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Archive for October, 2018

Network making headway

MORE than 60community members interested in being a part ofPort Lincoln’s Suicide Prevention network met at an information session at the Port Lincoln Hotel last Wednesday night.

At the session, volunteers were encouraged to sign up to help establisha suicide prevention network and develop an action plan for the community.

The Port Lincoln community networkwill be one of a series of networks throughout the stateadministered by SA Health through the Office of the Chief Psychiatristas part of the South Australian Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The crowd heard a presentation by theBlack Dog Institute onthe diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders as well as information about other Suicide Prevention Networks in the state.

Office of the Chief Psychiatrist suicide prevention principal project officerLynne James said in her presentation that the network would be about educating the wider community and early intervention.

Ms James said building a networkwas about empowering the communityand giving people the confidence to approach others in need.

She said the role of the network would be to educatethe community and to learn how to have life-saving conversations with people who needed it.

“There could be members of the community who just need that initial conversation, for someone to listen and explain to them the resources that are available to get help,” Ms James said.

“We want to break down the stigmaand start having positive conversations around suicide,’”she said.

Ms James said lots of what the Port Lincoln City Council did was an example of suicide prevention already in action in the local area.

“Things like aged care, community events and even parks are all suicide prevention in action,” she said.

The Office of the Chief Psychiatrist will play an active role in the community driven network in its first year to facilitate meetings and an action planning day, the date of which was yet to be set.

NETWORK: Port Lincoln City Council mayor Bruce Green, Jackie Hibble from West Coast Youth Community Services, Lynne James SA Health, Jane Cooper Country SA PHN, Chez Curnow Country SA PHN, Martin Breuker Country Health SA.

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Family night out: Tarni Pumphrey, Tyler, Hamish, Ashton, Keryn and Matt Jansen, enjoy looking at the work on dispay in Tarni’s classroom. Photos: Lee Steinbacher

St Brigid’s Primary School in Bridgetown showcased their students’ school work, music and artistic skills to the community during their open night last Thursday.

School principalAndrew Kellysaid the open night was part of the reporting and assessment process and was a great opportunity for students to show how hard they had been working during the year.

Bright class: Brooke Rutten, Bethany Rutten, Charlotte Little, Tilly Butler, James Rutten and Willow Mcleod check out the work in room two.

“It has been a really good night and a wonderful opportunity for parents and family members to come and have a look at the work their children have done throughout the term,” Mr Kellysaid.

“It is a great way to show the community our students learning journey and celebrate what they are doing when they come to school each day.”

Growing up: Opal Duggand and Olivia Hide with their teacher Jamie Ternent.

Mr Kelly also acknowledged his staff for their hard work throughout the year.

“The work on show tonight is the work students do in class throughout the term that is marked and assessed by the teaching staff,” he said.

“It has been good for the students and staff to share their efforts with the community.”

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OPPORTUNITIES: Member for Goulburn Pru Goward welcomed the announcement by the State Government to re-develop Goulburn Hospital though a public-private partnership. GOULBURN MP Pru Goward says a public-private partnership for the Base Hospital couldopen “great opportunities” for the city as a regional health hub.

The State Government announced on Thursdayit would call expressions of interest in private partnerships for Goulburn, Maitland, Wyong and Shellharbour Hospitals.

Responding to claims that it would create a “two-tiered” health system, Ms Goward said it would remain a public hospital, regardless of who built it.

“If the private partner also wants to build a private ward that will be up to them,” she said.

“They are being asked to build a public hospital where everybody is treated for free and receives the same standard of care.”

She said if a suitable private partner did not emergein the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process, then a public hospital would still be built.

“It might not be privatised,” she said.

“This is an EOI and if nobody comes forward with a partnership proposal that suits then we would not go forward with it,”she said.

“If the EOI is successful we will still put our $120m inand expect the partner to put the rest in and build it.

“The $120m will give us the basic requirements of a modern hospital – new operating theatres, new wards and new emergency department. The upgrade will enable all of this to be built and allow a better integrated hospital to emerge.

“It will also enable private providers to come forward with other health services they could incorporate into the hospital, for example,more renal services, or better oncology or palliative care services.”

Ms Goward responded to union claims that health staff would be worse off under the proposal, sayingthenew hospital and Goulburn’s ageing populationwould create more jobs, not less in the health sector.

“Health Minister Jillian Skinner has guaranteed permanent staff a job in the new hospital fortwo-years.I think that is pretty good,” she said.

“You also always need to have casual staff in a hospital. To provide a 24/7 service you need casual staff. No hospital could operate without them.

“I see this as an exciting opportunity. A lot of people currently travel to Canberra or Bowral for treatment.It would be good for us to keep those patients in Goulburn.”

The EOIs close on October 14. More reports P3

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Prince Of Penzance exercises at Levys Point after winning last year’s Melbourne Cup.RELATED:Racing’s shifting sands

RELATED:Access to be monitored to ensuresafety for all

A letter threatening horse trainers with fines of more than $1 million stopped the racing industry in its tracks this week.

