Monthly Archives: June 2018

DISCONNECTED: Residents living without essential service

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HUNDREDS of Dubbo residentscan’t afford internet services orcomputers at their homes and it is aserious issue for school studentswho need web-access for theirstudies.
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The Smith Family helps at least112 families which don’t live withthe internet or a computer.

The organisation said it was relaunchingthe Tech Packs programwhich provides families with arefurbished computer and 12months web access.

The Macquarie Regional Librarysaid its 16 public access computerswere regularly booked out bypeople without access to the internetfrom opening to closing time.

The Smith Family’s Learning forLife program provides both financialand practical educational support forchildren of disadvantaged families,and Dubbo co-ordinator DawnRedding said she sees first hand theimpact limited computer access hason students.

She said even those who do havecomputers often struggle tocomplete online homework.

“Internet access is an extra costfor the family. Often the computer isso slow it can’t handle the internetanyway or the internet runs out veryquickly,” Ms Redding said.

Ms Redding said the children areunable to complete assignedhomework tasks, but don’t speak upin class about the problem.

“Sometimes they won’t sayanything because they’reembarrassed they can’t do it athome, or they think they’ll bedobbing in their parents for nothaving the money to pay for it.”

Nationally, The Smith Family saidaround one-third of children aged 5to 14 living in the country’s mostdisadvantaged communities didn’thave access to the internet at home,despite 85 per cent of the age groupreporting they use the internet foreducation purposes.

Ms Redding said paying fornecessities like food and electricitywere a much higher priority for thefamilies. The Learning for Lifeafternoon homework centre inDubbo provides access to theinternet through the Smith Family’sthree computers and additionaltablets, but due to a lack ofvolunteers, Ms Redding said therewere only eight local children whocould utilise the technology.

“That means there are 580 kidswho miss out.”

Director John Bayliss said freecomputer and internet servicescould be accessed at theMacquarie Regional Library.

“There are still many peoplewho do not have access to theinternet in their home or peoplewho do not have goodconnectivity if they live out oftown,” Mr Bayliss said.

“Despite the cost of computerscoming down and the access toADSL increasing, the computersare a consistently used service inall of our branches,” he said.

The director said use of thelibrary’s free, two-hour WI-FI forthose with a laptop or smartphone has also increased.

To assist disadvantagedfamilies who could not afford acomputer, Learning for Life coordinatorSonia Strachan said TheSmith Family were re-introducingthe Tech Packs program.

For $50 families in need areprovided with a refurbishedcomputer and 12 months internetaccess.

The computers will besupplied to 27 families in theregion by the end of the year,along with free tech support forthe year and basic computertraining, such as how to use wordprocessing programs and why itis important to put the computerin a place where parents canmonitor their children.

At the end of the 12 months,the family are able to keep thecomputer but are required tofund their own internet.

The program was available toDubbo residents in 2011, but wasstopped because of a lack offunding.

Ms Redding said Tech Packswould have a big impact for thestudents, allowing them tocomplete homework tasks, studyfor assessments and improvetheir overall computer skills athome.

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Council to debate carbon tax rebate

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REDLAND City Council is considering ways to pass on any savings to ratepayers from the July Senate decision to axe the carbon tax.
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Redland City mayor Karen Williams said all savings from axing the carbon tax will be passed on.

Redland City mayor Karen Williams said all savings from axing the carbon tax will be passed on.

Redland chief executive Bill Lyon said councillors would consider all options, including refunding the city’s 67,000 ratepayers, at Wednesday’s general meeting.

Mr Lyon said other proposals included cuts to commercial and industrial tip fees.

In July, the Senate voted 39 to 32 to axe the $24.15 tax for each metric ton of carbon dioxide introduced in July 2012.

At the time, mayor Karen Williams said any savings would go to residents or be reinvested in the city.

Since then, council officers have investigated how much the organisation stood to recoup from suppliers who are now required to pass on carbon tax savings.

Cr Williams also wrote to Treasurer Joe Hockey to seek clarification on the details and timeframes for the carbon tax rebates to local authorities.

She said after the tax was introduced in 2012, council calculated it added about $17.50 to each ratepayer’s bill but about $2million to the city’s operating costs.

She defended the council’s stance of not nominating an exact rebate figure, unlike Brisbane council, which promised to refund ratepayers $36 in the October rates notice and keep future rates increases lower.

