Purcell defends roads funding

Posted on: July 14th, 2018 by • Sticky
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PUSH: Upper House Member for Western Victoria James Purcell is working to gain funds for the Stage Two redevelopment of Warrnambool Base Hospital.

MOST ofthe $44 million in state funding for south-west roads announced last week is money the region usually receives for road maintenance,Memberfor Western Victoria James Purcell says.

Responding to criticism by south-west councils of State Roads Minister Luke Donnellan’s promotion of the moneyas aboost to the state’s road funding, Mr Purcell conceded that “recurrent funding makes up 90 per cent of the figure”.

However Mr Purcell, who helpedMr Donnellan promotethe funding, said the money was particularly useful because it had been allocated to road projects the community wanted rather than VicRoads projects.

The projects to be funded had been identified “direct from community feedback,” Mr Purcell said.

Mr Purcell said he was confident the region would get more road funding in the near future.Having Mr Donnellan visit the south-west last week had been very useful because it allowed him to see the poor state of roads in the region, he said.

More funding for the region’sroads is one of the issues on which Mr Purcell, who leads the Vote 1 Local Jobs party, hopes to use hiscrucial Upper House voteto press the Labor government for more money for the south-west.

Mr Purcell said the Labor government needed two of five cross-bench votes in the Upper House to pass its legislation and he was generally one of the votes sought.

“(Vote 1 Local Jobs is)willing to help with legislation as long as they are willing to help western Victoria,” he said.

Mr Purcell said the state government sought his support to increase royaltieson brown coal and to increase stamp duties on transfers of foreign-owned land.

He said those tax increases would secure another $67 million for the state government.

Apart from more funding for roads,one of Mr Purcell’s next goals is to gain fundsfor the Stage Two redevelopment of Warrnambool Base Hospital.

Mr Purcell met last week with state treasurer Tim Pallas to seek fundingfor the $112 million development that will create a new emergency department and operating theatres at the hospital.

He said he hoped to get funding innext year’sstate budget for Stage Two’sdesign and tendering components with further funding forthe construction phasesto be allocated in budgets after 2017.

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Soak up luxury and style

Posted on: July 14th, 2018 by • Sticky
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Contact: Key2 Property

Amanda Cairns or Kate Woods 6343 1329


If style, class and sophistication are high on your new home requirements, this stunning property at Prospect, Launceston, will grab your attention.

The modern, versatile design of this homecombines practicality and aesthetic appeal, whileaccommodating the everyday needs of a family.

With multiple living spaces, including both formal and informal living area, a “man cave”, study and theatre, every member of the family is well catered.

The beautiful chef’s kitchen, centrally located within the home, offers gorgeous granite benchtops and top quality appliances.

The incredibly spacious master bedroom features a fabulous ensuite, a sitting area plus a great little balcony to enjoy a nightcap whileenjoying the lovely outlook.

Additionally, on the upper level of the home is a sitting area and the remaining threebedrooms, each spacious with built-in robes.

A fabulous feature of the property is the home theatre, complete with soundproof walls. Thegames room also comes complete with as-new pool table andaccessories.

Externally, the home features an excellent undercover entertaining area and a brilliant deck, overlooking the four-jet swim-spa/hot tub.

A double garage connects to the home, and ample additional off-street parking is provided, catering to boats, caravans, or plenty of guests. The whole block is securely fenced including electric gates to the driveway and a camera/intercom system for additional security.

For more information contact Key2 Property

Western aims to keep improving its touch

Posted on: July 14th, 2018 by • Sticky
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THE Western NSW Mariners FC will look to put the finishing touches on itspreparation for a Football NSW Women’s State League campaign when hosting Gladesville on Sunday.

The match, to be played at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Sporting Complex, will be the last for the Mariners before the players take the next step in their premiership push.

From 20 completed games, the Mariners have only lost twice and head into the final round sitting second onthe ladder.

A win will not only confirm a top two finish and the second chance which comes with it, but could also see the Mariners replace APIA Leichhardt Tigers at the top.

The Tigers sit just two points –less than a win –ahead of Mariners and meet currently third placed Southern Districts on Sunday.

Mariners coach Mick Godbieris not overly concerned where his side ends up given all semi-finals will be played in Sydney, but admits top spot would be nice.

“If we did get that minor premiership it would be a nice little bonus, but it’s not a major goal,” Godbiersaid.

“For us it’s to finish in the top two then go one better in the finals than we did last year.

“It doesn’t really matter to us where we finish, one, two, three – we know the team that plays against us will have to work for everything because we are a confident side.”

