The week’s top stories from around the region
Singing in the rain
DEEP puddles, flooded soccer fields, a swollen Macquarie River, a torrent in Troy Gully; these were the sights to see around Dubbo this week when the heavens opened across the central west for a saturating the likes of which the region has not seen for a very long time.
Between 6-9am on Wednesday, online weather channel Weatherzone, reported 24 milimetres of rain, which by 6pm and after the constant downfall, jumped to a sloshing 64 mm.
The only phenomenon bigger than the wet in north western NSW, particularly around Walgett, were the smiles.
Gripped by years of drought and still trucking in hay for the lack of feed, locals were lamenting only last week in a local news report that only 5mm of rain had fallen in the first three weeks of 2016.
Seven days later, Mother Nature seemed to make up for lost time. Official guage measurements show that in one 90-minute period alone, the monthly average in Walgett for January was exceeded.
By day’s end, gauges were measuring 83mm and independent reports from around the area confirmed rainfall was patchy.
Weather service Higgins Storm Chasers, were advised of a 99mm fall near Walgett and overall it was the heaviest recorded fall in seven years.
Not enough to be a drought breaker however, the day put smiles on some drought-weary faces.
Other rainfall around the region included an official measurement of 64mm in Dubbo, although anecdotal reports from around the city’s outskirts say nearly 100mm fell in certain areas.
In the 24 hour period, Nyngan recorded a healthy 45mm, while Parkes had 24mm and Mudgee managed 21mm. Mudgee’s gauges showed 21mm and Bourke had to settle for 19mm, while Coonabarabran measured just 16mm and poor old Cobar’s rain gauge held just 7mm.
Council merger update
AHEAD of Dubbo and Wellington’s public inquiry meetings in a proposed council merger, on Thursday, February 4, 2016, Minister for Local Government Paul Toole has announced that rate structures for any council will remain unchanged for four years.
Rates would only be increased by the percentage adopted by a new council under the state government’s rate pegging regime for four years.
In further news Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose has stated the promise of $2 billion worth of savings through forced council amalgamations has been calculated using the wrong formulas and could see tens of millions of dollars unaccounted for.
Instead of using the correct Local Government Award (State) 2014 to calculate the potential savings, the Fairwork Act 2009 National Employment Standards termination pay schedule has been used.
The mistake has been uncovered in the recently released technical paper from KPMG, “Outline of Financial Modelling Assumptions for Local Government Merger Proposals”.
The Local Government (State) Award 2014 has a more generous redundancy payout that would cause the $2 billion in savings to be considerably less when employees are paid the appropriate amount.
The NSW Opposition is urging the Government to release the full KPMG report to the public to remove any concerns about the methodology and deliver greater transparency about the controversial local government reforms.
The Government paid KPMG $400,000 to produce the report, which took less than two months to write.
New interns off to a healthy start
TWO former Dubbo School of Rural Health students and one student from Bourke have been successful in being selected through the NSW Health’s Rural Preferential Recruitment program, coordinated by Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) to be interns at Dubbo Hospital.
One of the new interns is a cadet from the NSW Rural Doctors Network.
The Member for the Dubbo electorate and Deputy Premier Troy Grant, in welcoming the new doctors to Dubbo, said he was pleased to see the interns choose Dubbo to further their medical training.
“What better place in NSW to further medical studies then here at Dubbo, we have a fantastic Hospital that is committed to caring for this community,” said Grant.
Director of Prevocational Education and Training at Dubbo Hospital, Dr Jennifer Fiore-chapman, said: “We interviewed 34 medical students for eight posts - our highest ever number of applicants indicating the highly competitive nature of our positions.”
The interns will complete two years of training at the hospital, which is able to offer them a breadth of clinical specialties on the one campus.
Burn-out bloke charged after citizen’s arrest
A CITIZEN’S arrest brought an end to a dramatic display of frustration from a man refused more alcohol by staff at the Macquarie Inn, Dubbo when he conducted burn-outs while drunk.
a man refused more alcohol by staff at the Macquarie Inn, Dubbo when he conducted burn-outs while drunk. About 7.15pm on Thursday, January 21, the 33-year-old Dubbo man was asked to leave the Macquarie Inn after which he climbed behind the wheel of his Ford Falcon, parked in the car park, and proceeded to do burn outs.
He collided with a median strip, before crossing onto the incorrect side of the road.
The front tyre of the car burst, damaging the undercarriage and spilling oil onto the road. The man then drove the car back into the car park and did another large burn out. The vehicle nearly hit a number of parked cars before coming to a stop and he was detained by bystanders. Police arrived and the man was arrested. He was taken to Dubbo Police Station where he allegedly refused to conduct a breath analysis.
He was charged with high range PCA, drive in a manner dangerous, drive while suspended, and use offensive
White van scam prompts warning
ORANA Police would like to warn the community about what is dubbed at the White Van Scam, where a person, or people, approach unsuspecting members of the community offering to sell products to them at greatly reduced prices from the back of the van.
