THIS WEEK'S COMMUNITY NEWS


Environmental fund provides $800,000 for Kingborough projects
The first Kingborough Environmental Fund projects are set to begin in 2019.
Kingborough Council established the fund to receive financial offsets for the removal of native vegetation since 2004. Its aim is to balance the loss of biodiversity from development and tree removals. Proponents in Kingborough have been required to pay offsets into a conservation fund to offset their development impacts. Those who have removed native vegetation may have contributed and now there is over $800,000 to invest in projects. Multiple offset payments can now be combined in the fund, which will allow the council to deliver larger conservation projects and receive better value from the financial assets. This approach enables strategic landscape scale projects with much greater environmental benefits.
“Kingborough Council has been considered a leader in natural resource management in Tasmania from their work to offset losses in biodiversity as a result of development,” said Kingborough mayor, Cr Dean Winter. “It is great to see the funds being made available for these projects.”
A range of projects will be delivered through the fund, including increasing the number of private land reserves. Private land reserves are becoming more important in the conservation of native flora and fauna. The council will be seeking landowners who have areas of good quality native vegetation on their properties, and who would like to see it protected for future generations. Where possible, projects will build on local conservation programs such as the ongoing work to protect and improve habitat for endangered and iconic species such as the Swift Parrot and Forty-spotted Pardalote.
“We are looking forward to working alongside the community to make sure this project achieves great outcomes for nature conservation in our region,” Cr Winter said. “We are now inviting expressions of interest from landholders who would like to protect native vegetation on their property that they believe is significant.”
Significant patches of vegetation that contain threatened vegetation communities or habitat for threatened species are of particular interest. For more information on Kingborough’s Environmental Fund or to apply to be involved, visit the council’s website www.kingborough.tas.gov.au/environmental-fund or contact the council’s Natural Resource Management Project Officer on 6211 8200.
Kingborough Council

Returning home after a bushfire
You must be cautious when returning to your property. Check with local emergency services that it is safe and that you have permission to return.
Protective clothing
Put on protective clothing before entering
your property:
• Sturdy footwear and heavy-duty gloves.
• Overalls with long sleeves and trousers (preferably disposable).
• Special face masks (called ‘P2’). Ordinary paper dust masks, handkerchiefs and bandanas do not filter out fine ash or dusts or asbestos fibres.
Be alert to all hazards
If you have a septic tank, it may have been weakened so do not drive or walk over it.
Minimise disturbance of dust and ash, which may contain hazardous materials. Do not spread ash around, moisten it with water to minimise dust.
Be alert for hazardous materials such as LPG cylinders, chemicals (garden/farm), cleaning products, medicines and other burnt residues.
If you are using portable generators make sure they are in a well-ventilated area to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
There may also be overhead hazards such as falling trees and tree limbs, and live power lines.
Asbestos
Exposure to asbestos fibres is only likely to occur when people actively disturb ashes on properties built with asbestos-cement sheeting (buildings built before 1990).
If asbestos is likely to be present, you must get a licensed asbestos removalist to do the clean-up work.
Ash from treated timber
CCA-treated wood is commonly used in decking, fencing and landscaping. After a fire, the ash from this wood contains copper, chromium and arsenic. This ash can be harmful; keep children and pets away. Seek advice from your local council on ash disposal.
Rainwater tanks
The risk to human health is low from contaminated rainwater tanks in bushfire-affected areas. However, if fire-fighting foams have entered your tank, do not drink the water and do not give it to pets to drink.
If your rainwater tank is intact and the water has no abnormal look, smells or taste, it should be safe to use. It is safest to boil untreated water that you plan to drink. If the rainwater looks, smells or tastes unusual, assume it is contaminated and don’t drink it or use it for cooking, or preparing food.
Check your roof and guttering for ash, debris and animal carcasses. Remove them as soon as possible to avoid contaminants getting flushed into your tank.
If your rainwater has been contaminated, drain the tank and allow it to refill with clean rainwater or fill it with water from a registered water carter.
For more information visit www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/water/drinking/rural/tanks
Food safety
Throw away all perishable food if the power has been off for more than a day. For shorter outages, if food is still cold to touch (less than 5 degrees celsius) it is safe to use.
Once cold or frozen food has warmed or thawed, it should be thrown out.
Cleaning your property
Wear adequate protective clothing when handling debris outside.
Smoke and soot in the home
Open all doors and windows to ventilate your home to help remove any smoke odour. Hard surfaces (furniture, walls and floors) can be washed with mild soap or detergent and water. Soft furniture and bedding can be aired outside.
Clothing
Clothes that smell of smoke and clothes that had been left on the clothes line should be washed normally and dried outside. Rewashing of clothes ensures sensitive skin is protected from soot, particles and ash.
Smoke and your health
Smoke may still be present in your area following a bushfire and may last for up to two weeks if there is no wind to clear the air.
Air pollution
High smoke levels may cause or worsen breathing (respiratory) problems for some people.
Those most at risk are children, the elderly, smokers and people with pre-existing heart and lung diseases, including asthma. These people should avoid unnecessary travel to affected areas.
What you should do
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your health:
• Follow your asthma action plan or your individual health plan.
• Avoid physical activity outdoors.
• Stay indoors with windows and doors closed where possible.
• Switch air conditioners to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’.
• When indoors, minimise other sources of air pollution such as tobacco smoke and wood stoves.
• If your home gets too smoky or hot for comfort, consider going somewhere with less smoke or with air conditioning.
Keeping track of the smoke
Check the smoke particle levels in your area through the Environment Protection Authority’s real-time air quality data.
Air quality notifications are activated when smoke levels are high in an area for just one hour.
You can see when an air quality notification is active in your area and follow the recommended precautions.
You can download the free AirRater app to keep track of air quality in your area.
Further information
Contact Public Health Services for further advice about possible hazards, the health effects of smoke, current air quality and further factsheets.
Phone 1800 671 738, email public.health@health.tas.gov.au or visit www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/alerts
Department of Health
and Human Services