What Godbierdoes want is a win over Gladesville in Mudgee and for his players to show continued improvement.

Last Sunday when playing out a nil-all draw with Southern Districts, the mentor was most impressed with the effort of his midfielders.

Though not able to find the back of the net,Teegan Courtney, skipper Kristy Collingridge, Tayla Lloyd andKya Godbier created plenty of chances.

Under 15s talent Brianna Trappett was another who impressed against Southern Districts.

She scored against Gladesville at Mudgee earlier this season when the Mariners won 2-0 and will be keen to do so again if given a chance.

That 2-0 win came in the first meeting between the Mariners and Western this year.

The other endedin a draw which has Godbier cautious heading into the third clash even though Gladesville will not qualify for the finals.

“They’ll come to play for sure. We played them about a month ago and we had them on toast, we had them 3-1, but they came back and it ended up 3-all,” Godbier said.

“We should have out best 11 back this weekend .. we had a few out last time we played, but no excuses there.

“Our aim is to keep improving,that’s pretty much what we have tried to do over the last month, to sort of keep stepping up and not peaking too early.

“Hopefully then we can step up for the finals and go bang, bang.”

Three of the Mariners’ junior sides will also use Sunday’s match as a warm-up for the finals.

The under 13s have already sewn up the minor premiership, while the under 15s and under 17s have earned a semi-finalspot.

SOLID: Kya Godbier impressed in the midfield last Sunday and will look to shine again in the Mariners’ final round match.

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Candidates align in race for council

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by
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Candidates in theSeptember 10 Bega Valley local government election are aligning themselves in abid to push their profiles and policies to the fore in a big field of 26 people vying to become councillors.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission website there are only two formal groups.

Group A comprises three members of theBegaValleyShireResidentsand RatepayersAssociation -Fraser Buchanan, Judy Geary and John Richardson.

The triowill go to the poll as a group of independent candidatesrunning on a platform of “back to basics”, focusing on the delivery of services, and also openness and accountability.

Group B comprises David Porter of Tathra and JoshuaShoobridge of Kalaru.

But Mr Porter is also one of eight candidates who met inBega on Sunday – after the ballot paper was finalised – to form a new alliance.

That alliance hasvowed to stop what they callthe council’s “spendathon”, which they claimhascome at the expense of roads, water, sewerage, rubbish and other basic council services.

The team of eight also comprises Tony Allen and Russell Fitzpatrick -councillors on the outgoing council –together withRobyn Bain, Carol Carmody,Daryl Dobson,Brenda Edbrooke and Wayne Marmont.

Another group also has emerged withMayorMichael Britten confirming on Tuesday he hasformed a ticketwith outgoing councillorsKristy McBain,Sharon Tapscott, Bill Taylor and Eden candidate Peter Whiter.

Mayor Britten said they were individuals standing on a platform of”stability and future leadership” with the aim ofattracting infrastructure, creating employment opportunities and shoring up tourism.

He said he opposed politics and caucusing in local government, adding that the individuals on his ticket shared different views on some issues, but had a common a commitment to the future of the shire.

Fairfax Media will hosta candidates’ forum at Club Sapphire on August 31from 6pm.Acomplete list of candidates and their election pitchescan be found here.

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Step-father jailed for incest

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by
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A SOUTH-WEST step-fatherwho recorded himself having sex with his mildly disabledstep-daughter hasbeen jailed for eight years.

​The man in his 40s,who cannot be named as that would identify the victim, pleaded guilty to 11 charges in the County Courtduring March​, including five counts of incest.

He was declared a serious sexual offender during the late 1990sin Gippsland after pleading guilty to incest involving step-children from a previous relationship and was jailed forfour years and six months.

The man also had numerous prior convictions for indecent assault involving step-children.

​County Court sentencing has now been finalised and the man was jailed for eight years with a non-parole period of five years and nine months.​​

Police executed a warrant at the man’s home in February last year as part of an investigation into child pornographyandfound several images and videos of him engaging in sex with the victim during 2013 and 2014.

​Investigationsrevealed the offending happened duringtwo timeframes, beginning in July 2004 with inappropriate touching which progressed to intercoursewhenthe victim was 11.

She was then placed in foster care.

When she was 18 she returned to live with her mother.

On the day she returned to the family home,the step-father had sex with her.

​Judge Susan Cohen said that within six weeks of moving in with a woman in the early 2000s ​the Department of Human Services intervened and removed two girls due to the man’s prior offending against step-daughters.

