Monthly Archives: June 2018

Have your say on NBN wireless roll-out

SAY ON WIRELESS: Maitland people will be invited to have their say on which suburbs should have access to the NBN wireless network.Maitland residents will have a say about where the federal ­government’s high-speed fixed wireless internet should be rolled out next.
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NBN Co has announced it will ask the public where it should install wireless NBN infrastructure in the Maitland, Cessnock, Port Stephens, Singleton and Dungog local government areas.

Public consultation will involve telephone surveys, letter box drops and plans for the infrastructure will go on exhibition through Maitland City Council.

While it is unknown which locations will benefit from the high-speed internet service, it is understood that NBN Co aims to have viable connections within 18 months.

NBN Co spokesman Tony Gibbs said the rollout was gathering momentum and would provide new social and economic opportunities to regional areas including the Hunter.

“Fast broadband helps give residents access to e-health services, distance education and entertainment on demand and we have seen examples of businesses demonstrating an increase in productivity, reduction of costs and access of new markets,” he said.

Council areas in the Snowy Mountains and southern inland regions have also been earmarked for public consultation.

The fixed wireless service is expected to be capable of download speeds up to 25 megabits a second.

An NBN Co statement said that its download speeds would not be affected by the number of people using a connection in a given area and would provide a consistent connection to nearby premises.

The wireless service would be another NBN presence in Maitland, with work to provide fibre-based internet in parts of East Maitland, Tenambit, Raworth and Morpeth.

Many residents across the Maitland region have been concerned about slow download speeds and a lack of ADSL and satellite internet service across the city.

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Benchmarking LMW as prices go up

I AM delighted to know at least one politician has a sense of irony and can make a joke, albeit that the joke is on us as Mildura residents and Lower Murray Water ratepayers.
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I certainly welcome the announcement of a benchmarking study into LMW’s pricing and performance, so too the funding of a generous $50,000 from the Water Minister Mr Walsh.

The irony is that LMW will also add $50,000 to that funding to make $100,000 to be paid to “consultants” to “benchmark” LMW’s performance, in particular, their pricing performance.

Any comparison of LMW’s prices against Western Murray Irrigation, Central Irrigation Trust or Renmark Irrigation Trust shows LMW is two to four times more expensive. To verify that, every LMW customer will cop a price rise to demonstrate LMW is the most expensive supplier. Now there’s a bit of irony.

My suggestion is Mr Walsh approach respected local academic Larry O’Connor, who has written substantial reports on the Mildura Base Hospital, the Casino proposal and the Mildura City Council for no charge.

Mr Walsh can offer a donation of $25,000 to Latrobe Mildura Business Studies faculty in return for the task to be completed by him and some of his students.

Mr Walsh can donate the balance of $25,000 to LMW to help fund their loss of $4 million last financial year, on top of losses of $26m over the previous three years, cumulatively over $30m in four years. Now there’s a performance to benchmark with.

Jim Belbin,Mildura South

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Fuel tax rise ahead of corporate rebate cut

ABOUT the time of the 2014 federal budget, I recall our federal MP for Mallee, Andrew Broad, as being a vocal opponent against changes to the fuel rebate for farmers and miners.
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His argument, that the excise is to raise money for public roads, which is not where these companies use their fuel.

This week, Mr Broad’s government has announced new attempts to raise the fuel excise on the driving public explicitly for the purpose of revenue raising.

Mr Broad, please explain. Why is it acceptable to raise the fuel tax on the public to increase general revenue, but not so, to cut therebates of corporations to savegeneral expenditure?

Carl Sudholz,Horsham

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Crashed plane pilot to make full recovery

The wreckage of the plane that crashed at Putty.A PILOT who crash landed in remote bushland at Putty on Monday night is expected to make a full recovery, his family say.
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Peter George, 62, underwent surgery to reset a broken left leg in John Hunter Hospital on Tuesday, but otherwise suffered no other serious injuries or brain damage, according to his son, Liam George. Peter had flown a Cessna from Ballarat airport on Monday afternoon, landed to refuel at Mudgee and then headed off for Luskintyre Airfield.

