Longest-serving Bombers’ director announces resignation

Essendon’s longest-serving director will depart as the Bombers embark on an intriguing board election that has seen nine candidates challenge for two positions at the troubled club.
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Kevin Egan, who joined the Bombers as a player more than half-a-century ago, confirmed on Tuesday he would not contest the forthcoming election after almost two decades on the board and the best part of 50 years at Essendon.

The potential challenge to Paul Little’s control comes as uncertainty surrounds the senior coaching positions and the futures of 34past and present Bombers who are still facing playing ban.

Neil Craig’s sudden availability for the Bulldogs coaching job has led to further uncertainty. While Craig is not expected to depart the Bombers unless appointed the Bulldogs coach, his most recent move would indicate a willingness to replace senior coach James Hird should he depart.

Other candidates for Hird’s job, should it become available, include the recently appointed senior assistant Mark Harvey with the future of 2014 acting senior coach Mark Thompson still unclear.

Egan told Fairfax Media his decision to leave the club was not linked to the current crisis.

“I’ve been there a long time and logically I think I should give someone else a go,” he said.

Egan was in the 20 when the Bombers won the 1965 flag and was football manager when Kevin Sheedy became coach, working with him until he joined the Swans in 1991, returning as a board member at the end of 1995.

Two key contenders who have campaigned for change and challenged the ongoing corporate governance at the club are former Melbourne Storm boss Ron Gauci and financial planner Jason Cunningham. The Port of Melbourne Corporation’s Anthony Donald, Paul Cousins and Bill Jennings are also among the challengers, with voting to open later this month.

Cunningham voiced his support for Hird on Tuesday, saying: “From my understanding, James Hird has the full support of the board, the players are playing for him and he’s a great coach. So why on Earth would I want to walk in to an organisation that I love, if I am fortunate enough to get elected, and try to tear its heart out by sacking a bloke who has the full support of the board and the unconditional support of its players?”

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Letter: Cost blowout raises questions

MONDAY’S Sydney Morning Herald article ‘‘Revealed: light rail comes at a heavy price’’ exposed the budget blowout on the cost of building the Liberal state government’s proposed light rail line in Sydney city.
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The project has blown out and is now expected to cost $600million more than first budgeted.

How can Hunter residents be confident that we won’t see a parallel budget blowout here in Newcastle on the light rail proposal engineered by the same Liberal government and the same Minister for Transport?

Our Hunter community are entitled to be concerned and angry that neither the Premier nor the Minister for Transport, and Minister for the Hunter, Gladys Berejiklian, have come to the party and announced a proper budget costing for the Newcastle Light Rail.

Gavin Gatenby, from EcoTransit, is quoted as saying, ‘‘The whole point about light rail is that it’s affordable, high-capacity and very flexible.’’

Will the proposed light rail line in inner-city Newcastle be affordable, high-capacity and very flexible?

