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For the love of a mate

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 17 November 2012 | 19.55

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Michael Liston with co-workers, from left, Katie Calvert, Annette Atkins and Cassandra Bryant. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

THE caring colleagues of a Campbell Town man have stepped in to offer his family crucial support in the worst of circumstances.

Flick Pest Control technician and volunteer firefighter Michael Liston was one of the first on the scene when his now 23-year-old daughter Vanessa was involved in a crash with a truck metres from their home back in October 2007.

Vanessa survived against all odds, but was left with a serious and life-changing acquired brain injury.

Two months ago Vanessa's sister, Lynette, 22, fell backwards down a flight of stairs while visiting a friend in Launceston, leaving her with a head injury so severe doctors were forced to remove a large section of her skull.

"When we got the call it was like Vanessa all over again," Mr Liston said.

"Lynette was lying in the [Emergency Department] at the Launceston General Hospital and so sick. They flew her to Hobart that day.

"My wife and I drove down asking 'What are we going to do'?"

Mr Liston had no sick leave available and the couple knew from experience they would need significant time off from their full-time jobs to be with their daughter while she fought for her life.

Help was at hand when Mr Liston's colleagues heard the bad news.

"We wanted to do something to help Michael is the kind of person everyone loves, who is always doing something for someone else," said Flick operations scheduler Katie Calvert.

She put out the word via email and within a short time everyone in the 18-strong Tasmanian office had donated their banked overtime, effectively giving Mr Liston two weeks' paid leave.

When the national office got word of the Listons' plight, Andrew Usher, general manager of ISS Australia, the company that owns Flick, sent a handwritten note of support to Mr Liston with a generous supermarket voucher.

He also advised the 21 branches around the country that the company would provide food for barbecues to be held at each branch to raise money for the family.

All up, Mr Liston's colleagues' generosity resulted in donations totalling several thousand dollars.

"When you're in the public [health] system, it gets tough once the crisis period is over in terms of accessing the care you need," Mr Liston said.

"The money raised has allowed us to buy Lynette a new laptop, integral to the rehabilitation when you have an acquired brain injury.

"I am just so grateful and humbled by what everyone has done."

State manager Cassandra Bryant said the family had the full support of the business and everyone was hoping for a positive outcome.

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McKim mocked for comparison

TASMANIAN Greens leader Nick McKim has been lambasted for linking forest protesters arrested in Tasmania this week to civil rights activists Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.

Mr McKim, right, took to Parliament yesterday to defend the right to protest amid calls from the Opposition for Premier Lara Giddings to ditch him from Cabinet.

The calls come after Ms Giddings labelled protests that stopped work at two of Ta Ann's mills this week as "appalling".

Mr McKim called for a matter of public importance in Parliament yesterday to get on the record his support for the protesters.

"The Greens will always back people's right to protest because throughout history major and massive social advances have been driven by people who have protested, often contrary to the law of the day at the time," Mr McKim said.

"Exhibit A, the suffragettes, of which my great-grandmother was one, a fact I am extremely proud of.

"Exhibit B, Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for over a decade for protest action and simply expressing his views.

"Exhibit C, Mahatma Gandhi, who was tried in India for peaceful protest that the government of the time believed was illegal under the laws of the day.

"Exhibit D, Martin Luther King.

"These people all conducted protest activities that the governments of the day believed were illegal at the time and whose actions resulted in massive advances socially for humanity."

Tasmanian Communities Australia state spokesman Barry Chipman said current protesters were not Gandhi.

"If they are, history needs to be rewritten," Mr Chipman said. "If my reading of history is correct, Nelson Mandela's fight was to gain freedom for a race of people.

"And here you have Nick McKim supporting activists and law breakers that are trying to take freedom and rights away from workers' freedom to work a day's work.

"He should be on the side of the families that have lost their freedoms.

"History shows Nelson Mandela fought for the freedom for people to go about their life.

"He [Mr McKim] is now supporting those that are trying to do the opposite."

