“Wimmera paramedics will quit”: Ambulance Employees Australia rejects State Government pay offer

Wimmera paramedics fight for a pay rise in January. Picture: PAUL CARRACHERAMBULANCE Employees Australia state secretary Steve McGhie believes Wimmera paramedics will quit en masse if the State Government’s proposed changes to work conditions are successful.
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The government released a revised pay offer on Wednesday.

Ambulance Employees Australia and the State Government have been locked in a pay dispute for about two years.

Much of the impasse has involved the government’s proposed changes to work conditions, including forcing staff to do shift relief work.

Mr McGhie said people would quit if they were forced to move anywhere in the state for up to a month at a time.

“The government wants the power to uproot paramedics from their home base to send them anywhere in the state for anything from a single shift to a month at a time,’’ he said.

“This is one of the strings attached to the offer the government did not talk about.

“The disruption this poses for families, and the health and safety issues around extensive travel after long shifts at work, make this completely unworkable.’’

Mr McGhie said paramedics in Melbourne could work that way because of reasonable distances.

But he said it was impractical and dangerous in rural Victoria.

Mr McGhie also talked down a $3000 sign-on payment in the revised offer.

The previous offer was a $1500 sign-on payment.

Mr McGhie said the State Government and Premier Denis Napthine had shown arrogant contempt and disregard for paramedics by calling it an upgraded pay offer.

“What he doesn’t let on is that paramedics have not had a pay rise for almost three years, and the payment is to cover the lack of back pay,’’ he said.

“Apart from that there is nothing new here, but there’s a lot that’s rotten.

“This offer is a con, a sleight of hand.

“The sign-on payment was $1500 November last year. It’s been topped up to give the appearance of something generous when it’s not.

“It’s the same contemptuous approach we’ve had all along.”

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Robbery at Rydalmere service station

Two men are facing court after an overnight robbery at a Rydalmere service station at the weekend.
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About 9.30pm Sunday, two males entered the Victoria Road business.

One of them threatened the console operator with a firearm and demanded money.

The console operator has given them cash and cigarettes.

The two males left the service station and were last seen travelling west along Victoria Road towards James Ruse Drive in a Ford Falcon.

No shots were fired and there have been no reports of injury, ’

Police patrolling an industrial area on Briens Road at Northmead spotted a car, matching the description of the Falcon, in an underground car park.

Two men, aged 21 and 18, were arrested without incident. Police located cartons of cigarettes and a loaded firearm in a nearby room.

Both were taken to Parramatta Police Station and charged with robbery whilst armed and refused bail. They will appear in Parramatta Local Court later today

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Parkes High School tennis girls in final eight of statewide competition

Parkes High School Girls tennis team members, from left, Hannah Potts, Yasmin Potts, Maddison Potts, Bec Kiley and Phoebe Potts will travel to the Combined High Schools State Tennis carnival in Gunnedah today. subThe Parkes High School Open Girls tennis team is travelling to Gunnedah today to play in the Combined High Schools State Finals tomorrow and Wednesday.
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In what could be a first for Parkes, four local sisters will represent their local high school team at the same time in the state-wide high school finals.

The five girl team includes Bec Kiley, Maddison Potts, Yasmin Potts, Hannah Potts and Phoebe Potts.

The girls will compete as one of the top eight teams in NSW after a wonderful effort in the preliminary rounds.

The team secured its place in the final following convincing wins over Orange and Bathurst, culminating to a nail-biting encounter and subsequent win over a strong West Wyalong line-up last term.

Ace tennis coach Helen Magill was impressed with the win.

“The match against West Wyalong was a cracker,” Helen said.

“It went down to the last match and a final set tie-breaker as to who would go through.

“The girls kept it together and played some really great shots at important times to get the win.

“They thoroughly deserved it,” she said.

The girls finished as Combined High Schools Western Region champions and will be flying the Parkes High School flag in the prestigious Floris Conway Cup at Gunnedah.

They will participate in both singles and doubles matches at the tournament.

The team are supported and supervised courtside by team manager, Science department head teacher, and local tennis player Mr Andrew Pigram.

Maddye (Year 12), Bec (Year 11), Yasmin (Year 9), Hannah (Year 7) and Phoebe (Year 7) will compete against teams from across the Sydney metropolitan area, regional New South Wales, and the state’s north and south coasts.

Many of the schools involved in the finals will be Sports High Schools from throughout NSW.

The girls have maintained a long association with Parkes Tennis Club and have been continually supported in their sporting endeavours by Helen Magill.

“I have been lucky enough to be involved with developing these five girls’ games over the years,” Helen said.

“They are a credit to their school, Parkes Tennis Club and the town in general.

“The girls all have different strengths and play very different games.

“I am sure they will put in a strong performance this week,” she said.

