Raffle profits aim to help recovering Pete

SUPPORT: Organisers of the raffle Lynnette and Kate pictured drawing the winning tickets last Wednesday.
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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.
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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.
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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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Swimmer grabs Lyons share of wins

LITTLE FISH: Nine-year-old Bathurst swimmer Collette Lyons has earned a place in the NSW squad to attend the Pacific Games later this year. 040915lyons1SWIMMING
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LAST year when The Cathedral School swimmer Collette Lyons picked up a sixth placing at the NSW PSSA Swimming Championships in the 50 metre freestyle, she left the meeting determined to do even better in 2015.

She knew if she could improve enough to place in an event at that level, she would earn a spot in the NSW team to attend the Pacific Games.

Improve Lyons did, and after a string of records at school, district and Polding carnivals, she produced an outstanding display of swimming at Olympic Park late last month to earn a Pacific Games berth.

Not only did she qualify for five events at the NSW PSSA Swimming Championships, she swam her way to a medal in each of them.

According to her mother Theresa Lyons, Collette had worked hard to achieve her goal.

“She has done squad swimming probably really seriously for about a year and a half now,” she said.

“Last year she made it all the way through to the NSW PSSA and she finished up sixth in the nine years and under 50 metre freestyle.

“So this year she was really determined to get a place and get into the squad to go to the Pacific Games, that was a nice little carrot dangling to make her work hard.

“She has done the hard yards, she gets up early in the morning to swim three times a week, she probably does about six sessions a week and she does afternoons as well.”

The nine-year-old won her age championship at The Cathedral School’s swimming carnival and from there continued to impress. With a swag of records and gold medals to her credit, she was included in the Polding team which headed to Olympic Park for the NSW PSSA Swimming Championships.

She started the state meeting on a positive note as she joined school mate Zara Grout in winning a gold medal as part of the Polding all age girls Freestyle relay team, but better was to come.

When Lyons touched the wall for second place in the final of the 10 years girls 50 metre freestyle, she knew she was headed to the Pacific Games.

From there she went on to win the 10 years and under 50m breaststroke, freestyle and individual medley finals, taking out the latter by an impressive seven seconds.

“She just blew me away, she swam so well,” Theresa Lyons said.

“When she touched the wall for second place in the freestyle she looked up at the board and her little face had such a big smile because she thought ‘I’ve done it.’

“I am very proud, but all credit to her, she’s the one who has been in the pool doing the work.”

The NSW Pacific Games Team will compete at The Pacific Games in Adelaide from November 21-29.

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Saleyards on the east Australian meat map

RECOGNISING COOTAMUNDRA: Saleyards manager Jeff White, agent Steve Tolmie and livestock reporter Graeme Richard at the Cootamundra Saleyards on Wednesday. Picture: Rebecca FistTHERE was an honoured guest amongthe buyers, sellers andthousandsof sheep and lambs atthe Cootamundra Saleyardson Wednesday.
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Saleyardsmanager Jeff White welcomedMeat and Livestock Australia’s livestock reporter Graeme Richard through the gatesfor his first of many regular visits.

Mr Richard’s job involvesreporting on and assessing the animals. He puts a weight, a skin value on the sheep and lambs, records the priceand who they get sold to. Thisgoes into a database which is set upgivean indication of the level of prices on the eastern seaboard.

Mr White is hoping this will providestatewide exposure for the local saleyard.

“With statewide coverage hopefully people around here will pickup on it and won’t send their sheep to other centres,” he said.

He said that local farmers whoselltheir stock atWagga may reconsider.

“They now havethe opportunity to compare prices and they will see that we’re at least on par with Wagga.”

The Cootamundra Saleyards have been performing well.

“The yards in Cootamundra have moved into the top ten selling centres in NSW,” Mr Richards said.

The ranking is based on the sheer volume of sheep and lambs that pass through the saleyards each fortnight.

It’s onwards and upwards for Mr White who wants to capitalise on recent market statistics.

“We’re getting more recognition, we’ve certainly got a good field of buyers coming in and we’ve got to make the most of it.”

MLA will be looking to promote its report via rural programming on theABC and through rural and regional newspapers owned byFairfax Media.

“That’s what the farmers are looking for, the market reports are very important to them,” Mr White said.