Liberal leader Will Hodgman said Ms Giddings must "show some leadership and sack Mr McKim from her Cabinet for cheering on illegal forest protests which are threatening the viability of businesses such as Ta Ann".

Deputy Premier Bryan Green defended people's right to protest but said Labor did not support the current protests holding up work at Ta Ann.

Five people were arrested at Ta Ann's Lonnavale site on Wednesday and three at its Smithton plant on Tuesday.


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Possum a magic taste

TASMANIANS appear to be warming to the idea of eating possum meat and there are hopes of creating an export market for the fledgling local industry.

Carlton based artisan food producer Mic Giuliani recently cooked up a possum curry and was blown away by the taste and texture of the slow-cooked meat.

Last Sunday, Mr Giuliani trialled a possum confit, made by flavouring the meat with local herbs for 24 hours and then slowly cooking it in duck fat for at least 10 hours, to offer it at his Sirocco South stall at the Farm Gate market, in experiments that created plenty of interest.

"I found some local duck fat so I decided to try a confit," Mr Giuliani said.

"It is rich as all get out and cooked in the duck fat it is just divine."

His wife Jo declared "nobody will eat that", but after some initial negative responses to the idea, customers were won over by the taste.

"The thought of eating possum is a turn-off, I think because they're quite cute and unless they've destroyed your roses, you don't have a real beef against them," Mr Giuliani said.

With last week's batch a sell-out, Mr Giuliani is boosting production ahead of tomorrow's Farm Gate market.

"I hope to triple it this week and take it from there ... " he said.

"There could be a bit of an export market in it because it is a uniquely Tasmanian thing; this is the only state that you're allowed to eat them."

Mr Giuliani sources his possum from Richard Clarke from Bruny Island Game Meats, who also supplies to a growing number of butchers and food stores including bold foodies, The Aproneers at Lindisfarne.

The meat can also be purchased at Kingston Town Meats and Hill Street Grocer, New Town.

"People who try it love it but the big step is getting them to try it," Mr Clarke said.


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Not guilty plea to manslaughter

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 16 November 2012 | 19.55

A CLIFTON Beach man has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of his close friend while they were celebrating the victim's bucks night earlier this year.

Luke Cripps, 29, was killed in February just days before his wedding while riding in the back of a ute, which rolled on a private property during the night of celebration with his mates.

The popular Hobart soccer player and small business owner was trapped underneath the vehicle and he could not be resuscitated.

Nathan James Carins, 30, who was driving the ute, has been charged with manslaughter over Mr Cripps' death.

In the Hobart Magistrate's Court today he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Magistrate Olivia McTaggart ordered Carins to appear in the Supreme Court in Hobart on February 4 next year.

A count of driving a motor vehicle while exceeding prescribed alcohol limit was adjourned to a date to be fixed.

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Highway bottle throw admitted

A CLAREMONT man has admitted throwing a bottle from an overpass on the Brooker Highway which shattered the windscreen of a car travelling at 100km/h.

Peter John Denehey, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of recklessly throwing a missile to the danger of another person, destroying property and injuring property.

He pleaded not guilty to a second count of recklessly throwing a missile.

The court heard a driver travelling north on the Brooker Highway was hit by a bottle thrown from the Box Hill Road overpass at 5.15pm on August 10 this year.

The impact shattered her windscreen and caused damage to her bonnet totalling more than $2000.

Denehey, who is unemployed, told police he threw the bottle "for something to do".

He told Magistrate Olivia McTaggart he thought some young girls on the bridge might have thrown the first of the bottles he was accused of lobbing onto the highway.

"I only threw one bottle. I didn't try to purposely hit the car," he said.

The case was adjourned until December 19.

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'Blue' Sirens ready to roll

The South Island Sirens are fired up for their bout on Saturday night.

ROLLER derby returns to Hobart this weekend when the South Island Sirens battle Victoria's Latrobe City Rollers.

The Sirens have just returned from an interstate bout in Lismore.

They will adopt a blue theme for Saturday's High Voltage Roller Derby bout to raise awareness of depression and anxiety in the local community.