Check your bus changes
Schools are returning for 2019, and for many students and parents there will be some changes to school bus routes and timetables.
A summary of the changes, including a list of schools that will have changed routes or timetables, is available online at www.transport.tas.gov.au/passenger/school_bus_service_timetables_and_information.
This website lists all the changes by school, and features interactive maps of revised school bus routes, timetables for affected services, and contact details for bus operators.
Many students also catch public bus services to school. Information about these changes and links through to updated timetables are available at www.transport.tas.gov.au/project2018/route_information/southern_region_service_changes.
For more information on the new routes and timetables, you can contact either the operator, or the Department of State Growth.
For dedicated school bus services, contact Andrew Mullen on 6166 4470 or andrew.mullen@stategrowth.tas.gov.au.
For general-access public bus services accessed by students, contact the passenger transport team on 6166 3343 or ptscontracts@stategrowth.tas.gov.au.
Department of State Growth

Mega Market returns

Check out the Kingston Rotary Mega Market from 8am to 2pm on Sunday 3 March at Dru Point in Margate.
The Mega Market is a community event run by Kingston Rotary: a family-friendly alternative to your garage for trading your unwanted items. The market continues the same winning formula of fun and community this autumn. We will welcome food vans, home produce, community action, bric-a-brac, garden items, crafts, buskers, and reloved stalls.
There will be ample customer parking and there is a children’s play area nearby.
Book your place at www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=467884. If you missed out on spring cleaning, summer is not too late.
Kingston Rotary Club

