Planning for the future

ELECTROLUX workers are being encouraged to seek financial advice now about their future options and not wait until their jobs are terminated.
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Orange Credit Union corporate services manager Gavin Cook said staff at the financial institution, which was established by Email workers, would do everything they could to provide financial advice for workers, even though Electrolux employees now only make up a small percentage of its customer base.

“We now have 16,000 members so our base is quite diverse and although we don’t have all the employees as our clients, we do have a percentage and we are willing to help,” Mr Cook said.

“It is important that people start to make a plan now, including those people who have worked at the plant for 40 years and may get a significant redundancy.

“For us it is business as usual, but of course our heritage is as the Email Credit Union.”

Mr Cook said it was impossible to comment on how the loss of jobs at the Orange plant in 2015 and 2016 would impact on individual clients.

“That is a complex and individual issue with so many different factors taken into consideration,” he said.

“But overall our aim, goal and objective is to get people to contact us now, so planning can start.”

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START PLANNING NOW: Orange Credit Union corporate services manager Gavin Cook encourages Electrolux workers to seek financial advice. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1028gavincook

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Bushfire fight far from over

BATHURST residents woke once again this morningto find a thick, smoky haze blanketing the city.
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And while the immediate threat from the State Mine Fire near Lithgow has eased, and many firefighters are taking a well-earned rest, some crews still remain on the battlefront, concentrating their efforts on mopping up the fire edge.

“Most of the ground crews have finished up and there are only a few local crews patrolling around Hartley Vale,” Superintendent Tom Shirt from the Chifley/Lithgow Rural Fire Service said.

“But there is still plenty of fire activity in the Wollemi National Park and we have 42 remote area firefighters in the Marrangaroo fire camp. These are specialists who are continuing to work with helicopter crews.

“And the smoke that enveloped Bathurst yesterday morning came from the northern end of the Grose Valley. An overnight easterly whipped it up and pushed it this way.”

Supt Shirt was glowing in his praise of the Chifley strike team personnel who manned five tankers, saying they were invaluable in protecting life and property during the last few weeks.

“The crews from Chifley area are back at home after more than a week of working day and night,” he said. “The effort from those crews was absolutely fantastic.”

The State Mine Fire, which destroyed thousands of hectares in the Lithgow, Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains areas, has been downgraded to a watch and act alert – but that still may change, Supt Shirt said.

“Conditions are not horrendous, like last week,” he said.

“But it is still inhospitable country, that’s why we need the remote area specialists.

“We are now working to ‘lock in’ the fire. Strategic back-burning continues as we try to reinforce containment lines.”

And with precious little rain on the horizon and summer yet to come, Supt Shirt was keen to reinforce the warnings that have been issued in the past few weeks, because fears remain that the worst is yet to come.

He said homeowners need to be prepared for the fire season.

NOT OVER YET: Strategic back-burning continues in the Blue Mountains.

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Work to do on the region’s job losses

NEITHER federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane nor our local parliamentarians have had any success in saving the jobs of some 540 Electrolux employees but there remains a crucial role for them to play in the months ahead.
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As the thinking behind the parent company’s decision is revealed it is becoming clear that Orange has been out of its global game plan for some time and not even management in Orange knew of the production hurdle which had to be cleared to keep the gates open.

It is hardly surprising then that Electrolux at a national and international level had no interest in heeding Mr Macfarlane’s call to delay its decision until a federal assistance proposal had been put together.

Today will be the first of many meetings between local MPs at a federal and state level, council staff and bureaucrats who could help put a support package in place for affected workers and the local economy.

NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham may be a little premature in lashing Prime Minister Abbott and Premier O’Farrell for not getting involved but no one should doubt his passion.

The Greens spokesman on regional development is right to focus the community’s attention on the level of support a city like Geelong is getting to help it over the closure of the Ford plant, or the response in the Illawarra to Bluescope Steel ceasing steel production. Tens of millions of dollars are being made available in these cases.

These were big job losses too, but in terms of the impact on the local economies the scale of the impact on Orange and the region is in the same league.

Canberra and Macquarie Street need to remember that it is not just Orange which will feel the blow. Simplot’s downsizing in Bathurst and mine closures in Lithgow point to a regional problem which demands a substantial state and national response.

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Valuable partnership has Tigers well placed

Ben Howarth only made 8 for Colts as his side collapsed to be all out for 123 against Rugby. Photo: Kathryn O’SullivanCRICKET
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A 113-run partnership between Yogi Chawla and Don Skinner has Newtown well placed after day one of their Pinnington Cup clash with South Dubbo at Lady Cutler 4.

Coming together with the score at 4-67 Chawla and Skinner put on the century stand in 33 overs to have Newtown at 8-218 at stumps.

Chawla top-scored with 85 while Skinner made 40 as the Tigers batted all day, with the plan of a first innings victory next week now at the forefront of their minds.

