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From the Mayor

Welcome to the May edition of Your News, the City of Launceston's monthly newsletter.

The Council released its draft 2021-22 Annual Plan and Budget for public comment on April 22, and I'd like to take this opportunity to remind ratepayers and residents submissions can still be made up until 5pm, Friday, May 7. 

While we've faced many financial challenges over the past year, particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the City of Launceston remains in a strong financial position despite budgeting for an underlying deficit of $7.1 million in 2021-22.

Through careful and prudent planning aligned to our Long-Term Finance Plan, we're confident the Council will return to a full surplus by 2025-26. 

The proposed general rate increase of 3.75 per cent is significantly offset by the rate freeze the previous financial year as part of our $8.7 million Covid-19 Community Care and Recovery package. This freeze resulted in lost revenue in excess of $2.2 million in the 2020-21 financial year.

The Council's proposed expenditure of $130 million in 2021-22 includes nearly $25 million on capital works with $12 million allocated to road and traffic improvements, and significant spending in excess of $24 million on the municipality's recreational facilities.

You'll find more information on the draft Annual Plan and Budget and making a submission in the News section of this edition.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy May as we come together to recognise and celebrate all the wonderful mothers in our community.

- Mayor Albert van Zetten

Major projects update

CEO Michael Stretton

With the prospect of a returned Liberal majority government now looking most likely, the future governance model and redevelopment of University of Tasmania Stadium is one election commitment the City of Launceston will seek to quickly progress.

During the State election campaign, Liberal leader Peter Gutwein pledged to create Stadiums Tasmania within the first six months of forming government.

Stadiums Tasmania will oversee the development and management of our major sporting stadiums across the State, including UTAS Stadium and the Silverdome at Prospect.

Mr Gutwein also pledged to pursue a major $200 million upgrade of UTAS Stadium, including the establishment of rectangular stadium functionality and an indoor basketball/netball centre, as well as promising $65 million to undertake immediate major development works.

For the City of Launceston, this is a significant proposition that goes beyond just sporting infrastructure: the Stadium costs ratepayers in excess of $2.7 million a year to operate. Once a Trust is established, this will no longer be a financial burden on our community and the Council's bottom line.

The opportunity to expand the stadium's seating to 27,000 people as well as the construction of indoor sporting courts is exciting. It's a genuine once-in-a-generation opportunity for Northern Tasmanians and those who love their sport, be it as a spectator or an active participant.

As we've seen in a number of media reports over the past six months, there's a distinct lack of indoor sports facilities in the North. The Elphin Sports Centre, for example, was opened in 1964, while the Silverdome - the last sports facility built in Launceston - opened in 1985.

This proposal will go a long way to at least partially resolving the current shortfall, alongside the new Northern Suburbs Recreation Hub.

CURRENT & UPCOMING WORKS

In this edition:

Council's 2021-22 draft budget released 

The City of Launceston has released its 2021-22 draft budget and annual plan for public comment.

The Council's proposed expenditure of $130 million in the 2021-22 financial year incorporates $25 million for capital works, and includes spending of $24.19 million on the municipality's recreational facilities, $12 million on roads and traffic maintenance and improvements, and $5.9 million on extension capping at the Launceston Waste Centre.

Other capital projects in the proposed budget include $3.2 million for major road restruction, $1 million for urban road resealing, $750,000 for Reimagining the Gorge, $450,000 for footpath resealing and $460,000 for the redevelopment of car parking at Churchill Park.

Additionally, the Council will invest in the ongoing implementation of the My Place My Future plan, programs at the QVMAG, Smart City initiatives, maintaining our contributions to regional partnerships and continued investment in community grants and events sponsorship.

The proposed general rate increase of 3.75 per cent is significantly offset by the rate freeze last financial year as part of the Council's $8.7 million Covid-19 Community Care & Recovery Package.

Waste and recycling charges remain challenging for local governments nationwide, with the City of Launceston budgeting for a 10.4 per cent increase in costs over the coming financial year.

Mayor Albert van Zetten is encouraging all residents and ratepayers to read through the Council's draft budget and annual plan and make a submission by 5pm, Friday, May 7, via email or in writing to the Chief Executive Officer, City of Launceston, PO Box 396 | Launceston, 7250. 

