School, council share spoils

PRECINCT PROMISE: The federal government has pledged $1 million for a new oval at West Tamar Community Precinct.A West Tamar Community Precinct project will benefit from $1 million of federal support should the Turnbull government be returned to power in July.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrived in Riverside on Friday to help announce the prospective funding, which would see a new multi-purposeoval shared between Launceston Christian School and West Tamar Council.

The new ground would be situated to the north of theRiverside Cricket Club and would be available to the public outside of school hours.

West Tamar Council mayor Christina Holmdahl said the collaborative project had been the result of the availability of schoolland and the council’s need for another sports ground.

“It’s a win-win for everybody because the school gets a much-needed ovaland most of the user groups that would use that oval would not do it in school hours, that’s the beauty of it,” Cr Holmdahl said.

“It’s going to be a very high quality oval so we see it gettinglots of use after school hours and at the weekends, and during school hours it would be exclusively the domain of the school.”

The precinctcurrently houses a number of sporting clubs including Launceston Football Club, Riverside Cricket Club and Riverside Olympic Soccer Club.

Cr Holmdahl said the oval would provide an important facility for community groups and could be available to the publicas early as this year.

“We were hoping that if all went to plan it would be ready for the next major sports season in the spring or summer.

“As Iunderstand it the process isthat once the ground is actually designed,there’s a lot of infrastructure that goes under theoval, and once all of that is in place and it’s levelledit takes some time to settle before it can be used.”

Cr Holmdahl said the precinct’s popularity within the Launceston sporting communitywould undoubtedly have helped securethe funding.

“The facilities that we’re establishing at the West Tamar Community Precinctare not just for our ratepayers, these are facilities that are used by sports clubs from the greater Launceston area.

“We are providing a regional facility and Ithink that was probably also recognised in the approval of the grant.”

Launceston Christian School could not be contacted for comment on Friday.

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No logic in asking to pay more for milk

I cannot believe that people are being asked to buy more milk, and pay more for it, because dairy farmers might go broke.

According to this logic, we should all smoke more cigarettes, to support the poor, struggling tobacco farmers.

I grew up on a dairy farm and learned that, like humans, cows gestate for nine months, but calves are normally ripped from their distraught mothers a few hours after they are born.

I remember lying in bed at night on the farm, hearing the mother cows bellowing sorrowfully, often for days.

Anyone who has witnessed a cow returning again and again to the place her missing baby was born, and often refusing to eat, will never again doubt that these animals suffer and feel grief as we do.

The male or “bobby” calves are usually sent for slaughter at five days old, terrified, cold and hungry, and can legally be transported for up to 30 hours, without food, to their grisly fate.

The heifers are fed watered-down milk until they can enter the same cycle of constant pregnancy and milking.

When their bodies wear out and their milk production wanes, they are slaughtered as “spent” at the age of five to seven years old, less than a quarter of their potential age.

Humans don’t need to drink cows’ milk, and we’re healthier if we don’t.

Let the invisible hand of themarket do its work, and then the farmers can move (like the tobacco farmers did) into more ethicalproducts that cause less suffering, less human disease, and lesspollution.

Desmond Bellamy

Special ProjectsCo-ordinator

PETA Australia

Byron Bay

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Plenty to do with very loud Walcha voices and luck

Tamworth resident and councillor Mark Rodda shares his delight that the Walcha/Tamworth coucil merger will not be going ahead.

Like many people around our region last week, I was delighted to learn that Walcha Shire Council (WSC) ratepayers kept their independence and their local representative voices and would not be forcibly amalgamated with neighbour Tamworth Regional Council (TRC).

Personally, I believe the decision had plenty to do with very loud Walcha voices, luck and good

timing that a federal election is imminent and the Division of New England is being robustly contested by eight candidates (so far).

I was even more pleased, particularly for my fellow TRC ratepayers, that the forced amalgamation did not proceed when I read the NRMA report called Funding Local Roads referred to in a Leader article on Tuesday, May 17.

This report has suggested that Walcha shire has a road infrastructure backlog in the vicinity of a massive $16,407,000.

