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Kids' advocate hits power limit

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 13 April 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIA'S Commissioner for Children, Aileen Ashford, has left her post, calling for more support for Tasmania's young people.

Repeating the concerns of past commissioners, Ms Ashford called for her role to have greater powers.

She said yesterday she would leave in June, five months short of her three-year contract, to take a role as the chief executive of the Child Protection Society in Victoria.

"There is a misconception that the Commissioner for Children is powerful," Ms Ashford said.

"But the powers of the role are very limited. There is no inquiry without permission from the minister."

Ms Ashford is the latest high-profile government-appointed leader to leave the state.

Risdon Prison boss Barry Greenberry resigned earlier this month little over a year into his five-year contract.

Labor was rocked late last month when the head of the Treasury Department, Martin Wallace, announced he would step down from the role after the State Budget in May.

Ms Ashford called for the State Government to establish a youth portfolio and give future commissioners five-year terms.

"The Government does not have a youth policy," she said.

"We have a lot of emphasis on the early years but we seem to have missed kids eight years and up.

"Three years is not a very long time to enact change."

Ms Ashford said a new model for the Ashley Detention Centre also needed to be established.

"I'd like to see a different Ashley," she said, referring to the state's only youth detention centre, based in northern Tasmania.

"There will always be a place for detention.

"But when you talk to the kids it is too far away to have families and friends visit.

"The state needs a bail support system for the very small percentage of Tasmanian youth who end up in trouble with the law."

Ms Ashford thanked her staff and said the best part of the job was being able to talk to young people.

She said education and having jobs to go to were major concerns for youth.

She said education was the key to helping kids escape a cycle of poverty.

Children's Minister Michelle O'Byrne thanked Ms Ashford for her time in the role.


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Ram-raid shatters shop owner

Backflip Clothing owner Britt Hoskinson outside her ransacked store. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

A HOBART business owner expecting a baby in weeks spent yesterday assessing massive damage caused by ram-raiders to her inner-city store.

Backflip Clothing's Collins St shopfront was rammed at 2am yesterday, spraying glass over the footpath and road and allowing thieves in.

Police say a silver Subaru Liberty sedan stolen from Alwyn Rd in Lenah Valley on Thursday at 10.30pm was rammed into the shopfront.

Britt Hoskinson, whose partner was flying back from interstate after yesterday's news, was left to deal with the chaos and theft of half her stock.

"They've taken entire racks off the wall," Ms Hoskinson said.

"Most of it is men's clothing but they've obviously grabbed a few things for their girlfriends too."

The stock stolen was yesterday estimated as valued nearly $30,000.

People are asked to call police if offered street-style clothing cheap.

"The retail environment is tough enough at the moment. So for this to happen, you just can't believe it," Ms Hoskinson said.

Details to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

zara.dawtrey@news.com.au


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Hold-up at Sandy Bay servo

TWO people held up a service station in Sandy Bay last night, one of them a male armed with a shotgun.

Police said the pair entered the Caltex Service Station on Regent St about 7.30pm.

The offenders fled the area with cash and cigarettes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hobart Criminal Investigation Branch or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Information may be left anonymously and people may be entitled to a reward.


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Make a date with Kate

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 12 April 2013 | 19.55

KATE Ceberano, Christine Anu, Darren Percival and Grammy-winning US vocal group Take 6 are the first batch of headline acts announced for the 2013 Festival of Voices in Hobart.

The popular and highly respected Ceberano is sure to be one of the festival's major drawcards, with a big crowd expected to fill the Federation Concert Hall for her one-off show on July 12.

Anu will be the headline act for the opening night of the new Coupling at Clarence: Music and Food series at the Rosny Barn, performing the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin's most memorable songs including Respect and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman while the audience dines on a special "soul food" menu.

Anu and former The Voice favourite Percival will also perform at Voicebox, the festival's cabaret-style venue at City Hall, and at the festival's free opening night event at Salamanca on July 5.

The festival will also feature an Australian premiere concert on July 11 by 10-time Grammy-winning US a cappella group Take 6, who have previously performed with music legends including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder.

Tickets for the events announced today are on sale from www.festivalofvoices.com and Centertainment.

The remainder of the program will be revealed on May 14.

kane.young@news.com.au


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Milne marks milestone

CHRISTINE Milne intends to lead the Greens well beyond the September election after notching up her first year in the job.

