Hobart Happenings July 2021
by James Marten
NEW HOBART OPENINGS
Fried Chicken! Bao! Mapo Tofu! You can get them all at Luna Chan (127a Main Road, Moonah), open for lunch Tuesday to Saturday. Fusion Cafe (323a Elizabeth Street, North Hobart) recently opened, serving breakfast, pancakes, pizza waffles, burgers and loaded fries seven days a week. Taiwanese fried chicken chain, Hot Star Large Fried Chicken (74 Liverpool St, Hobart) has landed serving up “bigger than palm sized”, fried to order, crispy chicken and curly fries. Check out Calories Hub Street Food (14 Criterion St, Hobart) for Vietnamese classics. Boekampf Beer is undergoing a big refresh, emerging as The Albert Brewery and Taproom (73-75 Albert Rd, Moonah) later this month. Deep South Brewing (220 Argyle Street, Hobart) is now open for pickup pizzas from 4pm – 9pm Wednesday to Sunday. You can take a squizz at the new brewery space while you’re there. Head along to the Geeveston Twilight Feast on the first Thursday of every month. Huon Valley Folks and visitors get together to eat, drink and socialise from 5pm – 8pm. Entry is free and first in best dressed. Got an event coming up? Glamour Days (157 Liverpool Street, Hobart) now offers second hand formal wear and Bruce (29 Criterion St, Hobart), a Melbourne-born consignment store, has opened a boutique here, adding another option for choosing second hand first in fashion and cutting down on clothing ending up in landfill.
TASSIE TREATY TALKS
The state government has confirmed it has committed to treaty talks with Tasmania’s Aboriginal community. Premier Peter Gutwein said a review looking at the return of land was underway. Members of the Aboriginal community will consult with former governor Kate Warner and law professor Tim McCormack to attempt to find a path to reconciliation, and a report is expected later this year.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE MT WELLINGTON CABLE CAR?
Those for and against the proposed cable car on kunanyi/Mt Wellington sent 17,500 representations about the proposed development to Hobart City Council over the four-week public notification period that ended on June 22. It smashed the former record number of submissions – 1500, received in 2019 in response to a proposed hotel in the CBD – proving the debate is resonating. The Mount Wellington Cableway Company’s planning application has now gone to the next stage of the planning process City of Hobart CEO Kelly Grigsby thanked everyone who had submitted a representation. “The very high level of response underlines how engaged and passionate the people of Hobart are about our city and its future,” she said. Ms Grigsby said all the formal representations would now be considered by the Planning Authority as part of the assessment process, and that external assessment experts would spend the next few weeks preparing a report for the Council. The Council, acting as the Planning Authority, is due to consider the matter on July 27.
FREE TAX HELP AT HAND IN HOBART
As we farewell the previous financial year it’s time for the ol’ tax return. Not sure where to start? There are a few free tax help opportunities for Hobart residents on lower incomes. The ATO Tax Help program is a network of ATO-trained community volunteers who can help you prepare your tax return using myTax from July to October. You can receive Tax Help online or over the phone. You can also get help face-to-face from Tax Help centres across Australia. Search for ‘ATO Tax Help program’ to find the contact page. The UTAS tax clinic at Sandy Bay provides the community with free tax advice and support for unrepresented, lower income or vulnerable taxpayers and spall businesses. See www.utas.edu.au/tax-clinic for the full list of what’s available. And if you’re within the Clark electorate, you can contact Andrew Wilkie’s staff to see if you’re eligible for free tax help through the ATO at his office from August to October. Contact [email protected] or call 6234 5255.
HOBART SCHOOL HOLIDAY FUN
Winter school holidays are upon us and there are so many activities to choose from. If you need some out-of-the-house fun, check out local libraries, TMAG, Exit Left, Moonah Arts Centre, Mortons and Strike soccer schools, Glazed and Confused ceramics workshops, SOHO Arts, The Hobart Bookshop and TAS Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators free ‘Meet the Author and Illustrator’ sessions, Bricks for Kidz, Hobart City Council’s Bush Adventures and much more! Tag #thehobartmag in your fave finds and we’ll share the love.
TASSIE ELECTRICITY PRICES TO DROM….FINALLY!
Tasmanians can look forward to a decrease in power costs after the Tasmanian Economic Regulator approved the changes in Aurora Energy’s electricity pricing for after July 1. Households can expect a seven per cent decrease and small businesses will get an 11 per cent drop. Energy Minister Guy Barnett said the government’s Tasmania First Energy Policy aimed to deliver the lowest regulated electricity prices in Australia by next year. He said power prices had gone 18 percent in the last seven years for residential customers and 27 percent for businesses.