​”Unfortunately even within that time frame you had committed a number of offences against the elder daughter,” she told the man.

​The judge said the sexual abuse called for unqualified condemnation.

“The fact that she was living in your home because of your relationship with her mother gave you the ability to exercise some power or control over her and put you in a position of trust towards her,” Judge Cohen said.

“You abused that trust and in doing so were acting for your own sexual gratification.”

​Judge Cohen said the man must have known he was doing wrong and was even more reprehensible because he had previously been jailed for similar offending.

She said a victim impact statementrevealed the young woman continued to feel the impact of her step-father’s offending​and was likely to into the future.

The police raid also resulted in 2310 downloads being found on​the man’scomputers involving pre-teenhardcore pornography.

There were 63 images of child exploitation. There was also apornographicvideo involving girls aged two to 10 years.

The judge said the child pornography was unquestionably of a child exploitative nature.

During an interview with police the man​aged in his late 40s ​claimed he didn’t know it was illegal to have sex with a step-daughter.

“She is not blood,” he said, butadmitted he was “an idiot”.

​The judge said the defendant finished serving a jail sentence in March 2003 and in that year met the mother of the victim.

“Undoubtedly, you regret the situation in which you now find yourself​ and see that you have serious and underlying problems to address if you are not to repeat such offending in the future once released from prison,” she said.

In a pleahearing barrister Zoe Broughtonquote​d​her client saying he wished he was just normal.

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Solving the dairy crisis

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by
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On Thursday the federal governmentinvitedkey stakeholdersto take part in asymposiumto address the challenges facing the Australian dairy industry.

From farmer organisations, processors and retailers, they gathered in Melbourne to facilitate industry-led options.

SYMPOSIUM: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, chaired the discussions in Melbourne.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, chaired the discussions in Melbourne.

“I thank the farmers and key supply chain stakeholders who came together in one room today to discuss better and fairer bargaining and contracting between farmers and processors and propose ways to improve the industry’s prospects going forward,” Minister Joyce said.

“Recent events have shown there is a need for the industry to better balance risk along the dairy supply chain, especially when it comes to managing the effects of lower world prices.”

“Ultimately, I want to see improved farm gate returns for dairy farmers, an openness in milk price arrangements and fair and transparent milk supply contracts.”

“This can only happen if there is buy-in from industry and a willingness from key stakeholders to hear each other out and develop solutions together.”

“The Coalition government will continue to work with our dairy farmers and processors to strengthen the dairy industry, including our election commitment of up to $2 million to establish a commodity milk price index.”

The symposium provided an opportunity for stakeholders to put forward early views on this.

The government is delivering assistance to dairy farmers with a $579 million support package to help them manage through the current low price environment.

Mr Joyce says this is providing farmers with access to Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans, Farm Household Allowance (FHA), the Rural Financial Counselling Service and an additional $900,000 for Dairy Australia to roll out ‘Tactics for Tight Times’ one-to-one farm business advice.

The minister announced he would host the symposium after meetingwith Murray Goulburn executives on Tuesday, August 18.

At the time he said it was important the dairy giant explainedto its suppliers how it would help them after slashingmilk prices.Earlier this year, Murray Goulburn made retrospective cuts to the prices it paid for milk and instantly saddled farmers with large debts

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Safer walkways

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by
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Hilltops Council’sPedestrian Access and Mobility Plan (PAMP) for the Young area is strategically targeting improved pedestrian facilities in high volume pedestrian use areas such as medical precincts, schools and the Young central business precinct.

Works have started on improved pedestrian safety at the Boorowa Street – Thornhill Street roundabout.

The existing median islands have been upgraded to pedestrian refuge standards and restricting access to cross the road away from the refuge.

There is also improved pedestrian safety between the Young Hospital and the Allanan Street public carpark by reducing the road width that needs to be crossed and providing a lower speed environment for traffic.

Improved access across Lovell Street at Main Street has been achievedby adjusting the previously constructed median islands to allow for improved pedestrian use.

There is anew shared pathway link between Keith Cullen Oval and Young via Whiteman and Park Avenue.

This link joins the Burrangong Creek shared pathway to Young at its eastern end.

Hilltops Council’s Director of Infrastructure Dirk Wymer said the works were part of a five year plan.

“ThePedestrian Access and Mobility Plan was reviewed and adopted by the Young Council back in 2012 as part of a five year plan,” Mr Wymer said.

“It was put in place to improve pedestrian access within Young.

“It focuses on improvements for the elderly and the young with better access to the hospital and better access to schools.

