Monthly Archives: December 2018

Having recently moved to the Shire I was surprised by T Walker’s claim in the Courier Sun (25 January 2017) that 80% of our rate payments are spent on wages. I rushed to the BSC’s website and looked at their most recent Annual Report.
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According to the financial statements, employee benefits and on-costs total $10.3m while rates and annual charges bring in $12.7m – which I presume is where Mr Walker gets his 80% figure. I note the latter figure includes both annual charges and rates; if you were dealing with just rates they make up 22% of operating income or $7.5m. In which case, Council employees’ costs are actually more than what Council collects in just rates.

But employee benefits and on-costs is more than just wages: this operating expense can include liabilities such as superannuation, workers compensation, FBT, leave payments and eligible termination payments. The costs of these liabilities into the future is what scares me.

Regardless, the $10.3m employee costs makes up just over 30% of total expenses of almost $30m. My question is, are other sources of revenue (user fees and charges, grants, interest and investment revenue, etc) used to pay employees? Is Council’s overall income one big melting pot (ie. are line items fungible) or are various income streams tied to certain expenses that preclude paying wages, etc? This, to me, would be an important starting point in informing ratepayers exactly what employees cost us.

I am told that over 50% of our Shire is non-rateable and that the majority of non-rateable land is owned by state and federal governments. Do these tiers of government contribute to our fiscal imbalance?

It is stated that the special rate variation is intended for transport infrastructure works – and I have no reason to doubt that. But it seems to me that unless Council starts decreasing staff numbers, we are heading towards a tipping point in terms of funding future liabilities if we stick with current staffing levels.

Like any ratepayer I am interested in keeping rates to a viable minimum. And probably like most ratepayers I am not an accountant so I am happy to be corrected on any of the above. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the info sessions where I could have had my questions answered, so apologies if this was all discussed.

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ABSTRACT: One of the monoprints by Alice Hope which is on exhibtion at Front Room Gallery.Printmaker Alice Hope currently has an exhibition of monoprints at The Front Room Gallery, Hunter Street.
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Hope, who moved to Newcastle 18 months ago from the UK, has produced 20 works for the exhibition simply titled Recent Monoprints. It is her first solo show in Australia.

The artist has been working in the printmaking medium since high school where she was taught by “a really inspirational teacher”.

The works draw on her love of abstract expressionism.

“I love the surprise element of print making, you don’t know what you are going to end up with until it has come out the other side of the press,” she said.

“Using that surprise to work on the next piece, using the mistake that worked really well in the end.

“I’ve built up a body of work based on losing myself in the technique and it’s something I really enjoy.

Monoprints are one-off works.

“It’s quiteunusual with printmaking,” Hope said.

“The main reason people use printmaking is because you can get lots of prints.

“I just really enjoy having a one-off piece and how each one is different.

“I enjoy drawing and painting as well, but printmaking is what I do most in terms of making art.”

Hope is also a primary school teacher, she trained at the University College of London. Shesaid the role of art in education was “undervalued” in Australia.

“Funding is being cut from art in education,” Hope said.

“[Art]isan amazing way, especially for young children before they have learnt to read and write,for them to be able to communicate and represent their thinking.”

Hope said making art in Newcastle became possible for her when she discovered Newcastle Art Schools’ Art Access. The scheme allows artists to pay to use the school’s facilities or to attend art classes.

“They have got really great facilities, I’d just go in once a week and make art. It’s fantastic.” she said.

Front Room Gallery is located at 590 Hunter Street, Newcastle.

The exhibition runs until February 10.

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Local nurse Carol Crasta is bound for the Greek Island of Chios where she will offer her services to a refugee camp holding nearly 850 Syrian refugees. Photo: Ivy James Nurse Carol Crasta is gearing up to offer humanitarian aid to hundreds of displaced Syrians at a refugee camp in the Greek island of Chios for two weeks in February.
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Making the trip with herfriend Michelle Vee from Perth, Carol is volunteering with A Drop in the Ocean, a Norwegian not-for-profit humanitarian organisation which provides aid to refugees, especially women and children.

