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Hobart Hurricanes Get The Short Straw With BBL Fixtures

The Hobart Hurricanes have again received the short straw when it comes to scheduling the summer of cricket in Tasmania. Whenever Hobart receive a Test Match to be played at Blundstone Arena it would always be played just before Christmas. Crowds would be poor because people were busy Christmas shopping and preparing for the holiday season. Now Hobart has lost a Test Match to Canberra who is hosting a Test Match for the first time.

Cricket Tasmania has been lobbying Cricket Australia to get a traditional date on the cricket calendar similar to how Melbourne gets a Test Match on Boxing Day and Sydney get a Test in the New Year. Adelaide also get a traditional match on Australia Day. Cricket Tasmania lobbied to get a New year or Boxing Day BBL match this season. What they were given was Christmas Eve.

Crowds again will be poor. Traditionally BBL crowds before Christmas are low and pick up once the holiday season kicks in. In Hobart on Christmas Eve the younger generation will be at Salamanca for the traditional Christmas break up parties and families will be at home wrapping presents and watching Carols by Candlelight on TV. I expect crowds will be poor.

Why can’t Cricket Tasmania try something a little more creative?

Why can’t Cricket Tasmania try something a little more creative? Why not try a traditional date like December 29? David Boon’s Birthday. It could be called Boonies Birthday Bash. Unbelievably the Hobart Hurricanes have home games on December 28 and 30. The 29th has not even come into Cricket Tasmania’s thinking.

During the IPL in India The Mumbai Indians have a match every year on Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday. During the innings break Sachin is presented with a birthday cake and the whole crowd sing happy birthday to him. Why can’t this be done to Boonie?

Tasmania’s Democracy Has Been Bought

This Tasmania State Election won by Will Hodgman Liberal Government has sadly been bought by the pokies industry. Labor Leader Rebecca White bravely, but in my opinion foolishly promised to roll back poker machines in pubs and clubs in Tasmania if she won the election on the weekend.

The 20 year deed of agreement expires in the next 4 year term of government so it was a perfect opportunity to get rid of pokie machines in pubs and clubs in Tasmania at not cost to the government. Rebecca White knows they are unpopular and is fully aware of the social harm they do.

Her policy to roll the pokies back was a good one in theory but in practice it was always going to be a hard sell because the powerful pokie lobby threw bucket loads of money into this election and this saw a massive swing back to the Liberal Party late in the election campaign. Advertising by the pokie lobby and the Liberal Party started on Boxing Day. Labor advertising did not start until only a few weeks out from the election and television advertising was outnumbered by many estimates at about ten to one.

Although Rebecca Whites policy was sound, in my opinion she should have not released it until a week or two out from the election so that the pokie lobby would not have had time to prepare their pro pokie, anti Labor/Green campaign. Rebecca White is young and inexperienced and I am sure she will learn from this.

Pokie machines are big business and big, powerful pokie companies on the mainland had a vested interest in the campaign. If Rebecca White was successful in this election on an anti pokie platform it would have given oppositions in other pokie states to try the same thing. Therefore threatening the entire pokie industry Australia wide.

The sad thing is that our democracy has been sold to the pokie lobby by Will Hodgman. The pokie lobby did not spend this money on advertising for nothing and will expect a return on their investment. Tasmanian’s will have to wait until the end of the financial year to find out how much the pokie lobby has bankrolled this campaign. Tasmanian’s even then won’t know for sure how much was given by the pokie lobby because under current laws only donations above $13 200 have to be disclosed. So the pokie lobby could be giving $13 000 every day since Rebecca White’s policy announcement and none of it will have to be disclosed.

What should Rebecca White do to defeat Will Hodgman?

Rebecca White has stated that she will continue on with her policy to phase out pokies but I can’t see how. This was a once in 20 year opportunity to rid of the pokies at no or little cost to the tax payer. If Will Hodgman gives the pokie industry what they want and frankly what they paid for and they get another 20 year deal it becomes impossible for Rebecca White to phase out the pokies without being sued for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.

If I was Rebecca White I would change my tune if she wants to win the next election. She can still save face by saying this was a one in twenty year opportunity for change. The Tasmanian people have spoken and once another deal is locked in by Liberal her hands will be tied for another twenty years. If she is Labor Leader or in government in twenty years she will review the policy again at that time.

Northern Suburbs Light Rail A Bad Idea

Andrew Wilkie Is Wrong On The Northern Suburbs Light Rail

I am a big fan of Andrew Wilkie and agree with most things he says. But the one thing I strongly disagree with Andrew on is the Northern Suburbs Light Rail Project.

With all due respect to Andrew he has not lived in Tasmania that long. I doubt if he uses public transport himself. He does not really know how the people of the Northern Suburbs of Hobart that use public transport get around.

