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Fly by the seat of your pants

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 24 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

FLY LIKE A FOX: Ewan Ferrier, 15, of Launceston, takes a ride on the flying fox to be used in the Cataract Gorge Challenge. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN

HAVE you ever wanted to participate in an event such as the Mark Webber Challenge, but weren't sure if you would cut it?

The Launceston Eye Institute Cataract Gorge Challenge on October 27 aims to make thrilling adventure sports accessible to ordinary people aged 13 and up.

The challenge includes mountain biking, road biking, running, kayaking and rope climbing.

The ropes course was the brainchild of the late Bob McMahon, an adventure guide and anti-pulp mill campaigner who died in April.

It includes a flying fox ride from a cliff on one side of the gorge to the Cataract Walkway on the other side, and a monkey climb along the edge of King's Bridge.

Participants can choose to do all of the legs, or just some.

The event's co-founders, former colleagues of Mr McMahon Ian Ferrier and Cade Smith, are also aiming to promote Launceston, and its Cataract Gorge, as Australia's adventure capital.

"The Gorge is so accessible and under-utilised," Mr Smith said.

"The event is designed to capture the attention and imagination of the local and regional community and highlight Launceston's natural assets to a much wider audience."

Visit www.launcestoncataractchallenge.com.au.


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Chance to quiz candidates

RESIDENTS of the federal seat of Denison will get a chance to grill the main candidates for the hotly contested seat at a forum organised by a national organisation devoted to increasing political engagement.

OurSay and the University of Melbourne are running the Citizens' Agenda forum at the University of Tasmania on Tuesday night.

The event will be moderated by the Mercury's editor, Andrew Holman.

The evening is expected to be attended by incumbent independent Andrew Wilkie, Labor candidate Jane Austin, Australian Greens Anna Reynolds and Liberal Tanya Denison.

A swing of 1.2 per cent is needed to unseat Mr Wilkie, who broke Labor's hold on the seat when he was elected at the federal election in 2010.

But recent polling shows he has a good chance of retaining the seat.

People are being asked to nominate questions for candidates online and vote on what the candidates should be asked.

The forum for the Hobart-based seat is one of 10 being run around the country in the approach to the federal election on September 7.

OurSay is an independent organisation launched in 2010 with the ambition of connecting ordinary citizens with people in charge.

See and vote on the questions: oursay.org/citizens-agenda


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The promise of good, clean fun

SLIP, SLOP, SPLAT: Nick Gill gets down and dirty. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

MUD, glorious mud.

That's what Nugent farmer Lindsay White is promising by the tractor-load at the inaugural Raw Challenge event at his Redbanks property on November 2, and he wants everyone to join in the fun.

Competitors will face down more than 30 obstacles over the sodden 8km course, including giant A-frames, a 25m waterslide, floating-log challenge and rope hurdles, on a day of music and food that Mr White said would be one big party.

"It's going to be awesome," he said.

Mr White said he expected more than 3000 entries for the November event (there is another planned for Saturday, February 22, at the same location) and at least as many spectators.

Local vineyards and food vendors will be catering and two planes will offer joy flights over Maria Island.

"There'll be camping here overnight and we're looking at putting on some live music too."

More information at www.rawchallenge.com.au


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The promise of good, clean fun

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 23 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

SLIP, SLOP, SPLAT: Nick Gill gets down and dirty. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

MUD, glorious mud.

That's what Nugent farmer Lindsay White is promising by the tractor-load at the inaugural Raw Challenge event at his Redbanks property on November 2, and he wants everyone to join in the fun.

Competitors will face down more than 30 obstacles over the sodden 8km course, including giant A-frames, a 25m waterslide, floating-log challenge and rope hurdles, on a day of music and food that Mr White said would be one big party.

"It's going to be awesome," he said.

Mr White said he expected more than 3000 entries for the November event (there is another planned for Saturday, February 22, at the same location) and at least as many spectators.

Local vineyards and food vendors will be catering and two planes will offer joy flights over Maria Island.

"There'll be camping here overnight and we're looking at putting on some live music too."

