John Hastings and Jon Holland likely to miss Big Bash League with injuries

Allrounder John Hastings is likely to miss the Melbourne Stars’ Big Bash League campaign, and probably the rest of the summer, with the Stars “fearing the worst” following his knee injury in Victoria’s Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania last week.
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Hastings isn’t the only Victorian with injury concerns, with the Adelaide Strikers expecting spinner Jon Holland to be unavailable for the competition because of an ankle issue, which is not however expected to render him unavailable for the upcoming Test tour of India.

Holland – who made his Test debut earlier this year in Sri Lanka – is enjoying a fruitful summer for Victoria. He is equal second on the Shield wicket-takers list with 27 scalps. However it’s believed he has been plagued by a niggling ankle injury, and will be absent for four to five weeks.

That puts him in doubt for the whole BBL but means he remains in the frame to tour India, where Australia will need depth in their spin stocks behind Nathan Lyon.

That they will likely be without Holland is a blow to Adelaide, who have already lost star spinner Adil Rashid to international duties with England. The pair’s absence could however open the door for young left-arm spinner Tom Andrews.

Hastings, 31, had only recently returned from a finger injury, but was hurt again in the thriller against the Tigers. He slipped while bowling, injuring his knee, and was later taken to hospital.

Hastings took no further part in the match, and it’s understood he was due to see his specialist on Monday.

Stars coach Stephen Fleming said he was expecting to be without Hastings for the BBL. “We won’t see much of him, if at all. If news is better than that great, but we fear for the worst. We’re looking at probably not having him for the Big Bash,” Fleming told Fairfax Media.

“We’ll just wait for confirmation of that, and fingers crossed it’s not the case. I think it was patella tendon. It didn’t look good and it hasn’t been good for the last few days.”

The veteran fast-medium had worked his way back into Australia’s ODI team over the past 15 months, taking 29 wickets in 18 ODI appearances – second in the world behind Australian leg-spinner and Stars teammate Adam Zampa. He was overlooked for the recent series against New Zealand, weeks after breaking his finger at Victorian training in Sydney in October.

Fleming said the absence of Hastings would likely mean greater opportunities at the Stars for Ben Hilfenhaus and Evan Gulbis, both of whom are in NZ playing in that country’s domestic competition.

The Stars are otherwise relatively fit heading into their practice matches against the Sydney Thunder in Albury on Tuesday, although all-rounder James Faulkner pulled up sore following ODI duties against the Black Caps.

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen will miss the Stars’ first game against Hobart on Boxing Day as he spends time with his family at home, however should be available for the remainder of the tournament.

The Stars will also be without Peter Handscomb for the early part of the tournament due to his Test commitments, while Glenn Maxwell, Faulkner and Zampa are likely to miss the back half of the event because of ODI duties.


Dairy industry meetings to gather feedback on crisis assistance

THE Victorian dairy sector is being urged to vent concerns about the grass-roots roll-out of the federal government’s industry assistance package unveiled earlier this year in response to the farm-gate pricing crisis.
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Victorian Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie is overseeing four roundtable meetings in various regional locations this week in her home state, to gather critical feedback with the backing of federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Dairy farmers are being asked to express their views on how the Coalition government’s $579 million dairy assistance package is being managed to support those impacted by a sudden reduction in farm-gate milk prices.

The issue flared up in April this year, and became controversial during the federal election campaign, when the government was in care-taker mode, after Murray Goulburn and Fonterra slashed milk price returns to producers without warning.

The first meeting hosted by Senator McKenzie was held today at Tangambalanga in north-eastern Victoria with another one to follow tomorrow at Congupna in the Goulburn Valley region.

Another forum will be held on Thursday at Morwell in the Latrobe Valley in eastern Victoria and another the following day at Camperdown in southwestern Victoria.

Senator McKenzie said the industry roundtable meetings were “further evidence of the Coalition government’s commitment to support Australia’s dairy farmers”.

She said $45.5m in Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans had been approved for Victorian dairy farmers with 378 of them currently receiving the Farm Household Allowance – an increase of 263 since May 2 this year.

“Under the Coalition government more than $567m in concessional loans have been approved to 1072 farm businesses Australia wide and more than 6750 farmers have been granted Farm Household Allowance, including 1907 in Victoria,” she said.

“The Coalition is getting assistance out the door and it is hitting the ground to help farmers in need.

“By comparison, there was no support for dairy farmers under the former Labor government when, in 2009, milk prices were actually lower than they are today.

