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NewsJoanne Eisemann
Deloraine Rotary is planning to provide residential vocational training for young people in Nepal.

Deloraine Rotary is planning to provide residential vocational training for young people in Nepal.

DELORAINE ROTARY has recently received a Department of Foreign Affairs National Friendship Grant of $60 000 towards their RAWCS trade training centre project in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu. Aiming to encourage participation in Australia’s aid program, one grant was given to Deloraine Rotary because of their effective international projects to build sustainability in neighbouring countries in need. In Nepal for four years the club is involved in building schools, supplying water and sanitation in schools and villages and conducting eye screening and surgery in remote villages.

Over the past 2 years, with the Rotary Club of Bhadgaon, Deloraine Rotary has been helping young people attend school. In particular, helping young girls by providing personal hygiene kits made by Days for Girls. The grant project is the construction of a centre to provide residential vocational youth training for disadvantaged rural boys and girls, preparing them for employment and small enterprises. Some will be special needs students, very disadvantaged and at risk of homelessness. Short intensive courses will cover trades, hospitality, sewing and light manufacturing. Currently, thousands of young people in remote areas of Nepal have no access to education or vocational training. Girls are also discriminated against and find it hard to attend any form of school.

The donation of land in Kathmandu by a local businessman has enabled Deloraine, supported by other Australian Rotary clubs, to proceed with the project. The construction will include training rooms, a residential floor for 40 students, community room and conference training facility to generate operating income for the centre. The build will take 12 to 18 months, with the first pilot training course to start late in 2019.

Tasmanian Rotary Clubs have a strong commitment to building international relationships, reducing poverty and improving lives, particularly aiming to help young people at risk of child marriage, slavery, trafficking, sex trade, homelessness, exploitation, violence, starvation and deprivation.

Project manager Dr Lois Beckwith will be promoting the project in Tasmania to gain more financial support. $150,000 is needed to get the first stage completed. Fundraisers will be held across Tasmania to help make the centre fully operational. Information: contact Lois Beckwith, 6369 5393, loisbeckwith@bigpond. com or Maree Matanle on 0402 692 066. Alternatively, you can email maree.matanle@gmail.com

Fields of fire

NewsJoanne Eisemann

A grass fire adjacent to Meander Valley Rd Deloraine received prompt attention when 2 tankers and 3 helicopter water bombers were called in to extinguish a fire threatening newly baled hay.

Photo | Mike Moores

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Deloraine Police Station to remain open

NewsJoanne Eisemann

THE STATE Government has confirmed that the Deloraine Police Station is to remain open.

A police media spokesperson said that Deloraine station is in addition to a new $5 million police station planned for Longford.

The Longford station was announced in the 2018 ˜State Budget with funding allocated for this financial year.

Deloraine Police Station

Deloraine Police Station

Camping in Meander Valley

NewsJoanne Eisemann

MEANDER VALLEY Council will submit a planning application to provide camping at Westbury recreation ground.

Moving the motion, Cllr John Temple said he had initiated the move following the council’s March closure of three free campgrounds on council land.

“This is simply a planning application to see if we can use the Westbury location for that purpose,” he said.

“The loss of the three campgrounds has meant a loss of business and vibrancy.”

Cllr Susie Bower said that during her recent election campaign, the campground closures had been one of the biggest issues.

“The campers bring a lot of business and currently those people are driving through the town and not spending money,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Michael Kelly said the community misses the campers and wants them back: “We are obliged to get them back.”

Council manager Martin Gill closed down free campgrounds in Westbury, Bracknell and Deloraine last year, saying he had no choice because they did not have the appropriate planning approvals.

“Because no permits were in place council had to stop the activity,” he said.

In addition, some neighbouring residents were fed up with campers’ poor behaviour: noise, camp fires, public urination and public safety issues.

But others are frustrated and angry about the closures as local businesses, many of them on tight margins, have lost camping customers.

However, it is also against the Federal Government’s national competition principals for local government to offer free camping in competition with local businesses.