More information at www.rawchallenge.com.au


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Fly by the seat of your pants

FLY LIKE A FOX: Ewan Ferrier, 15, of Launceston, takes a ride on the flying fox to be used in the Cataract Gorge Challenge. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN

HAVE you ever wanted to participate in an event such as the Mark Webber Challenge, but weren't sure if you would cut it?

The Launceston Eye Institute Cataract Gorge Challenge on October 27 aims to make thrilling adventure sports accessible to ordinary people aged 13 and up.

The challenge includes mountain biking, road biking, running, kayaking and rope climbing.

The ropes course was the brainchild of the late Bob McMahon, an adventure guide and anti-pulp mill campaigner who died in April.

It includes a flying fox ride from a cliff on one side of the gorge to the Cataract Walkway on the other side, and a monkey climb along the edge of King's Bridge.

Participants can choose to do all of the legs, or just some.

The event's co-founders, former colleagues of Mr McMahon Ian Ferrier and Cade Smith, are also aiming to promote Launceston, and its Cataract Gorge, as Australia's adventure capital.

"The Gorge is so accessible and under-utilised," Mr Smith said.

"The event is designed to capture the attention and imagination of the local and regional community and highlight Launceston's natural assets to a much wider audience."

Visit www.launcestoncataractchallenge.com.au.


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Chance to quiz Denison candidates

RESIDENTS of the federal seat of Denison will get a chance to grill the main candidates for the hotly contested seat at a forum organised by a national organisation devoted to increasing political engagement.

OurSay and the University of Melbourne are running the Citizens' Agenda forum at the University of Tasmania on Tuesday night.

The event will be moderated by the Mercury's editor, Andrew Holman.

The evening is expected to be attended by incumbent independent Andrew Wilkie, Labor candidate Jane Austin, Australian Greens Anna Reynolds and Liberal Tanya Denison.

A swing of 1.2 per cent is needed to unseat Mr Wilkie, who broke Labor's hold on the seat when he was elected at the federal election in 2010.

But recent polling shows he has a good chance of retaining the seat.

People are being asked to nominate questions for candidates online and vote on what the candidates should be asked.

The forum for the Hobart-based seat is one of 10 being run around the country in the approach to the federal election on September 7.

OurSay is an independent organisation launched in 2010 with the ambition of connecting ordinary citizens with people in charge.

See and vote on the questions: http://oursay.org/citizens-agenda


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Youth handed gift of detention

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 22 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

A YOUNG offender has marked his 17th birthday with an appearance in the dock of the Supreme Court and two-month detention order.

The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, was being dealt with for breaching the terms of a suspended detention order.

Chief Justice Alan Blow heard the youth has a 19-page criminal record and faces further charges in the Magistrates Court.

Crown Prosecutor Jane Ansell said in October 2012 the boy was sentenced to 12 months' jail for aggravated armed robbery.

In February last year the boy -- then 15 -- threatened to stab a security guard with a fish-filleting knife when he was caught stealing baby clothes at Big W at Rosny for money to buy cannabis.

Three months of his detention order was suspended on the condition he be of good behaviour for 12 months on his release.

But Ms Ansell told the court the boy committed numerous offences within two months of getting out of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre.

In January this year he drove a stolen motor vehicle while disqualified, while under the influence of cannabis and evaded police during a chase which reached speeds estimated at 130km/h.

A few days later he drove an unregistered vehicle while uninsured and while disqualified and took off when police approached him.

His lawyer Amber Mignot said the boy was emotionally damaged by the poor relationship he had with his mother and driving was a way of escaping when his emotional difficulties became too great to bear.

She said spending yet another birthday in custody was an unpleasant experience for the boy.

"It is for him a very disappointing thing and not something he wants to continue for the rest of his life, spending his birthdays in a custodial setting," she said.

Chief Justice Alan Blow told the boy the purpose of the suspended sentence was to make him think twice about reoffending.

"You were meant to think 'I'll stay out of trouble otherwise I will have to serve those three months'. But you didn't stay out of trouble," the judge said.

The judge said he would be "a tiny bit lenient" and ordered the boy serve two months of the three months suspended detention order.

