A DVD about Camden’s war veterans wins a national video award

When Ian Pritchard heard Camden Community Connections was embarking on a community project to record the war stories of our local veterans, he was certain it would be a winner.
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Anzac stories told: Videographer Ian Pritchard with the Australian Video Producers award he received for his work on the Camden Community Connections Anzac DVD. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

Camden Anzacs — Our Story, which was released last year, featured some of Camden’s young people telling the story of the area’s Anzacs.

Mr Pritchard, a videographer, said he jumped at the opportunity to be involved.

And last week he picked up a national award for his efforts — winning the Australian Video Producers Award for best documentary.

‘‘I was aiming for a nice, polished product that would do our veterans’ services to our country justice,’’ Mr Pritchard said.

‘‘I hope it will prompt other towns to do something similar with its retired servicemen.’’

Mr Pritchard said he was moved by some of the stories shared, including that of Bert Ryan, a World War II veteran who almost lost his young life in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean when the merchant navy ship he was on board was hit by a torpedo.

‘‘For some of them it was a cathartic experience and they were grateful to be involved in the project,’’ he said.

Mr Pritchard said he sent a copy of the DVD to the award organisers and then crossed his fingers.

‘‘I thought it was good timing with the content correlating with 100 years since Gallipoli this year,’’ he said.

A friend watched a live webcast of the ceremony and called Mr Pritchard with the news that he’d won.

‘‘It was good to have everyone involved recognised,’’ he said, including Camden Community Connections and Camden RSL.

‘‘It was a great way of keeping history alive.’’

■ Camden Anzacs — Our Story will be played on the big screen at United Cinemas, Narellan on April 22, 7pm. Tickets are $6 or $15 for recliner seating.

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Horsham student Theagan Barnott attends National Youth Science Forum in Canberra

BIG DREAMS: Horsham College year 12 student Theagan Barnott has been inspired by two weeks at the National Youth Science Forum in Canberrra during the school holidays. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRIHORSHAM teenager Theagan Barnott took her passion formaths and physics to Australia’scapital last month.
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The Horsham College studentspent two weeks of her summerschool holidays at the NationalYouth Science Forum at AustralianNational University in Canberra.

Miss Barnott said the trip wasan inspiring two weeks.

‘‘We went on a lot of lab visitsand got to see the fields youcould get into,’’ she said.

Miss Barnott said she was ableto participate in a number ofexperiments.

She said one particularly interestingexperiment was turningsound into light and thenback into sound.

‘‘I’ve learned so much. I absolutelylove physics and maths,’’she said.

Miss Barnott said she hadalways loved maths but her lovefor physics started when hermother introduced her to physicistStephen Hawking.

She said she wasn’t sure exactlywhat kind of job shewanted after university but oneof her goals was clear.

‘‘I want to help people withmy interest in maths and physics,’’she said.

Miss Barnott is studyingmaths methods, specialistmaths and physics as part of herVictorian Certificate of Educationstudies this year.

She said after her Canberraexperience she hoped to studyat ANU after she finished year12.

Miss Barnott encouraged anyoneinterested in physics, mathsor engineering to apply for theforum through Rotary Australia.

‘‘It was an incredible experience.You meet a lot of likemindedpeople,’’ she said.

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nib announces $42.1m operating profit

NIB has announced an operating profit of $42.1 million for the first half of the financial year, up 1.7 per centagainst the 2013/2014 financial year.
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The figuretranslatesto a $41.1 million net profit after tax for the period, up $1.5 million.

Managing director Mark Fitzgibbon said the solid result came despite heavy competition, industry churn and a market that was less than buoyant.

He said growing sales in the over 55 market was an area of growth, accounting for 27 per cent of sales in the latest results.

“We’re primarily a youth oriented brand but with retail brokers and distribution partners such as Apia we’re quickly building a larger market presence among the young at heart as well,” he said.

Australian residents’ health insurance made a $37.5 million operating profit, a 10.3 per cent rise on what Mr Fitzgibbon dubbed “the main engine” of the group’s earnings.

Mr Fitzgibbon said margin pressure came from claims, which rose 8.8 per cent to $612.5 million on the year before.

