Schools triathlon

Tasmania is to introduce a schools triathlon challenge to help promote an active and healthy lifestyle. The first of the challenges will be held at Bellerive Beach on November 20-21, and the second is planned for Devonport in March next year. Students will be encouraged to take part regardless of their fitness level, ability or previous experience. The Bellerive event is the only officially sanctioned children’s triathlon in Tasmania and has been given significant support from the Education Department. There will be full road closures at Bellerive on November 20-21 to ensure a safe and friendly course and with no experience necessary participants can walk the swim leg if they wish. The event will not be timed with the emphasis placed on finishing and students have the option to enter in teams of two or three. Several of Tasmania’s Olympic athletes will be at the finish to hand out prizes. Students will pay $5 to enter and they will get full medical and accident insurance through Triathlon Australia, a backpack, swim cap and finishers cap.
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Fine defaulters to be named and shamed

TASMANIAN fine defaulters will be named and shamed in a bid to recoup $38.6 million in unpaid fines. Justice Minister Lara Giddings has warned fine and infringement defaulters that their personal details would be released publicly from October 27 if they do not pay their overdue fines. Names, addresses and penalty details would be posted on the Monetary Penalties Enforcement Service website. “People who fail to pay legally enforced fines and penalties are flouting the law and it is important that they are held to account,” Ms Giddings said. The MPES was established earlier this year to get tough on defaulters and was given powers to suspend licences or vehicle registration, but it is yet to exert its full powers.In July and August, $3.6 million was paid to the unit.“That’s an increase of 53 per cent over the corresponding period last year despite only a two per cent increase in the value of fines and infringements issued for the relevant periods,” Ms Giddings said. More than $7 million is owed to local governments, including about $2 million to the Launceston City Council.Defaulters who want to keep their details out of the public domain should contact the MPES on 1300 366 776 as soon as possible. Defaulters can either pay the outstanding amount in full or enter into an agreement to pay by instalments if they are having difficulty paying.
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B&E drops its home loan rate

LAUNCESTON-based building society B&E Personal Banking has dropped its variable housing loan rate by 0.8 per cent in line with the major banks.B&E chief executive Paul Ranson said their revised standard variable rate was now 8.50% and compared very favourably to the major banks’ rates which range from 8.53 to 8.57 per cent.Mr Ranson said the new rate would apply from October 15 for new loan applications and from November 1 for existing loans.“At the same time, we have also made significant reductions in fixed loan rates, with a reduction in fixed rates of 1.40 per cent since early October. “For example, the three-year discounted fixed rate is now 7.59 per cent. The revised rates apply to new loan applications.” Mr Ranson said that as a member owned financial institution, B&E was committed to keeping rates as low as possible and providing value for members as opposed to profit for shareholders.“With this latest cut, B&Es standard rates remain below the major trading banks.” Mr Ranson said Tuesday’s announcement of a $1.5 billion boost to the first home owners grant would help improve housing affordability.“The measure aimed at new housing is more likely to be effective because it will address some of the affordability issues. “You would think it will give a stimulus to the economy,” he said.B&E has more than $470 million in assets, about 35,000 clients, nine branches Statewide and 90 employees.
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Awards

The Children’s Week Awards are coordinated by Launceston City Council, in conjunction with Playgroup Tasmania, as part of National Children’s Week. They recognise individuals, groups or organisations for making an outstanding contribution to the needs, welfare and interests of children. This year the awards will be presented as part of the Children’s Expo being held at the Albert Hall on Saturday 18 October. Awards and certificates of recognition will be given in the following categories: Mentoring – adult/child. Professional Services. Voluntary Work. Teaching. Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said: “Many people in our community work tirelessly to help children achieve the most out of life, however they often go unrecognised. It’s wonderful that council has the opportunity to publicly recognise those outstanding individuals and organisations that provide such an important service.”
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No strip search of Johnston, say police