The problem with The Northern Suburbs Light Rail Project is the very thing that people in favor of the project think is the one big positive for the project which is the existing rail corridor.

This rail corridor is already very well patronised by cyclists on the intra city cycleway. If the Northern Suburbs Light Rails was built it would force many cyclists back on the streets.

The problem with the existing rail corridor is that it runs around the back of the Queens Domain. Due to Hobart’s hilly terrain the rail corridor must run around the water side of the Queens Domain. Therefore missing large amounts of the Northern Suburbs high population suburbs of Newtown and North Hobart.

I have lived in Hobart’s Northern Suburbs all my life and used public transport frequently. I understand that if you live at the top of Chapel Street or the top of Box Hill Rd and you want to go to North Hobart it would be very problematic. You would have to catch a bus from the top of Chapel St to the nearest train station. Then catch the Northern Suburbs Light Rail and get off the train near the Newtown Station Nursery and then catch another  bus to North Hobart.

The Northern Suburbs Light Rail service would only be used by commuters traveling to the City to work or shopping. It might also be used by some tourists to go to Mona but Mona is already well serviced by bus and ferry.

The other big problem with the Northern Suburbs Light Rail is that it would only service out to possibly Claremont at most. Feasibility studies have concluded that taking the rail line out to Bridgewater and Brighton would be unviable.

I just believe the Northern Suburbs Light Rail would be very expensive and would not be well patronised.

Alternatives To Light Rail

The reason why the bus service is not used very much is due to a very infrequent service and very few express services. When Nick McKim was transport minister he introduced Turn Up And Go along the Main Allstops corridor. This ensured a bus every 10 minutes during most of the day and even more frequently during peak hour. This improved service saw patronage increase by 8%.

Another issue is a very infrequent and disconnected service. When I lived in Moonah and I wanted to go to the cricket at Bellerive for a Sheffield Shield Match I would have to catch a bus into the city that would take 20 minutes. You then have to wait around in the City for an Eastern Shore Bus at least another 20 to 30 minutes. Then take the bus through the Rosny Bus Mall to Bellerive, another 20 minutes. Total 1 hour on weekdays and even longer on Saturday and virtually all day on Sunday. It would only take me 10 to 15 minutes in my car. Why would use catch a bus unless you had to?

Yes it does take at least an hour to get to the City from the outer suburbs of Bridgewater and Brighton by bus which is totally unacceptable. But the problem is Metro use infrequent articulated buses instead of using more frequent smaller buses. Instead of using articulated buses every 20 minutes that drop into Glenorchy and Metro Springfield, buses should be smaller, run every 10 minutes in peak hour with every second bus running direct into the City without stopping off at Glenorchy or Springfield.

Yes this would cost more because it would require more drivers. I believe a tax should be put on petrol to subsidise public transport and public transport should be made free for everyone. If public transport was made free and everyone used it  far more buses would be needed and so a better more frequent service would become available. Some will argue that this will add an extra cost to business especially those business’ that use a lot of petrol. So to offset this extra cost to business payroll tax could be cut or at least reduced to be revenue neutral. This would be another positive to the State economy as many in business argue that payroll tax is a tax on jobs.

Another issue that is very annoying with the Metro bus service is the unreliability of the drivers to be on time. When I worked in the City I would have to arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early every day to ensure the bus did not come early. It is very frustrating when buses come early and you miss them. Why can’t buses be fitted with GPS and Metro Tas provide a smart phone app so you can see where your bus is in real time. That way you could see where your bus is and walk to the bus stop when it is getting close to your stop instead of having to wait in the freezing cold on cold winter mornings.

A free, frequent bus service that is connected to other bus services running south to Kingston and East could revolutionise the way Hobartians travel. It is ridiculous that traffic is backed up to Risdon Road trying to get into the City when Dark Mofo is on. Or everyone drives their car to the Huon Show when free buses could run and drop them off at the gate.

I have caught free buses to major cricket matches which is good thing but again they are used by only about 10% of people going to the match. People would rather drive and have to park a mile from the ground and then get stuck in a massive traffic jam instead of being dropped off at the gate.

Cricket Tasmania have good intentions with the free buses but it is badly managed. They have tried several different pick up points after the game but they have trouble getting out. The last time I caught the bus they were only loading one bus at a time with very long ques to get on.

Now there is traffic lights at the intersection of Cambridge Rd and Alma St buses should go back to loading in Church St. They should have police on every intersection and give buses priority to go up Beach St and down Alma St. The police should give buses priority and hold up all cars for the buses until they get out. This would give the clear message to car uses you are better off on the free bus.

It is a matter of changing our habits which can be done. With education the vast majority of people embraced recycling and the same can be done with public transport.

