Councils oppose forced mergers

CENTROC has officially expressed its opposition to forced amalgamation.
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Bathurst Council Chambers.

Representatives of the 17 member councils met at Mount Panorama on Thursday to discuss the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s final report into the state’s councils.

The panel has made it clear that councils should consider forming alliances.

Earlier this year representatives of Bathurst Regional Council travelled to the Hunter region to see firsthand the preferred model for joint council ventures.

On Thursday, CEO of the Hunter group of councils Roger Stephan outlined how their model works to CENTROC members who did not make the trip.

The mayors and general managers of Bathurst, Oberon, Lithgow and Blayney councils have already met to discuss the option of forming a voluntary alliance.

Bathurst mayor Gary Rush is of the opinion that if these councils take a proactive approach, it would indicate they were in control of their own destiny.

The Bathurst mayor said CENTROC would be making a submission that it does not support the formation of mandatory joint organisations, however, he said certain aspects of the review were well received.

Cr Rush said member councils were cautious, and wished to explore all the options before any decisions were made.

“No council used the opportunity to state their position,” he said. “It is fair to say all local government areas realise there is a lot to consider. However, they don’t want any collaboration to be mandatory.

“I personally think there are advantages in having discussions and looking at how we can work together to achieve positive outcomes, particularly in relation to financial and resource sharing,” he said.

Cr Rush said chair of Central West Tourism, Norm Mann also spoke at Thursday’s CENTROC meeting.

He said they learned some funds have been allocated for distribution among local councils.

In the Bathurst region, these funds will go towards initiatives already planned.

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Brillante helps prop up Jets defence

HIGH FLYER: Josh Brillante.JETS coach Clayton Zane has no doubts that Josh Brillante will develop into a leader in the middle of the park, most likely at an overseas club.
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But for now Brillante is of most value to the Jets at right fullback.

The 20-year-old will line up on the flank for a fifth straight game against Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta tomorrow.

‘‘The loss of Scott Neville [to a season-ending knee injury] has hurt us a lot more than anticipated,’’ Zane said.

‘‘We didn’t want to get to the situation where we had to revert to midfielders playing at right back, but he has done a great job since coming in there.

‘‘We know away from home we are going to get a very solid defender, but he also gives us a little bit going forward as well. ‘‘In the future I can see him being an inspirational leader in the middle of the park.

‘‘But he needs to do a job for the team now, and he has done it so far.’’

After joining Newcastle from the Gold Coast, Brillante made his debut for the Jets at right back last season.

He makes no secret of his preference for playing in midfield but is content to fill whatever role is required.

‘‘When I first came to the club I played a lot of right back,’’ he said. ‘‘They are obviously very different roles, especially defence-wise.

‘‘I see myself as a midfielder. I grew up playing in midfield and enjoy that position the most. For now, it’s whatever is best for the team.’’

A fringe player in his maiden season at the Jets, Brillante grabbed the spotlight after a breakout campaign for the Young Socceroos at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in June.

His efforts in midfield were highlighted by a wonder strike against El Salvador. The goal, and his all-round performance, attracted attention from European clubs headed by Everton, Schalke and Lazio.

Managed by former Socceroos midfielder Vince Grella, Brillante has another year to run on his contract at the Jets but has aspirations of playing in Europe.

‘‘His mentality can’t be faulted,’’ Zane said. ‘‘He is the first to training every morning and quite often the last to leave.

‘‘He has the look about him of a kid who has one thing on his mind – to play in a bigger league abroad.

‘‘He knows the only way to do that is through persistent performances for Newcastle.’’

Brillante can’t help but smile when the El Salvador goal is mentioned, but he is yet to score a goal in the A-League.

‘‘To score a goal like that gave me a lot of confidence,’’ he said. ‘‘Even at right back, I have been having a lot of shots. Hopefully I get a bit of luck and put one in the back of the net.

‘‘Wanderers are very good in transition. As a fullback you want to get forward, but your first role is as a defender.’’

The Jets came from 2-1 down to grab a late equaliser in their last encounter with the Wanderers at Hunter Stadium four weeks ago.

Since then they have gone down to Phoenix 3-2 at home, upset Brisbane 1-0 away and lost to Sydney 2-0 (home) to slip to eighth place on 23 points, four outside the six.

It’s not do or die, but Zane said it was vital that the Jets ‘‘stay in contact with the rest of the pack’’.

‘‘There are still enough games to potentially finish in the top four,’’ Zane said. ‘‘Our thinking is that we can’t fall too far away from the pack.

