Archive for June, 2018

Jun 19 2018

Health, aged care platform

The Palmer United Party’s Philip Girle has health and aged care as the main issues on his agenda for Saturday’s election.
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The Inverell-based telecommunications business owner and first time Inverell Shire councillor is also chairman of McLean Healthcare and says he is focused on creating better residential aged care services.

“Home care packages are great, but it is putting an increased pressure on residential aged care facilities, which means we are getting people at a later stage in life going into the services,” he said.

“They are needing higher levels of care, but there is no more money to operate residental aged care services.”

Mr Girle said the protection of agricultural land is another important issue.

“I’m certainly interested in protecting our agricultural areas from coal seam gas and mining exploration,” he said.

“I’d like to see everyone work in harmony, if coal seam gas can’t go ahead without putting land at risk, I can’t see that it should go ahead at all.”

The Palmer United Party representative only came on board three weeks ago but said he has been strongly campaigning by social media and attending question and answer sessions.

“I’ve hopefully made enough of an impact for people to think of what is best for the electorate and who will represent it most effectively.”

Philip Girle.

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Jun 19 2018

United’s season hopes dashed by penalty

A late South Armidale penalty goal sealed the fate for Gunnedah United in this season’s Northern Inland Premier League (NIPL).
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The 3-2 loss to Armidale in last Saturday’s NIPL semi-final was the final straw in a what has been a troublesome and controversial year of football for the Gunnedah outfit.

Only last week the club welcomed back regular coach Richard Grant who was slapped with a three-week suspension by the league for playing an unregistered player.

The club slumped to a number of heavy losses mid-season and the outlook wasn’t much rosier at the start of last weekend’s match.

A 2-0 scoreline in Armidale’s favour after just 25 minutes of play had Grant thinking he might have been better off staying in bed that morning.

“They got a cracker of a first goal, then another soon after, and I thought here we go again,” Grant mused.

“But to the (United) boys credit, they really stepped it up.”

Sebastian Mohfaud scored one “off a nice little killer ball that split the defence,” Grant said.

The coach was equally impressive by the lead up work from Gunnedah’s Matt Chappell who gifted team-mate Anthony Rowe the side’s second strike on goal.

“It was a bullying run from Matt to set it up; he didn’t back down all game,” Grant said.

By half-time the score was deadlocked 2-2 to leave the result hanging in the balance.

“It was a great comeback and I was thinking ‘we’re right in this’,” he said.

“The players really wanted to play well, not only for themselves but for the club itself.”

The killer blow came when Armidale was awarded a penalty for a United handball inside the box. The ensuing goal seemed to be too great for United to match in the second half.

“We tried everything just to get something over the line,” the coach said.

“With about a minute to go Rob Pryor got one over the keeper and I was waiting for that net to rattle, but it didn’t…. I knew then that was the end of us,” he said.

Grant reflected that despite valiant efforts in the game’s dying stages, it was the opening period of play where the game slipped from their grasp.

“We knew we were playing a side that had always been there abouts at the top of the league and we had to play at our best,” he said.

“But we probably lost it in the first 20 minutes.”

The contributions of seasoned United backs Dale Roberts and Matt Budden were commended, as were Blake Manks, Pryor, and Rowe.

Also in good touch was the tireless Brodie Schumacher.

“He looked dangerous all game and was unlucky not to get a goal,” Grant said.

In the reserve grade semi-final, United fell to North Armidale 4-0.

The coach thought his troops did well considering they were down 3-0 at the break, and only conceded one goal in the second half.

“It could have been uglier,” he said.

No date has been set for United’s end of season presentation but it’s not expected to be held until later next month.

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Jun 19 2018

Truckie fights crash charges

A TRUCK driver accused of losing control of his B-double while under the influence of drugs and killing three members of the same family will fight the charges.
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Vincent Samuel George, 35, has pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Donald and Patricia Logan (pictured), both aged in their 80s, and their son Calyvn Logan, 59.

On Thursday he also entered not guilty pleas to the lesser charges of driving a vehicle involved in a fatal accident while under the influence of the drug methadone which “substantially impaired” his ability to drive.

Mr George was driving a Lennon’s Transport truck laden with bricks on January 24, 2012, when he careered onto the wrong side of the Hume Highway at Menangle in south-west Sydney and flattened the Logans’ car as they were travelling home from a family reunion.

