Magpies end Tigers’ season

The Magpies’ win sets up a grand final against the Lake Cathie Raiders this Saturday.
Nanjing Night Net

The Tigers’ playmaker injured himself in the warm up forcing a reshuffle in the backline but more importantly Comboyne lost a vital cog in their attacking armoury.

The Lower Macleay Magpies took full advantage of a disjointed Tigers attack but not before the Tigers took a 6-0 lead on 20 minutes through a Thomas Latimore try and Shawn Madeley conversion.

The Magpies hit back when halfback Sam Drew found Luke Dufty with a great inside pass before the centre dived over the tryline. Despite missing the conversion, the Magpies were down 6-4 but looking the more composed side.

Comboyne did themselves no favours with too many errors early in the tackle count and poor sixth tackle options.

Magpies hooker Zac McKiernan exploited a yawning gap in the Tigers defence to grab the lead for his side and when Dufty converted from in front the Magpies went to the break 10-6 leaders.

Lower Macleay posted two tries in the opening 11 minutes of the second half through a great solo effort from five-eighth Joel McCafferty and centre Tom Stevenson to stretch their lead to 18-6 after Dufty booted one of the conversion attempts.

An angled run from Comboyne’s Thomas Latimore caught the Magpies defence flat-footed close to the line to bring his side back into the contest. The Tigers forward improved his position to give goalkicker Madeley and easier conversion. That left the score at 18-12 and the Tigers were, somehow, back into the contest.

But the comeback was short-lived. The Magpies peppered the Comboyne defence with a couple of stirring runs before Dufty wrongfooted a couple of Tigers defenders to score under the posts. The centre landed the conversion to stretch the Magpies’ lead to 24-12.

With the clock winding down, Paio scored off the back of a strong charge from Bevan Castles and with the conversion attempt waved away, the Magpies were 24-16 winners and through to Saturday’s grand final.

The Magpies were best served by McCafferty and McKiernan while the Tigers’ best included winger Lee O’Brien, lock Ben Wadwell and Blake Reis.

Tigers down: Sam Hensley and Luke Dufty … battle it out in the Hastings League finals last Saturday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Cops and rockers: Police band together for community

On the beat: The police band entertains a crowd at Box Hill. The Victoria Police band continues to wow audiences. Picture: Darrian Traynor
Nanjing Night Net

They’re police, but their mission is music and making people feel good, writes Loretta Hall.

It can be a glamorous life fronting a showband, but this is not one of those days.

The band’s equipment truck, emptied of trunks of brass instruments and sound gear, doubles as a hasty change room for Elise Beattie as she transforms from “worker ant” roadie to lead singer in a shopping mall in Melbourne’s east.

Long loose hair is secured in a no-nonsense plait, and casual clothing discarded for navy trousers, sensible flat black shoes and a crisp light-blue shirt with an epaulette and stripe on each shoulder.

Only the showbiz shades remain from her civilian guise as Beattie prepares to front the Victoria Police Showband with co-senior constable Daina Jowsey under the midday sun for the mostly unsuspecting shoppers and commuters.

Music director (and prominent Melbourne musician) Daryl McKenzie is absent, so Beattie and Jowsey consult over a whiteboard song list and a takeaway coffee while fellow band members set up 500 leads and an array of instruments for the gig.

They choose songs from hundreds of the band’s own arrangements, mixing swing with jazz, classical, musical theatre, rock and pop. Beattie is down for Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, Jowsey is opening with Dancing in the Street.

Some of the tracks they performed for the Showband’s Divas CD, sales of which aid the police force’s Blue Ribbon Foundation community program.

There are a few curious glances from passers-by as Beattie sets up the microphones. But once she re-emerges from the back of the truck an audience begins to gather and several shoppers question the diminutive but authoritative figure at the microphone stand.

“As soon as you are in uniform there’s a certain level of interest; people come up and ask what you are doing,” Beattie says. “We explain to them that what we are doing is a full-time job.”

When the police band originated 120 years ago it was formed by those on the beat who volunteered to play an instrument part-time. It became a full-time occupation in 1980s, when professional musicians were sworn in as police members

The Showband plays across Melbourne and regional Victoria in the community and schools and the public can check the police website for the showband’s calendar for a performance in their neighbourhood.

