Koroit Scouts wear ambassador honour with pride

KOROIT’S Jimmy Smith and actor Shane Jacobson share a common bond in helping modernise Scouting and inspiring a revival in the movement, which began in 1908.
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Scout Bree Billing, 13, and Mahogany Rover Crew member Jimmy Smith, 23, were presented with scarves by Victoria’s new Chief Scout, actor Shane Jacobson. 150216LP74 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Both started as juniors learning the traditional skills of tying knots, camping and community volunteering before progressing through to leadership.

The 23-year-old Koroit tradesman was among several hundred Scouting leaders on Sunday who received an ambassador’s scarf from Jacobson, who is Victoria’s new Chief Scout.

Bree Billing, 13,of Koroit was also honoured as an ambassador.

Jacobson, who stars in a soon-to-be-released movie centred around Warrnambool’s penguin population, was in the movement for 18 years and credits it as shaping his acting career.

Mr Smith began as a boy in Cubs, progressing through until he was 15 before taking a break and returning at 19 to take on leadership and mentoring roles in the district and higher levels.

“I wanted to put back into the movement because I got so much out of it when I was younger,” he said.

“Scouting gets kids out and about away from the TV and computers.

“You learn a lot about leadership, helping people, self-reliance and resilience. It’s learning by doing. Getting out and having a go.”

On Sunday more than 8000 Victorian Scouts were involved in a world-first game, following SMS clues on their mobile phones and taking selfies at new street art.

Among the leaders was Warrnambool’s Peter Newell who started as a junior and is now regional commissioner.

“Scouting continues to exist because it remains contemporary and moves with the times,” he said.

“It’s not about tying knots — it’s about the bigger picture of learning to lead and team spirit.

“In the past the chief Scout was always the governor, but now that’s changed with Shane Jacobson being given that role and the governor becoming patron.

“In the UK they’ve got Bear Grylls as chief Scout.”

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It’s our right to know where food is grown

Libby BinghamA BIG fat raspberry award goes to the federal government.
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No matter what free trade agreements are signed the produce allowed into this country should be checked and country of origin labels should clearly state where cheap imports come from.

An informed consumer can then decide what to purchase with eyes wide open.

Some eyes have popped open after a hepatitis A health scare has been linked to mixed frozen berries from China and Chile that were processed in Shandong, China, and imported to Australia sold under a popular label here.

The case illustrates how little people realise about where food comes from.

It raises the stakes on the risks associated with cheaper imports from countries where the farm practices may not be as strict as here.

It highlights valid concerns about Australia’s food security because more food than ever is sold that comes from overseas.

Local farmers warned a long time ago and told Australians if we don’t begin to support local food producers there won’t be any left.

This reporter was shocked 10 years ago when Sassafras farmer Ian Young talked of some farm practices he’d seen overseas that involved sewage on paddocks where food was grown.

It compared to Australia where compliance to strict regulations in the agriculture and food sector are required.

Australian farm input costs sky rocketed compared to the cheap farm labour and production costs in developing countries.

Supermarkets want to source the cheapest produce to put in supermarket branded goods which have taken up a lot of the shelf space where some other trusted labels used to be.

Until it was no longer possible to compete.

Farmers that used to have their own labels or supply local labels have to grow for generic labels for lower returns while the supermarkets increase margins.

Even when shoppers try to check food labels the country of origin is often not listed or the label is confusing to read.

The recalled Nanna’s Berries and Creative Gourmet label were being sold across Australia.

Forth farmer Mike Badock said a large number of Australians would probably have mistakenly assumed the berries were local.

Consumers felt stunned that with a great berry industry right here on the doorstep Australians were eating imported berries and local berries were left to go to waste.

To buy fresh local berries is not the problem but Australians won’t find local berries in the supermarket freezer because those markets have gone to cheap imports.

Australians took for granted the imported food is safe because surely it is tested for things like fecal content?

Not so.

High-risk foods imported to Australia are tested but all other foods are “surveillance foods” and only five per cent is tested for diseases.

The peak body of vegetable farmers Ausveg said it puts Australians at risk.

Meantime the Food and Grocery Council and some government spokespeople said the system worked because the food was recalled quickly and the outbreak was traceable.

Australian consumers might not agree with that but with more free trade agreements with other countries the food contamination outbreaks are likely going to rise.

If that’s globalisation, call me a fair-dinkum parochial local.

Especially when you call me for dinner.