Gunnedah look most likely to be the team to beat with two of their players competing in junior International Tennis Federation tournaments played worldwide.

Four of the Parkes team will represent Western Region later this term.

Bec, Yasmin, Hannah and Phoebe were all selected while Maddye would likely have been selected too.

She decided not to nominate as to concentrate on school and work commitments.

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Kaniva-Leeor United win despite fourth-quarter drop-off

EFFORT: James Turner scored three goals for Kaniva-Leeor United at the weekend. Picture: STEVE BROWNGOOD kicking is good football.
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Kaniva-Leeor United proved that saying is true in its 17.4 (106) to 14.5 (89) win over Bordertown at Kaniva on Saturday.

The Cougars kicked 14 straight goals before half-time to hold a 56-point lead over the Roosters.

The Roosters responded late with a seven-goal-to-nil final term, but the Cougars were far enough ahead to hold on for their ninth consecutive win.

Cougars coach Neil Reeve said his side would take the four points but knew it could get better.

“To have a 10-goal lead at half time and not be able toput a team away was a little bit frustrating,” he said.

“We won, but the boys were obviously disappointed with how we played in the last quarter.

“We went away from everything we did well in the first three quarters.”

Leigh Ryan finished with six goals for the Cougars, while Dylan Williams slotted four and James Turner three.

All three were among the hosts’ best player, alongside defender Scott Brown.

Lee Staple was the Roosters’ best player, kicking seven goals.

The win leaves the Cougars a game behind ladder-leader Padthaway, but two games clear of Penola and Mundulla.

The Cougars will face the Lions on Saturday, with ruckman Ryan Richardson, groin, and Matt Skrypek, concussion, in doubt for the top of the table clash.

Border Districts came close to their first win since round four at Kingston.

The Eagles led the Saints by 16 points at three-quarter-time, but a five-goal-to-one final quarter saw the hosts snatch a 15.12 (102) to 13.11 (89) victory.

Shaun Taylor kicked five goals for the Eagles, while Anthony Taylor was named the side’s best.

Sam Braidwood slotted six goals for the Saints.

In other results, Mundulla thrashed Naracoorte by 103 points at home, while Lucindale dished out a 131-point thumping to Kybybolite.

Flag favourite Padthaway maintained its winning form with a 40-point victory against reigning premier Penola.

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Shoalhaven Heads’ arboretum formal entry opened

Shoalhaven Heads’ arboretum formal entry opened The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.
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The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

The Curtis Park Arboretum in Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened on Sunday, July 20.

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Bonny Hills bushfire finally extinguished

File picThe Rural Fire Service declared thebushfire nearMcGilvray Road in Bonny Hills to be out on Monday morning.
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“It’s pretty much done and dusted,” Inspector Guy Duckworth said.

The fire started on July 10, and burned through more than 600 hectares of scrub to the south of the Camden Haven town.

Crews from throughout the Hastings battled to contain the blaze for several days.

Containment lines were established on July 12, and it then fell to the Bonny Hills volunteers to check on the fire with twice daily patrols.

The smokey haze lingered over the area for more than a week, and was eventually cleared by the recent gusty conditions.

The weekend’s rain also helped end any remaining smoulder spots.

“That should keep everythingdamp around the coast for the rest of the week,” Inspector Duckworth said.

But he warned the dry conditions were expected to continue inland, and the danger period was only just beginning.

Residents planning to conduct hazard reduction burning should first contact their localFireControl Centre and check if afirepermit is required.

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Anglican parishes called on to assist court ‘war chest’

Reverend Brett Watterson.The Commonwealth Bank is demanding the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst repay its $25 million debt immediately, and to do so it must sell-off church buildings.
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However, Bishop Ian Palmer says the church will not go down without a fight and will do all it can to protect its churches.

“We believe there are other avenues to explore, but in order to defend ourselves we’re seeking support from the parishes,” he said.

Parishes will be asked to come up with a “target” amount of money to contribute to the diocese war chest, but if the parishes do not have access to liquid assets they may have to sell church property to raise the funds.

Bishop Palmer said if property was to be sold it would be up to the parishioners, but they would need to provide the target money.

“We are instructed that in order to repay this money immediately, we must sell off assets to meet this bill,” he said.

“What we are saying is that we are protecting these assets, for the good of the communities.

“But we will have to use some of those assets, a small proportion.”

Parkes St George’s Anglican Church minister, Reverend Brett Watterson said it will definitely make it difficult for parishes.

But he said Parkes was quite a strong parish and he was confident they would be able to ride it out.

“The matter is in the courts so it is not possible to say too much. I am hopeful we will find out more at a meeting in Orange this weekend (yesterday),” he said.

In legal proceedings, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia sent the Bathurst diocese a list of properties to be sold to recoup the money.

Church buildings were at the bottom of that list, Bishop Palmer said.