“The $17.50 figure was one of the costs we could actually measure when the tax was introduced in 2012 but we tried to absorb most of that anyway,” she said.

“There was a direct cost of about $1.2million but further indirect costs brought that up to about $2million.

“But council will pass on savings through budget reviews over the coming year as the repeal of the tax is expected to reduce our costs.”

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Greaves on top of the world after championship event

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Chantell Greaves plays out of a bunker during the World Deaf Golf Championships in America.DUNEDOO’S Chantell Greaves has returned home from the United States after representing Australia at the World Deaf Golf Championships.
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Greaves spent an action-packed few days travelling to Traverse City, Michigan and practising before the action got under way.

Staying in luxury at a resort that had three golf courses attached to it, the players were treated like royalty and the fine dining and pampering obviously paid off as Greaves and the Australian team enjoyed great results.

Conditions hindered players on day one of the event, with Greaves firing a score of 91, which she repeated on day two.

A few tips from her caddy helped her improve to shoot an 88 on the third day.

She followed that form through to finish the event with another score of 88 in the final round to finish with a 72-hole total of 358.

“When I left Dunedoo I was hoping to get into the top 10, and I came eighth in the world,” Greaves said via email.

“Our Aussie women’s team came second. It was a great experience for me and I have the people of Dunedoo and the district golfing community to thank for all their donations and words of support that helped me to achieve something that I never dreamed possible.”

After impressing during the event, Chantell even had a warm invitation from one of her fellow competitors.

“I met the champion for 2014, Patty Lopez, and she asked me if I was coming to the World Deaf Golf Championships in 2016 at Denmark,” Greaves said.

“That gives me two years to save, and if I’m invited to.

“As for now I hope to play in a few of the Deaf Golf NSW events and the Australian Championship in April next year.”

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Umpire on the ball for senior league debut: Video

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WHISTLE BLOWER: Central umpire Paula Shay talks about her experiences ahead of he senior debut at www.bendigoadvertiser苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN
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BENDIGO field umpire Paula Shay has been called many names since she first blew her whistle in a local football match back in 2009.

She ignores most of them, but there is one label the 38-year-old will be more than happy to wear: trail-blazer.

Video: JODIE DONNELLAN

At Backhaus Oval today, Shay becomes Bendigo’s first home-grown female to take control of a senior men’s game when she walks out onto the field for the Loddon Valley league clash between YCW and Mitiamo.

While a handful of other women have officiated here at senior level, she is the only one to go all the way through the Bendigo Umpires Association program.

“Paula is the first to have gone from under-12s, progressing through the grades and finally making it to senior football,” BUA spokesman Mitchell Pitt said.

“She has been performing very strongly in the reserves and under-18 grades for most of the year and, as a result, she now gets her chance in the seniors.”

Shay began running the boundaries six seasons ago to improve her fitness at the suggestion of her central umpire brother.

In 2011, not satisfied with her role outside the lines, she joined the “green shirt” field umpire training scheme.

After cutting her teeth in junior games, she was elevated to the Bendigo Football League under-18 division last year and won the BUA’s most improved field umpire award.

She has also officiated in a VWFL premier match featuring Bendigo Thunder.

Today’s senior game is even more special, given Shay grew up in and played netball for Pyramid Hill, which is part of the LVFL.

“I’ve always aspired to get to the Loddon Valley seniors,” she said, “so this is a really big and important thing for me.

“I want to one day walk out on the field at Pyramid Hill, where I sat on the sidelines watching and yelling at the umpires when I was young.”

Like all men in white, Shay cops weekly criticism from those who disagree with her decisions, but some comments are extra creative.

“Last year I got told to get back to the netball court and back to the kitchen,” she laughs. “This year it’s been nicknames like sweetie, love and even princess. I just completely ignore it.”

Shay urged more females to join the umpiring ranks, saying it was a great way to be involved in the game.

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High rates of heart disease in country

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BENDIGO residents have the worst rates of high cholesterol in Victoria, says the Heart Foundation.
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PROBLEM: Rural Victorians have a greater risk of heart disease than people in Melbourne.

The revelation comes amid a report comparing the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases among people living in Melbourne and those in the rural Victoria.

It found therates of smoking,high blood pressure andphysical inactivity were 25 per cent higher in rural areas, meaning country people were much more likely to contract cardiovascular diseases than their city counterparts.

