“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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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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Sentencing changes

CONGRATULATIONS to Attorney- General Vanessa Goodwin and the Tasmanian Liberals for postponing their decision to abolish suspended sentences.
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Maybe there are better alternatives.

Whether the state can afford those alternatives is another question.

So good on the Liberals for taking some extra time to get it right.

Measures such as harsher sentencing, mandatory and minimum sentencing, and the removal of sentencing options always penalise Aborigines and other minority groups more than others.

What they do not do is reduce offences against women, children and others least able to defend themselves.

All the evidence shows that investing in improving the lives of socially disadvantaged groups does much more to reduce offending than putting people in prison or imposing harsher penalties.

– HEATHER SCULTHORPE, CEO, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

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45 year anniversary of historic flight

Parkes Visitor Centre Manager at the radio telescope, Glen Nagle reflects on the Appollo 11 moon landing.It’s funny the things you remember from your childhood.
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For one local person, his one outstanding memory is of Neil Armstrong taking those first steps on the surface of the Moon and a bright orange carpet.

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing on the surface of the Moon.

At 12.56pm on the 21st of July 1969, an estimated 600 million people around the world were transfixed to their black and white television sets as astronaut Neil Armstrong placed his booted foot on the grey lunar soil.

The grainy images relayed around the world through the CSIRO’s Parkes Observatory – the Dish.

One of those 600 million viewers was Glen Nagle, then seven years old, but today working as the visitor centre manager at the radio telescope.

“I still remember that moment like it happened yesterday” Glen said.

“Our school in the southern suburbs of Sydney didn’t have a television set and I was determined to watch the astronauts walking on the Moon, so I nagged my parents to let me stay home and see it.

“They agreed to let me stay ‘home alone’ as long as I didn’t move from this bright orange carpet mat they placed in front of the TV, along with some milk and biscuits.”

“Needless to say, I never moved. I sat glued to the screen watching those amazing images.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that 45 years later I could sit in my office and look out the window to the very dish that was helping to bring those images into my lounge room.”

Not just the Parkes Dish of course was involved in Apollo 11. Glen also recounts the role of the dish at his other workplace, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla, which is run for NASA by the CSIRO.

“At my ‘other’ office, I can look out its window and see the original antenna dish from the old Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station which captured the first 8½ minutes of the moonwalk,” he said

“Honeysuckle was closed a few years after the end of the Apollo program and its dish moved to Tidbinbilla.

“That dish along with the Parkes Dish took me on the voyage to where I am now.”

To mark the anniversary, the Visitor Discovery Centre at the Dish is holding an exhibition of images from the Apollo lunar missions that occurred between December 1968 (Apollo 8) and December 1972 (Apollo 17).

“Lots of people forget that there were other missions to the Moon.” Nagle said.

“We all remember the black and white TV pictures but the astronauts had these fantastic large format Hassleblad cameras with them and took incredibly detailed colour images on the lunar surface and from orbit.”

The exhibition is a great opportunity to look back on those incredible days as humanity took its first journey out into the universe and to ponder on what the future might bring.

NASA is currently working on the next generation rocket that will once again take humans beyond Earth orbit.

A mission to an asteroid and back to the Moon is being planned for the mid-2020s.

“I can’t wait to take that next magic carpet ride, be it orange or any other colour,” Glen says with a smile on his face.

“I’d like for a new generation to have its own ‘moon landing’ moment, probably as we take our first steps onto the surface of Mars.

“I hope that memory will take them from their childhoods and on a journey to places they never thought possible.”

The Visitor Discovery Centre at the CSIRO’s Parkes Radio Telescope is open every day from 8.30am to 4.15pm. Entry is free.

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Sea Lake-Nandaly Tigers beat reigning premier Woomelang-Lascelles

DESPERATE: Jeparit Rainbow’s Clyde Simpson fights Woomelang-Lascelles opponent Jake Nelson for the ball on July 12. There was no joy for either team at the weekend, with Jeparit-Rainbow falling to Walpeup-Underbool and Woomelang-Lascelles humbled by the Sea Lake-Nandaly Tigers.SEA Lake-Nandaly Tigers showed they belong in second place on the Mallee Football League ladder with an easy win over reigning premier Woomelang-Lascelles at the weekend.
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The Tigers outclassed the Cats after a close first quarter.

