• Archives
  • Categories
  • Announcement of reforms of laws expected

    2018 - 07.05

    Premier Mike Baird is expected to announce today the Coalition’s long-awaited reforms to native vegetation legislation.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The NSW Liberals have been accused of caving in to their Nationals Coalition partners with reported plans to scrap acts protecting native vegetation and threatened species if re-elected.

    Fairfax Media understands Mr Baird will today announce that a Liberal-National government would adopt all 43 recommendations of a panel that reviewed biodiversity legislation in NSW.

    The review panel report, released on December 18 last year, recommended repealing the Native Vegetation Act and Threatened Species Act, while “reconstituting elements of them in a new Biodiversity Conservation Act”.

    The report also recommended conserving habitats at a regional or state scale. Farmers, it said, had been left to carry an unfair share of responsibility for preserving nature in the state.

    Repealing the laws “represents a significant lurch to the right to appease radical elements in the farming community”, Kate Smolski, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council, saidyesterday.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Family’s house put up for surety

    2018 - 07.05

    THE family of an alleged ice dealer accused of peddling a commercial amount of the drug to other dealers in Tamworth has offered their house as surety for bail.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Gregory Alan McBride will learn this morning whether his bid for bail was successful when Magistrate Mal MacPherson hands down his decision. It follows yesterday’s show-cause hearing in Tamworth Local Court, which was triggered because McBride is charged with supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.

    The court heard McBride’s family would offer their Tamworth home as surety to secure bail, and ensure he would attend court as the case progressed.

    “It places another burden on Mr McBride,” solicitor Wendy McAuliffe said.

    “If he messes up at all, his parents lose their house.”

    McBride’s defence has to prove why detention is not justified, after he was arrested and charged with four offences during a co-ordinated swoop by detectives attached to Strike Force Mewburn.

    The operation was conducted earlier this month and led to several arrests and the dismantling of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang’s Tamworth clubhouse, which was stripped bare.

    A solicitor for the DPP argued McBride had links to the outlaw motorcycle gang, including through some of his co-accused, but McBride shook his head, as he appeared via video link from Silverwater prison.

    “He does painting for a living,” Ms McAuliffe said, adding that McBride had painted for people with ties to the club as part of his job.

    “He has done work at the clubhouse,” she said.

    The case revolves around methylamphetamine, or ice, which was yesterday labelled by authorities as Australia’s worst drug.

    Ms McAuliffe said the case against her client appeared to be “circumstantial”, revolving around the alleged sale of the drug “that was supplied to the co-accused by Mr McBride”.

    But DPP solicitor Colin Dalrymple said police had compiled surveillance allegedly “observing transactions taking place”.

    “This is quite a strong case,” he said.

    “The transcripts are black and white, they’re there for all to listen to.

    “A drug of particular concern to the community, a drug that causes great harm,” he said, adding McBride was higher up the chain of command in the alleged drug ring.

    Mr Dalrymple submitted the maximum 20-year penalty McBride was facing if convicted could cause him to be a flight risk.

    “That would lead to a great temptation to flee the jurisdiction,” as well as the risk McBride could interfere with witnesses, he said.

    However, Ms McAuliffe argued McBride could effectively remain under house arrest and live with his family to alleviate bail concerns while his case progressed.

    “I’m imagining it’s going to take a long time,” she said, adding that was another factor in the case for bail. “There will be lengthy delays in this matter.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    MP to call for drought relief in maiden speech

    2018 - 07.05

    WESTERN Queensland drought conditions are now at the stage where Exceptional Circumstance relief measures need to be enacted, according to the member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar.
    Nanjing Night Net

    BIG DRY: Gregory MP Lachlan Millar believes there should be Exceptional Circumstance relief measures due to the drought.

    Foreshadowing the contents of his maiden speech to Parliament, likely to take place on Friday, the Gregory MP said conditions were so bad they could no longer be considered just a drought.

    “This is a natural disaster,” he said.

    “There’s a massive downturn in the economy, which needs to be recognised at all levels of government.

    “People are losing confidence and we urgently need to do something to keep them here.”

    Mr Millar said nothing had changed since Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s listening tour to Longreach a year ago, except that small businesses in rural towns were now facing similar business collapses as surrounding graziers.

    When questioned at the time about extra drought measures, Mr Abbott said the last time he visited Longreach there had only been one bad season, which was why an in-drought crisis response had not been forthcoming before that.

    Producers last February were staring down the barrel of their second failed wet season, and since then, yet another wet season has almost passed without drought-breaking rain.

