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Meet our white knight

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 22 Desember 2012 | 19.55

Warwick Rule (centre) and his wife Helen have bought several busted companies in recent years, turning them around and employing locals.

A WEALTHY Sydney businessman is breathing new life into struggling Tasmanian businesses in a bid to create much-needed jobs.

Warwick Rule and his wife Helen have bought several busted companies in recent years, turning them around and employing locals.

Their latest acquisition is a linen cleaning company at Goodwood that went into receivership in June, owing more than $1 million to creditors and putting 45 people out of work.

Mr Rule is the founder and managing director of Imatech, a mining tool and product supply company.

The couple restored the old Savings Bank in Murray St and are well known for their battle with the heritage council over striking red awnings they used on the building, some of which were recently ordered removed.

They live in Sydney and spend much of the year travelling overseas, but have fallen in love with Tasmania during the past 20 years.

Mr Rule said they were on a river cruise in Europe when they received an email to say Southern Linen Services had gone into receivership.

He said they had been considering acquiring a linen company after buying a number of accommodation properties in Tasmania.

Mr Rule said by the time they bought the linen company in September it had been shut down and old customers had signed on with new contractors.

It provided linen rental and laundering services to commercial, healthcare, hospitality and food processing industries.

Re-named Linen Services Tasmania and extensively renovated, the business has re-employed 20 staff who had not been able to find work since the company's collapse.

"We've recruited a lot of the labour [force] from the old business," he said.

"They were owed so much money [by the previous owners], they hadn't been paid things like superannuation."

Mr Rule said his Tasmanian businesses now employed more than 50 people and his companies Australia-wide employed more than 200 people.

He owns Engineering Supplies Tasmania and Joinery Supplies Tasmania, and last year bought a second Tasmanian joinery company that had gone into receivership, renaming it Imatech Joinery Services, based in Glenorchy.

Before the joinery business went bust Mr Rule had hired it to carry out detailed woodwork and restorations at his Murray St property.

"I knew them very well [and] when I found out they had gone into receivership I said we can't lose all of those skills," he said.

He went to an auction organised by administrators, bought all of the company's assets and re-established the business.

Mr Rule said he wanted to create new jobs by investing in Tasmanian businesses and considered this more important than donating to charities.

"We would rather put money into businesses that employ people because that's what Tasmania needs," he said.

"We're learning more about Tassie as we go."

The couple are building up a holiday accommodation portfolio and own serviced apartments at Battery Point, historic property Gattonside in Sandy Bay Rd and Amberley House near the casino.


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Flowing with festive cheer

Revellers packed Salamanca Place last night.

THOUSANDS of Hobart revellers started putting the "merry" into this year's Christmas holiday period last night.

There was a bumper and boisterous crowd at Salamanca for the traditional Christmas break-up drinks.

Police estimated about 10,000 people took advantage of the mild weather and clear skies to converge on the Hobart waterfront.

Check out the gallery

The Salamanca lawns were transformed into a street party, with live music, barbecues and vans serving alcohol.

Police Inspector Glen Woolley, officer in charge of Hobart, said it was a lively but orderly crowd.

"Overall the crowd is well behaved, considering the large number of people," he said.

"So far it's a jovial crowd and we just hope it stays that way," he said.

Insp Woolley said the good behaviour was partly because of the strong police presence, with 22 police patrolling the waterfront last night.

Police had made four arrests for disorderly conduct up until 9.30pm.

Insp Woolley said it was the largest gathering he had seen in the three years he had been patrolling Salamanca pre-Christmas Friday nights.

The holiday drinks have been a tradition in Salamanca for nearly 30 years, with thousands gathering on the lawns across from Knopwoods Retreat.

While the outside drinking area was still enclosed by a 1.2m barrier fence last night, the area was less fortress-like than the past seven years when a 1.8m "cage" had been erected.

Knoppies licensee Kate Cawthorn praised the lower barriers.

"It has more of a festival feel, we're really happy with it," she said.

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Snapshot shows healthy state

THE latest snapshot of Tasmania is in, and the news is mostly good.

We are richer and smarter than two years ago. We call ourselves optimists, but we can be a little tight with the purse strings. We don't trust governments, but we reckon we lead full and busy lives.

Every year leading advertising company Clemenger puts together a comprehensive snapshot of the habits and mood of the nation.

Based on quarterly Roy Morgan surveys of more than 50,000 people, it identifies the traits we share and the things that set us apart from each other.

Clemenger's report, The State of Tasmania, reveals locals are generally upbeat about their lives, particularly in Hobart, where the proportion of people counting their glass as half-full approaches 80 per cent. But drill down deeper and the picture becomes more nuanced.

While Tasmanians are more likely than other Australians to feel financially stable and are less likely to have cut down on their spending, a strong and growing majority believe the gap between rich and poor is growing.

And despite the global financial crisis receding in the rear view mirror, the number of people believing the economy is in freefall is growing.

