After the guessing, let’s hear the truth on same-sex marriage

SUPPORTERS of marriage equality across the Central West have been granted at least one of their wishes by Calare MP John Cobb.
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Mr Cobb has made no secret of his support for the traditional definition of marriage and he has long maintained that he gets the sense most of his constituents feel the same way.

That claim certainly contradicts published national polls that show support for same-sex marriage is running at anywhere from 60-70 per cent and local marriage equality advocates have, rightly, wondered whether Mr Cobb’s reading of the issue reflects more on the circles in which he mixes than the wider community view.

Well, now both sides of the argument have the chance to put their opinions directly to their elected representative.

Mr Cobb has this week distributed tohouseholds in his electorate a questionnaire asking residents to “tell me what’s important to you”.

It covers a wide range of economic,environmental and social issues, but it is a reflection of the times in which we live that the question about same-sex marriage is sure to create the most discussion.

And it is to be hoped that Calare voters on both sides of the argument respond in their thousands to give the clearest possible view of just where the electorate stands.

If only those residents who support same-sex marriage take the chance to respond to the questionnaire then it will be easy for Mr Cobb’s office to disregard the results.

Similarly, if marriage equality advocates pass up this chance to have their say on the basis that Mr Cobb’s position is already well-known, then they forfeit the right to complain in future about a lack of consultation.

Whether you agree with his politics or not, it must be said that Mr Cobb has done exactly what every federal politician should do with their printing entitlements – use them to gain feedback from the voters rather than publish a one-sided cheer booklet for the government.

Good on him for doing so. Now it’s up to the people of Calare to do their bit and the results can speak for themselves.

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Collectors’ gathering gets stamp of approvalPhotos

Collectors’ gathering gets stamp of approval | Photos Hilde Duits from Nowra holds up one sample from her 30 years of collecting.
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Sanctuary Point’s Geoff Layton with a sample of the stamps he brought for evaluation.

John Pratt from North Nowra.

North Nowra’s Dick Stephenson, a stamp collector for 70 years, specialises in stamps from France and Germany.

Coin collector Greg Dawes from Bomaderry holds up one of his most colourful coins.

Jacky Nolan and Jason Berg from Nowra with children Clayton Hudson, 16, Tobi Hudson, 12, and Oliver Berg, 6, who seems more interested in collecting dinosaurs.

Andrew Gillam from Parma, president of the Shoalhaven Philatelic Society.

Win Morehouse from Sydney and Peter Bailey from Sussex Inlet.

Edward Blakeney from Sydney with just a sample of his wares.

Doug Wade and Sue Holmes from Sydney with just one sheet from Sue’s grandmother’s collection.

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Passenger on board

Ballan resident Michael Vale, who has commuted to Mildura by public transport regularly for years to visit his father, joined the voices calling for a return of passenger rail services to north-west Victoria’s major centre by urging residents to attend a Public Transport Victoria forum on Monday night.
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A regular public transport user said a passenger rail link to Mildura would be very popular. Picture: Michael DiFabrizio

Mr Vale is no stranger to Victoria’s regional rail network – he uses the Ballarat line to commute from his home 80km north-west of Melbourne to the city for work and back again each day.

When he visits his family, who moved north to Mildura in the 1970s, he catches a train from Melbourne to Swan Hill, and then a bus from there to the top of Langtree Avenue.

Mr Vale said a return of passenger rail services was a must for north-west Victoria but he acknowledged it also required a significant infrastructure spend.

The Ballan resident said people in Sunraysia needed to vote with their feet if they wanted the State Government to take notice and return a rail service, which was axed in 1993.

“My view is, if you want to increase the frequency of services, use the bus,” Mr Vale said.

Services between Swan Hill and Mildura were regularly full, Mr Vale said, with seasonal workers, younger people and retirees all using public transport to commute.

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Public told to push rail at forum

MILDURA residents have been urged to keep a return of passenger rail services on the agenda ahead of a public transport planning forum next week.
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Public Transport Victoria will hold a consultation at the Grand Hotel on Monday night as it develops a regional transport development plan, with rail advocates prepared to make their case.

Mildura councillor Ali Cupper said the community needed to take advantage of every opportunity it had to show the State Government how important a return of passenger rail services would be for the region.

“If Mildura isn’t included in that, why are we even part of Victoria? What communities that are really isolated need are stronger, robust public transport options,” she said.

