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Call to check your boat

Peter Keft is the commander of Marine Rescue NSW’s Shellharbour unit. Anyone who wants to become a volunteer with Marine Rescue NSW at Shellharbour can phone 0447 722 667. Peter Keft is the commander of Marine Rescue NSW’s Shellharbour unit. Anyone who wants to become a volunteer with Marine Rescue NSW at Shellharbour can phone 0447 722 667.
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AS summer approaches, the Shellharbour unit of Marine Rescue NSW is urging all boat owners to have their boats and motors serviced.

The warning followed the recent release of statistics in the 2013 Royal Life Saving National Drowning report which showed 82 per cent of all drowning deaths were male.

Royal Life Saving CEO Justin Scarr said the organisation would like to see less alcohol drunk on and around the water, greater use of personal floatation devices and more caution when the weather is changing.

“Men must stop and think before taking unnecessary risks when they are swimming, fishing or boating with their fathers, brothers or mates,” Mr Scarr said.

The report also showed 34 per cent of all fatal drownings last year were in regional Australia.

According to the report, inland waterways continue to account for the largest number of drowning deaths.

In the past 12 months, 99 people drowned in inland waterways.

Peter Keft, commander of Marine Rescue NSW’s Shellharbour unit, offered advice for boat users this summer.

“Make sure, when they do go out into open waters, to log on with the Marine Rescue,” he said.

“Tell them where you’re launching from, how many people [are] on board, destination, estimated time you’re coming back, and to also log off when back home.”

Mr Keft said there were some residents who flouted the rules.

He said the public were welcome to call into their base at Shellharbour to discuss concerns or for weather, safety equipment and boating updates.

“You get a lot of tourists in the holiday season and if they’re not sure, come and see people from the Marine Rescue.

“We’re there on weekends and public holidays at Shellharbour.

“The Shellharbour base building will be moved and a larger base built on the present site, hopefully before the end of the year.”

Mr Keft said boaties should double-check everything before going to sea, particularly if their vessel had been idle during winter.

“We actually have very few assists given the number of boats going to sea over the year,” Mr Keft said.

“It is still important to check all safety gear, expiry dates on flares and that batteries are fully charged and in good condition.

“[This includes a] lifejacket, two litres of fresh drinking water for each person, appropriate map or chart of the area, compass, torch and V sheet, and a marine radio and EPIRB if venturing two nautical miles or more off-shore.”

Earlier this month, Roads and Maritime Services targeted small power boat operators in a statewide safety campaign. Operation Piccolo entailed boating safety officers randomly stopping skippers of small power boats to ensure they were aware of safety requirements.

“This boating season a zero tolerance policy applies to lifejacket breaches,” Roads and Maritime Director of Maritime, Michael Wright, said.

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Smoke may be clearing but for the Zig Zag railway the agony lives on

JUST if and what degree of compensation will be worn by the commonwealth in the wake of the bushfire drama is yet to be determined but if compensation is to be paid the Zig Zag Railway should be first in line with its hand out.
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So too should those Lithgow businesses destroyed in the first 24 hours of the fire that is still menacing communities in its path almost two weeks later.

Just how many blows can the Zig Zag people take without deciding enough is enough?

It’s well over a year since the world famous tourist railway was forced to cease operations while attempting to meet requirements of government regulators.

While the members have battled to get back on track they have had constant setbacks from looters who have been stealing all manner of metal fittings from the rolling stock and ancillary fittings to sell to scrap metal dealers.

It has been a relentless onslaught.

Then there were the flood rains of early this year that led to further very costly problems including land slips.

The setbacks have been relentless.

And now the bushfires have swept through, wiping out rolling stock and infrastructure including a major workshop.

These are setbacks that would cripple the most successful of tourism operators anywhere.

The loss at Zig Zag is likely to be in millions and without help this could be the final knockout blow — the fire coming as it did within days of an optimistic forecast that passenger runs may be resumed by the end of the year.

The Zig Zag Railway was not the only major victim.

To read what Zig Zag needs desperatelyhead to the front page of today’s Lithgow Mercury.

