Pain and pressure of ‘roadblocks’ to support

ANGRY: Some NDIS users have spoken out about their frustration at the system and the difficulty they have experienced in getting their concerns addressed.

IAN Kirkwood’s article (‘NDIS in trouble, say care groups’, Herald,10/12) also reflects my experience as a parent of a child now in the NDIS system. Our son was diagnosed with a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in June this year, a connective tissue disorder that presents itself in a fairly hidden manner but is nonetheless eased and controlled with ongoing physical therapy.

Our experience with the NDIS has been both infuriating and upsetting. After trying to secure an appointment with either a public or private pediatrician in Newcastle for a number of years, we finally had a thorough assessment, resulting in the diagnosis. We had a speech, OT and physio assessment completed (at our expense) and all was ratified by the GP. Paperwork was submitted, then nothing. Not even receipt of the application.

We were lucky to have the support of the federal MP for Newcastle to pursue it on our behalf and within a very short space of time our son was confirmed as a legitimate participant in the NDIS in early October. Then everything stopped.

Numerous visits to the Charlestown NDIS office were met with “you need to follow the process” and “it will take time”. Fast forward to this past Thursday. Frustrated, I phoned the national hotline to wait on hold for around 30 minutes, then only to be transferred to the Charlestown office. I thank the team member that took my call as she listened, consulted with colleagues andadvised that there are special arrangements for participant children six and under. The frustrating thing is that, according to the responder, there’s been yet another change of process. Children six and under are being assessed by partner providers, all not-for-profit, but not all children are being allocated specific providers. That’s great, in my view. We can research and discuss the partners on the approved schedule and decide our preference. But why couldn’t this be instigated at the national roll-out phase on July 1?

We have our team of allied health professionals already working with our child, and he’s making great progress. We qualify for financial support for his therapy but at every stage of this process we’ve hit roadblocks.

We are very lucky we can cover medical expenses above what our private health insurance will, but only in the short term. It upsets me that I still have to advocate so hard for our child beyond confirmation that he’s a NDIS participant. Providers are clearly not pleased with the new scheme. I understand completely.

Blythe Scully,Lambton HeightsTake complaints to trackHOW lucky are we to live in what I believe to be the best and most vibrant city in the world, with tremendous opportunities for an exciting future for our children to prosper?

It is disappointing to read on a daily basis the whinging and the negativity of some readers. If these groups get together at next year’s Supercars race they could all air their grievances. The Grid would be for all Supercars protesters.

Pit Lane would be reserved for Save Our Rail. The main straight could accommodate the ‘We don’t like the light rail” protests. First Turn for Save the Figs. The chicane could accommodate a corporate box funded by council for the Lord Mayor who voted against the Memorial Walk.

Nobbys beach for all the coal export protesters with their kayaks strapped on their backs. And the checked flag would have to go the bloke who was not personally consulted about the mansion built on City Road.

John Lehman, MerewetherRenting may not be optionA HEADS up to Premier Mike Baird (‘New circuit aims to please’, Herald,13/12) when he says that East End opponents of the Newcastle 500 “can rent their places out for a fortune”. Short-term rentals in strata properties are often restricted by the Owners’ Corporation under the individual building’s by-laws.

Tenants are usually subject to a residential lease of no less than three months. In addition, short-term rentals could also be violating council zoning. A recent NSW Land and Environment Court decision found that a property used for short-term lettings is not a dwelling house and hence not consistent with the property’s zoning, effectively preventing it being used for short-term lettings (“Understanding Strata”, Strata Community Australia, 2016).

Think again, Mr Baird, and check your facts before you try to placate/silence those who speak up or question your decisions.

Maree Raftos, NewcastleHappy snaps with KnightON Sunday, I was fortunate enough to attend the McDonald Jones display village at Huntlee, where some of the Newcastle Knights attended so fans could meet them.

As I am an octogenarian and it was very hot, the St John’s Ambulance people took me under their wing, so I say many thanks to them, and for the cold water.

Then a delightful young man, Chanel Mata’utia, came over to chat to me and have his photo taken with me, as I thought I would miss out on the photos and that was my main reason for attending. Chanel was very caring and very polite and a lad of whomhis mother could be very proud.

Chanel, you made an old lady very happy. The Knights I had wanted photos of were not present, namely Jake Mamo and Korbin Sims, but Chanel more than made up for this disappointment. I suggest if the Knights want fans to invest in shares in their club they have more of these photo opportunities and chats to fans.

