Archive for June, 2019

‘Bye to bye

IT israrefor a rugby league match to be cancelled due to rain but that was the case in Group 11 on Sunday when Nyngan’s fixture with Dubbo CYMS was abandoned.

The rain gave the Bogan Shire Council no option but to closeLarkin Ovalto not only protect the playing surface, butthe players’ safety.

The match between the CYMS and the Tigers will now be rescheduled, most likely to theJuly 16 weekend.

Neither Group 11 secretary Ross McDermott or CYMS president Kevin Walkom were critical of the decision but both are now left to work alongside the Tigers to come up with a new date for the match.

“I know they were umming and ahing about it out there but the Nyngan boys rang me at around six-thirty this morning,” McDermott said on Sunday.

“Council looked at it and they have the final call and they had no option but to close the ground.

“We’ve basically said to Nyngan and CYMS they can organise an alternate date.”

The July 16 weekend isa general bye for all clubs, allowing them to run social and/or fundraising events.

Walkom confirmed CYMS have a club function set down for the 16th.

In years gone by, cancelled matcheswere often replayed during the week, butalmost everyone involved with both clubs havework commitments.

CYMS remain two points clear at the top of the ladder.

McDermott confirmed the matchmust go ahead and if the clubs can’t come to an agreement then he and Group 11 president Derrick Hoe wouldintervene.

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Aged aid: Nick Xenophon and Luke Bolton meeting with residents at the RAAFWA’s Gordon Lodge. Photo: supplied.Both Nick Xenophon and the Greens have pledged to reverse funding cuts to the aged care sector before the federal election, with almost $2 billion potentially being planned to be cut from the sector by the government.

Peak aged care bodies have expressed concern over the cuts since their announcement in the 2016 budget, which would affect the Aged Care Fund Instrument (ACFI) after expenditure from the program was higher than forecast over the 2015-2016 review.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said the party would oppose legislation on aged care funding cuts in parliament, at least until a full review into the ACFI and the sector is carried out.

“In the last year the Coalition Government has taken an axe to the aged care sector, collectively cutting $1.6 billion in funding from aged care by cutting funding to ACFI,”Ms Siewert said.

“Many providers and aged care residents across the country have raised concerns with me about the impacts cuts through the Aged Care Funding Instrument will have.”

Ms Siewert said industry bodies had also raised concerns over alack of consultation and transparency undertaken.

“These concerns highlight the need for a full cost of care study, which the sector has long been calling for,” she said.

Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) West Australian Senate candidate Luke Bolton said he had met with both the Council of the Ageing (COTA) and Aged Community Services WA (ACSWA), who both shared the view cuts to the sector would place undue pressure on the already-strained public health care system.

“ACSWA have graveconcernsthecutswillplacemore of the needs for high-care recipients on to the public health system with unintended consequences, such as increasing delays in elective surgery and bed shortages,” he said.

“It coststhe federal government $200 per day to look after a high care needs elderly Australian in an aged care facility.It costs $1000 a day –fivetimes as much –to provide the same care in a hospital and that cost is paid for by State governments.”

Mr Bolton said NXT would reverse the planned cuts if voted to the senate.

“I will move an amendment to ensure there is a true consultative process followed with aged care providers and there is transparency about the outcomes,” he said.

Aged and Community Services Australia CEO John Kelly welcomed the NXT and Greens plans.

“The Senators understand that real reform is essential when we are talking about funding thecareand support of frail older Australians when they need it most, and a proper examination of how much it actually costs to delivercareis essential,” Professor Kelly said.

CHRIS Vidler inspired Quirindi to a big win over Manilla at home on Saturday, with the Grasshoppers blowing away the ladder leaders in the opening stanza of both halves for their best win of the Group 4 Second Division Plate season.

Manilla’s Mitch Doring (left) and Neil Bonnett meet Quirindi’s Darren Nean on the line as the Grasshoppers pulled off a big win over the tabletopping Tigers on Saturday at home.Photo: Chris Bath 180616CBA11

The Hoppers flew out of the blocks and raced in three early tries for an 18-point lead early, although fell off the mark to let Manilla back in the game, going into the sheds up by just two points at 20-18.

