Inland rail will ‘open’ west

The Inland Rail is predicted to take thousands of trucks off the road.THE Inland Rail, which will pass through the North West, will take thousands of trucks off the road, slash transit times and promote regional development, a new report into the performance of the nation’s rail networks has highlighted.

The TrainLine2 report provides a high-level overview of the rail industry, including freight and passenger movements, and was launched in Perth yesterday by deputy prime minister Warren Truss.

Australasian Railway Association chief executive Bryan Nye said it showed that movement of goods and people by rail in Australia continued to grow, with more than a billion tonnes of freight and 850 million passengers carried last year.

“The national freight task is predicted to almost triple by 2050 and by that same year the Australian population will have doubled, with populations of Sydney and Melbourne approaching eight million people each,” Mr Nye said.

“If Australia is expected to meet this challenge, rail will have an increasingly important role to play in this space.”

He highlighted the big surge in the movement of freight on rail, with an increase of 57 per cent in the past five years.

While rail freight was going from strength to strength in Western Australia, along the east coast it was a different story, but the Inland Rail, between Brisbane and Melbourne and passing through Moree and Narrabri, would start to redress this imbalance.

Just 30 per cent of freight between the two centres was currently moved by rail, Mr Nye said, but the multi-million dollar line through western NSW would open up this area, taking seven hours off transit times between the two capital cities, removing thousands of trucks from major highways, easing the Sydney bottleneck, and boosting regional development along the 1700km route.

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Death, taxes and renewable energyLETTER

There are few certainties in life other than death and taxes.

Death might be coming early for the Australian renewable energy industry if the federal government goes ahead and breaks an election promise it made to keep the current renewable energy target.

Investors have spent over $10 billion on big renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms under this policy, and now they face being ripped off if the government changes the rules halfway through the scheme and pushes through a cut to the target of almost two thirds.

This would mean a massive cut in the number of wind and solar farms in the future and the loss of thousands of jobs in rural and regional Australia.

But it would also crush the viability of those projects already built in good faith, based on a policy that has been supported by all major political parties for the past 13 years.

And as the government’s own analysis showed, any cut to this policy would only drive up power prices for Australians so that a few old coal companies can make more money.

The Coalition supported the current renewable energy target when it was passed into law in 2010.

And it restated its commitment to that same target in July last year in the lead-up to the last election.

Companies don’t expect calm seas and plain sailing, but they do expect a government to keep their word.

– Kane Thornton,Clean Energy Council acting CE

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Retuning TV just a press of a button

IN THE PICTURE: Peel TV Services’ Andrew and John Szyc are ready to help people with their TV and set-top box retuning problems. Photo: Gareth Gardner 111114GGD02FREE-to-air television channels will be changing frequencies in Tamworth and district today, but not all TVs and set-top boxes may need to be retuned.

The retune will affect about 70 per cent ofviewers in Tamworth, Gunnedah, Attunga, Werris Creek and Quirindi, who receive their TV signal from the Soma Mountain tower in Tamworth, and take about three days.

Some viewers in Tamworth and surrounds – about 30 per cent – may have already retuned on July 3 as part of the North West Slopes and Plains (Mt Dowe) retune.

If viewers are missing any channels today, they will need to retune using their TV or set-top box’s remote.

Peel TV Services owner John Szyc said many locals had been calling him in the past few days confused about whether they had to retune their TVs or set-top boxes and how to go about it.

“A lot of them think they have to retune their TV, but they don’t,” Mr Szyc said.

“But 70 per cent of people have to retune their TVs, starting (today), if their existing antenna is facing toward Soma Mountain, which is Duri way.

“The other 30 per cent of people, if the antenna is facing towards Narrabri (Mt Dowe), they don’t have to do anything.

“A lot of people … are very confused.”

He said unnecessary retunes could disrupt the settings of some people’s set-ups, especially if other devices were connected to the TV, and require professional ass- istance to return the settings to normal.

The frequency change will free up broadcasting spectrum so it can be used for new services, such as mobile broadband.

Retuning is done using the remote and for most systems, viewers should press the “Menu” button on the remote, lookfor settings such as “Channels” or “Auto-tuning”, then follow the prompts to retune.

A video and three-step guide to retuning isavailable on the Retune website.

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State can stump up too, Barnaby tells Adam

FEDERAL Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has hit back at calls from state Nationalscolleague Adam Marshall to “rethink” his drought assistance strategy.

Speaking in Tamworthyesterday, Mr Joyce said the NSW government was welcome to put its “shoulder to the wheel” and help the state’s drought-stricken farmers.