Bendigo Community Health Services chief executive Kim Sykes said the research highlighted the importance of having different approaches to preventingdiseases in regional and city locations.

“While the messages may be the same – the messages about improving our diets andkeeping physical activity levels high – how we deliver those messages needs to be different,” she said.

Ms Sykes said one key reason to explain the findings could be that country people couldn’t access healthcare services as easily as people in metropolitan areas.

“The spread of a whole range of different kinds of health providers is very different in metropolitan Melbourne compared to regional Victoria,” she said.

“The proportion, the number of services and their accessibility is greater in metropolitan areas.”

She said a lack of public transport created significant barriers for country people to access healthcare services.

“If I’m living in Melbourne and I can’t drive, there would be very few parts of the city where I couldn’t get access to a healthcare provider (by using public transport),” she said.

“That’s not the case in rural Victoria.

“It’s a large contributor.”

But Ms Sykes said the City of Greater Bendigo and local health organisations were working hard to tackle the prevalence of health issuesin the city, including obesity and drug use.

She said rates of smoking had decreased in recent years and programs such as the council’s Healthy Together Bendigo initiative played an important role in improving health outcomes.

She said people could employ a range of simple techniques to improve their health.

She said office workers, for example, often spent long periods sitting in front of a computer, but participating inregulartwo-minute walks around their office or riding theirbike to workcould have enormous benefits.

“Recognise that small changes can make a significant difference,” she said. “They can be simple things.”

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The Rural’s photos of the week: August 15, 2014

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The Rural’s photos of the week: August 15, 2014 Peter McDonell from Euranoreenya and Jack French from Brungle pictured at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre.
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David McWilliam from Wagga and James Tierney from Riverina Livestock Agents, Wagga pictured at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre.

Landmark Wagga livestock agents at the rail during the Wagga sheep sale.

Landmark livestock agents take the bids.

Nathan and John Bauer from Tumbarumba visit the Wagga sheep and lamb sale.

Bill Lenehan from “Arajoel”, Wagga and Paul Bergmeier from The Rock at the Wagga sheep sale.

Landmark Wagga livestock agent Peter Cabot pictured at the sheep and lamb sale.

Simon Male from Henty puts one of his dogs through its paces. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

Simon Male from Marabou Kelpie Stud at Henty.

Simon Male from Marabou Kelpie Stud works one of his Kelpies.

Simon Male from Marabou Kelpie Stud.

Kelpie breeder Simon Male from Marabou Kelpie Stud at Henty. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

Stud sheep producer and Kelpie breeder Simon Male.

Simon Male from Marabou Kelpie Stud at Henty.

Simon Male from Marabou Kelpie Stud puts his working dogs to the test.

Simon Male from Marabou Kelpie Stud at Henty puts his dogs through their paces.

Simon Male and his Kelpie work some Poll Dorset ewes at the Henty property.

Injemira Beef Genetics principal, Marc Greening.

Lara Male, 2, watches on as her dad Simon (in the background) works his Kelpies at the family’s Henty property.

Greg McKelvie from Marrar and Landmark Wagga livestock agent Peter Cabot pictured at the Wagga sheep and lamb sale.

Buyers at the rail at the Wagga sheep and lamb sale.

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Youth Off The Streets Charity Art Auction: PHOTOS

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Youth Off The Streets Charity Art Auction: PHOTOS Melody Francis of Melbourne and Kimba O’Neill of Wallsend. 2020814PD361
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Jarrod O’Neill of Telarah, Kiera Stevens of Telarah, Janelle McKenzie of East Maitland and Luke Ekert of Osterly. 020814PD362

Linda and Peter Harold of Bolwarra Heights and Darrell and Linda Jones of East Maitland. 020814PD363

Ronald and Shona Christie of Maitland. 020814PD364

Janis Wilton of Maitland, Judy and Mal Henry of Paterson and Joe Eisenberg of Maitland. 020814PD365

Anne Pettigrew of Ashtonfield and Carolyn New of East Maitland . 020814PD366

Korriyn Sassalli and Craig Slade of Telarah. 020814PD367

Lyn Bailey and Mary McGintey of Duns Creek. 020814PD369

Sylivia and Alex Shearer of Swansea.020814PD370

TweetFacebookMaitland Mercury photographer Perry Duffin was at the Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets Charity Art Auction this month.