“We’re hoping it might increase the input of sheep we get through the yards.”

Localsheep and lamb reportCootamundra Associated agents yarded 4886 lambs andsheep at its fortnightly sale on Wednesday.

This was a decrease of over 4000 due to extremely good rainfall throughout the district.

Top price pen of the day went to Keith andAllan Pether of Stockinbingal, with a pen of XB lambs with a CW of 28 KG and carrying a $6.00 pelt. They were sold to Australian Lamb Company for $ 156.00 coming back at $5.35 / KG CW.

For the official National Livestock Reporting Service report please see The Southern Weekly insert in today’s paper.

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Coaches bring Villages back to life

LOOKING FORWARD TO A GREAT SEASON: Villages United have already made a good start to 2015, having won the pre-season New Era Cup knockout trophy which president David Smith (centre) displays. Five members of the squad were selected in the competition’s representative side in the wake of that performance. They are, from left, Brendan Edwards, Kris Kennedy, Daniel Kennedy, Jarrod Gafa and Jamie Crawford. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 040715cvillageWHEN Villages United first started to think about a campaign in the 2015 New Era Cup competition, a weakened financial position and lack of numbers had them in real danger of having to withdraw.
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But since then things have improved. Improved greatly.

Villages signed former Group 10 players Jarrod Gafa and Kris Kennedy to act as co-coaches and together they not only helped with fundraising, but brought with them a number of new recruits.

Villages won the pre-season New Era Cup knockout competition and on the back of that performance, had five players selected in the competition’s representative side – the two coaches plus Brendan Edwards, Daniel Kennedy and Jamie Crawford.

For a club which won just one game in 2014, the mood amongst the squad could not be more positive as they look to tomorrow’s season opener against the Orange Barbarians.

Kris Kennedy, whose only previous coaching experience was with an under 10s side, is enjoying his new role. He and Gafa have had their squad training for more than two months in preparation for the season.

“I knew they were struggling last year, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to help them out and have a go at coaching,” he said.

“Playing with your mates, it has given me a bit more passion for the game. I have been playing for a long time, but having your mates here and coaching makes you a bit more interested in winning.

“I played with Pat’s last year in reserves and Panthers before that for about five years.”

Gafa has actually worn the blue and maroon colours of Villages United before, but that was only for a handful of games last season.

This year he is committed to giving his all for Villages as he aims to see them go from competition strugglers to heavyweights.

“I played a few games for them last year, I helped out and filled in, but I wanted to help them turn things around this year,” he said.

“I played for Panthers for four years, but broke my hand in the grand final when we played Pat’s, so I was out for a bit after that.

“I filled in for a few games for these guys last year and this year I just wanted to help get the club on the right foot.”

As well as the likes of Gafa and Kennedy, Villages’ 2015 squad includes plenty of other men who bring the experience of playing in Group 10 with them.

Eric Hall impressed as halfback during the knockout, then there are the likes of Adrian Averio, Brad McConnell, Tom Loader and Jason Roche who the co-coaches will have at their disposal.

Their prior experience will help, but Gafa points out the New Era Cup brings with it new challenges.

“It is maybe not as skilful as Group 10, but it is a lot tougher and rougher, “ he said.

“Mainly defence wins this competition, the points come naturally.

“A lot of teams will be a lot stronger than they were last year too. I reckon there are four teams who are a good chance of winning it – hopefully we are one of the four, then uni [CSU], Blackheath and the Bears.

“After we won the cup [knockout] we said ‘That’s one trophy, we have one more to get’.”

While Villages, who are sponsored by Paddy’s Hotel, are yet to negotiate a home ground with Bathurst Regional Council, tomorrow’s match will be played at Orange’s Max Stewart Park.

For CSU, who will be fielding two teams in this year’s competition, season 2015 gets underway with a club derby as Yellow faces Blue at Diggings Oval from 2.30pm.

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Editorial: Bundanoon is Brigadoon 2015

FOR one day every year, Bundanoon is transformed into Brigadoon as the dawn breaks and the mist rises.
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The annual event has captured the imagination of people around the world and attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year.

It’s with good reason that tourists from all corners of the globe converge on the village.