Sonia Hornery, member for Wallsend, Shadow Minister for the Hunter


Guilderton celebrates conservation projects

New trail: A crowd gathered to watch the opening of the walking trail under clear skies. Opening ceremony: Shane Love MLA and Rachel Walmsley open the Djena Koorl-ing (meaning ‘go on foot’ in Noongar) walk trail north of Guilderton.
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GUILDERTON’S Celebration Day on Friday, October 24 saw about 80 people from all sectors come together to celebrate three projects helping to conserve the fragile dunes and Moore River estuary for the future.Guilderton has always been a special place to many but its wonderful natural assets are becoming more and more threatened from increasing visitor numbers. The day was organised by the Guilderton Community Association , Shire of Gingin and Moore Catchment Council and started with the official opening of the Djena Koorl-ing (meaning ‘go on foot’ in Noongar) walk trail north of town.Catchment council’s Rachel Walmsley said, “This trail is part of the North Guilderton Dune Restoration Project which aims to reduce degradation from unrestricted 4WD use over a 22ha area of fragile dunes.”The project was funded through Northern Agricultural Catchments Council and the federal government and involved multi stakeholder collaboration between the shire, the community association, Yued community and South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council I(SWALSC) and Dept of Parks and Wildlife.”Moore Catchment Council took delivery of the project in July 2013 and helped co-ordinate the fencing installation by DPAW and directional/walk trail interpretive signage design and installation,” Ms Walmsley said.Yued elder Charlie Shaw, the community association’s Jim Laffer, Michael Aspinall from the shire and Ms Walmsley shared thoughts on the importance of the project and thanked the funders before Shane Love MLA (NACC board member) and Ms Walmsley officially opened the Djena Koorl-ing walk trail.”After a walk of the new trail, the celebrations headed down to the estuary gazebo where we were welcomed to country by Yued elder Charlie Shaw and entertained by two didgeridoo players,” Ms Walmsley said.This was followed by acknowledgement of finances received by the community association from Bendigo Bank and the shire for a new lookout staircase being built soon to reduce degradation of the dunes.The final ceremony was the unveiling of the new estuary interpretive signage which is a Moore Catchment Council project funded through NACC’s Coastal Devolved grant program. “This was a pet project of mine as I’ve always thought the estuary was lacking signage to help explain to visitors about the natural processes of the estuary and the importance of not interfering with the sandbar,” Ms Walmsley said.The catchment council collaborated with the community association, shire, Yued community and SWALSC, NACC and Department of Water to design the signs and the shire installed them. Ms Walmsley and Phil Cook from the community association explained the importance of the signage and thanked the funders. The signs were officially opened by Shane Love MLA and unveiling of each sign was carried out by Mr Love, Michael Aspinall from the shire, Mary Nannup from Yued, and Ms Walmsley and Philippa Schmucker from NACC.Back at the gazebo, the community association provided a delicious spread of damper bread, billy tea, wine and cheese.”Huge thanks to everyone who was involved with the organising of the celebration day and the various projects which have only happened through multi stakeholder collaboration,” Ms Walmsley said.”Especially thanks to NACC and the federal government who funded the Moore Catchment Council to deliver two of the projects and to Gillian Lamont for being instrumental in the organisation of the celebration day.””Finally thanks to everyone who came along – you really made it a fabulous celebration of such a special place.”


Letter: Race horses in good paddock

LIKE Gary Topic (‘‘There’s no sport in gambling’’ Herald 6/11), I am deeply saddened by any racehorse deaths.
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He blames this all on gambling and is seriously misinformed.

There is more to the thoroughbred industry than gambling.

I have bred horses, two of which are now racing and succeeding.

The trainers give ‘‘their all’’ to care for these magnificent animals, as do the owners, many of whom do not gamble.

I would have lost a seriously ill horse if it had not been for the trainer and his staff going ‘‘above and beyond’’ to make her well again.

My horses cost me a lot financially and I stress when they race, but I am only too happy to see that they receive the best care possible, and they show their love.

Mr Topic is welcome to join me travelling the racetracks and stables and get some education in the thoroughbred industry, and hopefully he will have an attitude change.

Name withheld,

Gateshead


Pony club celebrates massive milestone

Flying high: Annalise Duschka jumps at the Moora One Day Event. Duschka has represented Australia in pony club eventing. At a gallop: Michelle Seymour competes at the Royal Show for Central Midlands Pony Club in the Prince Phillip Mounted Games. Seymour trains with the state development squad for games.
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SEYMOUR

THIS Saturday the Central Midlands Riding and Pony Club is celebrating its 50th birthday.

This will be a time to thank past members and instructors for allowing this great youth movement to be available to our local riders.

Current members, from those on the leadline to those who have represented Australia, will demonstrate some of their riding skills from 9am to 11.30am.

Following this will be a parade of riders and ponies with commentary on our riders’ achievements.

