Muir’s corella survey

Under observation: Muir’s corellas. Photo: Peter TaylorVOLUNTEERS and landowners in the South West are being encouraged to take part in an important count of the Muir’s corella (cacatua pastinator pastinator) next month.
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Department of Parks and Wildlife recovery catchment officer Ian Wheeler said the survey on Wednesday would help to provide an accurate estimate of numbers of the cockatoo.

“While Muir’s corella is no longer a threatened species, there remains a need for the department to monitor and manage populations,” Mr Wheeler said.

“We are asking members of the public to help us count flocks of these birds and collect vital information on their behaviour and habitat.

“This information helps us to provide accurate estimates of current population size and its increasing distribution, which is then used to make decisions on how best to manage the species.”

Muir’s corella was removed from the threatened species list for WA in 2012 following successful conservation efforts. The species is confined to one population concentrated around Lake Muir, Boyup Brook, Perup River, Frankland and Rocky Gully areas.

People who would like to participate in the count are asked to meet at the Tonebridge Country Club at 3.30pm on Wednesday.

Survey teams will travel to locations where the birds are known to occur to begin the count. It is expected to be completed by 6.30pm and will be followed by a barbecue for all involved at Tonebridge Country Club.

“We are also calling on landowners who regularly see large flocks of Muir’s corella on their property to have their properties included as a survey site,” Mr Wheeler said.

Community members not actively involved in the count can expect to see survey teams counting birds from 5pm to 6.30pm.

To register interest or receive further information, contact Ian Wheeler on (08) 9771 7988 or [email protected]

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Shoot tallies more foxes

THE annual Stockbrands Community Fox Shoot was held on the weekend of February 21 to 23 and co-ordinated by Rylington Park.
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Twenty-two registered teams consisting of about 75 shooters participated and shot a total of 237 foxes, 22 cats, 18 rabbits, four deer and a rat.

This is 100 more foxes than last year but fewer rabbits.

“Thank you to the pistol club for their ongoing support in hosting this event each year,” organiser Erlanda Deas from Rylington Park said.

The heaviest fox weighed 7.12kg. The heaviest cat weighed 5.54kg.

This year, 16 people from Perth took part in the shoot.

“Thank you very much to all for taking part in the fox shoot,” Marc Deas from Rylington Park said.

Sponsors of the shoot were Boyup Brook Co-Op, Claremont Firearms, Shooters Shed, Southwest Firearms and Gunsmithing, Roy Alexander and Sons, Blackwood Shooting Supplies, Boyup Brook Farm Supplies, Greenline, Blackwood Hunting Supplies and the Boyup Brook Pistol Club.

If you have any ideas or recommendations for next year, feel free to phone Erlanda and Marc at Rylington Park on 9765 3012.

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Country women continue to push for aid

MORE financial assistance to help rural and regional students pursue tertiary education will always be on the Country Women’s Association’s (CWA) wish list, but changes to youth allowance are unlikely to eventuate while the federal government focuses on making all initiatives cost neutral, according to the CWA’s state secretary.
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Jocelyn Cameron said the CWA had pushed for youth allowance conditions to be improved when branches had brought motions to the organisation’s past annual conferences.

Although it was not currently on the CWA’s agenda, Mrs Cameron said the group always aimed for improvements to education and welfare conditions in rural areas, particularly for women and children.

“We do want to see as much financial assistance as possible for kids in the bush to get tertiary education,” she said.

“[But] realistically speaking, with the way the economy is, the present government is tightening the belt, I very much doubt there will be any additional assistance in the foreseeable future.”

Mrs Cameron said the CWA had been behind the push to give young people in inner regional areas, such as Orange, the same youth allowance conditions as those in outer regional, remote and very remote areas – meaning students only have to earn 75 per cent of the minimum wage over 18-months to be deemed independent of their parents.

But the added requirement of the “income ceiling”, where students whose parents have a combined income of $150,000 annually miss out on youth allowance, remains the biggest restriction, she said.

“The reason a lot of country kids don’t go to uni is that they can’t afford to do it,” she said.

She said few students would want to borrow money from the government for living expenses and tack on the extra repayments to their HECS debt, as suggested by Australian National University economics professor Bruce Chapman.

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Guilty plea on drink-drivin charge

A MAN who moved to Australia for a better life has been brought before Dubbo Local Court on a charge of mid-range drink-driving.
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Joshua Dudzai of Dubbo was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.113 when he was stopped by police at Wongarbon on January 5.

The 45-year-old pleaded guilty when he faced Magistrate Andrew Eckhold.

