Fracking banned for five more years

TASMANIA’S moratorium on fracking will continue until 2020, the state government announced yesterday.
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Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

A one-year moratorium on fracking in Tasmania was implemented last year to allow a review of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Tasmania.

The government received 157 submissions as part of the review, with a vast majority of the submissions against the practice.

“There is considerable concern around the potential negative impacts of fracking, particularly within our rural communities and farming families who rely so heavily on our global reputation for producing premium and safe products,” Primary Industries and Water Minister Jeremy Rockliff said.

“It is also clear that there is considerable concern for landowners’ rights and public and environmental health.

“After consideration, advice and consultation, it is prudent that we introduce a five-year moratorium on fracking in Tasmania.

“We want to take greater account of what those risks might be and whether we have a sufficient regulatory environment to allow hydraulic fracturing to take place.”

The moratorium is a policy position for the government, and not legislated.

“The five-year moratorium on fracking is a clear policy position of our government. It will be backed, as necessary, by amendments to the Mineral Resources Development Act,” Mr Rockliff said.

Resources Minister Paul Harris met with mineral and energy groups yesterday.

He said the government would continue to support exploration for resources like shale gas or petroleum, without the use of fracking.

“This allows mining and energy exploration to continue while the state’s economic prospects for energy, and our understanding of the economic viability of the resource may change over time,” Mr Harris said.

The government said it would consult all stakeholders and monitor national and international developments in policy, scientific understanding of fracking practices.

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Forty years of nimble fingers on show

PRECIOUS memories and outstanding creativity are on display this weekend at the “Roaring Forties” exhibition by the South West Embroiderers Guild.
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Warrnambool embroiderers Lorraine Blackmore (left) and Brenda Henderson admire some of the works on display in the Warrnambool Masonic lodge hall. 150226LP41 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

The biennial exhibition celebrates the 40th anniversary of the guild’s first exhibition in 1975 and several of the displays have a “40” theme.

Among them is the wedding dress long-time guild member Phyllis Brown made for her wedding in 1947.

Guild president Robyn Archer said the exhibition was a celebration of women’s creativity that was often used to mark important events in people’s lives.

“We do it in fellowship and we often put modern twists on traditional approaches,” she said.

The exhibition also features a showcase of the work of veteran guild member Gloria Cathcart, 83, who began doing needlecraft as a child.

She jokes in her exhibitor’s biography that one of her first needlecraft works, a balaclava for a World War II RAAF pilot, would have been better suited to one of Hannibal’s elephants.

Mrs Cathcart said her passion for embroidery flourished after she retired as a science teacher. It kept “the fingers nimble and the grey cells busy,” she said.

The three-day exhibition opens today in the Warrnambool Masonic hall in Kepler Street. Entry is $5.

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Fatal Nullawarre crash driver to stand trial

Nullaware store owner/operator Ashley Raymond McDowall, 69, pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing death after a crash on the Timboon-Nullawarre Road on September 28, 2013, in which a 46-year-old Timboon woman died.TWO women who narrowly avoided a fatal road accident near Brucknell have told a committal hearing they thought they were going to be hit.
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Nullaware store owner/operator Ashley Raymond McDowall, 69, pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing death after a crash on the Timboon-Nullawarre Road on September 28, 2013, in which a 46-year-old Timboon woman died.

The incident involved a Ford sedan heading east and a van travelling west just after 3pm on AFL grand final afternoon.

Mr McDowall said his van was blown on to the wrong side of the road by a gust of wind just before the crash.

Carlene Walker, who was driving in front of the Ford sedan, told Warrnambool Magistrates Court she saw a white van on the wrong side of the road heading towards her.

She said she slammed on her brakes and then accelerated, noticing the car behind her was “right up my clacker”.

She swerved to the left to avoid the van.

“I thought he was going to hit the back of my car,” she said.

Ms Walker said the van just kept drifting towards her, then heard a bang and saw the collision in her rear-view mirror.

She stopped to try to help the woman trapped in her car and looked at Mr McDowall, noting that he was an older man and that he might have “had a turn” or was about to.

“I took my jacket off and put it around him,” she said.

The passenger in Ms Walker’s car, Mary Belshaw, said she was angry at the scene because she knew the victim and watched her “die in my arms”.

She said that before the crash she felt Ms Walker touch the vehicle’s brakes, looked up and saw a van with its front wheel in the gravel on the wrong side of the road.

“Charlie (Carlene) yelled ‘hang on’, planted the foot and we hoped for the best,” she said.

“We were actually airborne, it felt that way. It happened in milliseconds. I thought we were hit when we heard the bang.

