining strong borders, increasing funding for the Safer Communities Fund, and implementing comprehensive plans to address drugs, domestic violence and online safety.

It is clear that in Tasmania our best days are ahead of us, but all this would be put at risk by a vote for Shorten Labor and their $387 billion new taxes on retirees, workers, investors and family businesses and job-killing carbon targets.

Labor can't manage money, and if you can't manage money you can't manage the health system.

  • Richard Colbeck is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania
TastroFest to establish video link with NASA base in Houston

TastroFest to establish video link with NASA base in Houston

24 April 2019 - The Advocate

Coasters will have an opportunity to speak to personnel working at America's space agency at this year's TastroFest.

A video link between NASA's base in Houston and the Ulverstone astronomy festival will be set up for a question and answer session.

TastroFest founder Brittany Trubody said the initiative was the result of 18 months of planning and a $20,000 federal government grant to fund audiovisual equipment.

"If you have any kind of interest in looking at the stars at all, to be able to talk to somebody who does this on a day-to-day basis is pretty special," she said.

TastroFest is one of 53 projects to receive funding under the federal government's $720,000 National Science Week grants program.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the $20,000 grant would "enable TastroFest to deliver even more amazing space content this year".

Liberal Braddon candidate Gavin Pearce said the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings this year provided "the perfect opportunity to get our kids interested in science and technology".

"TastroFest is the largest astronomy festival in Australia and based in Ulverstone, so this is a fantastic opportunity for local families to explore the possibilities of science and for our kids to shoot for the stars," he said.

Mrs Trubody said those appearing in the video link would be announced at a later date.

"We might have some few surprise guests. We just don't know," she said.

"But we do know that we've got everyone from navigation experts to material scientists .... I'm hoping to even get somebody who's got an understanding about the astronaut training program, someone's who's been through it."

TastroFest will be held between August 1 and 3 at the Ulverstone stadium.

Speakers already confirmed included UTAS physics professor Simon Ellingsen, who will discuss the origin of the moon, and plant genetics and biochemistry professor Steven Smith, who will explore growing plants on Mars.

Jayben engineering uses federal funds to add up to 30 new jobs at manufacturing facility

Jayben engineering uses federal funds to add up to 30 new jobs at manufacturing facility

23 April 2019 - The Advocate

A new manufacturing facility at Cooee will add up to 30 new jobs to the local economy as it ramps up production.

The Jayben Australia factory and office development project on Durham Street is a $1.2 million construction which will allow the company to manufacture a range of industrial and commercial vehicles.

Project manager Chris Johnson said the new facility will allow for the production of a new, state-of-the-art remote operated mining vehicle, as well as the company's existing range of engineering products.

"There has been four other major projects in recent years, including 250 machines we have sold which are now operating in the market," Mr Johnson said.

"It's been a ten year journey for us so far, so this is about leveraging that existing capability and product development and then growing it to build future product lines to drive future jobs and growth in the area."

Mr Johnson said the new factory will employ up to ten full time engineers, and 20 or more factory support staff.

"While the ten engineers are important jobs, the 20 plus jobs in the factory will come with that... We need a broad range of skills to be able to develop and build these things."

He said they have previously employed up to 16 engineers, but only on short term contracts.

The facility is also purpose built for the production of Jayben's newest unmanned, remote operated vehicles, of which they will be able to make five per year.

"It allows us to build more complex products with a greater electronics capability and really to support a larger product development team."

"We just didn't have the crainage, we didn't have a high enough shed, we didn't have the real estate we needed to do this previously." 

The factory's construction has been made possible by a $430,000 investment from the federal government through the Regional Jobs and Investment Program. 

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the program is giving local industry the capacity to expand their employment capabilities.

"We all know that jobs is a key element of what the local community is looking for," Senator Colbeck said.

"Once the infrastructure is available here then [Jayben] can get on with developing the projects."

Federal Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne was in town for a tour of the facility, and said she was pleased to see the investment program being used effectively.

She also said the government wanted to ensure locals have access to facilities to improve their skillset.

"I have always been of the view that government don't create jobs, businesses do."

Further details about the company's newest vehicle will be made public soon.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck announces federal funding kick for Ulverstone Soccer Club

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck announces federal funding kick for Ulverstone Soccer Club

20 April 2019 - The Advocate

Ulverstone locals will be kicking goals with a $210,000 funding grant from the federal government.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck was at the club to announce the funding on Friday, and said the funding will go toward upgrading and improving the club's facilities.

"The Federal Liberal National Government is supporting local grassroots sports because we recognise the wider health, social and community benefits that come from greater activity and participating in sport," Senator Colbeck said. 

"It is a key priority of our government to promote the social and health benefits of physical activity and our investment to upgrade sporting facilities will provide real encouragement for those people who are not currently active.

Braddon Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce said the upgrades to the lighting infrastructure would allow more playing time and for the club to utilise more of the playing fields more often.

"Ulverstone Soccer Club is really looking to grow, particularly when it comes to female participation, but they are limited by the number of pitches that have decent lighting for night matches and training," Mr Pearce said.

"By installing three new lighting towers it will enable the club to schedule matches and training at times that suit busy Mums and families, which will improve the health of our community.

"I welcome this investment in our community from the Federal Government and it is part of our Plan to deliver on health and protecting the Tasmanian way of life."

Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre for North a 'nation first'

Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre for North a 'nation first'

16 April 2019 - The Examiner

The $330 million marine research hub set to be established in Launceston will be an Australian first, its research director says.

On Tuesday, the Coalition announced that a Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre would be based at the AMC in Launceston. The CRC's purpose is to bring national marine industries together for research purposes.

The Coalition will contribute $70 million to the 10-year project, while $258 million will come from industry.

Blue Economy CRC research director Irene Penesis said the centre had 45 partners across Australia and around the world.

"To bring together the marine and seafood industries, to bring together the offshore engineering industries and the renewable energy industries ... to find ... solutions is a first time seen [initiative] in Australia," she said.

Associate Professor Penesis said it was the CRC's intention to build a "living laboratory" in an offshore environment in the last five years of the project, possibly on the North-West Coast.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck said the centre "puts Tasmania ... at the leading edge of blue economy research".

Bass Labor incumbent Ross Hart, meanwhile, welcomed the announcement but downplayed the Coalition's involvement in the project, saying the CRC program was "independent".

"This is not a Liberal commitment," he said.

Tasmanian Greens Senator Nick McKim said the Liberals "cannot be taken seriously on science while they continue their climate denialism".

Liberal Party rejects matching Labor's $25 million seed funding for AFL team in Tasmania, saying the party has other priorities

Liberal Party rejects matching Labor's $25 million seed funding for AFL team in Tasmania, saying the party has other priorities

14 April 2019 - The Examiner

The Liberal Party has announced it will not match Labor's $25 million promise for "seed funding" to help establish an AFL team in Tasmania, claiming it would instead put funding into the health system.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said Labor's promise would provide funding to "one of the richest sporting organisations in the country", and believed the AFL should fund the team itself like it has done on the Gold Coast and in Western Sydney.

"The Liberals' priority here in Tasmania is for essential services," he said.

"This is the choice that Tasmanians have: Do you want a government that's going to prioritise the things that you want - health - or do you want a government lead by Bill Shorten who talks about fairness who then wants to give your money to the AFL, one of the richest sporting organisations in Australia?"

Mr Colbeck said the Liberal Party would outline how it would propose to improve Tasmania's health system later in the election campaign.

Labor's funding promise was subject to a business case, dependent upon the business community and sponsors backing a Tasmanian AFL team. It also included a funding promise to "grassroots" facilities, but Mr Colbeck said the Liberal government had already been supporting facilities with grant funding.

Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said federal government cuts to health had resulted in longer waits for urgent operations in Tasmania, and promised that Labor would increase funding.

"We know patients are being forced into agonising waits to be seen, and waiting too long to receive urgent operations, resulting in tragic outcomes that the Liberals cuts are directly responsible for," he said.

"We will deliver more beds, more healthcare workers and reduce waiting lists. We can do this because we will close tax loopholes used by the top end of town."


Coalition government won’t match Labor’s $25 million pledge for Tassie AFL team

14 April 2019 - The Mercury

A Coalition government would not match Labor’s $25 million pledge to the AFL for the establishment of a Tassie team.

Tasmania’s Liberal team have announced their funding will prioritise “other things” such as health.

Speaking at the Launceston General Hospital this morning, Senator Richard Colbeck said the AFL, “one of the richest sporting organisations in the country”, should be able to pay its own way.

“The AFL puts millions of dollars into the Gold Coast, into western Sydney each year,” Mr Colbeck said.

Senator Richard Colbeck announced the Liberals will prioritise “other things” such as health of funding to the AFL. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

“We all love our footy. We think Tasmania deserves a Tasmanian football team, but not at the expense of taxpayer funding.

“We think that one of the richest sporting organisations in the country should pony up, not only with a licence for Tasmania but also with the funding for that licence.

“We will not match the ALP’s $25 million gift to the AFL, we’ll be prioritising other things in Tasmania in this election campaign.”

Last month Opposition leader Bill Shorten challenged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to match Labor’s commitment to back a Tassie team.

Mr Shorten has pledged funding conditional on the AFL granting Tasmania a licence to compete in both men’s and women’s leagues. The money would be used to get the team up and running and for better facilities, upgrading grounds and player development.

AFL chief Gill McLachlan said earlier this year that support for a Tasmanian team needed to come “from the top down”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has pledged funding conditional on the AFL granting Tasmania a licence to compete in both men’s and women’s leagues. Picture: Kym Smith

When asked what the Liberal’s $25 million would go towards, Mr Colbeck said: “We’ll have more to say about that in the near future.

“We’re saying now Tasmanians have a clear choice on priorities. Our priority is on health. The ALP and Bill Shorten want to give a gift of $25 million to [the AFL].”

The State Government has been a strong supported of football in Tasmania, including through its ongoing sponsorship of Hawthorn.

“We have established the Football Tasmania Board to be the voice for Tasmanian football and will continue to work to unite and strengthen football in the state,” a spokeswoman said.

“The Government has also commenced the selection process for an AFL project team. The project team will include a small number of highly skilled individuals possessing business, community and football knowledge and experience.”

The “key criteria” Tasmania would need to satisfy to enter the league include having a membership base of at least 50,000, an initial capital commitment of $40 million and AFL-standard venues.

Training hub promised for Burnie by the Coalition

Training hub promised for Burnie by the Coalition

15 April 2019 - The Advocate

A newly announced training hub for Burnie has been welcomed by local business leaders.

Burnie Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ian Jones said he was thrilled with the news.

"The Chamber is delighted and we hope this helps us as a community to meet the labour requirements going forward," he said.

One of the 10 training hubs worth $58 million, promised by the Coalition in the budget last week, will be built in Burnie, Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck announced on Sunday.

"Intergenerational and youth unemployment is still too high in North West Tasmania and this Burnie training hub will help combat that," he said.

Labor slammed for $25m AFL pledge

Labor slammed for $25m AFL pledge

14 April 2019 - The Advocate

Labor's $25 million pledge towards an AFL team for Hobart has been slammed by Liberal senators despite claims of  "strongly" supporting the idea of a Tasmanian team.

"It is our view that precious taxpayer funds should instead be spent on essential services such as health, not an AFL team in Hobart," Senator Richard Colbeck said in an announcement on Sunday.

"We can't and won't support a $25 million handout from the taxpayer to one of Australia's richest sporting organisations.

"Every year the AFL gives tens of millions to the Gold Coast Suns and Western Sydney - there is no reason why they cannot also financially support a Tasmanian team."

Labor pledged the money in July last year, promising upgrades to the facilities and to improve player development pathways if an AFL licence was granted during a Labor government.

But Labor Lyons MHR Brian Mitchell said they could walk and chew gum at the same time.

"We're restoring $2.8 billion to hospitals and health which the Liberals have cut, and we are also committing $25 million to support a Tasmanian AFL team," Mr Mitchell said.

"Senator Colbeck's comments are a confession of 6 years of Liberal failure on health and hospitals."

Central Highlands to receive $9.9 million for bushfire recovery

Central Highlands to receive $9.9 million for bushfire recovery

13 April 2019 - Examiner

The Tasmanian and Commonwealth governments have announced $9.9 million in joint funding for bushfire-affected communities in the Central Highlands, after the region was ravaged in the summer months.

Premier Will Hodgman and Emergency Services Minister Michael Ferguson were joined by Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck at Miena on Saturday at the first 'thank you' day to make the announcement and to extend their gratitude to the local community for its support of government agencies during a difficult period.

Senator Colbeck noted that the bushfires struck during "the peak of tourism season".

"This is a joint package ... [that will] assist marketing for tourism, small business to help them recover and also community facilities that were damaged during the bushfires," he said.

Senator Colbeck said this may not be the last of the funding on its way for fire-affected communities in Tasmania.

"The total amount that goes to the bushfires is still unknown because we're still working through that process," he said. "We don't know the full impact of the fires yet."

"There are still fires that are alight and being managed. So the total funding that goes to the management of the bushfires probably won't be known for some months yet because we're still not through the process of assessment of the damage that's been done."

Mr Hodgman said the 'thank you' day represented a chance to recognise the local community.

"This community was seriously impacted by the fires. And the place we're in today came perilously close to losing more property," he said.

Another 'thank you' day will be held at Westerway from 12-3pm on Saturday, April 27. Like the Miena event, it will include a free BBQ, children's activities, live music and entertainment for all ages.

$9.9m emergency relief package for Tasmanian bushfire areas

$9.9m emergency relief package for Tasmanian bushfire areas

13 April 2019 - The Mercury

BUSHFIRE-affected communities in Tasmania will receive almost $10 million to boost tourism and repair damaged facilities as the clean-up continues from the horror summer blazes.

Funding for the economic and community recovery package is being provided through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and will not be affected by the Federal Election result.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Linda Reynolds yesterday announced the $9.9 million package would be used to promote tourism, support businesses and repair damaged facilities in the Central Highlands, Derwent Valley, Huon Valley and West Coast.

“The bushfires struck during Tasmania’s peak summer tourism season, which had an immediate impact on tourism and the local economy,” Ms Reynolds said.

Premier Will Hodgman said the package would also fund the restoration and reinstatement of Parks and Wildlife Service assets and infrastructure, which will benefit the economic recovery of local communities that rely on parks for tourism and visitors.