Tomorrow marks 12 months since the Tasmanian senator took over from party icon Bob Brown amid suggestions she would only be warming the seat before a generational change.

Senator Brown steps down

But Senator Milne, whose seat will not be contested at the September 14 federal election, says she plans to stay in the job long term, regardless of how the party performs at its first poll without Dr Brown at the helm.

"We're a democratic party and all of our positions are thrown open after an election," she told reporters in Hobart today.

"I would like to stay in the leadership of the Greens into the future because we've got big things to deliver."

Senator Milne nominated solar energy plants, high-speed rail and the positioning of Hobart as China's gateway to Antarctica as items still on her agenda.

"There are so many big-ticket items, and the only way they're going to be secured for this country is with the Greens," she said.

"We will actually stand firm.

"We've got the courage to stand up and I've got a lot of things to deliver."

Flanked by her 41-year-old deputy Adam Bandt, Senator Milne said the leadership handover from Dr Brown, who she described as the party's first "wise elder", had been seamless.

"We have been almost textbook perfect in terms of a leadership transition," she said.

Her 12 months in the job had delivered the Federal Government's clean energy legislation, the banning of a controversial super-trawler, an increasingly successful fight against coal seam gas and a social justice focus, she said.

Woodside Petroleum's announcement today that it was reconsidering a proposed gas plant in the environmentally sensitive Kimberley coastal region of Western Australia was icing on the one-year birthday cake.

"Of course, it has been a challenge to drive the biggest social, environmental and economic reform in decades in terms of addressing global warming," Senator Milne said.

"There's nothing (we) could be more proud of in terms of setting the country up for where we need to be in a global economy which is recognising innovation, new technology, low carbon is the future."

Polling slipped for the Greens after Dr Brown's departure but has since stabilised.

Senator Milne blamed the Federal Opposition for the challenge facing progressive parties across Australia.

"A lot can be attributed to the hugely negative campaign Tony Abbott has run … it's way over the top," she said.

"He's been exposed as having told a pack of lies (on the carbon tax)."


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Retrial over WA killing

AN 83-year-old man found guilty of manslaughter will face a retrial after winning an appeal against his conviction over the death of a Perth woman more than 20 years ago.

Ronald Leslie Pennington was extradited from Tasmania to stand trial for the death of 41-year-old Cariad Anderson Slater who disappeared in July 1992.

Kill accused drops bail bid

Her skeletal remains were found in 2011 in a backyard where Pennington used to live.

A Supreme Court jury found the 83-year-old guilty last year of manslaughter and he was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison.

But the Court of Appeal today ruled that the trial judge had erred in his directions to the jury.

Pennington's conviction was quashed and a retrial was ordered.


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Real estate laws anger

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 11 April 2013 | 19.55

THE real estate industry has reacted angrily to State Government legislation it says will hurt the struggling sector.

In a letter to all members yesterday, Real Estate Institute of Tasmania president Adrian Kelly blasted the new Bill that introduces longer cooling off periods and other changes affecting the sale of residential property.

Mr Kelly said the industry could ill afford the changes when it was already struggling with the lowest sales volumes in two decades.

"It doesn't solve any of the issues that we do have in transacting property," he said.

"What it will do is slow down the entire sales process, a process that in Tasmania remains simple, cost-effective and robust.

"Despite numerous meetings with government our concerns, particularly in the currently flat Tasmanian property market, have been ignored.

"We also raised concerns on numerous occasions about the extra cost, particularly for those who can least afford it – blue-collar workers, first-home buyers and the elderly.

"In the [REIT] board's view, government should be immediately fixing other larger problems such as encouraging more first-home buyers into the market, getting the planning schemes debacle sorted ... and abolishing state-based taxes that are an inhibitor to people purchasing property.

"This Government has stated time and time again that they are about reducing red tape to make it easier for Tasmanians to do business. This Bill will do the exact opposite."

A spokesman for Consumer Protection Minister Nick McKim said the REIT had been consulted on the Bill regularly and was presented with the final draft of the legislation.

"The Minister does not apologise for wanting to give greater protections to people buying properties," the spokesman said.

"Extending the cooling-off period from three to five days is not going to add any red tape to a property purchase."

Mr Kelly last night said the REIT had been consulted about the first draft of the Bill more than a year ago but the new Residential Property Transactions Bill "which popped up yesterday" was very different.