The skaters will "be blue" as part of their involvement in the Good Sports, Good Mental Health program.

South Island Sirens Roller Derby League president Rebecca Taylor said the Sirens were pleased to be able to promote such an important health message.

"This is an important initiative for us to be involved in. We will not only be helping our mates but our community too," she said.

The event is on at the Aurora Sports Stadium at 7.30pm. Tickets will be available on the door from 6.30pm and more information can be found at www.southislandsirens.com.

Good Sports, Good Mental Health is part of the Australian Drug Foundation's Good Sports program. For more information on the program visit www.goodsports.com.au

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Tassie duo near Masters lead

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 15 November 2012 | 19.55

ADAM Scott has started superbly in his quest for a maiden Australian Masters title but he has a pair of Tasmanians hot on his heels.

Scott took the clubhouse lead after his opening round at Melbourne's Kingston Heath at five under par with Launceston's Kalem Richardson and Wynyard's Craig Hancock just a further shot behind.

Scott, the Australian world No. 5, initially struggled to make the most of benign morning conditions, managing just one birdie and one bogey in his first nine holes, after starting at the 10th.

But a run of five birdies in the first seven holes on the front nine lifted him to five under par and he parred the remaining two holes to complete a 67 and hold the outright lead.

Scott, chasing his first win for the year, held a one-shot buffer over Richardson, Hancock and Queenslander Rika Batibasaga, who were all also in the clubhouse, and NSW tour veteran Peter O'Malley, who was nearing the end of his round.

Scott played with Irish 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell and 18-year-old West Australian amateur Oliver Goss.

Like Scott, both played their first nine holes in even par.

McDowell failed to match Scott's run, picking up just one birdie on the homeward nine to end the day on one under par.

Goss birdied three of the first four holes after the turn to at one stage trail Scott by just one shot.

But two bogeys in his last four holes meant the teenager also ended the day four shots from the lead.

Richardson, ranked No. 1474 in the world, shared the lead with Scott with a hole to play but finished with a bogey.

O'Malley recovered from two bogeys in his first three holes with a run of six birdies and a bogey in his next 13.

Two-time Masters champion Robert Allenby shot a one-over-par 73.

Defending champion Englishman Ian Poulter and Victoria's 2010 champion Stuart Appleby have just started their rounds.

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Surf's up for rad festival

FESTIVAL goers will be hangin' ten and celebrating the beach culture of the state's East Coast this weekend.

Everything people love about the East Coast, from the food and wine to the tunes and the surf, will be on offer at Bicheno.

In its fifth year the annual Bicheno Food and Wine Festival will be incorporating the best producers exclusively from the East Coast.

"One of the best things about this community celebration it's truly regional," festival organiser, David Quon said.

"We have 12 different winemakers from Orford to St Helens and they'll all be here.

"It's a family friendly event with everything from a chocolate cake competition to helicopter rides."

There will be music performances all day from local musicians and for the first time an exhibition and show and tell of vintage surfboards.

There will be more than 60 boards, all from local collections and will feature 1970's "Turf" boards designed and made in Tasmania by Ben Richardson and Leigh Steven.

"These are 1970s classics," said veteran surfer, Ronnie McCulloch, of Falmouth.

"Surfboards are works of art and provide an insight into surfing history and culture.

"Old surfboards are being re-visited -- there are lots of retro designs around now."

Bicheno is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Hobart. The festival will kick off at 11am on Saturday and wind up at 5pm.

Entry to the festival is $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 5 to 16. Children under 5 are admitted free. Entry tickets include live music, access to the Art Space and a chance to win a helicopter ride on the day.

For more information, click here.


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Breaking in the bypass

Premier Lara Giddings speaks at the Bridgewater Civic Centre after the opening of the Brighton Bypass on Monday.

MOTORISTS travelling on the new Brighton Bypass have been urged to stick to the 80km/h speed limit or risk damaging their cars.

Tasmania Police said loose gravel on the road had already resulted in several broken windscreens.

The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources has set the temporary limit to allow the road surface to settle.