“Communities across Tasmania will welcome this funding as it supports longer term recovery initiatives in the fire-affected regions,” he said.

“This assistance package will play an important role in social and economic recovery.

“It will support businesses to restructure, diversify and reposition themselves, and enable the promotion of tourism opportunities in the target regions.”

Assistant Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Senator Richard Colbeck described the ongoing impacts of this bushfire season as “devastating” and said they were continuing to affect the ability of individuals to earn a living.

Mr Colbeck said it was important for the sake of local jobs that people were aware the affected regions were now “well and truly open for visitors and business alike”.

The package will also provide for community and economic recovery officers who will work with affected businesses and local communities, a grants program and a range of social recovery initiatives to meet an urgent need for improved support networks.

Tasmanian federal election candidates out in force on campaign's first official day

Tasmanian federal election candidates out in force on campaign's first official day

11 April 2019 - The Examiner

The Liberals will aggressively campaign in Tasmania to win three seats in the Senate this federal election. 

Tasmanian Liberal senator Richard Colbeck is the only sitting Liberal up for election this campaign and will be joined on the ticket by Claire Chandler and Tanya Denison.

"We're running a strong team of candidates across Tasmania to win all seats - that's our target," he said.

Senator Colbeck said he believed the party had a chance of taking back Bass, Braddon and Lyons lost by the party in the 2016 federal election.

He said this election would be based on which party was best in a position to deliver Tasmanian jobs and fund essential services like health.

"Because we have brought the budget back into surplus we can invest more in health and education," he said.

"Since coming to office we have increased public hospital funding by 45 per cent. 

"And we have a plan to increase education funding by 43 per cent per student over the next decade."

Carol Brown, Catryna Bilyk and John Short are placed first to third on Labor's ticket, leaving sitting senator Lisa Singh in an unwinnable position.

Tasmanian Greens senator Nick McKim also has a fight ahead with growing interest in minority parties in the Senate.

Senator McKim won his seat in 2016 after beating One Nation candidate Kate McCulloch by 141 votes.

On Thursday, he would not be drawn on his re-election chances and said it was a matter for voters.

"We are incredibly focused on making sure we put our best foot forward and we can campaign very strongly so we can keep a strong Green voice in the Senate," Senator McKim said.

He said the party would campaign on better management of the state's wilderness and World Heritage Areas, to make the Tarkine region into a national park, and place moratorium on fish-arm expansion.

There is destined to be a bitter fight on the North-West Coast between Nationals senator Steve Martin and former senator Jacqui Lambie.

Ms Lambie was forced to give up her seat in 2017 after she was found to be ineligible to sit in Parliament due to being a dual citizen by descent.

Senator Martin, a former party colleague, denied her requests to hand back the seat after he was elected on a recount.

Clark independent MHR Andrew Wilkie said he would run again in this election and ruled out making preference deals with any party.

He said he would also not enter into any deals in the event of a hung Parliament but would work with whichever party assumed power.

Mr Wilkie would not speculate on his re-election chances although admitted he went into the race with a "healthy margin".

"Clearly in Australia, there is an unprecedented level of dismay with politics and politicians and political parties," he said.

"I go into this election ... with the full knowledge that I need to work hard to convince the community to vote for me again."

Braddon Labor MHR Justine Keay said the party would focus on investment in hospital and medical services, schools funding, restoration of penalty rates and jobs growth on the North-West and West coasts.

Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said the election would be fought around Labor's plan for health which so far had pledged $30 million to address the state's elective surgery backlog and a $15 million for a mental health hub.

He said it was also important that more money was poured into TasTAFE to enable growth in blue-collar jobs.

Lyons Labor MHR Brian Mitchell said health and cost of living were the biggest issues in his electorate.

He said Labor's pledge to have all cancer treatment costs taken into Medicare had been well-received by the community.

"This will be an election fought on the battleground of fairness and making sure Australians get a fair go across the country," Mr Mitchell said.

Both were confident Labor would hold their four seats following polling day.

WA RFA extended for 20 years

WA RFA extended for 20 years

9 April 2019 - Timberbiz

The Western Australian Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) has been extended for another 20 years with an annual sustainable yield of at least 191,000 cubic metres of high-quality jarrah and karri saw logs. The landmark RFA agreement for WA’s $1.4 billion was signed on Friday by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and WA Premier Mark McGowan. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz

Matt Granger, acting chief executive of Forest Industry Federation WA, said the RFA was a key element in the regulatory architecture governing the timber industry.

“Forestry and timber industry stakeholders in WA have been waiting a long time for this extension and for the certainty it provides to allow them to plan and invest for the future,” he said.

The Australian Government’s Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Richard Colbeck, said the improved and extended RFA included five-year reviews. This would provide ongoing confidence in in forest management practices and a stable investment environment for the timber industry, Senator Colbeck said.

“We appreciate the work of the WA and Commonwealth Governments in consulting with stakeholders and implementing improvements to aspects of process relating to the RFA. This conclusion follows the completion of the NSW RFA last year and the Tasmanian RFA prior to that. Unfortunately, there is a delay on a final RFA in Victoria until at least next year,” AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Hampton said.
“With its 20-year rolling horizon, subject to five-yearly reviews, the extended WA RFA provides stability to the regulatory framework that is essential for investment and employment in WA’s $1.4 billion per year industry.”

The WA RFA recognises the state’s comprehensive, adequate and representative (CAR) reserve system in the South-West region. It provides for the sustainable management of public multi-use forests and plantations and for a long-term sustainable native forests products industry.

It is underpinned by the Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 (FMP), the primary framework for managing forests and plantations on public land in WA.

The FMP noted that harvesting in old-growth forest ended in 2001. The subsequent high level of reservation of mature forest had resulted in a higher proportion of smaller sized and lower quality logs from regrowth forests, it said.

The FMP/RFA sustainable yield modelling allows an average annual cut of 132,000 cubic metres of first and second grade jarrah sawlogs and 59,000m3 of karri first and second grade logs.

This in turn makes available up to 292,000m3 of other log volumes of jarrah, 164,000m3 of other volume karri, and 140,000m3 of all marri logs.

“Provision is also made for the potential level of yield that would arise from improved utilisation of available wood resources, particularly through the development of markets for lower grade logs,” the FMP says.

The WA Conservation Commission, based on a departmental review, can allow an upper limit annual cut. This is 160,000m3 of first and second grade jarrah sawlog, 59,000m3 of first and second grade kauri log, 520,000m3 of other jarrah logs, 164,000m3 of other karri logs, and 254,000m3 of all marri logs, the FMP says.

The FMP/RFA also provides for other forest produce such as public firewood, burls, craft wood, wildflowers, seeds and honey. It also covers plantations and ‘other exotics’, with the latter largely associated with mine site rehabilitation.

When the FMP was released, the then chairman, Brian Easton, said the sustainable yield modelling had had included the latest projections of climate change. In addition, a ‘safety margin’ had accounted for various risks to determine the limits of allowable harvesting.

Achieving a balance between the environment and forest industries for 10 years had been challenging.

“It has been demonstrated to the Conservation Commission that timber yields can continue to be sustained … through continued management of the forests,” he said.

Talking Point: Australia living within its means is good news for Tassie

Talking Point: Australia living within its means is good news for Tassie

9 April 2019 - Senator Richard Colbeck

The Federal Budget delivers on our Government’s commitment to build a stronger economy for Tasmania.

There is a $7.1 billion surplus, the first in more than a decade, and a dividend of the Coalition’s strong budget management.

We are beginning to pay down Labor’s debt, with a credible path to eliminating it within a decade, without raising taxes.

The Coalition offers the largest personal income tax relief for low and middle income earners since the Howard era, with a $1080 refund for 210,000 Tasmanians’ tax returns in 13 weeks – that’s $2160 for a tradie and teacher couple. That’s more of their own money back in their own pockets, without raising taxes for someone else like Labor is proposing with its Nan and Pop tax.

The Budget extends the instant asset write-off for 60,000 small businesses in Tasmania on each purchase of assets up to $30,000, and extends the eligibility threshold from businesses with $10 million turnover to businesses with $50 million. This will help small businesses grow and employ more Tasmanians, without raising taxes.

Funding for Tasmanian public hospitals increases almost 45 per cent, from $294 million in 2012-2013 to a record $425 million in 2019-2020.

And an additional $313 million is allocated over the next decade for new land transport infrastructure projects in Tasmania.

These are just some of the headline numbers, but behind them is a bigger story.

After more than a decade of budget challenges, Australia has now returned to a steady financial footing. Australia is now living within our means. Australia is back in the black.

A decade ago, the nation was forced to look on as a budget in surplus and with money in the bank became a big-spending response to a crisis and then degenerated into just plain big spending.

When the federal Liberal government came to power promising to end the ballooning debt and deficit, Australia was $240 million in the red and Labor’s deficits were spiralling out of control.

It has been a difficult road to travel, often with hurdles thrown our way by our opponents, but we as a nation have returned to fiscal sustainability.

Which is exactly why, as a nation, we must ask ourselves: why would we go back to where we were six short years ago? It has taken six years to turn around the ship of state after six years of Labor mismanagement. We have dragged our country off the wrong path of pink batts, overpriced school halls, gutted armed services, carbon taxes, mining taxes, lost jobs and the fiscal and human toll of weaker borders.

Australia is now on the path of a surplus Budget, paying down the debt, record funding for health, education and disability services, stronger borders and more than 1.2 million jobs created. All this without raising taxes.

But the work is far from done. Tasmania, in particular, is beginning to show the signs of an unprecedented era of prosperity and opportunity.

All around us we are seeing new confidence and hope for a secure future for everyday Tasmanian families.

The Budget has delivered on major projects that will set up our state for the future.

Our Government is delivering $56 million for Marinus Link to underpin the Battery of the Nation pumped- hydro project, which can transform the economic potential of our state and create more than 3000 jobs in regional areas. It is delivering $1.43 billion for the Hobart City Deal, which will create not just world-class lifestyle, but world-class economic opportunities, much like the Launceston City Deal will do in our largest regional city.

The Budget is delivering transformative upgrades to our road network with $313 million for freight routes and roads in our North, South, East and West, to get goods to market, tradies on site and families home sooner and safer, without raising taxes.

Most importantly, Tasmanians and Australians are being trusted to decide how they want to spend their own money and invest in their family’s future.

Tasmanians are starting to expect prosperity, opportunity and a strong economy that creates jobs, guarantees services and brings our young people back to the island.

And we have every right to expect all of this.

In the coming weeks Tasmanians will have a choice, one that reflects the choice we made unequivocally at the state election last March.

Do you want a Labor government that will impose $200 billion in new taxes on the economy, forcing jobs offshore, closes schools, sacks nurses and police, and takes away services from everyday Tasmanians? Or a Liberal government that delivers thousands of new jobs, keeps our community safe, and offers more choice and quality in new and existing services without raising taxes – in fact providing tax relief?

Australia now has a surplus Budget and Tasmania now has a choice – back to the dark days of the past or delivering the secure future we have every right to expect and deserve.

Richard Colbeck is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Sarah Courtney, Richard Colbeck announce $4.2m in forestry grants

Sarah Courtney, Richard Colbeck announce $4.2m in forestry grants

6 April 2019 - The Examiner

Eight Tasmanian research projects covering the "whole supply chain of the forestry industry" have been funded, Minister for Forestry Sarah Courtney said on April 6. 

The grants are the result of the second round of the Launceston centre of the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and industry. 

They include a project 'applying the Internet of Things to landscape scale wedge-tailed eagle management', implementing eucalypt genome selection, and exploring the feasibility of a pellet-based industry in Tasmania.   

"We know that the forestry industry in Tasmania supports about 5,700 people, and many of them are in regional areas," Ms Courtney said. 

"The value-adding of lower grade forest resources into products such as bio-fuel pellets could lead to major private investment and job creation in Tasmania." 

Tasmanian senator and Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck said the projects added up to $4.2 million. 

"This will have a transformational effect on many aspects of Australia's forest industry," he said. 

The federal government aims to plant a billion plantation trees for forestry purposes by 2030, he said, to meet the World Bank's prediction that global demand for timber will quadruple by 2050. 

Federal funds for new rehabilitation services in the North-West

Federal funds for new rehabilitation services in the North-West

6 April 2019 - The Advocate

Support services for people grappling with drug and alcohol abuse will be established in Burnie and Smithton thanks to $6.3 million from the federal government.

The funding includes $2.5 million to construct a new home in Burnie for City Mission sobering up centre Serenity House.

The facility will increase the capacity of Serenity House from eight to 10 beds and house two existing sobering up spots.

City Mission chief executive Stephen Brown said moving Serenity House from Sulphur Creek to Burnie would allow it to better integrate with other support services and potentially offer long-term rehabilitation.

"It enables us to develop a really purpose-built facility for the clients on the North West Coast in a re-positioned Serenity House," he said.

"And that will just improve the outcomes and efficiencies of the operation."

 Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce and Senator Richard Colbeck (centre) at a recent visit to Serenity House. Picture: Supplied

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said City Mission identified a need for more services in the North-West.

"There is also a need to expand the reach of drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation to the Circular Head region, with the Commonwealth providing $600,000 in seed funding to establish a new eight bed facility in Smithton which will provide important capacity into the health system," he said.

The $6.3 million adds to a $4.8 million mental health package announced during the Braddon byelection.

Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the government continues "to invest strongly in drug and alcohol services" in the North-West.

"Alcohol and drug misuse affects not just the individuals involved, but the people and communities around them," he said.

"Rehabilitation services are crucial to enable people with substance problems to get their lives back on track."



29 March 2019 - Australian Forest Products Association

Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack, has backed a Regional Forestry Hub in the South West Slopes (Tumut-Tumbarumba region) of southern NSW, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton said today.

In a letter released today by the South West Slopes’ Softwoods Working Group (SWG), the Deputy Prime Minister expresses his ‘strong support’ for establishing a Regional Forestry Hub. He goes on to say there is ‘a compelling case for establishing a hub’ and commends the SWG push for the region to be a ‘pilot hub’.

The Tumut and Adelong Times has reported today the strong support for the idea from the Deputy Prime Minister.

In February, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the launch of nine Regional Forestry Hubs, but said four would happen immediately and five would be delayed until 2020.

