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Petrol price rise warning

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

TASMANIAN motorists are being warned to keep a close eye on fuel prices with fears a spike at the bowser is imminent.

With the wholesale price of fuel spiking in Singapore off the back of a drop in the Australian dollar the RACT has raised concerns the cost jump could soon hit the wallets of local motorists.

Retail prices have been gradually creeping up in Hobart in the past week.

Latest figures from fuel watchdog website Motormouth shows the average price for unleaded fuel in Hobart had reached 154.1c a litre on Thursday compared with the June average of 151.4c a  litre.

Hobart remains the most expensive capital city, behind Darwin, for the highest average petrol prices in the country.

Despite Hobart remaining relatively stable so far, other states states have seen quick rises in prices to the tune of up to 20c a litre in the past few days.

The wholesale price has also crept up, as it had in other states.

RACT spokesman Vince Taskunas said yesterday Tasmanians had become accustomed to a fairly stable market when it came to fuel.

However, in coming weeks motorists should keep a close eyes on fuel prices, he said.

"Generally, people don't look at the price," he said.

"But in coming weeks motorists should look at prices more closely.

"Fuel is inevitably going to go up."

Mr Taskunas said the recent drop in the Australian dollar was great news for Tasmanian exporters, but it  would have an impact on fuel prices.

"We are seeing an increase in the cost per barrel because of the exchange rate dropping," he  said.

In other states, petrol prices have jumped considerably recently.

In Perth and Adelaide, some service stations have  seen price rises of up to 20c a litre for unleaded fuel.

Mr Taskunas said prices in Hobart had remained relatively stable, but prices in the North and North-West of the state had jumped recently.

He said he expected price spikes would take longer to occur in Tasmania than they had in other parts of the country.

In the past few years, the average price of unleaded fuel in Hobart has jumped from 122.2c a litre in June 2009 to 148.8c a litre last month.


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Dancing from here to infinity

ATHLETIC: The Melbourne Ballet Company is bringing a series of modern interpretations to Hobart's Derwent Entertainment Centre.

THE acclaimed Melbourne Ballet Company will put a modern spin on classical dance when it makes a rare visit to Hobart next week.

Designed to inspire both new and long-time ballet audiences, the company's entrancing show Infinite Space combines four original works choreographed by principal dancer Simon Hoy and brought to life by a talented ensemble of performers.

Infinite Space features In One Day, a physical and athletic piece set to Vivaldi's Four Seasons; Dark Before Daylight, the company's take on the timeless classic Swan Lake, complete with pointe shoes and tutus; Phrased Without Word, a physical expression of Arvo Part's Spiegel im Spiegel; and Infinite Space, an uplifting celebration of beauty set to Mozart's 27th Piano Concerto.

The Melbourne Ballet Company is at the Derwent Entertainment Centre from 2pm and 7.30pm next Saturday.

Tickets are $48 adults/$43 concession/$26 children.

Go to www.ticketmaster.com.au or phone 136 100.

Company members will host workshops at the DEC on Thursday and Friday for $27.

Interested parties should contact Ph: 6273 0233 to book your spot.


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Man shot dead at Marrawah

The body of a man was found outside the Marrawah Tavern early this morning. Picture: CHRIS KIDD

THE shooting death of a man outside a hotel in Tasmania's north-west this morning was targeted, police say.

The man in his 40s was shot dead outside the Marrawah Hotel just after midnight.

"Investigations to date suggest this is not a random act -- and that it was a targeted act," police said in a statement.

"We are following a number of lines of inquiry. We have deployed significant resources to the incident and are seeking assistance from the public."

Police have urged anyone with information relating to people acting suspiciously, vehicles moving in the area at the time, hitchhikers or people walking along the road to contact them.

They will continue to have resources in the area and have set up a command post at the scene.

"We encourage the public to be alert to what is going on around them, but not alarmed -- but remember that any information could prove vital and don't hesitate to pass it on to us," a police statement said.

The man's next of kin have been notified, but police are not releasing his details at this stage.

Marrawah is a small town of about 400 people in the Circular Head area.

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Fun challenge for Fed PS

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

Tom Pedston and Acacia Prince-Pike try to do some ironing at waterman's dock. Pictures: KIM EISZELE

IF you saw a barista ironing or someone jumping into the cold River Derwent for no apparent reason this morning, there was a reason behind the madness.

Aardvark Adventures was running a challenge event for a Federal Government department.

Business owner Phil Harris said about 40 people from the Commonwealth Marine Services Branch, in Hobart for a meeting, took part in the event.

"We gave them a range of items to collect, photos to take and missions to carry out," he said.

"A picture in the highest spot, the wettest spot or inside a stranger's hoodie while they are still wearing it.

