THIS WEEK'S COMMUNITY NEWS


Bush dance to see in winter
Come welcome the winter proper with a rollicking bush dance at the Cygnet Town Hall on Saturday 1 June, from 6pm to 9.30pm.
Huon Valley’s very own eight-piece old time string band, Five Miles From Town, will whisk you into a fine dancing frenzy, so join them in making our beautiful town hall ring with the sound of music, laughter and stomping feet. Guaranteed to warm you up! 
Music kicks off at 6.30pm, all dances are called and feel free to bring your own food and drinks or indulge in the offerings from local food van Bogan Josh. And do bring your water bottles as dancing is thirsty work!
We will also be joined by the very enterprising students from Peregrine School selling homemade treats – GF, dairy-free and vegan options available – fundraising for their upcoming trip to Japan.
Secure your spot with presale adult tickets at $15 via https://events.humanitix.com/welcome-to-winter-bush-dance or grab them at the door for $20. Family tickets available and kids 12 and under are free.
Margaret Driscoll

Full house for climate change talk
Circular Economy Huon had a full house at the Huon Valley Hub on 14 May to hear from Malcolm Johnson, recently appointed Climate Change Officer for the Huon Valley Council. The depth of knowledge displayed and the detailed thinking behind the talk, was impressive, with attendees fully engaged with the information provided.
Malcolm first quashed any doubts attendees might have about the reality of climate change, and underlined the cause as being human emissions of greenhouse gases over the past 250 years. He said: “With the world currently on a trajectory for 2°C of warming in near decades, we can expect to see far fewer days of very cold weather, and more days of above average temperatures”. While annual rainfall in the Huon is likely to remain similar to current levels, we will see greater variability – with more droughts and intense rainfall events.
Malcolm emphasised: “While continued reduction in emissions is essential, the most effective action that council and the Huon community can undertake, is to prepare and adapt for the changes already locked-in”. To that end, he is currently working on the council’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which will contain practical steps the council and community can take together, to improve the resiliency of our people, our built infrastructure and natural heritage.
A range of people from different backgrounds and viewpoints were interviewed during Malcolm’s PhD project, which aims to identify the landscape values and climate resilience capacity of the Huon Valley. This research, combined with the community engagement the council undertook to shape its vision, has given him unique insight into the aspects of the Huon that people want to preserve into the future.
By combining knowledge of the likely climate change effects to be experienced in the Huon, with an understanding of what people most value about our region, Malcolm is well-placed to identify and prioritise projects to help us maintain our lifestyle and liveability into the future. He concluded: “Look out for the draft Climate  Change Adaptation Strategy, which will be going out for consultation”. He also stressed he welcomed enquiries from community at any time. Circular Economy Huon will invite Malcolm back to talk about the adaptation strategy when it is released.
Circular Economy Huon

