13. 07. 2018
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Barnaby, put money where your mouth is

Barnaby, put money where your mouth is

THANK you Barnaby Joyce for your letter to the electorate, and I offer my response.
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I was a paid-up member of the Nationals until 1991, when the party machine tried to crucify Tony Windsor against the wishes of the great majority of grassroots members, and have supported him ever since.

Naturally, I’m disappointed with the result of the current poll, but I respect the electorate’s decision and congratulate you on your achievement.

However, I do wonder about all of the rabbits that came out of the hat during the past few weeks.

We all hope that they can happen, but they only appeared when there was a creditable threat to your re-election, and are still subject to the Coalition being able to govern.

On my count, the perks add up to about $60 million – a big ask in three years, and I wish you well.

However, if Sportsbet are offering any odds against it happening, I’ve got $10 to invest!

Even if the Coalition is forced into opposition, Mr Joyce, will you please put your money where your mouth was, and protect the Liverpool Plains from extractive industries?

We don’t want to hear about it being a state responsibility.

Tony Windsor provided you with the water trigger.

Please protect it, and use it ifnecessary.

Col Smith

Tamworth

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13. 07. 2018
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Humbled by the consideration given me by the voters

Humbled by the consideration given me by the voters

Re-elected member for NewEngland Barnaby Joyce has written this open letter to the electorate.
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Dear New England,

It is an incredible honour torepresent the people of NewEngland.

I am humbled by the consideration given to me by the voters and the extent of that support is evident in the result.

Now comes the task to deliver the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to Armidale, Dungowan Dam Feasibility Study, Northern Inland Centre of Excellence in Tamworth, Scone Bypass, Mount Lindesay Rd Upgrade, Merriwa to Willow Tree Road Upgrade, Liverpool Plains Shire Council Water Supply, along with the other commitments made during the campaign throughout theelectorate.

I hope the Coalition is returned to government.

The Nationals’ team has worked hard on a local level and this has been rewarded with the strong support received on Saturday throughout regional areas.

I wish all the other candidates the very best.

We are so lucky to have this democratic process here in Australia without the afflictions that burden other countries.

The Australian way of life is easy going, happy and gregarious and I hope this is always maintained.

We truly are the “lucky country”.

Most importantly, I am so proud of my office and team who have maintained their primary focus on serving this great electorate.

I am back to work today, heading to the north of the electorate.

I apologise to some of the smaller townships that I did not get to visit during the campaign. I fully intend to visit in the near future.

To the people of the Upper Hunter and Gwydir areas – welcome to a wonderful electorate, you will be a marvellous addition to the seat of New England!

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13. 07. 2018
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Yarn bombing teens bring street to life

Yarn bombing teens bring street to life

BOMBS AWAY: Amanda, Alanis, Holly, Kyle and Central Grampians LLEN engage program co-ordinator Sarah Garton decorate Sloane Street ahead of this weekend's Stawell Winter Woollies Festival.Related coverage:
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Winter Woolies festival to take place in JulyWinter Woollies Festival named Stawell's Community Event of the YearAN ARMY of young yarnbombers were out in force in Stawell on Monday blanketing Sloane Street with colourful knitted creations.

The mission to brighten up the streetscape came in preparation for this weekend’sStawell Winter Woollies Festival at the Powerhouse.

The festival provides locals and visitors alike the chance to buy handmade woollen garments of the highest quality.

“We receive entriesfrom all over Australia and it is absolutely beautiful work,” event organiser Cherelle Nicholson said.

This week’s yarn bombing blitz wasconducted byCentral Grampians LLEN’s Sarah Garton and a group of teenage volunteers.

“Knitted by volunteers, using recycled and scrap wool, the knitted lengths make a bright sight andhelp us to advertise the Stawell Winter Woollies Festival,” Ms Nicholson said.

One of the festival’s highlights will be the opportunity for people to participate in workshops to learn two techniques used to make many of the items–crochet and felting.

The festival opens on Friday from 4pm to 6pm, then continues on Saturday10am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

For more information, go to http://stawellwinterwoollies.weebly南京夜网, or call Stawell Neighbourhood House on5358 3500.

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13. 07. 2018
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Outrage over unauthorised signature use

Outrage over unauthorised signature use

Adam MarshallMEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has been outraged by the circulation of a campaign letter to communities in the seat of New England late last week that encouraged people to vote for member for New England Barnaby Joyce.
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But a spokesman for Mr Joyce’s office said, as far as he knew, the office had nothing to do with the correspondence.

