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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13. 07. 2018
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Inaugural NAIDOC Week awards milestone

Inaugural NAIDOC Week awards milestone

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Proud NAIDOC Week award winners at Tamworth town hall on Sunday. Photo: Julie Craigie PhotographyA FULL-TIME family carer and employee who has also completed six qualifications in a year, a “quirky” elder who never disappoints and an inspiring youth with a future in the air force are among the 12 recipients of NAIDOC Week awards for the Tamworth region.
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The awards night was held on Sunday at Tamworth town hall, where about 200 people turned out tocelebrate achievements and contributions of and for the Aboriginal and Islander community.

Tamworth NAIDOC committee co-chair Ryan Taylor said the event’s aim was to “really recognise people that make a difference”.

“Considering it was the awards’ first year, the amount of support we did have was phenomenal and the event was run really well,” Mr Taylor said.

Sam Ruttley of Healthwise New England was the winner of the professional achievement award.

Her citation said that, on top of caring for her younger siblings, she had made time to gainseveral new qualifications, including a diploma in management.

“She is willing to push the boundaries and succeed as best as she can, and strives to make change within Aboriginal health and the broader community.”

Male elder of the year was Trevor French, described as a “quirky character” on the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council board.

“He is often the LALC’s chosen ambassador and never disappoints in any tasks he undertakes,” Uncle Trev’s citation states.

These include being involved in opening Moree’s rehab centre, and volunteering as a coach or bus supervisor every weekend for Midnight Basketball.

Youth of the year Jacob Stanton was so named for being “a self-starter, motivated to succeed, and committed to helping others do well”.

“He has sought help and now it’s paying dividends. His journey so far is inspiring and the best is yet to come,” his nomination says.

Jacob undertook the Army First Look experience last September and has since been through an Indigenous YOU recruitment session and a Defence Indigenous pre-recruitment course.

He’s set to join the air force as a personnel capability specialist later this year.



The full list of award winners is:

Professional achievement: Sam Ruttley

Community contribution: Midnight Basketball

Artist of the year: Jodie Herden

Male sportsperson of the year: Zarayn Knight

Female sportsperson of the year: Paris Knox

Female elder of the year: Yvonne Kent

Male elder of the year: Trevor French

Non-Aboriginal community contribution: Joanne Stead

Scholar/academic/student of the year: Georgia Taggart

Apprentice/trainee of the year: Sara Keaton

Youth of the year: Jacob Stanton

Volunteer of the year: Douglas Kirk

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13. 07. 2018
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Leaders phone Wilkie, he ‘won’t do deal’

Leaders phone Wilkie, he ‘won’t do deal’

HE’Staken phone calls from both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, but Andrew Wilkie is adamant he won’t be doing any deals.
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The Denison MHR could play a crucial role in determining who forms government if the federal election result remains indeadlock.

Vote counting for the House of Representatives continues on Tuesday, and so far a winner has not been determined.

Mr Wilkie told ABC radio he had spoke to both leaders, but wanted to be “a person of his word”.

“I characterise both of those phone calls as them opening up the channels of communication,” Mr Wilkie said.

Mr Wilkie helped Labor form government in 2010 by entering a formal arrangement with Julia Gillard, which later collapsed.

Hesaid during theperiod when hedidn't have a deal hewas “more true to the idea of independence.”

“I went to the election saying repeatedlythat Iwould not enter intoany formal agreement with any party after the election to allow them to form government,” he said.

“The most important thing here is that I’d be a man of my word.”

Mr Wilkie said if the deadlock remained,the Governor-General would no doubt invite either party to test its support on the floor of the Parliament, andhe expected a no confidence motion to be debated.

“Those of us who don’t have a deal wouldhave to vote on that motion,” he said.

“Rather than a standing deal over time that locks us in, we will weigh up the merit ofthings each and every time.”

At this stage, Mr Wilkie will be joined on the crossbench byQueensland’sBob Katter, Victorian Cathy McGowan and Nick Xenophon Team’sRebekha Sharkie.

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13. 07. 2018
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Rocky Rotary’s drought help

Rocky Rotary’s drought help

Standing firm: Longreach Rotary's Dave Phelps has been working in conjunction with coastal Rotary Clubs to ensure the western Queensland drought appeal sustains its momentum.Rotary clubs around Australia have donated $860,000cash and in-kind for Queenslanddrought relief in the last two years and have set a target of $1m before the end of the year.
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RockhamptonNorth Rotary Club project manager Ron Poulsen said it was understood that the drought wasn’t over.