A State Government inquiry into the impact of camping on local council land on national competition principles has dragged on for months.

Mr Gill said in December he anticipated a government statement on the issue in the new year.

Photo | Mike Moores

Campers could be on a good wicket in Westbury.

Campers could be on a good wicket in Westbury.

Internet-savvy Millennials lax on cyber security

NewsJoanne Eisemann

EACH YEAR the number of Australians impacted by cyber criminals continues to rise. In 2017, over 6 million adult Australians were impacted by cybercrime and 46 per cent of Millennials fell prey to cybercrime, putting them in the lead as the most common group to be targeted.

A Norton by Symantec report revealed 37 per cent of Millennials admitted to having at least one device without any protective measures and were the group most likely to share their password. This is in significant contrast to Gen X users, where only a quarter had shared the passwords to their smartphones and laptops.

The good news is password hygiene is as easy as 1,2,3: 1. Create strong passphrases. 2. Use a different password across all of your accounts; and 3. Don’t share your password with anyone!

In 2017, over 6 million Australians were impacted by cybercrime.

In 2017, over 6 million Australians were impacted by cybercrime.

Council rejects Blackstone Telstra tower

NewsJoanne Eisemann

January 2019 | Sharon Webb

BLACKSTONE HEIGHTS residents were triumphant when Meander Valley Council rejected Telstra’s 25m proposed mobile phone tower but the decision means ratepayers could be landed with up to $10,000 in legal fees.

At the December council meeting, Cllr Andrew Connor warned councillors that should Telstra appeal the decision in Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal, the legal bill would drop in the council’s lap.

“RMPAT has only ever refused one tower. These things are rarely successful,” he said.

A Telstra spokesperson said the company was still considering whether to appeal the decision.

In a tense December meeting packed with objectors to the Zenith Court tower, councillors heard from residents who believe their property values will be negatively impacted, fear possible health effects from tower emissions (said to be unproven) and fear the effects on nesting eagles in the area.

More than 357 residents formally objected to the tower: 357 through a petition to the council and 30 more through letters of objection.

Petition signers were not just from Zenith Court and Blackstone Rd but from Canopus Drive, Bayview Drive, Glover Avenue, Panorama Rd and Longvista Rd and as far afield as Hadspen, Westbury, Rosevale, Hagley and Bracknell.

At the meeting Blackstone resident Steven McGhee offered to pay half the legal fees should Meander Valley Council be forced to fight a Telstra appeal in the RMPAT.

He also said the council had made no effort to investigate whether the tower was avoidable.

“Only 20 people will benefit from the tower, and near the West Tamar tower house prices have dropped.

“There has been no full and frank discussion from Telstra.”

But Telstra senior project specialist Katie Hill told the meeting Telstra had been contracted by the Federal Government to create optimum coverage for black spot areas.

“There were four other candidates for the tower but we found this site has optimum benefit for 3G Plus,” she said. “There will be a benefit for new residential areas coming through and new businesses.

“We heard the community angst in the [September] community information session and we’ve tried to be as transparent as possible.”

Clinton Northey from telecommunications provider Visionstream told councillors that from a planning perspective the Zenith Ct location belonging to Taswater was a utility zone needing no tree clearing.

“We feel the tower is not in anyone’s direct line of vision,” he said.

Other councillor comments included:

Cllr Susie Bower: “I find it difficult to believe a report could not be generated to show how many Telstra customers would benefit from this. More than 180 people expected to benefit do not want the tower.”

Cllr Michael Kelly: The tower will decrease the value of properties; I have to consider that.”

Cllr Frank Nott: “I have concerns about the tower’s height and the single 10-year lease is deceptive – a smokescreen. We need to take heed of the petitioners and letter writers, particularly those with young families. I am supporting the interests of the residents.”

Cllr Connor: “Put your hand up if your don’t have a mobile phone – very few. Councillors should use their heads not their hearts on this issue.”

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400 personalised poppies

Community, NewsJoanne Eisemann

RESIDENTS OF Kanangra Faye Woods and Bessie Westwood put the finishing touches to the ‘Poppy Banner’ they’ve been making during several months worth of their craft days.

