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Cabinet travelled to Bothwell on Sunday 23 August for their 12th Regional Community Forum.

At the forum Premier David Bartlett spoke about the Government’s commitment to supporting regional communities through tough economic times by investing in local job creating projects. It is through forums like these and meetings with councils that such projects are being identified as priorities. 

Irrigation was high on the agenda for Central Highlands residents. The Government’s response to that was the more irrigation water we can bring to this area, the more fine produce we can generate – and the more jobs we’ll create in the process.

In this area - the Ouse/Shannon/Clyde irrigation scheme is a $15.5 million scheme which will bring 7000ML of water to an irrigable area of about 9000ha. The Government will be working with farmers regarding the take-up of water entitlements, with a view to having construction start in April next year and water flowing by December.

The Premier also spoke about the Government’s plans to build a strong Tasmania and the role the National Broadband Network will play in improving people’s quality of life, particularly in regional areas. In e-health it will mean rather than taking your elderly mum to Hobart every week for a check-up to monitor her vitals it can be done from her armchair at home close to family and friends.

The Premier also encouraged local organisations to take advantage of the Government’s new Cars for Communities program, helping to make Tasmanians more connected with friends and local services.

 The Government has established a $1.5 million Community Transport Trust which will provide a car or mini-bus free of charge to any community-based group that meets the criteria and can cover ongoing vehicle costs.

Prior to the forum, Health Minister Lara Giddings launched two exciting initiatives to boost health and aged care in the Central Highlands. This included a visit to Ouse for a demonstration of new health technology being trialled in the area to overcome distance and isolation and turned the first sod on a $1.2 million project to build four new accessible units for the frail and aged in the Central Highlands

On Monday 24 August Cabinet met with the Central Highlands Council and participated in community and business visits in the surrounding area.