Action week about information

INFORMING: Julie McNeil, left, Lynette Bullen and Kerryn Griffin staffed an information display at Centrelink yesterday for Drug and Alcohol Action Week. Photo: JUDE KEOGHAN information display was set up at Centrelink yesterday to mark the beginning of national Drug and Alcohol Action Week.
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Representatives from the Lyndon Withdrawal Unit, the Magistrates for Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) program and Kite Street Community Health informed Orange residents about the city’s drug and alcohol programs.

“It’s all about bringing our programs out to the community. The Lyndon unit is the only detox unit west of the Blue Mountains,” said Lyndon Withdrawal Unit drugs and alcohol counsellor Lynette Bullen.

“I think it’s extremely important to let people know what programs are out there and what certain substances are doing to us. We don’t want to hound people today, it’s just a nice and relaxed way to get the information across.”

MERIT case worker Julie McNeil promoted MERIT’s positive role in helping offenders with drug and alcohol problems.

“MERIT is aimed at getting people out of the criminal justice system and into help, so they can get their lives back together,” she said.

Community Health drug and alcohol counsellor Kerryn Griffin said she wanted to publicise the centre’s drug and alcohol helpline.

“We want people experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol to call 1300 887 000,” she said.

“When they call they will receive an assessment and be referred to the most appropriate service for them.”

Ms Bullen, Ms McNeil and Ms Griffin agreed that alcohol was the most commonly abused substance in Orange.

“People don’t realise that alcohol is the main killer, through binge-drinking and the likelihood of accidents,” Ms McNeil said.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Civic plan go ahead

NOT FOR SALE … YET: Cr Pam Ryan argued that connecting the sale of the Function Centre to refurbishment of the civic precinct was “putting the cart before the horse”. Photo: BETHANY HALLORANGE City Council will push ahead with a plan to redevelop the Civic Square but the sale of the Function Centre has been taken off the agenda in the short term.
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Last week’s council meeting voted to develop a five-year master plan for the block bounded by Lords Place and Byng, Peisley and March streets. The plan will look at consolidating council services to the civic precinct and to provide space for growth.

Support for the master plan killed off a $633,800 proposal to refurbish the council chamber and associated administration areas.

About $100,000 of that will be used almost immediately to convert two committee rooms into office space and $300,000 will employ additional planning staff to deal with increased development activity. The funds will also be used to develop the master plan.

A report by general manager Allen Dwyer was tabled at Thursday night’s meeting.

“Council should be considering, say a five year plan to create a Civic Square precinct and consolidate operations for the next 30 years,” it said.

Cr Pam Ryan told the meeting that including the sale of the Function Centre and council buildings in Kite Street in the development of the master plan was “putting the cart before the horse”.

She said the development of the master plan should determine what was needed in the civic precinct redevelopment.

Cr Jeremy Buckingham said a master plan was a good idea but the sale of the Function Centre should be dealt with as a separate matter.

While a reference to selling the Function Centre was removed from the master plan investigation, general manager Allen Dwyer told the meeting the sale was pivotal to future expansion.

He said without selling the Function Centre and Kite Street buildings, council would need to win Tatts Lotto for the Civic Square redevelopment to go ahead.

Mr Dwyer said the intention was to retain the Function Centre until there was a suitable replacement.

Cr John Miller told the meeting the Function Centre was outdated and had become a burden on the council and community.

“The key here is that we are looking to replace the Function Centre with something that is more workable,” he said.

Cr Dick Niven said the Function Centre was built 40 years ago as a result of a great community effort.

“[But] it’s outlived its original purpose. It was a great thing. Amoco contributed to it, the Tilston family, the Glenroi people and a great number of people contributed … But we mustn’t have this attitude that it is there forever,” he said.

Cr Niven agreed the sale reference could be removed from the formal recommendation but council staff should not be forbidden from including the sell off in a master plan investigation.