Helping firies fight fires
Over the past week, the Rapid Relief Team (RRT) has been working around the clock to support and feed emergency service workers who continue to fight out-of-control bush fires in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales.
Across the last month, the charity has worked alongside emergency services serving over 10,000 meals to paid and volunteer firefighters who have been working day and night to save property and lives across the eastern states of the country.
Over the past week, RRT volunteers from Huonville in Tasmania handed out nearly 3,000 free meals and barista-made coffees to tired and hungry firefighters at all hours of the day, with a further 3,300 meals at the Grantville fires in Victoria.
The RRT, an initiative of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, is staffed by church volunteers who provide catering services during a range of emergencies and charitable events.
Lloyd Grimshaw, from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, said the RRT was happy to help in any small way.
“The RRT is delighted to support our emergency response organisations and we are humbled by their continued efforts in keeping us safe,” Mr Grimshaw said.
“We hope our small contribution has made them feel valued and has sustained them through these long days and challenging circumstances.
“We have witnessed firsthand the selflessness of the emergency services personnel, many of whom are volunteers themselves, as they continue to work hard to save lives and properties – and we hope the food we have and continue to serve has gone a small way to help keep our heroes fighting.
“At the end of the day, we are Christians who value kindness and compassion and seek to extend it to those who need it most – so, while there continues to be a need, we will continue to provide help, and meals, where it’s needed,” he said.
Every day in some small way, RRT volunteers offer a helping hand to those in need. For more information about the Rapid Relief Team, go to https://www.rapidreliefteam.org/
Rapid Relief Team

Transport subsidy to assist primary producers affected by fire
This fire season is a testing time for all Tasmanians, and the state government is working to provide practical help to those families and businesses directly affected by fires.
The Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments announced a transport subsidy scheme to assist primary producers with the transport of livestock, fodder, water, equipment and materials directly associated with their business of primary production.
Natural disasters like bushfires can have a devastating impact on agri-businesses, and the transport subsidy is designed to ease the financial cost placed upon farmers to transport fodder and water for livestock, or transport stock for sale, slaughter or agistment.
Eligible primary producers can claim a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of the total freight cost, to a maximum of $15,000 per farm enterprise per financial year.
It is important to note that subsidies are only available during the six month period following the declaration of a natural disaster area – with claims to be submitted no more than six months after the first transport movement.
For application forms and additional information, contact the DPIPWE AgriGrowth Liaison Officers on (03) 6777 2233 or farmers.hotline@dpipwe.tas.gov.au
Tasmanian Government
Media Release

$110 million awaiting Medicare customers
A handy financial windfall is awaiting hundreds of thousands of Australians who need to do one simple thing to claim their cash from the Federal Government.
Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said about 670,000 people have not provided Medicare with their bank account details, preventing more than $110 million worth of rebates from being distributed to them.
“The Coalition Government would much rather see this money sitting in your pockets instead of ours, which is why we are again reminding those who haven’t given Medicare their bank account details that they need to take action now,” Minister Keenan said.
“It only takes a couple of minutes and the easiest way is by using one of our digital channels such as the Medicare Express Plus app, or through your myGov account.
“Medicare will then take care of the rest and the money you’re owed will be deposited in your account within a matter of days.”
Customers are regularly reminded of the need to update their bank account details and letters will be sent out again to affected people over the next few weeks to help reinforce that message.
The average amount owed to each individual is about $150, but some people could be missing out on far more if they are regular visitors to their doctor, or have had treatment for a serious medical condition.
Those who do not have a bank account can nominate a friend, relative or even an institution to receive their payment on their behalf.
While the total amount owed to Medicare customers is significant, it represents less than 0.5 per cent of the total amount paid out in Medicare benefits each year.
“We see the same thing happening with lost superannuation accounts where people tell themselves that they will get around to claiming their money one day, but never do,” Minister Keenan said.
“My advice is set aside a couple of minutes as soon as possible to do what is a really simple task that will ensure you receive what you are entitled to quickly and easily.”
The Department of Human Services is also keen to remind people that scammers posing as Medicare have been known to contact people asking for their bank account details.
“As recently as late last year, scammers were actively targeting people through SMS messages that urged them to click on a hyperlink to claim their outstanding Medicare rebates,” Minister Keenan said.
“While the department does call, SMS or email people from time to time, it never includes hyperlinks in emails or text messages for you to click on.
“The reminder letters that will be going out shortly will contain clear instructions about what you need to do. But if you have any doubts when you receive this correspondence, you can always call us or visit one of our hundreds of service centres around the country.”
For more information about how to set up a Medicare online account, visit humanservices.gov.au/medicareonline
Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Asian writers book chat
Join us at Kingston Library, 11 Hutchins Street, Kingston, on Wednesday 20th February, from 2pm to 3pm, for a casual get together and chat with a friendly group of readers.
No expectations and no pre-reading required. Just good stories and fun!
Kingston Library