But he believed church rectories were just as important for the lifeblood of the church community and did not want to see them fall out of church hands.

The estimated cost of the court action, should it go to trial, is about $1 million.

It is not expected to go to trial this year.

The church is arguing the Anglican Development Fund, which no longer exists, borrowed the money from the bank and the church is therefore not responsible for actions undertaken by the defunct fund.

The Anglican Diocese of Bathurst includes Parkes and covers about a third of NSW, from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border, and consists of 34 parishes.

It stretches from Oberon, Cowra and West Wyalong in the south to Cobar and Bourke in the west, across the north-west to Coonamble and Coonabarabran, and in the east to Coolah, Mudgee and Rylstone.

“We don’t think that the demands the Commonwealth Bank have placed upon us are reasonable and in order to mount our defence we need support from the parishes,” Bishop Palmer said.

Bishop Palmer said last week he would be explaining the situation to all Anglicans in Orange over the weekend.

The Commonwealth Bank was contacted for comment but a spokesperson said the bank could not comment because the matter was before the court.

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Birchip-Watchem prove too strong for Wychproof-Narraport after slow start

Key forward Sam Barnes helped ladder leader Wedderburn to a 90-point win against Boort at the weekend.
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BIRCHIP-WATCHEM had to overcome a slow start to reclaim fourth spot on the ladder on Saturday.

The Bulls were scoreless in the first term, as Wycheproof-Narraport pushed ahead to a 33-point lead at the first change at Birchip’s George Cartrwright Oval.

The Demons held off the hosts in the second and third quarters,maintaining a 15-point lead at the final change.

But the Bulls proved too strong in the last quarter, kicking six goals to one to claim a 15.5 (95) to 12.7 (79) win.

Daniel Castellano finished with eight of the Bulls’ 15 goals and was named the side’s best player.

For the Demons, coach Ricky Allan kicked five goals to be named among the team’s best performers, as was Sam Driscoll with three goals.

The Bulls hold fourth spot on percentage over Boort, with a tough run against the competition’s top three teams – Wedderburn, Charlton and St Arnaud – in the next three weeks.

St Arnaud enjoyed its third win over Donald this season, beating the team by 83 points, at Lord Nelson Park.

The Saints won three of four quarters to claim a 22.24 (156) to 11.7 (73) victory.

Coach James McNamee was named the Saints’ best, while Glenn Wyatt was the Royal Blues’ strongest performer.

Eight goals from key forward Sam Barnes helped ladder leader Wedderburn to a 90-point win against Boort at Donaldson Park.

The Redbacks won 25.20 (170) to 11.14 (80) .

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Focus on southwest development

SWAN Hill’s much anticipated southwest development precinct is a significant step closer after council moved to rezone the area for residential purposes earlier this week.
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Council will now seek support from landowners in the area to facilitate rezoning of the land for residential development.

The precinct, which contains 33 parcels of land across approximately 240 hectares, will allow for 1300 residential lots once developed.

It is anticipated the development will accommodate more than 3000 additional residents once fully developed.

Council will seek authorisation from the Minister for Planning to undertake amendment C58 to Swan Hill Planning Scheme. This will put in motion the rezoning of the majority of the land, which is zoned Farming and Low Density Residential.

The amendment is required to rezone the parcels of land General Residential Zone (GRZ).

Costs incurred to council in the rezoning include Planning Scheme Amendment fees and costs associated with a panel hearing.

Once authorisation has been achieved, the plans will be exhibited for the public over a period of four weeks.

Owners and occupiers of affected land will be notified.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Monday’s Guardian (July 21).

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New-look MDAS centre

MAJOR UPGRADE: Mallee District Aboriginal Service board member Rob Connelly, office coordinator Karyn Hilton and health workers Jody Croft and Damien Murray take a look over the latest renovations to the Swan Hill centre.FINAL inspections will be carried out next week on a million-dollar refurbishment of the Mallee District Aboriginal Service’s Swan Hill centre.
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The major upgrade has included repairs of termite and water damage to the centre’s auditorium, which has been unusable for more than two years.

MDAS board member Rob Connelly said the work had also allowed for expansion of the organisation’s family services area.

“The work will give us a major improvement in new offices and useable work areas for our family services and staff,” he said.

“It allows space for 11 staff and an extra two offices — in fact, it will effectively double the size of the family services area.

“The end result is a more professional and efficient work environment for staff and a more comfortable and culturally appropriate setting and experience for our clients.”

Carried out by Ballarat’s SJ Weir Constructions, using Swan Hill-based sub-contractors, the project also included the upgrade of toilets and amenities in the community hall and the conversion of several offices into training rooms.

MDAS CEO Rudolph Kirby said the million-dollar refurbishment, which followed a similar expansion of health services last year, had breathed life back into the Nyah Road centre.

“We’re trying to create a state-of-the-art facility similar to Mildura,” he said.