Members of the boy's family present in court wished him a happy birthday as he was led off to serve his sentence.

david.killick@news.com.au


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Arson spree hits Gagebrook

ARSONISTS are believed to be responsible for three separate house fires in Gagebrook overnight.

The Tasmania Fire Service was called to the first fire, at Briar Crescent, about 12.45am today.

The building sustained major damage as a result of the blaze.

The occupants of the property were not home at the time, but two dogs trapped inside died.

Minutes later, a second fire was reported at Tottenham Rd, Gagebrook.

The unoccupied house has previously been subjected to arson attacks.

While fire investigators were conducting inquiries at the fire scenes a third blaze was discovered in Deak St, Gagebrook. The property sustained only minor damage.

Anyone with information in relation to the fires is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Bridgewater Police Station on 6268 4100.


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State first for Lubiana Wines

Steve and Monique Lubiana in their vineyard and winery. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

IT has been 12 years in the making, but small family-owned Stefano Lubiana Wines vineyard at Granton is now the state's first certified biodynamic producer.

Derwent Valley couple Steve and Monique Lubiana today launched the property's biodynamic food and wine interpretation centre.

"Being biodynamic has been a dream of ours, and now we can share our story for others who choose to follow the philosophy and we have the resources here for them to do that," Mrs Lubiana said.

The centre's specially designed interpretation displays, media resources and learning activities have been established to complement a tasting and dining facility to be completed later this year.

After arriving in 1990, the couple developed their Granton vineyard, near Hobart, to create handcrafted Tasmanian wines.

Biodynamics philosophy, based on ancient farming practices, allows the pursuit of connectivity between the elements, aiming for better soils by adopting a holistic, regenerative management approach. The vineyard is free of herbicide and fertiliser use.

"We have fought against the odds and our wine is now allowed to evolve in the bottle for higher quality."

The property's certification, carried out by Australian Certified Organic, took about three years.

Fifth-generation winemaker Steve Lubiana said Australia lags behind the rest of the world in adopting genuinely sustainable farming and viticultural practices.

"We believe working sustainably with the land can be achieved by anyone who is committed to the environment, either a commercial vineyard or working at home on your own vegetable patch," Mr Lubiana said.

The centre was co-funded with $110,000 from the Federal Government under the T-QUAL grants program.


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Second 'sorry' from Lyons

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 21 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

A TASMANIAN Labor MP who questioned an opponent's military record has admitted he incorrectly listed his own medals in election material.

Member for Bass Geoff Lyons has issued his second public apology in as many weeks after claiming he held the prestigious Emergency Services Medal.

He has corrected the listing on his website to the National Medal, which he received in 1997 for services to surf life-saving.

"It's a disappointment that I had the name wrong," Mr Lyons told reporters.

"I thought that's what it was, for service in an emergency service, surf life-saving.

"It's been corrected and I apologise for that."

Last week Mr Lyons apologised to Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic after suggesting the Iraq veteran had spent most of his defence career as a bureaucrat.

The Federal Opposition seized on his latest mistake, pointing out the Emergency Services Medal had been awarded only 280 times to the National Medal's 175,000.

"A clear pattern of deceit is emerging here from Mr Lyons," Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz said.

The error was reportedly spotted by a voter who checked on Mr Lyons' record.

Polling suggests the incumbent faces a tough battle to hang on to the northern Tasmanian seat, which Labor holds by a margin of 6.7 per cent.

Mr Nikolic, who rose to the rank of Brigadier, has said he does not want his military career to be the focus of the campaign.


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Dons' charge sheets released

THE AFL has sensationally today released its summary of charges against Essendon, coach James Hird, senior assistant Mark Thompson, club doctor Bruce Reid and football manager Danny Corcoran.

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick has also called a special meeting of the 18 club presidents for tomorrow.

League boss Andrew Demetriou will front the media at 2pm today.

The Herald Sun last Friday exclusively revealed details from the charge sheets.

The charge sheets include revelations that:

ESSENDON players were to receive 1500 injections of AOD-9604 and Thymosin and more than 16,500 doses of Colostrum and 8000 doses of Tribulus.