NEAR MISS: It was clearly a close shave for the historic signal box at Zig Zag Railway’s Bottom Points. Other infrastructure was not so lucky. Readerpic lm102813zigzag2

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Alectown blaze extinguished quickly

Rural fireservices from a number of different areas responded to a grass fire on aproperty near Alectown late this morning.
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Seven RFStrucks from Parkes, Peak Hill, Alectown and Bogan Gate, as well as localfire fighting units rushed to the scene aftera fire ignited in a barley crop being stripped by two headers.

Firefightersquickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble.

Fortunatelyit was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Photos: Barbara Reeves

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before it had burnt out about 30 acres of stubble. Fortunately it was stopped only metres before it reached scrub adjacent to the paddock.

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

Tuna industry launches website

AGREEMENT SIGNED: Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) executive director Patrick Hone, Senator Richard Colbeck and Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association (ASBTIA) chief executive officer Brian Jeffriess renew an agreement between ASBTIA and FRDC at the Seafood Directions Conference in Port Lincoln yesterday.THE local southern bluefin tuna industry re-signed an agreement with the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) worth more than $2.5 million that will ensure sustainability for the fishery in the future.
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The signing of the five year agreement coincided with the launch of the tuna industry’s first website, which went live yesterday.

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association research manager David Ellis said the cooperation between the industry with FRDC was important for the fishery’s sustainability.

He said the program between FRDC and the local tuna industry helps research many aspects including fish health and manufactured feed.

“We’ve got a good relationship with FRDC and it’s helped us keep sustainable,” he said.

“Having that relationship has given us a sense of stability and security.”

Other areas of research the investment will focus on include optimising the quality of southern bluefin tuna, improving ranching operations and focusing on environmentally sustainable practises.

Mr Ellis said the launch of the fishery’s first website yesterday was also a chance for the industry to interact more with the public.

“We just found we were fielding a lot of questions from the general public about sustainability and how the industry works,” he said.

“We felt it was better to get that information out there.”

The website also gives the public an opportunity to sign up and receive regular updates from the industry.

It can be viewed here

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Warren rail bridge to be repaired

With Warren’s Guningba rail bridge damaged in last year’s Queensland Cotton gin fire, local grain growers have been anxious to see the bridge repaired.
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Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries this week announced that replacement of the timber rail bridge had now been included in the Department of Transport’s 2014-1015 works program.

With the bridge providing the only rail access into the local Graincorp silo, Mr Humphries said repairing the bridge was a priority.

“While the bridge will not be repaired for the current harvest, it will be complete by the 2014 harvest, which will be a relief for local grain growers,” he said.

“The rail line was last used in March 2012 and since the fire in September 2012 grain has been moved by road to a Nevertire site, which is costly and inconvenient.”

Mr Humphries thanked the Warren community for their commitment to having the bridge repaired and the minister for prioritising the works.

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Wheat growers urged to look out for leaf rust

A new wheat leaf rust pathotype has been detected, prompting a warning from researchers to the region’s growers that they need to be vigilant in checking their crops for the disease and have any suspect samples tested.
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The new pathotype was detected in northern NSW from samples collected in early August 2013.

It was found near Gragin and Graman, NSW, in the cultivar Naparoo. Three rust samples were sent to the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute for pathotype analysis.

Australian Cereal Rust Control Program Director Professor Robert Park says the new pathotype is a mutant of an existing pathotype with added virulence for the gene Lr24.

Professor Park said the frequency of mutant pathotypes appearing depends on how much rust inoculum is present in paddocks.

“This is the second mutation to virulence for Lr24 in Australia, and the first pathotype in Australia to combine this virulence with virulence for other rust resistance genes, Lr13 and Lr37,” he said.

“The new pathotype does not look any different to existing ones and will not spread any differently.

“The parent pathotype that gave rise to this new mutant is regarded as an exotic introduction and was first detected in Australia at Inverleigh, Victoria, in late 2006. It has since become widespread in Victoria, southern and northern NSW, South Australia and Tasmania, which gives an indication of the potential rate and range of this new pathotype’s spread.”