Overthe past two years the club had given $25,000in credit card vouchers, which had been distributed to graziers in need around the Longreach, Winton and surrounding areas, and has nowpledged to donateanother $10,000 to the Longreach and District Drought Assistance Project.

“This has had a positive result across the whole community because rather than sending food or other products, the vouchers are used at local businesses in Longreach and other centres who are doing it very tough as well.”

The Rotary Club of Rockhampton North has also co-sponsoredwith the Rotary Club of Longreach to send 2016 National Youth Science Forum student Erica Coxon to Canberra with the brightest and best students from around Australia.

Erica, whose family is from Longreach,has since been selectedas one of 27 students worldwide, to attendthe International Summer Science School in Heidelberg in July, and will benefit from a $3000 donation from the Rotary Club to help her live her dream.

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13. 07. 2018
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School with a country beat

School with a country beat

CLASS IS IN: The CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music students and tutors are in the midst of a week of learning about the music business, songwriting, performance and musicianship in Tamworth. Photo: Gareth Gardner 030716GGD01SCHOOL’S in for the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music students in Tamworth as they prepare for one of the biggest concerts of their lives on Friday night.
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More than 20 young up-and-coming country artists have made Tamworth their home for the week.

Group leader Amber Lawrence said the junior academy was always fun.

“I love seeing the growth of the students,” she said.

“They come in and have so much talent already – it’s ridiculous how established they are when they’re so young.”

Lawrence said she wanted them to believe they could do anything if they put in the hard work.

She said it was the “hungriest of the lot” who made it because they worked hard, always tried to improve

their performances and enjoyed it.

“The future is theirs to take,” Lawrence said.

“There are some who might change their minds and decide they don’t want to be a musician, but you’d be

surprised who is still going to be here 20 years later.”

In the lead-up to the graduation concert, Lawrence said she would be working on picking songs and focuson what they wanted toget out of the week ofintensive study.

Lawrence will perform a free family show at the Tamworth Regional Playground on Saturday at 10am.

She will perform songs from her children’s album The Kid’s Gone Country as well as Superhero.

“The kids’ songs have just been going so well,” she said.

“The songs aren’t just for children, though, because they were written with adults in mind as well.”

The academy students graduate with a concert atCalrossy Anglican School on Friday at 7.30pm, with tickets available at the door.

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13. 07. 2018
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Ice action group calls on support service

Ice action group calls on support service

EXPLORING OPTIONS: Kevin Anderson hasn’t ruled out working with Tamworth Family Support Service to set up a drug support line in the region. He is pictured with drug and alcohol specialist Dr Michael Campbell Smith. Photo: Barry Smith 290416BSB04TAMWORTH MP Kevin Anderson is continuing to look into a local rehab option as the ice action grouphones in on phone support services.
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The action group brought in the Tamworth Family Support Service (TFSS) to explain how their 24-our helpline for domestic violence and homelessness operates.

Leigh Smith from TFSS gave a briefing to Kevin Anderson’s Tamworth ice action group yesterday as the taskforce still looks to establish a similar support for drug abuse in Tamworth.

While it was a fact-finding exercise for the group, neither party has ruled out a partnership in the future, which could see the TFSS call service expanded to deal with local drug issues.

Just over two weeks ago, Mr Anderson said the group wanted to streamline services and wanted to continue discussions with an “organisation in Tamworth that does it now for domestic violence” to potentially expand capabilities to drug and alcohol services.

Mr Anderson said the service expansion wasn’t discussed at the meeting, but was keen to talk further on the idea.

TFSS business development manager Leigh Smith presented the phone support model yesterday and said providing drug and alcohol support was something the service would look at.

Mr Smith said drugs and alcohol were often tied up in issues of homelessness and domestic violence, not just in the region, but across the country.

He said the helpline had proven to be a great model in Tamworth and it would be a viable option to combat drug issues.

“We get a better success rate when we talk to people at the time of their crisis,” he said.

Another rehab for the region would also be a welcome addition, according to Mr Smith.

“There are limited spots at Freeman House in Armidale and the (Maayu Mali) centre in Moree,” he said.

“The spots are limited compared to the scope of the issue in the region and the state.”

MP Kevin Anderson is continuing to explore the rehab option, with the chief executive officer of Lyndon, a central west-based rehab facility, invited to visit Tamworth and discuss options.

“Everything is on the table,” Mr Anderson said.

Mr Smith and the Tamworth member agreed there was no fix-all for the problem of ice but pointed to greater collaboration between local services to better help people in the region as a key outcome.

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