NATIONAL TREE DAY GROWS
Sunday 1 August is National Tree Day – a day to plant a tree (or more!) to green up our spaces, encourage biodiversity and provide cleaner air in the future. At the time of print there are three public plantings organised in and near Hobart – at Catherine St Reserve in Chigwell, the Hobart Rivulet between Tara and MacFarlane Streets and at Dru Point in Margate, See treeday.planetark.org for more information.
DERWENT WATER QUALITY RATINGS DECLINE, BACTERIA FOUND
The Derwent Estuary Program (DEP) released their long-term water quality ratings for greater Hobart’s beaches and bays. CEO of the DEP Ursula Taylor said water quality is tested at 42
beaches and bays between New Norfolk and Kingborough each week between December and March. “Water samples are analysed for specific bacteria (enterococci) which indicate the presence of contaminants from stormwater run-off and other sources. Each site is classified
as having Good, Fair or Poor water quality,” Ms Taylor said. If you’re a keen swimmer, it becomes a regular website to check. This recent release revealed that water quality improved at Windemere Beach in Glenorchy, moving from ‘Fair’ to ‘Good’ for the first time in many years. But water quality declined at some sites. Three beaches moved from ‘Good’ to ‘Fair’ including two Howrah Beach sites and Taroona. Notably Howrah Beach mid has moved from ‘Fair’ to ‘Poor’. The mixed results indicate there’s more work to do in managing pollution. Acting Mayor Bec Thomas is happy Windermere Beach, Hobart’s most northern beach is swimmable. “We’ve been working collaboratively with DEP to understand how the catchment contributes to water quality and are delighted that our community has access to a ‘Good’ rated beach on their doorstep,” she said. The news of ‘Poor’ water quality at the mid Howrah beach site has led to swimming in that section now not advised. Advisory signage will be installed as soon as possible (map provided for visual indication of area) to indicate which section of Howrah Beach is affected. Clarence City Council Mayor Alderman Doug Chipman said council was extremely concerned about the development. “This has been on our radar for a few years and getting to the source of the contamination is a top priority for council,” he said. “We have already taken steps to extend the funding for our Howrah stormwater investigation projects for an additional 12 months, allowing for a more intensive testing program of the nearby stormwater catchments.” The report can be found on the DEP website
CROWTHER REINTERPRETED, ROUND TWO RELEASED
The second artistic reinterpretation of William Crowther’s statue in Franklin Square has been revealed. Roger Scholes and Greg Lehman’s collaborative piece is part of the year-long Crowther Reinterpreted art project, in which local Aboriginal artists temporarily transform the statue. Scholes and Lehman have created The Lanney Pillar (2021), inside which a four minute film loops. There is also a QR Code which takes the audience to a longer film on the Hobart City Council’s website. According to the artists, “the life of Aboriginal Tasmanian William Lanney [1835-1869] has been overshadowed by what happened to him after his death. Few of us know anything about his extraordinary life. A statue of the man who stole his remains from the Hobart morgue is perhaps the only public icon that may lead us to Lanney’s story.” Hobart City Council launched the project last year to encourage conversation about Crowther’s statue amidst worldwide debate about how to deal with such public dedications to problematic figures from history. Each artwork will remain in place for up to two months, with members of the public encouraged to have their say about them on the council’s website.
HOBART SINGLE-USE PLASTICS BY-LAW NOW IN FORCE
Hobart now has a by-law that bans certain single-use plastic food packaging. The by-law became enforceable from Thursday 1 July and applies to businesses that provide or sell food in packaging that can be taken away from the premises and consumed immediately. It doesn’t affect packaged items larger than one litre or A4 size, or already packaged such as soft drinks in plastic bottles. Hobart City Council anticipates that the by-law will reduce single-use plastics going to landfill by 600 tonnes per year.
WOOD HEATER BAN SUGGESTED BY ASTHMA AUSTRALIA
The debate about how best to heat our homes has fired up again this winter – with Asthma Australia calling for wood heaters to be banned to protect the lungs of residents, their neighbours and people with compromised health in the community. The organisation has suggested wood heaters be removed any time a home is sold, and that wood heaters be banned from all new builds. A 2017 report by the Environmental Protection Authority found that approximately 31% of Tasmanian households used wood heaters as a main source of heating, with that figure over 50% in the Huon Valley and down to about 16% in Hobart. Wood heaters are also the main form of man-made air pollution in Tasmania during winter.
