By Melissa Blewitt
Currently, only drivers on their P1 licences or “Red Ps” are prohibited from using phones at all while driving, while those who have progressed to their P2 licences, or “Green Ps”, are able to use their phones for calls and audio only, providing it is securely mounted or a hands-free device is used.
But while TomToms and other navigation devices will be permitted, P-platers will be barred from using their mobile phones for the same purpose and under the same conditions – namely, that the device is securely mounted inside the vehicle – to access GPS directions.
Instead, they must pull over and park out of the line of traffic before they can use their phones.
The new laws have been introduced by the State Government in a bid to increase road safety and reduce fatalities among new drivers.
New road rules that come into effect on 1 December for learner and P-plate drivers are not only sensible for new drivers, but also provide a timely reminder to all drivers to keep their focus on the road, especially in the lead up to the busy holiday driving season, according to driving expert Joel Neilsen.
He is the head of Safe Drive Training Australia and has over 20 years’ experience as an advanced driver trainer working with police, security professional, car enthusiasts and novice drivers.
“I know young people today never seem to have their mobile phone out of their hands but it is not only critical they do not use their phone when driving from a safety point of view, but also from a legal one now,” Mr Nelisen explained.
“More seasoned drivers can be just as bad and I recommend that no one should use their phone when they are driving. I have taught thousands of drivers through the years, and in my training, I demonstrate what can happen even in a few seconds when you’ve taken your eyes off the road.
“I often advise drivers to use a GPS because good brands have features that can help them stay safer, especially when drivers’ concentration to the road can naturally drift off from time to time.
“I’ve found having a GPS also gives our younger drivers more confidence too because they are better guided on their journey and are prepared for what’s ahead.
So far this year in NSW, 21 young people have died in crashes involving P-plate drivers.
Between 2010 and 2014, drivers on their Green Ps, who comprise five per cent of all NSW drivers, accounted for about nine per cent of all mobile phone offences, according to the NSW Centre for Road Safety.
Joel Neilsen, who is the head of Safe Drive Training Australia and has over 20 years’ experience as an advanced driver trainer working with police, security professional, car enthusiasts and novice drivers, offers the following practical advice to young drivers while on the roads.
Keep your hands off your devices when driving.
Know what is around you at all time (this is called situational awareness).
When you turn the car on, put your mind into gear.
Your brain can’t process much complex, technical or emotional content at one time.
If you would not do your driving action with a parent or police officer present, don’t do it in their absence.
by Melissa Blewitt
Condobolin Primary School held a morning tea to thank all of the wonderful volunteers that give their time and committment to the educational facility, in all manner of ways, throughout the year.
The morning tea was a small gesture to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the group of volunteers that have helped out during 2016.
“All schools need people from time to time to provide assistance, whether it is in the canteen, at swimming or athletic carnivals, Breakfast Club, in the classrooms, sports coaching, transportation to events, and everything else our fantastic volunteers help us with. I want to say a huge thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers, whom we would be lost without,” Principal Deborah Nay said.
Mums, Dads, guardians, grandparents, Condobolin High School students, and community members enjoyed a wonderful morning together, and then were able to sample a delicious array of treats.
On Saturday and Sunday the 3rd and 4th of December, 2016, three members of the Condobolin RSL Freestyle Karate Club competed at the National Australian Martial Arts Championships (AMAC) at Homebush in Sydney.
Nadia Hopkins (RIGHT) obtained a third in points sparring, Patrick Hourigan (LEFT) got a 5th in points sparring and Sensei Libby Roesner (CENTRE) achieved a 1st in freestyle (continuous) and a 2nd in Points sparring.
The Club is very proud of everyone’s efforts at the tournament, especially as Nadia was chosen to carry the NSW representative banner at the opening of the tournament. Next week will be the end of Karate classes for this year and we will be having our end of year grading. If anyone is interested in doing Karate we will take new students at the beginning of next year – there will be a registration day on Monday 6th February. Osu!! If you have any questions please contact Sensei Libby Roesner at email@example.com
Contributed by Libby Roesner/Photo by MB
By Melissa Blewitt
Yellow Mountain, 80 kilometres North West of Condobolin, will finally get a new mobile base station, boosting services and internet access across the area.
Funding for the new tower was secured in Round Two of the Mobile Black Spots Program, and will be serviced by Vodafone.
It was selected as part of the additional $15 million contribution by the NSW Government in partnership with funding from the Commonwealth Government and mobile carriers.
“This is great news for our region and improved mobile coverage will ensure our community is safer, more accessible and better connected,” Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries said.
“The Yellow Mountain tower is one of 174 towers that will be delivered over four years and is one we’ve been trying to get through for some time.
“The tower, which will be serviced by Vodafone will give local businesses more freedom to operate and ensure local families can quickly access the services they need.”