Berries from Turners Beach, Moriarty, Christmas Hills or Barrington cost more but it’s the price we pay to support our local food industry.

After Simplot, Coles and Woolworths labelled frozen vegetable lines Australian grown the market response blew expectations.

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Wind farm health saga a ‘distraction’

ARGUMENTS about possible links between wind farms and sickness were sidetracking focus on more pressing health issues, according to a lobby group organiser.
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Following Monday night’s public presentation of a special acoustics report based on the Cape Bridgewater wind farm, the south-west spokeswoman for Australian Wind Alliance Angela McFeeters said there was little support for those who claimed turbines cause health issues.

“For the wider community it’s not seen as a big issue,” she said.

“We need to look at this in a broader context.

“There are more identified health conditions than the wind issue.”

An estimated 170 people turned out to hear acoustics expert Steve Cooper present his report which was commissioned by Pacific Hydro which operates the Cape Bridgewater wind farm.

It identified a trend between sensations reported by six residents and low-level infrasound when turbines were operating, but did not find they affected human health.

Mr Cooper and Pacific Hydro said the study identified that further work was required to withstand scientific scrutiny.

The National Health and Medical Research Council has also said research has not shown a clear link between wind farms and health issues, but has said further research was warranted.

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Break-in won’t beat business

from left, Salad Sofa co-owners Damian Campbell and Paige Midson. for Aryelle Sargent’s story on break in
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AN UNFORTUNATE break-in turned into a cheap advertising opportunity for Devonport business, the Salad Sofa.

On Sunday night, business owner Paige Midson was woken by a phone call telling her someone had thrown a rock through her business door and stolen $70.

But rather than let it get her down, Miss Midson took a photo of the damage and posted it on Facebook, alongside a quirky post.

“Obviously we were devastated and absolutely heartbroken; we put our heart and soul into it only to be broken into,” Miss Midson said.

“Instead of being negative and angry about it we saw it as a cheap way to advertise.”

The post referred to those who broke in as impatient “fans” who couldn’t wait for their “fresh, healthy wrap, salad or juice”.

The post went on to remind patrons of their opening hours and encouraged those who had yet to try the Salad Sofa, to “see why people are literally breaking the law to experience Salad Sofa”.

“Our post showed the organic reach and had been reached by 3000 people already and shared by 15 people,” Miss Midson said.

“That is huge for us, and we have had people stop by and see how we are.

“It’s been really good for business more than anything,” Miss Midson said.

The incident was a message to other businesses, Miss Midson said, to stay positive.

“It hasn’t just happened to us, it’s happening every night to other businesses,” she said.

“Just make sure cash isn’t kept on the premises.”

The Salad Sofa has only been in Devonport since November last year.

Devonport CIB is investigating, anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Tasmania Police on 131 444.

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Sacrifices commemorated

ENTERTAINMENT: Compton Primary School students performed a play for guests on Saturday night.SACRIFICES Australian soldiers made a century ago were commemorated at the Gallipoli Ball on the weekend.
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The ball was held as part of the centenary celebrations in the lead-up to the 100th anniversary of landing of Anzac troops at Gallipoli during World War I.

More than 150 people packed the Mount Gambier Community RSL for the event on Saturday night, helping to raise money for a memorial flame to be installed at Vansittart Park.

The envisioned flame, encased in a red poppy structure, will commemorate Australia’s past, present and future diggers.

It will also be an important symbol during the honouring of Remembrance Day on November 11 and the 100th anniversary of the landing of Anzac troops at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.

Mount Gambier RSL president Bob Sandow said the organisation was awaiting approval from the council for the installation of the commemorative structure.

The ball started with a presentation of eight young girls as mini-debutantes from Margaret Cleves School of Dancing and their boy partners to special guest Major Leigh Newton.

Major Newton was second in charge of the Royal South Australia Regiment 10/27 Battalion from 2009 to 2011 and again in 2012.

He was also a soldier and non-commissioned officer.

The debutantes curtseyed and partners bowed to Major Newton as a sign of respect for his involvement in the Australian Army.

Compton Primary School students and singing groups Essence of Mayfair and Pheonix Choir entertained the crowd.

The Royal South Australian Regiment Band from Adelaide performed throughout the evening, keeping the dance floor active as they transformed from a military to a big band and then a rock act.

More than 20 Navy, Air Force and Army cadets also helped on the night clearing dishes and helping guests to their seats.

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.

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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.”

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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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