He has been accused of illegally obtaining the methadone and of tampering with the truck’s speed-limiting device, which should have prevented the vehicle from travelling over 100 km/h.

The court was told Mr George’s four-week trial in April will involve a large number of witnesses because it is a “complex matter”.

“It will involve expert evidence from pharmacologists,” Mr George’s solicitor Vanya Hampel said.

Mr George had been out on bail but was taken into custody last year after failing to report to a local police station.

He appeared in court with a shaved head, wearing a green prison tracksuit, and spoke in a soft voice as he entered six pleas of not guilty.

Mr and Mrs Logan’s only surviving child, Gary, attended Parramatta District Court on Thursday but did not want to comment on the case until after the trial.

His parents spent their last day together with extended family in Canberra to meet their newborn great-granddaughter, who had been born premature on Boxing Day.

The fatal accident sparked a widespread crackdown on speed-limiter tampering and rogue truck drivers.

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Jun 19 2018

Hands up for Aussie Hands Foundation

The Aussie Hands Foundation is $700 richer thanks to a week of fund-raising by Winmalee Community Preschool.
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The foundation helps raise awareness about hand differences and the school held an obstathon (an obstacle race raising money for charity) to help their cause.

The school became aware of the charity after Keira Scanlon – who has a rare congenital hand disease leaving her with little or no bone in her left hand – started at the school this year. Children completed a range of obstacles including a beanbag toss, balance board and agility ladder; and also received a visit from former director Winsome Badman (nee Mahoney), 83, on Friday August 30.

Mrs Badman, a well known Mountains marriage celebrant, lost several fingers to frostbite as a child after wandering off in rural Tamworth. She was lost for nine hours before being found by police dogs and spent a year in hospital undergoing blood transfusions and surgeries that saved her arm from amputation. Mrs Badman told the children of her own challenges and successes with “a little hand”.

Keira’s little left hand certainly hasn’t held her back. The five-year-old has learnt to climb trees and monkey bars, count with both fingers, water-ski, even play the piano.

The Gazette first reported on Keira’s story on August 7. At the time her mum, Natalie Scanlon, said if you asked Keira about her hand difference “she is likely to tell you a crocodile ate her fingers”. Preschool director Michele Jennings said it had been a big week for the school which had also celebrated two Father’s Day breakfasts.

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Jun 19 2018

Councillor’s review idea

IF ONE local councillor’s idea takes off, Wollondilly residents may not have to wait four years to express their pleasure or displeasure with the region’s decision makers. Cr Judy Hannan raised the idea of reviews for councillors at last month’s council meeting.
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While the concept hasn’t been formalised — who will conduct it, how it will be conducted — all nine councillors said they would welcome more feedback. But most agree the best review happens every four years at election time.

What do our councillors think?

Judy Hannan: It would be good to look at attendances of council meetings, committee meetings and the way they vote.

Col Mitchell: I have no problems with it … but the big question is who would do it?

Benn Banasik: The community are the best people to do the review and that’s done through the election.

Simon Landow: I’d be for it if it was conducted internally … but not if it costs council.

Michael Banasik: The general concept I support but we don’t want to employ someone [to conduct it].

Kate Terry: As a councillor, feedback would always be welcome. It really depends on the context you’re looking at.

Hilton Gibbs: It wouldn’t matter. At least you know where you stand.

Lou Amato: At the end of the day people decide whether council have done a good job or not [at the election].

Ray Law: If there’s something extra I can do I’d be happy to be pointed in the right direction.

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Jun 19 2018

Power switch on Saturday will turn on lights

Ground light up: Wollondilly councillor Lou Amato, Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell, Hume Liberal candidate Angus Taylor and mayor Col Mitchell with some of the region’s young athletes at Picton Sportsground. Picture: Jonathan NgTHE Coalition has pledged $250,000 for new lighting at Picton Sportsground if it wins power at Saturday’s federal election.
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Liberal candidate for Hume Angus Taylor announced the funding on Friday.

“It is a major contribution to completing stage one of the sportsground,” he said.

“This Coalition funding will purchase and install up to six light towers, trenching for the lighting, as well as conduit and cabling to service each tower.

“The council has already contributed more than $2 million to the acquisition and development of the site including earthworks, irrigation, power, amenities and turfing.”

Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell and mayor Col Mitchell were also at the announcement.