"We never accepted what they proposed was a good thing to do. We wanted similar methods used in Victoria. Now we're doing something that has never been trialled," he said.

philip.heyward@news.com.au


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Bridge divers' work piles up

Dive crews on the floating platform used as a base for their cleaning operation. Pictures: KIM EISZELE

AN underwater project on a scale not seen in Tasmania is under way to protect one of the state's most valuable assets – the 48-year-old Tasman Bridge.

A team of professional divers is working under difficult conditions to wrap protective jackets around the steel piles that support the bridge in a $2 million, three-year project designed to prolong the bridge's life.

Department of Infrastructure Energy and Resources Infrastructure Services manager Shane Gregory said the project was a first for Tasmania.

"As a state we haven't done this before. It's been done in other places in the world, but not here," Mr Gregory said.

"The Tasman Bridge is the most valuable asset on Tasmanian roads and would be a significant cost to replace," he said.

"Maintenance is everything. You have to look after it. Just like a weatherboard house, you have to paint it regularly."

The project was part of ongoing maintenance work that would ensure the bridge achieved its designated lifespan of 100 years and beyond, he said.

"I have every expectation that it would survive longer than that."

The pile jackets, made in Victoria, are impregnated with a heavy-duty marine grease on the inside of rubber material that is tightened to each pile with steel fasteners.

A specialist team of seven experienced, qualified divers have been in the water for up to 10 hours a day blasting 50 years of barnacles, grime and seaweed off the piles before the jackets can be attached.

Tasmanian commercial diving company Subsea Access is doing the work.

Owner Adam Stephens said his crew of seven divers included former army men who had served in Afghanistan and divers who work on oil rigs.

"They are a very, very good crew," Mr Stephens said.

Divers climb down a steep ladder off the rolling barge deck into the water attached to a thick umbilical cord, which contains audio, video, air and light cabling.

A fully rigged rescue or standby diver is always on deck in case there are problems.

Divers wear a harness clipped to a rope around the pile to keep them from being washed away by the strong currents under the bridge.

They are in constant audio and visual contact with dive supervisor Luke Martin, who never takes his eyes off the computer screen inside the barge office.

The divers' helmets have lights to help them see in the murky swirling water.

The high-pressure 8000psi water blaster they use to get the barnacles off the pile creates its own share of muck underwater.

jennifer.crawley@news.com.au


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Water forces college closure

ROSNY College will be closed again tomorrow because of a burst water main.

The College was also closed today.

The Education Department said repair work on the pipe would require excavation and the College will be without water.

Rosny College students who have classes at the Tasmanian Polytechnic should attend as normal.

Teachers will be able to work and are being advised to attend.

The department expects the College will reopen on Monday.


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ATSB to examine chemical spill

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 10 April 2013 | 19.55

THE derailment of a train carrying dangerous goods near Colebrook will be investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Tasmania Fire Service crews spent today cleaning up after the chemical spill near the southern Tasmanian town.

It happened when four wagons of a south-bound Tasrail train derailed about 9.30pm yesterday.

The TFS said no one was injured in the incident but a quantity of chemicals was spilled trackside.

No residential properties near the accident site had been affected by the chemical hazard, the TFS said.

TasRail said two of the four derailed wagons were empty, while the other two were carrying phosphoric acid and sodium hyposulphite.

"As soon as the derailment occurred, TasRail promptly notified the TFS and the Environment Protection Authority," TasRail CEO Damien White said in a statement this afternoon.

"All TasRail locomotives carry spill kits and the prompt action taken by staff to place bunding around the tanktainer resulted in the initial spillage being confined.

"The TFS attended the scene last night and sealed the tanktainer leak.

"As a precaution, TasRail requested the TFS return to the derailment site today to oversee the recovery of the two dangerous goods wagons."

TasRail crews are working to repair about 2.5km of track damage, with the north-south line expected to reopen late tomorrow.

The ATSB will investigate the incident with the full co-operation of TasRail.


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O'Byrne hit over 'criminal' tag

LIBERAL senator Eric Abetz has slammed Tasmanian Labor minister David O'Byrne for calling former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher a "war criminal" on Twitter.

Mr O'Byrne, whose portfolios include police and workplace relations, tweeted on Monday: "she was a war criminal, let's never forget the Belgrano".

The comment was a reference to the Argentine Navy ship the General Belgrano, which was sunk by the British during the Falklands War in 1982, killing more than 300 sailors.

Senator Abetz has described Mr O'Byrne as an "embarrassment" and accused him of flirting with Marxism.