To date, nearly 12 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes as the ongoing civil war in Syria continues to rage, with many fleeingto neighboring countries and overseas to escape the dangers and violence of the conflicts.

Carol, who also volunteers with St Johns Ambulance, hopes to bring her medical background to the experience and make a positive contribution towards the lives of people affected by war.

Some of the tasks Carol will undertake at the camp include food distribution to approximately 850 refugees at the Souda refugee camp, organising activities for the children and packing clothes for refugees in the warehouse.

“We need to be kind,” she said. “It’s not fun for these refugees to have to leave home because their lives are at stake and have to find ways to survive without shelter, electricity, food and water.

“My journey is about raising awareness and doing what I can to help. We are very lucky and veryprivileged to be living in Australia.”

Besides volunteering, Carol and Michelle are calling on the community to support their efforts with donations.

“For example, AUD$4 typically spent on a coffee could go towards the purchase of a toothbrush and toothpaste for someone in need of such basic essentials,” Michelle wrote.

“We intend to use the funds to purchase essential items such as clothes, headlamps, footwear and whatever is urgently needed.

“Any remaining funds will be donated to A Drop in the Ocean so they can continue with their dedicated work in refugee aid.”

Visithttps://梧桐夜网gofundme南京夜网/helptherefugeesinchiosappealto donate.

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RED GOLD: Orchadists Ian Pearce and Fiona Hall with NSW Farmers’ Bruce Reynolds holding cherries bound for Asia. Photo: PHIL BLATCHTHE future growth of the $60 million Orange cherry industry could rest with a batch of 17,000 cherries sent from a local packing shed in January.
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The first trial shipment of cherries wassent to Brisbane to be irradiated to eliminate any trace of fruit fly before being flown to Indonesia.

It is the first step in a $340,000 two-year pilot project that could open markets throughout south-east Asia.

NSW Farmers Orange branch chairman Bruce Reynolds said the local industry had been trying for two years to crack new Asian markets.

“One of our biggest challenges is Queensland fruit fly. It’s a real problem for our local industry as we are not permitted to export into a number of countries because of (it),” he said.

“The monitoring is showing there is no Queensland fruit flyin this area but we are trying to make sure.

“Those fruit that are leaving this packing house today here in Orange will arrive in Indonesia in about two days time. They will be flying out of Brisbane airport.

“A lot rides on this trial. If we can succeedwith this trial then we will potentially open up several other south-eastAsian markets which could be quite substantial when it comes to the value of exports.

“Potentially in this area over the next decade it could lead to a doubling in the amount of fruit that is sent out of this area, a number of trees would be planted if we are able to open these markets.”

He said too many cherries were grown in NSW for the domestic market and overseas business was needed to keep local growers afloat.

“We have a glut in a lot of years. We also have a high demand from a lot of these Asian countries for cherries so what we are trying to do is marry up the demand withthe excess fruit we have on the domestic market.”

NSW Cherry Growers Association president and Orange orchardist Fiona Hall saidIndonesia was a growing market for local producers.

“There is a lot of growing middle class in Indonesia and they’re wanting western-style culture, western-style foods. Cherries are very renowned over there as a gift. It’s quite prestigious. As that middle class keeps growing then there’s a lot more opportunities for cherries.”

Mrs Hall said they also wanted to capitaliseon the Chinese New Year being earlier than normalin 2017while Orange growers werestill picking late fruit.

“This area is getting quite renowned for its good quality fruit and there are lot of Chinese exporters that havebeen around this district for the last few weeks and they are going into every shed and offering to buy fruit,” shesaid.

