13. 07. 2018
Billy Longer set to return from concussion for St Kilda, while Paddy McCartin waits

Billy Longer set to return from concussion for St Kilda, while Paddy McCartin waits

Saints ruckman Billy Longer's wait to return to the field is finally over. Photo: Pat Scala St Kilda ruckman Billy Longer is expected to play his first game in more than a month this week, having overcome a serious concussion.
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But the Saints' experience in managing Longer's recovery will not necessarily guide their treatment of young forward Paddy McCartin.

While the Saints have already ruled McCartin out of this week's match against Essendon, they are planning for Longer to line up in the VFL.

The 23-year-old was sidelined for a month at the start of June, having struggled to overcome the side effects of a head knock almost four weeks earlier.

Longer passed concussion tests following the knock and was able to play the following week, but had trouble later on with headaches and memory loss.

He was ruled out of contact drills and games in order to recover, but Saints football manager Jamie Cox said on Monday that he was ready to resume playing.

"He's feeling good and he's going well. He's considered likely for this week," Cox said.

"There may still be one small hurdle or one small test left for him to jump, but he's up on our board as likely. He's on schedule for this week."

Cox said the Saints would place their complete trust in their medical staff when it came to managing McCartin's recovery from his latest knock.

He said the club's recent history with handling concussions – captain Nick Riewoldt has also dealt with one this year – was not especially helpful given each individual case was so different.

"It can't hurt, and we're certainly not green in this area. Everyone cops their share but we've had a few and we have some really good people here who know what they're doing," Cox said.

"But they're never related. They're different people, different incidents, different sorts of knocks. It's a very individual thing."

McCartin has been concussed five times since 2014, and suffered his third head knock for the year against Gold Coast on Saturday.

The club will take the time it needs to conduct all necessary tests on the 20-year-old before determining when or whether he will play again this season.

"We haven't made any decisions about Paddy beyond this week and one of our concerns at the moment is that there are a lot of people looking to speculate," Cox said.

"It's a personal medical issue and we have some seriously good medical people in this space, and some consultants who are at the top of their tree.

"We need to trust them and give them the time they need to assess him and treat him and make decisions from there.

"The first step is to treat his symptoms, and as far as that goes he's been in here today feeling good.

"Whatever's best for Paddy is what we'll do, and he woke up feeling well on Sunday and has been at the club today in good spirits.

"It's a good start, but we've ruled him out early just to give him and the medical staff they time they need to check him out properly."

The Saints hope to regain Sean Dempster this week, with the defender ready to play four weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

Jimmy Webster (hamstring) and Nathan Wright (shoulder) will be tested at training, as will Jack Billings.

Sam Fisher is continuing to recover from a hamstring injury, and is one or two weeks away from a return to the side.

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13. 07. 2018
80 out of work in Tenterfield after closure

80 out of work in Tenterfield after closure

TENTERFIELD is reeling after the closure of one of the area’s biggest employers.
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It’s been confirmed Wallangarra Meatworks will close on Friday, leaving more than 80 employees out of work.

The future of the sheep- and goat-processing plant has been uncertain for some months, with the meatworks in a stand-down phase since April, after a temporary closure and job losses in 2015.

At one point last year, the facility, owned by Thomas Foods International, employed about 260 workers, many of whom lived in Wallangarra and Tenterfield.

Darren Thomas, Thomas Foods International’s chief executive officer, advised employees the meatworks would “cease operations for the near to medium future”.

“The closure follows on from an extended stand-down due to livestock shortages and difficult global trading conditions,” he said.

Mr Thomas said all employees would be paid their respective entitlements and a number of staff had already transferred to the company’s Tamworth operation, with others still considering a transfer.

“Thomas Foods International is very hopeful of retaining skilled employees who wish to relocate to other operations within our group, and we would offer what support and training we can in helping in this transition,” he said.

Harry Bolton, senior economic development officer for Tenterfield Shire Council, said it would have a big impact on the area and the local economy.

He said the abattoir had been a large and stable employer for the area since commencing operations in the early 1990s, and the potential loss from the district of so many workers, and their families, would be felt.

“Unfortunately, in that industry and with that skill set, there just isn’t a lot of employment in town to gravitate to, and that means people will have to leave,” Mr Bolton said.

“Many would have actually moved here in the first place because of the abattoir and the opportunities it offered.”

He remained hopeful though that the meatworks may be reopened in the future, but admitted that could be some time away.

“The company is indicating at this point that may be a possibility down the track ... but just when – in two years’ or 10 years’ time – it’s impossible to say. It’s just a case of wait and see,” Mr Bolton said.

The company maintains large meat-processing centres in Murray Bridge in South Australia as well as in Tamworth. The Wallangarra plant had the capacity to process up to 15,250 lamb, mutton and goat carcases a week.

