Monthly Archives: February 2019

Dan Tehan wants to see regional newspapers grow

FEDERAL Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan hopes Fairfax Media has listened and consulted widely as it prepares to make a decision on a proposal to restructure Victorian newspaper mastheads including The Ararat Advertiser and Stawell Times-News.

Under the proposal, announced in March, job losses will occur at both newspapers.

Mr Tehan said newspapers such as The Ararat Advertiser and Stawell Times-News are an integral part of a local community.

“I met with Fairfax before Christmas and during that meeting I implored Fairfax to carry out a thorough and proper consultative process,” he said.

“To listen to what employees had to say when consultations took place.”

Mr Tehan said he was particularly concerned about the potential loss of local photographers and a full time journalist position shared between Ararat and Stawell.

“The idea that one photographer could service three newspapers: Horsham, Ararat and Stawell is ludicrous,” he said.

“I would hope that having been told this, they (Fairfax) will not follow through with such a plan.

“Also, there is a need for quality journalists, that is what the success of local newspapers is based on and Fairfax as an organisation should know this.”

Mr Tehan said editorial staff are an important part of the news gathering process.

“One of the things I was eager to point out is the important role photographers and journalists play in country communities,” he said.

“I also asked them to consider it is the rural newspapers which are the profitable part of their business.

“Newspapers like The Ararat Advertiser and Stawell Times-News have a proud history of servicing the local community and I want to see that continue and grow rather than diminish and I would hope that Fairfax as an organisation is striving for that as well.”

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New Marian College principal has great expectations

Carmel Barker was appointed principal of Marian College at the start of the year. Picture: BEN KIMBER

MARIAN College’s first female lay principal is convinced her secondary school students can perform better and one of her main priorities is to ensure they do.

Carmel Barker was head of teaching and learning at the school for three years before she was appointed principal at the start of this year.

Prior to that Mrs Barker had lived in Queensland where she was deputy principal at a large school and acting principal for a time.

Mrs Barker said she and her husband, who grew up on a wheat farm north of Ararat always had the desire to return to the region. It was just about finding the ‘right time’.

“I love the area, both my husband and I have strong connections to this area,” she said.

“We lived in Queensland for 20 years and we always had the desire to come back it was just about being the right time.”

Mrs Barker has brought a renewed push for improved tertiary entrance scores and focus on self development at all levels.

“I suppose in any school, it’s about setting high expectations and helping the students to believe that just getting through is not always okay, if they’re capable of better,” she said.

“It is about making sure that students don’t accept that ‘I am only this role’ or ‘only this person’ and that the opportunities today are really endless, the world is their oyster to a degree.”

Mrs Barker said the more than 600 students enrolled at Marian College have two pathways, VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) or VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning).

“We don’t want to just improve VCE results we want to start right from year seven and say to every year level we need to set the bar higher,” she said.

“If it is not good enough, it is not good enough. If you’re not working hard enough then what can we do to try and motivate you better.

“We’ve got two pathways here at the school and we’re saying which ever pathway you choose, you be the best you can and don’t accept that it’s okay to just get by.

“You need high expectations if you want an apprenticeship, because you may want to own your own business one day, and to do that you will need the skills to be able to communicate and converse with people, lead staff and be role models.”

Mrs Barker said today’s crop of students face a multitude of distractions unparalleled in past generations.

“The challenges for students are always going to be those competing outside interests,” she said.

“There is just so much going on in their world, I think more than compared to us when we were going through school.

“It is always a challenge with work and their social life and other outside influences, but what we are saying is ‘no, knuckle down, it is just one or two years of VCE or VCAL and you are through’.

“It is really about maintaining that focus and realising that those other things can wait.”

Mrs Barker said improved learning outcomes are as much about the teachers, as they are the students.

“I’m hoping to empower those around me, that’s my greatest vision,” she said.

“It’s not just about looking at the students, it’s also about looking at the teachers.

“We are being very self reflective, spending a lot of time working together and developing what we need to do as far as making sure we’re life-long learners.

“Learning should be seen as a priority over the teaching, because at the end of the day you can teach a beautiful lesson, but if the kids aren’t learning anything it’s a waste.”

Mrs Barker said the attitude of the students from year seven through to 12 has always struck her as positive.

“They just have a very nice way about them, I think that struck me a lot when I came here, how friendly they are, both here and out on the street when you run into them at the supermarket,” she said.

“We have really friendly students here and I think, in large, part that is a reflection of their families.”

Mrs Barker said she hopes to collaborate with student leaders, as they are key to continued growth and development.

“One of my goals this year is to have very close ties to our student leaders here at the school,” she said.

“I think it is really important to support your student leaders and to help develop their ability to feel like they have some ownership over what is going on and to ensure they build a profile in front of the other students.”

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Raffle profits aim to help recovering Pete

SUPPORT: Organisers of the raffle Lynnette and Kate pictured drawing the winning tickets last Wednesday.

ORGANISERS of a fundraising raffle to help Toni and Peter Petch are appreciative to business houses and locals who have donated to this worthy cause.

Mr Petch suffered severe injuries after at truck accident on the O’Connell Road on March 2. Mr Petch was airlifted to Liverpool Hospital for treatment.