Tumut-Tumbarumba is in that list of delayed announcements.
“The South West Slopes of NSW is arguably one of the most important forest industry regions in Australia,” Mr Hampton said.

SWG Chair, Peter Crowe, was also quoted in the Tumut and Adelong Times saying ‘SWG is calling on the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck, to immediately confirm pilot hub status for the South West Slopes of NSW along with funding of $250,000 per annum for four years, to enable the implementation of the National Forest Industries Plan, to proceed in this vitally important region, without further delay.’

“With forest industries adding more than $1 billion annually to regional output and more than 50 per cent of the community employed in forest industries, the South West Slopes Hub proposal has been supported by candidates vying to win the federal electorate which covers this area, Eden-Monaro. This will clearly be an election issue in this area,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Tasmania to continue to benefit from fund for retrenched workers in 2019-20 federal budget

Tasmania to continue to benefit from fund for retrenched workers in 2019-20 federal budget

3 April 2019 - The Examiner

The North and North-West will benefit from a slice of $138 million offered within the federal budget handed down on Tuesday night.

The fund will be split between eight locations and aide workers who are facing retrenchment, or have been retrenched, so they can transition into new jobs. There will be $434.3 million dedicated to the fund over three years following next financial year.

A $25 million job and growth innovation fund for Tasmania will start from next financial year, according to budget papers.

The fund will run over three years with $75 million to be contributed to it in 2020-21 and $40 million in its final year. 

There will be $6.8 million dedicated to regional employment trials but papers do not reveal whether Tasmania will be a beneficiary of the program.

Senator Richard Colbeck highlighted the budget had outlined a rise in education funding for Tasmanian schools from $454 million in 2019 to $629 million in 2029.

This includes a $30 million fund for upgrades to libraries, classrooms and play equipment, he said.

The federal government will continue to provide $2 million in literacy support each year over the forward estimates.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in his budget address said there would be $525 million invested to upgrade and modernise the vocational education and sector.

Braddon MHR Justine Keay said the budget failed to reverse $3 billion cuts to TAFE and apprenticeships made since the Liberals' first year in office which had cost 700 apprenticeships on the North-West.


Funds for mystery art in bushfire-hit Tas

30 March 2019 - SBS

A mystery art installation will be set up in Tasmania's bushfire-affected Huon Valley in a bid to bring tourists and an economic boost to the region.

Federal and state funding of $2 million was on Saturday announced for the project which is yet to be fully revealed.

"This exciting project will be a huge boost to the visitor economy in the Huon and will support local businesses and tourism jobs," Premier Will Hodgman said.

The installation is backed by Dark Lab, which produces the state's controversial winter festival Dark Mofo.

The annual music and arts celebration last year drew headlines for erecting giant red upside-down Christian crosses at Hobart's waterfront.

A massive blaze burned for weeks in the Huon Valley, southwest of Hobart, and badly damaged the popular Tahune Airwalk.

The tourist attraction has been closed indefinitely, with crews recently beginning to assess the damage to trees in the area.

Federal Minister for Communication and the Arts Mitch Fifield said the new art project would attract interstate and international visitors to the region.

"I expect this unique installation will add to Tassie's incredibly rich visitor experience," he said.

Funding boost for forest hub

Funding boost for forest hub

5 April 2019 - Bunbury mail

Speaking after a tour of the South West Forestry Hub, Mr Colbeck said the initial commitment of $250,000 for each pilot forestry hub would be expanded to a four-year commitment of $250,000 per year.

He also signalled the South West would host a new node of the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, with a $2 million commitment, which would need to be matched by state government and industry funding.

The latest commitments, were warmly welcomed by the Forest Industries Federation of WA, following the earlier announcement for the four pilot forestry hubs including the South West. 

FIFWA acting chief executive Matt Granger said the announcements would provide the hub with a platform to attract third-party investment to get more trees in the ground. 

"This longer-term funding commitment will enable the South West Forestry Hub to make real progress on growing the plantation estate and manufacturing innovative new timber products," he said.

"It also builds a solid foundation for attracting new investment into innovative wood products manufacturing.

"The state and the industry need to double the area of land under softwood plantations to more than 80,000 hectares, if we are to meet the sustainable housing needs of our community."

"We also need to boost the recovery of valuable products from our sustainably managed forest estate."

Forrest MP Nola Marino said the announcements were important for the area. 

"This announcement will mean more jobs as the industry expands and will add hugely to our regional economy," she said. 

"I have been working with Assistant Minister Colbeck to establish this hub in the South West and I look forward to watching it grow and continuing to be an important economic benefit for the South West."

Federal budget for 2019/20 funds second linear accelerator for North-West Regional Hospital cancer centre

Federal budget for 2019/20 funds second linear accelerator for North-West Regional Hospital cancer centre

2 April 2019 - The Advocate

Funding for a second linear accelerator (LINAC) for the North-West Regional Hospital cancer centre will be provided in the upcoming federal budget.

Demand for the second LINAC has been strong for at least a year, as patients were having to travel to Launceston General Hospital as Burnie could not cope with the demand as early as last April. 

Chief radiation therapist Marianne Hercus said at the time 42 patients were receiving treatment five-days-a-week on the Burnie linear accelerator.

"This represented the maximum numbers of radiation patients who could be safely treated at the service," Ms Hercus said.

Liberal Braddon candidate Gavin Pearce announced the $4.4 million investment on Tuesday, and said the issue was particularly important for him. 

"I lost my wife to cancer suddenly and at a young age so I am passionate about ensuring our community has access to the best cancer treatment available," Mr Pearce said. 

"Travel takes a heavy toll on cancer patients and families, so it is critical for their wellbeing that we minimise the need for people to travel to the major cities."

Federal health minister Greg Hunt said the North-West is "sadly disproportionately affected by cancer."

"The North West Regional Hospital cancer centre was built with a $25 million investment from our Government and we are dedicated to ensuring its capacity grows to meet demand. 

"This latest announcement will help save lives and improve patient care.

"Our government is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring all Australians have access to the critical health services that we all rely on." 

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the additional LINAC machine would be of significant benefit to local families managing a cancer diagnosis. 

"LINAC machines are vital pieces of technology in the treatment of cancer because they are utilised for many indications and allow doctors to target cancer cells while protecting the surrounding healthy tissue.

"The cancer centre design was future-proofed with an additional bunker built to accommodate a second LINAC because we were conscious of the growing need for this kind of health service."

The funding will be available for the state government in the new financial year. 

Federal government approves MRI licence for Regional Imaging in Devonport

Federal government approves MRI licence for Regional Imaging in Devonport

29 March 2019 - The Advocate

Coasters will have greater access to lifesaving medical diagnostic equipment due to the federal government's decision to grant an MRI licence to Regional Imaging in Devonport.

The licence will allow Regional Imaging to offer a Medicare rebate of about $393 for an estimated 3350 MRI scans a year.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said it would provide a major boost for health services in the North-West.

"This is an exciting new investment in Medicare-supported health services in the region because it will reduce travel times for patients and deliver affordable healthcare choices for families," he said.

An MRI scan provides a detailed view of muscles, blood vessels and other soft tissues and is commonly used to diagnose and monitor conditions such as cancer.

Braddon Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce advocated for the licence in February and said Devonport was "the last major Tasmanian population centre without an MRI".

"I lost my wife suddenly and at a young age to cancer so I am glad to see that families in the region will have even better access to Medicare-supported MRI scans and health services in our local area," he said.

Patients will be able to access the Medicare-supported services once Regional Imaging establishes its MRI unit.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government would fund 50 new MRI licences across Australia at a cost of with $357 million over four years.

"Not only will our new Medicare support ensure patients get better treatment and save money, it will also cut down the amount of time patients travel to get a scan," he said.

Free-trade agreement between Indonesia and Australia made official

Free-trade agreement between Indonesia and Australia made official

6 March 2019

A new free-trade agreement signed between Australia and Indonesia will give the state exporters greater access to 270 million consumers, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck has said.

Senator Colbeck said the free-trade agreement would allow 99 per cent of exports to be duty-free or under some other sort of improved arrangement.

He said the agreement would particularly benefit those in the fresh produce, dairy and aquaculture industries.

According to Tasmania's State Growth department, the value of exports to Indonesia was $189.5 million in 2017-18.

This figure represented a growth of $152.1 million in 2013-14 which was followed by two years of a decline in the value in exports.

Indonesia is the state's seventh largest trading partner.

The Coasters receive $17,500 grant to expand to King Island

The Coasters receive $17,500 grant to expand to King Island

4 March 2019 - The Advocate

Young professionals network The Coasters will expand to King Island thanks to a $17,500 grant from the federal government.

The funding will be used to host workshops about resilience in leadership on King Island and help emerging leaders attend The Coasters' Winter Symposium in Circular Head.

Coaster Claire Smith said the group had great success in uniting future leaders and young professionals for the benefit of the region.

“In a short period of time we have had noticeable impact in increasing retention and connectedness among young people in our region, particularly those who have moved here to advance their careers," she said.

The Coasters received the $17,500 from the Building Better Regions Fund after Cradle Coast Authority chief executive Daryl Connelly applied on their behalf.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said The Coasters inspired young people to take advantage of opportunities in regional Tasmania.

“Encouraging our future leaders to see opportunities in rural and remote parts of Tasmania is critical to our future economic success," he said.

“The Liberal National Government is backing our next generation because retaining our best and brightest will secure a bright future for King Island.”

King Island Council's growth and strategy manager Helen Thomas said she looked forward to seeing The Coasters established on the island.

"Providing King Island's young leaders with access to a network of like-minded, aspirational young people will increase their opportunities to connect, inspire and grow," she said.

King Island Club receives Building Better Regions Fund grant to replace roof

King Island Club receives Building Better Regions Fund grant to replace roof

4 March 2019 - The Advocate

The King Island Club will install a new roof thanks to a $61,875 grant from the Building Better Regions Fund.

The roof has been repeatedly repaired over the past two decades and replacing it will prevent water leaking into the club.

Vice president and treasurer Graeme Keeley said King Island Club was delighted to receive the federal government grant and hoped work would commence in a month.

"The new roof will allow for better drainage, which will prevent the leaks that have plagued the club for years and allow for solar panels to be installed in the future," he said.

Mr Keeley said the roof upgrade would benefit the numerous sporting and community groups sponsored by King Island Club.

He said the grant money would also free up funds to facilitate other upgrades at King Island Club.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the King Island Club was a cornerstone of the community and a worthy recipient of the grant.

"This $61,875 grant will secure the future of the King Island Club and protect the priceless records of Island life that the club has custody over," he said.

"The building has been a meeting place for Islanders of all walks of life for 75 years and this grant will ensure that it will continue to serve the community into the future.

"By delivering a strong economy and a budget surplus the Liberal National Government has been able to invest in the vital community infrastructure that is so important to the lives of people in regional Tasmania."

Federal government adds $3.2 million to Wynyard waterfront redevelopment

Federal government adds $3.2 million to Wynyard waterfront redevelopment

3 March 2019 - The Advocate

A major redevelopment of the Wynyard foreshore precinct is ready to proceed thanks to a $3.2 million grant from the federal government.

Waratah-Wynyard mayor Robby Walsh said the council was "so excited" to receive the grant after two unsuccessful submissions to the Building Better Regions Fund.

"I was getting to the stage where I thought these governments, they're only looking after the cities and the big areas...," he said.

But Cr Walsh said the council was now "so happy" to receive the federal funding and "can't wait" to proceed with the redevelopment.

"It's just a big boost to what we believe is a gem of the North West Coast," Cr Walsh said.

The redevelopment is designed to improve access to the foreshore precinct and link into the Coastal Pathway project.

The $7.1 million project will include significant landscaping, roadworks and a new multi-purpose facility to house the Wynyard Yacht Club and a cafe.

The federal funding adds to $2 million pledged by the state government last year with the remaining costs to be covered by Waratah-Wynard Council.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the project would improve "a pretty special part of Tasmania" that was already well utilised for local events.

"It expands the capacity of this region but also creates a new capacity for special events, which is I think really important," he said.

"… I know it's been an aspiration of the council and the region for a long time so it's really great that we're here today to say it will go ahead."

Labor Braddon MP Justine Keay welcomed the federal funding but questioned "why the Liberals have taken so long to fund a local project that has obvious social and economic benefit to Wynyard and the wider region".

"The Coalition’s belated commitment to the Wynyard waterfront project is long overdue," she said. 

"Federal Labor committed to fund this project before the 2016 election and again during last year’s Braddon byelection. On both occasions the Liberals did not consider the project worthy."

Ms Keay said a federal Labor government would deliver funding for the project if Waratah-Wynyard Council didn't receive the funds before the 2019 election.

Senator Colbeck said the Building Better Regions Fund was "a competitive program and usually considerably over-subscribed".

"The department also provides feedback to unsuccessful applicants to help them improve their proposal for following rounds," he said.

"The local Liberal team has also been advocating strongly to get the Wynyard waterfront over the live."

Liberal Braddon candidate Gavin Pearce said the announcement of the grant demonstrated the Coalition "can actually provide real money for real communities".

"And that's what this is all about," he said.

"We can talk about tourism and all of that but this is about communities, bringing communities together, making the place a better place for communities and young people to grow up."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited North-West Tasmania to talk pumped hydro and the Battery of the Nation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited North-West Tasmania to talk pumped hydro and the Battery of the Nation

27 February 2019 - The Advocate

A joint investment will all but secure a second power interconnector for Tasmania, says the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was at Cethana Power Station near Sheffield on Wednesday morning to announce an $86 million project to make the interconnector investment ready.

While the Prime Minister would not commit funds to building a second cable, he was very confident about the outcome.

The double announcement means $56 million of federal funds will go toward the interconnector and $30 million will be provided by the Hodgman Government, through Hydro Tasmania, to complete the first phase of the Battery of the Nation project.

"We are about stable and reliable jobs and that is generated here by stable and reliable power, which is delivered by the battery of the nation project," Prime Minister Morrison said.

Together the projects will help Tasmania create more renewable energy, which can then be sold to Victorian markets and lower state energy prices.

"The Battery of the Nation would help cut power prices and put an end to the sorts of recent blackouts that families and businesses have had to suffer through," Mr Morrison said.

Premier Will Hodgman said the projects were expected to create up to 3,800 direct and indirect jobs during construction and deliver an economic stimulus of up to $7 billion, predominantly to North-Western Tasmania and regional Victoria.