"The speed reduction is also for the protection of wildlife in the area until they become more familiar with the new highway running through their natural habitat," Sergeant Penny Reardon said in a statement today.

"The road surface is continually being assessed and the speed limit will be increased as soon as it is deemed safe.

"At this stage, DIER anticipates increasing the 80km restriction by November 23."

She said the area would also have a "visible police presence" in the next few weeks.

The long-awaited $191 million Brighton Bypass opened to traffic on Monday – four months ahead of schedule.

The 9.6km stretch of road was designed to improve safety and travel time on the Midland Highway by diverting traffic away from Brighton and Pontville.

To check out time-lapse vision of the Jordan River bridge being built, click here.

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Our gay pride on show

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 14 November 2012 | 19.55

FROCKS, fun and fabulous festivities will take over Tasmania when the 20th TasPride Festival kicks off on Friday.

Guests will be treated to an opening night cruise on the River Derwent, hosted by Irish drag icon Panti.

The festival features a range of events over its nine-day run, including a burlesque show on Saturday and a series of discussions on equality and law reform next week.

The annual Pride Parade will hit Hobart streets next Saturday, November 24, with participants marshalling outside the Playhouse Theatre in Bathurst St from 11.30am for a noon start.

The march will culminate in a community gathering on Parliament House lawns, where TasPride's 20th rainbow birthday cake will be cut for all to share.

TasPride president Dean Duggan said the festival was the result of more than nine months of hard work.

"The actual events, as they're happening, are the easy part," Mr Duggan said.

"It's all the preparation, with all of our volunteers, that's the hard part."

Mr Duggan said the festival would provide an opportunity for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) community to celebrate their diversity.

For more information on festival events, click here.

Written by James Fettes, a journalism student at RMIT.

  • Join us at 11am tomorrow for a live blog with Mr Duggan, who will answer all your questions about festival fun.

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Prison farm costs mount

Inmates were moved out of Hayes Prison Farm to Risdon several months ago.

THE State Government will spend $20,000 a month on security at the former Hayes Prison Farm until the property is sold.

Craig Farrell, the leader of Government business in the Upper House, today confirmed the Corrections Department would continue pay for an independent security firm to watch over the now-empty site.

Another $10,000 would be spent on fire reduction measures, Mr Farrell said after questioning from the Liberal's corrections spokeswoman Vanessa Goodwin.

Inmates moved out of the prison farm -- just outside New Norfolk in the Derwent Valley -- in early September.

Mr Farrell said the former prison would go on the market in the new year.

Corrections Minister Nick McKim had previously said the site would be placed on the market by the end of 2012.

Ms Goodwin asked why the "for sale" sign could not go up sooner.

"It is disappointing. Whenever they set timelines, they blow out," Ms Goodwin said.

"It seems to be a consistent pattern with anything to do with Corrections."

Corrective Services director Robert Williams said a number of operational and legal steps were required before Hayes could be decommissioned and sold.

"These processes were complete in September 2012 and included ceasing farm activities, hazard removal, and relocating prisoners to Risdon," he said.

"The relevant legal and procedural matters are currently being finalised before placing Hayes on the market.

"It is expected that the property will be placed on the market before the end of the year or early in 2013."

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Devils board 'Noah's Ark'

The wild population of Tasmanian devils has been devastated by facial tumour disease. Pictures: SAM ROSEWARNE

DISEASE-FREE Tasmanian devils will travel to Maria Island today in an effort to safeguard the wild population from extinction.

State Environment Minister Brian Wightman said it was one of the most significant national conservation projects ever undertaken for a single species.

It is hoped the island -- a former penal settlement off Triabunna on Tasmania's East Coast -- will provide a safe haven for the endangered Tasmanian devil.

Wild devil numbers have been massively depleted by a deadly facial tumour disease.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the translocation program was a "method of last resort".

"It's part of making sure the Tasmanian devil never goes the way of the Tasmanian tiger," he said.

The 14 devils will be subjected to a long-term monitoring program run by the Tasmanian Government.