THE program was to push the legal limits.

THE program involved the use of allegedly "beneficial" and "exotic" compounds.

THE program's fitness strategy and use of supplements varied sharply to previous practices at Essendon.

IT involved injecting players with abnormal frequency.

THAT club figures were aware that the implementation of the program was determined without meaningful input from appropriately qualified people.

Which type of Thymosin – banned Beta 4 or permitted Thymosin Alpha is not specified in the charge sheets.

Last night, a former member of the AFL's Anti-Doping Tribunal claims he was told in February that AOD-9604 was safe and not prohibited.

Essendon champion Tim Watson today called on AFL chief Andrew Demetriou to explain why the AFL did not reveal the information earlier.

Read more at news.com.au.


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Police officer stood down

A POLICE officer from the state's south has been suspended on full pay over allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Tasmania Police said the Constable is alleged to have made inappropriate comments to and physical contact with colleagues while on duty.

He is also alleged to have accessed information to which he was not entitled.

Deputy Commissioner Scott Tilyard said police are investigating and there would be no further comment.


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Coroner issues heater warning

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 20 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

THE death of a 78-year-old man in a house fire has prompted a warning from a coroner about the risks of placing flammable material near heat sources.

Walter Charles Bakes, of Burnie, died of smoke inhalation in a house fire in Reid St, Burnie, on February 23, 2011.

Coroner Don Jones found it was highly probable the fire had started in the corner of Mr Bakes' kitchen, within a half metre radius of a portable radiant heater.

The coroner said Mr Bakes' son Grahame said his father often felt cold and would sit in a chair in the kitchen in front of a wood heater or an electric heater.

"Grahame had expressed his concerns to his father as to the risk of the heater being left unattended, or leaving his chair too close to the heater," the coroner said.

"Mr Bakes would express his annoyance saying he did not like his heater turned off, or people interfering with his way of life."

Coroner Jones found Mr Bakes' cause of death was asphyxia due to smoke inhalation as a result of the house fire and that severe atherosclerotic vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic pancreatitis, and emphysema were contributing factors.

He recommended people be made more aware of the risks of placing flammable objects near fires or electric heaters.

"It is recommended the public be informed of the dangers of placing furniture, or any combustible material, in close proximity to heaters or fires generally," the coroner said.

"Frequently, material used in furniture, or blankets, or clothing are susceptible to absorbing heat from heat sources, smouldering, and then spontaneously combusting.

"Many older people frequently resort to keeping warm by sitting over, or too close to, fire sources not realising the potentially dangerous situation they are placing themselves in."


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Sheep die amid big wet

THE record-breaking deluge across northern Tasmania has waterlogged poppy crops and claimed the lives of newborn lambs and older sheep.

Tasmania's peak farming body said some farmers had reported losses of newborn lambs in the extreme conditions.

Some "off-shears" sheep have also been lost in situations where producers did not have enough room to keep all the animals under cover.

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association CEO Jan Davis said the heavy rain had also caused some damage to poppy crops.

Farmers will assess the crop damage as the weather clears this week.

The rain has also held up pea planting because farmers cannot access already ploughed paddocks.

But Ms Davis said potato planting should go ahead on schedule if the ground dried out quickly.

She said August rains were usually welcomed because they ensured livestock feed would grow in spring.

"That said, up to 220mm in August is on the high side," Ms Davis said.

"But there were quite large variations in rainfall over relatively small distances in the north and the south of the State.

"Much of the big rain was in the North-West which has created extremely slushy pasture conditions but not losses.

"Of course feed value deteriorates is such conditions -- temporarily."

Ms Davis said Tasmania had experienced minor flooding every August for the past four years.


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Man accused of NW break-ins

A 33-YEAR-OLD man has been charged with a string of offences after a spate of business burglaries on the North-West Coast.

Police allege the burglaries took place between last Friday and yesterday.

The man, who has been remanded in custody, has been charged with 10 counts of burglary, seven counts of attempted burglary and nine counts of stealing.

