No more water for SA

Durham Ox mixed farmerChris Harrisonsaid, earlier this year, the planned upgrade appeared to have stalled on his property.
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Mr Harrison said he had been left with a “hybrid” system, with both the older style Dethridge wheel alongside modern, automated technology.

“You will have Dethridge wheels and drop bars alongside electronic metres and you have to employ a lot of labor to work them (Dethridge wheels) manually,” he said.

But thespring rain brought flooding, particularly in the Loddon Valley, which caused further challenges.Boort cropper Tyler Nelson said it was difficult to come to terms with crop losses, and potential damage from water logging and flooding, after years of dry springs.

“The decisions that have to be made and the facts that have to be faced are all the harder after a couple of tough production years,” Mr Nelson said.

​Irrigation concerns were not just confined to the Loddon.

In November, the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) Water Leadership forum publicly released research, showing the Murray Darling Basin Plan had cost the region $550million in lost production, every year, since 2012.

The RM Consulting Group (RMCG) study found irrigators were paying $20 million a year more, for temporary water.The study authors found thedairy industry had seen its value cut by $200m at the farm gate and $360m in processed products.

RMCG’s Rob Rendell said irrigators were now in a demand driven system, which had not been recognised in any socio-economic analysis.He said about half the 1300GL of entitlements recovered were high reliability water shares.

“Victoria has contributed the bulk of those high reliability water shares, dare I say the Griffith area has contributed bugger all,” Mr Rendell said.

A spokswoman for the MDBA said it was aware of the research and welcomed contributions to the ongoing debate over the impacts of the plan on communities, industries and the environment.

Further downthe Murray river, Dried Fruit Australia chairman Mark King said he had been involved in the water debate since the inception of the Living Murray program, in 2002.

“The models have proven there has been an effect on jobs – the bureaucrats who came up with those models should hang their heads in shame, because Blind Freddy could have told you,if you take water out of production, of course it’s going to cost jobs.”

But farmers all along the river – whether they produced rice, ran dairy cattle, sheep or grew grain or fruit – were all agreed on one thing;the 450GL of environmental water, sought by South Australia, could not be returned.

South Australian Water Minister, Ian Hunter, made a splash, with an expletive-laden outburst to his state and federal counterparts, in which he told them the state still wanted the extra upwater.ButMr King spoke for all irrigators, along the Victorian and New South Wales river systems, in saying no more water could be delivered to South Australia.

“The models show the water they have taken isn’t delivering what they thought it would and is having a greater impact on communities than predicted, so why would you be going out to secure more ?,” he said.

The MDBA spokeswoman said the water market gave irrigators greater flexibility, in their business decisions.“Those who choose to buy or sell in the water market are better off compared with no trading opportunities,” the spokeswoman said. “Water trading is a way of extracting the maximum economic benefit from the available water resources.”

Independent analysis hadconcluded that the effect of Commonwealth water recovery was to increase the price of water allocations by between $10 and $30/ML.

“However, the same study concluded that the main driver of changes in allocation prices was year to year variation in water availability. This has a much greater effect on prices than Commonwealth water recovery and other factors such as the growing demand for water from expanding irrigation sectors like cotton and nut crops,” the spokeswoman said.

Merbein dried fruit grower Tony Martin said the major drought, earlier in the century, was the biggest cause of disruption for irrigators and townspeople in the Sunraysia.

IRRIGATION WOES: An irrigation channel, near Tatura. The RM Consulting Group (RMCG) found irrigators were paying $20 million a year more, for temporary water.

He said improved irrigation technology had a major impact on populations,in industries such as cotton. “They don’t have to house anyone, they have machinery to deal with weeds, they don’t employ as many people as they used to.”

He said as recently as June 30, irrigators were still thinking they would not get any allocations.“Now every dam in Australia is full and everybody is feeling happy with themselves,” he said.

“You can feel for the guys in the Riverina, if they can’t plant a rice crop because there is no water, but that’s what their allocation gives them.

“If there’s water there they can use it;if there isn’t they can’t – that’s farming.”

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School casualties

A united group of students have spoken out against a proposed merger of the city’s high schools relaying fearsthey willbe the collateral damage.
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ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL: The students say they can see some benefits to a merger but are concerned about their schooling during the change. PHOTO: Anthony Stipo.

