The week’s top stories from around the region by John Ryan
PRICED INTO THE MARKET POLITICS
LOOK no further than predatory petrol pricing when it comes to seeing how government policy is manipulated by the power of big business.
Fuel companies can make billions of dollars extra on their margins and hide behind two things – the fact they prevent any sort of transparency entering the market, and secondly, that governments make so much money from fuel that they don’t want to kill the golden goose.
It’s why Dubbo residents are able to be legally ripped-off to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each year, yet have no way of preventing this from happening.
When unleaded petrol is as low as $111.9 in Wellington the same day it’s up to $134.9 in Dubbo, you know something’s wrong.
WATER JUST AS BAD AS PETROL
WE desperately need an independent inquiry into the recent Boil Water Alert regarding Dubbo Regional Council’s drinking water across much of the city.
Looking at council’s Annual Report 1/3/2015 – 29/2/2016, it appears that there were all sorts of warning signals, including damage to bird proofing and screws missing from roofs on drinking reservoirs, rubber flaps not sealing access hatches etc that weren’t acted on in great haste.
Fast forward to earlier this month and we have more than a week of water unfit for human use.
I’ve always wondered how we can have stuff-up after stuffup at council, yet no-one ever seems to have to take responsibility for these stuff-ups, in other words, no-one ever seems to lose their jobs over these major failures.
IT’S been a bad month for plane crashes in the region, with a pilot in his 50s killed after his crop duster crashed on Dandaloo Rd, about 35 kilometres west of Narromine this week, police say the wreckage was engulfed in flames
The pilot’s younger brother was apparently killed in a crop duster crash six years ago, so this must be heartbreaking for the family.
Ag flying is a tough game, it’s not often something goes wrong and you get a second chance.local police are working with investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the Aviation Support Branch. A report will be prepared for the Coroner.
CARS CAN BE DANGEROUS TOO
MORE tragedy this week with a 45 year-old woman dying after being run over by a car on Burrendong Way, near Dripstone which is 63 k’s south-east of Dubbo.
I’ve read the police press release carefully, it appears two cars were pulled up on the side of the road and the woman was talking with a 25 year-old man, when his vehicle moved and hit her.
Paramedics rushed to the scene but were unable to revive her.
In yet more bad car news, police are appealing for witnesses to an incident from November 8, in which a driver died after hitting a tree 45 kilometres west of Dubbo on the Mitchell Highway.
Police had turned to follow the car the man was driving but by the time they found him the vehicle had hit the tree. There’s currently a critical incident investigation into this crash.
WHITE RIBBON IN TATTERS
WHEN so many good people put so much effort into White Ribbon events, it’s disturbing to see reports this week that some of the movement’s power brokers are more intent on photo opps with celebrities than they are with ensuring the money raised hits the ground.
Despite all that, locally we have plenty of people doing some great awareness raising about this issue which destroys so many lives.
November 25 is White Ribbon Day, so White Ribbon Australia, working in collaboration with Community Corrections, Corrective Service NSW, Mission Australia Dubbo, Orana Support Service and the Dubbo Violence Prevention Collective, are working together to raise awareness of the of impact that Domestic Violence has on the wider community, in particular women and children in our community.
Dubbo’s participation will be launched at Church Street Rotunda at 11am followed by an all-male netball game, with a twist, at 1:30pm on the Nita Mcgarth Netball Fields.
Following the launch and netball game, White Ribbon will be hosting a free community BBQ and Service Providers exhibition at the Macquarie Lions Park (Visitor Centre Park)
Meantime, The Clontarf Foundation is doing its bit, staging a White Ribbon Zoo Ride at Taronga Western Plains Zoo at 9am to 10.30am this Saturday (tomorrow).
The Clontarf boys from South Campus will go on a bike ride and orienteering challenge around the Zoo with their life mentor whom they choose and bring along to do the challenge.
The point of this ride is to raise awareness about domestic violence and creating an opportunity for conversation between the young Aboriginal boys and their life mentor/father/uncle that domestic violence is not tolerated within Indigenous communities.
TWO big things happened this week, one at each of Dubbo mens Sheds.