Whatever the captain- coach said to the boys in the sheds at halftime worked, the home side controlling the ball and running riot through the Tigers defence to score six unanswered tries in the opening 25 minutes.

Shane Allan, Bruce Murray, Vidler, Justin Nean and Darren Nean all crossed as Manilla had no answers to stop the big men in the middle going forward before the Hoppers exposed them on the edges for points.

With eight minutes to go, Harlee Millgate finally hit back but it was all too late, as Andrew Cohen drove the final nail in to run out winners 58-24.

Co-coach, treasurer, strapper and runner Ben Allan said the result was a reflection of the hard yards the side had been putting in at training recently.

“We have got a good team together and they are training hard and putting it on the field,” Allan said.

“We held the ball and controlled the game.”

The Grasshoppers knew they couldn’t let the dangerous Tigers get out to a lead and were concentrating on starting both halves well and, with the visitors a few key players short, the Grasshoppers took full advantage in the first half before showing their fitness and composure to finish the job in the back end.

Evergreen lock and former Group 21 player of the year Chris Allan did a mountain of work and had plenty of ball, while bustling centre Bruce Murray constantly punched holes in the defence, although it was the captain-coach who did the most damage.

Last year’s Group 4 player of the year proved more than a handful for the Tigers defence, even having a stint in the centres late and showing a full skill set to put up a well-placed bomb in the second half.

“We have got a good mix of youth and experience and players like Vids (Vidler) and Chris Allen lead the way for the young blokes,” Allan said.

“That was a full effort today – everyone put in 100percent.”

“We can’t wait for a re-match against Walcha – they are the benchmark and we won the second half last time we played but let them get out to a lead.

“We have got to play Bingara first though and that should be a good, hard match.”

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Highly regulated

TASMANIA Police says furthergun ownership requirementswill be placed on residents when the Firearms Act amendmentscome into effect later this year.

Changes to the act were passed in Parliamentlast year after concerns were raised about Australian regulations being too tough on gun owners.

At the time,the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia had told the Senatenational laws had caused ‘‘financial and emotion upset’’ to firearm owners.

The amendments are the first to the Act since the Port Arthur Massacre 20 years, with claimed the life of 35 people and wounded 23.

Phase one of the amendments came into effect in November, with the other two phases still to come later this year.

Part of those amendments are a series of new gun ownership requirements that are currently being drafted by government.

Tasmania Police said on Friday that a new minimum storage requirement for gun owners with more than 10 firearms would be enforced as part of the new requirements.

But the organisationremains tightlipped about what else is in store for new and existing guns owners.

“Details of the new storage requirements are not contained within the amendment Act, butwill be contained in regulations, which are in the process of being drafted,” Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling said.

“As the regulations are drafted we will communicate those storage changes well in advance to allow owners to make any required changes to ensure compliant storage.”

The new requirements come after a Right to Information documentlast week revealed that gun thefts in Tasmania had risen in recent financial years.

In 2013-14, 231 guns were stolen, compared to 258 last year.

But further police data suggests Tasmania Police could record fewer “firearmtheft incidents”this financial year compared to years previous.

According to policedata, 59 firearm theft incidents were reported between July 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016, compared to 82 in total last year and 65 the year before.

Of most interest to gun thieves last financial year wereshotguns, rifles and firearms listed as “other”, according to the RTI.

The most popular places to steal such weapons were houses and sheds, with garages ranking third as the biggest target of Tasmanian gun thieves.

Assistant Commissioner Cowling said measures were in place to ensuresecurity protocols were followed.

“Regular storage inspections are part of normal business and police will continue to undertake these.”

Police’s announcement comes following the launch of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia’s new website, billed as a one-stop-shop for firearms andaccessible to Tasmanians.

The sitehas caused a flap among anti-gun lobbyists.