‘‘We need to give ourselves every chance coming into the last three or four matches.’’

Kew Jaliens returns from suspension and Joel Griffiths is set to start his first game.

‘‘We are looking at a little more thrust going forward,’’ Zane said. ‘‘Wanderers try and control teams without the ball a lot more. We want people in the front third to take a little bit more initiative and take chances higher up the pitch.

‘‘There will be a lot of moments in the match where they want us to have the ball.

‘‘I don’t want players to shy away from a slower build-up. They just need to be able to read the game, when to quicken the tempo, when to be a bit more direct with Emile [Heskey], and choose their moment in the final third to take initiative.’’

Wanderers are lining up for a third game in nine days. They won 2-0 in Perth 2-0 last week before a demoralising 3-1 loss to Ulsan in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday.

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Jailed for fire bomb threat

A MAN has been jailed for threatening to fire bomb a house and assaulting a woman holding a two-week-old baby.
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Warwick Maxwell Toomey, 42, faced charges of common assault, stalking and intimidating and contravening the restrictions of an apprehended violence order when he appeared in Dubbo Local Court via video link from the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre in Sydney.

Magistrate Andrew Eckhold said the offences had been very serious.

“You were initially dealt with by circle (sentencing) and were placed on a three-year bond for assault,” the magistrate said.

“You have had extensive drug issues over a long period of time.

“Your background is tragic – your parents had issues with alcohol and you developed a physical addiction.

“You went to rehabilitation but left (a drug and alcohol centre) after three months and started using drugs again.

“In some ways it is a miracle that you are still alive.”

Magistrate Eckhold revoked the good behaviour bond previously imposed by the court and sentenced Toomey to 14 months jail, to date from January 15 this year. An eight-month non-parole period was imposed.

Toomey was jailed for 12 months for stalking and intimidating. A four-month non-parole period was set.

Toomey was placed on a two-year good behaviour for contravening the apprehended violence order.

Magistrate Eckhold made a finding of special circumstances due to Toomey’s need for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

“You are to be directed to full-time rehabilitation upon your release from jail,” the magistrate said.

“The bond is to supervised by Community Corrections.”

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Fight continues for South Dubbo

Concerned South Dubbo resident Steve Hodder and Adam Campbell urge the community to rally by completing a submission to Dubbo City Council about its rezoning proposal. Photo: BELINDA SOOLESubmissions are the key in a battle about South Dubbo’s future, campaigners say.
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A petition about a plan to allow multi-dwelling housing and a range of uses in a large section of the residential neighbourhood has attracted attention.

An estimated 500 people had signed the document by yesterday, in the same week as a crowd of hundreds of people turned out to a public meeting about the South Dubbo Housing Choice Planning Proposal.

The rezone presented by Dubbo City Council as an option to address a shortage in housing types has both proponents and detractors.

The meeting turnout and support for the petition has encouraged its author and South Dubbo resident Adam Campbell but yesterday he urged the community not to be complacent about its efforts so far.

He and fellow campaigner Steve Hodder urged people with concerns to make a submission to Dubbo City Council, the author of the planning proposal, by March 28.

“The petition isn’t the end of the story – it will go to the council but it will not hold the weight of a submission,” Mr Campbell said.

“We need to push forward, keep the momentum.

“There is still 28 days to make a submission”.

Mr Campbell has lived in South Dubbo for about a decade and likes the suburb just as it is.

“Residents and myself are in fear our lifestyle and environment will be compromised,” he said.

“The existing residents will have no choice if it (the planning proposal) goes ahead.”

The planning proposal is on public display at the council where staff will be available to answer questions between 9am and 5pm.

It is also on display at the Dubbo branch of the Macquarie Regional Library and online at www.dubbo.nsw.gov.au.

Public exhibition of the proposal is the first stage in the state government process towards amendment of the Dubbo Local Environmental Plan 2011.

After completion of the public display period, a further report will be presented to council for consideration.

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NRL faces crowd trouble

BULLISH: Dave Smith. DISAPPOINTING crowds for the NRL’s opening round next week could test chief executive Dave Smith’s pre-season claims the game is in a period of unprecedented growth.
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Smith said at the season launch on Wednesday that after the success of the Auckland Nines and the Sydney Roosters’ win in the World Club Challenge the game had enjoyed one of its best pre-seasons in recent memory.

Few would argue with that, but any momentum gained could stall in round one as total crowds are set to be well down on the initial 200,000 tipped across the eight games.

