International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

25 November 2021

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I was pleased to table Responding and Reporting 2021, the Annual Report for Safe Homes, Families Communities: Tasmania’s action plan for family and sexual violence 2019-2022, which highlights our key achievements for 2020-21.

Eliminating family and sexual violence is a top priority for our Government and we are strongly committed to preventing and responding to violence in Tasmania.

The Annual Report highlights the positive outcomes of the Government’s second Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan, which is making a real difference in the lives of Tasmanians including:

  • The implementation of the Our Watch Workplace Equality and Respect Standards across all Government departments, which sets goals in our workplaces to address gender inequality and to prevent violence against women;
  • The publication of new resources on the Safe from Violence website, including a non-physical violence campaign, fact sheets and audio recordings in 10 community languages;
  • The delivery of a new statewide program providing early intervention therapeutic services for children and young people exhibiting harmful sexual behaviours;
  • The development and delivery of training initiatives, including the Family Violence: Assessing Risk to Safety training package for the Child Safety Service and the Family and Sexual Violence and Emergency Events training module; and
  • Our commitment of $2.4 million to continue Project Vigilance which is our highly successful national award-winning trial of electronic monitoring of high-risk family violence perpetrators in Tasmania, so as to reduce the incidence and impact of family violence in the State.

This Government has a strong track record of implementing initiatives to address the problem of family and sexual violence. Since 2015 when we launched our first Family Violence Action Plan, the Tasmanian Liberal Government has invested an additional $61.3 million in specific family and sexual violence responses, including the delivery of the 40 actions under our second Action Plan, Safe Homes, Families, Communities.

This investment is in addition to the $19 million in direct and $59 million in indirect funding invested annually in government services that prevent and respond to family and sexual violence.

There is always more work to be done, and we have begun the process of developing our third Action Plan to prevent and respond to family and sexual violence in our community.

This new Plan will build on our successes, and further refine and target our efforts, towards the goal that every Tasmanian is able to live free from violence.

Formal consultation on the new Plan will commence early next year with key stakeholders and victim-survivors  involved in that process, including our 2021 Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, who is a victim-survivor herself. Tasmania’s third Plan will be finalised by July 2022. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge victim-survivors for their courage, and to thank both non-government and government services, and their dedicated workforce, who work every day to prevent and respond to family and sexual violence and to hold perpetrators to account.

Project Vigilance recognised nationally

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence

Project Vigilance recognised nationally

23 November 2021

Tasmania Police’s Project Vigilance has received a Silver Award in the police-led category of the 2021 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

The awards recognise best practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia, and play a vital role in highlighting effective community-based initiatives.

Project Vigilance was a highly successful trial of electronic monitoring of high-risk family violence perpetrators in Tasmania, in a bid to reduce the incidence and impact of family violence in the State.

The joint trial between Tasmania Police and the Department of Justice demonstrated:

o    76% decrease of high-risk incidents;
o    75% reduction of assaults;
o    81% reduction of threats;
o    74% reduction in property damage;
o    100% decrease in reports of stalking; and
o    80% of offenders did not re-offend in 6 months following the removal of the electronic monitoring device.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has committed $2.4 million to continue and expand the scope of electronic monitoring of family violence offenders.

The success of Project Vigilance is a clear demonstration of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s strong commitment to keeping Tasmanians safe.

Taroona Fire Brigade celebrates 75 years

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Taroona Fire Brigade celebrates 75 years

20 November 2021

The Taroona Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrates its 75th anniversary today, recognising the inspiring contribution and commitment that each and every volunteer has made, and continues to make for our community.

Founded by Marc Ashton and his band of Taroona brothers in 1946 as an unofficial local brigade, in 1951 the group was officially registered as the Taroona Rural Fire Brigade.

Over the years, the Brigade has been involved in some significant fires in Tasmania, including the 1967 fires, the Taroona Bowls Club, Pre-School, and High School; Dunalley in 2013 and in the North West in 2016 where members assisted for 29 consecutive days.

Taroona volunteers have also assisted in interstate deployments in NSW and QLD in 2018 and 2019 – a truly amazing effort, and a testament to the critical role our volunteers play in keeping our communities safe.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is a strong supporter of our volunteer firefighters. In 2018 we established a $2 million Fire and Emergency Service Volunteer Grants Program for TFS brigades and SES units to fund equipment, improve station amenities and undertake non-core brigade management and training. A further $2 million has been committed to extending this funding to 2025-26.

