February, 2019

Ballarat Night Network trial extended

BALLARAT’S Night Network bus trial has been extended for a further six months.
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Theextension will see late night services continue to run until at least June next year, allowing for data to be collected over an expected busy spring and summer period.

The servicecurrently provides a coach from Melbourne to Ballarat and Wendouree at 2:10am on Saturday and Sunday.

The extension will allow Ballarat commuters the luxury of attending events such asthe Australian Open, Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Comedy Festival with the knowledge they will be able to use late night public transport to get home.

It will also ensure public transport is on offer for the start of next year’s footy season

Average attendances for Ballarat buses over the first six months saw an average of 52 patrons board the service from Southern Cross each weekend.

The concept received a lukewarm reception, with Public Transport Victoria data showing showing only69 patrons caught the V/Line coach servicesfrom Southern Cross to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon during the first week of trialing in January.

However, it has sincegained popularity.

“The six-month extension will give us a chance to properly assess the trial over a full year, and give certainty to event organisers and passengers in Ballarat the lead up to the new year,” Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said.

Buninyong MP Geoff Howard welcomed the extension.

“Ballarat residents can enjoy everything Melbourne has to offer, and know they can still get home safely,” he said.

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1000s ride at North Star

The Editor, and a photographer, from Australasian Dirt Bike magazine made the journey from Sydney, to see what we get up to, in the bush on our Dirt Bikes.
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They were impressed with the tracks, and organisation of the event, with over 120 people from North Star and surrounding towns all helping run the event. Riders travelled from Melbourne to MacKay, and everywhere in between.

Sixteen volunteer groups, including School P&Cs, Rural Fire services, Service Clubs, and other sporting clubs all downed tools, and helped to run a very successful event, all of these groups will receive a donation for the services.

Special mention to the Croppa Creek Crows, for their very professional recovery operation, also to St Johns New England, and NSW Ambulance for attending to any injuries promptly.

We had a few injuries and broken bikes, but were able to have help, to those needing it very quickly, considering around 300,000 bike kilometres were travelled, the injury toll was very low.

The highlights were the Mt Mitchell hill climbs, The Enchanted Forest, and the Quarries.

For some reason dirt bike riders get a thrill out of riding their bikes up impossibly steep hills, hideously tangle scrub, and rocky tracks, especially when there is a camera pointed in their direction.

A lot of kids were riding all of the trails, accompanied by their parents, giving them a taste of trail riding with the big kids.

Visitors, without a bike, could get a birds eye view, from one of the Goondiwindi Helicopters, try their luck on the mechanical bucking bull on Saturday night, and buy a raffle ticket in some riding gear, or a week’s holiday at the Breakers Resort, on the Gold Coast, which was won by Kylie Newcomen, from Garah.

The Honda CRF 50, donated by Thomas Lee motorcycles was won by Harry Coleman, from Rowena.

Just got to duck up to Warialda, to do an interview with Prime TV – is a hard life, being the media person,just got to go and load up the crappers, before I go, just to bring me plummeting back to reality, but then I would rather be Kenny, than Kerry Packer.

NOTE: VideographerHamish Siddins from Squarefish who created a 2011 video for the ride, was also on hand this year. He isworking on a new piece to highlight the 2016 event,and Wayne Pratt from Wayne Pratt Photography is also working on images as well.

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Aussie Helpers extends a helping hand

SUPPORT: Aussie Helpers founder Brian Egan with Ridley’s territory manager Tim Dobson. Picture: supplied.Relief organisation Aussie Helpers has begun on-the-ground “cold calls” in Tasmania to assist farmers to recover from the shock milk price cuts and floods.
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Aussie Helpers was founded 15 years ago by Queensland’s 2008 Senior Citizen of the Year Brian Egan to help “keep the bush alive” and “keep farmers on the farm” despite industry downturn and freak weather events.

The organisation has been in Tasmania before, when it assisted with the response from the Dunalley bushfires in 2013 and about 10 years ago during a period of drought.

Mr Egan said the company worked on the generous donation of corporate partnerships and local donations of money and products such as fencing equipment and alternative fodder and feed.

Since arriving about three weeks ago, Tasmanian volunteers for Aussie Helpers have travelled in equipped vehicles with grocery supplies and things such as hay and fodder and “cold called” on farmers who may be in need.

“Everyone gets a visit, even if they don’t need our help, that’s the way we work,” Mr Egan said.

Farmers are unaware they are getting a visit from Aussie Helpers but in 15 years, Mr Egan said he’d never had anyone turn him away from a property.

“They need help, they need someone to talk to, and most of them just act surprised and shocked, they don’t think we are for real,” he said.

Every property gets a donation of groceries and “pamper packs” as a gesture of goodwill and then a discussion between Aussie Helpers and the farmer gets underway.

“They let us know what they need and we tell them how we can help.”

The organisation also has trained psychologists as volunteers able to assist with the mental health of farmers, that can be done face-to-face or via technology such as SMS or email.

The Tasmanian response is being coordinated by Latrobe farmer Jim Lucas, who was on his way to head to the mainland when the call came.

“I was going to head over to help with their drought response, but then the dairy price happened and then not long after the floods came through so I decided to stay here and coordinate this,” he said.

Mr Lucas said the Tasmanian response had so far focused on the Deloraine and Mole Creek areas but they were looking to expand the area further depending on the need.

