EDITORIAL: Keeping the gates open

COOL heads, not angry words, are what’s needed to settle the simmering disagreement about four-wheel-drive access to Stockton’s sand dunes and other wild places.
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The dunes serve a dual purpose. They are a very precious environmental asset, and an equally precious recreational one.

They need to be preserved against degradation because of human activity, but fair access needs to be maintained for those who are willing to enjoy the dunes while observing the necessary safeguards to prevent damage.

This has always been a difficult balancing act, but it’s getting harder. That’s partly because of the proliferation of off-road vehicles among the urban population.

Where once 4WDs were relatively uncommon and also fairly spartan means of transport, they are now practically ubiquitous, and often extremely luxurious.

As ownership of off-road vehicles expands, so too does the percentage of owners who actually want to take their vehicles onto the beaches and into the forests to enjoy the landscape.

Naturally, this means extra wear and tear on that landscape, and the more fragile places are at risk of great damage, especially if drivers aren’t careful and considerate.

As is usually true with human behaviour, the great majority of 4WD users are perfectly willing to obey sensible rules to protect the country and preserve it for the enjoyment of future generations.

The inconsiderate minority, however, does damage far beyond its numbers. Not only does this minority cause harm to the places that others want to enjoy, it also harms the legitimate claims of all off-road enthusiasts to be permitted free access to the beaches, dunes and forests.

Translating these known facts into the context of the Stockton dunes, it is apparent that compromise will be necessary.

For a start, the recreational vehicle enthusiasts must accept the archaeological importance of some parts of the dunes and also recognise the problems that can arise when beaten tracks create avenues for wave access during storms.

They need to recognise the responsibility the custodians of the land have to preserve and safeguard it for the whole community.

On the other hand, those custodians need to open a frank and friendly dialogue with the recreational vehicle users to ensure that restrictions are fair and don’t go further than they need to.

Wild places belong to all Australians, but access to them requires some degree of control to ensure their precious qualities survive to be enjoyed in future.

GREG RAY: Pollies ride gravy train

‘‘NOT in living memory has there been a government that so deserved to be thrown from office and an opposition that so little deserves to be elected.’’
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That’s Ted Mack speaking, a former independent parliamentarian and one of the very few MPs over the past few decades that I’d rate as worth feeding.

Ted delivered the Henry Parkes oration on ‘‘The State of Federation’’ at Tenterfield last weekend, and he didn’t pussyfoot around.

He seldom does, when it comes to talking about our poor sick Australian democracy.

Did I say democracy?

Ted doesn’t necessarily agree with that.

‘‘Today the Australian political system hardly qualifies as a democracy,’’ Ted said in one of his speeches. ‘‘It fails the fundamental tests of democracy in that it almost never produces majority government and we have an electoral system at federal level and in most states that does not reflect the will of the people. Most governments in Australia achieve a majority of seats with a minority of votes.’’

Real democracy isn’t on the agenda of our political duopoly, according to Ted.

Because real democracy is about decentralising power and those who actually hold power aren’t keen on giving any of it up.

Liberal and Labor are like two mafia families seeking control of the public purse to benefit themselves, their supporters, the industry donors who fund them and for buying votes at the next election, Ted says.

What about the Nationals?

‘‘Simply the country wing of the Liberal Party representing agribusiness and mining corporations,’’ Ted asserts.

The more disgusted we become at their feeding frenzy and the transparent way many politicians line their own pockets and those of their lobbyists, donors and other cronies, the more they pay themselves.

According to Ted, the basic salary of the Prime Minister is now $507,000, compared to the US President on $417,000 and the UK PM on $240,000.

‘‘Salary packages for MPs have escalated at federal level with the steady creation of new positions and extensions of fringe benefits … state governments have followed suit,’’ he said.

Voting themselves endless pay-rises is one thing. But what about the rest of us?

We are supposed to be more efficient, producing more for less pay. We are supposed to be happy about deregulation, restructuring, down-sizing and off-shoring – surprise, surprise – all the things the big business lobbyists want and the politicians automatically support.

‘‘For at least the past 20 years both major parties have constantly extolled the virtues of a free market and globalisation,’’ Ted said in one of his speeches.