After winning the toss the Tigers started slowly with Mike and Marty Jeffrey both falling before the score was 20 as the Hornets opted to open the bowling with the spin of Nathan Astri.

The game was evenly poised at 4-67 after 24 overs but Chawla and Skinner took the game away from the Tigers.

Elliot Carlin was the next best and remains 16 not out while the wickets were shared for Newtown with Latham Craig the pick with 2-23 from 7.

Jack Busch (2-42), Andrew Cusack (1-19), Josh Smith (1-30) and Astri (1-44) were the other wicket-takers.

o o o

Macquarie will fancy their chances of a comfortable first innings victory next week after outclassing CYMS Cougars on day one of their clash at John McGrath 1.

Batting first, the Cougars struggled to put any meaningful partnerships together and suffered a late innings collapse to be all out for just 98, with Vinay Kapila taking 4-11 from 10 overs.

CYMS started in a solid fashion, with Warren Dodd Jr and Alex Bonham both getting starts before falling for 21 and 19 respectively.

From there Kapila, assisted well by Shane Dupille (2-17) and Ben Page (2-31), ran through the Cougars line-up with the last seven wickets falling for just 27 runs. In reply Luke Patis and Ed Haylock put together a patient and well-made 55 runs in the final 25 overs as the Cougars bowlers failed to make a breakthrough before stumps and now face an uphill battle to avoid their second straight defeat.

Patis (21 not out) and Haylock (26 not out) will return to the crease next week with a further 44 runs needed for first innings points.

o o o

A late innings collapse from the RSL-Colts line-up will give Rugby hope leading into next week but things still hang in the balance after the first day of their match at No 3 Oval.

Colts were set for a big total with the score at 2-87 but a collapse of 8-36 saw them all out for 123 with Rugby at 3-63 at stumps.

After winning the toss and batting, Colts started well with openers Lyndon Whitney (29) and Adam Baraclough (27) setting a solid platform but when Glenn Shepherd removed Whitney and Jakke Gardiner it signalled a stream of wickets with Blake Watmore the chief destroyer of the middle order, finishing with 4-12 from six overs.

Shepherd finished with 2-29 while Bart Goodman, Al Horrocks and Garry Goodman were the other wicket-takers.

Rugby batted for the final 24 overs of the day and find themselves 3-65 at stumps.

Dale Watmore (6) and Ross Horrocks (0) will be mindful of the way the Colts innings ended when they return to the crease next week in search of first innings points.

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Motbey’s five-wicket haul sets up Hornet’s win

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Motbey finished with the impressive figures of 5-10 from six overs for the defending third grade premiers as Newtown were bowled out for just 61.

The Hornets chased down their target with minimal fuss and Motbey was there at the end to finish with 6 not out in a memorable day.

After winning the toss and batting, Newtown made it to 27 without loss before Matt Wakely removed Brian McKinnonn and when Motbey had last week’s century-maker, Craig Pettit, caught for 12 it wasn’t long before the innings was all over.

Motbey was the by far the best with the ball while Wakely, Henry Railz, Scott Dwarte and John Byrne each picked up one scalp.

Henry Railz top-scored in reply, making just 13, but it was enough as the Newtown Gold bowlers toiled hard and took five wickets despite defending such a low total.

Tom Barber took 3-15 while Craig Edenborough was unplayable, bowling a great spell to finish with the figures of 2-0 from 4.2 overs but it was all in vain as Souths cruised to a five-wicket win.

o o o

It was Macquarie who came out on top at John McGrath 2 on Saturday in a thrilling match with Rugby.

Set 119 for victory the Blues overcame the late loss of 4-19 to win by two wickets.

Batting first Rugby had a number of batsmen make starts but no one went on to make a big score with Wayne Munro the best with 32.

Brad Hart (3-12) and James Hughes (3-29) were the best with the ball for the Blues who were in trouble early in reply when they found themselves at 2-20.

But a 44-run partnership between Dave Murray and Bharath Ramakrishnappa got their side back on track and despite the mini-collapse the Blues batsmen did enough to get their side home.

o o o

An unbeaten 66 to opening batsman Zeke Spradbrow guided CYMS to a seven wicket victory over Rugby Youth Development (YD) at Bob Dowling 4.

Lachlan Harper’s 59 helped the young Rugby side to the competitive total of 6-153 from their 40 overs but Spradbrow’s innings, which included 10 boundaries, set the tone for the Cougars as they chased down the total with five overs to spare.

The Cougars bowlers shared the six Rugby wickets as Harper was assisted by Grant Berryman (37) and H Fairall to set the total but Spradbrow, Mark Hawke (32) and Brodie Parkinson (20) all combined to seal the Cougars’ second win of the season.

o o o

In the Colts derby at Lady Cutler South 1, it was the YD side who had a dominant victory, defeating their clubmates by 74 runs.

Garry Ashford blasted six fours and five sixes as he top scored for Colts YD with 88 and his innings set-up the victory and then Michael Parish sealed it with 5-38 from eight overs.