This funding enables our volunteers to act in a variety of roles for TFS, from frontline firefighters responding to emergencies, to offering support behind the scenes by keeping the stations running.

On behalf of the Tasmanian Government, congratulations to all past and present volunteers of the Taroona Fire Brigade on reaching this important milestone in your Brigade’s history, and thank you for what you do to protect the Taroona community each and every day.

PWS celebrates 50 years

Minister for Parks

PWS celebrates 50 years

19 November 2021

It was my absolute pleasure today to attend the Statewide celebrations to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS).

From humble beginnings in November 1971, the Service has now grown from 59 employees to over 450 employees who are dedicated and committed to delivering a world-class parks service, while preserving and protecting our world-renowned reserve system and our beautiful and glorious natural and cultural values.

50 years on, our dedicated staff and volunteers care for more than 51 per cent of our beautiful island state, including National parks, reserves, marine seascapes, Crown lands and three World Heritage Areas.

The 50th celebrations today were a fantastic occasion for past and present staff and volunteers to get together and celebrate and reflect on the achievements of the Service since these humble beginnings, and to share their thoughts and insights for the next 50 years of the PWS.

It was also an important opportunity to acknowledge and recognise the traditional and original owners and continuing custodians of this land, including reflecting on the return of Aboriginal cultural burning practices in Tasmania’s Parks and reserves, delivered importantly by Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

The achievements of the Service over the last 50 years are a true reflection of the continuing camaraderie and outstanding teamwork of our staff and volunteers.

I’m incredibly proud of what the Service has achieved over the last 50 years, and on behalf of the Tasmanian Government, I thank and congratulate our Parks staff and volunteers who play a vital role each and every day in helping visitors to our Parks recognise, value and enjoy our natural and cultural heritage.

Hobart welcomes the new Police Vessel Dauntless

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Hobart welcomes the new Police Vessel Dauntless

18 November 2021

The brand new police vessel Dauntless was welcomed into Hobart today, and will be used as part of Tasmania Police’s marine and rescue activities across the state.

It comes as part of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s large vessel replacement program, which has seen investments of more than $24 million since 2014.

The PV Dauntless will now undergo testing and officers will undertake training on the 11.9 metre self-righting fibreglass monohull vessel, diesel-powered jet-propelled craft.

Our marine police officers undertake important roles in policing commercial and recreational marine activities.

Thirty-two police are attached to Marine and Rescue Services, and they perform marine enforcement duties on a statewide basis.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to keeping Tasmanians safe and protecting our valuable marine resources by ensuring Tasmania Police has a world class marine fleet.

Montezuma Falls Bridge reopens

Minister for Parks

Montezuma Falls Bridge reopens

16 November 2021

The iconic Montezuma Falls Walking Track Suspension Bridge on the West Coast has reopened to the public and is once again, providing a spectacular view of one of the highest waterfalls in Tasmania.

As the suspension bridge crosses just below the falls, it offers a unique perspective of the falls, and was closed to allow for engineering works last year.

The walk to Montezuma Falls is one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks and is one of the most popular tracks on the West Coast attracting over 20,000 walkers each year.

The toilet amenities at the start of the Montezuma Falls walking track remain closed following recent damage to the facilities, with the Parks and Wildlife Services working to re-open them as soon as possible.

In the interim, there are public toilet facilities available at nearby Rosebery.

For more information about Montezuma Falls please visit the Parks and Wildlife Service website: https://parks.tas.gov.au/things-to-do/60-great-short-walks/montezuma-falls

Protecting victims of family violence

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

Protecting victims of family violence

10 November 2021

A report identifying the very successful outcomes of Tasmania’s trial of electronic monitoring of family violence perpetrators, Project Vigilance, has been tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament today.

The Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management (DPFEM) commissioned the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES) to undertake a series of evaluations of the implementation of Project Vigilance.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including that the electronic monitoring of family violence offenders continues and that the program be expanded to include medium risk offenders.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has committed $2.4 million to continue and expand the scope of electronic monitoring of family violence offenders.

This follows a successful joint trial between Tasmania Police and the Department of Justice which demonstrated:

o    76% decrease of high-risk incidents;
o    75% reduction of assaults; 
o    81% reduction of threats; 
o    74% reduction in property damage;
o    100% decrease in reports of stalking; and
o    80% of offenders did not re-offend in 6 months following the removal of the electronic monitoring device.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to eliminating family violence, which is why we have committed $2.4 million to maintain electronic monitoring of high risk family violence offenders.

