Month: August 2019

‘Oppose mine lease’ appeal

THE RuralAction Group (RAG) is calling for locals to join it and 31 residents fromPreston Road Settlement, Collieburn and Cardifftownships in opposing Premier Coal’s mining lease application M12/46.

Thenext Warden’s Court hearing on the application will be in Collie on October 4,on the same day as the next Bauxite Resources Ltd hearing.

The Premierlease is less than two kilometres west of Cardiff,about one kilometre south-east of Preston Road Settlement and has a southern boundarynext to Hoddell Road.

It isnot on land currently covered by a state agreement. The application is forsubsurface rights only, which do not required the same amount of public noticeas surface licences.

“Premier’splanned development could have an appalling impact on residents in these threecommunities and surrounding land owners,” RAG secretaryKathy Millersaid this week.

Objectionslodged with the court refer to adverse effects on lifestyle, financial loss andenvironmental issues such as noise, dust, contamination of domestic rain waterand loss of ground water, she said.

RAG hasobjected on all these grounds.

“Westrongly believe mining must not be geared for the profit of big business atthe expense of individual residents or communities”, Ms Miller said, addingthat the group was not against mining per se.

PremierCoal had suggested development of the lease could be more than a decade away, butit also recently said that horizontal extraction of the coal seams could bedone via the adjacent Pit 6.

“Shouldthis occur, pit 6 would need to be developed prior to mining M12/46,” Ms Millersaid. “The void for Pit 6 will extend northwards and eastwards all the way to McAlinden Road andconsume a number of private properties and homes in the process.

“Someof these families were relocated to these properties by Premier in the late1990s to make way for their current mine.”

RAGbelieved it was “immoral and shameful” of Premier to now seek a mining leasethat, when developed, will again forcibly relocate families who have investedhugely in developing their properties after assurances that no mining wouldoccur in the area for the next 30 to 40 years”, Ms Miller said.

“IfM12/46 approval is given and development takes place, it could have anappalling impact on residents in these three communities and surrounding landowners.”

z Locals who could beaffected and would like to be represented by RAG’s M12/46 objection can write to RAG at PO Box 51, Collie WA 6225 [email protected]苏州美甲培训学校


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Australian soldiers die in Afghanistan

Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in what is reported to have been an attack by someone wearing an Afghan security uniform, a ‘‘green on blue” attack.

Defence has confirmed that a number of Australians were killed. It is understood they were with the NATO-led force in southern Oruzgan province.

The Defence confirmation follows reports that three International Security Assistance Force members were killed by a person wearing an Afghan National Army.

In its statement, Defence said: ”Defence can confirm that Australian Defence Force personnel have been killed in Afghanistan.

”Defence is currently in the process of informing the next of kin of the ADF personnel involved.

”Defence requests you respect the highly sensitive nature of this notification process.

”The acting Chief of the Defence Force will make a statement once this process is complete.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is in the Cook Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum, is expected to give a media conference later today. She has cancelled her afternoon appointments at the forum.

About 1550 ADF troops are deployed in the province as part of the International Security Assistance Force.

ISAF said an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against ISAF members in southern Afghanistan, killing three.

There has recently been a rise in ‘‘green on blue” attacks in Afghanistan. Two US soldiers were killed earlier this week.

Retired major general Jim Molan told the ABC yesterday that such attacks could increase as international forces prepared to withdraw by 2014.

‘‘The probability of them increasing is high,” he said.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the news of the deaths was a “terrible, terrible tragedy.”

“This is a black day for our military forces,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Mr Abbott said his thoughts and prayers were with those who had been killed, their families and comrades.

He added it would not be appropriate to comment more specifically before acting chief of the Defence Force Air Marshal Binskin spoke.

Up until today Australia had lost 33 soldiers in Afghanistan since February 2002. Most recently, Sergeant Blaine Flower Diddams, of the Special Air Service Regiment, was killed during a small arms engagement with insurgents in July.

According to ISAF, this year more than 30 insider attacks have killed 45 coalition troops, making up about 14 per cent of the overall death toll in the war for 2012.

The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, US General John Allen, said last week the causes of the surge in insider attacks were varied, and that Taliban infiltration accounted for about a quarter of the incidents.

A Pentagon assessment last year found serious tensions between the coalition forces and their Afghan counterparts, with relations plagued by cultural clashes and deep mistrust.

Last year four Australian soldiers were killed by Afghan troops in two attacks.

In October, three Australian soldiers were killed by an Afghan Army sergeant when he turned a machine gun on them during a parade. The Afghan soldier was immediately shot dead.

In another incident in November, an Afghan soldier shot and wounded three Australians. He escaped and remains on the run.

In May last year, army cook Andrew Jones was shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier at a patrol base.

Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare told reporters in Sydney today that he was not yet able to comment on the latest attack.