TASMANIAN police have denied claims they strip searched Police Commissioner Jack Johnston before he appeared in court yesterday on two charges of disclosing official secrets.Acting Commissioner Darren Hine also refuted comments by former Opposition Leader and lawyer Sir Max Bingham’s that Mr Johnston had received “rough” handling by police.”Standard procedures were followed throughout, including the issue of the warrant,” Mr Hine said. “The officers involved in the charging process conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism and extended the Commissioner of Police every courtesy and respect.”Mr Johnston attended Hobart City Police Station yesterday morning, by prior arrangement through his solicitor. This too is standard practice.”He was not arrested at his home in the early hours of the morning, as some media reports have claimed.”Mr Johnston, 58, of Tranmere, appeared in the Hobart Magistrates Court briefly yesterday, charged with two counts of disclosing official secrets.The Crown is alleging Mr Johnston disclosed official secrets on two occasions in April this year – once to then-Premier Paul Lennon and once to Police Minister Jim Cox.Mr Johnston was released on bail, and is due to appear in the Supreme Court in February next year.
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Launceston’s winter air on the improve

LAUNCESTON did not exceed the national guidelines for air quality during winter but the battle would continue to improve the situation further, Environment Minister Michelle O’Byrne said today.“This was the first winter in more than a decade since monitoring began that Launceston has not recorded a winter time PM10 exceedence,” Ms O’Byrne said. “Further analysis by the Environment Department found that winter was not unusually warm, and therefore the reduction in exceedences was not the result of an abnormal number of warmer days.” Ms O’Byrne said Launceston was also on track to better the national goal of only five exceedences a year for the first time, having recorded just one exceedence up until mid-September. “This is a massive improvement in the city’s air quality from 1997, when there were 50 exceedences, and Launceston had arguably the worst winter air quality in the entire country,” Ms O’Byrne said. “I congratulate the Launceston City Council, industries in the region, and the community for working together to improve air quality. However, Ms O’Byrne said a continued effort was still needed to maintain air quality improvements. The State’s new Environment Protection Authority had been given $2.5 million this financial year for air monitoring, with the State required to measure for smaller PM 2.5 particulates next year.
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$1.5 billion boost for first home buyers

THE Housing Industry Association has welcomed the decision by the Federal Government to triple the first home owners grant to $21,000 for the purchase of new house.As part of its $10.4 billion economic stimulus package the Government will provide $1.5 billion in assistance to first home buyers.HIA Managing Director Ron Silberberg said when the first home owners grant was doubled for new house purchases in 2001 the number of new dwellings built increased by 3000 per month over a nine month period. He said the measure would stimulate business activity and help address the severe housing shortage.The HIA expected the initiative to provide a 15,000 boost in the production of new dwellings.The Government will triple to $21,000 the current $7000 first-home buyers grant for people buying a newly constructed home and those first-home buyers moving into existing properties will receive a doubling of the allowance to $14,000.“It is appropriate that the measure targets assistance for new housing to meet underlying and effective demand and importantly this measure provides immediate assistance,” Dr Silberberg said.“Production rates for new housing have continued to drop and this has exacerbated the gap between supply and underlying demand.“ The measure announced today will provide some assistance in pegging this gap and will provide a healthy stimulus in activity for the Australian economy and help lift business confidence throughout the sector.“This measure will provide an immediate stimulus for new housing and help restore business confidence across the sector particularly in the building product manufacturing sector.”HIA has stressed the need to boost production of housing by 45,000 new dwellings per annum to meet current underlying demand.Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also announced the Federal Government pacakge would provide a $4.8 billion down payment to pensioners, payable in December, $3.9 billion in support payments for families and $187 million to create new training positions.Mr Rudd said the Budget would remain in surplus.
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Bartlett’s $100m business support package