Parish was the second top-scorer behind Ashford, hitting 21 not out late in the innings, but the damage had already been done as the number three’s powerful innings demoralised the Colts’ bowlers.

Ben Bruce top scored for Colts with 29 in their innings but it was no where near enough as Parish took the first four wickets inside 10 overs to give the youngsters bragging rites until they next meet.

o o o

No score given for Newtown Black v South Dubbo Hornets YD

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Milestone total as Phantoms take down Yanco Hotel

LDCA A grade cricket
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PHANTOMS posted the highest score of their short A grade tenure to secure a 39-run win over Yanco Hotel at Yanco Sportsground on Saturday.

Led by a patient half-century by Ryan Thurgood (51), Phantoms were bowled out on the last over of the innings to finish on 151.

However, it was Paul Werner’s eight-over spell in the second innings that ripped the heart out of Hotel’s chase for glory as he took five consecutive middle-order wickets for 27 runs to shut down any fightback.

Thurgood was the constant for Phantoms, featuring in seven partnerships. Greg Halloran (18) proved a valuable partner, as did Richard Keith (10) and Adam Hopkins (12).

Lusty late hitting by David Haksins (18) ensured the competitive total was reached.

All six Hotel bowlers took wickets, with Mark Doyle (2-15) having the best return.

Mark Burns, Brandon Emerson and Luke Pygram also took two each, with singles to Rick Harrison and Jordan Camm.

The run chase was a tense affair, with Hotel always in with a chance even as wickets fell.

Opener Doyle (62) was the danger man, accumulating runs in classic style, dispatching the bad ball to the boundary and pushing for ones and twos.

After losing Emerson early, Doyle put on 41 with Jordan Camm (9) and 24 with Luke Pygram (11), but in the end was running out of partners after Werner’s dipping medium pace cut through the middle like a hot knife.

The return of Adam Hopkins (3-24) with the breeze signalled the end for Doyle, nicking behind while trying to keep pace with the run rate required as he watched partners going back to the sheds.

Steve Weckert chipped in with 2-21 as Hotel lost 5-12 to end its innings on 112.

PHANTOMS opener Ryan Thurgood posted a half-century to help his side to a win over Yanco Hotel.

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Tom Dascombe yard stablehand breaches quarantine rules at Werribee

A stablehand has been sent home to England after a Saturday night breach of the strict quarantine protocols at the Werribee centre that houses the international runners for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
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The stablehand from the Tom Dascombe yard was looking after Brown Panther – owned by former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and England football star Michael Owen. Fairfax Media understands the stablehand made a visit to the quarantine centre on Saturday night, and might have jumped the fence to get in and out. It is understood he was stopped by security in the carpark as he was getting into his car to leave.

The centre is owned and run by Racing Victoria but it must adhere to strict Department of Agriculture protocols put in place to protect Australian livestock. These include procedures for washing in and out of the centre.

Racing Victoria international recruitment officer Leigh Jordon consulted government officials and the horse’s trainer before it was determined the stablehand should be told to leave.

“We can confirm that one of the stable staff with Brown Panther breached quarantine on Saturday night at the TAB Werribee International Horse Centre when he entered and left the stables without following the necessary protocols around showering and the changing of clothes,” Jordon said.

“Following consultation with DAFF and the horse’s trainer it has been determined that the staff member will return home to England, whilst another remains to oversee the horse’s preparation.

“DAFF are satisfied with the immediate action taken by our quarantine supervisors in ensuring that the staff member was subsequently showered and his clothes detained before leaving the racetrack.

“This incident has had no impact on the quarantine status of horses in the Newminster Stable at the TAB Werribee International Horse Centre, and there is absolutely no suggestion of foul play. Brown Panther has not and will not miss any work as a result of this incident, and no other horses have been impacted in any manner.”

The stablehand would have been aware of the requirements of working at the Werribee centre because all people with access have to undertake a course on the procedures and protocols. Jordon said the quarantine status of other runners had not been affected. The stablehand would have had to have subsequently made contact with Australian horses for there to be a problem.

Brown Panther’s trainer Tom Dascombe will fly to Australia in coming days to oversee the final preparations of Brown Panther, and would make only a brief statement on Monday night.

“I don’t know anything about it yet, I’m afraid, but obviously I will be looking in to it,” Dascombe said. “I’m coming out to Australia myself so when I do I will be able to know more about it.”

Brown Panther has a very good record in Europe, winning seven of his 16 starts and running second to Masked Marvel in the 2011 English St Leger and third in the Irish St Leger last year.

It has long been a goal of Owen’s to get him to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup, and he comes after winning the Lister Castle at Pontefract and the Goodwood Cup over two miles in August.

He disappointed when only running fifth after leading at his last start in the listed race over 1986m at Goodwood on September 25.

Meanwhile, this year’s Irish St Leger winner, Voleuse de Coeurs, will have its first serious hit-out since arriving in Australia at Werribee on Tuesday morning. Mike Moroney’s $1.7 million purchase will be ridden by her Melbourne Cup jockey, James McDonald.