Brigadoon is inspired by the 1954 movie Brigadoon which starred Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse,but unlike the village in the film which rises out of the mist once every 100 years, the Bundanoon-based celebration happens every year.

It’s a day full of every kind of Scottish celebration imaginable with kilts aplenty, bagpipes and haggis – for those brave enough to try the delicacy.

Haggis is a savoury pudding made with sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and a mix of spices, salt and stock and the Scots love it.

Whether or not you have a passion for all things Scottish, Brigadoon is an event not to be missed.

Traditional Scottish games and competitions that demonstrate strength and skill will take place, culminating in the Tartan Warriors competition when the strongest men around will race to pick up concrete stones weighing up to 150kg.

It doesn’t get much more impressive than that.

The event is one of the highlights of the year in the Southern Highlands, so if you’re keen to immerse yourself in Scottish tradition then grab your gumboots and a raincoat and get out to Brigadoon tomorrow.

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Motley Fool: A healthy investment opportunity

Domestic per capita consumption of salmon has almost doubled over the past seven years.Who controls the food chain, business or politicians? That’s a question investors in the Tasmanian salmon industry may ask themselves after the recent announcement of a Senate inquiry into the sustainability of the industry. Senators from The Greens are worried about the environmental impacts of salmon farming and in the inquiry’s investigative sights is Australia’s leading salmon farmer Tassal (ASX:TGR).
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Since the announcement of the inquiry, shares in Tassal have sunk to a 52-week low, while its newly-listed archrival Huon Aquaculture (ASX:HUO) has also been on the nose with investors.

Healthy demand

The investigative problems are set against a backdrop of fast-growing consumer demand for Tasmanian salmon, which has seen the industry publicly state its aim to double production by 2030.

In Australia, harvests of salmon and trout grew at a 10% compound annual growth rate between 2000 and 2013, with Huon mainly selling to high-margin wholesale customers who supply food businesses, fishmongers or sushi and sashimi restaurants. Tassal primarily sells to retail stores, supplying the major supermarkets and other retailers, with both businesses now focused on the domestic market due to strong demand supporting premium prices.

Domestic per capita consumption of salmon has almost doubled over the past seven years and this is a trend supported by immigration patterns and the shift toward healthier diets. Both businesses also enjoy the natural advantage of Tasmania’s cold waters, as nowhere else in Australia is the water temperature suitable to farm salmon. More traditional barriers to entry are also high, with high costs and risks associated with setting up salmon farming infrastructure, while government issued marine leases are strictly limited.

Disruptive technology

Fish farmers are also beneficiaries of new and disruptive technologies that allow them to modify production methods to cut costs, grow production and potentially super-size fish (and profits.)

Tassal’s ambitious growth plans have potential to improve its return on assets by breeding larger fish through selective breeding programs and diet strategies. It also has significant capital investment programs to support marine lease expansions.

Huon aims to grow its harvest by 10% in the year ahead, investing $200 million over the next four years to grow production alongside shareholders’ returns. The family-run business hit the ASX boards in October 2014 and recent half-year revenues and earnings grew 4.5% and 10% respectively over the prior corresponding period.

The company’s prospectus guides for it to earn 33.7 cents per share on a pro-forma basis in 2015, which places it on 13.5x forward earnings at a recent price of $4.56.

Tassal grew revenues and earnings 12.3% and 28.8% respectively over the prior corresponding period and recently updated the market that it expects strong demand growth over the next 18 months. After the recent sell down the shares trade on 12.5x trailing earnings of 28 cents per share at a recent price of $3.49.

Murky waters

On the surface, both businesses appear attractive value given the tailwinds and growth outlook, but the looming government inquiry is muddying the investment case.

Environmentalists, local people and rival aquaculture business owners have complained about the alleged pollution caused by the salmon farms. In particular they point to falling dissolved oxygen levels at depth in Macquarie Harbour and the pollution caused by fish effluent.

Tassal has protested further scrutiny is unnecessary as it’s already a heavily regulated global leader in sustainable environmental practices. Investors will hope the inquiry comes to the same conclusion.

Foolish takeaway

Aquaculture stocks are risky in nature due to the known unknowns of changing seasonal conditions, storms, disease and varying stock mortality rates. Not forgetting the aforementioned potential of regulatory creep to leave investors deep underwater.