He had recently moved to Singleton for six months for work while his wife, Susan, and family remained in Ballarat.

But sometime after 6pm, while flying over the Wollemi National Park, Peter realised he was running low on fuel and tried to make an emergency landing. The plane struck a tree, the impact breaking off one of the wings and both doors and leaving him stranded suffering multiple injuries.

Liam revealed his mother had kept the news of Peter’s missing plane a secret for more than two hours before she received a call to say he was alive.

‘‘She did all the worrying herself,’’ Liam said. ‘‘She brought us in when she knew what was going on, she is a tough woman.’’

Liam said his father was just as resilient.

‘‘He’s got a broken leg, a few cracked ribs and a few cuts to his head, nothing life-threatening, which is excellent,’’ Liam said.

‘‘It’s the best outcome we could have hoped for, if you’re going to go down in a crash then you couldn’t come out of it any better than this.

‘‘He does [consider himself lucky], especially when you see the pictures of the plane, I don’t think anyone can think he is not lucky.

‘‘He’s pretty tough, I’m not worried about him.’’

Liam said his father has had a pilot’s license for more than 30 years and is believed to have completed the Ballarat to Luskintyre flight before.

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Convict bonnets cap off craft fair

BUZZING: Dr Christina Henri with Deloraine students (clockwise) Hayley Waters, 11, Rebekah Woodiwiss, 12, Willem Matthews, 11, Seth Squires, 12, Melinda Hampton, 11, Charlotte Fraser, 12, and Zoey Pearson-Davey, 12.
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THOUSANDS of historical bonnets will be displayed as heritage art at this weekend’s Tasmanian Craft Fair at Deloraine.

The fair is in its 34th year and the town is buzzing in anticipation of the event.

“I have to say, Deloraine is jumping. It’s hard to find some where to park and the shops are all really busy,” Tasmanian Craft Fair director Maree Matanle said.

In Tasmanian artist Christina Henri’s exhibition, Roses from the Heart, forgotten female convicts, who were transported to Australia in the 1800s, are represented through handmade bonnets.

Mrs Matanle initially heard about the artist’s work on the radio, and thought it would make a good historical edition to the fair.

“This is something really different because we’ve got art and history coming together with Christina,” Mrs Mantanle said.

The bonnets were in fashion at the time convicts first arrived in Australia from the UK in the 1800s, and Henri has collected more than 20,000 bonnets so far.

“The women convicts were largely forgotten,” Mrs Mantanle said.

“It’s touched a chord – the idea of making the bonnets for every female convict has spread throughout Europe to Canada and through the US.

“She’s close to getting the final number now.”

Henri attended Deloraine Primary School yesterday afternoon and told the students about the story and history behind the bonnets, as well as how to make them.

There will be many other artists on display at the weekend, from Robin Wingrave’s wildlife paintings, to glass blowers and specialised steam-bent wooden furniture.

This year the Deloraine fair’s program will also include a special section for craft demonstrations, a new addition.

The fair director said having local artists exhibit their work was an important part of the festival.

“It enhances locals’ work. They see something different, they can talk to the artists and learn from it as well,” Mrs Mantale said.

“It increases the skills of our local people and I think that’s a good thing.”

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Biscuit business scores brownie points

WHILE we in Tasmania know how scrumptious Modo Mio Naked brownies are, the rest of the country is finally catching up.
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Modo Mio owner Susanne Dobrowski and son Simon travelled to the Sydney Fine Food Gala Awards evening held last week and received their champion sash.

SWEET SUCCESS: RAS vice-president Lyndey Milan with Modo Mio Naked’s Simon and Susanne Dobrowski.

“We knew that we’d got the award but we didn’t know that we were up against 200 entries,” Ms Dobrowski said.