Police allege businesses in Devonport, Spreyton and Ulverstone were broken into between August 16 and 19.


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Rural speed cut plan dumped

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 19 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

The State Government has dropped plans for a blanket speed limit reduction from 100km/h to 90km/h on rural roads. Picture JAMES KERR

THE State Government's backflip on a plan to reduce rural road speed limits to 90km/h has been welcomed by the RACT.

Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne today announced the default limit would not be dropped from 100km/h, despite his earlier argument that the cut would save lives.

Mr O'Byrne said an education campaign would be continued instead.

The decision pre-empts a Legislative Council inquiry into the speed-cut plan.

"While the original recommendation from the Road Safety Advisory Council was for a blanket reduction, instead we've been working and consulting with communities about the Safer Roads Strategy and looking at roads on a case-by-case basis, using proven criteria," Mr O'Byrne said.

"It is, however, clear that overwhelmingly the community does not support a reduction in the default speed limit on our rural roads."

Mr O'Byrne said speed limits on gravel roads would still be reduced to 80km/h and the confusing "END" speed limit signs would be removed as planned later this year.

A public campaign to alert motorists to always drive to the conditions, particularly on rural roads, would start this year as planned.

"We've achieved a 33 per cent reduction in serious casualty crashes over the last five years, however too many crashes continue to occur on rural roads."

The state's peak motoring body commended the move, noting it was a "significant change to the Government's earlier intent".

When a virtual blanket rural speed limit reduction proposal was first raised by the Government in late 2010, RACT described it as a "one-size-fits-all" approach to a complex issue and called for a case-by-case assessment methodology.

RACT chief Harvey Lennon congratulated Mr O'Byrne on "refining his thinking".

"Many councils were opposed to the proposed widespread speed limit reductions, and a majority of RACT members told us in two separate surveys (2011 and 2012) that they thought a 100km/h default limit was reasonable," Mr Lennon said in a statement.

"The Government deserves credit for both listening to the community and finally adopting a practical solution.

"Rural crashes occur because of a variety of reasons.

"A reduced speed limit is not the silver bullet – but it can and should be applied sensibly, and quite appropriately, on a case-by-case basis."

"RACT members also look forward to the removal of the "END" speed limit signs as soon as possible."

So far in Tasmania this year 20 people have died on public roads, compared with 16 last year, and 155 people have been seriously injured, up from 141.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury ...


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Austin dark on Wilkie 'deal'

THE Liberal Party's support for Denison independent MHR Andrew Wilkie should send shivers down the spine of progressive local voters, says Labor candidate Jane Austin.

Responding to revelations in today's Mercury that the Liberals will preference Mr Wilkie ahead of Labor in September 7 poll, Ms Austin said there was too much at stake for Denison to risk casting a vote for Mr Wilkie or the Coalition

"Labor's Better Schools plan, the continued roll-out of the National Broadband Network and protecting Denison from (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott's harsh cuts are just some of the critical issues confronting our community."

The ALP candidate, who has been campaigning for the southern Tasmanian seat since July last year, said the Abbott-Wilkie deal meant Denison voters now had a clear choice.

"They can stick with Labor progressive policies or throw them out the door to Mr Abbott and Mr Wilkie," she said

Mr Wilkie, meanwhile, today began distributing his how-to-vote cards, showing he will be running an open ticket.

"My decision to run an open ticket reflects my numerous statements that I would not engage in preference negotiations or do preference deals with any political party," Mr Wilkie said.

"I have also said that I will not enter into an agreement to support any political party after the election.

"I note that the Liberal Party has chosen to place me above Labor and the Greens on their how-to-vote card.

"Obviously I'm asking all Denison electors to give me their number-one vote.

"But I'm also grateful to any political party supporters who choose to give me their second or third preference."

Liberal Party state president Sam McQuestin told the Mercury yesterday his priority was getting the party's candidate, Tanya Denison, elected.

"Our electoral system is compulsory preferential, so we need to give guidance to Liberal voters about the other candidates," Mr McQuestin said.