“We exist to pay claims and claims growth is indicative of private health insurance playing an increasing role in funding our healthcare,” he said.

“But we do believe there are many opportunities to reduce claims inflation without compromising patient access and the quality of care.”

Insurance for international workers has also grown by 50 per cent, with roughly 13,000 Saudi Arabian students due to be covered by the company under a deal announced recently.

Slaters Bridge work out to tender

Daniel Brilsky and Matt Hipsley inspecting Slater’s Bridge. Picture: GEORGIA MATTSSHELLHARBOUR City Council are not among the NSW councils which have applied for a special rate variation.
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Nineteen councils applied to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to increase their general revenue above the rate peg in 2015-16. A further four councils have been granted an extension to lodge their applications over the coming weeks.

Infrastructure projects across Shellharbour City funded by the last Special Rate Variation (SRV) have primarily involved road renewal works at a cost of almost $1 million and has also been used to replace footpaths, park and playground facilities, renew drainage and buildings.

One such program, currently out to tender, is the Slaters Creek Bridge renewal in Koona Street at Albion Park Rail.

The bridge is integral for people of both Albion Park Rail and Oak Flats as it provides a vital walking link across Slaters Creek between the two suburbs.

Council Engineer Matt Hipsley said the original bridge was first built in 1975.

“We are keen to maintain the historical value of the bridge, which has had some remedial work done from time-to-time over the years and is now quite tricky to fix,” Mr Hipsley said.

“Cost of the project is expected to be around $120,000 and Council’s role in this is as project managers and we have already a lot of diving companies showing interest, with tenders closing early March.”

More than half the road renewal works planned for the current financial year are now complete, involving the resurfacing of 16 roads including main roads such as Wollongong Street in Shellharbour and Pur Pur Avenue, Grove Circuit, Commerce Drive and Veronica Street in Warilla.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Sabila said funds from the current Special Rate Variation can only be used to fix old infrastructure that needs renewing, and there is a long list for us to get through.

“Prioritising the works has been a lengthy process and some of the immediate projects have not been as high profile as others, but necessary nonetheless,” Cr Sabila said.

“It is pleasing to see that upgrades are taking place and I look forward to seeing more improvements as we work through the list.”

The rate increase implemented in July 2013 by Council will direct $18.8 million to address the city’s ageing infrastructure such as shared use paths, public buildings and amenities, roads, pipes and drain More than $4 million has been used in the first 18 months of a four year works schedule to remediate infrastructure including 33 roads, three major buildings, four footpath replacements and various improvements to canteens and sportsfield lighting.

Improvements to stormwater systems include the start of pipe replacement in Oak Flats and upcoming works in Albion Park and Mount Warrigal to reline pipes that have moved, to extend their useful life.

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Horsham’s Miette Hopper second at interdistrict championships

STRONG SWIMMERS: The District 12 swimming squad that competed at the Victorian County Interdistrict competition in Melbourne on February 21. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDHORSHAM swimmer Miette Hopper finished second in the Victorian Country Interdistrict competition’s 100-metre breaststroke final in Melbourne on Saturday.
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The competition, at the Melbourne Sport and Aquatic Centre, drew 36 swimmers from the Wimmera’s District 12.

District 12 publicity officer Jenny Ough said Hopper, who swam in the 11-12 age group, had a great race.

‘‘She was a little bit off her personal best time, but she maintained her stroke throughout the entire race and came home strongly, which is a trademark of hers,’’ she said.

‘‘It is very high level competition, as you can imagine,” Mrs Ough said of the Wimmera swimmers.

‘‘They were racing against the best other districts had to offer.’’

Mrs Ough said the swimmers were looking forward to the Wimmera Championships at Warracknabeal at the weekend.

‘‘It will be a big day for the swimmers,” she said.

“There will be heats in the morning and finals in the afternoon.

‘‘The pool only has seven lanes, so any race with more than seven people will have heats.

‘‘It means some swimmers, depending on how many events they choose to go in, could have more than 10 races on the day, so they will need their fitness to be up.’’

