Letters to the Editor

Shedding light on teachers’ strikeThe State Government and teachers in NSW public schools are again in dispute.At the centre of the dispute is the government’s proposed Local Schools Local Decisions policy.On the one hand the government argues that it is about giving more autonomy to schools through increasing the power of principals with particular regard to staffing.On the other hand teachers are arguing that it is not about improving the learning outcomes for students but rather a cost-cutting exercise in which the government will shift the responsibility to principals.The danger of the proposals is that the budget will be the priority, not the education of children in our schools both in our area and in the state.Two very different views. Little wonder that parents of children in public schools are probably confused.Perhaps the following might shed light on what really is at stake here.It is what teachers have asked Barry O’Farrell and the Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, to guarantee.Before making a judgement, parents might consider if any of the following are unfair. Will any of the following diminish the opportunity to give greater autonomy to schools, bearing in mind that over 80 per cent of all executive positions in schools are already determined by interview as are over 55 per cent of classroom positions?If the answer is no, then I would urge parents to support teachers in their efforts to making sure there is a well-funded public education system available for all children.The government has been asked to guarantee that:• class sizes will not be increased;• funds for public education will not be reduced in real terms;• there will be no overall decrease in the level of permanent teaching positions;• there will be no overall decrease in the level of school executive staffing;• the current harmonious award system will be maintained;• there will be no decrease in the level of specialist teaching positions;• school executive structures will be determined by curriculum and the number of teachers; and• key decisions at the school level will be made co-operatively by principals, teachers andparents.Michael Lambert, President, Moruya Teachers Association.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Bring back our bridle trails!

The Eurobodalla’s historic bridle paths linking the shire with Cooma, the Southern Tablelands and the Shoalhaven should be restored, according to Moruya’s Brian Clarke.The chairman of lobby group Access for All will travel to Cobargo on Saturday to rally support for a draft strategy seeking to expand horse riding in national parks and wilderness areas (see story page two).Mr Clarke, 70, said he grew up riding historic trails in and around Bendethera, in the Deua National Park, but “wilderness declarations” blocked a network of pack trails that once traversed the mountains, linking the coast to the Monaro and the tablelands.“It’s our heritage,” he said.Mr Clarke said wilderness assessments had not considered the historic value of convict-built pack tracks such as the Shoebridge, built to carry produce between the coast and Araluen.“They said there was nothing in there,” he said.“It was there for them to see. Shoebridge had the store in Lower Araluen and, when they couldn’t get supplies up the river here because of flood, he paid to have a pack track from the coast built. It is still there now. We can ride on most of it but, on the back end of it, they put wilderness on it which means we can’t go all the way through.“These tracks are there, they were on maps. I think it should be protected. It is not there for anyone to abuse or make money out of, but it was part of our heritage and we think it should be preserved. There is some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia in our backyard.”Mr Clarke said his group had “a wonderful relationship with national parks” in the shire and helped maintain the Corn Trail which runs through the Monga National Park from the foot of Clyde Mountain to its peak.“We supply horses to pack saws and equipment in for the national parks,” he said.“That is a prime example of what can be achieved. We look after the area, we don’t want to destroy it. We are conservationists like everyone else.”Mr Clarke said horses were no more likely to carry weed and exotic seeds in their hooves than native or feral animals, “or a pair of Blundstones with big woolly socks”.He said riders were unlikely to veer off the beaten path.“They won’t get off these tracks. Some are very remote, very dense bush and very steep terrain and there is no way in the world you would get off the track, otherwise you are going straight down over the side,” he said.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jail for repeat call offender