READ DRAFT BUDGET
READ DRAFT ANNUAL PLAN

Download, register and check in from May 1

From May 1, all Tasmanians and visitors to the State are required to use the free Check In TAS smartphone app when visiting a range of businesses, organisations and events.

Download Check in TAS from the iTunes or Google Play store, register your details and use your phone to scan the barcode displayed when entering the business, organisation or event. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can be checked in manually.

Once checked in your details will be stored securely by the Tasmanian Department of Health for 28 days and only accessed in the event contact tracing is required due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community.

WATCH VIDEO BELOW:

MORE INFO

Electric scooters offer transport solution

A zippy new way to get around is on the cards for Tasmania’s two largest cities.

Electric scooter point-to-point hire has been identified as a top personal transport option for safely moving around Hobart and Launceston.

The two councils are about to launch a joint Expressions of Interest process to find a suitable supplier and operator for a 12-month trial of the transport technology, which would operate on an app-based, user-pays basis within defined geographical zones.

City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said e-scooter hire had proven very popular in other Australian capital cities.

“In Brisbane, there are two operators who report around 5000 trips a day combined,” he said.

“There'll need to be some controls around how they're operated and where they can be parked, and these details will be considered as part of the EoI process and tweaked during the trial period."

Pending the outcome of the EoI process, it's proposed the 12-month trial will commence before the end of this year.

PHOTO: City of Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds & City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten test-drive electric scooters.

QVMAG celebrates 130 years

Launceston's Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery celebrated its 130th anniversary on April 29.

The Royal Park building, officially opened to the public in 1891, was designed by a young architect by the name of John Duncan whose design was chosen as part of a competition.

The museum's early collections focused on mineral specimens and natural sciences housed on the ground floor, with art displayed on the upper level. More space was needed so in 1907 the first extension was built to house a zoological gallery.

The museum gained a significant new collection in 1927 with the purchase of the John Watt Beattie collection - a treasure trove of early colonial history and art, including an extensive convict-related collection.

In 1998 work began on a new site at the Launceston railway yards in Inveresk which opened in 2001. Six years later, the decision was made to create a dedicated Art Gallery at the original Royal Park site with the Inveresk site concentrating on Natural Sciences and History.

Today, the iconic Launceston institution calls the two sites home with the Museum at Inveresk and Art Gallery at Royal Park. 

PHOTO: H J King (1911) View of the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery and Technical School, Launceston.

Ideas for new & improved Bike Centre

Northern Tasmanian families are being asked for ideas to make one of Launceston's most popular community facilities even better.

The City of Launceston is currently undertaking a major redevelopment of the Launceston Transport and Road Safety Centre in Lawrence Vale Rd, expected to be completed next year.

The centre first opened to the public in 1980, built inside an old water tank originally known as the Lawrence Vale Reservoir. In the intervening four decades, it's become a staple of children's birthday parties and family events.

"The current stage of works consists of earthworks, while the second stage will see the floor of the reservoir lifted and the height of the walls reduced," City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said.

"The third stage of the project - the fit-out of the facility - is where we're keen to get some community input. While the Centre will remain focused on education around transport and safety, we want to hear any new suggestions and ideas that children and families would like us to consider."

Consultation is open on the Council's online engagement platform Your Voice Your Launceston until Friday, June 4. 

FIND OUT MORE
TAKE THE SURVEY

New MS Community Shop at Kings Meadows

City of Launceston Deputy Mayor Danny Gibson was very impressed with the great variety of quality discount wares on offer at the recent opening of Launceston's first MS Community Shop at 143 Hobart Rd, Kings Meadows.

"There's a higher incidence of Multiple Sclerosis occurring in this State than elsewhere in Australia, so it's crucial we as a community do everything we can to help fund research into this disease, which impacts so many Tasmanians," Councillor Gibson said.

"All proceeds from the new shop go directly to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Tasmania and helping to find a cure."

Sale-quality donations are welcomed by arrangement during business hours - please call the shop directly on 03 6285 2088.

Northern Suburbs immunisation clinic

The City of Launceston now operates a free immunisation clinic for funded vaccines at the Northern Suburbs Community Centre (49 George Town Rd, Newnham) on the second Tuesday of every month from 10am to 10.30am.

