Support for Forster women’s shelter

MP Stephen Bromhead with Annabelle Daniel, CEO of Women’s Community Shelters.MEMBER for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead this week met with Annabelle Daniel, CEO of Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) to discuss the assistance her organisation could provide for the establishment and running of a women’s shelter in Foster/Tuncurry.

Mr Bromhead said that WCS was an organisation is supported by a range of charitable foundations and trusts and its role was to provide direct relief to women suffering homelessness in community shelters and low cost accommodation.

“I was very pleased to spend time with Annabelle Daniel to learn more about her organisation and how they assist communities in need of women’s shelters, such as in Forster/Tuncurry,” Mr Bromhead said.

“Annabelle and I discussed the needs in the Great Lakes and the shortages in the existing system.

Mr Bromhead said his entire working life as a nurse, police officer, solicitor and now as an MP had been spent looking after people in need, most importantly women and children in domestic violence situations.

“I am facilitating a meeting of stakeholders with an interest in establishing a Great Lakes shelter and I am currently in the process of inviting them to come together to ensure we have a common view of what is required and how we go about it.

“Following on from my meeting with Annabelle Daniel and the minister last week, I am very hopeful that a women’s shelter in Forster/Tuncurry can be established as soon as possible.”

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My Shout!: It’s a quantum leap… whatever that is

It’s a

quantum leap…


that is

RECENTLY this correspondent was involved in a heated debate concerning the best movie of all time.

The Godfather had its supporters along with Citizen Kane. Not surprisingly we threw our weight behind the 1978 masterpiece Escape from Gilligan’s Island.

As is oft the case with these things, there were no winners and no losers. By the end of the discourse The Godfather was still favoured by those who originally thought it was the best there’s been, while Citizen Kane’s followers were equally unmoved.

And this correspondent continued to vote for Escape from Gilligan’s Island.

“Who produced The Godfather?” one debater thundered during a particularly fierce exchange.

There was silence. Then this humble reporter came to the rescue.

We googled the answer. On our new iPhone.

“Francis Ford Coppolla,” we answered.

“Marlon Brando was the star, it was released in 1972,” we continued with sudden air of cinematic authority.

“Incidentally, Orson Welles produced and co-wrote Citizen Kane, way back in 1941,” we added after googling the details.

“And of course, Bob Denver starred as Gilligan, with Leslie H Martinson the director. But everyone knows that.”

It has been a battle but we’re finally starting to come to terms with our new iPhone. Now turning on a light switch still causes us some problems. So working an iPhone is a quantum leap, whatever that is.

We finally decided to join the 21st century earlier this month not long after attaining the lofty status of senior citizen by purchasing an iPhone, at great personal expense we might add.

Until then we’d always made by with cheap mobile phones, which generally did the trick. However, the tragic demise of our last mobile inspired us to upgrade.

Now not for one moment are we saying it was a smooth transition. It took us nearly a week to work out how to answer a call and apologies to the three people who rang us in that time. We will eventually get back to you.

But one of the multitude of joys with colleagues aged under 25 is being able to tap into their vast knowledge of matters technical. That and counting how many times they can use the word ‘awesome’ in the one sentence, but that’s another story.

The days since have been fascinating. We’ve learnt what apps are.

Well, that’s not strictly correct. Our young colleagues have done their best to explain to us what apps are without much success.

It’s perhaps good that they encounter failure at a relatively early age. It’ll put a bit of steel in their backbones and prepare them for the future.

Just the other day we interviewed no-one less than Troy Bayliss using the voice memo on our iPhone. We’d call it a tape recorder in the old days, but that was sooo 1980s.

Troy, as ever, was understanding after we told him it was our first, and therefore, experimental run.

“Give us a call if it doesn’t work out,” he said.

As luck would have it we negotiated the interview without too many problems with the result featuring on the back page of this newspaper last Wednesday. It’s a marvellous world we live in.

This all culminated in our triumphant googling of movie details last week.

Not that it really helped settle the debate.

But let’s face it, anyone who thinks The Godfather or Citizen Kane are superior movies than Escape from Gilligan’s Island really don’t know what they’re talking about.

The philistines.

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Local Goverment Amalgamations: $5m sweetener not enough

THE $5 million NSW government sweetener on offer to Greater Taree City Council, Great Lakes Council and Gloucester Shire Council should two of them choose merge “is not enough” and any merger “will hurt services and the community”.

