Surviving the cut: Nundle Saw Mill saved when chips were down

THE Nundle Saw Mill has returned from the abyss after a Tintinhull farmer gave the historic site a lifeline last week.
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The timber mill was set to shut down for good last Friday until Wayne Simmons gallantly stepped in and bought it.

“This could have been gone on Monday and they weren’t going to reopen it,” Mr Simmons said.

“I thought I’d keep it going, keep the boys in work. It’s a bit of an icon for Nundle.”

But Mr Simmons doesn’t see the mill as a charity case – on the contrary, he has big ideas for its future.

These include exporting logs to China and woodchip to Korea, which he says is a first out of the Nundle mill.

He is also thinking further afield to renewable fuel – using pulp in lieu of coal – and will purchase machinery for this further down the track.

“These are the ways we’re going to make this work,” he said.

Mr Simmons was also concerned the mill’s closure would affect his contract to provide bird meat farmers with bedding.

“We’re in the chook-hub region and you can’t get this sawdust anywhere else. I am the only mill that’s going to be doing this type of timber in about 250km,” he said.

Seven of the mill’s 14 employees were saved when Mr Simmons bought the facility, and he hopes to increase the number of employees once the mill expands.

“We’ll get there. If we keep the same production rate going and get a better price for our timber, well that’s a recipe for success,” he said.

It seems one of the ingredients has already come to fruition, with Forestry now willing to move on its prices.

“Forestry wants this mill to keep going … there’s mature timber up there and we’ve got to use it,” he said.

“They’ve got behind me price-wise, so I can try to make it work.”

New machinery is also on its way from America that will yield shavers rather than woodchip, and will bring the “antique” mill up to date.

An egg farmer from Moonbi has already shown interest in the shavers, which, unlike straw and hardwood, don’t discolour his eggs.

Shavers also don’t have to be washed and can go from the hen to the carton in one less step, Mr Simmons said.

While Mr Simmons’s ideas for the mill are yet to be tried and tested, the fact it will remain open is undeniably positive for the closeknit village of Nundle.

“The publican was over the moon that I was going to keep it open,” he laughed.

“It keeps the guys in the mountains working, Forestry’s there keeping these guys (at the mill) working, the supply of timber throughout keeps the money rolling into here and that’s an economy that Nundle can’t do without, so it’s important that we keep this going.”

Mr Simmons said it was a lack of innovation that left the mill in such dire straits.

“It’s been run the same way for the past 50 years. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” he said.

“You’ve just got to try and be different and I believe I can. So I’ll give it a go and I’m pretty sure I can turn it around.”

BIG PLANS: Wayne Simmons at the Nundle Saw Mill. His intervention has saved seven local jobs and given the historic mill a bright future with plans to export to China and Korea. Photo: Barry Smith 040613BSA08

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Daly fills children’s commissioner role

NORTHERN educator Liz Daly is not concerned that some might regard her latest job working with children in a career that has spanned 60 years as controversial.
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Ms Daly was announced as the state’s interim children’s commissioner yesterday to replace Aileen Ashford.

“Lots of things are controversial but they have to be done,” Ms Daly said.

“I’ve been working in partnerships with all kinds of agencies in the past and while I know this is an independent role, there’s still lots of room for collaboration so that children don’t get into a situation where it becomes very traumatic for them.”

Ms Daly will be part of the review of the commissioner’s role that has been initiated by the state government before a new, full-time commissioner is appointed.

But she already has plans for a number of other projects to complete during her interim term.

“There’s the children’s consultative program _ there’s another that hasn’t yet commenced looking at the effect of suspensions and exclusions for some of our more vulnerable children, so that will be a particularly interesting one to me,” said the former school principal and district superintendent.

Children’s Minister Michelle O’Byrne said that Ms Daly had built strong networks and partnerships with police, child protection, the Launceston City Council, TAFE and the University of Tasmania.

Ms Daly takes up her role from June 17 after Ms Ashford’s contract runs out. Ms Ashford is on leave.

Liz Daly after her announcement as interim children’s commissioner. Picture: BEN McKAY

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Porte hot tip to win tour’s yellow jersey

ONE of pro cycling’s most informed columnists has tipped Hadspen’s Richie Porte as a potential winner of this year’s Tour de France.
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Scotsman Robert Millar, who won stages in all three Grand Tours during his 15-year career plus the mountain classifications at the Tour de France and Giro D’Italia, is one of Porte’s fellow bloggers on the cyclingnews website.

In a piece headlined: “The honeymoon is over for Sky and Wiggins”, the 54-year-old questioned the dynamics within the team for which Britons Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome finished first and second in last year’s tour.

With Wiggins having pulled out of this year’s race, Froome is expected to be the team leader with Porte serving as his main support rider.