More glitzy gigs include charity nights, when Beattie frocks up out of uniform to perform at venues that have included Crown’s Palladium room, Hamer Hall and Melbourne’s World Congress Centre.

Beattie, 46, has been on patrol with the showband around Victoria for the past 11 years and previously sang with the Victoria Police’s rock band, Code One, for six years. Her role in the police force was recognised with a national award for “rockin’ it” in January.

She wears the stripe of a senior constable, “and we have full police powers of arrest”, but, as with the rest of the 24 showband members, isn’t operational as a police officer.

Band leader Sergeant Pat Hudson, who has in the past been in the back-row line-up on trombone, watches from beyond the police-taped stage edge as the party gets started.

Music spills into the mall and an audience builds. Most of the smoking section – a half-brick wall outside the supermarket – is full. Hudson says that at the height of the set about 200 people are toe-tapping to the tunes.

The youth that the showband is reaching out to largely respond to the offer of musical friendship, with most unplugging at least one earphone to catch a Lady Gaga or Beyoncé song.

An older fan, Robert Fraser, 59, dances through all three sets, oblivious to the fact he is mostly dancing solo on the pavement. A middle-aged woman kicks off her heels, dumps her handbag under the watchful gaze of the band’s brass section and joins him for a track. Towards the end of the last set a trio of teens lose their inhibitions and let their lanky limbs loose.

Collectively, the three bands perform about 500 gigs annually, and Hudson says these reach about 650,000 Victorians a year. In times of hardship and disaster, the Showband is dispatched to communities where an uplifting tune can bring some cheer or relief in tough times.

“When there were floods in country Victoria a year ago we had a week tour in those regions, and we based ourselves in Horsham. We were bussed out to country towns I had never heard of where all 50 people in the town came to see us. When we do a show for them it’s the only thing that has made them smile in a long time.”

Beattie says the performances are not all about the music, as she spends a lot of time talking to locals.

In addition to Cats, Beattie took lead roles in her school’s Gilbert and Sullivan productions before studying voice at Melba Conservatorium and primary teaching in music at Victoria College. She gained professional experience with Dame Joan Sutherland in Othello for the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) and with the Wiggles in front of a crowd of 80,000.

“I still have singing lessons because it is important that our music is as high a standard as it can be,” Beattie says. “Being with the band involves a regimented lifestyle, especially for the singers to stay fit and healthy. In a 10-day fortnight we get four days off, and those 10 days can be at any time.

“We spend many hours travelling … being on tour with the band on the bus is like being in a sitcom. There are some incredibly funny personalities.”

[email protected]南京夜网

Mixed messages on Greenvale road route

HUME Council has sought to allay Aitken College fears over a Growth Areas Authority (GAA) plan to build a public road that would intersect the school in Greenvale.
Nanjing Night Net

The school site, which faces Mickleham Road, is included in the GAA Greenvale Central Precinct Structure Plan (PSP), which was released this month.

Council’s city sustainability director, Kelvin Walsh, said last week: “It is council’s understanding the Minister for Planning [Matthew Guy] has directed that the GAA not propose a road extending through the school site – and there is currently no proposal to construct a road through the school”.

He said the decision for a road connection was at the discretion of the school.

His comments followed on college principal Josie Crisara urging parents to voice their concerns at the road plan.

Ms Crisara said the plan showed a road connection along the southern boundary of the school, running up to the northern boundary.

She said the road would pose a safety risk to students and impact on the school’s sustainability projects, including its wetlands.

She urged parents to fill out a submission objecting to the proposal, to be sent to the GAA.

“There have been suggestions that a public road could be built to cut through the school or provide an alternative access other than using Mickleham Road,” Ms Crisara said.

“Both of these propositions are unacceptable to the college. A road access point to the south or north of the college would only create more congestion and would be a costly exercise in the order of millions of dollars, which the college would most likely need to fund.”

The school site has also been labelled a ‘future urban area’ by the GAA.