“Under Labor only eight concessional loans were approved and only 367 farming families were receiving a support payment when the Coalition came to office in September 2013.

“I am keen to hear from as many farmers, farming groups and those in the industry as possible in the local region as possible to get wide-ranging views on the level of assistance to farming families and how effective the current system is in delivering it.”

In a Facebook message with Senator McKenzie, Mr Joyce said he wanted to make sure government worked with industry and there were “strong connections to the issues and strong connections to the results”.

“We’ve been through some tough times, especially in Victoria; we’re starting to make our way back (but) we’ve got a long way to go,” he said.

The federal government’s dairy assistance package was handed down in late May and included $2m in funding to implement a new milk pricing index to increase transparency for producers.

It also contained $900,000 for nine additional Rural Financial Counsellors in Victoria, Tasmania, SA and NSW.

The assistance package was fine-tuned after Mr Joyce visited north-east Victoria and other regions conducting face to face meetings with dairy farmers and industry representatives, to gauge their feedback on potential support measures.

Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has accused the Turnbull government of being slow to respond and take action, in response to the dairy crisis.

Victorian dairy industry roundtables this week

Monday 10.30am at Tangambalanga Community Centre

Tuesday 10.30am at Congupna Community Centre

Thursday 10.30am at Morwell Bowling Club

Friday 10.30am at Camperdown Football Netball Club

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Pork research tackles major farm hurdles

POSITIVE YEAR: Pork CRC Chairman Dennis Mutton said the past year had been one of considerable achievement for the pig industry.
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RESEARCH undertaken through theCooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Porkhas improved the eating quality of Australian pork and demonstrated how effluent can be successfully converted into useable biogas.

This is according to Pork CRC chief executive officerRoger Campbell, who was a guest speaker at the organisation’s annual general meeting held in Melbourne recently.

Dr Campbell said other research undertaken by the Pork CRChad shown how grains and other ingredients could be more efficiently used through processing and near-infrared spectroscopytechnologies.

He said producers werealso given industry tools to better understand and control common diseases.

The Pork CRC completed its fifth year of an eight-year agreement with the federal government and participants on June 30.

Chairman Dennis Mutton and DrCampbell agreed the2015-16 financial year had been oneof considerable achievement, with significant outcomes across Pork CRC’s four programs and positive plans and projects in place as it transitions towards 2019-20 and the start-up of the Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd.

Mr Mutton said Pork CRC’s four program areas, which centred on sow and piglet management, herd health, growing consumption of pork and delivering through a carbon conscious industry, had continued to generate innovative solutions that delivered sustainability and profitability to Australia’s pork industry from producer to public.

“The calibre of Pork CRC’s program research partners continues to be outstanding and, in particular, I acknowledge the support of our participants, a number of whom have continued to show their commitment to the cause of quality research and developmentby signing up as foundation members of APRIL,” he said.

Dr Campbell said in the past year, participants and researchers had made further progress in understanding and enhancing sow and piglet welfare.

“With almost 80 per cent of Australian producers having transitioned to group housing of gestating sows, sow confinement has been reduced by about 80pc,” he said.

“We should all be proud of this achievement, which has contributed to the term high integrity Australian pork becoming a marketable reality and differentiation of our product continuing to be reflected in improved demand and price.

“While margins in 2015-16 were above the previous year and higher than for most other global pork industries, Pork CRC will continue to further differentiate Australian pork.”

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Bowling alley’s revolution

UPGRADE: Orange Tenpin Bowling’s Aldo Belmonte said planned upgrades would be Australian first.
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Change is coming to Orange Tenpin Bowl, with a fresh lick of paint already on the walls, owner Aldo Belmonte is promising residents “won’t recognise it”. “A step will be removed and the floor will be raised to allow better access for people with disabilities,” Mr Belmonte said. As well as a new floor, the alley will be outfitted with new furniture and a new mechanical system. Mr Belmonte said the new equipment would be an Australian first with action replays and a new lighting system to be installed. Work won’t begin until competitions have finished, with four lanes to be upgraded at a time.

Ready to learn Skillset’s Skills4Trade graduates, Jack Taprell, Matthew Britt, Kyle Orringe, Joshua Trail, Lachlan McHatton, Christopher Radburn, Jake Griffiths and Zachary Hoolahan. Absent: Slash Merritt, Clayton Collins and Henry Welsh. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Eleven Orange apprentices have graduate from Skillset’s Skills4Trade program. The apprentices have finished their TAFE training and have begun placements with local businesses. The Skills4Trade program is supported by the state and federal governments with the aim to support young people’s transition into work. Another Skills4Trade program will begin in February, with an information session to be held on Wednesday, December 14, from 3pm to 4pm and on January 18. Participants are encouraged to register by calling Sarah Turner on 0428 292 869.

