MANY people think the proposal for a Tamar Valley pulp mill is dead and buried (as well it should be).
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However, we still have state and federal politicians and journalists dragging this chestnut out for airings from time to time.

They should all do what Kevin Rudd said recently on another subject, and that is, go and have a good cold shower.

Or, perhaps they could reread The Sunday Examiner, November 9, 2008.

Former premier Paul Lennon was the last person we would have expected to say it was all a big mistake.

He said: “We should have done some work on the site options.”

He was reported as saying he made mistakes in the handling of the pulp mill.

He said he should have gauged public opinion on the site.

The current crop of supporters could well do the same.

His assessment that clearly the people of Launceston do not support it has not changed.

– BILL CARNEY, Riverside.

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NOTHING about the Pioneer water supply would change, at least in the short to medium term, because of the horrendous infrastructure and operating costs of treated water supplies.
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That is the opinion of Mike Cooke, who was the town’s water warden in the days before the establishment of Ben Lomond Water.

“Pioneer’s is a raw water supply and, as such, there will always be times when there are issues with clarity, odour and things like that, it goes with the territory,” he said.

“We don’t really have a lot of options to deal with that – a move to treated water would lead to absolutely stupid annual charges on top of the high cost of establishing the service.

“Somehow, parts of the Australian drinking water guidelines were taken as the basis for legislation despite the preamble specifically stating they were not intended to be used as statute, not to be incorporated in legislation.

“Treated water schemes in very small communities like Pioneer’s are laughable – there’s absolutely no justification whatsoever.”

Mr Cooke said that the current scheme used gravity feed, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and its input costs were minimal.

“The uproar about lead in Pioneer’s water supply last year was a storm in a teacup,” he said.

“Firstly, the two readings above the guidelines of 10micrograms a litre, were taken from the same outlet, infrequently used and secondly, testing standards have gone up to the extent that tiny traces that were undetectable a short time ago can now be identified.

“The sort of reading we got last year could well have come from a galvanised fitting, it was that small.”

Mr Cooke said that a cross- subsidised water supply could keep Pioneer’s charges within reason, but would place an unfair burden on ratepayers from other areas and there were many small regional towns around Tasmania with similar water supplies.

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DORSET Council will soon start planning its budget for the 2013-14 financial year and invites community groups to submit applications for the funding of projects they have identified as a priority.
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Community Services Manager Susie Bower said that submissions for the upgrade of community buildings, sporting and recreational facilities which would improve the facility and address occupational health and safety requirements would be welcomed and close on March 15.

Projects that include community partnerships, proponent funding and volunteer and in-kind support would be considered favourably, she said.

“Council really does value the input of our community groups in the budget planning process and we are looking forward to receiving their ideas,” Ms Bower said.

“Community groups must submit their budget application by the March 15 closing date using the budget submission form 2013-2014 which can be obtained from council offices, or downloaded from the council website.

“The applications must be complete to be considered so I highly recommend that groups contact council if they have any questions prior to submitting their application.”

Ms Bower said that previous applications from community groups had provided funds for:

•An upgrade of the Jetsonville Playgroup kitchen in 2012-13.

•Replacement of the old cricket pitch at Scottsdale Cricket Club in 2012-13.

•Re-print of A River Flows for the Ringarooma Community Cultural Heritage Association in 2011-12.

•A disabled toilet and parent room at Scottsdale Recreation Ground in 2011-12.

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(1/3)INTERNATIONAL Angelman Day was held for the first time on Friday.
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The syndrome is characterised by developmental delays and severe speech impediment.

Scottsdale’s Anne Hadley, whose son, Jesse, six, has Angelman’s, used the occasion to organise a barbecue to raise money for the Australian branch of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics and increase awareness of the neurological disorder in the community.

Mrs Hadley said she organised a cake stall a couple of weeks ago, with the help of friends and family, and the Cottage Bakery chipped in by donating a dollar from every cupcake sold last week to the cause and putting out donation tins.

“I also approached Woolworths who offered bread, meat, sauce and the equipment for a community barbecue,” she said.

“We just had to get someone to cook it all.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of community support – with everything going on in the municipality surrounding the economic downturn, the community is still supporting us and other causes.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to the community for all their support with this cause – we’re extremely grateful to everyone that has helped in any way.”

Mrs Hadley said that having a child with Angelman syndrome meant “a lot of hard work”.

“It’s a full-on job doing everything for Jesse, leading him around, feeding him and changing nappies,” she said.

“He’s nearly six now and moving around all the time – everything you do for him is a difficult task.

“Jesse started prep at Scottsdale Primary School last week and has a full-time aide – he’s in the class with the rest of the children, but won’t be able to learn to read or write, at least if he stays the way he is.

“There has just been research completed that cured the syndrome in a mouse, so maybe there’s chance that could happen for Jesse one day.

“But until then, Jesse’s still at school learning, it’s just that education for him means something different from the other kids.”

Mrs Hadley said that the barbecue added $400 to the $3500 already raised from the earlier cake stall and donations.

Anyone wanting to learn more about the syndrome is invited to go to www.CureAngelman.org.au.