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Manjimup producers Jim Bogoias (left) and Bob Pessotto, were both at last week’s combined Elders-Primaries weaner sale. The Pessotto family sold steers to $1286 while Mr Bogoias bought two pens of heifers, paying to $1174 and the sale top of 362c/kg.NUMBERS were well down on the expected yarding when 408 weaner calves were offered at the combined Elders-Primaries Manjimup sale last week.
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This was partly due to some being unable to muster because of fire and vehicle movement bans.

The quality of the yarding was very mixed ranging from some very good lines to below average drafts.

Steer calves sold to $1428 for the heavy end while lightweights topped at 400c/kg.

Heifers were more consistent, reaching $1293 and 362c/kg.

Kevin Armstrong, Willowbank, was the most active buyer, with Elders Manjimup representative Cameron Harris and Rodney Galati, Brunswick, also multiple pen buyers.

Mr Armstrong snapped up the first four pens sold, for Kalgrains, including the top-priced steer pen in the Primaries section, paying $1344 at 320c/kg for the 13 sleek Angus steers from Rim Rock Grazing, Boyup Brook.

Four similar steers weighing 421kg from RH & LM Rose & Son cost $1306 at 310c/kg and a line of 13 sold by WD & IM Phillips & Son weighing 372kg were purchased at 340c/kg and $1265.

Five averaging 386kg offered by Marrivale Downs joined them at $1266 and 328c/kg.

Two more pens of Marrivale Angus steers were bought by Cameron Harris, Elders Manjimup, with two weighing 335kg making $1139 and 340c/kg and four averaging 254kg made $994 at 392c/kg.

The three pens of Angus heifers from WD & IM Phillips attracted buyers keen to buy future breeders, with Kevin Armstrong securing the first pen for $1276 when the 365kg heifers sold at 350c/kg.

Losing bidder, Jim Bogoias, Manjimup, then upped the effort to buy the next two pens for the top of 362c/kg for 13 weighing 324kg to cost $1174 and another 13 selling for $1106.

The top steer price in the Elders pens went to a single Murray Grey steer weighing 510kg from JA Longwood that was bought for Harvey Beef Farms (HBF) costing $1428 at 280c/kg.

In the same pen, two weighing 407kg made $1280 at 314c/kg,

A single Simmental weighing 495kg sold for $1336 and 270c/kg with the last Angus steer weighing 470kg making 280c/kg and $1316, with these all sold by JA Longwood and bought by HBF.

G & J Stoichev sold five Angus averaging 436kg for $1334 and these were snapped up by Mr Harris.

Kalgrains went into the clerking sheets for a Limousin steer weighing 375kg from GM Flannagan, returning $1207 while four Angus weighing 420kg offered by Clovermia Grazing, sold for $1344.

At the higher end of quality, a pen of seven Angus weighing 416kg returned $1374 for KL Edwards when Elders Capel representative Rob Gibbings bid to 330c/kg.

Another of the better pens were the 11 steers weighing 372kg from F Pessotto & Sons that sold to JL Piscioneri for 346c/kg to cost $1286, who had earlier paid $1253 for seven sold by KL Edwards.

A line of 10 steers from GM & F Jones appealed to John Kezich who bid to 365c/kg for the 303kg cattle that cost $1108, and then later added seven from M & L Herceg for $1109.

Mr Harris was strong on the lighter calves buying several pens to $1172.

Rodney Galati also put together several pens for up to $1064, paid for two Simmental weighing 315kg from I & H Panzich.

JIG Grazing bought the first pen of heifers in the Elders offering, paying the top of $1293 at 318c/kg for the heifers weighing 407kg from I & H Panzich.

Other heifers bought by JIG Grazing included five from Clovermia for $1138 and four of the Flannagan heifers at $1042.

The top of 334c/kg was for a single heifer sold by Chateau June Jerome, one of the many heifers going to Mr Harris.

Westbeef Holdings and Galati Family Trust secured numerous pens each towards the back end of the sale for up to $1024 and $1060 respectively.

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