Ferries On The Derwent River Could Be Another Alternative

Another better alternative to light rail could be a ferry service on the Derwent River. The light rail will only service from the City to Claremont at best with little prospect of getting to Brighton.

A ferry service on the Derwent River could service all of Hobart from Blackmans Bay / Kingston to New Norfolk as well as the Eastern Shore, Bridgewater, Old Beach, Lindisfarne, Bellerive, Tranmere down to Lauderdale and South Arm. If the Lauderdale canal was reopened Dodges Ferry and Sorrel could have a ferry service also.

An article in The Mercury Newspaper in September 2016 stated that the State Government supported a ferry service proposed by Incat boss Bob Clifford. The cost in 2009 was $3.7 million for the cost of infrustructure and $1.7 million running costs. The cost of the Northern Suburbs Light Rails is estimated at $100 million.

The Ferries could be built in Hobart and create jobs. We already build ferries for Sydney Harbour. If the Government supports why doesn’t it do something about it and get it up and running?

 

 

Australian Cricket Selectors Get It Wrong Again

Australian Cricket Selectors Get It Wrong Once Again

Australia looked set for near certain defeat last night in their first Group A match at the ICC Champions trophy against New Zealand only to be saved by the English weather.

A combination of a completely out of balance side poorly picked by the Australian Cricket Selectors and a rusty bowling performance had Australia on the ropes before the rain set in.

Australia selected four fast bowlers in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and John Hastings. They also selected three all rounders or batsmen who can roll the arm over in Moses Henriques, Glenn Maxwell and Travis head.

In a fifty over game each bowler can bowl 10 overs each so five bowlers are required minimum. So with four bowlers and three all rounders Australia was top heavy bowlers and lacking depth in the batting order.

The Australian fast bowlers other than Hazlewood were very rusty. They pitched the ball up hoping the white ball would swing in the overcast conditions but when the ball went straight as an arrow and was repeatedly driven to the boundary they failed to bring the ball back in length.

I was critical of the selection of Moses Henriques when the squad was selected and could not believe it when he was selected to bat at number four. Yes Moses has had very good Big Bash and Matador Cup form but prior to this innings he had played eight ODI inning for a total of 46 runs at an average of less than six with a top score of 12.

This inning of 18 was scratchy. It comprised of a couple of good pull shots and a couple of lucky edges to the boundary. He was dismissed just as the rain came down again and Australia were in trouble and in my opinion should be glad to come away with one point.

Where is George Bailey?

Australian Selector Mark Waugh is a big fan of fellow New South Welchman Henriques and I just do not know how many more opportunities he has to get when a player of the caliber of George Bailey who has scored more than 3000 ODI runs at an average of over 40 is not even in the squad.

Mark Waugh said on Fox Sports before the game that the side looked liked the strongest Australian ODI side in years. That is a big call considering Australia is the reigning world cup champions. What I saw was  an out of balance side with too many bowlers and not enough batsmen with one batsman who only averages six with the bat batting at number four.

If the Australian Cricket selectors want to play three all rounders a bowler should be dropped to bring in Chris Lynn to sure up the batting order.

Unfortunately this team looks like a good 20/20 squad with good Big Bash form but if Australia lose quick early wickets there is no one other than Steve Smith who can build an innings. The side is full of 20/20 sloggers. This is where George Bailey would be perfect at number four if quick wickets fall he is the perfect batsman to resurrect the innings. Goodness knows how many times he has to do it for the Tasmanian Tiger in recent years.

With three early wickets down last night there was only two recognised big hitting slogger batsmen left to come in Maxwell and Head then Wade the keeper and the bowlers and it was only in the ninth over.

Thank goodness for the rain.

Alcohol Abuse Cost Is Over $40 Billion

The Cost Of Alcohol Abuse Has A Massive Social And Economic Cost

A study by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education in 2010 estimated the cost of alcohol abuse in Australia to be $36 Billion. It would be fair to say in 2017 it would be well over $40 Billion.

Close to 3/4 of Australia’s adult population are negatively effected by alcohol in any given year according to the study.

70 000 Adults each year are the victim of alcohol related assault each year. 24 000 of these are victims of domestic violence and predominantly female.

There is also 20 000 children each year who are the victims of alcohol related child abuse each year. This is more than a third of all child abuse cases.

And the sorts of abuse that children suffer from are sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. The effects of these can be life long. Some Children will never get over it and will never be productive members of society.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is the leading cause of preventable birth defects and intellectual disability due to parents drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

There is little data on the prevalence of FASD in Australia but it is estimated that FASD affects roughly between 2% and 5% of the population in the United States and can be as high as 12 – 15 % in indigenous populations. These victims may never be productive members of society.