Woomelang-Lascelles recorded more scoring shots in the first term, but booted a wasteful 1.4, while Sea Lake-Nandaly was on target with three straight goals to open up an eight-point lead.

They added another five goals to one in the second quarter, and never let the Cats back into the match.

Tiger Cliff Ryan did not match his 15-goal heroics of the weeks before, but was more than handy with four goals up forward.

Sea Lake-Nandaly captain Col Durie was outstanding for the visitors, as were Jordan Doeringand Glen Carrick who kicked two goals.

Jamie Church led Woomelang-Lascelles’ efforts with two goals, but was one of only five Cats to record a major.

Corey Kelley also had two, and Rohan Coburn played a good game.

Walpeup-Underbool put Jeparit-Rainbow to the sword in the first quarter of their encounter on Saturday before cruising to the finish line.

The Roos led 8.5 (53) to 0.0 (0) at the end of the first quarter, but only extended the margin by a further 16 points for the rest of the game.

Roo Kane Munro’s 10-goal haul earned him best afield honours, while Wyatt Bacon led the Lakers.

No Jeparit-Rainbow player managed to kick multiple goals.

Ouyen United was too strong for Hopetoun, winning 14.12 (96) to 9.8 (62).

The teams were evenly matched in the first and last quarters, but it was the middle of the game when the Demons did their damage.

Former AFL player Relton Roberts booted five for Ouyen United.

Liam Price was Hopetoun’s best player.

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Woodchip mill sale

NO wonder that the state opposition politicians and the enviro- fundamentalists are whinging about an enquiry into the Triabunna woodchip mill sale.
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It is on the public record that the sale, and subsequent sacrifice, of the Triabunna woodchip mill was a key factor in the Labor-Green state government’s alleged “Forest Peace Deal”.

It was announced in July 2011 by co-buyers Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood that the mill’s long- term future “will be as a tourism destination”.

At the time one of the buyers, Mr Wood, had been under media scrutiny after he gave $1.6 million to the Greens in the previous election campaign.

Sensing trouble, the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania said the purchase of the Triabunna mill had created confusion, and that without its continuation, the “Peace Deal” would have no standing.

Just one month earlier, in June 2011, it was announced that the Triabunna woodchip mill had been bought by Fibre Plus Tasmania, a subsidiary company of the Bridgewater-based transport business Aprin Pty Ltd.

When news of the purchase by Mr Wood and Ms Cameron was broken on ABC radio it was to the amazement of the gazumped buyer, the O’Connor family’s Fibre Plus, because Gunns had now sold the mill to Wood and Cameron for $6 million less than what Fibre Plus had already agreed to pay.

However, the Fibre Plus spokesman did note that there was uncertainty about a clause that Gunns had added into its contract to sell the Triabunna woodchip mill, relating to the “Principles of Agreements” statement that had been negotiated.

To any discerning observer it would appear that Gunns and the Giddings’ Labor-Green government knowingly sacrificed the Triabunna mill in desperation to save the doomed pulp mill and peace deal projects.

If you haven’t thrown out your old newspapers I suggest that you read them again.


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Plea for help on rooming houses

WORRY: A former Robinvale motel in Ronald Street, which had been converted into a boarding house, was destroyed after an electrical fire in January.RELATED STORY: No easy answer
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SWAN Hill council will plead for assistance from the state and federal governments in dealing with the ongoing issue of “rooming houses” in the Robinvale community.

Growing rates of temporary workers in the region has led to an increasingly critical problem of alleged rooming houses.

Some councillors have accused upper levels of government of failing to fulfill a duty of care towards what they say are vulnerable itinerant workers, many of whom are forced into inadequate, unsafe and over-crowded living conditions.

They will ask the different tiers of government to take part in a “coordinated approach” to deal with the issue.

The move follows a number of reports about rooming houses since changes to legislation in 2009 forced local government to play a key role in enforcement and registration of rooming houses.

But council says it does not have the resources to enforce the legislation.

A report presented by council gave an example of an investigation into 20 rooming houses that led to legal costs of $5000, of which just $1500 was awarded.

Just one of the rooming houses was registered.

“[This] highlights that while it may be easy for local residents to identify what appears to be an alleged rooming house, the ability to gather sufficient evidence to prove a premises is operating in that manner is difficult to obtain.

