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Audit to force changes

Jeff Kelly and George Hempenstall take notes as Steve Scroope does the auctioneering at the Yass Saleyards earlier this year.Followingan in-depth audit regarding the Yass Saleyards, council is poised to instigatea number of changes.
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TheYass Saleyards recorded a net loss of around $53,000 this financial year,approximately $2000 more than last year.

“Councilacknowledges that the Yass Saleyards doesn’t make money, it costs us money,”councillor Michael McManus said.

“Butthe Yass Saleyards continues to provide a service to the rural community andcouncil will continue to support it until such time as a regional saleyards canget up and running.”

Followingthe death of a selling agent in Narrabri this year, the Workcover NSW audit hasdecided that council must make changes at the Yass Saleyards.

Councilwill pay $3500 to put a power line underground so it doesn’t cross the loadingramp at a dangerous height, it will put together a proper evacuation plan foremergencies, install a new $8000, two metre high fence to guard the dangerouseffluent ponds and special head gear and rodeo vests will be mandatory forsellers working in close contact with cattle. It will be the responsibility ofeach agent to provide the safety gear for staff.

ColinMedway, of Landmark Yass, said while these changes will be costly, it is thelaw and nothing can be done about it.

“Unfortunatelythere might be a few extra costs associated, but you can’t get upset about it,it’s the law and it has to be abided by,” he said.

Hebelieves council is doing a good job in keeping the saleyards up and runningand it is something they should be commended on.

“Councilis doing everything it can to keep the Yass Saleyards operating; they are beinggreat about it.”

At theYass Saleyards Management Committee meeting at the end of August, Mr Medwayalso informed attendees that the development of a regional saleyards wasprogressing well but he admitted to the Tribune that they were still “a longway off”.

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Toddler falls from window

SYDNEY – A toddler is in a critical condition in hospital after falling from an apartment window while holidaying with his family on the NSW Central Coast.
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The three-year-old boy, from Canberra, fell four metres on to a concrete path from a first-floor window at The Entrance.

Paramedics, police and a helicopter trauma team attended to the boy shortly after 10am yesterday.

The boy was unconscious and was put into an induced coma before being flown to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney.

It is believed that he has multiple skull fractures.

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed that he was in a critical condition.

Ambulance Inspector Brad Folitarik said the boy’s condition was touch-and-go.

“At this point in time it’s hard to tell whether or not the injuries are going to progress further,” Inspector Brad Folitarik told Macquarie Radio.

“It’s going to be a bit of a waiting game.”

The Australian Medical Association said the accident came as a reminder for parents to keep children away from windows and balconies.

“As we can see from today’s terrible accident where a young child fell and is sadly now in critical condition, this is something you need to take every precaution to avoid,” neurosurgeon Brian Owler said.

“Every year approximately 50 children fall from a window or balcony, and I fear this number may continue to grow as more families live in high-rise buildings.

“With the increased risk of falls from windows and balconies, it is crucial that parents take the necessary precautions to ensure their children don’t have access to windows or balconies, and that they are closely supervised at all times.”

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Cap threat to Newcastle University enabling programs

THE growth of popular teaching programs that help mature age people get into university study is under threat at the University of Newcastle.
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To read the Herald’s opinion, click here.

The federal education department wrote to the university last month to advise under a new policy it was capping the number of government-funded places in the university’s enabling program to 1505.

It’s a surprise move given the federal government’s policy of getting more people into university study, in particular the disadvantaged and those from rural and regional areas.

The University of Newcastle is the largest provider of enabling programs in the country, which has helped it to have high numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

They have three enabling and two diploma programs to help get school-leavers and older people into degrees.

Enabling programs are a kind of bridging course and include Open Foundation, Newstep or Yapug, which prepare people for university over the course of a year and give them a credential to apply for a degree.

The university estimated that under a cap it would have a shortfall of 51 places next year and 87 in 2013.

A report to the university council said Newcastle would be ‘‘significantly affected’’ by the move to capped places and any reduction would negatively affect its ability to meet undergraduate student growth targets.

‘‘The demographic profile of our region is such that an increased capacity in enabling education is essential to improving access and participation rates,’’ it noted.