A true labor of love, the Banner contains over 400 crocheted Red Poppies, each complete with a name tag, duplicating all the names of the World War 1 service personnel listed on the Deloraine Cenotaph.

The banner has been formally handed over to the Deloraine RSL Sub-Branch for safe keeping and display, and may currently be viewed at St Marks Church in Deloraine.

Sub-Branch President, Mr Peter Ashton DCM, stated “What a very thoughtful and practical way of saying, We will remember them” and thanked all the ladies involved in the banner’s making: Faye Woods, Bessie Westwood, Joan Scott, Phyllis Cubit, Daphne Cole and Rita Whiteley.

L-R Faye Woods and Bessie Westwood put the finishing touches on the impressive poppy banner. Photo by Mike Moores

L-R Faye Woods and Bessie Westwood put the finishing touches on the impressive poppy banner. Photo by Mike Moores

Triking for the Tarkine

News, People and PlacesJoanne Eisemann

By Hayley Manning

IF YOU recently saw a lobster riding along the highway, your eyes didn’t deceive you.

Inspirational Gaby Jung, 72, recently rode her electric tricycle 540km’s around Tasmania to create awareness about the ancient takayna/Tarkine rainforests and the vulnerable status of its inhabitants.

Gaby was accompanied by a support van driver Lizzie and Tim a photographer.

Starting in Hobart, the trio visited Orford, Swansea, Cressy, Bracknell, Deloraine and the Northwest, before ending their travels at the Tarkine on 23rd November.

Gaby Jung ‘the lobster’ and support crew Tim and Lizzie stopped in Deloraine and spoke with students at the Primary School. Photo by Hayley Manning

Gaby Jung ‘the lobster’ and support crew Tim and Lizzie stopped in Deloraine and spoke with students at the Primary School. Photo by Hayley Manning

Meander dispute continues ...

Community, NewsJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

TASMANIA’S PLANNING tribunal has made a ruling allowing progress on a dispute about use of the former Meander Primary School, a dispute already costing thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The Resource Planning and Appeals Tribunal in October ruled Teen Challenge, the organisation renting the school property from Meander Valley Council, must allow accredited town planning and bushfire hazard practitioners onto the property.

As the dispute continues, Meander Valley Council has spent $20,000 on legal advice; MARRA has spent around $15,000.

Teen Challenge declined to answer legal cost questions but it is believed their legal expertise is donated.

Council’s general manager, Martin Gill, indicated there was no ceiling on council’s legal costs to defend its decision to hand over the property to Teen Challenge for a peppercorn rent: “I cannot anticipate the total legal costs. Council is obliged as the planning authority to participate in the current tribunal process.”

Since May, Meander Residents and Ratepayers Association has requested two experts be allowed onto the property to gather information to appeal Meander Valley Council’s decision to allow Teen Challenge to use the property to reform female drug users.

Teen Challenge has refused the experts’ access.

MARRA secretary Karen Hillman said: “We welcome RMPAT’s decision.

“We couldn’t understand Teen Challenge’s refusal to allow site access in the first place, given the site is not even in use yet. Their refusal also caused a six month delay that is at odds with their frequent claims that they are being prevented from operating.”

Teen Challenge spokesperson Tanya Cavanagh said: “We [originally] submitted our application and received a permit approval from the council.

“This approval was appealed against by Timberworld Pty Ltd and the appeal is currently before the tribunal. We see no merits in the appeal and so we intend to see the appeal process to its final conclusion which we expect will be that the council decision is upheld.”

More than two years ago Meander Valley Council approved Teen Challenge taking over the former school property for drug users’ education and residence.

This has not begun, MARRA having appealed the council’s decision.

Teen Challenge leaders Ms Cavanagh and Mr Peter Ferrall are using the property; Mr Gill said living there is not permitted and Teen Challenge must maintain the buildings and grounds.

