Proposed budget in the works

Cr Lisa IntemannTHIS week councillors were given a first run-through of the proposed council budget for 2015-2016.
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There will be several workshops with councillors before the proposed budget is put on public exhibition in March.

Once it goes on public exhibition, residents can seek more information and make comments for the consideration of councillors and staff before the final budget is adopted, usually at the June council meeting.

The proposed budget concerns the approximately $75 million in income from rates, plus any grants associated with a particular expenditure, as well as any use of council reserve funds.

Realising that everything I say here concerns the draft budget and is not set in concrete, an indication of the breakdown shows $41 million is proposed for normal council operations, and $56 million for new works.

Normal operations include: Parks and Gardens, Library, Lifeguards, Noxious Weed control, Animal control, Airport, Crematorium, Glasshouse, Swimming pools, Sporting Grounds, Rangers and compliance, Environmental protection, Economic Development, Strategic Land Use, Ferries, Stormwater, Drainage, Roads, Bridges, Bushfire control, SES and Fire Brigade contributions, Customer Service, IT, Insurance, Asset Maintenance and Administration.

Add to that list Waste, Water and Sewer, although they are managed under separate rates and funds.

Proposed new works are for upgrades to specific assets, such as specific parks and roads – for instance, $1.2 million for upgrading Comboyne Road and $7 million for upgrading Houston Mitchell Drive.

In addition to the proposed budget, staff and councillors have indicated a wish list of new works and items totalling $7M, which includes: $800,000 to the upgrade of Wauchope pool (in excess of the pool reserve), $1.5M to the Port Indoor Stadium expansion (in excess of grant funding), an extra $1M to stormwater management (both culvert cleaning and new culverts), and extra $1M to road maintenance.

Councillors will now go away and study the proposed budget, providing comments to staff before our next budget workshop in early February.

There are always criticisms of council’s budget, but none can deny the tightrope which council must walk with all the competing demands.

Contact me if you are interested in the detail of the proposed budget.

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Success for locals at Dubbo harness meeting

Owner Sue Dean and trainer Brett Hutchings were over the moon with Lucky Laag’s second win in a row. sub A number of local trainers and drivers headed to the Dubbo Harness Racing meeting last Sunday afternoon optimistic of having good success.
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But it is doubtful that anyone would have anticipated how the afternoon would unfold.

The meeting saw leading stables from Bathurst in attendance and despite a winning double for trainer-driver Steve Turnbull with Skewbridge Road and The Space Invader, it was an unusually quiet day for the likes of Nathan Hurst and Ashlee Siejka.

The afternoon began with a bang when the Adam Bellach trained Highly Excitable ($4.20) scored a tough win in the Daily Liberal Pace (2120m).

Driven by Parkes reinsman, Steve Dowton and part owned by Bellach and stable owner Cameron Dunn, Highly Excitable raced without cover but was still able to forge clear for a five metre win.

The Parkes connection continued in race two, the Agriweld Pace (1720m) when Dubbo trainer Greg Pay employed the services of David Harris Junior to guide Sanity Claus ($5.60) to an eight metre victory over Forbes mare Baked In The City.

It was a great front running drive by Harris who often drives for the Pay family, the association yielding strong results.

Murray Sullivan’s assault started in the TAB Competitive Stakes (1720m) when the highly talented reinsman reunited with Parkes trainer Brett Hutchings to land the Sue Dean owned Lucky Laag ($6.60) home first with a clear three and a quarter metre victory in a smart 2.00.8.

For Sue, it was a satisfying result as the mare produced an identical front running performance to that on her home track a week earlier, making it back to back wins which Mrs Dean explained is a rare feat for her as an owner.

Loch Lochy ($3.80) was the second of Sullivan’s treble, scoring a 12 metre win in the Hogs Breath Café Competitive Stakes (1720m).

The gelding has proven to be an enigma this season but he put it altogether to record an emphatic win, rating 2.01.9 to give trainer Jason Gaffney a much needed lift as he was hospitalised on Sunday morning due to illness.

Jason’s sister Emma races Loch Lochy who is an above average pacer when he is on his best behaviour.

The David and Audrey Mason owned Kyalla Stuart (Nathan Hurst) made it a Forbes quinella.

Enjaycee ($5.20) capped off a top afternoon for Sullivan as he was able to land the money with a pacer trained by his brother Braden, scoring a solid two metre win in the Dubbo RSL Pace (1720m).

