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Ground technical faults are being blamed for the outage that left around 65,000 Sky Muster satellite users without internet for two hours on Monday evening.The Better Internet for Rural Regional and Remote Australia advocacy group has renewed its call for an nbn notification and call centre in the wake oftechnical faults that left around 65,000 Sky Muster satellite customers without internet for two hours on Monday evening.
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Happening in prime time –from 5.45pm to 7.45pm –the unexplained outage meant hundreds of people turned to the only information source they knew for information.

“I was absolutely inundated – hundreds of messages and notifications, my mobile and home phones were ringing off the hook from all over – and we had no idea what had happened,” said BIRRR chief administrator, Kristy Sparrow.

“It’s just insane that nbn seems to want a group of volunteers to do their customer support for free.

“We have asked nbn repeatedly to provide an outage notification line, social media presence and an outage info web page – at the very least a call centre – to deal with this kind of event.”

Kristy had dozens of people ringing her to report their outage and find out what was happening – to the point she had to walk away from them to get answers.

“We understand people are frustrated and looking for answers, but considerable detective work is required behind the scenes for BIRRR to work out what is going on.

“If nbn would simply own the issue, address it properly and keep people informed, a great deal of angst on the part of customers and stress on BIRRR volunteers would be alleviated.”

Nbn co’s Queensland corporate affairs manager, Kylie Lindsay said that at arecent satellite roundtable meeting, nbn co CEO Bill Morrow undertook to publicise outages in response to a request fromBIRRR.

She said this was being looked at, and added that the nbn already had a 24/7 call centre that people could contact for information.

Saying nbn’s call centre had “been around forever” by ringing 1800 OURNBN(1800 687 626), Ms Lindsay said it would have current information, thanks to internal memos keeping everyone up to date.

The nationalnetwork outage took place 24 hours beforetheInterim Satellite Service was due to be switched off and decommissioned, with the first notice coming from Activ8me Customer Care, which said all Sky Muster services were unable to connect to the internet.

“This outage will also affect VoIP services connected via Sky Muster,” it went on to say.

Ms Lindsay said the network sufferedsome instability again in the early hours of Tuesday morning, but all services had since beenrestored.

“Our priority was to get the network up and running again, with our satellite service delivery partners Ericsson and ViaSat now investigating the root cause of the outage,” she said.

Outage timingThe timing of the outage, just hours before the ISS (Interim Satellite Service) was due to be switched off, meaning most of rural Australia will be dependent on Sky Muster for their internet connections from Wednesday, showcases just how vital the reliability of this service is, according to Kristy Sparrow.

“The outage also highlights just how important landlines are to rural and remote Sky Muster customers, with a huge number of BIRRR members having their landline phone as their only form of communication when the internet is out.

“Those who are dependent on Sky Muster for a phone service were completely without communication, and this is of great concern in the event of an emergency.”

Ms Lindsay said nbnand retail service providers hadundertaken a comprehensive campaign to inform ISS users that the service was being shut down permanently at midnight Tuesday.

“As at Monday, there were less than 800 people who had not yet ordered an alternativenbnservice, but this does not mean that they will be without a service as they may have chosen to make do with mobile solutions or another provider,” she said.

Kristy’s frustration was evident as she said that the Sky Muster satellite hadnot been the promised ‘game changing’ experience for rural and remote Australians.

She said that along with restrictive data allowances, the unreliability of the service hadcreated significant impacts to education, business, health and welfare of regional Australians.

“Ongoing outages, speed issues, off peak updates, rain fade and lack of support are but some of the extensive issues list that BIRRR continues to advocate to be fixed.”

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Fight won: Shellharbour councillors voted to pursue legal action – and subsequent appeals – over the past year. Peter Moran this week formally apologised for voting against the last legal appeal.A Shellharbour councillor has delivered a heartfelt apology at the council’s first meeting since Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced she would reverse the plan to merge the council with Wollongong.
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Independent councillor Peter Moran sought forgiveness from councillors and the communityfor voting against the last stage of the council’s legal appeal.

“When we lost our court case and the time came for the council to pursue an appeal, I made a value judgement based on the information before me and chose to vote against pursuing an appeal,” he said.