“There are certain protocols in place that need to be followed and fully implemented over the next few hours,” Mr Clare said.

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Maffra women finish on top

MAFFRA was too strong for Orbost, winning 5-1 to also claim the East Gippsland women’s hockey minor premiership.

Emily Mogridge scored a hat-trick for Maffra with Sharon Mogridge and Kate Steinman scoring one each. Stephanie Coote scored for Orbost.

The Sale Swans forfeited to the Sale Cygnets, who finished second on the ladder.

Nagle defeated Wellington 7-0 with goals from Fiona Morrison (three), Mikayla Blackshaw (two) Rebecca Jonkers and Annalise Allen.

Swan Reach defeated Bairnsdale 6-0. Goals were scored by Shana Snell (two), Katie Tong (two), Stephanie Nichols and Rebecca Corben.

SALE will head into the men’s finals after drawing 2-2 at home to minor premier Nagle.

Daniel Monaghan and Jason Slattery scored for Sale, while Nagle’s goals came from Ren Crunden-Smith and Connor MacLean.

Orbost defeated Maffra 5-1 with goals from Brendan Coulton (two), Craig Martin (two) and Jason Lovell. Maffra’s goal scorer was Adam Cairns.

Swan Reach ended Bairnsdale’s premiership defence with a 3-0 win. Damian Snell scored two goals and Simon Murrell one.

THE finals begin on Saturday with the semi-finals to be played at the WORLD ground in Bairnsdale from 9am. The women’s matches begin at 1pm with the men’s from 2.30pm.

All four teams remaining in the men’s competition are capable of winning on the day and all very keen to advance to the next round.

Nagle and Orbost will meet in the major semi-final. Both are in good form with Orbost having been the big improvers over the second half of the season.

Swan Reach and Sale will play in the knock-out minor semi-final.

In the women’s, Maffra will play the Sale Cygnets in the major semi-final. The Cygnets won their last encounter, proving Maffra can be beaten, setting the stage for a good game tomorrow.

Nagle and Swan Reach will meet in the minor semi.

In the under 18s, Nagle and Bairnsdale will play in the major semi-final and Swan Reach and Orbost meet in the minor semi.

Nagle and Swan Reach will play the under 15 major semi, while Bairnsdale and Maffra play off in the minor semi.

In the under 13s, the major semi-final will be between Nagle and Swan Reach, while Bairnsdale and Orbost will play in the minor semi-final.

For more scores, and ladders, read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

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More highway work pledged

COALCLIFF plant hire contractor Brad Hansen knows howdangerous the Coalfields Highway can be.

His friend, Clayton Davidson, was 16-years-old when he diedin a car accident close to the Wellington Weir turn-off in 2002.

Mr Hansen spoke about the highway’s dangers on Tuesdaymorning with Opposition Leader Mark McGowan and Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray.

The discussion occurred as Mr McGowan announced that roadswould be a major beneficiary from the Royalties for Regions program under aState Labor Government.

He had chosen Coalfields Highway to highlight his point thatmore money from the program needed to be spent on regional roads.

“There are numerous roads throughout WA that are in need ofmajor upgrades or sealing,” Mr McGowan said.

About $20 million had been spent on the Coalfields Highway but more needed to bedone. “People are dying on this road,”he said.

Mr Hansen said that while the Coalfields Highway had been improvedcloser to Collie, the road needed to be widened further out.

“It’s close to the trees, and there’s not much room forerror,” Mr Hansen said.

Mr Murray said he had been supporting legislation tostraighten the highway. Legislation was needed because changes to the highwaywould go through national park property.

Mr Murray said the legislation was not being taken seriouslyenough in parliament. “It should havebeen in ages ago,” he said.

Mr McGowan said that his party’s policies for the Royaltiesfor Regions program focused on making life better for families in regionalcommunities.

“In addition to cost of living pressures, many countrycommunities continue to suffer from poor roads, inadequate water supplies, lackof medical facilities and declining educational opportunities,” Mr McGowansaid.

Another Labor policy was to increasing the annual value ofthe pension fuel card to $550.

Mr McGowan also planned to extend the value of the fuel cardso that pensioners could buy gas bottles instead of just petrol.

Many pensioners did not have their own cars and couldprobably use the card more effectively for gas bottles, Mr McGowan said.

Mr Murray said the plan was a “very good idea” and would bemuch appreciated in Collie’s winter weather.

“It can be very expensive for pensioners to keep their housewarm,” Mr Murray said.

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Maffra now boasts a 24- hour ambulance station

MAFFRA’S ambulance service has become a 24-hour multi-officer station after receiving six new paramedics since the second half of last year.

The change is part of the State Government’s $151 million commitment to boost Ambulance Victoria services during the next five years.

Maffra ambulance service acting team manager Sandra Tozer says the boost to ambulance services in Maffra should reduce response times.