Cr Niven also said the addition of a third floor should be part of the investigation.

“I can recall the time in 1976 when this [Civic Centre] was being built. Kell and Rigby were the contractors and the council at the time had absolutely stretched their budget as far as they could.

“Kell and Rigby were on site and said ‘for another $200,000 we can put the third storey on’. But council couldn’t stretch any further … It could be a solution now,” he said.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Keeping up with kids no easy task

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
HangZhou Night Net

CABONNE Council received seven letters from students in recent weeks.

The year 9 students from Molong Central School are learning about government and community action.

The letters all expressed a similar sentiment – the students were concerned about a lack of activities for young people in their local communities.

Suggestions for possible solutions to the problem included a heated pool, skate park, cinema, more discos, a youth centre with a games room, cycle paths and more sports events.

Some of the suggestions fall well outside the council’s jurisdiction – for example, it is not for the council to organise local sporting activities, build cinemas or run youth discos.

However, it is certainly within council’s capabilities to help fund and develop infrastructure such as skate parks and cycle paths. The question for the council to consider is – can the development of these sorts of facilities be justified, given they will cost tens of thousands of dollars?

The council has decided to undertake a review of the needs of the youth within the shire. It will consult with young people at community meetings and organise visits to the shire’s 18 schools.

Mayor John Farr observed that times had changed and the needs of young people had changed too. He said our young people were a product of a computer age and many were no longer satisfied with activities previous generations enjoyed.

Cr Peter Carman said the needs of youth appeared to be cyclical and the length of the cycles getting shorter – they were constantly needing something new to keep them entertained.

The council has adopted a sound course in undertaking the review. But as all 12 councillors recognised yesterday – it will not be easy.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

First time lucky

ROLLING UP: Orange City’s Greg Campbell bowls one down in the Western Districts Champion of Club Champions pairs tournament at Orange City. Photo: BETHANY HALLLAWN BOWLS
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BATHURST Majellan’s Laci Koszta and Glenn Field have won the Western Districts Champion of Club Champions pairs title in their first year trying.

The two have won their club championship pairs the last three years but this is the first time the finals have been played before the Western Districts titles.

The Majellan pair defeated Greg Campbell and Trevor Scott, from host club Orange City, 22-12 in the final.

The final was played on the synthetic green on Sunday morning and went for almost four-and-a-half hours.

“It was hard work,” Majellan skip Laci Koszta said.

“I’ve never played on a synthetic green in my life so it was a new game all together. My lead (Glenn Field) played very well. He’s a good draw bowler.”

Majellan had to play two matches on Saturday to qualify for yesterday’s final and they had their work cut out in their second match.

“We played Blayney (Rob Southcombe and Gary Death) in the morning and won comfortably,” Koszta said.

“Then in the afternoon we played Bathurst City, our old sparring partners. We were up by three shots but then we dropped seven shots which is suicide.

“That was not far from the end but we shook ourselves awake and we got a couple of threes to put us back in front and we were able to hold on.”

In the other semi-final Campbell and Scott defeated the Orange Ex-Services pairing of Steven Diduszko and Mick Wright to progress to the final.

Winning the title qualifies Majellan for the Zone Champion of Club Champion title which is expected to be held in September.

“We’re happy because we’re such a small club and we don’t have a lot of members and we’re not big names,” Koszta said.

“To come up here and beat Orange City at home was great.”

The two have been playing together for three years and in that time Field has won the club’s singles championship each year.

“We’re a good combination so I don’t want to let him go,” Koszta laughed.

“You don’t break up a winning combination.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

BEN’S HIGH FIVE

PERSONAL BEST: Emus No 8 Ben Wright scores one of his five tries against the Dubbo Rhinos on Saturday.RUGBY UNION
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ORANGE Emus No 8 Ben Wright created a personal best when he scored five tries in Saturday’s Blowes Menswear Cup win over Dubbo Rhinos.