Ensuring bushfire maps are effective
In newly released research, Huon Valley residents impacted by the 2019 Riveaux Road bushfire highlighted the importance of bushfire maps showing two key items – their location in relation to a fire risk and a clear indication of the direction of fire spread – to ensure emergency information is easily understood and followed by communities under threat.
Findings from the Predictions in Public project  (Predictions in public: understanding the design, communication and dissemination of predictive maps to the public) were presented to researchers and emergency service representatives at the Natural Hazards Research Forum 2024 in Adelaide last week.
The research, conducted by Natural Hazards Research Australia, RMIT University, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Victorian Department of Education between December 2022 and March 2023, collated feedback from residents in the Huon Valley impacted by the 2019 Riveaux Road bushfire as well as people in the Australian Capital Territory (southern Canberra and southern ACT), New South Wales (Snowy Monaro region), and Victoria (Cardinia Shire) with previous experience of bushfire to better understand how bushfire maps can better communicate risk during active bushfires.
Lead researcher, Dr Erica Kuligowski, Principal Research Fellow at RMIT University, believes that these research insights will help ensure appropriate predictive map design by emergency management agencies, significantly improving their understanding and use by people under threat, as well as better protecting against injury and loss of life.
“When bushfire maps help people understand their location in relation to the bushfire risk, as well as other important information including direction of the fire spread and the location of the fire front, they are empowered to make the best protective action decisions for themselves and their loved ones,” Dr Kuligowski says.
Bushfire and other real time weather and hazard tracking maps, including those created by local fire and emergency management agencies, the Bureau of Meteorology, Google or third-party weather or hazard mapping platforms, are a critical tool in communicating life-saving emergency information to people in the path of a bushfire.
Most Huon Valley participants accessed emergency fire information through the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) website, in conjunction with other platforms, including the Windy app, DEA hotspots, the Bureau of Meteorology (including their lightning map), and maps displayed by ABC news.
Supported by the Tasmania Fire Service and Huon Valley Council, as well as ACT, NSW and Victorian fire services, the research found that community members in areas of risk generally wanted bushfire maps regardless of type to provide information that enables them to do one of three things: evacuate if safe to do so and show routes that are available; stay and defend; or follow actions specified in their household bushfire plan.
“Participants indicated the importance of maps communicating the direction of fire spread, as well as locations of fire activity so that they can understand the uncertainty and immediate and subsequent risk, enabling them to make informed decisions about when and how to avoid bushfire,” Dr Kuligowski says.
This information could also help residents understand fires’ behaviour and even identify possible routes out of the area.
Findings highlighted the strong use of bushfire maps by residents in bushfire affected areas as part of their overall emergency information sourcing, accessing maps up to 20 to 50 times per day during bushfires. They also stressed the importance of timely and date-stamped information.
“Participants found the inconsistencies between information sources due to different maps updating at different times, confusing – especially when the time of last update wasn’t included,” Dr Kuligowski says.
“This made it extremely challenging for participants with a lived experience of fires to clearly understand the risk being faced and act safely in a rapidly changing situation.”
The study also found that participants were more likely to trust the information expressed in bushfire maps if fire agency experts explained them in detail, such as at community meetings or face-to-face.
“Direct explanation of bushfire maps can improve residents’ understanding of and confidence in the information – helping reduce the possibility they will fill the gaps with their own knowledge and experience, which may not always lead to accurate conclusions,” says Dr Kuligowski.
The research identified challenges that people face in comprehending bushfire maps, including ways to correctly interpret locations of highest risk.
“The meaning of warning polygons, the triangle symbols and the meaning of their location, and the risks associated with certain areas of maps – the burnt areas or the areas of potential fire spread - could be barriers to correct interpretation of bushfire maps.”
“We also found that it was difficult for participants to identify the location of highest risk of harm, meaning additional work is required to ensure universal understanding of both incident and predictive maps,” Dr Kuligowski says.
“It is important to note that any bushfire map is “one tool in the box” for community members at risk – sourcing information from multiple sources, such as community meetings and official warnings, is critical to gaining as detailed understanding of the risk as possible.”
These findings will inform further research now underway into the ways fire spread prediction maps can clearly communicate risk and uncertainty.
Natural Hazards Research Australia

Shedding light on the swift parrot’s plight
Landcare Tasmania hosted a free Swift Parrot Awareness Day on 11 May at Charlotte Cove Scout House. The session explored the various facets of swift parrot biology, conservation challenges, and practical steps individuals could take to make a difference for their survival.
Attendees enjoyed a diverse lineup of speakers, including experts such as Dr Margie Morrice from the Threatened Species Unit at NRE, Andrew Hingston – guide at Inala Nature Tours and adjunct researcher at University of Tasmania, representatives from the Friends of Garden Island Creek Landcare Group, as well as Luke Cooper and Anna Minchin from Landcare Tasmania.
Throughout the day, participants delved into topics ranging from the swift parrot’s preferred nesting and foraging habitats to the intricacies of nest box installation. Practical sessions offered insights into data logging on sightings and the collection and propagation of seeds crucial for the parrot’s survival.
Margie Morrice shed light on the impact of sugar gliders in Tasmania. Did you know sugar gliders were introduced to Tasmania? These cute marsupials are thriving across the state, however this comes at a cost for swift parrots, which are critically endangered both federally and statewide.
Swift parrots population projections suggest their population could dwindle to less than 50 individuals in the next decade. The survival of these birds depends on preserving their nesting habitats, which often compete with other species like sugar gliders and starlings.
Margie shared insights into some successful conservation efforts, like the North Bruny trial where nest boxes have proven effective in boosting swift parrot breeding. These boxes need to meet certain specifications to attract swifties and deter competitors. Swift parrots are very selective about nesting sites, with only about 5% of hollows being suitable. They prefer deep chambers, small entrances, and wide floor spaces.
Andrew Hingston highlighted some of the reasons behind swift parrot fatalities, ranging from collisions with man-made structures to habitat loss. Interestingly, female swift parrots face a higher risk of predation while nesting, which skews the population towards males.
Planting the right trees, like blue and black gums, is crucial for swift parrot survival, but it’s a waiting game as these trees take years to mature and flower. Meanwhile, honeybees pose a threat by consuming nectar needed by swifties and even taking over their nests!
“By raising awareness and fostering discussion, we hoped to inspire meaningful action to safeguard these magnificent birds,” said Landcare Tasmania’s project manager Anna Minchin, co-organiser of the Swift Parrot Awareness Day. “We were thrilled to bring together passionate individuals and experts to champion the cause of swift parrot conservation.”
The event had a blend of informative talks, engaging demonstrations, and spirited discussions, serving as a rallying point for those committed to preserving biodiversity in the region.
Landcare Tasmania