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AT first glance the proposed local government reforms seem to be a positive step forward, although they fall short of tackling the issue of an appropriate number of councils in such a small state.
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The government is yet to explain why Tasmania has one council per 17,655 people, while Victoria has one council for every 71,177 and Queensland one per 62,465.

A ban on people serving on both councils and Parliament simultaneously is hopefully a good thing, although it should only apply to mayors because the top civic job is indeed a full-time occupation, as much as a member of parliament position. You can’t do both. Councillor and alderman positions are part time.

All-in-all-out council elections will save money, although it does create the potential for a winner-takes-all outcome, by maximising the opportunity for political parties and activist organisations to monopolise local elections.

The major problem with the reforms is opt-out or opt-in compulsory voting. As Local Government Association president Barry Easther said, this reform will merely confuse ratepayers at elections. It means some municipalities will provide compulsory elections and some non-compulsory.

This is another case of a fearful government in a weak electoral position, enacting half-baked reforms because a state election looms. Either make all local government elections compulsory or not, rather than a hodge-podge of electoral systems.

It is inefficient enough to have so many councils, let alone ad hoc voting requirements. Tasmanians, like all Australians, happily deal with compulsory voting in state and federal elections. The law makes it compulsory for electors to register their name at a polling booth, but they are not forced to cast a vote. They can cast an informal vote, and, write what they like on the ballot paper.

Compulsory voting guards against representation becoming captive to one sector of the community through voter apathy. It ensures that elected representatives have the best possible democratic mandate to make decisions and govern.

– BARRY PRISMALL, deputy editor

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An investigation into Sydney restaurants has found 16 venues underpaying their staff.
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More than 20 restaurants, which were predominantly Korean and Japanese, located in Sydney’s CBD and the outer suburbs were visited by Fair Work Australia Ombudsman inspectors last week.

Four restaurants were handed on-the-spot $550 fines for not supplying their workers with payslips, while 16 restaurants face further investigation.

One waitress was being paid $10 an hour, more than a third lower than the $15.96 stipulated minimum wage, the Fair Work Ombudsman, Nicholas Wilson, said.

The restaurants were in the suburbs of Crows Nest, Newtown, Castle Hill, Chatswood, Maroubra, Randwick and the inner-city suburbs of Surry Hills, Haymarket, Potts Point and The Rocks.

In January, a Fairfax Media investigation uncovered more than 40 Sydney restaurants that were paying their staff as little as $8 an hour.

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THE number of heavy vehicles detected speeding has fallen almost 80 per cent since early 2011.
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The state government attributed the drop to a combined campaign by regulators and police, with the Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, hailing a ”cracking” set of numbers.

That effort was lifted after a truck crash at Menangle last January that killed three members of the one family.

In the past year, NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Services officials inspected more than 2600 heavy vehicles, grounding 93 for having tampered with speed limiting equipment.

Police also issued more than 800 defect and infringement notices, and carried out almost 6000 drug tests on drivers, with 70 positive results.

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ON THE same night that an Aboriginal youth was allegedly bashed and then falsely accused of assault by a group of police in northern NSW, his female friend was allegedly slammed into a gutter during a violent arrest, the Police Integrity Commission has heard.
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The commission is investigating allegations that Corey Barker, 24, was assaulted at Ballina police station on January 14, 2011, after an altercation with police, and that officers then falsely accused the young man of assaulting them, giving sworn testimony to this effect in court.

The incident was caught on the police station’s CCTV cameras.

On Monday, the commission heard that Mr Barker had initially confronted police after seeing them arresting two of his friends in an allegedly violent manner.

One of Mr Barker’s friends, Emma Crook, told the commission that she had been ”thrown around” by police and a series of pictures were tendered showing multiple cuts and grazes to her arms, legs, back and ear.

”They tackled me onto the ground and sprayed me in the eyes [with capsicum spray]. I had a lot of scratches and grazes – I couldn’t see,” Ms Crook said.

Ms Crook conceded that she had been intoxicated at the time, and that the events were now ”a bit of a blur”.

But four other witnesses, including at least one who was sober at the time, said they saw her picked up and slammed into the gutter. ”They had her restrained on the ground then I saw her lifted up to about chest height and then just dropped her on the ground – a straight dead-drop,” Byron Nolan said. ”I heard her head slap into the concrete.”

After seeing this allegedly violent treatment of their friend, Mr Nolan and Mr Barker ran over and tried to intervene.

Both were tackled by the officers and forcibly restrained.

”Next thing we were on the ground and they were restraining us … one of them had his foot on the back of my head and was kind of rolling it – it was really uncomfortable,” Mr Nolan said.

”I heard one of them shouting, ‘let the black guy go, let the black guy go’. I guess [They were talking about me], I’m a bit darker than Corey is.”

”They kept saying to me, ‘don’t worry, he’ll [Corey] be let go in a minute.’ ”

The commission heard that, rather than being let go, Mr Barker was taken back to Ballina police station with Ms Crook and her boyfriend, Jay Healey.