“The challenges faced by the council are reflected across the region and across the state and while council actively enforces the legislation, more may be achieved through a coordinated approach by other tiers of Government and industry.”

Swan Hill Rural City councillor and Robinvale ward representative John Katis said council was being let down by other authorities.

He cited examples of unsafe rooming houses where electric cables were exposed and fuses had nails through them.

“If you have a house with 10 or 15 people living in it and half those people die in a fire, who’s going to pay the liability?” Cr Katis said.

“Council doesn’t have the resources to attend to every call from the public.

“I think we’ve been let down by the government authorities… they need to take more of a role.”

Cr Katis said there was a duty of care when it came to people’s safety.

“They are itinerant and lower income workers who can’t afford housing and there aren’t enough homes that are affordable,” he said.

“The whole public should play a lot more of a role. If you know of one of these houses pick up the phone and report it. Council can only do so much.”

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PHOTOS: Busselton Bombers take on Nannup Tigers

PHOTOS: Busselton Bombers take on Nannup Tigers Busselton Bomber Chris Cooke.
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Nannup’s Damien Waugh slides in for the ball with Busselton’s Troy Docking into defend.

Busselton’s Jake Nolan tries to stop Damien Waugh’s mark.

Busselton’s John Albury.

Busselton’s Aaron Prince, David Stobbie, Dale Andrews and Nannup’s Ryan King.

Busselton Bomber Jake Nolan, Nannup’s Nathan Craigie and Busselton’s Brayden Timms.

Busselton’s Paul Northover.

Nannup’s Scott Smith, Busselton’s Dale Andrews, Nannup’s Brendan Cockman and Busselton’s Jake Nikander.

Busselton’s Troy Docking and Jake Nikander.

Busselton’s Rhett Tihany.

Busselton’s Sam Shreus and Nannup’s Glen Hamilton.

Busselton’s Lachlan Mills and Nannup’s Ryan King.

Busselton’s Paul Northover and Nannup’s Damien Cockman.

Busselton’s Adam Wera.

Busselton’s Graeme Snow, Nannup’s Nathan Craigie and Busselton’s Jake Nikander.

Nannup’s Brayden Timms and Busselton’s Aaron Prince.

Bussselton’s Dale Andrews, Adam Wera and Nannup’s Scott Smith.

Busselton’s Graeme Snow.

Nannup’s Jaxon Pillage and Busselton’s Nick Gangell.

Nannup’s Shae Cullen and Busselton’s Mathew Gordon.

Busselton’s Troy Docking and Nannup’s Matthew Bornatici.

Busselton’s Rhett Tihany and Nannup’s Jaxon Pillage.

Busselton’s Rhys Stockley.

Busselton’s Scott Johnstone and Nannup’s Nathan Craigie.

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Greater Taree libraries take role in National Pain Week

A partnership between the State Library, the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) and Hunter New England Health is benefiting local communities.
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The partnership is bringing the latest evidence-based information on managing chronic pain to libraries across NSW, including Greater Taree City libraries, during National Pain Week.

Libraries within the HNE health district that are involved are: Cessnock City Library, Newcastle Region Library, Gunnedah Shire Library, Tenterfield Public Library, Upper Hunter Shire Library, Armidale-Dumaresq Library, Greater Taree City Libraries, Inverell Shire Public Library, Glen Innes Severn Public & TAFE Library and Central Northern Regional Library (Tamworth).

Chronic pain is pain which persists for more than three months or beyond the usual time for tissue healing. It is real, not imagined and affects one in five people in NSW, interfering with their daily lives, work and relationships.

Improving access to the latest scientific information on how to better manage chronic pain is one of many healthcare improvement activities of the ACI, the lead agency working to design and promote better healthcare for NSW.

Earlier this year, the Minister for Health Jillian Skinner launched the ACI Pain Management Network’s website and a separate consumer book collection which has been distributed to participating public libraries across NSW.

The book collection complements the ACI Pain Management Network’s website, which is already making a difference with over 82,000 views since its launch in March.

To promote awareness of National Pain Week 2014, the ACI has added two more consumer books to the collection, providing additional evidence-based guides on managing pain.