MARRA’s grounds of appeal to the TRMPA are that:

  • Council incorrectly categorised the property as being used by Teen Challenge for “hospital services”;

  • Council incorrectly categorised the application as “non-residential use”;

  • the application does not comply with bushfire regulations because it has no bushfire plan;

  • there is no site-specific study showing the facility is a suitable distance from noise and dust generated by neighbouring timber business, TimberWorld.

Rowing for refugees

News, FeatureJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

AROUND 20 Meander Valley residents took to the water last month to add their voices to other Australians fighting to get child refugees off‰ Nauru.

Battling a stiff‰ wind on Deloraine’s Meander River in their canoes, kayaks and rowboats, they joined 1000 people in Sydney’s Hyde Park who listened to rock idol Jimmy Barnes, around 500 people in Melbourne and 6000 petitioning Australian doctors to demonstrate their strong objections to keeping children on Nauru.

Local organiser Pip Stanley said on the day: “There are still 80 kids on Nauru and they are having to go through the courts to get to Australia.

“The government is saying all will be off‰ by Christmas but we believe there’s no reason they can’t come now.”

According to Guardian Australia, the Federal Government is spending around $300,000 a year fighting legal cases aimed at getting refugees off‰ Nauru, including “a large number of children, among whom there is a worsening mental health crisis and several cases of resignation syndrome – a rare and potentially fatal condition that is considered a reaction to extreme trauma.”

As Deloraine’s own boat people demonstrated their prowess on the water, complete with wobbly rowing and at least one unexpected dip, Reedy Marsh resident and former Meander Primary School principal Graham Pennicott maintained the Australian Government had created “a humanitarian crisis” on Nauru.

Deloraine resident Andy Dunn coxed an inexperienced rowing crew while Mark Kitteridge said he’d just wanted to turn up and make his voice heard on the issue.

Locals Margaret Tabor and John Phelps sported canoe signs saying “Try being humane” and “Sorry?” with John commenting: “My theory is that the Australian PM in 10 years’ time will be saying sorry to these refugees.

Margaret Tabor and John Phelps added their voices to a protest for refugees held on the Meander River.  Photo by Mike Moores

Margaret Tabor and John Phelps added their voices to a protest for refugees held on the Meander River.

Photo by Mike Moores

Future Flying Doctors?

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Grade 6 students from Westbury Primary School eagerly participate in a simulated patient treatment on the life-sized replica.

Grade 6 students from Westbury Primary School eagerly participate in a simulated patient treatment on the life-sized replica.

WESTBURY PRIMARY School students got a first-hand look at how the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) operates all over Australia.

The RFDS brought its interactive aeromedical simulator to the school - a life-sized replica of the fuselage of a flying doctor aircraft. The replica included a cockpit, complete with avionics and a propeller flight simulator. And for students interested in the medical side, the simulator is fully equipped with stretchers, oxygen, suction, and communications.

Simulator presenter Tom Ryan said, “Students climbed on board, strapped themselves in and rescued a patient by landing our aircraft in the Outback.” “We use real-life stories to teach students about the unique nature of the Australian landscape and people’s relationship with it in everyday settings.”

The RFDS online education program was developed to help primary school students understand the significant contribution the organisation has made to Australia’s history and its relevance to all Australians today. Since launching in Tasmania in 2012, the simulator has visited more than 50 per cent of primary schools in the state.

Photo | Mike Moores

Top honour for Tanya

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Tanya Barrett, Tasmanian Practice Manager of the year for 2018.

Tanya Barrett, Tasmanian Practice Manager of the year for 2018.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Tanya Barrett of Deloraine & Westbury Medical Centre who has been awarded 2018 Tasmanian Practice Manager of the Year by the Australian Association of Practice Managers (AAPM). Nominated by fellow practice manager from the Prospect Medical Centre, Tanya received her award at a Practice Manager’s conference in Canberra. “Oh the conference in Canberra, it was fabulous,” shares Tanya.

