Usual operation at Burra

Country Health SA has refuted claims by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation that staffing levels at the Burra Hospital will be reduced orservices downgraded.
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A flyer distributed in December by the ANMF (SA Branch) said members had voted to take industrial action to stop Country Health SA reducing registered and enrolled nurse staffing levels at the hospital.

“There has been no change to staffing levels at Burra Hospital,” Yorke and Northern Regional Director Roger Kirchner said in a statement issued to the Northern Argus.

Country Health SA is working with hospital staff and the ANMF to look at the possibility of employing nurse assistants to work specifically in aged care support at the site, and has also undertaken to meet with hospital staff and the ANMF on a weekly basis to work through the proposed structure changes.

“Nurse assistants are common across Country Health SA and the introduction of these roles will provide a wider range of employment options at Burra Hospital,” Mr Kirchner said.

Under the current ANMF Agreement, Country Health SA is required to have two fully qualified nurses on staff per shift and this will be maintained at all times.

Mr Kirchner said there would be no impact to acute and emergency services as a result of this proposal.

The ANMF yesterday confirmed that there had not been any industrial action over the matter and that changes to staffing at Burra Hospital have not yet occurred.

“Burra is an essential community hospital that provides both acute and aged care, and the current nursing staffing levels and the mix of nursing staff ensures the best and safest care for all patients presenting to the hospital for treatment.

“Moves to reduce the number and mix of nursing staff is of deep concern to the nurses at Burra, who are passionate about providing the best care for patients attending this community hospital.

“We are pleased that this move has been halted pending further consultation, and remain committed to engaging this process to ensure the community continues to have access to the best quality care possible,” Adj Assoc Professor Elizabeth Dabars, ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary said.

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Timely windfall

UPPER Hunter Shire Council has welcomed a $200,500 windfall.
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NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water Kevin Humphries said the state government would provide council with the money to help meet the costs incurred by council of new infrastructure required to maintain the town water supply at Murrurundi during February’s water supply emergency.

He added the government will also offer $47,517 to meet the water carting costs incurred by council.

“In February 2014, Murrurundi suffered a severe algae outbreak due to prolonged drought conditions that effectively crippled the town’s water supply,” Mr Humphries said.

“Council was concerned about the potential health risks from the algae and alerted the community not to drink the water and provided bottled drinking water to the residents as a stop-gap measure.

“Council also constructed emergency works at significant costs to maintain the water supply and also began carting water from Scone to ensure a continued supply for Murrurundi during this period.

“This funding highlights the NSW Government’s commitment to ensuring communities across the state have access to a sustainable and secure water supply.”

Upper Hunter Shire mayor Michael Johnsen praised the NSW Government for helping meet the costs borne by council during the water supply emergency.

“The extensive emergency provisions undertaken by council came at a significant cost and depleted funds that were set aside for future water improvements,” he said.

“This funding from the NSW Government will be of great assistance to council in enabling us to undertake further water infrastructure works in the future.”

Cr Johnsen said council was also actively pursuing opportunities to improve the Murrurundi water supply infrastructure further in 2015, including having applied for funding under the NSW Government’s Water Security for Regions program to build a pipeline from Scone to Murrurundi.

“I have put the case for a Murrurundi pipeline strongly to Minister Humphries, most recently late last month,” he said.

“Wallabadah has received such assistance and Murrurundi is equally deserving.”

GOOD NEWS: Upper Hunter Shire mayor Michael Johnsen and director of infrastructure services Alan Fletcher inspect Murrurundi’s main water storage dam, which could become a back-up system under plans for improved water supply infrastructure.

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Rest in peace: Former Bathurst priest Harry Quigley dies, aged 82

VALE: Much-loved former Bathurst priest Father Harry Quigley.
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LONG-SERVING Bathurst priest Father Henry (Harry) Quigley died on Monday night following a lengthy illness.

He was 82.

Irish-born Father Harry was educated at Colehill Primary School in County Longford and completed his secondary schooling at St Mel’s College, Longford before attending All Hallows’ College in Dublin.

He was ordained as a priest on June 16, 1957 and soon after left for Australia, arriving in Bathurst on November 27, 1957.

