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Older citizens stand up and be counted

We have a Motoring Enthusiast’s Party in the Senate for those who like cars; we have incompetents like Jaqui Lambie taking up a seat; and we have a host of other fringe groups seeking seats so they can advocate sex and cannabis and God knows what else.
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With millions of people now in the upper-age bracket, who are regularly relegated by governments to a status of uselessness, if not abject liability as far as society is concerned, why, oh why has a party not arisen to represent older citizens in the Senate and use the balance of power to protect older citizens?

With so many potential voters, it is the best and easiest way to influence government policy and cease this campaign of denigration that has been used to justify driving older folk into poverty.

Surely the marginalisation and impoverishment of those who have carried the burden of developing the society we now enjoy, is a little more important than cars.

When will we stand up and be counted?

Howard Smith

Tamworth

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Illawarra Opal card retailers few and far

The NSW government has declined to commit to placing Opal card machines on hub stations such as Thirroul and Helensburgh.
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On Monday, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian officially launched the 1000 new Opal retail outlets announced last week.

The Illawarra appears to have received just one of those 1000 – at the University of Wollongong Unicentre.

In Monday’s announcement, Mrs Berejiklian also mentioned cards would be sold via machines on station platforms as part of the rollout.

The Illawarra is sadly lacking card retailers – from Helensburgh to Kiama there are just 17.

Most of them are in Wollongong; Shellharbour has just two and Kiama one.

The most curious omissions are at Helensburgh and Thirroul, which feature as hub stations in the new timetable – stations where commuters can catch faster services to Sydney.

Despite funnelling more commuters to these stations, to date there are no Opal retailers nearby.

At Helensburgh, it’s 2.6 kilometres from the station, while the closest to Thirroul is actually two suburbs away in Woonona.

A Transport for NSW spokesman could not confirm whether either station would be prioritised for the machines.

The spokesman also said the machines would not sell Opal cards but rather just enable commuters to add money to it.

“Top-up machines will be available later in the rollout and the final locations and number of machines across the network is yet to be finalised,” he said.

He also said the government was working with Woolworths to sell the cards at their stores and petrol stations.

Meanwhile, the jobs of ticket sellers on the South Coast line appear to be safe, according to the NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union.

A union spokeswoman said 97 ticket seller positions have gone on the Sydney network in the wake of the Opal rollout, with another 60 expected to disappear soon.

However, she said the union understood it was only ticket seller jobs on the Sydney network that had been “earmarked” and Illawarra stations won’t be affected at this stage.

A NSW TrainLink spokeswoman confirmed this, saying there are no plans to reassign current customer service station staff.

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Kickstart in Corrimal aims to put mall in shade

Paul Boultwood and Annelies Voorthuis walk the talk. Picture: KIRK GILMOURBusinesses in Corrimal have a battle on their hands trying to draw attention away from the Wollongong CBD.
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Corrimal Chamber of Commerce president Paul Boultwood said the suburb had great businesses but so often focus seemed to be on the mall, including the new GPT development.

“We’ve got to deal with the mall – everything’s always in Wollongong,” Mr Boultwood said.

“Corrimal has been left to its own devices for the last 15-20 years. We’re not waiting for council any more. We’ve been waiting 20-odd years for the council to do something for the northern suburbs, we’re not waiting any more, we’re doing it ourselves.”

What that means is Energise Corrimal Week, where small businesses can receive a share of $15,000 worth of advice, mentoring and training from Enterprise and Training Company (ETC) through the NSW government’s Small Biz Connect program.

ETC will occupy a shopfront in Corrimal Park Mall where businesses can get more information on the range of workshops and services available.

Annelies Voorthuis, Illawarra co-ordinator for ETC, said the idea behind the week was to help small business get a little bit bigger by improving their performance, profitability and productivity. ” During Energise Corrimal Week, our team of experienced business consultants will be delivering workshops, offering free business health checks and raising awareness generally about the business support services available to small businesses in the Illawarra,” she said.

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Man on damage charges bailed to see doctor

Billy-Jo Heard, 35, of Elizabeth Street, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday on charges of criminal damage and committing an indictable offence while on bail. A PORT Fairy man who terrorised his partner and smeared blood on a police officer has been given a day’s bail.
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Billy-Jo Heard, 35, of Elizabeth Street, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday on charges of criminal damage and committing an indictable offence while on bail.

The court heard that on June 7 about 12.20am Heard was arguing with his partner at their Port Fairy home when he stormed out of the house and allegedly threw a concrete ornament through a window.