Theletter to more than 50 Warrnambool and district trainers outlined concerns horses ridden in sand dunes at Levys PointdamagedAboriginal heritage, including shell middens and artefacts scatters.

Aboriginal Victoria’s authorised officer for Aboriginal heritage, Matthew Phelan, said a recent inspection by staff “identified evidence of harm occurring to Aboriginal places”.

He warned trainers and staff faced hefty penalties for breaches, including fines of $1.5 million for businesses and almost $280,000 for individuals damaging cultural heritage.

“Authorised officers from Aboriginal Victoria will be making random inspections of the reserve tomonitor compliance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006,” he said.

The letter noted the Southwest Owners, Trainers and Riders Association was working with Parks Victoria and other agencies on management of commercial horsetraining and washappy to assist.

The warning forced Warrnambool City Council to closeLevys Point to trainers from Tuesday, complicating Moyne Shire’s plan to ban horses atKillarney.Instead of authorities working to find one solution, they are now grappling with what to do with trainers looking to work horses in dunes.

Belfast Coastal Reserve Action Group applauded the Levys Point ban, sayingfragile dunes and cultural heritage needed to be protected.

But the group is now calling for horse trainingto be banned on all beaches.

SpokesmanBill Yates said Moyne council and Parks Victoria needed to prevent dune training in other areas within the coastal reserve.

“Commercial horse training on the coast impinges on multiple environmental laws to such an extent that the activity is simply not viable,” Mr Yatessaid.

He opposed Moyne’s plan to allow horses on Port Fairy’s East Beach.

“The proposed move to East Beach will run straight into a quagmire of Commonwealth approvals,” he said.

“It’s a dead duck. To say otherwise is giving false hope.”

He said the plan could be blocked by legal action “if they attempt to railroad through the legalising of commercial horse training” on protected public land.

“Unfortunately for the horse trainers, and without any fault on their part, they have been let go without any rules for far too long by the authorities.Now they are understandably angry at losing access to the beach,” he said.

“It is only appropriate that the authorities provide a replicated sand training area away from the coast, such as an upgrade to facilities at the Warrnambool Racing Club.”

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Strawberries being harvested. Longford strawberry producer Hugh McKinnon has raised concerns over the uncertainty around the proposed ‘backpacker tax.’ Longford strawberry producer Hugh McKinnon has raised concerns his business might not be able to fill the labour shortage during peak harvest time due to inaction on the proposed “backpacker tax.”

Mr McKinnon was one of the delegates that travelled to Canberra on Thursday to meet with federal Assistant Minister Luke Hartsuyker and other federal MPs and Senators to discuss the tax, that is under review.

The group, organised by Primary Employers Tasmania gave the federal government a 10-day deadline to make a decision on the tax.

“The worst case is that we will be unable to pick all of the fruit during peak harvest time,” Mr McKinnon said.

“We are certainly concerned we are not going to have the [labour] numbers available.”

Mr McKinnon said his business relied on backpacker labour for about six months of the year, during peak harvest season. Backpackers work as pickers and in the packing room and begin arriving at the end of October.

“The small fruit industry in Tasmania is growing very quickly in the Midlands and in the Devonport area, the labour force needed is far in excess of the local supply,” he said.

Mr McKinnon’s strawberry business would employ more than 100 backpackers every year and he said it was important to note they tried to employ locals in the first instance.

While registrations for Mr McKinnon’s backpacker workforce is yet to open he said the labour hire companies he used had reported a 40 per cent drop off in inquiries.

“With the state government hoping to increase to grow agriculture [AgriVision 2050] if the workforce is not there it places that plan in serious jeopardy,” he said.

The state government has previously called on the backpacker tax to be scrapped and successfully lobbied for the federal government to include Tasmania in its round of face-to-face consultations.

The tax on working holiday makers was due to increase to 32.5 per cent and the tax free threshold removed on July 1. But a six month deferral was announced during the election campaign after farming and tourism groups raised concerns about negative consequences for seasonal workers.

The review is being conducted by Assistant Minister Luke Hartsuyker and a face-to-face consultation was held in Hobart on September 5.

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie also threw her support behind scrapping the tax.

“We need those pickers over Christmas and we need them now. If we don’t have them we will have rotting fruit left on the ground.”

The meeting included Independent senators Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon and was held on Thursday.

Primary Employers Tasmania president Glynn Williams described the situation as an “impending crisis” for the agriculture and tourism industries in Tasmania and nationally.

“This tax will see harvest losses and a drop off in investment. It will mean less long term jobs, lower profits and less tax paid by business. Revenue to state and federal to governments will fall, seeing the projected gains from 32.5 per centbackpacker tax as a hollow illusion,” he said.

“Tasmanian farmers need a decision now. The end of the year will be too late. The end of the month will be too late. The end of next week is too late. We need a decision to be announced to bring an end to the damaging speculation which is turning away the workers Tasmania so desperately needs.”

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