It is expected the first Round Two Base Stations, including Yellow Mountain, will begin rolling out next year. Vodafone will release indicative rollout schedules on its website in due course.
Nation-wide 765 new or upgraded mobile base stations will address 4,400 mobile black spots ensuring 32,000 homes and businesses, spanning some 86,000 square kilometres, will have access to coverage. There will be 202,300 square kilometres of new external antenna coverage and over 7,600 kilometres of new coverage to major transport routes.
On making the announcement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in Canberra last Thursday: “Our first round saw 499 new base stations committed around Australia. Our second round $60 million – that will total $220 million of government money committed to the Mobile Black Spots Program – will see 1400 black spots around Australia addressed with 266 new base stations.”
“Our $60 million of government money is leveraging $213 million in total from the telecommunication companies. So this is a great win for regional and rural Australia and it is ensuring that all Australians have access to good mobile reception.”
Minister for Regional Communications, Fiona Nash, added: “The Coalition wants to help build strong and sustainable rural and regional communities so that our children and our grandchildren either want to stay in those communities or come back to those communities. When we invest in regional communities, it gives them confidence and it’s that confidence that allows them to be strong into the future.
“I am so proud to be part of a Coalition that is delivering this greater mobile phone coverage. $60 million under round two. We are seeing 266 new base stations, we are seeing new and improved mobile phone coverage for 6,300 homes and businesses and across 17,700 square kilometres of regional Australia. We are seeing mobile phone coverage for 1900 kilometres of the major road routes and we are delivering 1400 black spots fixed under this Coalition Government. Under Labor they fixed none.”
Round Two will see a total of $213 million (GST incl.) being invested in new mobile base station infrastructure. The Australian Government funding for Round Two has been supplemented by Telstra ($63.7 million) Optus ($36.4 million) and Vodafone ($1.6 million).
In addition, six state governments have co-contributed towards round 2: New South Wales ($8.3 million), Queensland ($13.7 million), South Australia ($1.5 million), Tasmania ($0.35 million), Victoria ($7.9 million) and Western Australia ($21.8 million). An additional $475,000 has been provided by local governments, businesses and community organisations.
Compiled by Anne Coffey
Lachlan Shire Council considered tenders for waste collection services at its October 2016 meeting and have awarded the tender to JR Richards & Sons. JR Richards & Sons is an Australian owned and operated company and offers over fifty years of experience in the waste industry.
The Mayor John Medcalf advised that the appointment of JR Richards & Sons to undertake the kerbside waste collection services will provide Lachlan Shire Council with a reliable, high quality and well-resourced service.”
A number of community residents have expressed their unhappiness with the tender going out of town and General Manager Robert Hunt responded.
“Although we are aware there has been some concern raised that we awarded the tender to someone from out of town we looked at a number of factors in awarding the successful tender. Our determination was based on, apart from price, current and previous experience, quality management and WH&S, staffing and financial capacity and response to plant breakdown. “
“In the case of price, Council has a buy local policy which allows a discount factor of 5% for locals up to a maximum of $15,000 difference in price. The panel making the selection advised that no local tender came close to this amount. In fact the closest tender was more than $50,000 per annum dearer which would make it difficult to argue value for ratepayers who have already been hit with higher rates” Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt continued that “under the new ‘Fit for the Future’ expectations we have to be providing an efficient and cost effective service to ratepayers – JR Richards will enable us to achieve that. Also JR Richards has advised that they have engaged the current local driver and that they will source fuel and tyres locally, however due to the new high technology trucks they will be introducing, maintenance will be undertaken at their base in Dubbo.”
Mayor Medcalf then added “The use of local staff and businesses highlights JR Richards commitment to being part of, and supporting, the community they operate in.”
“General waste services will commence 1 December 2016 along with an introduction of a recycling service in April 2017. The introduction of recycling is an exciting addition to this service as residents will have the opportunity to recycle valuable materials and divert waste from landfill. The collection of organic material will continue in Condobolin only, with the use of existing bins. Preparations are now well underway with new waste and recycling bins to be delivered in March 2017” stated Mayor Medcalf.
JR Richards & Sons services other surrounding councils, including Dubbo, Orange, Parkes, Forbes and Griffith, their success in the industry is a reflection of their commitment.
An information pack will be delivered with your new bins containing more details about how and when to use your new service as well as information on how and when to place your old bins out to be collected and recycled.
For more information contact Lachlan Waste Services on 1800 316 598.
By Melissa Blewitt.
According to Sergeant Peter Gibson, the blaze was initiated when a header caught alight while harvesting at around midday on Monday, 21 November.
“The header fire was quickly extinguished by a number of fire extinguishers on the scene,” he explained.
“While the header fire was quickly put out, crop had caught alight, burning around 500 acres before it could be contained.