However, Millar believes Porte’s pedigree as a time trialist, which includes two top-six finishes at world championships, plus his climbing ability and win in this year’s Paris-Nice, could make him a dark horse for the overall title.

Millar wrote that Froome’s main general classification rival should be Porte’s former Saxobank teammate Alberto Contador, but suggested the scenario is not entirely black and white.

“Tactics may well be deployed in the race for yellow,” he said.

“The thinking goes that Froome and Contador will be watching each other that closely that Richie Porte could sneak off up the road and gain enough advantage to withstand any attacks from either of the two named leaders.”

Such a scenario enabled Porte to lead the 2010 Giro for three days and Millar is not the first to suggest it.

Speaking to The Examiner this week, fellow Tasmanian pro-tour rider Cameron Wurf said: “I am very confident that it’s going to be a huge performance by Richie in July.

“He is capable of being on the podium, that’s certain, which spot on the podium will be dictated by the role he is instructed to perform by his team but for sure he will be spending the three weeks at the very pointy end of general classification.”

The tour begins on June 29.

Richie Porte has been tipped as a top contender in this year’s Tour de France. Picture: GETTY IMAGES.

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Lock up or lose it: Gunnedah police

GUNNEDAHpolice are urging locals to lock up their cars after a spate of thefts in the town.
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There have been 10 recorded stealings from cars since the weekend.

Inspector Paul Johnson said in all 10 cases, the drivers had left their vehicles unlocked.

“Taking personal accountability for your private property cannot be overstated,” Inspector Johnson said.

“This is a crime of opportunity and that’s what the community is giving them.”

In one incident, three vehicles at the same property were left unlocked and an offender rifled through them, stealing some items in the process.

On Monday a firearm and ammunition were also taken from a vehicle parked at a motel in Conadilly St.

Inspector Johnson said police were following up on several leads in relation to the thefts.

But he said people needed to be accountable for their own property.

“These miscreants are taking advantage of the relaxed approached that the community has,” he said.

“Police can’t be held to account when people leave their cars unlocked.”

Gunnedah police are urging locals to lock up their cars after a spate of thefts in the town.

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Mine plan’s rail load revealed

A $1 BILLION coalmine would transport about 100,000 tonnes of coal a week from Wyee to Newcastle along the main train line.
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The Wallarah 2 mine plan would extend gate closures at level crossings in Adamstown and Islington, a report from the mine’s proponent, Kores, said.

In the report to the NSW Department of Planning, Kores said coal would be transported on up to six return train trips a day on six days a week.

Wallarah 2 project manager Kenny Barry said that would occur on rare occasions, with four to five return train trips a day being the average.

Mr Barry said each train heading to Newcastle Port would carry almost 4000tonnes of coal in 38 wagons – about 18,500 tonnes of coal a day.

‘‘There’s been a lot of talk about dust related to coal trains and whether wagons should be covered,’’ he said.

‘‘If that ever becomes a requirement, we would abide by that.’’

Community lobby group The Australian Coal Alliance said the Kores plan would affect people living along the line to the Port of Newcastle, including areas such as Morisset, Wyee and Cardiff.

‘‘You’ll have coal trains rumbling up there for the next 30 years, with all the dust and noise problems that creates,’’ alliance spokesman Mike Campbell said.

Kores, which the South Korean government owns, plans to extract up to five million tonnes of coal a year from the mine over 28 years – much of it for export.

The Kores report said the mine would affect level crossings at St James Road, Adamstown and Clyde Street, Islington. It said 56 minutes a day would be added to closures at each level crossing, based on five return trips a day for 320 days a year.

The majority of the train trips would occur in ‘‘the evening and very early morning’’, away from peak traffic.

The St James Road crossing would be closed for 488minutes a day (about a third of a day), while the Clyde Street crossing would be closed for 519minutes a day.

Those figures represented ‘‘cumulative closures’’, which involved coal trains from various projects.

NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher said: ‘‘If the mine does go ahead, we would expect arrangements to be made to ensure there isn’t undue inconvenience for Hunter residents.’’

The Kores report said state transport agencies had ‘‘detailed proposals’’ to reduce and manage road-traffic delays at the crossings.

Mr Campbell was concerned the Coalition was preparing to backflip and support the mine, but Mr Hartcher said: ‘‘The mine will not go ahead unless the water catchment is fully protected.’’

The planning department will accept public comment on the Kores mine plan until June21.

Roads test cyclists in club’s two-day tour for juniors 

The roads around Newbridge will be a great test for juniors competing in this Saturday’s start of the Bendigo and District Cycling Club’s two-day tour.
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Cyclists from as far afield as Mildura, Wangaratta, Echuca, Castlemaine, Shepparton and various Melbourne clubs will contest the two-day tour which is backed by Hadden Farren Land Surveyors for the fifth consecutive year.