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13. 07. 2018
Election drama is far from over

Election drama is far from over

IT WOULD seem the drama of the federal election is far from over. Even though the campaign itself has come to an end and polling day has come and gone, it remains to be seen if a workable government will emerge from the rubble.
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Let’s hope for all our sakes, it does.

On the local front, the votes went pretty much as expected, with the two main candidates.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce grabbing the lion’s share, with 52 per cent of the primary vote, ahead of independent Tony Windsor – the result not quite as close as some commentators had predicted though.

Testament, according to Mr Joyce, of how voters were put off by the negativity of the campaign in the final stretch.

Already, Armidale independent Rob Taber is not ruling out another tilt at the seat, despite his disappointment at how it played out.

Tony Windsor’s another one who’s not ruling anything in, or out, when it comes to having another go.

The Greens saw a diminished return for their efforts this time around, but Mercurius Goldstein says he won’t be withdrawing from the public eye.

One thing’s for sure out of this campaign, we’ve gained a much keener sense of our place in the political sphere and there’s no going back now.


Finally, there’s some very good news in the push to get some justice for the bush – with the announcement that a full-time district court judge will be permanently based in the New England region.

It marks the culmination of along-running campaign andAttorney-General Gabrielle Upton made the announcement on a flying visit to Armidale yesterday.

The new judge will hear cases in both the Tamworth and Armidale District Courts.

The funding is part of a $39 million package announced in last month’s state budget, which is aimed at easing the district court backlog.

It’s about time too.

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13. 07. 2018
Coalition rule in balance

Coalition rule in balance

CONFIDENT: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce speaking to media in Canberra about the impending election result. Photo: Christopher Pearce/Fairfax MediaDEPUTY Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he’s “confident not cocky” that the Coalition would retain government “in the very near future, in the next days or next week.”
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In a joint show of force with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra yesterday, the member for New England said the election result was likely in the coming days.

More than three million votes are still to be countedas the Coalition remainsin deadlock with the Labor party, however the nation’s leaders said they werekeeping their eyes on the prize.

“It is a hard task to break the ice and have a vision that looks into the future but the Coalition has that,” Mr Joyce said.

“We are the party that works in partnership with people in regional areas, to be part of the deal and make sure the things they believe in are worthwhile investing in.

“We accept that there’s work to do and we accept the votes ...

“Thanks to the people of regional Australia who have backed us so strongly during this election.

“We are starting the process of serving them to make sure the future is as good as we can possibly make it.”

Mr Joyce also made mention to the electorate that re-elected him.

“Thank you to the people of New England for the incredible honour bestowed on me by allowing me to serve them for another three years,” he said.

“I will always recognise that.”

Mr Turnbull said he took full responsibility for the Liberal Party’s campaign that ended in the unpredictable result.

“I want to make clearthat as Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party,I take full responsibility for our campaign. Absolutely full responsibility for the campaign,” he said.

“The Australian people have voted and we respect the result. It will be a few more days before we get a clearer picture [of the result].

“There is no doubt that there is a level of disillusionment with politics, with government, with the major parties – our own included,” he said.

“We note that and we respect it.

“Now, we need to listen very carefully to the concerns of the Australian people expressed through this election. We need to look at how we will address those concerns – that’s what the Deputy Prime Minister and I have been discussing today.

“There are lessons to be learned from this election. It’s too early for definitive judgements. It will take time to analyse and absorb all of the learnings from the campaign. I believe there will be ... more than a few of them,” he said.

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13. 07. 2018
Melbourne defender Heritier Lumumba battling new concussion

Melbourne defender Heritier Lumumba battling new concussion

Heritier Lumumba's return to the Demons' seniors list is being frustrated by concussion. Photo: Wayne TaylorThe immediate future of Melbourne defender Heritier Lumumba is unclear after he suffered another head knock on the weekend.
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Lumumba, 29, received the knock while playing his comeback game in the VFL, having already missed several games this season with concussion symptoms.

The Demons will again manage the veteran with caution and care, with the Casey Scorpions' bye this week meaning he will spend at least one more week on the sidelines.

Melbourne has recently managed the return of Angus Brayshaw, who suffered two concussions in three weeks earlier this year.

The second-year midfielder was ruled out of training and playing for four weeks, but has successfully returned to play.

Lumumba last featured for Melbourne's senior team in round six, and spoke in a recent interview with Channel Seven of his desire to get back and play this year.

His coach, Paul Roos, said earlier that the club had given the 29-year-old all the time he needed to recover, telling him to spend some time away from the club.

"I have an opportunity to contribute to my team playing finals football," Lumumba said.

"I know that we have what it takes to play finals football."

