ICAC: Roozendaal ordered Mayfield container terminal changes

post on June 29th, 2018
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Eric Roozendaal leaves ICAC on Monday. Pic: Daniel Munoz, Fairfax Media via Getty ImagesLABOR treasurer Eric Roozendaal secretly ordered that plans for a Mayfield container terminal be altered to provide for a coal conveyor across the site, after he was lobbied by Buildev and party powerbroker Joe Tripodi to support the company’s coalloader.
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The instruction was issued in early 2011 to the Newcastle Port Corporation despite its objections and clear advice from Treasury and the Hunter Development Corporation of major problems with the coal-loader idea.

The warnings included those from anti-corruption experts that it would be ‘‘grossly unfair’’ to deal with the Newcastle development company exclusively over use of the former steelworks site for coal and a letter from Hunter Development Corporation chairman Paul Broad that the government should ‘‘carefully consider whether the situation justifies direct dealing in preference to a public competitive process’’.

Mr Roozendaal, also ports minister, then wrote a draft letter to the port corporation board in February 2011 to approve the state-owned corporation proceeding with direct negotiations for a container terminal.

But it was on the basis a coal-conveyor easement be included to allow for a future coal-loader as well.

‘‘To whose benefit would that have been?’’ counselassisting the Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry Geoffrey Watson, SC, asked yesterday.

‘‘The people of NSW,’’ Mr Roozendaal replied.‘‘ . . . Apart from them, would it have been of benefit to a particular company?’’ Mr Watson pressed.

‘‘It was potentially a benefit to Buildev, yes,’’ Mr Roozendaal admitted.

The port corporation board minutes record: ‘‘It was understood that the minister was to make an announcement to this effect but would not refer to the easement.’’

Mr Roozendaal denied the change was a potential ‘‘windfall’’ for Buildev he sought to keep secret.

But the move also followed Mr Roozendaal’s instructions issued in November 2010 that the port corporation board be blocked from endorsing then the start of negotiations with the consortium that wanted to build the container terminal, until aTreasury review of the project and Buildev’s coalloader proposal was done.

Labor MP Joe Tripodi had met with Buildev, part owned by Nathan Tinkler, only a few days before that order was given and had assured its directors he would speak to Mr Roozendaal about their coalloader plan.

Mr Roozendaal admitted it was likely he had discussed the issue with Mr Tripodi as ‘‘Joe was advocating for the Buildev proposal’’ and he ‘‘didn’t think it was a problem’’ for Mr Tripodi to discuss with Buildev the information passing through his office.

However, he denied leaking to Mr Tripodi or anyone else a Treasury briefing about the Mayfield site.

Mr Roozendaal denied knowing that Mr Tinkler had offered to secretly fund Newcastle MP and minister for the Hunter Jodi McKay’s campaign, as Ms McKay has told the ICAC.

The inquiry continues.FORMER police minister Mike Gallacher ‘‘constantly’’ referred to Barry O’Farrell as the ‘‘big man’’ and the ‘‘big kahuna’’, suggesting texts about ‘‘$120k’’ coming from an unnamed big man could be references to the former premier, an inquiry has been told.

Former resources and energy minister and Terrigal MP Chris Hartcher told the Independent Commission Against Corruption yesterday he had never discussed $120,000 as promised campaign funding with Newcastle candidate Tim Owen.

The inquiry has been shown a text message from Mr Owen’s campaign manager, Hugh Thomson, to Mr Gallacher, the founder of the Hunter Liberals, asking ‘‘how’s our big man going with the $120k’’.

Mr Thomson has given evidence he believed the big man was Nathan Tinkler.

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Health insurance sale

post on June 29th, 2018
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ONE must question the wisdom of the federal government in its proposed sale of its health insurance provider Medibank Private (The Examiner, August 30), for it has proved to be an annual profit cash for the government since its inception, providing competitive rates against other major health insurance provides.
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Yet Finance Minister Mathias Cormann states it will remove the current conflict where the government is both regulator of private health insurance as well as a large market participant.

This may be so, but with Medibank going down the same path as former government-owned profitable commodities such as Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank (with its imminent listing on the Australia Securities Exchange by the end of the year) it may eventually be a case of the government having nothing more to sell.