On August 4 the couple had another argument, this time over tobacco, when it’s alleged he punched a hole in the wall and used a child’s scooter to crack the windshield of the victim’s car.

While at the Warrnambool police station cells, Mr Heard kicked a police officer in the leg and smeared the officer with blood from a cut on his hands.

Police had to use bolt cutters to remove the damaged handcuffs.

Magistrate John Lesser granted bail to the accused to see a liver specialist, with the condition that he report to police today.

Mr Lesser also issued Mr Heard with a family violence intervention order.

Mr Heard will reappear in the magistrates court today.

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Allansford, Merrivale earn WDFNL finals hosting rights

ALLANSFORD and Merrivale have earned hosting rights for week one of the Warrnambool and District league finals series.
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Allansford Recreation Reserve will host the qualifying final on Saturday, the second time in three years the league has used the ground for a final.

Dennington features in both the senior football and A grade netball. The Dogs meet Merrivale on the grass and Panmure on the court.

Merrivale Recreation Reserve is the venue for elimination final day on Sunday — the same fixture the ground hosted in 2013.

Allansford takes on Old Collegians in the senior football and Merrivale has home-court advantage against Kolora-Noorat in the A grade netball.

Power coach Glenice Justin said playing the Tigers on their own court was not ideal but would not be an issue for her players.

“I see there are 12 games (of netball) played. It’s difficult, somebody is going to be playing on their home court,” she said.

“In a beautiful, ideal world it’d be great if we could play on a neutral ground but it can’t happen. We don’t have the grounds to choose from.”

Justin said Kolora-Noorat had already experienced playing at Merrivale this season, losing to the Tigers by 11 goals in round 12.

She also noted the Power would have a home-court advantage in other grades should the second semi-final be at Noorat Recreation Reserve.

“It might end up one of our teams get to play a final on their home court. It goes around,” she said.

WDFNL general manager Dianne Membrey said the league applied to have the elimination final at Reid Oval as its first preference.

But Warrnambool City Council put the ground off limits in a bid to give the playing surface a break.

Incomplete works in the netball change rooms development also shaped the decision.

“They wanted to give it a spell because otherwise it won’t have a spell and the netball change rooms aren’t ready,” Membrey said.

“There’s really no point going there if we still don’t have access to the change rooms when we can go to a venue that does have change rooms.

“We’re happy to go down to Merrivale, that’s fine.”

Meanwhile, Old Collegians have requested an investigation into an incident during the Warriors’ under 17½ match against Merrivale on Saturday.

The WDFNL yesterday confirmed investigations officer Chris Asenjo would look into the first-quarter incident.

A second investigation, requested by Deakin University and relating to its round 16 senior match against South Rovers, is also under way.

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Lost tiger’s tale reappears – in Scotland

TEN years ago, Scottish author Tony Black was working as a journalist at The Warrnambool Standard when he stumbled on the seed that would grow into his best-selling novel to date.
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Former The Standard journalist and Scottish author Tony Black.

That seed was in the shape of a Tasmanian tiger (or thylacine) and came via a researcher who was keen to talk to a reporter about recent sightings of the officially extinct animal.

“I remember being handed this story by the chief of staff and I guess he was just happy to get this one off his hands because on the surface it was a non-starter,” Black said.

“It turned out to be the best yarn I’d ever had.

“So many people called up the next day to confirm they’d seen Tasmanian tigers in the district.

“One guy said he hit one with his ute and went out to help but it snarled and showed this massive set of jaws and he just let it drag itself off into the scrub.”

A decade later, these interviews have inadvertently led to The Last Tiger, Black’s latest novel, which tells the story of a family of Lithuanian refugees who re-settle in Tasmania during the early 20th century.

While the patriarch of the family Petras becomes a “tiger man” who shoots the creatures in order to protect the island’s sheep and collect a bounty, his son Myko is drawn to the creatures and is struck by their plight as they near extinction.

Black said he was struck by the “very sad story” of the thylacine’s demise — “a tale of bloodlust and how man’s insatiable greed for land tramples everything in its way” — and soon set about writing the novel.

“The first draft of The Last Tiger was written in Warrnambool but my then-agent didn’t like it much,” he said.

“Publishing tends to like to launch new authors with really conservative stuff, potentially big-hitting genre fiction, so I had to get ten or so of those under my belt until someone took a chance on The Last Tiger.

“Ironically, it’s been by far my biggest seller to date and has been shortlisted for a major prize in the UK.

“The time was certainly right when it landed on my current publisher’s desk because he just adored it.”