The good news is Mr Petch has been transferred to Bathurst Hospital for rehabilitation and is doing well.

The monster raffle, with over 20 prizes and vouchers, was drawn last Wednesday in no particular order and the winners are:

Oberon Farm Meats – Judy Cooper

Barkers Butchery – Owen

Flair Hair – Maureen Lawson

Melita’s Clippers – Jackson Brien

Pick of the Bunch – R. Lewis

DJ’s Cafe – Y. Webster

Long Arm Farm Cafe – K. Beesley

Arrow’s Newsagency – Jessica Grozdanovska

Caltex Oberon – Tania Weekes

Shell Service Station (2) – Bernice Keft and Klaus Rose

Dale Gifts (2) – Suki and Paula Callan

Oberon Pharmacy – Tam Colley

Our Town Beauty Care (2) – Larry Jones and Val Williams Mawhoods

IGA – Anne Kirby Mawhoods

Mitre 10 – Miller Rainbow

Chinese Restaurant (4) – Kirsten, Jane Evans, Marty and Cheryl Lee

Monkey Bean Cafe – Jas Hughes

Royal Hotel – Coedi Hamner

Sargent’s Rural Supplies – Korine Williams

Oberon Post Office – Max

CurrumbenaGarden Centre – Kiwi

Oberon CRT – Connie Deaton.

Organisers Lynnette and Kate said the raffle was very well supported and the money raised will help the Petch family cover ongoing medical costs.

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An air of optimism in Branxton

IT’S too early to say whether ornot Branxton will become a“destination centre” but 12 months after the completion of the $1.7billion Hunter Expressway there is still plenty of optimism in the air.

As predicted some businesses, like the local newsagency and Branxton Fish and Chips, have taken a “hit”.

department manager Peter Bradford and store manager Liam Collier have benefited from the opening of the Hunter Expressway – 12 months on.

They can no longer takeadvantage of the steady stream of traffic that once flowed through the small town – up to 40,000 vehicles a day.

Although they acknowledge the downturn in the mining industry has also played a role in thesequieter times.

However, less traffic andcongestion is enticing locals back to the main street now they can “get a park”.

The owner of Branxton House Motel, Lucy Fung, says this also makes staying in Branxton more attractive.

“I was worried at first but it has turned out to be more of a positive than a negative,” she says.

“It is much quieter, safer andeasier to get around.

“Overall, it is a much moreenjoyable experience for visitors and they stay longer.”

Having only purchased the motel three years ago, she is more worried about the decline of the mining industry.

“We are busy on weekends but the weekdays are much quieter,” she explains.

“There was a big drop offbefore the expressway was even completed.”

Manager of Branxton Hardware Liam Collier has called it “ablessing in disguise”.

The store he manages is reaping some unexpected, but welcome, benefits now the region is directly linked to Newcastle.

Mr Collier says without having to do any promotion a new market has opened up for them.

“Now we have a qualityconnection to a metropolitan area, more tradespeople from Newcastle are working in the area and we are picking up business from them,” he says.

“As once they are here doing a job, they don’t want to travel back to Newcastle for supplies.”

The driven store managerdecided to take advantage of the trend and revamped this side of the business accordingly.

“Tilers, painters, plasterers, plumbers, and the like, are doing all types of work in the area so supplying the trade market is making up for the minimal retail leakage we have experienced in retail due to the expressway.”

“If we continue tomarket the business properly we shouldalso see some turnover from the Huntleedevelopment.

“I didn’t expect it to be a positive but it has been,” he says.

“I have lived here allmy life and I haveseen so many new faces lately.

“Apparently they have been here for a while; they just never shopped here because it was too busy.”

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Red Alert – Gina Rinehart doesn’t want your money!

This is not the first time Gina Rinehart has been the victim of scam emails. Photo: Bohdan WarchomijIf you have received an email from Australian billionairess Gina Rinehart, seeking help depositing funds for charitable purposes, you might be surprised to know that its origins might be closer to Nigeria than Mrs Rinehart’s mansion in Perth’s wealthy enclave, Dalkeith.

Mrs Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL), has warned that it has been made aware of several scam emails purporting to be from Mrs Rinehart “seeking assistance with the depositing of funds from an alleged charity or humanitarian purposes.”

It said “the message is not from Mrs Rinehart who is in no way associated with the scam charity or the scam scheme. The scam is designed to fraudulently induce you to transfer money to persons associated with the scam.”

Mrs Rinehart has been legitimately involved with several charitable causes, including a million dollar donation to a charity assisting the victims of abuse in Cambodia and late last year she pledged $175 million to develop a state-of-the-art health facility in Darwin.

HPPL also recently signed on as the main sponsor of Swimming Australia.

But it is not the first time she has been the victim of scam emails.

In December 2012, a grammatically challenged email, purporting to be from Mrs Rinehart, was sent out representing another charitable cause.

“I am writing this mail to you with heavy sorrow in my heart,” said a report citing one version of the email.

“I am a 58-year-old widow with a weight problem, a persecution complex and I am contacting you because I don’t have any other option than to tell you as I know I won’t survive for long,” the email read.

“I was touched to open up to you about my project is worth ($200,000,000) Two Hundred Million Dollars which I intend to use for CHARITY.”

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