‘‘They harangue the community that we need to restructure, embrace competition and deregulation. Yet they carefully exclude themselves from these ideas. When competition comes to them they scream, like all oligarchies, that independents are a waste of time.’’

‘‘The public service has been stacked with politically aligned yes-people, lobbyists and consultants are spreading like expensive viruses and the whole system is focused on tipping public resources into the pockets of mates and sponsors.

‘‘We have cabinet ministers selling access to themselves at breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Incumbents encourage financial contributions from developers, clubs, hotels, mining companies and many other well-known supporters of democracy and rort elections by entrenching incumbents with vast quantities of public and private moneys.

‘‘Open tendering is a thing of the past and ‘commercial-in-confidence’ facilitates corruption at all levels of government,’’ Ted truthfully complained.

Where does all this leave us?

In Ted’s words, Australia is now ‘‘the second best pseudo-democracy money can buy’’.

A hurtful description, but one that seems more accurate with each passing month.

TED MACK

Victoria Derby: Hugh Bowman likes Polanski, but punters don’t agree

Polanski, ridden by Hugh Bowman, beats San Diego in the Norman Robinson Stakes. Photo: Pat ScalaHugh Bowman is a visitor to Melbourne but in Polanski he has the best hometown chance in the Victoria Derby.
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And the Sydney hoop is so confident that he has queried if the betting is right for Saturday’s classic at Flemington.

Polanski will be looking for a hat-trick of wins after taking out the Super Impose Stakes at Flemington, followed by a strong effort in the Norman Robinson at Caulfield, in which he ran down San Diego. ”He was good over 2000 metres, and he is just big and strong, with a great trainer of stayers in Robbie Laing,” Bowman said.

”I was able to book myself on him straight away [after Caulfield], and it is very exciting to get on a live chance.”

Bowman is no stranger to success in the Victoria Derby, winning on Lion Tamer and Sangster in successive years in 2010 and 2011. He got the ride on Polanski for the Norman Robinson, and has little doubt about his staying potential.

All of which means the $8.50 on offer at Sportingbet might be generous, with Bowman believing there is not much between the Sydney and Melbourne form.

”It is hard to line up the form but I think the Sydney form might be suspect,” Bowman said. ”The way Drago went [on Saturday], but also you had Savvy Nature come out and win. I actually think they’re all pretty even, and I know my bloke is a last-start winner and can stay.”

Punters, though, have taken a different view, with Spring Champion Stakes winner Complacent the $4 favourite in front of Savvy Nature at $4.20, while Criterion is at $8.

”They have only wanted to back two horses since Saturday and, surprisingly, it has been Complacent that most money has been for – and he didn’t even run [on Saturday],” Sportingbet boss Michael Sullivan said.

”Savvy Nature ran third to Complacent in the Spring Champion, and came out and didn’t handle the Valley and still won. So he went from $7.50 to $4.20, and has been solid at that quote.

”Complacent has been $4.50 to $4 since Saturday, and they are really the only two horses we are writing tickets for. The punters … have dismissed the Melbourne form. Polanski is $8.50 but we can’t write his name.”

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Bart Cummings’ horse Precedence penalised one kilogram

Craig Williams rides Precedence to win The Drake International Cup. Photo: Pat ScalaTwelve-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Bart Cummings’ mission to get an 88th runner in the race is alive, just, after Moonee Valley Cup winner Precedence was penalised one kilogram.
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Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said the penalty given to Precedence for the group 2 win was in line with what the horse carried in last year’s Cup when a brave ninth to Green Moon, and took into consideration the horse’s age (eight) and the fact that he has won a group 3 and a group 2 staying race in the past year.

“The penalty takes Precedence back to the same weight he carried when running ninth to Green Moon in last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup,” Carpenter said.

”The penalty is the same given to Vatuvei for winning the 2012 renewal at Moonee Valley and does not guarantee the horse a start in the race. After withdrawals at the third-declaration stage, Precedence has moved from 45th to 26th in the order of entry but is far from guaranteed a place.”