Conference attendees were treated to a host of keynote speakers, workshops, state breakfasts, technology and best practice exhibitors as well as a gala dinner where the presentation of awards took place. Tanya’s work at Deloraine & Westbury Medical Centre involves managing 19 admin and nursing staff and eight doctors as well as implementing policies and procedures that keep the practice running smoothly, legislation compliance and budgeting. “I enjoy my job, it’s not difficult to come to work each day.

I think probably my favourite part is working with all the other team members, I get a lot of enjoyment from that,” comments Tanya. During the four and a half years that Tanya has managed the Deloraine and Westbury Medical practice she has implemented a number of new systems to the practice.

Tanya is particularly happy with the new staff education program that encourages and tracks staff training to ensure the highest standards in both professional development and compliance with current legislation. The initiatives Tanya has launched in the area of health and well being for staff members and community involvement are also a source of pride.

“We all get together and decorate for RSPCA cupcake day, we recycle printer cartridges, we sponsor sunscreen for Toddle Inn Childcare, we sponsor the Community Directory in Meander Valley Gazette and we sell Lyons Christmas cakes and puddings,” says Tanya.

Practice owners Dr Johannes Schonbom and Mr Goran Mujkic agree with the panel that chose Tanya as the top practice manager in Tasmania for this year. “She is our number one asset at the practice and we are extremely pleased to see her rewarded for what she does at Deloraine & Westbury Medical everyday” says Dr Schonbom. Tanya adds “I couldn’t do my job without the wonderful work of everyone else here, this award really belongs to all of us.”

Photo | Mike Moores

Cars and coffins

News, EventsJoanne Eisemann
Piercer Paul and skeleton bride

Piercer Paul and skeleton bride

November 2018 | Haley Manning

A SOLID crowd of car enthusiasts and over 300 unique vehicles spread over the Village Green in October, for the Rotary Club of Westbury Car Show. President of Rotary and organiser of the event, David Lee, said he initiated the fund raiser, now in its fourth year, to replace their long-held annual Fun Run.

“We encourage anything on wheels – old or new, they are all special; we even had a pedal car at this one,” he said. Paul ‘Piercer Paul’ Anderson said car shows on the mainland tend to favour specific models, whereas the Westbury one offers something different to look at, with varied models and vintages.

“You can satisfy 97 per cent of the people when you hold a car show like this,” he said. Paul has owned his 1973 HQ Holden utility for five years, but said it was silver with orange GTS stripes and a tradesman tray before it was painted black, modified and the tray extended to nine-foot long to display a skeleton bride seated in an open coffin.

The tattooist of 35 years says the theme goes with his character. “Since I was young I have always thought outside the box.” The $4,500 donated this year will be distributed by the Rotary Drought Relief Fund to drought-stressed farmers.

Photo | Hayley Manning

Percy needs a nest

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Percy the Peacock is looking for a home.

Percy the Peacock is looking for a home.

A MYSTERIOUS new resident has been strutting in gardens near Parsonage St and Kanangra in Deloraine. The story goes that this beautiful Peacock turned up at the Our Lady of Mercy School in early September. Attempts to find out where he came from have been fruitless, and while residents have been enjoying the spectacle and the company of this friendly bird they would like to see him have a more suitable home. If you know someone who has lost a peacock or someone who would like one, ask them to contact Our Lady of Mercy primary school.

Photo | Kate Harvey

Wayne takes the rein at a canter

NewsJoanne Eisemann
New Mayor, Wayne Johnston.

New Mayor, Wayne Johnston.

WELCOME TO Meander Valley’s new Mayor, Wayne Johnston. Receiving a massive 40.4% of first preference mayoral votes, Wayne received almost twice as many votes for position of mayor than any of the five candidates, the closest being Susie Bower receiving 25.88% of first preference votes. Mike Kelly was returned as Deputy Mayor with 50.08% of first preference votes. 55.81% of eligible people voted in Meander Valley, slightly below the state average of 58%.

Photo | Image supplied

30 years of close-knit village life

Events, NewsJoanne Eisemann
L-R Marie Brearley, Shirley O’Connor and Robyn Radford celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Residential Villiage.