Free annual influenza vaccinations are available to pregnant women, adults aged 65 years and over, children aged six months to five, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over, and anyone aged six months and over with a specified medical condition.

To make a booking, please phone the Community Centre on 03 6326 5506.

The Town Hall immunisation clinic operates weekly on Wednesdays from 10am to 11am. Bookings can be made online or by phoning 03 6323 3000.

MORE INFO
BIOOK ONLINE (TOWN HALL)

Event sponsorship applications now open

The City of Launceston's Event Sponsorship Program provides funding support to events that deliver a range of community, social, cultural, tourism and economic benefits to the Launceston community. 

Applications are now open for events to be held between January 1, 2022, and July 31, 2022, in the below categories:

  • Major Event Sponsorship
  • Small Event Sponsorship

Online applications for Round 2 close June 15, 2021.

Click the link below for more information and to apply, or contact our Grants & Sponsorship via email or call 03 6323 3351.

LEARN MORE & APPLY ONLINE

Get free access to BOFA online film festival 

Ever feel like you just need to stop and take a deep breath? The Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival is back for 2021 - and this year's selection of films will take your breath away.

Get ready to be surprised and delighted, to feel love and heartbreak, to be swept up in passion, anger and pure determination. Get ready to take a deep breath.

Register now to get free access to the online festival (May 3 - May 30).

WATCH FOR FREE
ONLINE PROGRAM

For Country, For Nation exhibition now open

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a long standing tradition of fighting for Country, and continue to serve with honour in our military forces. They've worked in ancillary, industry, and other home-front activities, and their communities have been thrust into the frontline of theatres of war. 

Touring exhibition For Country, For Nation highlights these stories and explores themes of remembrance and tradition through family histories, objects, art, and photographs from across Australia. For Country, For Nation is on display at the Queen Victoria Museum, Inveresk, until July 18. 

QVMAG EXHIBITIONS
QVMAG COLLECTIONS
AGFEST 2021 | Paddock May 5 - 8 | Online May 8 - 15  | FIND OUT MORE
MOTHER'S DAY CLASSIC | Inveresk Precinct | May 9 | CLICK TO REGISTER
HAWTHORN V NORTH MELBOURNE | UTAS Stadium | May 15 | MORE INFO
MILLION PAWS WALK | Glebe Farm, Launceston | May 16 | CLICK TO REGISTER
LAUNCESTON COMPETITIONS | May - July | FIND OUT MORE

Top musical theatre festival coming to town

The Australian Musical Theatre Festival presents an unparalleled opportunity for musical theatre lovers and industry professionals to get together, share, nurture and celebrate this wonderful genre.

Held in Launceston from May 19 to May 23, Tasmania, the diverse program includes opportunities to teach, collaborate, engage, perform, learn and – of course – enjoy. 

LEARN MORE

Holiday at home with our winning team

Book top Tassie experiences, entertainment and accommodation through our award-winning team at the Launceston Visitor Information Centre to ensure you get the best deals and discounts available.

Plan and book your entire itinerary using our fantastic website 24/7, or call or drop into our Cameron St centre for expert advice and assistance Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm (03 6323 3085).

CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE

Good gardening: feeding with fertiliser 

 Green thumb tips from City of Launceston horticulturalist extraordinaire Matt Jordan 

This time of year generally sees plants wanting a bit of an extra boost as the natural nutrients in the soil become more depleted. 

It's always best to use organic fertilisers such as manures where possible as these improve nutrient levels and build soil structure for overall plant health. However, it can be difficult to control the amount of immediately available nutrients meaning organic fertilisers aren't always the most efficient way to feed your plants. 

The alternative is a good synthetic fertiliser - the best bet it to use a 'general purpose' fertiliser as the Macro nutrient or NPK ratio is designed to suit most plant species. The key benefit of using a synthetic fertiliser to feed your plants during these colder months is that they're designed to release nutrients slowly through temperature or moisture. 

Regardless of what you use, be cautious of over-feeding plants this time of year with winter approaching as lush green foliage will only worsen the effects of frost burn. 

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News@launceston.tas.gov.au | 03 6323 3000
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The City of Launceston makes every effort to ensure the content of this newsletter is accurate but makes no warranty as to its accuracy and does not assume legal liability for its content. The inclusion of a person, organisation, activity, event, or website link does not imply endorsement by the Council.