Father Harry served as a parish priest across the Bathurst diocese for more than five decades in Bathurst, Mudgee, Orange, Coonabarabran, Coolah,

Kandos, Cowra, Bowenfels, Oberon, South Dubbo and Coonamble.

His last appointment was as Parish Priest of the Assumption Church in West Bathurst.

A funeral for Father Harry will be held in the Bathurst Cathedral of St Michael and St John from 2pm on Monday, January 12.

Light refreshments will be served at the Parish Centre after burial at Maranatha Lawn Cemetery.

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Centre welcomes new exhibitions

MUSWELLBROOK Regional Arts Centre will welcome the New Year with two new exhibitions this week.
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Moving House by Susan and Peter O’Doherty, and Coal Miners by Christine Pike are the latest displays set to captivate local art fans.

Husband and wife team Susan and Peter O’Doherty’s Moving House was inspired by their roaming childhoods and presents a nostalgic look at houses and the objects that filled them during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

“This is an exhibition about memory, identity and the transitory nature of modern life,” arts centre manager Brad Franks said.

There are no people in the pair’s display, which complements nicely with Christine Pike’s human interest collection.

Coal Miners is sponsored by the NSW Minerals Council and shares the simple but unique life of miners in their element.

It also articulates the diversity of roles in the industry from working underground to the vast world of an open cut.

“With the current focus on mining in the Hunter Valley a topic of much discussion Australia wide, Christine presents the human face of mining with the depth of observation that only a superbly expressive artist can bring to bear,” Mr Franks said.

A new selection of works from the Max Watters Collection will also open with the two exhibitions this Friday at 6pm.

The centre is located on the New England Highway at the corner of Bridge and Market streets, Muswellbrook.

For more information contact Brad on 6549 3768 or at [email protected]

GENIUS: A collection by artist Peter O’Doherty and his wife Susan will be opening at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre this Friday.

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Hope for the future -a premiership victory

MISSING IN ACTION: Ex-Services will miss Rachel Pengilly’s talents in 2015, Pengilly is moving away for university.DESPITE missing the 2014 women’s Premier League Hockey finals Ex-Services have one simple goal ahead of the 2015 season.
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“It’s always our aim to at least make the semi-finals, but this year we want the premiership,” Ex-Services star, and NSW over 40s representative Mel Hope said.

Ex-Services finished seventh last year 16 points adrift of fifth place, but if you ask Hope, the numbers don’t tell the full story of her side’s frustrating 2014 season.

“We have a point to prove this year, we didn’t finish last year the way we wanted to,” Hope fired.

“We are a solid unit, and we work so well together it just didn’t come off a lot of the time.”

Hope said her side struggled to finish plays in 2014, leaving chances behind and ultimately costing themselves several points. Ex-Services lost five games by one goal in 2014, and drew three more thanks to missed opportunities.

“A lot of games in 2014 could easily have gone our way,” she explained.

“Our general field play overall was of an exceptional standard, we just struggled finding the back of the net.

“So I guess the focus in 2015 is finishing the play.”

Ex-Services will have to complete their title bid without stars Ali Baker, who has decided to step down from Premier League Hockey, and Rachel Pengilly, who is moving away for university.

However, speedster Kate Butcherine is set to make her return from knee surgery, dramatically boosting Ex-Services’ pace and nous through the middle of the field.

“Other than that everyone is back on board,” Hope said.

“Mitch Kennewell and Darryn Majoram are coaching again, and we’ll vote for our captain when we start training soon.

“But I think we’re all really excited to see Kate back, and working with her sister Haley.”

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Ava is dynamite at debating

TOP TALKERS: Ulladulla High School’s Ava Del Tufo with the state’s best junior debaters at the Junior State Debating Championships at Sydney University. YOU would not want to come up against Ava Del Tufo in an argument.
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The Ulladulla High School student is one of the best debaters in the area, and has honed her skills even further after competing in the Junior State Debating Championships during December.

Ava was one of 50 of the state’s top debaters, who met at Sydney University in the women’s college for the three-day tournament.