“It sort of blows you away a little bit to be honest because there is so much talent out there but it all depends if they actually enter. It’s not a cheap thing to do and it’s quite time-consuming as well.”

Modo Mio Naked won the Champion Sweet Biscuit or Biscotti Exhibit award for its Wattle Seed and Tassie Walnut Brownie.

“I actually took the brownies up there [to Sydney] myself earlier in the year,” she said.

Ms Dobrowski said it is important for her to enter the awards because it was part of building the business.

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Peter Foster implicated in international betting scam

Hundreds of investors in an international gambling syndicate run by notorious conman Peter Foster could lose millions of dollars following his dramatic arrest at a luxury property near Byron Bay on Tuesday morning.
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Foster is believed to have operated the Sports Trading Club while hiding from the Australian Crime Commission and other law enforcement agencies on the NSW north coast since September last year.

When NSW Police executed federal warrants at the Ewingsdale house on Tuesday afternoon, Foster attempted to flee before he crashed into a neighbour’s fence and was tackled by an officer. He was charged with assaulting a police officer after allegedly grabbing his gun.

A source said Foster had six mobile phones and several computers in a home office that revealed he was a key player in a syndicate that claims to have offices in London, Sydney and Hong Kong.

“It doesn’t matter what they claim on their website, Fosters’ home in Byron Bay was the headquarters. This is another massive scam that is only coming to light now. It will collapse like a house of cards,” the source said.

Foster’s role with Sports Trading Club is expected to trigger an investigation into the structure of the highly secretive business, which uses a Panama-based “privacy protection service” to conceal the identity of the company behind the online gambling scheme.

Sports Trading Club, also known as STC Sports Trading Club and The Sports Trading Club Partnership, takes investments between $50,000 and $250,000, which is punted on international sporting events.

The company’s UK communication manager, Patrick McMahon, claimed in June that Australian investors had received a 1900 per cent return since January 2013.

“We don’t gamble, we trade. We make money out of other people’s mistakes. When one side gambles and the other trades, it is like owning the casino,” Mr McMahon said in a media statement.

In July, Sports Trading Club claimed to have reaped $150 million by backing Germany to win the World Cup in Brazil, while betting against favourites Serena Williams and Novac Djokovic at the 2014 Australian Open also earned a “multi-million-dollar win”.

A source said the company had received more than $10 million from private investors over the past month alone.

Repeated requests for comment from Sports Trading Club, which operates from a serviced office in Sydney’s Market Street, were not answered. The local partner fronting the business is Anne Patricia Larter, who refused to comment.

Head of investor relations in the UK, David Lee, also failed to respond to requests for comment.

The company’s bona fides had already been challenged last year when it was revealed that at least two senior executives had used fake images on their Linked In profiles. The gambling syndicate has also been caught fabricating quotes from a deceased Princeton economist to spruik their business.

Foster was previously involved with an almost identical gambling business called Sportalists, which shut down its website after an expose on A Current Affair in 2012. Sports Trading Club was founded two months later.

On Wednesday, the renowned scam artist appeared before the Tweed Heads Local Court in NSW and pleaded guilty to assaulting police and resisting arrest during the raids in Ewingsdale.

Foster’s lawyer said his client did not realise he had grabbed at the officer’s gun during the dramatic arrest, which was captured by a Channel 9 camera crew.

He claimed to have suffered chest pains after his arrest and appeared in court in a hospital gown. Foster’s lawyer said he been “living like a monk” in the $1340 a week luxury rental property, but Fairfax Media understands he was in regular contact with his mother and girlfriend, who both live on the Gold Coast.

Foster has been on the lam since last September after breaching his bail conditions over charges stemming from a dodgy weight-loss scheme linked to Melbourne underworld figure Mick Gatto and his business associate John Khoury.

In February 2014, Interpol issued an international alert on Foster after he sent images to Fairfax Media showing him drinking kava, reading a local newspaper and purporting to be in Fiji.

