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Dive team joins kayaker search

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 28 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

THE search for missing Adelaide kayaker William McCallum is continuing today, with little hope of finding him alive.

The police dive team is being briefed and will join the search in Port Esperance in the state's far south.

The 27-year-old was last seen on Sunday afternoon when he set off from Dover jetty, 80km south-east of Hobart, to photograph the coastline.

His sea kayak was found upturned near Hope Island in Port Esperance about 8pm on Sunday.

Two police vessels are today searching the coastline from Gordon to Southport on both sides of the river.

Mr McCallum's family and his girlfriend Cordelia Dravitzki have travelled to Dover from Adelaide and have been briefed on the search by police.


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Truck crash causes delays

The rolled truck on the Midland Highway at Bridgewater. Picture: LEIGH WINBURN

A CRANE has been called in to clear a truck roll-over on the Midland Highway at Bridgewater.

The truck rolled at the Weily Park roundabout -- on the East Derwent Highway intersection north of McDonald's -- before 8am today.

Police said there would only be one lane operating in each direction while the crane was in place.

Officers are directing traffic at the accident site.

Motorists could experience delays in the area until early afternoon, with the removal operation expected to take up to four hours.


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Abbott's Tassie sweetener

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has defended the Coalition's $16 million pledge to a privately owned Hobart business, saying "Tasmania is a special case".

An Abbott-led government would make the co-investment in the Cadbury chocolate factory as part of a $66 million redevelopment that will allow popular tours at the facility to restart, after they were scrapped in 2008 amid health and safety concerns.

"Occasionally I think it is necessary to offer some judicious help," Mr Abbott told reporters.

He said the island state has the nation's highest unemployment rate and low income levels.

Mr Abbott made the announcement to factory workers today in the electorate of Denison.

The seat is held by independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who is tipped to retain it.

Mr Abbott said the "modest but significant" funding contribution would create more than 300 new jobs and secure 1000 existing positions, while boosting north Tasmania's dairy industry.

"It's quite unusual for a national government to co-invest with a profitable private business, but this co-investment is going to dramatically increase production, dramatically increase exports and dramatically increase employment," Mr Abbott said.

He had a brief tour of the facility, owned by food giant Kraft, watching as the ever-popular Freddo frog chocolate rolled off the production line.


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Ten guns stolen in North

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 27 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

POLICE are investigating two separate burglaries where firearms were stolen in the past 24 hours.

Officers were called to the Mitre 10 hardware store at Longford, in northern Tasmania, early this morning after management discovered the business had been burgled.

At least four rifles were stolen after thieves broke in by smashing a hole in the rear wall of the building. Nothing else was stolen.

In another incident, the residents of a house in Poplar Parade, in the Launceston suburb of Youngtown, returned home yesterday afternoon to discover their shed had been burgled.

A gun safe had been forced open, with six rifles and some ammunition stolen.

Police said the firearms had been stored correctly at both locations.

Anyone with information about the thefts is urge to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury


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Greens focus on devil peril

The Tarkine is one of the last homes to populations of devils free of the deadly facial tumour disease which has wiped out as much as 80 per cent of the population.

PROTECTING the contentious Tarkine region and its disease-free Tasmanian devils is at the centre of the Australian Greens threatened species policy.

The party has launched a $135 million national plan, declaring the Tarkine, in Tasmania's rugged North-West, needs protection as a vital habitat for endangered devils.

Former Environment Minister Tony Burke rejected a World Heritage listing for the entire region earlier this year and federal approval has since been granted for the first of several mining proposals.

The Tarkine is one of the last homes to populations of devils free of the deadly facial tumour disease which has wiped out as much as 80 per cent of the population.

"A vote for Labor or the Coalition is a vote for extinction of the Tasmanian devil," Greens leader Christine Milne told reporters at a devil sanctuary at Brighton today.

"Both of them have said they would prefer to mine the Tarkine than protect it."

The policy includes money for carers of injured wildlife, the revitalisation of threatened species and the mapping of habitats.