That is the view of Greater Taree City Council mayor Paul Hogan and it comes as council staff work to the June 30 deadline to submit a proposal to the NSW government on how it “intends to become fit for the future”.

Currently, Fit for the Future is described by the NSW government as a “blueprint for change” and “outlines what the State will do to cut red tape, invest in reform and help councils work smarter together”. A reduction in the number of councils is flagged by the NSW government as an outcome.

Council’s general manager, Ron Posselt says the “Fit for the Future process has recommended that Gloucester Shire Council merge with either Great Lakes Council or Greater Taree City Council.”

“Great Lakes and Gloucester engaged a consultant to model the merged council and have both concluded a merger is not viable at this stage,” Mr Posselt explained.

“As a more sustainable council, Great Lakes is a preferred partner for Gloucester over Greater Taree. Greater Taree will be submitting a response to Fit for the Future by 30 June as a stand alone council.

“We don’t have a position of forced amalgamation of councils although we note that the peak body for councils, LGNSW has a position of no forced amalgamations,” he added.

Last week in NSW Parliament, Independent member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich put a motion to the Legislative Assembly that exposed the possibility that local government councils may be forced to amalgamate.

The revelation came from the minister for local government, Paul Toole on May 14 during debate of the motion, “That this House opposes forced amalgamations of councils that are financially sustainable and have the support of their communities.”

Mr Toole stated the “government does not support the motion of the member for Sydney” and outlined the government’s agenda in relation to local government reform.

Speaking in the legislative assembly chamber, Mr Toole said ‘NSW has 152 councils. They range in size from six square kilometres to 53,000 kilometres. They range in population from 1200 to 300,000 people.”

In relation to regional communities, Mr Toole said they “…play a major role in supporting the State’s economy. They put food on our table and sustain major export industries. They also play a crucial role in education, retail, resources, manufacturing and defence. For NSW to have a strong future our regional communities must also be strong.”

He revealed that “councils are losing up to $1 million per day, which is not sustainable” and said “clearly, it is not an option to make no change. The government is providing, and will continue to provide councils and communities with support and funding to make the changes needed.”

Cr Hogan contends that “income is the biggest issue for council and it is deliberately ignored at a State government level.”

“As an elected representative you want to see what is best for your community, and amalgamation for me, will not improve anything. It will not help our community, it will not improve the financial problem of infrastructure – that will not go away.”

Cr Hogan believes the NSW government offer of $5 million to assist two councils to merge “is not enough”.

“There may be redundancies that have to be paid out, infrastructure changes, such as making a depot larger – the money is easily spent,” he said. “I have never actually been involved in an amalgamation, only viewed what happened in Queensland and discussed it with people who were involved, and the word was that the money was not enough. I can’t see it working.”

THE NSW government has “finally tipped its hand” with its decision to not support a motion in parliament against the forced amalgamations of local government councils, according to Local Government NSW.

President Keith Rhoades AFSM described the debate in the legislative assembly as “crunch time”.

“It really does suggest that the whole Fit for the Future process is simply tick-a-box, with the government firmly committed to diluting local democratic representation for purely ideological reasons,” Mr Rhoades said.

“It was instructive to see the arguments trotted out against the motion, which included claims that amalgamations would ‘drive down rates’, that ‘bigger is better’, and that forced amalgamation is ‘a dead-set non-issue’ for our communities.”

“It was also interesting how often speakers against the motion adopted a straw man argument, suggesting that the local government sector was opposed to any kind of reform.

“I can assure the community and the government this is not the case. Local government welcomes reform that genuinely improves outcomes for residents and ratepayers.

“What the sector does not support is amalgamations being forced on councils who are able to show they are financially sustainable, and whose communities have stated clearly that they wish to continue to have grass roots representation via stand alone councils.”

Mr Rhoades revealed that the parliamentarians who spoke against forced amalgamations during the debate included Guy Zangari (Fairfield, Labor), Jamie Parker (Balmain, Green), Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie, Independent), Jodie Harrison (Charlestown, Labor), and Jenny Leong (Newtown, Green). He added that government parliamentarians who spoke against the motion, supporting forced amalgamations, included Geoff Lee (Parramatta, Liberal), Gareth Ward (Kiama, Liberal), John Sidoti (Drummoyne, Liberal) and Ray Williams (Castle Hill, Liberal).

The member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead did not take part in the debate.