The government last week announced plans to deploy 143 new ambulance staff across Victoria.

This includes 113 new paramedics, 95 of which have been allocated to ambulance stations in rural Victoria, and 30 patient transport officers.

Maffra ambulance service acting team manager Sandra Tozer said the changes should improve services in the region, reducing response times in the immediate area.

She said the addition of six new staff would mean “24 hours a day you will get a two-person response paramedic”.

Before the rollout only one was available.

Three ambulances operate out of the Maffra depot, their normal 24-hour response vehicle, a special Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicle, referred to as a CPAV, and a ‘city sprinter’ ambulance with four-wheel drive capability.

The CPAV is the depot’s pride and joy, according to Ms Trozer.

While it is stationed at Maffra permanently, it has been used to respond to patients in Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance and Traralgon.

According to Ms Tozer, the CPAV can carry heavier loads and handle more complex patients and the equipment that travels with them than other ambulances.

She said the four-wheel drive allowed paramedics to get to remote areas, making it useful in regional districts.

While the addition of new staff will increase response time, Ms Tozer said that there were always going to be instances where there was a 20 minute, or 30 minute response.

This was because of the large area the service had to cover and whether a team was already on response elsewhere.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

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Shock $4.8m super bill

WELLINGTON Shire Council has been hit with a $4.8 million unfunded superannuation bill.

The council has been required to make the $4.8 million top-up payment to the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund, defined benefit plan.

In an effort to reduce its future superannuation burden, council has joined a local government push for legislative reform.

Shire mayor Peter Cleary said council had been informed that a payment would be required; but had received little warning of its magnitude.

“It would be fair to say that the size of this most recent top-up payment has caught the entire local government sector by surprise,” he said.

While the Local Government Defined Benefit Scheme was closed to new members in 1993, current State and Federal laws require the scheme to hold enough funds to meet the retirement benefits owed to members now and in the future.

Cr Cleary said that state and federal superannuation schemes carried an exemption from such onerous funding liabilities.

“Wellington Shire Council believes that it is unreasonable to expect local government to meet a higher funding requirement,” he said.

“Local government receives just over 3.5 per cent of all rates and tax revenue, the State Government receives 16.4 per cent and the Federal Government a considerable 80.1 per cent.

“Clearly the expectation that we provide more funding than our state and federal counterparts from a comparatively smaller funding bucket is unrealistic as a long term proposition,” Cr Cleary said.

“The legacy of the defined benefits plan creates a volatile system which translates into long term financial challenges for all councils.

“For large rural shires it is particularly difficult as we balance the demands of a large ageing asset base, the community’s desire for new infrastructure with an aspiration for lower rates.”

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

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A dramatic day that he will never forget

OBERON’S seniorConstable Adrian Graham has been in the NSW Police Force for a decade, butWednesday’s dramatic rescueis something he could never have contemplated.

However, his role in helping rescue a trapped toddler from an upturned vehicle in the Macquarie River shows the dedication and commitment of the force’s serving officers.

Playing down talk of being a hero after being pictured on the front page of yesterday’s Western Advocate, the local detective told how he was making some routine inquiries in the CBD when things turned to mayhem.

“The police radio came on and said a car had gone off the bridge at Ego and that people were trapped inside,” he said.

“We were the first police on the scene and there were two people in the river next to the upturned vehicle. We learned that there could be a couple of children trapped inside it.

“It turned out they were the driver of the vehicle and apasser by who was there at the time. People were on the bank of the river frantic at what was happening while the people in the river were calling for a knife to get the child out as it was stuck by the arm.

“I managed to get a pocket knife from a farmer who was there burning willows and waded out to the vehicle and handed it to the boy’s father.

“It seemed like forever, but it took about five minutes before he was freed. The water was really cold and it was really starting to get uncomfortable out there.”

Sen Const Graham, 39, said when he heard the young fella let out a few whimpers there was a feeling of great relief.

“Thank goodness, he was still alive,” he said. “While all that was going on two other colleagues (Sen Const Kelly Gregori and Sen Const Nathan Snow-Jones) arrived and they both came into the water.

“I’d been yelling at them to get rescue and more help. I remember they’d grabbed some sort of a tarp because we thought it could help shield the water a bit. I don’t really remember exactly.

“It was all a blur. We all just reacted the best we could.”

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Sen Const Graham said that when the toddler was finally out of the vehicle the bystander who came to help carried him to the bank and into the waiting arms of the paramedics.

“He wasn’t letting go of that kiddie for anything,” he said.

“Knowing what we do today, that bloke is a true hero. I will certainly be recommending that he deserves some form of recognition.”

CALMER WATERS: Senior Constable Adrian Graham back at the Macquarie River near Eglinton yesterday. Photo: BRIAN WOOD 082312bwadrian1082312bwadrian1

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