Owning profit-making businesses is money in the bank, here endeth the lesson.

— ROBERT LEE, Summerhill.

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Salvos keeps cool with Kleenheat

post on June 29th, 2018
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DONATION: Whyalla Salvation Army will continue to assist those in need with the help of a $5000 donation from Kleenheat Gas. Salvation Army South Australia social programs secretary Rhonda Elkington, Lieutenants Gail and Peter Sweeney with Kleenheat Gas representatives Martin Caldwell and Martin Day.Whyalla Salvation Army will be better equipped to assist those in need this summer following a donation from Kleenheat Gas.
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The Salvation Army received a $5000 donation from Kleenheat Gas through its Regional Care Services Program on Wednesday, August 27.

The donation handover was made by Kleenheat Gas representatives Martin Caldwell and Martin Day and accepted by Salvation Army Lieutenants Peter and Gail Sweeney.

Mr Caldwell said the donation would help Salvation Army continue its important service.

“Kleenheat Gas is proud to provide this donation of $5000 to the Salvos in Whyalla,” he said.

“This will allow them to continue assisting regional communities in need, which is very important work for the local community.”

The money will go towards the Salvation Army’s Community Support Services program and will see seven split system air-conditioning units be installed.

The Community Support Services program provides a safe environment for marginalised families and individuals and currently supports 80 people in the Whyalla community.

Lieutenant Peter Sweeney said with the summer months fast approaching, the donation would enable Salvation Army to provide cool and comfortable facilities.

“These air conditioners will make an incredible difference over the summer months and we are so pleased that we are able to provide a comfortable place for those who are in need,” he said.

Lieutenant Gail Sweeney extended thanks to Kleenheat Gas for its support.

Mr Caldwell said the donation was part of the ongoing Regional Care Services program partnership between Kleenheat Gas and Salvation Army.

“Over the years Kleenheat and the Salvos have worked together,” he said.

The Regional Care Services program was established in 2009 to support a different regional community in Australia each month by providing operational funding and donations.

Mr Caldwell said Kleenheat Gas had donated $200,000 so far through the program.

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Interest rates on hold: Reserve Bank

post on April 24th, 2020
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THE Reserve Bank has left interest rates on hold and is hinting at keeping them there for a long period.
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The central bank today decided to keep a cash rate at a low 2.50 per cent.

It last changed the rate in August 2013, in the latest in a series of cuts which brought it down from 4.75 per cent.

Reserve governor Glenn Stevens said: ”Looking ahead, continued accommodative monetary policy should provide support to demand and help growth to strengthen over time.”

”Inflation is expected to be consistent with the 2–3 per cent target over the next two years.

”In the board’s judgment, monetary policy is appropriately configured to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the target.

‘O’n present indications, the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates.”

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Ballarat man jailed for sexually assaulting child her ‘whole life’

post on April 24th, 2020
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A County Court judge in Melbourne regarded the facts of the case as “disturbing and repugnant”.A Ballarat man will spend at least six years in prison for sexually abusing achild “over almost the entirety of her life” until the age of three.
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A County Court judge in Melbourne regarded the facts of the case as “disturbing and repugnant”.

Judge Sue Pullen on Tuesday told the man, who The Courier has chosen not to name,his crimeswere aggravated by his gross breach of trust to the victim and herparents, the lengthy period of offending, her age and the disparity inage between them.

Judge Pullen said a psychiatrist reported that the man, 31, had displayed a “callous” attitude when speaking about theacts he committed and that to police he had tried to deflect blameand/or “suggest initiation” of his conduct onto the victim.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge ofpersistent sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16 between 2010and February this year.

The court heard his offending was revealed when MD – which was how the victimwas identified in Judge Pullen’s sentencing remarks – told her motherabout a sex act with him.

The woman later recorded on her mobile phone further disclosures by MDand confronted the man after he returned from church.

In her sentencing remarks, Judge Pullen said courts had a duty toprotect children as they are “vulnerable and especially vulnerable toabuse of trust”.

“They are immature in their understanding of right or wrong and aredependant upon adults responsible for their care not to abuse thatimmaturity,” she said.

