Monthly Archives: June 2018

TODAY marks the last day of what has been an unusually dry autumn for the district, however decent rainfall this month with further rain forecast for this weekend means things are looking positive for local farmers.

Until yesterday morning, a total of 65.4mm was recorded over the course of March, April and May in the rain gauge at the Cootamundra Airport.

This is well down on the 113.9mm generally received.

It was over the course of April that the district suffered in terms of lack of rainfall with less than 5mm in the gauge.

This was reflected in the fact Cootamundra Shire Council alone made 10 water deliveries for the month of April.

This month has been a better month in terms of the rain with roughly average rainfall received.

The airport gauge recorded 31.6mm for May until yesterday morning with the average being 35.6mm.

This dry autumn is dramatically different to what the district has experienced in recent years with 188mm over autumn last year, 130mm in 2011 and a massive 246mm in 2010.

You have to go back to 2008 when 74.8mm was recorded to see a similar pattern to this year and 2006 when only 29.4mm was measured over autumn was the last year drier than this year.

Further rain is predicted this weekend with about 20mm forecast, which according to Cootamundra’s Department of Primary Industries agronomist Phil Bowden is “perfect timing”.

Almost all of the canola is in across the district as well as a lot of early grazing wheats and for these crops, which are just emerging, Mr Bowden said a decent rainfall event is ideal.

With crops not using a lot of moisture at the moment, Mr Bowden said any rain received this weekend will add to the soil profile improving subsoil moisture.

District farmers will be back on the tractor with planting of most main season wheats expected to take place across most of next month.

AUTUMN FUN: posing in the autumn leaves is three-year-old Halle Johnson of Cootamundra. Halle is the adorable daughter of Nadia and Andrew Johnson. Photo: Melinda Chambers

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Opinion piece by Brett Whiteley -Liberal Candidate for Braddon

SID Sidebottom’s ‘opinion’ piece at this website reads like a long, lingering admission of failure.

A failure of leadership. A failure of ideas. A complete failure of understanding.

Brett Whiteley

His central premise seems to be that everyone who is part of his so-called “new politics” – and we assume him to be one – has found a happy place.

Presumably, anyone with concerns about locking up more than half the State and the resulting destruction of jobs and the economy are part of what he calls the “old politics”.

This line-in-the-sand stuff is kindergarten-level analysis.

It’s a real insult to the people of Braddon, especially those who are out of work or currently vulnerable because of the policies of the Labor Government and its marriage of convenience with the Greens.

Mr Sidebottom’s assertion that the Federal and State Liberal parties need conflict is simply not true.

The Liberals are at conflict with those who would shut down this great State because we’re ready to fight for a better future.

On the other hand, Mr Sidebottom, in his own words, is ready to appease and pacify those with a stated agenda to close the industries which form the cornerstones of our economy.

This is not just an issue about forestry.

The greens oppose the Tarkine loop road (tourism). Dairy expansion at Woolnorth (agriculture).

Mining in the Tarkine.

This is an issue about how we rebuild Tasmania after years of poor policy, bad leadership and overregulation.

Environmental campaigners Dr Phill Pullinger and Vica Bayley were signatories to the forestry IGA process that Mr Sidebottom holds up as a shining example of “new politics”.

So how does Mr Sidebottom explain these same two blokes being part of an anti Tarkine developmentrally in Hobart a couple of weeks ago. Isn’t that the “old politics”?

So has it occurred to you Mr Sidebottom that environmentalists are walking both sides of the street?

Wanting a seat at the table to deliver environmental outcomes while creating new conflict, new battlelines which repeats this process of appeasement.

Mr Sidebottom’s clear lack of understanding about environmental campaigning is a failure for a local member in a region vulnerable to green attacks, but also to an entire industry through his role as Parliamentary Secretary for Forestry.

Mr Sidebottom asking environmentalists like Bob Brown and Peg Putt to play nice after 30 years of conflict is simply laughable.

It underlines an obvious point – more of the same will produce more of the same.

The Liberals do have a plan for forestry. My colleague Senator Richard Colbeck is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Forestry. He’s been articulating what’s required for a better future for months.

The Liberals will grow the industry by offering security of resource and a real defence against green attacks, not just more appeasement and lock-ups.

We’ll provide some energy and leadership for those other industries under attack too.

I don’t think the 3000 people who turned up to that rally in Burnie last year belong to “old politics”.

The 2000 that turned up in Tullah last weekend don’t either.

Sid, I reckon they are just good people who know that we can’t keep going on like this.

Only a change of Government and committed, spirited representation will deliver the future that the people of Braddon so richly deserve.

RELATED: Sid Sidebottom’s opinion piece.

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A 20-YEAR old Ballarat man has been killed after his car struck a power pole in Howitt Street.