Despite record membership numbers, ticket sales have been sluggish. The season opener on Thursday between the Roosters and South Sydney at ANZ Stadium looks set to attract a crowd of about 30,000.

That is well short of the 50,000 initially touted and almost half the record 59,708 who attended the final-round minor premiership showdown between the bitter arch rivals last year.

It would also be down on the 35,952 fans who saw Sonny Bill Williams’s return to the NRL in the corresponding game last year, which also kicked off the new season, the biggest crowd for a stand-alone round-one match in Sydney.

Last season’s total first-round crowd figure of 158,678 was buoyed by the 31,139 who filed into Suncorp Stadium for Brisbane’s clash with Manly.

This season, Brisbane do not play at home until round two, which means 2014’s total opening-round figure could be down on last year’s.

In 2012, 149,888 fans came through the gates in round one.

But any disappointment for the NRL on crowd figures could be offset by TV ratings.

Last year’s Thursday and Friday night games averaged almost a million viewers nationwide on Channel Nine.

Williams’s return game attracted record ratings in Sydney, and officials are confident that can continue.

The announcement this week of a $50million 2013 financial-year profit has put Rugby League Central in an understandably bullish mood.

‘‘The NRL has delivered its strongest financial performance on record and set out a clear strategy for the future,’’ Smith said at the launch.

‘‘It’s been an amazing few weeks. The best pre-season in many years – one to whet the appetite of all of our members and fans. The 2014 season is going to be bigger and better than ever.’’

But Smith this week also acknowledged crowds were down about 3per cent last season, and they could remain a concern for the NRL throughout 2014.

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Schapelle Corby program won’t include an interview, family says

DENPASAR, BALI, BALI – FEBRUARY 10: Schapelle Corby, with her face covered, reports for a parole hearing before being released on February 10, 2014 in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby, whose case attracted huge media attention and public sympathy in Australia, is released today after nine years in prison. (Photo by Putu Sayoga/Getty Images) Photo: Putu Sayoga The Age, News10/02/2014picture Justin McManus.Schapelle Corby’s realese from Kerobokan prison in Bali.Schapelle in Corrections Bureau. Photo: Justin McManus JZM
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No interview: Schapelle Corby covers her face after being released from Kerobokan prison in Bali. Photo: Justin McManus

No interview: Schapelle Corby covers her face after being released from Kerobokan prison in Bali. Photo: Justin McManus

No interview: Schapelle Corby covers her face after being released from Kerobokan prison in Bali. Photo: Justin McManus

Mercedes Corby will be interviewed by Channel Seven. Photo: Justin McManus

Mercedes Corby will be interviewed by Channel Seven. Photo: Justin McManus

Mercedes Corby will be interviewed by Channel Seven. Photo: Justin McManus

Jakarta: The Seven Network’s Sunday Night program on Schapelle Corby avoids an interview with the parolled drug smuggler but includes one with her sister Mercedes, the family has promised Indonesian authorities.

A Justice department spokesman in Jakarta said that, on that basis, the Bali office had approved the program, which depicts the Australian drug smuggler’s first days of freedom two weeks ago.

However, officials will still be watching carefully to assess whether the program breaches Corby’s parole conditions.

The justice ministry has warned repeatedly that Corby should not be interviewed lest it cause “restlessness” in the community, and breach parole regulations.

But a spokesman for the Indonesian justice ministry said on Friday that Mercedes and her husband, Wayan Widyartha, had attended a meeting early on Friday at the Bali justice office and guaranteed there would be no interview with Schapelle featured in the broadcast.

“The only one who is interviewed in the program is Mercedes,” the spokesman said.

“Bali officials agreed to the movie as long as there is no Corby interview.”

Bali justice office head Gusti Kompyang Adnyana watched the Seven Network’s online promotion on Friday, which shows the network’s cameras filming every one of Corby’s first steps to freedom, including her first words from under the infamous hat and veil: “I feel like a crab”.

Mr Gusti said afterwards: “We will watch it… We will evaluate and we will report to Jakarta. We will also listen to her parole officer, then we will evaluate everything and report.”

He was adamant that there could be no interview: “We already said no. The minister said no. The deputy justice minister said no. The parole officers said no interview.”

The Corby family pleaded unsuccessfully with authorities to be allowed to conduct the interview, saying it was for Schapelle’s mental wellbeing, and promising it would not be paid for.

She is still holed up in a luxury villa because she needed to escape the harassment of the media waiting outside, Mercedes said in a letter to the department last week.