The 10 students were firm in their beliefshould the merger go ahead the negative consequences would be felt whilethey complete their crucial final years of schooling.

“This will disrupt us for the rest of our schooling lives,” year 8 student Elise Townsend said.

“We won’t see the new school, but we will have all the disadvantages as it is built, where are we going to go and what will happen to the Griffith High School students?”

As a year 8 student Elise and her peers wouldmiss out on attending a merged school, but wouldbe schooled through change as it is built.

However, it’s not only a problem for the students who miss out, according to year 7 studentJemimahBrooker, who can’t bring herself to be excited about the prospect.

“I don’t think they understand, moving high schools as you are doing your HSC will be really distracting,” she said.

Even more disconcertingwas thelack of detailbehind the announcement.

The students said a spokesman from the Department of Education had come to their school, butthey still didn’t have the answers they needed. “Fair enough it hasn’t been set in stone yet, but we have questions that need answers,” year 8 student Jenna Richards said.

“Our opinion needs to be taken more seriously, all other opinions are also important, but this is our lives.” The group raised further concerns presented by a larger school including, bullying, a lack of schooling choice, elective classes and excursions filling up,less chance of representing schools in sport and the potential loss of beloved teachers.

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More than 80,000 calls for help last Christmas

Christmas holidays are synonymous with road trips and traffic jams.
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That’s why the NRMA is calling on motorists to be prepared and reduce the risk of needing roadside assistance –no matter thejourney or destination.

Last year, the NRMA responded to more than 80,000 calls for help on NSW and ACT roads between December 19and January 9, or two-and-a-half calls a minute.

The associationis warning motorists to beprepared in case of unexpected moments on roads again this year.

According tothe NRMA thetop five reasons for callouts were:

1. Flat batteries – 43 per cent

2. Wheels and tyres – 10 per cent

3. Electrical faults – nine per cent

4. Vehicle lock-outs – six per cent

5. Cooling systems – five per cent

NRMA Executive General Manager Motoring, Samantha Taranto, said roadside assistance wasn’t just forlong trips.

“Members who call us never started their journey expecting to need help,” Ms Taranto said.

“We are often referred to as the fourth emergency service and that’s because we’re always there to helpstranded motorists.”

DELAYS: Being prepared this holiday season may mean you avoid the headache of a breakdown during the Christmas period. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The average waiting time is 34 minutes, and NRMA patrols get cars started again without a tow nine timesout of 10.

While Membership offers peace of mind, Ms Taranto said there were some ways Motorists could helpprevent some unexpected mishaps on the road.

“A holiday drive can quickly become a journey to forget if you’re not prepared,” she said.

“We recommend membersbook their cars in for a regular service with a trusted mechanic– this is the best wayto spot potential disasters and fix them before they cause any drama.”

“If you’re unsure of you battery health you can give us a call before you hit the road and one of our patrolswill come and check it for you, and replace it on the spot if need be.

“Also make sure you’ve checked your tyre pressure, lubricant and cooling systems before hitting the roadand pack safely.”

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Group’s Q fever fears

Concerns: Save Rose Valley group members Allan Mackay, Ken Sandy, Debra Sandy and Peter Berriman fear a proposed abbatoir would increase the risk of Q fever.Rose Valley residents fear the risk ofQ fever will be ‘’amplified’’ if a proposed abbatoir is allowed to go ahead.
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Save Rose Valley and Werri Lagoon group member Debra Sandy said along with a range of environmental concerns about the proposal –which goes before council next week –residents were also concerned about potential health risks.

Q fever is a potentially debilitating disease normally spread to humans byinfected animals. Humans usually get infected by inhaling bacteria-carrying dust contaminated by animal urine, faeces or birth products.

According to NSW Health abbatoir and meat workers are among the ‘at risk’ groups.

Several cases ofQ fever have been confirmed within the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District this year, with 190 cases across NSW.

Mrs Sandy said in 2013 Kiama Council rejecteda DA for the construction of an abbatoir on a Rose Valley Road property, determiningthe use was prohibited.

A subsequent planning proposal, by applicants Gerhard and Maria Baden of Schottlanders Wagyu, includes an abbatoir and a 60-seat, licenced revolving restaurant.