Far more than Australians elsewhere, Tasmanians don't trust governments. Only a small minority in each region report that they trust the current Federal Government and distrust is significantly higher in the state's North-West, something that may spell trouble in the key marginal seat of Bass.

And we are more likely to believe corruption is a major problem, with up to 60 per cent agreeing.

The Clemenger report revealed distinct differences between the state's three regional centres of Hobart, Launceston and Burnie/Devonport.

"The Hobart region showed optimism in terms of the economy and the future of Tasmania, despite a feeling of financial instability. The Hobart demographic is characterised by older households of white-collar workers, managers and professionals who value social interaction, new opportunities and knowledge," the report concluded.

Interestingly, Launceston emerged as a more liberal, health-conscious, environmental hub.

"The Launceston region showed an increase in income and a shift towards a more health-conscious consumer," the report said.

"This involves the consumption of organic and additive-free foods, as well as increasing concern for the environment.

"The Launceston demographic is characterised by the mid-life households of skilled workers who value security, reliability and family.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the state's North-West emerged with its own distinct identity too.

"The Burnie/Devonport region showed increasing disregard for their health, as well as a large degree of distrust and dissatisfaction with the Government," the report said. "[The] demographic is characterised by young-parent households of skilled workers who value security, reliability and family."


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Tarkine mine lease approved

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 21 Desember 2012 | 19.55

ANOTHER mining project earmarked for the Tarkine has moved a step closer to development.

The State Government has granted Venture Minerals a mining lease for its Riley Creek iron ore mine, west of Tullah.

The Riley Creek proposal is one of three major mines Venture plans to develop in Tasmania.

The company has already been granted a lease for its Livingstone project, also near Tullah, and is finalising plans for its massive Mt Lindsay tin and tungsten mine.

All mines would need Commonwealth approval before they could proceed.

The Riley Creek mine, when developed, would create 60 jobs and generate revenue and mining royalties worth tens of millions of dollars.

Resource Minister Bryan Green said the granting of the lease was another sign that mining investment was being encouraged in Tasmania.

Mr Green was heckled when he tried to tell the 3000 people who attended a pro-mining rally in Burnie in November that the government was doing its bit to promote new mineral developments.

"I think people will now realise that criticism of the Government is baseless," Mr Green said yesterday.

"Nothing has changed in relation to the processes for developing new mines and each project will be dealt with on its merits under some of the strictest environmental conditions in the world."

The granting of the lease to Venture Minerals follows news this week that Shree Minerals' $20 million iron ore project had received its final Commonwealth tick of approval.

Development of the open cut mine, near Temma on the west Coast, should begin in March or April.

Conservationists have vowed to blockade the site.

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Abuser's jail term increased

A MAN involved in one of the most horrific cases of sexual abuse to come before the Tasmanian courts has had his sentence increased on appeal.

The Court of Appeal today added another three years to his jail term, describing the initial sentence as inadequate.

The 35-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person under the age of 17 years, eight counts of producing child exploitation material and two counts of possessing child exploitation material and a jury found him guilty of three counts of rape.

The offences were committed between 2008 and 2001 when the victim was aged between 14 and 17. She was his stepdaughter.

He made video and audio recordings of the abuse and threatened the girl he would put the images on the internet if she reported him.

Justice David Porter sentenced the man to seven years in jail with a minimum term of four.

But in his decision on the Crown appeal, Chief Justice Ewan Crawford said the sentence was too lenient.

"Rapes on 21 different occasions alone demanded a much more severe sentence," he said.

"Their nature and circumstances cried out for a much longer term of imprisonment by way of general and personal deterrence, retribution and denunciation.

"The gross breach of trust by the respondent and the harm he caused the complainant also demanded a much more severe sentence."

He quashed the original sentence and ordered the man serve 12 years in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of seven years.

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Help at hand for injured boys

A BROAD cross-section of the Tasmanian community has banded together to set up a trust to help two little boys who were severely burnt in a car explosion in Burnie earlier this month.

Family friends, groups of mothers, service clubs and churches have joined forces to form the Fletcher and Spencer Support Committee to co-ordinate fundraising activities and other aid for the eight- and five-year-olds.

Police are still waiting to speak to the boys' father.

He is expected to be charged with attempted murder.

The 49-year-old man and his sons received burns to more than 25 per cent of their bodies in the car fire which happened in the backyard of their Shorewell home a fortnight ago.

The boys remain in a critical but stable condition in intensive care in the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

Their father is being treated in the ICU of the Royal Hobart Hospital and his condition has been downgraded from critical to serious.

However, police expect it will still be weeks before they can interview him about the incident.

The Vice-District-Governor of Lions Tasmania, George Bugeja, will chair the committee, which has already received offers of help from local businesses, individuals, entertainers and celebrity chefs.

Tins will be placed on the counters of some businesses to collect money for the appeal and donations can also be made at the ANZ bank.

The Fletcher and Spencer Trust has been set up to administer the donations received to ensure all money will be spent in the best interests of the boys.