“Our next focus will be in Kerang.”

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Improving Metro

IT HAS been a long standing issue for students, workers and everyday users of Metro Tasmania that often the service doesn’t run on time.
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Users of the service require a system that will keep Metro Tasmania accountable for the essential service they provide within our community.

Similar to many mainland public transport services the potential exists for Tasmanian service users to have access to the reasons why services aren’t running on time and how it is being improved.

I respect all that work for Metro Tasmania, this proposal isn’t critical of the current work which is done but looks at ways the service can be more effective for everyone.

While Metro Tasmania isn’t the direct responsibility of local government and rather that of the state government, ample opportunity exists for representative bodies to lobby on behalf of their local constituency to achieve better local outcomes.

– KYLE BARRETT, Relbia.

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PHOTOS: SFNL Seniors, Round 13

PHOTOS: SFNL Seniors, Round 13 SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IRYMPLE 16.10 (106) defeated MERBEIN 1.5 (11).
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SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): RED CLIFFS 19.11 (125) defeated SOUTH MILDURA 9.6 (60).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): RED CLIFFS 19.11 (125) defeated SOUTH MILDURA 9.6 (60).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): RED CLIFFS 19.11 (125) defeated SOUTH MILDURA 9.6 (60).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): RED CLIFFS 19.11 (125) defeated SOUTH MILDURA 9.6 (60).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): RED CLIFFS 19.11 (125) defeated SOUTH MILDURA 9.6 (60).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): RED CLIFFS 19.11 (125) defeated SOUTH MILDURA 9.6 (60).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): WENTWORTH 19.16 (130) defeated ROBINVALE 8.11 (59).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): WENTWORTH 19.16 (130) defeated ROBINVALE 8.11 (59).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): WENTWORTH 19.16 (130) defeated ROBINVALE 8.11 (59).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): WENTWORTH 19.16 (130) defeated ROBINVALE 8.11 (59).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): WENTWORTH 19.16 (130) defeated ROBINVALE 8.11 (59).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IMPERIALS 10.10 (70) defeated MILDURA 8.7 (55).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IMPERIALS 10.10 (70) defeated MILDURA 8.7 (55).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IMPERIALS 10.10 (70) defeated MILDURA 8.7 (55).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IMPERIALS 10.10 (70) defeated MILDURA 8.7 (55).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IMPERIALS 10.10 (70) defeated MILDURA 8.7 (55).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IMPERIALS 10.10 (70) defeated MILDURA 8.7 (55).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IRYMPLE 16.10 (106) defeated MERBEIN 1.5 (11).

SFNL Seniors, Round 13 (19-07-14): IRYMPLE 16.10 (106) defeated MERBEIN 1.5 (11).

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EDITORIAL: Council slow to move

“THERE will be a Lilac City Festival in 2014, even if Council has to do it ourselves.”
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Mayor Geoff Kettle said that to the Goulburn Post last October after Council withdrew its in-kind support for the event after concerns about the organising committee’s financial affairs.

More than nine months on, absolutely nothing has been done regarding planning for this year’s October long weekend celebrations.

This is despite councillors at that October 22 meeting resolving (moved by Cr Alfie Walker and seconded by Bob Kirk) to “call for Expressions of Interest from community organisations to run a spring festival on the October long weekend.”

Councillors also endorsed the statement: “A renewal and injection of community enthusiasm for a community based spring festival is needed.”

Well, what happened to Council’s enthusiasm?

There has been no call for expressions of interest and no attempt by staff, or councillors, to consult with the community on how to continue celebrating the October long weekend in Goulburn, if at all.

The lapse is embarrassing. Forgetfulness is not an excuse.

Cr Sam Rowland apparently made inquiries a few months ago but wasn’t given a sufficient response.

The very councillors and senior staff who have accused the Lilac Festival Committee of disorganisation are guilty of it themselves.

Mayor Kettle last year pledged the show will go on, whether the committee was involved or not.

And if the committee was to have a key role, it would be a massive about-face for Council.

Let’s remember the festival, costing ratepayers more than $20,000 a year in in-kind support, ran at a loss for three of the past four years.

Its committee was unable to produce up to date financial reports at the request of councillors.

It might be noble of Cr Kettle to uphold his pledge, but hastily putting together another hackneyed festival modelled on previous years is a retrograde step.

“We will advertise expressions of interest in due course although I’d like to see the Lilac Committee regather, open their doors and resubmit some ideas,” Cr Kettle told us last October.

But the decision to ‘move on’ was made last year.

The least Council can do now is to ensure that happens, even if it means organising a scaled-down version of the event – or giving this year a miss completely.

“There needs to be more people involved, it’s the same thing every year,” last year’s ‘queen’ Megan Baseley said of the committee and festival.

Indeed, Humphrey B Bear has had his day.

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