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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Attempt to address soil acidity

Higher yields: Summer lime spreading in the Wheatbelt.TARGETED lime applications will deliver higher long term yield benefit than phosphorus fertiliser on many Western Australian cropping paddocks according to recent monitoring by the Department of Agriculture and Food.
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Department development officer Greg Shea said the results showed that most cropping paddocks had sufficient phosphorus levels, while more than three quarters of paddocks surveyed had low pH levels limiting grain yield potential.

“With many paddocks unlikely to respond to phosphorus, growers have an opportunity to divert some of the money they might spend on phosphorus fertiliser into lime applications on targeted areas of the farm,” Mr Shea said.

Growers can save about $15/ha by not applying standard phosphorus rates on paddocks with already healthy levels.

“The savings from that part of the cropping program will make inroads into the cost of 2.5 tonne/ha of good quality lime which is a commonly recommended rate in the Wheatbelt,” Mr Shea said.

About 67 per cent of the 184 paddocks surveyed (between Yuna and Jerramungup) had a pH less than 5.5 in the top 0-10cm of soil.

“A pH of less than 4.8 in the topsoil can prune roots of crops such that they can’t explore the soil for water and nutrients, and are more dependent on fertiliser,” Mr Shea said.

“This is the situation where phosphorus rates should not be cut.

“Once the topsoil drops below pH 5.5 crop yields are compromised and only liming can bring these soils back towards their yield potential.”

Mr Shea encouraged growers to monitor soil pH and identify priority areas for targeted lime applications as a third of the surveyed paddocks also had a subsoil pH below the critical level of 4.8.

“It is better to apply more lime to priority areas than a lower rate across whole paddocks,” Mr Shea said.

While the survey indicated most paddocks are unlikely to respond to phosphorus fertiliser, Mr Shea said factors such as soil water repellence and acidity can increase fertiliser phosphorus requirements of crops due to root growth being constrained.

The monitoring has confirmed the results recently published in the Report Card for Sustainable Natural Resource Use in Agriculture.

The soil acidity data was collected by a collaborative project between the department and Precision SoilTech with funding by the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country.

The monitoring formed part of the Focus Paddock project co-funded with the Grains Research Development and Corporation.

For more information on the phosphorus status of their soils, growers can use their own soil test results with the online tool found at agric.wa.gov.au/pmodel.

It is recommended that growers seek the advice of independent agronomists to finetune their fertiliser and liming plans.

GALLERY: 3on3 competition a great success

JUNIOR SPORT
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Hundreds of children packed into Maitland Federation Centre for the 2013 Vibe 3on3 competition on Thursday.

Participants came from all over the region to take part in the national Indigenous basketball and hip hop challenge.

The activities included 3on3 basketball games at the home of the Maitland Mustangs, rapping lessons, art ­workshops, health exhibition and a dance competition.

This event was one of several held around the country promoting sportsmanship, skill acquisition, self-esteem building and reconciliation.

BASKETBALL: Irrawang Public School’s Shaytarna Buckshiram prepares to shoot.

BASKETBALL: Cody Byers, of Woodberry Public School, ­dribbles while waiting to pass.

BASKETBALL: Woodberry Public School student Cody Walker controls the ball.

BASKETBALL: Woodberry Public School’s Aiden White stands guard.

BASKETBALL: Woodberry Public School’s Bailey Winner put all his efforts into this shot.

BASKETBALL: Students prepare to contest a rebound.

BASKETBALL: Kaleb Sands, from Woodberry Public School, receives a pass.

BASKETBALL: Woodberry Public School student Ben Jongerden reaches for a rebound.

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New role, new opportunities

TWENTY-one years ago he left Tatiara Meat Company for other career opportunities, now Trevor Schiller is back as the JBS plant manager.
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Based in Bordertown, Mr Schiller started his new role on September 23 at the same time the company added its second shift which created another 180 positions.

Mr Schiller has spent his whole career in the meat production industry and said “it’s great to be back in the Tatiara”.

Before his new role, Mr Schiller was in Colac, Victoria, at a meat processing plant as general manager for plant operations.

Mr Schiller has come a long way since he started at TMC Bordertown at 18 as a labourer.

“I worked my way through after initially being employed as a labourer, my first actual job was to make cardboard boxes, to then getting pretty excited about learning as much as I could of the meat industry as a whole, ” Mr Schiller said.

Now joining with the new shift, which is in its fourth week, Mr Schiller said it was “working well”.

“There seems to be a bit of progress on the accommodation front and I think the article (in the Border Chronicle) that we did has produced a bit of activity that has come out of that – so that’s been really positive,” Mr Schiller said.

The company continues to work hard on both the short, medium and long-term accommodation needs in the Tatiara.