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Movie highs and lows for 2012

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 20 Desember 2012 | 19.55

The Dark Knight Rises has been rated the best movie of 2012.

MOVIE reviewer Leigh Paatsch looks back at the most exciting, shocking, and awe-inspiring cinematic moments of 2012, as well as those that made audiences cringe.

Best 10 Films of 2012

1. The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan ended his consistently brilliant, forever game-changing Batman trilogy on sustained notes of elation, exhaustion and deep contemplation. If every blockbuster event picture was a third as good as this, our faith in mainstream filmmaking would be unshakeable. Here's hoping these excellent works were not just an exception to the rule, but an example others will follow.

2. Beasts of the Southern Wild
Not often a film will have you repeatedly thinking "I have never seen anything like this before". Sure, this lyrical, yet cryptic crawl through a community devastated by a hurricane was an acquired taste for many. However, no-one could deny the raw power coursing through every frame.

3. Argo
Less than a decade ago, Ben Affleck was considered a hack actor, and getting hackier by the minute. Now he is one of the best directors in the business. And no-one sledges his performances no more, either. His take on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis was thrilling, funny and flawlessly staged.

4. The Sessions
A disarmingly frank and surprisingly heart-warming tale about a virginal paraplegic poet who just wants to get laid? Could have been a train wreck, yet never once went off the rails. Superb acting from John Hawkes and Helen Hunt revealed an intimate bond between two people that had nothing to do with sex.

5. Looper
An ambitious, adrenalised sci-fi thriller that is all brains and all brawn, almost all the time. An imposing, multi-directional plot about time-travel converges at a place where you will be engrossed and even moved by what comes to pass. Certain to be a big influence on emerging filmmakers in years to come.

6. Moonrise Kingdom
Two 12-year old runaways scamper about an idyllic island, with a cop (Bruce Willis) and a Scout leader (Edward Norton) in not-so-hot pursuit. Look past the enjoyably absurd chase scenario, and there are wise emotional truths and beautifully rendered tinges of sorrow expertly woven throughout.

7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
A rare case of a Hollywood adaptation surpassing the original foreign production. Director David Fincher didn't settle for a mere remake. With the aid of sterling performances from Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, Fincher dragged us deeper into Stieg Larsson's bleak Millennium universe than ever before.

8. Magic Mike
Those who thought they'd be getting an American re-tooling of The Full Monty were horribly wrong. Instead, master filmmaker Steven Soderbergh served up a soulful drama about male strippers where everything went brilliantly right.

9. The Avengers
After many years in the works, Marvel Entertainment's master plan to conquer the world box-office with their stable of thoroughbred superheroes went off without a hitch. A truly epic action picture positively pulses with panache, wit and excitement throughout.

10. The Artist
A French-made silent set in 1920s Hollywood. Starring two actors no-one had ever heard of. A longshot bet that came up trumps, taking our traditional love for the movies and making it feel like a brand new romance. Deserving winning of the Best Picture Oscar.

And the Next 10:
11. Margaret
12. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
13. Skyfall
14. Bully
15. Prometheus
16. Searching for Sugarman
17. Les Miserables
18. The Raid
19. Margin Call
20. Bernie

Worst 10 Films of 2012

1. That's My Boy
If it were possible to contract Irritable Bowel Syndrome from a movie, this bummer of a comedy calamity from Adam Sandler would be the culprit. Contains literally hundreds of jokes that go straight through the bottom of the barrel into an endless void of unfunniness. Out now on DVD, thrillseekers.

2. Mental
In what was hardly a champagne year for Australian cinema, this flamboyantly unamusing comedy about psychiatric illness was the flattest, most tasteless concoction of all.

3. John Carter
It's like Cowboys & Aliens! On Mars! So went the excitable pitch for a botched blockbuster that had audiences yawning before the opening credits finished.

4. Housos Vs Authority
Aussie not-so-funnyman Paul Fenech discounted his cheap laughs more heavily than ever before. Viewers paid the ultimate price.

5. American Pie: Reunion
A final, desperate flogging of a horse that had expired many years ago. Wobbled between the groan-worthy to the grotesque with gormless abandon.

6. Iron Sky
A "zany" sci-fi action comedy about Hitler in space? What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

7. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Sadly, all plans for a franchise end here. Even more sadly, this means the world will never get to see George Washington : Werewolf Whacker.

8. Fun Size
Kiddie-friendly movies haven't been this kiddie-unfriendly since the days of Yu-Gi-Oh. Search party still looking for laughs in comedy about a pre-schooler lost after midnight.

9. The Darkest Hour
This was the alien-invasion movie where the aliens were mostly invisible. Must have saved a stack on special-effects. Nothing off the top on ticket cost, though.

Equal 10. Resident Evil: Retribution and Underworld: Awakening
Who looks more bored, tired and over it all? Milla Jovovich? Kate Beckinsale? Or you?