Kiama councillors sent theplanning proposal for “additional permitted” uses at the property tothe Department of Planning and Environment for a Gateway Determination, which they permitted in August.

A period of public consultation followed, and Kiama council willmake the final determination on Tuesday, after a public access meeting on Monday. If passed, the applicants would be required to submit a DA to council.

‘’We’re not against abbatoirs –they have to exist if people want to eat meat,’’ Mrs Sandy said.

‘’However they are a complicated business, and we have a range of concerns about this proposal’s impact on the environment, and potential impact on human health.

‘’We believe the risk of Q fever will be amplified by the existence of an abbatoir –and are concerned about the risk to the region’s population, which includes many elderly residents with chronic illness.’’

However in council papers, advice was provided byDr John House, of the University of Sydney who concluded:‘’the change in risk to human health posed by the proposed micro abattoir is minimal for all’’.

He said calving cows would represent the greatest risk for the infection –but animals entering the abattoir were typically not going to be pregnant, so were a ‘’lower-risk group’’.

Q fever is usually an immediate infection causing severe flu-like symptoms,but it can sometimes lead to a chronic, long-termillness affecting the heart and liver.

Antibiotics effectively treat the disease, however there is a vaccine available for high-risk groups.

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Hospital staff concerned for patient safety

File picA staffing changein Bendigo Health’soperating theatres will result in “grossly inadequate” numbers of trained anaesthesia nurses and put patient safety at risk, specialists believe.
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From Monday, the hospital’s highly trained anaesthesia assistants will be replaced with anaesthesia nurses with less experience.

The situation islikely tocausesignificant disruption to elective operating theatre listsand an inability to provide safe after-hours emergency surgical services, leaders of Bendigo’s anaesthetic craft-grouphave warned the Bendigo Health management and board.

“Whilstthe Department of Anaesthesia supports the move from a medical technician-assistant model to a nurse-assistant model, we are concerned with the rapidity in progression proposed by management,” written correspondence states.

Theysuggested a gradualtransitionto the new model. A former department director has called the situation dangerous.

“In a real critical situation, you want people who know their job backwards,” they said.

“These people are unfamiliar with the surroundings and a lot of them aren’t properly trained.”

The anaesthesia assistantswill be demoted to theatre technicians, a role with limitedpatient care.

Theyhave been working alongsideanaesthetists to ensure patient safety during surgeries for years and havemore than 100 years of collective experience.

“It is inexplicable why the nursing-led operating theatre management has deemed it necessary to replace this valuable workforce,” the correspondence reads.

Leaders of theanaesthetic craft-groupare also concerned about whether Bendigo Health will have enough trained and experienced staffers to expand surgical services into thenew hospital.

“Failed attempts to recruit anaesthesia nurses to adequately staff the operating theatre has resulted in reliance upon supplementary anaesthetic nurses supplied ad hoc by agency providers,” written correspondence states.

Bendigo Health looked to London and New Zealand for experienced theatre nurses, UK theatre scrubs and scouts and anaesthesia nurses.

Interviews were scheduled for late November and early December. The new hospital is due to open on January 24.

The former department directorsaida stafferhad been reported for harassment afterraisingconcerns with management.

“It’s costing Bendigo Healththousands of dollars to follow through with this policy,” theysaid.

“The two main issues are safety, and waste of money. Why are they doing this?”

Bendigo Health acute health executive director Robyn Lindsay said there would be no compromise to safety.

She said Bendigo Health decided to alter the workforce profile in the operating theatres “to improve the model of care” by providing a more flexible workforce.

“This will also bring Bendigo into line with the organisational practices of the other hospitals throughout Victoria,” she said.

Bendigo Healthhasbeen working towards the transition for more than 18 months.

“We understand that this change, like many changes, has an impact on the entire workforce in the department,” Ms Lindsay said.

“We have actively supported the staffing group and have an employee assistance program available which provides confidential support 24 hours a day.

“Bendigo Health is confident that we have the systems, training and support to transition the anaesthetic technicians into their new roles and is pleased they have all chosen to continue working in the department.”