Ms Crisara said this was unacceptable. The school, which opened in 1999, has 1260 students from prep to year 12.

Janelle Judge, whose son is in year8 at the college, said she would be putting in a submission to the GAA.

”It’s a prep-to-year 12 school so I was concerned about the students crossing that potential road,” she said.

“The safety of the children would be at risk.”

GAA chief executive Peter Seamer said there were no immediate plans to build a road through the school, but he added that it was a possibility.

“While the PSP shows a potential future connection, as requested by Hume City Council, the PSP is neutral on whether there should be a road connection through that site and quite certainly it does not require this [connection],” he said.

But the council said the concept of a road connection arose from recommendations of the GAA’s own traffic report.

Late last week, Mr Guy’s spokesman said: “The minister has no intention of directing the location of local roads; this is a matter that should be sensibly sorted out between the GAA and the Hume Council.”

Submissions on the PSP close on August 27.

Survey shows improvement

UNSEALED roads, footpaths, slashing and weed control have all raised the ire of Wellington shire residents.
Nanjing Night Net

Community communication, engagement and lobbying on behalf of the community are also areas Wellington Shire Council could improve, according to the shire’s annual community satisfaction survey.

The survey, undertaken every year by the State government’s Planning and Community Development Department, benchmarks council’s performance over time. This time 83 per cent of residents who participated in the survey believed council was heading in the right direction.

Mayor Peter Cleary said the results were a strong endorsement of council’s performance.

“In the four key performance areas of overall performance, advocacy, customer service, community consultation and engagement, Wellington Shire Council achieved rankings higher than the state average and higher than those in our peer group of large rural shires,” he said.

“We’re always very pleased with the results, but this year significantly so.

“Customer service was our highest key performance rating at 71, a tremendous reflection of the work that has been undertaken over the past 12 months to drive stronger customer focused outcomes across the organisation.

“Our customer service team is a highly talented team of professionals who deal with customer requests day in and day out.

“It can be an extremely rewarding and challenging role but one undertaken with considerable aplomb by our dedicated staff.”

Also noted as areas of high performance were the categories of recreational facilities, appearance of public areas, emergency and disaster management and art centres and libraries.

Cr Cleary said through the survey results, the community had suggested that council should increase its focus on unsealed roads, footpaths, slashing and weed control, community communication, engagement and lobbying on behalf of the community.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Power ready for finals charge

GIPPSLAND Power will play the Dandenong Stingrays in a TAC Cup qualifying final on Saturdayfrom 2.30pm at Visy Park in Melbourne.
Nanjing Night Net

The Power finished the home and away season in second place, missing out on top spot on percentage, after a final round win over the Northern Knights at Moe last Saturday.

On paper the Power seemingly had little to worry about as the Knights had only won three games during the year, however they proved to be very difficult opposition given the conditions and with the inclusion of several key players.

Josh Cashman, Jack Leslie and Shane Jamieson returned to the Power side, while skilful Bairnsdale youngster Derek Hayes made his TAC Cup debut after being held back by injury earlier in the season.

Despite having more scoring opportunities, the Power only led by two goals at half-time. It appeared as if the Power was content to put the ball anywhere inside the forward 50 rather than use it intelligently and to the side’s advantage.

Coach Nick Stevens read the riot act to the boys during the main break and was particularly disappointed with their accountability and willingness to follow the most basic elements of the team’s game plan.

It appeared as if they hadn’t got the stern message early in the third term as they again wasted several possible scoring opportunities with bad skills and finishing. By the last change they were only nine points up after again dominating the forward 50 entries.

Just to illustrate the Power’s wastefulness, the Knights scored two easy goals after capitalising on more poor manning up by the Power.

Some good work under pressure by Ben Kearns saw a much-needed reply by Matt Northe, before Northe combined with Nick Graham to see Hayes take advantage of a lucky bounce to put the Power back on track.

Anthony Tipungwuti created a chance for a clever snap by Will Hams and it seemed as if the Power were finally upping the ante.

Another defensive mistake by the Power allowed the Knights to get back within a kick and it was game on. Good work by Northe and Leslie gave the ball to Daniel Jackson who goaled and seemingly put the issue finally beyond doubt.