Top 10 Movie Moments of 2012

1. The bomb blast at a packed football stadium in The Dark Knight Rises
2. Alfred bids farewell to Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises
3. The raid in The Raid
4. The Shanghai skyscraper skirmish in Skyfall
5. Veteran superheroes fighting together for the first time in The Avengers
6. The Albanian airport terminal shootout in The Expendables 2
7. The Iranian airport terminal checkout in Argo
8. Brad Pitt's closing monologue in Killing Them Softly
9. Channing Tatum misplaces his clothing to music in Magic Mike
10. Reaching the absolute end of the Twilight Saga in Breaking Dawn - Part 2

Bottom 10 Movie Moments of 2012

1. The 114 minutes and 59 seconds before reaching the absolute end of the Twilight Saga in Breaking Dawn - Part 2
2. Tom Cruise misplaces his clothing to music in Rock of Ages
3. Adam Sandler and Vanilla Ice squabble over the affections of a 93-year-old nymphomaniac in That's My Boy
4. Toni Collette holds a naked flame to her naked bottom in Mental
5. Johnny Knoxville abduct a five-year-old kid for laughs in Fun Size
6. A drug cache is retrieved from the backside of a sheep in A Few Best Men
7. Sharks attack a supermarket in Bait
8. Discovering Nazis are alive and well on the moon in Iron Sky
9. Any instance of vampire hunting in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
10. Billy Crystal is hit in the groin, then vomits on a child in Parental Guidance

Read more of Leigh Paatsch's movies highlights and lowlights at news.com.au

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Man charged over murders

A MAN has appeared in a Hobart court charged with two counts of murder over the deaths of a couple at Mountain River, south of Hobart.

Nicolau Francisco Soares, 27, of no fixed address, appeared before Magistrate Michael Daly shortly before 4pm today.

The West Australian man did not enter a plea or apply for bail.

The magistrate adjourned the case until 9.30am on January 7.

Mr Soares was remanded in custody.

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Two dead on rural property

Dr Del Weston was found dead. Inset: Officers at the scene of the alleged double murder in Bennetts Rd, Mountain River, this morning.

THE nation's leading health economist and his academic partner are dead after being murdered at their idyllic Mountain River property, south-west of Hobart.

Professor Gavin Mooney, 69, and Dr Del Weston, 62, were found dead in their Bennetts Rd home early today after their alleged killer rang 000. They had severe blunt force injuries to their heads.

The 27-year-old man charged with the murders is Dr Weston's son by a previous relationship, Nicolau Francisco Soares. He did not enter a plea when he appeared in the Hobart Magistrates Court today and has been remanded in custody.

Prof Mooney and Dr Weston moved to Tasmania from WA last year to enjoy semi-retirement and were enthralled by the beauty of their new surroundings.

Their alleged killer arrived in the state three weeks ago, sources say, and had been staying at their home.

It is the second double murder in the state's South in four days and the third this year. A Hamilton couple was shot dead on Sunday and a man and a woman were stabbed to death in Launceston in August.

Police say the latest horror was a particularly gruesome crime. A hammer and sledgehammer used to inflict the fatal wounds was found next to the bodies. The alleged killer was waiting in another room when police arrived early this  morning.

"The only person who really knows what occurred in that house now is the man we have in custody," Detective Inspector Peter Powell alleged.

"There was some sign in the room of a disturbance, some furniture overturned.

"But as to who was attacked first or how the altercation commenced, we don't know."

He said there was no obvious motive at this stage.

"We hope to discover it as we go through the investigation," he said.

 "Certainly, we would like to know more about his movements.

"The area where they lived is a remote area and there are no houses close to the location but obviously we're making inquiries in the area to see what people know of this couple and this young man.

"We've been doorknocking down there this morning and making inquiries in the Kingston area too."

Although police asked neighbours not to comment publicly yesterday, it was apparent those living close by were deeply shocked.

Det Insp Powell said it was a terrible thing to have two double murders within days of each other  and both allegedly committed by people known to the victims.

The man believed to be responsible for the Hamilton shootings remains in a medically induced coma in hospital after shooting himself in the head on Sunday.

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My sister didn't have to die

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 19 Desember 2012 | 19.55

A COUPLE might still be alive today if police had acted to impose a family violence order against their alleged killer, says Melissa Wilton, right, the sister of the dead woman.

The family of the woman slain in a double killing and attempted suicide at Hamilton on Sunday, demanded answers yesterday after they said the dead woman reached out to Tasmania Police months ago.

Meagan Wilton, 31, and popular Ouse cricketer Ben Eyles, 34, were yesterday named as the couple killed early on Sunday morning.

Meagan's sister Melissa, 30, of Claremont, says her much-loved sister, a mother-of-three, went to police late last year after her then-de facto partner, 59, assaulted her, leaving her with black eyes and bruising to her body. Ms Wilton has photographs of her sister's injured face saved to her phone.

"I am very angry," she said. "[Tasmania Police] never put the family violence order that should have been in place through -- and if they had done [the alleged shooter's] guns would've been taken off him and my sister would still be alive. I want something done about this. I demand an investigation."

