Helping farmers through

Providing support to struggling dairy farmers is a top priority, with south-west communities uniting and calling for action.

A rally in Melbourne next week will call for a levy and industry review.

However, experts saya review would take considerable time, alevy would take years to negotiate, be difficult to manageand would barely assist the dairy industry. Even buying more Australian-made products is unlikely to save the day with the industry at the whim of the global market.

While a complete industry turn-around maynotbe possible, help is on the way.

Naringal farmer Hayden Ballinger said there would be no quick fix.

“But there are places to go to get through the tough times,” he said. “The important thing to do is focus on the things you can influence–focus on what you can do.Speak to those who can help and make a plan to go forward.”

Industry services are continuing toworktosoften the blow for farmers.

Dairy Australia managing director Ian Halliday said there was a lot of help and support available.

“We know every farm is different,” he said.“It’s important to talk things through, to understand your position and know where to go if you need assistance in any way.”

The Tactics for Tight Times program provides farmers with one-on-one financial support to prepare a personal review and plan for the future. Details can be found on the WestVic Dairy website.

An assistance package worth $1.5 million was announced by the state government on Friday.

Those funds will be used to support dairy farmers affected by the global fall of milk prices and cuts made by Fonterra and Murray Goulburn.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the support was intended tohelpfarmers and the broader community.

“We’re putting farmers and their families first,” he said.“Wewon’t let any farmer or community member suffer in silence.”

The package will ensure dairy farmers and their families experiencing emotional and financial stress have access tosupport programs, workshops,counselling services, community grants and mental health training.

Camperdown mental health clinician Jill Reidsaid the region’shealth services were working together. Shesaid there was always someone who wouldlisten.

“It’s a difficult time at the moment and for some, seeking help is quite new,” she said.“No matter who you turn to or when, you will always find help.

“What we can do is look out for our farming families and show that we care.A simple‘how are you going’ can make a bigdifference.”

People seeking helpcan phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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Angels to spend a day on the blue for cancer

Angels at Work: Craig Mowbray, Sam Cahill and Sue Cahill at Par-Tee Golf in Albion Park Rail. Picture: Greg Ellis.Shellharbour is doing something new this yearfor theAngelsat Workfundraiser for the Leukaemia Foundation.

As the Warilla Business Chamber prepares to change its name to Shellharbour City Chamber in July, totake in all the Shellharbour local government area,it is hostingfundraising networking event from 4.30pm onMay 25 called A Day On The Blue.

And it is inviting all members of the community to take part.

Details at are at by organiser and chamber president Craig Mowbray, of The Greater Bank,said the event was being hosted by oneof the chambers membersPar-Tee Golf and was supported by the St George Illawarra Dragons and Dream Design and Photography.

The event includes a one hour virtual golf simulation experience in one of six golf simulators with a PGA golf professional, using real clubs and balls.

“We are calling it A Day on the Blue because the Leukaemia Foundation’s colour is blue,” Mr Mowbray said.

“All the funds raised from the event will go to the foundation to help local families. We are expecting 30 to 40 people and we would like to open it up to local people to come and see what the business chamber does as well.”

Mr Mowbray said local business had supported the charity event really well with 15 donated prizes including tickets to the Dragons, The Angels and Jon Stevens.

He said the chamber had a really good response to an Angels at Work breakfast it hosted at Ocean Beach Hotel in Shellharbour Village in 2015.

And was hoping for a similar result in 2016.

“We raised about $1600 last years and we are aiming to match that or beat it this year,” Mr Mowbray said.

“For the chamber this was a really significant event last year. We got a lot of traction within the business community. Everyone walked away from the event really engaged. I think for the chamber ongoing this is going to be a major event.”

Making ConnectionsThe Illawarra Connection’s nextdinner at the Novotel will featureparatrooper, policeman, counter-terrorism expert and global bestselling author Chris Allen as guest speaker.