The championships were based on a round-robin format and Ava, as a part of the Illawarra South East team, said she and the others “debated like crazy for three days”.

On her fourth debate Ava and her team came up with some tough competitors and unfortunately lost and were eliminated from the competition.

However, “I felt though that I had debated better than I ever had before and I had held my own against some very experienced debaters,” Ava said.

Ava said she learnt a lot about debating during the camp and formed plenty of new friendships.

“The camp was such a learning curve for me as I found completely new ways to debate,” she said.

“I have met such a new variety of people, from the Victorian border to the NSW North Coast, from selective schools to country schools in the middle of nowhere.

“One of the highlights of the camp was on the last night when all of the teams got together and we all stayed up until 1am talking, laughing and, of course, debating.”

Ava said the camp had inspired her to take her debating further and she planned to start learning parliamentary-style debating this year.

“I would like to say a huge thanks to Mr Ramsden, Mrs Taplin and the Milton Ulladulla Lions Club for helping me get to this camp,” she said.

“I could not have gone without their inspiration, encouragement and help.

“I had the time of my life and I will never forget it.”

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Hunter rail fight heading to the courts

THE Christmas and New Year period has produced mixed results in the courts for local rail commuters trying to stop the planned truncation of the Newcastle rail line.
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On Christmas Eve, Supreme Court judge Michael Adams ruled Hunter Development Corporation is defined as a rail infrastructure owner after the NSW government transferred rail assets to the corporation on December 19.

While Justice Adams ruled it was legal for signalling systems, overhead wiring and boom gates to be transferred to HDC by the government, His Honour said rail track could not be ripped up by a rail infrastructure owner unless it was authorised by an Act of Parliament.

The Supreme Court’s decision was welcomed by the Save Our Rail group, among them local commuters from Scone, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Maitland.

These rail travellers have long argued a replacement bus service between Wickham and Civic would be inadequate, pose a risk to the elderly and potentially expose the community to increased crime while they wait at bus stops.

But, on January 2, the NSW Government flagged its displeasure with the Supreme Court decision, filing an application in the NSW Court of Appeal.

The appeal has been listed for directions on March 4 in Sydney.

While the case continues to move slowly through the courts, the NSW Government has implemented part of its changed transport plan even though it is currently prevented from removing rail tracks.

Buses have been introduced to replace the rail service and some rail assets, including overhead wiring, have been removed.

Transport NSW claims security guards are in place to ensure the community is unable to enter the rail corridor.

Social media sites are active with chatter about the transport changes, with some commuters alleging they have waited for long periods before a bus arrives.

LEGAL STOUSH: The Law Courts in Sydney is where Upper Hunter rail commuters are battling the NSW Government over the planned truncation of the Newcastle rail line between Wickham and Civic.

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So much to see at Cootamundra Heritage Centre

So much to see at Cootamundra Heritage Centre Motor Cycle Club THE original Cootamundra Motor Cycle Club was inaugurated on October 5, 1913 at a meeting called by Arthur Bartley. A hill climb on the Temora Hill was one of the first ever events as the club went from strength to strength.
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Coota Jazz Band CHECK out two large boards featuring photographs of the Cootamundra Jazz Band, fondly remembered by many in the district! The photo captions contain the names of many musical men fondly remembered.

Walter Hardy Dray HarnessTHE harness was purchased from a Melbourne brewery by Jack Wise, who drove one of the Cootamundra railway horses, which was a large clydesdale. The harness was too small for the clydesdale and was bought by Wal Hardy, a Cootamundra Municipal Council employee. The CBD streets were swept clean by Mr Hardy for many years.

Baby Health Centre OPENED on October 27, 1949, many will remember the Baby Health Centre.The land for the centre was donated by the CWA in 1946 and a Baby Health Centre erected after a petition was signed by 473 women of the town and district requesting such a facility.

Vintage uniforms THE blue nursing uniform from World War II was presented by Elfie Shelley, while the Australian Women’s Army Auxiliary Service Uniform, also from World War II was presented by Marie Sissian. Both are in spectacular condition and displayed beautifully.