Police say the crash happened on Howitt Street near Sim Streetat 1.20am.

The driver was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said paramedics were called the the scene but the man died before they arrived.

The fatality brings the state’s road toll to 95.

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Source: Central Western Daily

Organisers of last weekend’s City of Orange Classic Forest Rally may cancel the event indefinitely after a spate of thefts targeting participants.

Event director Peter Crich said the stolen items included thousands of dollars worth of petrol and tools taken from locations all over Orange.

Among the vehicles targeted was the badly-damaged rally car of John Giddings, who died after participating in the event.

“It’s a really low act, it was riffled through and whoever did it had no remorse, they didn’t care if the owner had an accident or not,” Mr Crich said.

“We may not run the event again next year and that has nothing to do with the event. It’s about the degree of theft, there was thousands of dollars involved.

The Australian Motorsport Action Group (AMSAG) media and competitor liaison officer Michael Bannon said some of the competitors had been left with “very bad memories of the event”.

Mr Bannon said fuel tanks in both support vehicles and competition cars were siphoned while parked outside of participants’ accommodation venues on the Friday night.

Other crews also had spare jerry cans of fuel stolen on Saturday night.

“A search of the nearby area found some items have been left in a secluded area, presumably for the thieves to come back at a later time to collect.

“Several crews have expressed their concerns about returning to the event,one of the mostsuccessful events in recent times for AMSAG based on competitor entries, because of the despicable nature of the thefts.

“To then have to replace several thousands of dollars worth of equipment before you can make it to the next event, it’s just a needless waste.”

Dean and Peter “Batty” Batt travelled from Penrith to take part in the City of Orange Classic Forest Rally on Saturday. The rally was marred by a spate of thefts targeting participants. Photo: CLARE COLLEY

A WAGGA man has got away with not paying two traffic fines for nearly 24 years.

And two other fines nearly 23 years old have also gone unpaid, raising questions about what needs to be done to make people cough up, and how many millions of dollars in fines are going uncollected by people thumbing their noses at enforcement orders.

A water-damaged letter sent to a Tolland man demanding he pay the four fines was found lying in the street this week by a reader of The Daily Advertiser.

The letter from the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO), dated February 27, tells the man he has an overdue enforcement order for unpaid fines and has seven days to do something about it – either pay up or discuss other options.

It is not known how the letter came to be on the street.

The Advertiser returned the letter to the Bingham Place address, but no one was home and there was no response to a note also left asking the addressee to make contact.

The fines total $1343 and were given for failing to stop after an accident, negligent driving (both on July 8, 1989), stand contrary to notice (July 25, 1990) and exceeding the speed limit by more than 15km/h (September 29, 1990).

The Office of State Revenue (OSR), through which the SDRO operates, said it could not comment on individual cases but had introduced a number of strategies to improve the recovery of overdue fines and was now recovering an average $1 million a day.

It said the strategies had increased its abilities to track people down who owed fines, particularly those overdue for some time.

There is no statutory limitation period for OSR to recover fines.

“Once enforced, OSR can continue to take enforcement action to recover the fine indefinitely until it is paid or otherwise finalised,” a spokesman said.

Jailing people for not paying fines is not an option in NSW.

It was dropped after the bashing of jailed parking fine defaulter Jamie Partlic, a teenager who was in a coma for six months after being attacked by another prisoner at Long Bay jail in 1987.

Usually, if a person does not pay a fine their driving licence and vehicle registration can be cancelled.

Ultimately, they can be sent to jail if repeatedly caught driving without a licence.

Other measures to recover debt include garnisheeing wages or bank accounts.

Fine defaulters can work off their fines by performing community service, undertaking medical or mental health programs or completing courses.

FINE: The water-damaged letter from State Debt Recovery Office.

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Real-life killer robots

 Current ‘semi-autonomous’ lethal weapons include:

– the US Phalanx anti-air system that automatically detects, tracks and engages anti-ship missiles and aircraft

– Israel’s Harpy, a ‘fire-and-forget’ weapon that destroys radar emitters

– The US Navy’s X-47B, a fighter-size drone prototype that can launch, navigate and land autonomously- The UK’s Taranis, a jet-propelled combat drone prototype that can autonomously search, identify and locate enemies, though it only opens fire after human authorisation.

– The Samsung Techwin guard robots deployed in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, that detect targets through infrared sensors. They are operated by humans but also have an “automatic mode”.

Large amounts of money have been set aside for the development of new air, ground and marine robotic weapons.

Source: Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, April 2013.

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If you’re in a job you’re overqualified for, chances are you’re disruptive. Bored witless

A friend of mine, returning to work after a few years as a stay-at-home mum, has two résumés. One is her actual résumé, the one she uses to apply for jobs in line with her experience and qualifications. The other is her back-up résumé, the one she butchered for the purposes of seeming a little less impressive.