NEW CAT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
A new strategy to manage cats in southern Tasmania has been endorsed. The draft Southern Tasmanian Regional Cat Strategy includes proposed actions to increase education and awareness about responsible cat ownership, reduce uncontrolled cat breeding and increase community compliance with the legal requirements of owning a cat. The strategy was developed by representatives from most of the southern councils, the state government, Ten Lives Cat Centre, RSPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association. It’s hoped the state government will provide financial support for the strategy to be implemented. Meanwhile the Tasmanian Greens have proposed new laws to keep cats indoors, which could see owners face fines up to $1720 if their pets were found outside.
CLARENCE BOOMING WITH DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONS
The City of Clarence continues its boom, with the local council receiving more development applications than any other in the Hobart region. According to the council, in the year to March 2021, Clarence lodged 1,056 applications; Glenorchy 530; Hobart 925; and Kingborough 815.
NEW FOOD HUB FOR THE HUON
The Huon Valley is getting a new food hub network to link local producers and organisations into a sustainable local food system. The network will enable easier access to healthy fresh food across the valley and support local producers. Huon Valley Council Mayor Bec Enders said the network would also help make the valley communities better prepared to deal with emergencies. The Huon Valley Council secured $192,500 funding through the state government’s Healthy Tasmania Fund grant program.
TWIGGY BUYS INTO TASSIE SALMON
WA mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has bought a near-$20 million, or 7.33 per cent, stake in Tasmanian salmon company Huon Aquaculture. Mr Forrest said he had always had an interest in aquaculture, even returning to university to study marine ecology at one point. His company has two aquaculture operations at Garden Island and Albany in WA.
RATES INCREASES ON THE WAY ACROSS HOBART
After a year of rate relief, many local councils have recently released their budgets, with many including increases in rates. Hobart City Council will raise rates by an average of 2.73%, Kingborough 2.8%, Clarence 3.77%, Glenorchy 2.5%. Brighton Council have confirmed their rates will continue to only rise in line with the consumer price index.
HUON VALLEY CALLS ON YOUNG ARTISTS FOR NEW PROGRAM
Young artists and crafters (16-25 year olds) living in the Huon Valley can now apply to receive one-on-one mentorship from an established local artist specialising in the same medium. The Huon Valley Council’s Young Artist Mentorship Program will run from August to October in 2021.
TAS FIRST FOR GREEN HYDROGEN
Tasmania looks set to house Australia’s first green hydrogen plant. Australian company Fortescue Future Industries have secured land at Bell Bay near George Town, (in the state’s north for the newcomers), on which they propose to construct the renewable energy plant. Hydrogen fuel cells are used in electric vehicles, amongst other things, but hydrogen is traditionally made from methane in a process that creates greenhouse gas. TasPorts have signed an Option Agreement for 20 hectares of land with FFI for the proposed 250 megawatt plant. For more information on hydrogen as a green energy source, check out the article “What is Hydrogen Power?” by Dr. Qamar Schuyler on our website.
HOBART BUSKERS TO STAY
Buskers will be allowed to continue to perform in specific locations across Hobart following the completion of a six-month trial. The ongoing Busking and Street Performance Program will be launched in August. Apply for permits online www.hobartcity.com.au.
WALLABY MEAT HARVESTING
A mainland meat exporter has applied for a permit to harvest and sell the meat, fur and skins of up to 150,000 Tasmanian wallabies per year. Wild Game Resources Australia applied for a Wildlife Trade Operation permit with the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment and if granted, the company will be allowed to shoot wallabies in Tasmania and on two Bass Strait islands. The company said all harvesting would be carried out on private land by people holding a current commercial wallaby hunters licence. They said the harvesting would have a “low impact” on the conservation status of the local wallaby population. “The proposed 150,000 wallaby a year is approximately 30 percent of the non-commercial cull that is currently occurring. It is not anticipated that there will be an increase in the overall cull that is taking place, rather a utilisation of wallaby from the non-commercial cull to a commercial harvesting market,” a spokesperson said.
STOP THE SWEET TALK WITH A TAX ON SUGARY DRINKS
The Australian Medical Association has called for a tax on sugary drinks. AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said that Australia lags behind comparable nations with our health outcomes and disease prevention, and that it was ‘time for action’ to reduce the national consumption of drinks full of sugar. Dr Khorshid said sugary drinks fuel diabetes, obesity and vascular health issues in Australia and that raising the average price of sweet drinks by 20 percent would be an important first step in reducing obesity and creating revenue for the cause. “More than 2.4 billion litres of sugary drinks are consumed every year in Australia. That’s enough to fill 960 Olympic sized swimming pools,” Dr Khorshid said. A recent AMA report stated that Australia lagged behind more than 45 jurisdictions across the world who have already implemented taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages. The AMA report said that a tax in the United Kingdom had led to a drop in sugar consumption. And so has Christiano Ronaldo it seems.