“That was the wrong decision for me to have made in the event. I’m sure the community is aware that it is only the fact that we were engaged in the appeals process that actually saved us from being amalgamated.

“Iwish that I hadn’t voted that way.”

Amid saccharin optimism about the city’s future standing aloneother councillors declared he was immediately resolved; Liberal Kellie Marsh said she would not accept the apology as she did not think it necessary.

Ealrier, in a sentimental introduction to the meeting, Mayor Marianne Saliba rattled off a long list of thank yous to all those who has supported the “no merger” campaign.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward also made a guest appearance to speak about his support for the council remaining separate

“I’m pleased to be here and see that your council is continuing to meet and be a pulse for local democracy,” Mr Ward said.

“I think the brightest days of this council are in front of you.”

He reiterated his opposition to the merger proposal, and also made efforts to bury the hatchet with Ms Saliba; the pair exchanged many heated words in the past year.

“I know that you and I have had some interesting times over the past 12 months, but I want to thank you in particular for your strong leadership.” he said.

Despite the peace-making mood of the meeting, Cr Moran pointed out that the plan to drop the merger had not yet been officially decreed, meaning councillors were still obliged to adhere to rules for councils under merger proposals.

But general manager Carey McIntyre said he had been told the official notice from the Local Government Minister was “imminent”.

“Notwithstanding the announcement of February 14 that the state government would not be further pursuing a merge…Shellharbour City Council is yet to receive that advice in writing,” Mr McIntyre said.“The advice council officers have been able to obtain from the Office of Local Government is that that letter is imminent.”

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LEADING THE WAY: Todd Newton and Annabel Sides during their visit to Brown Brothers Winery at Millawa Victoria as part of the program.TWO Inverell residents have been selected for an intensive leadership development program with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.
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Annabel Sides and Todd Newton are joining 31 leaders from across the country in theprogram thataims to produce a network of informed, capable and motivated leaders to work collaboratively within their communities andadvance the interests of rural and regional Australia.

Mr Newton, who is the Technical Manager for Bindaree Beef Group, said the program commenced with a 12-day experience in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

“The course has been a wonderful experience,in particular the Kimberley session which provided an opportunity to challenge and test myself outside my comfort zonewhile exploring my personal beliefs, values and leadership style,” he said.

Upon returning from the Kimberley the group met in Melbourne late last year where they undertook media and communication training directed by journalists from the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

A further session has just been completed in north east Victoria where the group experienced first-hand insights into community and regional leadership with the intent of gaining inspiration and skills relevant to their own leadership development.

Mr Sides is Manager of Business and Finance for Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and said the program, which is in its 25thyear, was both challenging and rewarding.

“This program has provided me with one of the most challenging and exciting experiences ever,” she said.

“Previous participants have inspired me enormously and I truly believe the ARLF are serious about increasing leadership capacity in rural and regional Australia and I’m excited to be part of that.

“I hope one day to be able to give back all I have learned.”

ARLF Manager for Leadership Programs Graham Smith said the sessions are aimed at stripping distractions to hone leadership skills.

“The Kimberley location is importantas it takes participants away from day to day distractions and the technology we’re so often hooked to in day-to-day lifeand gets our leaders exploring personal values, leadership attributes and team work,” he said.

Mr Smith said the group would travel to Indonesia in May this year.

The overseas experience will be designed to develop the participants’ international networks and exploringcultural differences prior to a final graduation in Canberra later this year.

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Last week Council staff met with University of Canberra staff and a number of students to begin an exciting project.
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Five Landscape Architecture students will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the Wollondilly and Mulwaree Rivers and the walking track.

TRAIL BLAZERS: The river-side walking track in Goulburn is a hit with the public, but stand-by for even more exciting development.

The students will design a plan for development of the river walkway and associated landscaping.

I unfortunately was unable to attend the meeting on Friday, but am looking forward to meeting the students involved.

The Walking Track has been a huge success within our community, with stage 1 already being well used by the public.

