Monthly Archives: September 2018

High speed train network could save the day

A Whyalla resident has said a high speed train network could boost jobs on the Eyre Peninsula.A Whyalla resident is calling for community support to petition the state government to build a high speed train network that would connect the Eyre Peninsula to Adelaide.

Suganya Nagarajan said a commercial passenger train network, able to travel more than 200 kilometres an hour, could see people stay in Whyalla but work in Adelaide or the greater region.

While not directly affected by recent resource sector redundancies, Mrs Suganya said it was something that would affect the wider community and it should be everyone’s concern.

“Everyone will be affected,” Mrs Suganya said.

Mrs Suganya said people and their families may be forced to move elsewhere to gain employment and the effects would be felt by the wider community.

“If these people leave, their partners who provide valuable skills and service to the community leave too,” Mrs Suganya said.

“This could mean further job losses.”

Mrs Suganya said the government should be taking steps to ensure employment opportunities were created for people being made redundant.

Mrs Suganya said a high speed train network could potentially create hundreds of jobs.

In its construction phase it could provide an opportunity to utilise local industries for manufacturing, local contractors could be involved in construction and once completed, train drivers and staff would be needed to operate the network.

A similar train network had been proposed for the eastern states which would connect Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne across a dedicated 1748 kilometre route.

A Beyond Zero Emissions report detailed a high-speed rail network that would be faster, cheaper and cleaner than air travel.

Trains would move faster than 250 kilometres an hour and allow people to travel from Sydney to Melbourne in two hours and 44 minutes, and Sydney to Brisbane in two hours and 37 minutes.

The design envisages a network powered by 100per cent renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from regional travel by 150million tonnes of carbon dioxide over 40 years.

A rail system in South Australia could stabilise and strengthen regional development by allowing people in regional cities to commute to Adelaide for work.

The report anticipated that the network would make living in regional areas more attractive and in turn alleviate pressure on house prices in capital cities.

Internationally, high speed rail is contributing positively to national economies and urban and regional development.

Mrs Suganya said the train network could also assist in road safety and ease the number of people needing to be on the roads.

“What’s been happening with the road fatalities, this could be a solution,” Mrs Suganya said.

Mrs Suganya said it would also connect a wider portion of the community with services in Adelaide such as elderly people with health care and specialist treatment who may not be able to afford to fly or are unable to drive the distance.

It would also provide alternative travel for community members to go on holidays or visit family and friends in Adelaide or along the route.

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Hawks finish regular season with 70-point victory

STRONG BOOT: Jared Isaac prepares to launch a kick downfield for the Big River Hawks. Photo: MARYANNE LEWISTHE Big River Hawks finished their regular season with a strong win against the St Marys Saints at TIO Stadium No. 2 on February 14 by notching up a 70-point buffer on the scoreboard.

With the Hawks resting a few regular players with one eye on this week’s finals campaign, Isaac Bell took on the role of captain for the week, won the toss and chose to run with the breeze in the first quarter.

The Hawks dominated the clearances right from the first bounce, and the glut of possession amounted to a 6.4 (40) start, while the Saints failed to bother the scorer in the first stanza.

Caleb Clyden was at his mercurial best, reading the taps, winning the ball in space and at pace, and then using his laser-like left boot to penetrate deep into the forward line, if not between the big sticks himself.

With several regular starting players sitting on the bench to begin the game, this was a really positive sign for the team as the younger, less experienced players were able to show their ability against capable opposition.

The second quarter started like a switch had been flicked and the two teams had swapped jerseys at quarter-time.

The Saints came out and kicked the first four goals straight, with their tall ruckman punching the ball long and straight down the middle from the centre bounce.

The flow required coach Andy Bilske to orchestrate Kurtley Silver loose in the backline to stem the onslaught.

Silver was able to use his great leap, speed and amazing recovery and reflexes to turn the tide and rebound the ball out of the defensive half.

This, along with shifting Paddy Kossack into a role up front as a leading forward, resulted in the Hawks responding with two goals to the Saints’ solitary major to finish off the first half.

The Hawks led by 24 points at half-time.

It was still a pensive half-time breather with the Saints very much back in the game.

The third quarter resulted in the switch being flicked again, as the Hawks regained total control to pile on another six majors for the period.