A Batemans Bay woman convicted of making vexatious emergency calls to 000 to complain about a fast food outlet and police, including a threat to blow up a police station, has been jailed for at least three months after breaching numerous court bonds by committing new but unrelated offences.Susannah Scheuelle, 45, also known as Stark, pleaded guilty to high-range drink driving on May 13, offensive behaviour at Batemans Bay police station on April 3, possession of cannabis leaf, and resisting a police officer.She appeared before Batemans Bay Local Court from jail on video/audio link.Defence lawyer Peter Ryan said sentencing her was a difficult matter and that her offences all involved alcohol.He said Ms Scheuelle had been in custody since May 13 and that she now realised the repercussions of her drinking after a relapse.Mr Ryan said it was her second drink driving offence in five years and at the time Ms Scheuelle was subject to good behaviour bonds for the prior offences.Magistrate David Degnan revoked all bonds, including those imposed for intimidation and making vexatious phone calls to triple-0 in November 2010 when she was charged under the name Stark.Instead, he imposed a jail sentence of three months immediately suspended for two years on condition that she is of good behaviour and complies with supervised parole.For the most recent offences, Ms Scheuelle received a fixed jail term of three months, which included two months’ jail for high-range drink driving on Batehaven Road.When police stopped her Hyundai at 10.15pm on May 13, Ms Scheuelle had a blood/alcohol reading of 0.154, more than three times the legal limit.For resisting a police officer on May 13 when she attempted to kick an officer who was arresting her for drink driving, Ms Scheuelle received 12 months’ jail with a non-parole of two months.Ms Scheuelle will be released from jail on August 12 but remain under the supervision of Parole Services.She is disqualified from driving for five years.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Coastkids market on this weekend!

Organisers of this weekend’s Coastkids Market are hoping for a big turnout to ensure a new playground is built at Nelligen by Christmas.The small, hard-working band of volunteers has raised almost $15,000 for the Nelligen Playground Project in less than 18 months.If people are generous at this Saturday’s final major fundraiser, the group should meet its target – which will then be matched by Eurobodalla Shire Council.“Eurobodalla Shire Council has also committed $15,000 to the project, and installation of the pirate ship playground should be completed before Christmas this year,” market co-ordinator Jenny Clarke said.“We just need people to show their support by buying cupcakes and raffle tickets.”The winter CoastKids Market is being held at Batemans Bay Public School this Saturday from 10am to 2pm.This is the third time the fundraising market has been held on the South Coast following the huge success of the original winter market last June.“We’ve had a very positive response from the public once again for this market,” Ms Clarke said.“South Coast parents are extremely limited when it comes to purchasing items for their children, and CoastKids fills the gap when shopping for both beautiful new, hand-made, and quality pre-loved children’s items.”As well as pre-loved and new children’s items, the CoastKids Market will also showcase yummy home-baked cupcakes, a sausage sizzle, face painting and activities to keep the kids entertained. There will also be a display of vintage cars and an appearance by the Batemans Bay Fire Brigade.Rebecca Henderson from RLH Photography has also donated a $375 family portrait prize to be raffled on the day, with tickets available at market entry.The 2012/13 edition of the popular CoastKids magazine will also be launched at the market; a publication full of valuable information and quality advertisers catering to South Coast parents.Updated information canbe found by searching and liking CoastKids Market on Facebook.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Councillors oblivious to real costs

Parents understand that the cost of children bears little relationship to their allowances.Business managers and accountants are acutely aware that salaries are only a portion of the cost of staff.But our councillors seem unable to recognise that it is the aggregate of what councillors cost us that matters, not the amount councillors pocket.Costs documented to our councillors by council’s accountants average nearly $100,000 per councillor for the year.Meanwhile, our general manager personally churns through another $506,000 in wages and sundries.These costs are on the public record in Eurobodalla Shire Council Statement of Council and Committee Costs; Attachment 2; Eurobodalla Shire Council Management Plan 01/07/2011 – 31/03/2012.No councillor disputed these costs when they studied the Management Plan.The Mayor’s Memoand Councillor Morton (Bay Post/Moruya Examiner, June 13) malign my reference to these costs as totally misleading, fictitious sensationalism and mischievous.They refer to my “letter about councillor remuneration” and contend that councillors take home modest amounts.But I have not written any letter about councillor remuneration. Their remuneration is decided by the State. It is a minor portion of what councillors cost us and a distraction they introduce to evade the bigpicture.Councillors are unwilling to separate their obsessive interest in personal remuneration from their responsibility to look objectively at all expenditure from the point of view of the ratepayers they are elected to represent.The guardians of our funds refuse to consider the large variation between their remuneration and the amount they cost the community.They care too little to look for any scope for savings. Yet they have a responsibility to lead council by example.Our mayor denies that the figures “reflect the cost to the community of its elected representatives”. It is not clear whether he believes the Management Plan has unreliable or fraudulent figures, or whether he dreams the accumulated costs will be paid by some other community.Either the figures or the mayor lack credibility.Don BurnsTuross HeadThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Gossip from around the Eurobodalla