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13. 07. 2018
1 in 3 drug driving: 20 nabbed in two-day blitz

1 in 3 drug driving: 20 nabbed in two-day blitz

CHARGES PENDING: Western highway patrol officers return positive samples to a police drug detection bus in Tamworth on Monday. Photo: Barry Smith 040716BSE07ONE in three drivers in Tamworth is getting behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs.
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The Leader can reveal the shocking figures after a two-day blitz by highway patrol officers saw 62 drivers randomly tested and 20 return positive indications for methylamphetamine or cannabis.

The police operation targeted several streets across Tamworth and outlying areas on Sunday and Monday. The youngest detected was a 19-year-old, while the oldest driver to give a positive indication was in their 60s.

“It is a little bit disturbing,” Western highway patrol Sergeant Troy Woods said.

“They’re involved in illegal activity, which leads them to returning positive results in their system.”

The figures highlight the extent of drug use across the Tamworth area and show police are catching more drivers who take illegalsubstances.

The drug driving technology was introduced in Tamworth in September last year and, after a month, figures showed one in seven were testing positive.

In January, The Leader revealed one in four drivers were showing signs of illicit substances in their oral fluid.

“It’s only a matter of time, you will be tested,” Sergeant Woods said.

“Every car is a mobile random drug testing unit, so it’s not a case of if, but when you will be detected.

“And, it’s not a case of if you’re driving under the influence of a particular drug, it’s if you have traces of the drug in your blood system, and drivers need to know that those substances can stay in the system for a period of time.”

Police are hoping the disturbing figures and stiff penalties will deter recreational users from dabbling in drugs to avoid consequences like losing their job when they lose their licence in court.

Each of the drivers undertook the “lick the stick” test which returned the reading which will now be sent for analysis to a police laboratory.

If the positive result is confirmed, each driver will be charged with driving with an illicit drug in their blood system and ordered to appear in a Tamworth court.

In the meantime, drivers who tested positive were issued a flash ban, prohibiting them from driving for 24 hours.

The maximum penalty for the offence is a $2000 fine and three months’ disqualification.

On Monday, seven people appeared in Tamworth Local Court after they were detected during previous traffic stops including four men who were caught twice.

Western head of highway patrol Acting Inspector Ben McFarlane said the blitz will continue, but drivers won’t know where or when.

“It’ll be a rolling operation and people can expect to see more police doing the testing on the roads,” he said.

“The operation is currently funded by the NSW Centre for Road Safety.”

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13. 07. 2018
Albanese rules out immediate leadership challenge

Albanese rules out immediate leadership challenge

Anthony Albanese says no one is leader indefinitely, but he stands behind Bill Shorten. Photo: ABCElection 2016: live coverageElection 2016: news and analysis
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Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has ruled out an immediate challenge against Bill Shorten's leadership but used careful language to leave the door open for a move, should Labor fail to form government.

Following speculation over his intentions, the Sydney MP told ABC's 7.30 program that the current situation is "like a footy game that's gone into extra-time. Now, you don't even consider changing who the captain is during extra-time".

"I've always been a team player and always put the party first before my own interests and I certainly will be continuing to do that as I always have," the one-time Left faction contender for the party's leadership told host Leigh Sales, adding that the party was united and would continue to be.

On what happens to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten if the metaphorical football match ends with a loss for Labor, resulting in an automatic spill of the party's leadership positions, Mr Albanese said: "No one's leader indefinitely.

"We're a political party more than 100 years old. But certainly, I think we will continue forward with Bill Shorten as the leader and I'll be playing a role as part of the team," he said.

It was reported on the weekend that Mr Albanese had support from senior figures inside the party for a leadership bid.

Mr Albanese said that, pending the final election results, the party has a strong agenda that it could deliver in a "likely" hung parliament, pointing to the Gillard government's experience.

He said that one of Mr Shorten's great strengths is that he's a "very strong negotiator" and that would serve him well in a minority government and also pointed to his own pedigree as leader of the house in the turbulent 2010-2013 period.

"I think the Senate is going to be particularly challenging and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we're back at the polls not in three years' time but well before then," he said.

The composition of the House of Representatives remains unclear, with the seat prediction currently at 70 for the Coalition, 67 for Labor, six for minor parties and independents and seven still too close to call.

Following an election partly defined by mass rejection of the two major parties in favour of alternatives, Mr Albanese said politicians on both sides need to engage better with the issues people are concerned about in a "much more fluid, class-based system".

He said communication with young people needed to improve and the old partisan dichotomy of blue-collar unionists on the Labor side and business-aligned conservatives on the Liberal side had diminished.

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13. 07. 2018
Putting the record straight on our voices

Putting the record straight on our voices

Thank you for your papers coverage of the launch of the Voices of New England candidate comparison scorecard.
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I feel I must refute the comments made by Mr Joyce about the Voices of New England regarding calling people and asking to put Mr Joyce last.