Detective Inspector Colin Riley said there was no record of any such violence being reported.

"If the sister has any evidence to suggest there was family violence it is recommended she bring that information to police to investigate rather than providing it to the media, and once we have that information we will obviously include it as part of the investigation," he said.

"[Ms Melissa Wilton] was in the presence of investigators yesterday and none of that information was provided to those investigators."

He said this was "clearly a traumatic set of events for the family and extended family" and said if there was any further information that could assist police in "clarifying what has occurred" then "we would appreciate it if they came to police with any such information".

Ms Wilton said her sister Meagan left the older man, the father of her 19-month-old son, in April this year.

"That's why she got out. She didn't want the kids to grow up and see violence," Ms Wilton said.

"She lived for her kids. She was struggling but she lived for them and she was a lovely girl."

Meagan Wilton formed a relationship with Mr Eyles a few months ago and the couple moved into a rented home at Hamilton.

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Accessory's sentence stands

A MAN who helped a killer hide the body of a murder victim has lost an appeal against the severity of his jail term.

Sean Timothy Hudson, 37, of Ravenswood, was convicted in May of assault and being an accessory after the fact in the murder of 43-year-old father-of-six Scott Rock in Launceston on March 29 last year.

Neville Lindsay Whiting, 32, stomped and jumped on Mr Rock's head and left him to die before dumping his body near a bush track and setting it on fire.

Whiting was sentenced to 20 years' jail.

Hudson punched Mr Rock to the ground. After the fatal attack, Hudson helped load the victim into a car that he later cleaned when the body had been dumped.

Defence lawyer Adrian Hall told the Court of Criminal Appeal in Hobart that Hudson's 7 1/2-year jail sentence was excessive.

He said Hudson's crime was limited and did not aid the killer ultimately to escape detection.

But Justices Alan Blow, David Porter and Helen Wood disagreed, handing down their decision today.

They said Hudson had been imprisoned before and had breached the conditions of suspended sentences and probation, warranting an extended non-parole period.

They said the sentence could not be described as manifestly excessive.

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Trial over teen's road death

A NEW Norfolk man will face trial next year over the road death of a schoolgirl in the Derwent Valley last February.

Bradley John Chaplin, 27, has pleaded not guilty to negligent driving, driving without due care and attention, speeding, and driving with an illegal drug in his system.

The charges were laid after the death of Glenora High School student Ashley Edmonds on February 29.

The 13-year-old was killed when she was hit by a utility after getting off a school bus on Gordon River Rd at Karanja.

The Hobart Magistrates Court today heard the case would take up to five days and involve a number of young witnesses.

Defence lawyer Chris Gunson said he was discussing with the prosecution ways to take evidence from those witnesses without causing additional trauma.

He said he had also sought a reconstruction of the crash from an accident expert and would be calling into question evidence of his client's reading for tetrahydrocannabinol -- the active ingredient in cannabis.

Magistrate Olivia McTaggart said she would conduct a visit to the scene of the crash as requested by the defence before a further mention of the case on February 26.

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Tarkine iron ore mine approved

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 18 Desember 2012 | 19.55

FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke has given an Indian mining company the green light to develop an iron ore project on Tasmania's West Coast.

The mine, one of a handful of proposals being fiercely opposed by Tarkine conservationists, is expected to create 125 jobs over its predicted decade of operation.

The National Tarkine Coalition said protesters would barricade the site as soon as work started.

TNC's Scott Jordan said Mr Burke had folded to pressure from the Australian Workers' Union which organised a loud and very angry pro-mining rally in Burnie last month.

'What the AWU wants, Tony gives, it seems," Mr Jordan said yesterday.

"We will monitor the situation and as soon as they start works on site we will be there."

Mr Burke has imposed 29 conditions on Shree Minerals' project including the development of plans to protect threatened species and the Tasmanian devil.

Shree Minerals said the Federal Government approval was a major milestone in its bid to start production at Nelson Bay -- near Couta Rocks -- and the ghost mining town of Balfour.

The company will now seek funding partners.

The Nelson Bay River project has already been approved by the State Government.

Shree Minerals chairman Sanjay Loyalka said the project's development would include measures to stop acid drainage and minimise the risk of road kill.

Mr Loyalka said the mine's footprint would be small compared to the social and economic benefits it would bring.

He said the project would also boost the state's finances through royalties and payroll tax.

Shree Minerals will commission a research program to understand orchid biology in the North-West and support the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.

Federal Braddon MP Sid Sidebottom said Mr Burke's decision was welcome news for the region.

"Mining has a long history and ongoing importance to the economy and I am pleased that it will continue to do so," Mr Sidebottom said.

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Students receive finals marks

MORE than 3000 students have achieved their Tasmanian Certificate of Education this year.

Among them are about 100 students whose mark of 98.45 or more put them in the top 1.5 per cent of their age group in Australia.

They were among 12,605 students given results this week by the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority, which runs exams and assessment for years 11 and 12 and vocational subjects.