Elizabeth Giles,AshtonfieldSharing in the dreamYEARS ago I supported the Knights by attending as many home games as I could. The excitement factor alone was worth the entry fee when the likes of ‘The Chief’ and ‘The Johns Boys’ stamped their indelible names on the hallowed turf of the International Sports Centre.

But in this day and age of commercialism when money talks loudest, the magic of a Knights home game seems to have gone into hibernation.

Yet for a small sum of around $3 a week, 40,000 locals could resuscitate a once proud and mighty club.With our proven and esteemed local administrators such as Rob Tew and co calling the shots it would not take long for the club to start pulling in crowds of 20,000 or more to every home game. I wait in great anticipation for the day I can purchase my $500 share for a Knight.

Phill Howlette, Holmesville

A great year full of highlights

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A message from Principal, Anthony O’Leary.

St John’s Primary School (SJP) is an integral part of St Brigid’s Parish. Catholic values and traditions are embedded in all aspects of our school life. Enrolment for 2016 exceeded 420 students with over 40 full time and part-time staff.

Our school should be justly proud of providing a unique holistic and spiritual education for our children – A Quality Catholic Education.

Our Vision is to foster a community of faith that is centred on the teaching of Christ, where love and concern develops the whole child, empowering each individual with the opportunity to realise their full potential. The 2016 school year also so SJP continue its journey as a PLC or Professional Learning Community school.

The PLC culture is an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.

Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators. At SJP there are two dedicated staff who work with teachers and students to ensure the essential learnings are understood.

During 2016 our school had many highlights from the sporting fields to the creative arts. This year SJP performed the outstanding musical ‘Aladdin in Trouble’. All 420 students were involved with 11 amazingly catchy songs and a captivating script resulting in 3 sell out shows. Mrs Maggie Dunn, the schools specialist music teacher directed the musical and it was a success.

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St John’s Primary School

The NAPLAN results for 2016 also showed areas to celebrate. In reading skills the Year 3 cohort performed at a higher rate than the state in the skill of identifying and interpreting information in texts. This skill was evident when identifying the method of persuasion in a letter and Interpreting detail in a narrative. In reading skills the Year 5 cohort displayed strengths in reading information reports.

The cohort scored 10% higher than the state when identifying the main purpose of the information text and Identifies effect of information on text.

The students of SJP continue to be provided with excellent opportunities within ICT and STEM. A specialist IT teacher works with all grades, with opportunities for coding and robotics providing fun and interesting engineering challenges. The Year 6 students were also involved in an exciting STEM project with Year 9 students from St Johns Colleges around the topic of robotics.

SJP looks forward to the future with excitement and enthusiasm.

Live, love and learn.

High achievers: Many awards were given out this year as students excelled in all fields.

Faithful: Learning is centered on the teaching of Christ, where the love and concern develops the whole child.

Strategic thinking: Exciting new projects teach children how to think outside the box.

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Conservatorium excels

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Students of all ages took part in an exciting range of music activities at Macquarie Conservatorium in 2016, with more than 1000 youth and adults participating in music tuition, workshops and performances.

Conservatorium staff travelled to schools in Dubbo, Gilgandra, Narromine, Trangie and Wellington each week, giving students the opportunity to learn an instrument and play in their school band. Wind, brass, strings, drumming, ukulele, guitar and classroom music programs were all taught onsite at Orana region schools by specialist Conservatorium staff, who also visited two pre-schools.

In partnership with Outback Arts, the Conservatorium’s drumming teacher Dale Freeman travelled to Cobar, Bourke, Warren, Coonamble, Walgett and Lightning Ridge for drumming workshops, giving people in those communities a chance to try this fun music activity.

In June, many City of Dubbo Eisteddfod prizes were awarded to Conservatorium students and ensembles, including the Daily Liberal Instrumental Scholarship to pianist Madelyn Fardell. The Conservatorium’s Youth Music Theatre Program for ages 8-12 years continued this year, adding extra performances for large groups from schools and preschools.

An auditioned choir of young singers was formed to perform in Opera Australia’s production of The Marriage of Figaro at Dubbo Regional Theatre in August. The Macquarie Youth Chorus had the thrill of appearing in a professional opera production in full costume alongside some of Australia’s finest opera singers.