He was chased home by Parkes pair Lucky Shannon from the Terry Powter barn and Poppy Cee (Andrew Cassell).

Nearby Grenfell got in on the act when the Robert Anderson trained and reined Holy Camp Girl ($5.00) stormed home from near last to take out the feature event of the afternoon, the Dubbo RSL Resort Christmas Cup (2120m).

Anderson showed patience on the mare and she unleashed a dazzling sprint over the final 300 metres to overhaul pacemaker, Smack Dab Shannon (Michael Munro) by the barest of margins, a half head.

Central coast visitor Lavra Bhutan (Guy Chapple) may have been a touch unlucky after racing behind the leader and getting out late.

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Colac ice user in custody after fraud charges

Dean Costello, 28, of no fixed address, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Wednesday and will be held in custody to front Geelong court next Tuesday until accommodation issues are resolved.A COLAC ice user has been remanded in custody after being charged with offences relating to the use of a credit card at businesses along the Great Ocean Road.
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Dean Costello, 28, of no fixed address, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Wednesday and will be held in custody to front Geelong court next Tuesday.

He was arrested on Monday night and Senior Constable Paul Marsland told court Mr Costello was found to be already on bail charged with assault. He is contesting that charge and is scheduled to appear in the Dandenong Magistrates Court on January 13.

Mr Costello now faces 11 new charges mainly relating to the alleged fraudulent use of a credit card between Ocean Grove and Peterborough during the past fortnight. He has also been charged with two weapons offences.

Senior Constable Marsland said police opposed bail as Mr Costello was an unacceptable risk of reoffending, had nowhere to live and ongoing drug issues relating to crystal methamphetamine.

He said he had spoken to Mr Costello’s mother who said if her son had been locked up some time ago he wouldn’t be in all the trouble he was now.

Senior Constable Marsland said it was clear Mr Costello’s mother was highly frustrated by her son’s behaviour and drug use and she said that even if he was bailed to live with her in Colac he wouldn’t stay.

Mr Costello’s solicitor Xavier Farrelly said he had talked to his client’s father who was supportive of his son living at his parents’ home. However, he said his client’s mother may be less willing.

Magistrate John Lesser said he was sitting in Geelong court next Tuesday and remanded Mr Costello until then.

Mr Costello’s partner, a 24-year-old Colac woman, has also been arrested, interviewed, charged and bailed to appear in the Colac Magistrates Court on January 27.

She has been charged with 13 offences relating to the alleged fraudulent use of a credit card.

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Julie Bishop throws ‘hypocritical dummy spit’, cancels bipartisan tour

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is being accused of throwing a “hypocritical, petty dummy spit” and undermining Australia’s relations in the Pacific after canning a bipartisan overseas trip that dates back to the Howard government but Ms Bishop says her “packed agenda” is to blame for the cancellation.
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The spat stems from last year’s trip to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Nauru after Labor said Ms Bishop told Pacific leaders she wouldn’t cut their foreign aid.  Ms Bishop angrily disputed Labor’s account at the time.

The annual cross-party visit has been a tradition ever since it was introduced by Ms Bishop’s coalition predecessor Alexander Downer.  The new coalition government kept up the convention and invited Labor’s Foreign spokespeople Tanya Plibersek and Matt Thistlethwaite on the 2013 trip.

But Labor says it was uninvited from this year’s tour as payback over the argument about foreign aid.

In a letter dated March 19, a clearly angry Ms Bishop wrote to  Ms Plibersek and said Labor’s claims weren’t backed up by the official record of the meeting.

“Your false assertions of what was discussed in my meetings with Pacific Leaders, to which you were invited, clearly undermined the bi-partisan spirit of this tour,” she wrote.

And in a handwritten postscript, Ms Bishop adds “Tanya, I am very disappointed you have chosen this path, Julie”.

But the minister, who is currently in Papua New Guinea with cabinet ministers David Johnston and Scott Morrison, said the trip didn’t take place this year “due to the packed agenda, including the G20 in Brisbane”.

Ms Plibersek sought permission to attend the November summit but the government said it would grant only one representative from the Opposition access and that was given to Leader Bill Shorten. 

Ms Bishop also named her recent trip to New York to chair Australia’s second and final Presidency on the United Nations Security Council as a reason the Pacific trip was cancelled.  She said she would “consider” a bipartisan tour of the Pacific “should scheduling allow in the future”.