The event took place at theTherry Centre,East Maitland.

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Mercedes-Benz review: riding the Precious Metal bandwagon

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PRECIOUS: The Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet and CLS500. Picture: JEREMY BANNISTERIT’S okay to overindulge once a year, isn’t it?
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Last year we sampled some of Mercedes-Benz’s finest and rarest when the Precious Metal Road Show came to town. We were left wanting more.

So when Mercedes-Benz Ballarat dealer principal Justin Mitchell invited us back for another taste, how could we resist?

Gav McGrath cherry picks the Mercedes-Benz Precious Metal Road Show. Video: JEREMY BANNISTER

While Ballarat is well served in terms of prestige brands, regional centres often miss out on the absolute top shelf stuff. It is a simple numbers game – there are fewer buyers to justify having anSLin the show room. The Mercedes-Benz Precious Metal Road Show is about providing a taste, and to tempt buyers with something a little special .

Eight machines which made the trip to Ballarat this week ranging in price from a comparatively affordable $77,500 up to $322,000. This year we cherry-picked four.

ELEGANT: The Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet. Picture: JEREMY BANNISTER

E400CABRIOLET

Tuesday was not convertible weather. It was cold with the odd shower as well. Still, we made the best of it, using the heated seats and Mercedes-Benz’s “Airscarf” neck-level heating system to stay nice and warm even with the roof down.

We cruised out to Lake Burrumbeet with the top off, getting the odd bemused look from other motorists. Let’s face it, when you’re driving a convertible on a Ballarat winter’s day you’re going to get noticed.

When the rain did arrive and the bright red canvas roof had to go up, we were still getting noticed. If you’ve got it, you may as well flaunt it.

Drive away price $162,427

IMPOSING: The Mercedes-Benz CLS500. Picture: JEREMY BANNISTER

CLS500

Next on the menu was the big, powerfulCLS500. A sleek but sensible body, with a300kWbi-turboV8heart. TheCLS500sounds terrific and can go very hard but it is also the sort of car that is equally pleasant just to cruise around in. Of our four cars it was the best all rounder.

Drive away price $186,831

ATTITUDE: The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. Picture: JEREMY BANNISTER

A45AMG

One of the least Mercedes-Benz-like Benz cars we’ve ever driven. Rowdy, brutal and with not a trace of subtlety at all, it could have been made in Italy rather than Germany.

Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo four with265kW, Mr Mitchell boasted it is one the most powerful four-cylinder cars on the road and there was nothing in our brief time in it to suggest otherwise. AMercfor someone not willing to grow up. We loved it.

Drive away price $82,756

SLEEK: The Mercedes-Benz SL350. Picture: JEREMY BANNISTER

SL350

Now we’re talking.

We didn’t spend a lot of time in the big roadster. The cars all had to prepped and cleaned for the trip down to Warrnambool for the next leg of the Road Show.

That was perhaps our one regret of the day because theSLis what the Precious Metal Road Show is all about.

As the “budget-priced”SL(if such a thing can really exist), the 350 doesn’t have a monster twin turboV8like the rest of the line-up. Instead it has a naturally aspirated six which is one of the sweetest soundingV6swe’ve sampled, especially when the automatic folding steel roof is stowed away.

A drop top that is almost as big as a large sedan and has just two seats. What’s not to love?

Drive away price $243,952

Mercedes-Benz review: riding the Precious Metal bandwagon PRECIOUS METAL: SL350 and A45 AMG.

PRECIOUS METAL: E400 Cabriolet and CLS500.

PRECIOUS METAL: A45 AMG and SL350.

PRECIOUS METAL: Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

PRECIOUS METAL: Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet.

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Pair promote rail safety message

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Clear point: Rail safety ambassador Jonathan Beninca, left, with train driver John Higgins talk safety around rails at Clontarf.BROOKFIELD Rail and Aurizon visited the Avon region last week to promote safe behaviour around the rail network as part of Rail Safety Week.
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Three visits covered the York District High School, Northam Clontarf Academy and Northam Senior High School last Wednes day.

Rail safety ambassador Jonathan Beninca suffered a traumatic rail incident when he was a teenager which left him in intensive care with the loss of his arm, leg and several fingers, changing his life forever.

