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    Bandits pool talent to down Shooters

    2018 - 07.28

    ROUND 4 in the Mount Isa Pool Association continued last Sunday with five competitive fixtures on showcase.

    BOWLING ALLEY BANDITS 10 (Kingsley Ang 2; Anita Lynton 2; Jean Lavictoire 2) DEFEATED BARKLY STR8 SHOOTERS 7 (James Hay 2; Justin Holman 2)

    Barkly Str8 Shooters took their patchy form to Bowling Alley Bandits, who are the surprise packets of the year so far.

    Many were predicting Bandits to win with a landslide display, however, Str8 Shooters came to play.

    It didn’t look good for the Barkly side early being behind 3-1.

    Good wins to Samm Carpenter and Justin Holman showed a return to form for both Str8 Shooters and when James Hay took his seventh singles match, to remain unbeaten on the year, the scores were level.

    Bandits have had one-frame decisions all year but while the tightness of the day may have favoured them, Str8 Shooters had victory on their minds.

    Holman and Hay took two more to edge ahead 5-3 but Jean Lavictoire and Anita Lynton, who were both impressive on the day for Bandits, once again tied proceedings at 5-all.

    Heading into doubles, and similar to all three opening matches for Bandits, scores were 6-all.

    It was the visitors who showed their composure first to take the opening two doubles.

    They, of course, lost their final frame so the record would show, yet another, one-frame win.

    But the positive news was Str8 Shooters had a very good chance to knock off one of the front-runners.

    Holman’s team now travel to the Overlander to take on the last-placed Overlander New Stars in a match that might see their season turn around.

    While Bandits will have their hands full with the undefeated Buffalo Bills at home, in what looks to be another close call.

    IRISH CLUB 303S 14 (Jye Graham 2; Jordan Pickering 2; Shaye Graham 2; John Tuimauga 1; Jason Graham 1) DEFEATED CLUB DEMONS 3

    Irish Club 303s had a down week in the last round but still managed to get the better of Bandits by a frame.

    In a stunning return to form, 303s went to work against a hapless Club Demons side.

    Before Wes Purcell took the first frame for Demons, 303s were ahead 8-nil, and eventually won 14-3.

    While all 303s played exceptionally, Jordan Pickering, Shaye Graham, and Jye Graham were the standouts.

    They have a more difficult assignment next week against Bowling Alley CPR, who has snuck under the radar to claim second spot on the table.

    BOWLING ALLEY CPR 14 (James Cartledge 2; Don Cameron 2; Lester Armstrong 2; Lee Marshall 2) DEFEATED BARKLY MISCUES 3 (Chase Steffensen 2)

    In a very lopsided round 4, Bowling Alley CPR took another large score away from a lesser team, this time Barkly Miscues.

    Despite Chase Steffensen’s best efforts for Miscues, CPR was just too good.

    Lee Marshall and James Cartledge for CPR kept their averages up again taking two singles frames while Don Cameron and Lester Armstrong also played well for the visitors.

    BUFFS JMI 13 (James Ghee 2; Alan Wehrman 2; Anthony Behen 2) DEFEATED OVERLANDER NEW STARS 4 (Scott Megarrity 1)

    Buffs JMI look the real deal in 2015 as they snared another big total against Overlander New Stars, who find themselves in last spot by virtue of the first-round bye.

    JMI proved last round’s loss to Buffalo Bills may have been a minor hitch as they went to town on the New Stars.

    Anthony Behen may have confirmed himself as the best newcomer in the competition after four rounds again after playing aggressively in his two wins while teammates Alan Wehrman and James Ghee also starred.

    New Stars competed well but didn’t have enough in the tank to challenge for the win.

    New Stars will still have hope of rebounding next week when they come up against some old teammates in Barkly Str8 Shooters.

    IRISH CLUB OUTLAWS 14 (Mick Lehtonen 2; Troy Anderson 2; Russell Holdsworth 1) DEFEATED CLUB HUSTLERS 3 (Leanne Aria 1)

    After two wins and a bye for the season, Club Hustlers got wrecked with a quick dose of reality as they failed to compete with first-placed Irish Club Outlaws.

    Too many errors late in frames cost Hustlers but nothing could be taken away from Outlaws who were clinical in closing frames.

    Outlaws got out to a 7-1 lead, then lost two quick frames, but stayed composed to close out the day. Outlaws showed the rest of the league they are the front-runners for the trophy, however, they could relinquish first place with their bye in round 5.

    Whereas Hustlers will look to return to form in the local derby with Club Demons.