To make the field, Precedence must win either the Mackinnon Stakes or the Lexus Stakes on Saturday at Flemington or sit back and rely on attrition to improve his position in the order of entry.

Cummings’ grandson and training partner James said if Precedence managed to sneak into the field his grandfather would be on track at Flemington to watch.

Chris Waller said he had given up looking for reasons not to run his import Foreteller, saying the horse’s time has arrived.

”It was a cracking run … in the Cox Plate,” he said. ”OK, will he run a genuine two miles is the question. Saintly went from a Cox Plate to winning a Melbourne Cup with a doubt on him staying. I know the horse was trained by a genius [Bart Cummings], but I am just hoping Foreteller could do exactly what Saintly did … We have been finding reasons not to start him, but his time has come.”

While Waller will not be the biggest player in the Cup as wealthy businessman Lloyd Williams could have up to a quarter of the field of 24, the former New Zealand horseman has three hopefuls – Foreteller, Hawkspur and Kelinni.

”That’s how I’m looking at it. They are all in great order and I can’t fault them so the Cup is their mission. But Foreteller will not run on Saturday, he will go straight into the Cup,” he said.

The Melbourne Cup dream is still alive for the connections of 47 horses which were paid up after third declarations, but Saturday’s Derby day meeting could play a significant hand in shaping the final field as there are ballot-free positions on the line.

Key Cup hopefuls which must win include Jet Away and English raider Forgotten Voice.

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Talented rider Aaron Morris hits new high

AS far as it is known, Aaron Morris does not sing much, dances rarely, does not have a Big Brother and is definitely not a geek. Beauty? That is in the eye of the beholder.
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What Aaron, 21, does best is ride motorcycles and when it comes to parading his talent on television reality shows the Redhead revhead lets his riding talent do the talking.

In fact it is his consummate skills aboard powerful motorcycles that earned him a place in a compact cast for this year’s The Ultimate Rider series, potentially one of the most dangerous television shows going.

In one of those ‘‘I was hard at work when the phone rang’’ moments Morris says he took a phone call from the show’s judges, international rider trainer Bernie Hatton and former Australian champion and international 500cc Grand Prix racer Daryl Beattie, effectively inviting him to join its six-strong rider line-up.

‘‘They called me up and said: ‘Send us your resume and we’ll go from there.’ I got it all together, sent it off and here I am,’’ he said.

The format has the riders – Morris, Cessnock’s Sophie Lovett, Ben Henry, Brayden Elliott, Jake Ralph and Matt Berry – competing against each other across a number of riding disciplines including road circuits, motocross, speedway-style dirt tracks and the crossover motard class that mixes tarmac and dirt with a little bit of supercross thrown in.

The six riders not only have to compete against each other but to complicate matters just a little they also have to live with each other, the scenario creating a pressurised environment.

‘‘It was definitely a learning experience. Not so much the riding but the production side of the show and getting along with that.

‘‘It wasn’t too bad, though,’’ the second-generation racer said.

‘‘The one problem we had was that the bikes were not full-on race bikes, they were road bikes so you had to look after them a bit.’’

Aaron managed to fit his television work around his racing calendar which included a full season in the Australian Supersport Championship in which he finished second, just seven points behind the winner.

Next year? Still in the planning.

‘‘It could be Supersport again or we could go up into the Superbikes. We’re still deciding which way to go.’’

And the outcome of The Ultimate Rider?

‘‘I’m sworn to secrecy.’’

The Ultimate Rider screens on One HD on Saturdays.

MAN AT WORK: Aaron Morris demonstrates the motorcycle riding skills that earned selection for a new television reality show.

RIDER: Aaron Morris.

Business as usual for Panorama Clinic: minister

* Jody says Panorama Clinic saved her life
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*OPINION: Make sure they keep their word

*Fears for future of Panorama Clinic

SUPPORTERS and clients of Bathurst’s Panorama Clinic have been given their strongest assurance yet that there are no changes planned for the unit’s operation.

Mental Health Minister Kevin Humphries has issued an emphatic statement to the Western Advocate rejecting recent speculation that health management was planning to make the Bathurst Base Hospital clinic a weekdays-only facility.

