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.

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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.

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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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Canned fruit often safer: food expert

Cannedfruit is often safer than the frozen variety according to University of NSW Associate Professor Julian Cox, an expert in food microbiology.
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“The heat treatment used to make canned products shelf stable in ambient temperatures is much more than sufficient to kill micro-organisms including bacteria and viruses,” he said.

“Such products would have to be severely under processed to allow for survival or be subject to post process contamination – that’s contamination after the heating process.

“For this to happen the sealing of the cans would have to be imperfect and the water used to cool the can after heating would have to be contaminated.

“The likelihood of either happening in the modern canning process is very rare, and for both to occur would be extremely rare.”

The freezing process alone, however, may not be sufficient to destroy bacteria like salmonella or viruses like Hepatitis A.

Professor Cox said a lot of frozen vegetables such as peas underwent heat treatment before being frozen to retain the colour and consistency, which helped kill any nasties.

Most fruit, he suggested, would not undergo that treatment before freezing.

“If fresh fruit contaminated with Hepatitis A is simply frozen without any additional treatment to help eliminate bad bacteria or viruses then it’s not surprising that the virus survives as freezing is not necessarily a destructive process,” he said.

“Freezing might see a slow decrease in the micro-organism population over time but the problem with a virus is that it can be infectious at really low levels. Just one or a few viral particles in the food would make it hazardous.”

Professor Cox said Australian grown fruit would undergo more stringent controls than overseas, so was the best option. However, maintaining good food hygiene was still vital.

“It’s important to wash all your fruit and veg as the chlorine in our tap water helps destroy any harmful bacteria or viruses,” he said.

Professor Cox said keeping raw and processed foods separate, and keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold was also important.

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Donation plea

PLEA FOR SUPPORT: Fernanda Ikeda has called on the community to support the children who survived a horrific car accident which killed their parents and baby sister. Picture: ANELIA BLACKIEA HEARTFELT plea has been made for financial help for a Congolese family that will take two orphaned children in their care after a horrific car crash claimed the lives of their parents on the weekend.
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A seven-year-old boy and his three-year-old sister were the only survivors when the vehicle they were travelling in crashed into a tree on the Casterton-Penola Road on Sunday morning.

Majaliwa Kizumba, 39, his wife and six-month-old baby girl died, leaving the remaining children behind.

The family fled a troubled life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2013 for a safer future.

The two orphaned children’s aunt and uncle, who live in Mount Gambier, have offered to raise the surviving siblings.

Grief-stricken by the tragedy, Limestone Coast Migrant Resource Centre manager Fernanda Ikeda yesterday pleaded with the community to donate money towards the couple, who will now struggle to make ends meet.

“We have been told that we need around $15,000 to bring the bodies to Mount Gambier and for the funeral,” Ms Ikeda said.

Majaliwa died in the Mount Gambier Hospital after the accident, but the bodies of his wife and baby were taken to Melbourne after they died at the scene.

The surviving children were discharged from a Melbourne hospital yesterday and brought back to Mount Gambier by relatives.

It is understood the accident occurred on the three-year-old’s birthday on the way to Mount Gambier.

The family returned from the Melbourne airport after spending time in Queensland.

Struggling to find work in the Limestone Coast, Majaliwa worked in Toowoomba pushing trolleys at a supermarket for a few weeks to earn money for his young family.

Ms Ikeda said the Congolese community and Mount Gambier North School – where the surviving children are students – have come together to organise a memorial service in Mount Gambier.

It is not yet known when or where the service will be held, but it will be a fundraising event for the family.

Meanwhile, a bank account has been opened by the Migrant Resource Centre of South Australia as a charitable organisation.

“The couple has two young children of their own to raise and the man only has a casual job as a kitchen hand,” Ms Ikeda said.

“Any donation towards the funeral and to help them raise the children will be welcome – even if someone has a full-time job for the dad, that would help a lot.

“The funeral expenses will have to be taken care of first and then we can look at helping the family with their expenses raising the children.

“The money will go directly to the family to help with their expenses.”

Ms Ikeda called on the community to only donate money and not flowers, food, clothes or toys.

She said the children’s aunt and uncle already faced the daunting task of bringing the belongings of two households together.

“They and Majaliwa each had a house filled with furniture, clothes and other belongings and it will be hard enough to sort through it,” she said.

“They have everything.

“All they need is money to raise the two children.”

The Migrant Resource Centre of South Australia (MRCSA) welcomes community donations towards the surviving children of Majaliwa Kizumba and his wife.

The MRCSA is a charitable organisation and will provide a tax receipt for donations of $50.

Cheques can be made out to “Victor’s Family” and mailed to the Limestone Coast Migrant Resource Centre at 13 Eleanor Street, Mount Gambier.

Electronic donations can be made to:

Victor’s Family

BSB: 085 005

Account number: 564209985

Account name: MRCSA Operations A/C

Derrinallum Market to Mount fun run to be reviewed by organisers

ORGANISERS of Derrinallum’s Market to Mount fun run will review the event in coming weeks in a bid to lift participant numbers.
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Clinton Hall is on top of the world as he crosses the finish line in record time to win the 5km Market to Mount fun run at Derrinallum.

A field of 44 tackled either the five-kilometre or eight-kilometre events from Derrinallum Recreation Reserve to the top of Mount Elephant on Sunday.

Mailors Flat runner Sam Edney won the 8km event, clocking 35 minutes, 26 seconds to beat Daniel Nicholson (36.32) and Darren Evans (43.19).

