‘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.
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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 care cash fight

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.
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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.

Frontrunning Tigers come a cropper at Quirindi

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.
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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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Gun requirements coming

Highly regulated
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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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Page and the voters from ‘hippy heaven’

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
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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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Female DFAT boss would be a ‘milestone’

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the first female head of DFAT would be a milestone. Photo: Peter Rae Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with minister Julie Bishop on the hustings last week. Photo: Andrew Meares
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If Julie Bishop is about to appoint the first ever woman to head the prestigious and powerful Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade she kept her cards close to her chest on Monday.

Asked about reports that she and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would appoint former ambassador to China and current prime ministerial adviser Frances Adamson shortly after the July 2 election (if victorious), Ms Bishop sidestepped the question by invoking the ever-handy convention of “caretaker government.”

However she did note that “were it to be a woman that would be notable because of course it would be the first female secretary of DFAT and that is obviously a milestone, just as people often comment on the fact that I’m the first female foreign minister of Australia. The first always draws comment.” Ms Adamson was in the front row at the Lowy Institute as Ms Bishop made her remarks.

DFAT sits at the heart of Canberra’s security and intelligence decision-making and if Ms Adamson succeeds incumbent Peter Varghese​, it will send a powerful message through the bureaucracy.

Ms Bishop was diplomatic on what the consequences of Britain voting to exit the EU might be. But she said Australian interests would be best served if a “strong Britain [were to} remain”.

A recent Lowy poll found 51 per cent of Australians wanted Britain to stay in Europe  as against 19 per cent for departure.

Much of Ms Bishop’s speech had an economic focus as she joined the government’s ” jobs and growth” push in the last phase of the election campaign. She said her role in shaping Australia’s economic future was “no less relevant to the Turnbull government’s jobs and growth plan than other minsters in charge of domestic economic areas.”

The Foreign Minister warned that Australia could not compete in a “race to the bottom” on labour costs but had to focus on the relative cost of labour to the value of a product.

China, Japan and Taiwan were investing “huge sums in advanced manufacturing and robotics.” she said. “Even now a single $30,000 robot can assemble 100 iphones each day, at a cost of less than $1 each phone. “

And there were currently ” almost a quarter of a million manufacturing robots in China alone .. replicating 20 manufacturing processes traditionally performed by humans.”

On the international terrorism threat in the Middle East, Ms Bishop said Australia had “done more than its fair share as a nation far removed from terrorism central.”

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Borg Panels punished for pollution

BORG Panels at Oberon has been convicted of polluting waterways and fined almost $60,000 by the Land and Environment Court.
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Borg was also ordered to pay the Environment Protection Authority’s investigation costs of $27,780.12 – incurred in testing and analysis of water samples – and professional costs of $45,000.

The company, which operates a wood processing facility on Lowes Mount Road in Oberon, was convicted last week after breaching Section 120 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, which prohibits thepollution of waters.

The matter was heard before Justice Pain.

The incident occurred on August 15, 2014, when a hose leaked waste materials from the wood manufacturing facility into a stormwater drain.

The hose, connected to a submersible pump in a sludge dam at Borg Panels, was placed down an embankment.

It discharged effluent from the sludge dam into a drainage channel, a tributary of Kings Stockyard Creek.

As a result, 2.8 kilometres of receiving waters were polluted by the effluent, which contained formaldehyde, nitrogen, ammonia and othermatter, causing chemical oxygen demand at levels which were harmful to the environment.

The Land and Environment Court found the harm caused by the offence consisted of “short-term degradation” of the water quality as well as likely harm to aquatic life, limited to no more than six days.

The court heard the incident occurred due to the actions of a “careless employee” who uncoupled the hose after it became blocked but thenforgot to reattach it before finishing his shift.

Subsequently, for an eight-hour period, an unknown quantity of pollutant from the sludge dam was discharged from the hose through the channel, the tributary of Kings Stockyard Creek, and Kings Stockyard Creek itself.

The court heard that Borg co-operated with the EPA during the course of its investigation, pleaded guilty to the charge and expressed remorse for its actions.

Since the incident, the court also heard that Borg had taken measures in an effort to ensure that a similar incident did not occur in the future.

In light of the subjective factors, Justice Pain considered a penalty of $90,000 was appropriate, which she reduced by 35 per cent in light of the subjective circumstances including an early plea of guilt.

Borg was prosecuted by the EPA and fined a total of $58,500.

Borg was also ordered to pay the EPA’s legal costs and investigation costs.

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Battle for Ballarat: debate number three

Brian Collins, Alice Barnes, Dianne Colbert, Bren Eckel, Catherine King and Paul Tatchell at the social justice debate on Monday. PICTURE: Luka Kauzlaric WRAPReal policy debates can happen away from the glare of the national election campaign, it seems.
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And while candidates for the seat of Ballarat didlayout their parties’policies at Monday night’s forum, there was a real conversation about how best to help our country and our region’s most vulnerable people.

Nationals candidate Paul Tatchell represented the Coalition but did notbackthe government’s deterrence efforts.

“Here we are, all these years (after trading with Nauru when it was a rich country), and we want to put refugees there. Wanting to give them money, to Nauru, to send them people who have already come from hellholes back into another hellhole?”