Orange Garden to close NEW BEGINNING: Ann Fuller said the Orange Garden on Lords would close on December 15. Photo: DECLAN RURENGA

The Orange Garden on Lords will close for the final time at 5pm on Thursday, December 15. Owner Ann Fuller she had had a marvelous time for seven years. “I’ve had great support from the community for the past seven years, I had wonderful customers and absolutely fantastic staff and a great experience,” Mrs Fuller said. Everything that customers can see in the shop is for sale, “I’m open to all offers,” Mrs Fuller said. The business originally started as The Complete Garden.

Perfect fit for new ownersFitness Perfection has new owners, with Kim and Nick Gray taking over from Paul Davidson. Mr Gray said the gym was one of the longest running in the Central West. “We wanted to keep the business going, it has massive potential,” he said. Mr Gray said he was bringing a fresh approach. “Changes will be for the better and from member’s feedback,” he said. He said he wanted to focus on the Health and Fitness Club aspect of the gym and potentially expand its services for members.

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Calls for new prevention strategies

AT RISK: There have been calls to reinvigorate approaches to youth suicide prevention as figures show rates are at a 10-year high.SUICIDE rates among young people aged 15 to 24 have reached a 10-year high,a report has found,prompting calls for new and more targeted prevention strategies.
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In its youth suicide prevention report, youth mental health organisationOrygen saida youth-specificplan should supportthe existing national suicide prevention strategy.

“Suicide risk looks different amongst young people and their support needs differ from adults,” Orygen head of suicide prevention research Dr Jo Robinson said.

Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee chief executive officer Leo Schultz supported the call for the introduction of a youth-specific prevention plan.

He said local solutions to local problems were ideal, but these should be underpinned by a consistent national framework.

Ben Keath, engagement officer at youth mental health service headspace in Bendigo, said young people often expressed concern about the cost of seeking help, and with so many being time-poor, made their mental health a lower priority in their lives.

He said the way young people accessed information also differed from older people andheadspace’s online and phone services werepopular methods of seeking assistance, largely because they were easily accessible.

Online technology was identified in Orygen’sreport as atoolthat should be better harnessed to reach out to youth, andthe provision of adequate resources for such services was labelleda priority.

Mr Keath added that approaches should engageyoung people through such settings as schools and sporting clubs.

This echoed the report, which identified schools and tertiary education institutions aseffective settings for delivering prevention activities.

Orygen also said headspace should have national coverage and be expanded to be able to service young people with more complex needs.

Mr Schultz said there needed to be more research to develop evidence-based strategies,and these needed to be publicised when identified to ensure people knew how to seek help.

If you are in urgent need of help, callLifelineon 13 11 14 or theSuicide Call Back Serviceon 1300 659 467; for more information or assistance,call headspace on 1800 650 890.

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Cundletown boat ramp upgrade

Kendall Reserve boat ramp: Residents raising concerns that include its steep slope, difficulty in manoeuvring cars with trailers, and limited parking.MidCoast Council, in partnership with Roads and Maritime Services, is calling on local residentsto provide feedback on options for upgrading the Kendall Reserve boat ramp in Cundletown.
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With the Manning River on our doorstep boating is one of our favourite pastimes, and Kendall Reserve in Cundletown an ideal location for launch.

A need to upgrade its current boat ramp and facilities has been identified, with local residentsraising concerns that include its steep slope, difficulty in manoeuvring cars with trailers, and limited parking.

To address the areas highlighted, Royal Haskoning DHV has been commissioned to prepare two concept plans for upgrading the facility, which are now on public exhibition.

“The first concept is based on retaining and upgrading the existing ramp and surrounding facilities, while the second includes the construction of a new two-lane boat ramp at the north-west end of the reserve,” Dan Aldridge, MidCoast Council’s manager for community spaces, recreation and trades said.

“Both the plans have merit, and we’re now looking to the community to provide input on which option will best serve their current and future needs.”

A drop-in session will be held at Kendall Reserve from3pm to 6pmonThursday, December 15, providing an opportunity for locals to find out more about each option by speakingwith staff from RMS, MidCoast Council, and the RHDHV design team.

