Letters to the editor | Wednesday, June 14

Right of reply

THE editorial of June 8 cannot be allowed to pass without the strongest rebuttal. In one breath it incorrectly says that Northern Tasmania “is yet to feel any love from this government” and then blames us for job losses at ACL and in Forestry in 2013 when we weren’t even in government. The Tasmanian government publicly acknowledged that there was a two-speed economy in the state, which is why we announced the Northern Economic Stimulus Package in September 2016 to stimulate the economy and create employment. This included $60 million in loans for Northern councils to bring forward projects, $50 million of which has been allocated. One of these was a $9 million loan to the Launceston City Council for a car park at the derelict CH Smith site, which has underpinned that entire redevelopment, and is now underway. $12 million in spending on schools, like Riverside Primary, Queechy High and St Marys, was brought forward, as was the construction of 27 affordable housing units, and the Forestry Industry is also showing clear signs of recovery with our support. The editorial also overlooks the Tasmanian government’s $60 million investment in the UTAS move to Inveresk, which will be a game changer for Launceston, and also our involvement in clinching the Launceston City Deal with the Australian Government, which will reshape the city. Northern Tasmania is now one of the most confident regions in the state and the Hodgman Liberal Government is striving to ensure that all regions share in the boost in employment and economic growth.

Peter Gutwein, Treasurer.

Licence to kill is not the solution

TASMANIA is about to undergo yet another divisive debate about legalising medical killing. Nobody wants to see other human beings suffer - and it might seem that doctor assisted death is a compassionate solution. But the reality is that issuing doctors with a licence to kill would introduce a radical shift in our society. One where death becomes a preferred medical choice, eventually pressuring the sick, elderly and vulnerable to embrace killing. Death-options would also irreparably damage the doctor-patient trust we currently have. What Tasmania needs is widely available world's best palliative care. Euthanasia may be a cost-effective final solution. But real compassion and dignity can't ever come in a hypodermic syringe. We must yet again reject the push for medical killing in our state: it is unwise, unsafe and would dangerously alter how we view life.

Jim Collins, South Hobart.


HOW insulting of Mary T. Bates (The Examiner, May 13) to call Rodney Croome’s beliefs a religion. LGBTI people are real; they are not imagined. Ironically, she states that LGBTI education should not be imposed on schools, while at the same time advocating respect for everyone. In an ideal world, parents would teach their children good manners and behaviour, and equip them with all of the appropriate social skills they need for life. Teachers could then focus solely on subject content. Unfortunately, children come from such diverse backgrounds that schools are obliged to cover many areas. When I began teaching in Launceston in 1975, I naïvely expected the students to file in, sit down and hang on my every word. I soon realised I had signed up for three other jobs as well – social worker, policewoman and babysitter. Unhappy, anguished children cannot learn easily in any situation. Programs that allay their fears and discomfort are crucial to their survival. I sincerely hope Ms Bates read the excellent opinion piece ‘Inclusion needs open hearts and minds’ (The Examiner, May 11). 

Val Clarke, Kings Meadows.

Breast Cancer

BREAST Cancer Network Australia thanks The Examiner for their story (Launceston hosts pink lady bun fundraiser (The Examiner, May 27) but I would like to point out that the name is not as they have written twice. The entity accidentally named by reporter Melissa Mobbs, is a bogus charity which has targeted generous Tasmanians in the past. The name adopted by this scandalous group is very close to BCNA (without the word network). Who is who in breast cancer? Breast Cancer Network Australia, with the pink lady logo, supporting all Australians affected by breast cancer; National Breast Cancer Foundation (pink ribbon logo) research based and the McGrath Foundation (pink stumps logo) placing breast cancer nurses in the community. Please be aware and wary of any other entities soliciting for your kind donations.

Mandy Forteath,Volunteer Community Liaison BCNA, Volunteer Consumer Representative BCNA, Trevallyn.

Constant Change

DURING David Downie’s time as Mayor of Northern Midlands Council, we have witnessed constant uncertainty and conflict from this council. The Campbell Town Hall was made smaller inside to cater for a museum and now we have neither hall or museum. All done against the wishes of the local community.     Problems with used tyre storage within the municipality are unsolved. A bauxite mine at Campbell Town, heralded by council at the opening ceremony as being a wonderful asset to the community, proven to be a white elephant. Council is still in conflict with Launceston airport management over payment of rates.  Changes to the Campbell Town Football ground, after a decade of promises, yet still to begin. At its last meeting, council is talking of two million dollars to be spent on upgrading the main street of Campbell Town and yet cannot put a plan on display for the community to peruse. We need good leadership from this council, not the pathetic meanderings we’re experiencing now.

Bill Chugg, Campbell Town.

Smokefree Tasmania

HEALTH Minister Michael Ferguson finds it inexplicable why a health lobby group such as SmokeFree Tasmania would voice lack of enthusiasm about a proposal to “just” raise the minimum legal smoking age to 21. The reasons are clear. In early 2016 SmokeFree Tasmania actively surveyed the advice of frontline medical staff, addiction specialists, tobacco policy experts and health advocacy groups to provide the minister with a comparison between his minimum legal smoking age (MLSA) proposal and the Tobacco Free Generation (TFG) amendment. Very notably, the MLSA proposal is the one preferred by the tobacco industry as it perpetuates the myth that smoking becomes safe at a particular age. By contrast the TFG proposal recognises the unacceptably toxic nature of tobacco products (which kill most of their regular users). Repeated surveys by the Cancer Council show 75 per cent public support for the TFG proposal to continue the ban on the sale of tobacco products to those born in or after the year 2000. This is the basis for Ivan Dean`s amendment which is still before Parliament. This is much cleverer than the Minister`s buy-in to the Big Tobacco proposal. Until now it has seemed inexplicable why this health minister would vehemently reject the Tobacco Free Generation amendment. 

Nick Towle, Heybridge.

Crisis in TasTAFE

WHEN I read the advertisements for members of the TasTAFE Board, they read like the requirements for the CEO of BHP or Westpac. What has and is the Board doing, to allow what appears to be a crisis in this vital educational sector to happen (The Examiner, June 2), the buck stops of course with the Minister. The students are probably being caught in the crossfire, happy teachers make for great learning outcomes. I was a teacher in Launceston TAFE in 1995 when the principal mysteriously took “sick leave” and subsequently “retired”. In TAFE, I found the students wonderful, but found problems with a few of my colleagues and especially with administration at times. Being made redundant in 1996 was one of the best things that has happened in my life.

Malcolm Scott, Newstead.