“These initiatives will cement our status as the nation’s renewable energy powerhouse,” Mr Hodgman said.

Federal energy minister Angus Taylor said Tasmanians wouldn't be paying over the odds to see the Marinus Link in place.

"Marinus (the interconnector) is really helping Victoria, those who are buying the energy are the ones who are going to be paying for the energy in theory."

Mr Taylor said he grew up in a "hydro town" and thought this was a fantastic project for North-West Tasmania.

"When you have great project like this, you create regional jobs that are great jobs. You bring great people into the area, you give jobs to people who are in the area."

Mr Morrison said it was about stable and reliable jobs that were generated here by stable and reliable power, which was delivered by the Battery of the Nation Project.

Tasmania is following in the foot steps of New South Wales' Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project, which is where the Prime Minister was on Tuesday to announce that the site would become the second largest in the world.

Director of strategy at Hydro Tasmania Andrew Catchpole said they welcomed the federal commitment to supporting pumped hydro and they would now choose three sites to put forward.

"We have been working over the last two years to work out where the best investment sites are in Tasmania and we have many options. We have five options just at Cethana and we are working through the Mersey-Forth scheme, the West Coast and central Tasmania," Mr Catchpole said.

Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay said modelling had found that Tasmania’s Marinus Bass Link and related pumped hydro and wind generation investments only stacked up under Labor’s renewable energy policies.

“The Tas Networks Feasibility Study is clear, the Marinus Bass Link project only stacks up if supported by a high emissions reduction target, like Labor’s 50 percent 2030 renewable energy commitment,” Ms Keay said.

Ms Keay said Labor would designate North-West Tasmania as a renewable energy zone to coordinate investments.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stopped by Taste the Harvest in Devonport

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stopped by Taste the Harvest in Devonport

17 February 2019 - The Advocate

Attendees of Taste the Harvest in Devonport were surprised and flustered when Prime Minister Scott Morrison stopped in for a visit before heading to the airport.

Prime Minister Morrison was on the Coast on the weekend to make a forestry announcement and to attend the naming ceremony of Toll’s new freighter.

Mr Morrison chatted to many Coasters but proved to be a hit with some very excited North-West children.

Lottie Temby, 7, didn’t know who the Prime Minster was or what he did until she met Scott Morrison but now she knows he “is the boss of Australia”.

Lottie said Mr Morrison loved her face painting of a flamingo with rainbow.

“I am going to tell my friends at school tomorrow that I met the boss of Australia. I think they might think that was awesome.”

Lachlan Jones, 12, said the Prime Minister asked him how his summer was and what year he was in.

Lachlan said he would say to his friends at school tomorrow “oh my gosh I met the Prime Minister on the weekend”.

“I didn’t really think I would ever get to meet him,” Lachlan said.

Luka Van Der Wolfshaar said he was a bit nervous when he met the Prime Minister.

“I am going to tell my friends I met the Prime Minister and they are probably not going to believe me,” Luka said.

“He was asking me what was my favourite thing to do and what was I best at. I said I like to read books and sometimes I go fishing. He asked me what my favourite book was and I said the Bear Grills books.”

Mr Morrison met plenty of North-West adults too, most of them were very surprised he chose to stop by.

Taste the Harvest attendee Shannon Wainwright was one of the first locals the Prime Minister talked to.

Mr Wainwright said it was a good surprise that the Prime Minister turned up to the food festival.

“It was a bit of a shock, we knew he was in the state but to turn up to an event like this, it shows good support,” Mr Wainwright said. 

“I talked to him about my son who went fishing and camping and the launch of the new Toll ship in Burnie.”

He said he worked for a shipping company so he thought the Toll ships were “good for Tassie”.

“I am a strong believer in immigration so the stance that he has taken, I think that is really good.”

Deck crowded for naming ceremony of Toll Group's Tasmanian Achiever II freight vessel

Deck crowded for naming ceremony of Toll Group's Tasmanian Achiever II freight vessel

17 February 2019 - The Advocate

Shipping company Toll Group spent $172 million on the Tasmanian Achiever II and its sister ship the Victorian Reliance II. The two vessels are 210-metres-long and will help the company boost its Bass Strait cargo capacity by 40 per cent.

A new era of Tasmanian shipping was ushered in on Sunday with the official naming of Toll Group’s new freighter, the Tasmanian Achiever II.

Around a thousand people packed the decks of the 210-metre-long vessel to witness the champagne smashing ceremony, tour the quarters and try a shipping simulator.

Toll spent $311 million on the Tasmanian Achiever II, its sister ship the Victorian Reliance II and port upgrades in what has been dubbed the largest private investment in Australian coastal trading in 25 years.

Chairman John Mullens said it was “a pretty special day” for the Burnie community, Tasmania, the Australian shipping industry and shareholder Japan Post.

“In life today we hear so much about cutbacks and downsizing and economising that it’s great when an opportunity comes along to do the opposite,” he said.

“An opportunity to expand the business undertaking to build new assets, to create new employment and to invest in the future and that is what Toll is doing here today.”

The two new ships will boost Toll’s Bass Strait cargo capacity by 40 per cent and quicken the crossing by two hours.

Mr Mullens said the ships provided a “glimpse into the future” as they were greener, safer, more efficient and fitted with the latest maritime technology.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison attended the naming ceremony and said Toll’s investment in the ships reflected their confidence in Tasmania, “the turnaround state”.

“They believe in what’s happening here in the Tasmanian economy and they’re investing back in that success...” he said.

Premier Will Hodgman said Toll’s investment was “a truly stunning symbol of Tasmania steaming ahead”.

“It’s a powerful show of confidence in Tasmania’s strong economy and our prospects by one of the world’s great companies,” he said.

Japan Post bought Toll in 2015 and first executive officer Taneki Ono hoped the naming ceremony would ignite a strong bond between the two companies and the Burnie community.

“Our confidence in the Australian market and your future is very strong, having invested more than $600 million into capital expenditure projects across the fleet, vessels infrastructure and technology,” he said.

PM Scott Morrison pumps up Tasmania’s hopes to turbocharge state like never before

PM Scott Morrison pumps up Tasmania’s hopes to turbocharge state like never before

27 February 2019 - The Mercury

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has paid tribute to Tasmania’s hydro power pioneers as he heralds a new age in which pumped hydro will secure the nation’s electricity network.

“As I tour places such as Cethana Power Station, I am overwhelmed by the sale of the vision Tasmania had for renewable energy more than 50 years ago,” Mr Morrison said today.

“This new work to make Tasmania the Battery of the Nation is also intergenerational and the next phase of their grand vision and will back up the investment already made.”

Tasmania’s Energy Minister Guy Barnett said the State Government would spend $30 million over the next 18 months to identify which three Hydro Tasmania sites would be best for pumped hydro investment.

Cethana, behind Sheffield in Tasmania’s North-West, is in the mix along with others in the Forth-Mersey Valley.

The Federal Government will underwrite the pumped hydro development through its New Generation Investments program and put up $56 million, to flow this financial year, to boost plans for a second electricity interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria.

Hydro Tasmania will now accelerate work to identify one pumped hydro project to be ready to go when a second Bass Strait interconnector comes online — expected to be by 2025.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the recent investment in solar and wind in Australia was unprecedented.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, third from left, Hydro Tasmania manager of production and maintenance Jesse Clark and Premier Will Hodgman during a tour of the Lake Cethana Power Station. Picture: CHRIS KIDD

“The next challenge is to ensure that when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, we have back up storage to keep the lights on,” Mr Taylor said.

The Snowy hydro scheme will also be expanded to help provide that back up.

Mr Morrison said it had taken two years for Snowy 2.0 to become a live proposal and he was confident feasibility work would show plans for pumped hydro in Tasmania would also stack up.

“But we need to move now,” Mr Morrison said.

Premier Will Hodgman said Tasmania’s next hydro era would “turbocharge the state like never before”.

“We are a hydro state and by working with the Commonwealth we can progress this vision, help an unstable national electricity grid and enjoy the economic and job-creating benefits that come with it,” Mr Hodgman said.

Premier Will Hodgman, from left, MLC Leonie Hiscutt, Senator Richard Colbeck and Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a tour of the Lake Cethana Power Station. Picture: CHRIS KIDD

Hydro Tasmania CEO Steve Davy said Tasmania could provide 1200 megawatts of flexible, reliable, dispatchable renewable energy to support the national energy market.

“We’ve been investigating 14 options for pumped hydro that present the greatest potential. We will now invest up to $30 million to refine that to three options for deeper studies and ultimately identify a single pumped hydro project that can be ready to take advantage of additional interconnection coming online in 2025.”

Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White said Tasmanians needed to remember Mr Morrison went into parliament holding a lump of coal.

“Now he is here trying to con everybody into believing that the Liberal Party have a plan for renewable energy while only Labor is working to reduce carbon emissions and see Australia get 50 per cent of its energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2030,” she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Forico near Burnie to discuss 'trees and jobs'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Forico near Burnie to discuss 'trees and jobs'

16 February 2019 - The Advocate

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Forico at Somerset to announce a forestry hub pilot program for the North-West.

The hub is designated for North and North-West Tasmania and is one of nine set to be rolled out around the country, which the Liberal leader has committed $12.5 million for.

Prime Minister Morrison took a tour of Forico at Somerset on Saturday morning.

“I am here because of jobs. The forestry industry carries about 70,000 jobs, it is a 20 billion dollar industry,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“I am interested in growing more trees and growing more jobs, it is as simple as that.”

Related story

He said what they were announcing today was about how the government were going to continue to foster the growth and sustainable development of industry, not just for a little while but for a long while.

“The North-West economy, the Tasmanian economy and the Australian economy depends on the success of this industry… 

“It has been a great opportunity this morning to see the start of the supply chain here and how it all begins and to see how this sector has developed with technology and the capacity to be able to support a thriving industry.”

Senator Richard Colbeck said it was about making sure they grew the right trees, at the right scale, in the right places.

“We have set ourselves and objective of one billion trees by 2030. That is a lot of trees, that is about 400 thousand hectares,” Senator Colbeck said.

“We have seen previously there has been some issues with land conversion in the community and we are very committed to make sure we manage that sensitively and properly.”

He said he thought there was enough land available for the trees.

Scott Morrison is expected to visit Launceston this afternoon to make another announcement regarding candidates.

Bushfire struggle to be acknowledged by the Senate in motion by Richard Colbeck

Bushfire struggle to be acknowledged by the Senate in motion by Richard Colbeck

14 February 2019 - Senator Richard Colbeck

The plight of Tasmanians who have grappled with bushfires this summer will be acknowledged in the Australian Senate on Friday.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck has lodged a motion to acknowledge the hardship suffered by bushfire-affected communities and the efforts of emergency workers.

"In times of difficulty Tasmanians and Australians pull together and help out their mates," Senator Colbeck said.

“This was also reflected in the bipartisan support of my Senate colleagues for a motion resolving to continue supporting Tasmania as we move from disaster response to recovery.”

The motion would reiterate the federal government's support of Tasmania "as the disaster moves from response to recovery through the formal Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements".

Perkins Park upgrade ready to proceed with $100,000 federal government grant

Perkins Park upgrade ready to proceed with $100,000 federal government grant

11 February 2019 - The Advocate

The first stages of a major upgrade of Perkins Park have been fully funded thanks to a $100,000 grant from the federal government.

The Community Sports Infrastructure Grant will help fund additional lighting, a new playing surface, the re-orientation of the concrete wicket, new goal posts, replacement training nets and fencing.

Latrobe mayor Peter Freshney said the federal funding would add to $100,000 from the council and $80,000 from the state government.

“This project is particularly important and will assist in meeting the needs of continued participation growth in both football and cricket of local girls and boys,” he said.

Cr Freshney said the growth in participation was linked to the “rapid growth of the Latrobe township and the municipality”.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said it was important community sport infrastructure kept up with local need.

“Latrobe has seen growing grassroots sport participation, particularly from women and girls, and delivering a strong economy and budget surplus has allowed us to back them to upgrade their club facilities,” he said.

Nationals Senator Steve Martin said delivering funding for regional Tasmania was his most important focus.

“I recently brought Nationals Deputy Leader and Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie to Latrobe to help convince her of the merit of council’s funding application. A successful outcome followed,” he said.

Latrobe Cricket Club president Stephen French said the Perkins Park upgrade would benefit the whole community, including other sporting clubs that used the complex.

“We’ve just got so many teams and upgrades like this just make it easier for kids to participate in quality surfaces and venues,” he said.

Wage subsidy program to support regional apprentices

Wage subsidy program to support regional apprentices

5 February 2019 - The Advocate

A wage subsidy scheme that aims to boost apprentice numbers in regional areas is set to support 68 Tasmanian jobs.

The Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy is almost fully subscribed less than a month after a trial was launched.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the result “demonstrates strong interest in technical and trades training”.

“The Liberals in government have delivered on our pledge to create one million new jobs over the last five years, and apprenticeships will be a major driver in our commitment to deliver 1.25 million new jobs in the next five years,” he said.

The scheme helped Ulverstone mechanics Tunemasters take on 17-year-old Leonard Smith as an apprentice.

Leonard said he was a bit hesitant when he first arrived at Tunemasters to work alongside people much older than him.

“It was a bit funny at first but I got into it and I enjoyed it,” he said.

Tunemasters manager Richard Slatter said the scheme was “the best thing I’ve seen in the industry for a number of years”.

“It gives me greater flexibility to give him better training I believe because I haven’t got the burden of trying to find a wage, so I’m not pushing him to make money for the business,” he said.

Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce said the scheme would “go a long way to encouraging businesses to share their skills and know-how with the next generation”.

“Some businesses are looking to sign up an apprentice for the first time and I believe strongly that we should be incentivising them to teach the life-changing vocational skillsets they have to offer,” he said.

“I know how important an apprenticeship is for establishing a strong career – I completed my dairy apprenticeship in Tassie and have also been an instructor at the Army Apprentices School at Bonegilla.

The Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy provides a 75 per cent wage subsidy for the first year award wage, 50 per cent for the second and 25 per cent the third.

Melaleuca Home for the Aged received government grant to convert rooms

Melaleuca Home for the Aged received government grant to convert rooms

5 February 2019 - The Advocate

Melaleuca Home for the Aged has received a $428,863 grant to help it meet the demands of contemporary clients.