However, as a Tassal shareholder I believe it or Huon remain a reasonable long-term investing bet, based on growing demand, barriers to entry, and the potential for operational improvements to boost profits over the medium term.

Attention investors: Don’t miss our new report on our #1 ASX share pick for 2015. This growing, highly profitable tech company has all the makings of a great long-term investing – not least of all a generous, fully franked dividend. Your copy of our brand-new report is free, so just click here now to get your copy.

Tom Richardson is a Motley Fool writer/analyst. He owns shares in Tassal. The Motley Fool owns shares in Computershare.

You can follow The Motley Fool on Twitter @TheMotleyFoolAu. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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Robbie Katter flags alliance with Billy Gordon

Katter’s Australian Party state leader Rob Katter. Former Labor MP Billy Gordon. Photo: Facebook
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Gordon not mentioned at meetings: Premier

While the major parties fight out who should accept Cook MP Billy Gordon’s vote, the Katter Party wants to make it clear they have his number – and they are willing to call it.

Robbie Katter said he had met with Mr Gordon on Monday and came to the conclusion the now-independent had the same aspirations for north Queensland and the regions as the Katter party.

Mr Katter said it made sense for the group to work together on the cross bench as a caucus, and that “mathematically”, it meant the two Katter MPs and the two independents now had “a lot of leverage” in the Labor-led hung Queensland Parliament.

“It is important for people to know that we have been speaking with Billy Gordon and we have had agreement to caucus on issues in parliament so that we are working together and I think it is important for people to know that the KAP recognises that many of the issues that face his electorate of Cook, are very closely aligned,” he said.

“We fight the same battles and it stands to reason that we should caucus and we should be working together in parliament.

“What came out strongly in the statements made by Mr Gordon yesterday is he is there primarily for the seat of Cook and to champion those same issues that we look at.”

Mr Katter said while he expected Mr Gordon to still be tethered to the Labor party given he was elected under their banner, he said he was no longer bound to support it on every issue.

“His starting point is he is a representative of the Cook electorate, I think that is good news for the KAP and also good news for Queensland,” Mr Katter said, adding that he did not agree with the treatment Mr Gordon had received.

“I think he has every right to be there … I think Billy Gordon was treated badly and I think it is a great thing that he stood up and said I am not going to be pushed aside and used.

“As long as Mr Gordon is in Parliament there and willing to progress things, get jobs in those aboriginal communities, the peninsula development road, those sort of things, as long as we are having those sort of conversations, we will be a supporter of him and I think we can expect the same support back from him.”

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Club’s golden anniversary

DROUGHT BROKEN: Kerang Golf Bowls Club’s 2012/13 Northern District Bowling Division Saturday Pennant Division Three title ended an 18-year premiership drought.CELEBRATIONS will be held tomorrow night to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kerang Golf Bowls Club.
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Current and former members will gather at the Kerang Golf Club clubhouse for the event, which doubles as the club’s annual presentation night.

“We’re really looking forward to the celebration, and it is shaping up to be a really nice event,” club president, Frank Boxshall said.

Like most bowls clubs aligned with golf clubs, the need for golfers to play a sport during summer months drove the initiative to form the Kerang Golf Bowls Club.

At the time of the club’s formation, the Kerang golf course used sandscrape greens, which could only be used during the winter.

Efforts to form the Kerang Golf Bowls Club began in 1964, with members working to establish a six-rink green.

The club joined the Royal Victorian Bowls Association in 1965, and played its first competitive matches in the Murray Valley Bowls Association action from 1966.

A second six-rink green, developed on a section of reclaimed golf course land, opened in 1985.

During the past five decades the club has won four pennant titles across the men’s, ladies, midweek and Saturday competitions, all within Division Three sections.

The club broke an 18-year drought in 2013 when it won the Northern District Bowling Division Saturday Pennant Division Three title.

“We are still only a small club compared to the other clubs in the district, but we continue to have an emphasis on the enjoyment of the game,” long-serving member Tony Laughlin, who has been compiling the club’s history, said.

Festivities will kick off at 6.30pm, with numerous club memorabilia items to be on display.

Entry is $20, which includes a meal and entertainment.

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