    Warren Truss, visiting Longreach a few weeks before Mr Abbott’s 2014 tour in an acting Prime Minister capacity, had already ruled out reviving Exceptional Circumstance drought relief payments despite noting then the situation had become so dire in a number of areas that the criteria for ECRP would have been met if in place.

    Mr Millar thought thesituation warranted a round table meeting between federal, state and local government levels to come up with solutions.

    “The Drought Relief Assistance Scheme funding has been doing a great job but we need to find a way to keep our towns going,” he said.

    “Long-standing businesses are saying they’ve only got three months left before they make some very hard decisions.

    “When the seasons return we are going to need these people in our towns.”

    Under the ECRP scheme established in 1992, eligibility for financial assistance has been determined by geographic location, or specific areas considered to be experiencing worse-than-normal drought conditions. Farm-dependent small businesses were also eligible for assistance.

    Mr Millar added that once the drought was behind everyone he would like to explore a pastoral tax rate.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Elks make welcome return to top grade

    2018 - 07.05

    Nanjing Night Net

    GLEN Innes will return to the first grade fray when the New England competition kicks off this weekend.

    Albies and Armidale contest a lineout during the recent Armidale Knockout. The annual tournament served as a good warm-up for the start of the competition proper this weekend. Photo: Chris Bath 140315CBC07.

    The Elks elevation to the top grade coincides with the 40th anniversary of the club’s reformation and will see five teams fighting it out for the Sawers Shield with Guyra dropping back to second grade.

    Glen back in first grade is something the zone had been pushing for and working towards for a few years and will offset the loss of the Ghosts from first grade.

    “This is welcome news to rugby followers in the New England as it considerably strengthens this year’s competition,” president David Clifton said.

    It will ensure a five-team first grade competition.

    “The stronger the first grade competition the more able we are to attract players to the comp,” Clifton said.

    “Only three other teams to play against is not a great incentive to attract players.”

    Clifton said they tried to encourage the Ghosts to field a team but they were “not in a position to do so”.

    “Neither are Gwydir at this stage,” Clifton said.

    In both cases the reformation of the league side has drawn away numbers.

    “Guyra has been affected by league starting up,” Clifton said.

    “That’s also the case in Gwydir where Warialda have indicated they’re restarting a league team.

    “Gwydir drew quite a few people from the Warialda area.”

    They will still field second and third grade.

    Clifton is also hoping Pirates will again field a side in the third grade competition as they did last season.

    It would give them six – the same as second grade.

    Pirates president Kelvin Collyer said they haven’t made a final call on it yet, but indicated it was looking unlikely.

    “It was really difficult last year because of the different locations,” he said. “It left us a bit skinny for numbers in second grade.”

    There were games they had only 15 or 16 players for second grade.

    It will depend on numbers which way they decide.

    As for the Elks they have long boasted some of the best players in the competition but haven’t necessarily had the spread of depth to be competitive – or the numbers, although they have picked up in the last couple of years, and that was what prompted them to have a crack at first grade, president Michael Lamph said.

    It’s something they’ve been thinking about for the last couple of years.

    “After last year’s second grade win it was put to us,” he said.

    On the back of that they felt the time was right.

    He said they’ve been getting a consistent roll-up of 15-18 to training, but are struggling a bit for depth in key positions such as the front row.

    Any front rowers will be more than welcome.

    He’s hoping the fact that they are playing in first grade and a stronger competition might flush a few more players out.

    They have the bye on Saturday but have already got into the swing of things.

    Last Saturday they had trials against the Yamba Buccaneers and Woolgoolga Wombats.

    They won both games in what was a promising start.

    This weekend’s action will see Armidale hosting Robb in a grand final rematch and St Alberts playing Barbarians in the first grade.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Tamworth a two-horse race but 1 in 3 undecided

    2018 - 07.05

    THE battle for the seat of Tamworth appears too close to call, after a survey revealed more than one-in-three voters remain undecided, just two days out from the election.
    Nanjing Night Net

    POPULAR CHOICE: Many Tamworth electors have been casting their votes at the pre-poll centre in Darling St – but many are still undecided about who will get their vote. Photo: Barry Smith 230315BSE03

    The Leader polled 100 enrolled voters, selected at random from the phonebook, to ask which of the seven candidates would be getting their endorsement on Saturday.

    Incumbent Nationals MP Kevin Anderson received 33 votes, ahead of independent and former member Peter Draper on 31, and Country Labor’s Joe Hillard on one.

    But, despite an avalanche of electioneering from the candidates, 35 respondents said they still remained undecided about where their vote would go on polling day.