With Sylvester Wurramara having a breakout game across centre halfback and in the ruck, and the consistent, indefatigable efforts of Bell, Jess Buderick, Wewak Ross and Lyndon Gumbula, the young men in brown and yellow steamed home.

The team in green was unable to add to its three-quarter time tally in the final period, despite having the breeze at their backs, and the Hawks added a further two goals to round out the match.

The clash was a terrific tune-up for the team ahead of the upcoming finals series, with hopes high within the club.

The Hawks will battle the Darwin Buffaloes at TIO Stadium No. 2 on February 21 in the NTFL under-18 qualifying final, with the victors securing the chance to take on the minor premiers the following week for a shot at the grand final.

The first bounce is at 1.15pm.

BIG RIVER HAWKS 16.10 (106) defeated ST MARYS SAINTS 6.0 (36)

Big River Hawks

Goal kickers: C. Clyden 5, F. Hall 4, P. Kossack 2, D. Turner, J. Braun, J. Buderick, J. Isaac, M. Sampson 1

Best players: I. Bell, S. Wurramara, K. Silver, P. Kossack, C. Clyden, J. Buderick

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Council backs road beyond Nerriga

Shoalhaven City Council endorsed the ‘Beyond Nerriga Route Options Report’ at Tuesday’s Ordinary Council Meeting.

The report recommends South East Australia Transport Strategy (SEATS) and the five adjoining council areas lobby federal and state governments for funding to upgrade the Nerriga to Tarago route to B-double standard. The project is estimated to cost $250 million.

The report, undertaken by consultancy firm, GHD and project managed by (SEATS), also recommends the Main Road 92 upgrade between Nerriga and Braidwood remain a SEATS priority project.

Owner of Soilco in Shoalhaven company owner Tony Emery also supports the move to upgrade Nerriga Road.

Mr Emery’s company carries product to markets in the Monaro and Riverina and further west.

He said Kangaroo Valley, Cambewarra and Barrengarry mountains were hard on trucks and drivers.

“Just the fuel efficiency of a top gear run up the escarpment to Nerriga will be a great benefit to maintaining freight costs,” Mr Emery said.

“The road network across the Tablelands is a reasonably good standard for a regional road.

“As soon as Oallen Ford Bridge is upgraded, Soilco will definitely be using the road more often,” he said.

Shoalhaven City Mayor, Joanna Gash said the GHD report highlighted the concerns of local motorists saying it was imperative that the area continued to lobby for a high standard freight corridor to the west of Nowra.

“Shoalhaven City Council has had a longstanding commitment to assisting local industry in the moving of freight across the escarpment,” Cr Gash said.

“To haul a B-double truck from Nowra to south of Yass means adding an additional 100 kilometres to the trip by having to travel via Mount Ousley and Picton Road.

“This additional mileage results in an extra 90 minute travel time on the original journey through heavily populated areas.

“The alternate via Nerriga and Tarago will cut more than 120 minutes off that journey providing huge economic benefit to the local area.”

Shoalhaven City Council’s decision to ‘endorse’ as a priority Beyond Nerriga route options that have poor benefit cost ratios and cost over $250 million, will compete with efforts to fund Berry to Bomaderry Princes Highway duplication according to councillor Andrew Guile.

“This is only a win for politics over good policy,” said Cr Guile who has been lobbying Council to back calls for federal funding for Berry to Bomaderry.

“The Mayor had been working the phones to report several Shoalhaven businesses who would benefit from Beyond Nerriga routes. Yet if you perform the same exercise for the completion of the Princes Highway; the list would have taken all night to read out. It is this failure to put our local economy’s road funding priorities into a proper context that will confound decision makers.

“Repeated calls for even more funding from the NSW Government shows no appreciation of the investment they have already made with around $1 billion of State roads funding either spent or committed to the region over the last four years. Not one federal government cent has gone to the Princes Highway projects.

“The Member for Kiama, Minister for Roads and the NSW Treasurer have all been up front with us on future options saying it is time for the federal government to make a contribution for the final stage.

“We should be concentrating our lobbying and advocacy efforts on backing these calls rather than throwing another expensive ‘ask’ into the mix. We haven’t even called on the federal Member to support this cause while she is instead focusing on replacing the old Shoalhaven River Bridge which is a state government asset that they are obliged to replace when it reaches the end of its life.