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Janelle Saffin, Labor’s candidate for the seat of Page. Photo: James Brickwood Nationals member for Page Kevin Hogan visiting the Grafton Gem Club. Photo: James Brickwood

Page is currently the site of Australia’s biggest infrastructure work – duplication of the Pacific Highway from Ballina south to Woolgoolga – and it has meant a lot of employment for the region. Photo: Tony Walters

Election 2016: news, analysis and videoTen seats that will determine the campaign: Bass, Corangamite, Petrie, Herbert, Grayndler

The influx of sea/tree-changers, surfers, hippies and new-agers over five decades into northern NSW sometimes counterbalance the rural mindset that once ruled and makes the seat of Page unpredictable.

Further clouding the outcome, the reappearance of that northern NSW hot button issue – coal seam gas – has developed into a big demarcation line between the two major party candidates.

The Nationals’ Kevin Hoganis an amiable, hard-working MP greatly assisted to victory in 2013 by the Julia Gillard/Kevin Rudd imbroglio.

Page Labor campaign workers remember not even bothering to unfurl posters bearing Rudd’s visage. Their task had also been made impossible courtesy of Rudd dudding his Labor colleague and then MP for Page, Janelle Saffin.

With Labor on the nose, Saffin, a seasoned politician, came out publicly against Gillard earlier in March 2013 only to see Rudd squib mounting a challenge, leaving her looking like a slightly silly shag on a rock.

She’d held Page since 2007 after 13 years in the NSW upper house, but suffered a massive 6.9 per cent drop in her primary vote to lose to Hogan by 3.1 per cent after preferences.

In the years since, she worked as a lawyer in Lismore and is recontesting Page. Depending on your point of view, Saffin’s candidacy, at 61, is testimony to her political will or the dearth of Labor talent in northern NSW.

In any case, a redistribution has improved Hogan’s chances of holding Page for the Nationals.

While the acquisition of the Lismore local government area in the north – including the hippy heaven of Nimbin – has helped Saffin, Hogan has acquired a bigger support block at the southern end thanks to retired voters of Woolgoolga and Coffs Harbour’s northern beach suburbs who tend to vote conservative.

The electorate was created 1984. Named for Earl Page, former Country Party leader and briefly Australia’s 11th prime minister, it was a Nationals fiefdom until Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s 1987 tilt for Canberra and its aftermath wrecked the party’s credibility and it passed to Labor in 1990. It has become a bellwether seat since, won at every election by the party that formed government.

Six candidates are contesting Page on July 2.

Hogan grew up in rural South Australia and worked as a bond trader in Sydney, becoming a familiar face to the finance crowd daily delivering financial market updates on Sky News. He moved north at the turn of the century and taught at St Mary’s Catholic College before setting up a superannuation business. He tried politics as a sideline, standing unsuccessfully against Saffin in 2010.

Hogan says hip pocket issues are the issues in Page.

“Everyone up here says the first budget was too vicious but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Malcolm is a different proposition. Instead of talking cuts, we’re talking growth,” he said. “We have over 13,000 business and if we can help them grow it’s good for everybody.”

Page is currently the site of Australia’s biggest infrastructure work – duplication of the Pacific Highway from Ballina south to Woolgoolga – and it has meant a lot of employment for the region.

“But that finishes in four years,” Hogan said. “We want to be in a position to allow people to maintain their standards of living. People say we talk about jobs all the time but in regional areas we always talk about jobs.”

And as to CSG, Hogan said it was the issue at the last NSW state election: “This community was, as was I, opposed to the issue for a variety of reasons. But it’s dead and buried. The Baird government, god bless them, has bought back the licences and it’s gone. This industry is not suitable for this region.”

Saffin, however, said CSG is far from over.

“Federally, they want to give all assessment powers back to the states. It’s stalled in the Senate but you allow that power to be returned back to the states who grant the licences. It gives you a second look,” she said.

“The Coalition is trying to water down water trigger legislation as part of cutting red tape. And at a state level, they put out a planning document across the north coast that had this area mapped for CSG mining and the NSW government is promoting it overseas as such.

“For locals, CSG is not certainly dead.”

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