The Bunbury Mail Australia Day Fun Run has raised funds to donate more than 30 swags to the Salvation Army. Pictured is Bunbury Mail editor Shanelle Miller, Bunbury Salvation Army Corps officer Harriet Farquhar and Runners Club race director Allan Whitfield. FOLLOWING a successful Bunbury Mail Australia Day Fun Run event, the Bunbury Runners Club has donated 32 swags and $2,000 to the Salvation Army.

Bunbury Salvation Army Corps officer Harriet Farquhar said the donation of swags comes at the right time for those doing it tough on the streets.

“It’s really well timed as we can get these to people on the streets before winter hits, opposed to during the cold months,” she said.

“We are very humbled at the Runners Club’s generosity.”

Bunbury Runners Club race director Allan Whitfield, who led the charge on donating the goods, said the club found it important to make sure the donation go towards the community.

“We believe it is paramount that we keep the money and the products in the South West,” he said.

“We’re very happy that we’ve been able to help the Salvation Army out.”

Mr Whitfield explained that the decision to donate a further $2,000 came after the club realised just how successful the event had been.

To purchase a swag for yourself, head to – the profits of each swag go towards the Salvation Army.

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A MAULES Creek woman has become the latest protester charged after allegedly disrupting Whitehaven Coal’s attempt to clear the state forest.

Ann-Marie Rasmussen, a local horse trainer, sus-pended herself from a tree in the Leard State Forest early yesterday morning in protest against the mine.

PROTEST CHARGES: Maules Creek local Ann-Marie Rasmussen was arrested yesterday after allegedly suspending herself from a tree in the Leard State Forest. Photo: Supplied

She spent seven hours in the tree before she was arrested by police about 12.30pm and taken to Narrabri Police Station.

“The government knows the risks that mining poses for our water, air and ecosystems, and they create laws protecting the right of the mines to do so. Yet the law of this land states that any man or woman who dares to defend their land is labelled a criminal,” Ms Rasmussen said.

The arrest is the latest in a sustained attack over recent months by protesters from the Leard Forest Alliance and Frontline Action on Coal who oppose the mine and the clearing of the forest.

“These people have broken the law knowing the consequences they would face, for no personal gain other than environmental protection,” Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson Andy Paine said.

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ZERO NET ENERGY TOWN: Uralla is enjoying a welcome boom in home building.URALLA is experiencing a mini housing boom, with Thunderbolt country en- joying a steady increasein the number of newresidents.

Last year saw the highest number of dwelling approvals in a decade and Uralla council hopes to see the trend continue in 2015.

Twenty-nine dwellings were approved in the town last year, and while the figure might not sound large, Uralla council’s manager of town planning and regulation Elizabeth Cumming said it was a considerable number for the size of the town.

“We think that’s really positive,” Ms Cumming said.

“Rentals are exhausted here in Uralla, so people are looking to either build or buy.

“Already for the month of January we (had) five – which is a good start.

“We also have a 60-lot subdivision application.”

It is hoped the subdivision will be approved this month.

Ms Cumming said the comparison between the estimated value of approvals in January last year and this year was also encouraging.

In 2014 the total figure for January was $54,800 compared with a total estimated value of $751,000 this year.

Uralla mayor Michael Pearce said there werea number reasons pro- spective home buyers and developers would find the area attractive.

“We’re a safe place to live,” Cr Pearce said.

“And being a Zero Net Energy Town is a big carrot to hang over people.

“There are virtually blocks all over the place, so there is room for everyone to have their bit of land.”

– The Armidale Express

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After a strong finish to last season and a solid preseason, Wolves veteran Chris Price is ready to lead his young charges to big things this year. Picture: GREG TOTMANAsclub stalwarts and experienced campaigners took the South Coast exit door, Chris Price stayed to guide a new era.

With a younger, up-and-coming Wolves squad for the 2015 campaign, the 28-year old takes somewhat of a veteran status in his third season back with the club.