Mr Taylor said: “The $250,000 injection into Picton is a strong commitment to local sporting clubs, especially kids’ sport and to local tourism.

“I look forward to attending some great games here at Picton and supporting this steady income stream for the community.”

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Jun 19 2018

Dunedoo welcomes transition cash

$20 million Cobbora Transition FundCHRIS Sullivan thinks the $20 million Cobbora Transition Fund can turn Dunedoo into Dubbo’s rival.
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The affable Dunedoo resident and Warrumbungle Shire councillor is keen to see the town shine when and if the Cobbora Coal Project gets off the ground.

“I am hoping that some money can be used to improve the park in Dunedoo, improve our facilities to make the town look good, look attractive,” Cr Sullivan said.

“In five or six years it will be ready to go if the mine does start up.

MAY: Future plan forCobbora Coalsite

JULY: Minerals boss sees value in dumpedCobbora Coal Mine

“Then we can hopefully attract more people to come to Dunedoo than Dubbo.”

Dunedoo’s population has been on the decline since the Cobbora Holding Company began buying up 32,500 hectares of mostly agricultural land as part of a botched plan by the former state government to supply powers stations from the Cobbora Coal Project. The current government has extricated itself from the project, saving taxpayers a whopping $1.5 billion.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird expressed expectation eventually the mine “will go ahead” through lease or sale.

Standing nearby, Cr Sullivan was smiling. For the past five years Dunedoo has done it tough.

About 90 people have left the town, with some businesses losing up to a quarter of their annual turnover.

Schools enrolments have dropped, and community and sporting groups have struggled to meet their commitments.

Cr Sullivan reports of a void that will “take some time to fill”.

But yesterday he was looking forward as requested of affected communities by Mr Baird.

Cobbora Holding Company will call tenders for the lease of properties on the site with Cr Sullivan yesterday hoping the leases would be cheap.

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Jun 19 2018

Informal vote was ‘terrible’

Donkey voting: Informal voting was a big problem for the seat of Blaxland in the last federal election. REUTERS/Tim WimborneINFORMAL voting was a major problem in the seats of Blaxland, McMahon and Fowler, figures from the 2010 federal election have revealed.
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The worst result in all Australia was at Blaxland, where 14.1 per cent of voters handed in a ballot paper incorrectly completed or not filled in at all.

For the seat of Fowler it was 12.8 per cent of voters and for McMahon it was 10.8 per cent of voters.

Blaxland MP Jason Clare said the informal vote at the last federal election was terrible in his seat but hopes it will improve this year.

“A lot of people put 1 on the ballot paper but didn’t number every box, so their vote didn’t count,” he said.

“A lot of voters in our local area come from a non-English speaking background.

“That’s is why I have asked the Australian Electoral Commission to employ people on Saturday at the polling booths who can explain the rules in different languages.”

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Jun 19 2018

CANIDATES RESPOND: Coal Seam Gas

Fairfax Digital Media Central West has given Parke’s Federal Election candidates the opportunity to answer the questions our readers posed to them via our social media sites.
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In the lead up to the election we will run a question each day, with the responses we received from candidates.

Each candidate was contacted via phone and email. Their responses are below.

What are your personal views and your party platforms in relations to Coal Seam Gas extraction?

* Mark Coulton (The Nationals)

The Federal Nationals have a very clear position in relation to coal seam gas mining. Our policy is based around five basic tenets:

1. No coal seam gas development should proceed where it poses a significant impact to the quality of groundwater or surface water systems.

2. Prime agricultural land is an increasingly important natural asset. It must be protected from activities that destroy its capacity to deliver food security – not only for our nation, but for a hungrier world, for generations to come.

3. Coal seam gas development must not occur close to existing residential areas.

4. Landowners are entitled to appropriate pecuniary returns sourced by reason of access to their land. Remuneration for landowners should not be limited to compensation.

5. The regions that deliver much of the wealth from coal seam gas developments deserve to see a fair share of generated revenues reinvested in their communities.

In the last term of Parliament, I supported the legislation to introduce the water trigger and the use of an independent expert scientific committee to assess coal seam gas mining and large scale coal projects.

* Matt Parmeter (The Greens)

My personal view is “Go Solar, not CSG”.

While the old parties side with the big mining companies, the Greens are the only party standing up for farmers in federal Parliament, to give landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas exploration.