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Iron ore price below $US60 a tonne as declines accelerate

Forecasts remain for the price of iron ore to potentially fall as low as $US45 per tonne in the second half of this calendar year. Photo: Manfred GottschalkIron ore has recorded its sharpest fall in weeks, as Canberra continues to mull whether or not to hold an inquiry into the activities of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

The price of iron ore delivered to the Port of Qingdao fell $US2.32, or 3.5 per cent, to $US58.53 per tonne on Monday.

The fall came as China steel prices slid to their lowest in 12 years as the iron ore hungry nation’s peak construction season began to ebb.

Since May 11, when iron ore hit $US62.88 per tonne, the commodity has been gradually giving up gains made after BHP in April said it would slow production growth.

The movement in the price of iron ore has come against the backdrop of a public campaign waged by Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest against rivals BHP and Rio Tinto.

Mr Forrest has been winning support in Canberra for his claims that BHP’s and Rio’s activities in driving down the price of iron ore are against the national interest.

However, his push for an inquiry has little support outside political circles and BHP and Rio on Tuesday expressed their exasperation with the ongoing debate.

“Not all inquiries are bad because it can create transparency, but this is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money,” BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie told ABC on Tuesday.

“It’s red tape, pure and simple.”

In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, Rio’s head of iron ore Andrew Harding said he was stunned by Mr Forrest’s campaign.

“As I keep saying, there is a reality dysfunction. The commercial reality of it all gets overlaid by the claim ‘that is rubbish’ and ‘that is not how it works’, but no one ever goes on to explain how it works in the alternative,” Mr Harding said.

“The reality is Australia has a great reputation internationally for its commitment to free and open trade … but if the only time you get to demonstrate how supportive you are of free trade and open markets is when you are going through the bottom of a cycle, the ramifications could be extraordinary.”

Forecasts remain for the price of iron ore to potentially fall as low as $US45 per tonne in the second half of this calendar year.

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Colouring yourself calm: why colouring-in is back

Adult colouring-in books are flying off the shelves of Avid Reader in West End as fast as they can stock them. Photo: Sarah DeasyA treasured childhood activity is now the go-to trend for practitioners of mindfulness.

Adult colouring-in books are flying off the shelves as fast as bookstores can stock them, providing a guided creative outlet that can help with anxiety and depression.

Book buyer for West End’s Avid Reader Sarah Deasy said the trend began some years ago with humourous adult colouring books such as Colour Me Good 80s.

“It’s really only in the last six months that it’s really picked up as art therapy,” she said.

“So we’re now getting books with really beautiful floral, wallpaper, mandalas and other patterns rather than figures.”

Ms Deasy said the juggernaut was led by Johanna Basford’s 2013 book, The Secret Garden.

“At the time it was marketed as a children’s colouring-in book,” she said.

“But it’s such a gorgeously produced book, adults started coming in asking for it as well, and that really kicked the whole thing off.”

Basford has since released a sequel, The Enchanted Forest, and books like The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress Art Therapy for Busy People by Emma Farrarons and Colour Yourself Calm by Tiddy Rowan are in hot demand.

“I’ve been seeing photos of people going to the park with a group of friends and they sit around with their books colouring all day,” Ms Deasy said.

“People are doing colouring-in almost like book clubs.”

The pastime is huge on social media – a search of hashtags such as #colouring #colouringin #secretgarden and #enchantedforest on Instagram turns up hundreds of thousands of images.

But registered art therapist Justine Wake said the practice had deeper value as a mindfulness exercise.

“For people stuck in their own head, with a lot of anxiety and depression, it can be hard to have a mindful experience,” she said.

“If you can get someone to really just stay with the actual act of colouring-in, it’s a good practice for becoming mindful in the moment rather than getting caught up with over-thinking.”

She said practitioners could choose any colours they liked, and the existing outlines helped to build their confidence.

“You don’t really have to think, it’s very non-threatening,” she said.

“I would use it for people who are frightened of making art – and that’s common amongst adults,  lots of people have hang-ups from childhood about being bad at art.”

Dymocks currently lists three colouring-in books in its Top 10 bestseller list.

National buying manager Sophie Higgins believes their widespread appeal lie in a desire to break from the digital world.

“Digital media can be overwhelming and I know myself that I probably hit the average of 150 checks of my smartphone daily,” she said.

“As an attempt to combat what feels like an increasingly short attention span, people seem to be switching off their TVs and picking up their pencils.”

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