The 3085 who achieved a TCE was up from 2715 last year.

"There have also been more Qualifications Certificates issued to Year 12 students, up from 4740 in 2011 to 4973 in 2012," Education Minister Nick McKim said.

And 2290 students received an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) this year, making them eligible to apply for a place at university, up from 2287 last year.

"The positive trend continued with 1676 Year 10 students also receiving a result in one or more TQA accredited courses -- up from 1459 last year.

"I am sure that many students are now relieved and can start making decisions on their future.

"The good results are a testament to their hard work and the dedication of their teachers."

Students receiving an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 98.45 or above:
(in alphabetical order - only students who chose to release their names to the media).

ABETZ, JEREMY, Calvin Christian School
ALLENDER, MIRANDA, St Michael's Collegiate
BADCOCK, CHLOE, The Don College
BAKES, EMMA, Leighland Christian School
BARNETT, NINA, Launceston Church Grammar
BASSETT, ALICE, Launceston Church Grammar
BEASLEY, HERMIONE, The Friend's School
BLACKWOOD, ISOBEL, Scotch Oakburn College
BLEATHMAN, FREYA, St Michael's Collegiate
BOHMER, MATTHEW, The Friend's School
BOWEN, SCARLETT, The Friend's School
BROWN, DANIELLE, Elizabeth College
BURGESS, NICOLA, Guilford Young College
BUTLER, PATRICK, The Friend's School
CALLAWAY, LIAM, Rosny College
CHUNG, OLIVIA, The Friend's School
CONNELLEY, NICHOLAS, Launceston Church Grammar
CONNOLLY, GEORGE, Guilford Young College
CREWS, ANNA, Scotch Oakburn College
CROFTS, SAMUEL, Hobart College
DAMBACHER, BROOK, Hobart College
DAVIE, CAITLIN, The Friend's School
DAVIS, KATHERINE, The Friend's School
DAVY, KATELYN, Elizabeth College
DELPORT, DOMINIC, Scotch Oakburn College
DODDS, BENJAMIN, St Brendan Shaw College
DUB, NIKITA, Hobart College
EADIE, LAUREN, Launceston Church Grammar
FEI, HAOXIANG, Launceston Christian School
FIELD, RAYMOND, Newstead College
FOSTER, ALICE, Rosny College
FU, CHAU WA, Rosny College
GRAY, RYAN, Hobart College
GUNN, JAMES, The Friend's School
GUPTA, MEHR, The Friend's School
HAMILTON, SAM, Marist Regional College
HENRY, CLARE, Elizabeth College
HOLLOWAY, DONALD, The Hutchins School
HUNN, NICHOLAS, The Friend's School
ILLINGWORTH, JOSHUA, St Patricks College
JEANNERET, RUTHIE, St Michael's Collegiate
JOHNSTON, SAMUEL, The Hutchins School
JOHNSTON, THOMAS, The Hutchins School
KEENOO, AKSHAN, Launceston College
KIM, JUE WAN, Newstead College
KUNASEGARAN, KARTIK, Launceston Church Grammar
LADLOW, OLIVER, The Friend's School
LI, SHARNNA, The Friend's School
LORD, WILLIAM, The Hutchins School
LUCAS, AMY, Calvin Christian School
MACKAY, DUNCAN, The Friend's School
MACKEY, LUCY, The Don College
MAHER, WILLIAM, Elizabeth College
MANTHEY, MICHAEL, Hobart College
MARSHALL, LACHLAN, Elizabeth College
MARSHALL, MADELINE, Marist Regional College
MCGUINESS, PETER, Hobart College
MCMENIMAN, JOHN, The Hutchins School
MCNAMARA, THOMAS Launceston Church Grammar
MCPHAIL, TESS, St Marys College
MCVILLY, NICHOLAS, The Hutchins School
MILNER, JAMES, The Friend's School
MOLLROSS, IMOGEN, St Michael's Collegiate
MURPHY, ELIZA JO, Elizabeth College
NANKERVIS, BRODIE, Launceston College
NGUYEN, HA, Newstead College
NOLAN, JESSE, The Friend's School
NOTHROP, REBECCA, Launceston College
O'DONOVAN, LIAM, Hobart College
OTLOWSKI, MONICA, St Michael's Collegiate
PALMER, SAMUEL, Guilford Young College
POLGLASE, LOUISA, St Michael's Collegiate
REMASH, DEVIKA, Elizabeth College
ROBERTS THOMSON, IAIN, Leighland Christian School
ROPER, DARIEL, The Friend's School
RYAN, GEORGIA, Guilford Young College
SCOTT, EMILY, St Michael's Collegiate
SMITH, ROBERT, Leighland Christian School
STENNARD, ELSPETH, Guilford Young College
SUDHAKARAN, AISHWARYA, Scotch Oakburn College
SUMMERS, ELEANOR, St Marys College
TENNI, ELLA, Hobart College
VAN DONGEN, ALISON, The Friend's School
WALDHAUSER, GEORGIA, Marist Regional College
WESTBURY, DANIEL, The Hutchins School
WOOD, OLIVER, The Friend's School
YANG, JEREMY, The Hutchins School

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Worker hurt in Bicheno blast

A MAN in his 60s has been badly injured in an industrial accident near Bicheno, Tasmania Police say.