The letter was delivered to households on Mr Marshall’s stationery and included his photo and signature on the bottom.

“When the letter was brought to my attention, I was absolutely furious,” Mr Marshall said.

“I did not see, nor endorse, the letter, which was sent out to people’s homes, purporting to be from me. If I had wanted to write a letter to residents, it would be from my own hand.

“From the heated phone calls and personal exchanges since being alerted to the letter, I can assure people that those in head office will not be doing that again.”

Mr Marshall said his name had been put to the political campaign document without his approval.

“I don’t require people to speak for me and am insulted that those in head office think I do. I also think it’s a massive slap in the face to the community,” Mr Marshall said.

“I have received an apology from the state director of the party about how the ... letter came to be delivered to people in Inverell and Glen Innes without my approval. Hopefully, though, people saw through it – an old photo, wrong letterhead and a printed signature. It’s clearly not from me.”

Mr Marshall moved to reassure the electorate about the correspondence.

“I want the community to know that if they receive something from me in the post, that it is me who sent it to them, not some ... letter written by someone from Sydney,” he said.

A spokesman from Mr Joyce’s office said: “I haven’t seen the letter, but if somebody is accusing someone of forging a letter, they should report it to the AEC.”

Mr Marshall said his signature had now been withdrawn from use by The Nationals head office, without his prior consent.

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13. 07. 2018
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Four-year terms would bring political stability: Ward

Four-year terms would bring political stability: Ward

Picture: ROB HOMERFour-year terms at a federal level would provide stability and eradicate a system where “no meaningful governing gets done”, parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward said.
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Mr Ward made the calls after a double dissolution election called by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull which hasleft the nation facing the prospect of more political uncertainty.

“What I’ve observed at a federal level is governments, regardless of their political flavour, spend the first year-and-a-half implementing election promises and the last year-and-a-half campaigning,” Mr Ward said.

“At a state level we don’t have the games being played around elections being called and their timing, which provides for more stable government and certainty for the community.

Gareth Ward

“I know in particular the business community appreciates having the uncertainty removed and I think the nation would benefit from a more certain and stable government. Of all the jurisdictions in the nation, only two do not have fixed terms.’’

The NSW Government introduced four-year terms in 1995.Those four-year terms can only be stopped if the governor believes the government has acted illegally or the government itself loses control of the lower house.

Mr Ward said the current three-year term leaves “no appetite for brave reform at a Federal level”.

“No-one truly appreciates the fullest extent of the government’s reform agenda and they become reform shy,” Mr Ward said.

“If people could see governments delivering on their reform agenda they may have different views. What we’ve seen federally is more of a concern about holding government than delivering meaningful, long-term reform the nation.”

Previous governments have supported a federal switch, but any change would require a constitutional amendment in the form of a referendum.Every constitutional change put to the Australian people via referendum has failed since 1984.

Labor's re-elected member for the newly-named seat of Whitlam making his vote count at Mt Terry Primary School on Saturday. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

Jones says no need to fear four-year federalswitchLabor federal member for Whitlam Stephen Jones believes there is no reason to fear a longer serving term for federal governments.

Mr Jonescame out in support of a call byNSW member for Kiama Gareth Ward to extend federal terms from three years to four years.

``There is always ways ofcrafting provisions the case of emergency,’’ Mr Jones said.

``Nobody is suggesting removing the deadlock of a double dissolution if a senate obstructs a government agenda.All of the concerns can be dealt with to provide government a stable platform for a reasonable period of time.

``Nobody is suggesting NSW, with fixed four-year terms, is teetering on the edge. It’s been something I’ve raised before in parliament and it in facttakes a heap of the gaming out of the system.’’

Mr Jones plans to raise it again a matter of importancefor the next ALP National Conference.

He noted, due to the instability of the three-year terms, few federal governments in recent Australian history have run their full course.

Mr Jones noted the ``legal obstacle’’ of constitutional change with a referendum was a sticking point.

``As Turnbull and Shorten will discover, it takes a certain amount of time and resources to run a plebiscite or referendum because when doing that, you’re not doing something else,’’ he said.

``That probably explains why it has not been done yet.’’

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13. 07. 2018
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Perfect time to show support

Perfect time to show support

THE flag is being raised on NAIDOC celebrations across the region this week.
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For those of you who might not be aware, NAIDOC Week is held around Australia each July to acknowledge and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The idea of NAIDOC goes back to a letter written by a man called William Cooper.

It was written on behalf of the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association and called for a “Day of Mourning” on the day before Australia Day.