“I braced myself and said: ‘God, I’m not ready to die yet’. I knew we were in trouble. I thought we were a goner.”

Senior Constable Robert Hay, of the Victoria Police major collision investigation unit, said Mr McDowall’s reaction time of about two seconds was above 85 per cent of the population.

Under cross-examination by barrister Hilary Bonney, the policeman agreed his calculations did not take into account wind conditions.

Ms Bonney said the closest wind records for the day were from the Warrnambool airport, about 50km from the accident scene, but they showed it was a very windy day with 37km/h winds and gusts up to 50km/h.

Magistrate Peter Mellas said there were a number of questions to be determined by a jury. Mr McDowall was committed to stand trial in the Warrnambool County Court. A directions hearing will be held on April 17.

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Ladies line up in battle for first premiership: Maiden decider

IRYMPLE and Mildura Settlers willeach be fighting for their maiden premiership when they face off tonight.
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BRING IT ON: Irymple’s Rennee Whitton and Settlers’ Rebecca Nicolson-Leask will go head-to-head tonight in the women’s cricket grand final. Picture: Carmel Zaccone.

The sides clash in the grand final of the Sunraysia cricket women’s competition at Sarah Oval, where the first piece of silverware for either club is up for grabs in what should be an epic battle.

Both teams had entered the finals as underdogs, after Settlers finished third and Irymple fourth with a huge gap to the dominant top two teams, Coomealla Wentworth and Nichols Point respectively.

They each won through to the season decider after upsetting their more fancied opponents in thrilling semi-finals played out last weekend.

Irymple has recovered from a mid-season dip in form, after a strong start to the campaign, over the past few weeks.

Irymple captain Rennee Whitton said that her side had come good at the right time leading up the final series.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday’s Sunraysia Daily 27/2/2015. To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

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Welfare system reform essential

AUSTRALIA’S complex welfare payments structure is in urgent need of an overhaul.
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The government pays out a whopping $150 billion in welfare each year in a confusing, overly-bureaucratic system that encourages dependency rather than self-reliance.

A long-awaited report into welfare by former Mission Australia chief Professor Patrick McClure was released this week and, unsurprisingly, it recommends sweeping changes to a system that costs taxpayers a fortune.

Generational unemployment, where children have no concept of work because their parents have always been on welfare, and getting older Australians to work longer are key planks of Professor McClure’s report.

Any changes to welfare will be unpopular in some quarters and there will be predictable accusations that the poor and the vulnerable are being targeted unfairly.

But the fact is our welfare apparatus is dense, expensive and unfair as it is with many people rorting the system often at the expense of those who need it most.

It has been allowed to reach the point where it is almost out of control.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison yesterday sounded a warning when he pointed out that welfare spending makes up a third of government spending and is projected to be the biggest area of spending over the next four years.

All this at a time when government revenues have dropped back dramatically as a result of a slump in the mining boom.

Professor McClure’s roadmap for change does not discriminate against anyone, instead focusing on getting people back to work while ensuring genuine recipients are no worse off.

At the moment there are 20 welfare payments and 55 supplementary payments and it is the cost of administrating these 75 different streams of welfare that is causing much of the expense.

Australia has one of the most generous, complicated and expensive welfare systems in the world.

There is a better way. It has been found by Professor McClure and government should not waste a moment more in implementing the changes so desperately needed.

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Showgirl heads to zone judging

Young’s winning showgirl for 2014 Laura Pollard (right) will head to Bathurst tomorrow for the chance to represent the region at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney.
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Laura is one of 23 girls heading to the zone six finals, which sees the largest representation of showgirls in the state. Girls will travel from as far afield as Bourke, Cobar, Coonamble and Gilgandra.

Laura is the daughter of Ean and Janine Pollard of Westmill products.

The contestants are judged on personality, confidence, ambition and life goals, general knowledge, rural knowledge, presentation and speech.

Finalists are also asked to demonstrate knowledge of their local community and current affairs and apart from their potential ambassadorial qualities, contestants are also judged on their involvement in and experience of rural affairs.

Best of luck at the weekend.

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Juniors stage comeback for grand final berth

Young Under 12s coach Dean Schofield with his side (back) Bevan Foxall, Ben Schofield, Will Cameron, Sam Corkhill, Cameron Job and Lachlan Crouch. Front: Matt Canellis, Lochie Pratt, Corey Lucas, Cooper Cross and Jack Nicholls.The season for Young’s Under 12s representative cricket sides started with a loss to arch-rivals Cowra.
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But from the get go, the local sides dedicated themselves to train harder and have continued to improve each week following games under the guidance of their coach Dean Schofield.