Stuart Bammon, of Moruya, has just turned two, much to the delight of his beautiful mummy Beck and handsome daddy Chris.Beck has very proud grandparents, Henry and Jenny Hudson, and of course Denise and Garry Thornton are just as proud.A family picnic was held to celebrate with some serious gold prospecting and camping out. What brave people in this weather!After a three-month break Mark Schuelein is back in town. He has been in Queanbeyan working as a carpenter on a huge house that he said would take your breath away. Seems there is no shortage of pennies around that way.Caroline Smith had a wonderful time at Thredbo. She had a fabulous break with her husband Neil for five days. They took an apartment right on the slopes and the views were breathtaking. She is now back to the grindstone on the treadmill at the gym with her personal trainer Kate Turtianen.Jenny Tweedie has been away in Mittagong for a two-day conference with four other Quota members. They are all from the 35th District. Quota International of Batemans Bay is part of a women’s group that works very hard to raise money for various charities, like the hard of hearing and speech-impaired women and children. If you are interested in joining, please call the president, Carolyn Anderson, on 4471 3313.Renee Egan has just finished her final exams. She is off to Canberra with her Bachelor of Commerce degree in February for a graduate program which is like an internship in an accounting firm. We wish her all the very best. She will be missed in the Bay I am sure.Ron Maxwell and his mate Colin are off to Sydney for the big game tomorrow – the Wallabies vs Wales at the Sydney Football Stadium.Should be a great game, they certainly will have to rug up!Michelle and Dave can now see the light at the end of the tunnel after many weeks of building their new home at Catalina. All last weekend was spent hard at work finishing the final details. Next on the list is the interior design. Michelle says with the experience they have obtained, an audition for The Block TV show may be in order.DYK: When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking tin, use a bit of dry cake mix instead. There will not be any white mess on the outside of the cake this way.YUK: Smoking is an individual’s right but please don’t just butt where you stand. There are spots around the Bay with hundreds of butts just sitting there looking very unsightly.YUMMY: The winter menus in our local restaurants. Loving the hot soups and exciting menu changes.Mrs Farrington-Smythe has returned from Aspen looking fitter than ever. The outdoor and indoor sports have lifted her spirits somewhat. The Bohemian look is big overseas just now she told us. Does this mean we drag out all our old ‘60s outfits and become flower children again?This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hillary Clinton, Will Smith…and Anne?

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has labelled a Eurobodalla lawyer a “hero” for her work against international slavery.Bingi’s Doctor Anne Gallagher was in Washington on Tues-day to accept the Trafficking in Persons Hero award from Dr Clinton, just a week after being named an Officer in the Order of Australia.The US Department of State recognised Dr Gallagher’s “ambitious efforts to strengthen legislative and criminal justice responses to human trafficking in South East Asia, and her substantial contribution to identify the core elements of a comprehensive anti-trafficking model that both prosecutes traffickers and protects victims”.Each year, the US honours individuals around the world who have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking. Dr Gallagher is acknowledged as a leading global authority on the law and policy of human trafficking.Guests at the ceremony included anti-slavery campaigner Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith.Dr Gallagher last week was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, “for distinguished service to the law, and to human rights, as a practitioner, teacher and scholar, particularly in the areas of human trafficking responses and criminal justice”.Speaking in Washington, Dr Gallagher said the award was “a great honour, particularly to be recognised along with such brave and selfless individuals who have sacrificed so much in their struggle against the exploitation of human beings for profit”.“It is my hope that the award will draw attention to the importance of a strong criminal justice response to trafficking: one that seeks to end impunity and secure justice for those who have been exploited.“This award is awonderful personal compliment, but I see it also as a tribute to what has been achieved in South East Asia over the past decade. While much remains to be done, great progress has been made and that deserves to be recognised.”Celebrating at home in the Eurobodalla were Dr Gallagher’s husband Cees de Rover and their twin daughters Elodie and Ruby.For more than a decade, Dr Gallagher has turned international law on an industry worth more than $30 billion a year.The United Nations estimates 21 million adults and children are victims of human trafficking and forced labour in the sex, agriculture, seafood, clothing and other trades, making $32 billion per year.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Eurobodalla Ratepayers’ group slams GM decision

The Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association has slammed council’s decision to extend general manager Paul Anderson’s contract for a further five years, criticising both its timing and the manner in which it was done.“While the decision has expensive and long-term consequences for all of the shire, it was taken in secret,” ERA chairman Geoff Plews said.“The terms of Mr Anderson’s new contract have not been disclosed. Information about which councillors supported it is hidden.“Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association is extremely disappointed by the way Mr Anderson’s re-appointment was handled.”Mr Plews said councillors had failed to determine whether other suitable candidates were available and claimed the decision was inappropriately timed, given a new council would be elected in September.He said the “short-sighted decision” could unnecessarily burden ratepayers with heavy compensation liabilities if future councillors wanted to employ someone else.However, Eurobodalla Mayor Fergus Thomson defended the decision and its timing, saying it was made in line with advice from local government authorities.He said there was little point in delaying a decision when it would then have to be made within months of the council election, potentially by newly elected councillors with little knowledge of the general manager’s performance to date.Cr Thomson said to seek othercandidates would have cost about $40,000 and would have involved terminating Mr Anderson’s tenure.Asked why a shorter, 12-month contract could not have been offered, the Mayor said it would likely have been rejected.“No general manager to my knowledge would accept a 12-month contract,” he said.Cr Thomson said a change of council created a “lot of hard work” for a general manager and no-one would expect them to go through that on a short contract, particularly after just receiving an “above average performance review”.But Mr Plews was critical of the general manager’s performance over the past four years, citing staffsurveys and consultants’ reports as evidence.He said an independent survey conducted by council showed council’s relations with the community were extremely poor and public uproar over the local environment plan was just one of many examples.“Mr Anderson has had little impact on the introspective and secretive culture of the organisation,” Mr Plews said. “Nor has he put council in a strong financial position to face future challenges. The new 10-year financial plan shows a long string of future operating deficits, ever increasing rates and charges, and no clear strategy to return council’s budget to balance.“Yet again Eurobodalla Shire has failed to convince Commonwealth and State authorities that this council would use a proper share of infrastructure funding as efficiently as competing councils. Private sector investors are bypassing the shire, local businesses are failing rapidly, property values are declining and many residents must search for employment outside the shire.“Eurobodalla ratepayers willbenefit only when councillors are able to recognise the difference between activity and achievement, with real, measurable, on-the-ground improvements in roads, health services and appropriate environment protection.”This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

More hives hit in bee massacre

Greg Roberts inspect his bee hives yesterday.The damage bill is rising for the shire’s honey-producers, with up to 1200 Eurobodalla beehives now confirmed hits in what has all the hallmarks of industrial sabotage.The mass poisonings first uncovered earlier this week have targeted the hives of major players in the industry at at least 10 sites.Apiarists now fear that whoever is responsible will strike again and beekeepers are being urged to keep a close eye on their loads.Police are leading the investigation but had no comment to make yesterday.Eurobodalla beekeeper Greg Roberts lost just two hives in Murramarang National Park, north of Batemans Bay, but his brother Pat lost 120 at a site on the same road.Mr Roberts fears the culprits oppose beekeepers being allowed to use leased sites for their hives in national parks and state forests. The hives are there to take advantage of flowering plants.Mr Roberts, a past president of the NSW Apiarists Association and former national chairman of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, said as many as eight large operators had been hit.“I can’t work it out. It’s as though ghosts have come out in the night,” he said. “They left no footprints, no car tracks, no nothing, but the attacks must have been well planned.“With no footprints, they must have worn special footwear or put rags over their shoes. With so many hives destroyed, it is such amassive thing to do.”Greg Roberts said it would require more than one or two offenders to go around so many different sites.Although backpack chemical sprays or pumps had been discussed as the likely method to distribute the poison, Mr Roberts said aerosol sprays may have been used but this method would have required hundreds of cans.“The attacks are similar in a way to those on logging machinery that was damaged in the past when people went in against logging,” he said.Greg Roberts said he did not believe other beekeepers were involved in the attacks.“There are people who don’t want us in the state forests,” he said.“It would seem that they had maps or even inside information of where the beehives were.”Pat Roberts lost 240 hives at two sites and quickly ruled out disease as the cause of the deaths.“I’ve worked with bees all my life. I know when something has been sprayed (by chemical),” he said yesterday.“Each hive has 50,000 to 70,000 bees.“A lot of the guys didn’t have insurance. I don’t know yet how we stand.”With the loss of so many bees, Pat Roberts said it would be a slow process to rebuild the stocks.“We can’t do anything until spring as we have got to separate them away from other hives, then put in a new young queen. It will take 12 months at least to return to full honey production.”The Environmental Protection Agency and DPI are testing the dead bees and hives for traces of chemical and the results are not expected until later next week.Julian Thompson, EPA acting manager south branch, said staff sampled three beehive sites in the Batemans Bay region.He said apiarists have dozens of beehive sites each to check and had not yet visited them all.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Track Watch: Miss Ready willing and able

