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King of the track in country karting series round at Portland

PORTLAND go-kart driver Scott King was the dominant figure during round one of the Victorian Country Series.
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King claimed wins in two classes on his home track, clubman heavy and TAG heavy, in the series opener at Portland go-kart track on Sunday.

He led home a Portland trifecta in clubman heavy. Brad Anderson was runner-up, while Daniel Rethus took third spot.

But success was harder to come by for other south-west drivers, with Geelong, Melbourne and South Australian raiders taking the honours.

Hamilton’s Andrew Hayes won TAG restricted super heavy, while Horsham-based Portland member Ashley Lear took out TAG light.

Portland District Karting Club president Neville Tapscott said 165 drivers raced at the meeting, a figure the club was rapt with.

“We were really pleased with that and the weather was good,” he said.

“We started our qualifying at 8am and we were all done and dusted by 4.05pm. We had a really good run.”

Tapscott said the addition of qualifying to the schedule — a Karting Australia directive introduced this year — did not drag out the meeting.

“It won’t for the rounds we’ve got significant daylight or we’re not likely to have weather problems,” he said.

“If we have a wet day, the racing is a lot slower, potentially there will be time restraints around qualifying.

“It wasn’t an issue for our round and it’s not likely to be a problem for the Wimmera, but rounds during the year that are short on daylight, it could be an issue.

“Portland was a lesson to see how we went time-wise. We did have a red flag (for a crash). We lost a bit of time there.

“But in the scheme of things, we shouldn’t be too bad, weather-dependent, as far as time goes.”

Other winners on Sunday included South Australian Tyler Craig in cadet 12s and Melbourne’s Cody Donald in junior national heavy.

Melbourne’s Nicholas Wortley made it a double for the Eastern Lions Kart Club with victory in TAG restricted heavy.

Geelong members Will Harper and Brayden Flood enjoyed success in cadet 9 and TAG restricted light respectively.

South Australians Max Vidau, in junior clubman, and Jack Hutchins, in junior national light, rounded out the winners’ list.

The Victorian Country Series continues with round two at Horsham on April 11 and 12, hosted by Wimmera Kart Club.

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Water restrictions downgraded in Cloncurry

BEATING THE HEAT: Pilot Alison Shaw and her dogs Skittles and Louie play at Chinaman Creek Dam on Tuesday afternoon.CLONCURRY Shire Council hasdowngraded its level 4 restrictions to level1.
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In Tuesday’s council meeting, MayorAndrew Daniels supported the downgradeof the water restriction, which came intoeffect immediately.

Cr Keith Douglas seconded the motionand said it was “absolutely tremendous”residents could use more water.

Chief executive officer David Neeves saidthe high level of dams, a newly constructedweir and the “perfectly” functioning watertreatment plant werewhy the item wasbrought to the council table.

Mr Neeves said Cloncurry’s daily waterconsumption was 1.5 megalitres lastmonth, the lowest it had been in January for‘‘a long time”.

“The daily consumption has continued todecrease since we put that new [water]plant in,” Mr Neeves said.

Deputy Mayor Bob McDonald drylyreferred to the differences in Mount Isa andCloncurry’s water consumption.

Mount Isa increased its waterconsumption earlier this month, resultingin a shortage of filtered water.

Mount Isa was placed on level 4 waterrestrictions this month, but although it hadthe same number as Cloncurry’s recentrestriction, the Mount Isa City Council hastaken different measures to cut waterincluding a ban on sprinklers.

* ‘‘Odds and evens’’ sprinkling between5am and 9am, and 6pm and 10pm.

* Even property numbers can water onTuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

* Oddproperty numbers can water onWednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Nosprinklers or unattended hoses permittedon Mondays.

Under the water restrictions policy:

• Fountains and water ornaments canonly operate if they recycle water.

• Washing privately owned cars, boatsand other vehicles is permitted.

• Water must not be used to clean pavedor concreted areas, except for health andsafety reasons.

Non-compliance with these restrictionsmay incur a $220 infringement notice.

“Any properties using bore water or rainwater are exempt from these restrictions,” Cr McDonald said.