"We asked them to film themselves humming the Mission Impossible theme while crawling through a store.

"It was almost as much fun thinking of the challenges as completing them.

"The idea is for people to get to know each other, it's a bonding exercise."

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Tense stand-off at Ta Ann

TENSIONS are high at an anti-logging protest that has shut down production at Ta Ann's timber processing plant at Smithton.

About 40 protesters – including several activists believed to be from interstate -- converged on the North-West Tasmanian site this morning, with two shackling themselves to machinery inside the mill.

Five Tasmania Police officers are outside the mill and it is understood several more are inside attempting to negotiate with protesters.

A crowd of forest industry supporters has also gathered to show their anger over the protest.

Still Wild Still Threatened spokeswoman Miranda Gibson said the action was designed to highlight concerns about "the appalling acceptance of this company in Tasmania".

But other major environment groups in Tasmania have come out against the protesters.

Signatories to the Tasmanian Forests Agreement -- including Environment Tasmania, the Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation – issued a group statement condemning the action.

They said it was "uncalled for, unnecessary and working counter to the creation of new reserves in Tasmania".

"Ta Ann Tasmania supported the World Heritage listing of Tasmania's tall wet forests, the reservation of over 500,000ha of forests and, for the longer term, has committed to source its wood supply outside of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement reserve areas," the groups said in a statement.

"With broad support for the conservation and industry outcomes of the lengthy negotiations, now is not the time for this sort of action."

Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam said the action was also potentially dangerous.

"Taking direct action by taking over a legal workplace is not only unnecessary, it is also potentially dangerous for all parties involved," Cr Quilliam said.

"Ta Ann is legally operating in Tasmania and should be able to undertake its operations without the threat of such acts."

But the protesters remain undeterred.

"Tasmania's outstanding native forests and their threatened species remain at risk of continued industrial scale destruction, despite the passage of new forest legislation in the Tasmanian Parliament," Ms Gibson said.

"This legislation has not declared new reserves, and it has allowed ongoing logging of proposed reserves."

Comment has also been sought from Ta Ann.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury ...

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Tornado + sharks = epic film

WHEN a movie called Sharknado has a sole tag line of "enough said", you know expectations aren't high.

Unless you love bad movies - in which case that tag line just raises expectations higher than the English press believing in an Ashes win.

Sharknado - written by a guy called Thunder Levin (that's his real name, apparently) and directed by the guy who did the make-up for Scarecrow Slayer and The Revolting Dead (yes, those two...), is pretty much what you think it's going to be - sharks, caught up in an almighty TORNADO, and then landing on people. 

Take that, Snakes on a Plane. Take that, Sharktopus. Take that, Piranhaconda.

Sometimes, they land right on people, judging by the trailer. Which you should watch right now, just to see Ian Ziering (yes, Steve from Beverly Hills 90210) actually leap into a shark with a chainsaw. If you want to see that bit, skip straight to 50 seconds in.

Don't seek logic (why does the tornado choose only man-eating sharks? Why don't they die ONCE THEY'RE OUT OF WATER? Where DID Tara Reid go since the American Pie movies and did she really need cash this badly?).

Just watch for the pure absurdity of a flying shark shot out of the air with a hand gun. Of shots of people picking up household items such as what appears to be a spray-can to fend off the sharks. In their houses. Of CGI sharks falling out of the air on to a city.

And why do they hit so many billboards? And windows?

Let's leave the last word to the director, Anthony Ferrante: "There's a flood. And a storm. Don't worry about it."

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Froome in command of Tour

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

CHRIS Froome has accused the rogue Tour de France spectator who threw urine over Mark Cavendish of ruining the atmosphere of the centenary Tour.

Froome's elation at building an impregnable overall lead was tempered by the attack on former Sky teammate Cavendish.

The stage 11 incident followed Cavendish's role in the collision that upended Argos-Shimano rider Tom Veelers in a torrid finish into Saint Malo on Tuesday.

The disturbing incident came as Froome moved closer to a maiden Tour title, while Australians Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers and Richie Porte all climbed higher in the general classification.

Froome now has a gaping 3min25sec buffer over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Belkin's Bauke Mollema is third at 3min37sec ahead of Saxo-Tinkoff's dual champion Alberto Contador (3min54sec).

The stage was won by Cavendish's Omega Pharma team-mate Tony Martin.

Martin covered the 33km course in 41min53sec, 12 seconds faster than Froome.

Belgian Thomas de Gendt was third, 61sec down, while Porte was an impressive fourth, 1min21sec behind.

Evans (14th), Rogers (16th) and Porte (31st) all improved their positions after another dramatic day.

Cavendish avoided the media after a time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel from Avranches, telling a team official he was "sad rather than angry" after being doused in urine.

