All revved up for rally

Photo courtesy of Michael Holmes Photography

By Melissa Blewitt

The timing may have changed, but the Slattery Auctions Condo 750 is gearing up for its biggest year yet.

Forty four landholders will make the rally possible, and participants will navigate across the Lachlan, Forbes, and Cobar Shires, and also take in parts of Western Lands.

Nationally renowned, the rally will be held on 25, 26 and 27 March in 2016. This is a change from the regular second weekend in April format that the event has previously followed.

“There was a Motorcycles NSW Motocross series event being held on the same weekend as the 750, so we had to change the date,” Chairperson Sue Broad said.

“We tried for a few different dates, and if we didn’t do it [the event] at Easter, it would have had to be held in September.

“We settled on this date for the event and we are encouraging the local community to get involved and be part of the rally.”

For over 25 years the Condo 750 has been entrenched in the local events scene, and its stature is continuing to grow all over the country.

However, this year, things will be slightly different.

“In 2016, the event will be run from the Condobolin Showground, which will enable the community to see and interact with rally entrants three times a day when they have lunch, re-fuel and undertake vehicle maintenance,” Mrs Broad said.

“Sign on and scrutineering will take place from 5pm to 10pm on Friday, 25 March, with the community being able to look at and talk to participants.

“There will also be a jumping castle and face painting for children. We really want to emphasise that the rally can be a family orientated event.

“Competitors will all loop out of the showground, so the public will have the chance to see the rally entrants throughout the day. In previous years, people have had to travel out to Vermont Hill to see the rally.

“We hope that the community will be part of the event.”

Shire Almalgamation – Editors Opinion

If there is one thing that the IPART assessment proved, it’s that it’s all about the numbers. We are not a community. We are 6,700 now, and by 2031 we will be just 5,500. That’s the only number the NSW State Government cares about. And because that number is not judged as high or important enough, Lachlan Shire is in danger of becoming obsolete.
Now I don’t profess to always support Lachlan Shire Council, or its decisions on a regular basis. I am not always a fan of council, but our community matters to me. And I know one thing is for sure. If we are forcibly amalgamated with Parkes, then you can say goodbye to local representation and the upkeep of roads and infrastructure. We will be forgotten as quickly as they close the Lachlan Shire office doors.
Lachlan currently looks after 4,500 kilometres of Shire roads. Who will care if they are sitting in an office in Parkes? No one, that’s who. Who will travel the distance to check on a water supply at Lake Cargelligo or Tullibigeal? That’s over two hours out of their day. Now why is Parkes the be all and end all for Lachlan? Sure it has a bigger population, but did not satisfy one crucial area of the IPART assessments – efficiency. Now how does that work?
You’re not efficient but you’re fit because of your projected population growth? Let’s get real. Parkes is riding on the back of mining right now, but when operations inevitably wind down they will be looking at more than a gigantic hole underground, they will be looking at a gigantic hole in their population and economy. IPART has not mentioned how they will handle that. However Lachlan has been judged unfit on a projected falling population.
The State Government says amalgamations will save money, but then offers incentives under the Stronger Communities Fund for up to $15 million to invest in community infrastructure. I’m going to call if for what it is – absolute bread sticks (read between the lines on that one). If they have the money to literally throw ‘incentives’ away to amalgamating councils, why can’t they put that money into local government so they can provide better services and infrastructure? That might just make too much sense.
It seems funny to me (in a humourous way) that the Local Government Minister Paul Toole (Bathurst) and National Leader Troy Grant’s (Dubbo) local council areas are deemed ‘fit’. Just make everything bigger, and let even more services and representation slide away.
That brings me to our National Party representatives. Now where are they in this argument?
Not out fighting for our local councils, simply hiding behind one line responses and generic press releases. Come on. You were elected to represent our electorate. Get out here and explain why this is so good for us. Come to a community meeting and look us all in the eye, and tell us all why we need massive, amalgamated councils. We voted for you in good conscience, so that you would stand up for us and the issues that are important to this town. If you don’t fight for us, I think you don’t deserve our vote. You certainly won’t be getting mine at the next election, if you don’t support rural communities. I think you have lost sight of what true community means. I think you need to talk to your constituents.
Love them or loathe them, Lachlan Shire Council has earned the right to represent its community at a local level. They are committed to the Shire and steering the organisation in a better direction. I implore you all, to write a letter to your state and federal member. Tell them you don’t agree. If you think nothing gets done now, wait till Lachlan is part of a 21,000 plus mega council area.
People power can change this. Write a letter or start a petition. We may have to suck it up and accept some tough decisions, if it means we get to keep Lachlan local then so be it. If you don’t care, then do nothing. But do that at your own risk.
Have the courage to tell the state government what you think. Have the courage to tell the state government this is wrong. Have the courage to say NO to forced amalgamations.
Melissa Blewitt