”We really don’t know much about her yet but it’ll be good to get James on her back and get some feedback,” Moroney said. ”Of all the horses I’ve ever travelled, she has settled the best. She has put on weight and is looking great.”

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Newcastle friends in sea plane crash 

AS the ultralight plane he was a passenger in was just seconds away from crashing into Bass Strait, off Tasmania’s north-east coast, Joel Nelson called his father in Newcastle to say goodbye.
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Police say the Belmont resident and his friend Shayd Hector, who is from Tingira Heights, were lucky to survive the serious crash.

The two 23-year-old friends were beginning a trip home to Newcastle when the engine of Shayd’s ultralight plane stopped working.

They crashed into the sea just after 3pm. A personal locator beacon they were carrying notified emergency services, who launched a major search.

The beacon helped an Australian Search and Rescue helicopter pinpoint the location of the friends, who were plucked from the water just after 5pm in the Waterhouse Island area, north of Bridport.

They were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia after floating in the freezing water on life raft devices they had taken with them as a safety precaution.

“We just were pretty lucky I guess, we’re here alive, we thought we might not have made it there for a while,” Shayd told ABC news following the rescue. “We’ve put a plane down safe, we’re alive and we’ve lived to tell the story I guess.”

Joel’s father Tony said he had feared the worst when his son called him and said: “The plane’s about to crash, this is pretty serious”.

“I was actually on the phone to him when he crashed; it was pretty horrific,” he said.

“He told me what was happening and then all you heard was noise and I couldn’t get back on to him, I kept trying to call him back.

“I didn’t know he was OK for two hours – it was a big relief.’’

Shayd was flying his plane back to Newcastle after living in Tasmania for a few years, where he flew regularly. His father, Stephen, said his son was an experienced and responsible pilot who took safety very seriously.

“Someone was saying he made the perfect crash after the engine cut out,” he said.

“I take my hat off to the people involved in the rescue operation, they did an amazing job.

“He had just been up visiting us for a couple of weeks and he was flying the plane here because he was moving back home.”

Freedom Flight chief flying instructor Eugene Reid gave Shayd flying lessons during his time in Tasmania. From his 30 years working in the area Mr Reid said he’d never heard of anyone surviving a crash into Bass Strait before.

“To my knowledge they are the first to survive a crash into Bass Strait,” he said. “Shayd went to the trouble of taking all the safety precautions and this would have made a huge difference.”

LUCKY: Joel Nelson. Images: ABC-TV

Pop newbie Dami wins X-Factor

Overwhelming favourite Dami Im was crowned the fifth winner of The X-Factor on Monday night after near-flawless grand final performances the previous night.
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In the final act of a glitzy two-hour finale on Monday, Queenslander Im, 24, was named X-Factor champion, after 24 hours of public voting. Im placed her hand over her mouth and sank to her knees when the result was announced by host Luke Jacobz CORRECT. Momentarily unable to get up, she recovered, thanking God and said she wanted to use the win to “help daggy losers like me”.

Redfoo, one of the show’s judge’s said Im was “too good” and another, Natalie Bassingthwaite, said “no matter what you do it’s flawless”.

Victoria’s Taylor Henderson, 20, came second and NSW’s Jai Waetford, just 14, was third.

While Waetford and especially Henderson were affected by nerves at the business end of the competition, on Sunday night the polished Im stamped her authority on the show she’d been tipped to win by most pundits. She sang a powerhouse version of Jennifer Hudson’s And I Am Telling You, Mariah Carey’s Hero and the song written as her “winner’s single”, Alive.

Henderson, 20, forgot his lyrics on Sunday in one of his three songs, Damien Rice’s Blowers’ Daughter while Waetford, 14, became the first ever finalist to sing an original song and was solid. But he messed up mid-song the previous week.

The public voted after Sunday’s show.

Im’s win is the latest chapter in an inspiring journey. Her family settled in Brisbane from South Korea when she was just nine and Im, who taught herself to sing by copying her pop idols, admitted she had been teased over her accent when she first arrived in Australia and still suffers from severe shyness.

Im was even sent home early in the X-Factor series after forgetting the words during a ‘boot camp’ performance, but was brought back after another contestant quit.

Now many industry experts give her a fighting chance of becoming the first Asian-Australian pop superstar and going on to a long-term career, a rare thing for reality talent show winners. While most previous reality show winner’s singles have topped the iTunes and ARIA singles charts, most have faded quickly from the spotlight.

Im is also the second woman in a row to win the show, after Samantha Jade in 2012.

The finale also featured live songs by two major American pop acts (current ARIA singles chart-topper, Katy Perry, and rock band Fallout Boy), a joint song by the three finalists and another by the most successful Australian reality show winner, Guy Sebastian. Im also repeated one of her best performances, her cover of Prince’s Purple Rain.