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    Storm whips village, knocks out power

    2018 - 07.28

    A SAVAGE storm smashed the region on Tuesday night, with the State Emergency Service (SES) called out to 11 houses in Gilgai, with reports of high winds and trees down.

    Two houses at Caroda, about 40km west of Bingara, also needed tarping, SES Namoi region controller Andrew Galvin said.

    The storm, which also hit Tamworth and surrounds, knocked out the Tamworth rain gauge, Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) officer in charge at Moree, Michael Glasson, said.

    He said wind speeds reached 83km/h in Gunnedah, 78km/h in Narrabri and 70km/h in Tamworth.

    “Over 90km/h is classified as severe,” Mr Glasson said.

    “It mainly affected the southern parts of the slopes and plains – large parts of the tablelands missed out.

    “It was quite heavy in parts (and is) ahead of a low-pressure trough system moving through.

    “We get storms any time of the year, but our severe thunderstorm season goes from the beginning of October to the end of March – so we’re still in the season, but it’s coming to an end.”

    Mr Glasson had not had any reports of hail.

    A lightning strike on Porcupine Ln, Tintinhull, knocked out power to about 2700 households and businesses in Kootingal, Bendemeer, Moonbi, Tintinhull, Limbri, Weabonga and Watsons Creek, as well as part of Daruka and Upper Moore Creek.

    Essential Energy community relations northern manager David Crough said crews responded immediately after the power network sensed the problem and switched itself off for the safety of the public and their property.

    He said all customers had their power restored by 11.54pm.

    “The storms caused the greatest impact to the power network in the Gilgai area, and we dispatched additional crews and equipment to ensure power was restored to those customers as quickly as possible,” Mr Crough said.

    Essential Energy hoped that power would be fully restored to all households and businesses affected by these storms by last night.

    Rain recorded to 9am yester-day: Coonabarabran 39mm, Gunnedah 23.8mm, Narrabri 24.4mm, Tingha and Mullaley 14mm, Barraba 12mm, Nundle 10mm, Moonbi 11mm, Inverell 9mm, Blackville 4mm, Manilla, Quirindi and Woolbrook 2mm, Krui Plains 1mm.

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    Paradise restored along the Peel

    2018 - 07.28

    IT’S been a case of “paradise lost” for too long, but now a popular recreation area on the Peel River has undergone a long-overdue transformation.

    RESERVE RICHES: Tamworth regional councillor Helen Tickle and council waste education officer Angela Dodson take in the view on a new park bench. Photo: Barry Smith 240315BSC03

    The reserve near Paradise Bridge, at the junction of King George V Ave and a closed section of Scott Rd, has been the beneficiary of a $25,000 funding injection.

    It has allowed for the addition of seating, rubbish bins, bollards to limit vehicle access, signage, fencing and lighting.

    The Leader has done several stories on the poor state of the area in the past few years, a number of residents complaining about the rubbish and drug paraphernalia that was often present.

    Tamworth Regional Council waste education officer Angela Dodson said the area had never been a designated reserve, but was frequently used by families, walkers, joggers, cyclists and visitors because of its proximity to the Tamworth CBD and its access to the Peel River.

    Ongoing litter, vandalism and drug problems had tarnished its appeal, though, she said.

    “A solution was to turn the area into an improved recreations area by limiting vehicle access and installing infrastructure to accommodate visitors to the area and providing the aesthetics of the location to foster community ownership of the space,” Ms Dodson said.

    Cr Helen Tickle said it was now a much more attractive space and was a location that had benefitted from Clean Up Australia Day activities in recent times.

    Anti-social behaviour will also be monitored on a more regular basis, with the park now a nominated site for the council’s mobile CCTV equipment.

    The $25,000 in funding was secured by the council through the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

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    Rix proves he is an Ironman

    2018 - 07.28

    CLONCURRY’S latest sporting achievement has come in the shape of local police officer Kit Rix’s completion of the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship held in Melbourne.

    Cloncurry police officer Kit Rix did the Curry Cats proud with a sub-10 hour performance at the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship held in Melbourne.

    Last Sunday, the 37-year-old produced a career personal best time of 09:57:04 in his fourth Ironman race ever.

    The Curry Cats Cycling and Triathlon Club member triumphed over the series of long-distance triathlon races consisting of a monster 2.4-mile (3.86km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile (42.2km) run, all raced in that order and without a break.

    Rix, who first participated in the Ironman in 2011, described his race as a big success achieving his goal time of sub-10 hours.

    “It’s been something I’ve been working towards,” Rix said.