Any members of the community are welcome to come watch the demonstration and look around the memorabilia on display in the club rooms.

A light lunch and birthday cake will follow for past and present members after the parade of riders.

The Central Midlands Riding and Pony Club was established in Moora in 1964, only three years after the Pony Club Association was formed in Western Australia.

Initially pony club days were held at the Moora Race Club, later moving to the current grounds at Moora Equestrian Park in 1977.

The original club rooms were built on 1981 providing a kitchen and toilet facilities.

During the floods the grounds suffered damage and loss of equipment, assistance was provided to establish a lovely new club rooms and arena in 2000.

The pony club has continued to meet regularly since its establishment with membership fluctuating between 15 and 60 riding members.

As some neighboring clubs closed Central Midlands has continued to thrive and currently has 38 riding members travelling up to 100 kilometres to Moora to attend rallies, riding clinics and competitions.

The pony club provides a wonderful opportunity for young riders to bring their ponies and learn riding skills as well as many useful skills in looking after their ponies.

The riders enjoy the camaraderie of the other members at rallies and in competitions.

Central Midlands Riding and Pony Club has produced many state representatives in show jumping, eventing and dressage competitions.

This is the last meeting of the pony club for this year but the club would welcome inquiries from any community members wanting to join the club next year.


Comparing Whitlam’s legacy to other governments

Willow Tree’s Neil Forscutt decided to check out what legacies Gough Whitlam left behind in his term as prime minister and compared them to some other Australian leaders’ achievements.
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Reminiscing about Edward Gough Whitlam, one is encouraged to look up his political history with the purpose in mind, to compare that government with those governments that followed.

Having done this, it is quite obvious that the Whitlam government’s decisions in many areas, including the universal health scheme, no- fault divorce and the national sewerage scheme, ranked in importance alongside John Curtin’s decision to bring the Australian Diggers back from the Middle East, to defend Australia from the Japanese invasion.

It is difficult to find more than two acts by any government that would rank equal in importance, as most that followed, changed things, rather than initiating anythinguseful.

One act of Parliament that ranks alongside Whitlam’s initiatives is, of course, The National Disability Insurance Scheme introduced by Julia Gillard and her government.

The other is the “compulsory superannuation scheme” introduced by Paul Keating.

The reason for the super move was to lessen the demand on the budget by retirees, but given that so many hands are getting an annual cut, it is doubtful that this scheme will fulfill its obligation any time soon.

Today we see many unnecessary people fighting against a modest and sensible reduction to their retirement entitlements.

This was the starting point for many Australian governments.

The first cab off the rank would be a review of their wages and entitlements – all done by an independent tribunal, of course.

The second move would be to create a list of what public assets they could sell to help pay for their own spending.

Keating sold the Commonwealth Bank and Peter Costello sold half of the gold we had in the vault – 167 tonnes at $306.00 an oz.

Most of the initiatives created by governments today get much headline space in the newspapers, but are not really of universal value.

They generally assist asmall, preferred section of thecommunity.

Anyone who cannot applaud Whitlam’s tenure as prime minister, is a diluted commentator in regard to advice on politics.

He was responsible for so much – supporting mothers’ benefits,

Aboriginal land rights, abolishing the White Australia policy, Trade Practices Act, protection for the Great Barrier Reef (now under threat again), Council for the Arts, Royal Style and Titles Act – just to list a very few.

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Letter: Ideal worth remembrance

Newcastle’s Remembrance Day ceremony.ONCE again we have a small school cowering to minority groups and receiving five minutes of fame.
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Carrington Public School has decided to ban prayers and hymns at this year’s Remembrance Day.

Reason, the school was overwhelmingly secular.

Has the school ever considered that the day is about our service people and their immense sacrifices in hellish circumstances, not some frustrated social engineers looking to make a personal stand and all the publicity that flows from that.

I would hazard a guess that in such dire times our Diggers sought comforts in a prayer or two, and who wouldn’t?