With two losses and three wins for the season, Young managed to make it into the semi-final against Parkes.

“After a fantastic effort from our bowlers, great fielding and catching skills in the outfield and in slips we managed to get Parkes out for 84,” Schofield said.

Incoming batters Ben Schofield (48no), Bevan Foxall (14) and Matt Canellis (16no) set about the task of chasing down these runs.

They managed to pass Parkes’ total in the 17th over and win the match by nine wickets.

“It was a dominant performance from our batters,” Schofield said.

“A job well done by all.

“Good luck against Cowra in the grand final this weekend boys. Play hard, support each other and most importantly, go out there and have some fun.”

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Hopping great art

Five of the six youth finalists with their kangaroos, Marylou Minehan, Taylor Waugh, Abbie Dunshea, Demoore Abbas and Maddie Smith.It was a hopping great time yesterday afternoon when the winners of the youth council’s ‘Paint-a-Roo’ competition were announced.
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Marylou Mineham’s ornate design bagged top honours – and a cool $200 – while there was a tie for second place with Demoore Abbas and Maddie Smith each taking home $50.

The‘Paint-a-Roo’ competition saw six local artistic youths selected to paint their designs onto the fibreglass kangaroos.

The judges – two from the Young council and two independent – assesed the unique pieces of art over the past few weeks.

The project aimed to raise awareness of youth issues in the town, especially youth mental health.

Art lovers can still check the colourful ‘roos in all their glory in the Town Hall foyer.

They’ll also be on display as part of the art exhibition at the Lambing Flat Chinese Festival.

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Nationals senator John Williams takes up fight about poor ABC reception

POOR reception of the ABC radio signal in certain parts of Inverell was an issue that Senator John Williams knew about, and was keen to rectify. So he took it straight to the ABC managing director, Mark Scott, when he appeared before Senate Estimates Committee this week.
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Senator John Williams.

Senator Williams brought the issue to the fore after Mr Scott told the committee that ABC Local was the emergency broadcaster in Australia.

“It’s not much good if you can’t hear the ABC,” Senator Williams said.

“I live just outside Inverell, my office is there, 12,000 people in town. The signal in many parts of the town is very, very weak. I have councillors come to me, I have people come to my office and say ‘Can’t you talk to the ABC and see if we can get the ABC signal?’ They want to listen to your programs.”

Senator Williams said the people out around Cobar and Wilcannia received a better signal and asked Mr Scott to revisit the matter.

“They do really have a strong argument. If your in an emergency, and you are a vital role in regional and rural Australia, (it’s) not much good if we can’t hear you,” Senator Williams said.

Mr Scott said the matter would be pursued with Broadcast Australia and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

“They work out the policy and then the execution of that policy on behalf of the ABC. I’m surprised a town the size of Inverell may have difficulties,” Mr Scott said.

“Look it’s pretty good in some areas,” Senator Williams said. “But go up Lewin Street and other areas where a lot of people live there’s hardly any signal at all. I actually live west of town now, and my signal is stronger 15 kilometres west of town than when I was actually in town.”

Mr Scott said the matter of transmission for this area would be investigated and and Senator Williams would be notified as to its outcome.

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Game on for Interclub glory

GOOD CATCH:Ben Knott, from Charlestown, wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 120-kilogram black marlin hooked off Port Stephens recently. Call into Tackle Power Sandgate, at 53 Maitland Road, Sandgate, to collect your prize, mate. Don’t forget to bring a copy of the fishing page for verification. Meanwhile, thanks to veteran game fisho and Herald reader Peter Bliss, who phoned in midweek to query the claimed 120kg status of last week’s Fish of the Week winning marlin from John ‘‘Robbo’’ Robinson. It was a case of crossed lines, and apologies to Robbo if anyone gave it to you for exaggeration. It was still a good fish though.NEWCASTLE-Port Stephens Game Fishing Club Team 1 leads Interclub heading into the second weekend of competition but it’s still anybody’s race.
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Competitors in the southern hemisphere’s biggest game fishing tournament enjoyed remarkably good conditions last weekend.

Fears of a catastrophic blow-out courtesy of Cyclone Marcia up north proved unfounded as a fleet of more than 105 boats hit the water.

“About 55 marlin were tagged,” NSW Game Fish Association president Garry Chenoweth said.

“Most fish were caught on the troll, with the wider grounds producing.

“The majority of fish tagged were black marlin – it feels unusual not to have as many stripes.

“At the moment, NPSGFC Team 1 are leading tag and release and NPSGFC Team 4 are leading capture, but it’s really close.

“This weekend is still anyone’s game.”