"This kind of vile commentary, following the passing of one of the world's strongest leaders, is to be condemned in the strongest terms," Senator Abetz said in a statement.

"It is a national embarrassment to have this minister labelling a genuinely democratically elected leader from one of the world's oldest democracies a war criminal."

Senator Abetz lauded Lady Thatcher's achievements as British prime minister, which he said included "taking a tough stand against communism and socialism".

"By contrast David O'Byrne has worked to bring radical and socialist policies to Tasmania, even inviting the Marxist president of Venezuela (the late) Hugo Chavez to Australia," Senator Abetz said.

Mr O'Byrne stood by his Twitter comments, but added: "Her death is a tragic thing for her family & loved ones but does not erase her deeds."

Former Greens leader Bob Brown said on Tuesday his overriding memory of Lady Thatcher would be the "massacre" of the Belgrano sailors.


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Star scholar off to Cambridge

TASMANIAN Sarah Lynn Rees is among just four people to win a 2013 Charles Perkins Scholarship for indigenous Australians.

Sarah will start post-graduate studies in architecture and urban design at Cambridge University later this year.

A descendant of Dolly Dalrymple and the Plangermaireener people in Tasmania, she grew up in Hobart before achieving first-class honours in a Bachelor of Environments, majoring in architecture, at the University of Melbourne.

The 23-year-old now works for Melbourne's Jackson Clements Burrows Architects and was thrilled to be named a recipient.

"My research proposal was on the concept of nomadic housing and indigenous culture," Sarah said.

"It's still four more years of study and experience to become a registered architect, but I'd become the eighth indigenous person to be an architect in Australia. There are only seven."

Sarah attended MacKillop College at Mornington and Rosny College.

British High Commissioner Paul Madden announced the scholarships in Canberra today. Worth $50,000 a year, they are designed to assist post-graduate studies at Oxford and Cambridge.

In 1966, Dr Perkins became the first indigenous Australian man to graduate from university.


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Prison exit costs $260,000

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 09 April 2013 | 19.55

THE premature departure of prison boss Barry Greenberry will cost Tasmanian taxpayers about $260,000.

Corrections Minister Nick McKim has told State Parliament that Mr Greenberry was paid out 14 months of his salary as part of a workers compensation claim.

The Government has also paid Mr Greenberry $15,000 to cover return travel to the United Kingdom and $5000 for legal costs.

The Mercury revealed earlier this month that Mr Greenberry, who was headhunted from the UK to help turn around operations at Risdon Prison, was leaving the job just over a year into his five-year contract.

Prison Advisory Service co-convenor and Mercury columnist Greg Barns has described the move as a "tragic loss to prison reform".

Mr Greenberry's resume includes the establishment of a prison on the Isle of Wight, housing 1700 inmates and employing 900 staff members.


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Podiatrist denies sex assault

A PODIATRIST pulled a patient's underpants down before sexually assaulting her during a consultation for a foot problem in 2011, the Supreme Court in Launceston has heard.

Terence Williams has pleaded not guilty to indecently assaulting the woman by touching her breasts and one count of aggravated sexual assault.

The offences allegedly occurred at a clinic in suburban Kings Meadows on November 15, 2011.

The complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said it was the second time she had seen Mr Williams about a problem with her right foot.

The 30-year-old woman sobbed as she told a jury that Mr Williams said "I am going inside now " before putting his fingers into her bottom.

The woman said Mr Williams had not said anything else to her.

"I asked him if I was out of line," she said.

"He said 'I thought you were'."

She said she was shocked he had not used a glove or washed his hands.

The woman said Mr Williams had earlier undone her bra and moved his hands up and down her sides before cupping her breasts.

The trial, before Justice Peter Evans, is continuing.


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Churches blast reform 'tsunami'

TASMANIA'S church leaders have united to try to stop the "tsunami" of social changes being pushed by the State Government.

Anglican Bishop John Harrower and Catholic Archbishop Adrian Doyle were among those today calling for the Government not to ignore Christian values as it pushed for legislative reform on euthanasia, abortion and same-sex marriage.

Presbyterian moderator David Jones, the Baptist Union's John Smith, Australian Christian Churches Pastor Peter Shurley, and Salvation Army division commander Ritchie Watson were among the others to sign the "Salamanca Declaration".

The group said it affirmed the values of "life, liberty and legacy".

