Presidents Report October 2017


I would like to thank our committee members for their work and support this last year and to our administration officer, Karlette Perry for the great work she does behind the scenes.

Probably the biggest change this year and has been somewhat confusing for the membership is the change from the Circular Head Business Group to the Smithton Retail Group. Business owners have a choice of belonging to either the Progress Group or the new Smithton Retail Group depending on where your interest lies. The Progress Group is interested in the growth and economic development of the broader Circular Head community whereas the Retail Group is purely about retail.

Our work with trying to expand the pasture base for both dairy and beef in Circular Head is ongoing. We travelled down to Hobart and met with Forestry Tasmania CEO and an advisor from Victoria and pointed out underperforming native  forestry blocks in Circular Head that adjoined existing privately owned beef or dairy operations and put our case that it would be for the greater good of our local community as well as the state’s for these to be leased out on a long term basis to the neighbours. Under the Permanent Forest Estate however the Government says that is not allowed to clear native forest and convert it to pasture, no matter how poor and unproductive this native forest is, but there is no problem converting plantation to pasture. Discussion then centred on the fact that the state owns approx 50,000 ha of plantation and that 30,000 ha of this was to come on the market but only as leasehold. We had no problem with that in fact it we had suggested long term leasing a long time ago as a means of getting around the problems associated with selling state owned land.             They said that they had invited interested private forestry companies to tender for this 30,000 ha. The question was asked whether neighbouring pasture based enterprises would be invited to participate in the tender process or in fact any farmer who might be interested in clearing the trees and  sowing back down into pasture for beef or dairy. The reply was that they had not thought of this. Because this land is in plantation it was assumed that it would stay in plantation. It is frustrating that no one in government seems to be looking at the bigger picture and looking at the highest end use for this land. I’m sure that Greenhams, J.B. Swift or Dairytas would have liked to see an extra 50,000 to 75,000 more beef or dairy cows in their production cycle, year in , year out for the next 99 years which is the length of  the lease.  Sadly a missed opportunity.

 We met with Guy Barnett and Joan Rylah and showed them a large grazing block in Togari  that had been cleared, drained and converted to pasture and will eventually be the site of two 400 cow dairy farms. We brought along the farmer who is doing this to meet the Forestry Minister and our member for Braddon. An adjacent block had just recently been harvested by the then Forestry Tasmania,  it was mostly tea tree with some gum scattered about, the economics of such a harvest would be questionable. This block we pointed out will return nothing to the State for another 60-80 years and yet the same land if leased to an interested dairy farmer  for drainage and conversion would return around $100,000 a year in rental to the government and approx. put $2,500,000 each year into the local economy. They asked the farmer what his land had looked like beforehand and he replied “exactly the same as this”.


We made the argument that once cleared and drained what if 10% of this area was then set aside as pruned hardwood plantation to give a good future feedstock for local sawmillers. It  would most likely provide more timber than being left to natural regeneration, in a much shorter timeframe and providing either beef or dairy with the ensuing employment and millions of dollars circulating throughout the community. It would seem like a win/win situation but the Permanent Forest Estate Policy prevents the conversion of native forest. However if it can be shown to be of substantial public or private benefit the Minister can provide an exemption. This is an area that has yet to be tested.

As a member of the Pro Dairy group originally formed to investigate the shortfall in available dairy farm managers and related staff,  we came to the conclusion that we need to change perceptions about agriculture and the career paths that are available for young people.

At Timboon in Western Victoria a programme has already been rolled out where agriculture has been imbedded in the school’s curriculum and retention rates, attendance and general pupil engagement has been a real positive outcome. To facilitate a similar programme in Circular Head we brought over Timboon Agriculture Project co-ordinator, Andrea Vallance, a qualified teacher and a dairy farmer. She met with 30 school teachers and outlined the programme to them and how it would work. From that evening we realised that many of the teachers had little or no agricultural background and so now we are about to take them out onto farms and factories so they can see for themselves and also become familiar with agricultural terminology. I would encourage everyone to watch this Landline video :   and I’m sure many of you will have a light bulb moment and think why has this not been done before. This great teaching aid has been right in our community all along but because curriculums come from Canberra it has been , until now, sadly overlooked.

I also represent the business community on the Circular Head Education and Training Consultative Committee (CHETCC) where we are trying to bring about educational outcomes relevant to local employer needs whilst still meeting the aspirations of the student. I played the above Landline clip to the mainly academic committee and they could see the value in this as a way of engaging students in a practical, hands on way.