“The works include pedestrian refuges which make it easier to cross the road safely.

“They include curb islands which reduce the width of crossing, also making it safer to cross the wide roads.

“There are works planned for the upcoming school holidays as part of the PAMP.

“Work at McLerie and William Streets as well as McLerie and Edwards Streets should be completed,weather permitting, before school goes back,” he said.

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Make your vote count, because others can’t

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by
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A LOCALgovernment election looms on the horizonand one of the more common reactions to reminding someoneis a disgusted sigh.

I used to be guilty of this, but a few years agoI had a conversation and itmade me rethink my privileged apathy.

Shortly after voting in the federal election in 2013 I hopped on a plane to Istanbul.

After 23 hours and one harrowing taxi ride I was finally able to look online at the results.

Support for minor parties and independents was high and I had messages from friends laughing about how they hadn’t voted or had done a ‘donkey vote’ because they were sick of the mess that they said was politics.

I laughingly toldthis to my new Turkish friend Basak later that day explaining to herhow our primeminister had been ousted by another only to be then re-ousted again and how Australian politics had descended into a madness fit for a soap opera.

She told me that she couldn’t believe how lucky I was that I could think that was funny.“I don’t know what will happen after the next election if the same party gets in, maybe civil war,” she shrugged –genuinely considering it as a potential outcome.

The opposite of Australia’s disengaged political youth, the younger people in Turkey fiercely campaign in elections, they rally when their free speech is curtailed and bravely face down tear gas when their government triesto silence them.

“Live free or die,”one of them once said to me.

Notoriously corrupt, Turkish elections be they local or federaltend to be characterised by missing votes and violence, a democracy sometimes in name only. And yet every election Basak makes her way to the polling booths and makes an educated decision for who she is voting for. She says knowing her vote will likely never be counted is so frustrating it makes her want to scream.

When we vote,provided we fill out our piece of paper in the correct way, we know it will be read and tallied and will go towards the final outcome. With the internet we now no longer have the excuse of not understanding the policies of different candidates, and when they live in your town even less.

It may only be a local government election on September 10, but we allhave a duty to make our vote countbecause we have the undeniable privilege of having our votes actually count.


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Working towards joining the dots

Posted on: August 20th, 2019 by
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Rehabilitation Outcomes helped place Rod Thomas in his new job at Trafficking Traffic Management in South Albury.

THE economic cost of work-related injury and illness to the Australian economy is more than $60 billion a year.

In its most recent reportSafe Work Australia estimated the cost in2012-13 at $61.8 billion, which was 4.1 per cent of GDP.

Border-based Rehabilitation Outcomes director Brad Stevens said Safe Work Australia found that for every dollar saved in direct workers’ compensation costs, it spared the community $4 in extracosts such as carer’s leave.

“We know the impact of getting people back to work is dramatic,” he said.

“Rates of depression and suicide are alarmingly high for workers who are out of work.”

Since 2002, Rehabilitation Outcomes has helped 3000 peoplereturnto work in Albury-Wodonga, Wagga, Wangaratta and as far as Deniliquin.

Rehabilitation Outcomes Job Placement and HR consultant Nell Showers said they worked with people whose worlds had been turned upside down through injury.

“It’s a real shock to many people who injure themselves at work, and are trying to get back to their original role, as they are confronted with issues of identity, finances, physical and mental health,” she said.

“Sometimes getting a worker back to their original role isn’t possible so the New Employment Services team works with them to establish transferable skills into another industry, retraining and job seeking skills.”

Ms Showers said swapping careers midway through a person’s lifecould be challenging but still have a good outcome.

“I’ve seen people transition from retail to working in a mechanic workshop, from home care to becoming a pharmacy assistant or in hospitalityand a delivery driver to full-time work as a traffic controller,” she said.

Mr Stevens said injured workers needed more thantreatmentto return to meaningfulwork.

“We understand their capacity for work and we understand their transferable skills,” he said.

“We connect the dots to help people find work; our physiotherapists and occupational therapists help people because treatment isn’t enough – they talkto supervisors and makesure it’s working.”

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Hungry for success

Posted on: August 20th, 2019 by
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THE Muswellbrook Rams first grade players are itching to get onto Olympic Park this weekend, according to captain Cade Boney.