Discover the fungi of Franklin Forest
Join a fungi community guided walk through Franklin Forest on Sunday 2 June, from 10am to 1pm. We’ll be peering at fungi, craning our heads to tall trees and cocking our ears to the calls of black cockatoos.
Franklin Forest is home to beautiful stands of leatherwood, large old swamp gums, and a myriad of wonders which we will slow down and contemplate on this guided walk.
The walk will take up to two hours. It is about two kilometres long but we will walk slowly to give us time to really take in and discuss our beautiful surroundings.
Meet at the Living Boat Trust, Franklin.
Please bring appropriate bushwalking gear; hiking shoes, rain jacket, water, and snacks. Note that the track can be slippery and muddy and involves some climbing over fallen trees and therefore may not be suitable for all walkers.
Book your spot at www.eventbrite.com.au/e/franklin-forest-guided-fungi-walk-june-tickets-905779700467.
If you are unable to attend, please cancel your booking and/or send us a Facebook message/email to let us know that you can not make it. This will alloDiscover the fungi
of Franklin Forestw us to open the bookings for more people to attend, as booking numbers are capped.
Led by Friends of Franklin Forest, please contact us at friends.franklinforest@gmail.com, or via our Facebook with any questions.
Friends of Franklin Forest

Mayors revive Plenty Link Road project
Huon Valley mayor Sally Doyle has joined Derwent Valley mayor Michelle Dracoulis in advocating for Plenty Link Road to be sealed, creating a new link between the municipalities.
A 2020 report investigated sealed routes via Jefferys Track and through Judbury but found the cost of building them would be excessive and that other factors also weighed against the viability of the projects.
A 2015 feasibility study into upgrading Plenty Link Road estimated the cost of upgrading it at $48 million but identified risks relating to fire, conflict between heavy and light vehicle, and remoteness.
However, both mayors have announced their intention to meet to discuss an upgrade with Brian Mitchell, the Lyons Labor MHR who committed to sealing the road before the 2019 federal election.
Mayor Doyle told the Mercury she believed a sealed road would create an excellent tourist route and would divert traffic from Huonville’s Main Street and from the Southern Outlet. She highlighted the possibility of promoting a “twin valleys tourism experience”.
Mayor Dracoulis told the Mercury: “The commute between valleys would be reduced to 35 minutes instead of the current 70, and divert traffic away from our overcrowded [Hobart] CBD and Southern Outlet.
“Freight, agricultural haulage, and fisheries would have an alternate route from the north to the south of the state, and those who have employment or family spread between the valleys would have a more reasonable commute.
“Sealing the Plenty Link Road would create a southern circuit and create a unique and visually spectacular offering that aligns with our identity as a remote island state.”
The project also received support from Destination Southern Tasmania CEO Alex Heroys, who highlighted the opportunity for tourists to experience the scenery and produce in both regions.
Plenty Link Road connects Lonnavale Road near Judbury with the junction of Glenfern and Glenora Roads outside New Norfolk.Bush dance to see in winter
The Classifieds

Margate and Snug road safety
The Department of State Growth has asked for community feedback to identify new locations for pedestrian and cyclist safety crossings in Margate and Snug.
The Tasmanian government has funded an options assessment and development of designs for new crossings, which will make these sections of the Channel Highway safer for pedestrians and cyclists, while improving the flow of traffic in the towns.
The designs for new crossings will be informed by community consultation. The feedback received during the consultation will inform the choice of potential crossing sites, help shape the concept designs, and minimise the impact of any changes to parking and access to local properties or businesses.
Kingborough Council also has a separate project to develop a master plan for the Margate town centre. The community was asked to provide feedback on this project earlier this year. If you have made a submission to the council’s project, that information will be shared with the Department of State Growth to help identify safe pedestrian and cyclist crossings. You do not need to give the same feedback twice.
Visit engage.stategrowth.tas.gov.au and scroll down to ‘active projects’ to provide your feedback via an interactive map. Instructions on how to use the map are provided. The deadline for feedback is 26 May.
If you have questions or want to learn more about the project, call 0422 068 247 or email MargateSnugCrossings@stategrowth.tas.gov.au.
Department of State Growth