Professor Park said wheat varieties with the resistance gene combination Lr37 and Lr24 are being tested to assess the full impact of the new pathotype on them.

These varieties include Carinya, EGA Jaegar, GBA Combat, Naparoo, QAL2000, QALBis and Sunvex.

“Farmers who are growing any of these seven cultivars should monitor crops closely, and forward samples of leaf rust detected to the University’s Plant Breeding Institute for pathotype analysis,” he said.

“Detecting new pathotypes depends upon how rigorous the sampling is – that is why we need people to look for rust and send samples to us for pathotyping.

“We do not know the full extent of how these varieties will be affected until they have been field tested but testing so far has indicated that all seven are susceptible at the seedling stage to the new pathotype.”

Professor Park said advanced breeding lines would be tested next year to see how they performed to help breeders avoid releasing anything that was highly vulnerable.

“It is likely we will not know the full impact of this new pathotype until more greenhouse seedling tests and field adult plant tests are undertaken,” he said.

Rusted plant samples can be mailed in paper envelopes, not plastic wrapping or plastic-lined packages, to Australia Cereal Rust Survey Plant Breeding Institute, Private Bag 4011, Narellan, NSW, 2567.

The Australian Cereal Rust Control Program is supported by growers through the Grains Research & Development Corporation.

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Trouble on the high seas

TWO boats capsized off the end of the V-Wall at Nambucca Heads yesterday.
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Marine Rescue Nambuccawere called to the scene of an overturned boat around 12.20pm on Sunday before the incident occurred.

Surf life savers located a man and took him to shore when Marine Rescue arrived. The three-man crew, assuming more people were in the water,travelled along South Beach before a wave rolled the boat.

The Marine Rescue jet ski and Surf Life Savers aided the crew and took them to shore.

* Full report in Thursday’s Guardian.

The second rescue team and fishing boat. PHOTO: Stephen Wark

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Passenger numbers ready for take off

PASSENGER numbers through the new Port Lincoln airport are set to spike in the coming months with Christmas, Tunarama and a number of major concerts and sporting events coming up.
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The airport, which has recently been upgraded, has enjoyed a successful period with the new look terminal experiencing a 4 per cent increase in passenger growth compared with other rural centres in South Australia.

Airport manager Barrie Rogers said the airport in the past 24 months had had 900 more passengers go through.

“The new terminal has played a part,” Mr Rogers said.

“But overall there has just been a steady increase over the past numbers of years.”

The airport has seen a six per cent decrease in numbers for the month of August compared its August numbers last year, but Mr Rogers said this was nothing to worry about and there was a number of contributing factors for that statistic.

“There may have been cheap ticket prices, events on, there are millions of reasons,” Mr Rogers said.

“But Beyonce is coming to Adelaide in the next few months, so we are expecting to see a big jump with people flying over for that.

“It (rise and fall of passenger numbers) can be as simple as something like that.”

Mr Rogers said statistics and passenger numbers were not always accurate with the passenger numbers counting only people who booked return fairs.

“The statistics are never true and accurate,” he said.

“It only takes into account the return fairs, it doesn’t count if someone flies to Adelaide and then goes on to somewhere else.”

Christmas, Tunarama and major concerts and sporting events are expected to boost numbers through Port Lincoln airport.

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Bega town hall: ‘Ratepayers the losers’

Plans for the redevelopment of the Bega town hall are coming under fire from the Bega Valley Shire Ratepayers and Residents Association.BEGA Valley Shire Ratepayers and Residents Association (BVSRRA) president Peter Rogers has slammed the proposed Civic Centre plans.
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Mr Rogers said the Valley’s ratepayers are “very much the losers” and the plans will please “no-one except council”.

The BVSRRA has been outspoken about a new Civic Centre in Bega.

The group was formed in the footsteps of the Civic Centre Action Committee, which had been fighting for years to retain and refurbish the existing Bega town hall (BDN, 2/11/12).