"Without question, under the Greens plan the Tarkine would be a priority region for this assessment," Queensland Senator Larissa Waters said.

The Greens say 20 per cent of Australia's mammals are threatened with extinction.

They have attacked Federal Government cuts to the biodiversity fund and say the Coalition plans to hand environmental approvals back to the states.


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Award for science star

Hobart geoscientist Dr Jo Whittaker, of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, has won the L'Oreal Women in Science fellowship. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

HOBART geoscientist Jo Whittaker has discovered chunks "left behind" about 100 million years ago when India began moving away from Australia.

Dr Whittaker has been named a L'Oreal for Women in Science fellow, one of three women in Australia and New Zealand, for her work.

As an Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies scientist, she is the first University of Tasmania researcher to win the award, worth $25,000.

Dr Whittaker is reconstructing how the Indian, Australian and Antarctic tectonic plates separated, forming the Indian Ocean and the continents as they exist.

The "move" of India began about 130 million years ago.

``What I do is like taking a big jigsaw puzzle and fitting it back together,'' Dr Whittaker said.

She was on maternity leave when the Southern Surveyor vessel pulled up rocks from the two knolls together half the size of Tasmania about 1400km off Fremantle.

"We knew from satellite data that they were on the sea floor," Dr Whittaker said.

"I'll have $25,000 to spend on research. I'm doing some more analysis on the rocks."

She said the knowledge was important for oil and gas exploration and for climate research.

Melbourne University's Kathryn Holt, who is studying the genome of deadly bacteria, and Misty Jenkins, from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, who is learning about killer white blood cells, were the other recipients.

Awards were given in Melbourne tonight.


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Big Red Car heading south

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 26 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

GET ready to wiggle -- superstars of the pre-school set The Wiggles are coming back to Tasmania this year.

The Wiggles will perform their brand new live show, Ready, Steady, Wiggle, in Hobart and Launceston in December. The tour also shares its name with the group's first new TV series in six years, which starts on ABC TV next month.

Over the past 21 years, The Wiggles have sold 7 million albums, 23 million DVDs and 8 million books and performed to more than a million fans around the world. Along the way they have picked up 11 ARIA Awards for Best Children's Album.

Late last year three quarters of the original Wiggles line-up stepped aside to let a new cast take over, with new Yellow Wiggle Emma, Red Wiggle Simon and Purple Wiggle Lachy joining remaining original Blue Wiggle Anthony.

"We have a new energy that's quite contagious," Anthony says.

"It's been such an exciting year so far, and we're playing to a new generation of Wiggle fans."

The Wiggles and their friends Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword will perform Ready, Steady, Wiggle at the Derwent Entertainment Centre on December 4 and Launceston's Princess Theatre on December 5.

Tickets go on sale next Friday, September 6, from www.ticketmaster.com.au (Hobart) and www.theatrenorth.com.au (Launceston).

kane.young@news.com.au


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Primrose house fire 'suspicious'

AN overnight house fire in the coastal hamlet of Primrose Sands is being treated as suspicious.

The Tasmania Fire Service was alerted to the blaze, in Tasmania's south-east, about 2.15am today.

Crews from Primrose Sands, Dodges Ferry, Midway Point and Dunalley arrived to find the two-storey brick house in Grevillia St well alight.

"The structure was fully involved on arrival, so it must have been burning for some time," Dodges Ferry fire brigade chief Adam Hall said.

"Fire crews used breathing apparatus and conducted an external attack on the fire after establishing no one was home."

Police and TFS fire investigators examined the scene today and have determined the blaze was deliberately lit.

Inquiries are continuing, with the damage bill estimated about $220,000.

alice.claridge@news.com.au


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Collins in penalty rate push

FEDERAL minister Julie Collins has taken her campaign to the doorstep of Liberal Senator Eric Abetz's office in an effort to highlight the rights of shift workers.

Ms Collins has taken her campaign into enemy territory, conducting her media doorstop outside the Opposition workplace relations spokesman's Hobart office.