    Mr Anderson, who is seeking a second term, said he would continue campaigning his hardest right up until the polls closed at 6pm on Saturday.

    “I think that we always said it was going to be tight, and we know that there will be a lot of people who are yet to make up their minds,” he said.

    “My job is to try to get the message out as much as I can that I have a strong plan for the Tamworthelectorate.”

    Mr Draper, who served as the member for Tamworth from 2003 until his loss to Mr Anderson at the 2011 election, said he was not surprised at the result.

    “There are a lot of people who don’t make their mind up until the day, and the pre-poll is showing that it’s pretty even down here,” he said.

    “It’ll be interesting on the day, just to see what happens. I’m really not surprised (by the number of undecided voters) at all.”

    Mr Anderson said issues such as hospitals, police, education, roads and mining were at the forefront of people’s minds in the Tamworth electorate.

    “We do have the best plan,” he said.

    “We haven’t heard anything from the other side yet about what they’re going to do.”

    Mr Draper was philosophical about his chances on Saturday, saying he had “never been confident” he would win back the seat.

    “But what I am confident of is I’ve done a good thing by creating interest in the local community and getting Kevin to actually do some work for a change,” he said. “We’ll see what happens on the day.”

    The candidates for the seat of Tamworth are: Kevin Anderson (Nationals), Peter Draper (independent), Stan Heuston (Party Reform), Joe Hillard (Country Labor), Richard Nock (No Land Tax), Michelle Ryan (Christian Democrat Party) and Pat Schultz (Greens).

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Merger forces sell off of local radio station

    2018 - 07.05

    MEDIA regulator rules will mean Mount Isa radio station 4LM will need to be sold after Australia’s two biggest rating radio stations became one company.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Macquarie Radio Network’s shareholders voted to merge with Fairfax Media’s radio network.

    The $200 million combined company will operate Macquarie Radio’s 2GB in Sydney whose hosts include Alan Jones and Ray Hadley and Fairfax’s 3AW in Melbourne.

    Under the merger, Macquarie Radio will own licences in Sydney for stations 2UE, 2GB and 2CH.

    But media regulator rules mean it will need to sell its 2CH and Mount Isa station 4LM.

    Macquarie Radio’s executive chairman Russell Tate said the $200 million deal, which has regulatory approval, would bring together the greatest mix of talkback talent ever assembled in a single radio network.

    There were also ‘‘economies of scale associated with programming and talent costs derived from broader distribution of appropriate content and improvements in quality of content’’, he told shareholders.

    That implies more host sharing, already seen recently with Fairfax-owned 4BC’s use of 2GB’s Jones during the Queensland election campaign.

    Jack Singleton, the son of Macquarie’s majority shareholder John Singleton, will keep his board position with the merged group.

    Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood and director James Millar will also be board members, along with Macquarie executive chairman Russell Tate who will run the company for 12 months.

    Fairfax will own 54.5 per cent of the group and Macquarie shareholders 45.5 per cent. Macquarie will pay Fairfax $18 million based on its net debt.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    School presents snow business

    2018 - 07.05

    STUDENTS have revealed information about their characters for a much-anticipated school musical in Mount Isa.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Good Shepherd Catholic College students practise their singing voices for school musical Snow Off White.

    Good Shepherd Catholic College year 9 student Juliet Tuppurainen has been cast to play Snow White in this year’s schools musical, Snow Off White.

    Juliet said it would be her first musical play but she was looking forward to remembering all 221 of her lines.

    “I thought I was going to get the Fairy Godmother role,” she said.

    “I’m excited, but scared at the same time to be playing one of the lead roles.”

    Performing a solo for the first time, Juliet said her favourite part of being involved in the musical was learning and singing new songs.

    Year 12 student Dylan Palmer will act the role of main henchmen Dirk but this will not be his first time on stage.

    In year 10, Dylan was in the college’s Your History Musical and was also in two musicals at his former primary school in South Africa.

    Dylan said his character Dirk was a bit stern and up himself until he met Rozamond (Sleeping Beauty).

    “It’s fun to meet new people, make new friends and have fun,” he said.

    “I also love drama so it’s great to put a good show on.”

    So far Dylan believes the opening night will be a success.

    “Everything is starting to become linked and everyone is learning their lines,” he said.

    “So it is starting to sound like a real musical instead of a bunch of school students.”

    Good Shepherd Catholic College drama teacher Anna Telford said the musical was coming together with some of the actors having already learnt their lines.

    Tickets go on sale on April 20.