But the Seven footage shows cameras following Schapelle, capturing every utterance, as well as showing her jumping up and down excitedly when she enters the Sentosa Seminyak villa after her release.

Asked by journalists if this footage undercut the family’s reasons for Corby remaining in luxury accommodation and not her own family home, Mr Gusti said: “We will evaluate everything and report to Jakarta”.

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

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Crime magnetbecomes community hub

‘There’s a real vibe to the place that local residents love’A notorious Melbourne crime spot has been revamped as a community hub, with the trial of a “pop-up” park near Jewell station in inner-northern Brunswick. The 30-metre strip on the corner of Wilson Avenue and Sydney Road was blocked off to traffic in early February, with the space set to run until April 1. Council project manager William Coogan said the idea was initiated by Moreland City Council after the nearby murder of Jill Meagher in 2012 led to a rethink of safety and amenities in the area.
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“The reason behind it is to really improve safety in public areas”, Mr Coogan said. The precinct has a long history of crime and is known by local police. “It’s everything from low-level stuff which is graffiti and litter right up to more serious crimes that peak around late Friday night with drinking and possibly drugs,” Mr Coogan said. Moreland Police Inspector Dean McGowan said the area was “dishevelled”, with 80 per cent of it covered in graffiti before the park was installed. The Mayor of Moreland City Council, Lambros Tapinos, said by activating the space, the council hoped to attract more people and deter crime. The Brunswick Better Block Trial received partial funding from the state government’s Community Crime Prevention Program. The space has been running for over three weeks and will continue to host a range of evening performances and activities. Next week locals will have a chance to visit a petting zoo, mingle with local business owners and sweat it out at a fitness class. When the area is not brimming with events, it is decked out with trees, turf grass and chairs, with the recycled furniture built by Victorian offender work crews. Mr Coogan said most of the community feedback had been positive, with many locals calling for the space to be made permanent.

However, a few local traders have complained about the loss of six car park spaces on the street. Mayor Tapinos has received praise from the community, with many welcoming the greenery of the trees to the area. “There’s a real vibe to the place that local residents love,” said Mr. Tapinos. Mr Coogan said the space has already helped to curb graffiti, with the area not being targeted by vandals since it was set up.

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

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Maggie Tabberer home fetches $2.41 million

The three-bedroom freestanding “private oasis” at 1 Sydney Street, Randwick, with courtyard pool. Photo: Supplied Maggie Tabberer Photo: Supplied
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The iconic fashion designer and television personality Maggie Tabberer has sold ‘Frangipani House’ for $2.41 million.

The three-bedroom freestanding ‘‘private oasis’’ at 1 Sydney Street, Randwick, with courtyard pool had hopes of more than $2.3 million when it appeared in Title Deeds in Domain on February 1.

Prestige Property Reporter Lucy Macken wrote that it had been love at first sight when Tabberer first saw the property eight years ago.

Tabberer said she had seen an editorial on the property in Domain East in 2006 and called the agent straight back and said: ‘‘I have to see this house.’’

When she inspected the then new home she told the vendor, developer Mark Cooper, and his artist wife Marcella Kaspar: ‘‘This is my home. I don’t want to argue about price. I just have to buy it.’’

After paying out $2 million, it was hers and she named her new home ‘Frangipani House’ after the 100-year-old tree that was installed next to the pool.

Laing and Simmons Double Bay agent James Garwood said the property sold on Thursday night through its expressions of interest campaign.

‘‘It just came down to two buyers being very keen on it,’’ Garwood said.

More than 150 groups came through the property, which had a Carrara marble kitchen and bathroom.

‘‘The buyer was from the country who wanted a city pad.’’

Garwood shared the listing with his colleague D’Leanne Lewis and Victoria Morish of Di Jones.

It’s understood that Tabberer has moved to an apartment.

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

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O’Malley makes New Zealand Open cut

THE form was up and down, but in the end it levelled out for Bathurst golfer Peter O’Malley, making the cut at the New Zealand Open at Queenstown yesterday with yet another even round 72.
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BY A WHISKER: Bathurst’s Peter O’Malley briefly spent time outside the cut during yesterday’s second round of the New Zealand Open but thanks to the struggles of other players he will be a part of the final two rounds. 022814pom

A pair of changes came the way of O’Malley in the second round, including a new course and a new, earlier starting time. From the outset it appeared that it was delivering good fortunes, up to two under by the end of the front nine.