OVATION: Dami Im wowed the judges in the final of The X-Factor 2013

Stockton Bight 4WD access rage

Stockton Bight closures may be permanent
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Stockton Beach disappearing

Tin City in danger: video, gallery

THE Hunter’s 5000-strong four-wheel-drive community is on a collision course with the state government over access to the region’s natural playgrounds, including Stockton Beach, Barrington Tops and the Watagans.

The politically savvy collective is demanding increased access to hundreds of hectares of dunes and bush that have been declared off-limits.

A draft plan for Stockton Bight that could overhaul camping arrangements and limit four-wheel-drivers to about 350hectares of the 4200-hectare zone was released on Saturday.

High-profile 4WD activist John Rooth, who led a 48-kilometre convoy of 4WDs across the Hunter in February, and the NSW Shooters and Fishers Party have thrown their weight behind the Hunter campaign.

The push coincides with the launch of the national Unlock Australia campaign and the rise to prominence of the Motoring Enthusiast Party.

But the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which manages the areas on behalf of the state government, believes it is striking the right balance with the size of the no-go zones, which it says are necessary to promote conservation and safety.

Hunter 4WD enthusiast Justin Madden said recreational drivers like him had been unfairly targeted by government departments seeking to appease conservationists.

‘‘We are as concerned as anyone about the environment; our code of ethics talks about the importance of looking after the environment because we are dependent on it,’’ he said.

‘‘We are not a bunch of yahoos; most 4WD owners just want to take their family out for the day.’’

Access to the Stockton beach sand dunes north of Lavis Lane, which includes an area used for a sandmine and hundreds of Aboriginal shell middens, is a particular sore point for the 4WD lobby.

It is also the site of a camping ground that has been off-limits due to massive tidal inundation that occurred during storms in mid-2012.

Mr Madden argued the area was needlessly locked up.

“Show us an environmental impact statement that says the area is still damaged,” he said.

“They won’t let anyone drive on it, but at the same time there is a sandmine that is taking thousands of tonnes of sand away from the beach. What causes more damage?”

February’s Hunter 4WD rally attracted an estimated 5000 vehicles from as far away as Queensland who descended on Newcastle to demand greater access to recreational areas.

The protesters formed a convoy that stretched from Stockton to Cessnock, where it was forced to disband.

Mr Rooth, who is based in Queensland, would not rule out another Hunter-based rally.

‘‘It’s a disgusting situation where the people, taxpayers, the poor buggers who work hard all week and want to duck out for a fish on the weekend, are being shoved to the bottom of the pile with everybody else’s rights put above theirs,’’ he said.

NSW Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Brown told the Herald the party acknowledged the need to protect the environment but said 4WD access should be allowed.

“We certainly support conservation but you don’t achieve it by locking up great tracts of land for no good reason,” he said.

“I’ve been in touch with 4WD clubs in the Hunter for more than 20 years. Many of them are involved in maintenance and track work programs to make sure these places stay open.”

A National Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman said 4WD vehicles were welcome at Stockton, the Barrington Tops and the Watagans.

At Stockton, there was over 22kilometres of beach driving available to the public and over 350 hectares of sand driving available in the recreational vehicle area.

Barrington Tops had about 60 kilometres of 4WD trails accessible to the public.

“Most of these have seasonal closures, due to public safety and potentially severe trail and environmental damage, generally during winter,” the spokesman said.

‘‘Of the nine camping and 17 day-use areas in Barrington Tops National Park, there are a number of highly attractive facilities accessed only via 4WD,” he added.

About 170 kilometres of 4WD trails were accessible to the public at the Watagans.

“Gates throughout the Watagans are a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of all our park visitors,’’ the NPWS spokesman said.

He said the gates were only closed when absolutely necessary, generally during road works or after periods of heavy rain.

The Herald reported yesterday details of the Worimi Conservation Lands draft plan to protect Stockton Bight.

Citing ecological damage and delicate Aboriginal artefacts, the plan would make storm closures introduced last June permanent.

Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Andrew Smith encouraged all users to comment on the plan of management.

‘‘The plan will give the community an opportunity to get an understanding of how the Worimi Conservation Lands board is thinking,’’ he said.

‘‘The board will be able to look at those comments and work out a balance for all users.’’

The Worimi Conservation Lands draft management plan is open to submissions until February 17.

DAY OUT: Justin Madden at Lavis Lane with fellow four-wheel-drivers.


■Driving is allowed on the beachfront between the Sygna shipwreck and the Gan Gan road access, and in the recreational vehicle area. Driving across the frontal dune is permitted only on designated crossings.

■Camping will be allowed only at designated sites. A maximum of 30 camping sites may be provided behind the frontal dune between Tin City and the south-western end of the conservation area.

Obeid faces more allegations

CORRUPT former Labor minister Eddie Obeid used two senior bureaucrats to make decisions enriching his family’s secret business ventures by millions of dollars.
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Mr Obeid, former NSW Maritime chief executive Steve Dunn and former Department of Water and Energy director-general Mark Duffy are being investigated for corruption in a three-part probe by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

All three men face potential criminal charges if found to have acted corruptly, counsel assisting the ICAC, Ian Temby, QC, said in his opening address.