He said the Abbottgovernment had made hundreds of million of dollars in various drought support available since taking power in September last year.

“Remember, when I started as agriculture minister there was no drought policy because the states and the federalgovernment of the time all agreed to get rid of it,” he said.

“So I welcome, if the NSW state government wants to put more of their money on the table to assist, to actually match what we do – that would be great.”

Late last week, Mr Marshall – who represents the seat of Northern Tablelands – rose in state parliament to take issue with Mr Joyce’s concessional loans scheme.

“I question whether loans and more debt are the answer for the majority,” he said. “In myopinion, they are definitely not.

“More practical help, such as transport rebates, would have a greater, more positive impact and allow landholders to better manage the stock they havewithout having to take on added debt.”

Mr Joyce said fodder and transport subsidies had traditionally been provided by state governments during times of drought.

The NSW government’s funding of fodder and transport subsidies expired in June, with money only made available in exceptional circumstances if there were animal welfare issues.

“I’m trying my very best to do as much as possible, but I welcome any further contributions that the state wishes to make,” Mr Joyce said.

“There’s more that we would love to do and if we weren’t $340 billion … in debt, I’m sure we could.”

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Moora Knights struggle against Bindi-Miling Rams

At the crease: With a lower score last week the Knights’ aim was to take their time bat smart and set up a good total for the Rams to chase.ON Sunday the Moora Knights took on the Bindi-Miling Rams at the Moora Oval.

The Knights fielded an undermanned and young team with four players under the age of 16.

The Knights captain Jayden Glover won the toss and elected to bat, the first time the Knights have batted first this season.

With a lower score last week the Knights’ aim was to take their time to bat smart and set up a good total for the Rams to chase.

All plans are best laid out but not always executed. With the bowling of Steve Turner and Mike Bethel they rolled through Moora’s top order 4/19.

The only glimmer of hope was from Matt Grey and Jordan Glover, the only two Knights who made double figures, Matt 23 not out and Jordan 12.

Miling bowling kept the Knights from scoring with the final total on 58 runs. Best bowling from the Rams were Tony White 3/3, Kade Morton 3/8 and Steve Turner 3/13.With such a small target the Knights knew they had to bowl very tight.

The opening father-son pair of Jayden and Dave Glover set up the game bowling out the Rams’ opening batsmen for only 16 runs.

Then came in Kade Morton coming off 104 runs at last week’s Rams game, the Knights knew they were in some trouble.Morton ended up making 56 runs before being dismissed by Jordan Glover caught Dave Glover, but the damage had been done.

With the Rams securing the win all the Knights could do was secure a bonus point for bowling out the Rams.

This was done with leading wicket takes by Dave Glover, Jordan and Jayden Glover all taking three wickets each – 3/16, 3/40 and 3/25 respectively.

The Rams were all dismissed for only 113 runs. Best batting were Kade Morton (56) and Drew Barnard (19).

With both teams having a low scoring game it could be safe to say both teams require a little batting practice this week.

The Knights to take on the Dandaragan Bears and the Rams take on the Bindoon Bushrangers next week.

The Moora Knights thanked their sponsors for the contributions this season – Lewis Motors, Cunninghams Ag Services, Deb & Dave’s Lawnmowing and Simon Willmott Electrical.

On the ball: With the Rams securing the win all the Knights could do was secure a bonus point for bowling out the Rams.

Pollock shoots to state clay target shooting berth

Allan Pollock: state berth.

HAMILTON shooter Allan Pollock will represent Victoria at the Australian Clay Target Championships.

Pollock, 58, is one of five marksmen who make up the state men’s squad for the championships at Wagga Wagga in March and April.

The self-employed builder earned selection by producing a stellar set of performances at state championships at Echuca last weekend.

Selectors used results in the single barrel, double barrel and points score events to select the Victorian squad.

Pollock hit 50/50 in the single barrel, 50/50 in the double barrel and finished with 149/150 in the points score.

He failed to claim top honours in either discipline — losing the first two in a shootoff — but was the best-performed Victorian across the three.

Pollock said he was “very pleased” to secure his berth in the Victorian squad.

He was confident of a good weekend at Echuca, having impressed at the 2014 nationals earlier this year.

But state selection barely entered his thinking. “The Victorian state team is the hardest team in Australia to get into, simply because there are so many good shots in Victoria,” he said.

Pollock took up clay target shooting in 1991. He used to go field hunting “but I don’t see any need to kill things”.

“I was doing a bit of field shooting. That led me to shooting field and game, which is another clay target discipline,” he said.