In fixing a maximum of eight years jail with a non-parole period ofsix years, Judge Pullen also took into account the man’s lack of previousoffending, his admissions to police, and his guilty plea which saved the time and cost of atrial and meant witnesses did not have to give evidence.

Prosecutor Luisa Di Pietrantonio had not found a previous case with avictim as young as MD or one that involved offences over virtually thewhole of a person’s life.

Ms Di Pietrantonio had submitted it was clear sexual gratification wasthe reason for his offending.

Defence lawyer Chen Yang conceded that the offending was very seriousand that the 25-year maximum prison term for the offence reflected howparliament regarded such conduct.

MD’s mother spoke in a victim impact statement about being “plagued byself-doubt”, fearful of making decisions and afraid she and MD wouldbe hurt again.

MD’s father said in his statement he could not sleep and”felt sick” that he could not protect his daughter.

Judge Pullen was prepared to accept that his guilty plea indicatedsome remorse, but noted with “some concern” a psychiatrist’sobservation that he “overall had a very callous attitude whenspeaking” about the sex acts.

She said that if he had not pleaded guilty, and been convicted after acontested trial, she would have jailed him for 12 years with a minimumof 10 years.

The Ballarat man will be placed on the sexual offences register for life.

– THE AGE

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Beaudesert Show carcass competition winners announced

post on April 24th, 2020
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Champion carcass winner Tom Surawski is congratulated by Miss Beaudesert Showgirl Rayna Neuendorff on Saturday.
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CHAMPION carcass in this year’s Beaudesert Show Carcass Competition has gone to TP and JE Surawski.

Held at Highchester abattoir at Gleneagle, the competition saw farmers from across the region enter cattle to be judged on meat quality.

Reserve champion went to RJ and M Harvey, who also won first and second prize for vealer on hook

They were also first and third for single steer on hook and won single heifer on hook.

Second prize in single steer on hook went to R and G Neuendorff.

In single heifer on hook second prize went to Storm King Limousins and third prize went to Ronski Unit Trust.

Along with the main award, the Surawskis won single steer on hook suitable for hotel and restaurant trade as well as third prize in single heifer on hook suitable for hotel and restaurant trade.

Second place in single steer on hook suitable for hotel and restaurant trade went to Kira Bell and George Massam was third.

The winner of single heifer on hook suitable for hotel and restaurant trade went to Geoff Haak with J ad T Bell runner-up.

Mark Eather collected the reserve champion carcass award on behalf of Jim Harvey and was congratulated by Miss Beaudesert Show Girl Rayna Neuendorff and Ian Harrison.

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Harvest in the Park: Harvest trade grows

post on April 24th, 2020
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Ellie Thirkell made a sumo-sized friend at the markets. There was sunshine and smiles in spades at the latest installment of Cowra Tourism’s Harvest in the Park on Saturday, August 30.
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Hundreds of locals made the pilgrimage to Brougham Park to check out handicrafts, preserves and produce from over 70 stalls.

Cowra Tourism event manager Caddie Marshall said the event received an overwhelmingly positive response from visitors and stallholders.

She said stallholders are already chomping at the bit to secure a spot at the next Harvest in the Park event on November 29.

“Anecdotally, we heard of people coming all the way from Parkes, Forbes, Orange and Canowindra to enjoy the day. We saw people who had come at 8.30am to pick up bread from PeeWee’s Bakery who were still there at 2pm enjoying the park and the music,” Ms Marshall said.

“The stallholders did a great trade which is really important. We want to use the markets as a platform to build up the reputation of Cowra producers and retailers.”

Stallholders Doug and Elizabeth Dagg, of Janelli Nursery and Farmer Doug’s Gourmet Potatoes, were at the last Harvest in the Park event too and said they’d enjoyed a successful morning so far.

“We like to come along to support all our local community events,” Mrs Dagg said.

“We go to the farmer’s markets regularly as well and we have a lot of people come back on a regular basis for our produce. They wouldn’t be doing that if the produce wasn’t good!”

Getting a park was a challenge, with Denman Street clogged with parked cars on both sides, reducing the passage to a one-way street.

Local Jim Long said he saw one car reverse all the way back down the street after being blocked off by an oncoming car.

“It was the same last time too, I had to help a woman reverse out,” Mr Long said.