The single-line statement from the minister simply read: “The Panorama Clinic is not closing and will remain open seven days a week.”

However, following a meeting between the bureaucracy and staff last week, local psychiatrist Andrew Frukacz said staff at the Bathurst Base Hospital inpatient clinic have been given six weeks to get their occupancy levels up and then the matter will be reviewed again.

Dr Frukacz said there has been a tremendous public response, with a large number of people calling his rooms at Anima Clinica in Russell Street since the community learned the clinic was in danger of closing on weekends or being shut down altogether.

He said this support has been very helpful in preparing a case that Panorama must remain open.

The psychiatrist added that there may be a perception that Panorama Clinic is an inpatient facility for Bathurst people only.

In reality, the clinic can take patients from the whole region. It also has an excellent day program.

“We need to see it as a treatment centre for the whole of the Central West,” Dr Frukacz said.

“The bureaucrats are concerned about the low occupancy rate, so widespread community support is vital.”

He said patients without private health insurance should definitely consider Panorama Clinic as an option.

“If the bureaucrats are concerned that it isn’t getting enough use, then we should use it,” he said.

“We have six weeks to show this unit is viable. It’s definitely a case of use it, or lose it.”

Dr Frukacz said he really hopes the whole community will get behind the Panorama Clinic in the same way they embraced and defended Daffodil Cottage.

When Daffodil Cottage was threatened, close to 800 people turned out to send a clear message to the health bureaucrats who wished to close the service. “Hands off Daffodil Cottage,” they shouted.

As a result, then Premier Nathan Rees made a special trip to Bathurst, promising the community that the cottage would not be touched on his watch.

Now Minister Humphries has also made his feelings clear in relation to Panorama Clinic.

Dr Frukacz has decided to create a Mental Health Action Group so patients and their carers can have a voice.

Those who care about mental health issues can become involved by contacting Nadia Zanco at Anima Clinica by writing to [email protected] 南京夜网.au or by following Anima Clinica’s Facebook page.

PANORAMA CLINIC: Local psychiatrist Andrew Frukacz said he really hopes the whole community will get behind the Panorama Clinic in the same way they embraced and defended Daffodil Cottage.

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People of Central West deserve better: Veitch

THE Central West’s horror month of job cuts has been raised as an issue in State Parliament.
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The planned closure of Bathurst’s Downer EDI plant and the Orange Electrolux plant, along with a dramatic downsizing of operations at Simplot’s Bathurst facility, will see almost 800 jobs lost from the Central West in coming years.

NSW Labor MLC Mick Veitch addressed the job losses in the Senate last Thursday, accusing the new Federal Government of failing local workers.

“Like Simplot, Electrolux met with the former Federal Government seeking co-investment that would support a decision by Electrolux Sweden to provide the new product range to Orange,” Mr Veitch said.

“The new Federal Minister for Industry met with Electrolux management in recent weeks. As was the case with his visit to Simplot, he failed to give any commitments to the people of the Central West.

“There is very little time left for the people of the Central West who are employed by Electrolux. They are fighting, along with their unions, for themselves, their children and their community.

“The people of the Central West need a government that is prepared to stand up for local manufacturing jobs.”

Mr Veitch said the State Government also had to take some responsibility for the plant closures and downsizing.

“Downer EDI, Simplot and Electrolux are world leaders in their respective industry sectors,” he said.

“They are world-class innovators and major employers of skilled labour in regional NSW.

“Our rolling stock and food industries have been abandoned by the State Government that has no industry policy and no commitment to local manufacturing.

“It seems that they will also be abandoned by the new Federal Government. NSW manufacturers and the people of the Central West deserve much better.

“They need government at all levels to support local manufacturers through genuine co-investment that would allow them to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world, where governments recognise the critical role of manufacturing and do not hesitate to provide support.”

JOBS CUT: The planned closure of Bathurst’s Downer EDI plant and the Orange Electrolux plant, along with a dramatic downsizing of operations at Simplot’s Bathurst facility, will see almost 800 jobs lost from the Central West in coming years.