With about half of the new employees being Australian citizens Mr Schiller said the benefits of the new shift would flow through to the local economy.

“It’s significant and exciting, as we’ve communicated the dedication by JBS will absolutely translate into the community,” Mr Schiller said.

“That’s fantastic for Bordertown to put them on the world stage as the flagship site for JBS and that will translate to many benefits across the district.

“It’s opportunities for small business as well.

“I was given an opportunity not long after starting and enjoyed that, that was in the original days where the Tatiara was instrumental in developing the chilled lamb market in America and Europe and were in fact one of the first to ship chilled lamb by air into those market.”

NEW: JBS plant manager Trevor Schiller in the boning and production room in Bordertown.

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Fund model’s big winner

LAKE Illawarra High School was among the big winners from the state government’s Resource Allocation Model announced last week.
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However, cutting of funds to other schools in the region has drawn criticism.

Liberal Kiama MP Gareth Ward announced $1.78 million in extra funding for public schools throughout the electorate in 2014 to be delivered through the RAM.

Base funding for all public schools next year remains the same, but they will receive extra resources for Aboriginal students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, from a $300 million pool.

“The RAM distributes funding to public schools on a needs basis and funding provided to schools will directly reflect the characteristics of individual schools and their students,” Mr Ward said.

“$300 million is being distributed across all public schools in NSW on the two new loadings for socio-economic and Aboriginal backgrounds; $100 million of this is additional funding which was made possible by the Gonski Agreement.

“The socio-economic equity loading will fund more than 390,000 students from low socio-economic backgrounds across NSW, which is more than three times the 120,000 students who are supported now.

“All 49,000 students with an Aboriginal background will receive funding under the new Aboriginal background loading, which is more than twice the number of students currently receiving additional support.”

Schools to benefit from increased funding include Albion Park High School ($244,651); Albion Park Public School ($103,389); Albion Park Rail Public School ($361,395); Mount Terry Public School ($57,040); Shell Cove Public School ($22,360) and Tullimbar Public School ($21,409).

Among the recipients in the Shellharbour electorate is Lake Illawarra High, which will receive an additional $619,873.

Lake Illawarra High principal Tony Hicks said while the school had an idea where the increased funding would be used, they had yet to make a decision.

“We want to consult with the school community, to make sure what we do is of the greatest benefit to our kids,” he said.

Mr Hicks said areas of need to assist their 730 students included academic performance and welfare support.

“We are a low socio-economic school, and it’s a really fair way of providing assistance,” he said.

“Our students have been identified as needing a bit of extra support and they’re providing it for us, which is great.”

Labor Shellharbour MP Anna Watson was “outraged” that three schools in the Shellharbour electorate would lose up to $111,000.

Ms Watson said that even when the 2014 Aboriginal Loading component of funding was included, the three local schools still face a funding cut of up to $77,084.

The schools to have funding cuts in Shellharbour are Lake Illawarra South Public School ($26,237), Mt Warrigal Public School ($45,200) and Oak Flats Public School ($39,388).

“This is simply disgraceful and unacceptable,” Ms Watson said.

“The three schools at issue in my electorate cover some of the most disadvantaged areas in my electorate.

” Every school was meant to be funded on a clear needs-basis under the Gonski reforms, and that meant no cuts to any school.”

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Parent tackles bullying

Shell Cove’s Julie-Anne Williams has self-published a book on the effects of bullying. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSONA SHELL Cove parent has drawn from her experiences and those of her children to self-publish a book aimed at reducing incidents of bullying.
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Julie-Anne Williams also hopes the book can become an approved manual to help schools address the issue, particularly given the recent rise of cyber-bullying.

Having dabbled in writing in the past, when she survived two aneurysms last year, the 48-year-old decided to actively concentrate on her writing.

She is married with five children, and works in babysitting and aged care.

“I was bullied as a child, and suffered through my son, who experienced quite horrific bullying,” she said.

“Being a boy, it was more physical than what I went through.”

Her book, Bully Me Not, includes chapters covering topics such as her family’s experiences, different types of bullying, long-term effects and why children are targeted.

“It’s serious, but with some fun bits as well, to keep the children interested,” she said.

It also addresses the relatively new concept of cyber-bullying and the associated issues of anonymity and perceived lack of accountability by perpetrators.

“It’s different from my era and my son’s era,” Mrs Williams said.

“This type of bullying wasn’t around, but it’s an issue now.

“Bullying just doesn’t stay in the playground any more.

“The book offers tips for kids and parents.

“Teaching children just because they’re 11 or 12, doesn’t mean mum and dad shouldn’t be monitoring it.

“They should be; not to spy, but make sure they’re safe.”

