Monthly Archives: November 2018

Wharton mulls political move

RICHMOND Mayor John Wharton could run against Robbie Katter for the seat of Mount Isa as the LNP candidate at next year’s election.
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Local Government Minister David Crisafulli put his support behind Mr Wharton during his speech at the Local Government Association of Queensland conference in Mackay yesterday.

Mr Crisafulli reminded Cr Wharton the seat was still open for candidates and the party was looking for someone to oust Mr Katter.

‘‘The North West would be better served by a strong voice in government,” Mr Crisafulli said.

‘‘Whether that person is one of the region’s passionate mayors like Cr Wharton, or a likeminded community member, there’s no doubt so much more can be achieved working with the government rather than throwing rocks from the sidelines.’’

Cr Wharton admitted he hadn’t given a venture into state politics much thought, but he refused to rule out contesting the seat.

“Everything is open in life,” he said.

“One thing I do know is a lot about the region, and I know what the region needs.’’

Cr Wharton said the North West was struggling because the Katters weren’t aligned with a party in government.

“I like Rob and Bob [Katter] but the region is really missing out,” he said.

“You have to be part of a team to make things happen.”

Robbie Katter said Cr Wharton would have to weigh up the pros and cons of joining the LNP, much like when he was asked to join a major party.

“He might reach the same conclusion I did and say ‘do I really want to join a party which is taking year 7 out of primary schools, cutting rural road funding from $100 million to $30 million and their only major commitment is a $5 million tunnel upgrade in Brisbane’?” he said.

“It might be very tough for him to convince people to vote for him when a vote for the LNP is a vote for asset sales.”

At a recent Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development zone meeting in his home town, Cr Wharton said capturing and storing water for projects such as new mines, industries such as a meat works or for irrigated agriculture, was vital.

“It’s vital that we establish some good water storages in the mid-west to get an irrigation precinct up and running, and receiving a decent contribution from any lease or sale of assets would be the catalyst to enable the mid-west to proceed,” Cr Wharton said.

“It fits within the pillars of both the state and Commonwealth’s economic direction to increase agricultural production and in developing the North.’’

MAYOR: John Wharton

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Big rise in speeding offences

TASMANIA’S road safety message appears to be falling on deaf ears, with a huge increase in the number of drivers caught speeding.
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According to Tasmania Police’s annual report, released yesterday, 15,841 drivers were nabbed doing 15 kilometres or more over the speed limit in 2013-14.

This is up 3473, or 28 per cent, on the previous year.

Police officers detected 15,160 of the drivers, while speed cameras caught the rest.

The increase in lead foots coincides with the state’s worst year for fatal and serious injury crashes since 2009-10.

There were 261 fatal and serious injury crashes last financial year, compared with 239 the previous year and 264 in 2009.

In 2013-14 crime increased overall after bottoming out with reductions in the previous seven years. Total offences increased 4 per cent to 24,600.

Despite this bump, serious crimes decreased by 3 per cent.

Gun crime was a mixed bag with 68 criminal incidents involving firearms, up from 60 the previous year. Shootings were also up, from eight to 22, but the overall use of guns in crimes was down.

In 2013-14, 423 people were charged with serious drug offences, with amphetamine-type stimulants such as ice accounting for 31 per cent of those offenders.

This compared with cannabis (58 per cent) and ecstasy (2 per cent).

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No benefit in fueltax hikes: Katter

THE federal government has sparked public outcry with an announcement that it would get around the Senate by using regulation to reintroduce regular fuel tax hikes, which are expected to cost average households 40¢ a week from November 10.
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Federal member for Kennedy Bob Katter has condemned the government’s new tax hike on motorists and dismissed claims that the money raised would fund road projects.

“The cost of fuel in Australia is already exorbitant – in North Queensland we are consistently and continually paying close to $1.60 a litre for fuel,’’ Mr Katter said.

“Fuel prices already place huge pressure on Queenslanders’ weekly budgets, and unlike metropolitan Australia we don’t have the choice of extensive government-subsidised public transport systems.

“The government said the funds from this tax hike would go to improving roads – it will, and these roads will be Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

‘‘This mob has not allocated a cent to roads north of Townsville.

“All these governments have done is cut, cut, cut. There is barely a dollar allocated for highways in rural and regional Queensland.’’

In the 43rd Parliament, north Queensland was allocated close to $1000 million on roads, and almost $400 million from the later years of the Howard government.

“Prior to this government we benefited from two Cairns overpasses and significant funds allocated to other areas in the Kennedy electorate such as the Bruce Highway, Hann Highway, Flinders Highway, Outback Way, Wills Development Road, Phosphate Hill Road, various truck rest areas and boom gate crossings, Cardwell Range, Gairloch floodway, Mulgrave River Bridge, Bruce Highway upgrades, Savannah Way, the Cloncurry truck bypass, and various black spots,’’ Mr Katter said.