The first “Day of Mourning” in 1938 made enough of an impact on the national conversation that it triggered an invitation for Indigenous leaders to meet with then prime minister Joseph Lyons.

By 1946, the day was being observed nationally and it was moved from January to July in 1957.

In 1991, NADOC became NAIDOC, to recognise Torres Strait Islanders, and was turned into a week of celebration, rather than just one day.

The theme for this year’s NAIDOC week is “Songlines – The living narrative of our nation”.

If you’re keen to get involved, there’s plenty of events happening right across our community this week, including a touch gala day today and a cultural tour at the Tamworth Botanic Gardens tomorrow.

While you might have already noticed the very colourful installations wrapped around the trees in front of Ray Walsh House in Tamworth’s Peel St.

It all wraps up with the NAIDOC March and Family Fun Day on Friday at Bicentennial Park, where the highlight will be an art installation created by local Aboriginal artists and photographers.

Get along if you can. There are also various events planned at the gallery, local libraries and council.

So whether you’re participating in an event or just taking the opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, the time is now to show your support.

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13. 07. 2018
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NDIS implcations – Shake-up in disability services

NDIS implcations – Shake-up in disability services

THE disability support sector is in for a major shake-up with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with larger providers potentially better placed to take advantage of the new arrangements and some smaller services finding it harder to survive.
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Barry Murphy, chief executive of Challenge Disability Services, said his organisation had spent the past two years considering the implications of the NDIS, which was rolled out across the region from Friday, with the changes in the funding structure one of the main areas of concern.

Whereas before providers received a quarterly allocation of funding to run their services, now the clients hold the purse strings, the majority choosing to have the National Disability Insurance Agency pay for their support needs on their behalf.

With no guaranteed bulk allocation of funding coming in every few months, Mr Murphy said it was a challenge for service providers in terms of cash flow and in determining the price that needed to be put on staff members’ time and the services provided.

He said Challenge, in preparing for the competitive new environment guaranteed by the NDIS, had gone through the painful process of shedding staff – the majority from higher management positions – in an effort to cut costs.

Mr Murphy said in this new business environment, it was a case of “minimising overheads and maximising sales”, but on that point it’s not all bad news.

There is substantially more money available for disability support services under the NDIS, so Mr Murphy said in time they wanted to grow client numbers – Challenge currently has about 600 in the region – and as a result put on more frontline staff.

“In the next couple of years, the number of staff at the coalface of our organisation ... will double,” he said.

While Challenge offers a full suite of services and has the potential to build on that, Mr Murphy conceded smaller providers may struggle to compete, with the number of support services eventually shrinking.

Meanwhile, for disabled clients, the future is bright according to Mr Murphy.

“Aside from all the issues for service providers, (the NDIS) is the best thing that could happen for those with a disability and their families,” he said.

The fact people could now shop around for the best suite of services for their individual needs, and then choose to go elsewhere if they weren’t satisfied, put the power back in the hands of clients, Mr Murphy said.

“It’s more important than ever to deliver quality services ... because now clients can vote with their feet,” he said.

“It’s all about competition ... and, for us, adjusting to working in this competitive new environment.”

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13. 07. 2018
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Welcome to the Dark Sky

Welcome to the Dark Sky

BRING ON THE NIGHT: Warrumbungle National Park joins Death Valley and Scotland’s Galloway Forest Park as a Dark Sky park. THE importance of Warrumbungle National Park to Australia’s astronomical commun- ity has been recognised with a significant declaration.
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The area has been declared Australia’s first Dark Sky Park, an internationally-recognised title that offers it a unique suite of protections when it comes to its “stargazing” reputation.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the park’s dark sky qualities would be protected with $100,000 in funding to control light pollution through implementation of updated planning policies.

A new Dark Sky Planning Guideline has also been developed with the Australian Astronomical Observatory as part of the NSW government’s review of state planning policies.

“Warrumbungle National Park has long been recognised not only for its beauty at ground level, but also for the wonder it holds in the night sky above,” Mr Stokes said.

“It’s an outstanding place to view the night sky and, withthe nearby Siding Spring Observatory, plays an important role in Australian astronomical research.

KEPT IN THE DARK: The Siding Spring Observatory will benefit from the Dark Sky Park declaration given to Warrumbungle National Park. Photo: science.gov419论坛

“As nearby communities grow, it’s important we plan to protect the park’s dark sky qualities from light pollution now and into the future.”

Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, welcomed the declaration.