Those “ten or so” books have predominantly been Scottish crime novels, aka “tartan noir” — he has a couple of crime series under his belt that have led iconic Scots author Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) to call Black “my favourite British crime writer”.

“It’s hard to describe how big (tartan noir) is at home to another country,” Black explained.

“I’d say most of the books sold in the UK are crime fiction of one sort or another right now.

“It’s been that way for a few years and publishing is a very safe industry, they don’t like risks, so they tend to run on rails.

“I wrote loads of novels, probably five or six, before I was told to write tartan noir by an old agent.

“You could say it wasn’t a natural discovery for me.

“The Last Tiger, and a few other books I wrote then — and will carry on writing — are much more closely related to what I like to write, where I’m at with it all.”

With its shortlisting in The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, some strong reviews, and the best sales of his career to date, Black might find himself writing fewer crime thrillers and more books like The Last Tiger in the future.

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Investors to sue blue gum advisers

INVESTORS caught out by the failure of failed forestry group Timbercorp are planning to sue financial advisers who steered them towards the managed investment scheme.
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The move comes as Timbercorp liquidator KordaMentha ramps up the pressure to recover loans taken out to finance their investments.

Financial planners reaped $92 million in commissions after advising their clients to invest in the company, which was one of the main companies behind blue gum plantations in the south-west.

The investors received substantial tax breaks to invest in the scheme.

Mike Smith, chief executive of Timbercorp’s financier the ANZ Bank, told The Standard investors were offered a 15 per cent discount to settle their loans.

“Many accepted that offer but some have held out,” Mr Smith said.

“We’re now trying to recover the loans that are still outstanding.”

ANZ lent the money to Timbercorp’s finance arm, Timbercorp Finance, which in turn lent it to investors, many of whom were attracted by a generous tax deduction.

KordaMentha has launched a flurry of legal action in the Victorian Supreme Court to recover loans.

Since April, when the High Court upheld the validity of the loans after a failed class action, KordaMentha has lodged at least 49 lawsuits against investors, five of which were settled before reaching court.

In just three days at the end of last month the receiver lodged 11 lawsuits against investors, claiming a total of almost $4.8 million.

Fairfax Media has seen loan application forms filled in by clients who used financial planners that have blank spaces where the investor’s assets and liabilities are supposed to be disclosed.

Slater & Gordon lawyer Mark Walter said his firm was “starting to be retained by growers who are being sued”.

KordaMentha partner Mark Korda defended the lawsuits and said any benefits would flow through to Timbercorp’s unsecured creditors, not ANZ.

“After four or five years of legal issues these loans are due and payable,” Mr Korda said.

“We’re taking a selective group and we’re putting them through the court process.

“We expect some of them will settle.”

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Parks group opposes hiker lodges in Grampians

A PROPOSAL for privately-operated hiker lodges in the Grampians would threaten the pristine environment and affect existing accommodation providers, the Victorian National Parks Association has warned.
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Up to seven lodges could be built within the national park and two outside under a masterplan for the Grampians Peaks Trail, which would cover 144 kilometres from Mount Zero to Dunkeld.

A number of hiker camps would also be established.

Under the proposal 99-year lease agreements could be offered for commercial development of lodges.

The association is concerned the “higher-yield” market would compromise the park’s future and does not accept the need or desirability for commercial development of built facilities inside the park.

According to the masterplan, the walk is expected to generate 32,000 visitor nights in 2015, increasing to more than 80,000 visitors by 2025, while the total number of walkers using the trail is expected to increase from 13,800 next year to more than 34,000 people by 2025.

“On-walk accommodation is central to the experience of an iconic multi-day walk such as the Grampians Peaks Trail,” the masterplan says.

“Default accommodation for the entire length of the trail will be hiker camps (provided by Parks Victoria), with camping on designated tent platforms.

“On-walk hiker lodges will be provided by the private sector — these are roofed structures which may include showers, toilet and kitchen facilities.

“They will cater for a higher-yield market and be used by guided walkers.”

Environment Minister Ryan Smith said the trail would open up the national park for more people, while Grampians Tourism Board chief executive Will Flamsteed said private lodges would provide hikers with a world-class nature experience and were just some of the investment opportunities.

“It’s not just about lodges in a national park,” he told the ABC.

Parks Victoria district manager Graham Parks said the trail should proceed, with or without the lodges.

The first stage between Halls Gap and Borough Huts is nearing completion.

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National parks lodges plan way off track

THE great thing about Victoria’s network of national parks is that they are, for the most part, pristine.
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For hikers especially, the chance to get off the beaten track for a trek through the Victorian Alps or the Grampians for a wilderness experience is what makes the parks attractive.