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Stars align with 49 entries for Australian Speedcar Championship at Premier Speedway

THREE Americans and the defending champion head entries for next week’s Australian Speedcar title at Allansford’s Premier Speedway.
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At the close of nominations, 49 drivers from five states and two countries are confirmed starters for the event — the first time the national speedcar title has been run at the track in 74 years. Defending champion, Adam Clarke, of Newcastle,, will lead the Australian charge across two nights of racing.

He has won each of the five state titles on offer in Australia plus the national crown, making him the man to beat.

But Premier Speedway general manager David Mills said Americans Jerry Coons jnr, Alex Bright and Tyler Thomas were class drivers, all capable of taking the title back to the United States.

Mills is delighted with 49 entries but revealed they could grow further, with a couple of car owners yet to nominate drivers.

“We are still hopeful a couple of international competitors who are finalising their arrangements might be coming,” he said.

“It has got the potential to grow in the next week.”

Mills said the depth in the field was good.

“We are rapt with the numbers,” he said. “We were looking for 40 to 50. To get 50 is great.

“It’s always a class where numbers fluctuate but they are having a bit of a resurgence.

“There is probably a bit of curiosity (in coming to Premier Speedway) because they have never run the title here before.

“There might be a bit of romance of wanting to be in the first one here, it might just be because there are more cars or it might be because of the geographic location.

“It might be a number of things that the stars have aligned.”

The number of cars won’t change the intended format. The opening night of the title, February 27, will include three rounds of four heats and a preliminary feature.

The following night there will be one round of heats, a pole shootout, C, B and A mains.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Payback time for Warrington coach

Warrington coach Tony Smith hasn’t forgotten the “Bash a Pom” mindset of the Dragons. Picture: GETTY IMAGESRUGBY LEAGUE
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Warrington coach Tony Smith has ensured a fiery World Club Series clash with St George Illawarra after accusing the Dragons of trying to “bash a Pom” during an opposed session last year.

Adding further intrigue to Friday’s clash at Halliwell Jones Stadium is the fact that Smith rejected approaches for the Dragons coaching job now occupied by Paul McGregor.

The Wolves held training sessions with Sydney clubs during a pre-season visit last year, but felt they weren’t shown due respect when they came up against the Dragons.

Smith, who spent time at the Steelers and Dragons during his playing days, said the “feisty” sessions almost spilled over into violence.

“There was a bit of Pom bashing, if you like, that we were there as a bit of cannon fodder,” Smith said.

“There wasn’t the respect shown that we got at other places. It did borderline. It didn’t overflow into anything other than some angst towards each other, some push and shove.

“It puts an extra edge on this game, to go out there and do it in a competitive and legal way. It gives us a chance to show who the best rugby league team is between us.”

The Wolves were taken aback by the ferocity of their session against the Dragons but refused to take a backwards step.

“A lot of pressure had been on the coach from the year before because they had underperformed and they were keen to start the season strong. So they saw it as an opportunity to bash a Pom,” Smith said.

When Steve Price was sacked as Dragons coach, the club scoured the globe for potential replacements.

Smith was sounded out about the job that went to McGregor.

“A couple of years ago I considered it but after talking to my family, which has been here for near on 15 years now, we’re settled and happy,” Smith said.

“It’s not all about me and my career path. I love living here and have had a lot of satisfaction in coaching here. It’s not all about achievements and personal ambitions, it’s more about family happiness for me.”

Smith admitted it would be satisfying to get one over his former club.

“You always leave a bit of your heart behind wherever you play,” he said.

“I played for both St George and Illawarra, so there’s an affinity there with them. Of course, when you come up against one of your old clubs you want to think you can compete with them and want to get one over them as well. That’s natural.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Farmers put case forward

FRUSTRATED Liverpool Plains farmers are calling for Barnaby Joyce to use his clout and convince colleagues to block Shenhua Watermark’s coal mine.
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TAKES THE CAKE: Farmers, who came armed with placards and a coal mine-themed cake, call for federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to intervene and protect the Liverpool Plains from mining. Photo: Daniel Johns

About 40 farmers and supporters gathered outside the Agriculture Minister’s office in Tamworth yesterday morning to express their opposition to the project.