The federal government grant will allow the East Devonport facility to convert two shared rooms and a storage area into private rooms with en suites.

Melaleuca chief executive Simone Collins said the rooms housed four people in the 1980s but today there was little demand for shared rooms.

“People’s expectations these days are very different to what they once were,” she said.

“Even though they might have been in a four bedroom facility in hospital, because this is their home they obviously don’t want to share with strangers.”

Ms Collins said the conversion would completed around May and provide residents with more privacy and dignity.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the grant was part of a $5 billion aged care funding boost for regional areas contained in the 2018/19 federal budget.

“Every senior Australian should have a dignified retirement and a comfortable place to live,” he said.

“Investing in new infrastructure will allow Melaleuca to provide their residents with modern facilities and amenities, which is key to increasing the choice and affordability offered in aged care in Tasmania.”

Liberal Braddon candidate Gavin Pearce said he was pleased Melaleuca was embracing the “phenomenal” changes om in aged care.

“The shell shock that some residents must have had coming into an existing facility like this must be devastating,” he said.

“I’m just heartened by the fact that Melaleuca can see that, identify that and can best use these funds to make that transition a little more easier…”

Nan & Pop tax plan is cruel and unfair

Nan & Pop tax plan is cruel and unfair

28 January 2019

For the last ten months I’ve had a steady stream of constituents asking me a basic question:

Why are Justine Keay and Bill Shorten going after low income retirees when so many respected investment advisers say it is just not fair?

They are right to be concerned.

How many more investment industry sources have to “drop a bucket” on Labor’s inequitable Nan & Pop tax, which will rip away up to 30% of an investor’s total income, before they finally see the light?

Let’s not forget that when it was announced by Labor it was described by Chris Bowen as “well-targeted”, “carefully designed”, and “sensible”.

Of course we all remember how that worked out. It very soon emerged that the effect was devastating even to pensioners.

So a hurried announcement after about two weeks of chaos proclaimed pensioners would be exempted.

One small problem – not all pensioners were exempted by their fix; even their carefully designed fix to their well thought out policy was bungled.

If you are seeing a pattern think back to the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years, and think of Pink Batts, overpriced school halls and that most special of policies “Cash for Clunkers”.

A policy brain fade of such special status that it couldn’t even be implemented!

Not only couldn’t Labor develop a decent policy, they couldn’t implement policy either.

Not much has changed with the latest critique of the Nan & Pop tax, Australian fund Djerriwarrh describing it as “highly inequitable” and discriminatory, noting that “We believe the proposal is more likely to significantly impact those on a limited income, is highly inequitable and discriminatory against certain investors.”

A simple study of the proposal to strip away franking credits from those who don’t have offsets could almost conclude that it could only have been devised to hit low income earners – quite obviously those with higher incomes are more likely to have the tax offsets available to take advantage.

Yet Labor desperately cling on, as addicted to spending other people’s money as a crook with a credit card skimmer.

This despite warnings like the latest from Djerriwarrh and others.

Geoff Wilson from Wilson Asset Management said "We want to send a clear message ... that this is unfair. To me this was knee-jerk policy, illogical and grossly unfair."

Respected financial adviser Peter Switzer said the policy “looks like a punishment for following the rules and having enough money not to be on the pension.”

Former Keating Labor Government adviser Vince FitzGerald said this policy “will be yet another horrible complication to how super is taxed.”

Professor Deborah Ralston from The Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System said “For self-funded retirees and SMSF members this is a cruel blow. They have saved for their retirement under rules that have been in place for over a decade, and now find they will lose up to 30 per cent of their income in one hit if Labor is elected… the end result will be to drive many retirees on to welfare.”

Labor Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen even said in his book Hearts & Minds that superannuation tax concessions “are justified because they avoid future payments of the age pension and they help boost our pool of savings, with all the benefits for the economy that this brings.”

Bill Shorten himself said as recently as 19 September 2017 “I think Australians pay enough tax at the moment. I don’t believe that another tax is going to be what Australians need or want at this stage”.

There you have it, don’t just take my word for it – take their word for it.

So, we know from recent history that Labor are bad at policy development, and even worse at implementation.

We also know that their disastrous Nan & Pop tax couldn’t have been designed better to hurt low income retirees if they had tried.

And we know that the policy exempts the union super funds that bankroll the Labor Party and provide jobs for the Labor mates while devastating others.

The question remains – when are they going to wake up to the harm they will cause and ditch the policy?

I suspect they won’t and anyone with parents and grandparents thinking about a decent retirement needs to take a long, hard look at what Labor’s policy will mean for their loved ones in their twilight years.

Tasmanian Mineral and Energy Council's Burnie centre opens new high-tech manufacturing training facility

Tasmanian Mineral and Energy Council's Burnie centre opens new high-tech manufacturing training facility

18 January 2019 - The Advocate

A WELDING facility in Burnie is bringing industrial training into the 21st Century with the use of virtual reality and computer game technology.

The Tasmanian Mineral and Energy Council’s (TMEC) Burnie centre is the new home of a training facility which pairs computer simulated welding programs and more traditional training methods for use by industry and schools.

TMEC General Manager Kent Wyllie said the augmented simulated reality welders, which each cost about $60,000, are portable and will allow for training to be delivered across the state. 

“We have had over 180 kids using the machines already, and schools are showing a really significant interest,” Mr Wyllie said. 

“We hope over the next two years to get to every high school, secondary school and private school in Tasmania.”

The machines have been designed to appeal to video game enthusiasts, as the virtual reality program awards points based on accuracy and difficulty, and attempts can be saved in the computer. 

The machine and programs can be customised to replicate conditions, styles of welding and the industry standards of various organisations. 

The centre also features a newly opened welding training facility, which Mr Wyllie said had been “built from scratch.” 

“We’ve got industry and TAFE here this week working together in a ‘Train the Trainer’ course led by Weld Australia,” he said. 

The facility is open to industry to assist in re-certification and ongoing education of employees.

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the facility was funded through a $750,000 Federal Government grant. 

“North West Tasmania has enormous opportunities … in the pipeline and it is vital that we pass on the technical know-how of our region to the next generation,” Mr Colbeck said. 

“This Advanced Welder Training Centre in South Burnie is the first industry-led centre in Australia and has consolidated the town’s reputation as a hub for advanced manufacturing and mining services.”

Regional towns to cop $360m hit in backpacker overhaul

Regional towns to cop $360m hit in backpacker overhaul

21 January 2019 - The Daily Telegraph

Struggling regional towns would take a $360 million hit under a dangerous union proposal to dismantle working holiday visas.

Government analysis reveals the Australian Council of Trade Unions push to scrap the second year of the program would send 36,000 backpackers who farmers desperately need for harvest packing.

Working holiday makers spend on average $10,000 — abandoning the second year option would rip $360 million from Australia’s tourism industry particularly in regional areas where backpackers are forced to work.

The Daily Telegraph revealed last week that the powerful union was pressuring Labor to overhaul working holiday visas and significantly reducework rights for backpackers.

Opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann did not rule out supporting the plan and said Labor, if elected, would cut the number of temporary workers in Australia.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said not only would the ACTU’s proposal have a devastating impact on our farmers but would also impact on the thriving tourism industry,

In 2017/18 there were 309,000 working holiday maker arrivals to Australia who injected $3.1 billion into the economy. 72 per cent of those backpackers spent some time in NSW while in the country.

Senator Birmingham said Labor had once again proven it was beholden to its union masters.

“Labor and the ACTU’s plan to abandon altogether the second year working holiday visa would remove over 36,000 working holiday visa holders from the Australian economy,” Senator Birmingham said.

“This is another union driven policy by Labor that will have a detrimental impact on small businesses and our economy.”

Agriculture assistant minister Richard Colbeck said the Morrison government was committed to expanding the program unlike Labor.

“Access to sufficient labour, particularly for seasonal work, is a perennial issue and concern for the industry,” he said.

Australian Chamber of Commerce tourism executive chair John Hart said backpackers were a vital source of tourism revenue particularly in the regions.

“Often the focus with the Working Holiday Maker Program is its importance to the agricultural sector, but for tourism, the program is as much about tourism spend as it is about supplementing the workforce,” he said.

“Any attack on the program would be a direct attack on Australia’s standout industry performer, tourism.”

More Fruit fly restrictions lifted in Tasmania but markets yet to recognise status

More Fruit fly restrictions lifted in Tasmania but markets yet to recognise status

8 January 2019 - ABC Online

Tasmania has officially clocked over into fruit fly-free status but Australia's trading partners will not automatically recognise the change.

At 12:01am on Wednesday, strict biosecurity controls around the north of the state were lifted, 12 months after fruit flies were detected in the island state.

The control zones restricted the movement of fresh fruit from some of Tasmania's prime horticultural production areas, unless it had been treated with methyl bromide or been kept in cold storage for weeks.

The shutdown affected export markets and caused huge financial losses.

"It's the end of that process where we've had controls to protect the rest of the state's fruit fly-free status," Assistant Minister for Agriculture senator Richard Colbeck said.

"The next stage of the process is to work with our trading partners to recognise fruit fly-free status for the whole of the state."

Until last year's incursions, Tasmania was the only state in Australia to be completely free of the pest, making it easier to gain market access to lucrative export regions with strict biosecurity protocols.

Tasmanian fruit exporters have built businesses with the island's pest-free status as a competitive edge.

Until trading partners recognise that Tasmania is again fruit fly free, those markets will remain mostly closed, and the competitive edge lost.

Senator Colbeck said it was unclear how long that process would take.

"My sense is that will start to happen progressively based on the various countries and the protocols those countries have in place," he said.

"In some circumstances it might be quite quick, in some countries it might just be a letter. Some of them may want to come here and do an audit to check that information."

Already Indonesia, a modest but growing export destination for Tasmanian cherries, has signalled it will not be ready to consider the fruit fly-free status until February.

"Indonesia have indicated to us they recognise we are coming to the end of this period," he said.

"They've said that they have a window available for us at the end of January for us to present our data to them."

It is approaching peak season for Tasmanian cherries which represent the lion's share of the state's fruit exports.

In 2016-17, $32 million of fruit was exported, with $29 million of that from cherries alone.

Orchardist Shane Weeks grows 130 tonnes of the valuable red fruit, with 70 pickers about to start the main harvest from the end of this week.

"Our main worry is with cherries," he said.

"Will we be able to export our cherries this season?"

Mr Weeks said he was hopeful trading partners would quickly recognise Tasmania's confirmation of fruit fly-free status.

"It would open it right up to us to export to China and Taiwan so we won't be restricted any more," he said.

'Wake up call' for growers

Mr Weeks said the past 12 months had been a learning experience for the industry.

"It's been a bit of a wakeup call for everyone, we thought it wouldn't happen in Tasmania and it has," he said.

"We've got to be more vigilant and keep and eye out and make sure it doesn't happen again."

As the clock ticked down to midnight, growers were looking forward to celebrating but remained apprehensive.

"We've got to take every day as it comes. Every day without fruit fly is a good day," Mr Weeks said.

Growers who primarily sell within the state were also counting down the hours until the restrictions lifted.

It means they resume sending their fruit to the major population centres of Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

Turners Beach grower Craig Morris, who is right in the middle of the control zone, said the restrictions had wiped out his wholesale business.

He was kept afloat by a retail restaurant and cafe on the farm.

"It's been massive. It's been the biggest single issue we've had since we started," Mr Morris said.

"We are really pleased to finally be coming to the end of this saga."

Like many growers in the area, Mr Morris was cautious when planning this season.

He has planted fewer crops in case the pest re-emerged and again restricted his ability to sell produce.

North-West councils not tiring of two-wheeled tourism

North-West councils not tiring of two-wheeled tourism

13 December 2018 - The Advocate

A NETWORK of new world class mountain biking trails has been unveiled at Latrobe. 

The first stage of the network, which will connect the reserve with the towns of Railton and Sheffield in the future, is a 15 kilometre section combining beginner and intermediate trails at the Warrawee Reserve. 

The $4.1 million project is a joint venture between the Latrobe and Kentish Councils, and will take in the Badgers Range and Kimberley’s Lookout when complete.

The trails have been built by Next Level Mountain Bike, which was also responsible for the recently opened Montgomery Loop in the Dial Range, and director Marcelo Cardona said the trails will provide something for everyone. 

”This is a very good start for family and enduro type riding,” Mr Cardona said. 

“This one at the end will have everything. At the moment this part is like a bike park area, with flow tracks and wider and deeper turns, and single track.”

“It has enduro, cross-country single track and by-the-river nature track, and it has the family trail. It has three significant, very different areas in a small space.”

Latrobe Council Mayor Peter Freshney said the Wild Mersey project provided many great opportunities for the region. 

“It brings with it so many possibilities in terms of economic development,” Cr Freshney said. 

“So many possibilities for existing businesses to grow the market and to become more viable, but also there are opportunities… in terms of transportation, in terms of the service industry, accommodation.” 

“There will be opportunities for those entrepreneurs out there who are prepared to become involved, and to learn from the Derby experience about what is possible from this sort of project.”

Derby, in the state’s North-East, is home to the Blue Derby trail network which has become a must-ride destination for the world’s mountain biking community since its opening in the 2015.

The Enduro World Series, which is the elite level of professional mountain bike racing, will return to Derby for the second time in 2019. 

It is possible such events may be attracted to the North-West in the future. 

“[Wild Mersey’s opening is] a wonderful for mountain bikers, and for those who may seek the opportunity to expand their journey in Tasmania to include other mountain bike parks other than Derby,” Cr Freshney said. 

“We believe this will be part of a very vibrant, mountain bike driven, tourist increase.”

Kentish Mayor Tim Wilson said the project was symbolic of the relationship between the two councils. 

“It’s a great way to enjoy our beautiful reserves and bush land while keeping fit,” Cr Wilson said. 

The project is currently $900,000 short on its $4.1 million target, and Cr Freshney said both councils would work to ensure the Federal Government would cover that shortfall in 2019. 

Smithton's Daryl O'Connor was granted permanent residency on Thursday

Smithton's Daryl O'Connor was granted permanent residency on Thursday

20 December 2018 - The Advocate

Smithton doctor Daryl O’Connor has been granted permanent residency after visiting the Immigration Department in Hobart on Thursday morning. 

Dr O’Connor’s bid for permanent residency was rejected on November 30 and he was given 35 days to leave the country but the decision was overturned after the community and many others fought to keep him.