“I thought they would have done something about it this time, it should have been blocked off altogether.”

Ms Marshall said they’ve already raised concerns about Denman Street with Cowra Council and that Council were on hand monitoring the street throughout the day.

She asked that any concerned residents register their concerns directly with Council.

“As the markets get bigger, we will need to have plans in place to accommodate that [and Council will be a part of that],” she said.

It certainly didn’t stop droves of mums and dads, kids and grandparents heading down to sample some of the best the region had to offer.

Ms Marshall said they hope to expand the market’s offering next time to include more produce direct from local grower’s gardens.

She asked if locals have any ideas of what they’d like to see more of at November’s markets to get in touch with Cowra Tourism.

More on Harvest in the Park:

Harvest in the Park: A bountiful Harvest, photos

A bountiful first Harvest in the Park for Cowra

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Rotary exercises fundraising muscle for outdoor gym

post on April 24th, 2020
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Beaudesert Rotary Club president Mark McCabe and The Outdoor Gym Company managing director Paul Hemmings looked at locations on Thursday to install outdoor exercise equipment in Jubilee Park.JUBILEE Park at Beaudesert is set to provide pathways to a healthier community with plans for the installation of exercise equipment in the park early next year.
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Beaudesert Rotary Club president Mark McCabe announced the concept of the outdoor gym at the group’s changeover meeting in July and plans are already taking formation.

Eventually he hopes to have 15 stations in four pieces of equipment.

Mr McCabe said he hoped to roll out the two pieces of equipment, including one that is wheelchair accessible, during the first stage.

In preparation for the project, Mr McCabe recently looked at possible locations in the park with The Great Outdoor Gym Company managing director Paul Hemmings, who will provide the equipment.

“I would like to raise $20,000 for the first stage,” Mr McCabe said.

“I think we will be looking at January next year (to install the first piece of equipment).

Mr McCabe said the first stage would be a multi gym with four exercise options, shoulder press, lat pull down, cross trainer and leg press.

Each stage will be rolled out as the Rotary Club raises enough money, with the total cost of the project estimated to be about $60,000.

“I know the president coming in July next year will continue the purchase of this equipment,” Mr McCabe said.

The equipment will be suitable for people young and old and of varying fitness levels.

To raise money for the project the club is selling tickets for an art union, which they will draw in December, they have made several grant applications and they will have a stall at the Beaudesert Show on September 5 and 6.

To purchase tickets visit www.beaudesertrotary.org

Beaudesert Rotary Club is raising money and has looked at locations in Jubilee Park, Beaudesert to install a piece of outdoor exercise equipment. Photo by The Great Outdoor Gym Company.

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Council to State gov: Grandstand rubble is your responsibility

post on April 24th, 2020
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After being demolished in May, Cowra Council is appealing to the state government to pay the $16,264 tip bill for the rubble of the old grandstand. File photo.Cowra Council will appeal to the state government to pay the $16,264 tip bill for rubble from the demolished old grandstand at the Cowra Showground.
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The bill had gone to the Council after the Cowra Showground and Paceway Trust appealed for help and a donation towards the costs from the demolished structure.

Council had initially advised it would consider the amount of the rubbish costs invoice as a donation request from the Cowra Showground Trust.

While no estimate was known at the time of demolition, the Trust had initially advised that the bricks and concrete would be delivered to a contractor for crushing.

However, that cost saving didn’t eventuate with the contractor unable to take the material as it was contaminated with metal and timber.

Instead all materials went to the Materials Recycling facility, adding up to a substantial cost in excess of $16,000.

However, Cr Bruce Miller reminded Council at its meeting last week the facility and land is owned by the State Government.

“It’s now appropriate that they are aware of the cost. It’s their responsibility, they own the facility and they should pay the cost.” Cr Miller said.

Cr Judi Smith – and also the Council’s representative on the Trust – reminded the meeting the Trust has paid considerable funds of their own in materials to restore the original grandstand and that it would be very difficult to for the Trust to pay the landfill cost.

Cowra Council is now writing to the Minister for Lands, with a copy going to Member for Burrinjuck Katrina Hodgkinson, appealing to it to meet the cost of improving the NSW-government owned facility.