The commission is examining the Obeids’ interests in retail leases at Circular Quay, water licences covering their family farm in rural NSW and consultancy business Direct Health Solutions.

Mr Temby said the inquiries, codenamed Operation Cyrus, Cabot, and Meeka, spanned more than a decade and involved three government departments and four former Labor ministers.

Former waterways ministers Carl Scully, Michael Costa, Eric Roozendaal and Joe Tripodi will be called to give evidence in Operation Cyrus about Mr Obeid’s alleged attempts to lobby them to renew two retail leases at Circular Quay, for the Sorrentino Restaurant and Quay Eatery, without going to tender.

A NSW government plan to put the leases up for competitive tender was postponed by Mr Costa in August 2005, days after then Premier Bob Carr announced his resignation.

In January 2009, when Mr Tripodi was waterways minister, an Obeid-controlled company was given new five-year leases with the option to extend for another five years. The value of that right was estimated in 2001 to be at least $1million per lease.

‘‘Each of the ministers will say he did not know of the Obeid family interests in Circular Quay,’’ Mr Temby said.

The inquiry heard Mr Dunn was director of fisheries when Mr Obeid was the minister, and ‘‘the two men remained in contact thereafter’’.

Mr Dunn was appointed the chief executive of NSW Maritime in March 2008 and expressed a ‘‘specific interest’’ in the Circular Quay leases.

Mr Temby said the inquiry would consider if Mr Dunn played a role in the change to the government’s commercial lease policy to allow the leases to be awarded without a competitive tender ‘‘and if he did anything at the behest of Mr Edward Obeid’’.

Mr Dunn will also be called to give evidence in Operation Cabot, which is probing whether Mr Obeid lobbied bureaucrats in 2008 about lucrative water licences over his family’s rural property, Cherrydale Park.

The Bylong Valley property was at the heart of a previous inquiry by the ICAC, Operation Jasper, which found Mr Obeid and his political ally, former NSW Labor mining minister Ian Macdonald, corruptly agreed in 2008 to create a lucrative coal tenement over the farm in 2008.

Mr Costa will re-emerge in Operation Meeka, which probes the former Labor government’s dealings with Direct Health Solutions, a consultancy that was owned by an Obeid family company when it wrote to Mr Costa in August 2005 seeking a meeting to promote its services.

Mr Costa is expected to tell the ICAC he was unaware of the Obeids’ interest in the firm.


Masur shoulder ends prospect of Kyrgios duel

It’s the match Canberra has been waiting for, a match between a favourite son and an emerging star. The Master versus the Apprentice. Wally Masur v Nick Kyrgios.
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A showdown in the Asia-Pacific Tennis League had ACT tennis fans salivating.

But alas, it’s not going to happen.

Former world No. 8 Masur had put his name down to play for the Stanmore Wyverns, who play Canberra Velocity at North Woden on November 16, setting up the chance he’d face Kyrgios in an all-Canberra match-up.

But an injured shoulder has ruled Masur out of even the shortened format of the ATL.

Instead, 18-year-old Kyrgios could face Sandon Stolle – the 1998 US Open doubles champion.

Several former professionals have put their names down to help increase the profile of the ATL, which has been designed to give Australia’s emerging talent something to play in during the typically quiet November.

Australia Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter will play in the Queensland section.

The Velocity women, who finished sixth last summer, will face stiff opposition, with Casey Dellacqua playing for the Wyverns women.

”I had grand plans to maybe play a little bit, but I found out very quickly my shoulder’s not up to it,” Masur said. ”I’m 50, I think it’s a hangover from being 50.”

Ranked 180 in the world, Kyrgios has been struggling with an elbow injury recently, but hopes to be fit to make his Australian Open debut this summer.

He beat Radek Stepanek in his first French Open outing mid-year and also qualified for the US Open.

The former Daramalan student then made his Davis Cup debut, helping Australia back into the main group after six years in the wilderness.

Masur said there’s only one way to avoid an outbreak of second-year syndrome: hard work.

He pointed to world No.1 Rafael Nadal as the perfect example.

”If you look at ‘Rafa’ and these guys and how good they are, they just keep adding another brick to the wall, they just keep working hard to get better, and Nick’s no different,” he said.

”Nick’s had a great year and learnt a lot, and to consolidate it’s just another year of hard work.”

The Velocity men will be Kyrgios, Jake Eames, James Frawley, Alun Jones and Todd Larkham, while the women are Alison Bai, Nicole Hoynaski, Tyra Calderwood, Ashley Keir and Annabel Parolo.