In recent times we have witnessed schools make arbitrary decisions from singing ‘‘baa baa rainbow sheep’’, to not being allowed to do cartwheels, no contact, and now this.

Seriously, we expect two things from our education staff, a good education and to remain safe and well.

Please do that and leave the life decisions to the parents.

Adam Hahn,

Newcastle


Explosives drama in Bookaar

A 50-metre exclusion zone was set up around a Bookaar house and officers from the Bomb Response Unit were called in from Melbourne to dispose of explosives.CAMPERDOWN police are makinginquiries after boxes of gelignite were located at a Gnotuk Road property on Tuesday.
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Senior Constable Tony Hassett said a sheriff attended to take possession of the property on Tuesday morning and when there found three firearms and boxes of Powergel containing about 20 sticks of explosives.

The sheriff contacted Camperdown police which led to a50-metre exclusion zone being set up around the house.

Officers from the Bomb Response Unit were called in from Melbourne to dispose of the items.

Senior Constable Hassett said the owner of the property was interstate.

The man aged in his late 40s or early 50s is a fencing contractor and licensed to use the explosives in the course of his employment.

It is expected the owner of the gelignite will be talked to by police and he could be charged with explosive-related offences.

Warrnambool detectives are carrying out further investigations.

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Gauge This lines up at Maitland for fourth week

Future Stars place getter Gauge This will run at Maitland Showground for the fourth straight week today.
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BEST BET: Gauge This, barely visible in the No.2 rug near the rail as it crosses the line for third place, will run at Maitland tonight.

The 21-month-old black dog will line up in the fourth event on the 10-race card for Greta-based ­trainer Walter Simmons.

Gauge This finished second last week over the same 400-metre distance after a 1-3 start to his career in the Future Stars series.

Gauge This won his Future Stars heat first up on October 23 in a time of 22.73 seconds before running third (22.63s) by a head and a neck respectively to Master Gee (22.61s) and Lord Licrick (22.62s) a week later in the final.

Today’s fifth grade race is worth $540 to the winner with Gauge This jumping from box three.

Maitland Greyhound Club sponsorship and promotions manager Fred Robertson said Gauge This (race four, number three) was his best bet of the day.

In other races Wallamba Buzz and Sir Redmond will be trying to make it three wins on the trot in sixthover 450m.

Two heats of the Maitland Mercury maiden series open the program today, masters events finish the card while a pair of 565m heats will also be held.

Race one jumps at 3.32pm.

Racing continues at Maitland tomorrow with another 10-event card.

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Sundowner focus on safety

Sundowner: Rural and remote women will be informed of farm health and safety measures during WMG Harvest Widow’s Sundowner.AS scores of farmers across the West Midlands busily prepare machinery and organise labour, spare a thought for the grain industry’s unsung heroes, the partners and wives of farmers.
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Local grower group, West Midlands Group (WMG) is hosting a Harvest Widow’s Sundowner on November 21 in recognition of the support women provide during harvest. The event will offer the region’s harvest widows time out from the farm and deliver timely education about farm safety in the home and around the property.

Silver Chain primary remote area nurse Jody Morton will ask the question, “farming is a healthy lifestyle: myth/fact?” and will touch on ways farming families can improve their health and safety and injury prevention options for incidents such as snakes bikes and all-terrain vehicles.

The tragic events associated with snake bites recently has prompted this warning ahead of summer.

Valerie Fowler, FEC will also give a short presentation on home safety for children and electricity.

WMG chief executive officer Anne Wilkins said the role women played in farming businesses such as farm health and safety was a key element in the success of the agricultural industry.

Often being a farmer’s wife is a lonely and thankless job so the WMG have developed a women’s committee to address the intrinsic issues that go with living and working in rural areas.

The presentations will be followed by a sumptuous array of canapes and drinks. There will also be free entertainment for the children and a sausage sizzle.