“We also need to recognise we don’t have that many refugees (coming),” he said, after describing the thousands of people crossing the Mediterranean to Europe.

Mr Tatchell also said Australia could not go back to allowing people who arrived by boat to settle here because of the deaths at sea.

Labor candidate and MP Catherine King defended her party’s refugee policy by explaining her own personal guilt over those deathswhen they were in government.

“Whilst (Labor) will have disagreements with peoplein this room over offshore processing, we tried a compassionate approach,we tried a different approach when we were in government, and the reality was people did drown, and I have to live with that,” she said.

Ms King answered a question about children in detention by saying a third country option would bethe only way for them to be free.

The audience included many fromrefugee advocacy groups, and Greens candidate Alice Barnes was well-supported when she called for an end to offshore processing.

“It is shameful that people are incarcerated indefinitely simply for asking for help.It defies belief that this is justified as the only way to break the people smugglers’ business model.”

Australian Christians candidate Dianne Colbertand independent Bren Eckel also spoke at the debate. Organisers said Liberal candidateSarah Wade had a family emergency.

Third Ballarat debate wrapping up. King a pro, Tatchell glanced at Nats party line once or twice, Greens playing well on refugees (1/2)

— Alex Hamer (@alex_hamer) June 20, 2016Aus Christians populist when not talking about Safe Schools, independent popular for emotional honesty. Crowd respectful #ausvotes (2/2)

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Funding for town hall

THEShire of Northam has secured funding of $95,000 through the LotteryWest Project Fund to repair the decorative masonry and render of the Northam Town Hall.
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The Hon. Mia Davies presented the cheque to the Shire of Northam’s president, Cr Steven Pollard on June 17.

The hall consists of a brick structure including two-storey main hall and single-storey Lesser Hall, with rendered pilasters and pediments and corrugated iron roofs.

Constructed from 1898 to 1901, the Northam Town Hall has considerable architectural merit and is listed on the State Heritage Register and Council’s Municipal Heritage Inventory.

Chief executive Jason Whiteaker said the deterioration of the render is allowing water inundation to the substrate causing dampness and weakening of the buildings fabric.

“If left unrepaired the brickwork will eventually fail leading to the collapse of the building,” Mr Whiteaker said.

With the Northam Town Hall having heritage significance, heritage consultants have been involved throughout the process of determining the most appropriate actions to preserve the building and will oversee the project.

This will be undertaken through on going inspections during the repair process which will be carried out by the heritage consultant and the Shire of Northam’s Building Department.

“Investing funds into the restoration of the Northam Town Hall will ensure that a significant piece of our communities history is preserved for future generations to enjoy,” Shire president Steven Pollard said.

“In addition these works will assist in ensuring that the building does not become a safety risk for the community in the future.”

Work is set to be completed by May 2017.

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Cockatoos dazzle Brumbies with speed in Bathurst

THE NSW Country Cockatoos breathed fire into a cold winter afternoon with a thumping 48-5 victory over the ACT Brumbies Provincial XV at Bathurst’s Ashwood Park on Saturday.
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Walcha’s Soni Halanukonuka looks for a hole in the Brumbies Provincial defence playing for NSW Country at Bathurst on Saturday. Photo: Chris Seabrook, Western Advocate.

The Cockatoos scored several tries from attacking plays which began in their own half, Country star Pauli Tuala and Simon Newton both bagging a brace.

Country’s speed was their most impressive asset, particularly in the opening half.

They constantly hit the line hard and found gaps in the Brumbies’ defence with ease.

That pace may have dropped off in the back half of the game – and the Brumbies’ attack looked far more threatening as a consequence – but the Cockatoos still kept the scoreboard ticking over.

“We tried today to dominate the breakdown and that’s when we really got on the front foot,” Country coach Mat Thomas said.

“We had to change our plan completely yesterday because when we got here it wasraining.

“We had to adapt to a shorter game plan – we had a wider one that we wanted to play.

“The ground was very heavy and slippery and that’s why we saw a lot of knock-ons and scrums.”

When hooker Steve Lamont dived over for a try just four minutes into the game, it set the tone for what was to come from the Cockatoos.

Cowra’s Chris Miller drew cheers from Central West supporters when he made a break down the left side of the field. He then dished the ball off to Tuala, who put the hosts 10-0 up.

At the 17-minute mark Country had just as many points to their name thanks to a try from scrum half Adam McCormack.

Shortly after, Brumbies had two chances to get on the board but they came up empty-handed after being forced over the sideline then knocking-on.

Instead Tuala added another for Country to give them a 22-0 lead at half-time.

The Cockatoos picked things up where they left off when play resumed as Michael Howell scored.

But the Brumbies lifted in defence after that and finally enjoyed some quality time in possession.

The visitors struggled to find a way through, but the pressure they applied led to Tuala being sent to the sinbin for hands in the ruck.

Brumbies winger Riley Brennan dropped the ball close to the try line but he didn’t make the same mistake when given another chance, diving over in the left corner to make it 29-5.

However, Country showed their attacking prowess by scoring via Newton while still a man down.

Both sides struggled to maintain possession in a scrappy last 20 minutes of the game but, after withstanding another period of Brumbies attack, Country finished with a bang.

Tries inside the final 10 minutes to Dubbo’s Filisione Pauta and Newton extended their already sizeable lead.

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