We have received plenty of positive feedback which is fantastic, however I believe the area is still full of potential as we look to undertake landscaping and include picnic and BBQ areas, outdoor gym equipment and other features. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the students come up with!

Operational PlanIn April the 2017 Operational Plan and Budget and a four year delivery plan will be presented to council. Councillors have been working closely with staff to pull this document together and we are excited to put it forward for community consultation.

The capital works program includes a number of exciting projects that the community is aware of including the Performing Arts Centre, Aquatic Centre Redevelopment, CBD Enhancement, Adventure Playground and more. Some of the proposed capital works that we will be considering are a street tree program including ‘avenues of honour,’ improvements toour waste management facilities, improving our city entrances and the upgrade of sport fields and cemeteries.

Goulburn ShowIt’s fantastic to have the Goulburn Show returning this weekend after a year off. The show is a huge community event that I am sure manywill be excited to attend.It really does have something for everyone with a number of great competitions, animals for the kids to see, attractions and rides for all to enjoy and the pavilion full of produce, art, cooking and photography. We hope to see you there over the weekend!

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STRONGER AS ONE: The nippers team from the Mollymook SLSC, which finished in second in the overall point score, behind hosts Warilla-Barrack Point SLSCA STRONG team of athletes have starred forMollymook Surf Life Saving Club at the recentSouth Coast Branch Surf Life Saving Championships, held at the Warilla-Barrick Point SLSC.
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Of the team, 46 of them were Nippers athletes and the top results in the u8s includeSonny Coote(second in beach sprint), Darcy Greenhalgh (second in beach flags) andHarry Walsh (first in run and wade), while the beach relay team (Sonny Coote, Harry Walsh, Darcy Greenhalgh and Hayle Bedford) finished second and the R and W relay (Harry Walsh, Max Butson, Cameron Campbell and Hayle Bedford) also claimed silver.

Stars in u9s wereSaige Williams(second beach in flags and third in beach sprint),Sebastian Diver(third in beach sprint) and the beach relay team (Beau Alderman, Sebastian Diver, Saige Williams and Jessica Barr) claimed bronze.

The u10s were best served by Logan Coote (third in beach flags),Maisie Butson(fourth in board), Jacob Jones(fourth swim and flags) and Hailey D’Ombrain (fourth in beach flags).

The top u11s were Nash Burton(second in board, second in beach flags andthird in beach sprint), Olivia Greenhalgh (first in beach sprint and second in beach flags),Kara Hoyer(second in swim),Estella Campbell(third in Ironwoman and fourth swim) and the swim relay (Kara Hoyer, Estella Campbell, Amarli Williams and Zoe Cowled) placed third.

In the u12s, stars were Blake D’Ombrain(first in beach flags and third in beach sprint),Stirling Norwood(second in beach flags and beach sprint),Karla Jones(first in beach flags and beach sprint),Tiffany Coote(third in beach flags) and Archie Skinner(fourth in swim), as the beach relay (Stirling Norwood, Blake D’Ombrain, Karla Jones and Tiffany Coote) claimed gold and the swim relay (Karla Jones, Blake D’Ombrain, Summer Lindberg and Archie Skinner) silver.

Best in the u13s were Maddy D’Ombrain(first in beach flags, second boardand fourth in Ironwoman),Arnae McKillop (second in beach flags and second in beach sprint),Julia Armstrong(second in Ironwoman and third surf race) andMaddie Healey(second in surf race and third in Ironwoman).

Also in the u13s,beach relay team (Maddy D’Ombrain, Arnae McKillop, Julia Armstrong and Maddie Healey) finished third. Finally, in the u14s, top results were Jack Skinner(first in swim, board, Ironman, beach sprint and second in beach flags), Ben Crockett(third beach sprint),Dani Holt(first in Ironwoman,swim and board),Eilish Norwood(second in beach flags and beach sprint),Shallan Burton(third in beach sprint),Jamie Scott(fourth in board), as the beach relay (Jack Skinner, Ben Crockett, Eilish Norwood and Shallan Burton), swim team (Jack Skinner, Dani Holt, Jamie Scott and Ben Crockett) and board team (Dani Holt, Jamie Scott and Ben Crockett) all claimed first.