Throughout the year, visiting artists from the Macquarie Conservatorium Concert Series, including the Streeton Trio, the Flinders Quartet, pianists Daniel de Borah and Simon Tedeschi, gave local students the chance to perform for them and benefit from their feedback in masterclasses.

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Macquarie Conservatorium

Very popular visiting artists this year were outstanding jazz musicians, vocalist Emma Pask, Dubbo’s own renowned bass player Phil Stack, guitarist James Muller and drummer Tim Firth. As well as performing a sell-out concert, these musicians gave an inspiring jazz workshop to Dubbo secondary students.

Five Macquarie Conservatorium students were selected to join other talented students from the 17 NSW Regional Conservatoriums in the Regional Youth Orchestra New South Wales, taking part in two exciting projects at the Sydney Opera House with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra, as well as performing the finale concert of the Artlands Festival in October.

Viola student Emma Newby, vocalist Billie Palin and piano teacher Nadine Isbester were selected to perform at a concert in September at Sydney’s Parliament House, hosted by the Minister for the Education Adrian Piccoli, to showcase the talent developed by NSW Regional Conservatoriums. Billie Palin was also awarded a Young Regional Artist Scholarship, enabling her to travel to London for intensive workshops with leading music theatre professionals.

Enrolments are now open for 2017, for tuition for all ages on a range of instruments and voice, and for performing ensembles.

Music classes for pre-schoolers are available, as well as affordable group tuition for after-school instrumental lessons.

Learning a new instrument: Macquarie Conservatorium’s Ukulele Class at Orana Heights Public School.

World stage: Aidan Kiriakou, Sam Minney, India de Sousa Shaw and Emma Newby. Photo credit: Greg Marginson.

Happy musicians: Macquarie Conservatorium’s instrumental students are excited for their lessons at Dubbo Public School.

Future stars: Macquarie Conservatorium Youth Chorus perform with Opera Australia at Dubbo Regional Theatre

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Happy guest out west

THINGS are looking good out west.

SNAPSHOT: Some of the singers at Carols by Candlelight on Sunday night in Machattie Park. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 121116carols32

That’s what Parade can report after visiting Dubbo on the weekend for a family function and having a bit of a look around the capital of the Western Plains.

Orana Mall was as busy as an ants’ nest –Parade attempted to find a park undercover, before quickly abandoningthe whole exercise –and the CBD by the Macquarie River had a definite bustle about it as the Christmas shoppers hurried in and out ofbusinesses.

The parklands around the river were green and inviting and there were spruced-upbuildings here and there as Parade had a bit of a snoop around parts of West Dubbo.

Perhaps it’s the season –Dubbo, like Bathurst, is well up on its average rainfall for the year –or perhaps it reflects a more general optimism in the agricultural sector.

Whatever the reason, there was a good feeling in the air.

Parade also took the opportunity to question a couple of long-term residents on Saturday night about Dubbo’s contentious forced council merger with Wellington.

Their summary was that the people of both communities weren’t that keen on the idea, but they have accepted the decision has been made and the only sensible thing is to make the best of it.

Maybe that’s a guide to how the proposed merger between Bathurst and Oberon –which remains held up in the court – will eventually be greeted.

Enjoy a game at the hub partyAND now something for the diary.

Parade is told an invitation is being extended to celebrate Christmas at the Kelso Community Hub this Wednesday.

The annual event is open to everyone in the community, but particularlyfamilies.

A range of games and sport will feature, and there will be a jumping castle, face-painting and photo booth.

The party will kickoff at the Kelso Community Hub on Bonnor Street at 3.30pm and rununtil 6.30pm, and those attending are encouraged to stay for dinner.

For more information, contact Shona Kennedy on 0403 436 737.

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Life after school calls for recent graduates

TOP MARKS: Liam Hynes, Alexandra Stark and Will Shannon were the top ATAR performers at Catholic College. Picture: MARK JESSERIF you’re a fan of the superhero Iron Man (or his alter-ego Tony Stark), you’ll knowthe surnameis synonymous with genius.

Catholic College Wodonga year 12 student Alexandra Stark more than lived up to the name on Monday, awarded the DUX of the school thanks to her ATAR of 98.8.

Monday’s results marked the end of year 12 studies and 13 years of schooling for students across the nation, with many nowturningto university studies.

Miss Stark said she was looking forward to university after a well-deserved break over summer.

“I’m excited, I’m moving to Melbourne next year to study speech pathology at La Trobe,” she said.