He is originally from Fiji and has been living and working in Smithton with his wife and children for five years.

Dr O’Connor said he was overwhelmed by the decision and it was a wonderful early Christmas present.

He said he was only asking to be allowed to apply for another visa so now his family were over the moon because permanent residency was more than they were hoping for.

“The community rallied on our behalf and helped get people in power into action,” Mr O’Connor said.

“It is back to work as usual and a lot of patients will be happy to see me back at work.”

He said his whole family was very grateful for the decision.

“My colleagues at work, they stood by my side through all of this.”

He said his wife’s employer, the Smithton Pharmacy, and his own employer were supportive.

Smithton Medical Centre Principal Dr Anthony Popiel said he was very happy and grateful for a number of people.

“We are grateful to the community for making their feelings known and standing up for what they want,” Dr Popiel said.

“It really shows at times ministerial intervention is justified when the bureaucracy gets it wrong. We are looking forward to Dr O'Connor spending many years here in Smithton.”

Senator Richard Colbeck said he was pleased to have resolved the issue and he appreciated the assistance of Immigration Minister David Coleman, who was willing to engage and help the community resolve the issue.

“We understand the value of any doctor to the community and Dr O’Connor obviously has good relationships with patients, so we are pleased we got this resolved as soon as we possibly could,” Senator Colbeck said.

“It is an important process granting someone permanent residency so it is pleasing we managed to get it resolved.”

Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest said she was in Smithton when the word came through and the news was talked about with great excitement.

She said she went into the Smithton Medical Centre and the Smithton Pharmacy and lots of the staff had tears of joy.

“I commend the community on uniting to really make clear the case for a sensibly decision on this,” Ms Forest said.

“The community care deeply about access to health service. Dr O’Connor worked in aged care and the local hospital, so to them it was great to see a sensible outcome, which has been achieved.

“I do acknowledge the work of Richard’s (Senator Colbeck) office, and Anne Urquhart and Justine Keay who have all been putting in an effort to get a resolution.”

She said she was proud to play a part in personally assisting to advocate on behalf of the Circular Head community.

Circular Hear Mayor Daryl Quilliam wrote to politicians from all levels of government on behalf of Council to ask for Dr O’Connor’s residency to be retained and said he was pleased with the outcome.

“This is great not only for Dr O’Connor and his family, but for the whole Circular Head community who benefit from having him here,” Mayor Quilliam said.

“The way the Circular Head community has rallied behind him has been fantastic and I thank them all for their efforts.

“I’d also like the politicians from all levels of government for their support and for advocating for this outcome.

“I look forward to Dr O’Connor and his family continuing to being a part of our community for years to come.”

Taking the fuel out of bushfire risk

Taking the fuel out of bushfire risk

20 December 2018 - Timberbiz

Australia’s forest managers will have a better understanding of mechanical fuel load reduction as a tool to reduce bushfire risk thanks to the $1.5 million Mechanical Fuel Load Reduction Trials. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, said bushfires are unfortunately an inevitable and devastating occurrence and the impact they can have on lives and our primary industries is often overwhelming. Source: Timberbiz

“The Liberal National Government has been working hard with state governments to undertake the Mechanical Fuel Load Reduction Trials through the National Bushfire Mitigation Program,” Minister Colbeck said.

“The trials are examining if mechanical reduction of fuel load is another viable way of protecting forests and communities, in areas where planned burning is undesirable.

“By undertaking these trials and incorporating the learnings from them we will be able to use evidence-based prevention and management methods in the future.

“Our hope is that it will give us alternatives to those we currently have—like planned burning—especially around key assets, high population areas where smoke can cause health concerns, or high conservation value areas where planned burns pose too high a risk.

“These trials are about reducing the potential for high intensity bushfires by finding effective and efficient ways to reduce fuel loads whilst retaining important forest values.

“The trials provide an example of innovative, active and adaptive management approaches to forest and fire protection across the landscape.

“We’re always looking for ways that do the least harm to the forest and produce the most benefit in mitigating the risk of bushfires.

“The treatments have now concluded and the results are being used to model fire risk at a landscape level, and analyse the costs and benefits.

“The overall results of these trials are expected in mid-2019.”

The Australian Government provided $15 million through the National Bushfire Mitigation Program from 2014 for states and territories to implement long-term bushfire mitigation strategies and improved fuel reduction activities

King Island Men’s Shed finds new home in Phoenix Community Complex

King Island Men’s Shed finds new home in Phoenix Community Complex

20 December 2018 - The Advocate

King Island Men’s Shed has a new home following the opening of the first stage of the Phoenix Community Complex.

Spokesperson Jim Benn said the Men’s Shed would move from “a dodgy, old building riddled with birds” to a purpose-built facility with amenities.

“There’s no comparison between this and what we had,” he said.

“This will make a marvelous difference.”

Phoenix Community Complex will include offices, an activity room, kitchen and homes for three organisations.

The project was funded by $245,000 from the federal government and contributions from the state government, TasPorts, the Australian Men’s Shed and Phoenix Community House.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Coalition was pleased to support the community space.

“Men’s Sheds are a great way to support men’s physical and mental health, offering them a safe and healing environment to chat over a cuppa while working on meaningful projects,” he said.

Liberal Senator for Tasmania Richard Colbeck said funding for the first stage of the project was promised during the 2016 election and the second stage during the Braddon byeleciton.

“… And both have been delivered because this is a government that keeps its promises,” he said.

Phoenix House coordinator Sally Haneveer said both sides of politics had been very supportive.

“We look forward to stage two of the project going ahead, estimated completed mid 2019,” she said.

Devonport Christian School receives grant for STEM building

Devonport Christian School receives grant for STEM building

20 December 2018 - The Advocate

Some students are set to benefit from a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) building.

Devonport Christian School was granted $600,000 by the Liberal National government through the capital grants program.

Senator Richard Colbeck made the announcement on Thursday at the school but the students were more excited talk about their recent achievements.

Some students went to Sydney to show their Lego robotic skills in a national competition after coming second in a competition hosted by UTAS in Launceston.

“I have just been talking to the kids and they have been showing me their logo robotics escapades and how the competed in competitions in Sydney,” Senator Colbeck said.

“It really goes to demonstrate the value of students learning STEM and all of the things it teachers them including really important general life skills, teamwork, patience and perseverance.

“It will be a great addition to the school, a specially designed STEM building that will give a real opportunities in this region to this school to study specifically STEM in a STEM designed environment.”

Devonport Christian School Principal Chad Smit said they had exceptional staff at the school who were passionate about STEM programs.

“They have been running steam programs here for four years outside of school and just the passion that they have then catches with the children. Teachers love to teach it because the children are so passionate about it,” Mr Smit said.

He said it grew the literacy and numeracy skills they were already learning in class by giving them problems to solve and encouraging perseverance.

“The students have done us all proud.. It just shows the gifts and talent both in the staff and the students so we are thrilled.”

The build is due to commence in February next year and should be completed by 2020.

Mr Smit said he was thrilled that it had been fast tracked to next year.

Senator Colbeck said students and teachers thrived when their schools had modern and up to date facilities 

“That’s why the coalition government is proud to deliver the capital grants program, which has benefited thousands of schools across the nation,” Senator Colbeck said.

“We know that STEM capabilities will be at the core of the future economy, and encouraging the curiosity of the next generation is one of the best investments we can make.

“These upgrades will help advance Devonport Christian School, ensure our classrooms have modern facilities and offer local parents affordable education choices.”

Cutting-edge timber projects

Cutting-edge timber projects

4 December 2018 - Tasmanian Business Reporter

The durability of Tasmanian timber will be increased and technology will be enhanced under a new $5.5 million research program for the forestry sector.

The inaugural round of projects funded by the Launceston centre of the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation has been announced.

Assistant Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Senator Richard Colbeck said the projects would provide economic returns to Tasmania’s forest industries and the local economy.

“The lessons learned here will help lead the way across Australia,” he said.

“Global demand for timber products is expected to quadruple by 2050 and the Coalition Government’s National Forest Industries Plan will deliver world-class research and one billion new trees to meet that demand.”

Recipients in Tasmania include:

• Private Forestry Tasmania – optimising machinery configurations for profitable harvesting operations of small-scale plantations.

• Sustainable Timber Tasmania – sensing technology and digital tools to support decision-making in hardwood timber drying.

• Britton Timbers – increasing the durability and other material characteristics of Tasmanian hardwoods.

• Neville Smith – developing a new generation of Tasmanian appearance hardwood products for in-state design and manufacturing.

• CLTP Panels – developing laminated structural elements from fibre-managed plantation hardwood.

Mr Colbeck said the investment would play a vital role in fostering collaboration, supporting cutting edge research, boosting innovation, growing jobs and securing Tasmania’s place as the centre for forest-industry research.

Resources Minister Sarah Courtney said Tasmania had a proud history of supporting a sustainable and well-managed forestry sector.

“These exciting and innovative projects will maximise the economic value of our forest products, ensuring sustainable jobs into the future,” Ms Courtney said.

“The Tasmanian forest industry continues to evolve into a sophisticated, high-value industry.”

The second round of grants will open soon. The Australian and Tasmanian governments are contributing $1.9 million to the first round of successful projects – which is being matched by $3.6 million of funding and in-kind contributions from the forestry industry and research agencies.

Elphinstone refurbished the facility after Caterpillar went to Thailand

Elphinstone refurbished the facility after Caterpillar went to Thailand

3 December 2018 - The Advocate

Elphinstone opened its newly refurbished facility at Wivenhoe on Saturday for the public to see.

Elphinstone bought the facility in 1988 but was occupied by Caterpillar from 2000 to 2016. When Caterpillar moved out in 2016, it was in a “tired condition”.

Dale Elphinstone said now it looked like a new facility, even though it was not.

“People did an amazing job, the tradespeople, the suppliers and Fairbrothers in particular,” Mr Elphinstone said.

“We all love to live in a clean environment. Quality starts with cleanliness.”

Mr Elphinstone gave a speech to the crowd and thanked the families of employees who travelled, while they were at home.

He told the crowd the property started out small and had grown over many years into the new facility.

“When Caterpillar decided to move its operations to Thailand, the Elphinstone Group decided that we wanted to maintain the manufacturing, skills and the supply chain that had been established in the North-West region over the last 40 years.

“We wanted to keep this alive for the next generations of people.”

He thanked members of state government including Jeremy Rockliff and Will Hodgman, and Anita Dow when she was Burnie Mayor, and Lee Whiteley, who were part of what was known as the Caterpillar task force.

He said they put a proposal to the federal government to transfer $5 million that was allocated to Caterpillar to upgrade the facility, to the Elphinstone Group.

“That task force worked tirelessly for a couple of years to help us keep the skills in this community.”

He paid tribute to Ian Macfarlane, who was then minister for industry, and Richard Colbeck for getting the federal funding of $5million to go towards the overall cost of $11 million.

Agriculture and water resources assistant minister Richard Colbeck said the government’s investment in the facility would ensure manufacturing remained in Burnie.

“This $8.8 million project will strengthen the North-West Tasmanian manufacturing industry and capitalise on the existing skill base and supply chain established through 40 years of manufacturing underground mining equipment in the area,” Senator Colbeck said.

Mr Elphinstone said he was working toward passing the business across to children Kelly and Adam Elphinstone.

“You have to have that responsibility for the businesses. We have 2,600 employees and there is about 500 of those in Tasmania and we feel responsible for the livelihoods of those people. 

“You have to manage your businesses accordingly so the next generation of management that comes though, hopefully run the business as successfully as it has been run in the past.”

New framework designed to drive timber industry into sustainable future

New framework designed to drive timber industry into sustainable future

1 December 2018 - The Land

The Australian and NSW governments have released a modernised approach to forest management through the renewal of three NSW Regional Forest Agreements.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, Assistant Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck and NSW Minister for Lands and Forestry Paul Toole said the improvements and the 20 year extension to the agreements, better known as RFAs, provide long-term confidence and sustainability for the future of NSW’s $2.4 billion NSW and wood product manufacturing industry.

“We’re pleased to deliver our commitment on these,” Minister Littleproud said. “We understand certainty matters to business and that’s what we delivered.”

Assistant Minister Colbeck said the forest industry was the backbone of many regional communities and was set to provide even more opportunities under the renewed management scheme, which includes opportunity to intensify silvaculture on the North Coast in state forest managed areas.

“Timber is the building material of the 21st century, with global demand expected to quadruple by 2050, so it is important we give regional communities the confidence to invest in their forest industries,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Australia has a recognised world-class forest management system and one covered by multiple internationally recognised sustainability certifications, which give assurance to consumers that their beautiful native species floors, furniture and feature pieces are sourced with the highest ethical standards.”

Spokeswoman for sawmillers Maree McCaskill, general manager of Timber NSW, said the RFA release spelled out certainty for an industry struggling to survive in a red tape world – while imports of unprotected old growth timbers into Australia exceeds what managed stands are harvested domestically.

“It has been a long time coming,” she said.

“We are pleased that there is some form of resource security but we will wait on the outcome of the state election early next year.”

Ms McCaskill said Labor’s plan to establish a koala park across the best blackbutt forests from Taree to Tweed would cruel 40 to 50 per cent of sawmilling practice, mostly on the mid North Coast, like around the Tarkine State Forest, where protesters based out of Bellingen have drawn attention to “forest re-setting”, a silvaculture practice designed to encourage better genetics which can push past shady trees with poor trunk performance, provided those ordinary trees are pushed down.

 Young Hastings Valley resident “Morrow”, Pappinbarra, has even created a Facebook following by drawing attention to the plight of coastal hardwood forests.

Young Hastings Valley resident “Morrow”, Papinbarra,  has even created a Facebook following by drawing attention to the plight of coastal hardwood forests in Mount Boss State Forest visible from his home, and now under the direction of new RFA agreements. Intensification of forestry through visible re-setting is leading to concern from future voters like Morrow, and will play a big role in the lead up to new year elections.

Agriculture Day one to buy local produce

Agriculture Day one to buy local produce

22 November 2018 - The Examiner

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, welcomed National Agriculture Day on Wednesday and has encouraged Tasmanians to celebrate by buying local Tasmanian produce.

 “For generations agriculture has been the backbone of Tasmania’s society and economy, and it is important we honour this important industry today,” Senator Colbeck said.