Emus cemented their place in the top three with a crushing 45-7 victory over the Rhinos in one of their best performances for the 2004 season.

“I don’t ever remember scoring five tries, so today was certainly a first,” Wright said as he fielded congratulations from players and supporters after the whistle.

“It was a tough game but the platform was laid by our scrum, they did all the work.

“That was definitely the best the forwards have played all year and hopefully we can now carry that momentum through to the rest of the season.

“We talked about it all week but we were a bit slow to start and hung off a bit.

“Fortunately we got back to basics and drove it in to them.”

Emus were keen to tie down third place on the table and to do that they had to beat the Rhinos.

“Before today we set ourselves for third place and these guys (the Rhinos) were just behind us, so we had to win,” Wright said.

“We’ve got a break next week and then want to pick it up again and carry today’s form into the latter part of the season and keep on winning, basically.”

Full marks to the Emus forwards who were just magnificent, despite being without seriously injured key players Derek Scott and Paul Johnston who will be cheering from the stand for the rest of the season.

Their binding and ball management put enormous pressure on the Rhinos and each of Wright’s tries was on the back of brutal thrust from his team-mates.

Their pick and run was well manufactured and time and time again the home side was forced to defend for long periods of play.

Rhinos’ breakaway Gareth Davies best summed up the victors.

“They Kangaroos the other day were probably more physical, but Emus today were more structured and more organised. It was tough work defending for long periods,” he said.

“But to our credit, the guys really stuck in but the lack of ball didn’t help and they always seemed to have the numbers.”

Indeed they did although it was only 19-7 at half-time.

In that same 40 minutes of football the Rhinos had only one major chance to score and they did when prop Paul Sutton planted the ball over the line after some determined play from his forwards.

Down the other end of the park, Wright had scored three tries, but there was still plenty of time for the Rhinos to get into the game.

Unfortunately it didn’t get any better for the Rhinos as the Emus forward machine powered on.

There wasn’t a weak link in the forward pack with Geoff Potts, Mitch Rodwell, Ian Jamieson and Simpson Williamson involved in all the tough stuff and Aaron Hansen and Stu Brisbane on the side of scrum always busy.

Without the ball, the Rhinos were always going to struggle. But there were few better than Chris Gibson in the front row, along with Paul Sutton and Gareth Davies.

l Defending premiers Forbes slumped to their third straight defeat with a 13-9 loss to Dubbo at home on Saturday.

Narromine and Bathurst were other winners over Mudgee and Parkes respectively, while Wellington and Cowra drew 22-all.

ORANGE EMUS 45 (Ben Wright 5, Matt Kennedy, Ian Jamieson tries, Andrew Michell 5 conversions) def DUBBO RHINOS 7 (Paul Sutton try, Glen Gallagher conversion).

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Storm over Telstra connection times

TELSTRA was forced to defend its connection and fault repair services after a report found it was increasingly using bad weather as an excuse for failing to meet time targets.
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A report by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) found Telstra had sought 48 weather condition exemptions in the March quarter – five per cent higher than at the same time last year.

Optus also claimed exemptions affecting 4.6 per cent of new service connections and 10.8 per cent of fault repair requests.

ACA acting chairman Dr Bob Horton said the telecommunications watchdog had asked the telcos for more information so that it could check their performance against weather records.

“Our aim is to better understand the basis for the increasing number of exemptions claimed and the number of customers affected by extended service timeframes,” he said in a statement.

Telstra infrastructure managing director Michael Rocca said the weather had been particularly bad over the March quarter.

“Health and safety of our staff is paramount and extreme weather can make it impossible to access the network causing delays to some customers at some times,” Mr Rocca said.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Trolleys all over the shop

ON THE LOOSE: The issue of abandoned shopping trolleys has been raised in an Orange City Council report that will be tabled tonight. Photo: BETHANY HALL.SUPERMARKETS in Orange will not move to a coin operated trolley deposit system, according to an Orange City Council report.
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The report to be tabled at a council meeting tonight discusses the problem of abandoned trolleys in the city.