Danger Zone

Lachlan Shire Council is in danger of being merged with a larger entity, after it was deemed unfit to stand alone by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) Fit for the Future assessments.

: IPART’s map of part of the state, showing ‘fit’ councils in green and ‘unfit’ councils in orange. The blue would be considered ‘fit’ with a merger process. More on IPART’s decision plus an editorial on page 4. Cont

By Melissa Blewitt

 

Lachlan Shire Council is in danger of being merged with a larger entity, after it was deemed unfit to stand alone by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) Fit for the Future assessments.

The report, released by the State Government last Tuesday, found Lachlan Shire “unfit” due to a forecast declining population over the next 20 years.

Lachlan Shire Council’s Fit for the Future proposal was one of 87 out of 139 proposals assessed to be unfit, with only three of 12 councils in the central west found fit to stand alone.

IPART has suggested a merger with Parkes would be the most beneficial course of action, but Lachlan Shire Council’s preference is to remain a stand alone Council within a Joint Organisation (JO).

Parkes failed to satisfy one crucial criterion – efficiency – but was still deemed “fit” by the IPART report.

Lachlan failed to meet the scale and capacity criteria (population under 10,000), but satisfied the financial criteria overall including sustainability, infrastructure and service management.

Lachlan’s population stands at 6,700 and is predicted by the NSW Department of Planning to fall to 5,500 by 2031. If merged with Parkes, the new entity would have a projected population of 21,000 by 2031.

According to General Manager Robert Hunt, Council is committed to standing alone.

“Lachlan Shire only fails to meet one criterion and that is scale and capacity. Councils had not been told beforehand that there was a minimum population of 10,000 which had to be met and that has been very disappointing after all the work that went into the submission,” he said.

Lachlan’s TCorp Financial Sustainability Rating (FSR) was assessed as moderate and they were given a negative outlook.

“This [the FSR] was completed a few years ago and the negative outlook is based on projections – we have since made many changes and we will be sustainable after the rate increase next year and we will have a positive outlook based on this.”

Mr Hunt added that after a discussion with Parkes General Manager, Kent Boyd, both Councils preferred to stand alone however, further meetings with neighbouring councils will be held.

In the meantime an independent telephone survey of residents will also be undertaken by Micromex Pty Ltd to see if ratepayers want to take the $15m incentive on offer to the merged entity by the State Government or remain an independent Council.

Council has until 18 November to respond to the findings.

 

 

Kangaroo chaos

Kangaroos are causing chaos on local roads.

Rob Ticehurst, of Rob Ticehurst Smash Repairs Condobolin, has seen an increase in car damage across the Condobolin area as a result of collisions with kangaroos. MB

 

By Melissa Blewitt

Kangaroos are causing chaos on local roads.

NRMA Insurance has revealed 80 per cent of animal collisions on NSW roads involve kangaroos, with the number of animal-related crashes peaking during July and August

Condobolin has had 170 animal-related crashes in the past three calendar years, with 69 occurring in 2014.