LOCAL HOPES: Muswellbrook Rams first grade squad – back, coach Gary Jones, Jacob Ellis, Mitch Mather, Marcus Bower, Adam Grech, Elliot Serhan, Lennie Craft, coach Steve Haylen; middle, manager Gus Mather, senior vice-president Jonas Merrick, manager Michael Upton, Brady Benkovic, Andrew Pritchard, Rohan Pottinger, Jacobe Dowell, Jackson Anshaw, FAO Anthony Cubillo, treasurer Kurt Stallworthy, president Kurt Dial; and, front, Heath Collins, Adam Hume, Liam Dunn, Cade Boney (c), Clinton Blenman, Jeffrey Sarrikko, Zac Webb and Drew Harker.

And, with an A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League premiership on the line, who could blame them.

It’s been a long time between drinks for the club, with the Scone Thoroughbreds the last hurdle in 2016.

But, there’s an air of anticipation throughout the organisation – and town.

“Everyone’s in good spirits,” Boney said.

“The guys are just excited to get into it.

“Sunday can’t come soon enough.

“After our semi-final win over the Thoroughbreds, the boys realise we deserve to be here.

“And, even though we’re full of confidence, we know this match will be 10 times harder.

“We’re not taking anything for granted.

“Scone’s been the most consistent side all year.

“We’ll need to be at our best.”

One aspect of the team, which is expected to hold the Rams in good stead, is the camaraderie among the senior contingent.

“It’s great to have the likes of Adam Grech, Zac Webb, Adam Hume and Clinton Blenman back at the club,” Boney said.

“They’re all ex-juniors.

“So, they’ve been a breath of fresh air this year.”

Boney also expressed his delight at the level of support throughout the community in the lead-up to the season finale.

“Seeing our colours (blue and gold) in the main street, and in shops, has been fantastic,” he said.

“It’s a big thing for the club this weekend – hopefully, we’ll have a massive crowd on hand.

“And, we can draw on their enthusiasm.”

The main match kicks off at 2.30pm.

The Muswellbrook Rams first grade squad consists of Jacob Ellis, Mitch Mather, Marcus Bower, Adam Grech, Elliot Serhan, Lennie Craft, Brady Benkovic, Andrew Pritchard, Rohan Pottinger, Jacobe Dowell, Jackson Anshaw, Heath Collins, Adam Hume, Liam Dunn, Cade Boney, Clinton Blenman, Jeffrey Sarrikko, Zac Webb and Drew Harker.

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Rush youngster gets Spirit call-up

Posted on: August 20th, 2019 by
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Richards vows to return for BFNL netball finals

Spirit rivals to feel the pain

Canadian international Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe joins WNBL club Bendigo Spirit

WNBA point guard Blake Dietrick signs with Bendigo Spirit

Lydia Brooks has won a spot on the Bendigo Spirit pre-season roster.

BALLARAT Rush young-gun Lydia Brooks has won a call-up to the Bendigo BankSpirit’s pre-season roster.

Brooks has been drafted in as insurance for injured pair Gabe Richards and Ebony Rolph.

Richards, a two-time WNBL All-Star and dual championship player, is continuing to recover from a foot injury.

She underwent plantar fascia surgery in July and is expected back for the Spirit’s regular season opener against Adelaide Lightning on October 8.

Gabe Richards

Development player Rolph is recovering from a broken thumb sustainedwhile playing for Geelong’s SEABL team.

Coach Simon Pritchard said Brooks had impressed in theSEABL and deserved her opportunity with the Spirit.

“We will test her out pre-season and see how she performs,” he said.

“We gave Ebony the same opportunity at the start of last season and she is on our roster now.

“Lydia can play as a big, so will be able to cover Gabe or Ebony in the early games.”

The Spirit will play two practice matches in the lead-up to the 2016-17 season.

They will play the Melbourne Boomers at Ballarat on September 17, before taking on the Dandenong Rangers at Werribee a week later.

The Spirit had their difficulties with the Boomers and Rangers last season, going 1-2 in the head-to-head against both teams.

“Melbourne will have had a few more weeks together than us when we play them in Ballarat, but it should be a good contest,” Pritchard said.

“Both teams have strong support in Ballarat, and we are all really looking forward to it.

“We know both games are all about learning teaching and understanding our systems.

“All three teams won’t care about the results, it will just be about getting the groups together under pressure and seeing how they react.”

The Spirit will begin full training on September 5, with a full roster expected to be available within a few weeks.

“Nadeen Payne will be ready to go from day one and we will know more about Ashleigh Karaitiana after this week’s SEABL game,” Pritchard said.

“After a sensational Olympics, we are expecting (Canadian) Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe to touch down about a week after training starts.