Cr Cupper criticised the council for showing a lack of leadership on the issue and encouraged them to advocate more strongly for a return of the rail service.

“The impression I get from councillors is they want it completely off the agenda,” she said.

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Construction for wellbeing centre to start in a month

An artist’s impression of the $34 – $36 million wellbeing centre to be built by Beyond Today.Development company Beyond Today will start construction of its wellbeing centre in September/October, investing $34 to 36 million into the region.
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Local builder South Coast Constructions will begin the development of the medical centre first, which is planned to be completed and operational in 2016.

Expressions of interest are being taken for the health pods in the Wellbeing Centre.

The development will include the medical centre, health pods for dentistry and podiatry and high and low care nursing for about 100 residents.

Beyond Today director Steve Wright said there was a demand for a health and wellbeing precinct.

“The new Resthaven facility at Port Elliot has been a success and has proven there is demand for facilities which we are proposing,” Mr Wright said.

“It is under supplied.

“The Wellbeing Centre will have all the qualities that consist of our housing development at Hayborough.

“It will be green, energy efficient, have open space and plenty of car parking available.”

The development will be situated on four hectares of land adjacent to the Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Centre (FRAC) where construction started in late July.

The FRAC is located on the corner of Ocean and Waterport roads on four hectares of land, which was gifted to the City of Victor Harbor and Alexandrina councils by the Wright family, who are the directors of Beyond Today.

“The area where the Wellbeing Centre is to be built has always been earmarked for health and education,” Mr Wright said.

“We could build 60 homes on it, but prefer a wellbeing precinct instead.”

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‘Government only to blame’ for Springvale inertia

LITHGOW CFMEU executive Grahame Osbornetold this week’s meeting of Lithgow Council thatblame for the current Springvale Colliery crisisrests squarely with the NSW Government.
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He said it was the government that had blindlyallowed the situation to develop over three yearsthat now meant 300 workers being stood downfrom this week while government agencies procrastinate.

“The government is clearly to blame for this,” hesaid.

Mr Osborne said it appeared there was no onein the government prepared to make a positivedecision.

“We don’t need more conditions and more hearings.

More conditions will mean this will takemonths rather than weeks to resolve,” he warned.

He said the union would seek public support ata mass community rally in Cook Plaza on Saturdayfrom 8.30 am.

He said the action was needed to impress on thegovernment the impact on miners’ wives and families.

“It will be a peaceful rally,” he predicted.

Mr Osborne said invitations ahd been sent toPremier Bair, Environment Minister Stokes (whohas ordered a second PAC hearing), Mines MinisterRoberts and Local Member Paul Toole to attend.

“If the Premier doesn’t care then we must takeLithgow to the Premier,” he said.

“We expect the rally to endorse taking busloadsof locals to Sydney.

“The Premier wanted Lithgow’s support whenhe wanted to sell off our power industry,” he pointedout.

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Letter to the editor: It’s time for Cr Tony Allen to be censured

Finally, I received a response from the Office of Local Government (OLG) via Bega Valley Shire Council regarding council’s resolution in December last year that “… Cr Allen publicly apologise to Mrs Campbell” and his subsequent refusal to do so.
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Despite previous advice to Council from OLG in February that “Cr Allen is obliged to comply with the council’s resolution requiring him to make an apology in the manner specified in that resolution”, the latest advice says that “decisions made by this office on whether to take disciplinary action under the misconduct provisions of the Local government Act 1993 carry more onerous consequences than those made by council and its conduct reviewers.”

As a result, the OLG have advised that they are unable to accept the evidence provided by the NSW District Court judgement or the independent reviewer and decided that “while it is important that councillors are brought to account for not complying with the resolutions of their councils,” they are not satisfied that “the impost of the required process to achieve that outcome was justified.”

They have written to Cr Allen asking him to reconsider his decision not to provide an apology.

So now the responsibility to enforce their resolution comes back to council as they can and have accepted the evidence of the NSW District Court judgement and the independent reviewer that Cr Allen breached the Code of Conduct by harassing Mrs Campbell and touching her in an inappropriate manner.

There are provisions under the Local Government Act for appropriate censure.

If council were to shirk its duty in this case, there would be a legal precedent for any citizen of Bega Valley Shire Council to ignore any resolution of council with which they may not wish to comply.

Seán Burke,

Central Tilba.