Brent “Hammer” Hancock, from Tackleworld Port Stephens, fished on Born Free which was one of three boats in NPSGFC Team 1.

“Brent had a slow day on Saturday, got one I think and maybe five on Sunday,” workmate Paul “Ringo” Lennon reported.

“Born Free followed up with four marlin on Monday to take out the Ladies Day comp, the Lyndy Grieves Memorial.”

The Ladies Day tournament was named in honour of the much-loved fishing fraternity member who passed away last August.

For the past 30 years, Lyndy has helped husband Neil man the radio base during Interclub.

NPSGFC Team 1 leads tag and release on 117,031 points from Broken Bay Team 1 (104,358) and Sydney Team 2 (102,744).

Broken Bay Team 1 boat Vengeance is leading boat tag and release with 71,300 points ahead of Born Free (69,000) and Hoodlum (Sydney Team 2 – 62,531).

John Wise, on Hoodlum, is leading male angler tag and release (62,531) and tag and release marlin (62,500).

Amy McAndrew, from NPSGFC Team 5, fishing on Shelby, fronts the females on 57,500 points while Lake Macquarie Team 1 angler Luke Ashman, fishing on Gloriana, heads the juniors on 35,500.

Southern Zone Comp Team 2 member Chris Barsha, fishing on X-Factor, weighed the heaviest marlin, a 175.3kg blue.

Nathan Bright, from NPSGFC Team 2, fishing on Public Enemy, has the heaviest shark so far, a 373.5kg tiger.

The forecast is looking good for the weekend but Garry doesn’t want to jinx the event by mentioning it.

“Let’s just say we’re looking at a close result, which is always what you want to see with these types of tournaments. It’s never as interesting when there’s a runaway winner.”

Garry paid special tribute on behalf of the NSWGFA to local Port Stephens skipper Tim Dean, who ran “Soldier On” charity day on Thursday.

“Basically, Tim’s pretty humble about it, but they take out returned vets, wounded warriors if you like, for a day on the water,” Garry said.

“It’s the second year he’s done it and it’s gratifying the number of boats that volunteered their time and fuel – more than double the number from last year.”

Exotic fishing

MOVING away from the game scene, Ringo reports there have been good trag coming off the Gibber and 21 reefs, a few kings up to 15kg hanging around Broughton and the snapper are starting to come back now that the water has cooled down again.

“It was up to 26 degrees a couple of weeks ago but now it’s back down around 22 to 23,” Ringo said.

The high water temps may explain a plethora of unusual catches lately.

“There was a red bass speared in the bay about a month ago; a coral trout speared off Sydney; they caught two oceanic queen fish in nets off Stockton the other day and there was a ‘proper’ queen fish caught on the bait grounds by a marlin boat chasing slimy mackerel the other day,” Ringo said.

“You normally associate these species with the Coral Sea and the most obvious explanation, I suppose, [is] they are pushing down in the warmer water. That could explains the amount of sharks around lately too.”

There have been a few spearfish and sailfish hooked in recent weeks.

“Chris Drake got a 35kg sailfish in the lead-up to the Billfish Shootout,” Ringo said.

Estuaries fish well

LOCAL estuaries have been fishing well for jew.

“There’s been a few caught around the wreck at Corlette and in the deep water near Shoal Bay,” Ringo said.

“Not too many big, but good school jew up to 8kg.

“Kingfish are still lurking around the rockwall, mostly rat size, some just over legal but good numbers.

“Stacks of flatheads throughout the lower half of the bay and miles of squid throughout.

“Whiting have been firing up on the beaches, as well as some very handy jew.”

A monster jew

RIAGAN Dowling got a 36kg jew on Stockton Beach last weekend, which by any standards is a big one. It follows on from a slightly larger mulloway he got in January. No doubt about it, he has the touch.

“You never get bored of it,” Riagin said.

“I put it down to time and effort. We arrived just on sunset and fished for a couple of hours. It took about 25 minutes to get in.”

Check out the fish online at the Herald Fish File, along with all the other latest Fish File members.

Meanwhile, hats off to 12-year-old Allie Dearing who caught an 83cm, 3.5kg flathead in Nelson Bay this week.

One for the juniors

MAITLAND City Offshore Fishing Club will hold a free junior clinic at Swansea Gardens Caravan Park on Saturday, March 14, starting at 12.30pm.

The clinic, which will cover fish identification, knot tying and actual fishing, is open to all juniors from 8 to 14 years old.

To register phone Laurie Coughran on 0428 328 153.

Club president Tom Lantry advises the club’s next outing is this Sunday off Newcastle with launch between 6am and 6.30am.

For more details phone Tom on 0403 076 093.