The minister said the Opposition had been told “weeks ago” that “due to scheduling it was not possible to undertake a Pacific visit this year”.

The details of the political squabbling comes to light just days after the government announced $3.7 billion cuts to the Foreign Aid budget, which, when added to the May budget reduction takes the total cuts to $11 billion.

Labor’s Spokesperson for the Pacific, Matt Thistlethwaite, questioned how the minister could allow her budget to be hacked into for the second time this year “without protest”.

“These cuts will hurt local communities and undermine the good reputation of Australia in that area,” he told Fairfax Media

“She’s got to able to cop criticism of her domestic policy decisions yet promote a bipartisan approach to our region and Julie Bishop has failed to do this with this petty decision,” he said.

“The foreign minister’s dummy spit has undermined the bipartisan nature to the pacific,” he said.

Last month, Ms Bishop decried Ms Plibersk’s approach to the portfolio and said she wasn’t bipartisan enough.  The minister also said she would blame Labor for any further cuts to the foreign aid budget, because of what she said was the Opposition’s failure to support budget savings.

Mr Thistlethwaite said Ms Bishop’s complaints were “hypocritical” in light of the decision to cancel Labor’s travel.

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Trip of a lifetime for students

Left to right: Teacher Tas Pilikas, Sarah Bahr from Holbrook, Lucy Godde and Victoria Leov from Culcairn will leave on December 27 to take part in the World Challenge for 30 days. Lucy is holding the pack the girls will have to carry on the trip which weighs between 10 and 15 kilograms, they will have to carry their own equipment as well as the groups gear, money, water and food. Travelling across the world to volunteer around Christmas time isn’t everyone’s idea of a holiday but for three 16 year-old girls from Billabong High School it’s the chance of a lifetime.
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The girls, Sarah Bahr from Holbrook, Lucy Godde and Victoria Leov from Culcairn will take part in the World Challenge for 30 days.

Flying out on December 27 the girls hope to build confidence and leadership skills during their trip to Malaysia and Borneo.

The World Challenge is a leadership program aimed at personal and leadership development through volunteering.

The girls will be in a group of 10 students with a teacher and a World Challenge expedition leader, and the students will be completely in charge of their budget for food, accommodation andtransport.

The teacher and an expedition leader will guide the students but if they get lost or make small mistakes the students will need to work it out themselves.

“We need to make decisions and the choices we make will affect everyone in the group,” Sarah said.

Before the girls have even left the country they have been working hard for the trip. They each had to raise $6000 to pay for it and have fundraised through cooking at home football games, cake stalls, wood raffles and the like.

“The fundraising is a really important part; it opened our eyes a bit as to what we will be doing over there,” Sarah said.

The girls said they’d worked hard for the money they raised and were really happy with the fact the community were behind them.

“When we first signed up we thought it would be easy to make six thousand but a cake stall may only give you $500. So it just gives you the perspective that it’s not as easy as you think,” Victoria said.

The girls all hope to get a different perspective on life from the trip and not take things for granted when they return.

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Brisbane weather: Sticky and top of 35 predicted

Sticky conditions are predicted for south-east Queensland on Wednesday, with above-average temperatures and a chance of a storm later in the day.
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The Brisbane area is set for a top of 35 degrees, while Ipswich could hit 40.

The humidity is also high. It reached 90 per cent in Brisbane at 5am, before it began to drop.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michelle Berry said people should look out for potential storm warnings later on Wednesday.

“Both today and tomorrow the humidity levels are very high. We are expecting with that some storm activity,” she said.

“There is the chance of a gusty storm coming through this afternoon or this evening.

“Tomorrow, the moisture increases further so there could be potential of a wet day with showers and storms expected.”

Brisbane is predicted to reach a top of 33 degrees on Thursday, and 35 on Friday.

However the temperature is expected to drop down to the high 20s during the weekend.

Brisbane’s hottest day so far this month was last Tuesday, when the mercury reached 33.2 degrees.

The warmest day of the year was during the G20 weekend, when on November 16 the maximum was 38.9 degrees.

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Moran launching 2015 season

Alex Prout (Under 18s coach), Lionel Harris (president) and Dennis Moran (first grade captain-coach) are all eager to get preparations underway for the 2015 season. subRecently appointed Parkes Spacemen captain-coach, Dennis Moran is busily chasing player signings as he prepares for the 2015 Group 11 competition which is set to kick off in March.
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The Parkes Leagues Club will be the venue for a gathering of potential players, committee members, sponsors and supporters this Friday night at 7pm.

