Driven to help his community

PORT Sorell resident, Bryan Dore, 77, says there is an increasing number of people in his local community that are in need of door-to-door community transport.
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Mr Dore’s concerns about the lack of such a service has led to a public meeting being held on Friday to gauge interest in establishing a volunteer bus run.

“We need a community bus for aged and disabled people who can’t even get to the bus stop,” Mr Dore said.

“I would like to see a 10-seater bus or van to take aged and disabled residents around the Port Sorell area and from here to Devonport.

“If you go above a 10-seater you get into too much red tape.”

Mr Dore said 65 per cent of residents in the Port Sorell area were over 55.

He said if people wanted to get around their own community and didn’t have their own means, there was no transport.

There is a public bus into Devonport and Mersey Community Care picks people up to take them to Devonport but Mr Dore said the service is covering 40,000-plus people in the Devonport, Latrobe and Port Sorell areas and has limitations.

Mr Dore said he spoke to Latrobe Mayor Mike Gaffney about it and he believed the council would be involved in some way.

Mr Dore said the first step was the public meeting and then to form a steering committee if interest was there.

Mr Dore suggested the drivers would be volunteers and the bus would be housed at Port Sorell and operate a couple of days a week. He said funding the community transport would need to be worked out.

The community transport public meeting will be held at the Port Sorell Memorial Hall on Friday at 4.30pm.

NEED RECOGNISED: Port Sorell resident Bryan Dore is concerned about the lack of community transport within the district, leaving some elderly and disabled struggling to reach bus stops. Picture: Katrina Docking.

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Payne player of the week

NADEEN Payne’s impressive contribution for Launceston Tornadoes on Saturday not only earned her team victory but also herself the SEABL player of the week award.
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The Launceston Tornadoes’ Nadeen Payne has won the SEABL player of the week award.

Payne was in superb form throughout in the one-point win over Ballarat Rush, scoring her team’s first four and last eight points.

In a thrilling Round 7 contest, she finished with 33 points at 71 per cent, 17 rebounds, three assists and one block, sinking two game-winning free-throws in the final 17 seconds to clinch the much-needed 86-85 victory.

Announcing her award yesterday, the SEABL website reported: “Nadeen was outstanding all game, recording her third straight double-double.”

It added: “Held scoreless for the first five minutes of the final term, Nadeen lifted when she was required and scored the last eight points of the game for her team to clinch the victory.”

It was an emotional night at Ulverstone for the Torns, who were playing for the Madeleine Howard Shield in memory of a former rising star who died in a car accident 10 years ago.

Payne’s performance eclipsed BA centre of excellence forward Alicia Froling’s 23-point contribution against Sandringham, Bendigo import LaSondra Barrett helping the Lady Braves to the top of the ladder and Maddie Garrick’s outstanding effort to see the Frankston Lady Blues to victory over Canberra.

It is the fifth time in just seven weeks that player of the round awards have headed to Tasmania after North-West’s BJ Jenkins claimed weeks one and four before a Hobart double last week for the Chargers’ Deba George and Kathleen Scheer.

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Federal Budget 2014: Ronaldson outlines regional cash

BUDGET MAN: Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey.
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REACTION: Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters says Budget will hit families hard

PATRON Senator for Bendigo Michael Ronaldsonsaid the regionwouldreceive$106.03 million forprojects fromthe FederalBudget.

In a statement to the Bendigo Advertiser,SenatorRonaldson said the funding waspart of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to invest a record $7.6 billion in productivity-enhancing infrastructure in Victoria tocreate thousands of jobs, slash travel times and boost economic growth.

Hesaid the funding wouldsupport much needed infrastructure projects in the region.

”They will bring job opportunities, boost our local economy and make our roads safer for motorists,” he said.

Senator Ronaldson said sixprojects in the regionwouldreceive funding, including:

Calder Highway–Ravenswood Interchange: $45 million.

Regional Freight Roads Program: $60 million.

Kyneton Community Park Construction:$500,000.

Bendigo RSL Museum & Memorial Hallrefurbishment planning:$180,000.