In the final moments the Knights kicked another but the Power held on well to emerge an unconvincing winner by two points, 9.10 (64) to 8.14 (62).

Tough Sale on-baller Shannen Lange was one of the few Power players who could hold his head high after another superb display of hard-nosed and creative work. He tackled with enormous intensity and put his body on the line over and over again to gather 30-plus possessions and played a crucial role in the side’s win.

Fellow on-baller Nick Graham matched Lange’s amazing statistics in yet another fine game.

Josh Cashman was given an important run-with role and did a fine job in minimising the impact of very dangerous opponents. He too worked very hard to restrict their impact as well as winning several important possessions himself.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Spirited donations

OBERON’S community spirit received a big boost last week.
Nanjing Night Net

Community organisations that contribute to life in the townand district in various ways – from education to entertainment, and everythingin between – were presented with donations totalling $18,126 from OberonCouncil.

The presentations were made at the Robert (Bob) HooperCommunity Centre.

Groups that received funds were:

■Burraga Public School to support learning and Black Springs Public School, OberonHigh School, Oberon Public School, St Joseph’s Catholic School and O’ConnellPublic School to assist with costs for annual presentation nights.

■Burraga Public School and Burraga Bugs Playgroup for the activities and operationof the Burraga Bugs Playgroup facility.

■Telstra Child Flight to contribute to its emergency care transportation.

■Lifeline Central West, an incorporated charity providing a 24 hour crisistelephone counselling service in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo, for itsmuch-needed telephone counsellor training. Lifeline Central West received47,000 calls for assistance last year.

■The Oberon Men’sShed to assist with the day-to-day expenses in running the facility, includinginsurance and rental fees.

■Oberon Show Society (through president Lyn Butterfield) for the annual Miss ShowgirlCompetition, which will be held at the Oberon Show in February 2013.

■X-sight Youth Group, co-ordinated by PastorAndrew Godden, to help fund the X-sight Youth Talent Show.

■The Country Women’s Association of NSW to assistwith its public speaking contest.

■Bathurst PCYC to assist with running two PCYC Blue Light Discos for the youthof Oberon.

■The Central Tablelands Industry Links groupfor work placement programs and TAFE qualifications for students.

■The Highland Steam and Vintage Fair (in-kinddonation) towards the running of the annual event.

■Life Education NSW to assist with a new Life Education Program vehicle whenvisiting schools in the Oberon area.

■Oberon Junior Rugby League and Oberon JuniorHockey Club for their annual presentation days, and Oberon Tigers Rugby LeagueClub for a fencing upgrade.

■Western Region Academy of Sport for the academy’s operational costs.

Recipients and attendees enjoyed afternoon tea andrefreshments at the community centre after the presentations.

FUNDS: Members of some of the community groups to receive a donation.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Every Dog has its Day: Jim’s best friend

“NOW you’ve worked like a dog, you’ll know where to place one.”
Nanjing Night Net

Trawalla manager Jim Gaylard was taught that lesson soon after he’d left school about 20 years ago.

“I went up north to be a jackarooand I asked to bring my dog up but boss told me I couldn’t,” Mr Gaylard said.

“After six months he finally said, ‘Lad, you can go and get your dog now’, so I had the weekend off and went home to pick up my dog.

“I asked him later on why I wasn’t allowed a dog and he said to me, ‘now you’ve worked like a dog, you’ll know where to place one’.”

He taught me a lifelong lesson in handling stock and handling dogs, and making sure that I was in the right position and making sure my dogs are always in the right position and that’s stuck with me forever.

“I try and instil that same values into the boys that work here not so much they can’t have a dog when they start out, that you need to stand in the right spot and you need to put your dog in the right spot, otherwise stock just don’t work and they don’t flow.”

Mr Gaylard has three working dogs; Joker who’s six, Dot, nine, and Dusty who’s about three-and-a-half.

“Joker is an all-rounder. She has a beautiful cast and cleans up paddocks really well,” he said.

“But I can put her in the yards as well.

“Dot is the one I pull out when all is going wrong. She’s a bit crazy.