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Restoration 40 years in the making: Jim’s 1928 Chrysler complete

post on April 24th, 2020
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PRIDE AND JOY: Jim Coomber with his magnificent 1928 Chrysler which took him 40 years to restore. Photo LUKE SCHUYLERJIM Coomber’s pride and joy, his 1928 Chrysler, has been a long-term labour of love.
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As a young man Mr Coomber became interested in vehicle restoration and began looking for the right vehicle to restore after joining a local car club.

It’s hard to image the magnificently restored vehicle, which is now fully registered, has been completely rebuilt from a wreck which Jim found languishing under a tree in a paddock near Orange.

“I joined the car club 40 years ago and I started looking around,” he said.

“I found the car sitting under a tree in a paddock near Forest Reefs.”

With the priorities of paying off a house and raising a family however, his restoration took 40 years to achieve.

“At that stage spending the money to restore the car came at the bottom of my list,” he said.

As his children grew older and the financial pressures eased Mr Coomber was able to fix the vehicle, spending as much time trying to be faithful to its original interior and exterior.

In 1996 he was eventually in a position to fully register the vehicle. The number plate reads the letters CH to represent the type of vehicle (Chrysler) and 1928 to represent the year it was made.

Now as a member of the Orange and District Antique Motor Club Mr Coomber takes part in rallies to show off his vehicle.

“It certainly gets a fair bit of attention wherever I go,” he said.

“People just really seem to love old cars.”

It’s not all good news however. Jim says getting a flat tyre, for example, can be a massive challenge.

“It can be an expensive business,” he said.

Mr Coomber regularly likes to take the car out on jaunts in and around Orange and the vehicle is no slouch when it comes to keeping up with the other traffic.

“It can comfortably do about 80kmp/h,” he said.

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New Brothers coach checking out recruits for Wagga club

post on April 24th, 2020
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INCOMING Brothers captain-coach Ben Black is unlikely to arrive in Wagga empty handed.
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The 32-year-old halfback has revealed to The Daily Advertiser that he is scouting for English talent that might be interested in joining him at the Brethren.

Black, who was signed last month to replace Adam Perry, however, admits he is uncertain about the recruiting plans of the Group Nine club.

“I haven’t really spoken to them (Brothers) about players just yet,” Black said.

“Just waiting to I return (to (Australia) in October to sit down and have a chat.”

A contemporary of Young captain-coach Luke Branighan, Black is currently playing and coaching at English club Batley.

Set to land in Wagga next month, Black will bring a wealth of playing and coaching experience to Brothers.

And, depending on the reaction from Brothers president Riley Mullins, there is every chance he will also have some footballing as company.

“I have mentioned to Riley (Mullins) that a few players are interested in coming to Australia to play,” Black said.

“You never know. Could be a few come over.”

Born and bred in Manly, Black played with the Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers until he was lured to England a decade ago.

“I moved to Halifax in 2004,” he said.

“I went to Burleigh Bears in 2008, then returned to Halifax in 2010.

“I’ve been at Batley from 2011 to now.”

During a rugby league career spread across the world, Black has been in the best possible company.

Recounting his high successful international career, Black says two players hold a special place in his memory.

“The best player to ever play with was Terry Hill at Wests Tigers,” Black said.

“(He) Just looked after me like a young kid, and helped me through everything.

“And best player to play against is Andrew Johns for obvious reasons.”

For Black, coming to Wagga to try to haul Brothers out of the Group Nine rut was a simple choice.

“I picked Brothers as I knew Riley Mullins, and was always speaking to him,” Black said.

“My ambition was to coach one day, so when he asked me, it was too good to give up.

“The club is going forward, and I can’t wait to be part of it.”

Widely regarded as an on-field speedster, the dynamic halfback is already planning how the Brethren will attack 2015.

“Pre season will be tough but fun,” he said.

“It’s not about players getting flogged and busting themselves.

“I’m more about skills and getting the football in your hands … and having fun.”

Despite his laid-back attitude, Black is adamant the Brothers player will know they have to work.

“Don’t get me wrong, there will be some tough sessions to see how boys react,” he said.

“It’s all about bonding.

“I don’t know any players so it’s important to be happy.

“I’m really excited to get there and start.”