This statement is entirelyinaccurate.

The Voices of New England has never called people to discuss their voting preferences.

We did call people to investigate what issues were most importantto them this election.

The Voices of New England is an alliance of community groups that represent these issues.

We are apolitical.

We represent the issues of water security, protecting farmland, renewable energy, NBN, corporate tax, health and education.

Members of the alliance have been calling voters, but that has clearly been under their ownbanner.

I find it disappointing, but not surprising, that Mr Joyce did not complete our questionnaire relating to his policy position to our electorate’s most important issues.

Mr Joyce has failed to attend at least four community forumsour groups have organised in the lead-up to the election, allowing local voters to understand where each candidate stands on the issues.

It is disappointing that representatives would not want to speakto a community group whosemembership contains over 15,000 voters.

Thank you for the opportunity to set the facts straight.

Emma Stilts

Voices of New England

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13. 07. 2018
Hopefuls get to hone their craft

Hopefuls get to hone their craft

SOAKING IT UP: Campbelltown’s Maddison Collier and Christchurch’s Jaydin Shingleton soak up all the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music has to offer this week in Tamworth. Photo: Barry Smith 040716BSD02THEY’VE come from near and far to learn all they can about the music business and the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music students are soaking it up in Tamworth.
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In the lead-up to the Hats Off to Country Festival, the students are immersed in a week-long intensive course with their parents, learning about business, musicianship, songwriting and performance skills, at Calrossy Anglican School.

Among them isJaydin Shingleton, from Christchurch, who won a scholarship through country music awards in New Zealand.

The Year 13 student said he had entered the competition for many years and was keen to come to the academy to polish his musical and songwriting skills.

“This is a good opportunity to do that,” he said.

“I also get to come over the ditch and have a look atAustralia.”

He said he hoped to work on his songwriting, diction and performance skills during academy and was staying for an extra week after the course to see Hats Off and see more of Australia.

The 17-year-old said he also wanted to polish his vocal and guitar work.

“Academy is great,” Jaydin said.

“There are long days, but in that time we learn a lot.”

Fellow student Maddison Collier from Campbelltown said she had competed in competitions for three years and heard about the academy from former student and guest artist Aimee Hannan.

“It’s a way to meet people my age who love country music,” she said.

“No one likes country music in my group. I also want to learn more about the music theory side of things, like reading charts and writing music.”

Maddison said she had been writing songs for three years and planned to record her debut album in the next 12 months.

The 17-year-old said she had won the junior overall title in the NSW talent quests and won 16 hours of recording time with Grant Luhrs at Flying Fox Studios in Wagga Wagga.

“I have gigs lined up after school, and then I want to try to finish off an album and get my name out there,” she said.

“I have a week off, then back to the HSC exams.

“I want to pursue music after school.”

Tomorrow, the Year 12 student will see her debut single, Promise, released on a compilation from the Young, Black and Deadly program.

The students finish their schooling with a graduation concert on Friday night at Calrossy Anglican School, with tickets available at the door.

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13. 07. 2018
Gang squad busts – Two men front court on animal, drug charges

Gang squad busts – Two men front court on animal, drug charges

TWO men charged by police from the state’s gangs squad have appeared in a Tamworth court for the first time.
Nanjing Night Net

Yesterday, Richard Radmore admitted to being in charge of a dog but failing to provide vet treatment after specialist police went to his Moonbi home during a two-day operation in June.

Radmore appeared in Tamworth Local Court for the first time and pleaded guilty to the charge after police discovered the dog had adislocated leg.

Police also allege during the visit, officers found a protected turtle in a fish tank which was seized from the property.

Radmore’s solicitor Fiona Hadlington said she wanted to further consider the charge of possessing protected fauna and asked for an adjournment in court yesterday.

“I’m just not sure about the legislation ... I need to have a look ... to see whether the turtle is protected fauna,” she told the court.

“Common sense says it probably is, but that doesn’t mean it is.”

Magistrate Roger Prowse said he wouldn’t “be able to deal with it”, and when asked if he was going to disqualify himself from the case, he said he didn’t need to.

“I don’t have to disqualify myself because other arrangements will be put in place,” he said.

The case was adjourned to later this month.

“[Your solicitor’s] going to do some research,” Mr Prowse told Radmore.

“The crown need to do something about narrowing the focus of sequence two down.”

Meanwhile, Scott Michael Vermunt pleaded guilty yesterday to possessing a prohibited drug and will be sentenced later this month.

Police went to the 44-year-old’s Moore Creek home during the same two-day police operation and discovered a small quantity of cannabis.

The police operation, which targeted members and associates of the Rebels and Gladiators OMCG, involved officers from the NSW Gangs Squad Strike Force Raptor, together with Oxley and New England police, uniformed officers and detectives.

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