Moran will address those in attendance to unveil his optimistic plans for yet another Spacemen assault on the first grade competition.

“I am inviting all interested people, especially players, to come along on Friday night to have a chat, ask questions and hopefully sign contracts for the upcoming season,” Moran said.

Club President Lionel Harris has added to Moran’s request, keen to see many players and supporters in attendance.

Matters will be discussed to lay down plans for the conduct of the club over the next 12 months.

“We need to get our affairs in order as there is a lot to organise,” Harris said.

“Especially as our first fundraiser, the Elvis Revival Festival, is a great money spinner for the club,” he said.

Under 18s coach and first grade player Alex Prout is also an exciting signing for the Spacemen.

He had a fantastic 2014 on the paddock, his first in the Parkes red, white and blue which gained him the club’s Player of the Year trophy.

Prout recently agreed to terms to play in the senior team as well as coach the juniors.

Hopefully it is the start of a long association here for the former Gilgandra boy who relocated to Parkes to live with his long term partner, talented jockey Tiffany Jeffries.

Prout is an NRL Game Development Officer for the Western Region and is a real asset for Parkes.

It is Moran who the newly appointed Parkes Rugby League Football Club committee is pinning its hopes on to build on the success of previous years.

He has undoubtedly been an integral part of that success since arriving in Parkes in 2009.

His prowess on the field aided the Spacemen’s victories in 2010 against Wellington and again in 2013 when the Parkes boys caused a boilover in defeating Dubbo Cyms.

Man of the Match in the 2013 victory, Chad Porter who is now on an NRL contract, named Moran as the most inspirational player he has been associated with.

It is testament to the admiration held for the father of four boys whose wife, Peta is a former Canowindra girl.

The experience gained by Moran in 35 appearances for the Parramatta Eels from 1998 and a stellar stint in the UK from 2001 are just a few feathers in the cap of the talented footballer who is sure to attract plenty of attention both on and off the field over the coming season.

It all has to come together yet and hopefully Friday night’s gathering will be the start of a new and exciting era in Parkes rugby league.

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Zone 20 riders success

Will Crawford competing in the Working Hunter Hack at State Show Riding in Scone.Five riders from zone 20 travelled to Scone to take part in the NSW Pony Club State Show Riding.
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The riders Will Crawford, Catelin Crawford, Melissa Grant, Zara Carlson and Brianna McAuliffe came together from Tumut, Tarcutta and Tumbarumba pony clubs to represent the zone.

Zone 20 incorporates Black Range, Corowa, Culcairn, Holbrook, Jindera, Jingellic, Tarcutta, Tumbarumba, Tumut, Upper Murray and Wirlinga.

Riders competed in several different rounds of competition according tothe size of the horse and age of therider.

Catelin Crawford ended up with four placings including two seconds and two thirds, Zara Carlson placed fourth and fifth while Brianna McAuliffe placed second, third and fifth.

Show riding involves horse and rider demonstrating their skills on the flat.

The horse is judged on conformation, paces and manners, while riders are judged on their riding ability.

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How siege reached its awful end

How siege reached its awful end Picture: GETTY IMAGES
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Picture: REUTERS

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TweetFacebookThe Daily Telegraphto relay Monis’s demands: he wanted a direct line to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and an Islamic State flag delivered to the cafe.

“He says an eye for an eye,” Mr Hoffman said. “If someone else runs, someone dies.”

He added: “I have had a shotgun put at my head. Yes we do need help, but that will only happen if demands are met.”

Media complied with police requests not to publish these messages or Monis’s demands while the siege continued. Monis was using the hostages to get his word out, and police did not want anyone playing into his hands.

But he persevered. He ordered hostages to deliver video messages shot on a smartphone. These were posted on Monday evening using the YouTube account of another hostage, 21-year-old Joel Herat, a staff member at the cafe. YouTube took down the videos, but they spread on social media.

“Hi everyone, I’m Selina Win Pe,” said Ms Mikhael’s colleague, from Westpac’s global transformation project. “We have three specific requests and none of these have been met.

“One is to send an IS flag as soon as possible and one hostage will be released. Two, please broadcast to all media that this is an attack against Australia by Islamic State.

“And number three is for Tony Abbott to contact The Brother on a live feed and five hostages will be released.