"As far as the Liberals are concerned, it's Tanya Denison first, daylight second, and then Mr Wilkie as the best of a bad bunch."

matthew.smith@news.com.au


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Volcano Land blog, week 3

Andrew is frequently greeted by delighted smiles and hands reaching out to say hello as he paddles around PNG. Picture: ANDREW HUGHES

BETWEEN the dogs, pigs, chickens and children there's never a quiet moment in a New Britain village.

Here at Takis, on the northwestern corner of Papua New Guinea's Gazelle Peninsula, I have just explained what the Volcano Land project is about, and can only imagine how extraordinary and ridiculous it must sound.

The people here, unlike much of modern coastal PNG, are not covered by the mobile phone network, do not have a road to Rabaul and earn -- a very little -- cash exclusively from copra and cocoa.

The rhythm of life is governed by the garden, the fishing grounds, the family and the church. Here it is a Catholic domain.

Raphael, who waded out to greet me on arrival, buried his mother this morning. Two weeks ago it was his brother -- murdered most foully by a bush knife -- for whom they mourned.

Despite this turmoil, Raphael made me welcome because he had the best English, and my grasp of tok pisin is still very poor.

After a wash and a lengthy discussion over nautical charts I've retreated to write the daily report for dispatch by satellite phone.

Village noises swirl about in snatches of probably three or four languages. Some of the commotion is undoubtedly due to the strange fellow with zinc cream on his lip, who says his task is to teach students about distant places.

But the dogs brawling, the mothers yelling instructions to kids, and the happy laughter from young and old alike, I think that's fairly normal.

Expedition Class is a program of the Bookend Trust. This project is supported by the Tasmanian Department of Education, Pennicott Foundation, UTAS SET, Mercury NIE, IMAS, Sea to Summit and friends. Follow Andrew's daily reports at www.expeditionclass.com


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Growth pledge wins support

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 18 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

TONY Abbott's plan for Tasmania has been given a tentative thumbs up by the Sunday Tasmanian's citizens jury.

The Coalition's growth plan for Tasmania, which includes $38 million of funding for an extension of the Hobart International Airport runway, a $25 million boost for a new Antarctic study centre in Hobart and new Commonwealth offices in the North and North-West, gained mainly positive vibes by the team put together by the Sunday Tasmanian to go over the political announcements of the week.

North-West farmer Mike Badcock said there was plenty in the plan that could benefit rural communities in Tasmania such as Forth were he lives and works.

"There are some very positive points in the plan," Mr Badcock said.

He liked that some of the projects would involve joint government-industry working groups.

"A major problem in the past has been that many decisions are being made without industry input."

Howrah retiree Peter Bailey said the extension of the Hobart Airport runway could help alleviate some of the state's freight issues.

"It could help to avoid our continued reliance on the waterfront to ship our stuff around."

At this stage Mr Badcock and Mr Bailey say they are likely to vote for their local Liberal candidates.

First time voter Jessica Walch, of Blackmans Bay, has remained committed to the left side of politics.

Ms Walch did see some virtues to the Liberal plan this week -- but was sceptical.

"There are certain aspects of the plan that I think would benefit my community, though, such as the expansion of the airport, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean research grant," she said.

"The rest seems to all be a bit 'wishy washy' with committees and councils popping up all over the place."

Scottsdale parents Tamieka and Daniel Monson were happy with plans for the Liberal Party to look into freight and investment in agriculture.

"Our community has such a strong background in farming, so any promotion and expansion within the fruit and vegetable industry by creating a 'fruit and vegetable industry taskforce' could only be of benefit to hopefully boost employment," they said.

Triabunna-based small business owner Mike Davis said he liked the idea of greater co-operation between the Federal and State governments but felt there were still aspects missing from the plan.

"There is also no mention of assisting Tasmania's health sector," he said.

matthew.smith@news.com.au


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Tall ships in voyage of history

Tasmanian Sail Training Association chairman Rob Thomas, on board the Lady Nelson, is looking forward to the tall ships spectacular along the Hobart waterfront. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

THE spirit of high seas adventure will descend on Hobart's waterfront next month with the arrival of the biggest fleet of tall ships since the Bicentenary celebrations.

