Careers & Employment

$500,000 proposed for Condobolin Hospital upgrades

Members of the United Hospitals Auxiliary Condobolin Branch outside Condobolin Hospital's dilapidated nursing quarters. L-R: Mary Glen, Jill Broadley, Dawn Thomas, Francis Gavel and Joan Jamieson. DG

By Dominic Geiger

Member for Murrumbidgee, Adrian Piccoli, has announced $500,000 has been proposed for much needed upgrades to the Condobolin Hospital.

The upgrades will allow for improvements to be made to the hospital’s wards including painting, floor coverings, soft furnishings and air-conditioning.

The announcement comes after members of the United Hospitals Auxiliary Condobolin Branch established contact with Mr Piccoli earlier this year with a number of letters voicing the group’s concern about the existing problems affecting the hospital.

Last Friday, Mr Piccoli made representation for the group to the NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner.

“I am very hopeful that we might see some funding flow to the works that are so desperately needed at the hospital shortly,” Mr Piccoli said.

“The concerns of the Auxiliary have now been examined and the Minister has responded.

“I was informed that Condobolin has recently had $145,000 in expenditure to upgrade duress alarms for patient and staff security.

“In addition, Condobolin has been listed with another 18 facilities on the current Asset Strategic Plan for future capital investment.”

Hospital Auxiliary treasurer, Francis Gavel, said the group was incredibly grateful Mr Piccoli had helped bring the problems at the hospital to Ms Skinner’s attention.

She also said however, that the group had been raising concerns about the hospital for the past ten years and that one of the group’s principal concerns, the state of the hospital’s nursing quarters, looked as though it might miss out on funding.

“The auxiliary sent a letter [to Mr Piccoli] in March which was mainly in regards to the poor condition of the nurses’ quarters,” she said.

“There have been various replies over the months and in the latest development there has been money allocated but not to the nurses’ quarters.

“The trouble is that maintenance has been left over the years and things that should have been done haven’t been.

“There are five single nurses’ complexes in the nursing quarter which are very shabby and very neglected.

“The hospital will never get staff if we don’t have decent accommodation facilities to offer them.

“It’s difficult to get nursing staff in the country as it is; we won’t get people from other areas if there’s no where to stay here.”

Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation named as a top Australian Employer

WCC employees: Warwick Saddler, Jerome Coe-Williams, Jared Coe, Kenny Gardner, Marley Dargin, Todd Coe, Scott Sadler and Project Manager John Spencer.Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) has recently been named as a finalist in the National Employment Awards for Excellence in recognition of the organisation’s commitment to closing the gap on employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people.

Servicing a membership base of more than 400, the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) is chartered with providing a better quality of life for local Wiradjuri people through the development of employment and economic opportunities.

The awards are an initiative of the National Employment Services Association (NESA).

WCC was recognised for its effort in improving employment opportunities for Indigenous job seekers and providing economic independence for the Condobolin Aboriginal community.

Percy Knight, CEO of the WCC, said the WCC recognises Aboriginal Australians are the most disadvantaged group within Australia’s labour market.

“We link employment to training and not training for employment,” he said.

“We find the jobs, then we find the people who want them, then train the person so their skills are relevant to the employer’s needs.

“We are trying to skill our people up; I am very excited about this award because it recognises our organisation on a national level.”

As a result of successful cooperation with Central West Community College, more than two thirds of WCC’s workforce are former disadvantaged job seekers, now employed across the corporation’s eleven business units.

NESA CEO, Sally Sinclair, said while the awards recognise a special few, all organisations that deliver Australian Government contracted employment services have achieved something remarkable by helping millions of Australians into work.

“These awards are in recognition of those dedicated professionals who are working in the Job Services Australia system,” she said.

“There are few programs that truly acknowledge the direct and lasting impact that employment services have on improving the social fabric of our society.

“The NESA Awards for Excellence do this” she said.

Investors tour Mineral Hill ahead of mine reopening

Chief Operating Officer at Mineral Hill, Stuart Mathews (fourth from right), with a group of Sydney visitors before they embarked on a tour of Parkers Hill underground mine.