A spokesperson for Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said they had been advised that Bendigo Health hadmet all requirements under the relevant enterprise agreement regarding the restructure of its anaesthetic technicians, including consultation with the unions, “who have not raised concerns to the changes”.

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Visitors get the points

North Nowra Cambewarra’s Aidan Woods has one of the best bowling action in the junior grades.IT was a case of the visiting teams taking the points in the latest round of the Shoalhaven District Junior Cricket Association’s under 14s competition with the home sides struggling.
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Ulladulla United Golds enjoyed its visit to Zealand Oval Number Two by defeating Berry Shoalhaven Heads in convincing fashion.

The Golds made 5/188 in its innings and the home side struggled with the bat and was only able to make 6/96.

Alex Baccarini was the main man with the bat for Ulladulla with a brilliant 47 runs which included a powerful six boundaries.

Benjamin Ebzery 27 runs with four boundaries, Jake Town 22 runs with three fours and a six and Riley Jarrett 26 runs with two boundaries all hit top form for Ulladulla.

Charlton Lans with three wickets and Saxon Hilkemeijer with two wickets led the way with the ball for Berry.

Berry openers Ben Lans and Logan Cosgrove, with two strong batting efforts, did everything in their power to get Berry home.

Ben made 36 runs with four boundaries and Logan scored 21 runs.

United’s Jayden Perry was his team’s leading bowler and his two wickets only cost two runs.

Batemans Bay v Ulladulla United Blues

It was a low scoring thriller down at Surfside Main Two when Batemans Bay played host to the Ulladulla United Blues.

The Bay batted first and could only make 46 runs and the Blues also struggled with the bat but its 5/48 was just enough to get it victory.

Stuart Megee 16 runs and Joshua Vanzetti 12 runs battled hard with the bat for the Bay.

Drew Ramsden and Dal Hall lead the way with the ball for the Blues with two wickets apiece.

Drew then went out in the middle to guide the Blues home with an unbeaten 15 runs.

Grace Blackmore captured two wickets for the home side.

North Nowra Cambewarra Blues v North Nowra Cambewarra Maroons

North Nowra Cambewarra Maroons, with a few overs to spare, managed to overcome club-mates North Nowra Cambewarra Blues at Bernie Regan Number One.

The Blues batted first and produced a steady effort with the bat to reach 5/80 and in reply the Maroons made 2/81.

Riley Sims top scored for the Blues with 11 runs and Marley Arthur with 10 runs was not far behind.

Cameron Murray was the star with the ball for the Maroons and he captured an impressive four wickets.

Unbeaten knocks from Jack Walsh 19 runs, Jack Sweet 16 runs and Jaydon Sinnamon got the Maroons past the post.

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The unconquered ant

America’s reality: The Red Imported Fire Ant arrived in Texas in the 1930s, where it costs the state $1 billion per year in treatment and control. In Australia the ant is still being contained under a 14-year eradication program.Picture an Australia where you can no longerkick thefooty around at the oval.
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Where you can’t have a family picnic in the park.

An Australia where cane toads, rabbits andfoxesbecome minor pests.

If a 14-year eradication program does not succeed, the Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) could become a reality in Australia.

A native of South America, the fire ant is a tiny creature, just 2-6 millimetres in length, but the level of impact it has on industry, social life and agriculture cannot be underestimated.

One fire ant nest holds between200,000 to 400,000 workers, andthere can be up to 400 nests per hectare.

The fire ant isan aggressive, relentless coloniser: when threatened it will swarm andsting repeatedly, triggering painful white pustules across the skin.

Fire ants can work in highly coordinated ‘super colonies’ to take down young livestock,, kill vulnerable animals andconsume crops.

Around 100 human deaths have been attributed to anaphylactic shock from fire ant bitesin the United States since the ant’s arrival in the 1930s –an invasion that coststhe US economy an estimated $7 billion a year.

In 2001, the fire ant was detected in Brisbane for the first time,triggering a quarantine process and the establishment of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication scheme.

Eradication tactics include baits, directly injecting poisons into fire ant mounds, and even sniffer dogs.

The cost of the program, spearheaded by Biosecurity Queensland,is shared betweenthe states and territories and the Commonwealth.Tasmania has contributed $3.7 million to the effort.