Forbes (174) and Parkes (202) had a larger number of overall incidents, however, Condobolin had more crashes in 2014 than both of them, with the towns recording 49 and 45 in that year.

Rob Ticehurst, of Rob Ticehurst Smash Repairs Condobolin, said he has seen an increase in crashes involving kangaroos over the past six months.

“I have definately seen an increase [in kangaroo related crashes],” he said. “I am seeing at least two cars per week in my shop with damage as a result of kangaroos.

“They [kangaroos] can cause enough damage to write off a car. Their numbers have increased and with shorter daylight hours the risk of hitting a kangaroo increases.”

Smaller towns across the region fared somewhat better with Lake Cargelligo recording 69 in the past three calendar years, with Trundle (37), Ungarie (22), Tullamore (32), Bogan Gate (19), Tottenham (34), Tullibigeal (18), Albert (18), Burcher (9), Yarrabandai (9), Ootha (3), Bedgerabong (4), Warroo (1), Kiacatoo (1), Derriwong (1), and Fifield (1).

Condo local in hospital after crashing into Forbes dentist

A 52-year-old Condobolin woman has been seriously injured after being trapped under the front of her vehicle in Forbes last Thursday.

• A 52-year-old Condobolin woman was trapped under the front of her car after crashing into the Forbes Family Dentists last Thursday. Photo: The Forbes Advocate

By Lara Pearce

A 52-year-old Condobolin woman has been seriously injured after being trapped under the front of her vehicle in Forbes last Thursday.

At around 4:40pm, police and ambulance were called to the Forbes Family Dentists building on Templar Street in Forbes with reports of an injured woman at the location.

Witnesses told police that the woman had reverse parked her Ford station wagon and, when getting out of the car, had accidentally hit the accelerator. The car jumped the kerb and reversed through the wall of the dentists, trapping her under the front of the car.

Witnesses were quick on the scene, freeing the woman and rendering first aid. She had seriously injured one of her legs and was treated by paramedics before being taken to Forbes Hospital.

The 52-year-old was later transferred to Orange Base Hospital in a stable condition.

No one else was injured in the incident, as the Forbes Family Dentists had closed its doors shortly before hand and no staff or patients were in the reception area or on the kerb.

Police stated that the vehicle was seized and will undergo a mechanical examination.

Sharon says goodbye after 35 years as Condo librarian

What started as a casual job while raising her children at home has turned into a lifelong vocation for local librarian Sharon Denyer.

• Sharon Denyer enjoyed an emotional final day of work at Lachlan Shire Library last Friday as she farewelled colleagues, library-goers and the books she knows so well. LP

By Lara Pearce

What started as a casual job while raising her children at home has turned into a lifelong vocation for local librarian Sharon Denyer.

Mrs Denyer finished up as Head Librarian of Lachlan Shire Library last Friday after 35 years in the job.

She celebrated her final day surrounded by flowers, cards and chocolates with the welcome interruptions of visitors dropping in to share their good wishes for the future.

The Condobolin local of 41 years says the past three and a half decades have brought many changes to the library, but the time has passed quickly.

“I’ve seen people come in with their little babies, and the next thing you know, [the children] are bringing their own children in!”

When Sharon started working at the library, she never dreamed of how far it would take her. In 1979, she started out helping at the library for ten hours a week.

“I grew up in Forbes and Wayne, my husband, is in the Ambulance, so we came here for his job,” Sharon explained. “It wasn’t until my youngest child went to school that I decided a part time job sounded pretty good.”

In those days all the book loans and returns were entered manually on cards in the backs of the books.

“Margaret Job was the Librarian then,” Sharon reminisces. “We typed everything into typewriters, so you got to know the books quite well.”

Over the following years, Sharon saw the library renovated to double its original size and the collection of books expanded. The books – which are rotated between Condobolin, Lake Cargelligo, Tottenham and Burcher libraries – now number around 32,000.