“There was a strong wind coming from the north and it was a hot day, so things could have been much worse.”
Sergeant Gibson added it was timely to remind landholders to have fire-fighting equipment on hand at all times, as harvest and temperatures ramp up.
Seven vehicles from the Rural Fire Service attended the fire, and an aircraft was dispatched from Forbes to help with the blaze, but was not needed.
By Melissa Blewitt
Utter devastation. Those are the only two words that could describe a destructive storm which saw crops wiped out, death and injury to stock, and homes rocked to their foundations north of Condobolin on 11 November.
Farmers and their families took shelter in their homes while a savage wind and monster hail stones hit the area with a ferocity, destroying most things in its path.
In one case over 100 crows were found dead on the ground. The CWLLS are gathering information on the extent of the damage from the freak storm.
Landholders in the area, are encouraging others that may have been affected by the storm, to record and report their losses, so that, perhaps a Natural Disaster Declaration can be lodged for the recent event.
As much information as possible is needed on whom and what may have been affected.
There needs to be evidence that the storm damage was not an isolated case.
If you have suffered loss in any way you are encouraged to report damage to LLS on 1300 795 299 or Property Loss Reporting forms may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can fill out a form, or talk to them over the phone providing a PIC number, damage to infrastructure and estimated cost, damage to stock and area of crop lost (no need to value the crop).
By Melissa Blewitt
Lachlan Shire Council is leading the way in environmental innovation.
They have been named as a finalist in two categories of the 2016 Excellence in the Environment Awards – firstly in the Roadside Environmental Management category, for their “Roadside corridor assessment and management guidelines” initiative; and secondly in the Waste Education and Communication section for their Waste Services Rationalisation plan.
The highly-coveted annual awards, now in their 19th year, recognise exceptional environmental achievements, and will showcase an impressive collection of projects that reinforce the leadership role of local government in tackling environmental and sustainability issues proactively.
“Lachlan Shire Council is very proud and happy to have been nominated for the 2016 Excellence in the Environment Awards,” General Manager Robert Hunt said.
“Our dedicated staff are committed to using innovative means to manage environmental issues within the Shire.”
LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said councils were at the cutting edge of managing environmental issues and continue to be a source of meaningful change.
“Innovation and commitment is a common thread, as is the appreciation of the community benefits of a well-managed and protected environment,” he stated.
This year LGNSW received 81 entries from 42 councils (or groups of councils) across 15 award categories encompassing waste management, natural resource management climate change action, local sustainability, communication, education and empowerment.
In each category, there are three prizes based on council population sizes: less than 20,000; between 20,000 and 60,000; and over 60,000. Entries are accepted from individual councils, county councils, and regional groups of councils.
The winners will be announced on 29 November.
Almandin narrowly beat Heartbreak City to win the 2016 Melbourne Cup. Firm favourite Hartnell rounded out the trifecta. This year was the 156th running of the race that stops the nation, and many in Condobolin took the opportunity to head out to venues such as the Royal Hotel and the Condobolin RSL to enjoy the event. The Condobolin Preschool encouraged staff and students to dress in bright racing colours. MB
By Melissa Blewitt
The phrase “that really gets my goat” has taken on a new and sinister meaning in rural areas like Condobolin.
As the demand for goat meat and dairy products soars, poachers are breaking into remote properties under the cover of night and stealing hundreds of animals at a time.
In June, a goat theft was reported from a property between Condobolin and Tullamore (About 40 kilometres from Condobolin).
The victim reported that he had about 700 feral goats on his property. He mustered and sold about 300 of these goats but sometime between January and June someone has cut his boundary fence and the remainder of the goats are now missing.
“It’s presumed they have been mustered and poached,” Detective Senior Constable and Rural Crime Investigator Andrew McGrath said.
“Although there hasn’t been a lot of Poaching reported in this area, anecdotally there is a lot going on at the moment. We generally see a spike in stock thefts if the market rises and goats are no different to all other stock in this regard.
“The other problem is the issues that come with poaching goats such as trespassing, damage to fences, opportunistic theft of property and or fuel and the illegal use of farm machinery to recover bogged vehicles.
“I always suggest to property owners to invest in motion camera’s. This technology is getting cheaper all the time and it’s good evidence for Police if we can get registration numbers or photos of potential offenders.” Sen Cons McGrath added there are some issues with feral goats as to who actually owns them or how to claim ownership of them.
“It’s generally accepted if you as the property owner muster feral goats on your property and then perform some sort of husbandry act on them for example ear tagging/drenching/ear marking then you then have a right to claim ownership,” he said.
“If the goats are already tagged or marked they are obviously the property of someone else and must be either returned to their owner, if the owner can be identified, or they can be impounded as trespassing stock and delivered to the pound.”