It said the problem had improved but there were too still many trolleys left in parks and streets.

“Trolleys that are left on public streets are often taken to other areas of the city and abandoned, mainly at night, and are used, either intentionally or otherwise, to damage vehicles or property,” the report said.

It said a meeting was held with the supermarkets in May to discuss the issue of abandoned trolleys.

“From that meeting it was obvious that the stores would not agree to provide a coin operated deposit system,” the report said.

The reasons against a deposit system were customer inconvenience, faulty equipment causing frustration, vandalism to remove money, youths harassing shoppers for trolleys so they can collect the coins and high repair costs.

Aldi supermarket uses the coin deposit system.

Despite resistance to coin deposits the report said the number of abandoned trolleys was falling.

“Engaging contractors and using the Trolley Tracker system has definitely reduced the number of the number of abandoned trolleys, but it is felt the stores could do more to reduce the problem,” it said.

Woolworths, Big W, Coles, Franklins and Kmart use trolley retrieval contractors.

Tuckerbag does not.

The report said Trolley Trackers, a toll free number for reporting stray trolleys, was not widely enough advertised in Orange.

Trolley Trackers can be contacted on 1800 641 497

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Booklet guides the way

TRANSPORT: Electorate secretary Robyn McCarthy with the new transport booklet.MEMBER for Orange Russel Turner has sent out some 20,000 copies of a transport booklet to every resident in the Orange electorate.
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The booklet is a complete guide to transport in the region.

Electorate secretary Robyn McCarthy said they had received a lot of positive feedback since issuing the booklet.

“Russel felt there was a need in the community for this booklet. People don’t have any idea what transport options are available to them in the Orange electorate,” she said.

The booklet is based on a similar brochure released in the Upper Hunter electorate last year although it is the first in the State to be so comprehensive.

“The booklet contains detailed maps of all the towns in the electorate and the bus services run in those towns.”

“There is also detailed information about the CountryLink services between towns and interstate travel,” Mrs McCarthy said.

Russel Turner’s electoral allowance funded the project and it is hoped the booklet will be a blueprint for other regions in the State to use.

Another aspect of the booklet is the information it contains about community transport run by Home and Community Care.

Manager of Orange Community Transport Simon Coore said it was a “needed” guide and should be widely used within the community.

Taxi numbers, flight information for the State and car rental agencies are also included in the booklet.

“We have received a lot of comments on the booklet, one lady rang to say thankyou because she wasn’t aware that she could catch the XPT from Orange to Melbourne.”

“The booklet is particularly useful for people who are new to the various towns in the region.”

“If anyone has not received a copy of the transport booklet, we ask them to ring our office or drop down and pick one up, they are also available at all tourist information centres in the area,” Mrs McCarthy said.

Cudal was left out of the booklet this year, however as it will be updated each year, the town will be added in the next addition.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Councillor angered by minister’s letter

A letter from Local Government Minister Tony Kelly has resulted in an angry response from an Orange City Councillor.
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The letter thanks council for making a submission to the government on council amalgamation and reform.

The Orange City Council reform submission went to Mr Kelly in July last year.

Mr Kelly’s letter arrived at council last month and was a response to correspondence council sent to the minister in October seeking information about the reform process.

“Thank you for advising of your council’s preferred course forward, which I have noted, along with advice from your neighbours. I am yet to determine the most appropriate approach to reform in your part of the State,” the letter said.

Cr Dick Niven, an advocate for amalgamation, said the timing of the letter was a joke.

“It is absolute nonsense. It staggers me. We were the greatest proponents to a certain extent of amalgamation because we have always wanted to expand and get a regional base. On the other hand Bathurst was isolated and insular and not really interested in reform but they are amalgamated and nothing happens here,” he said.