It comes as Mr Allen prepares toannounce adeal for a full Intrepid series to appear on the big and small screens.In his writing he talks aboutreal-world events and draws on his real-life experiences.

After joining the Australian Army as a soldier and then officer, he was selected to serve as a paratrooper in the elite 3RAR battalion, then with the British Army’s 5 Airborne Brigade.

After retiring at the rank of Major he worked inEast Timor as a consultant with an international aid agency.

He then served with three law enforcement agencies in Australia, and in the wake of 9/11 took over the protection of the Sydney Opera House.

In 2008Chriswas appointed Sheriff of New South Wales.

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Severe weather warning

A SEVERE weather warning has been issued for parts of the Perth Metropolitan,Midwest Gascoyne, Goldfields Midlands, Great Southern, South West and Lower South West areas

The warning has been issued for an areasouth west of a line from Geraldton to Southern Cross to Norseman to Israelite Bay.

People in this area are urged to prepare your home and family now for thesevere weatherwhich will come through on Saturday.

This includes people inPerth metropolitan area, Geraldton, Dalwallinu, Jurien Bay, York, Mandurah, Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River, Bridgetown, Albany, Katanning, Narrogin, Southern Cross and Esperanceand surrounding areas.This weather is not unusual for this time of year, but could damage homes and make travel dangerous

The strong cold front is likely to cause widespread damaging winds to 100 kilometres an hour that could result in damage to homes and property. In isolated areas dangerous gusts in excess of 125 kilometres an hour could cause significant damage or destruction to homes and property.

Damaging winds are expected to develop about the Southwest Capes late Friday evening, extending to reach Perth to Katanning to Albany by early Saturday morning and Jurien Bay to Merredin to Hopetoun by late morning.

Higher than normal tides may cause flooding of low-lying coastal areas particularly along the west coast during Saturday morning around the time of high tide. Dangerous surf conditions which could cause some beach erosion are also likely.

Isolated thunderstorms and small hail are possible southwest of a line Perth to Albany, extending along the south coast to Esperance during Saturday afternoon and evening.

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Essendon saga: Victorian senator lodges FOI request for ASADA legal advice

Senator John Madigan. Photo: Alex EllinghausenThe fight for the release of secret documents linked to the Essendon supplements saga has taken a twist, with independent senator John Madigan lodging a Freedom of Information request.

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority chief executive Ben McDevitt refused on Tuesday to release the written legal advice he received from the Australian Government Solicitor as to why seven documents relating to the Bombers’ investigation should not be handed over.

McDevitt quoted this advice when he appeared before the Senate estimates committee earlier this month.

Madigan, frustrated by McDevitt’s stance, has responded by seeking a Freedom of Information request over that written legal advice.

As the senate has been dissolved for an election, Madigan believes he had no other choice but to pursue this move in his bid to gain a better understanding of why 34 past and present Bombers are serving a 12-month ban for being administered a banned drug.

“The Australian Government Solicitor provided that advice to Mr McDevitt in confidence. What he then did with it was inconsistent with keeping that confidence,” Madigan said on Friday.

“By disclosing the gist and substance as well as the supposed conclusions of it to a senate committee, Mr McDevitt has made the public at large privy to that advice. He has waived his own right to the exclusivity of client legal privilege over that advice.

“It is now in the public interest that the full advice be disclosed because, quite frankly, it is highly improbable that any government solicitor would advise a Commonwealth official that compliance with an order of senate could in any way be a ‘voluntary disclosure’.

“The Australian Government Solicitor is not in the habit of holding parliament in contempt.”

Allan Hird, the father of former Essendon coach James, has also sought a copy of McDevitt’s legal advice.

An ASADA spokesperson said on Friday night: “Senator Madigan’s FOI request has been received and acknowledged by ASADA and will be processed in accordance with the requirements under the FOI act.”

Only one document, redacted in part, has been released – that being a 2009 review of ASADA.