PREMIER David Bartlett has unveiled a $100 million scheme to provide loans to small and medium-sized Tasmanian businesses to support the local economy amid global financial uncertainty.In a ministerial statement to Parliament, Mr Bartlett said the fundamentals of the Tasmanian economy were strong but he was determined to maintain confidence during a challenging period for the world economy. “By taking immediate action, we can support Tasmanians through a difficult short-term financial outlook. But there will be a need to do more and I will not hesitate to take further action as required.” Mr Bartlett announced that small and medium-sized Tasmanian businesses would be able to apply for loans through the new Tasmanian Industry Support Scheme, which would provide up to $100 million of support. TISS will be administered by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and will enable local firms to access loans from the Tasmanian Government to support projects through the current volatility in credit markets.“This is for local Tasmanian businesses, established in this State, who are employing Tasmanians,” Mr Bartlett said. “We think Tasmanian businesses are strong and we’re prepared to stand behind them. Applicants will need to demonstrate that their investment proposals have been curtailed or restricted as a result of the lack of available credit in current market conditions. “These are loans that will only be available to businesses that have sound governance structures and sound balance sheets.”Mr Bartlett said priority would be given to businesses who can demonstrate that a capital injection will result in higher productivity. “This is not about propping up unsound businesses, this is about assisting those businesses who have found themselves the victims of a global credit crunch through no fault of their own.”The scheme will operate to not only support urban-based small and medium businesses but also to support rural enterprises.TISS will be reviewed after 18 months and one of the criteria for assistance will be that the businesses which access the fund do not retrench workers. All loan proposals will be independently assessed by the Tasmanian Development Board in accordance with the statutory provisions of the Tasmanian Development Act 1983. Mr Bartlett said the Government aimed to have TISS up and running and open to applications by the beginning of November. Mr Bartlett also announced a moratorium on the creation of new general public service positions, except in areas relating to frontline service delivery such as the recruitment of new teachers, doctors, nurses, police, fire and ambulance personnel.
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RADIO FREQUENCIES

AM
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7SD-540 7BU-558 7AD……900

TOTE SPORT RADIO……1008

7LA …………………………….1098

FM

ABC NORTH…………………91.7

(Bicheno 89.7; Binalong Bay 97.3 (St Helens AM 1584); Coles Bay 106.1; Devonport 100.5; Falmouth/St Marys 102.7; Latrobe/Mole Creek 100.5; Penguin 102.5; Pyengana 97.3; Swansea 106.1; Ulverstone 102.5 ABC NEWSRADIO…………92.5

CLASSIC FM…………………93.3

COAST FM…………………………. (Table Cape 106.1; Circular Head 88.9; Devonport 104.7)

TRIPLE J………………………90.9

RADIO NATIONAL…………94.1

CITYPARK…………………..103.7

RPH…………………………. 106.9

TAMAR FM……………………95.3

SEA FM D’PORT………. 107.7

SEA FM-BURNIE…………101.7

SEA FM SCOTTSDALE….99.7

SEA FM ST HELENS…….94.5

WAYFM………..105.3 and 98.1

HEART FM……………………95.7

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Garrett pledges $3.4m for Tasmanian wilderness

TASMANIA’s World Heritage wilderness areas will receive $3.4 million in federal Government funding.The funding was announced today by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, as part of a $13 million package for World Heritage projects in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.The announcement was made at the opening of the Pacific Islands World Heritage Workshop in Cairns.Addressing the workshop via video-link, Mr Garrett said the funds included: $2.7 million for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area; $3.4 million for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area; $1.77 million for pest eradication on Macquarie Island.An additional $1.9 million will be provided to support specific projects and administration across World Heritage sites and $2.5 million to UNESCO to support World Heritage initiatives internationally, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific. “This Government is committed to World Heritage and to the safekeeping of our regions extraordinary World Heritage places,” Mr Garrett said.“Australia has a rich and diverse representation of World Heritage properties, including the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, the Tasmanian Wilderness and the iconic Sydney Opera House, all of which are tourist destinations for people across the world and provide substantial economic benefits.” Welcoming representatives from nations across the Pacific Islands to the workshop, Mr Garrett said Australia also had an international responsibility to World Heritage. “All nations in the Pacific region must work in partnership and share knowledge and expertise to protect exceptional sites for the global community and Australia is significantly supporting that effort.“The Pacific, rich in both cultural and natural wonders, is the least represented region in the world with only three World Heritage-listed properties.” During the workshop, experts from Australia, New Zealand and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre will provide practical advice and training in managing and assessing places that have, or may have, World Heritage values.The Pacific Islands World Heritage Workshop is jointly hosted with the New Zealand Government and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, with the support of the World Heritage Fund. The Australian contribution to the workshop is part of the Australian Governments contribution of $1 million to the World Heritage Centre to help build World Heritage capacity in Pacific Island Countries.Mr Garrett said Australia’s appointment as vice-president of Asia-Pacific for the World Heritage Convention at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Quebec in July, was clear recognition of our leadership in world heritage, particularly in this region.
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