Foster, who has served prison sentences in the US, Britain, Vanuatu and Australia, was banned by the Federal Court in 2005 from any involvement in the weight-loss industry.

During the 1980s he persuaded topless model and pop singer Samantha Fox and the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson to promote his product Bai Lin tea, which falsely claimed to promote weight loss and well-being.

Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was embroiled in scandal in 2004 when the London tabloids revealed Foster has served as a financial adviser in the purchase of two apartments in Bristol.

Foster is set to be extradited to Queensland to serve a minimum 18-month prison sentence for contempt of court.

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Porkstock at the Grand Junction HotelPHOTOS

There was a good turn out for Porkstock at the Grand Junction Hotel in Maitland on Saturday to raise money for type 1 diabetes research. Pictures by Perry Duffin.
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Porkstock at the Grand Junction Hotel | PHOTOS GRAND JUNCTION: Alex Thornton of Maitland and Oliver Nagle of Queensland.

GRAND JUNCTION: Sarah and Daniel Cagney of Aberglasslyn.

GRAND JUNCTION: Alex Borch-Anderson of Denmark, Jonas Guckenhan of Germany and Giorgio Pasquale of the UK.

GRAND JUNCTION: Leonard Jones, his mother D’ann and Joel Clare.

GRAND JUNCTION: Dave Wells of Maitland, Joe Duffy of Newcastle and Nick Milligan of Newcastle.

GRAND JUNCTION: Kirby Anderson and Jono Lantry of Windella.

GRAND JUNCTION: Averil Payton of Rutherford, Shireen McDeed of Maitland, Faith Thorpe of North Rothbury, Glenise Jones of Rutherford and Nicole Way of Rutherford.

GRAND JUNCTION: Andrew, Liana and Liam Auld of East Maitland.

GRAND JUNCTION: (Rear) Glenn Swan of Windella and Steve Aebi of Charlestown with Ryan Swan and Christian and Hayden Aebi.

GRAND JUNCTION: Alanna Dale of East Maitland, Chelsea Cooper of Merewether and Kristen Wunderwall of Raworth.

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Getting funky with jazz

JESS Browne and Anna Walsh have made music together for years and the pair is excited to put on a show for their local community.
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Showtime: Jess Browne on flute and Anna Walsh with trumpet, both year 11, are looking forward to Red Hot Jazz evening. Picture: Louise Donges

The Red Cliffs Secondary College students are talented musicians and both will perform at the school’s Red Hot Jazz night on Friday.

The event, which is part of the Jazz, Food and Wine Festival, is now in its third year and has grown significantly since it began.

“Last year was quite an improvement because word got out and the number of people who turned out tripled,” Jess said.

Both girls expected more people to attend this year’s performance and they were doing their best to drive support.

“I am the current record holder in terms of tickets sold with 17,” Anna said.

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Mildura promotion has ‘wow factor’

AS the big black beast of a B-double squeezed into Langtree Mall yesterday afternoon, all eyes were on how Mildura would be presented to the rest of Australia.
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Tourism: GTS Freight’s managing director Damien Matthews with Mildura Tourism chief Rod Trowbridge with a tourism truck representing Mildura.Picture: Carmel Zaccone

And, without doubt, Rod Trowbridge and his Mildura Tourism team nailed it.

The four images on GTS Freight Management’s 26m-long prime mover do indeed encapsulate the very best of our region – from historic paddle steamers, to wining and dining by the river, and of course, showing off some of the magnificent local produce.

The rolling Mildura tourism billboard was unveiled to the public yesterday, before it sets off as part of GTS’ freight trips to capital cities and most of regional Australia.

“What you see today is the finished product of 12 months of work between various groups in the community,” local tourism chief Mr Trowbridge proudly said.

“These pictures needed to reflect classic experiences in the Mildura region, and reasons why people come here – the markets and our produce; our wining and dining; our river experience; the historic paddle steamers.”

He said he was aiming to create a “wow factor” in the images.

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