    “My watch stopped working so I wasn’t sure at the finish line if I made it. Someone told me my time and I thought to myself ‘I can retire now’.”

    Understandably still “a bit sore” from the race, Rix labelled race conditions in Victoria last weekend near to faultless.

    “It was almost a perfect day,” Rix said.

    “In the morning, there was hardly any wind so the water was smooth. It just got a bit hot in the afternoon, which quite a lot of people suffered from.”

    The running leg, which was affected by the hot temperatures later in the day, was deemed by Rix as the weakest sector of his race.

    “The swim and bike went well but the run there I suffered a bit.’’

    The first 20km of the run was good but it all started to go backwards from there.

    A lack of nutrition prior to the race was established by Rix when he paid a visit to the medical tent after the race.

    “In the medical tent after the race I was six kilograms lighter,’’ Rix said.

    ‘‘You’ve just got to learn from your mistakes so next time I’ll eat well before the run.”

    Rix now has sights on the Julia Creek Dirt N Dust in only three weeks but for him, preparation will be rather low-key.

    “I’ll pretty much be doing nothing from now until then [Dirt N Dust].

    ‘‘It takes a while to recover from one of these [Ironman].

    ‘‘I might do a couple of swims, just because it’s not as taxing and then do a couple of easy rides.

    ‘‘But nothing major.”

    The newly formed Cloncurry Cats Cycling and Triathlon now has 36 members and Rix is hoping the club will be reasonably well represented at Julia Creek.

    “We are also trying to get a triathlon program up and running later on in the year.

    ‘‘There is a triathlon in May sometime and five-kilometre fun run on Sunday 12th.”

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    EDITORIAL: Mining in a freemarket

    2018 - 07.28


    FREE markets are supposed to be virtuous by definition. The unfettered interaction of supply and demand theoretically leads to a fair market price that meets the needs of buyers and sellers alike.

    But the picture often becomes more complicated, especially when one or two big players achieve market dominance. This is often the way markets mature, perhaps particularly in Australia.

    Is it right, for example, if dominant retailers use their power to crush the profit margins of the businesses that put products on their shop shelves? That’s a free market at work, but most people wouldn’t agree that it’s reasonable.

    What if big airlines dropped fares when a new competitor appeared, then lifted them again when that competitor went broke? Again, a free market in action, but a poor result for consumers.

    What if a big media owner skewed news reporting to favour parties or politicians that made decisions that suited that owner? If that ever happened it would probably not be a good result, despite the ostensibly free market.

    Competition is the key to making free markets virtuous. Insufficiently competitive markets slump into lazy, complacent or voraciously profiteering monopolies and oligopolies, in the worst case becoming perceived as ‘‘too big to fail’’. At this point, market players with dangerously inflated influence can menace the operation of democracy as well as distort economies to further suit their own interests.

    In that context it is interesting to hear embattled Australian iron ore tycoon Andrew Forrest suggest that he and other producers agree to cap production in order to maintain prices and profits.

    His goal is self-preservation. His company, Fortescue, is more vulnerable to the slipping world iron ore price than his giant competitors, notably Rio Tinto, BHP and Vale.

    For months, those giant players have been accused of deliberately ramping up supply in the face of slipping prices in order to seize market share and possibly drive smaller competitors – perhaps including Fortescue – out of business.

    Interestingly, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has seized on Mr Forrest’s remarks, suggesting he may have broken the law against potential cartel behaviour.

    That’s a fair point, but Mr Forrest insists there’s a bigger picture for Australia. He has accused his giant competitors of ‘‘smashing the revenues of their host nation’’ and their shareholders in pursuit of ‘‘market share at any cost’’.

    Is this, perhaps, a case where a ‘‘free market’’ in the iron ore sector may be producing poor results for all but the dominant suppliers?

    Mr Forrest has a vested interest in believing that to be so, but that doesn’t mean he is necessarily wrong.

    Inside job: tavern worker guilty

    2018 - 07.06

    A NIGHT manager of a Moree tavern is now a convicted criminal after he was found guilty of an inside hit, stealing thousands of dollars from the hotel.

    Yesterday morning, a court found Gregory Taylor was behind the break-in and theft of a large amount of cash after planning a fake robbery in October 2013.

    The week-long judge-only trial in Moree District Court wrapped up yesterday with the guilty verdict handed down by Judge Stephen Hanley.

    Immediately after the verdict, Judge Hanley refused Taylor’s bail and signalled the 52-year-old was looking at a lengthy jail sentence for hismasterminding.