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Photos dazzle judges in garden Budding Photographers competition

post on April 24th, 2020
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That Time of the Day: The stunning overall winner of the Budding Photographers 2014 competition, by David Williams. He also took out the Landscapes category. Primary school winner: My Sunshine by Annabelle Oram.
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Macro winner: The Lost World by Glenn Smith.

IT’S not difficult to work out why our stunning botanic garden is the jewel in Macarthur’s tourism crown.

These stunning pictures, captured by photographers vying for this year’s Budding Photographer competition, should convince any who have doubts.

Visitor numbers to the 416 hectares of The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan, continue to skyrocket, with more than 331,000 recorded this financial year — almost 150,000 more visitors than the previous year.

May and June were the busiest on record, with a total of 55,703 visitors making the most of winter’s dazzling sunsets to traverse the country’s largest botanic garden.

The annual photo competition, backed by the Advertiser, has impressed judges with the high standard of local entries.

It aims to capture gorgeous shots across categories including people in gardens, plants and animals, landscapes and macro.

There were also specific categories for primary and high school-aged students.

The 2014 entries did not disappoint, spanning lush landscapes, staggering waterfalls and, of course, breathtaking sunsets among the plethora of close-up images of local wildlife and flora.

Winners of the adult categories were awarded $200 while the grand prize winner received $500.

A digital display of the competition entries at the garden’s visitors’ centre will close on October 1.

Details: 4634 7935.

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Koala concerns trump local landholders

post on April 24th, 2020
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A DRAFT council plan proposes the impact on koalas should be assessed when private landholders apply for a Development Application (DA).
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Council’s ‘Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management’ is designed to provide a strategic approach to koala management on private lands for the coast and lowland areas of the shire by way of mixing regulatory with non regulatory mechanisms to respond to key threats faced by koalas.

In essence, the DA process requires that developments are located, designed, constructed and managed to avoid adverse impacts upon koala food trees and habitat.

Council devised the plan after a concerted community campaign highlighted an increasing number of koalas living on the urban fringe of Bellingen.

In a statement, council acknowledged residents may be concerned their land rights may be restricted, but said there is a system of “compensatory mechanisms”.

“It is possible that individual landowners may feel that the DA framework impacts upon the economic viability of individual developments however the existence of a compensatory mechanism will provide some opportunity for development in most instances, particularly where opportunities exist on the same property to compensate,” council said.

Compensatory measures would not be approved if council was of the opinion that they were not feasible; there is a high risk of failing or there is no substantial evidence that the compensatory works would lead to an improvement in koala habitat values.

The Courier-Sun understands an example of a compensatory measure would be replanting a koala habitat zone if removing an existing one from the property.

However when compensation works are considered feasible, a time/risk multiplier will be applied. This could mean that a developer clearing 12 tallow wood, may be required to replant 96 replacement trees.

While individual property owners may have their property rights curtailed, council said the DA assessment process presented “a major opportunity to influence the type and level of habitat removal that is permitted, or not, within the koala planning area and in a broader perspective it is considered that a thriving koala population presents ongoing potential for other economic benefits (eg tourism) that will flow to the wider community”.

While some landholders may have rise for concern, the koala management plan has been warmly welcomed by the Bellingen Environment Centre (BEC).

BEC spokesperson Caroline Joseph said the study was an achievement and thanked council for the proactive approach to protecting koala habitat.

“This is a step forward in the right direction in addressing an issue that deeply concerns the community,” Caroline said.

“I’ve much praise for the council who have been very responsive throughout the last three years by listening to the local voices. They secured funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to undertake a series of detailed studies of local koala activity of the area and their habitat – and this is the result, a comprehensive koala management plan. ”

However, Caroline’s enthusiastic response was somewhat tempered with concerns the plan, while supposedly great for the shire’s koalas, was limited in regional scope.

“The plan does have a large flaw,” Caroline said

“It only covers the local government controlled areas of the shire – about 50 per cent. “The rest is controlled by State Forests and this plan has no jurisdiction over this land. Also as it’s just a shire-wide initiative – there’s no regional approach – and this means it doesn’t include the Coffs Harbour and Nambucca shires. For a healthy koala population we must look to establishing an adequate and broad area for their habitat.”

It is anticipated that community engagement will commence in October and will proceed for at least one month.

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