With that moniker, Price will also hold the captain’s armband for the new NSW National Premier League season.

He follows Matt Bailey and Jacob Timpano in leading the two-time NSL champions.

It’s a role he is honoured to attain.

“Being in a team I have always been one of the youngest but this year I am the oldest by a considerable margin. It is good to have the captaincy,” he said.

“Hopefully I can lead by example and help out the boys in any capacity.”

While it’s an opportunity he plans to take with both hands, the idea of captaincy felt far away for Price just two seasons ago.

In his first season back with the Wolves, an ACL injury threatened to derail his dream return home after four seasons with Sutherland.

“I was excited to come back. I have a lot of time and passion for the club and want to see it succeed,” Price remembers.

“It is one of the reasons why I wanted to come back but I think in life in general you have your setbacks.

“I just tried to turn a negative into a positive and it probably turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“You don’t really realise what you have got until it is taken away from you and it helped me with other aspects of my game.

“It was disappointing at the time but you just have to get on with things.”

While Price’s focus didn’t take a severe hit, the physical side took time.

He made his return at the beginning of last season but it wasn’t until the second half of the campaign where fans got to see him at his best.

“With an injury like that it takes a little while to get back into it and get confidence back,” he said.

“It took me [time] to get match fitness back as well.

“There were times through the year where I had a few little complications with it.

“But in the last month or six weeks of the season I was actually able to play and contribute on the pitch with the knee fine … that was pleasing.”

The end of season form and a full pre-season have set the platform for an even brighter 2015 campaign.

A finals finish in the league is high on the Wolves’ agenda but Price has other things in mind.

“The FFA Cup … it was the pinnacle for us last year as a club and it would be fantastic if we could replicate that this year,” Price said after the Wolves made the main draw in 2014.

“It is only going to be good for the club and fans, the future for trying to get an A-League team.

“If we can promote things like that on such a big stage – in our own backyard – it will only increase the possibility of it happening again.”

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The ‘on-hold’ strategy is in contrast to its decision last month to cut rates, but already there are calls to cut again.

Housing Industry Association senior economist Shane Garrett, said the decision will come as a disappointment to mortgage borrowers and small businesses who had been hoping for a second interest rate cut.

‘‘Many areas of domestic demand are struggling at this time, with business investment as yet failing to respond to low rates, and unemployment continuing to drift upwards,’’ Mr Garrett said.

‘‘There had been hopes that the RBA would reduce interest rates today in order to provide additional support.’’

‘‘The RBA has strongly hinted that rates may be lowered in the months ahead. Interest rates should be cut again in April in order to dispel any uncertainty,’’ he said.

Mortgage broker network 1300HomeLoan managing director John Kolenda said a sluggish domestic economy and global economic factors are still expected to see the RBA take official interest rates further into unchartered waters in coming months, even taking the cash rate below two per cent for the first time.

‘‘Central banks around the world, most notably China, have been moving their official interest rates south and the RBA will probably have to follow suit,’’ he said.

‘‘Mining investment in Australia remains in retreat and other sectors have not picked up the slack so more is likely to be needed to reinvigorate the domestic economy.

Pop-up shops, craft beer and artisan cheese are some of the tasty ingredients you’ll find at this year’s Maitland Taste Festival.

In the spirit of quirky English pubs, Maitland City Council has converted an old shipping container into a makeshift bar called The Hunter and the Hare.

The bar will serve Morpeth Brewery & Beer Co brews and Hunter Belle Cheese.

Morpeth Brewery & Beer Co manager Jayse Tasker toasts thesuccess of the new pop-up shop that will be known as the makeshift bar The Hunter and the Hare at this weekend’s Taste Festival.

Taste will open The Levee precinct this weekend after nine months of construction.

Council events co-ordinator Adam Franks said Taste had been revamped to mark the occasion.

“The Hunter and the Hare fits perfectly with this year’s new look and feel for Maitland Taste, which will be set amongst pop-up stalls and eating spaces made from recycled and upcycled materials,” he said.