McDevitt had said: “It would be imprudent of ASADA to hand the subject documents over to the minister for the purpose of them being tabled in the senate by the stipulated deadline. This is because, in the present circumstances, serious doubts attend the lawfulness of any voluntary disclosure of the subject documents by ASADA to the minister.”

He has since written to Madigan declaring he cannot hand over the information.

McDevitt has until June 20 to decide if he releases the legal advice but this could yet be extended.

Madigan’s key plan remains securing the seven documents, including the independent review of Operation Cobia by former Federal Court judge Gary Downes, the March 2014 final report of ASADA investigator Aaron Walker and an October 2013 report in which ASADA investigators allegedly found Gold Coast Suns footballer Nathan Bock and then fitness chief Dean Robinson had a case to answer over the alleged use of the banned peptide CJC-1295, and why ASADA opted to not pursue this.

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St Kilda v Essendon: Jason Holmes on standby for ill Tom Hickey

A chance: Jason Holmes Photo: AFL Media/Getty ImagesSt Kilda’s American big man Jason Holmes is on standby for fellow ruckman Tom Hickey, who has been unwell in the lead-up to Sunday’s clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

Holmes, 26, played three games at the end of last season, but is yet to feature so far in 2016. He was named as an emergency for the match against the Bombers, with coach Alan Richardson explaining that Hickey was no certainty to take on the Dons.

“[Holmes is] a chance. Hick’s just been a bit crook. We’d expect Hick to play,” Richardson said on Friday at Seaford.

“If it is that he doesn’t come up then Holmesy will have a crack at it.”

Two men who Richardson said would play were Sam Fisher and Paddy McCartin. Fisher missed last Sunday’s 103-point loss to West Coast with soreness, but has overcome the issue, while McCartin has been recalled after three rounds out of the senior side. Daniel McKenzie has also been included.

Richardson said he had been happy with McCartin’s AFL form this year.

“His game down in Tasmania against the Hawks is a good example of that – he potentially could have won the game for us late, with a really big, strong mark.”

The No. 1 draft pick of 2014 will take his place in a tall St Kilda forward line, with Richardson revealing that Tim Membrey, Josh Bruce and Nick Riewoldt would all play alongside McCartin. It will be the first time the quartet – all 188 centimetres or taller – have played together.

Riewoldt, 33, is expected to sign a new deal with the Saints soon. He has been spending significant more time in the midfield this year,  with Richardson flagging an even greater role up the field for the skipper. “At the moment, it’s probably been 40 per cent midfield, 60 per cent forward.

“That might swing around. It might be more 50-50.”

In any case, Richardson said he was “comfortable with four of them going forward”.

Midfielder Blake Acres was the Rising Star nominee just three weeks ago, but his form has dropped off since. Acres trained with the club’s VFL group on Friday, and was omitted from the Saints’ side along with Jack Lonie and Jack Sinclair. Richardson said Acres “hasn’t had a great couple of weeks. “

“Obviously three weeks ago he was really good for us.

“He knows that there’s some areas he needs to work on but he’s still a chance to play in this one.”

Injury-prone speedster Nathan Freeman pulled up well after returning in the VFL development league last weekend, but Richardson confirmed the former Collingwood midfielder will again sit out this week.

“Freezer pulled up really well, but our plan was always that he was going to play, and then we were going to put a bit more load into him.

“[We’re taking a] really conservative approach for Freezer. He’s embraced that.

“You can imagine a young bloke coming to a new footy club wants to play but he’s got real clarity around what it looks like for him.”

The Bombers made two changes with James Gwilt and Martin Gleeson returning at the expense of Nathan Grima (hip) and Ryan Crowley (omitted).

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A new era for Merrylands

Sneak peek: Stockland has proposed laneways and an international Eat Street precinct as part of its Merrylands Court proposal.More plans to breathe new life into Merrylands have been revealed.