They have been sourced from "insurance populations" in Tasmania and interstate and were selected by the Zoo and Aquarium Association for their genetic suitability and behavioural traits.

A Save the Tasmanian Devil spokesman said Maria Island was selected for the rescue mission after extensive surveys and assessments of Tasmania's offshore islands.

"Maria Island has many potential benefits for devils compared with the potential impacts such an introduction may have," he said.

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Tobacco donor ban closer

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 13 November 2012 | 19.55

STATE legislation banning political donations from tobacco companies has moved one step closer.

An amendment to the Electoral Act, which would render the Tasmanian Liberals unable to accept political donations from tobacco companies, passed the Lower House of Parliament this morning.

The amendment – branded "unconstitutional" by the Liberals -- will now move to the Upper House.

Greens health spokesman Paul O'Halloran said the move meant Attorney-General Brian Wightman had delivered on a majority vote of the chamber more than a year ago in support of a Greens' motion calling for legislative reform.

"If political representatives want to encourage smokers to end their tobacco addiction then it's only appropriate for political parties show leadership by ending end their addiction to tobacco company donations," Mr O'Halloran said.

"The community expects their elected representatives to walk the talk, particularly when Tasmania has the highest smoking rate across Australia.

"A ban on big tobacco donations is just one aspect of our political donations reform package, and we will continue to pursue for further necessary reform.

"We are confident the Legislative Council will support this progressive reform that will benefit Tasmanian health and ease the burden on the health system."

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Man accused of video heist

HOBART detectives have charged a 24-year-old man over the armed robbery of a video store in September.

Video Ezy, in Main Rd, New Town, was robbed on September 5. Police allege a man entered the store armed with a crowbar and demanded cash from an attendant.

Detective Inspector Peter Powell said a Huonville man had today been charged over the incident.

The accused is due to appear in the Hobart Magistrates Court on December 7.

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Roofer in critical condition

The Costas Logistics coolstore at Spreyton.

A DEVONPORT man who fell 6m from a roof at Spreyton remains in a critical condition at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

The 47-year-old was working on the Costas Logistics cool store when the accident happened early yesterday.

Workplace Standards is about to begin an investigation into the incident, which is the second such workplace accident in Tasmania in the past three months.

The man, who was employed by contractor SERS Roofing Services, is in an induced coma in the RHH and listed as critical.

There were five other workers at the site at the time of the fall and all have received counselling.

In August, a young apprentice from Launceston died after falling from the roof of the Homemaker Centre in Devonport.

Workplace Standards chief executive Roy Ormerod said it was important authorities uncovered what was going wrong with safety procedures in the construction industry.

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No plea from rape accused

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 12 November 2012 | 19.55

A 24-YEAR-OLD Huonville man accused of raping a two-year-old child has made a brief appearance in a Hobart Court.

The man, who cannot be named, was charged with rape on Friday and appeared in the Hobart Magistrates Court on Saturday.

In a brief hearing in the Magistrates Court today he did not enter a plea and did not apply for bail.

He was remanded to reappear in the same court via videolink on December 7.

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Arrests made over break-ins

EASTERN Shore police have arrested and charged 15 people since September 1 over a string of home burglaries in recent months.

Detective Sergeant Marco Cosentino said multiple homes had been burgled during daylight hours in the Oakdowns, Tranmere and Howrah areas, with cash the prime target.

The latest arrests were made yesterday at Oakdowns, near Rokeby.

Det Sgt Cosentino said officers were responding to reports of three males acting suspiciously in the area.

"The three males were arrested a short distance away after allegedly attempting to break into a house in Oakdowns," he said.

"After investigations were conducted, the three were charged with 10 daylight burglaries and stealing in the past two weeks.

"They were also charged with attempting another two home burglaries."

Police have thanked members of the public for providing information. They also urged people to remain alert and report any suspicious activity, particularly in the aforementioned areas.

If an incident occurs and suspects are still at the property, call triple 0. If the information is non-urgent, call 131 444.

If callers wish to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward, they can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Det Sgt Cosentino said Bellerive CIB detectives had arrested and charged 15 alleged offenders since September 1 over burglaries in Warrane, Lindisfarne, Howrah and Tranmere.