In 1990, Sharon took over from Margaret as Librarian. “Then, we started using computers in 1995,” she said.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. All the girls I have worked with over the years have been fantastic and it is a great work environment,” she said. “You meet some lovely people.”

With friends and library-goers rallying around to bid her farewell and bring gifts, it seems that the sentiment is returned.

Sharon will be enjoying six months of accumulated long service leave before officially retiring on 17 July. She and her husband Wayne plan to enjoy their retirement in Forbes close to family and friends.

The Lachlan Shire Council congratulated her on her long service at a party last Friday evening.

Free Cuppa for the Driver campaign shifts up a gear

By Dominic Geiger

The success of the ‘Free Cuppa for the Driver’ campaign will see the initiative expand well beyond the borders of Forbes, Parkes and Lachlan Shires when it is reintroduced in Easter next year.

The campaign, which was first run last Christmas holidays, invites participating businesses to offer free cups of coffee or tea to drivers passing through town with the aim of combating driver fatigue in rural areas.

Speaking at the recent Lachlan Shire Council meeting, Road Safety Officer for the Forbes, Parkes and Lachlan Shires, Melanie Suitor, said businesses as far north as Moree would now be asked to participate.

“It was an interesting campaign and we learnt a lot from it,” she said.

“We had about 75 people who took part in the project fill out feedback forms and who also went into the draw to win various prizes.

“The feedback we received from businesses was that summer was too hot for people to want coffee or tea, so that’s why we’ve moved it to the Easter holidays this time.”

Melanie said the campaign also offered businesses a chance to promote themselves.

“We’ll be creating posters and stickers as well as erecting banners at the entrances to towns to help raise awareness about the scheme,” she said.

“We’ll also cross promote towns through tourism information centres and caravan parks.”

In Condobolin, approximately five businesses took part in the campaign last Christmas.

Angela Coceancic, from participating business Nolls Bakery, said she found very few people actually asked for the free cuppa, despite having promotional posters on the windows of the bakery.

“We found we offered the drinks more often than the customers asked for them,” she said.

“People were very appreciative, but it seems if people actually want coffee, they’re going to pay for it rather than be looking for something for free.”

Moogenilla bull sale

Moogenilla Angus stud will be offering 50 Bulls at auction in Forbes.Condobolins “Moogenilla Angus Stud” will be offering 50 Bulls at auction in Forbes on Friday the 5th August.

“This will be our second auction in Forbes after 20 years of selling on farm north of Condobolin” Sarah Wrigley of Moogenilla said.

Last year’s auction saw a total clearance, partly due to a terrific season driving the demand for bulls.

“It gave our existing clients a chance to inspect all our best bulls at once, and introduced some new clients from further east.

“This year we will offer more bulls, and are expecting to have a higher number of affordable options for local breeders to choose from” she said.

The Moogenilla herd has recently been benchmarked in the top 5% of all Angus herds for the CAAB $Index in a TakeStock Report commissioned by Angus Australia.

“We use the TakeStock Report to check all our breeding objectives are being met, and to see how we’re travelling compared to other breeders. We’re really pleased with the recent report.

“Moogenilla is above average in all areas, with excellent results in Growth, Marbling and Eye Muscle Area.

“We will continue to focus on growth, to ensure maximum weight in all our client’s calves, and we are continuing to aim to supply the best genetics in the world at commercially viable prices to beef producers” she said.

Pictured right is Brett Stockman who has been weighing Moogenilla calves this week. Brett moved to Condobolin from Tarcutta in June to take up a position with the Moogenilla cattle and cropping program. Brett is already enjoying the wide open spaces Condobolin offers, and is looking forward to settling into our community.

Tackling speeding issues

Essential Energy crews from across the Parkes, Forbes, Lachlan, Orange and Cabonne local government areas are the first in the region to participate in a new road safety workshop tackling speed on the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways.

The workshops are one of the key strategies of the regional ‘Like the back of your hand’ project which was launched in Manildra in June.

Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils’ Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, says the workshops were designed to provide important information about the dangers of speeding.