On top of all this success, Mollymook’s all age relayclaimed the gold medal, while theirmarch past team got silver. In the seniors, the 30+ mixed board relay team claimed gold, the all age relay three-person taplin secured bronze, the open board relay finished with the silver and u15s female board relay claimed silver.

Individually, medals went toAnthony Ireland (gold in 30-39 years board, gold in 30-39 ski and gold in 30-39 surf), Cheryl Garin (golf in 40-49 2km beach run), Simone Scott (gold in 40-49 flags, goid in 40-49 beach sprint and gold in 40-49 board) and Paul Burton (silver in 40-49 flags, silver in 40-49 board and gold in 40-49 ski). Others medals included Brett Crocket (bronze in 40-49 board and silver in 40-49 surf), Robert Scott (silver in 40-49 ski), Kevin Whitford (silver in 50+ beach sprint), Laveneder Gardam (bronze in openflags, bronze in u17s 2km beach run andgold in u17s flags), Adam Newey (gold in open flags, silver in open beach sprint, silver in u17s flags and gold in u17s beach sprint), Brock Scrivener (silver in open flags, bronze in open beach sprint, gold in u17s flags and silver in u17s beach sprint), Timothy Burgmann (silver in open flags and gold in open beach sprint), Lewis Betts (bronze in open surf), Eilish Norwood (gold in u15s beach sprint), Eadan Burton (gold in u15s board and bronze in u15s surf), Kyla Wall (silver in u15s board and bronze in u15s ironwoman), Chloe Scott (silver in u15s ironwoman and silver in u15s surf), Sam Zustovich (gold in u15s flags and silver in u15s beach sprint), Keeghan Norwood (gold in u15s beach sprint), Noah Hill (silver in u15s beach flags), Jordan Karakousis (bronze in u15s flags and bronze in u15s beach sprint), Brent Manning (bronze in u17s flags and bronze in u17s beach sprint).

Olivia Greenhalgh, Jacob Jones, Karla Jones, Callula Norwood,Stirlingand Eilish Norwoodhead to Swansea Belmontfor theNSWchamps this weekend.

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GOOD FORM: Aradale Red’s Brian Richards in action during the final on Saturday. Picture: Peter Pickering
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The top two teams all season are in action with Aradale Red andStawell Golf Red set to face off for the Grampians Bowls Division title at Ararat Bowling Club on Saturday.

The Stawell team finished at the top of the ladder but both teams will give themselves a good chance of winning the decider.

It will be the second time in three weeks the two teams have clashed after they met in the first week of finals.

Stawell Golf Red won two of the three rinks to finish thematch 13 shots ahead of Aradale Red.

The Stawell team had Saturday off which could make play a part in how the team starts the match.

Stawell Golf Red’s Bruce Blenheim said the team was confident going into the grand final.

“We were good enough two weeks ago and nothing much has changed,” he said.

“I think we go in with an unchanged side and we arequietly confident.”

Blenheim said the team are aware that Aradale will have extra motivation this time around.

“Everyone has to bowl well on the day with Aradale trying to get revenge for their loss two weeks ago,” he said.

“Aradale have been known for their firm on-shots where as we rely on drawing to the jack to set things up.

“We have played down at Araratquite a few times and it would suit us the most out of all the Ararat greens.”

Aradale Red’s Gary Jamieson said the team is expecting a hard-fought match.

“Stawell are a pretty seasoned outfit in finals,” he said.

“But I think it is our time, we have been there a few times and never won a grand final before.”

Jamieson said the Stawell team got off to a quick start last time and the focus will be on preventing that happening again on Saturday.

“It is just a matter of the boys settling quicker than they normally do,” he said.

“If they can do that, then we will be right in the match.”

In division two it will be an Ararat derby when theGold andBlue teams battle it out for the top prize.

The Gold team finished in second position while the Blue team have reached the final from third place, 14 points behind minor premiers Stawell Blue.

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Lyne Marshall: Betwixt and Between mixed media.
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The team at the Manning Regional Art Gallery have been busy preparing for two new exhibitions which kick offthis Thursday, March 2, including theSaltwater Freshwater Aboriginal Art Awardand LyneMarshall’sRE:Location.