Serious bushwalkers carry all their gear for multi-day hikes, camp, cook their own food and carry out all their rubbish.

Australia’s hiking trails are distinct from those in other parts of the world in that there is nothing out there in the way of infrastructure and hikers seek them out for that reason.

On the high country trails of north-eastern Victoria, there are a handful of former cattlemen’s huts that offer refuge in bad weather but that’s about it.

The same goes for the walkers’ tracks in the Grampians.

But all that might be about to change with a proposal for privately-operated hiker lodges for the Grampians designed to complement a new trail called the Grampians Peaks Trail covering 144 kilometres from Mount Zero to Dunkeld.

Up to seven lodges with showers and kitchens would be built and offered to private operators on 99-year leases.

According to the masterplan, the walk is expected to generate 32,000 visitor nights in 2015, increasing to more than 80,000 visitor by 2025, while the total number of walkers using the trail is expected to increase from 13,800 next year to more than 34,000 people by 2025.

The trail will go ahead with or without the lodges and the visitors will come regardless.

Lodges would detract from the hiking experience, take business away from existing accommodation and bed and breakfast options in the district and there is a real danger that once they are built pressure to expand will grow from the private interests running them.

Fast forward 20 or 30 years and what was once an untouched national park will be dotted with mini resorts.

No thanks.

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Cycle City

WORTH THE WAIT: City of Mount Gambier community events team leader Denise Richardson is urging residents set to be inconvenienced by tomorrow’s Tour of the Great South Coast to embrace the high-class event. Picture: BRETT KENNEDYA KEY figure behind tomorrow’s Mount Gambier leg of the Tour of the Great South Coast Road Cycling Classic has called on the community to embrace the high class event.
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With road closures scheduled across both the inner-city circuit and Blue Lake loop, residents are being asked to be patient and co-operate to ensure the returning event hits the streets without a hitch.

Attracting a top field of 130 cyclists, bringing with them around 400 support crew, the eight-stage tour will put Mount Gambier under the national and international spotlight throughextensive coverage.

City of Mount Gambier community events team leader Denise Richardson said several surrounding businesses had been given three months notice of the temporary road closures.

“We really hope people are understanding on the day because the City of Mount Gambier is committed to attracting major events,” Ms Richardson said.

“It’s the businesses and local people who are going to reap the benefits from it and stage three is also being held in the District Council of Grant, so it is not just Mount Gambier that will benefit from this.”

The Vansittart Park Criterium will serve as the opening stage of the tour, with Wehl Street North, Eglington Terrace, Victoria Terrace and Commercial Street West to face temporary closures, while the second stage in the afternoon will involve closures on O’Halloran Terrace, Wehl Street South, Lake Terrace West, Bay Road and John Watson Drive.

Thursday’s road race from Mount Gambier to Port MacDonnell will travel through Mount Gambier’s southern fringe, Carpenter Rocks, Pelican Point, Blackfellows Caves, Kongorong, Donovans, Brown Bay, Riddoch Bay and Racecourse Bay.

A road closure will be in place on Sea Parade from early afternoon.

Understanding that the events would inconvenience some residents, Ms Richardson said organisers and the council had worked with the public to achieve a successful outcome.

“People will still be able to park nearby because we are really aware of the clinic and pharmacy,” she said.

“We really benefit if people come down and cheer riders on, so we encourage residents and nearby businesses to get along.”

With additional police and marshals from Cycling Victoria, Ms Richardson said there would be plenty of people on-site to assist residents.

“We had no complaints last year that required a different route to be taken, so hopefully people will continue to understand,” she said.

“This event has grown from last year and I can see it growing even bigger.”

Ms Richardson said the event had the potential to positively impact on the region’s tourism sector.

“This race goes around the Blue Lake and that will be beamed across the world on SBS, so what better tourism promotion can you ask for?” she said.

“Cycling is taking off throughout the world and to see this sport locally at such a high calibre is fantastic.”

With a majority of teams arriving yesterday, it is expected an influx of cyclists will hit the road today in preparation for tomorrow’s action.

Upset win by Queechy may affect top spots

THE weekend threw out some more unexpected and possibly season-changing results with the most notable being Queechy Penguins’ surprise 2-1 win over City Marians.
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The result badly hurt City’s chances of a top-two finish and was even more frustrating as it had much more of the attack but the Qs still jumped to a two-goal, first-half lead through Vicki Brien and Abbie Withington.

Clare Symonds takes City Marians into attack during their clash with Queechy on the weekend. City went down 2-1. Picture: Stuart Wilson.