Had the amalgamation occ- urred, this figure would not even have been covered by the incentives promised by the NSW government to encourage a voluntary merger, nor would the incentives have fixed Walcha shire’s timber bridge network and so the recommended forced amalgamation between TRC and WSC would have been a massive financial impost for TRC ratepayers, and ultimately, one of the biggest cost-shifting exercises possibly ever carried out by a state government on the ratepayers of a local government area in recent history.

And so, the good fortune of Walcha shire residents to have avoided a forced amalgamation during this federal election campaign extends emphatically and indeed, fiscally, to TRC ratepayers, who will now not be burdenedwith such an unacceptably large road and bridge infrastructure backlog into the future.

Something I am quite grateful for.

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Designs to fix a ‘bush track’

It’s been a political football for years, flick-passed to anyone standing nearby and left behind by anyone driving politics.

But now, if you can have any faith, there might just be some movement when it comes to a long overdue upgrade to the cow track that is the400 metres or so of New England Highway near the Longyard precinct in south Tamworth.

At least Tamworth Regional Council has taken the driver’s seat and is designing what it thinks could be done for that narrow ribbon of asphalt and gravel shoulders that traffic negotiates between the Calala Ln roundabout and Craigends Ln.

The fact it runs right in front of what has been the roads authority’s Tamworth depot for more than a generation is not lost on anyone of driving age.

It’s been a traffic snarl and a driver’s nightmare for years, but finally the bottleneck that is one of the worst bits of the New England Highway in Tamworth could be headed towards an upgrade.

Funding, of course, is always, the speed bump in what should have been a done deal years ago.

Tamworth Regional Council has revealed it is undertaking a new design investigation at its own expense, in a move which could pave some improvements for traffic flow.

It is the latest move in what has been a serial point of discussion and debate for years, when the council has its regular meetings with local roads authority executives. For all those years, nothing came of it. It was ignored.

Now, the council is drawing up a design that would widen the highway to two-lanes each way.

That is their best-case scenario option, although they might be persuaded with a lesser design – of passing or turning lanes perhaps – if the RMS and government would stump up some money to start with.

Neighbours and long-time lobbyists describe the roadway as a walk of shame for governments – and successive ones at that.

Various traffic counts over the years suggest there are some 30,000 vehicles along that stretch of roadway every day.

It is one of our high-profile city entryways – and it’s not just shameful, but an indictment of political process for a regional centre.

TRC believes if it has the design decided, then when funding becomes available they can get a head start.

It is news many motorists and residents have been waiting on for nearly 30 years.

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Set for Life Lotto win keeps Baldivis couple out of the rain

The winning numbers from Tuesday’s Set For Life draw.A Baldivis couple are now able to afford an umbrella for this weekend’s wild weather after becoming the second Set for Life Lotto winners this week, collecting $20,000 each month for the next 20 years.

The couple learnt of their jackpot win after a visit to the shops to buy an umbrella, which they couldn’t really afford.

“With bad weather due on the weekend we needed an umbrella but we’d pretty much spent our budget for the week,” the woman said.

“It was after that I checked my ticket. I was crying when I found out – it just felt so surreal.”

Struggling to make their next mortgage repayment, she said they were strapped for cash as their small business had not done well for the past few years, but “that’s all about to change now”.

The family plans to celebrate with a holiday and even a top-of-the-range barbie.

“What we thought was unrealistic is now a reality,” she said.

“We’re going to spoil our parents, go on a family cruise, go fishing more, deck out our house and even buy a top-of-the-range barbeque.”

The winning ticket was sold by The Lucky Charm Baldivis, and is WA’s second first prize winner in just three nights following Sunday’s win by customers of The Lucky Charm in Midland, who celebrated with a pie and pint.

Tuesday’s Oz Lotto has jackpotted to $40 million, equalling the largest offer this year, with ticket sales set to skyrocket according to Lotterywest.

“We’re getting ready for a busy few days, and during our busiest hour on jackpot day we estimate about 400 tickets to be churning out of lottery terminals each minute,” Lotterywest spokesperson Pina Compagnone said.  Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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