Racing begins at 10am on Saturday when the under 11-13 and under 15-17 fields contest time trials.

The fields will be divided into three grades per age division.

Distances will range from 6.2 Kms for the under 11-13s to 10km for the under 15-17s

Stage two will commence at 1.15pm at Newbridge and under 11-13 will race over a 12 km course on the Newbridge-Laanecoorie Road.

The under 15-17 A-grade field will race over two laps of a 25km course from Newbridge to Tarnagulla and return to Newbridge via Laanecoorie. The B and C grades will complete a 25km loop.

Riders then head to Emu Creek on Sunday morning for the third stage. Racing will start at 9am and range in distance from 13km to 50km.

A feature of stage three will be the under 15-17 A grade riders racing for the Merv Dean Memorial trophy presented to the winner of the King of the Mountain sprint series.

The tour finale will be the criterium on the Mayfair Park circuit at Piper Road, East Bendigo from 1.45 pm.

Presentations will be held in the Bendigo and District Cycling Clubrooms at the Tom Flood Sports Centre after stage four.

READY TO RACE: Bendigo clubmates Amber Lyons, Belinda Bailey, Tess Carter, Jake Lyons, Blake Agnelotto and Isaac Buckell. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

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Best chance yet

Hockey
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FINALS are a minimum for the Griffith Hockey Association this weekend as the city’s strongest representative side in years prepares to head to Newcastle for the Open Men’s State Championships.

Captain-coach Andrew Sinclair believes Griffith’s chances have been significantly boosted with confirmation two key players – who both missed the rep side’s successful comeback to the NSW titles last year – are locked in for this weekend.

Jamie Piva and Ray McLean head the list of ins to the squad of 16, and Sinclair is confident those picked are more than capable of making it out of the group stages and into the finals on Monday morning.

“There are a handful of four or five coming in who, as a whole, will make a difference,” he said.

“We took a different approach this year. We started our campaign a lot earlier, we had a bigger squad to pick from and those guys who couldn’t make it last time are in.

“The side we’re taking this year is the one we wanted to take last time. The 16 guys that are going are the consistent performers locally, week-to-week.

“That’s what you want out of a rep side. Fortunately it’s our strongest one in a while.”

Griffith has been drawn with Parkes, Scone and Maitland in their pool, with the top two teams set to qualify for the business end of the tournament.

While Parkes are considered group favourites, Sinclair said the side is eyeing revenge against Scone after going down 4-3 in a close contest in Wollongong last year.

“We’ve got a much better chance against them this time,” he said.

“But all sides are a bit of an unknown commodity – you don’t know what young guys they’ve got coming through or where they’re at.

“They’re all reasonably strong hockey centres. Parkes have the advantage of coming from artificial turf as well so they’ll probably be the strongest side in the group.”

Indeed, it seems the surface will be Griffith’s biggest obstacle. The city’s local competition is played on grass at West End Oval, whereas this weekend’s tournament will be contested on a synthetic pitch.

Griffith has proven its ability to adapt to the change in the past but some extra training in the lead-up to the state titles should hold the side in good stead, Sinclair said.

“That’s what we’ve been working on – a lot of our drills at training have been about getting our passes accurate and quick and just using the whole space to make sure that percentage-wise, we make as few mistakes as possible,” he said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of training at the Griffith Indoor Sports Centre over the last few weeks trying to adjust, plus a couple of trial games we had in Wagga a couple of weeks ago.

“It’s two completely different styles. On the astroturf it’s a lot quicker. In terms of fitness and speed you have to accommodate that side of it.

“It’s a much shorter passing game with less tackling, and you use the full area of the park to move it around. You tend to move it from side-to-side a lot more.”

The representative outfit leaves on Friday for Newcastle. Griffith will face Parkes and Scone on Saturday and Maitland on Sunday before the finals begin on Monday morning.

SQUAD: Adam Hukins, Brendon Sinclair, Kym Wheeler, Jamie Piva, Mark McLean, Ray McLean, Andrew Sinclair, Sam Huxtable, Charles Anderson, Jarryd Day, Dave Haskins, Richard McDonald, Rheis Brill, Micheal Crosato, Kym Ramsey, Emerson Doig.

Griffith representative team captain-coach Andrew Sinclair (left).

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Agreement opens way for canola shipments

MIDLANDS farmer Bill Chilvers likes to grow canola because it helps with crop rotation, but a new trade agreement will mean some of his crop may go to China.
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Australian canola producers can look forward to new market opportunities in the huge Chinese market with the resumption of bulk shipments of canola now under way.

Agriculture Department deputy secretary Rona Mellor said yesterday the first bulk shipments of Australian canola since 2009 had landed in China as part of a new joint research agreement between the two countries.