Two men approached a driver in the car park of Orana Mall last week, attempting to sell heavily discounted electronic equipment.
Driving a white van, the men showed receipts for all the equipment and said it was worth $3000.
The person paid the men $1000 in cash for the equipment but later found it to be defective, of very poor quality and damaged.
Having no contact details for the men, the scam victim is out pocket with equipment which is not warrantable, or able to be used safely.
Usually the products the scammers try to sell are electronic goods such as stereo units, home projectors, and similar.
The scammers overstate the quality and market value of the products and offer to sell the equipment, in some instances, under the stated market value.
The products appear to be packaged professionally, come with instructions and booklets.
In most cases, the products are cheap international imports, of very low quality, often not suitable for use in Australia, can pose a safety risk to the user, and not worth anything like the “discounted” price being asked for the product.
On this occasion the equipment is not
suspected of being stolen and the person is a victim to a “rip-off scam”.
The actual value of the equipment is probably around a couple of hundred dollars, which is most likely the price paid by the scammers. Police cannot assist victims of this type of activity as the victim has entered into a commercial contract with the seller.
The person was not forced into the purchased, and had ample time to examine the product, and determine for themselves the actual worth and quality of the product.
It is the case that a complaint to Fair Trading would be appropriate, however without the details of the person/s selling the product it would be extremely difficult or impossible to bring them to account.
Boost for men’s cancer treatment
THE Dubbo Prostate Cancer Support Group with the support Club Dubbo, Sporties Dubbo, Bunnings, and the Binnaway Cancer Fund have contributed $16,000 to the Dubbo Health Service for the purchase a Bladder Scanner.
The Bladder Scanner is a vital noninvasive diagnostic tool, which will be used by Urology Staff Specialist, Dr Indrajit, in assessing bladder capacity and function for people with prostate cancer and other urinary tract disorders.
The Dubbo Prostate Cancer Support Group has previously assisted with the purchase of a TUR tray with the Marty Gordon Memorial Committee in 2013.
Record entries for Australian Kart Championship
HUNDREDS of visitors from Australia and New Zealand are expected to visit Dubbo for the opening round of the Australian Kart Championship at the Lincoln County Raceway.
A record 250 entries having been received for the 2016 opener including a capacity field of 44 drivers in both the Cadet 12 and KA4 Junior fields where competitors are aged from nine and 12 years of age respectively.
They will reach speeds close to 100 km/h while racing centimetres apart and learning significant lessons about car control and driving techniques well before they are old enough to obtain their road licence.
V8 Supercars Champion Mark Winterbottom was victorious in the KA4 Junior class (formerly known as Junior National Light) during the stand-alone National Championship event the first time it was contested in Dubbo in 1995.
“The Dubbo Kart Club has been working hard over the past few months to ensure everything is in readiness for what is gearing up to be a huge event,” said Dubbo Kart Club president, Sebastian Jones.
“There will be Australian and State Champions all throughout the different classes, so the racing will be of the highest quality and who knows we may just be witnessing the next V8 Supercar Champion such as Mark Winterbottom, Jamie Whincup or James Courtney in action.”
The 2016 Australian Kart Championship, round 1 will be held at the Lincoln County Raceway from February 5 to 7, 2016.
High ranking for local student
DUBBO’S Adam Mcfarlane, a student of the Tertiary Preparation Course (TPC) has finished 27th ahead of thousands of students completing the skills-based learning course for students wanting to go to university, the Police Force or Defence Force but have left school and not received their HSC.
“Adam works at Fletchers Abattoirs and fitted in his classes around work. His hard work certainly paid off – he finished 27th overall with a combined total of 283 out of 300,” said head teacher of Pathways for TAFE Western, Cathy Zajac.
Four TAFE Western students finished in the top 60 for the state.
“The course is a Year 12 equivalent qualification, with students getting a Tertiary Entrance Score (TES) out of 300.
“TPC is suitable for students who want a flexible program of study,” Zajac said. “Students can elect to study over one year, full-time, or over longer periods part-time, with online study also an option,” she said.
Chance for youth to tread the boards
A 30-minute introductory session for the Macquarie Conservatorium Youth Music Theatre Workshops for 7 to 12 year olds will be held on Thursday, February 4, at 4pm at the Macquarie Conservatorium.
The youth theatre combines music and drama, and music theatre. Participants learn about singing, acting and movement, as well as perform in their own musical shows. No previous experience is required: anyone can join if places are available.
Rainydays by Kim Goldsmith
El Nino Cartoon by Paul Dorin
Walgett Lake by Walgett Sports Club
Drain overflow by Phil Lalor
Member for Dubbo, Troy Grant, welcomes the interns to Dubbo Hospital.
Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton was on hand to congratulate the Dubbo Prostate Cancer Support Group on their generous donation.
The drivers in the KZ2 class will reach speeds in excess of 120 km/h around the Dubbo circuit