Cr Niven said the letter was even more perplexing because it followed media statements made by Mr Kelly’s office in April that the 65 page Orange submission for a merger with Blayney and Cabonne did not meet section 263 of the Local Government Act and would not be forwarded to the Boundaries Commission for consideration.

“When we gave him those documents, we were told by his staff that our submission should be the benchmark for other applications. It is extraordinary,” he said.

Last month Mr Kelly told the Central Western Daily there was still potential for council amalgamations or reform involving Orange.

“At any stage a proposal could be put forward … I can’t really say [there won’t be an amalgamation]. I can’t rule anything out or in,” he said.

Mr Kelly said there was no timeframe for reform.

“It is always a moveable feast,” he said.

Mr Kelly made the comments after attending a conference in Wellington where structural reform and strategic alliances were discussed.

Blayney, Wellington and Cabonne have formed a strategic alliance for resource sharing, which has the minister’s support.

Cr Niven said resource sharing was not a new phenomenon.

“He’s saying what a tremendous thing this alliance is. But it’s all froth and bubble as far as I am concerned,” he said.

“For years people have been borrowing machinery from neighbouring municipalities and shires and seconding staff.

“We’ve gone as far as sending planners to sister cities overseas. We’ve never hesitated to assist with things like that in adjoining shires. It’s almost as if the minister is reinventing the wheel.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Mist-chievous fog greys our day

MISTY-EYED: Jill Mitchell walks her dogs, Curtly and Charlie, through Bloomfield Park during yesterday morning’s pea-souper.Photo BETHANY HALLA COOL foggy morning greeted Orange residents yesterday, with the fog lifting at around lunchtime.
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Around six millimetres of rain fell on Saturday night with isolated showers.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicted a chance of thunderstorms overnight.

Orange is expected to reach 11 degrees today after a minimum of three degrees.

The next couple of days should be dry and partly cloudy with early fog and light to moderate southwest winds.

Wednesday and Thursday should continue to be cool and dry with south to southwest winds.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Marriage split

ON LINE FIRE: Greens candidate Jeremy Buckingham logs-on to Nationals candidate Robert Griffith’s web site. “I believe it borders on inciting violence against gays.” Photo BETHANY HALLTHE first volley in the battle for Calare has been fired with the Greens launching a stinging attack on National Party candidate for the seat Robert Griffith.
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Greens candidate for the Senate, Jeremy Buckingham claims Mr Griffith’s web site is discriminatory and anti-homosexual.

“This [web site] is total nonsense. It’s un-Australian. And I believe it borders on inciting violence against gays and it’s just paranoid to suggest that our community is being dominated by homosexual lobbyists,” he said.

Mr Griffith, a Baptist minister in Orange, dismissed the claims as emotive and groundless.

“The whole issue in terms of marriage has to be taken out of the discrimination debate because at the moment [the Greens] twist it emotively to being gay bashing and discriminating personally against persons who don’t have a heterosexual relationship,” Griffith said.

“It’s emotive nonsense. We are actually discriminating in favour of the vast majority of people who want to protect the institution and the foundation of our society.”

Mr Buckingham, an Orange City councillor, said he was yet to see any gay activists on the streets of Orange.

In May, Prime Minister John Howard’s announced the government would amend the Marriage Act to ban marriages between couples of the same sex.

A ban of gay marriages has been delayed, with the legislation to be considered by a Senate inquiry.

Greens candidate for Calare Stephen Nugent said the web site gave succour to anti-gay elements in society.

“I think it has the potential to insight hatred,” he said.

Mr Griffith’s web site said Australian values had been undermined, redefined, corrupted or replaced by a small minority of militant activists.

“[The activists] have intimidated, coerced and threatened everyone from the man and woman on the street, right through to State and Federal government leaders,” it said.

The comments appear on the web site under the heading “Issues”, where Mr Griffith airs his concerns about the recent debate on amendments to the Marriage Act of 1961.