For those who aren’t able to make the drop in session, the draft concept plans can be found on the ‘have your say’ section of MidCoast Council’s website at梧桐夜网midcoast.nsw.gov419论坛/kendall-reserve

Community members are invited to make a submission before5pmonFriday,December 23.

This investigation has been funded through the NSW Boating Now program, which aims to ensure our waterways remain safe and accessible.

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Taking time to celebrate all types of success

For the past month, ever since VCE exam supervisors last uttered the phrase,“Time’s up”, 47,000 Victorian students have waited nervously to receive their results.
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For 35 young people around the state, that wait ended in elation: they received the highest possible ATAR of 99.95.

One diligent Bendigo student is among them.

But for every student awarded a “perfect” score, there is a dozen or more young people for whom just receiving their Victorian Certificate of Education is a milestone achievement.

They too deserve to be delighted today.

It is a shame the intangibility of their success, unable to be pinned down in numbers, makes celebrating their performance more difficult.

How does one know that the teenage girl who scraped an ATAR in the mid-50s did so despite a crippling case of anxiety?

What about the young man who worked two casual jobs throughout the entirety of his senior schooling yet still made time to cram for exams?

Consider the arts student who spent hours in Drama, Music and Visual Communicationclasses despite having already won a spot in a prestigious design course.

Their efforts are just as perfect as any ATAR.

We can be sure teachers and principals willacknowledgetheir efforts; it issomething schools are doing better and more often than ever before.

But it is also important the rest of the community follows the schools’ lead.

We must not measure a young person’s worth on two years of academic performance.

An ATAR exists purely for the purpose of university admission, not to eternally pigeonhole its recipient as “smart” or “stupid”.

There are those whose scores did not threaten the 90s that will go on to transform the world we live in.

And there are high-scoring pupils who will change university course, or make mistakes. And that’s okay too.

These are young people aged just 17 or 18.

Their lives have barely begun, so we certainly should not be writing their legacy just yet.

They have a long time left to make their mark on society and when they do, you can be sure no one will be talkingabout their ATAR.

– Mark Kearney, journalist

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Malcolm Turnbull to address Australian Republican Movement dinner, monarchists unhappy

Malcolm Turnbull on the eve of the 1999 republican referendum. Photo: Mark Baker Mr Turnbull on the day after the republican’s defeat in the 1999 referendum. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Mr Turnbull and Thomas Keneally at the launch of the Australian Republican Movement in Sydney on 7 July 1991. Photo: Dean Wilmot

Mr Turnbull with Eddie McGuire and Hazel Hawke at the Republican Movement headquarters in South Melbourne. Photo: Mark Wilson

Malcolm Turnbull is going back to where his political career began with a much anticipated address to mark the 25th anniversary of the Australian Republican Movement.

The Prime Minister will speak at the event on Saturday night which the movement hopes will press the reset button on the republican debate.

The gala event will be held in the Great Hall of Sydney University with the top tier tables costing $3000.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the Prime Minister has agreed to join us for our 25th anniversary commemoration,” the ARM’s national chairman, Peter FitzSimons, said.

“It is an occasion to honour those who’ve got us to this point, and the PM is, of course, at the forefront of our founding fathers and mothers. The dinner is also a moment for the ARM to outline its vision for the future. A vision in which Australia takes the lead and completes the journey to full and final independence.”

Mr Turnbull was a founding member of the Australian Republican Movement and became synonymous with the push for Australia becoming a republic.

He was a major financial backer of the movement and unsuccessfully led the campaign for change in the 1999 referendum on whether Australia should break its ties with the monarchy.

In an emotional speech on the night of the referendum, Mr Turnbull famously declared that then prime minister John Howard would be remembered by history as “the prime minister who broke this nation’s heart”.

Mr Turnbull has remained a republican but the issue has dropped off the agenda.

Saturday’s speech has sparked curiosity because the Prime Minister has since distanced himself from the republican cause saying that success would only follow the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

On Australia Day this year, Mr Turnbull warned that he had no interest in leading the republican cause to another “heroic defeat” and that a referendum would fail if it was seen to be politically driven.

Philip Benwell, the chairman of the National Monarchist League, said Mr Turnbull was “forgetting the reality of politics”.

“We know that more Coalition voters support the constitutional monarchy than not. They are prepared to tolerate Malcolm Turnbull because he has made the proviso ‘not yet’,” Mr Benwell said.

“His now active support, if the rumours are true, of a republic will throw even more conservative and traditionalist voters into the arms of minor parties, such as the Christian Democrats, One Nation and the Liberty Alliance. These parties do not support a republic and it is estimated that by far the majority of their members are monarchists.”