Froome also was upset by the incident.

"It is disappointing to hear about one individual like that," he said.

"That's one of the beauties of our sport. Anyone can come and watch at the side of the road and enjoy the excitement and really get close to the top riders in the world.

"Mark is one of the big characters in the sport, and some people love him, some people hate him. But to do something disrespectful like that, that's really sad. It ruins the whole atmosphere."

Cavendish's French teammate Jerome Pineau took to Twitter last night, saying he was "ashamed" of the spectators responsible.

"Yesterday I was so proud about the support (at) the race but today I am ashamed," Pineau wrote.

"Ashamed when my friend Mark Cavendish said that he was insulting and p...ed (on) all the parcours (course). Shame on you!"

Team boss Patrick Lefevere confirmed Cavendish had been jeered by hostile spectators and before one of the onlookers threw liquid out of bottle at the Briton.

"We always thought that cycling fans were gentlemen," Lefevere told the Daily Mail.

"In a football stadium we have a certain distance between players and the public. Here we are very close to the public. We cannot blame everybody because there are maybe 200,000 people along the course and one man or woman thought to do this."

Tour officials have vowed to catch the offender.

Cavendish was heckled not long after leaving the start ramp. Cleared of blame by race officials after commissaires studied video of the fall, Cavendish apologised to Veelers - who is said to still be furious with the world champion.

Lefevere believes simmering anger over Veelers' crash was the motivation behind the urine incident.

"Probably some spectators were not very pleased with what happened yesterday and they yelled to him (Cavendish) and then one other idiot threw urine at him," Omega Pharma team CEO Patrick Lefevere said. "Mark is not upset, but he is really disappointed because he thinks he didn't deserve this."

Lefevere was unable to confirm when exactly the incident had occurred.

"The cycling public is known for being very fair, we have no hooligans, but there are thousands and thousands of people on the roads and not everybody is a gentleman."

Cavendish's partner Peta Todd was devastated.

"The way people have behaved today is disgusting," she tweeted. "Yet we are just expected to take it on the chin. The jury ruled. #Inhumane." She followed up with: "My little heart hurts."

Cavendish's French team-mate Jerome Pineau described the episode as "shameful".

"It's shameful that my friend Mark Cavendish has told me he was whistled and had urine thrown on him during the race. It's a scandal," he tweeted.

Cavendish telephoned Veelers on Tuesday night to apologise, but Veelers is understood to have rejected the approach and demanded a face to face meeting.

Lefevere hopes the pair can move on.

"He (Cavendish) apologised already yesterday on Twitter and on the phone," he said. "If you don't agree you don't take the telephone, but he (Veelers) took the telephone.

"Today is a time trial so you don't have the time but maybe tomorrow he can have a little handshake with Tom Veelers if he agrees to do it and then this case has to be closed."

Australian Olympic gold medallist Scott McGrory was outraged.

"The spectator that threw urine on @MarkCavendish in the TT needs to be found and prosecuted. What a scum bag," he tweeted.

Orica-GreenEDGE's Svein Tuft set the early standard, roaring through the first intermediate time check after 9.5km at Ducey in 10min43sec.

As the second rider to start, the Canadian was quickest after 22km at Courtils in 25min35sec and held the position to Mont-Saint-Michel in 38min4sec.

The next 61 riders failed to better Tuft's time before de Gendt (Vacansoleil) crossed the line in 37min30sec.

Martin, who was following de Gendt across the winding, mostly flat course to the "Wonder of the West", promptly obliterated that effort.

Porte sat in third place briefly after a superb ride in the strengthening afternoon crosswinds after riding the course late morning with Froome.

The Tasmanian indicated he had recovered fully from Sunday's ordeal in the Pyrenees as Martin's time remained out of reach to all, including Froome.

The Englishman led at the intermediate time checks before fading slightly into gusting winds in the shadows of Mont-Saint-Michel.

Badly hurt in a crash in Corsica on the first day, Martin returned intervals of 10.21, 24.42 and 36.29.

Martin revealed he had been unable to sleep on his back because of injuries suffered in Bastia.

After averaging 54.271km/h for the stage, Martin slumped onto the road in the shadows of one of the world's most iconic abbeys.

OPS director Helge Riepenhof said: "They are exceptionally hard men in this race. And Tony in particular impresses me.

"There wouldn't be many riders still on their bikes if they had injuries like what he sustained in that crash.

"After the crash, the team was very supportive and told him that whatever he decided to do - stay or go home - they were behind him.

"But even in the hospital, he said to me: 'OK, what can we do to make sure I get through the next few days so that I'm ready for the time trials?'

"As soon as he saw that there's nothing broken, he was ready to race again and already focussing on the days ahead."