Woodend Youth Facility Upgrade:$50,000.

Mount Alexander Shire Accommodation and Respite Group – construction of new facility:$300,000.

“Projects like these will relieve pressure on existing infrastructure and unlock the economic capacity of Bendigo, making it an even better place to live and do business,” Senator Ronaldson said.

”The Abbott Government’s infrastructure package will drive growth and create jobs so that we can have a stronger, more prosperous economy in Bendigo.”

Senator Ronaldsonsaid the Abbott Government’s first Budget setthe foundations for a strong and prosperous economy with less debt.

“At the election, the Coalition made the solemn promise to get the Budget back under control, as well as scrap the Carbon Tax, end the waste, stop the boats and build the roads of the 21stcentury. This Budget keeps that pledge”, he said.

“The Budget is part of the Abbott Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy for a safe, secure Australia.

“The Government has made the difficult but necessary decisions to put the Budget on a more sustainable footing so that we can all share in prosperity in the future.

“We are all playing a part – because it’s in sharing the load that we lighten the load.

“Labor ran up five record deficits and left $123 billion in future deficits. If we took no action, debt would have hit $667 billion. Every month, the government is paying $1 billion in interest costs on Labor’s debt.

“Governments, like households, must live within their means.

“Because of this Budget, Labor’s deficits have been reduced by $43 billion and debt is forecast to be about $275 billion lower in a decade.

Senator Ronaldson said the Government washonouring its commitment to reduce the overall tax burden – so that families can plan their future and get ahead.

“Every year, the Carbon Tax is a $9 billion hit on the economy and it costs an average family $550. We will scrap the Carbon Tax.

“Fewer than 4 per cent of taxpayers will pay the new Temporary Budget Repair Levy on high income earners making over $180,000.

Senator Ronaldson said this wasthe largest roads Budget in Australia’s history and would help families across Australia spend less time in traffic.

“This record roads Budget will, in part, be funded by the change in fuel excise. The change will cost about 40 cents a week, depending how far you travel. The increase in fuel excise will be directed towards road funding.

Senator Ronaldson said medical research would benefit from the changes to the Medicare Co-payment. Prevention is always better than cure – and this will become a $20 billion fund in our future health.

“By making the Health system more sustainable and investing in medical research, we are ensuring that Australia remains the best and healthiest place in the world to raise a family and care for loved ones,” he said.

“The key goal of the Budget is to strengthen the economy – because when you strengthen the economy, small businesses succeed, families have less pressure on them and jobs are created.”

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Many trips to the North-West in support of worthy causes

FOOTBALL icon Tom Hafey is known as much for the time he spent at functions in regional communities as for his career in football.
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He made many trips to the North-West to support a myriad causes.

Hafey ventured to Queenstown to be the keynote speaker at an annual Men’s Health Night held at the Queenstown Football Club in 2009 and 2012.

Men’s Health Committee member Chris Walpole said Hafey was “instrumental” to the success of the evenings.

“It doesn’t happen very often, people like him coming along to a town like ours,” Mr Walpole said.

“His presence made a real difference – because of him quite a lot of people came along and we had very successful nights.”

Mr Walpole said Hafey was the perfect candidate to talk to the community about men’s health.

“He talked about how he’d go for ocean swims and wake up at 5am and do push-ups and sit-ups – he really did practise what he preached.

“People came away having taken in the message he had delivered. Everyone tuned in and was engaged by what he was saying.”

Mr Walpole said Hafey was always extremely interested in the lives of those who attended the event.

“He mingled, was more than happy to answer questions, shared some great stories and was just terrific with people.

“He was very down-to-earth and will be greatly missed.”

A TRUE FRIEND: Tom Hafey at a men’s health event in Queenstown in 2012. He was the perfect candidate to talk to the community about men’s health.

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NTFA talks tough over brawl

The investigation into the brawl that ended Saturday’s NTFA grand final rematch began last night with officials suggesting resulting penalties could be unprecedented.
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Division 2 clubs Old Scotch and Fingal Valley have submitted their reports into what NTFA general manager Robert Anderson admitted had become “the talk of the town”.