Gone is the MBA. Scrapped are the senior leadership roles. And significantly minimised is the list of accomplishments. The reason? Because if she appears overqualified, her application will be discarded, regarded as being just as unsuitable for the job as those who are underqualified.

She has resorted to rewriting her employment history because the executive roles she prefers are few and far between and, even when they arise, she’s perceived as being out of touch due to a long absence from the workforce. But then when she applies for lower-level jobs, she’s similarly rejected but for the opposite rationale. She’s effectively (or ineffectively as the case may be) stuck in the middle.

This reluctance by employers to hire overqualified workers can be explained by research undertaken by Aleksandra Luksyte, who’s currently an assistant professor of management at the University of Western Australia.

In an American study conducted a few years ago, she and her team discovered overqualified people are more likely to indulge in ‘counterproductive work behaviour’. This is driven by cynicism, which stems from the feeling their talents are being wasted on a job that isn’t meaningful. They quickly become bored and stressed, leading to anger and frustration and, ultimately, in “deviant” actions.

These deviant actions potentially include aggression, working at a slower pace, taking extended breaks, embarrassing colleagues, and making offensive remarks.

But, really, what it comes down to is this: many employers fear that if they were to hire an overqualified candidate, it’d only be a matter of time before the new recruit is presented with a better opportunity elsewhere. It’s more convenient, then, for the employer to decline the application now rather than endure the recruitment process all over again in a few months’ time.

This position is supported by an analysis published in The Journal of Applied Psychology in 2009, which found it’s certainly true that staff turnover is higher among overqualified people. But the study also revealed that they outperform their colleagues.

This raises an important consideration: is the greater quality and productivity worth the shorter tenure? The answer depends on the industry and the profession but, as the authors conclude, “employees experience negative consequences as a result of feeling overqualified only when they do not feel empowered”.

Empower them, write the researchers, with greater responsibilities to challenge and stimulate their mind, and those risks are subsequently lessened.

(Women, by the way, are more likely than men to be in positions for which they feel overqualified. So, too, are minorities and part-timers. Also, the OECD reports that approximately 11.5 per cent of Australian employees say they are “severely over-skilled”. In the UK, it’s almost double that figure.)

So, should employers refrain from hiring the overqualified? No, they shouldn’t be so dismissive. According to the research undertaken by Aleksandra Luksyte, they have a valuable contribution to offer. Bosses just need to implement some actions to make them feel more worthwhile. These include:Recognise and appreciate their skills and efforts.Use them as mentors within the team.Ask them to train their colleagues.

And yet, as someone who spent almost two years in a role for which he was tragically overqualified, I can’t imagine those solutions alleviating the intense disengagement I felt.  It really does turn you into a different person. Lethargic, monotonic, hopeless, insouciant.

A first-world problem, sure, but a problem nonetheless.

Have you ever been an overqualified employee, or hired one?

Follow James Adonis on Twitter  @jamesadonis

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NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley has defended the company’s practices in handling asbestos after discovery of the toxic materials at Telstra’s  sites where the National Broadband Network (NBN) is to be rolled out.

Mr Quigley faced questioning on the issue at Senate estimates on Thursday night.

Federal workplace safety regulator has ordered contractors to stop working on parts of the NBN as they investigate the safety breaches.

Telstra, which is responsible for repairing telecommunications pits and ducts where the NBN Co is going to lay its fibre optic cables, has taken responsibility for inspecting all sites where the NBN is due.

The company hired 200 new inspectors yesterday.

”Telstra retain ownership of the pit and pipe infrastructure and has primary responsibility for the remediation of its infrastructure to make it fit for NBN use,” Mr Quigley said.

He said he was in contact with Telstra regarding the incidents and would work closely with the company to notify people of activity in their area.

”Asbestos containing material in telecommunications pits and ducts is an issue with a long history in Australia, ” Mr Quigley said.

”We know this very well, it is by no means a new issue and that is why — from day one — we have built processes and enforced procedures for the management of asbestos hazards.”

NBN Co chief told senators that the pace of rollout would not be affected by the discovery of asbestos.

The calm discussion over asbestos turned tense as Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham started grilling Mr Quigley over whether he still had the confidence of the company’s chair Siobhan McKenna, following media reports that she wanted to oust Mr Quigley.

The NBN Co chief, who is in charge of building country’s $37 billion broadband project, has been under pressure recently over the delay in rolling out fibre cables.  The project is three months behind schedule.

Senator Birmingham repeatedly asked about the state of relationship between Mr Quigley and Ms McKenna. ”Does Mr Quigley have Ms McKenna’s full support,” he asked.