“We are really pleased that Essential Energy is the first business in the region to sign up their employees for these free road safety workshops.

“Workshops will be conducted with Essential Energy employees at Orange, Canowindra, Molong, Parkes, Forbes, Condobolin, Peak Hill, Tottenham, Trundle and Lake Cargelligo depots.

“In the past five years there have been nearly 150 crashes on the road between Condobolin, Parkes and Orange. Six people have been killed and 60 have been injured. The majority of drivers who crashed were local residents or lived in a neighbouring town. All of the crashes had speed listed as a contributing factor.

“These interactive workshops outline the various issues associated with speeding which impact on all drivers who use the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways. The workshop runs for about 30 minutes and participants are encouraged to complete a quiz which enters them into the draw for a $50 fuel voucher and gives us feedback on what they learnt.

“A copy of all workshop materials will be provided to participating business for use in future staff training and staff inductions.

“We have sent invitations to the larger businesses in the local community to also take part in the workshops. If you haven’t received an invitation but would like to host a workshop at your business please contact me on 6861 2364,” Ms Suitor said.

Essential Energy’s regional general manager, Central Western, Chas MacPhail said Essential Energy is a strong supporter of the Like the back of your hand program and was happy for the regions depot crews to participate in the road safety workshops.

“Essential Energy covers 95% of New South Wales and has over 4000 employees which results in quite a large fleet that last year alone travelled approximately 7 million kilometers, some of that on the Henry Parkes and Escort ways.

“Essential Energy’s number one priority is safety – safety of the public, our employees and the network – so involving our employees in these workshops enhances our already very strong safety culture,” Mr McPhail said.

Other project strategies include; the use of courtesy speed monitor trailers, radio advertising, a radio competition, the distribution of brochures/posters to doctor’s surgeries, roadside banners and regular media coverage.

The Like the back of your hand project is a collaboration between five regional councils along or bordering the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways, including Orange City Council, Cabonne Shire Council, Parkes Shire Council, Forbes Shire Council and Lachlan Shire Council.

Students set to benefit from CHS upgrades

A $1.19 million dollar project at Condobolin High School (CHS) will this term give students access to state of the art equipment in both metal works and horticulture.

The project is part of an initiative which, in conjunction with similar developments at Parkes and Forbes high schools, aims to give students throughout the region the opportunity to take part in various traineeships.

CHS principal, Bob Carline, said students from all three schools could travel to whichever campus offered the traineeship they happened to be interested in.

“Both Forbes and Parkes will also offer food tech,” he said.

“The metal works room has new lathes and welding equipment and for horticulture we have a shed which will be used as a tutorial room and a place for plant propagation.

“[The rooms and equipment] raise the standard of the school so we are now able to offer traineeships and expand the range of courses available to students.

“Part of this project was used in the F1 competition, with $100,000 worth of CAD software now being used in graphics classes.”

Metal works teacher, Darryl Porter, said the new trade centre would benefit the whole Condobolin community.

“Having a trade centre in the school will give students access to industry standard equipment,” he said.

Make it easy with Harvey World Travel Forbes

ADVERTORIAL

Your first holiday away together as newlyweds is a special one, and one that you want to remember for all the right reasons.

Planning your wedding can be a stressful time, and any help is greatly appreciated…right?

So why not let the professional staff at Harvey World Travel in Forbes take some of the tension out of the whole experience by helping you plan your honeymoon?

Our most popular honeymoon destinations are the romantic Shangri-La or Outriggers Resorts on Fiji’s beautiful Coral Coast.

Ban Thai Beach Resort in Phuket Thailand is another popular choice, and some couples like to mix it up a bit by dividing their time between Phuket and Koh Samui.

For the newlyweds that haven’t seen enough of Australia yet or would like to travel domestically, Lindeman Island or Hamilton Island Beach Club provide the perfect destination to unwind with your favourite someone after sall that hectic wedding planning.

Whatever your desires are, we can tailor honeymoons to suit every couples needs and budget.