“We told them not to hold anything back,” he said.

“If some of the things being suggested are true, I would expect the penalties to be very strong, but we just don’t know yet.”

Anderson said the NTFA board had changed its schedule to speed up the investigation because it was “too important to wait”.

An investigator has been appointed who has begun reading submissions that were due in by close of business yesterday.

“We will wait on his advice,” Anderson said.

“I would expect him to give us the report on all his findings and we would expect that to also suggest appropriate penalties and the board will act upon that advice.”

He hoped that report would be available for the board to consider at its scheduled meeting next Tuesday, adding: “But if we have to meet urgently before then, we will.

“We would certainly have it on the agenda then and would have some indication where the investigation is going.

“We’d like it all dealt with sooner rather than later.”

Anderson said his week had been “very hectic”, with a succession of phone calls about the brawl, which involved players and spectators at the NTCA Ground.

Umpires abandoned the game just before half-time and police were called to the incident.

Anderson, who said both clubs had since been very co-operative, confirmed the only report was from earlier in the game for striking against Fingal’s Jake Price, who took the set penalty of two weeks.

Launceston police also yesterday confirmed that while they were aware of an incident in an under-16 match between North Launceston and East on Sunday, they had received no official report.

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End of copper countdown

THE copper countdown is on, with just one week left before thousands of Tasmanians will be disconnected from landlines to make way for the National Broadband Network.
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Homes and businesses at Deloraine, George Town and St Helens have until May 23 to switch their landline phone and internet services over to the NBN.

NBN Co chief customer officer John Simon said it was important for residents to understand the move to the NBN was not automatic.

“Homes and business owners who want to keep using these services must place an order with their preferred phone company or internet service provider as soon as possible,” Mr Simon said.

Eftpos terminals, fax machines and alarm systems will be affected by the switch, and a medical alarm register has been set up to move existing customers over.

Mr Simon said strong demand for the NBN when it became available in an area meant it could take several months to get a connection.

“Repeat visits by technicians are sometimes required to install the NBN equipment, sometimes because more than a standard connection is required,” Mr Simon said.

“That’s led to understandable frustration among the home and business owners who have been affected,” he said.

Mr Simon said residents in areas where landlines were being disconnected first would be prioritised.

However, TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said that could slow down the rollout in other areas.

“We’re concerned that while areas having their copper service switched off are prioritised, other areas like Launceston will start seeing even longer delays between signing up and actually being connected to the NBN,” Mr Winter said.

Mr Winter said NBN Co needed to implement an action plan for Tasmania to get the NBN back on track.

“The rollout is progressing at a snail’s pace and long wait times for connection mean Tasmanian households and businesses are losing their enthusiasm for the NBN,” Mr Winter said.

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Budget sets us up for even more socio-economic division

YOUNG people, older people, families. These are the groups hurt by Joe Hockey’s first budget, which sets a platform for socio-economic division unlike any seen for decades.
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A $7 co-payment for GP visits, rollbacks of family payments and the abolition of seniors payments strike at the Australians who are already undertaking the nation’s budgetary “heavy lifting”.

The fuel excise goes up, hurting most people in regional and rural Australia, who will also be hit by other measures announced by Mr Hockey last night.

Ironically, the so-called deficit levy allows the government to claim that all Australians would be required to help repair the fiscal damage caused by the previous Labor Government. In reality, the unemployed are hit harder than ultra-high-income earners.

There are big wins for business with a cut in the company tax rate, universities that will operate in a deregulated fees market from 2016 and a multibillion-dollar infrastructure program.

To offset the GP co-payment, the government will establish a medical research fund. This was a generous addition to a budget which otherwise will generate little positivity.

For the Ballarat region, the multimillion-dollar investment in a freight hub is most welcome, as is the continued commitment to duplication of the Western Highway towards Stawell. These projects help offset the reality that other major projects in Ballarat have again missed out.

The budget is going to be extremely tough to sell. Making it even tougher is that the deficit levy and increases in the fuel excise clearly amount to a breach of the promises made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the lead-up to last year’s election.

