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Journeys : Apr May 2013
Street-smart We asked: Motorists pay 38.2 cents of fuel excise (tax) to the Federal Government in every litre of fuel we buy. This will raise about $15 billion revenue this year. How much do you think is returned in road and rail investment? It is actually $5.7 billion or about a third. Does this surprise you? How much do you think should be reinvested? Photos an d interviews Margie Law Alice Hansen is a Tasmanian freelance writer who has published several books and has worked in the tourism industry for four years. Her children’s book A Devilish Tale has raised more than $5000 for the Tassie Devil Appeal. She has travelled extensively throughout the state on writing projects, as well as on many personal adventures since childhood. Opinion It seemed like the perfect scenic flight – the mountains of Queenstown rising sharply against a rich blue sky and sparkling Lake Wakatipu sprawling out beneath us. Then two bodies disappeared out the side of the aircraft. In the face of all New Zealand ’s rambling beauty I had almost forgotten I was strapped to a skydiving instr uctor, bound for the same fate. I had even been upsold to leaping at 12,000 feet so as to get more time enjoying that petrifyingly joyous free-fall business. What an exhilarating rush it was! I’d happily nodded when my Spanish instructor suggested we do some somersaults, but to be honest the blur of sky, earth and panic left me largely absent until the parachute opened above us. From that moment, w ith my high-pitched squeals left many feet above, the calm and silence was beautiful. The landscape appeared fairy-tale like, so incredibly good-looking from our suspended height that it could be mistaken for a dream. Yet, the funny thing is, I never intended to jump from a plane. Nor did I intend to jet-boat towards a rock face at high speed, toboggan down a hill, nor giggle uncontrollably through helicopter headphones. But New Zealand had other plans for me. If we can learn from any country how to market adventure tourism, these folk across the pond are world leaders. With varied experiences ser ved on an adventurous platter, breathtaking landscapes, fantastic price-points, and enthusiastic locals, it’s impossible to say, ‘no thanks.’ No sooner had we rolled into Queenstown when the plethora of activities were upon us. By no means in a pushy way, we suddenly had tickets to adventures we’d talk about for years to come. Was it the contagiously cheery air of the town? The feeling that with each breath, you were inhaling a sense of impending fun? Was it the natural beauty or the countless options to engage with it? Whatever it was, New Zealand had us ticking off just about every experience on the tourism menu. It became clear that New Zealand is a place geared to ‘doing.’ When you’re on their turf, you’re going to do something special with your day, something new, something amazing. And hell, if you’re going to leap from a plane, why not do it in one of the most spectacular cor ners of the globe? Which brings me to the point of this little tale. What does New Zealand have that Tasmania doesn’t? Our cousins across the Not much, maybe 10 per cent. A third does surprise me as I thought the government took more. I reckon three quarters should be spent on roads and rail and the rest on housing and health. Kerr y Burke, Glenorchy I would hope that $10 billion would be spent on roads and rail because roads in Tasmania do need an upgrade and the money the government gets from tax on petrol would be a great investment for us. But I’m not surprised it is less. Travis Mifsud, South Arm I don’t know what costs are involved in infrastructure and there’s always administration costs for everything but I would think a large proportion should go into roads and rail. Belinda Barnes, Kingston It should be a lot more than a third. A lot of roads are really bad. Five billion doesn’t sound like enough. Dylan Moore, South Hobart Probably not much. I don’t think a third is enough. Some of the roads up towards L aunceston are like patchwork quilts. They reckon they want to put in a four-lane highway from Hobart to Devonport but you don’t see them doing it until the next election time. Michael, North Hobart Probably not very much is spent on roads. Most of it should go back in because it is a fuel tax which should translate into better roads. It should go back into the purpose for which it was created. Russell Fenton, Risdon Vale 12 April / May 2013 In our community
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Jun Jul 2013