Following the Sun’s storythis week about thecouncil’s recent submission ofitsamended CBD rezoning proposal to gateway (http://苏州美甲美睫培训学校parramattasun苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛/story/3911824/skys-the-limit-for-merrylands-cbd/?cs=993,)Stockland has released new details about itsMerrylands Court development.

The proposalwill occupy a 1.2 hectare site adjacent to Stockland Merrylandsbordered by Merrylands Road, McFarlane and Treves Street.

Stockland plansplans to build 542 unit apartments across five buildings, rangingfrom 11 to 17 storeys.

There willbe an activated laneway precinct withretail, restaurants and cafes to be incorporated into the mixed use development.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to regenerate the heart of Merrylands by creating a vibrant new focal point, which will benefit the residents of our new apartments and the entire community,”Stockland apartments and mixed use development national headGavin Tonnet said.

“It willprovide the vital missing link between Merrylands Road and McFarlane Street, with overall trade and the aesthetic of both streets to benefit significantly from the redevelopment.Our vision is to create a new city centre that will become a destination in its own right for the community to socialise, enjoy international cuisine in the new restaurants that will be established and come together for festivals and special occasions to celebrate life and culture.”

Merrylands Chamber of Commerce president John Perry welcomed the proposal.

“It’s fantastic news, it’s exactly what the area needs,” he said.

“The last thing built on Merrylands Road was Red Rooster and that was 35 years ago.”

Stockland has lodged a development application, which is onpublic display until June 17at Cumberland Counciloffices.

Stockland willholda drop-in session for thecommunity on June 2, 6pm-8.30pmat the Community Room on Level 1 of Stockland Merrylands, near centre management.


Tell us what you think of the proposal.

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City life comes to Windsor

An elevation of the apartment block to begin construction on Macquarie Street soon. It is located opposite Fitzgerald Street.GOT a spare half mil in the kick? It will secure you a two-bedroom apartment in a block about to be built on Macquarie Street in central Windsor.

The 12-metre high block, between the new zone substation and the soup kitchen, and across the road from Fitzgerald Street, is expected to begin construction soon. It is selling off the plan on online sites already.

The block at 52 Macquarie Streetwill have 18 two-bedroom apartments, two one-bedders, two three-bedders and two “two-bedroom adaptable” units. The adaptable units will be built as accessible units, with such modifications as wider doorways for wheelchairs.

The 24 apartmentsare marketed as “luxury” and all will have air-conditioning and secure parking.

The owner is listed as Armada Property Investments at Crows Nest but the company putting the DAs and modifications through Council was Universal Property Group at Girraween.

Hawkesbury Chamber of Commerce president Kerry Spindler did not know of the development but said “I think it’s what needs to happen”. “I think it’s a good thing, and will bring business back to the centre of Windsor.”

“To have 24 new families within walking distance of Windsor’s shops, it will bring people to the restaurants at night and to the supermarket.

“I hope it will be a mixture of rental and owners. There’s always a need for this sort of housing. It would be great for hospital staff.”

The original DA was submitted in 2009 with a deferred commencement granted and three modifications approved since then.

The Gazette contacted the developers for a construction commencement date and is awaiting their reply.

Another new developmenttaking shape nearby isthe Stoney Creek Active Lifestyles estate on Hollinsworth Road, Marsden Park.

Developed for over 55s, the estateis offering two-bedroom homes from $285,000 and three bedroom from $375,000and boasts that stage one is almost sold out. The 243-lot division, situated behind IKEA on Richmond Road,offers non-brick homes, a community centre with pool, a garden andpark.

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Local heritage on show for History Festival | PHOTOS

Local heritage on show for History Festival | PHOTOS Margaret and Peter Harden in costume in front of the incredible views at The Roundhouse.

Margaret and Peter Harden in costume at The Roundhouse.

Margaret and Peter Harden in costume at The Roundhouse.

