Tasmanian Liberals

Tasmanian Liberals

2017-18 Budget

Budget 2017

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The Hodgman Liberal Government is a strong supporter of legal assistance organisations and the valuable work they do in the community.

Accordingly, I am pleased to announce the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania (LACT) will receive two grants totaling $700,000 that will benefit Tasmanians right across the State.

The Government recognises and values the important role that Legal Aid plays in our community, and this funding will give them even greater ability to assist vulnerable Tasmanians with legal services when they need it.

Our nation-leading Safe Homes, Safe Families Action Plan will allocate $100,000 to assist those suffering from the scourge of family violence. This funding will allow Legal Aid to continue employing an additional solicitor for family violence legal services, and in delivering Safe at Home legal education in rural and remote areas.

Additionally, I am pleased to announce that $600,000 will be allocated to Legal Aid due to a surplus of funds from the Solicitors Guarantee Fund from 2016-17.

This will allow Legal Aid to fund essential services such as:

• Duty Lawyers at the Magistrates Courts in Launceston, Burnie and Devonport;

• Mental Health Tribunal lawyers at Hobart and Launceston;

• A full-time elder abuse outreach lawyer; and

• The re-establishment of the serious cases fund for criminal matters.

These grants will be welcomed by Legal Aid and Tasmanians in need and confirms our commitment to protect Tasmania’s most vulnerable citizens.

Elise Archer, Minister for Justice

 

A re-elected Hodgman Liberal Government will move swiftly to make serious cyber-bullying a criminal offence.

Bullying is the action of a coward but it can have devastating impacts on its victims.

Rapidly changing technologies now give online bullies access to their victims 24 hours a day, and it can follow you anywhere.

My Government previously asked the TLRI to investigate the issue of bullying, including cyber-bullying.

We have already taken action in this space with the anti cyber-bullying program eSmart Schools Cyber Safety now available in all Government schools, in partnership with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. 

Professional learning is also available along with a suite of online resources that will increase the effectiveness of Tasmanian Government Schools to combat bullying, including cyber-bullying. 

But, it is clear that we need to do more to address this serious problem.

We propose the laws will target those who use the internet with the intention to cause serious, physical or mental harm to others. It will send a clear message that this behaviour is not only unacceptable, it is a criminal act.

Cyber-bullying can encompass an extremely wide range of behaviours, it is not just sharing personal or intimate images, but making threats using email, text or instant messages, online stalking, or bombarding another person with offensive messages.

With many children now owning their own devices, they can be targeted without others, including their parents, even knowing about it.

We will draw on best practice to ensure that Tasmanians are provided with the best possible protection and that the perpetrators of this sort of shameful behaviour are held to account.

Elise Archer, Minister for Justice

 

The Hodgman Liberal Government’s number one priority is jobs, which is why there are now 10,000 more Tasmanians employed since the 2014 election.

This is great news for all job-seekers throughout the state and we want to continue the momentum.

Accordingly, The Hodgman Liberal Government’s Tasmanian Antarctic Gateway Strategy will enhance Tasmania’s growing reputation as the key gateway to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Antarctic research organisations are already extremely valuable to Tasmania with over 1,200 direct and indirect employees locally and the sector injecting some $180 million into the local economy each year.

In addition, we know the sector has the potential to grow and create even more jobs for Tasmanians, and the Strategy outlines five key areas for us to achieve working in conjunction with the Antarctic community.

Consistent with the Strategy, we will work with the Australian Government to harness investment opportunities in Antarctic science, which in turn will grow the sector and create more jobs for Tasmanians.

The five key areas we will focus on are:

• Enhancing Hobart’s standing as an international Antarctic and Southern Ocean research hub;

• Attracting international Antarctic programs to visit Tasmania;

• Attracting additional research investment and scientific collaboration opportunities;

• Supporting investment in Tasmania’s future Antarctic gateway infrastructure, such as the Macquarie Point Antarctic and Science Precinct; and

• Working with businesses to develop market opportunities for specialised Antarctic equipment.

Our strategy has been developed in consultation with participants of the Antarctic sector in Tasmania and we continue to work closely with the Tasmanian Polar Network as the industry peak body.

The Government has also established the Tasmanian Antarctic Gateway (TAG) advisory group to be chaired by Dr Tony Press, which will build on the opportunities in the Antarctic sector and progress the strategy.

Dr Press was previously director of the Australian Antarctic Division and conducted the inquiry which led to the Australian Government’s Australia Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan.