“With work on the Berry bypass due to complete and no funding commitment for the final stage, we are in danger of having our major piece of economic infrastructure unfinished. While Main Road 92 is also unfinished, surely it is clear which project will derive the most benefits to our region. Incremental investments by councils to improve Beyond Nerriga will eventually draw more traffic volumes that will justify its completion,” Cr Guile said.

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Police officer enters guilty plea to drink driving charge

A POLICE officer haspleaded guilty to drink drivingafter she wasstopped for a randombreath test in Walcha latelast year.

Tarra Ann Murray, asenior constable attachedto Oxley police, waspulled over by fellowofficers while she wasoff-duty about 8.25pm onDecember 21, 2014.

Murray was stopped bypolice in Commercial Lnin Walcha and failed aroadside breath testbefore she was taken to anearby police station.

According to courtfacts, Murray laterrecorded a blood alcoholreading of 0.062.

The legal blood alcohollimit to drive is 0.050.

Following an internalinvestigation, the37-year-old was chargedwith low-range PCA.

Murray did not appearin Walcha Local Courtyesterday when her casewas mentioned for thefirst time but pleadedguilty.

A Tamworth solicitor submitted the writtenplea on her behalf, askingher client be excused andrequesting the case to betransferred to Tamworthfor sentencing.

But Magistrate KarenStafford refused theapplication and told thecourt the case should beheard in Walcha wherethe offence wascommitted.

The court heardMurray was a policeofficer in the Walchasector, attached to Oxleypolice.

Magistrate Stafford hasordered Murray to returnto court in April to besentenced.

NSW police haveconfirmed the officer issuspended from dutieswith pay.

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Kirkconnell Correctional Centre will reopenVIDEO

REOPENING: Member for Bathurst Paul Toole at Kirkconnell Correctional Centre on Tuesday morning. KIRKCONNELL Correctional Centre will reopen within months, less than four years after it was controversially shut by the NSW Government.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole yesterday confirmed the Government would spend $4 million upgrading the centre before it is reopened to house up to 260 minimum security inmates in 13 accommodation units.

The jail’s closure in 2011 cost 20 corrections staff their jobs and sparked loud protests across the Bathurst and Lithgow regions.

But Mr Toole would not be drawn yesterday on whether the decision to shut Kirkconnell was a mistake.

“Prisoner numbers were lower in 2011,” he said.

He said at the time the Government gave an assurance that Kirkconnell would be reopened if the prison population was to increase, and it had honoured that promise.

The correctional centre and grounds have been maintained since the closure.

“I’m pleased to see mylobbying of government ministers about getting Kirkconnell reopened has paid off,” Mr Toole said.

He said when Kirkconnell closed, 12 staff took up voluntary redundancies and 40 accepted positions at other jails, including Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon.

Now 60 corrections jobs ranging from manager to administrative personnel will be available prior to the jail becoming fully operational by the end of June.

VIDEO: Listen to Mr Toole talkabout the reopening ofKirkconnell Correctional Centre

Mr Toole said it would be up to management to determine if this will include former staff of the Kirkconnell Correctional Centre.

Bathurst Correctional Centre general manager Bill Fittler, who will oversee operations at Kirkconnell, said he expected there to be a lot of interest in working at the jail.

“We will certainly have a big pool of people to draw from. It’s a great place to work,” he said.

“I think this is fantastic news.

“There is a real need for these additional beds as the number of inmates increases across NSW.”

Mr Fittler said upgrading work at Kirkconnell would be carried out by a combination of contractors and inmates.

He said up to 60 inmates would be relocated to the correctional centre over the next two weeks for this purpose.

Mr Fittler said there would be a strong focus on education and vocational training at Kirkconnell.

In addition, inmates will be exploring industry involvement, most likely the forestry industry.

“We will also return to doing community work with the people in Yetholme,” he said.

Attorney General Brad Hazzard said recent legislative changes and active policing had resulted in an increase in the prison population.

It meant the NSW Government had to take additional measures to house inmates.

He said the reopening of Kirkconnell Correctional Centre followed staged expansions at centres including Long Bay and Lithgow, where 635 beds were added over the past year.

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