Visitors to the ACI Pain Management Network website can access:

o Interactive learning and self-management modules for young people

o Online resources that promote self-management to help people to retrain their brain’s response to chronic pain

o Inspirational videos of people young and old sharing their experience of how adopting an

evidence based approach to pain made a real difference to their daily lives

o Practical tools and resources to help people with chronic pain to improve daily sleep and

mood, guidance on the role of pain medication and the importance of healthy lifestyles

o A health professional toolkit that includes assessment and management tools for doctors

and healthcare professionals working in the community, factsheets for patients and

information on NSW Pain Clinics.

National Pain Week 2014 runs from July 21-27. For more information see www.nationalpainweek.org.au

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Rail Trail full steam ahead

A TRANSFORMATION of abandoned railway lines into desirable cycling getaways is more than a pipedream.
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That’s the view of McComas Taylor, the convenor of a newly formed group aiming to drum up support for rail-trail cycling – a cross-country discipline permitted in every Australian state bar New South Wales.

A cyclist of more than 40 years, Mr Taylor says a rail trail circuit from Goulburn to Crookwell is ideal on multiple levels.

“I’ve seen how these things work in Victoria, I’ve ridden rail-trails there.

This would be an absolute gem for Crookwell,” he said yesterday.

“Rail-trails in other areas have created new business opportunities, including cafes, restaurants, B&Bs and bikeshops.”

The cycling format offers riders a journey passed heritage-listed buildings and a view picturesque countryside as they follow paths adjacent to defunct railway lines.

Mr Taylor shares a common view with founding members of Friends of Goulburn Crookwell Rail Trail – officially formed on Saturday – and the committee of the Southern Tablelands Cycling Group.

The latter has drawn up preliminary plans, sounded out support of interstate cycling groups and convinced both Goulburn Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan Shire councils to commit money for feasibility studies.

“We’re a new group, we’re a small group and we’re just getting on our feet,” Mr Taylor continued.

Their influence won’t be fully realised for the next six weeks, at least.

Friends of Goulburn Crookwell Rail- Trail members won’t conduct their first meeting until after a workshop in Sydney on August 26.

That workshop’s invite list will include names of rail trail enthusiasts the state-over, at least two representatives from every local government body in relevant areas of New South Wales, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and a guest-speaker from Mike Halliburton and Associates – a firm that specialises in viability studies on the subject.

Rail Trails For NSW founder John Moore said the format was gaining traction. Mr Moore this month held a meeting with the Transport Minister, whose thrown her support behind the concept.

Next month’s workshop will help railtrail supporters turn their vision into reality, he says.

Legislation presently permits disused railway lines from being adapted.

Ms Berejiklian and her cabinet colleagues, however, have made it clear individual rail-trail projects will be assessed on merit – thus opening the door to a Southern Tablelands circuit.

“I am a personal fan of rail trails and think they have a big future in our state,” the Minister said during a speech at the launch of Rail Trails for NSW in March.

“If you look at what Victoria has done, it has been incredibly positive for their economy, for their tourism, for their lifestyle.”

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Bungonia Hall makes progress

THE Bungonia Hall supper room will likely receive its final touches thanks to a little help from the council.
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Since June, 2013 members of the village’s Progress Association and a team of generous helpers have been beavering away, building a new room.

President Bill Dobbie said it was an essential ingredient, catering for functions and as a money spinner for the Association.

The old supper room was demolished in June, 2013 after it was discovered that upgrade to meet standards would be too costly. Its replacement was estimated to cost $158,000 to $231,000.

One year on, a “very solid building” stands in its place, independent of the hall but lacking a ceiling.

Completing the rendering will soak up remaining funds.

“We would like to get the ceiling up and completed so an occupation certificate can be issued and the supper room be used for functions again,” Mr Dobbie wrote to Council.

“The alternative is to continue fundraising locally but to raise this sum could take a few years.”

The Association asked Council for $10,700 to fund the work.

Corporate services director Brendan Hollands recommended to last Tuesday’s meeting that the money come from the recently created ‘Village Plan’ reserve.

But Deputy Mayor Bob Kirk asked that the funds come from Council’s budget proper.

“We haven’t set the parameters for the village plan reserve yet so to dip into it at this stage is I think, premature,” he said.

Councillors agreed the ceiling’s funding should be considered as a matter of priority in the September quarterly budget review.

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