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Brophy scholarships help TAFE students to learn now, work later

Jocelyn Retallack and Kellie Phayer (front) have each received a $2000 scholarship from Brophy to help with expenses to complete their TAFE courses. They are pictured with South West TAFE’s Jenny Madden and Wendy Lever and Brophy CEO Francis Broekman. 141029RG38 Picture: ROB GUNSTONEBROPHY Family and Youth Services are helping two South West TAFE students to get ahead with their studies, rewarding them with handy scholarships.
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A $2000 grant and a guaranteed secondyear student placement will ensure Community Services students Kellie Phayer and Jocelyn Retallack will continue their studies in 2015.

Ms Phayer, who hopes for a career in youth mental health, said the scholarship would take a lot of stress out of her study next year.

“It will be a great help for upfront fees and books,” she said.

“I went into the course with Brophy in mind as a potential place to work, so having placement there is fantastic.”

Travelling from Port Campbell to attend classes, the scholarship will help Mrs Retallack with fuel costs.

“I won’t have to work as much to cover the costs, which means I can concentrate more on my study,” she said.

She has plans to work in child protection or counselling.

The Brophy Family and Youth Services scholarship was introduced to remove barriers to entering the welfare profession by supporting some of the associated costs and providing a guaranteed placement for two students.

The scholarship winners were announced by South West TAFE community services course co-ordinator Wendy Lever and Brophy’s chief executive officer Francis Broekman.

Mr Broekman said the scholarships helped to build the region’s welfare workforce.

He estimated 70 per cent of Brophy’s current staff members had completed welfare qualifications at South West TAFE.

“From Brophy’s point of view, South West TAFE is a very important part in delivering the workforce capacity for our organisation,” he said.

The Diploma of Community Services Work is taking applications for study in 2015.

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North Ballarat Rebels broaden south-west recruiting territory

PROMISING south-west footballers will play for one TAC Cup club next season following zone changes.
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AFL Western District region general manager Lachy Patterson (left), North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington, AFL Victoria high performance manager Leon Harris, and Rebels under 16 Camperdown squad coach Brett Taylor embrace a new TAC Cup era in Camperdown. 141029AS01 Picture: AARON SAWALL

North Ballarat Rebels’ alignment has widened to include Corangamite Shire, ending Geelong Falcons’ association with the region.

All Hampden and Warrnambool and District clubs will fall under North Ballarat Rebels’ umbrella from 2015, as will a number of Corangamite Shire-based Mininera and District league clubs.

North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington officially announced the changes in Camperdown yesterday alongside AFL Victoria high performance manager Leon Harris and AFL Western District region general manager Lachy Patterson.

The Rebels will have satellite training bases in Camperdown, Warrnambool, Hamilton, Horsham and Ballarat.

Partington said 50 players — 25 under 18s and 25 under 16s — would do pre-season training at Leura Oval under coaches Matt Harkin and Brett Taylor.

Respected south-west football identity Bernie Harris will be squad co-ordinator.

Other players will also do pre-season training at the Warrnambool base.

The Rebels will select a squad of 48 players from their five under 18 bases for the 2015 TAC Cup list.

Partington said the Rebels were thrilled more south-west footballers would have access to their elite training program.

“It makes our job harder to select the final squad but it gives a wonderful opportunity for the boys to showcase their talents as well,” he said.

The Rebels’ association with the south-west started in 2008 when it took over the City of Warrnambool and Moyne Shire areas.

It meant the Hampden and Warrnambool and District league clubs were split between the Rebels and the Falcons.

Partington said planning to expand the Rebels’ footprint in the area started two years ago.

“From the presentation we were given on the zoning, the Ballarat region starts at Ballan and goes all the way to the South Australian border and we had by far the lowest population and growth rate out of all the TAC Cup clubs,” Partington said.

“So if things weren’t done in the next 10, 15 years, the TAC Cup in this area might have fallen away and not too many kids would have been given an opportunity to play TAC Cup.

“It has been in the background slowly working all the time and we’ve had great support from the Geelong Falcons, as well through Mick Turner to learn about this area and what he’s done in the past and from the great coaches as well.

“Probably the past two years we’ve been working steadily through it and the last six to eight months we’ve worked a bit harder.”

Harris, a former Kolora player, said the move was a positive for south-west football.

“We are looking forward to a fantastic outcome. It certainly does give players better opportunities,” he said. “I know when I coached Vic Country for 10 years (we found) a Ben Cunnington, a Luke Thompson, and then you’ve got Gary Rohan — talented players have come from this region.”

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