Clem Ritchie: Two Camps acrylic on canvas.

As a unique art competition, the Saltwater Freshwater Aboriginal Art Award aims to promote Aboriginal art from its local region.

The Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance invites Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who reside in the Worimi, Biripi, Birpai, Dhungutti and Gumbaynggirr nations to enter this annual award and this exhibition will display the finalists for 2017.

MidCoast Council’s acting art gallery directorRachel Piercyis excited to have these fabulous works on display.

“This is the first year this exhibition has toured and we’re pleased that we can showcase the diverse range of artworks for the community to enjoy,”said Rachel.

Lyne Marshall’sRE:Locationexhibition is a project based on relocation.

Initially basedaround the story of her own ancestors emigrating to Australia in the 1800s, she also investigated the past and present inhabitants of our land.

As part of this travelling exhibition, Lyne has placed ‘Art Pods’ in 10 locations in the lands of her ancestors in Ireland and Scotland and she will now also place these pods in locations on the Mid North Coast.

The Manning Regional Art Gallery pods are now in public areas and while hidden, are easily located with no digging required.

If found, please take one artwork, leave a message if you like and replace the pod. The location of the pods can be found at the gallery with clues and GPS location coordinates.

TheSaltwater Fresh Water Aboriginal AwardandRE:Locationwill officially open with an event from2pmonSaturdayMarch 4 where you can expect nibbles, wine and a guided tour of the exhibition. Entry to the opening is $10 or $7 for Friends of the Gallery (FOGs) members.

These exhibitions will run from this Thursday March 2 to SundayApril 2 and will be open during normal gallery hours fromWednesdaytoSaturday10am to 4pmandSunday1pm to 4pm. Visit梧桐夜网manningregionalartgallery南京夜网419论坛for more information.

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EYE Of The World couldcause an upset at double figure odds and win the $50,000 Port Lincoln Cup at Ravendale Racecourse on Friday.
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PREPARED: Going for a dip before the cup was Ronnie Bell on Hard At It, Tyson Bird-Balek on Spalding Cove and Darryl Carrison on Rooboy.

The Brian Lear-trained seven-year-old has done everything right here in his three runs since transferring from the Hayes-Dabernig stable.

Weighted well he gets the favours from the inside gate (unlike recent starts) with the expected early speed battle of Ustinov’s Fury and Rooboy.

On an each-way basis he is the top selection.

Ustinov’s Fury and Rooboy are both out and out leaders and expect fireworks early.

Montalto has found her true form as she gets up in trip.

Atruly run race will see her strong late and Hard At It is a must include on his prelude run.

Tips: Eye Of The World 1, Ustinov’s Fury 2, Montalto 3, Hard At It 4.

Race 1 -Maiden 1210m

Punters can get the money early with Phantom Date the best bet on the card.

The Mick White-trained four-year-old was terrific on debut when he chased hard, just failed to pick up Washerwoman.

The wide barrier is a slight concern but this one is smart and can do work in the run and still win.

The Darryl Carrison pair Insky and Halls Bay finished alongside Phantom Date in that same maiden and must be respected.

Tips: Phantom Date 1*, Halls Bay 2, Insky 3.

Race 2 – Benchmark 56 1390m

Letsava Win looks ideally placed for the Will Clarken stable.

The son of Savabeel closed off nicely when fresh at Morphetville and will prove too good to this lot.

Casino Exit and Sandhill Jett are place chances.

Tips: Letsava Win 1, Sandhill Jett 2, Casino Exit 3.

Race 3–Benchmark 56 1390m

Tough race so it might be good time to visit the buffet. Heza Gunn has raced well this season and can measure up against these limited older horses.

Look for Tassie to be ridden forward and give a sight.

Tips: Heza Gunn 1, Tassie 2, More Than Most 3.

Race 4 – Benchmark 64 1750m

Artful Diva could have been competative in the Port Lincoln Cup so she goes in as top pick in this. There looks enough early tempo for her to unwind late.

Joseph Arnold hardest to beat with Savanero next best.