Ms Crook gave evidence about a number of apparent breaches of police protocol while she was detained, including that a number of documents falsely stated that she had refused to answer questions about her health, possessions and next of kin. Ms Crook said that while detained she had seen Mr Barker being assaulted.

”I heard a big bang and opened the door and Corey was on the ground. Four officers were holding him down and blood was coming from his head. I shut the door quickly … I was scared. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.”

The inquiry continues, with Mr Barker and the police involved to give evidence.

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An artist’s impression of the Darling Harbour revamp.THE owner of Australia’s largest hotel has proposed a radical expansion over the Western Distributor that would rival major redevelopments at Darling Harbour and Barangaroo.
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The upmarket Four Points by Sheraton hotel on Sussex Street in central Sydney wants approval for a 25-storey tower holding 231 new rooms and office space, and a podium hosting functions and conferences. The $149 million expansion, with views over Darling Harbour, would be built over the freeway.

Architect Philip Cox, whose firm is behind the design, said its location and design elements trumped the “appalling” proposed revamp of Darling Harbour, which involves the demolition of the exhibition centre he designed.

It would meet a high demand for inner-city hotel rooms, convention facilities and office space, and “complement” a $1 billion overhaul of exhibition and convention facilities at Darling Harbour, the proposal stated.

It comes amid a flurry of activity in Sydney’s hotel scene, including James Packer’s plan for a luxury hotel and casino at Barangaroo, and upgrades at the Park Hyatt at the Rocks and the Darling at the Star casino. Lend Lease’s 900-room hotel at Darling Harbour is also in the works.

Four Points by Sheraton is owned by Singapore-based EP2 Management. At 672 rooms, it is reputedly Australia’s largest hotel. The proposed expansion would bring it to more than 900 rooms.

With a podium for conventions, exhibitions and functions, the project “will assist NSW in winning large group, corporate meeting, association and convention bids”, the proposal said.

Mr Cox, who staunchly opposes the exhibition centre’s demolition, said the plan had an “incredible advantage” over other proposed hotels.

“It’s fantastically situated … on the CBD side of Pyrmont Bridge. It’s got a better relationship with the city itself,” Mr Cox said.

He said the proposal “doesn’t bear comparison” with the Darling Harbour redevelopment, which he described as “appalling”.

“It takes [the site] another step forward in terms of its urban qualities and its environmental fit, whereas the other one is anything but,” he said.

The hotel is already built over Slip Street and partly extends over the freeway. In a submission, Roads and Maritime Services said it must endorse construction, design and materials used in the project to “ensure risk to public safety … is minimised”. The stability of the road should be monitored, it said.

An assessment of sun glare found the podium and tower could affect northbound drivers on the Western Distributor and other roads. This would be reduced by vertical louvres on the tower and the use of low-reflection materials.

The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the NSW Heritage Office warned of harm to the setting of nearby historic buildings, including the Corn Exchange and the Dundee Arms Hotel. The proposal includes heritage signs and other public domain works, such as “paving patterns to reflect building footprints of long since demolished buildings”.

High-profile tenants at the neighbouring Darling Park, such as the Commonwealth Bank, and Cockle Bay Wharf, raised concern about overshadowing and impacts during construction.

Measures such as a lower tower and a reduced footprint were rejected because they would not deliver “a viable and functional hotel”, the proposal said.

The hotel’s general manager, David Fraser, said the extra event space and hotel capacity “will be an ideal addition to the vibrant Darling Harbour precinct”.

Submissions are being reviewed. The proposal has been deemed state significant and will be considered by the planning department.

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Controversial … the changes will allow State Transit to cut the number of buses that run empty by changing where they begin their routes.THE number of bus drivers and buses needed to run existing services in Sydney is being slashed, but the savings will not be redirected into more buses for commuters.
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New route plans created by State Transit, the government-owned bus company, will soon allow it to run the same number of daily services as currently exist in Sydney but with 36 fewer buses and 86 fewer drivers.

But those plans have angered the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, which says the government should turn those buses and drivers into extra daily services. With 36 extra buses, more than 350 extra bus services a day could be put on in Sydney.

The changes themselves are uncontroversial and long overdue. They will allow State Transit to cut the number of buses that run ”dead,” or empty, by changing where they begin their routes.

Some buses that start in Sydney’s north are stored overnight in State Transit’s Tempe depot, meaning drivers begin their day taking empty buses across town.

”Overall, 36 fewer buses and 86 fewer drivers will be needed,” a spokesman said. ”This will occur over time by natural attrition. No bus driver will lose their job.”

But those ”savings” have angered the union, which says they should be tipped back into the public transport network.

”If you can save 35 buses by being more efficient in the system, those buses need to be put back into struggling, overcrowded corridors,” the secretary of its bus and tram division, Chris Preston, said.

Gary Way, the division’s president, said the route changes ”should have happened years ago”.

If they were reinvested in the network, another 36 buses could be used to add as many as two new metro bus routes.

State Transit is under pressure to cut costs as it faces an open threat of privatisation.

Asked why the savings were not being reinvested in new services for commuters, the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, said: ”I have been very clear that I expect State Transit to become more efficient and deliver improved services to customers.”

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