Mrs Williams also hopes that some proceeds from the book – which is aimed at years 4 to 5 and high school students, and their parents – could be donated to Illawarra schools to help fund anti-bullying programs and education.

The book is her second self-published work following last year’s dark fantasy piece Twisted Torment.

Mrs Williams also has a few other writing projects in the pipeline.

She actively supported aspiring authors taking the self-publishing/print-on-demand route.

“If you’re a no one, no one really wants to touch you,” she said.

“It’s a lot harder as you have to do all the work.

“It’s harder to get book shops to look at it.”

Since recovering from last year’s illness, she opted to take writing more seriously.

“You see that light at the end of the tunnel, and it really makes you think, ‘maybe I should do something’,” she said.

“You realise life can be short, so try and do something with it.”

Bully Me Not is available on amazon南京夜网.

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Drop in bucket rebuilds lives

Meridith and Paul Southern are part of Dehwa Missions Liberia and are raising money for an orphanage in Greenville, Liberia, West Africa. Picture: Dylan RobinsonBARRACK Point couple Paul and Meridith Southern have a new life goal – to help those less fortunate than themselves in the impoverished town of Greenville, in Liberia, West Africa.
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A 14-year civil war in Liberia has killed between 200,000 and 250,000 civilians, and has left the people who remain, mainly women and children, unable to sustain and rebuild the country.

“I always had a heart for Africa and when I was in the paper previously about Africa I was contacted by a Liberian National and now Australian Citizen from Greenville, Pastor Lindgren Farley,” Mrs Southern said.

“He was interested in what we were doing for Liberia and was keen to help his country.

“He has been back and said he was heartbroken – the people from his birth village were still sharing drinking water with the animals.

“I introduced him to my husband and we have now committed to helping that community.

“Our church, Transforming Waters, and Pastors Eddie and Desiree Zeballos are supporting this cause also.”

Mrs Southern said the biggest problem they faced was helping people to believe that they can make a difference and that every cent counts.

“We appreciate that there are many causes close to home but Aussie dollars go a long way in Africa.

“Our project for 2014 is to purchase and convert a building into a children’s centre to provide a nurturing and educational place for Greenville’s children.

“We need to get them off the streets.

“If everybody contributed one drop towards that bucket we will soon have the money for that project.

“Let’s face it, if 1000 people donated $20 or 2000 people donated $10 we could go and get that building.”

She said these goals were achievable.

“Surely when you die you would like to know that you have helped make the lives of a people in a third-world country better.

“There’s something in leaving a legacy behind you on wthis earth that counts.

“When I go I hope to pass on my legacy to my son.”

Mr Southern said that the money they have raised to date will purchase two water wells, with fund-raising now heading for a third well.

These will be purchased this month.

He will visit the country in March to see the completed project, and meet the community and the Mission committee that Lindgren has established.

“You need to understand that because of the wars, they are a generation of orphans and fatherless children,” Mr Southern said.

He said 90 per cent of the population is women, young adults and children.

“They need education and industry.

“In due course, we hope to have a house there and we will visit yearly for a part of the year and do what we can.”

Anyone who can help the Southerns and their mission can contact Meridith on 0412 211 933.

For Mr Southern’s next trip to Liberia they need 100 handballs and 100 little dolls or necklaces/bracelets.

These can be dropped off to The Country Kitchen in Shellharbour Village, who have partnered with the mission.

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The same mistake

SO, the Poms are here.
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Stealthily, without fuss or fanfare, the England cricket team has touched down on our golden shores in Perth for the return Ashes bout.

Across the media, it’s barely rated a mention. Or not that I’ve seen.

Instead, all the glitz and glamour of the Ryobi Cup has stolen the limelight as little Davey Warner has plundered attacks on a ground the size of a tennis court – and a wicket about as flat -at North Sydney.

Watching how easily he belted sixes reminded me of my childhood – but, unfortunately, not when I was playing cricket.

Sometimes when a few mates and I would get bored playing tennis at the local courts we’d ‘bowl’ at each other by smashing the tennis ball from about 22 yards and the ‘batsman’ would tryto launch the flying ball out of the courts with his racquet.

I hit some of the only sixes of my life in those intense sessions, but they never seemed toappreciatethat much down at the local tennis association.

Anyway, it was hardly ideal preparation for my plodding knocks on a Saturday and I expect it’s probably the same for ‘Davey’ and the likes of Usman Khawaja, who was left to push hisTest casein the Ryobi final.

Great dig by ‘Uzzie’ to smash a ton and it’s not his fault that the one-day final was fixtured just three-and-a-half weeks out from the first ball of the Ashes in Brisbane.