The second half saw City regroup thanks to the defensive efforts of Nicole Symonds and Jemma Kenworthy and forwards Monique Grundy and Lauren Bonney with a goal eventually coming through Petrina Birtwistle.

However, the Qs held out with defenders Sarah McRobbie, Brooke Whitemore and Kelly Greatbatch key players in the win.

West Devonport was a quality act from the start in its match against Tamar Churinga.

Tamar was missing four of its usual contingent forcing it to use Cara Evans at centre-half rather than in her most damaging position up front.

This allowed West the luxury of regular moves with both Danielle Emmett and Kendall Shotton rotating from forward to defence while Kylie Elmer and Jodie Thow remained superbly steadfast in defence.

A two-goal first half proved a solid start for the Dragons with another two in the second putting the game beyond doubt.

A competitive first half saw Smithton still in the game against Launceston City but the second half was a whole different story with City running away to an eventual 6-1 win. The Saints’ only goal came after Connie Perry had a great run then finished with a perfect cross to Kylie Monson who smashed the ball into the back of the net.

Burnie Baptist was not able to back up last week’s performance, going down 4-2 to Devonport. Nikki Green (two), Lucy Withers and Kym Corcoran caused the damage for Devonport with Corcoran a standout.

In the final match, South Burnie and South Launceston went on scoring sprees ending with a 5-5 result.

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Home ground denied

BURNIE women’s coach Darren Eade says he is disappointed his team has been denied its home ground advantage for Sunday’s State League grand final against Clarence.
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The game will be played at Devonport Oval on Sunday, after concerns were raised about the surface of West Park for the game, given the men will play a State League match on it the day before.

Burnie’s Emma Humphries in action during a game earlier this year. The Burnie Dockers have been stripped of the right to play the State League women’s grand final at West Park on Sunday. Picture: Meg Windram.

“I’m disappointed, because we won the right to play it at home,” Eade said.

“But at the end of the day we’re not too fussed where we play them, we just want to win.”

The Dockers had earned home ground advantage by easily winning the semi-final against reigning premier Clarence at West Park on August 3.

Further adding spice to Sunday’s contest is a verbal stoush between Eade and Clarence women’s coach Andy Smith which eventuated after what Eade described as excessive physicality from the Clarence side.

“We won by 11 goals, and they are not used to getting beaten, especially in finals,” he said.

Smith said he didn’t wish to comment on the confrontation or specifics of the semi-final, saying it was “done and dusted” and that the team just wanted to focus on the upcoming game.

“We were pretty poor in the semi-final, but the two games before that there was only a seven-point difference,” he said.

“They will go in as favourites having won three against us so we will need to be at our best.”

Sunday’s game will start at 12pm.

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Court orders for man who assaulted family

Paul Rodgers, 35, of Princes Highway, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to two counts of both recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault.A POMBORNEIT man who dragged his step-daughter out of bed by her hair and smacked his son to the head has been placed on a community corrections order.
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Paul Rodgers, 35, of Princes Highway, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to two counts of both recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault.

He was placed on a 12-month order to do 50 hours’ community work and undertake treatment and rehabilitation for mental health issues, and complete a men’s behaviour change program.

Police said Rodgers was married with three children and had lived in Queensland before relocating to Pomborneit to live with his parents.

It was alleged there had been incidents of verbal and physical abuse in the past between Rodgers and his wife which had mostly not been reported to police. The couple were also worried about their 13-year-old daughter, Rodgers’ step-daughter, who had attempted self-harm.

Last year Rodgers dragged the girl out of bed by her hair after she would not get up. The girl’s head hit a bed post and Rodgers swore at her.

At another time Rodgers became enraged with his son who was looking for a cat with his two cousins under a house. He slapped the boy to the head, which hit the house and caused bruising.

In mid-December last year Rodgers became increasingly abusive to his wife. When he was not home, she started packing bags in an attempt to leave. But Rodgers returned and pushed his wife, who was 24 weeks’ pregnant, on to a bed and lay on her. An intervention order was later put in place.

Defence counsel Xavier Farrelly said the couple had a turbulent 10-year relationship, but the wife and children had returned to Queensland while Rodgers stayed in Pomborneit.

He said the couple had disagreed about parenting. “He did not set out to hurt his children but had attempted to discipline them,” Mr Farrelly said.

Magistrate Michael Coghlan said Rodgers had engaged in coercive behaviour towards his wife when she was trying to leave and had a “considerable misunderstanding” of how to behave towards other family members.

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