I also chair the Destination Action Plan for Circular Head, a group set up to improve visitor experiences through selecting priority activities that will make a difference in our area. This initiative from the Premier as Minister for Tourism, is being spread out across the state and it is up to each region to identify and prioritise the actions needed to enhance the destinations and experiences for our visitors. This group is made up of representatives from Council, Circular Head Tourism Assoc. Stanley Chamber of Commerce, Parks, Cradle Coast Authority, Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation, the Circular Head Business Group and myself representing the Circular head Progress Group.

Many will have noticed the fresh new sign welcoming visitors to Smithton with a mention as the Heart of the Tarkine Coast and the flags flying at the Smith St. roundabout. Our launch of the Tarkine Coast occurs this week and a visit to our website  will give more info for those who have been following our progress. This has been 2 years in the making and I hope that producers, tourism ventures and the general community take up this chance to reinvent ourselves as somewhere fresh and exciting to be part of.

John McNab.



Current Projects – President’s News – Presented to CH Business Group on February 13, 2013

Over the last 6 months the Progress Group has been involved in several projects around the region.

On behalf of the Council and funded by the Department of Economic Development the Progress Group has been engaged to oversee the construction of power lines on the Harcus River Rd to facilitate the development of new dairy farms in this area This has been progressing steadily.

We have been active in endeavouring to get the Port of Stanley upgraded so that live cattle can be moved  between King Island and Circular Head. Since the closure of the abattoir on King Island this has become even more important and even though cattle are presently being shipped through the Port of Burnie this is not particularly acceptable from an animal welfare issue as the trip is 5 hours longer than it would be to Stanley. Engagement with Tasports and Minister O’Byrne is ongoing.

We are presently carrying out a land audit for the Circular Head region to map existing land use and land with potential to be used for active pastoral and cropping based agriculture. We feel this is particularly relevant with the new dairy company, T.D.P. and the ongoing increase in throughput at Greenhams .With a large area currently under plantation forestry and markets for the above somewhat precarious there is the potential for this to once again come back into pasture for dairying or beef and areas with this potential need to be mapped.

As President of the Progress Group, I am representing us on the working group currently evaluating the feasibility of a Circular Head Irrigation Scheme .Expressions of interest to date have been very encouraging and it certainly appears to be moving on to the design stage .Tasmanian Irrigation has been able to work in with our Progress Group so that their mapping of areas of interest for the Irrigation Scheme compliment the audit we are having done.

We have also been active in supporting various Circular Head businesses in their pursuit of  funding or development approvals where support from a community group is advantageous.

It is only because of the work undertaken by the Business Group that has given us the time to concentrate on these broader scale projects and it is great that we can both work together for the betterment of the people of Circular head.

John McNab

PRESIDENTS   REPORT  –  7th August 2013

Twelve months ago we scaled down the size of our committee from 15 to a total of 7 in the hope of having a more focused executive and I feel this has been a success.  At the same time the retail section reinvigorated themselves and evolved into the Business Group under the stewardship of Tania, Patsy and Jane. This has given us the time to concentrate on the broader scale projects. With retail taking a hammering over this last 12 months or so, I am convinced it would be in even worse shape if not for the efforts of the Business Group.

We have been fortunate to have Megan Riley come on board as our Administration Officer and hit the deck running, putting together the new Circular Head Business Directory, a tremendous effort Megan.

Paul Arnold provides us with advice and direction and is instrumental in the Progress Groups engagement in the construction of the Harcus River Rd power supply which will be critical in the development of future dairy conversions in that area.

Lobbying Minister O’Byrne and Tasports by our group has helped the new livestock shipping service come to fruition at Stanley.

The Land Use Audit for Circular Head has been completed and some of this work is already being used by Tasmanian Irrigation in identifying likely pipeline locations for the Circular Head Irrigation Scheme. With the new dairy company in Smithton seeking to greatly increase its through put and with Greenhams success with the Cape Grim brand, identifying areas of potential expansion are critical. With the many thousands of hectares of plantation to come on stream in the near future,  there is potential for this once again to come back into pasture  for both the dairy and beef industries.

The Progress Group is represented on the committee for the Circular Head Irrigation Scheme by myself and this is just another area where we are active in building development opportunities for Circular Head.

We have been active in supporting various Circular Head businesses, large and small, in their pursuit of development approvals or funding applications by either direct lobbying of politicians, letters of support or media releases where support from a community group is advantageous. Very recent examples of this was our participation in the Pro Development rally at the rec ground and last weeks meeting with the Environment Minister, Mark Butler giving some community input into the Shree Minerals mine proposal. He gave Councillor Popowski, Paul Arnold and myself a generous hearing and actively sought our views on what this development means to our community.

John McNab. 