Bishop Harrower said the "appalling" abortion laws cemented social and economic factors that could include gender selection as reasons for justifying terminations up to full term.

"Are we moving to infanticide?" he asked.

He said it was wrong to expect proper responses to the "tsunami of legislation" and a few weeks were not enough to allow full consideration of the issues.

"This is not the same as Victorian legislation."

Legana Christian Church pastor Andrew Corbett said the termination law was more dramatic than the most liberalised in the world.

He said Christian views were specifically excluded in the legislation.

"Enough's enough," he said.


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Tassie lays out welcome mat

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 08 April 2013 | 19.55

A VISIT by Chinese president Xi Jinping would be among the biggest logistical feats in the state's history, says Premier Lara Giddings.

Ms Giddings said she wrote to President Xi in December, inviting him to tour the state when he next visited Australia.

She said such a visit would be a great honour.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is now visiting China, has said the President mentioned he had been to every state but Tasmania and she aimed to put it on the itinerary.

"That fact that Tasmania is on President Xi's agenda highlights that while we may be a small state, we are making a big impression in one of the fastest growing countries in the world," Ms Giddings said in a statement today.

"This would be a first for Tasmania and would be one of the biggest logistical challenges in the state's history. President Xi would be accompanied by a considerable entourage of officials, state media and security personnel.

"But an official visit would open up enormous opportunities to strengthen Tasmania's relationship with China and capitalise on the country's rapid growth."

Ms Giddings said President Xi has had a long association with Tasmania as the former Governor of our Chinese sister-state, the Fujian Province.

"Former Premier Jim Bacon was a regular visitor to Fujian and was bestowed with honorary citizenship by President Xi during a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the relationship in 2001," she said.

"I would very much welcome the opportunity to return the gesture if President Xi was to visit Tasmania."

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive officer Luke Martin said a visit from the global leader would generate promotion and publicity for the state that no money could buy.

"If there is even a small chance to secure a visit to Tasmania by the Chinese President, or any Asian leader, then we should be smart as a state and pursue it with full vigour," Mr Martin said.

"Imagine what a boost it would be for Tasmania's profile in Asia for the Chinese President to experience first-hand Tasmania's world-class hospitality, and the images it would generate of our state beamed straight back into Asia."

Mr Martin said China was on track to become Tasmania's number one international visitor market by 2020, with other emerging Asian markets also growing rapidly.


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C-cell proponent seeks funds

Southern Waste Solutions chief Christine Bell at the site of the company's proposed C-cell development.

SOUTHERN Waste Solutions will lodge its application for federal funds this week to help it build a C-cell dump at Copping.

The company is understood to be seeking about $5 million and hopes to start the project by the end of this year.

Last year, Independent MP Andrew Wilkie called for no federal funds for the controversial contaminated-waste dump.

Tasmania is the only state without a Category C waste disposal cell.

The proposal has already been approved by the Environment Protection Authority.


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Accused killer faces court

A MAN accused of the hammer murders of two academics at Mountain River last December has appeared via video-link in Hobart's Supreme Court.

Nicolau Francisco Soares, 27, of Western Australia, is accused of killing his mother Delys Weston, 62, and health economist Gavin Mooney, 69, at their property on December 20.

Mr Soares spoke only once -- to confirm his identity -- during today's proceedings.

Justice Helen Wood ordered him to appear again on July 22.


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Bundle of joy eases the pain

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 07 April 2013 | 19.55

LIZ Sheppard is rejoicing at holding a baby in her arms, six months after losing her son Andreas.

Her daughter Adalyn was born at Calvary Hospital in Hobart on Thursday night.

"We didn't plan it. She was an absolute shock but a nice one," Mrs Sheppard said.

"I'm always going to have a huge hole left from Andy but Adalyn puts a little patch on it."

Andreas died on October 6, at just 15 months, from an extremely rare heart condition.

His brave struggle for life inspired thousands of people, some of whom formed "Andy's Army" to support the boy known as "little monkey" and his mum, dad Nathan, sisters Maykayla and Sinead and brother Soren.

The family, from the Hobart suburb of Mornington, planned to set up a charity in Andy's name.

"We want to help others by improving palliative care for children in Tasmania," Mrs Sheppard, a student nurse, said.

The many visits to Melbourne for treatment for Andreas had shown them that Tasmania lacked specialised services for dying children.

"There is a lot of stigma about these things here, as if we shouldn't talk about things," she said.

