Archive for August 2019

A CROPPA Creek farmer, and the son of an accused murderer, has appeared in a Sydney court to answer allegations of unlawful clearing.
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Grant Wesley Turnbull’s family is at the epicentre of land clearing disputes with the Office of Environment and Heritage after his father, Ian Robert Turnbull, allegedly gunned down and murdered an environmental compliance officer near the village last July.

Grant Turnbull is also being examined over alleged breaches of the Native Vegetation Act, following several investigations by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

A hearing, set down for four days, commenced in the Land and Environment Court in Sydney yesterday morning, after the OEH instigated a court challenge in September last year to halt immediate works on certain areas of Colorado, his family farm north of Moree.

The OEH submitted affidavits as part of its case, including aerial photography which a natural resources officer claimed appeared to show approximately 221 hectares of tree cover had been cleared between January, 2013, and May, 2014.

A further allegation centres on an area totalling 286 hectares which is alleged to have been cleared between May and August last year.

In September, Justice Rachel Pepper granted the temporary interlocutory order, sought by the OEH, restraining Mr Turnbull from clearing, or causing or permitting the clearing of native vegetation on the land, because the OEH was acting in the “public interest” and any rehabilitation of the land which could have been illegally cleared was a “fundamental matter of public importance.”

The hearing into the allegations of unlawful clearing was originally scheduled to be heard in December but was vacated after Mr Turnbull said he was unavailable to brief solicitors in preparation for the case because of the busy crop harvest time as well as the unavailability of an expert witness.

The hearing, before Justice Malcolm Craig, continues today.

Mr Turnbull’s father, Ian Robert Turnbull, remains in prison accused of the shooting murder of 51-year-old OEH compliance officer, Glen Turner, in July last year.

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The decision to appoint a governance officer on a salary of $150,000 last year was purely to cope with the volume of complaints levelled against Warrnambool City councillors and staff.TENSIONS within Warrnambool City Council in the past two years have triggered expenditure of at least $250,000 to investigate and adjudicate on frivolous claims.
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The startling figure came to light during heated debate this week around the topic of council harmony which provided rare insight into an ongoingrift affecting the city’s reputation.

On Monday night several councillors revealed they had been targets of complaints from colleagues in verbal attacks inside and outside council settings.

One, Cr Jacinta Ermacora, said there had been more than 20 allegations against her which had been probed by the Local Government Inspectorate, independent investigators and a code of conduct panel.

“Not one investigation was upheld,” she said.

“An estimated $250,000 has been spent in recent years on legal expenses, senior officers’ time and other avenues and a full-time governance officer was appointed to deal with the cases.” Yesterday she elaborated, saying the decision to appoint a governance officer on a salary of $150,000 last year was purely to cope with the volume of complaints levelled against councillors and staff.

“That’s taken a load off senior officers who previously had to devote a huge amount of time to these issues,” Cr Ermacora said.

“The estimate was for all complaints directed against me and three other colleagues in this term of council.”

Cr Rob Askew, also lifted the lid with a rare outburst describing accusations against him as vexatious and frivolous. He said “baseless” complaints had caused considerable stress for him and his family.

“There have been a number of attacks on my integrity based on unsubstantiated information,” Cr Askew said.

“It’s time these councillors took time to chew on a reality stick and considered their motives first before attacking others.”

Cr Brian Kelson, who triggered the debate with a notice of motion emphasising the mayor’s responsibility to foster a united team, called for confidentiality to be lifted on the complaints issue.

He was challenged by Cr Ermacora and Cr Kylie Gaston on his motive in focusing just on the mayor and not on the council team as a whole, to which Cr Kelson replied he was trying to start a healing process.

Cr Peter Hulin jokingly described himself as an expert on conduct code hearings, which he claimed were triggered by false charges by the mayor and others.

Cr Peter Sycopoulis also revealed tensions over budget meeting attendances, stifling of debate and lack of opportunity for delegation in official duties.

Mayor Michael Neoh successfully put forward an amendment to Cr Kelson’s motion and achievedunanimous support for including reference to the statewide good governance guide in the council’s own governance agreement which includes a code of conduct.

He deleted Cr Kelson’s reference to the mayor and put the emphasis on all councillors.

Cr Neoh challenged all councillors to show their commitment and goodwill by signing the code of conduct as soon as possible.