Phoebe Morrison was the female winner in 41.22. She finished ahead of Chelsey Smith (48.34) and Bree McPhee (49.15).

Warrnambool’s Clinton Hall set a new record of 20.14 in the 5km. Katherine Hall was the first female home in 29.02.

Event committee member Kate Deppeler said the field was down on the 67 who took part in 2014. About 80 contested the inaugural event in 2013.

“I would like to think that it’d grow and I was really hoping we’d match last year’s numbers,” she said.

“I still think it’s a good event and the runners who won were positive in their feedback.

“They thought it was good we gave medals to first, second and third in each event. We gave out great prizes.

“The feedback is always good but it’s about getting a few more on the track.”

The 8km course took runners from the recreation reserve through Derrinallum to O’Donnells Road, where they turned left.

A right-hand turn up Heards Road allowed them to connect with Leslie’s Track, which goes around the base of the mountain.

The 5km competitors ran from the recreation reserve directly to the mountain entrance. The two courses connected at the start of the ascent.

“I’d like to see it go on. The 8km was a popular event. We’d been asked to have a longer edition for the run, that’s why we included that,” Deppeler said.

“We ran around the base of the mount, around Leslie’s Track. That gives the runners who prefer the longer distance something extra.”

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Hampden pre-season to open with South v North

SOUTH Warrnambool and North Warrnambool Eagles will open the Hampden football league’s revamped pre-season competition next month.
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The sides will play two 20-minute quarters in the first match on March 28 with the Eagles, who are likely to unveil prized recruit Dylan Parish, then playing rival Camperdown.

League chief executive officer Mike Farrow yesterday released the draw for what is now its season launch.

Instead of a lightning premiership-style event with prizemoney for two finalists, all clubs play two matches consisting of two 20-minute quarters, with a five-minute break in between.

All participating clubs, except host South Warrnambool, play their matches back-to-back, separated by a 10-minute break.

No prizemoney will be on offer, with the league using the matches to generate interest before the April 18 season opening.

With eight of the league’s 10 clubs participating, each will be eligible for a $500 distribution from major sponsor Boag’s, should they run a day during the season where only beverages from Boag’s distributor Lion are stocked at their bar.

Warrnambool and Terang Mortlake, which have pre-existing practice match commitments, will not feature in the football matches.

The changes mean a night-time season’s launch is no longer needed.

The Friendly Societies’ Park will host the football matches and a netball pre-season cup competition. The netball draw is yet to be finalised.

The football draw is:

9.30am: South Warrnambool v North Warrnambool Eagles; 10.25: North Warrnambool Eagles v Camperdown; 11.20am: Camperdown v Hamilton Kangaroos; 12.15pm: Hamilton Kangaroos v Koroit; 1.10pm: Koroit v Portland; 2.05pm: Portland v Cobden; 3pm: Cobden v Port Fairy; 3.55pm: Port Fairy v South Warrnambool.

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Doust takes Dragons brand global via WCS

RUGBY LEAGUE
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Peter Doust

St GeorgeIllawarra chief executive Peter Doust believes the World Club Series is a chance for the Dragons to develop their brand internationally, while helping to create a new competition to increase the value of the NRL’s next broadcasting deal.

After 15 consecutive seasons as a stand-alone fixture between the NRL and Super League premiers and 39 years since the concept was first conceived, the World Club Challenge has been expanded to include three teams from each hemisphere in the first move towards a Champions League-type tournament.

However, only Super League is represented by its top-three finishing clubs as 11th-placed St George Illawarra and eighth-placed Brisbane joined premiers South Sydney in offering to play in the inaugural World Club Series to ensure the competition started.

Eventually it is intended that the World Club Series will feature the top three NRL teams against the top three Super League teams but to ensure the initial success of the tournament organisers wanted it to involve the game’s biggest name clubs and invited Souths and the Broncos.

St George Illawarra became the third NRL team after the Rabbitohs won the grand final.

Britain’s Rugby Football League has suspended the third round of Super League fixtures this weekend to ensure the focus is on the matches between St Helens and Souths, Wigan and Brisbane, and Warrington and the Dragons.

Each of the three NRL clubs has been guaranteed a payment for their participation, but Doust said the financial rewards from the WCS were potentially a lot greater.

“For some time now I have had the view that developing an opportunity to position club brands internationally would be a worthwhile strategy,” Doust said.

“Some of the reasons that make it worthwhile include increasing the inventory of club-based rugby league content for future revenue growth from broadcasting and digital rights, increasing the status of club brands, testing opportunities for growth in non-ticketed membership and merchandise outside of Australia, improving relationships with Super League teams and the benchmarking of best practices.”

While the Dragons have a German-based supporters club, they are a long way behind Collingwood, who have specially tailored international membership packages worth about $100 per season.

Since moving games to ANZ Stadium last season, St George Illawarra have successfully started targeting fans in western Sydney to become members and Doust said the WCS was an opportunity for the club to do the same in the UK.

The 2011 World Club Challenge was a successful venture for St George Illawarra after Doust secured guarantees that ensured the Dragons were not exposed to any financial risks and when grand finalists Canterbury showed no interest, the joint venture jumped at the chance to become the third NRL clubs.

“When the invitations for Australian clubs were extended to Brisbane and Souths, we thought there may be a need for a ‘first reserve’ if one of those teams were to become premiers, so we expressed interest and were invited,” Doust said.

“We believe the strength of the Dragons brand could have diminished the financial risk for the promoters of the series.”

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