Singers count their blessings
In November 2024 Cygnet Singers reach their 40th anniversary,
a significant landmark celebrating singers coming together joined by their love of music.
The first concert for this year is entitled Blessings, in which the singers count their many blessings musically. Join them for
a concert supported by a recorder quartet, harp, piano, guitars and percussion.
The concert will begin with the song For the Beauty of the Earth, which really sets up the whole program. The singers will perform several songs about the natural world and its healing properties and the security of our own place.
The popular Lennon-McCartney song With a Little Help from My Friends sums up the next section, acknowledging good friends and significant occasionBush dance to see in winters.
The third section introduces the joy of singing and the expressiveness of music. The choir loves meeting and singing together. That shared enjoyment has been the choir’s mainstay for 40 years.
The concert winds up with songs about hopes and dreams, typified by California Dreamin’ and concluding with Irish Blessing.
Afterwards concert-goers will be treated to a wonderful homemade afternoon tea.
The concert is on Saturday 25 May in the Carmel Hall and starts at 2pm. See the advert on page 5 for booking details.
Amanda Wojtowicz


Highway listed as risky road
The Channel Highway has been placed seventh in a list of Tasmania’s most dangerous roads released by the RACT.
The list is based on claims data for accidents submitted over the past five years.
The full list is:
Wellington Street, Launceston
Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay
Macquarie Street, Hobart
Davey Street, Hobart
Brooker Highway, Hobart
Argyle Street, Hobart
Channel Highway, Kingston
Murray Street, Hobart
Hobart Road, Kings Meadows
York Street, Launceston
However, Department of Growth data shows that serious injuries and deaths on Tasmanian roads declined in the year to 1 May, with eight deaths (down from 11 last year) and 113 serious injury crashes (down from 124).
RACT advocacy and government relations general manager Mel Percival told the Mercury:
“The RACT was very pleased to see that our campaiBush dance to see in wintergn advocating for better, consistent, and transparent data with other automobile clubs and other key groups (such as the AMA) has been successful, with the federal government’s commitment requesting all states and territories share data on accidents.
“Sharing and increasing our understanding of data will allow us to pinpoint road safety issues and their root causes, measure the impact of policy changes and replicate successful interventions. It will also guide prioritisation of infrastructure funding.”
The Classifieds


JackJumpers to call Kingston home
The Tasmania JackJumpers’ new high-performance centre will now be located in the Kingborough Sports Centre precinct at Kingston.
The Tasmania JackJumpers have welcomed the Tasmanian government’s positive response to the club’s change in preferred location of their high-performance centre.
The proposal also has the full support of Kingborough Council, and the club has thanked mayor Paula Wriedt and her team for their efforts.
Jackjumpers CEO Christine Finnegan said: “Many players, coaches and staff already live in the Kingborough municipality, and we look forward to further embedding ourselves into the community, and having a purpose-built facility for our program, and to share with the people of Kingborough
and beyond. 
“We now look forward to working closely with the government and Kingborough Council to assess the feasibility of the two sites adjacent to Kingborough Sports Centre and finalise the most suitable location for construction as soon
as possible.”
Kingborough mayor Paula Wriedt said: “This is exciting news for Kingborough. We will now continue to work with the JackJumpers on the final location within the Kingborough Sports
Centre precinct.
“When not in use by the team, the two extra basketball courts will be available for community use. There are great synergies with the location of this higBush dance to see in winterh-performance centre to be located near Kingston High School, which specialises in athlete development in their year 11 and 12 subjects.
“Many of the members of the JackJumpers are already living in Kingborough, have children in schools here and love the lifestyle we offer. We’re excited to be hosting the reigning NBL champions with their permanent
training facilities.”
The Classifieds


Marine rescue receives funding boost
Volunteer Marine Rescue Kingborough is among the seven Tasmanian marine rescue units to receive a share in $1 million in funding.
Acting minister for sport and events Nick Duigan said:  “Units can use these grants, totalling about $143,000, on marine rescue vehicles, trailers and vessels to ensure that when they get called to assist in an emergency, they can implement their local knowledge at a moment’s notice.”
Liberal Member for Franklin, Jacquie Petrusma, said: “This is about preserving a Tasmanian way of life, particularly here in Kingborough, as people dive for crays and abalone or take a day out on the water.
“Trouble on the water can happen in a split second – and by providing this funding we are ensuring Tasmanians can be confident that, should they run into trouble, help is on the way.
“We have 5,000km of coastline here in Tassie, which we take full advantage of – the approximately 62,000 licensed recreational boat users across the state are testament to that,” Minister
Duigan said.
“This means each of Tasmania’s seven marine rescue units has a big job and plenty of water
to cover.”
Acting minister for sport and events media release