“I urge all Tasmanians to celebrate by buying Tasmanian produce at their local shop and enjoy the high-quality produce our farmers work hard to deliver to us every day.

“Tasmania is recognised as producing some of the best food and fibre in the world.”

To learn more about the day visit:

Forest industry grows for fourth year running

Forest industry grows for fourth year running

21 November 2018 - GetFarming

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, welcomed the continued growth in the forestry sector as outlined in the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report.

Minister Colbeck said the forestry sector was experiencing a strong surge in confidence and was benefitting from regulatory certainty and growing global demand for sustainable product.

“The Australian forestry industry continues to provide more jobs, exports and sustainable products for Australian and global consumers,” Minister Colbeck said.

“The Government continues to enable a strong resurgence in the forest and wood products industry, with the industry growing 4.4 per cent to $8.8 billion in 2016–17.

“The value of woodchip exports, in particular, has soared to a record $1.3 billion in 2017–2018, a 6.1 per cent increase from the year before.

“Paper and paperboard exports also increased by 5.8 per cent to $962 million, driven by a massive 33.9 per cent growth in the value of newsprint exports.

“Global demand for timber and timber products is projected to quadruple by 2050 and the Government has delivered a National Forest Industries Plan to take advantage of this, which includes the planting of a billion new trees over the next decade.

“The Government will also establish Regional Forestry Hubs based in leading production zones to drive strategic development and research opportunities in regional Australia.

“20 year rolling extensions to the Regional Forestry Agreements are providing long-term certainty across the country, with the Tasmanian agreement already signed and other states set to follow.

“Exciting opportunities also exist with the recent release of the national standard for the Forest Stewardship Council certification to go with our existing Australian standard of the ‘Responsible Wood’ certification.

“Consumers and communities can be confident that Australia’s forestry and wood products industry continues to grow as a preferred supplier of sustainable timber products both here and around the world.”

FSC forest certification standard made for Australia

FSC forest certification standard made for Australia

13 November 2018 - Timberbiz

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has developed a new forest certification standard specifically for Australia to support the sustainable management of forests across the country. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz

FSC Australia’s National Forest Stewardship Standard joins the existing ‘Responsible Wood’ certification standard in ensuring that Australian wood products are from sustainably managed forests. The new standard is effective from 10 February 2019 and within 18 months will supersede all interim FSC standards.

It has been developed over the past five years and has the backing of industry, environmental and community groups. These include New Forests and the Wilderness Society.

The FSC standard includes strong protection for indigenous rights and sacred sites; old growth forests, threatened species and waterways; workers’ health and safety; and maintaining or enhancing the High Conservation Values of forest by taking a precautionary approach.

Nine representatives of environmental, economic and social interests were elected to a “Standard Development Group”, which developed the Australian FSC standard in line with FSC’s international requirements.

The members came from the Institute of Foresters of Australia, Regional Forest Communities (Tim Anderson), the trade union movement, the Wilderness Society, the Hunter Community Environment Centre, the ecologist David Blair, Forestry Tasmania, New Forests and the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA).

FSC sets the standards for sustainable forestry, but independent auditors assess forest managers against these standards and award the relevant certification if the standards are met.

The Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, whose portfolio covers forestry, said global demand for timber products was projected to quadruple by 2050.

“The new Australian FSC standard will help us tap into this growth market by utilising a globally recognised trust mark for sustainable forest management,” he said.

“Australia now has two national standards aligned to the two global certification schemes, PEFC and FSC, which have been specifically tailored to Australia’s unique conditions and high-quality regulatory framework.”

AFPA chief executive, Ross Hampton, said consumers were now more acutely aware than ever about where products come from and how they are produced, and “rightly so”.

“Our renewable forestry industries need to be at the forefront of responsible and respected certification processes to instil confidence in consumers that the products they buy are sustainably produced,” he said.

From February 10, FSC certified forest managers have 12 months to implement the new standard. Within this 12-month phase-in period, the FSC managers can choose to be audited against their current forest management standard or the new National Forest Management Standard.

After the 12-month period, all certificate holders must be evaluated against the new standard. By 10 August 2020 – 18 months after the effective start date – all certificates under the old interim standards will be invalid.

By this time, all forest management certificates must have undergone an audit under the new standard.

Issues voiced at code meeting

Issues voiced at code meeting

13 November 2018 - FarmOnline

In the hope to address the power imbalance between dairy farmers and processors, the first of 14 nationwide meetings on the proposed mandatory Code of Conduct was held in Devonport, Tas.

Dairy farmers, processors and representatives discussed a range of issues including dispute resolution processes, contract requirements and transition periods.

Tasmania Farmer and Graziers Association (TFGA) Dairy Council’s Andrew Lester said the TFGA wanted to see a regulatory impact statement “so we can actually assess the costs and impacts on farmers at farmgate, and that hasn’t been done as yet".

"Until that has been done and there has been more consultation around the industry we can’t make a clear determination,” he said.

“We need to realise that a mandatory code will come with some costs and the industry-developed voluntary code may be able to deliver those same benefits.

“The costs of record keeping, administration, disputes and all those sorts of costs will be bared back to the farmer or the processor.”

Mr Lester said after speaking with multiple farmers, there was a lot of different views.

“Different people supply different companies, so it’s difficult to understand everyone's point of view all the time, but it’s good to hear from different people,” he said.

“It’s clear that some people do think the code of conduct will fix the milk price and that’s clearly not the case. It’s about fairness between processors and farmers. It won’t actually do anything for milk price, so it’s important people understand that.”

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck said there was great discussion happening at the meeting.

"We are looking to understand from growers how they see this process, one of the things that goes back a long while in my mind… is how do you balance the perception of imbalance of power between growers and processors,” he said.

“This process is about sitting down with the dairy farmers and letting them have their say, as a part of a development of the code.”

Tasmanian Farmer

New green standard for Australian timber

New green standard for Australian timber

12 November 2018 - Australian Associated Press

A new national standard will ensure Australian wood products are sourced from sustainably managed forests.

Assistant minister for agriculture Richard Colbeck says the new standard will ensure sustainability is central to Australia's forest and wood products sector.

Global demand for timber products is expected to quadruple by 2050, Mr Colbeck says.

"The new Australian FSC standard will help us tap into this growth market by utilising a globally recognised trust mark for sustainable forest management," he said in a statement on Monday.

"Consumers are increasingly aware of, and interested in, the origins of the products they buy and the processes that go into making them."

Port Sorell poppy field marks Armistice centenary

Port Sorell poppy field marks Armistice centenary

9 November 2018 - The Mercury

ONE hundred knitted and crocheted poppies will create a field of remembrance at Sunday’s service at Port Sorell to honour the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

About 3000 Tasmanians were killed in the war but it is hard to know exactly how many from the Port Sorell area made the ultimate sacrifice, with many of those who enlisted doing so in nearby towns such as Latrobe and Devonport.

Simplot at Ulverstone are in the running for a $12 million grant for expansion

Simplot at Ulverstone are in the running for a $12 million grant for expansion

7 November 2018 - The Advocate

The Simplot potato processing plant at Ulverstone has a strong chance of securing a $12 million grant from the federal government to go towards an expansion of its operations.

Assistant agriculture and water resources minister Richard Colbeck said Simplot had been selected to go through to submit a full business case for final assessment and there were 12 others around Australia who had done the same.

Senator Colbeck said industry, science and technology minister Karen Andrews toured the facility to gain an understanding of the importance of the potential $12 million investment, which will unlock a further $37.1 million investment from Simplot in Ulverstone.

Wynyard RSL acquires two M16 rifles for its military history museum

Wynyard RSL acquires two M16 rifles for its military history museum

8 November 2018 - The Advocate

Two rifles used in the Vietnam War have been acquired by Wynyard RSL.

The M16 L1A1s will be exhibited in the RSL’s military history museum among its collection of medals, memorabilia and historic weaponry.

Wynyard RSL president Gavin Pearce said the M16s marked a “paradigm shift” in weaponry as warfare moved from trenches to the close contact of the Korean and Vietnam wars. 

“We needed a shorter, more robust, more utilitarian weapons system that was easy to operate, that stood up to the rigors that that jungle warfare provided,” he said. 

A Tranter revolver carried by a World War One serviceman and a Lee-Enfield rifle dug up in Belgium has also been donated to the RSL.

The M16s were presented to the RSL on Tuesday by Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck on behalf of the Department of Defence.

Senator Colbeck said it was important people at a local level had the opportunity to understand and commemorate the history of Australian conflicts.

“It’s not about glorifying or anything of that nature,” Senator Colbeck said.

“It’s very much about commemoration, remembering what’s occurred and paying respect to those that carried these weapons...”

Mr Pearce said the RSL needed to be a bastion of history and tell the story of the weapons, who carried them and why they were needed.

“Not so much what this weapon did specifically but what it represented to our soldiers and the way that warfare has changed over the years,” he said.

Wynyard RSL acquired the M16 for $660.

Dairy code of conduct meeting

Dairy code of conduct meeting

7 November 2018 - The Advocate

Devonport will host the first dairy code consultation. 

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, welcomed the beginning of the consultation process around a proposed mandatory Code of Conduct for the dairy industry.

 “North-West Tasmania is dairy heartland and the perspectives of farmers here matter a great deal when it comes to future decisions made for the industry,” Assistant Minister Colbeck said.

“I encourage all dairy farmers in the region to come along and have their voices heard.”

All interested parties are invited to come along to the Devonport RSL at 11:30am Thursday 8 November. Further information can be found at

OPINION: Battery of the Nation key to lowering energy prices for Tasmanian families and businesses

OPINION: Battery of the Nation key to lowering energy prices for Tasmanian families and businesses

29 October 2018 - Senator Richard Colbeck (The Advocate)

The Coalition continues to work towards the provision of more affordable and secure energy with the release of our plan last week.

Our plan will help families with the cost of living, support small businesses and help Australia’s economy. We will:

  • Take a big stick to the energy companies to stop rip-offs.
  • Create a price safety net to protect customers.
  • Back investment in new reliable power generation to improve competition, lower prices and guarantee supply.
  • Require energy companies to sign contracts guaranteeing enough energy to meet demand
Working together to grow Australian forestry

Working together to grow Australian forestry

23 October 2018 - Timberbiz

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Richard Colbeck co-chaired the recent Forest Industry Advisory Council (FIAC) meeting in Melbourne to discuss the implementation of the government’s National Forest Industries Plan – Growing a better Australia.

“The government has invested $20 million to the delivery of the National Forest Industries Plan and industry knows just how important it is to the growth of the renewable timber and wood-fibre industry,” Minister Colbeck said.

“FIAC is a key mechanism to have informed industry input into government policies and programs, and the implementation of the plan was top of the agenda.

Government to get tough with Australian Forestry Standards

Government to get tough with Australian Forestry Standards

18 October 2018 - Timberbiz

The Federal Government has foreshadowed a tough approach towards retailers who refuse to sell goods certified under the internationally recognised Australian Forestry Standard (AFS). Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz

The Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said last week he was frustrated with some of the major retailers “who seem to think they can pick and choose between forestry standards”.

'Ordinary bloke' Gavin Pearce secured Liberal preselection for federal election

'Ordinary bloke' Gavin Pearce secured Liberal preselection for federal election

14 October 2018 - The Advocate

An “ordinary bloke from the bush” is hoping to knock Labor’s Justine Keay from her seat in the upcoming federal election.

Wynyard man Gavin Pearce was preselected as Liberal candidate for Braddon on Saturday.

“This is a guy who brings significant attributes to the electorate,” he said.

“… (Mr Pearce) will find many, many ways to make connections with this community because he is a local, he’s of the community and he is someone who I think people will be very, very confident in having as their representative in Canberra because he’s experienced so many things that are important to them and those things are also important to him.”

Tasmanian small businesses welcome fast-tracked tax cuts

Tasmanian small businesses welcome fast-tracked tax cuts

12 October 2018 - The Examiner

Tasmanian small businesses may pay less tax sooner – but only if Labor supports the government’s tax legislation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced legislation will be introduced in the next session of parliament to fast-track business tax relief for more than three million businesses.

Senator Richard Colbeck said a small business, such as an independent supermarket or a hotel, that made $500,000 profit, would have an additional $7,500 in 2020-21 and $12,500 in 2021-22 to invest back into the business or staff, or help to manage cash flow.

Science and Innovation Awards open encouraging young people to apply

Science and Innovation Awards open encouraging young people to apply

28 September 2018 - The Advocate

The next big breakthrough in the agriculture industry is one step closer with national grants valued at $22,000 available. 

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck said research into improving primary industries would allow the state to compete on the world stage and create jobs in the region.

“I encourage young Tasmanians looking to build their future in agricultural science to apply - you might be able to make the next game-changing discovery in your field,” he said. 

Richard Colbeck spearheads key sessions at Launceston Conference

Richard Colbeck spearheads key sessions at Launceston Conference

27 September 2018 - Timber and Forestry eNews

FRESH from announcing the National Forest Industries Plan in Canberra, Senator Richard Colbeck, as minister responsible for forestry,
will deliver the opening keynote address at the DANA Australian forest and wood products conference in Launceston on October 9.
The conference and field trip in and around Launceston from October 9 to11 is shaping up to better the eight previous DANA-organised conferences in Australia.

Burnie and Devonport Men’s Sheds have both received funding

Burnie and Devonport Men’s Sheds have both received funding

25 September 2018 - The Advocate

Devonport and Burnie Men’s Sheds have both been awarded grants, which will ensure the sheds can keep updated in the future. 

“This week is Men’s Shed Week, and I encourage men to get down to their local sheds and enjoy what these great community groups have to offer,” Senator Colbeck said.  

Wild Mersey Mountain Bike project launched in Latrobe on Friday

Wild Mersey Mountain Bike project launched in Latrobe on Friday

15 September 2018 - The Advocate

Work has commenced on the $4.1 million Wild Mersey Mountain Bike project, which will connect Latrobe, Railton and Sheffield with over 100 kilometres of world-class trails.

The multi-year development has been a collaboration between the Kentish and Latrobe councils with funding help from both state and federal government. 

We have lift-off: minister launches plan on high trajectory for industry

We have lift-off: minister launches plan on high trajectory for industry

13 September 2018 - Timber & Forestry e-news

“WE know the government wants to be sure that its goal of a billion trees becomes a reality and not just a slogan and we look forward to helping ensure that the measures are indeed now put in place which will deliver the right trees in the right places at the right scale.”