L-R Marie Brearley, Shirley O’Connor and Robyn Radford celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Residential Villiage.

November 2018 | David Claridge

A VIBRANT meeting room was filled with people at tables enjoying drinks, while a delectable aroma wafted from the kitchen where staff prepared lunch. For dessert, a couple of intricately frosted birthday cakes waited on display in the middle of the room.

The cakes were to celebrate a very special birthday. The 24th October marked 30 years since the Residential Village in Prospect first opened and the residents had gathered to celebrate the close-knit community that has given them a new lease on life. Director and Owner, Keith Pybus, oversaw the gathering with a smile. Keith has been the sole owner throughout and he expressed how the long journey of 30 years for the village has been a worthwhile venture, for what was possibly the first village of its kind in Tasmania.

“We prefer to call it a residential village rather than a retirement village because it puts less restrictions on people. The people own their own cottages and live their own life within the community,” “There is a 24-hour emergency service system and a mini bus that drives people to medical appointments and shopping centres.

“Thirty years ago, retirement villages were in their infancy. We started with 17 units, since then we have made several expansions to the site and today we have 80 people living here. The village is currently having new buildings added, designed to accommodate ‘in-house’ carers.

Photo | Mike Moores

$20 million tourism boost for valley?

NewsJoanne Eisemann

November 2018 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY Council will submit plans for a four-day walk across Tasmania’s central plateau to the State Government in January in response to its call for the next world-class walking experience. The Premier and Minister for Parks, Will Hodgman, recently announced that the government will invest up to $20m to deliver Tasmania’s next iconic multi-day, hut-based walk.

Based on a draft by Councillor Rodney Synfield, the council’s submission is tentatively called The Great Traverse Trail, which would be accessible to disabled people. It proposes a track with two starting points on the northern slopes of the Great Western Tiers: at Western Creek and at the Huntsman, south of Meander.

The two trails join up south of Mt Ironstone before continuing across the Central Plateau, through the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, before reaching a destination at the Fish River car park near Lake Rowallan. Cllr Synfield will work with council officers on a submission complying with government criteria. “Cllr John Temple has agreed to provide photographs specified in the criteria,” he said. The council maintains the proposed trail would “pass through a variety of stunning world class features”: mountains, cliffs, high plateau country, waterfalls, lakes and rainforest.

Existing terminating tracks between Western Creek and the Huntsman would be connected via the new trail. The two person-wide track is proposed to have no steps between Western Creek and the Fish River car park, making it accessible to wheelchairs or modified quad bikes. Three huts for overnight stays would be needed along the track. The call for a new iconic walk follows a report maintaining that current Tasmanian destinations including the The Overland and Three Capes Walks are in danger of being ‘loved to death’.

Premier Hodgman said the walks had captured the world’s attention: “They are a major drawcard for visitors to go beyond our major cities and tourist attractions and spend more time and money in regional communities.” Meander Valley Council believes construction and maintenance of a new track in the area would result in a jobs flow-on to local businesses from guiding and accommodation services. The Great Traverse Trail submission will be brought to the December council meeting for endorsement.

Westbury IGA expansion

NewsJoanne Eisemann

November 2018 | David Claridge

WESTBURY LOCALS will gain in many ways with a new IGA now in the early stages of construction. In what will be a $5 million project, local contractors will be hired to help build it. Due for completion by July 2019, shoppers will benefit from a wider range of products.

Westbury local Judy Fellows has had a 30-year involvement with the William Street IGA and will own and operate the new supermarket. “There’s simply not enough room at the current William Street store to hold all of the product our customers are after and while we try to get in what we can, we sometimes have to suggest a trip out of town to visit a larger IGA supermarket,” Ms Fellows said. “By having a larger product offering we hope to make it easier for the people of Westbury to live their day-to-day lives in the town and we hope it will bring more people in from surrounding towns to come and do their shopping here.”

Tasmanian Independent Retailers CEO Grant Hinchcliffe said the development would be a win for Westbury, with the nine-month construction phase set to create employment for up to 20 to 30 local tradespeople.