Since the 2001 infestation,fire ants have been successfully contained or eradicatedacross south-east Queensland and northern NSW, including Sydney’s Port Botany, Queensland’sPort of Gladstone, and Yarwun, an hour south of Rockhampton.

However, if the ants become a confirmed national pest, the impact on the Australian economy is estimated to be between $8.5to $45 billionover 20 to 70 years.

In December 2014, the Agricultural Ministers’ Forum commissioned an independent review of the $328million fire ant eradication program.

The Independent Review Panel submitted their report this year: in December, The Greens Senator Janet Rice successfully passed a motion to force theclosely-guarded report to table in the Senate.

The panel’s report emphaticallyconcludedthat it was both “technically feasible” andin the “national interest” to eradicate fire ants at a projected 25:1 benefit-cost ratio.

“The Review Panel believes that this stated value actually underestimates the true national benefits from the eradication of RIFA,” the report says.

But there’s a problem: the report states that “the current budget provided to the [south-east Queensland] program is insufficient to achieve eradication”. The window for defeating the fire ant is closing fast.

A treatment and surveillance budget of $38 million a year for up to 10 years would produce a 95 per cent chance of complete eradication of the ant –but the long-term commitment to that funding is still uncertain.

“One of the greatest challenges of this long-term eradication program has been the absence of a secure funding window, which has constrained the south-east Queensland program in the areas of long-term planning, achieving cost efficiencies …and difficulties in retaining specialist staff,” the report says.

Another reportpublished in October by Biosecurity Queensland science manager F. Ross Wylie and principal policy officer Sharon Janssen-Mayasked‘what if we lose the war?’

The answer is bleak.

“In 2016 the programme is at a crossroads,” Wylie and Janssen-May write.

“Red Imported Fire Ant is not just another invasive, it is a ‘super pest’ whose impacts, if unchecked, will surpass the combined effects of many of the pests we currently regard as Australia’s worst invasive animals.”

They note apart from projected agricultural and economic impacts, one of the greatest likely impacts is to human health.

The reactions to a sting can be minor pain through to fatal anaphylactic shock. Most deaths are attributed to just five stings or fewer.

Gardening, walking the dog, bushwalking –if eradication failed, all our daily outdoor activities would be tinged withanxiety.

Different studies have reported that of an entire population living within an infested zone, between 30 to 90 per cent of people will be stung each year.

“This means that were the ant to spread, approximately seven million [Australians] would be stung, and 71,100 may require medical attention for stings each year,” Wylie and Janssen-May conclude.

Biosecurity Queensland reportSolenopsisInvicta.

Invicta is Latin for ‘unconquered’. Perhaps Australia can prove that name wrong.

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Matthew McCamley to lead ABBA

Central Queensland cattleman Matthew McCamley has been elected the 21st President of the Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association.
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The Australian Brahman Breeders Association (ABBA) Council has elected Central Queensland cattleman Matthew McCamley as the 21st President of the association.

Mr McCamley operates Lancefield M Brahman stud, Eulogie, Dululu, and follows in the footsteps of his late father Jeff who was an ABBA Life Member and President from 1987 to 1989.

He has been a member of the ABBA Council since 2008, holding the junior and senior vice president roles as well as being a member of the technical committee.

The incoming President paid tribute to his predecessor, Shane Bishop, who stepped down after completing a three-year term.

“Shane’s leadership, particularly during the planning and implementation of this year’s highly successful World Brahman Congress, has contributed greatly to the standing of the Australian Brahman industry both here and internationally,” Mr McCamley said.

“I’d also like to thank my fellow Councillors for their efforts and look forward to working with them during such an exciting time for the breed.”

This year Brahmans became the first cattle breed in the world to introduce a Single Step method of integrating genomics into its BREEDPLAN multi trait analysis which will contribute to increasing accuracy of selection, particularly for hard to measure traits.

“While Brahmans continue to go from strength the strength because of their inbuilt adaptability and suitability across a range of markets, our close association with the research industry paints an even brighter future for the breed in the years ahead,” Mr McCamley said.

The ABBA Council elections, held in December, elected Wendy Cole, Kenrol Brahman stud, Matcham, Gracemere, as the senior vice president and welcomed Reade Radel, Kandoona Brahman stud, Yebna, Injune, as junior vice president. Long serving treasurer Brett Coombe, Roxborough Brahman Stud, Moura, will continue in that role.