The stage started to the northwest of Mont-Saint-Michel in Avranches, famed in WWII as site of one of American General George Patton's most illustrious victories.

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Masked man robs bottle shop

CCTV footage of the alleged robber and his vehicle.

POLICE are searching for a masked man who robbed a Bridgewater bottle shop overnight.

The offender entered the Big Bargain Bottle Shop in Hurst St at 7.55pm yesterday, using his body weight to force open the automatic doors.

The attendant inside was just closing up for the night.

"Once inside, he (the offender) removed a till containing a quantity of cash before exiting through the same point and returning to a waiting vehicle," Detective Senior Constable Louise O'Connor said.

"At no time throughout this incident was the attendant threatened, or was violence offered."

The masked man -- who was wearing a stocking over his head with eye holes cut into it -- is described as being about 176cm tall and of slim build.

Police say he was dressed in a khaki checked jacket, possibly with a dark hooded jumper underneath, dark trousers and white runners.

He was also wearing bright red or orange gloves.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

It was the third robbery of an alcohol outlet in Bridgewater, in Hobart's northern suburbs, since May.

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Jobless rate surges in Tassie

THE jobless rate unexpectedly jumped to its highest level in nearly four years in June, adding to the case for a further cut in interest rates.

The national unemployment rate rose to 5.7 per cent, from an upwardly revised 5.6 per cent in May, and was last at this level in September 2009 when the impact of global financial crisis was being felt.

The number of people in employment rose by 10,300 in June, when economists had been expecting no change.

The spike was largely due to a 14,400 increase in part-time jobs, offset by a fall in full-time work, the Australian Bureau of Statistics report showed.

The Reserve Bank of Australia earlier this month left the cash rate unchanged at an all-time low of 2.75 per cent, but left the door open for a further reduction.

Recent economic data has added to that case, with business conditions falling to a four-year low and consumer confidence also down, despite the low interest rate environment.

While higher than expected, the June jobless rate is still just below the 5.75 per cent three-month average for the June quarter forecast by the Federal Government in the May Budget.

Among the states, the unemployment rate rose to 5.8 per cent from 5.4 per cent in Victoria and jumped to 6.4 per cent from 5.9 per cent in Queensland.

It also increased in South Australia, to six per cent from 5.9 per cent, and surged to 8.9 per cent from 7.5 per cent in Tasmania.

In the nation's most populous state, NSW, the jobless rate fell to 5.4 per cent from 5.5 per cent, while in Western Australia it declined to 4.6 per cent from 4.9 per cent.

In the territories, the rate fell in the ACT to 3.7 per cent from 3.9 per cent but rose to 5.3 per cent from 5.2 per cent in Northern Territory.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury...

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Icy roads create havoc

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

A PEDESTRIAN has been knocked unconscious in Launceston's CBD, with police officers at the scene.

In a statement issued about 1.45pm today, police said the accident had happened in Cimitiere St and no further details were immediately available.

It is understood the incident occurred near the Spotlight department store.

Light rain that turned to ice has caused havoc on northern Tasmanian roads earlier today.

Tasmania Police Sergeant Nick Clark said there had been 22 car accidents between 7am and 9.30am, damaging cars but causing no serious injuries.

Sgt Clark said there had been five crashes at George Town and four at Travellers Rest.

Five cars piled up on Ecclestone Rd, a steep road in the Launceston suburb on Riverside, after brakes became useless on black ice.

Pedestrians also had trouble staying upright on iced-up footpaths.

Sgt Clark said such extensive black ice cover had not been seen in the north for many years.

He said motorists needed to be wary when light rain fell on very cold mornings.

For a full list of roads affected by ice, click here.

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All aboard for adventure

A GROUP of young migrants has set sail on an eight-day voyage of discovery around Tasmania.

Ten migrants who have settled in Tasmania from far-flung countries including Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo today joined six other young leaders from across the state on the brigantine Windeward Bound.

Congolese migrant Fabrice Bisimwa, 16, who now lives in Hobart, said he was nervous but excited about the voyage.

The trip on the sail training vessel aims to bring local teenagers together with "new Tasmanians" who have arrived as refugees.

They will be joined on board by seven experienced crew, including Captain Sarah Parry.

It was made possible with financial support from the Rotary Club of Hobart, the Windeward Bound Trust, the Hobart City Council and other Rotary clubs statewide.

Rotary Club of Hobart spokeswoman Mary Dwyer said one of the aims of the project was to unite young people who normally wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet.

"We have created an opportunity with the Windeward Bound project to put teenagers from war-torn countries together with teenagers who have only known peace," she said.

"On a micro level, our Windeward Bound project has all of the essential elements of community bonding."

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Hot tips on soup selection

WHILE a hot bowl of soup can provide comfort on a wintry day, the Heart Foundation has warned pre-packaged soups can be a major source of "hidden salt".