More than one-quarter of people who complete a government-funded enabling course in Australia do so at the university’s English Language and Foundation Studies Centre.

Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen said they had approached the department and expressed their concern.

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Highway claims five lives

Shearwater man Philip Eric Haines, 45, died when he lost control of his bike around a bend and collided with the front of a ute on Union Bridge Road.THE Bass Highway was a horror stretch of road in 2011, claiming five lives.
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Three of the crashes involved drivers crossing into oncoming traffic.

On May 28, a 22-year-old Invermay man died when the car he was a passenger in crossed to the wrong side of the road at Hagley and collided with an oncoming car, and on June 11 a man died in a collision with two trucks he was attempting to overtake on the highway at Carrick.

On August 22, Rocky Cape woman Rachelle Marshall, 32, died when the car she was driving crossed over double lines into oncoming traffic on the Bass Highway at Sisters Hill in the North-West.

Motorists were not the only fatalities.

In June, Hadspen man Andrew Bingley, 45, was struck by a car while cycling home.

Shorewell man Shaun Roger Barnes, 36, was struck by a car while walking along the highway at Edgcumbe Beach at 10.40pm on December 9.

Most of the 26 people killed on Tasmanian roads in 2011 died on rural roads with a speed limit of 100 km/h or more.

The Midland Highway, lauded as the worst road in the state, was the site of just one fatal crash this year when a woman crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a log truck after a sweeping bend near the Mona Vale Road turn-off on April 13.

The last fatality for the year, and the only one in the Christmas road toll period, occurred on Union Bridge Road, an unmarked winding rural road between Mole Creek and Sheffield in the North-West.

Shearwater man Philip Eric Haines, 45, died when he lost control of his bike around a bend and collided with the front of a ute.

Mr Haines was an experienced rider and police do not believe speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.

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Hodge and McDonald blast the Renegades to victory

Brad HodgeMELBOURNE – Brad Hodge and skipper Andrew McDonald guided Melbourne Renegades to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Sydney Sixers at Etihad Stadium last night.
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The result means both teams have two wins and two losses from their opening four games in the Big Bash League.

Chasing the Sixers’ total of 6-161, the Renegades made 2-164 from 17.4 overs.

The home side had struggled to 2-65 after 10 overs in its run chase.

However, Hodge (72 not out from 51 balls) and McDonald (60 not out from 37 deliveries) started to take some risks and these paid off as they shared an unbeaten 124-run partnership for the third wicket.

Man-of-the-match McDonald hit seven sixes and no fours while Hodge blasted five fours and three sixes in a crowd-pleasing performance.

“Once we had a really good foundation, we could go for broke,” McDonald said of the hitting spree.

McDonald hit leg-spinner Steve Smith for three sixes in the 16th over to leave the Renegades in a comfortable position in the final four overs.

Sixers pace bowler Josh Hazlewood took 1-19 off two overs before leaving the field for treatment on a foot problem.

Moises Henriques had top-scored for the Sixers with 41 off 30 deliveries.

A crowd of only 10,818 attended the game, which began with the temperature hovering around 38 degrees.

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Jets’ horror road run continues

– Picture by Ryan OslandTHE Newcastle Jets’ horror run on the road continued tonight after they lost 2-0 to arch-rivals the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium.
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Leading into the second F3 derby of the season the Jets had not secured three points away from Ausgrid Stadium since beating the now-defunct North Queensland Fury in Townsville in January.

The match lacked the spite of previous derbies, but produced a free-flowing and attractive opening 20 minutes.

Striker Labinot Haliti had a goal disallowed in the third minute for offside and that was as close the Jets came to troubling the score attendant.

In the 25th minute the Novocastrians’ hopes of breaking the drought away from home slumped when Mariners midfielder Rostyn Griffiths headed home a Michael McGlinchey corner at the near post.

Backed by a home crowd of 10,643, teen sensations Mustafa Amini and Bernie Ibini then pulled the strings for the Mariners to create a goal for Matt Simon 14 minutes after the break.

The Jets were unable to mount a comeback in the second half and failed to produce any major goal-scoring opportunities as the home side continued to dominate.