Tips: Artful Diva 1, Joseph Arnold 2, Savanero 3.

Race 5 – Benchmark 64 1390m

Point Drummond can mix his form but going on his dominant last start win you have to include him in the main chances, especially if the rail is the place to be.

Heza Hussler, Divadebeer and Copper Coast Raider are racing well locally.

Wind Spirit and Bel Streak (threefrom threeat this track) are also winning chances in a high quality benchmark 64 event.

Tips: Point Drummond 1, Heza Hussler 2, Wind Spirit 3.

Race 6 – Benchmark 64 1000m

Tintagel Rocker has 62 kilograms to contend with but if he ends up in the one-one position in the run you would haveto give him a chance to bring up the hat-trick.

Nippy Lippy and Heavens Flight are consistent local performers while Geordie’s Second and Bold Senator could be blowouts if the track is racing favourably and they can pinch a break on the home turn.

Tips: Tintagel Rocker 1, Bold Senator 2, Nippy Lippy 3.

Race 7 – Flying 1210m

Debeersonus returns to his home track and won’t know himself with only 54kg on his back.The Simon Drewitt-trained seven-year-old has only missed a place once in 17 starts at this track. Each-way all day.

Hank’s Nephew, Killawarra, Propshaft and Black Barra draw the inside four gates. Who gets the luck will decide their fate.

Tips: Debeersonus 1, Killawarra 2, Propshaft 3.

Race 9 – Benchmark 60 1210m

The get-out stakes, the final race of the Port Lincoln season, sees exciting three-year-old Galaxy Falls return after a freshen up. He will have to be at his best giving the older horses weight.

Looking for value to get out of trouble or pay for dinner at the pub leads us to Rocky Valley.

Tips: Rocky Valley 1, Galaxy Falls 2, Dazzling Lilly 3.

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A man has been charged after exposing himself and acting indecentlyon a train nearParramatta.
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Police said the man was seen exposing himself and committing an indecent acton a train between Westmead and Parramatta Railway Station.

It is believed the incident took placed at about 11.50pm on Thursday, February 16.

Officers from the Transport Command’s Operation Artemis were notified and began investigations into the incident.

Following the investigation, officers attached to North West Police Transport Command charged a man, 43, with willful and obscene exposure on Tuesday, February 28. He is due to appear atParramattaLocal Court on Wednesday, April 12.

Toongabbie house fire appealPolice are investigating a house fire in Toongabbie.

Emergency services were called to Lamonerie Street at about12.30pm on Sunday, February 26,following reports of a house fire.

The blaze was extinguished a short time later by Fire and Rescue crews.

Nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution.The home was unoccupied at the timeand nobody was injured.

The roof of the house was significantly damaged.

Police said the cause of the fire still to be determined but there are reports a hydroponic set up was found in the house. Anyone with informationis encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers on1800 333 000.

Mother and daughter found safeA mother and herdaughter have been found afterbeing reported missing over the weekend. Police said the woman, 31,and girl, 6, were last seen at a shopping complex on the corner of McFarlane and Pitt Streets on Friday, February 25.

Holroyd policewere alerted and began an search to find the pair.

Following a search, police located the woman and child safe and well during a vehicle stop in Merrylands justbefore 11.30am on Monday, February 27.

They were taken to Merrylands police station, where the woman is currently assisting police. Police thank the media and the community for their assistance.

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AWI Chair Wal Merriman told the Senate estimates committee it would be “terrific” if the WoolPoll tour was replaced with a simply phone call and postal letter to levy payers. “The circus has come to town,” Queensland NationalsSenator Barry O’Sullivan chimed during a Senate Estimates hearing scrutinising Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) expenditure.
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This set the argy-bargy tone between NSWLiberal DemocraticSenator David Leyonhjelm who fired the main questions to AWI’s chief executive Stuart McCullough about the industry group’s spending on the delivery of the WoolPoll – a three-yearly vote by woolgrowers on their levy contribution.

The last WoolPoll held in 2015 cost levy payers about $660,000, more than $15 for each of the 43,000 eligible woolgrowers voters.