Excessive dietary salt is a major cause of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Heart Foundation chief executive officer Graeme Lynch today said canned and cup soup mixes contained some of the highest levels of "hidden salt" found in processed foods.

Mr Lynch encouraged Tasmanians to choose a soup brand that carried the Heart Foundation tick, which was only awarded to products with a lower salt content.

"In Tasmania, three out of 10 people have high blood pressure compared with two out of 10 in Australia. High blood pressure is the major risk factor for heart attack and stroke," he said.

Heart Foundation's Go Red For Women ambassador Jane Stephens, whose sister is Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, said many people were not aware of how much hidden salt they were eating.

"Taking small steps to reduce your salt intake -- such as always checking food labels or even making your own soup from scratch rather than buying ready-made -- is something positive you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease," Mrs Stephens said.

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Call to keep our kids safe

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

A LAX attitude to the use of seatbelts and child restraints has been blamed for the high rate of child deaths in road accidents in Tasmania.

The RACT says Tasmania has the highest rate per capita of child death from transport-related reasons in the nation.

On average, 37 children under seven years old are injured or killed while passengers in vehicles on our roads each year.

The peak motoring group, in collaboration with the Council for Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity, is working on an education campaign to try to reverse the startling statistics.

The council is involved in investigating the deaths of children in Tasmania aged between 29 days and 17 years.

RACT spokesman Vince Taskunas said a significant percentage of car passengers involved in serious casualty crashes were not wearing seatbelts or an age-appropriate restraint.

Mr Taskunas said RACT community vehicle safety checks often found poorly fitted or age-inappropriate child restraints in cars.

Council chair Michelle Williams said the incorrect use of child restraints had been a factor in deaths of young children examined over a number of years.

"In 2011, one young child died as a result of injury sustained during a road accident. The toddler was a rear seat passenger wearing only a lap belt," Dr Williams said.

"Every road death is a tragedy. The death or serious injury of a child who may have been saved by appropriate child restraints or belts is a catastrophe."

Dr Williams said the incorrect use of restraints was common and the community needed to be constantly reminded about the risks.

Legally, all children under seven travelling in a car must wear an approved child restraint which is properly fastened and adjusted.

Tasmania Police recorded 4379 seatbelt and child restraint offences in 2011-12.

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Bid to free detainee, aged 11

REFUGEE advocate Greg Barns has called for the urgent release of an 11-year-old boy from the Pontville detention centre.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance director demanded the child be removed from the "shameful jail for kids" into community care before the boy suffered "irreversible psychological harm".

The revelation that children so young are behind the centre's cyclone fences comes days after Immigration Minister Tony Burke signed off on the release of 18 young men and prepares to release a further 18.

"I have actually met with this boy during my visit to Pontville last week," Mr Burke told reporters this morning.

"The situation here is one where in the ordinary course someone who is 11 years old, regardless of how long he's been in detention, I would have put him right to the front of availability for community places and that was my first instinct.

"The challenge here is he's with two cousins and to find community detention for three people takes longer than to find it for one, and I'm reluctant to break up that family group."

Mr Barns, who was recently appointed to a Tasmanian government committee on reforming child protection laws, said to continue to keep the child or any other child in detention not only endangered their wellbeing but was in breach of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"It's great that … Tony Burke has just signed off of on the release of 18 young asylum seekers from Pontville, but what about the remaining 400 or so being held throughout Australia -- 300 or so of whom are still in this state?" he said.

The ALA says recent incidents of youths acting out in frustration at the Pontville centre would continue until all children were safely rehoused in the community.

Mr Barns, who is a columnist for the Mercury and campaign director for the Wikileaks party, called on Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings to intervene personally to end the detention of vulnerable young people at Pontville.

"Ms Giddings should tell the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Mr Burke that her Government will work the Commonwealth to immediately close this shameful 'jail for kids'," he said.

The ALA says the Commonwealth has a duty of care when people arrive on Australian shores to protect their mental and physical wellbeing.

"This is even more crucial when we are talking about impressionable youth," Mr Barns said.

"The (Federal) Government has already opened itself up to more than $25 million in compensation because of its treatment of asylum seekers."

Mr Burke said the boy and his cousins were staying in a separate area to other detainees.

"I'm not pretending it's what we would want as permanent accommodation, but right now I want to wait until we can get a community place so that we can move all three people together.

"I think that's a better outcome than separating the 11-year-old from the only relatives that he currently has."


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Tassie signs education reform

TASMANIA has today signed up the the Federal Government's national education reforms.

Federal Education Minister Bill Shorten made the announcement this afternoon.

Mr Shorten said the deal would deliver improvements for each of the 81,000 school students in the state.