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JUMP a few hurdles and last year’s fight and spirit shown by the Queenstown Crows will continue into a new season, says seniors player Jarrod McKenna.
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The squad won the Darwin Football Association 2014 premiership, fuelled by the loss of players Alistair Lucas and Craig Gleeson in the town’s Mount Lyell mining accident.

The heartache was combined with the death of father-of-three Michael Welsh, whose son played for the Crows last year.

“I think a lot of people would have been aware we had an extra special reason to play with the fatalities and our teammates passing away,” Mr McKenna said.

“A few people hung around to play.”

If the Mount Lyell closure had been earlier on in the year, instead of July, it may have prompted some players to leave Queenstown, according to Mr McKenna.

OUTNUMBERED: Somerset’s Kayden Last tackles Queenstown’s Jarrod McKenna in the Darwin Football Association senior grand final at Wivenhoe last year. Picture: Stuart Wilson.

“By the middle of the year when that announcement (closure) was made, it was only another couple of months before they had to hang around for the end of the footy season,” he said.

“People could have left a lot earlier than they did but I’m pretty sure they stuck around to honour the fellas.”

Today the club has several hurdles to jump if it’s to get a seniors team off the ground, but Mr McKenna believes it can be done.

He said some of last year’s Crows players have now signed to different teams or moved out of the state for job opportunities.

Senior coach of the 2014 premiership flag Tim King has also moved back to Penguin.

“People are probably thinking ‘well, I’ve achieved the pinnacle’ (DFA 2014 premiership) so they will retire or go to other clubs, but the majority of them are going to be around,” Mr McKenna said.

“We’ve struggled in past seasons and made the finals in both grades.”

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FITNESS and sustainability go hand-in-hand at the Sustainable NorthWests’ Amazing Enviro Race on Friday .
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Tamworth’s Bicentennial Park will host the event for the third time, which is a series of physical and mental

ENVIRONMENTALLY FIT: Amazing Enviro Race 2014 entrants, from left, Alistair Lyon, Darby Waugh, Callum Houlahan and Tom Bennett From Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School enjoyed their time at the event. Photo: Gareth Gardner 280214GGG01

challenges based on environment and sustainability issues over a short course following the bike path and surrounding park.

Participants can be 12 to 21 years old with the event aiming to educate, inform and inspire residents of the North West to live more sustainably.

“Last year, 50 participants from local schools, sporting clubs and youth groups participated, and this year we are aiming for more, with the help and support of Tamworth Regional Council waste and water departments,”Sustainable North West committee chair Stephanie Cameron said.

‘Entry is free, and there are two age categories (junior and senior) with prizes for the first pair home, as well as a number of ‘lucky entry’ prizes.”

Prizes include Go Pro Cameras,vintage style bikes, headphones, iPod speakers, books and stationery.

Participants can run or walk the 3km course, depending on their fitness levels, with the focus on participation and having a good time.

“Gen Y has a huge role to play inshaping the future of environmental awareness and action,” Mrs Cameron said.

“The race is a fun way to get them thinking about the small changes they can make in their everyday livesto minimise their impact on theenvironment.”

Entry is open until tomorrow at www.sustainablenorthwest南京夜网.au

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Star performers: Steven Atkins, James Totman, Eden Paull, Ketrina Puckeridge, Leo Stanoevski and Stephanie Rooney. Picture: GREG ELLISTHE Vocational Training Committee (VTC) launched the Illawarra & South East NSW Training Awards last week.
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As part of the launch, the committee showcased some of the star performers from 2014.

Among them were 2014 school-based trainee of the year Ketrina Puckeridge who now works at Skydive on the Beach and the 2014 Illawarra & South East NSW trainee of the year Eden Paull who spoke of how great it was to be involved and she encouraged as many nominations as possible.

“Just being nominated was great recognition of my efforts and was reward enough in itself,” she said.

“When I was named trainee of the year for the region, it was a little overwhelming but just a fantastic feeling. The awards process gave me time to reflect on my achievements and this enabled me to make some decisions about what I wanted to do in the future which is a business management diploma and [I’m] hoping this leads to further education at university.”

She said she also benefited greatly from the RYLA Scholarship, which was part of the award.

The NSW Training Awards are hosted by the NSW Department of Education and Communities, local VTCs and sponsors.

Nominations close on March 27 and for further information, go to http://www.training.nsw.gov.au/training_awards/.

“It’s a great way for local business to recognise and acknowledge the talent they have nurtured in their apprentices and trainees and to the many others involved in the vocational education and training system,” Meridith Yabsley, who chairs the Illawarra and South East NSW Region VTC said.

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