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Wimmera River bridge at Jeparit to be upgraded

WORK on a $1.5-million upgrade tothe Wimmera River bridge at Jeparitis due to start late next year.
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File pic

The upgrade, on the Nhill-JeparitRoad, will include a new, slightlywider bridge deck with modernbridge barriers.

A government spokeswomansaid the upgrade would take about20 weeks.

She said the upgrade wouldensure the road continued toprovide a safe route for residentsand industry.

The spokeswoman said thebridge had been identified as beinglikely to have load-limit restrictionsimposed within two years.

‘‘Planned works will avoid theneed for future restrictions,’’ shesaid.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealyquestioned whether the governmentwas announcing new moneyfor the region.

‘‘While this funding for Jeparit iswelcome, it was already scheduledas VicRoads maintenance,’’ shesaid.

‘‘If it’s not new funding, it wouldbe extremely disappointing.’’

Ms Kealy said Labor had notcommitted to continue the previousgovernment’s $160-millionCountry Roads and Bridges Program.

The program gave $1 million ayear to councils for road and bridgeworks.

Ms Kealy said Labor’s fundingcuts to country roads were riskyand reckless.

‘‘What the community is tellingme is that they want more fundingfor local roads,’’ she said.

‘‘We need to have that ongoingfunding to ensure our roads are upto an acceptable standard so ourcountry families and people whouse our roads for freight purposesaren’t putting their lives at riskwhen they’re driving in countryareas.’’

The government spokeswomansaid Labor’s Stronger Bridges andSafer Country Crossings programswere designed to improve safetyand productivity on key regionalfreight corridors and create regionaljobs.

‘‘Unlike the former Liberal-National Government, we’re deliveringthese priority projects basedon need, rather than throwingmoney at regional councils,’’ shesaid.

‘‘Councils received the fundingregardless of need.’’

Ms Kealy said the governmentshould provide money for an illuminatedschool crossing on theWestern Highway at Nhill.

‘‘Somebody’s putting their life atrisk to stop traffic on a majorarterial road between two capitalcities,’’ she said.

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Wimmera students get an insight into VCE art

WORKSHOP: Ross Coulter, centre, with Horsham College student Alana Sorrell, year 12, Rainbow Secondary College student Lauren McDonald, year 11, Marian College student Crystal Segedinski, year 12, Dimboola Memorial Secoondary College student Rachel Clark, year 11, Horsham College student Russell Ryan, year 12, Marian College student Cassie Coad, year 12, and St Brigid’s College student Madeleine Trudel, year 10 during VCE induction day on Wednesday. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRIWIMMERA art and studio artVictorian Certificate of Educationstudents gained a deeperunderstanding of what it takesto succeed in their studies onWednesday.
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Horsham Regional Art Gallerydirector Adam Hardingsaid the VCE induction daygave 56 students the chance tospeak with artists, representativesfrom Melbourne galleriesand teachers.

Students from Rainbow SecondaryCollege, Marion Collegein Ararat, Horsham College,Dimboola MemorialSecondary College, St Brigid’sCollege, Murtoa College andCasterton Secondary Collegeattended the induction.

Victorian Curriculum andAssessment Authority visualarts manager Kathy Hendy-Eckers gave a presentation onwhat is expected from students’art folios, while MonashUniversity Museum of Art’sMellisa Bedford and GertrudeContemporary’s Deb Kundaexplained how different galleriesengaged with students andemerging artists.

Artist Ross Coulter ran aworkshop where studentsworked in groups to recreateawkward family photos.

‘‘For us, the day is really agreat opportunity to meet allthe kids to show them all theservices we can offer to support,’’Mr Harding said.

‘‘It’s also such a great opportunityto find their peers fromacross the region.

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Domestic violence victim slept in police station

Crisis accommodation for Shoalhaven women and their children escaping domestic violence is virtually non-existent according to the manager of a local intervention service.
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Sue Davies, the co-ordinator of the Nowra Domestic Violence Intervention Services, run by YWCA NSW at the Nowra Police Station, fears many victims are going back into domestic violence situations simply because they have nowhere else to go.