Officers were sent to the scene on the state's East Coast this afternoon after reports of an explosion.

The incident occurred about 2pm in a quarry on a farming property about 5km south of Bicheno, police said in a statement.

The injured worker, who is in a critical condition, has been flown to the Launceston General Hospital by the Westpac Police Rescue helicopter.

No one else was injured in the incident, with police forensics officers and a mines inspector set to examine the scene this afternoon.

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Stolen money used to gamble

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 17 Desember 2012 | 19.55

A 25-year-old bank employee's gambling addiction led him to embezzle $27,000 from the accounts of friends and family and from the staff footy tipping competition, a court has heard.

Joshua James Bailey pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Hobart to three charges of using a computer with intent to defraud, three charges of dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage, and one charge of stealing.

Justice Peter Evans said Bailey worked at MyState Financial from 2007 and had access to the bank's core banking system and access to customer accounts.

In 184 transactions between April 2009 and July 2011 he transferred $24,088 from the accounts of family members and friends into his own accounts.

Between June 2009 and September 2009, Bailey made 17 unauthorised transactions from the MyState employees' football tipping competition.

He repaid the missing funds with money fraudulently transferred from other customers, the judge said.

In September 2010 Bailey found a MyState Visa debit card and tried to use the card to withdraw funds and attempted to use it to purchase goods from a shop.

Justice Evans said the criminal conduct involved some 230 transactions totalling $27,000 over 16 months, which he said Bailey blamed on a gambling problem he had since overcome.

"By some standards, the loss caused by the defendant's criminal conduct is not substantial," the judge said.

"However, his conduct amounts to a clear breach of trust by an employee in a financial institution and involved many transactions over an extended period.

"In these circumstances, I conclude that the only appropriate penalty is one of immediately effective imprisonment."

He jailed Bailey for six months.

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Police suspect parental dispute

Police officers are continuing to search a home at Hamilton after a double murder yesterday. Picture: KIM EISZELE

POLICE believe a 59-year-old man suspected of a double murder at Hamilton was motivated by a dispute over his one-year-old child.

The only suspect in the killing remains in a critical condition in a medically-induced coma after undergoing surgery this morning at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

The two victims -- the 31-year-old mother of his child and her 34-year-old de facto partner -- were allegedly shot dead as they tried to flee when the alleged shooter entered the woman's Hamilton home about 5am yesterday.

The woman's nine-year-old daughter is understood to have witnessed the incident and called police on a mobile phone.

The suspected gunman was found next to his ute at Lachlan, about 40km from the murder scene.

The one-year-old infant was inside the vehicle.

Police today revealed officers had phoned the man, identified as the suspect by the nine-year-old, and were talking to him on his mobile phone moments before he shot himself in the head an hour after the double murder.

The New Norfolk, Ouse, and Hamilton communities were still in shock, locals said today, after learning of the couple's death yesterday via social and mainstream media.

The dead man's family lives in Ouse, while the woman is believed to be from the New Norfolk area.

Police officers remained at the Hamilton house today, searching the property and vehicles parked in the driveway for clues.

They are also trying to piece together the timeline leading up to the suspected shooter's arrival at the isolated homestead.

Anyone with information is urged to contact investigators on 1800 333 000.


Read the full story in tomorrow's Mercury.

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Body found in Howrah dunes

SES volunteers comb the Howrah site where the body of a man was found by a member of the public earlier today. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

THE body of a man believed to be in his 60s has been found in sand dunes at Howrah, on Hobart's Eastern Shore.

Police said the body was found about 10am today in dunes adjacent to Wentworth Park at Salacia Ave.

The man's death is not believed to be suspicious and his identity has not yet been established.

"At this point there is no evidence to lead us to believe there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death," Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Bessell said in a statement.

"Police are inquiring into the circumstances. A thorough examination of the scene, including a line search, is being undertaken.

"Until we can determine the cause of death … we will continue to examine how the body came to be in the location and attempt to establish how the man died."

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Adoption hits low

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 16 Desember 2012 | 19.55

ADOPTION is fast becoming a thing of the past, with just six Tasmanian families successfully adopting a child in the past year.

National adoption rates are at the lowest level in 25 years, with 333 adoptions Australia-wide in 2011-12, the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show.

It's a drop of almost 80 per cent from the 1500 adoptions that took place in 1987-88.

The head of the AIHW child welfare unit, Tim Beard, said foster-care alternatives, contraception, changing social attitudes and welfare support for single parents had contributed to the drop in adoptions.

The six Tasmanian adoptions contrast with the 1000 Tasmanian children in foster care last year.

They were removed from their families because of neglect or abuse.