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Taree West poised to grab outright win in Manning first grade cricket

More runs for Taree West’s Josh Meldrum, who made 135 last Saturday against Old Bar last Saturday.TAREE West captain Ben Marron will have no hesitation in enforcing the follow on should Old Bar fail to make the 120 mark in tomorrow’s Manning first grade cricket clash at the Johnny Martin Oval.
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Old Bar resume at 4/59 chasing 309.

“We don’t want to bat again,’’ Marron said.

“If we can get them for less than 120 they’ll still have to get another 180 for us to bat, so that’ll be the plan. I’ll enforce the follow on for sure.”

Should Taree West win outright and Wingham get the first innings decision over United, Taree West will go close to lead frogging United on the ladder.

“But I think United will beat Wingham,’’ Marron said.

“If that’s the case then we’ll just have to get into Wingham after Christmas.’’

However, he added that Old Bar’s Ben Cole can present a danger to Taree West, even though it does look like a mission impossible for the Seasiders.

“We’ve got Tim and Dave Rees out as well as Sam Mudford so that’s most of their batting, although Ben Cole can be a worry.’’

Mudford was dismissed just before stumps on the opening day.

Josh Meldrum had a field day with the bat last Saturday when blasting a century.

He will now have a turn with the ball, his off-spinners have already taken six wickets this season. Sean Carr, Paul Cox and Brian Levi will also be relishing the opportunity to bowl against Old Bar.

Cole has to fire for Old BarBEN Cole is Old Bar’s main hope of scoring an improbable win over Taree West when the Manning first grade cricket clash resumes tomorrow at Johnny Martin Oval.

The Seasiders are 4/59, chasing Taree West’s hefty 9/309 scored last week. Cole and skipper Luke Polson will face the bowling tomorrow.

Polson missed last week’s carnage and he admits Old Bar faces a struggle to save the match. With Taree West now striking form and edging closer to the top two, Polson agreed his team faces a battle to be involved in the playoffs next March. The leading three teams will play in the finals.

However, he said Old Bar still has plenty to play for.

“When you look at our side, our average age would probably be 12 years younger than the other teams,’’ Polson, who is only 19,said.

“It was always going to be a steep learning curve for some of the younger players.’’

Polsonsaid inexperience has been Old Bar’s major problem but he believes the side is adapting to first grade cricket. A number of Old Bar’s players were in under 16s last season.

“We want to keep enjoying our cricket and see what happens from there.’’

United holds the advantageTHE real possibility that Taree West will outright Old Bar in the Manning first grade cricket clash will provide further incentive for United to down Wingham on the first innings in the clash at Chatham Park.

“Taree West will probably get the outright so if we’re beaten by Wingham that’ll bring them closer to us,’’ United captain Ricky Campbell said.

However, Campbell is confident his batsmen can cash in on the platform his bowlers provided last week when dismissing Wingham for 176, whereJackson Witt recorded a five wicket haul. United resumeat 2/46 after being precariously placed at 2/7 at one stage.

Matt Kennewell has 23 against his name and Campbell said he looks in good nick while Tom Burley has played his role as night watchman. He added that Murray McCartney usually thrives in these situations,while United has plenty of depth in their batting.Campbell believes negotiating Ryan Williams’ opening spell will be pivotal. Williams already has 2/13.

“If we can get through his first six or seven overs without losing too many wickets then we’ll be looking pretty good,’’ he said.

Williams the keyWINGHAM captain Matt Essery believes opening bowler Ryan Williams is the player who can swing tomorrow’s clash against United in his team’s favour.

Essery concedes United have their head in front in the top-of-the-table clash. United resume at 2/46 chasing Wingham’s 176.Wingham slumped to be 3/12 at one stage before staging a fightback led by Josh Davis and Mick Stinson.

“We’re about 70 runs short of where we should be,’’ Essery added.

“But it is what is is. We have to defend 176 now.’’

Essery said Williams has been the form bowler of the season and he’s already dismissed the dangerous Josh Ferris.

“There’s talk of a bit of rain being around at the end of the week and that could put a bit of juice back into the wicket to assist Ryan,’’ Essery said.