The protest’s participants, many of whom brandished placards with anti-coal slogans, knelt on the Peel St footpath outside the New England MP’s local headquarters.

While Mr Joyce was in Canberra for a Cabinet meeting, a member of his staff took receipt of a letter outlining the protesters’ concerns over the mine’s impact on groundwater resources.

Farmer Andrew Pursehouse, whose property neighbours the mine site, said the region’s unmatched fertility should not be risked for short-term economic benefits.

He said the mine, if it proceeded, would span 3520 hectares – equivalent to 4620 football fields – and reach depths of 280 metres.

“This is some of the best agricultural land in Australia and its future is producing food and fibre to this nation and the world for a long time to come,” Mr Pursehouse said.

“The concern that we have here is that this is just the start.

“There’s more coal in the Namoi Valley than in the Hunter Valley.

“And I don’t think we can be proud as a nation of what we’ve turned the Hunter Valley into.”

The federal government appears to be the last hope opponents of Shenhua’s plans to construct the $1 billion open-cut coal mine at Breeza have to stop it proceeding.

After passing all of NSW’s planning hurdles, the mine was referred to the Commonwealth to be assessed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Mr Joyce has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the development, describing the plan as an “absurdity”, but always maintained he had no powers to influence the final decision.

“Ultimately, the arguments that we put must be cogent, based on the evidence and not on emotion – we don’t have any avenues federally to block projects based on emotion,” he said in a statement.

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Regional Australia the ‘land of opportunity’

REGIONAL Australia can provide many of the solutions our nation needs when it comes to addressing the housing and services issues facing many of the larger metropolitan centres.
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A Senate inquiry into the growth and economic potential of regional capitals will uncover exactly what many already know regional Australia is a land of opportunity.

Wagga mayor Cr Rod Kendall, chairman of Regional Capitals Australia (RCA), believes there is not enough recognition of what regional Australia offers.

RCA is a an alliance of 26 regional cities in five states and the Northern Territory.

Despite its combined size and population base, there is a belief that regional areas remain largely overlooked by city politicians who have little or no understanding of what happens in regional Australia.

Deputy chairman of the Senate committee, Junee senator Bill Heffernan, believes there are massive opportunities for centres such as Wagga to grow.”

“There is no reason why Wagga in a few years can’t be 100,000 to 150,000 people,” Senator Heffernan said.

Cr Kendall made the valid point that building infrastructure for the expanding metropolitan areas was a massively expensive undertaking one that could be done for a fraction of the cost in regional areas.

While this would need some level of state and federal government support, the social and economic benefits would be significant.

One of the great barriers to the development of regional centres has been communication and transport, but these issues are being overcome.

Improved telecommunications through things such as the national broadband network albeit a cut down version means that businesses and individuals can be located in most major regional centres.

Similarly, reliable and frequent transport to and from capital cities provided by regular airline services mean the tyranny of distance no longer applies to those who choose to live and work in more isolated centres.

We need to have politicians showing vision for the future and making decisions that will improve our social and economic outcomes.

Regional Australia has a lot to offer our nation it’s just going to take a political party with the fortitude to implement the right policy decisions to capitalise on that opportunity.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Confusion leads to call for cancer care change

Lisa Hamilton says melanoma sufferers were not told of options available to them. Picture: Ryan OslandTHE Hunter Cancer Council is calling for an overhaul of cancer care in the public health system, saying too many patients are facing complex and confusing journeys when trying to access treatment.
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At present eight cancer care co-ordinators are employed across the whole of Hunter New England to manage and support people battling the disease.

Part of their roles involves working with the multi-disciplinary teams of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who develop individual treatment plans for patients.

The Cancer Council, which is campaigning for change ahead of the state election, says there are not enough co-ordinators to provide support to all of these teams.

Furthermore, Hunter Cancer Action Network chairman James Garlick said some cancer care co-ordinators had said not enough was being done to make patients aware of all services available to them.

“Poor co-ordination of cancer care and an overwhelming amount of complex information can leave cancer patients feeling distressed, confused and vulnerable during treatment,” he said.