While more than 20 forums were held across the country in the lead-up to the last WoolPoll, just 50.68 per cent of votes were lodged.

This reportedly marked the lowest number of votes in five WoolPolls.

AWI chairman Wal Merriman said majority of the spending was required to adhere to the statutory funding regulations.

“Stuart (McCullough) and I and a couple of others get in a car and we might drive 500 mile to meet 20 people, it is ridiculous,” Mr Merriman said.

He said in the past 12 months AWI had met with the Woolgrowers Industry Consultative Committee(ICC) to discuss extending the period between votes to four years.

Senator Leyonhjelmquestioned why extending the period between WoolPolls was a higher priority for AWI than driving down costs.

“If you went to woolgrowers and said this is a very expensive exercise therefore we should extend the period between WoolPolls, I’d question if that would be an appropriate approach if you haven’t done everything you can to lower the cost of the WoolPoll,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

AWI Chair Wal Merriman at Senate estimates hearings in Canberra.

“If you are satisfied two-thirds of those costs are necessary in order to achieve levy payer democracy, do you think you’d get a sympathetic ear form the government in terms of legislating to reduce those obligations?

“How much are you locked into in terms of those costs and how much is because you think you need to do these things – because of historical or traditional reasons.”

In response to Senator Leyonhjelm’s “worst case” suggestion of a phone call and voting slip in the mail, Mr Merriman said “if that is all you wish, that’s terrific, we’d be happy”.

While online voting has been an option for the past two polls, Mr McCullough said AWI were pursuing greater digital communication to decrease costs.

“Two-thirds of those costs are regulatory requirements and one-thirdis things we choose do,” Mr McCullough said.

“We see it as a big figure but we like the fact there is a WoolPoll every three years (and) we like the fact there is a zero option every three years.

“Is it a reasonable figure? … it is a hell of an expense.”

He said costs, which had been reduced from over $1 million in past years, were a factor in wanting to hold the levy vote every four years.

“We would naturally prefer a four year cycle – costs does play into that thinking,” he said.

“We haven’t pushed this on the (Agriculture) Department vigorously or the minster for that matter.”

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RUBBISH: Ray and Robyn McMillan cleaning up on Wednesday. Picture: SuppliedOne of Kiama’s best-loved beaches now has a Landcare group of its own.
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Jones Beach Landcare has been formedto manage the popular coastal strip.

Co-ordinator Mark Hume said the group was being formed to work on the sand dune and beach areas.

“The priorities at this stage are to remove rubbish and weeds from the dune area of the beach, starting around the Kiama Downs Surf Club,” Mr Hume said.

“We’d love to get help from people who have an interest in cleaning up the Jones Beach area and can spare a few hours once or twice a month.”

Kiama council’s director of engineering and worksGino Belsitosaid council was supporting the new group as part of its long-term plans for Jones Beach.

“We are providing logistical support such as helping dispose of the rubbish, weeds and dead vegetation that they will be removing,” Mr Belsito said.

Residents interested in joining the group should contact Mr Hume on 0417 299 209.

Meanwhile, the Kiama Greens have questioned Beach Care Kiama’s (a separate entity to theLandcare group)claims regarding modification of Jones Beach’sdune structure and vegetation and the impact of sand dune vegetation on beach safety.

The Greens claim that while storm damage can leave a beach less usablefor surfers and swimmers until it repairs itself over time,“that is not a reason toremove vegetation anddunes to create a perfect flat sandy surf beach”.

“It’s important to understand the role this vegetation plays in protecting residents’homes and providing ecosystem services,” Warren Holder, spokesperson for Kiama Greens said.

“Reforming the dune by removing vegetation at the front of the scarped dune at Jones Beach to reinstate low growing spinifex…could change the dune structure and contribute to dune retreat.

“It would be wiser to replant these grasses when this area re-establishes itselfnaturally.”

Kiama councillor Mark Way, a long-time resident who has been surfing at Jones Beach since the 1970s, said he wished to return the beach to its “glory days” of“a wide, open beach”.

“What we need to do there is really put the right sort of vegetation in. There’s been a lot of inappropriate planting which has led to a virtual jungle that is marching down the beach.