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Football continues its growth

On the up: Football Mid North Coast director Mike Parsons is thrilled at the continued growth of the sport in the area.FOOTBALL continues to go from strength to strength across the country.
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After the weekend’s announcement that the sport was the number one in club-based participation sport, those figures rang true not only nationally but across Northern NSW.

Football Mid North Coast Chairman Mike Parsons is proud of the games continued growth.

“The announcement officially confirms what was widely accepted, that football is the largest sport in Northern NSW,” Parsons said.

“The total number of registered players in Northern NSW alone has grown by 42 per cent in the last decade to a record figure of 64,186 players for 2016. In our zone, in the 2016 season, junior numbers have increased 7.3 per cent andseniors are up a staggering 16.8 per cent, giving a total of 6,400 players participating in the World Game.”

“Aside from the international profile of the game, key drivers for this growth continue to be football’s appeal as a great game and its attractiveness to all ages and abilities for men, women, boys and girls, with huge growth in the number of females participating.”

Parsons said it also reflected the accessibility of the game.

“28 clubs participate across the Mid North Coast. It’s something that we have achieved through the stabilisation of registration fees by sound financial management and the support of major financial partners in community football such as the Newcastle Permanent Building Society,” Parsons said.

But the continued growth of the ‘World Game’ across the Mid North Coast was not without its challenges.

“As our game continues to grow, we face a number of challenges, including increased pressure on facilities with added demands for drainage, lighting and amenities, as some clubs are stretched to accommodate the player demand in their area,”Parsons said.

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Call to withdraw airport support

A call has gone out for Penrith City Council to withdraw support for Western Sydney Airport following the federal government’s final sign-off on the project.
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The airport became a certainty today (December 12), as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joinedInfrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher to signoff on the plans.

But locals have expressed unease with what they believe are essential details missing from the plans.

Newly elected Labor councillor Ben Price said the plans failed to deliver on two essential criteria, and that Penrith City Council should withdraw its support for the project.

“Some of the preconditions for [previous council] support were a curfew to match Kingsford Smith Airport, government to commit to construct a North/South Rail Link, which would be fully operational before a flight took off and a number of other environmental conditions.

“Fast forward and we now have the airport approved without at least two of the critical pre-conditions being met.

“The curfew is not included in the plans and furthermore the Federal Infrastructure Minister, Paul Fletcher, has advised council that the airport will operate without a curfew.

“It doesn’t get much clearer than this.

“We are no closer to getting a north/south rail line. In fact the state government can’t even commit to reserving a rail corridor for the future construction of a line let alone having a fully operational service in place before the opening of the airport.

“Without a north/south rail line the residents of western Sydney will miss out on a lot of the benefit that an airport might bring to the area.”

Cr Price has called for a council report to see if otherenvironmental pre-conditions have been addressed in the final EIS, but said he was “not holding my breath”.

“There is now a clear case to argue that with many of our preconditions not being met that council ought to reconsider our position and either reaffirm our support and risk betraying the undertakings council make to our ratepayers or look to withdraw it,” he said.

“I believe council should withdraw its support for the airport.”

Lindsay MP Emma Husar described the final approval of the airport a “bitter farce”.

Mr Turnbull had given the projecthis tick of approval without a jobs plan being in place, without a commitment to rail infrastructure from day one and without the necessary site impact tests being completed, she said in a statement.

“On May 6, 2016, the Minister for Urban Infrastructure said the final flight paths would be contained in the final EIS, but they weren’t. We still don’t know what the flight paths will look like, and I can only suppose that means there’s something to hide,” she said.

“The Prime Minister has today approved an airport without actually knowing what it will mean to the communities, schools, families and businesses that will be affected.

“It’s a bitter farce, and the people of western Sydney have a right to feel conned and cheated by the actions of this Liberal government.”

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) alsoreaffirmed its concerns over the airport’s final approval conditions.

WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali said quality of life must be maintained for local residents.

“Currently, we do not have enough certainty that this will be the case,” he said. “Equity is a key concern for WSROC and unlike Kingsford Smith, Western Sydney Airport has no specific operating limitations, no noise abatement strategy, and no insulation or noise sharing programs.

“We don’t even know where the flight paths will be located.

“In addition to protections, WSROC wants to see the government’s plan for maximising the airport’s potential for employment, access to services, social inclusion, and regional connectivity.

“We need a transport network that gives both businesses and residents easy access to the airport and its surrounding employment lands. A single link to the city won’t cut it.”

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