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Women to get ready for fires

Organiser Tracey Kippin is hoping that following the seminar women can go home, sit down with their families and work out a fire safety plan.Woodanilling is playing host to a special women only seminar to get ready for bushfire season.
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The seminar will cover a range of fire topics from reporting them to bushfire weather to first aid kicking off 9am on Wednesday September 16 in the Woodanilling Pavilion.

“With fire season coming and each fire season getting more serious, women needed to know what the best role is for us to play,” organiser Tracey Kippin said.

The day will include a number of guest speakers including Andriena Ciric, the Community Emergency Services Manager from the Department of Fire and Emergency services to talk about precautions and previous fire seasons.

Neil Bennet from the Bureau of Meteorology will be speaking about the effects of weather on bushfires.

Claire Collis from St John’s Ambulance will be speaking about first aid, in particular fire related injuries and how to respond.

Finally Hayley Patterson will be speaking about her own experiences of burn trauma after an accident last year.

“Finding out about her experience and the emotional side as well as the physical,” Mrs Kippin said.

All are welcome to the seminar Mrs Kippin said, not just those from outlying properties but from town as well, considering bushfires have been known to spread to town centres.

“It’s not just for farm ladies, it’s for town ladies as well,” she said.

Ms Kippin is hoping that following the seminar women can go home, sit down with their families and work out a fire safety plan.

“Come fire time if you’re not prepared it’s too late,” she said.

Tickets $35.00 each including full catering and are available from Shire of Woodanilling, Shire of Wagin or Tracey Kippin. Please advise of dietary requirements when purchasing your ticket.

The seminar is being organised by the Wagin Baptist Church and sponsored by the shires of Wagin and Woodanilling.

For more information on the evening contact Mrs Kippin on 9823 1609.

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To Madam’s liking

FORMER South Australian ­pacer Modern Madam has an affinity with the City Oval Paceway, having made it two wins from her past four outings with a smart victory in the DNR Logistics Pace at the Mildura trots meeting last Thursday night.
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Modern Madam was confidently driven by in-form Ouyen reinsman Simon Jardine last week at Mildura.

Modern Madam joined the Kate Attard stable at Red Cliffs last month after finishing down the track here on June 19. SA trainer Jill Nielson decided to leave the mare in the district to try and win a Vicbred bonus.

“After her first run here we had her checked out and there were a few little things wrong with her so we ironed them out and she is jumping out of the ground,” Attard said.

Modern Madam won her connections the Wyndown Stud (managed by Geoff Easom) a Vicbred bonus after leading throughout to win here on July 22 for trainer-driver Attard when a short-priced favourite.

“I don’t think I have ever driven a $1.70 favourite before, but she was drawn to lead and did it well to win the bonus,” Attard said.

“Although she won the bonus last month they decided to keep racing her up here until the last meeting in October as the track will be closed for an upgrade after that.”

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Unite for Kurt campaign will continue with dam-trail run

Unite for Kurt: Former players walked to raise money for Kurt Drysdale. Picture: John VeageORGANISERS were overwhelmed by the support shown to fundraising efforts for Kurt Drysdale last weekend, with more than $60,000 raised for his ongoing care.
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The Cronulla Sharks junior who turned 21 almost two weeks ago is in Royal North Shore Hospital, paralysed from the neck down after he was injured playing for Cabramatta in the Sydney Shield in June.

He has made some progress but is still not able to breathe without assistance.

The NSWRL held the Unite for Kurt round last weekend with clubs raising money for Drysdale through gold-coin entry fees, donations and raffles while Cabramatta players also wore specially designed jerseys.

The Sharks dedicated Monday night’s clash with Melbourne to the Unite for Kurt fundraising effort, with students from Drysdale’s former school, Endeavour Sports High, helping with the collection.

Former Sharks player Alan Wilson organised Small Steps for Kurt with the Men of League Foundation.

Steve Hart and the Allstars alsopresented aRock for Kurt event recently at Heathcote Hotel to raise funds and awareness for the young player.

The walk, which began at Heathcote on Monday morning and finished at Remondis Stadium before kick-off of the Sharks-Storm game, saw league identities help raise about $25,000 for Kurt. Cabramatta are also holding a fundraising dinner on Saturday night hosted by NSW coach Laurie Daley. The Woronora Dam Pipeline trail run on Sunday will also support Unite for Kurt.

Send a good luck message to Kurt and his family via the comment link below the story.

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