Twice in the past two weeks she has been unable to find safe accommodation for women and their children escaping domestic violence.

One victim was forced to pay for her own motel, while another woman with two children spent the night on the floor of an office at the Nowra Police Station.

Ms Davies has questioned the effectiveness of the Link 2 Home assistance line introduced last July to help find accommodation for domestic violence victims.

“Historically we would ring the DV hotline and organise crisis accommodation,” she said.

“If we could not find any, we could stretch our budget and have in the past paid for accommodation.

“We had a wonderful relationship with Housing NSW and they would often put victims in a motel and pay for it if it was a police driven domestic violence event and we verified it.

“But this new system, initiated as part of the Going Home Staying Home (GHSH) reform, just doesn’t seem to be working.”

On both recent occasions Ms Davies contacted local refuges, which had no rooms available.

“I contacted the Link 2 Home and was told they could not speak to me, they needed to speak to the victim,” she said.

“I asked the worker to contact the police officer in charge, who was with the victim at the time.

“I received a call from the officer about an hour later who was irate because the Link 2 Home worker had rung and questioned the officer at length and then in her words ‘interrogated’ the victim for a further 20 minutes, asking many questions that did not seem relevant or appropriate at the time of trauma.

“The victim was then told they would not be able to assist her.

“Due to the fact it was late and the family was distressed, the woman used the last of her funds to pay for a motel for the night.

“As she fled without a phone and car, I sought approval for the YWCA DVIS budget to cover the cost of three nights’ accommodation, which would enable the family safety and a roof over their heads until the woman could attend Housing NSW.”

In the other situation, again there were no vacancies at the refuges and calls to Link 2 Home again failed to provide assistance.

“Out of desperation, the woman and her children stayed in the domestic violence office at the Nowra station, the woman sleeping in a chair and the children on the floor,” Ms Davies said.

“When I arrived at work the next working the woman and children were gone. I was told they had gone to get breakfasts but they never came back.

“I can only assume they went back to the home and possibly into the same situation.

“How are we supposed to do our jobs and help these women trying to escape domestic violence when there is nothing out there to help us?

“We are on call at evening and weekends to assist police with DV victims and are often asked to assist to find these families safe accommodation.

“The DVIS is not a homelessness service and does not have the funds to pay for accommodation.

“I don’t believe this system is working and we wonder as a society why victims of family violence return to the perpetrator.”

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Mind Matters holds introduction day

MIND MATTERS: Edward John Eyre Highschool recently held an introduction to Student Voice and Mind Matters. Pictured were (back, from left) Ford King, Ronald King, Jackson Kerr, Kim Simmonds, Maddison Mills-Couper, Angel Woeltjis, Michael Van Wageningen, Kiara Marsland, (front) Jessica Vines, Jessica McKay, Amelia Pudney, school counsellor Noelene Gapp, Johanes Azucena and Alicia Burchell.Edward John Eyre High School Student Voice representatives participated in a Student Voice and Mind Matters introduction day on Thursday, February 19.
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The day was held to welcome the new Mind Matters representatives into their roles.

The Mind Matters program gives students the opportunity to undertake organisational and leadership roles and represent their fellow students, as well as discuss important issues young people in their school community face every day.

Each of the representatives across both years 11 and 12 headed to the Whyalla Yacht Club with school counsellor Noelene Gapp and Kathryn Hollingworth to take part in the program.

After an introduction game, member for Giles Eddie Hughes spoke to the students on his leadership journey into politics.

His speech gave an insight into the adversities many have to overcome in life and provoked a discussion on what the students have had to overcome in their lives.

The students then voted for which of their peers they would like to have as their school captains in both year 11 and 12 for the year.

Amelia Pudney and Bryden Atkinson were named the year 11 school captains after being voted in by their peers.

2014 Graeme Jose Award winner Ford King was named year 12 male captain while 2015 Australia Day Youth Citizen of the year award winner Kimberly Simmonds was named the female year 12 school captain.

Both Kimberly and Ford have strong leadership skills and commitment to their school community and are excited to lead Edward John Eyre High School through 2015.