    Taylor claimed he had closed the tavern and locked up for the night on October 23, 2013, but returned shortly after when an alarm activated.

    During his check on the hotel, the 52-year-old told police, he found the rear door had been forced in, then was held up with a knife and ordered to walk to a safe at the back of the hotel.

    A short time later, another employee found Taylor locked in the safe. The cash was gone and so was the supposed thief.

    That man, Trent Orchard, was arrested a week after the incident.

    He is now on parole after serving 12 months behind bars for his role in the heist. He had pleaded guilty to the aggravated break-and-enter and was jailed last year for up to two years.

    Despite Orchard’s arrest, Moree detectives unravelled the pair’s robbery plot after months of investigations, and closed in on Taylor.

    He was arrested and charged on May 9, and was released on bail by a court two days later.

    Taylor maintained his innocence throughout the trial, in which six witnesses were called to give evidence, including his co-accused and three police officers.

    About $25,000 in cash was taken from the hotel, but it has never been recovered.

    Taylor was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and accessory after the fact.

    He remains behind bars and will be sentenced next month.

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    State trio sailing into games berths

    2018 - 07.06

    THREE Tasmanian sailors have positioned themselves perfectly for a tilt at Olympic or Paralympic selection.

    The Australian sailing team has named 13 Olympic and six Paralympic class athletes aiming to secure 2016 selection for Rio de Janeiro in the upcoming world sailing season.

    The list includes Amelia Catt in the women’s two-person dinghy 470 and prospective Paralympians Matt Bugg and Neil Patterson in the one-person keelboat 2.4mR.

    Tasmanian Institute of Sport sports programs manager Carl Saunder said the Hobart trio would need to meet assorted criteria to secure spots.

    ‘‘We’re very well positioned with about 500 days to go,’’ he said.

    ‘‘Matt is seen as a potential podium athlete in the Paralympics while Amelia is well on the way to qualifying for a spot.’’

    The reigning national champ in his class and a London Paralympian, Bugg, 34, is in a prime position to compete in Rio, having already qualified the boat at last year’s world championships.

    The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania member is about to head to Europe to compete in a series of sailing races plus the Olympic test event.

    ‘‘He is the No.1 Australian athlete in that class and barring injury or illness would be expected to win that spot for the Paralympics,’’ Saunder said.

    With Melbourne-based Patterson targeting the same spot, he is seen as a longer-term candidate although the future of Paralympic sailing from 2016 onwards remains unclear.

    Catt, 22, and her skipper, Sasha Ryan, of Queensland, will attempt to qualify their boat at the world championships in Haifa, Israel, in October, or the Oceania champs in Australia a couple of months later.

    ‘‘If they were to qualify the boat, they would then be in pole position to retain their spots for the Games,’’ Saunder added.

    Coached by 2008 Olympic gold medallist Nathan Wilmot and based at the national training centre in Sydney, Catt and Ryan will be sailing in the 470 class at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Spain this weekend.

    ‘‘It’s been great working with the 470 women and our aim is to get them to the top of the fleet,’’ Wilmot said.

    ‘‘There is a lot of talent in the teams and it is an exciting time to be involved.’’

    Tasmania’s only previous Olympic representative in sailing was David Connor at Seoul in 1988.

    Australia is seeking to retain its status as the most successful sailing nation at the 2012 Olympics.

    Matt Bugg (right) sailing against Richard Fisher and Lisa Blackwood in the 2.4mR class at this year’s Bellerive Regatta. Picture: PETER CAMPBELL

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    Lock up, keep watch: police

    2018 - 07.06

    BARWON police have confirmed a third of break-ins over the past week have been the result of residents not locking up.

    According to investigators, homes in Boston, Gosport, Maude, Auburn, Boland and Tycannah streets in Moree have been hit by thieves, as well as rural properties on the outskirts of town.

    Barwon crime manager, Detective Inspector David Silversides, said while small items were usually stolen, gaming consoles, jewellery, notebook computers, wallets and handbags had been the latest targets taken by thieves.

    “Opportunistic thieves are quick to take advantage of unlocked homes and vehicles,” he said.

    “Residents need to be aware of their surroundings and be mindful of their personal security.”

    Detective Inspector Silversides said victims were often unaware thieves had snuck onto their premises until it was too late.

    “If somebody sees a vehicle that looks out of place, write the licence plate number down,” he said.

    “If somebody sees a person that looks out of place or is acting suspiciously, don’t hesitate to call us.”

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    Signed, sealed, delivered

    2018 - 07.06

    SEVEN remote Western Queensland councils have reaped the rewards of their collaborative hard work with the upgrade of the Donahue Highway.