State Government figures showed the number of children in foster care doubled in the past eight years.

Two of the children adopted in Tasmania last year were from Australia, while four were from overseas countries, including the Philippines, Ethiopia and South Korea.

Nationwide, 184 of the 333 children adopted were Australian, marking the first time in 12 years that Australian adoptions outnumbered adoptions from other countries.

Mr Beard said this reflected changing international attitudes towards adoption, with many countries now seeking to have children adopted within their own country.

Despite this, eight Tasmanian families were among the 203 applicants to register their interest in inter-country adoptions last year.

"Despite social changes and medical advancements, we're still seeing the number of people looking to adopt go up every year," Mr Beard said.

"However, the numbers would probably be even bigger if we didn't have people looking at options like IVF or surrogacy."

The AIHW report showed most Australian birth mothers were unmarried and their median age was 22 nine years younger than the median age of all mothers who gave birth in 2010.

The age range for birth mothers was 15 to 43.

Relationships Australia Tasmania chief executive Mat Rowell said forced adoptions in the 1950s to 1980s had contributed to a shift in government policy about adoption.

He said there was now a stronger focus on keeping children in their family unit or supporting extended family members to care for them.

"We've seen the Government apologise for past policies and now we've seen the Tasmanian Government apologise to parents affected by [forced] adoptions," Mr Rowell said.

"This has changed the way society thinks about adoption, [and] now of course there is a whole stack of government support and practical support for people when they have children unexpectedly.

"Socially it's much more acceptable for people to raise children in a range of different circumstance we see single parents and gay couples raising children, and blended families."

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Disability aid push

WITH just six months until the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Tasmania, pressure is mounting on the State Government to sign a deal for a fully implemented scheme.

In Tasmania the NDIS will provide funding to 15 to 24-year-olds with a disability during the launch phase from July next year. By 2016 it is due to be rolled out to all eligible people aged up to 65.

Premier Lara Giddings signed a bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth confirming the operational and funding details for the roll out of the NDIS launch at last Friday's Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra.

"The NDIS will be a real game-changer for people living with a disability, " Human Services Minister Cassy O'Connor said.

She said the 15 to 24 age cohort was chosen for the trial as that group was vulnerable during the transition from school to the adult world.

"We're convinced that picking the 15 to 24-year-olds to test the system is a good way to do it," Ms O'Connor said.

NDIS funding packages will be individualised and the amount given will depend on the needs of the recipient - whether it be equipment, respite, recreation activities or personal care.

While the launch is set to provide funding for about 1000 people the estimated size of the age cohort Ms O'Connor said the number of funding packages available certainly was not capped.

"If there is 1050 or 1200 people who come forward to be part of the launch they will be included, and the Commonwealth will meet any extra costs as a result of that," she said.

"These young people deserve to be given every chance to live [happy] and successful lives feeling valued and connected in their communities.

"If we don't enable that and we don't harness the capacity of these young people, they miss out, their families miss out."

Ms O'Connor said while full implementation of the NDIS in Tasmania was necessary, it would also need a "very significant" allocation of funding from the state. "We can't go through this process of raising expectations to say after three years 'actually we don't have the money'," Ms O'Connor said.

Catherine Viney, chief executive of Cosmos, which offers learning and leisure opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, said she had faith the NDIS would work, but it meant turning the current disability service model completely on its head.

Now the State Government funds organisations to provide services to people with disabilities. Under the NDIS, people with disabilities will receive funding that they can then spend how they choose.

"We're completely reforming the sector, we're [changing] from someone with a disability having to suck it up and take what they can get ... people will be able to say what's important to them," Ms Viney.

Tasmania Disability Lobby convenor Jane Wardlaw said while the launch for people aged 15 to 24 was welcome, older people already on waiting lists for services would now have to wait until at least 2016 until a full NDIS was put in place to benefit them.

Ms Wardlaw said the State Government should now take separate action to address the other urgent shortfalls in disability support.

"We need to have a strategy for those people that fall outside the cohort," she said.

While she commended the Government for signing up, she said New South Wales was the only state so far to sign an agreement for full implementation of an NDIS by 2018.

"Last week when New South Wales came out and signed their deal with the Federal Government to fully implement the NDIS, I could have kissed [NSW Premier] Barry O'Farrell," she said.

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Man, woman feared murdered

A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl called police after the apparent shooting murders of her mother and her mother's partner northwest of Hobart this morning.

Police said the bodies of  the woman, 31, and the man, 34, were found at a property on Hamilton Plains Rd, Hamilton -- about 30km northwest of New Norfolk -- about 5am.

Police said the alleged offender, a 59-year-old man, was later found at Lachlan, just south of New Norfolk, with a gunshot wound to the head.

He is in the Royal Hobart Hospital in a critical condition.

Police said the nine-year-old girl told them her mother and her mother's partner had been shot and a one-year-old boy had been taken from the property, ABC reports.

The boy was found in a car unharmed.

Police have set up a command post at the scene.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury.

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