The $36 Billion figure comprises $24.7 billion in tangible costs which include out-of-pocket expenses, forgone wages or workplace productivity, hospital and childcare protection costs. Alcohol abuse has long been an expensive problem, which imposes huge costs on the health system as well as the problem drinkers themselves.

There are a further $11.6 billion in intangible costs, which include lost quality of life from someone else’s drinking.

The costs are huge and include things like assaults, hospitalisations, drink driving, vandalism, jail terms and health problems.

Other key statistics from the report include that almost a third of the adult population report being negatively affected by the drinking of someone who was known to them.

Women state being negatively affected by the drinking of a relative or household member more frequently than men (14 per cent to 8 per cent).

How Can We Reduce Alcohol Abuse?

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CoDCaP)  in the United States excessive alcohol use cost the US $250 billion in economic costs and responsible for 88 000 deaths per year.

The (CoDCaP) list strategies to reduce alcohol harm which include reducing bottle shop density. Alcohol is far too accessible and more bottle shops keep popping up in shopping centers. Bottle shop density needs to be reduced and taken out of shopping centers.

Taxes need to be increased. Taxes need to calculated on a per standard drink basis. The wine lobby has lobbied for lower taxes on wine which makes cheap wine casks the favourite for alcohol dependent people. The taxes should be used for education campaigns and increased law enforcement.

Opening hours should also be reduced. Bottle shops open too early and close too late.  Night Club trading hours should also be reduced and Night Clubs should be closing no later than 2 or 3 am.

Laws should be tightened to hold alcohol retail establishments liable for injuries or harms caused by illegal service to intoxicated or underage customers.

The money raised by increased taxes can be used in law enforcement, enforcing responsible serving of alcohol and police patrols around night spot areas to crack down on drunken and unruly behavior.

Money can also be used to increase education campaigns. High profile athletes, actors and musicians can tour schools educating children on the dangers of alcohol overuse. Nationwide television campaigns can be set up to show drunken behavior is dangerous and not a good look.

Governments have achieved this with cigarette smoking by reducing accessibility and increasing taxes there is no reason why it can’t be done with alcohol.

Labor and Giddings Heading for Oblivian in Election

 

With retail sales and new car sales in Tasmania on the rise and unemployment falling in recent months from 8.3% in July to 7.7% in January whilst it is rising on the mainland it is clear the Labor Green Governments policies are starting to work and the transition from the old last century economy to a new clean, green,clever economy is on the move.

 

What a shame then that Lara Giddings then sacks two of her best performing ministers; Nick McKim has taken us to 4 term school years and improved grade 3 naplan results. He has also got Risdon prison out of the news when regular riots and frequent industrial disputes were the order of the day before he took over. There has also been increased Metro patronage thanks to turn up and go. Cassy O’Conner has brought down the public housing waiting list to its lowest levels in a decade.

 

Lara Giddings should be proud of her Governments achievements during a time of massive transition in forestry and falling government revenues but by sacking her Green ministers it is like she is ashamed of these achievements and now tells voters she wants to go backwards again with the pulp mill. No wonder the Greens are heading for more seats at this election than Labor.

Tony Abbott Caught Out Telling Lies by Leigh Sales on 7.30 report

This man is not fit to be Prime Minister. He rarely does one on one interviews and this is why.

I doubt he will be rushing out to do any more soon.

How can the Liberal Party seriously believe they can win the next election with this clown leading them.

Are We Overgoverned? Is Our Political System Broken?

Is Our Political System Broken Down and Dysfunctional?

Australia became a federation in 1901. At that time the constitution was drawn up allowing the six Australian colonies to govern in their own right as part of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The birth of this country is often referred to as ‘federation’. This is because the Constitution created a ‘federal’ system of government.

Under a federal system, powers are divided between a central government and several regional governments. In Australia, power was divided between the then Commonwealth Government and the governments of the six colonies, which were renamed ‘states’ by the Constitution.

This was necessary back then because at the time it could take weeks for messages to get from the colonies to Sydney by ship and weeks for messages to get back.  We needed to have decision makers on the ground at all times. Now we have email, mobile phones and the NBN is it necessary to have 3 levels of Government in the 21st century?

Mathew Goggin Golf Course Proves Tasmanian Has Tourism Potential.

The Matthew Goggin proposal for a world class public golf course at Seven Mile Beach does demonstrate Tasmania’s tourism potential. The land is currently used as a pine plantation but with vision and foresight land that is currently used for a decaying last century industry can be utilised to attract big spending golfing tourists.

Australian Domestic Cricket Should Be Shown On Freeview TV

Cricket Australia have a very near sighted and short term view of the potential of domestic cricket if they think Pay TV is the best place for domestic cricket to be broadcast.