Newcastle-born Mariners striker Daniel McBreen replaced Amini in the 78th minute and nearly scored twice in extra time, only to be denied by Jets goalkeeper Matt Nash and then the crossbar.

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More shocks shake Christchurch

WELLINGTON – Aftershocks continuing to rattle Christchurch are showing no signs of letting up, with a quake measuring 4.8 hitting just before seven last night.
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Numerous quakes shook the city yesterday, including one measuring 5.5 about 4am.

Power was cut to 10,000 homes in the east of the city for a few hours, before it was restored by mid-morning.

Quakes measuring greater than 3 and 4 on the Richter scale continued throughout the day.

There does not appear to be any new significant damage or liquefaction.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said residents were concerned about the aftershocks and he is calling for an urgent briefing with GNS Science seismologists.

“Today I have fielded a lot of questions on seismic issues. Everywhere I go that’s what people are talking about,” Mr Parker said.

“I think it’s important that we hear from the scientists themselves on what’s happening and what’s the likelihood of further events.”

His plan for a forum for the city’s elected members, local MPs and the media is to take place on Friday afternoon.

Mr Parker said council facilities were being checked.

“It’s not a great start to a new year, but everyone is working hard to ensure we have a resilient and safe city in the future,” he said.

The city is still recovering from a magnitude 6.3 quake that killed 182 people on February 22 last year, following a 7.1 earthquake on September 4, 2010.

Christchurch was rocked by two quakes, measuring 6.0 and 5.8, two days before Christmas Day.

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Heat is on but Hodge keeps his cool

WITH temperatures in the high 20s, more than 180 participants took to the surf, the road and their bikes as they competed in the annual Bridport Triathlon.
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Launceston Triathlon Club president Paul Ranson said it was a successful event with not only more participants than last year but also a large crowd of spectators watching and urging competitors on in the three disciplines.

“We were really pleased with the participation in this year’s event and hope to continue building on that,” Mr Ranson said.

Kicking off at 8am was the Olympic Race with 60 competitors and featuring a 1500-metre swim 40-kilometre bike ride and 10-kilometre run.

James Hodge, of Launceston, took out the men’s event comfortably making it a back-to-back win for the up-and-coming triathlon star.

Paul McKenzie, of Launceston, came in second followed by Hayden Armstrong, of Hobart, in third.

The women’s event was won by Holly Claridge, of Launceston, from Amy Hinds, of Beauty Point, and Melissa Clark, of Launceston.

The sprint race saw more than 100 competitors tackle a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike ride and 5-kilometre run.

In the men’s race it was a close win for Jonathon Butler, of Launceston, who narrowly beat the North-West’s Fraser Lyon and David Cripps, of Launceston.

In the women’s sprint, Launceston’s Kate Pedley beat home Sarah Fitzgerald and Jenny Gillard, both of Hobart.

The Trystars race for children aged 7-12 included a 100-metre swim and a 1-kilometre run.

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Future bright for retired racing greyhound Biggles

Dijana Jokovic-Wroe with her children Deni and George, sharing their lounge with Biggles. Picture by Simone De PeakLIFE was not always so easy for Biggles, the former racing greyhound now living in some comfort in Hamilton South.
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He had a track career as Hidden Meaning, but that came to an end.

For many animals like Biggles, trained to be fast and to win, the future can be uncertain.

Biggles is part of the Greenhounds program that retrains retired greyhounds so they can become loved pets.

The Jokovic-Wroe family initially agreed to foster Biggles, but from the start he seemed destined to stay.

Dijana Jokovic-Wroe said a family of five, with a cat and a whippet dog, could pose problems for a former racer like Biggles, but his nature was sweet.

‘‘I knew he was exactly right,’’ Mrs Jokovic-Wroe said.

‘‘He is calm and gentle.

‘‘I have seen footage of him racing and it is fascinating to see the life he had before.’’

The Greenhound program helps to give the ex-racers the behavioral and social skills they need to live with people and to be exempt from wearing a muzzle in public places once they pass a series of assessments.

Mrs Jokovic-Wroe said Biggles made the transition from track to their couch with apparent ease.

‘‘There’s not a lot of barking and he’s low-maintenance,’’ she said.

Biggles gets a 15-minute walk on a leash a day.

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