ASIA-PACIFIC TENNIS LEAGUEDraw for Canberra teamsMen: Canberra Velocity v Sydney Uni Lions at Newington College, Friday November 8, 4pm; Canberra Velocity v Stanmore Wyverns at North Woden, Saturday  November 16, 2pm; Canberra Velocity v Macquarie Uni Warriors at North Woden, Sunday November 17, 2pm; Next Gen Rebels v Canberra Velocity at Talus St, Sydney, Saturday November 23, 5pm.Women: Canberra Velocity v Stanmore Wyverns at Sydney University, Wednesday November 6, 11.30am; Canberra Velocity v City Lizards at North Woden, Saturday November 16, 2pm; Canberra Velocity v Sydney Uni Lions at North Woden, Sunday November 17, 2pm; NSTA Angels v Canberra Velocity at Talus St, Sydney, Saturday November 23, 5pm.

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Hair-brained critics offer stars free advice

“If it’s not collagen then please use a new make-up artist”: Criticism sent to Sky presenter Jacinta Tynan. Photo: Ellis ParrinderThe face matters, as does the decolletage, although the critic will generally deploy a far less polite term when referring to it. Body weight is obviously crucial, as is the choice of the presenter’s clothes. But for women on television, it seems, it’s mostly about the hair.
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In what looked almost like a lady-conspiracy but was more probably a zeitgeisty coincidence, two high-profile television journalists, the ABC’s Annabel Crabb and Channel Nine’s Lisa Wilkinson, spoke out over the weekend about the abuse they cop for their appearances, whenever they dare to commit an act of journalism on television using their actual faces and bodies as vessels for communication.

Despite being two of the nation’s most likeable and intelligent female journos, they are beset by abusive tweets, reader emails, and quaintly, even some letters, about how they look like old boilers/tarts/boilers-dressed-as-tarts/would-be tarts/tarts who have had make-up inexpertly applied to their tarty faces/just stupid.

They are not alone, of course. It happens to all women who appear on TV, and many of the men, too, although the comments tend not to be so acutely focused on their looks. Drum presenter and Sydney Morning Herald columnist Julia Baird has a whole category of comment she summarises neatly as ”creepy sexual stuff”.

Sky news journalist Jacinta Tynan magnetises criticism over her hair, thought by forthcoming viewers to be either too big, too frizzy or fake. During her two pregnancies, Tynan was consistently accused of having Botox on her face or collagen in her lips. Tynan wrote back to one correspondent telling her she had not had either.

”If it’s not collagen then please use a new make-up artist,” the viewer rejoined, seemingly without shame.

Are these women, as some of the reader comments on Crabb’s piece have suggested, simply participating in their own oppression by gussying up for television? Couldn’t they just refuse to wear make-up, or wear the minimal make-up their male colleagues do? Baird notes the former prime minister recently revealed she had her make-up professionally done every morning when she held that office.

”It’s just par for the course and if you do it, you don’t have to think about it, and it prevents a whole other level of criticism,” Baird says. ”It’s part of the job you accept.”

Sky News presenter and host Helen Dalley, who has been on television since the mid-1980s, says she ”gave up a long time ago reading or listening to it all”.

She points out that the make-up gender double-standard applies everywhere, not just on television. But it is women on television who cop the most abuse.

What to do about this nasty aspect of the social media age? As with praise, perhaps it is best to accept criticism only from people you respect. And it’s difficult to respect an anonymous person with a Twitter account and the world-view of a sexually confused Talibani.

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Uni floats cloning to save rare species

THE University of Newcastle is proposing a $40million program to use genetic technology to clone and reproduce native wildlife under threat of extinction.
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The project could be used to save threatened frogs, birds, freshwater fish, marsupials and other vertebrates.

The university expects to learn by Christmas if a bid to the federal government to fund the program over eight years is successful.

Bid director Professor John Rodger said the funding would allow the Wildlife Biodiversity Co-operative Research Centre to be established.

It would be a consortium of 40 institutions, including universities, zoos and state agencies, which the University of Newcastle would lead.

‘‘If successful, Newcastle will be heading the major concentration of research in this area in Australia,’’ Professor Rodger said.

He said the project aimed to develop ‘‘breakthrough technology to generate offspring from stored genomes for use in frog breeding and reintroduction programs’’.

One target is the southern corroboree frog – Australia’s most critically endangered frog – of which fewer than 100 remain in the wild.

Other frogs to be targeted could include the booroolong frog and green and golden bell frog in the Hunter.

Dr John Clulow, a University of Newcastle lecturer in the school of environmental and life sciences, said the university had developed procedures using IVF technology and sperm-freezing techniques to conserve endangered frogs.

Technology the university had developed could be used in combination with cloning to generate animals, Dr Clulow said.

‘‘We’ve developed freezing technology to store embryonic cells and that’s a move forward. Then you need a way to turn those back into frogs and linking it up with cloning is the way to do it.’’

Other plans involve working with Tasmanian devils, black cockatoos in Western Australia and a range of kangaroos.

Professor Rodger said the disease that decimated the endangered Tasmanian devil ‘‘came out of left field’’.

‘‘Generally we find out too late if a species has a problem and we haven’t saved the resources,’’ he said.