Tasmania is the fourth state to sign up to the reform package.

"The Heads of Agreement that provides the detail of this reform for Tasmania which will see annual funding allocations for Tasmanian schools rise to $1.4 billion in 2019," Mr Shorten said.

"Over the six years of the new agreement, the Australian and Tasmanian governments will invest more than $380 million in extra funding between 2014 and 2019.

"These indexation arrangements mean all schools in Tasmania -- government, independent and Catholic -- will see fair funding growth each year."

Mr Shorten said the Federal Government would boost school funding by 4.7 per cent each year throughout the agreement while the State Government will increase its funding by 3 per cent each year.


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Crash takes out traffic lights

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

MORRISON St near the Hobart waterfront was blocked for several hours after an accident today.

A crash just after 11am resulted in traffic lights being broken at the Elizabeth St intersection.

The bottom block of Argyle St was closed and police warned the closure might stay in place for several hours while the lights were repaired.

Two people were taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital with suspected minor injuries as a result of the two-vehicle crash.

Both injured parties were in the same vehicle.

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Push to shore up ferry plan

Clarence Deputy Mayor Jock Campbell says commuters need a back-up option to the Tasman Bridge.

GREATER Hobart is crying out for a fast and efficient ferry service between the CBD and Bellerive, says Sustainable Transport Minister Nick McKim.

Mr McKim today joined Hobart Lord Mayor Damon Thomas and Clarence Deputy Mayor Jock Campbell to announce a $30,000 formal consultation process on the ferry plan.

Potential operators and key stakeholders will soon be invited by the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources to discuss how best to run a viable and sustainable service.

"Two cities like Hobart and Bellerive are crying out for a fast and efficient mass-transit ferry service," Mr McKim said in a statement.

"I'm pleased to announce that I'm working with the two relevant councils to make that happen.

"In May, I agreed to part-fund a formal engagement process with would-be operators. Both councils have shown real enthusiasm for this concept and I warmly welcome their joint funding."

Mr McKim said he was also continuing to work with Transit Systems on its submission for a ferry service up the Derwent River.

Rick Metcalfe, the man behind plans for a River Derwent commuter ferry service, recently told the Mercury he had three vessels ready to transport up to 3000 passengers a day along the river from stops as far afield as Kettering, Bruny Island, South Arm and Bridgewater.

Captain Metcalfe has been invited to Mr McKim's office this week to discuss the submission.

Meanwhile, council heads from the eastern and western sides of the river agree that a new commuter ferry service is essential.

"An integrated ferry public transport network is the missing link for Greater Hobart sustainable transport options and one that the public quite rightly expects to be addressed," Ald Thomas said.

Ald Campbell said the city needed a back-up option to the Tasman Bridge.

"It would be great to see a mass-transit a ferry service running between the two cities," he said.

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Airport on upward trajectory

HOBART'S International Airport has recorded its busiest 12 months to date, hitting the two million passenger mark for the first time.

With a 12 per cent increase in passengers for the 2012-13 financial year, the airport is now looking at ways to boost tourism numbers even more by adding direct flights to more locations and creating a better experience for visitors.

After a $30 million upgrade to the runway, the next project on the agenda is to rejuvenate the departure and arrival areas.

An announcement on redevelopment plans is expected before Christmas.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury ...

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Family businesses feel pinch

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

A NEW survey of business confidence among family business owners shows many feel like they are surviving rather than thriving.

And while small business confidence in Tasmania has risen recently, the state's peak small business group says there is still a long way to go before confidence is fully restored.

The MGI Australian Family and Private Business Survey 2013 revealed a gloomy outlook among Australian family businesses. Key findings were:

  • THREE-quarters of owners have experienced profitability and market conditions that had remained the same or declined in the past three years.
  • LESS than 40 per cent of those surveyed have positive expectations of market improvement in the next 12 months.
  • NINETY-one per cent of owners say they are dissatisfied with the Federal Government's support for family business.
  • EIGHTY-three per cent feel the Federal Opposition is no better when it comes to supporting the sector.
  • IN the past 10 years family businesses operating in the manufacturing sector have halved from 40 per cent to 20 per cent.
  • IN the past three years the number of owners aged over 65 has increased from 12 to 25 per cent.

Lauren Chandler, of Hobart family business Chandlers Nursery, said the challenge for smaller family-owned businesses was to offer products and services that set them apart from larger competitors.

The Sandy Bay nursery was established in 1888, making it one of Tasmania's oldest family-owned businesses.

"We're really lucky, as we've been here for so long we really rely on the people that have been coming here for years," Miss Chandler said.

Miss Chandler, 28, said she rejoined the family business earlier this year after working in other industries because she felt confident Chandlers had a good future.