“From there I went into down-the-line shooting, simply because it gives you the opportunity to shoot at a lot of targets.” He has been a regular at state and national carnivals since, holding his own against the best shooters the country has to offer.

Pollock has never represented his state but lined up for an Australian B team at the 2006 world championships at Wagga Wagga.

“I travel all over Australia doing it. It’s very enjoyable.It’s a very social sport,” he said.

His other results at Echuca included 42/50 in the double rise and 45/50 in the handicap. He scored 336/350 to place about 10th overall. He was also among the three-member South West Zone men’s squad, which hit 72/75 and finished runner-up.

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Moora/Watheroo claim victory against Cervantes

Safe hands: Ethan Baldwin-Wright safe blocks in forward defence. Ready:?Moora/Watheroo juniors await their turn at bat.

MOORA/Watheroo ramped up the big shots to win the second round of the Steve Gilbert Shield against coastal powerhouse Cervantes.

The team knocked away 102 runs with three wickets in hand for the win at Moora Oval last weekend.

Coached by Adam Milsteed, the boys were keen to put to use the knowledge injected into the team along with co-coach Dean McCuish.

Scores were Moora 7/102 defeating Cervantes 9/91.

The toss was won by co-captain Nick Sinclair, who sent the team in to bat and set the pace and try to knock up a competitive tally to chase.

Opening batsman Ethan Baldwin-Wright, keen to better his tally from the last round, was consistent with his score of 18no after retiring after his first mandatory 8 overs with Sinclair (6no) to hold a strong partnership to boost the pair’s runs to 26.

Incoming batters Alec Vanzetti and Matthew McLean tried to settle in but a late cut shot from Vanzetti saw the ball in the air and landing into safe hands to be out on 4 runs.

McLean followed close after caught out on 2 runs.

Well done: Team congratulate Damian Sinclair for dismissing batter for a golden duck (l-r Connor Vanzetti, Damian Sinclair, Matthew McLean, Ethan Baldwin-Wright).

Big hitter Cody Even was keen to continue form from last week after notching up double figures but was caught and bowled by Cervantes’s N Lewis for 2.

Damian Sinclair approached the crease in casual form and settled in to steady the Moora/Watheroo lads to find the boundary twice and put away a few singles.

He retired 13no, equal 2nd best tally of the day for the team making way for the next batters who were quick to be dismissed for a few runs.

Connor Vanzetti faced Cervantes pace bowler, even though facing over 3 overs, he was bowled for 1run.

Unlucky for Kane Milsteed, who was run out on 3 and Cambell McCuish unfortunate to have his ball kick off the bat and clip his stumps.

Logan Purser also found the boundary with a smashing 4, but was caught out with a sitter on 7runs.

Patrick Flanders showed flair on the bat with an ease of singles making a steady tally to retire at end of innings, 6no.

With 3 batsmen retired, Nick Sinclair saw out the remainder of the overs to take his final tally to 13no with Ethan hoping for another crack to best last week’s score.

With a 102 for the opposition to chase, the team knew it was going to be a task to keep the Cervantes boys in check.

With pace bowler Baldwin-Wright down the order due to back injury saw young gun McLean open the bowling and score a maiden his first over, as well as Nick.

On target and accurate saw an early wicket in the 3rd over to dismiss the batsman. Nick also taking a wicket in the 6th over to have Cervantes rattled at 2/13.

Though smooth batting by Nielson and our generous byes saw Cervantes easily notch up much needed runs and on his 2nd spell in the middle, earned him the highest run score of the day 19no.

Vanzetti hot from his 2 catches and wicket last game had a terrific bowling innings to secure an impressive 3/8 off 3overs and McLean took 2/8 off 5.

It was a very tight last 5 overs with Cervantes at 5/66 and well within reach of overpowering the local team, but some serious team networking and self-belief saw the Moora/Watheroo team victorious.

The team was especially jubilant after Purser leaping sideways, arm outstretched to catch a ball headed for the boundary to nab the catch of the day.

Cervantes best bowlers were Nathan Lewis 1/3 off 3 overs and Jacob Rose 1/5 off 3 overs.

It was a great atmosphere with many Cervantes supporters cheering the team on and the local parents helping out.

Also big thanks to Bobby who made sure the grounds were ready and looking good.

Charity day at Jurien Bay Country Golf Club

Helping hand: Laurie Bailey presents the cheque to Nanette Collins of the Royal Flying Doctors Service.JURIEN Bay Country Golf Club gave a charitable swing on Saturday, hosting a Charity Golf Day to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

About 60 players took part in the day, playing Ambrose in teams of three and about 120 people attended the dinner that night.