Margaret and Peter Harden, Lynette Thacker, Lloyd Pearson, Elaine Gurr and Sue Job are volunteers at The Roundhouse.

Peter and Margaret Harden, Elaine Gurr, Lynette Thacker, Lloyd Pearson, and Sue Job are volunteers at The Roundhouse.

Margaret and Peter Harden in costume at The Roundhouse.

Margaret and Peter Harden in costume at The Roundhouse.

Peter Harden in costume at The Roundhouse.

Peter and Margaret Harden in costume at The Roundhouse.

The pantry filled with antique items.

The pantry filled with antique items.

The Roundhouse

Neville Brown and Manual Szewczyk, volunteers from the Captains Cottage Museum

Maurice Fry at the Captains Cottage.

Roger Waldhuter and Ivan Frahn.

Ivan Frahn and Manual Szewczyk.

Ivan Frahn, Manual Szewczyk, Maurice Fry, Neville Brown and Roger Waldhuter.

The Captains Cottage Museum.

Peter Harden with the largest engine at the museum.

Maurice Fry, Ivan Frahn, Roger Waldhuter, Peter Harden, Neville Brown and Manual Szewczyk. Absent: John Klau.

Peter Harden with two off the permanent residents of the Captains Cottage.

Ivan Frahn, Peter Harden, Maurice Fry, Roger Waldhuter, Neville Brown and Manual Szewczyk.

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EgyptAir wreckage found in Mediterranean

NormalfalsefalseEN-AUJAX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-AU;}BREAKING: Senior Greek air safety official says debris found so far in Mediterranean does not belong to an aircraft.— The Associated Press (@AP) May 19, 2016*/]]>

Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo went missing over the Mediterranean Sea at 0.45 GMT on Thursday morning with 66 people on board.

The Egyptian government said it was more likely the result of terrorism than a technical failure. So far no-one has claimed responsibility. The Greek government said the plane swerved 90 degrees to the left, 360 degrees to the right, plunged 37,000 to 15,000 before vanishing from radar screens. 2. Trump suggests terrorism

The Republican presumptive Presidential nominee was quick to join speculation that the plane was brought down by terrorism, tweeting that it looked like an attack several hours before investigators had found the wreckage.  Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2016

In contrast, Hillary Clinton was interviewed on CNN after the airline confirmed the wreckage was found. She said it did appear to be an “act of terrorism” and said it showed the need for “steady” leadership in the United States.

The White House refused to buy into any speculation and said it was “too early” while US Secretary John Kerry said he would not speculate for as long as he did not have the information.

They obviously listened to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the need for politicians with responsibility to show some discipline against the media frenzy. 3. ‘Extraordinary’ police raids

Now to a massive development in the federal election campaign.

Make no mistake: with these raids the otherwise dull and gentlemanly campaign just got a whole lot of serious.

Questions will certainly be asked of the federal police about its decision to raid a Labor Senator’s office, as well as the homes of Labor staffers, in the middle of an election campaign about a leaked report to The Sydney Morning Herald about the state of the National Broadband Network.

The article published in February said the NBN was facing “mounting delays and rising costs.” Pretty ho-hum. Usually a story showing a government program blowing out is read with an “as you’d expect” attitude by readers who have come to expect incompetence from their elected officials. Malcolm Turnbull was, until he became Prime Minister, the Communications Minister presiding over said blowout.  Mr Turnbull not taking any questions on NBN raids as he leaves Bankstown Sports Club #ausvotes— Rob Harris (@rharris334) May 19, 2016

The government sought to distance itself from the police raids, saying the AFP acts entirely independently of the Coalition or government of the day, and said the raids were the result of an NBN Co complaint. The raids continued overnight and were due to resume on Friday.