PALMER’S ANTI-VAX LETTERBOX DROP HITS HOBART
Former Queensland politician Clive Palmer has had anti-Covid-19 vaccine leaflets dropped into letterboxes across the country, including in Hobart. In the leaflet, Mr Palmer claims the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the government are spreading “misleading information designed to create fear in the population.” He urges people not to get the Covid-19 vaccination and discredits figures on the number of deaths caused by the jabs. Various politicians and health experts have labelled Palmer’s flyers “dangerous” and “a campaign of disinformation”. Did you receive an anti-vax leaflet from Clive Palmer? We’d love to hear what you thought.
HELP THOSE IN NEED WITH FOOD DONATIONS
Hobart City Mission are seeking donations of non-perishable food items for their food packs. Through their Emergency Relief program the charity distributes food packs to anyone who is struggling to make ends meet and afford food and bills. Donations can be dropped off to the head office at 50 Barrack St, Hobart anytime between 8:30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. See www.hobartcitymission.org.au/donate-goods/ for more details on how to help, and to find out which food items are suitable.
ARE YOU DYING TO KNOW? NEW HOBART WORKSHOP EXPLORES ASPECTS OF PASSING
Conversations around end of life can be difficult. But inevitably it happens for us all, so a bit of knowledge around choices for pre and post death care might not go astray. From 8 – 9 August, you can be part of Dying To Know Day – exploring many topics around this eternal question. There’s a range of speakers and interviews, discussing everything from ‘what does a doula do’ to ‘how the Irish can teach us how to live, love and die’. There’s also a Q& A with estate planners, a discussion on what palliative care actually means and information about natural burial practices. The event is being held at the Lindisfarne Rowing Club and is sponsored by Mary Eleanor Natural Funeral care. Head to www.maryeleanor.me for the full program.
WRONG WAY. GO BACK!
While the State Government blindly bulldozes ahead with building more roads to get traffic into Hobart, the city is increasingly choking on traffic, writes Andrew Wilkie, MP.
There seems to be no end to the mayhem as the Government ploughs on with plans for a $35m fifth lane on the Southern Outlet, which is set to cause massive disruption during the lengthy construction phase and will ultimately force more vehicles into the gridlock. Dynnyrne residents along the proposed route are understandably ropeable, living in fear of losing their homes via compulsory acquisition (see ‘Dynnyrne Residents Say SOS on Roads’, THM, June 2021). Adding to anxiety levels, the public consultation process set down for May has been plagued by delays. Back in April, I extended an invitation to Premier Peter Gutwein to visit the site so he could see for himself the profound impact the plan would have on the community. He’s yet to accept.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, commuters are sitting idle in peak-hour traffic while bureaucrats dilly-dally on how to spend $25m in federal funds allocated in the 2018 Hobart City Deal to reduce congestion and activate the northern suburbs rail corridor. After three years of talking and numerous reports, we could surely expect to see some action by now. As part of its revamped CBD master plan, the University of Tasmania recently raised the prospect of a rapid transit corridor on the long-disused route. While this certainly has some merit, light rail remains my preferred option. If this City Deal money had gone to private enterprise, I reckon the project would have been delivered by now. But we still don’t even have an agreement between the State and the Federal governments on what traffic projects will be completed. Talk about a major arterial blockage.
On a high note though, the long-awaited Hobart-to-Bellerive ferry service is finally ready to cast off this month. Let’s hope it will lead to bigger and better things.
The bottom line is the powers that be remain fixated on roads. And all the while Hobart lays claim to being the fourth most congested city in Australia. How ridiculous for a population of less than 250,000 people. Only five per cent of Hobart commuters take public transport to work, with more than 70 per cent using cars. According to the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics, Hobart has the lowest percentage of dwellings with access to public transport of all other state and territory capitals at 13.5 per cent.
We clearly need a big-picture approach to the traffic congestion problem, including strategies to get more bums on Metro seats to help ease the traffic squeeze. Yes, we will always need cars and we do need to invest in better roads. But imagine what just some of the millions pumped into roads could do for alternative modes of transport including light rail, ferries, park-and-ride facilities, cheaper and more frequent buses, and improvements to encourage cyclists and pedestrians.
A city the size of Hobart should simply not be this congested. Traffic-weary Hobartians deserve so much more than endless talking about projects that are so achingly slow to be realised.
The Government needs to show some genuine vision and create a liveable city where people aren’t forced into cars because of a poor public transit system and delay after delay in delivering critical infrastructure.
Andrew Wilkie is the Federal Independent Member for Clark.
We welcome opinion and letters from members of our community. Email [email protected].