Art Fair Industry Development Initiative
Tasmanian commercial art galleries will have the chance to showcase the work of local artists at two prestigious national art fairs, thanks to a new program by the Hodgman Liberal Government.
Four grants of $20,000 each are available through Arts Tasmania’s Art Fair Industry Development Initiative, to help eligible galleries participate in the Sydney Contemporary or Melbourne Art Fair.
These key industry events provide important exhibition and networking opportunities for hundreds of artists across the country.
The initiative will ensure that Tasmanian galleries which are accepted into the art fairs have the resources to appropriately showcase the work of our local artists, and can build new markets both nationally and internationally.
Established in 1988, the Melbourne Art Fair draws a global audience of collectors to the Australian art market.
The next iteration of the Sydney Contemporary, now in its fifth year, will see more than 80 galleries from around the world, showcasing the work of over 300 artists from more than
30 countries.
More information can be found at www.arts.tas.gov.au/funding/programs/art_fair_industry_development_initiative.
State Government media release

Saving money and energy on our farms
The Hodgman Liberal Government’s On-Farm Energy Audit and Capital Grant Program will be fast-tracked following a successful launch of the initiative in Tasmania last year.
So far more than $225,000 in grants have been provided to 29 local farm businesses, helping Tasmanian farmers save thousands of dollars each year in energy charges. The funding allocation for 2019-20 has now been brought forward into this financial year to support the heightened level
of interest.
The funding allows farmers to engage a qualified professional to review their energy use, identify savings and then to implement recommended energy efficiency measures, including for
capital costs.
Up to $20,000 per applicant is available, which can be spread across an audit and purchase of capital infrastructure which could also include professional advice on pumping and efficient irrigation systems, general farm operations, solar, domestic usage, and farm machinery and equipment.
The On-farm Energy Audit and Capital Grant Program is a key part of our plan to improve the competitiveness of Tasmanian agriculture and improve the annual farm gate value of the sector to $10 billion a year by 2050.
Further information is available at www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au
State Government media release

Investing in Tasmania’s farming community
The Hodgman Liberal Government has a bold vision for the state’s agricultural sector, and is committed to supporting the farming community by investing in education and resources for farmers wanting to take their business to the next level.
Launched recently, the Cultivating Rural Excellence program is being delivered by Rural Business Tasmania with funding of $50,000 per annum over three years from the Tasmanian Government. This funding is part of our commitment of $800,000 over four years for rural financial counselling services and farm business mentoring to support Tasmanian farmers with business skills, financial literacy, planning and debt mediation.
The program will target Tasmanian farmers seeking to diversify, expand and innovate their farms to enhance profitability by providing a course to equip them with the tools to realise their ambitions.
This course will focus on things such as planning for success, maintaining a positive mindset, creating effective branding, and developing better communication skills.
Supporting our farmers is a critical step in achieving the Hodgman Government’s target of an increase in the farm gate value of the state’s agricultural sector to $10 billion a year by 2050.
Through our comprehensive AgriFood Plan we have committed over $150 million towards meeting these increased productivity goals, with for example, $70 million towards developing Pipeline to Prosperity – the third tranche of irrigation schemes – and more than $30 million towards ongoing and increased support for agricultural research and development.
Members of the rural community interested in participating in the Cultivating Rural Excellence program are invited to contact Rural Business Tasmania for further information at: www.ruralbusinesstasmania.org.au/
State Government media release


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