“Most importantly, there are three bombs around George Street, Martin Place and also at Circular Quay and in order for these not to be ignited we need these three things to be met as soon as possible,” Ms Win Pe said. “Please help us.”

Similar video messages were delivered by Ms Mikhael and barrister Julie Taylor, who began, “This is a message to Tony Abbott”.

But Ms Win Pe became more desperate in a call to theTelegraph, pleading:”We’ve got pregnant ladies in here and sick and elderly … We have not heard from Tony Abbott. We have been asking him to call us to have a long conversation. He clearly doesn’t give a shit because he hasn’t called us since 9.45 this morning … Help us. Help us to get Tony Abbott to call this gentleman to send the fricking Islamic State flag …”

The demands were not met.

But at 2am, more than 16 hours after the siege began, it appears the 12 remaining hostages seized their chance. Monis began to drift off to sleep. They dashed for the exit.

Monis roused and started shooting. Tori Johnson, the cafe manager, attempted to wrestle the gun from him. Monis shot him dead, although Mr Johnson’s wounds suggest he beat him severely before firing the fatal shot, one source said.

At 2.03am, six of the hostages ran out a service door. They included Harriette Denny, Jarrod Hoffman andsoftware engineerViswakanth Ankireddy,a 32-year-old from India who is living in Sydney with his wife and young daughter and working on a Westpac project.

Outside, police had heard the shots. And a sharp-shooter had seen Mr Johnson go down, one report said. Now they had to storm the cafe or many more people would die, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said later.

About 2.10am they shot down the glass doors and blazed into the cafe in a hail of gunfire and lightning flashes of light.

In those final seconds, they killed Monis. But the barrister Katrina Dawson – mother of three, and Julie Taylor’s coffee companion – was also killed in the firefight. Police believe it was Monis’s bullet that killed her.

Injured in those final violent seconds were Marcia Mikhael, shot in the leg, the75-year-old woman, shot in the shoulder, a 52-year-old woman who was shot in the foot, and a 39-year-old policeman whose face was sprayed with pellets. He was released from hospital and Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said: “His only words to me were, ‘I’ll be back at work tomorrow’.”

Fifteen hostages were alive, but Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson became the victims of Man Haron Monis, a deranged lone wolf who wanted the world to believe he was an Islamic State warrior.

He had been born with thename Mohammad Hassan Manteghi. He grew up to become a fake sheik, a pretend spiritual healer anda wannabe terrorist.

Nobody believed him. But he was dangerous and, for more than 16 hours, he did terrorise a nation.

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New roof for Trades Hall

Signed, sealed and delivered: Wauchope Show Society president Bob Kennett, second from right, hands over payment for the new Trades Hall roof to Melissa Cooper, of Scott Cooper Metal Roofing and Earthmoving, watched by Show Society vice-president Neil Coombes and secretary Anne Watkins. Up to scratch: Looking pleased with the new Wauchope Showground Poultry Pavilion roof are, from left, Poultry Club president and Show Society vice-president Neil Coombes, Show Society secretary Anne Watkins, secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary Trish Douglas, Ladies Auxiliary member and Show Society committee member Doris McKinnon and Show Society president Bob Kennett.
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THE leak-catching bucket brigade will be out of a job during wet weather at Wauchope Showground, now that there’s a new roof on the Trades Hall.

And the chooks will also be a bit happier when it rains because the Poultry Pavilion has been re-roofed too.

Show society president Bob Kennett said the big curved roof on the Trades Hall badly needed replacing, as it had been leaking “for at least 15 years”.

“It was a bad state of affairs,” he said.

“There was so much silicon up there it was not funny.”

The big hall was originally built by the army during the Second World War and Mr Kennett said the leaking roof was the original one from back then – more than 70 years ago.

The roof cost $41,000 to replace and Mr Kennett said the Show Society wanted to thank the Member for Oxley, Andrew Stoner, who informed them funds may be available from the Crown Lands Department for such a project, and encouraged them to apply for a grant, which they did.

Mr Kennett also thanked Scott Cooper Metal Roofing and Earthmoving for the work carried out successfully on the large structure.

The Poultry Pavilion’s gleaming new roof was a project jointly funded by the Poultry Club and the Show Society Ladies Auxiliary, with both chipping in half of the $9000 cost.

Poultry club president Neil Coombes thanked club members Scott Balmar and club vice-president Robert Scott for their help with the roof, which was also in desperate need of replacement, having also been in place since before the Second World War.

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