Sunday 23rd June 2013 – Unlock Tasmania Rally

Neither my husband or myself were born and bred in Circular Head, it has been our choice to reside here for 40 years 30 of those spent farming in the fertile agricultural lands, and having the choice, and privilege to rear our family in a close and safe community.
We love it and would not change a thing!!
Right now others have had these choices taken away, forced to leave families and friends to pursue work, why. Interest rates are the lowest in 50 years and looks like reaching record lows, however people will not borrow money!!!
Why the lack of confidence???
The balance between conservation and development is completely unbalanced.
Tasmanians know the truth.
Business and industry is on its knees in Circular Head, and beyond, in many sectors, exactly where the minority wants.
We will stand up and expose these lies and be a united majority.
A family recently had 2 daughters leave Tasmania for work opportunities, are homesick and the parents are saying do not come home, no family should need to do this. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment!!
The balance between conservation and business whether it is in mining dairying, forestry or aquaculture has been severely unbalanced resulting in jobs lost.
The past 20 years we have operated a service industry business, the greatest achievement being to give 20 or more apprentices a career for life.
Right now due to a lack of business confidence, in many occupations, apprentices are being made redundant weekly across Tasmania, particularly in the building trade.
We desperately need strong leaders, not bending to these minority groups, who are responsible for the businesses closed, jobs lost and families on their knees financially.
The great news of a new environmentally managed mine announced giving jobs and confidence to communities, both here and more recently on the west coast, was the news we all had hoped for.
This land has been created for us to have as a provision for families both to care for and use, this is nothing new. There was complete and utter disbelief at the court injunction, stopping work as a result of the minority has been breathtaking.
We need this mine started NOW
We need markets for our products NOW
We need business confidence NOW
You need to be confident about your job security NOW
We need majority government NOW
Unelected small minority groups need to be stopped Remove their power.
Why are we in this situation?
Companies follow due process, do background research, sourcing product costing, follow every correct and conceivable channel, get local state and federal government approvals, and agree to extreme environmental demands, at enormous cost.
A local government contractor, gained the contract, enabling many much needed job opportunities for workers. BUT….It is stopped…HOW…
Unelected minority groups spread lies show pictures which have no Truth, why is it they fundraise in Melbourne? Because in Tasmania we KNOW the TRUTH, These individuals are activist. We will be the majority of activity spreading the truth, for the protection of future generations
We have the richest land, rich in resources, ready to be developed; Circular Head has empty houses ready, empty shops ready. We have an election looming both federal and state. Now is the time to say NO to minority Government, who have their own interests and their own job security ahead of what is best for Australians.Now is the time to demand that commonsense prevails, do not give the minority more power, if so a further 4 years will be catastrophic, no matter what political persuasion you are , believe Now is the time to protect your families future, get business and workers Off their knees.
Give confidence.
WE are the beneficiaries!!
Tasmania needs to stand united there is absolutely no room for parochialism. We need to spread the truth through social media.
For Tasmania to prosper we need jobs and stability. Today is the beginning of us, rallying together to say we will only accept majority government, put the minority groups back where they belong.
A BIG positive is that we have both a state and federal government election looming, hold our governments to account. Members of these minority groups are not MHA, MLC or MHR they have not been elected by the people. Our elected members stand accountable every 4 years and rightly so.
Tasmanians population is decreasing at a time when we have the most reason to stay due to our temperate climate, rainfall creating opportunities in every industry, safe environments for families, and close proximity to major cities.How can we avert this?
As an owner of a small business, the most important quality to me in any employee is trust and attitude.
Test your trust in any person, seeking your vote at the state and federal election.
Minority government both federal and State has been a disaster.
Make certain you ask your prospective member to say no to Minority Government, and as we in any business operate are made to do, ensure you have their commitment in writing and witnessed. Hold them to account… we in business are made to do!!!!

That is fair work, commonsense and truth.

Heather Woodward
Circular Head Progress Group

Shipping Study

The CHPG today announces a study into the prospects and options for a new shipping service between Circular Head, King Island and Melbourne.

CHPG believes that the economic connection between King Island and Circular Head and the mutual prosperity of both areas is somewhat unexplored and something which has great potential for both areas. It would be a wise strategic move to have closer economic relations with our mutual strong dependence on agricultural production.

The study will examine the potential cargo between the two areas and new economic links that will enhance each community. The study will also examine the potential for a triangular service between Circular Head, King Island and Melbourne.

We are confident that there is sufficient cargo to justify a twice or 3 times weekly service and possible business linkages will be explored.

Cargo between King Island and Stanley would include a range of produce, such as fertiliser, cattle, meat, milk, calves, hardware, irrigation, farm machinery and motor vehicles, fuel, fodder, vegetables and forest products.

Cargo between Stanley and Melbourne would include fresh vegetables and a range of agricultural related production.

CHPG has engaged a local consultant to pursue options both for shipping and freight services. The study results are expected in August.