An unusual tallying system at the end and novelty prizes for every hole helped the fun atmosphere and success of the day.

“Just a great fun day of golf for everybody,” club committee member Laurie Bailey said.

“I was really pleased with how everything went.” Everything came together in an extraordinarily short amount of time with planning starting only three weeks before.

The day was also in part to introduce new people to the club which Mr Bailey said was very successful due to the fun atmosphere of the day.

“I think we’ll get an even bigger crowd next year, I reckon we’ll double it. We probably even picked up a few new members it went so well,” he said.

After the last ball was holed, a raffle and auction were held with items like an Xbox, golf clubs and a television as well as offers for a fishing charter and accommodation vouchers.

Raffle prizes included fishing rods and sound systems. A total of $6081 was raised from the day and presented to RFDS representative Nanette Collins.

Sponsors also supported the day, putting $4000 towards it so that all funds raised went entirely to the RFDS.

Earlier this year the club raised $12,500 for Parkinson’s disease after being inspired by a club member who has had the disease for 20 years.

Maitland all-rounder makes claim for rep spot

STEPPING UP: Lincoln Mills was a stand-out for the Hunter Valley team in the Central North trial.Maitland all-rounder Lincoln Mills has put his hand up for ­further representative honours following a four-wicket haul in Sunday’s Central North trial.

Mills, who led the Maitland first grade district wicket takers last season, finished with figures of 4-64 in Hunter Valley’s 70-run loss to Northern Inland at Tamworth.

Mills dismissed opener Adam Mansfield (0), No.3 Michael Dawson (4) and danger man Adam Jones (22) in his first spell before removing top scorer Harrison Kelly (62) later in the innings.

Northern Inland ended up posting 214 after being 6-46 in the 13th over with Kelly and three tail enders – Karl Trebe (21), Angus McNeill (21) and Col Smythe (31 not out) – rallying in the second half of their 50 allotted overs.

Singleton’s Joe Leighton (3-37) was the other to make inroads for Hunter Valley while Cessnock pair Brent Watson (1-16) and Greg Sheehan (1-25) also picked up a wicket each.

Hunter Valley were disappointing with the bat and only Singleton’s Jacob Carey (36) and skipper Josh Callinan (35) ­provided any real resistance for Hunter Valley, who were all out for 144 in the 42nd over.

Northern Inland’s best with the ball was Smythe (4-32) while McNeill (2-29) and Trebe (2-32) secured two victims apiece.

Kelly was the most economical for the hosts with the left-arm orthodox spinner finishing 1-24 from 10 overs.

It was the second consecutive season Northern Inland had ­beaten Hunter Valley to the McNamara Shield following a win at Lorn Park last summer.

The Central North squad for 2014-2015 is due to be named this week ahead of the Northern NSW Country Championships being held at Ballina between November 21 and 23.

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Albion Park mum faces retrial in Digby murder

Murder victim: Matthew Digby.Albion Park mother Lauren Mae Batcheldor has had her conviction for killing Matthew Digby quashed and will face a fresh trial over his death.

The Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday set aside the 33-year-old’s convictions for murder and aggravated kidnapping, and ordered her to be retried for the offences.

She was refused bail, pending arraignment in the Supreme Court in February next year.

Batcheldor’s lawyer, Matthew Barnes, told the Mercury his client was relieved at the outcome.

“She’s very happy with the result, as were her family who have been with her all the way,” he said.

“Appeals aren’t often successful so it’s a very good result; we’ll just wait for a date for retrial now.”

Mr Barnes said Batcheldor, who remains in Silverwater jail, might make a bid for bail in the coming months.

He could not indicate when the case would be reheard or whether it would be tried in the Illawarra or in Sydney.

Batcheldor was sentenced to an overall 24 years behind bars in November 2012 for Mr Digby’s murder.

Convicting the woman, Justice Geoffrey Bellew found Mr Digby’s death had stemmed from Batcheldor’s discovery he had hocked a gold chain stolen from her home in early January 2010.

The 35-year-old’s body was found chained to the front passenger seat of a burnt-out car at Mount Murray on January 25, 2010.

Batcheldor maintained her innocence throughout the lengthy trial and sentencing proceedings, announcing her intention to appeal the outcome immediately after she was jailed.

The court would not release its reasons for quashing Batcheldor’s convictions, due to the retrial.

Her co-accused, Richard James Walsh, also appealed his conviction and sentence.

The Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed his case.

He will continue to serve his 28-year jail term.

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