After inspecting Hines Construction’s proposed plans, Mr Rogers said he was disappointed to see the building feature council offices and chambers.

“Council could have been honest and open from the outset about the offices and chambers,” he said.

“That’s an awful lot of money spent essentially just to get new council chambers.”

* To view floor plans andelevations clickhere, and find a link to a 3D walkthrough video here.

* To have your say on the proposal, comment below,email [email protected]南京夜网.au or call 6492 1177.

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Ten years of windfarm operation

Pacific Hydro staff employed at the Challicum Hills Wind Farm, Leigh Roberts, Sally Buckingham, Dean Tonkin and Rohan Calvert, have to work in all weather, including the wet and blustery conditions of last week. Pictures: PETER PICKERINGArarat – The Challicum Hills Wind Farm, one of the first wind farms in the state and at that time the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, is this month celebrating its 10th anniversary.
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Ten years ago a little known series of hills close to the small community of Buangor become home to 35 wind turbines, known as the Challicum Hills Wind Farm.

Wind turbines have been gracing Challicum Hills for 10 years.

The project was able to be built because of the Federal Renewable Energy Target and in 2003 it was the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the first wind farms in the state.

Each of the turbines generates enough electricity for 700-800 Victorian homes each year, feeding the power into the local power grid that connects down to Ballarat and up to Stawell.

Managing and maintaining the project is a full time job. A team of five including wind farm supervisor Adrian Ciccocioppo and technicians Leigh Roberts, Dean Tonkin, Rohan Calvert and Jon Porter scale the massive turbines almost every other day to carry out maintenance, servicing and safety checks.

“It’s a 70 metre climb up to get to the generator so you quickly learn to be organized so you don’t forget anything you need for the job,” Mr Roberts, who has worked at the wind farm since 2005 and climbs the towers up to twice a day, said.

The turbines are serviced every six months and it takes two technicians three days to service each machine. They are checked for safe and efficient operation which includes a range of pressure, electrical and safety checks.

The technicians are onsite during the week maintaining the project rain, hail or shine.

“Although we don’t go onsite during thunderstorms,” Mr Roberts said.

Safety is top of mind on site and right across the company.

“When we’re not servicing or maintaining the turbines, we are running safety drills, inspecting the blades for any damage, taking refresher heights training or upgrading the turbines with the latest technological developments,” Mr Ciccocioppo, the wind farm supervisor, said.

The Australian company who owns the wind farm, Pacific Hydro, has four other wind farms operating in Victoria. It also has hydro and solar projects in Australia.

Pacific Hydro has a long-held commitment to ensuring the local community benefits from its projects and it looks for ways to share value with the community hosting them. At Challicum Hills Wind Farm it operates a community grants program.

Known as the Ararat Sustainable Communities Fund, the program returns profits from the project back into local community projects. In recent times the distribution of the $50,000 annual fund has been decided by a panel that includes community members.

“The panel was set up as a trial to improve transparency and accountability of the program,” Chloe Carpenter who has managed the program for Pacific Hydro since 2008, said.

“The community responded really positively to this change so the panels have been implemented permanently.”

Ms Carpenter said the value in the fund has been amplified by community groups who have created opportunities by increasing their networks and thinking creatively.

“The community groups we have been able to fund are run by passionate volunteers who have been able to generate even more value from the grants. It’s inspiring,” she said.

“For example, a community garden established by the Ararat Landcare Group, who concentrate on protecting vegetation around Ararat, has provided a number of educational and social opportunities for locals.”

Anne Carroll, a volunteer at the garden, says that while it has provided many Ararat residents the opportunity to learn more about gardening and sustainability, the focus is on creating an active and social community.

“We hold regular ‘swap days’, where residents are encouraged to bring along produce such as vegetables and eggs to swap with other locals,” Ms Carroll said.

“Recently we held a very successful Spring Equinox celebration. These events aim to get people thinking about how to be more sustainable, while bringing the community together in a social setting.”

The Ararat Sustainable Communities Fund has distributed $438,000 to 175 projects within the Ararat Rural City since 2005.

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