It’s true that Mr Abbott also promised to return the economy to a better position.

We might not find out until the next election just how the community views the changes announced last night.

The fallout will be both immediate and longer-term. Many of the changes to welfare payments will be introduced incrementally.

What is clear is that the age of entitlement is well and truly over. In its place is a period of pain to amend a budget problem that the government has spent more time highlighting than it has spent in selling its own policy measures.

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Budget 2014: Disability insurance scheme escapes the axe

THE National Disability Insurance Scheme appears on course after seemingly escaping delays or cuts in the federal budget, but the head of an organisation supporting potential beneficiaries of the scheme is not counting on anything just yet.
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WAIT AND SEE: Steve Jaques will wait and see the full impact of the budget on disability services.

“The devil is always in the detail,” said chief executive officer of Kurrajong-Waratah, Steve Jaques.

“We will be awaiting and reviewing details as they become clearer over the next few days to gauge what impact the budget will have on people with a disability that we support, and on Kurrajong-Waratah itself,” Mr Jaques said.

“For us, the relieving news is the government has kept in place its pre-election commitment to support the delivery of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and that was an important outcome because everything was on the table, but that was not on the table tonight.”

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Launceston Airport soaring with record numbers

HIGHER than expected car rentals and improved tourism have led to Launceston Airport recording its busiest month on record.HIGHER than expected car rentals and improved tourism have led to Launceston Airport recording its busiest month on record.
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Data released yesterday showed that 133,946 passengers used the airport in January this year, which was 5 per cent more than the airport’s previous record month in January 2013.

Passenger data includes inbound and outbound Jetstar, Qantas, Virgin and Sharp flights.

Airport general manager Paul Hodgen said the balance in the third quarter of data was in favour of inbound flights.

“We have seen that reflected in car rentals,” he said.

“Car rental activity has been higher than anticipated, while both long-term and short-term car parking, which is normally indicative of outbound travellers, has just been on par.”

Mr Hodgen said while Melbourne services still had by far the greatest frequency, there was good passenger growth across inbound services.

“Events that have helped have been things like the V8 Supercars and AFL Hawks games, they have all helped to really boost numbers during that quarter,” he said.

The third quarter, January to March 2014, shows 3 per cent passenger growth, compared with the same quarter in 2012-13.

In the 12 months to March 2014, there was 5 per cent passenger growth, compared with the previous year.

Mr Hodgen said the airport had also boosted security, with the introduction on May 1 of a new, multiview x-ray machine and the capacity for a second walk-through metal detector screening point. A new security provider also began on the same day, as well as a new screening configuration aimed at improving efficiency.

The airport aims to complete a “premium” undercover car park, a road linking directly to the roundabout on Evandale Road and a new staging area for buses and taxis, in time for the December Christmas holidays.

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Budget 2014: Date set for aged pension windback

SENIORS and the Coalition might be on a collision path after the Abbott government revealed it won’t be so generous with future increases to the age pension.
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While the Coalition is sticking to the pledge to do nothing this term, big changes are planned from 2017. Treasurer Joe Hockey insists the government is not cutting pension payments. They’re just not going to increase as quickly as they do now.

From late-2017, the indexed increases to the age pension will be linked to the consumer price index instead of the highest rate available, generally male average earnings.

With inflation running about 2.5per cent, pensioners will find their payments increasing by less than they’ve been used to.

At a similar time in 2017 indexation of the income and assets test will be frozen for three years, meaning the amount people can have before getting the pension will drop in real terms.

And the deeming thresholds for returns from financial assets will drop to $30,000 for singles and $50,000 for couples.

As flagged by Mr Hockey, eligibility for the pension will increase to 70 by July 2035.

But Commonwealth seniors health card holders will feel an immediate hit when the seniors supplement is cut this September.

The payment is worth more than $800 a year for singles and $1300 for couples. Dumping it will save the government $1.1billion over five years.

The qualifying income threshold for the health card will now be indexed at the CPI rate, qualifying an extra 27,000 people in the next four years. AAP

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