The program would store sperm, eggs and other genomic resources, so ‘‘when crises occur we’re in a far better position to respond’’.

It would select species with ‘‘the best genes’’ for storage and reproduction, Professor Rodger said.

The program also aimed to reintroduce species from areas where the species’ populations were normal to depleted areas to rebuild ecosystems.

Dr Clulow said it would be like seed banks for plant conservation.

‘‘If populations collapse or go extinct in the wild, we’d have a source of material to prevent their complete extinction,’’ he said.

This technique would be much stronger than breeding in captivity, he said.

AT RISK: The Southern corroboree frog.

Vidmar says Rogic must earn a start

Australian Joeys coach Tony Vidmar believes Tom Rogic may be forced to leave Scottish giant Celtic to increase his chances of playing a bigger role with the Socceroos at next year’s World Cup.
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The 20-year-old Canberra product has had limited game time with the Hoops and was an unusued substitute in Celtic’s 2-1 Scottish Premier League win over Partick Thistle on Sunday night.

Rogic could be one of a batch of talented youngsters to benefit from the appointment of new national coach Ange Postecoglou.

While the attacking midfielder was capped seven times under Holger Osieck, Rogic could play a more substantial role during Postecoglou’s five-year tenure. However, it will be tough for Postecoglou to throw Rogic into the mix while he is sitting on the bench.

Vidmar said Rogic faced a difficult decision the longer he struggled to make the first team.

”He hasn’t had much game time and it’d be frustrating for him,” Vidmar said.

”It’s up to Ange to see if he’s going to throw him in there.

”Do you need to be playing regularly for your club as a prerequisite or is Ange going to go with the best players irrespective of game time?”

Vidmar is based in Canberra as the head coach of the AIS program as well as the Australian under-17s team, the Joeys. The former Socceroo is well versed in the quality of the Scottish Premier League having made 104 appearances for Celtic’s cross-town rival, Glasgow Rangers.

The central defender was 27 when he moved to Rangers and had a decade of experience as a professional after becoming a regular in the Socceroos and having a stint in Holland with NAC Breda.

”When you’re an established player you’ve got a good chance of getting into the first team, but Tom’s at an age where he’s still developing,” Vidmar said.

”Is it the right environment where he can develop? I don’t know.

”We’ll know in the next few years.”

Postecoglou isn’t afraid to tap more experienced players on the shoulder and opt for youth as he did in instigating a clearout at Brisbane Roar.

Veterans such as Craig Moore and Danny Tiatto left the club as Postecoglou guided the Roar to back-to-back A-League championships.

Vidmar believed the timing was right for an Australian to be in charge of the national team and hoped it paved the way for other young coaches, such as himself, to possibly be considered for the role in the future.

”It gives us young coaches the belief that one day we can continue,” Vidmar said.

”Ange is there for five years and does he stay there longer or does he have a career overseas?

”During that period of time, it gives us young coaches the belief that if Ange is there then I can become the national team coach.

”We’re at a stage where we should have an Australian coach taking the Australian team.”

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South Africa to sentence 20 extremists for Nelson Mandela death plot

A South African court began sentencing on Monday 20 right-wing extremists convicted of high treason for a plot to kill Nelson Mandela and drive blacks out of the country.
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The “Boeremag” organisation had planned a right-wing coup in 2002 to overthrow the post-apartheid government.

The trial lasted almost a decade until the organisation’s members were convicted in August last year, the first guilty verdicts for treason since the end of apartheid in 1994.

“The accused had aimed to overthrow the government through unconstitutional methods that included violence,” said High Court judge Eben Jordaan as he began the two-day sentencing hearing.

“They planned a violent attack against people of colour that would certainly be followed by retaliation attacks against whites as a result,” Jordaan said at the hearing taking place in the same Pretoria courtroom where Mandela was convicted of treason in 1964.

One woman died and dozens of people were injured in blasts that shook the Johannesburg township of Soweto in October 2002.

All 20 accused were convicted of treason, but only five of murder and the plot to kill Nobel peace laureate Mandela, South Africa’s first black president.

The state is seeking life sentences for the group’s leaders and bomb specialists, and 10 to 15 years in prison for the other defendants.

South Africa does not have the death sentence.

“We are hoping for a good conviction,” said Paul Ramoloka, spokesman for specialist police unit the Hawks, who investigated the plot.

Security was tight around the courtroom, with police carrying out body searches of the public.

The Boeremag, Afrikaans for “Boer Force”, a reference to the descendants of the first Dutch colonisers, had planned to sow chaos through bomb blasts then take over military bases, replace the government with white military rule and chase all blacks and Indians from the country.

Far-right organisation the Boer Republicans bussed in its members to support the defendants during sentencing.

“I support them 100 percent because their plan was right,” the group’s leader Piet Rudolph told AFP.

“Our people are being oppressed, we are servants, and people should revolt against that.”

The sentences are expected to be handed down on Tuesday.


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