She said a growing interest in gardening and backyard vegetable growing, along with a loyal long-term clientele, kept Chandlers going strong.

"I'm confident we will be here for another 125 years," she said.

Tasmanian Small Business Council executive officer Robert Mallett said succession planning was a major factor for family businesses.

He said while the Sensis Business Index released last week showed a rise in business confidence in Tasmania, it was from such a low base that confidence could still not be considered strong in Tasmania.


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Hail hero Brian

BRIAN Gilligan certainly knows what it's like to face challenges in life. And it's this knowledge that allows the teachers' aide to communicate so well with the special needs students he works with at Hobart's Claremont College.

Mr Gilligan, 41, has cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair.

He was taught at the former D'Alton unit in New Town and also pursued distance learning.

But instead of being a barrier, his own physical challenges have proved to be an asset when it comes to working with children with disabilities.

Mr Gilligan, of Moonah, is only paid for 16 hours a fortnight. But he finds the work so rewarding he volunteers his time to make it a four-day working week.

"I love my role," he said. "I have been here 12 years and while I work across the college I do focus on those students with special needs. They seem to accept me and listen to my advice."

He is restricted to teaching just one subject but works across the board in English, maths, food studies and computing.

Mr Gilligan was recently recognised by being named Tasmanian school volunteer of the year.

Now he has been nominated for a Pride of Australia medal in the Fair Go category.

"Everyone should have the chance to be the best they can be and all students should have the same opportunities," he said.

The Mercury and Sunday Tasmanian are seeking to recognise Tasmanians who inspire, show great courage, carry out acts of bravery or champion the notion of a fair go. Nominations close at 5pm on July 16. And they are still being sought in 10 categories: outstanding bravery, courage, heroism, community spirit (sponsored by Network Ten), child of courage, young leader, care and compassion, inspiration, environment and a fair go.

All Tasmanian category winners will be honoured at a state medal ceremony on September 15. State winners will then be eligible to take home the gold medal in their category at national level in Sydney on November 15.

Nomination forms are printed in the Mercury and Sunday Tasmanian.

Readers can also nominate people and share their story online.


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Porte jumps to second on Tour

RICHIE Porte has surged to second place behind favourite Chris Froome after Stage 8 of the Tour de France.

Froome clobbered his rivals on the 195km stage from Castre to Ax-3-Domaines, finishing 51sec ahead of Sky teammate Porte and Movistar's Alejandro Valverde to rip the yellow jersey away from Orica-GreenEDGE's Daryl Impey.

The Briton's crushing victory left him 51sec ahead of Tasmania's Porte on the general classification. Valverde is third, 34sec behind Porte.

Canberra's Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) is 10th overall, at 2min,40sec.

But while Porte was riding high, fellow Aussie Cadel Evans saw his 2013 Tour hopes obliterated after an abysmal day, falling 4min36sec off the pace in 23rd.

Dual champion Alberto Contador was another high-profile casaulty, tumbling to 1min51sec behind Froome.

Contesting only his third Tour, Launceston's Porte again showed why he has long been regarded as Evans' successor as Australia's next grand tour contender.

Suspicions of a baton change have lingered all season as Porte compiled a host of impressive results, including a Paris-Nice victory, while being overshadowed only by Froome.

"The day went absolutely to plan," Porte said.

"We expected (Nairo) Quintana was going to attack and the attack went a little bit too far out and we just used our team absolutely perfectly.

"And for me today I think the standout was Pete Kennaugh. He just stepped up and I was able to save myself a little bit until the finale.

"Chris showed today he's the strongest guy who's here to win.

"It's just an incredible day.

"I think I've shown this year that I'm thereabouts. I've been second in most of the races that I've done now.

"This is the big one, but you can't get too carried away. It's a long way to Paris, but I enjoyed today."

Sky marshalled its forces on the bottom of the last climb and systematically blew all of its rivals to smithereens.

Porte was the second last rider to attack before Froome delivered the coup de grace.

"When I saw Quintana and Valverde were pretty tired, it made sense to set off at my own pace," Porte said.

"It's just one of those days that just went to plan and hopefully the next few weeks goes like that, too."

Froome demolished every rider in race, apart from Porte, as Team Sky put former winners Evans, Contador and Andy Schleck (4min) to the sword as Froome surged to victory.

The emphatic nature of Sky's performance removed any doubt the British outfit has the firepower to succeed absent defending champion Bradley Wiggins as Tour champion.

Evans was dropped 7km from the summit finish to plummet out of contention.

Impey finished 7min51sec behind Froome, ending an impressive spell in yellow as the mighty Pyrenees bared its fangs.

Australian-owned Orica-GreenEDGE's Impey and Simon Gerrans had spent four days in the maillot jaune after excellent team-work kept the big guns at bay.