There are currently no suspects in the goat theft matter from Condobolin.
If you have any information regarding rural crime, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 00 or use the Crime Stoppers online crime reporting page:https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/
Detective Senior Constable Robert Newman has seen the impact trespassing and illegal hunting can have on farmers in rural NSW after eight years on the job.
Farmers try to protect their properties but it can be difficult to maintain a high level of vigilance he said.
“Trespassing and illegal hunting have a gigantic impact of farmers as they are isolated which creates fear as they are very vulnerable.”
He said with money tied up in the property, theft and cut fences can cause farmers financial hardship as well.
If they come across trespassers farmers should deal with them by getting as much information as they can without engaging the offender Senior Constable Newman said.
“Don’t get into a fight with the trespasser as they may be carrying a knife or gun and they may not want to be caught. So make sure you get a good description and number plate if possible,” he said.
There is a lot farmers can do to look after their properties including, patrolling the boundaries, installing locks, taking keys out of vehicles and installing technology like cameras and alarms at gates.
“My advice is to make it as hard for them as possible.” “It is vital that farmers report all crime to police so true figures are known, resources distributed where they are needed and any patterns in crime can be seen,” Senior Constable Newman said.
By Melissa Blewitt
The effects of flooding will linger long after the water recedes.
Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) would like to remind people to look after their mental health, especially in the wake of a natural disaster.
People should also be mindful of family members and loved ones during this difficult time, and are encouraged to reach out to others, especially if they have not heard from them in some time.
WNSWLHD Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) Consultant, Di Gill said people should take care of their health and wellbeing, especially following a natural disaster.
“Natural disasters like flooding can really impact people’s mental health, and we urge everyone in central western NSW in flood-affected areas to make sure they look after themselves, their families and their communities,” she explained.
“Spending time with family and friends and accepting help when it is offered are some of the ways people can look after their mental health during a time of crisis.
“Understand that you are not alone in your experience, and try to get back into your routine, including your eating, sleeping and exercise regimes can keep you mentally and physically healthy during difficult times.”
WNSWLHD is encouraging people to reach out to family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time, and to seek professional assistance when the level of distress feels too high.
“When emotional reactions last longer than usual, when distress interferes with the ability to participate in day to day activities and when you experience withdrawal from relationships or feel overwhelmed or panicked for no apparent reason, you should seek assistance,” Ms Gill said.
“Excessive guilt, loss of interest in the future and thoughts of self-harm and/or suicide, are all signs to reach out for help.
“It is okay to ask for help, and there is nothing wrong with reaching out when things get too difficult, especially in this time of natural disaster.”
People seeking assistance during these difficult times of flooding, or at any time, should ring the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. For any assistance or questions about RAMHP, please visit the website https://ramhp.com.au/.
By Melissa Blewitt
Kevin Read has a passion for community policing.
The Condobolin man is an Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer with the Lachlan Local Area Command.
His dedication and committment has seen him named as a finalist in two categories in the prestigious Rotary Police Officer of the Year Awards – Employee of the Year and IJ Community-based Policing Award (Unsworn).
From the Murrin Bridge Mission near Lake Cargelligo in the west to Peak Hill in the north and Forbes in the south, Kevin regularly travels up to 4,000 kilometres a month to attend community meetings and events.
Through calm negotiation, Kevin has often brought about peaceful resolution to situations, avoiding the need for arrests and protracted “man hunts.”
He has been at the forefront of Aboriginal youth diversion initiatives such as “Backtrack” and is a prominent supporter of the highly successful iProwd indigenous recruitment program.
The category winners and overall Police Officer of the Year will be announced at a special dinner on Friday, 4 November.
By Melissa Blewitt
Chamen’s Supa IGA has embraced giving back to locals, with their Community Chest donations, benefitting the Condobolin Amateur Pistol Club and the Condobolin branch of Can Assist.
The funds are raised a number of ways but mostly throught the purchase of products with an IGA Community Chest logo on the label.
Each organisation received a cheque for $4050.37.
Store Manager for Chamen’s Supa IGA, Christian Dagorne, was on hand to prtesent the cheques to Magaret Baxter (representing the Condobolin Amateur Pistol Club) and Laura Tickle (Representing Condobolin branch of Can Assist).
“We are very fortunate and grateful to be chosen as a recipient this year,” Mrs Baxter said.
“We will use these funds to help add to our solar power, make improvements to our Club by rebuilding our ranges and purchasing more pistols for members to use.
Our Club has grown in numbers from around 15 to 40 now, and our junior numbers are around 11. This donation will certainly be put to good use.”
Laura Tickle said she was very thankful to be receiving such a generous amount.
“It is wonderful to receive this donation, which will help us to continue to help residents and their familes who are affected by cancer,” she stated.