“Existing cancer care co-ordinators report that sometimes the multi-disciplinary medical team does not meet all the patient’s needs.’’

Lisa Hamilton who runs the region’s melanoma support group said she was frustrated when attendees were advised nothing more could be done to help them – when in fact there were other treatment options available out there.

School’s all-female take on the Bard

The cast prepare for Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts. Picture: ADAM McLEANIn an ironic twist, an all-female cast will take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts’ first student-led production.
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Director Kate McGuinness and her fellow year 12 students turn history on its head by having an all-female cast, when the Shakespearean tradition let only male players tread the boards in female roles.

The play’s plot centres around the courtship of headstrong Katherina and her suitor Petruchio’s eventually successful attempts to subdue her into an obedient bride.

“We studied it in English last year and we were really interested in gender and the role of women in society,” Kate said.

“We wanted to do a play on gender and feminism, and explore the changing role of women and how we’re still fighting the same fight.”

To highlight the struggle for gender equality, the place has been adapted and re-set in 1970s’ Australia, in the Canberra surround of Parliament House.

“After Whitlam died last year, we wanted to do something in this period of change for women and how some things are still the same such as equal pay and access to education for women,” she said.

“It centres on the status of women and the general role of women in society then and now.”

The ambitious remake was entirely produced from student labour, with music students underscoring the film, student lighting technicians volunteering their time and long school holiday set-building sessions.

Drama teacher Fran Curtis said that she was proud of the students’ efforts.

“I’m very happy they felt confident to take on Shakespeare, it’s a testament to the dedication, talent and community of our students,” she said.

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‘Swampy’ calls for council eviction audience

CONTROVERSIAL chook farmer Swampy Marsh wants a community audience at his Mortlake chicken breeding shed when Moyne Shire Council officers visit on Monday to enforce an eviction order.
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He has issued an open invitation for people to inspect his operation at 99 Townsend Street.

“I’ve got nothing to hide and want the locals to come along and see what I’m doing with my business,” he said.

On Friday shire inspectors accompanied by a police officer visited the premises and found an estimated 3000 young chickens being reared.

They later issued an order for all chickens to be permanently removed by February 22.

The council said his operation breached planning regulations which prohibited intensive animal husbandry and he did not have a permit for warehousing.

It warned it would consider prosecution and enforcement action.

He has received written instruction that council officers will again seek police attendance for a further inspection Monday afternoon.

Mr Marsh told The Standard yesterday he had taken about 360 chickens from Townsend Street to his other premises at Purnim where they will mature and join his organic egg farm.

Another load of chickens was scheduled to leave last night with a further load scheduled for Sunday.

“By next week we’ll still have about 800 young birds remaining, but I won’t move them until they are old enough which will be early March,” he said.

“When the officers call on Monday afternoon I’ll have biosecurity suits for them to wear and may even offer them an egg sandwich.”

The council has said it received several complaints about noise and smell from the chicken shed and had an obligation to minimise nuisance.

Shire CEO David Madden said that last week council officers made two previous attempts to inspect the property but on each occasion had been refused entry.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

New students get taste of life at uni

O WEEK has hit top gear at the University of New England, welcoming back continuing students and helping new ones to get into the swing of campus life.
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WELCOME: New students on the lawns of Booloominbah at the University of New England.

About 1250 undergraduates are starting their on-campus studies this trimester, bringing the expected total on-campus cohort for 2015 to about 4400, including an anticipated 800 international students.

Some of the in-demand fields of study for students this year include medicine, teaching, humanities and social sciences, business, law, and natural and environmental sciences. In particular, among on-campus students there has been an increase in demand for places in agriculture and nursing this year.

UNE vice-chancellor Professor Annabelle Duncan welcomed new students on-campus, saying she was excited to see such strong numbers.

“It is always exciting to welcome a new intake of students, and this year it is wonderful to see so many new faces on campus,” she said.

“The demand for places within the UNE colleges is very high this year, with occupancy rates already above 90 per cent and a number of offers still to be accepted. These numbers are well up from 2014, bringing the total on-campus residential students to over 1500 individuals.”

Orientation Week is the first taste of uni life for commencing students, with a range of activities to get them acquainted with university life.

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