Whether it be a relaxing beach escape in Bali, Hawaii or Queensland, an adventure filled safari throughout an African game reserve, or a self drive holiday through New Zealand.

Give us a call on (02) 6852 2344 or pop in and see us at 6 Templar Street, Forbes. We want to help you plan your special getaway!

Condo primary schools compete at CWA Public Speaking Competition

St Joseph’s students; front: Georgie McMillan and Lucy Kirk; back: Madeline Sinderberry and Bianca Smith. ContributedEight students from St Joseph’s Condobolin and Condobolin Public School recently travelled to Forbes to compete in the annual CWA Public Speaking Competition.
Destiny Nagle, Felicity Baxter, Eliza Packham and Kirby Snape represented the Public School, while Madeline Sinderberry, Bianca Smith, Lucy Kirk and Georgie McMillan represented St Joseph’s.
Topics presented included ‘It’s Magic’, ‘The Adventures of a Dollar’, ‘If I had Wings’ and ‘Morning’.
Both Madeline and Lucy achieved ‘Highly Commended’ results and will now go on to present new speeches at the final round of competition in Parkes on June 21.
Lucy will be presenting a speech on the topic ‘The Perfect Gift’ while Madeline will be presenting her interpretation of ‘What an Adventure’.
Lucy said she was incredibly excited about the upcoming event.
“I hope we go really well,” she said.

New cultural festival announced for Forbes

Festival Director Stefo Nantsou (left), with the Mayor of Forbes, Councillor Phyllis Miller, the Festival convener Merrill Findlay, and Councillor Chris Roylances, at a community consultation in Forbes. Photo courtesy Forbes Advocate.By Dominic Geiger

Former Condobolin resident and author, Merrill Findlay, has announced a brand new cultural festival will be held in Forbes this September.
The Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival will incorporate visual arts, multiple styles of music, theatre and literature to offer something for “every age and interest group.”
Merrill, who is the festival’s convenor, said the legend of Kate Kelly, the sister of the infamous Ned Kelly, had helped provide the genesis for the festival.
“I wanted to create an opera about Kate Kelly, whose body was found in Forbes Lagoon, and I met Ross Carey, who was a piano teacher with the Mitchell Conservatorium,” she said.
“From that meeting we developed a really good collaboration for this song cycle about Kate Kelly… and that song cycle will now headline the festival.
“The Song Cycle consists of forty minutes of very accessible new classical music for soprano voice, violin, cello, clarinet, piano accordion, community choirs and clap stick.”
Merrill said although classical music would be featured in the festival, there would also be many other genres on show.
“There’ll be jazz, country, hip hop…we’ll have lots of buskers as well; any musicians in the region are able to perform,” she said.
“We even have a minister for busking, Robert Hofwell, who is President of the Forbes Country Music Club, and will be drawing on his experience when planning the busking venues and program for the festival.
Rather than a traditional organising committee, Merrill said a cabinet of twelve ‘ministers’ would be responsible for the running of the event.
“Each (minister) will be responsible for a portfolio of festival events and activities, ranging from stage performances, busking and lantern making, to exhibitions, markets and creative sports,” she said.
The cabinet will also include one of Condobolin’s very own, with Rural Mental Health Consultant, Di Gill taking on the role of Minister for Mental Health.
“Ms Gill will co-host a Beyond Blue Bowls Tournament with the Forbes Sports and Recreation Club on Sunday morning, 4 September, as part of the festival,” Merrill said.
The inaugural Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival will be held on September 3-4 in Forbes and will open the NSW State Landcare and Catchment Management Forum which will be held in Parkes the following week.
For more information, visit the festival’s website at www.merrillfindlay.com