By Dominic Geiger

Five planeloads of investors, economists and press were flown from Sydney to Condobolin last Wednesday as part  of Kimberley Metal’s announcement that sections of its Mineral Hill mine site will become operational in a matter of weeks.
The visitors were given a full tour of Mineral Hill including the Parkers Hill underground and Pearse open cut mines.
Chief Operations Officer at Mineral Hill, Stuart Matthews, said the Parkers Hill underground operation would be the first of the two mines to begin production.
“It all depends on geology, (but) Parkers Hill should begin copper production in late June with a commissioning of the processing plant,” he said.
“Pearse open cut, which will provide gold and silver concurrent with copper concentrate, should come online about three quarters of the way through next year.”
Stuart said the mine currently employed approximately 20 full time workers, however by the production start date this number will have increased to 50.
“There will be an additional 18 plus employees working for Pybar mining contractors,” he said.
“80% of the workforce will be based in Condobolin; we’re trying to give employees the ability to live locally so they have a 45 minute drive to and from work each day.”
In addition to the two existing mines, “Kimberley Metals is currently planning an aggressive drilling program to test [other] priority targets” around the Mineral Hill site.
Mayor of the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, said the opening of the mine was “great news for the company, great news for Condobolin and great news for the shire.”
“We have been meeting with the officials of Kimberley Metals over several years since the mine ceased operations and to now see it reopening is indeed satisfying,” he said.
“It means jobs for locals and investment in our business community.
“The Environmental Impact Statement submitted with the Development Application indicates the mine will generate between $15 and $25 million for the local economy.”

High school students try a trade in Condobolin

Hannah Bremner and Tegan Keen try their hand at hairdressing. ContributedBy Dominic Geiger

High school students from Condobolin, Trundle and Tullamore had the opportunity to experience what their professional lives might be like last week at Condobolin High School’s ‘Try a Trade’ careers day.
Students from years nine, ten, eleven and twelve were able to learn about a range of trades including nursing/aged care, metals, hospitality, painting and construction, among many others.
Careers advisor at Condobolin High School, Tim Lukins, said the students responded well to the various trades exhibited.
“It’s all new to them,” he said.
“They got some ideas about [jobs] they think they might like to pursue.
“It was compulsory for the Condobolin year ten students and interested year eleven and twelve students were invited.”
A number of local businesses helped support the event including Bryan Deeves, Kimberley Metals, Bruce Hetherington, Condobolin Preschool, Lachlan Shire and the Condobolin Retirement village.

Budget impact on regional Australia

By Dominic Geiger

The recent Federal Budget has faced considerable criticism over the past week for its apparent lack of allocated funding for regional areas, particularly in the agriculture industry.
CEO of the Western Research Institute, Tom Murphy, said although there wasn’t a lot for farmers in the budget, a significant amount of money had been allocated for regional hospitals and mental health.
“The government has allocated (half a billion dollars) to mental health and that’s a positive because we’ve seen a flow on affect from years of drought that has been particularly tough on farmers,” he said.
“However I think the budget hasn’t cut back enough to prevent the Reserve Bank increasing interest rates.
“This will be bad for export dependent industries like agriculture because it means the Australian dollar will remain strong against other currencies.”
Mr Murphy also said it was important to note that while the regional hospitals of Wagga Wagga and Tamworth received 55 million and 120 million dollars respectively, Dubbo base hospital received only seven point one million.
“I think Dubbo missed out, whereas the hospital in the region where one of the independent MPs is from did very well,” he said.
Leader of the Australian National Party, Warren Truss, said the budget would do nothing to help revitalise regional communities.
“Regional Australians are to be forgiven for being more confused than ever about where this government is headed,” he said.
Mr Truss said most of the funding announced for regional projects would be dependent upon revenue from the proposed mining tax, which was a “lose-lose” situation for regional communities.
“If the tax does not go through the Parliament, the regional development projects will not proceed,” he said.
“If it does pass, then those regional communities will lose the jobs and economic prosperity created by mining development and mineral processing.”
A spokesman for the Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, said the Coalition could not be taken seriously about regional Australia as Opposition and Liberal Leader Tony Abbott did not mention regional development once during his budget reply speech.
“As usual the Nationals are all rhetoric and ignored by the Liberals, meanwhile the Federal Labor Budget delivered $4.3 billion over four years to the regions,” he said.
“(This includes) $19.1 million over three years to develop a more strategic approach to combating high unemployment and skills shortages in regions with the engagement of 34 Education, Skills and Jobs Coordinators.”
Despite this, Mr Murphy said more investment needed to be spent on encouraging young people to join the agriculture industry.
“I believe we are headed for a global food shortage and agriculture is going to be more important in the future,” he said.
“Agriculture has suffered losses in its workforce from the mining boom… so it would have been a good idea to get more people working in the agriculture sector.”