“This investment shows a real commitment to Westbury and will help the close-knit community by creating local jobs. “There will also be numerous flow-on benefits for other businesses in the area as local contractors will be used during construction and more people will be inclined to carry out their shopping in the town centre after the supermarket opens.”

As published in other media, at a recent meeting between Meander Valley Council members the issue was raised regarding electronic signs planned for the supermarket, noting that they won’t conform to the heritage streetscape of Westbury.

Debate on firearms shop

NewsJoanne Eisemann

November 2018 | Sharon Webb

A QUAMBY Brook resident has applied to build a modified 12.2m shipping container to store guns and ammunition he plans to sell to local farmers as a home business. Mr Ben Griffiths wants to establish Griffiths Guns and Ammo on his 9.3 hectare home block at 180 Wandilla Road, Quamby Brook.

Some Meander Valley councillors last month expressed concern at the proposal, although council’s role was simply to approve the reduced setback of the building and the business plan still needs Tasmania Police approval.

In response to Mr Griffiths’ application, council passed a motion to write to the Minister for Police, Labor and Greens spokespeople seeking a review of the Firearms Act 1996 to require community consultation before issuing licences to sell firearms and ammunition, including at Quamby Brook. Cllr Deb White said community questions about selling arms from such a secluded location were reasonable. And Cllr Rodney Synfield said he believes that particular land use does not comply with home-based business definition in terms of storage of hazardous munitions materials and the bushfire act.

But mayoral candidate Cllr Andrew Connor maintained, “It’s not our concern what might be coming out of it [the shipping container]”. Cllr Michael Kelly said he was comfortable with the proposal. “There’s a long way to go with the [permit] process. “There’s a lot of hype around this but having it out in the country is a perfect fit. It’s a business and we shouldn’t be pulling it to pieces.”

Guns and ammunition cannot be posted but according to the home-based business definition, Mr Griffiths can sell directly from the premises. In the business outline submitted to council, Mr Griffiths says he knows there is a high demand locally for firearms and ammunition. “Farmers find it hard to travel into Launceston and other areas where there are gun stores …

Through talking to locals there is already interest and a need for the business.” Mr Griffiths manages three 600 acre farms locally and 20 plantation properties. sharon.webb@ meandervalleygazette.com

Spiralling suicide concerns

NewsJoanne Eisemann

November 2018 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY’S suicide rate is spiralling according to councillors demanding the return of three health workers dumped two years ago by the Federal Government. In a submission to the Australian Senate, Meander Valley Council maintains removal of the workers and resources providing mental health prevention programs has caused increased suicides and deteriorating behavior from people with mental health problems.

The submission maintains that after 12 years of success, the workers’ removal has had a “grave impact on the well-being of communities”. Shocking submission facts include: • Eleven suicides since the workers were removed in December 2016; • At least two previously supported clients gaoled; • Many examples of deteriorating behavior among previously settled clients; • Loss of contact with vulnerable residents.

The Senate submission was instigated in September by former Councillor Bob Richardson. Councillors met representatives of local health service providers to gather the necessary information. In Cllr Richardson’s September motion to make a submission to the Senate committee on regional health services he said mental health trends in the municipality were “disturbing”. “These three (preventative) health positions had a positive effect on health in the Meander Valley over many years...

The Coalition Government instead offered un-needed funding for diabetes education,” he said. Councillors pull no punches in the hard-hitting submission, criticising the lack of mental health nurses and youth workers, minimal psychologist access and only one hard-pushed social worker. “Meander Valley … had services and staff in place which provided a broad range of activities and interventions and impacted positively on community morale across all ages,” they say. “Removal of these services has resulted in a rapid deterioration in its mental health status as evidenced by a spiralling suicide rate.” The submission maintains GPs are the first resource for people with mental health problems – but doctors “lack the capacity to provide ongoing programs and counselling to patients and tend to rely on medication as a main management option.” sharon.webb@meandervalleygazette.com