Arts out west meets

Representatives from the arts and crafts communities of Lachlan, Parkes and Forbes shires met at Condobolin Community Centre for an Arts OutWest network meetingArts OutWest held a network meeting with various arts and crafts community representatives from Lachlan, Parkes and Forbes shires earlier this week at the Condobolin Community Centre.
The meeting, called ‘Crafting the Lachlan’, was held in order to facilitate new ideas to help promote community arts programs around the three shires.
The meeting had a particular emphasis on encouraging tourism based on the “interesting and special” artwork of the people who live in the Central West.
Tracey Callinan, Executive Officer of Arts OutWest, said the meeting aimed to bring together people with similar interests in arts and crafts and to share ideas.
“We’re trying to make plans about how to develop various community arts initiatives,” she said.
“At the moment we’re putting together a brochure which will include a map of the different places people can visit in the region.
“The project is important because discovering the different arts and crafts projects in a region can really help to show people what makes a place special.”
Tracey said her place in the discussion forum was to help facilitate the business side of arts projects.
“Some of the places have really great venues but the community needs help finding ways to promote them,” she said.
“The ideas at this meeting are coming from the people; we’re just helping to facilitate them.”
Anyone interested in taking part in Arts OutWest meetings can contact the organisation on the web at www.artsoutwest.org.au or contact Heather Blackley at Western Plains Regional Development on 6895 3301.

Centroc challenges national water commission’s report

By Dominic Geiger

Central NSW Councils (Centroc) has condemned a recently developed report from the National Water Commission, calling it a “diatribe against Councils providing water services in NSW.”
The report, titled ‘Urban Water In Australia: future directions’, calls for extensive reform to the way Councils manage water use in their shire.
Chair of the National Water Commission, Chloe Munro, said it was time for Australia’s governments to step back from direct intervention in urban water and give the industry incentives and freedom to innovate.
“‘There is ample scope for the industry to move away from its traditional focus on assets towards providing genuine consumer choice through more flexible, efficient and customer-driven products and services,” she said.
Chair of Centroc and Mayor of Forbes, Phyllis Miller, said the report made nonsense claims about the quality and pricing of council supplied water.
“The fact is we are delivering very well against other water service providers around the nation,” she said.
“We all know what happens when control over our utilities gets handed away from our communities; just look what happened with electricity.”
Lachlan Shire Councillor, Les Saunders, said the National Water Commission’s push to limit council’s involvement in supplying water to its residents was a step in the wrong direction.
“Council has to maintain its own water supply; it’s more practical being locally run,” he said.
“When the ability to manage water has been taken away from council, it’s not long before we have private enterprise creating a monopoly.
“Since 1990 when control of the water system was handed over to Lachlan Shire Council from Central Tablelands County Council it’s become efficient.
“Prior to 1990 no one had any say in what happened.
“Lachlan shire Council has a well organised run of all the water supplies in each of its towns.”

River stakeholders meet with MDBA Chairmen

By Dominic Geiger

Stakeholders representing various communities along the Lachlan River met with the Murray Darling Basin Authority Chairman Craig Knowles as he toured the region on Monday March 28.
Mr Knowles and the various representatives, which included mayors, landowners and Aboriginal groups, boarded a bus in Forbes which took them to a dairy farm east of the town.
Mayor of the Lachlan Shire Des Manwaring said Mr Knowles listened closely to the concerns voiced during the bus trip and at the farm.
“He said it was a fact finding mission for him; he was trying to get his head around the issues of the Lachlan River,” he said.
“He told us he had no pre-conceived views on what should be done here.
“The main thing (the stakeholders) told him was that the Lachlan is a closed system; it very rarely flows into the Murrumbidgee at all.”
Mary Ewing, Executive Officer at Lachlan Valley Water, said the Lachlan River flowed into a large marshland area which was usually cut off from the Murray Darling system.
“The Lachlan ends in the Great Cumbung Swamp near Oxley,” she said.
“The only time the river joins the Murrumbidgee is during a major flood.”
Des said the consensus amongst the stakeholders was that too much water had already been ‘bought back’ from the Lachlan and the tougher water allocation allowances had placed social and economic burdens on Lachlan River communities.
“There has been almost no water for ten years with the drought and people are just starting to recover,” he said.
“The Mayor of (The Carrathool Shire) got the point across that growth had slowed in Hillston since the water allocations were reduced in the town.
“Towns are on a limited supply of water as it is and we’re trying to entice people from Sydney to move here; there’s no way we’ll be able to do that if our water allocation is cut.”