Tasmania prepared for upcoming bushfire season

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Tasmania prepared for upcoming bushfire season

9 November 2021

This Tasmanian Liberal Government understands the importance of keeping our communities safe from the threat of bushfires, which is why we are investing $111.5 million in bushfire prevention over the Budget and forward estimates.

While the current overall assessment for the 21/22 Bushfire Season is for a normal fire potential, we know we cannot be complacent about the dangers of bushfire.

I’m pleased to advise that preparations for the upcoming bushfire season are well advanced, with more than 150 people taking part in a multi-agency pre-season briefing in Launceston today.

A total of 139 community bushfire protection plans and response plans have been developed, and 18 mitigation plans for at-risk communities and specific assets have also been prepared.

This year, a total of 217 fuel reduction burns treating over 32,000 hectares have to date been completed, and our successful “Red Hot Tips” Program has also supported farmers and large landholders to conduct 229 burns covering over 5,300 hectares.

The Tasmania Fire Service now has a total remote area capability of 144 career and volunteer firefighters, who undertook further training in September and October.

There are also 155 Parks and Wildlife firefighting personnel, with the Service also receiving $2.1 million to implement remote area firefighting helicopter winch capability, enabling the deployment of specialist firefighters quickly.

The Tasmania Fire Service has a Lightning Strike Strategy in place, and works closely with Parks and Wildlife Services and Sustainable Timber Tasmania, to detect and respond to fires caused by lightning strikes with the assistance of spotter flights and pre-positioned aircraft.

I am also pleased to advise that the Tasmania Fire Service has secured exclusive access to 11 aircraft for this Bushfire Season, including 7 helicopters and 4 fixed wing bombers prepositioned strategically throughout the state.

In addition to this, we also have access to 5 local helicopter providers, as well as Large Area Tankers if required.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is taking action to keep Tasmanians safe, and we will continue to invest to ensure bushfire safety and prevention.

I would like to thank all of our hardworking firefighters and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to ensure the safety of Tasmanians and to ensure we are well equipped to respond to situations that may arise this upcoming bushfire season. 

Additional trained drone operators help keep Tasmania safe

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Additional trained drone operators help keep Tasmania safe

1 November 2021

I am pleased to announce that an additional eight police officers are now trained and certified with CASA to fly remotely piloted aircraft systems (drones) as part of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s plan to keep Tasmanians safe.

The new pilots will be based across the state with 1 at Burnie, 1 at Devonport, 2 in Launceston, 1 at Marine and Rescue Services, 1 at Sorell and 2 in the greater Hobart area.

The additional eight members brings the total crew to 29 remote pilots (26 police officers and 3 State Service employees).

Tasmania Police has been using drones since mid-July 2019 and has carried out more than 680 aerial support operations state-wide using this technology.

There have been a number of successes across Tasmania where offenders in stolen and evading vehicles have been apprehended with drone support, and a number of stolen vehicles have been located in bushland by using drones.

There is increasing operational demand for drones which have become a valuable and vital resource in our fight against crime, searching for missing people and helping make our community safe.

Crash Investigators are also utilising data from drones in the reconstruction of crash scenes and calculating vehicle speeds.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has invested $400,000 since 2018 to Tasmania Police for the purpose of enabling drone technology to be used to assist our police officers in their operational activities.

With the addition of 308 police officers and the significant investment in policing capability, our Government is pleased that Tasmania Police is able to use technology and to train staff in techniques that have a real impact in keeping Tasmanians safe.

Remote area firefighters prepared and ready for summer

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Remote area firefighters prepared and ready for summer

30 October 2021

Tasmania’s team of remote area firefighters are continuing to prepare for the upcoming Bushfire Season, with a preparedness day taking place in Campbell Town today.

The preparedness day brings together the remote area firefighting volunteers from across the three regions of the state for the first time, and involves team building and skills maintenance.

These firefighters are equipped with the skills to work in Tasmania’s remote wilderness areas, to protect our iconic natural assets and to stop bushfires before they impact our cities, towns and critical infrastructure.

The specialist team has been bolstered ahead of the upcoming season, and we now have more than 140 Remote Area Firefighters ready to fight fires in our remote and isolated areas.

The Government introduced the Volunteer Remote Area Firefighting Program in 2018, and has provided $2.3 million to support the TFS with management, training and equipment to develop its volunteer and career remote firefighting capability.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is taking action to keep Tasmanians safe, and we will continue to invest to ensure bushfire safety and prevention.