"Tasmania has a high rate of stillbirths. I think people need more choices. They should have the option to take their child home and have photographs taken."

The Sheppards decided to keep this pregnancy quiet to avoid a fuss.

As it turned out, Adalyn was born without complications.

The whole process took 1 1/2 hours and she was the biggest baby Mrs Sheppard has had, weighing just over 4kg (9lb 3oz).

"It was very important for me to have a calm, peaceful environment and the staff at Calvary were so lovely and understanding," she said.

"I also want to thank Andy's Army for being continuously supportive. We still get daily messages."

Mrs Sheppard said her other children were excited about having a new sister.


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Tassie shucks oyster slight

TASMANIA'S reputation for seafood has taken a hit after the oyster contamination but can survive an isolated case, say industry leaders.

A gastroenteritis outbreak struck more than 200 people in Tasmania and Victoria after a sewerage line leaked near an oyster lease at Dunalley.

On Thursday night, viewers of The Footy Show heard remarks about Collingwood player Heath Shaw's gastro, which stopped him playing in last Sunday's match.

Panellists said he had eaten Tasmanian oysters.

Oyster pioneer Barilla Bay Seafoods recalled stock and destroyed harvested oysters.

Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council chief executive officer Neil Stump said action had been swift.

"The industry when alerted has acted promptly and put in the proper protocols and measures so, hopefully, consumers will be understanding this is not caused by the farmers," Dr Stump said.

"We're hoping for a bit of understanding."

Oyster-related gastro outbreaks interstate are not uncommon, but it was a first for Tasmania's commercial oyster industry, public health director Roscoe Taylor said.

Dr Taylor praised Barilla Bay's voluntary recall as a good example to business.

Oysters Tasmania executive officer Tom Lewis said public health bosses acted conservatively and everything had been done correctly.

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said the case showed why water and sewerage reform was so important for health and environment.

"I think there's no question there's been some negative media around this," Mr Bacon said.

"We put in a lot of work to establish Tasmania's clean reputation for quality food right across the different types of produce and we want to see that continue."

Primary Industries and Water Minister Bryan Green said he was saddened.

"We fight so hard to make sure our seafood, our aquaculture industry, is sold around the world and it's disappointing we have affected oysters making people sick here and on the mainland," Mr Green said.

"The good thing is that we've been able to isolate the problem so people understand it's not a wider problem. This was an isolated incident, one we're now on top of, but it highlights how important it is we have water and sewerage reform. That will ensure our waters are and can remain pristine to provide for this fantastic industry."


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Keeping the V8 roar on track

WINNER: Fabian Coulthard crosses the line first - ahead of Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN

V8 SUPERCARS Australia and the State Government are negotiating a new deal to keep the V8s coming to Tasmania until at least 2017.

Talks include a multi-million-dollar upgrade of Symmons Plains raceway and creating new local jobs around the state's biggest sporting event.

Round two of the Australian V8 Supercar championships at Symmons this weekend, which Premier Lara Giddings will attend today, is the second instalment of a three-year contract between the Supercars and Government for the V8s to race in Tasmania.

Even though 2014 is locked in, talks started behind closed doors on Friday on a new three to five-year deal.

As well as an event guarantee, talks have centred on millions being spent on the track and its facilities in the next few years, with money coming from the State Government and V8 Supercars Australia.

Tasmanian Mark Perry, V8 Supercars Australia's new director of promoted events, is in the thick of negotiations.

The former boss of Targa Tasmania has just moved from Hobart to the Gold Coast to take up the post.

"Tasmania is definitely part of our future plans and we've started talking about a new three to five-year arrangement," Mr Perry said.

"The Government, us, and all the stakeholders would love to see more money spent at Symmons Plains to make the facilities better for the fans, drivers and everyone.

"That is definitely a key to our discussions right now putting a bit more into the track and also the local community and into getting more employment involved around the round and the economy.

"The Government is very much onside with that and we'll spend more money here as well and form some partnerships that will make this track better."

The investment in infrastructure would be a joint effort.

"No one expects the Government to be constantly dipping into its pocket," Perry said.

"It's unreasonable in the current world, and our sport and the fans get the benefit at the end of the day."

Upgrades may eventually include altering the track layout for the Supercars, which lap at an average 170km/h and reach 280km/h.

"This track was never built for cars that go as fast as they do these days, so we need to consider all of that for the long term," Perry said.

"Nothing happens overnight so you've got to start planning now so budgeting can be done and signed off."


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