“She doesn’t have great stamina, but she’s very forceful. She’s great for loading trucks and she loves getting in and unloading trucks.

“I’ve got Dusty on loan at the moment. He’ll bark and bark and work all day.

“He’s got massive amounts of stamina.”

Mr Gaylard recently lost one of his star performing dogs.

“I just lost a dog, Chance. I bought him as a two-year-old and when he died he was about 12,” he said.

“The guys around here used to call him the general manager as he got older.

“He didn’t do as much work then, but every so often he’d wander up from the house to the yards to see what was happening during the day.

“He’d go into the yards and bark for a bit and push sheep up and then wander home.”

My Gaylard is unable to work with stock and with his dogs like he used to.

“My role as manager is changing. I’ve got to make room for the younger guys to come through,” he said.

“So I’m stepping more out of the paddock and into the office.

“It saddens me to see the dogs often tied up on chains and not in the paddock.

“But I’ve made the decision to start winding down for now.”

Mr Gaylard has learnt many of his ethics working dogs and stock from his time working as a jackaroo.

“You hear people revving their motorbikes and all of that type of thing to move stock,” he said.

“We were working in total silence.”

To Mr Gaylard, dogsaren’t just for working.

“Animals like that are closer than your best friend, they are your best friend really,” he said.

“You know so much about them and they know so much about you.

“There are guys who like working with tractors, there are guys who like working with tools, there are guys who like working with bikes.

“There are guys who like working with stock and it just so happens that is the category that I fall into and it’s (my dogs) that have helped keep that interest alive for me.”

Jim Gaylard with his working dog Joker. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

SEABL: Raiders start with a win

Good start: Knox Raiders guard Mick Hill was glad his side got a win over Dandenong on Saturday night. Picture: Gary SissonsTYPICAL first game – that was how Knox Raiders guard Mick Hill described his side’s season-opening 88-76 win over Dandenong Rangers at Knox Stadium on Saturday night as the South East Australian Basketball League tipped off for 2012.
Nanjing Night Net

Despite committing a torturous 36 turnovers, the Raiders still clung to the lead for all but two minutes of the game, powered by a 15-point first quarter from star import CJ Massingale (28 points but 12 turnovers) and a 51-40 rebound advantage.

The Raiders have fielded a much younger side this season so veterans like Massingale, Hill, Lester Strong (19 points, 15 rebounds) and John Philip (13 points, 13 rebounds) have been called on to take the majority of the minutes and scoring responsibility – which they did.

The Rangers fought back from 25 points down and got within single figures in the final term before Hill and Massingale put together a run of points to seal the win. Hill said his side should have put the Rangers away earlier in the final term.

“If we had made our shots then they wouldn’t have got as close,” he said. “We missed a lot of easy shots but in the end we know our guys can score points when we need them.”

Hill also commended Massingale and Philip for their efforts. “We knew CJ was going to come out and shoot the ball tonight so I wasn’t surprised about his start,” he said.

”This group has been together for five years or so now so we know how each other plays. This year more young guys are going to get the chance and I’m confident they can do the job for us.”

■ Two-time Dandenong Rangers women’s SEABL championship coach Larissa Anderson has given Knox Raiders a compliment following the Raiders’ 69-60 win over the Rangers on Saturday night.

With locally trained talent such as Sam Donald and Shanae Greaves elevated to higher roles this season, Anderson said the Raiders reminded her of the Rangers before they won their two championships.

“Their side is a lot like our girls were in that they are young players being given more court time,” she said.

Lesser-known Raiders such as Cassie Smith (10 points) and Odette Andrew complemented star signing Kelly Wilson (18 points, 13 rebounds) although Wilson suffered a severe cut under her eye after colliding with Rangers forward Alison Downie late in the game.

The Raiders sent Wilson for a scan to check she hadn’t damaged her facial bones.

Raiders coach Cheryl Chambers commended her players for their efforts. She also praised the fast-paced play of her side.

“We are going to have to play like that this year and take advantage of our speed,” she said.

Both Raiders teams visit Canberra Gunners this Saturday night with the Raiders women facing Canberra at 5.30pm and the two men’s sides playing at 7.30pm.