BEFORE launching into the review of the past week’s racing, let’s focus on the exciting full-TAB meeting at the Moruya Jockey Club next Tuesday.The club has been overwhelmed by the 137 nominations received for the seven-event program so we should be in for big fields and highly competitive racing across the card.All the usual facilities will be in full swing at the track and Priors dedicated race-day bus service will be running from the Bay, booking details for which, as well as the sponsors for the day, appear on the Moruya Jockey Club’s promotional poster on page 37.This is the second last meeting of the racing season and all trainers will be out to improve their positions on the premiership tables, the last being the Batemans Bay Cup meeting on Friday, July 13. Interestingly, John Marzol has only two nominations for the day, they both being unraced maidens, and it’s good to see Mark Latta’s name appear once again in the training ranks, also with two untried maiden runners.Unfortunately the final fields for the day will not be declared until today, but can be accessed on the Racing NSW website for your early consideration.Let’s all pray for good weather, with gates opening at the track at 11am and the first race set to jump at 12.40pm.Only a small number of Moruya gallopers stepped out at meetings over the past week but, as always, there was plenty of success and some great performances.Luke Pepper was our only trainer who made the trip to Wagga with just one runner last Friday, that being new stable acquisition Miss Ready.The three-year-old filly by More Than Ready, who was previously trained in town by Gai Waterhouse, had five previous starts under her belt for one third placing.Her debut run for Luke was in the Maiden event over 1200 metres in a field of 14, and she settled near the front on jumping under the patient and confident riding of Brendan Ward.She took the lead into the straight and kept going away from her opposition all the way to the line for an emphatic three lengths win.Despite her previous record, the punters found her in the market and she started at $3.20 near favourite.She was not only ready, but willing and able as well, and I think Luke and the connections are going to have some good times with her as she works through the grades.Keep an eye out for her next assignment.Five Moruya gallopers made the trip to Goulburn on Saturday for the six-event meeting and all ran brilliantly.First to step out were Colbey Hill’s Certino, resuming from a spell and Luke’s Winning Angel, both in the Maiden 1000m sprint.And it was Colbey’s Certino who almost caused a boil over when rattling home late at huge odds to claim a 1.3 lengths second on the line.That was his 20th start, and probably his best to date, and if he can reproduce the same second up he’ll be right in the mix to break his Maiden status.Winning Angel finished mid-field in the event.Peter Afflick’s Worpali was also first-up from a spell when she lined up in the Benchmark 50 (1000m) sprint from an outside gate, and she looked great when flashing home out wide to claim a two lengths third placing under Michael Travers’ guidance.The final race was a Benchmark 60 event over 1300m with Lynda Bundy’s Moorings Royal, ridden by Neil Perryman, and John Marzol’s Mineral Deposit with Kevin Sweeney aboard, both in the starting line-up.Two weeks ago, Moorings Royal returned from a spell at the Goulburn track to record a great third placing and I reported that I was sure both Lynda and Neil would have been delighted with that first-up run as a positive indicator of a good campaign ahead.John’s Mineral Deposit was the punters’ favourite for the race, starting at $3.20, but it was another brilliant ride by Neil for Moorings Royal to steal the limelight at the juicy odds of $17.30 on the tote with a half-neck winning margin. Mineral Deposit finished four lengths behind in fourth.A team of six Moruya runners step out at Canberra today with Steve Stephens’ Olympian and Domidor, both to be ridden by Joe Azzopardi in races two and four, Peekay and Bad Kitty in race six and Blow Up The Pokies and Summer Duck Wood in race eight.John Marzol’s Grey Drama and Our Billy Blue ran at the Randwick meeting, which was transferred to Newcastle on Wednesday but unfortunately both failed to find a placing.Until next week, good luck and good punting.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.