Tonight I am going to talk about two different events I have recently attended. The first is the Kingston Beach Surf Life Saving Club dinner. As an island state, Tasmania has an abundance of beaches enjoyed by locals and visitors. Many people do not know that Tasmania has more coastline than New South Wales or Victoria. The men, women, boys and girls of the surf lifesaving clubs around Tasmania work very hard to make our beaches safe and to protect and rescue swimmers.
Recently, I attended the annual dinner and awards night of the Kingston Beach Surf Live Saving Club. Kingston Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Tasmania, located just a few minutes south of Hobart. It is the area where I live, so I know how beautiful it is. Consequently, Kingston Beach Surf Life Saving Club is one of the largest and most active clubs in Tasmania, and it is run on volunteer labour. I have spoken previously in this place about the importance to Australian society of volunteering. It cannot be underestimated. Members of the club contributed in excess of 2,300 hours of volunteer patrol and water safety duties. The patrolling members have contributed significantly to keeping Kingston Beach safe and have assisted many organisations to undertake their water based activities safely. In addition many, many hours have been volunteered to training, education and organizing the club. As a result, members have responded in the last year to 29 first aid incidents. They have undertaken 151 preventative actions and 23 rescues. As a consequence, beach visitor numbers grew 30 per cent—from 29,000 to a record 38,000. Around 10,000 of these visitors attended the beach on 26 January for Tasmania’s largest Australia Day event, A Day on the Beach. As patron of this event, I would like to thank the Kingston Beach Surf Life Saving Club for the absolutely amazing support they provide to the day.
Member training has been significant during the past 12 months. It allows the club’s volunteers to be able to manage a variety of situations successfully. The trainers and assessors have contributed significant hours to ensure the ongoing development of the club’s member base. Many members of this club have contributed to it for a number of years—even decades, in some cases.
At the annual dinner, a number of these volunteers were recognised for their contribution. Fletcher Cheviot, Ben Dadswell, Kelly Dyer, Bridget Fasnacht, Nathan Gadsby and Scott Ragg were all recognised for five years service. Sandra Gadsby and Marg Little were both recognised for 10 years service to the club. I would just like to make a special mention of Kelly McInnes and Paul Munday, who were recognised for an incredible 15 years service. Kelly commenced her lifesaving involvement in 1996 at Kingston Beach as a nipper, gaining her surf rescue certificate in 1999 and bronze medallion in 2001. Kelly has been an active competitor and patrolling member at both Clifton Beach and Kingston Beach. She has served as a committee member, training officer, first aid officer and patrol captain. She has attended several national development camps and provides mentoring and leadership to our youth.
Paul gained his surf rescue certificate in 1998 and bronze medallion in 2000. He has actively patrolled at both Clifton Beach and Kingston Beach, gaining numerous awards along the way. He has been actively involved in coaching, training and assessing, and officiating, having gained level 2 official accreditation last year. He has also actively been involved in committees in various roles, including lifesaving and junior activities coaching, and he is currently the founding president at Kingston Beach. Paul has also been recognised at a state level as volunteer of the year and surf lifesaver of the year.
Philippa Lohrey also needs to be congratulated on winning the club’s highest honour, the president’s award. She has contributed significantly to the success of the Kingston Beach Surf Life Saving Club as a lifesaving officer; vice president; committee member, patrol captain and mentor. Philippa is active within the lifesaving movement and has been part of the development team associated with the lifesaving camps held this past season. In addition, the club’s sponsors and supporters have enabled the club to make numerous improvements over the last year. These include: securing new equipment for front-line services; running education programs; and developing community events, in particular the Ocean Swims. The sport of surf lifesaving is an important part of the club’s activities. The club has participated in the state lifesaving championships in Burnie, with a number of outstanding performances being achieved by club members. In addition, members of the club also performed well at a number of national competitions and I would like to congratulate them all on their successes.
The club’s future is bright with the preparation of a development application for a combined facility, including restaurant and clubhouses on the existing—rather ugly, I might say—toilet block site on Osborne Esplanade. The club is working closely with council and the consortium to ensure that a good outcome is achieved for members, for the general public and for the club’s activities. I am excited to see how the development progresses and to see the potential of the new facilities realised to improve the club’s activities and the experience of beach goers. I wish the club every success into their future. I also wish to thank everyone involved for their selfless volunteering to such an important organisation.
The other issue I wish to speak to tonight is in regard to the Sense-T project. Sense-T was established through a partnership between the University of Tasmania, the CSIRO and the Tasmanian government. It collects data from a range of public and private sources, particularly from sensors, and then analyses the data to support better decision making and solve practical industry problems. Sense-T was established in mid-2012 with funding of $3.6 million from the Tasmanian Labor government. That funding was provided to support economic growth in regions affected by the forestry downturn. It later received another $13 million funding from the Australian government, through Labor’s jobs and growth plan.
Senator Carol Brown—one of my Tasmanian colleagues—and I met with representatives of Sense-T last week to get a briefing on their progress. Partnering with industry, Sense-T have completed four exciting stage 1 projects, including a pasture growth prediction tool, a water use management tool for irrigators, monitoring environmental conditions in shellfish farms and a tool to help vineyards avoid disease. Among the 14 stage 2 projects that Sense-T is embarking on is a project to track tourists and receive feedback about their visitor experiences.
Sense-T has also established Sense-Co, a company that will commercialise Sense-T’s projects. The profits generated by Sense-Co will go back into Sense-T to fund research and development, with the aim of eventually making the enterprise self-sustaining. The work that Sense-T is doing is world leading and is contributing enormously to productivity and economic growth within Tasmania. There is a lot more to say about Sense-T and their exciting work, but I understand that Senator Brown intends to cover this in more detail in an adjournment contribution later on. However, it demonstrates the decision making and economic power that can be harnessed by sensors.
This leads me to an important point about an observation made by the consulting firm, Gartner. In 2014, 3.9 billion devices were connected to the internet worldwide. This increased to 4.9 billion in 2015—a 30 percent increase. Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be 25 billion devices connected worldwide. While connected devices typically include desktop computers and smart phones, increasingly other devices are being connected such as televisions, cars and even refrigerators. We know this is going to add exponentially to our household and business data needs, and increasing data means an increasing need for internet speed.
As a member of the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network, I have commented on the need for broadband speed before. We have heard the most incredible statements from the Minister for Communications that 15 megabits per second would be sufficient for the average household in 2023—never mind that almost a third of NBN users are already selecting plans with 50 megabits per second or more. Only last month, we learnt in budget estimates that, despite almost two years in government, there is not a single commercially available connection—home or business—to the government’s second-rate fibre-to-the-node NBN.
This government promised 25 megabits per second to every home and business by the end of next year. Fibre to the node was meant to speed up the rollout and yet it is still stuck in the ‘planning and development’ stage. As each day passes, we hear more and more evidence that broadband consumers’ needs for bandwidth are growing. As each day passes, we hear more and more evidence that the government’s abandonment of fibre to the premises has actually slowed—not sped up—the NBN rollout. When Labor started building the NBN we were working on a network that would last us a century, not just a decade. Under this government, we are getting a network that will barely see us through the next few years, and our economy will suffer as a result.