“I got early entry, so I only needed to score 80 to get in.

“I’d always wanted to do something that helped people, and I was really interested in helping kids with disabilities.

“I wanted to do it in a way that was more of an educational role.

“I did a couple of days work experience with a friend who is a speech pathologist and absolutely loved it.”

University is the next step for most high school graduates, but it’s far from a go-to move.

Liam Hynes, who was the second highest scorer (93.75) plans to travel Europe on a gap year before settling on a career, while Will Shannon (93.2) will transition straight into accounting work with Johnson’s MME while weighing up whether to pursue tertiary studies full or part-time.

“I’m not quite sure what uni course I want to do –after I travel, we’ll see,” Mr Hynes said.

“It kind of just comes to a lot of people, what they want to do, I’m not really sure what I want yet.

“I’ll do my best over the next year to have a good think and we’ll see what happens.

“I picked quite a broad range of subjects to study this year, it definitely helped me out.”

After 38 per cent of students scored above 70 and 18 per cent above 80, Catholic College Wodonga principal Darren Hovey said it had been another successful year.

“It’s a wonderful celebration, we get to highlight and look back on all the things the students have achieved,” he said.

“Some of them have been here with us since year 7, so it’s a celebration for all the school community.

“For many of the staff there’s a sense of pride around the story and the journey the students have had.But there’s also an acknowledgement that they’re entering the adult world, moving into their careers, into university or gap years.

“Ultimately they’re moving into a new space in their lives, so it’s nice to come together today and celebrate.”

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Honours even in top-of-the-ladder cricket clash

Ben Jonas and Josh Meldrum had a 184 run partnership for Taree West in the Manning first grade cricket clash against Old Bar at Johnny Martin Oval.THEtop of the table Manning first grade cricketclash between Wingham and United appears evenly poised after day one at Chatham Park.

Wingham recovered from a poor start to post 176, with United finishing the day on 2/46.

Wingham elected to bat on a well grassed pitch and lost their first wicket with the score on nine when Wayne Smoothy edged a ball from Tom Burley into his stumps after making just 4. Leading run-scorer, Ben Scowen was next to go for 1, caught in the gully by Burley off Jackson Witt, much to the annoyance of the batsman notwithstanding that it appeared to be a bump-ball. Then Wittbowled Brock Hynes for a second ball duck to have Wingham reeling at 3/12.

Josh Davis and Ryan Morris consolidated the innings with a 59 run partnership in which Davis hit 18 off Danial Stone’s first over.

But Davis was dismissed by Murray McCartney from the final ball before drinks for a valuable 48, with two sixesand fivefours, mostly well-timed cuts.

Morris fell immediately after drinks when bowled by Scott Saunders for 14. Saunders also dismissed Ryan Williams (2) in a five over spell which reaped 2/14 as Wingham again lost a brace of wickets for few runs.

At 6/76 skipper Matt Essery was joined by Mick Stinson and the veterans dug in for the next 20 overs and added 64 runs until Essery was caught at slip by Josh Ferris in Witt’s second spell. Essery looked in command in hitting five boundaries in his 30. He was replaced by his son, Hayden, and he assisted Stinson with a further 30 run partnership before he too was bowled by Witt, for 8.

Dan Barber was bowled by Jordi Gilfillan for a duck with Stinson threeruns shy of a deserved half century, but an off drive soon bought up the club president’s 28th 50before an appreciative crowd.

Unfortunately Allwood, who boasted a 12 average, could not contribute and was caught behind for zero, giving Wittfive wickets for the innings and leaving Stinsonon 51 not.

Wittreturned 5/29 from 14 overs, his best effort against Wingham, with Saunders (2), Burley, McCartney and Gilfillan all contributing to the wickets column.

United took the crease with 18 overs left in the days play. Ryan Williams trapped Josh Ferris LBW with his fifthball and bowled Matt Collier for 5 in his second over to have United in early trouble at 2/7.

However, Matt Kennewell (23) and Burley (12) successfully negotiated the remaining overs whileadding 39. Williams bowled aggressively on the docile wicket for his return of 2/13 from 10 overs and he will play a vital role as Wingham seek early wickets this week.

In the other game a century to Josh Meldrum has put Taree West on top against Old Bar at Johnny Martin Oval.

Taree West declared at 9/309. Meldrum made 135 and featured in a 184 run partnership with Ben Jonas (52).

Old Bar resume next week at 4/59.

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