    The play will be held on May 22 and 23.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Call to community on parkvandalism

    2018 - 07.05

    A CITY councillor urges the Mount Isa community to report vandalism in local parks in an effort to restore them.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Chair of Sport and Beautification Kim Coghlan said vandals were kicking up in-ground sprinklers, and she asked anybody with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

    “If we stop that vandalism in Mount Isa, or even halve it, that money can be put to good use and help families doing the right thing all the time,” she said.

    The council needed to invest “serious money” into parks including Captain Cook, Sunset, Selwyn, Playway and the Family Fun Park to increase the city’s liveability, despite the hard work of council staff.

    “Look, I’ve said this for ages, our parks need a lot more put into them for people to be able to enjoy them,” Cr Coghlan said.

    “There’s not enough shade or grass coverage and not enough lighting.”

    Less money spent repairing vandalism damage could mean additional money on improvements.

    Survey results showed exercise equipment in parks was a popular idea, but these could be targets of vandalism.

    Cr Coghlan sympathised with fitness groups she had seen train at the dusty parks in the early hours of the morning when it was dark.

    And she admired their dedication.

    Anybody wishing to report a crime can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Part-time Hazlewood a full-time performer

    2018 - 07.05

    AARON Hazlewood couldn’t have timed his season anybetter.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Old Boys opening bowler and middle order bat has won the Tamworth Best and Fairest Award despite missing a number of weekends because of his work in a mine out west.

    This weekend he’ll spearhead Old Boys’ challenge for a second successive Tamworth first grade grand final win.

    “Yeah, it’s been pretty good, especially only playing every second week.

    “It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

    Hazlewood was one of the stars in the major semi final win over North Tamworth Redbacks two weeks ago. He then returned to work last weekend and this weekend will be back on deck for Old Boys.

    It’s been similar throughout the season.

    His weekends at home have seen him contribute with both bat and ball to such an extent he amassed 14 points in the B&F, two more than his OB skipper Ben Middlebrook and North Tamworth’s Kris Halloran.

    Both Middlebrook and Halloran had late surges with Middlebrook outstanding with bat and ball too.

    “He has been sensational,” Hazlewood said.

    Aaron Hazlewood lets fly to North Tamworth skipper Michael Rixon as Redback wicketkeeper Adam Mansfield and umpire Wayne Solomons look on. Photo: Barry Smith 130215BSG12

    “He’s had a couple of five fors in the final few games and then the big 195. He deserved 200.”

    All the Old Boys are playing well, though, Aaron said.

    He’s been more than happy with the way the younger bowlers have been going too.

    New ball partner Will Howard has been hitting the line and length while teenage spinners, Will Chesterfield and Jack Richards offer variety as well.

    The two teenagers mopped up in the major semi-final claiming eight wickets between them.

    Old Boys tackle surprise packets South who have come from fifth to snare a grand final berth.

    Their record in grand finals coming from third or fourth is good too, said Country keeper Tom Groth.

    Souths might have only scored 214 in the preliminary final but their bowling attack then routed Norths for 94 and a 120-run victory.

    They too have struck form at the right time and have top order bat Nick Leyden to come back in. Last weekend’s opening bats, Bryce Natty and Josh Crowe, are both away at the wedding of former teammate Blake Fitzgerald.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Visitor prays for rain

    2018 - 07.05

    MEXICAN agronomist engineer Mario Garcia was preaching his faith at the Cloncurry Mayor’s Community Breakfast on Tuesday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    GIVING A FRIENDLY CLONCURRY WELCOME: Mayor Andrew Daniels meets Silvia and Mario Garcia. Mr Garcia is an Agronomist Engineer from Mexico who spoke of his faith at the Mayor’s Community Breakfast on Tuesday.

    But in doing so, he compared the current conditions of the Queensland Outback to a former three-year drought in his home country.

    “It was hard,” Mr Garcia said. “A friend of mine committed suicide because he lost everything.”

    Mr Garcia is a chairman of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, and said he believed God could bring rain to the North West region.

    He then asked attendees to pray for it.

    “I want to pray for the rain.

    “If you help me and pray for the rain I know something is going to happen.

    “You are going to remember this crazy Mexican.”

    Mr Garcia also highlighted the importance of being with family.

    Years ago, he was more interested in money and ambition, but lost the respect of his children because he did not give them his time and interest.

    “The richness of the city is the family.

    “The future of the city is the family,” he said.

    Cloncurry Mayor Andrew Daniels sympathised with Mr Garcia’s friend who saw no way out of his predicament during drought.

    “A man suffers more than anybody if his child is hungry,” Cr Daniels said.

    Cr Daniels said he was not bothered by the religious theme of the event.

    “If we are praying for rain and praying for the community, I am happy,” he said.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.