Support for elderly, disabled centre in Bayswater

Coming soon: Mandi Hyland outside the organisation’s future home in Cullis Parade, Bayswater. Picture: Lucy Di PaoloWHAT DO YOU THINK? SCROLL TO BELOW THIS STORY TO POST A COMMENT.
Nanjing Night Net

AN organisation for the elderly and disabled expects no community opposition to its plan to move into a disused property in Bayswater.

The not-for-profit group Bridges Connecting Communities is intending to buy 13 Cullis Parade – the former home of Eastern Palliative Care – from Knox Council for $450,000. Earlier bids to redevelop the site have failed due to a perceived resistance from the local community.

Mental health support group Halcyon planned to relocate from Ferntree Gully to the site in 2009 but cancelled the move because it feared a backlash from the street’s residents.

The council’s plan in 2010 to sell the land for affordable or social housing also caused anger.

Bridges chief executive officer Mandi Hyland said her organisation had been looking at buying the site for some time.

“We’ve had a residents’ meeting and we understand they’re very happy with our application. We’ve been very transparent about what we’re going to do and about how much traffic will be around the site.”

Cullis Parade residents’ group spokesman Derek Thomson said the proposed centre for social groups and activities was perfect for the street.

“That’s great, that’s the kind of thing we want. I’ve spoken to everyone in the street, and they’re all delighted. We’re going to help them, too. We’ve been cutting the grass, and I’ve been the nightwatchman.”

Ms Hyland said Bridges had five sites across Knox and the organisation was looking to consolidate into one place. The Cullis Parade site has been vacant for about seven years.

Ms Hyland said refitting the building would cost $100,000 and could be finished by Christmas. “There’ll be lots of renovations, lots of working bees and hopefully the community will be involved in helping out.”

A council committee will hear submissions on the sale on May 8.

The Basin Music Festival variety music to their ears

Ready to rock: The Basin Music Festival committee members Anthony Osborne, John Mortimore and Ray Smith (aka Rusty Strings), are looking forward to the event this weekend. Picture: Lucy Di PaoloTHE Basin will come alive with the sound of music this weekend as the “musos’ festival” hits town.
Nanjing Night Net

Festival president John Mortimer said more than 200 musicians would gather for the eighth annual The Basin Music Festival.

The fun begins on Friday evening with a swing dance at The Basin Progress Hall and concludes on the Sunday with a family fun day.

Cr Mortimore said while there would be music for everyone at the festival, there would also be woodworkers, stalls, displays, food and entertainment for the whole family on the final day.

Festival program director Ray Smith – known as eclectic country-jazz-folk singer Rusty Strings – has performed every year and believes it is the “best and friendliest festival in the world”.

“It’s also really affordable, so everyone can attend something. It’s a festival for musos by musos.”

Strings said The Basin Music Festival played a key part in raising the profile of local musicians. “It showcases how many talented acts we’ve got on our doorstep right across the hills.”

He will be performing at the Thai Square restaurant and promises the audience a “mixed bag of lollies” from his tongue-in-cheek repertoire at the show.

Performances throughout the weekend will take place at a variety of venues around The Basin, with free shows at the parks and paid gigs at cafes and restaurants.

Cr Mortimore said the event brought life to The Basin community. “It allows them to have a sense of identity and it brings the locals to the village, instead of driving elsewhere.”

It also brought out the generosity in people, with about the same number of volunteers as musicians.

For more information, go to thebasinmusicfestival南京夜网.au.

Knox’s leafy image in doubt due to clearing laws

Nanjing Night Net

VEGETATION-clearing laws to prevent bushfires could cause Knox’s biodiversity and ‘green’ image to suffer, say environment groups and Knox Council.

New state planning regulations about what trees and shrubs can be cleared around homes apply to about 1800 homes in Knox, particularly properties in The Basin, Upper Ferntree Gully, Ferntree Gully, Boronia, Sassafras, Lysterfield and Rowville.

Known as the 10/50 rule, it means that residents do not need a planning permit to clear any vegetation within 10 metres of a building and any vegetation except trees within 50 metres.