The Poms, on the other hand, arrive after winning the Test series and sharpening their games on the county circuit.

Not so long ago the county system was a laughing stock in Australia.

But it’srapidly become a solid proving ground for South African, Welsh, Irish and Aussie players – and any other nationalitythe Poms are happy to claim as ‘English’ these days.

In any case,England’s players are match-hardened and will have another three warm-up games for the first Test – the same as the Aussies.Well, except thoseplayers still touring India for anothermeaningless one-day series.

You know, just first-choice Ashes ‘keeper Brad Haddin, the great white hope Phil Hughes, former great white hope Shane Watson,the next Shane Watson (but hopefully better) James Faulkner and our ‘once in a generation’ bowler Mitch.

You should all know Mitch.

David Warner

Those guys could play two four-day matches before the first Test- that’s if it doesn’train.

How, after all the Argus Review chest-beating, we still have a sub-par preparation for the crowning jewel of all cricketseries is beyond ridiculous.

For the record, I enjoyed the Ryobi Cup – it was great to see iton free-to-air TV again.

The last time I can remember that Richard Chee Quee was flaying attacks on a Saturday morning when I was a kid.

But if we get rolled again in the Ashes, I won’t take much comfort from Davey’s tennis shots.

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Ghosts and Ghouls will be out in force on Thursday

WITH a free trick or treat trail, themed street entertainment, and spectacular light shows, Lithgow’s Halloween 13 event will be great fun for the local community.
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Activities get under way from 6 pm with the costume parade in Marjorie Jackson Plaza followed by the zombie wedding at seven then the full range of activities along the business area.

Portland is also planning promotional activities beginning with a Halloween themes Portland central School fete tomorrow.

Full Portland details will be in Thursday’s Mercury.

“Everyone is invited, young or old, to the Halloween 13 event on the evening of Thursday October 31,” mayor Maree Statham said yesterday.

“The inaugural Halloween 13 Lithgow event will be a chance for everyone to have some fun as well as showing our commitment to supporting our Main Street businesses.

“Council has been working closely with many Main Street businesses in Lithgow and Portland to integrate the free street entertainment and attractions with shop promotions such as trick or treat offerings, special scary Halloween cuisine in cafes and restaurants along with a range of specially discounted products and services,” Cr Statham said.

“The response from our main street businesses has been incredible with so many jumping on board and getting involved in the event by staying open late on the Thursday as part of Halloween 13 Lithgow,” Council’s Economic Development Officer Matt Brewster said.

“It’s really important that the Lithgow community increase their support for local businesses and I would urge everyone to think twice before leaving the Lithgow area to do their shopping or undertake their purchases right now.

“By participating in Halloween 13 Lithgow you can show your support by walking the trick or treat trail along Main Street, enjoying the free entertainment and indulging in some special shopping and eating experiences.”

For more information about Halloween 13 Lithgow visit Council’s facebook pagewww.facebook南京夜网/LithgowCityCouncil.

You can also get your copy of the trick or treat trail map and list of participating businesses in last Saturday’s edition of the Lithgow Mercury.

Plenty of fun for the whole family at Halloween ’13

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DANDY CUP RACES

Nicole Gillette with her children Jordan and Tom and birthday girl Morgan Lamond. Lindy Barlow and Kylie Hutchison.
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Marjorie Radford, Bernie and Pam O’Neil, Darrelle Fraser and Terry Cady.

Georgia Fahey, Alex Murray and Jeanagh Condon.

Chris Condon and Gordon Mooring.

Karri Brennan and Kim Handsaker.

Matt Barrett, Peter Ince and Melanie Maher.

Bronwyn Hutchison and John Gainsford.

Ashleigh and Debra McKeown, Peggy Jones and Cindy Everingham.

Emma Bourchier, Polly McDonald and Ginni Brown.

Xanthie Kerin, Tracy Klintworth, Louise Barber and Emma Klintworth.

Angela Tonkin, Alana Short and Megan Buckley.

Kyra Roach, Renee Farthing and Lucy Watson.

Nev Attwater and Paul Harding.

Tegan Bathgate with Nadine Holtorf and her son Jasper.

Sally Anderson, Jane Maroulis and Kerri-Ann Daniels.

Wes Kerin, Nathan Walsh, David McKinnon and Murray Barling.

Glenn Potter, Dick Manton and Mick Northey.

Laurence Crook and Terry Fulwood.

Wendy Dickens and Susan Flood.

 Sandy Richards, Robyn Makeham, Tony Zaia, Ellen Barnes, Corina Barnes and Billy West.

Trish Scullard pictured with Reg, Rose and Neil Paine.

Belinda Blackett and Jodie Smith.

Georgia Maxwell and Rose Nott.

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