Seven tall ships will sail in on September 20 for Tall Ships Hobart 2013, which is being held in association with Sydney's International Naval Fleet Review in celebration of 100 years of the Royal Australian Navy.

Tall ships festival director Paul Cullen said the September 20-25 event would be a once-in-a-generation chance to see a fleet of tall ships on Hobart's waterfront.

"It paints a picture of what Hobart used to look like 150 years ago, when we were exporting apples to the world," he said. "It reminds people that we are still connected to the sea. These ships bring back some of the romance of running away to sea.

"Some of the vessels are 50-60m vessels carrying up to 80 crew."

The seven visiting international ships that will join local ships Lady Nelson and Windeward Bound are Lord Nelson, Europa, Dewa Ruci, Young Endeavour, Oosterschelde, Soren Larsen and Tecla.

One of the most spectacular sights will be the parade of sail on September 25 when all seven visiting tall ships will line up by the Tasman Bridge and leave Hobart together.

Mr Cullen said it would be free to view the ships from the wharf, and a $20 ship's passport could be bought to tour the ships throughout the festival.

Princes Wharf No. 1 shed will be home to Tasmanian food and wine stalls and exhibits from local maritime organisations during the festival, and Constitution Dock will host 15 of Tasmania's oldest historic vessels.

For details, click here.


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Geale loses tight title fight

Daniel Geale lost his world tight defence fight in a split points decision. Picture: News Corp

A SPLIT-second and a split decision cost Tasmanian Daniel Geale his world boxing title in his US debut.

Stricken Englishman Darren Barker barely beat the referee's 10 count after being poleaxed by a vicious Geale left to the body in the sixth round.

But somehow he recovered to lift the IBF middleweight crown, extending his country's great run of sporting success over Australians in 2013.

One judge scored the fight in Atlantic City 114-113 to Geale, but the other two had Barker ahead 114-113 and 116-111.

Promoter Gary Shaw admitted he was stunned that the resilient Barker, looking in tremendous pain, was able to beat referee Eddie Cotton's count and he backed Geale to win another world crown.

"That was a vicious liver shot, I was really shocked that Barker survived it," Shaw said.

Geale 32 (29-2, 15 KOs) tried furiously to finish the job immediately, tagging the challenger with some more shots and a stoppage looked imminent.

But Barker, 31, (26-1, 16 KOs) survived the onslaught and produced a real-life version of the Rocky story as he ended the round raining blows on Geale.

Barker shaded most of the remaining rounds, bar the 12th, with Geale unable to reproduce the late fight surges that were a trademark of his previous four title defences.

The Englishman dedicated the win to his brother Gary, who was killed in a car accident in 2006.

Geale was left pondering how the title was lost.

"I thought I caught a lot (of punches) on the gloves, and a lot were glancing, missing," Geale said.

"I did feel in control. It wasn't my best performance but Darren is a great fighter.

"He's a very skilful guy. I knew I had to be on my game throughout.

"I knew it was going to be tight. It was a close fight. I'm very disappointed."

Right from the early rounds, third-ranked challenger Barker showed he was going to be a formidable opponent, landing more power punches than the champion and sometimes beating him to the punch.

Geale responded in the middle rounds, teeing off with some good right-hand shots, but didn't seem to throw many shots to the body after the knockdown.

"I thought Daniel won it by a round. I had the score 114-113, but obviously the two other judges didn't see it that way," Shaw said.

"We'll fight our way back and I'm sure Barker will give us the same opportunity as we gave him."

Barker may first have to make a mandatory defence against German Felix Sturm.

Shaw said he was sure Geale could win another world title.

"Daniel Geale is a real warrior, someone that the Aussies should be very proud of," Shaw said.

"Those are the types of fighters that television needs, so he's a fan-friendly fighter.

"He came forward, he fought and didn't back up, so I'm pretty proud of him."

On the undercard, Australian featherweight Joel Brunker (27-0, 15 KOs), who is top 15 rated by all four major boxing bodies, scored an eight-round unanimous points win against veteran Mike Oliver.


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