But a report on the planning scheme changes discussed by the council last week stated the rule may result in the extinction of indigenous species and have a long-term impact on Knox’s “green and leafy” image.

Knox Environment Society president Darren Wallace said he accepted that vegetation needed to be cleared to reduce bushfire risk but the previous 10/30 rule was sufficient.

“We believe some people will make use of the rule not necessarily because of fire protection but because they don’t want native vegetation. This is the terrible irony – everyone says they live in Knox because they like the green areas and they like trees, but they want the trees in someone else’s backyard.”

Last week, the council voted to request a priority review of how the bushfire management overlay applied to Knox.

Cr Mick Van de Vreede said the 50 metres that could be cleared potentially contained the most biodiversity.

“We have a role to play to protect biodiversity levels. There are a plethora of weed issues on private and public land, a lot of which have come about through clearing of natural vegetation and then not managing it properly.”

The review will be carried out in association with the Country Fire Authority and the state government in the next few months.

Rowvillerail link: Government urged to act

Nanjing Night Net

THE state government needs to act now to secure land for any future Rowville rail link, say the authors of a feasibility report into the project.

More than 80 people attended a meeting in Rowville on Monday night to hear consultants from Sinclair Knight Merz present the draft stage one report.

SKM principal consultant William McDougall said despite a Rowville rail line being considered since 1969, no land had ever been gazetted or formal studies produced.

Asked how long the line would take to complete, Mr McDougall said construction was expected to take four years but could only start after all planning was completed and funding sourced and allocated.

He compared it to the Regional Rail Link project, which was fast tracked but still took four years to reach construction stage.

Mr McDougall warned that any delays in approval or funding would result in a decade-long wait for the project’s completion, and that it needed to be pursued now by the state government.

The report– which will be submitted to the government by mid-year – will not include a cost-benefit analysis for the line or a clear timetable for its construction.

However, SKM’s endorsement of the project won approval from the meeting.

Knox councillor and Public Transport Consultative Committee member Mick Van de Vreede said he was pleased SKM had agreed with the need to pursue the rail line.

He said it was imperative the government avoided all delays in the process to build the line.

People can make comments on the draft report until April 27. Comments can be made in writing via [email protected]南京夜网.au or at rowvillerailstudy南京夜网.au. SKM will have another presentation at Monash University tomorrow (Thursday) at 6.30pm in the South 1 lecture theatre, building 64, Wellington Road, Clayton.

Crusade from the heart

Eastern Football League club Silvan is backing a call for defibrillators. Picture: Sam Stiglec Andrew White and Sue Buckman, who are running a statewide campaign for defibrillators at all football clubs. They’ve donated 600 units, at the cost of about $1.3 million. Picture: Matthew Furneaux
Nanjing Night Net

Football is about to kick off and clubs are dreaming of premierships. But there is a siren call to think about adding defibrillators – simple devices that can avert tragedy – to the first aid kit. Cameron Lucadou-Wells reports.

FOOTY isn’t for the faint-hearted. But regardless of the courage required to compete, no one expects a player to die on the field.

It had never happened at Silvan Cats Football Club until last year.

On March 7, the ground was packed for a pre-season family day when, during an intra-club practice match, 22-year-old Silvan gun Vincent ‘Boris’ Bonanno collapsed.

Two players worked to revive him, a registered nurse and two police officers at the ground performed CPR and, after what seemed like an eternity, a medical helicopter and ambulance arrived.

The medics performed CPR for 45 minutes but in vain.

President Chris Maclagan said Vincent, seemingly fit and with no previous signs of heart trouble, had an aneurysm that burst a huge artery near his heart. Nothing could have saved the charismatic, popular clubman.

There was counselling and a club wake soon afterwards. Training stopped for two weeks as the tight-knit club pulled together, banding around Vincent’s brother and under-19 coach Johnny, his cousin and reserves coach Steve Musico and father and life member Frank.

Twelve months on, Maclagan says it’s something he doesn’t think he’ll ever totally understand.

“It affected the club even more than I thought it would. It really affected our young players – you don’t think about death at that age.

The club has since named a rising star award, for the club’s best player 22 years and under, after Vincent.