“It is extremely important for people to understand the risks associated with taking a short cut across the railway or throwing rocks at trains,” Mr Beninca said.

“All too easily someone could make one wrong choice that will haunt them for the rest of their life.

“I was just 19 when I lost my right arm and leg after taking a short cut on the tracks and I believe every student needs to understand the consequences of my actions so they don’t make the same mistake I did.”

Train driver John Higgins spoke to students about the dangers of playing around railway lines.

“Trains swerve, and if you are hit, 99 per cent of the time it is fatal,” Mr Higgins said.

“A train driver has to go back and check the damage afterwards and while it doesn’t hurt the driver physically, the mental scarring does.”

As a result some train drivers give the job away or cannot go over a certain section of line again.

“Also throwing rocks at trains is dangerous. A few months ago a glass window was shattered and a piece landed in a driver’s eye,” Mr Higgins said.

“To the rock thrower it seems harmless, but this act nearly cost someone a job.”

Another speaker at the sessions was Rod Gibbs.

He has worked for Brookfield Rail for 19 years.

His job is to cover the rail network – about 340 kilometres of track.

“A lot of people wander the tracks,” Mr Gibbs said.

“A prospector moves at about 160km/h, and drivers need to see about 1000 metres ahead to stop.”

He re-iterated Mr Higgins’ point about hits almost always being fatal.

“We have cameras on our trains, and when reviewing the footage we will pick up extremely close calls, and I’m talking millimeters,” Mr Higgins said.

He said there were problems with people walking over the Avon River train bridge and people placing objects on the tracks.

“And people don’t stop at stop signs,” Mr Gibbs said.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of being safe around railway lines.”

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‘Perilous’ Iraq situation might require further Australian help, says Tony Abbott

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks to the media at the Headquarters of Joint Operations Command near Canberra on Friday. Photo: Andrew MearesThe security situation in Iraq “remains perilous” and Australia is still discussing with international partners how it can further help the strife-torn country, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned.
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After humanitarian air drops to stranded Yazidi refugees on Mount Sinjar were put on hold because they appeared no longer to be needed, Mr Abbott warned that Australia and its allies were still looking at what needs to be done “to counter the … menace” of the brutal Islamic State group.

The Pentagon’s press secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, said overnight Australian time that a ground team of US special forces had established there were between 4000 and 5000 members of the Yazidi sect on Mount Sinjar and only about half of them were actually refugees.

This is a fraction of the tens of thousands of Yazidis previously thought to be hiding on the mountain from the Islamic State – previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL.

The Prime Minister, fresh back from a trip to Europe and the Middle East that included discussions with senior British officials about Iraq, said despite the apparent reprieve, the radical Islamist fighters remained a serious “menace”.

“The situation in Mount Sinjar itself has somewhat eased, but the overall security situation in Iraq remains perilous,” he said. “While I certainly don’t envisage Australian combat troops in Iraq, we are consulting with our allies and partners on what Australia can usefully contribute to try to ensure that the situation in the Middle East … improves rather than deteriorates.”

Mr Abbott refused to specify what, if any, further military action Australia was considering, and appeared to soften his previous stance in which he pointedly refused during a press conference in London to rule out further military involvement.

Asked whether Australia might consider a limited troop deployment for a humanitarian mission – say if large numbers of refugees again came under threat – Mr Abbott refused to answer directly but said Australia would continue to uphold its humanitarian principles.

“I’m not going to get into the business of ruling this in or that out,” he said. “I don’t envisage the use of combat troops on the ground, but certainly I want Australian operations to be effective in terms of supporting our humanitarian ideals and obviously our humanitarian ideals have been deeply in risk in recent weeks because of the murderous advance of ISIL forces in northern Iraq and elsewhere.”

The Prime Minister added that the looming ascension of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq’s new prime minister in place of the divisive Nouri al-Maliki was “very encouraging” and added that the new leader’s challenge was to create an inclusive government that treated all Iraqi sects equally.

On the matter of a 19-year-old Australian jihadist who reportedly slipped through an Australian airport on his brother’s passport before he was arrested in the United Arab Emirates, Mr Abbott said: “Plainly I’m not happy about this, although I am pleased that the individual in question did arouse concerns on departing Australia … and the individual was arrested in the UAE.”

He said it was “not good enough” but that the government was spending an additional $630 million on national security over the next four years, including biometric screening at airports.

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