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Brighton Bypass now open

Premier Lara Giddings does the honours at the Brighton Bypass today. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

THE long-awaited $191 million Brighton Bypass, in southern Tasmania, is finally open to traffic.

Tasmania's biggest road infrastructure project was officially opened today by a raft of politicians including Premier Lara Giddings, Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne, federal Lyons MP Dick Adams and Brighton Mayor Tony Foster.

Cr Foster said the 9.6km bypass would allow the communities of Pontville and Brighton to reinvent themselves.

The RACT has already called for the speed limit on the bypass to be increased to 110km/h.

The limit will remain at 80km/h for the next week for the road "to settle" before becoming 100km/h.

A Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources spokesperson said traffic would be monitored for the next few months before a decision was made on whether to lift the speed limit to 110km/h.

The opening of the controversial project – which was marred by a series of protests and arrests after indigenous artefacts were discovered at the Jordan River -- was described as insensitive by the Aboriginal community.


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The whale trap

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 11 November 2012 | 19.55

BEACHED: Sperm whales at Perkins Island in the North-West in January 2009.

THE craggy coast and wild seas that give Tasmania's West and North-West coasts their beauty also make the region a deadly trap for whales and dolphins.

The latest beachings just over a week ago resulted in 82 dolphins and pilot whales dying in two separate mass strandings on King and New Year islands.

Locals and Parks and Wildlife staff were able to rescue 15 and return them to the sea.

Whale and dolphin strandings occur in Tasmania more often than any other Australian state, and a disproportionate number of these occur in the Circular Head, Macquarie Island to Ocean Beach areas, as well as King Island.

Twenty-two sperm whales were stranded on Ocean Beach near Strahan in November last year, almost 200 pilot whales and dolphins beached at Naracoopa on King Island in March 2009, 64 pilot whales were stranded at Stanley in November 2008 and 48 sperm whales near Smithton in January that year.

Rosemary Gales, biodiversity monitoring manager for the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, said both the North-West and West coasts had complex topography which, combined with the state's proximity to the whale haven of the Southern Ocean, may account for their reputation as a whale trap. Gently sloping beaches can be difficult for whales and dolphins to detect because they do not reflect sonar and the creatures stray too close to shore. Bays with narrow entrances flanked by rocky headlands can give whales and dolphins the illusion they are trapped.

Dr Gales said the recent King Island strandings may have been a result of the animals becoming confused by the coastline.

"Like most mass strandings, especially with pilot whales and dolphins, there were probably a number of factors that contributed to the stranding. At least one of the sites had very complicated topography and possibly the animals got trapped," she said.

"It was particularly interesting because there were both pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins.

"It's always those two species [that beach together] and we know they interact together at sea and they feed on the same sort of prey.

"Single strandings are very different to mass strandings, which typically involve healthy animals.

"Generally [mass strandings involved] toothed whales or dolphins, which have very strong social structures. A couple may get stuck, call out to others, which head towards it and also get stuck."

While human activities such as the use of ship sonar have been proven to cause strandings in other parts of the world, Dr Gales said there was no evidence that was a factor in strandings in Australia.

"Overseas in the US they have had this, but it's dangerous to extrapolate to other areas and other strandings and infer that all beach whale strandings must be because of sonar," she said.

Departmental staff take samples from dead whales in an attempt to develop a better understanding of why it is occurring.

"We look at DNA and we collaborate with New Zealand and we've worked out that the pilot whales that strand in Tasmania are generally very different to the pilot whales that strand in New Zealand," Dr Gales said. "Other things we look at is the age of the whale and basic biology, including their size and condition. We also check things like pollutant loads."

The stranding season generally starts around November as the whales make their way south.

People finding a whale or dolphin stranding can call the 24-hour DPIPWE hotline on 0427 WHALES.

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Libs push for locals first

FUTURE PROJECT: An Opposition spokesman says redevelopment of the Hobart railyards and the state's rail network must result in contracts for as many local firms as possible.