“Mick Stinson could also be hard to handle if he hits the seam and gets the ball to move around a bit.’’

Essery said United have plenty of batting, withRicky Campbell, Murray McCartney and Danial Stone still in the sheds.

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Manning sport shorts

Date set for Head2Head ocean swim Swimmers leave the surf in last year’s Head2Head event at Black Head.
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BLACK Head Surf Club’s annual Head2Head ocean swim will be held on Sunday January 15.

Threeevents, a 700m and 1500m swims along with a 12km ski paddle will be on the program.

Lochie Hinds from Sydney, competing at Black Head for the first timewonthe 700m/1500m men’s double.

He is expected back next month.

Eight sides for Stan Austin ShieldEIGHT sides will contest the annual Stan Austin Shield under 16 cricket carnival to be played in here from Monday January 9 to Thursday January 12.

Mid North Coast, Far North Coast, North Coast, Hunter, Tamworth, Armidale, Manning and newcomers Roseville will be represented.

Matches will be played on turf wickets at Forster, Old Bar, Taree and Wingham.

No play was possible in the shield this year because of wet weather.

Flathead biting in lower estuaryBy Ian PereiraTHE Manning has produced another solid week of fishingwith good catches of flathead being made from all parts of the lower estuary.

Soft plastic lures and hard bodied lures are proving to be best to takefish.

Some good bream are being caught from the wall on yabbies while luderick are takingyabbies at night.

The wall and the edges of the weed beds above Harringan’s Pub at Harrington Waters are producinggood catches of luderick.

Whiting are taking worms and yabbies on the spit in the mouth of the river.

Outsidesnapper, trag and pearl perch have been boated from the northern grounds.

Flathead have been taken on the drift.

Out wider in 80 fathoms the big mahi mahi are still being caught.

Danial Stone will lead Manning 35s in Sunday’s inter-district clash against Hastings Cutters at Chatham Park.

Two inter-district clashesTHERE will be two Mid North Coast inter-district cricket matches played in Taree on Sunday.

Manning’s under 19s, led by United all-rounder Tom Burley, will meet Macleay at the Johnny Martin Oval.

At Chatham Park the Manning 35s, with Danial Stone, also from United, will tackle Hastings Cutters.

Both games will start at 10am.

This will be the opening game of the season for the 19s. However, the 35s will be looking to open their account after going down to Macleay last month.

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Lights still on for police over Christmas

On-call: Tasmania Police Burnie CIB Inspector Adrian Shadbolt has urged drivers to stay safe during the Christmas period. Picture: Brodie Weeding
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As families sit down to share a meal on Christmas day, Tasmania Police officers will remain on high alert to prevent the day taking on a devastating meaning.

Burnie-based Inspector Adrian Shadbolt said his Christmas gift would be to protectthe community from the sadness of another road fatality.

He said while police always hope Christmas day will be quiet, no-one should hesitate from giving them a call.

“You’d like to think Christmas day would be quieter but that’s not a word I use lightly and unfortunately things happen,” Inspector Shadbolt said.

“We have a responsibility to remain available to the community.”

Inspector Shadbolt said officers working on Christmas day would hold a small celebration at the station.

He said the holiday period can be a difficult time for officers.

“I think it can be challenging for a police officer at this time of year,” Inspector Shadbolt said.

“Christmas is a family time and the officers who are working are expected to be available and respond.”

Tasmania Police will launch Operation Crossroads on December 22.

The campaign will target the ‘fatal five’ factors that commonly play a role in car crashes.

Inspector Shadbolt said it was essential people considered their transport during the festive season.

He said road fatalities were profoundly devastatingat any time of year, however, the meaning of Christmas day should not be ruined.

“How would you feelat Christmas time if that date actually marked a horrific event?” Inspector Shadbolt said.

“Sadly, there are some members of the community that willbe going through that experience this Christmas and I feel very sad for those families.”

Inspector Shadbolt said most Tasmanians had been touched by road death, however,road safety remained a big issue.

He said officers were deeply impacted by call-outs to fatal crashes.

“You don’t want to keep bringing it up all time but the reality is road trauma is always there and the impact of it is just huge,” Inspector Shadbolt said.