    A section of the road ready for upgrade.

    The highway is a vital link for the town of Boulia and forms part of the Outback Highway, which runs 2800 kilometres across central Australia.

    The development of the highway comes after Barcaldine Regional Council, Barcoo Shire Council, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, Boulia Shire Council, Diamantina Shire Council, Longreach Regional Council and Winton Shire Council joined forces to form the Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) are coming to fruition.

    The group lobbied intensely to state and federal governments with $23.5 million allocated across the seven councils along with a local government contribution of $500,000 per council in the hope of securing work for the council’s workforce into the future.

    In the true sense of putting important projects, which would benefit the region, ahead of individual councils wants – the group allocated Boulia Shire Council $8 million over a three-year period to upgrade the Donohue Highway.

    The funding enabled a scope of works to pave and seal to improve the road condition, decrease travel time and improve network accessibility.

    Works started in July last year and have been ongoing throughout this financial year.

    Stage 1 consists of sealing 10.5 kilometres from the end of the bitumen to the bitumen at the Telstra tower. When Stage 1 is complete, there will be 46 kilometres of continuous bitumen from the Boulia-Dajarra road, resulting in a continuous sealed road to the Badalia and Wirrilyerna station turnoffs.

    The Boulia Shire Council is undertaking these works and are on schedule to complete Stage 1 on time and on budget.

    The sections being completed are getting progressively sealed as the works advance, to mitigate any damage from storms or flooding.

    To date 80 per cent of stage 1 has been sealed with the final 2 kilometres scheduled to be sealed in April. Stage 2 and 3 will be constructed in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and the works will consist of extending the bitumen further to the west.

    Depending on how the works progress it is hoped that the bitumen can be extended to provide 80 kilometres of continuous bitumen from the Boulia – Dajarra road.

    The Donohue Highway along its entire length forms part of the Outback Highway, which runs 2800 kilometres through central Australia. Boulia is linked to Alice Springs via the Donohue Highway.

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    Councillors quiet: Murray alone in overt Nats pick

    2018 - 07.06

    TAMWORTH’S councillors have attempted to distance themselves from mayor Col Murray’s controversial decision to support Nationals MP Kevin Anderson ahead of the election.

    Councillor Murray’s choice to enter the political fray and endorse the incumbent in a Nationals television commercial has sparked fierce criticism from many in the community.

    Independent candidate Peter Draper went as far as calling for Cr Murray’s resignation for clearly aligning himself – and by extension, the entire council – to Mr Draper’s rival.

    The Leader has been inundated with calls and letters in recent days from people furious that Cr Murray, speaking in his capacity as mayor in the ad, would pick a side in the campaign.

    “Since when does the mayor of Tamworth Regional Council, Col Murray, have the authority to endorse the National Party’s Tamworth seat candidate Kevin Anderson?” said letter writer Julie Bennett.

    “Does this have the approval of the other Tamworth regional councillors and their full support?”

    Despite Cr Murray telling The Leader on Tuesday he expected some backlash from his fellow councillors, his colleagues have not criticised him publicly.

    But the majority were at pains to stress that the mayor was expressing his individual view in the advertisement and not a formal position of the council.

    “I see one of the strengths of our council is being non-political and I’m happy to keep it that way,” Cr Juanita Wilson said.

    “This is to be seen as the endorsement of an individual and not an endorsement of the Tamworth Regional Council.”

    Cr Helen Tickle said simply that she believed “council should remain apolitical”, while Cr Mark Rodda said he had his “own thoughts” and the mayor “hasn’t spoken for me”.

    Veteran councillor Warren Woodley said he was “happy” with the mayor’s stance as to “start over again with an independent would be a shame”.

    “I want to be able to continue with the Coalition government on all the talks we’ve had in regards to lots of major issues that we’ve been working on for a year or two now,” he said.

    Deputy mayor Russell Webb said it was Cr Murray’s “own personal decision” and he had “done it for the right reasons”.

    “The council will never adopt a position to do that, but each individual councillor has a democratic right to put forward their feelings about something,” he said.

    Former mayor James Treloar said during his tenure he decided against endorsing candidates, but cast no judgment over Cr Murray’s stance.

    “Col’s quite entitled to make that decision and do that … and I’m certainly not going to enter into the debate about whether that’s right or wrong,” he said. “I can only say that I chose not to, but I can’t say whether I was right or wrong.”

    Cr Phil Betts said councillors were “individuals, and whatever individuals do is up to them”.

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