The Australian Greens’ stand on CSG :

• We are calling for a moratorium on all new coal seam gas activity until there is a full scientific understanding of the impacts on groundwater, the land and food production, the climate from methane emissions, and rural and regional communities

• We are standing with the farming community advocating for the right for farmers and other landholder to say No to CSG on their land;

• We will be moving to ensure the precious water resources of the Murray-Darling Basin and Great Artesian Basin are not overused or contaminated by the coal and coal seam gas industries;

• We want the methane emissions from coal seam gas extraction, transport and processing, properly measured at their source so we can understand how much of a polluting industry CSG actually is.

* Neil Gorman (Palmer United Party)

My personal views and my party platform are the same – we are opposed.

The reasons are fairly simple, nobody knows what effect the whole process will have on the environment.

I spoke for example to a professor at Newcastle University who admitted he didn’t know what would happen to the Hunter Valley water tables. He said no damage might be done, only a small area might be rendered toxic or the entire Hunter Valley wine industry might be wiped out.

There was no way to tell until after the drilling had taken place and that was obviously too late. No responsible government can take this gamble.

* Michelle Ryan (Christian Democratic Party)

The CDP and I would work to ensure that rigorous independent health and environmental studies are conducted prior to all mining. No Coal Seam Gas where agricultural, residential land or underground water supplies would be polluted.

* Brendan Byron (Labor)

While the benefits of coal seam gas – both for the communities it supports and the global environment – outweigh the risks to water resources, I’d still like to see a careful, evidence-based approach to its extraction. I believe this is the best way to balance the livelihoods of miners with the concerns of farmers and environmentalists.

And Federal Labor strongly supports this view. That’s why the government invested $150 million to create the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining (IESC) to provide advice to decision makers on CSG’s impact on water resources. It’s also why we amended the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act earlier this year – so we could assess the risks of development projects more rigorously, and without endangered species being our only environmental concern.

Labor stands for a sensible middle-ground on CSG — one that supports jobs, farmers, and the environment.

We asked the five candidates for Parkes about their personal views and party platforms in relation to Coal Seam Gas extraction.

CANDIDATES RESPOND: Digital Radio

CANDIDATES RESPOND: Forming a government

CANDIDATES RESPOND: What will you do for individual towns?

CANDIDATES RESPOND: What will be the first thing you do if you’re elected?

CANDIDATES RESPOND: What do you stand for?

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Jun 19 2018

Pride on the line for Pegasus

SOCCER
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STATE LEAGUE

by SAMUEL DARROCH

MORWELL Pegasus is two points shy of escaping relegation calculations after defeating Mornington SC 2-1 away from home at the weekend.

Eighth-placed Pegasus (23 points) sits eight points ahead of bottom side Doveton SC with two rounds remaining and a catch up game in hand, but could still be passed by 11th placed Malvern City FC (16 points) which also has three to play.

Malvern City’s chances of escaping the drop zone, however, have been hindered by an injury to premier striker Jaun Nilo who has scored 17 goals this season.

“It’s going to take something extraordinary for us to get relegated, especially on form,” Pegasus coach Dale White said.

“We weren’t absolutely outstanding at the weekend but there was only one team winning that game.”

Max Etheridge scored a first half brace on the back of clever deliveries from Chris Wynne as Pegasus owned the opening exchanges.

Marquin Smith returned from suspension and was pivotal in midfield, setting up play from the centre of the park.

“Every time we went forward we looked like we were going to score, they didn’t really have a kick for half an hour… it could have been six,” White said.

A defensive lapse saw Mornington hit back from the penalty spot to make it 2-1 at half-time.

“I really thought the game should have been finished at half-time. If we’d gone in 7-1 at half-time it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary,” White said.

Keeper Pierce Morrison was forced into action a few times by Mornington, but Pegasus defended well throughout the second half to maintain their lead to the final whistle.

Pegasus now faces Kingston City and South Springvale in the next fortnight, fixtures they lost 7-1 and 6-1 respectively earlier in the season.

“We’ve got some pride on the line,” White said.

“It was a real disappointing time of the season for us and if we’ve got any pride about us we’re really looking forward to the next couple of weeks.”

Should Morwell retain its place in division two south-east, it may be joined by Warragul next season which is two points off the promotion bracket in division three.

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