Senior’s week at the RSL

Renowned entertainer and musician Stephen R. Cheney put on an incredible performance of contemporary and traditional Irish songs at the Condobolin RSL last Thursday.
The performance, which was part of the RSL’s Senior’s Week celebrations, saw an impressive turnout with the entire dining room filled with Seniors from as far away as Canberra.
Presenting his ‘Irish Connection’ act, Stephen wooed the crowd with soothing numbers made popular by Daniel O’Donnel and Charlie Landsborough.
Stephen said it was important to support Seniors with music they liked because the entertainment industry often left them behind.
“The music that’s popular today isn’t usually what the older generation likes to listen to, in the same way as the music they once listened to wasn’t liked by their parents and grandparents,” he said.
“This is my 6th Senior’s Week show; I usually stick to a selection of easy listening, middle of the road Irish songs.”
Brian Prothero, President of Condobolin RSL, said the performance was all part of the RSL’s contribution to Senior’s Week.
“We decided to put on a free concert for people,” he said.
“We’ve got busloads that have come in from Lake Cargelligo and Forbes for this.”
Therese Stenhouse, Day Care Coordinator at Lake Cargelligo Multi Purpose Health Services (MPHS), said the busload of people who had come from the facility were incredibly excited for the event.
“Not a lot happens in Lake Cargelligo so this is a big thing,” she said.
“The Seniors often don’t get a chance to do very much.”
Grace Wilson, who came on the bus from the Lake Cargelligo MPHS, said so far the day had been lovely.
“Everyone’s done a wonderful job getting us here,” she said.
“It’s such a big job; they’re really here to help us.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of today.”

Lachlan irrigator calls for new dams to be built

By Dominic Geiger

Irrigator on the Lachlan River and former Forbes Shire President, Charlie Francis, has been causing a stir in recent weeks with a media campaign aimed at encouraging people to reconsider the need for new dams in the Central West.
Mr Francis had an opinion piece published in The Land Newspaper last fortnight and was featured on the front page of the Forbes Advocate last week.
Mr Francis said he believes new approaches to water conservation are ignoring what has been learned from people working on rivers in the region for over 100 years.
“We need to listen to the stories our grandfathers taught us about irrigation,” he said.
“The Lachlan is not fully conserved; we need to conduct a feasibility study on the river to determine what percentage of the river’s flow can be placed in dams to ensure water security.
“I’m not taking a view that the environment isn’t important; let us determine the allocation necessary for the environment and conserve what’s left in dams.”
Professor Stuart Bunn, Director of The Australian Rivers Institute, said all the signs in the Murray-Darling Basin pointed to a series of rivers under stress due to current over allocations of water.
“My understanding of the Lachlan is that it’s in a relatively poor condition,” he said.
“Proposals now to increase the level of consumptive use of water from the river would be inconsistent with returning river flows to healthy levels.
“We’re in the middle of a wet patch at the moment and the temptation is to believe it will stay that way but we’ll be back to dry conditions before we know it.”
Lachlan Shire Councillor, Les Saunders, said it made more sense to consider new regulation weirs on the Lachlan rather than new dams.
“The Condobolin West Weir was suggested back in 1986; if it had of been built it would have backed water for fourteen miles up the Goobang creek and ensured a water supply for the entire town,” he said.
“The environmental impact of a new regulation weir would be less than a dam because the water would stay within the banks of the river.
“If you were to put a regulation three gate weir in it wouldn’t have an impact on fish stocks either because fish could travel under it.
“The problem with a dam is there’s no place to put it.”

© 2010 Condobolin Argus - Design by Upside Down Websites