“He has displayed remorse for his actions and has learnt a lot by completing a traffic offender education program,” the solicitor representing Dudzai said.

“He came to Australia from Zimbabwe in August 2010 to give his family a better life.

“He was a primary teacher for 18 years but would need to retrain to work in education in Australia.

“He has been working hard as a taxi and truck driver to support his family.

He is now engaged in a traineeship with a transport company.

“He is paying full fees for a son studying at Charles Sturt University. He has a mortgage, car repayments and taxation debt.”

Magistrate Eckhold said Dudzai drove an hour after finishing a number of long neck beers.

“You chose to take that gamble,” the magistrate said.

“You are risking a lot by drink-driving. You could have killed someone or rendered yourself a quadriplegic or paraplegic.”

Dudzai was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.

No conviction was recorded. A driving disqualification period was not imposed.

Magistrate Eckhold told Dudzai to stay out of trouble.

“If you breach the bond you will be brought back to court to be re-sentenced,” he said.

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NSW Swifts recruit Sharni Layton wants to make sudden impact

NSW Swifts recruit Sharni Layton made the switch from Adelaide in the off-season. Photo: Brendan EspositoNSW Swifts recruit Sharni Layton is happy to admit she suffers from white-line fever.
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“I’m a bit left of centre, personality wise, so I think I bring that edge to the Swifts,” the Australian Diamonds defender said. “People come up against me in a game situation and probably think I’m a bit of a bitch, but I’m completely different off the court to who I am on the court.”

There have been several changes in the off-season at the Swifts, with former assistant coach Rob Wright taking over as head coach after Lisa Beehag stood down at the end of 2013 following the team’s failure to make the finals for the second successive season.

Despite winning the ANZ Championship with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, Layton said she decided to make the move to the Swifts at the end of last season after discussions with Wright about “taking things to the next level”.

“I’d been at Adelaide for four years and they had fantastic coaches, but I have a lot more that I want to bring out in my game, and I felt I needed to be in a new environment to do that,” the 26-year-old said. “Rob is a defence specialist coach and I asked him what he could do to help me improve and he said ‘everything’, which was awesome.”

Layton said after taking some time to adjust, she is relishing the new environment in Sydney, on and off the court. “It’s been a challenge to come to the big smoke, but sometimes you have step out of your comfort zone if you want to take your game to the next level. It would have been too easy to stay in Adelaide,” Layton said.

With 55 ANZ Championship caps, two Championship wins, and 12 appearances for the national team under her belt, Layton’s signing has added a much-needed injection of experience into the Swifts, who start their 2014 campaign against the West Coast Fever at home on Sunday.

The former Thunderbirds co-captain has been inducted into the Swifts leadership group. “I’m passionate about having a strong team culture and I really admire teams like the Sydney Swans, the work Adam Goodes does with the team and the respect they all have for the leadership group. To be considered a part of that is definitely an honour,” Layton said.

While now happily settled in Sydney, major life decisions and injuries have meant the journey to the Swifts has been a challenging one. A lifelong horse-lover, as a teenager she was forced to make an agonising decision over whether to further her Olympic equestrian dreams or pursue netball full-time. Layton delayed making the decision until a netball scholarship offer from the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra in 2007 proved the catalyst.

“That is still the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I always wanted to make it to the Olympics, once you’re a horse-lover it’s in your blood, and I knew I had talent with netball but I didn’t think I could go the whole way,” Layton said. “After I got the offer from the AIS I thought it was now-or-never with netball, so I decided to put my all into that.”

Layton played one season with the Melbourne Vixens in 2008 before spending 2009 at the AIS as part of the gold medal-winning Australian World Youth Cup team. She was then snapped up by the Thunderbirds in 2010, playing a key part in the championship-winning 2010 and 2013 campaigns. Layton won her first international cap in 2011, helping the Diamonds win gold at the world championships in Singapore.

Layton’s career has also been plagued by injuries, including a dislocated elbow, a slipped disc, a torn rotator cuff in 2012 which required surgery, and an ankle injury suffered while recovering from the surgery.

Awesome 1st hit out in the @TheNSWswifts dress today!! Getting super excited for the season to start #hurryupplease#swifterstrongertogether— Sharni Layton (@Sharni_Layton) February 9, 2014

“The rotator cuff injury hurt a lot, because when I first made the Australian team I told myself I didn’t want to be a player who came in and out of the team, and it was at the Australian camp that I found out I needed surgery and that it would put me out of action for three months,” Layton said. “No one likes to be injured, but it does give you more character and makes you appreciate what you’ve got. My body is feeling awesome now, and you realise how much being out there on the court means to you. I can’t wait for the season to start.”

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