“The new agreement ensures we recommence the trade in a way that prevents the entry of blackleg fungus into China,” Ms Mellor said.

“Since reaching agreement, Australia has already shipped $80 million worth of canola destined for the Chinese market and is looking forward to more high-quality Australian product following in the coming weeks and months,” she said.

Mr Chilvers said he may plant more canola if the price was right, but it was already a useful and profitable crop to plant in rotation with wheat and barley, as it broke the cycle of soil-borne diseases.

“The next crop of wheat generally goes very well and it’s good for weed control as well,” he said.

Mr Chilvers recently planted 150 hectares of canola, which will be harvested in December.

Midlands farmer Bill Chilvers in a field of newly planted canola at his property, Oakdene, next to the Symmons Plains race track. Mr Chilvers has planted 150 hectares of canola, which is due for harvest in December. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

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‘Time to step up’: Nelson

Football
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YENDA Tigers coach Henry Nelson has called on struggling local teams to “raise the bar” set by Hanwood FC and Yoogali SC as debate continues over the future structure of the first-grade competition.

Nelson said it is up to the teams in the lower reaches of the ladder to catch up to the two former Regional Premier League sides, who have completely dominated the first seven rounds and sit in equal first place.

His comments come after GDFA president Matthew Curran last week told The Area News that the association was examining different methods in bringing greater equalisation to the league, but that “blowouts happen in every code at every level”.

Nelson said: “At the end of the day they’ve scored 61 goals between them and that’s nobody’s fault but the teams that they’ve played, ourselves included.

“If that’s the level, we’ve got to step to it. For everyone below those two, their training sessions have got to be more intense – I don’t know if they are already, I haven’t seen any aside from our own.

“We’ve all got to be a little bit more intense in what we’re doing and concentrate on the areas that we’re not concentrating on at the minute. Everyone else has got to raise the bar a little bit.”

Yenda has won four of its six games this season, losing to both YSC and Hanwood FC by hefty margins.

But Nelson believes the race for the GDFA title is still “wide open”, despite a lopsided start to the new campaign.

“We’re only six points behind them, so are Yoogali Football Club, and Griffith City are only nine points behind,” he said.

“It’s not about catching the top two, it’s about making it into the top four. If you make the finals you can do what Hanwood Juniors did from fourth last year and still win it.

“I know about the RPL, but we’re not in that competition anymore. People need to pull the finger out and realise the competition is only going to grow stronger from here, which will be brilliant for the town.

“Don’t get me wrong – it’s an excellent step for a team to represent Griffith in another competition. But everybody should be concentrating on building this competition first before we do that.”

Yenda Tiger’s Dean Foscarini (left) comes up against Griffith City’s Ross Panebianco.

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Ballarat’s Christmas in July Appeal launched

THE time when the Ballarat community bands together to help those in the community in need is here.
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The 3BA Christmas in July Appeal, an appeal for Ballarat’s leading welfare organisations, was launched yesterday at the Salvation Army Community Centre.

UnitingCare, Anglicare, the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul assist in providing the necessary resources to the disadvantaged in the Ballarat community.

Appeal director Peter Caligari said support for the appeal had grown over the years, but unfortunately so had demand, with 4500 families in the region needing welfare organisation support.

“The appeal is moving at 50km/h but the demand has been moving at 80km/h,” Mr Caligari said.

“But if people out there do their bit, hopefully we can help as many.”

UnitingCare welfare and support services manager Maree Drennan said demand for UnitingCare services always increased in winter, with people in need of food and warmth.

“The appeal makes an enormous difference as far as what we can offer, because they help us provide for the community,” Ms Drennan said.

She said a common issue UnitingCare saw was to do with the elderly not using their heating.

“Something we often see in winter is older people getting sick, because they don’t turn on their heater because their electricity and gas bills have gone up,” she said.

The appeal was launched by Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay, who said he had not been very aware of the appeal before becoming a politician but now followed its work along with the charitable organisations.

“I’ll raise it in Parliament next week. I’ll do my part to support the cause,” he said.

Mr Caligari said there were families in desperate circumstances that had no other options but to rely on welfare organisations.

“This year we need to raise more money because more family need our support,” he said.

Mr Caligari established the appeal’s trust 34 years ago and begun running the Christmas appeal. The Christmas in July Appeal started 13 years ago.

“We rely very heavily on the Ballarat community to support the initiative,” Mr Caligari said.

Donations can be made at 3BA, 56 Lydiard Street North.

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Helping launch the 3BA Christmas in July Appeal are Maree Drennan (UnitingCare), Pauline Prebble (Anglicare) appeal director Peter Caligari, Bernie Holloway (St Vincent de Paul Society) and Major Denise Ashby (Salvation Army).

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