However, Senator Stephen Conroy prevented Mr Quigley from answering the questions and told Senator Birmingham to ”stop peddling gossip”.

Senator Conroy reaffirmed his support for Mr Quigley.

Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull criticised Senator Conroy’s performance during the estimates.

”Last night’s hearings degenerated into a farce.  Stephen Conroy was unable to answer straight-forward questions about the management of the NBN company,” he said.

”He prefers to attack media organisations rather than address the questions at hand – whether or not the chief executive of the NBN enjoys the confidence of his own board.”

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Paul Keating and Bob Hawke’s Labor government signed the historic Accord with the ACTU 30 years ago.Setting the now historic Accord between unions and the then Labor government was ”an incredibly bitter time”, according former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty.

Mr Kelty will speak at a Sydney conference on Friday to mark 30 years since the deal was signed.

The landmark prices and incomes accord agreement between the ACTU and the Hawke and Keating governments was the foundation of the nation’s economic, social and industrial relations policies from 1983 on.

The conference at Macquarie University will bring together key players from the era, along with current union and business leaders, to reflect on how the Accord affected productivity, living standards, union membership and economic growth.

Mr Kelty was secretary of the ACTU from 1983 to 2000.

He said on Thursday that it was ”an incredibly bitter time I’ve got to say, it wasn’t a love-in of happiness”.

”Unemployment was over 10 per cent, inflation was very high, it was over 10 per cent. The wages system had just collapsed again, for the second time in less than a decade,” he said.

”The economy’s productivity growth rate was a little over 1 per cent per annum – so the economy was stagnating and closing in on itself.”

But Mr Kelty said that, since the Accord was agreed in 1983, ”the economy has opened itself to the rest of the world, real wages have improved, we’ve got an effective minimum wages system, we’ve got an effective superannuation system, a health care system, and productivity is twice . . . the previous trend rate.”

Mr Kelty said negotiating the Accord was an incredibly difficult process for unions and the government.

”It was very hard. You were trying to change people’s ideas. The government was trying to do dramatic things for the country . . . They were trying to essentially remodel the country.

”What do you think – everybody said ‘That’s a nice idea – a real wage reduction would be good, can I have another one next year please’?”

Apart from Mr Kelty, the conference will also be attended by  former prime minister Bob Hawke, Simon Crean, ACTU president Ges Kearney and others.

Ms Kearney will tell the conference that the spirit of the  Accord must be revived, saying a modern-day version is now needed.

But she will also voice doubts it could last long in today’s ”environment where the media is overtly hostile to workers’ interests and to the ALP, compounded by a rapidly moving news cycle and short-term attention span which treats national affairs as a blood sport”.

She will say the challenges facing the Australian economy in 2013 are just as compelling as in 1983, and include rising insecure work and spreading inequality.

Unions now needed to work with industry in particular ”in the spirit of the Accord era to develop a sustainable base for Australia’s economy beyond the mining boom”, Ms Kearney will say.

Not everyone regards the Accord as a policy success.

Former Howard government industrial relations minister Peter Reith, who was first elected to parliament in 1982, on Thursday said the Accord’s successes were ”hugely exaggerated”.

”It was a substitute for real reform . . . You can understand why Labor went the Accord path – because it was the only path they could take – because they could take the unions with them,” he said.

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Source: The Examiner

The Launceston City Council’s smoking bans have been revealed as invalid, according to the state’s Public Health Act.

The news comes after the council sought to extend its smoke-free zones beyond the Brisbane Street Mall, the Quadrant Mall and two bus interchange areas in St John Street.

The council banned smoking from these areas in 2011.

The rule has been enforced by council officers and Tasmania Police since, with the threat of fines of up to $250.

At Monday’s council meeting, Alderman Rob Soward questioned progress of his council-approved motion to extend the smoking ban across central Launceston streets this year.

Development services director Michael Stretton said the council had met legal speed humps as it investigated the extension.

Environmental Health state manager Stuart Heggie yesterday said the Public Health Act, as it stood, meant a council was not able to declare public streets smoke-free.

“It (the council) has been provided with legal advice that states that the council is not able to declare all the streets within the CBD to be smoke-free,” Mr Heggie said.

“In response to calls from local government for statewide application of tobacco legislation, government amended the Public Health Act to allow regulations to be drafted that declare certain streets to be pedestrian malls and bus malls.”

It could be months before this anomaly is corrected.

It is understood that Hobart’s smoking bans are also in limbo.

Mr Heggie said the Treasury Department had requested a regulatory impact statement from the Health Department to accompany the draft regulations.

A draft statement would be finalised next month and sent for Treasury assessment.

Mr Heggie said declaration of smoke-free areas was subject to Treasury approval of the regulatory impact statement.

Council’s plan to make city smoke-free struck down by state law.