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Riverside Drive safety decision deferred

Long-time safety campaigner Jess Arroyo, partner Matt Counsell and children Libby and Mikky. Picture: GEORGIA MATTSA DECISION on whether to retain the sole set of traffic lights in the Kiama municipality, as well as build a roundabout at Kiama Downs has been deferred.
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The traffic lights at the intersection of Meehan Drive and Riverside Drive has been a divisive issue among residents, especially after the opening of the North Kiama bypass a decade ago reduced traffic volumes.

A Kiama council survey found ‘‘strong opposition’’ to the removal of the lights.

At the February council meeting, staff recommended to retain the lights and build a roundabout at the nearby intersection of Oxley Avenue and Riverside Drive.

However, Kiama councillors instead voted to defer the matter and return the issue to the Kiama Traffic Committee for comment.

Council’s report provided results of a public exhibition to gauge opinion on proposed new traffic facilities.

Council has allocated $90,000 in the 2014/15 budget for the implementation of new traffic facilities in Riverside Drive, in the vicinity of Oxley Avenue and Meehan Drive.

The plan needs to be referred to RMS for approval, because of the proposed removal of the traffic signals.

Staff also recommended that a design and cost estimate for a roundabout at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Gibraltar Avenue be prepared and submitted for consideration.

‘‘Council has received a number of complaints in the past that the traffic signals at the intersection of Meehan Drive/Riverside Drive are causing unnecessary delays for traffic from Meehan Drive turning into Riverside Drive,’’ council’s report stated.

Deputy mayor Warren Steel was disappointed by the community response, citing that of approximately 5000 people in the area just 25 provided input.

‘‘I have spoken to a couple of hundred people about this and the majority… wanted the lights to go.

‘‘I can’t believe this… what’s with the people of Gainsborough?’’

Cr Kathy Rice said compared with ‘‘the amount of noise’’ she had heard throughout the years regarding the traffic lights , she was ‘‘astounded’’ to find the removal of the lights wasn’t supported.

Cr Mark Way ‘‘totally disagreed’’ .

‘‘There’s a huge demand to have (the intersection of) Oxley Avenue as a roundabout,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve had other people suggest the traffic lights go of course, but the overwhelming majority in my case want the traffic lights to stay because of the safety of children crossing the road there.’’

Cr Way said people who supported removal of the lights wanted a roundabout installed at the Meehan Drive intersection, but when it was explained to them it was too small for a roundabout they preferred the option of keeping the lights over a proposed ‘‘seagull intersection’’.

‘‘I find it astronomical that people can worry about 15, 20, 30 seconds…. a minute they’ve got to wait at those lights to do something.’’

Cr Way said adjusting the timing of the lights and installing a ‘‘left turn on red permitted after stopping’’ sign would solve most problems.

Kiama Downs’ Jessica Arroyo has long advocated for the speed limit to be lowered to 50km/h on Riverside Drive, because of drag racing.

She believes a roundabout at the intersection of Gibraltar Avenue as well as Iluka Crescent will slow down traffic.

‘‘Even though there will be implementation of a roundabout at Oxley, we’ve still got that long stretch of road from Oxley to Bombo Hill,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a waste of money putting the wrong roundabout in the wrong spot; the priorities are all over the shop.’’

Ms Arroyo and partner Matt Counsell believed the traffic signals should stay, despite being an ‘‘eyesore’’, citing their multi-purpose use by helping with both vehicle and foot traffic.

According to council’s report, with the proposed retention of the existing traffic signals at Meehan Drive likely to result in a cost saving to the budget allocation, there may be scope to utilise any savings towards a roundabout at Gibraltar Avenue.

‘‘However further survey, detailed design and community consultation would be required for the development of a roundabout at this location which may delay this work into the 2015/16 financial year,’’ the report states.

‘‘The proposed roundabout at the intersection of Oxley Avenue/Riverside Drive will slow down the southbound traffic into the residential area, however, a roundabout at Gibraltar Avenue is required to slow down the northbound traffic which will also create an opportunity for council to provide an integrated traffic management solution to accommodate community’s need for an on-street parking/cycle lane.’’

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