Letters to the Editor

Dear Madam,

I am writing in reply to a recent letter in the Argus as an employer who knows what it is like not to receive a single response to an advertised position.
We would also like to see our town promoted. There has to be people in the outer areas of the city that could enjoy a better lifestyle both financially and socially with a move to the country.
Condo has so much to offer:
• Lake – boating and fishing
•Most sporting codes, Golf and bowls, Gym, Motor Bike Club
• Community Centre – Arts & Crafts
• Sing Australia
• Rifle Club
This is just naming a few as there are many more Clubs & Societies.
As well as younger families we would like to see mature aged or even empty nesters being encouraged to our town and bringing their skills and experience to our community.
On the housing front there is a range of good investment properties and top quality homes for far less than the equivalent in the metropolitan areas.
The mining boom is a great boost to our towns economy but it also drains our small pool of experienced tradesmen and we as a business in Condobolin want to keep employing apprentices and offering goods & services to the community for the years ahead.
Even those of us in secure jobs isolated from staff shortages will not be immune as we have to travel  to a bigger centre for more everyday services that will not be available in the town due to lack of workmanship.
It is very encouraging to see people opening new shops in Condo. We hope this positive attitude continues.  As to how to go about promoting it viably is the question.
We ourselves will continue to advertise.
Thank you for allowing me space in your paper
Concerned citizen.

—–

Dear Madam,

For more than a decade I’ve been attending sporting events in Australia and internationally providing technical race support and as a photographer. The Condo 750 may not be Dakar or the Australasian Safari but the genuine welcome received in Condobolin makes it one of the highlights of my year.
The efforts to attract sponsors such as Slattery Auctions have been rewarded with much needed helicopter medical services, the perfect supplement to the work put in by the organisers, controllies, sweeps, course markers and officials, not to mention the land holders who demonstrate the ultimate in community spirit by hosting the event year on year. The Condo 750 just gets better and better!
Max Sullivan
Maximum Motorcycle Consulting
Parramatta NSW
27 April 2011

Mineral Hill in full staff recruitment mode

Left: Mineral Hill fully refurbished Interstage Screen and structural supports.  Right: Parkers Hill decline. Contributed

By Dominic Geiger
Kimberley Metals has announced it has commenced full staff recruitment operations for its Mineral Hill project.
The company aims to recruit forty new full-time staff in the lead up to the various Mineral Hill operations becoming functional in the middle of the year.
Stuart Mathews, Chief Operating Officer at Kimberley Metals, said not all the applicants for the jobs needed to be highly skilled.
“We’ve got at least 18 positions that don’t require high skill levels,” he said.
“We provide basic training for staff and we have one traineeship underway at the moment with more to come.”
Stuart said although not all staff would be based in Condobolin, the scarcity of housing accommodation in the town presented a problem.
“Some of the positions being offered may be fly in fly out so living conditions may only need to be quite basic,” he said.
“Ideally however, we’re encouraging people to move to Condobolin.”
The company has also announced it is on track to submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Pearce Open Cut project to the Lachlan Shire Council by the end of the month.
Kimberley Executive Chairman, Jim Wall, said he was incredibly pleased to see such quick progress at the mine site.
“The team is coming together well and we remain on track for our target of mid-2011 production,” he said.
A statement from the company said once development approvals are in place, “a program will be developed to co-ordinate the stripping of the (Pearce) open cut and upgrading of the carbon-in-leach circuit at the Mineral Hill Plant.”

Mineral Hill welcomes new General Manager

New Mineral Hill General Manger Mick Hanlon and Chief Operating Officer Stuart Mathews visit Condobolin’s Gum Bend Lake.Kimberley Metals has appointed a new General Manager to its mining operation at Mineral Hill.
Mick Hanlon, who comes directly from Wollongong, but has also spent just over three years managing the Tritton Copper mines at Nyngan, said he was excited to once again be working at a mine site in the Central West.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to be had in this region and particularly at Mineral Hill” he said.
“There have been mining operations here for a long time, and I expect they’ll continue much further into the future, especially with the new developments we’re seeing in the mining industry.”
Mick said he was impressed with the work done to date at Mineral Hill but could see that there were several big challenges which needed to be addressed.
“The biggest and most pressing issue is to find professional staff such as geologists, surveyors, environmental coordinators and mining engineers to fill key positions,” he said.
“Unfortunately there are not many people with these qualifications residing in Condobolin at the moment so we’ve had to conduct an Australia wide search.
“Our policy will be to employ as many locals as possible, with those who are already employed by Kimberly Metals making an invaluable contribution to getting the plant refurbished in preparation for the recommencement of operations.
“We’ve also identified issues such as accommodation for staff and electrical infrastructure as potential problems.”
To help alleviate some of the issues associated with staff, Mick said the company had a number of plans.
“There will be opportunities for apprenticeships and traineeships in the near future,” he said.
Mick said he and his wife were looking forward to living in Condobolin and becoming part of the community.