But, as expected, the 195km stage from Castres caused a significant reshuffle.

Evans had suspected before the stage the race could be decided on the slopes of Ax-3-Domaines.

He was right - but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

"My worst day of the Tour while I'm healthy, nowhere in the mix and a few little problems," Evans said after grinding to the summit.

"Anyway, I wasn't at my best and certainly didn't expect to be this far off the best.

"Sky, they just rode a tempo that was just really consistent from when they started on the Pailhieres to when they hit the bottom of Domaines.

"They rode a really consistent pace and not many people could match it.

"On Pailhieres, I was already having a bit of a hard time and that put me a bit on my limit which, of course, is cause for concern.

"But Domaines isn't quite as high so normally ... when you're in the running for GC, 7k (to go) on a climb is not one you would normally get dropped on.

"On the last climb I had a few physical problems come into the mix there and I couldn't push myself to my maximum at that point.

"When you have 20 guys riding away from you, you know you're a long way off the pace."

From the moment the starter's flag dropped in Castre, the race exploded.

Bidding to emulate 2010 victory to the Pyrenean ski resort, Christophe Riblon (ALM) combined with Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil), Jean-Marc Marino (Sojasun) and Rudy Molard (Cofidis) to build an 8min lead before tackling the short climb to Coete de Saint-Ferreol.

Averaging 44km for the first hour, the quartet held a maximum gap of 9min50sec before Orica-GreenEDGE and Sky joined forces after 60km to cut the deficit.

And with Olympic track gold medallists Stuart O'Grady, Brett Lancaster and Geraint Thomas driving the bunch, the time gap soon dwindled.

Thomas was relentless, showing no sign of his fractured pelvis as he dragged Froome towards the head of the peloton.

Sky's main objective was to have Froome and Porte near the front after the intermediate sprint into Quillan before the mostly flat stage ramped towards Col Pailheres.

Badly injured two years ago when sent hurtling through a barbed wire fence by a French television car, Hoogerland was first through Quillan.

Andre Greipel claimed minor sprint honours behind the escapees, edging out green jersey holder Peter Sagan.

But the intermediate marker was the cue for the main players to react.

BMC and Saxo-Tinkoff had similar plans for Evans and Contador, leading to a bottleneck of elite chasers as the breakaway was doomed well before the stage's high point.

At 2001m, Paiheres is the highest peak on the centenary tour and was always going to be the first serious test of the general classification contenders.

And so it proved with 15km of vicious corkscrews at an average gradient of 8 per cent.

Impey was left to his own devices as the demands of defending yellow took its toll on his teammates.

Riblon's solo attack coincided with the splintering of the bunch, leaving a host of big names strewn along the torturous route.

Robert Gesink (Belkin) was the first to emerge from Impey's yellow jersey group, followed by Thomas Voeckler.

Quintana (Movistar) formally ended Impey's stint as leader with a withering burst halfway up Paiheres, putting paid also to Voeckler, Gesink and Riblon,

The Colombian was first over Pailheres, collecting enduring fame, 5000 euros and the 'Souvenir Henri Desgrange' named in honour of the Tour's founder.

Sky had a majority in the chase group and used it to advantage, pummelling BMC's Tejay van Garderen - last year's best young rider - into submission.

The American's demise left Evans to fend for himself, prompting the Victorian to latch onto Contador's Saxo-Tinkoff outfit on the descent into Ax-les-Thermes.

The final climb to the finish was not as long Pailheres, but just as savage.

It was here that Froome and Porte took control - and Evans perished.

Earlier, RadioShack-Leopard camper's was searched by French police before the stage start in Castres.

Team spokesman Philippe Maertens said: "The police stopped our camping car that goes from hotel to hotel and checked it for two hours, and then left.

"The usual stuff, every year ..."

Italian Matteo Bono (Lampre) abandoned the Tour after failing to recover from a back injury suffered in a stage 7 fall.


Team Sky's Christopher Froome claimed the yellow jersey after Daryl Impey was unable to go with the climbers as the Tour entered the Pyrenees.

Not a day for the sprinters but Peter Sagan claimed what was left of the intermediate sprint points to extend his lead in the green jersey.

Christopher Froome took yellow and the polkadot jersey but the KOM colours will be worn by Pierre Rolland, who is equal with Froome on 31 points.

Twenty-three-year-old Nairo Quintana made an audacious move on the two climbs to move into the lead of the young rider classification.

A disaster for Cadel Evans, who had no BMC teammates to help him as he watched his yellow jersey hopes disappear after conceding 4:13 to Froome.

Richie Porte stamped himself a future Tour de France winner by sacrificing himself for Froome then riding away from the bunch to move into second overall, while Michael Rogers is 10th.

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