Event number one was the moving in to the South Dubbo Veterans and Community Mens Shed.
What seemed like a bad omen has proven to be a silver lining, the crew setting up this week in new and unimaginably collaborative surroundings, according to Makers Space president Adam Clark.
“The South Dubbo Veterans and Community Mens Shed came to the party and gave us a really really good space here and they’ve been very supportive of what we’re doing,” Adam said.
“What they’re doing is right up the alley of the whole Makers Space ethos, so it’s a marriage made in heaven really.”
He’s referring to the fact the South Mens Shed already has full wood and metalworkshops up and running, and all these assets will be available to Makers Space members.
Meantime, just a few blocks up the road and a few minutes later, the city’s original mens’ shed was being congratulated.
The shed had built some steel and modwood seats for the amenities block which sits between Numbers Two and Three Ovals, grounds which are gen-
erally used for footy and cricket.
It’s a great thing to see a group of community blokes able to help out in this regard, because the only reason the shed is situated in such a great location at the northern end of No3 Oval is because of the support council has given them in the first place, by providing that central venue.
MOWING RIGHT ALONG
LEAVING the Mens’ Shed seat handover, I noticed a Dubbo regional Council mower trying to keep things neat and tidy on No3.
It’s going to be a stretched organization this year, the hyper-wet season has seen unprecedented growth across the region, and that means lots of weeds and other nasties as well as the good stuff.
RIVER REPAIR BUS UP AND REPAIRING
THE Inland Waterways crew hasn’t wasted any time.
Just weeks after the successful Casino Nite, the bus and participants are out and about, cleaning rubbish off the public land along the banks of the Macquarie River, and preparing to plant trees and rip out weeds among other jobs.
This project should be a model for all community organisations to emulate – at all levels, governments are becoming more cumbersome and withdrawing services we used to take for granted.
This is a great way to get the commonwealth to pay for the labour while at the same time training people across a range of skills.
The Work for the Dole participants will also get the feeling that this isn’t make-work, but that they’re doing something rewarding and of great value to the community.
SKY HIGH MILES
THE River Repair Bus is pretty down to earth stuff, unlike this next snippet.
NSW Farmers Association is upset about the poor performance of the National Broadband Network (NBN) – they’re not the only ones, let me tell you, it’s a disgrace in so many ways.
So here we are, with not enough satellite capacity to service the needs of the bush, yet NBN is happily selling off satellite capacity to QANTAS according to farmers boss Derek Schoen.
“Selling satellite capacity to Qantas is a slap in the face to farmers who can’t even get a reliable signal,” Mr Schoen said.
“It tells regional Australians loud and clear that they don’t matter, that they are nothing more than an inconvenience these satellites are supposed to end the digital divide between rural and urban Australia. Instead, we are just seeing it entrenched.
“Watching cat videos while you are flying doesn’t add to the productivity of the Australian economy, making sure that regional Australians have sufficient internet speed to run their businesses does,” he said.
Couldn’t agree more, but once again, it’s big, high profile business with big pockets and influence versus a small group of busy, and often divided, farmers.
Members of Dubbo College’s Clontarf Academies participated in a 12 hour bike relay last week to raise awareness in the lead up to White Ribbon Day. Pictured are some of the Clontarf students and officers with League legend Nathan Merritt, representatives from the NSW Police Force and the Aboriginal Education office.
Victor Chang Cardiac Research award Dubbo College Senior Campus year 12 student, Ashwini Manorathan is one of 24 students in the region to receive this prestigious award. Well done!
Dubbo Day award recipients were recognised at a ceremony on Wednesday, November 23 at the Dubbo Regional Theatre.
Dubbo College Delroy Campus year 10 students have completed their first active volunteering certificate by working as volunteers with the Reading For Life program in Dubbo primary schools. Pictured are Delroy Campus deputy principal Kathryn Bermingham, Mutale Mutale, Darcie Holmes-smith, Kyla Wilson, Hayley-ann Smith, Gemma Harley, Cathy Jones from Education and training Out West (ETOW) and front, Jahnesta Carriage, Kerrie Perrin, ETOW, Paulajane Hopkins and Natalie Gardoll.
The River Repair bus crew