“Some of the coastal wattles that have been planted there just don’t do it these days.The hardcore Greens are quite irrational in saying we want to get rid of all the vegetation, and it’s just not on. It’s just a matter of having the right sort of vegetation there.”

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COMPETITION: Win one of 25 group passes for Nitro Circus | Video TweetFacebookRead the story and answer the four questions below to be in the draw for one of 25 group passes (four tickets) to Nitro Circus’ Dubbo show. The winners will be selectedWednesday, March 8.
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When you’ve done 10,000 backflips, Nitro Circus athlete Blake ‘Bilko’ Williams said they start to be a lot less scary.

Mr Williams is one of 25 athletes who will soon be in Dubbo for the Nitro Circus Live Regional Rampage Tour. The group has been performing in New Zealand, is currently in Japan, and will spend 12 weeks travelling across Australia, kicking off with their Dubbo show on March 11.

The freestyle motocross athlete has been with Nitro with the very first show in 2010. Out of the 250 shows the group has since performed, Mr Williams said he had been in about 230 of them.

“It’s just a great bunch of friends. We get to travel the world and do what we do with a bunch of mates. It can be brutal and sometimes you see your mates get carted off in an ambulance, but I’m doing what I love and living the dream,” Mr Williams said.

He’s seen a few things change during the past seven years, Mr Williams said.

“For me personally I’ve sort of settled down a bit. I used to go for broke. I wouldn’t say my riding is any less spectacularbut I’m not out there trying to do double backflips,” hesaid.

He may say that his settled down, but Mr Williams’ firsts include the cliffhanger flip and the Flying Dutchman. After conquering some seriously hard tricks, the athlete said the backflip combinations were some of the most difficult to learn.

“You can do them in the foam pit and come off, but if you crash that one into dirt you don’t really get up and dust yourself off. It’s not like you just say ‘I’m going to do that trick and you get it’,” he said.

His favourite part of the show? The Nitro Bomb.

“You’re side by side with about nine bikes and it’s all synchronised perfectly. When you’re doing a backflip in the air it’s pretty good to look behind you and see the other guys and the crowd,” Mr Williams said.

The freestyle motocross rider said he had been enjoying some time off, but was pumped to start the Australian tour with some of the best crowds in the world.

“The Americans don’t get up out of their seats and cheer. Australian audiences are the best, New Zealand is second. South Africa is pretty crazy, they were cheering so loud,” he said.

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

WHETHER you like it or not, the future of jobs, business and the world as we know it, ischanging.
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So it makes sense that we would need to change the way we teach, and learn, to stay at the cutting edge.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has recognised these changing timesand didnot want our kids to be left behind.

In a major overhaul of the High School Certificate syllabus outlinedlast week, NESA announced an approach to education with more “rigour and depth”, which would equip students with the skills they need to be successful in the real world.

Feedbackfrom more than 7000 academics, teachers and students on the subject changes was also taken into account when determining the changes.

It’s what you could call a “back to basics” approach – it’sremoving information that can not be translated to everyday life and bringing in skills such as writing and comprehension, and revised mathematics, that could potentially meanthe difference between obtaining employment, orbeing left behind.

It was a decision that was applauded by many, but it also came under intense scrutiny from parent groups and advocates, many who were concerned that teachers would only have about three terms to get their head around changes to major subjects.

The syllabus is expected to be implemented for year 11 students from next year.

Concerns were also raised about inconsistencies in teaching methods, with a basic approach to English but a futuristic approach to subjects including maths, modern history and physics.

In Tamworth on Tuesday, the man at the centre of the change, David de Carvalho spoke about the role regional centres would play in implementing this change and he relied on the feedback ofour local school principals and teachers to ensure the changes are beneficial for kids into the future.

Mr de Carvalho said the changes to the HSC were part of a special focus on students mastering core components of their subjects, in preparedness for what they would need for the rest of their lives.

If change and innovation means our children will go on to be successful, well rounded people, and indeed positive community members, then we should be all for it.

After all, if children are our future, they need to be prepared for what’sahead.

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