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.

– BERT WILLIAMS, Hobart.

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