But the optics of this are: Tony Abbott’s cabinet leaked like a sieve, especially over citizenship laws in moves designed to undermine the former PM – yet no police were called into to raid the offices and homes of Coalition cabinet ministers and their staff.Recently, The Australian reported it had obtained sections of the Defence White paper – a major national security issue. So far no raids have been conducted over those.The raids relate to a political leak – raising questions about whether this the best use of federal police resources.

Bill Shorten called the raids an “extraordinary development.” Rightly so. Shorten says raids relate to Turnbull’s embarrassment over multi-billion dollar blow-outs and delays on NBN pic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/mVypEWQl7x— Adam Todd (@_AdamTodd) May 19, 2016

Much, much more to come on this. 4. Focus off Dutton

Latest read on the election is the number of seats required for Labor to win are now very much in play.  A couple of weeks ago that wasn’t the case. Turnbull is still favourite but a mistake would be fatal. Labor now thinks the government’s continued focus on borders and not the economy is a sign of how spooked they are. (Can you just imagine the internal payback against the plotters should the unthinkable happen and Turnbull loses?)

Today Malcolm Turnbull has taken to the Fairfax opinion pages to warn, not about the economy but about borders. And just days after backing his Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s “illiterate and innumerate refugees” comments, he reckons it’s Bill Shorten who would put multicultural Australia at risk.

After yesterday’s damaging David Feeney revelations regarding his double-dipping an undeclared $2.3 million property, it turns out the Greens, who often act holier-than-thou in federal politics, have a scandal of their own to deal with.

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, who is stalking David Feeney’s Melbourne seat of Batman, failed to declare his farm. Just like Mr Feeney, this makes him potentially in “serious contempt” of the parliament. 

Senator Natale was a vocal critic of David Feeney over his failure to declare. Photo: Andrew Meares

It’s not hard to see why a common public refrain of voters is that at the end of the day, politicians are just all the same. 5. Boko Haram fears

This is such a sad piece about how the girls being rescued from Boko Haram, since their mass abduction two years ago have become cause for suspicion rather than celebration, with fears of Stockholm Syndrome and would-be suicide bombers.

Even sadder is the stigma and fate that awaits the girls’ babies, which were fathered by their captors. 6. NYT fears Australia is becoming America

The Sydney Opera House lit up for the Vivid festival. Photo: James Horan

Say it ain’t so!

I couldn’t go past this piece in the New York Times from Roger Cohen who just landed in Sydney to find it looking a little too much like America.

“I left an America raging about refugees and immigration and came to find the Australian immigration minister, Peter Dutton, fuming about “illiterate and innumerate” refugees intent on taking ‘Australian jobs,'” he writes.

Who can argue with the man?

That’s it for this week, you can follow me on Facebook for more. Have a great weekend.

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Wollongong’s gift to Branson

Loving the Gong: Donatella D’Amico and Lisa Burling are hoping Sir Richard Branson will wear an I Love The Gong shirt on Wednesday and then visit Wollongong. Advantage Wollongong is showingSir Richard Branson how good the City of Innovation is when Wollongongbecomes thefirst regional city to exhibit at the World Business Forum in Sydney.

The Virgin Group founder is speaking atthe forum on WednesdayNSW Department of IndustryOffice of Regional Development business development managerDonatella D’Amico hasbeen told it can present him with a We Love the Gong gift.

Mrs D’Amico saidWollongong was being actively promoted as a business location to more than 2300 CEOs and CFOs from around the world. Shesaid when sheheard of Lisa Burling’s invitation for Sir Richard Branson to visit shethought why not present him with agift from the Wollongong community.“I have been told I can give it to his PA. Our stand will be there and he will see it.”

Wollongong City Council, the University of Wollongong and the department are allpromoting the city as a place to do business andMrsD’Amico was involved in getting Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery to support Mrs Burling, of LBPR, in her quest.

Destination Wollongonghelped the#richardbransonvisitsthegong campaign by putting a gift pack together.Ms Burling said if heput an I Love the Gong shirt on it would be amazing.

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