Foreign food imports to face greater scrutiny after tough new laws pass parliament

Foreign food imports to face greater scrutiny after tough new laws pass parliament

11 September 2018 - Herald Sun

AUSSIE authorities have been granted beefed-up powers to stop unsafe foods from entering the country.

The reforms come three years after dozens of dozens of people contracted hepatitis from imported frozen berries.

Senator confirms funds to flow for Braddon groups

Senator confirms funds to flow for Braddon groups

31 August 2018 - The Advocate

“All Coalition commitments made during the Braddon by-election are being delivered, and clubs and individuals have received letters from the Minister to that effect.”

“There is a process to follow to ensure proper management of taxpayer funds but all promises will be delivered as soon as possible and in accordance with good governance practices.”

Senator Richard Colbeck returns to forest position a lion refreshed

Senator Richard Colbeck returns to forest position a lion refreshed

30 August 2018 - Timber and Forestry e-news

Fighter for the forest industry Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck has been returned as Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water in the new Scott Morrison government – a role that carries responsibility for the forest sector.

Senator Colbeck, 60, replaces SA Liberal senatorAnne Ruston who takes over the Assistant Minister forInternational Development and the Pacific portfolio from NSW Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

Senator Richard Colbeck ready to ‘hit the ground running’ after amazing political comeback

Senator Richard Colbeck ready to ‘hit the ground running’ after amazing political comeback

29 August 2018 - The Mercury

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck completed an amazing return when he was sworn in to the Morrison Government ministry.

Senator Colbeck was sworn in as the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources at the Government House ceremony on Tuesday.

Tamanian senator Richard Colbeck chuffed at new assistant minister’s gig

Tamanian senator Richard Colbeck chuffed at new assistant minister’s gig

28 August 2018 - The Mercury

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck says he is delighted and honoured to have been elevated to the federal ministry by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The new assistant minister for agriculture and water resources said he was looking forward to working with farmers and forestry, particularly given the East Coast drought.

Senator Richard Colbeck’s elevation to ministry welcomed by Premier

Senator Richard Colbeck’s elevation to ministry welcomed by Premier

27 August 2018 - The Advocate

Premier Will Hodgman has welcomed as good news for Tasmania the appointment of Senator Richard Colbeck as Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

“Senator Colbeck has been a passionate advocate for Tasmania, and particularly our state's vital agricultural sector, over many years,” Mr Hodgman said.

McCain is being investigated by the ACCC over contract payments to vegetable growers

McCain is being investigated by the ACCC over contract payments to vegetable growers

2 August 2018

A Northern Tasmanian farmer has lashed out at McCain over contract potato pricing, as the consumer watchdog begins its investigation into the vegetable processor.

The investigation by the ACCC has been welcomed by Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck, who has worked with growers on similar issues in the past.

Big Braddon efforts from Labor, Liberals

Big Braddon efforts from Labor, Liberals

26 July 2018 - Advocate

If political campaigning was an Olympic sport, Justine Keay and Brett Whiteley might have futures in green and gold.

OPINION: Stable governments delivering jobs in NW

OPINION: Stable governments delivering jobs in NW

23 July 2018 - Senator Richard Colbeck - The Advocate

Op-Ed: Senator Richard Colbeck

We all remember the dark days pre-2013 when Labor and the Greens were working together at the state level and in Canberra in a way that put out the Tasmania “closed for business” sign.

What a change of attitude we see today with the benefit of stable majority governments at state and national level, both promoting pro-business policies designed to build a strong economy.

Minister announces new sonar trial and testing facility

Minister announces new sonar trial and testing facility

18 July 2018 - Defence Connect

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has announced an MOU between Thales Australia, the University of Tasmania, Australian Maritime College and AMOG Consulting to establish a state-of-the-art trials and test facility for submarine and surface ship sonar systems.

Tasmania improves on defence push

Tasmania improves on defence push

17 July 2018 - The Examiner

Tasmania has made significant improvements in the Defence Force industry says Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.

Mr Pyne toured Devonport’s Delta Hydraulics, who recently signed a 40-year contract to be part of the sustainment and maintenance of the Collins class sonar upgrade.

Discarded dirt tipped to generate more than $1b for miner

Discarded dirt tipped to generate more than $1b for miner

16 July 2018 - ABC

A mining operation on Tasmania's west coast will soon breathe again after ceasing production, with work set to start on extracting gold, silver, lead and zinc from tailings.

Jobs, environmental benefits from NQ Minerals' Hellyer tailings project

Jobs, environmental benefits from NQ Minerals' Hellyer tailings project

16 July 2018 - The Advocate

About 50 jobs and significant environmental benefits are expected from a North-West minerals project expected to start production in September or October.

North West security boost

North West security boost

16 July 2018 - The Advocate

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed on the streets of Burnie, Somerset and Wynyard as part of a federal government safety program.

Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the federal government would allocate $134,000 to Waratah-Wynyard Council and $60,000 to the Burnie City Council from the Safer Communities Fund.

Ship build to create jobs

Ship build to create jobs

13 July 2018 - The Advocate

On Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop announced Direct Edge Manufacturing had been pre-qualified to provide sheet metal products for the construction of “Hunter class” naval frigates. 

Direct Edge chief executive Di Edgerton said the company currently employed more than 45 people, and would require an extra 25 workers to deliver the contract. 

Tasmania has winds to be harnessed, says renewables project manager

Tasmania has winds to be harnessed, says renewables project manager

12 July 2018 - The Advocate

Tasmania has plenty of potential for more wind farms, the proponent of a West Coast wind project says. Construction will start at the end of the month after the project secured financial close with the help of $59 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Ulverstone company VEC set to construct $50m antarctic research station

Ulverstone company VEC set to construct $50m antarctic research station

6 July 2018 - The Advocate

An Ulverstone-based company is gearing up to design and construct a $50 million research facility on Macquarie Island.

Appetite lacking for Labor Leader Bill Shorten’s formal lunch in Devonport

Appetite lacking for Labor Leader Bill Shorten’s formal lunch in Devonport

4 July 2018

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the downgrade of the DCCI event to a “working lunch” showed what businesses thought of Mr Shorten.

“Businesses are voting with their feet on Mr Shorten’s higher taxing agenda”, Senator Colbeck said.

Mental health help for the North-West

Mental health help for the North-West

4 July 2018 - The Advocate

Latrobe’s Psychology CAFFE will receive $1.6 million from the federal government’s $4.8 million package for mental health in the North-West.

New advanced welding training centre in Burnie funded by the Coalition

New advanced welding training centre in Burnie funded by the Coalition

3 July 2018 - The Advocate

An advanced welding training centre to help North-West businesses be more competitive in international markets will be established in South Burnie.

Coalition cash to improve mobile service on the West Coast

Coalition cash to improve mobile service on the West Coast

2 July 2018 - The Advocate

The federal government will spend $700,000 to improve the ailing telecommunications infrastructure on the West Coast.

Funds flowing for flood mitigation project at Latrobe

Funds flowing for flood mitigation project at Latrobe

30 June 2018 - The Advocate

Funds for a flood mitigation project at Latrobe are already flowing, Latrobe mayor Peter Freshney says.

Liberals push Keay on Labor pledge to repeal company tax cuts

Liberals push Keay on Labor pledge to repeal company tax cuts

June 27 2018 - The Advocate

Braddon Labor candidate Justine Keay has had to defend Labor’s tax policy after Opposition Labor Leader Bill Shorten promised to repeal some of the government’s company tax cuts.

COLBECK: pet food inquiry looks to put regulations on industry; company tax cuts centre stage in Parliament

COLBECK: pet food inquiry looks to put regulations on industry; company tax cuts centre stage in Parliament

25 June 2018 - Tasmania Talks

A Senate Committee will conduct an inquiry into the pet food industry, after several dogs have allegedly died after eating Advance Dermocare, among other brands. Liberal Senator for Tasmania, Richard Colbeck, is on the committee conducting the inquiry, and says that it is vitally important because ‘pets are part of the family.’

Tax cuts will benefit workers in Braddon, says Brett Whiteley

Tax cuts will benefit workers in Braddon, says Brett Whiteley

22 June 2018 - The Advocate

The first stage of the government's tax cuts plan has been approved with full support and Liberal members were in Ulverstone on Friday to discuss their impact on Braddon workers. 

Tributes for former mayor

Tributes for former mayor

13 June 2018 in The Advocate Newspaper

Devonport and the Coast is in mourning after the death of an admired and respected former mayor. Tributes are flowing for Mary Binks, OAM, who died at her home on Tuesday.

Ulverstone Neighbourhood House gets solar power grant from federal government

Ulverstone Neighbourhood House gets solar power grant from federal government

5 June 2018 - Source: The Advocate Newspaper

Ulverstone Neighbourhood House is set to receive a PV solar system with a grant from the federal government. The $7,827 grant from the solar communities program will reduce the powerbills of the house, allowing the money saved to go back into the organisation. Ulverstone Neighborhood House manager Simon Douglas said the Men’s Shed received a system the same size and now they are saving $2,000 a year on power bills.

Bass Strait subsidies boosting NW industry

Bass Strait subsidies boosting NW industry

4 June 2018 - Source: The Advocate Newspaper

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has taken some of the credit for increased exports from the Harvest Moon vegetable processing facility in Forth.

Delivering jobs, innovation

Delivering jobs, innovation

14 May 2018 - Source: The Circular Head Chronicle

Britton Timbers will employ an additional five people upon the completion of its High Value Timber Drying Improvement Project. Expected to be completed by the end of the year, the works have also created five jobs throughout construction. Britton Timbers director Shawn Britton met with Liberal Senator for Tasmania Richard Colbeck and Candidate for Braddon Brett Whiteley to discuss the industry boost on Monday, a product of a two-year research study at the University of Tasmania.

Federal Government drops $20m into Tasmania's fruit fly war chest

Federal Government drops $20m into Tasmania's fruit fly war chest

6 May 2018 - Source: ABC News Fiona Blackwood

The Federal Government has announced it will spend $20 million on the war against fruit fly in Tasmania. But some fear the money has come too late and will not be spent on the frontline workers needed to detect the pest. A fruit fly incursion was recorded in the state's north in January.

Tasmania should unite on flight school proposal: Colbeck

Tasmania should unite on flight school proposal: Colbeck

19 April 2018 - Source: The Advocate Newspaper

A Tasmanian senator has called on his Liberal colleagues in the Hodgman government to “take the lead” in lobbying Qantas to establish a new pilot training college at Devonport Airport. Senator Richard Colbeck wants there to be a “whole of state approach” to attracting the training college to Tasmania, which he says would distinguish the state from mainland bids.

Budget 2018: $461m for Bridgewater Bridge replacement near Hobart

Budget 2018: $461m for Bridgewater Bridge replacement near Hobart

7 May 2018 - Source: ABC News Damian McIntyre

The Federal Government will allocate $461 million in tomorrow's budget to build a new Bridgewater Bridge downriver from the current one in Hobart's north. The pledge for a long-awaited replacement bridge linking the Brooker and Midland highways is part of a massive $920 million package for the state.

Richard Colbeck blasts Europeans over threat to Tasmanian brands

Richard Colbeck blasts Europeans over threat to Tasmanian brands

20 April 2018 - Source: The Advocate Newspaper

Tasmanian producers are on a collision course with Europe over the use of product names like feta and parmesan. The European Union wants Australian companies banned from using a range of product names which originated in Europe as the early negotiations on an Australia-EU free trade agreement approach.

Telstra to seek planning approval for new phone towers

Telstra to seek planning approval for new phone towers

5 April 2018

Construction of phone towers in North-West Coast mobile black spot areas is expected to start before the end of the year. Areas at Gunns Plains, Yolla, Sulphur Creek and Devonport will receive better phone and internet coverage, as part of the federal government’s $220 million black spot program. Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck visited Gunns Plains to make the announcement on Thursday. 

'Massive' cash injection for state infrastructure projects

'Massive' cash injection for state infrastructure projects

7 May 2018 - Source: The Advocate Newspaper

The Coalition has detailed its plan to boost Tasmania’s infrastructure with a $920.8 million cash injection, which one senator says will facilitate the biggest infrastructure project in the state since dams were constructed in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Colbeck uneasy with lack of Tasmanian football input

Colbeck uneasy with lack of Tasmanian football input

19 April 2018 - The Advocate Newspaper

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck added his opinion to the debate of how football can be in Tasmania on Thursday, believing the AFL Steering Committee is disconnected from the community they are trying to save.


Brisbane all but certain to host 2032 Olympics after IOC announcement

James Matthey

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this morning that Brisbane is the preferred bidder to host the 2032 Games.

The IOC’s Future Host Commission recommended that the body enters “targeted dialogue” with Brisbane bid organisers and the Australian Olympic Committee.

IOC president Thomas Bach said while the decision is not final, the executive board agreed unanimously with the recommendation to open exclusive talks with Brisbane about hosting the Games in 2032, praising Brisbane’s “very advanced” bid plan.

Australian Rowing Championships wrap up at Lake Barrington

Australian Rowing Championships wrap up at Lake Barrington

Rob Shaw, The Advocate

Lake Barrington received state, national and international endorsements as 1600 rowers wrapped up a hugely successful Australian championships on Sunday.

About 5000 people flocked to the picturesque venue to watch 129 events this week with International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates joining the home state's Olympic Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman and Rowing Australia chief executive Ian Robson in a chorus of praise.

Sarah Keoghan and Tom Decent

The Age (3 September 2021) Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the federal government is set to provide funding to Paralympics Australia to ensure Paralympic athletes are given the same cash bonuses as Australian Olympic medallists. Olympians are awarded medal bonuses by the Australian Olympic Committee and received $20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze at this year’s Tokyo 2020 Games. In comparison, Paralympians were set to receive $0 for their medals.

Train nursing home staff to identify those approaching end-of-life

Train nursing home staff to identify those approaching end-of-life

Stephen Lunn

The Australian (December 1, 2021) Recognising up to 90 per cent of the 160,000 Australians who die each year would have better deaths with appropriate end-of-life and palliative care, the Morrison government has comm­itted $56m to bolster services. Part of the funding would be directed to end-of-life programs in nursing homes, reducing the need for people to see out their final days in hospital.