“It’sjust tragic, you know, I couldn’t emphasise enough how horrible it is.”

Inspector Shadbolt said officershad been conducting more breathalyser and random drug tests than ever before.

He urged drivers to be hyper-vigilant about speed, inattention, alcohol and drug intake, seatbelt safety and fatigue.

“Christmas shouldn’tbe a time of remembrance,” Inspector Shadbolt said.

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Cowra Christmas Street Festival postponed

Cowra Christmas Street Festival postponed., The Cowra Christmas Street Festival scheduled for today, Friday, December 16 has been postponed.
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The new event date is Thursday, December 22 in Kendal Street.

Duty of care has forced, Ray Walsh Chairman of Cowra Tourism, Elizabeth Picker Events & Marketing Officer, in agreement with Cowra Council, to cease all Festival operations as it was deemed unsafe for the general public and performers for the event to proceed.

The conditions, which are unusual for December, saw Cowra receive an ongoing down pour of rain.

The adverse conditions experienced in Kendal andMacquarie Street where the event take place, is still water logged.

It was with deep regret and disappointment that organisers made the tough decision topostponethe Christmas Street Festival.

These circumstances left us with no choice, as the safety of all concerned remained the overriding priority.

The event has been months in planning.

Large numbers would have travelledgreat distances to enjoy our market stalls and live entertainment.

Events & Marketing Officer, Elizabeth Picker is deeply disappointed that they were forced to call off the event.

“I sincerely apologise that the festival could not take place due circumstances beyond our control,” she said.

“I acknowledge that people made a huge effort to attend, particularly those who has prepared for the festival. Above all, we appreciate the wonderful spirit that was on display in the community in the face of such adversity.

“Cancellation due to weather is the greatest fear for any organiser of an outdoor event, and something we’d hoped we would never have to deal with. It is always a risk and it is extremely unfortunate that this time, it did not work in the festivals favour.

“I hope that people can appreciate the safety of attendees must take preference above everything else. The decision topostponethe festival was not made lightly. It was after consultation with Cowra Council and the Cowra Business Chamber.”

Cowra Tourism, Cowra Business Chamber and Cowra Council apologise for any inconvenience and hopes you will continue to support their events in 2017.

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Taste weekend coming up again

Fun: Kate Sadler, Hayley Walker, George Hood, Jess Edwards, Danielle Amos, Alex Neale, Stacey Day and Georgie Shortt enjoy the 2016 Taste.Naracoorte’s “Taste the Limestone Coast Festival” will be up against some strong competition next February, with a major music festival being held in Mount Gambier on the Saturday festival day!
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However, the Naracoorte Lions organising committee believes that “Taste 2017” has a great deal to offer patrons and at far less expense than the Mount Gambier event. Entry for Taste remain the same at $10 per adult, with less for youth and concessions, against around $100 for the other event.

Local Taste patrons will still receive almost eight hours of music and the chance to try food and wines from around 25 different outlets, while relaxing in the shaded lawn areas of the Naracoorte Town Squares!

The other components of the extensive Taste Festival are all in place, so starting with the Travel Expo on Thursday February 9, through to the race meeting on Sunday February 12, all of the favourite activities will again be on offer!

As in previous festivals, Lions try to celebrate the high quality of local produce as well as bringing in new tastes to the region.This year, three new providers will join the Taste family: Oparina Wines from Padthaway, The Cide Project from Kalangadoo and Coffin Bay Oyster Events from the West Coast of SA.

Negotiations are still underway with a few more specialist food providers, so there may be more to announce in the near future! A list of all providers, sponsors, supporters, and entertainers will be published early in the New Year.

Taste will be once again supported by a major Taste Travel Raffle, this time sponsored by helloWorld Travel and the Spirit of Tasmania. First prize will be a trip on the magnificent “Spirit of Tasmania” from Port Melbourne to Devonport and accommodation in Tasmania .

Lions hope to continue to make this a family friendly festival, so as well as the regular children’s tent for the younger children, this year there will be a travelling magician who will move around the festival area providing entertainment for young and old!

Taste Festival profits will be donated to the Naracoorte Hospital Maternity Unit and other community projects.

Click here to check out some of the snaps from this year’s Taste festival

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