The Tasmanian Antarctic Gateway Strategy: Strengthening Tasmania’s position as an international Antarctic gateway is available at http://antarctic.tas.gov.au/strategy/

Elise Archer, Minister for Environment and Parks 

 

The South Coast Track is one of Tasmania’s great bushwalks, and the completion of recent upgrades has significantly improved the user experience along the track before the start of the peak walking season.

The upgrades have resulted in a new track alignment that includes a footbridge to replace an 800 metre section of the track, resulting in a better experience for walkers and better protecting the dunes from Milford Creek to the Prion Bay exit on Wierah Hill.

We have a goal for tourists to stay longer and spend more in our regional areas, and upgrades like this will ensure a high-class visitor experience in our stunning natural areas.

It’s further confirmation of our ongoing commitment to the State’s booming nature-based tourism industry that supports thousands of jobs and attracts visitors from all over the world.

These latest improvements build on the work already completed as part of the Hodgman Liberal Government’s $2 million, four-year project for the South Coast Track.  This includes construction of a new boardwalk in the Deadmans Bay and Freney Lagoon area, new footbridges at Melaleuca Inlet and Moth Creek, replacement of boats and other upgrades at New River Lagoon, and track maintenance, improved toilet facilities, brush cutting and windfall clearing.

The Hodgman Government is a strong supporter of our iconic national parks as they help grow Tasmania’s international reputation as a bushwalking destination and projects like this will help realise our vision to attract 1.5 million visitors each year to the State by 2020.

Elise Archer, Minister for Environment and Parks 

 

The Hodgman Liberal Government has today released a discussion paper regarding proposed changes to Tasmania’s bail laws to address long-standing community concerns of offenders being released on bail, only to reoffend.

The community and police are tired of offenders committing crimes after being granted bail, and it is clear changes are needed to restore community confidence in the justice system and to prioritise community safety.

The paper outlines several potential changes to the existing laws, including introducing the presumption against bail for those alleged to have committed serious crimes, particularly of a violent or sexual nature, as well as for repeat offenders or those who have shown a propensity to breach bail conditions or court orders in the past.

If enacted, these changes would mean that offenders charged with serious crimes will have to demonstrate why they should be bailed, rather than the Prosecution needing to demonstrate why they shouldn’t be.

Serious crimes that will fall under these requirements include:

* Murder;

* Manslaughter;

* Wounding;

* Grievous Bodily Harm;

* Kidnapping;

* Producing Child Exploitation Material;

* Distributing Child Exploitation Material;

* Arson;

* Abduction;

* Aggravated Armed Robbery;

* Armed Robbery; and

* Serious Drug Trafficking.

The paper also outlines changes regarding the use of bench justices, to provide clarity on who is able to grant bail and under what circumstances it will be granted.

These proposed reforms will ensure the bail system operates in line with community expectations, and the responses to the discussion paper will be collated by the Department.

They will then consult with legal stakeholders and draw on the work of other jurisdictions to ensure any changes have the desired effect of prioritising community safety and keeping dangerous offenders behind bars, not roaming the streets.

Elise Archer, Minister for Justice

 

From today the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will help adults aged 29 to 34 years old participate more in the broader community, giving them and their care givers greater choice and control of their care.

The NDIS will no doubt improve these people’s lives, just like it has for 2915 other Tasmanians so far.

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to supporting people with disability and their carers, and we are investing $750 million to fund the NDIS over the next four years.

What we are doing is working - Tasmanian NDIS participant and carer satisfaction is above the national average, with a recent report showing 93 per cent of participants reporting very good satisfaction.

As of September 30, 2017 all 2915 participants have an approved plan in Tasmania and there are 821 approved service providers.

Existing Commonwealth and state or territory-based services and supports will continue until eligible people start in the NDIS.

For more information visit: http://www.ndis.gov.au/ndis-ready.

To read the latest NDIS report go to: https://www.ndis.gov.au/medias/documents/h91/hbc/8805559468062/Report-to-the-COAG-Disability-Reform-Council-for-Q1-of-Y5.pdf

NDIS roll out schedule

• aged 12-14 transitioned from July 1, 2016;

• aged 25-28 transitioned from January 1, 2017; people aged 4-11 will transition from July 1, 2017;

• aged 29-34 will transition from January 1, 2018; people aged 0-3 and people aged 35-49 will transition from July 1, 2018; and

• aged 50-64 will transition from January 1, 2019.

Elise Archer, Acting Minister for Human Services 

 
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