Aussie Helpers is seeking support from businesses, such as Ridley, who recently donated a large amount of pellet feed for livestock.

Mr Egan said any donations from any business was always welcome but it helped farmers to get back on their feet.

For more information on how you can help Aussie Helpers go to 梧桐夜网aussiehelpers.org419论坛orcontact Brian Egan on 1300 665 232 or email [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

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‘Eye health needs to be prioritised’

EXAMINATION: Dr Smita Agarwal urges Illawarra residents to get their eyes checked to prevent diseases such as glaucoma. PICTURE: Nicole Johnstone.
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Macular degenerationamong Illawarra residents is one of the biggest issues faced by Wollongong eye specialists, a local ophthalmologisthas revealed.

Wollongong Eye Specialist ophthalmologistDr Smita Agarwalsaid incidents of eye disease are high, particularly amongelderly residents.

Dr Agarwal said people aged 40 and over are encouraged to get their eyes checked regularly.

“I would encourage everyone to get their eyes checkedregularly,especially after 40 years of age,on atwo-yearly basis,” she said.

“People with a family history of macular degeneration, diabetes and glaucoma should get their eyes tested really early on. If they have any symptomsblurred vision, distortion, floaters orflashes they should get their eyes tested urgently.”

With75 per centof vision loss beingpreventable or treatable if detected early enough, Dr Agarwal is a supporter of the JulEYE campaign that aims to raise awareness about eye disease within the Illawarra.

“The Eye Surgeons Foundation organise the campaign,which was established in 2002,” Dr Agarwal said.

“It dedicates one month every year to raise awareness for eye health within the community to help find causes of diseases that are impactingAustralia and causing blindness and low vision.”

Having started her career in India, Dr Agarwal said Australia largely suffers from age-related diseases and urges residents to get their eyes checked regularly.

“India is a third-world country and we don’t see certain diseases over there as often,” she said.

“People don’t livethat long [to get] diseasessuch as macular degeneration.In India, we see moreinfections because of poorerhygiene, which causes a lot of blindness.

“I think because [the Illawarra]isan elderly population, we see a lot of aging diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.”

JulEYE will continue to mid-August, and is askingAustralians to donate $1 for every year they have enjoyed good sight to fund vital research into eye disease to find cures. To donate or for more informationvisit梧桐夜网JulEYE南京夜网419论坛.

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Letters

TAKING THE TESTCardinal Pell denies charges of deviant sexual behaviour and blames the ABC. It is “trial by media”, he claims. There is an obvious response. If this is so then let a trial by jury test the charges.
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Blaming “trial by media”is a defence lawyer’s ploy who tries to shift the focus of a trial from his client. In this case it is the media. It becomes the scapegoat.

Society owes a debt to journalists who have listened to victims who have been denied justice. They also uncover the misdeeds of the powerful that threaten the open democratic society.

The ABC journalists have an uncovered crimes that have shocked the nation. The most recent the abuse of children in the Northern Territory.

In blaming the ABC of “trial by media”Pell has aligned himself with the those who want to silence an important voice.

Reg Wilding, Wollongong

TERRORISM NOT NEWIt is good that Mr Adrian Devlin is reading confidential reports from the intelligence community.

Hewould do well to read their assessments on the Baader-Meinhof group, the Red Brigade and the Japanese Red Army which consisted of radicalised youths who used mayhem and murder to promote their view of the world between 1960 to the beginning of this century.

If Mr Delvin explores the internet he will find that terrorists used chemical weapons on Tokyo’s subway on 20 March 1995. Terrorism is not a new phenomena.

The important question for Australian to ask on Iraq beside our involvement in collateral damage to civilians, is where did the money paid in the bribes scandal go and was it used as seed money for ISIS?It requires great amounts of money to fund the guns, bullets, vehicles and feed a force the size of ISIS.

What is the source of this funding? It would take a lot of cake stalls to buy just one vehicle so who supplied the finance for the ISIS move to seize ground in Iraq?

Ben Morris, Wollongong

ACT ON VISASI am sure many Australians, particularly Australian Defence personnel are alarmed about our government not given visas to Australian Defence Force interpreters and cultural advisers in Afghanistan.

These Afghan people gave invaluable service to our armed forces in that country and quiet possibly some of that advice would have probably saved lives of some of our own defence personnel.

This service to Australia has placed them and their families in grave danger of retaliation by locals and insurgents like the Taliban and ISIS.I am informed that the Americans have given their interpreters visas.

For us to not do so would be a despicable act! It would be another example of why the west, and Australia, can not be trusted by others around the world.

From another angle some of these interpreters may believe that if Australia does not give them visas, the only way to save their family members from torture and death would be to join the Taliban or ISIS.

Such a result would have wasted $100 millions of Australian taxpayer dollars being involved in Australia’s longest war.

Mr Turnbull, needs to make a “captain’s call” to give these people visas and to bring them and their families to Australia.

Bob Patrech, Figtree

GOOD NIGHT NOREENHow are we to know when the next election is to be held now that Noreen Hay is retiring.

No longer will we be able to rely on her suddenly appearing from wherever she spends the Parliamentary term to let us know an election is looming.

Let’s hope whoever wins the by-election is more visible andactually does something for the electorate.

Keith Norris, Bellambi

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