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No new jobs for Simplot workers

* People of Central West deserve better: Veitch
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* 110 jobs lost from Simplot

Workers at Bathurst’s struggling Simplot plant are not confident they will get another job if they are one of 110 workers who lose out as a result of major cutbacks at the plant.

Union delegates for the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) visited the plant yesterday to begin initial discussions with management.

Most Simplot workers fall under the AMWU.

ETU Central West organiser Dave McKinley said those attending the meeting discussed the timeline of redundancies, the make-up of the workforce and the future of the plant following the redundancies.

“Staff are heavily disappointed,” Mr McKinley said.

“They are desperate about the amount of closures with EDI and Electrolux.

“There will be 1000 redundancies in the next year or two.

“Simplot staff are not at all confident they will get another job.”

Simplot’s American headquarters announced last week that there would be a major downsizing of operations at the Bathurst plant in response to ongoing difficult trading conditions.

About 110 full-time positions will be lost as the plant reverts to producing only canned and frozen corn and the iconic Chiko roll.

Only about 60 jobs will be saved at the Bathurst factory once the downsizing is completed.

Mr McKinley said there will be further discussions between unions, workers and management over the following weeks.

TROUBLE: Staff are not confident of finding work in the Central West once work grinds to a halt at Simplot.

All staff will meet with union representatives today.

The national secretary of the AMWU will also visit the plant.

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Hoax call drama at Simplot plant

A HOAX bomb threat brought Simplot’s fish processing plant at Kelso to a halt yesterday morning while police searched the area.
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Chifley local area command duty officer Inspector Andrew Spliet said police were informed the plant had received a bomb threat at around 11.30am yesterday.

He said staff were removed to appropriate locations out of harm’s way.

Inspector Spliet said general duties police and the rescue unit swiftly arrived and began a systematic search of the plant with the assistance of staff.

An ambulance waited outside the factory and the fire brigade was on standby in case its assistance was required.

Inspector Spliet said nothing was located, and staff were allowed to go back to work at 12.40pm. The investigation is continuing.

Inspector Spliet said anybody with information regarding the hoax bomb threat should contact police.

Bathurst Police can be contacted on 6332 8699 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

A spokeswoman for Simplot Australia confirmed that a bomb threat had been received.

She said staff were removed while a search was carried out. They returned to their work just over an hour later when the threat was revealed to be a hoax.

PRECAUTIONS: Workers at Simplot’s fish processing plant at Kelso were moved outside while police conducted a search of the facility following yesterday’s bomb threat. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 102813csimplt1a

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Christopher finds the key to success

A HUGE crowd gathered at Bathurst City Centre on Saturday, all revved up and hoping that they would be driving away in a brand new car.
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The centre’s Five to Drive promotion, run in conjunction with the Bathurst Automotive Group, had attracted more than 40,000 entries since it kicked off in July this year.

“It was all very exciting,” centre manager Janelle Matus said. “The response has been amazing. This promotion has certainly captured the interest of many shoppers. We had entries come from Dubbo through to the Blue Mountains.”

Bathurst City Centre customers entered the draw by spending $20 in any store in the centre over the last few months.

And it all came down to the luck of the draw on Saturday afternoon.

Five names were drawn out of the barrel by mayor Gary Rush and each person received a key to the car.

But it was 18-year-old Christopher Martin’s key that unlocked the door of the Honda Jazz.

The Bathurst man was gobsmacked by his win.

“Chris finished his HSC last year at Kelso High and is enjoying a gap year before heading to university next year,” Ms Matus said. “He was thrilled, all smiles.”

And the $19,000 ride will come in very handy for the teenager.

“He knows it will be a great kick-start for him going into uni,” Ms Matus said.

Ms Matus was also very pleased with the excitement that Five to Drive generated throughout the city.

“This promotion certainly captured the imagination of shoppers in Bathurst and across the region,” she said. It was nice to lift people’s spirits and reward them for shopping with us.”

HAPPY MAN: A very happy Christopher Martin after he won a brand new Honda Jazz in Bathurst City Centre’s Five to Drive promotion. He is pictured with centre manager Janelle Matus. Photo: PHILL MURRAY 102613pjazz3

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