“Warrumbungle National Park is a place our local community has always treasured, and I’m delighted it’s now been recognised in this way,” he said.

Professor Fred Watson, head of lighting and environment for the Australian Astronomical Observatory, led the nomination for the park.

“I am thrilled with the new Dark Sky status, which will give central western NSW the opportunity to educate and exemplify the benefits of dark skies and the use of sky-friendly lighting,” he said.

Warrumbungle National Park joins other international parks such as Death Valley National Park in the United States and Galloway Forest Park in Scotland as officially designated Dark Sky Parks.

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13. 07. 2018
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Country Labor’s profile boosted

Country Labor’s profile boosted

HAPPY: David Ewings of Country Labor was pleased with his party’s efforts. Photo: SuppliedTHEY might not have won the election, but if anything, Country Labor candidate David Ewings was pleased to boost the profile of his party.
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Describing the almost eight-week race to the seat of New England as “a lot of fun and hard work”, the Scone local received 6.89 per cent of the primary vote and was the closest rival to independent candidate Tony Windsor and returned member Barnaby Joyce.

“We are pretty pleased with the result and are happy with the effort from our volunteers and other supporters,” Mr Ewings told The Leader.

“We are a bit disappointed that Barnaby Joyce was re-elected, but what I’ve said right from the start is, regardless of the outcome, we were doing it to build our profile in the New England and we will continue.”

Mr Ewings said while in this year’s election the party had lost half of its votes compared to 2013, he attributed the downfall in numbers to the resurgence of Mr Windsor.

“You can’t really make a proper comparison. We actually out-polled Tony in the southern part of the electorate – where I’m from – and I’m actually pretty happy with that result,” he said.

With a hung parliament almost imminent, Mr Ewings said his personal view in this case would be the Coalition would be returned as a minority government.

However, he said, either way, the election was a win for Labor.

“It is more likely the Coalition will return for a minority government, but it will be interesting, given their constant decrying of the past Labor minority government,” he said.

“It will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

“A lot of commentators have said this is about as close as you can get for Labor to win without winning. It’s a really good result and a great platform for the election, no matter what happens.”

As for seeing a Labor member for New England enter the ranks in the future, Mr Ewings remained upbeat.

“I think it’s possible. It’s certainly not going to be easy,” he said.

“It’ never easy to get rid of incumbent National Party members in regional areas.”

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13. 07. 2018
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Region gets judge – Attorney-General announces role to be permanent

Region gets judge – Attorney-General announces role to be permanent

JUDGES FOR THE BUSH: Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson, Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall all smiles following the announcement of a permanent District Court Judge for New England. Photo: Dannielle MaguireOUTRAGE over the sentencing of a group who attacked police was the “tipping point” for action which has culminated in a district court judge for the New England.
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Attorney-General Gabrille Upton flew into Armidale yesterday, backed by local MPs Adam Marshall and Kevin Anderson, to announce a permanent position for a district court judge.

The judge, who will choose whether to live in Tamworth or Armidale, will preside on a full-time basis over the two courts, which are struggling to deal with a backlog of criminal cases.

“This is not about putting people in a cell and throwing away the key, but having judges presiding over our cases in our region, and actually having an understanding of our region, because they live here and they’re part of the community,” Mr Marshall said.

“What we perceive as quite a serious incident, i.e., the bashing of police officers, may not be treatedas seriously in a metropolitan setting because probably they’re a little more desensitised to it.”

Mr Marshall started the “Jdges for the Bush” campaign in May, after community anger over sentencing decisions was reported by The Leader.

A Glen Innes group were captured by The Leader celebrating after escaping jail for violently attacking police – a decision which forced Ms Upton to ask the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to review the sentence.

“For me it was just something that stood out so strongly that it needed some sort of response,” Mr Marshall said.

“It highlights the issue of having judges that live in Sydney fly up making decisions which aren’t reflective of

what the community would expect.”

Some locals are waiting 12 months or more to have trials heard and Ms Upton said the new position would help to clear the backlog.

“We had some very, very strong advocacy,” she said, praising the two Nationals MPs.

“In addition to that, the head of the district court makes decisions about where the work is within the state, and there was a very clear need that the New England region needed to have a full- time district court judge.”

There’s no timeline on when the new judge will take up the position, but Mr Anderson said it will provide efficient and effective justice.

“The backlog causes problems with those in remand, so Tamworth has a jail with a90-odd bed capacity,” he said.

“So that person is being held and that is clogging up our system in terms of the Corrective Services area, so this will also help to clear that backlog for those that are in jail at the moment.”

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