Origin Energy moves in

The NSW Government has announced the sale of Country Energy’s retail operations to Origin Energy as part of its Energy Reform Strategy.
The sale does not involve Country Energy’s electricity network operations – the ‘poles and wires’ – and the Country Water business in Far West NSW.
Country Energy’s Regional General Manager, Central Western, Chas McPhail said, “Some  details  are still to be finalised, but as part of the sale agreement there  will  be  a  transition period of at least three years where Country Energy  will continue to manage retail services on behalf of Origin. Origin is  expected  to  take  ownership  of the Country Energy retail business in March  2011  and  Country  Energy  will work with Origin to ensure a smooth transition of our retail services.”
“Customers will see no immediate changes – they will continue to deal with the same people and receive the same high levels of service, including Country Energy’s general enquiries line, 13 23 56, and will be notified regarding changes before they occur.”
“We will remain one of regional NSW’s largest employers, and through our network operations we will remain a strong supporter of the 1,500 local communities we serve.”
“There will be no change to our core business of delivering safe and reliable essential services, and we will continue to deliver our five-year $6 billion investment to maintain and grow our electricity network,” Chas said.
It will also be business as usual for network support services – customers can continue to call 13 20 80 to report supply interruptions or electrical safety hazards, and our local field service teams will be ready to respond 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
The NSW Government has announced that Country Energy’s Customer Service Centres will remain in place after the sale of the retail business.
The Government has also outlined strong employment protections to ensure local job security for employees working in our retail business.
Employees working in the retail arm of the business will be given the option of taking up offers to work with Origin or staying with Country Energy in their current location.
The sale will have no impact on the vast majority of Country Energy employees, who work on building and maintaining the electricity network, and in Country Energy’s water business in the Broken Hill area, Country Water.
Consumer protections, such as pensioner rebates and hardship programs, will continue.

Jobs for NSW State Election

With the State Election on Saturday, 26 March, the New South Wales Electoral Commission is looking for people to work at polling places as election officials.
“This is a great opportunity for people looking for casual work to help in the administration of one of the State’s most important events” said the New South Wales Electoral Commissioner, Colin Barry.
“Returning Officers for the 93 electoral districts have been appointed but we are still looking for people to work at one of the 2,700 polling places throughout the state on election day.”
On election day Election Officials issue ballot papers to electors and count the ballot papers after the close of voting.
“This is a unique opportunity to work behind the scenes of an election and to be paid for it. Election Officials can earn over $300 by working on Election Day. Other rates will depend on the type of work and number of hours on duty.”
Anyone interested in working as an Election Official on Saturday, 26 March can get further information and register their interest by visiting www.votensw.info or by calling 1300 135 736.

Jobs for local kids go begging

With another school year starting, local students are asking the question: go back to school or find a job?
Most opt to return to school given the presumption that there are limited job opportunities within their respective communities. This is not the case according to Emma Curtis, Field Officer for Central West Group Apprentices in Parkes.
“We have so many opportunities currently available to those looking to commence their career with an apprenticeship or Traineeship – a number of the positions available could be filled tomorrow if we had the right applicants”.
For those that have made the decision to leave school, most have felt an obligation to move to larger areas to find work.
“A large percentage of school leavers and their families assume that if they are to pick up work, they will need to look to one of the larger towns such as Orange or Bathurst – that’s just not the case. Local school leavers can find work, whilst remaining in their home town where they can continue to be close to family and friends” Emma said.
With having just faced flooding and previous to that, a drought – the region has been through some rough times, but amidst all this, there are still jobs available.
“The prospects are really bright for school leavers who take on a trade; it provides the opportunity to work whilst achieving a Nationally Recognised Qualification. Its also important to recognise that the more local young people that are employed and trained in our area, helps to maintain our local skills base which is essential in ensuring our smaller communities continue to grow” Emma said.
CWGA currently have opportunities in the Automotive, manufacturing, retail and business industries – with many more continuing to become vacant.
CWGA has now grown to be the largest employers of young people in the region. For those considering an apprenticeship or traineeship – or would like some further information, please call Emma Curtis on 6862 5935, visit the office at: Shop 4, 364 Clarinda Street, Parkes or visit our website at www.cwga.com.au

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