Nayop Raincock-Ekunwe

“Blake Dietrick may be a bit longer, depending on whether she can secure another short-term WNBA contract.”

Karaitiana will line-up for Brisbane Spartans in this weekend’s east conference preliminaryfinal against Nunawading.

The New Zealand-born former Australian under-19 representativeleads the Spartans with a team-high 16.9 points per game.

Ticket details for the Ballarat and Werribee games are on the Spirit’s facebook page.

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Top marks for school teachers

Posted on: August 20th, 2019 by
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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Orange High School maths teacher Jo Beeby, P&C president Keith Lummis and Canobolas Rural Technology High School’s Matt Scott. Photo: JUDE KEOGHTEACHERS from two high schools in Orange have been selected to receive Minister’s Awards for Excellence.

Orange High School maths teacher Jo Beeby will receive an Excellence in Teaching awardand the school’s P and C president Keith Lummis will receive a Parent of the Year Award.

Canobolas Rural Technology High School will receive three awards for its Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) program and Canobolas High Performance Athletes (CHPA) program.

They will include a Teacher in Excellence Award forSTEM head teacher Matt Scott, CHPA will receivean award for Excellence in a School Program and STEM will receive a commendation award.

“My award will be based on the implementation and setting up the STEM program and consistently higher results for design and technology we’ve been getting her at the school for a consecutive period of time,” Mr Scott said.

He said this is the first year the school is running STEM in its current format and was pleased an outside organisation saw merit in what they are doing.

Mr Lummis has two children at Orange High School, Matthew in year 12 and Declan in year 7, and said he has been involved with P and C groups at various schools for 15 years and since 2006 in Orange.

“I was pretty excited I guess, a bit honoured and humbled,” Mr Lummis said.

Mrs Beeby is a former Orange High School students andsaid she started her first year of teaching in 1989 and has been teaching at the school for 21 years.

Although she was delighted to win a minister’sawardshe did not believe she did anythingout of the ordinary and considered her passion and approach part of the job.

“I feel it’s what every teacher does,” she said.

“I love my maths and hopefully [the students]love their maths as well.”

Mr Lummis said although Mrs Beeby felt she worked as hard as other teachers,shehad a goodreputation.

“The kids love her, she’s highly regarded by all the staff and highly regarded by students,”

The awards recognise NSW public schoolteachers fordelivering high quality education to students.

The awards will be presented by Education MinisterAdrian Piccoli and NSW Department of Education secretaryMark Scottat Parliament House, Sydney on September 20.

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Clubs to push for season change

Posted on: August 20th, 2019 by
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All smiles: The Breakers celebrate a try earlier in the season. Photo: Ivan SajkoTHE Group 3 rugby league season could be shorter in length next season if clubs choose to vote that way at November’s annual general meeting.

Port City Breakers coach Digby Murray acknowledged there wereboth positives and negatives for having theseason at its current length.

“By having a length of season as it is, it gives an opportunity to raise more money by having a few more home games,” he said.

“If I was on the committee I’d be about raising more funds, but as a player or coach I think you only need to play each other twice.”

The current 18-week season incorporates four weeks of a pre-season tournament at the start of the year which also doubles as being for premiership points.

Murray felt one of those weeks was a complete waste of time.

“It was played for no other reason than for the gate (takings) and to play-off for third or fourth,” he said.

The Breakers coach knows regardless of what the final outcome is inNovember, it would be adecision that wouldn’t please everyone.

“Whatever they dosomeone will complain, but I’d be happy just to play each other twice,” he said.

He acknowledged if the pre-season was scrapped, clubs would organise their own trials.

On the surface,the easiest way to shorten the season would be to not have the pre-season cup in 2017 which appears to bea possibility when the clubs gather at the end of the season to vote.

The grouphas played a pre-season for the past four years but secretary Barrie Smith said it wasn’tset in concrete for 2017.

“Some clubs don’t like the pre-season because it doesn’t involve the whole club. They’d ratherorganisetheir own trials,’’ Smithsaid.

“The pre-season could be put on the back burner next year.’’

Clubs opted for an 18-match season for 2016 at last November’s annual meeting. No free weekends were slotted into the draw.Mr Smith and Wingham delegate Craig Martin both warned at the time the competition would be too long. Both have since been vindicated.

Mr Smithsaid the competition has to accommodate the weaker clubs as well as the stronger.

Barrie Smith

“The top three get all the kudos, but the struggling clubs are just as important, or more important. They have to be looked after.”

Mr Smith will stronglybe strongly recommending a two-round competition in 2017 and believes he will have support in clubland.

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