Wedding dress THE wedding dress of Gwendoline Hibberd, who was born on September 5, 1918. Gwendoline was the daughter of a police officer and married Colin Linn on July 19, 1940.

Wine press A wine press owned by Joseph Morton who lived on Morton Vale, Stockinbingal forms part of the villages room. Joseph used his own grapes grown on the property with wife Ethel and children Norah, Irene and John.

Diggers connection SEE the family names listed of those from Cootamundra and the district who served in the armed forces. The men and women are represented by their service photos.

Curiosity CabinetOPEN the doors of the ‘Curiosity Cabinet’ to see great displays of history from the local area. Inside are snapshots of everyday life. A great one for kids to explore!

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Improved access to latest mobile phone network

MOLLYMOOK residents now have extended access to one of the world’s fastest mobile networks, with Telstra switching on 4GX in parts of the region, bringing extreme speeds and extra 4G coverage to customers.
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Mollymook is part of the largest activation of 4GX services across Australia, joining more than 600 new towns and suburbs that have been switched on.

Telstra Country Wide area general manager for the Illawarra, Tricia Wilson, said Mollymook customers in the new coverage areas with compatible devices would be able to instantly pick up the signal and enjoy the new network features.

“We are really excited to be extending the 4GX services throughout Mollymook, as customers are relying on mobile connectivity more than ever,” Ms Wilson said.

“The explosion in apps, shift towards mobile video consumption and use of mobiles for almost anything, means demand for connectivity continues to grow strongly,” she said.

“With Mollymook being a holiday hub attracting tourists all year round, Telstra’s 4GX network will better accommodate growing network traffic.

“The upgrade will increase connectivity and provide improved data speeds for locals and visitors alike.

“4GX is supercharging the Telstra Mobile Network in the area and giving compatible devices access to super fast mobile speeds as they seamlessly transition to the new service.

“This means our customers can enjoy more of what they love – be it video, social media or the internet – in more places and with less buffering.

“But this also has wider network benefits for Mollymook 4G customers without 4GX compatible devices, with traditional 4G services freed up to help manage the ever growing demand for data,” Ms Wilson said.

Mobile coverage continues to be a challenge in the Milton Ulladulla region during the school holidays, as the large influx of tourists results in major congestion in the mobile


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Griffith drummer living rock ‘n’ roll life

BUSY TIME: Damien Jones (front, left,) will tour with Lepers and Crooks in 2015.A FORMER Griffith man is set to hit theroad for his band’s national tour.
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Damien “Damo” Jones, who grew up inGriffith, is the drummer for the popularband Lepers and Crooks.

The band announced its national tocoincide with the release of EP Her Kiss.

The band issued a statement, saying itwas excited about the upcoming tour,which includes more than 50 gigs.

“2014 was an amazing year for us, wehave learnt so much and keep developingour craft under the watchful eye andguidance of CM Murphy and his team.

“We are so excited to get back out on theroad, to re-connect with existing and newfans and perform the songs from our EP,as well as a bunch of new songs we havejust written up in Ballina,” the statementsaid.

INXS manager Chris Muprhy has puthis faith in the five-piece band, which hasbeen described as having “the energy ofMichael Hutchence”.

“They are the whole package: five guyswho were school mates, they are (aged)around 22, they are passionate, honest,hardworking and they have a sense ofhumour, which means they can go on theroad because when things get tough theyknow how to laugh or cry,” Mr Murphysaid.

“They have a distinctive gig and theyplay every gig like it’s their last gig, withthe energy of a Jimmy Barnes, a MichaelHutchence or a Peter Garrett.”

The band performed at Griffith’s TheArea Hotel in October as part of itsBarefoot Alley Raw Tour.

When asked what type of music theband plays, Jones said: “We like to tellpeople we’re a pretty hard-rockingband”.

Jones said the band members werefans of early ‘60s and ‘70s rock.

“Led Zeppelin and The Doors and evenPink Floyd are massive influences andwe love the Arctic Monkeys, the FooFighters and Nirvana,” Jones said.

“We take influences from all of thesebands.”

The band members met at school.

The band will play at The Area Hotelon Saturday, March 7.

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