It was a nervous wait for him, though, as he fell outside the cut briefly in the afternoon, having to wait for hours before he knew he would return for another round. He struck it lucky on the back of some poor rounds from others, managing to improve his position to within the top 50 and proving that consistency pays off.

Starting on the 10th hole of The Hills course, O’Malley grabbed himself a birdie on the lengthy par five thirteenth.

He had to wait until the 13th hole in Thursday’s opening round before he could find a birdie but the wait was not as long yesterday. He found success once more on the 13th, but this time as his fourth hole of play.

He immediately followed that with another birdie on the 14th, briefly getting in touch of the top 30. He saw out the front nine with no lost strokes, going out with 34.

It would turn out to be the opposite of his opening round where he recovered from two early bogeys to finish on 72. This time bogeys on the fourth and eighth holes brought him back to even.

At the end of his round O’Malley sat within the cutoff for making the third round of play. However, with more and more players getting themselves into the red the cut was raised less than an hour later to one under.

That left the Bathurst man with a nervous wait to see if any players would drop back throughout the day and bring the cutoff back down to even par he needed.

Thanks to some poor finishes from afternoon players, over two hours later O’Malley could look forward to a weekend of golf.

Richard Lee and Adam Blyth hold a two-shot buffer on nine under par.

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SPORTING DECLARATION: Playing for keeps

ARE the Newcastle Jets a good team who are underachieving or a mediocre team who overachieved earlier in the season?
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Trying to get a handle on the Jets is a confounding business, because they are the chameleons of the A-League – nobody seems to be quite sure what their true colours are.

Between rounds five and nine, they won four of five games and occupied third rung on the table.

At that stage it seemed reasonable to assume they still had scope for improvement, especially as marquee player Emile Heskey had scarcely kicked a ball because of injury.

Yet, three months on, that halcyon run remains the high point of their campaign.

Victories since then have been few and far between, there has been an abrupt change of coaches, and with seven regular-season games remaining, the Jets find themselves four points adrift of the top six and in danger of missing the play-offs for a fourth consecutive year.

Nothing encapsulates Newcastle’s schizophrenic character more concisely than their contrasting records against Brisbane and Sydney.

The Roar are four points clear at the top of the table yet have lost all three games against the Jets, who in turn have lost their three clashes with the equally enigmatic Sydney.

Almost as mysterious is the fact that Newcastle perform better on the road than they do on their own home turf.

In 10 games at Hunter Stadium, they have won only twice, taking just two points from a possible 18 in their past six home appearances.

But of their 10 forays into enemy territory, four times they have returned victorious and once with a draw – a more than respectable return.

Given their position on the points table and their fadeouts at the business end of the past three seasons, many will have already written the Jets off as also-rans who simply do not warrant a berth in the play-offs.

Sporting Declaration, for one, has not given up on them just yet. I think there might still be some twists and turns before this tale is told.

I can’t help going through Newcastle’s squad, player for player, and wondering why they are languishing in eighth position and shaping as a genuine chance to collect the wooden spoon.

Sure, they have encountered some setbacks.

Injuries have prevented Heskey from putting his best foot forward. Indeed, the former England target man is yet to score a goal.

There have also been untimely suspensions, Young Socceroos commitments, controversial refereeing decisions and – presumably – a gradual breakdown in the relationship between former coach Gary van Egmond and some of his players.

But enough of the excuses.

The bottom line is that the Jets have been so inconsistent this season that they do not deserve to be in the top six – at this point in proceedings.

There is, however, still time for them to salvage this season and give their fans reason to cheer.

Of their remaining seven games, I’m guessing that five wins would almost guarantee qualification for the play-offs. Four wins would probably be enough.

It is hardly Mission: Impossible.

The Jets just need to start playing to their potential, week in, week out, starting tomorrow against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Other than Ben Kantarovski, who is yet to return from a knee injury, Jets coach Clayton Zane will have pretty much his best line-up available.

On paper, at least, the new strike force of Heskey, Adam Taggart and Joel Griffiths looks formidable.

Throw in the passion of Ruben Zadkovich, the experience of Netherlands international Kew Jaliens, the energy of youngsters Josh Brillante, Craig Goodwin and Andrew Hoole and the safe hands of goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, and I am still optimistic the Jets can make a belated charge for the finals.

Zane’s troops are now cast in the role of giant-killing wildcards, and Novocastrians have traditionally embraced the underdog tag.

With backs to the wall, nothing to lose and everything to gain, it is time for the Newcastle Jets to show us what they are made of.

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