Kingston black spot to get traffic lights
Traffic lights will be installed at the intersection of Church Street and Beach Road, thanks to funding from the Black Spot Program.
There have been a number of serious incidents at this increasingly busy location where members of the community have been put at risk.
The project was recommended by the Black Spot consultative panel in Tasmania, which comprises local stakeholders and ensures projects meet the needs of local drivers.
“I’m pleased to welcome the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Beach Road and Church Street in Kingston,” said Kingborough mayor Paula Wriedt.
“This intersection is very busy, with 19 accidents reported over the last five years.
 “Along with the council’s $250,000, the federal government will invest $500,000 from the Black Spot Program to install the lights.”
Federal member for Franklin, Julie Collins MP, said: “I welcome the road safety upgrades that will be happening across the electorate of Franklin – including more than $500,000 to improve traffic flow in Kingborough, $210,000 to construct a channelised right-turn lane at Acton Park, and $250,000 to install a safety barrier in Cygnet.”
To make a nomination, or for more information on the Black Spot Program, visit investment.infrastructure.gov.au/about/local-initiatives/black-spot-program.
Julie Collins/Carol Brown/Paula Wriedt media release

Local young achievers shine
Ella Smalley of Blackmans Bay has been named the Tasmanian Young Achiever of the Year, while Taroona youngster Felicity Wilson-Haffenden took out the Sports Award.
Ella won the award from a strong field of young achievers. The winners were announced on Saturday 11 May at Crowne Plaza Hobart, with 300 guests gathered from across the state.
Ella is a final year PhD student at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research. Despite her battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma during her studies, she joined the Youth Cancer Action Board, advocating for improved cancer care for adolescents and young adults.
Through Ella’s leadership, initiatives such as subsidised fertility preservation and advancements in mental health care have helped cancer patients nationwide. Ella’s unwavering commitment and achievements highlight her profound influence on enhancing healthcare outcomes for vulnerable populations, inspiring resilience in the face of adversity.
Another Kingborough local, Felicity Wilson-Haffenden, won the Sports Award.
The 18-year-old from Taroona was the junior time trial world champion and clinched three national and Oceania titles in 2023.
Despite her accolades, Felicity remains committed to nurturing young athletes in Tasmania, serving as a role model and mentor.
Preparing to embark on her professional cycling journey in Europe in 2024, Felicity’s impact on the sport and her support for youth development underscore her significance in the Tasmanian sporting landscape.
Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards

Boost to banking in Kingston
Regional banking in Kingston has received a boost, with Westpac announcing it is extending its moratorium on regional branch closures until at least 2027, following advocacy from premier Jeremy Rockliff and the community. 
The premier raised concerns to the Senate Inquiry into Regional Banking about banks closing branches in regional towns across the state, and the disproportionate impact it was having on Tasmanian communities.
“I will always fight for what’s best for Tasmanians, especially those living in regional towns like Kingston,” Premier Rockliff said.
“Banks are essential parts of our communities, and that’s why our government has strongly advocated to retain services in Tasmania.
“It is pleasing to see Westpac remain committed to regional Tasmania and the Kingston branch.”
Premier of Tasmania media release

Showcasing Algona Reserve
Did you know Algona Reserve in Kingston has had a local Landcare group since 2022?
Kingborough Council will be holding a pop-up event to share this lovely bushland area with
the community.
The local Landcare group will lead a walk along their new nature trail, and we will be chatting about cats, wildlife, native gardening and much more, including free hot drinks and nibbles.
If you’re interested in joining
a local Landcare group or keen to have a chat, drop in and say hi between 10am to 12pm on 18 May.
In the short time since they formed, Algona Landcare Group has started building a new nature trail through the reserve, located additional threatened plants, made 250 new plantings, and taken
a tonne of weeds and rubbish out the reserve.
Algona Reserve has some incredible wildlife, and the group are passionate about improving the habitat for these animals.
One of the council’s largest bushland areas, Algona Reserve encompasses 15 hectares of bushland nestled between the Peter Murrell Conservation Area and Hawthorn Drive Reserve. Serving as a communal stepping stone in this natural landscape, the reserve plays a crucial role in connecting fragmented communities of Eucalyptus amygdalina (black peppermint) forest and woodland on sandstone.
From the showy Bossiaea and parrot pea to the rosy Baeckea and prickly guinea-flower, Algona Reserve is home to a diverse array of flora, including the vibrant triggerplant and short purple flag iris. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the reserve’s vibrant plant life and appreciate the crucial role it plays in preserving Tasmania’s
natural heritage.
Kingborough Council

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