The web site says when the act was created the society of the day would have found the idea that “same-sex partners could masquerade as real parents and be responsible for raising children as abhorrent to most people.”

“Now here we are over 40 years [on from the act] … in this new ‘enlightened’ age … fighting to save the institution of marriage and the God-ordained structure of families across our nation! How did this happen? How did we allow our nation to get to this point? In this age of ‘tolerance’ and political correctness … where real issues are overshadowed by anti-discrimination and anti-vilification laws, we are facing the very real threat of our whole nation being shaped by a few vocal minority groups,” it said.

“Is this personal discrimination against homosexual people? Absolutely not and that emotive argument needs to be refuted with all our might … I have enjoyed friendships with a number of homosexuals without condoning their lifestyle choice.”

Mr Buckingham said the web site was an attack on tolerance.

“He is saying we are too tolerant as a society. [But] it’s good we’re tolerant Australia is about a fair go for all; it doesn’t matter if you are Pakistani, gay or a lesbian or an Anglo Saxon white heterosexual.”

The web site also says: “We must be on guard against things which come to us under the banner of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘the new age of tolerance’, which are in fact inherently flawed and destructive to the very fabric of our society … traditional marriage between a man and a woman, is to our society, what oxygen is to our body.

“Let’s protect it at all costs … before it is too late and we face consequences in future generations which can and will bring this nation to its knees.”

Mr Griffith added he was pleased to see Mr Buckingham promoting his web site.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Council deserves answers on reform

Monday, July 12, 2004
HangZhou Night Net

SECTIONS of Orange City Council are exasperated with the Minister responsible for their tier of government.

But unlike some areas of the State it is what Local Government Minister Tony Kelly hasn’t done that has raised the blood pressure of some councillors.

Put simply Mr Kelly has failed to embrace a reform model that a number of councillors believe is best for the ratepayers and the region.

The reform issue is off the agenda for some city councillors, including Mayor John Davis, who was opposed to amalgamation while the mayor of Blayney.

For others like former mayor Dick Niven it remains a sore point, particularly so because the reform submission put forward by the Orange council before the March election is not all that dissimilar to the model that Mr Kelly ratified for Bathurst.

The minister has maintained that reform is still on the agenda but he is yet to decide what that means for Orange.

He gave the Central Western Daily an each way bet last month when he said: “I can’t rule anything out or in.”

Therein lies the problem.

There is little doubt that the Department of Local Government and the Boundaries Commission have been very busy in the year since Premier Bob Carr let the amalgamation genie out of the bottle at the shires conference in Sydney.

Reform or he would “crack the whip”, the Premier said.

Orange acted and presented its case to Mr Kelly in a 65-page submission.

Irrespective of the pros and cons of that document or the workload of the bureaucracies handling the reform process, Orange City Council has a right to know something more than “I can’t rule anything out or in”.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Indoor’s best on the rebound

SOCCER
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ORANGE’S Play On Indoor will host the Rebound Indoor Soccer NSW Championships for four days starting tomorrow.

The boys and girls 12-13 years and 14-16 years championships will be played at the indoor centre as well as at the Bathurst Sport Stadium.

Teams will be competing from Orange, Bathurst, Dubbo, Goulburn, Southern Highlands, Sydney and other areas.

The Championship, which is run by Aussie Indoor Sports Experts, will also be used to select state merit teams and reserve players.

The 14-16 years boys and girls will start tomorrow morning at 9am at Play On Indoor with preliminary games running the whole day.

The finals and play offs will be held on Sunday and the trophy presentation as well as the announcement of the state teams will be at 4:20pm at Orange.

The 12-13 years boys and girls will start on Monday morning at 9:30am with the boys playing at Bathurst and the girls in Orange.

Both the boys and girls will play in Orange on Tuesday for the finals and the trophy presentation and state teams announcement will be made at 4:20pm.

A high level of competition is expected for the championships with the best teams from centres around the state qualifying to compete.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.