She called on the Coalition to rule out changes to penalty rates and accused Senator Abetz of leaving the door open for a return to Work Choices-style policy.

"Disability workers, aged-care workers, hospitality workers, hairdressers, workers who are out there ... day in day out doing these unsociable hours and getting penalty rates have got a right to know what the Liberal Party will do," Ms Collins said.

"We saw Work Choices. We know what the Liberal Party's capable of."

There was no sign of the Tasmanian Senator, who was campaigning in South Australia today, with Ms Collins suggesting he'd been silenced.

"I certainly am hoping that Senator Abetz comes out of hiding," she said.

"I'm hoping that he comes out and that he's honest with workers."

In a statement, Senator Abetz said the Coalition had been up-front by pledging the Fair Work Commission would continue to determine awards.

He accused the ALP of running a scare campaign.

"The complete desperation by the Labor campaign was highlighted today when Labor candidates were reduced to holding a demonstration to try to run another dishonest campaign on penalty rates," he said.

The Senator challenged Labor to release its workplace policy after the Coalition's was released in May.

Liberal Party officials dismissed any suggestion Senator Abetz had been hushed up, saying he'd conducted up to five interviews most days of the campaign.

Ms Collins says Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Senator Abetz have used different words during the campaign to those in the Coalition policy.

The newly promoted cabinet minister faces a tough battle to hang on to her seat of Franklin, according to polling published over the weekend.

Labor holds Franklin by 10.8 per cent but a ReachTEL poll published in the Mercury showed Liberal candidate Bernadette Black opening up a 9 per cent lead over Ms Collins.

The poll suggested Labor could lose all four of its Tasmanian seats.

"We're fighters in the Labor Party," Ms Collins said.

"We'll keep fighting."


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Honouring huts of high country

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 25 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

THERE are hidden jewels scattered among the mountains, valleys and plateaus of Tasmania's central highlands.

They are the unique huts crafted of wood, brick and stone built by past generations to shield today's highland travellers from the harshest of weather conditions.

Author and historian Simon Cubit believes the huts are a vulnerable, finite and valuable resource.

"They are going to need continued care and attention if they are to survive," he said.

Mr Cubit and illustrator Des Murray last week launched their second book aimed at protecting and preserving these architectural gems for future generations.

Tasmanian High Country Huts: From the Central Plateaus to Cradle Mountain tells the stories of 26 huts including those at Lake Meston, Dixons Kingdom (Walls of Jerusalem), February Plains and Cradle Mountain (Kitchen).

"Many of the standing huts today are cultural relics," Mr Cubit said.

"Across the board, there are less standing huts. Fire and neglect have taken a toll. Only a small number remain," he said.

One such hut is Kitchen Hut at Cradle Mountain, which Mr Cubit regards as an "artefact of our historical attraction" to the mountain.

"When Gustav Weindorfer, and the Connells who succeeded him at Waldheim, guided people to the summit of Cradle Mountain, they would pause at a spot on the Cradle plateau beside a little creek," Mr Cubit said.

"There they would have a cup of tea, drop any unwanted gear and climb the summit.

"On the return journey, they would similarly pause for another cup of tea, collect their gear and head back to Waldheim. That spot became known as the Cradle Kitchen."

Over time, a shelter was built there and following a fatality in 1950 near Waterfall Valley on the Overland Track, the shelter was closed in and made into a hut.

"Given the heavy snowfalls that typically fall in the area (Parks) built a second storey on top of the existing structure with its own external door so that access to the hut was assured," Mr Cubit said.

He said the two-storey hut that emerged was rare in Tasmania and in mountain huts elsewhere in Australia.

Mr Cubit said maintenance of the historic huts could be expensive, and hopes the book will create connections between people and the huts.

Mr Cubit also hopes to publicise the work of the Mountain Huts Preservation Society Mountain Huts Preservation Society.

The book and a companion calendar will be in bookshops early next month and a range of other hut merchandise is available online.


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