THE Opposition will this week challenge the Labor-Green State Government to back new legislation it says will shore up local construction firms and tradesmen and prevent tens of millions of contract dollars flowing out of the state.

In a move to give local business priority over interstate firms, the Liberals will on Wednesday bring on debate of proposed their Local Benefits Test Bill, under which contracts will need to meet a range of regulations that will favour local tenderers.

This could include a 10-15 per cent buffer in cases where it is considered it would be of more value to give the job to locals than interstate firms and a need to split large contracts into smaller parcels to give local firms a better opportunity to tender.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said there was an urgent need for more government tenders to go to local firms to stimulate the state's struggling economy by keeping people in jobs and ensuring the money was circulated locally, especially in regional areas.

Mr Hodgman believed a local benefits test would also create hundreds of local jobs.

The Bill, which has already been tabled, proposes that a local benefits test be applied to all government tenders, with consideration given to the benefits that would flow if a tender was awarded to a Tasmanian firm rather than a business from outside the state.

Mr Hodgman said Tasmanian businesses were missing out on tens of millions worth of government contracts each year.

"Tasmania needs a local benefits test to make sure we're not just getting value for money but value for the community from government contracts,'' he said.

"The Government is the biggest purchaser in dhTasmania and we need a local benefits test to harness that power to grow the economy and create jobs.''

It is understood that the Liberals would apply a discount to the overall tender for a Tasmanian business that applied, meaning a local company could still win a contract in the event that an interstate business was offering to do the work at a slightly lower cost.

The Bill also defines "local business'' as a company that is substantially based in Tasmania and has most of its workers based in Tasmania.

"[The Government] counts companies like Telstra and Corporate Express and even multi-nationals like KPMG as Tasmanian businesses simply because they have a presence in Tasmania,'' Mr Hodgman said.

"Other states already have local benefits tests. It won't restrict the Government from getting the best deal possible.

"A local benefits test will ensure that the Government will take into account the cost of sending business offshore.''

A spokesman for the Opposition said projects such as the redevelopment of the Hobart railyards and the state's rail network must result in contracts for as many local firms as possible.


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Rebels under fire

TASMANIA Police is cutting a swathe through one of the country's most infamous outlaw motorcycle clubs, arresting more than a dozen members locally as part of a nationwide crackdown.

The Rebels Motorcycle Club is being targeted across Australia as part of an until-now secret operation endorsed by the Australian Crime Commission.

Revealing the details of the operation this week, the crime commission said the Attero National taskforce aimed to target, disrupt, disable, dismantle and investigate the "criminal activity of the Rebels in Australia".

Tasmania's representative on the committee overseeing the operation, southern drug squad boss John Arnold, said the Rebels in Tasmania had strong links with some of the major players interstate.

"These people market themselves as an outlaw motorcycle club, the '1 per centers', so frankly it's difficult for anyone associated with such a club to distance themselves from the criminal activity that goes on," Det-Insp Arnold said.

"The Rebels are involved in organised crime."

Yesterday national Rebels president Alex Vella held a press conference in Sydney, telling reporters there was no organised criminal element in the club.

Mr Vella reportedly said Attero taskforce arrest figures were exaggerated, and most of the charges laid were for minor traffic violations.

The Rebels is the largest motorcycle club gang in Australia with chapters in every state and territory as well as overseas.

There are eight chapters in Tasmania comprising 50 members.

Since late last year when the operation began, Tasmania Police has arrested and charged 14 members with a variety of crimes and offences from drug trafficking down to assault and public disorder.

Before that, northern police charged more than a dozen Rebels and associates over the state's largest amphetamine trafficking operation mid-last year, temporarily disabling the club's northern operation.

The Attero taskforce comprises police from every state and territory as well as the Australian Federal Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection, the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.

Chairman of the ACC's Serious and Organised Crime Co-ordination Centre David Hudson said the taskforce was focused on breaking the business model of the Rebels.

"There is a cost and risk of being a member of, or associated with, an OMCG and this risk becomes greater," Mr Hudson said.

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