Vincent’s No. 29 jumper was retired and now the club has on hand a potentially life-saving defibrillator labelled ‘Gift from Boris 2011’.

The defibrillator, which can electrically revive a person under cardiac arrest, would not have saved Vincent but may save the life of a spectator, official or player in the future, Maclagan says.

Defibrillators, which cost upwards of $2000, give simple instructions and can be used by almost anyone to revive a heart attack victim. They are becoming more common in airports, stations, workplaces, shopping centres and other public spaces.

The units are being regarded as life-savers because time is of the essence in cardiac arrests. For every minute that passes, a victim’s survival chances drop by 10 per cent. By the time paramedics arrive, it can be too late.

Maclagan is part of a growing number of defibrillator converts, who believe the units should be vital equipment at football clubs – which often share their rooms with other sports clubs and community groups.

He believes the price tag, considered too high by many grassroots clubs, should be met by the AFL or the state government.

But that benevolent role has been taken by a MICA paramedic Andrew White and bereaved mother Sue Buckman, who were hit hard by the death of Sue’s son Stephen during football practice in 2010.

The pair have led a ‘Defib your club, for life’ campaign that in about a year has raised $1.3 million and donated 600 defibrillators to football clubs in Victoria.

They have far exceeded the state government’s efforts, which funded 86 units by August last year.

The pair’s ultimate goal was to donate 750 defibrillators – enough to supply every football club in the state.

The catalyst was Stephen Buckman’s death from cardiac arrest at Rupertswood Football Club. White, off-duty at the time, put his paramedic training to work but, without a defibrillator, was unable to revive him. He says as a paramedic he’s seen cases when a defibrillator would have saved a life.

Shattered by Stephen’s death, he’s worked long hours and used up his annual and long-service leave to spread the word and save lives. “We’ve sustained the effort because of the passion. The passion just stays there; it stays vivid in your mind and drives it,’’ White says.

“When we started the campaign it was really devastating to hear of two other deaths [like Vincent’s] at other venues. They drove us more.’’

A number of leagues and businesses have got on board. Eastern Football League, which includes Silvan Cats, is providing grants to clubs to buy defibrillators.

Bendigo Community Bank has donated 150 defibrillators to the cause. AFL Victoria is backing a “lap-a-thon” fund-raiser at all its Auskick clinics in May, which should raise enough for the remaining 150 defibrillators to meet White’s goal.

“It’s become a large part of my life now. I don’t think I can stop at 750 defibrillators. I’m now getting inquiries from clubs around the country.’’

Media commentator and former Melbourne AFL player David Schwarz has been a strong supporter, spruiking the cause on his SEN radio show.

“Andrew’s a champion. He’s one person who’s got off his arse and put in so much time and effort,” Schwarz says.

He calls on big sports bodies like the AFL, Cricket Australia and Basketball Australia to ensure the units are at all venues.

“For the sake of $2000, how would you like to see your son or daughter not living because a defibrillator isn’t there?”

Another passionate backer is Paul Wright, president of Narre North Foxes Junior Football Club. His 13-year-old son Troy collapsed with cardiac arrest at training last year.

Paramedics were there within minutes and revived his son, who later had a stent to open up a compressed aorta.

His club last year received a belated defibrillator from Defib your Club and Wright and his son became passionate advocates for defibrillators.

Last week they were part of an announcement by their league, South East Juniors, offering defibrillators to 17 clubs.

“Andrew and I are mates now. I just try to support the campaign whenever I can. If the ambulance didn’t come in time, we would have had to have used a defibrillator.’’

He’s happy but nervous that Troy has resumed football training.

“He’s struggling with his fitness because he hasn’t done anything for six months. But besides that, he has a new energy. He says he’s never felt better.’’

Watching his club’s charges train on the turf on which Vincent died, Maclagan tells the Weekly that defibrillators should be essential at football clubs, no matter the cost.

“We have up to 300 people at a home game. Anyone can collapse – an old spectator, a player or official. A debrillator will give us peace of mind.’’

To donate or register for a defibrillator, go to Defib Your Club, For Life or the ‘defibyourclubforlife’ Facebook page.