“We have worked very closely with Morpeth Brewery & Beer Co and Hunter Belle Cheese to make this happen, and I think it will be one of the most popular features over the two days.”

Morpeth Brewery & Beer Co manager Jayse Tasker said he was excited to join the Maitland Taste line-up, since he had enjoyed other council festivals like Bitter and Twisted.

“It’s an exciting concept and I think people will appreciate the chance to sit back, enjoy a cold beverage and match it with a selection of gourmet cheeses,” Mr Tasker said.

“Is there a better way to spend the weekend?”

The shipping container will have life after Maitland Taste.

The sides fold down to create a cafe-style dining area once tables are arranged in it.

Council will also use the shipping container as a ticket booth at the Burton Toyota Steamfest.

Maitland Taste runs from 10am until 5pm on Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

For a list of cooking demonstrations and musical gigs visit www.maitlandtaste苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au.

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BALLARAT parents face fee hikes of more than $1200 if federal government funding for a national kindergarten program is not renewed.

In September, the federal government revealed it would continue to subsidise the program for four-year-old children to have access to 15 hours of preschool until December this year.

At the time, assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley said the Commonwealth would commit $406 million to extend this arrangement for another year to give parents and preschools funding certainty for 2015.

Under the existing arrangement, 10 hours are funded by the Victorian government and five hours by the Commonwealth.

This week, the Municipal Association of Victoria renewed calls for the federal government to continue funding the program.

It came in the wake of the release of a Product Commission report into childcare and early childhood leaning, which found universal access to preschool in the year before a child starts primary school, was a key measure for ensuring successful learning and development in the early years.

City of Ballarat councillor Des Hudson said he feared if federal funding was not continued, parents may be forced to cough up the shortfall or the program may become unviable.

“The obvious implication is that it will have to be subsidised from other areas or the impact will fall back on families,” Cr Hudson said.

He added fee hikes would be an imposition on all families, particularly marginalised members of the community. “Extra fees for anyone who has multiple children that are kinder or school aged knows it would only add increased pressure on the household wages,” Cr Hudson said.

The report recommended that federal government funding for early childhood education should be combined and directed toward three priority areas, including the kindergarten universal access program.

There are 26 kindergartens operating in the City of Ballarat, two of which are run by the council.

MAV’s chief executive Rob Spence said he was hopeful that the federal government would provide long-term funding certainty.

The federal government is is expected to respond to the report before the 2015 budget.

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The GFC, or global financial crisis, was caused by banks in the USA leveraging their deposits by over40 times, and of course, because they were not seers, they had no idea what was in store.

It is a fact that money only comes into existence through borrowing from a bank.

When this happens a borrower gets his money, yet no one has any less. This is because banks do not lend money, they create deposits.

Banks do not borrow money to lend.

There is no wholesale market of money that is a cost to a bank, that argument is simply a wank.

The $380 billion dollars “bail out facility” set up by the government for the benefit of the big banks is because, if just 5 per cent of customers stopped paying their mortgage obligations the banks will fall over.

Also at the rate of leveraging we are experiencing, we can know that the assets of the big banks are worth about 4 cents on the dollar.

While this may be shocking to some, it is knowledge that is easily available. Even a modest economics dictionary will give you heaps of knowledge.

Oh, by the way, banks cannot lend depositors money. It does not help to know that when you deposit money into a bank you become an unsecured creditor of that bank.

Finally, if the government started to borrow off the Reserve Bank of Australia a big chunk of public money would not be transferred into the private sector, as is now happening.

That alone should be a good thing.

Neil Forscutt

Willow Tree

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THE Gardens Greyhound Racing Club has a new chief executive after the resignation of Alan Williamson.

Tanya Hayes has replaced Williamson, who officially left the position late last week about eight months into a one-year contract.

The Herald was told members of The Gardens board approached Williamson seven months into his term about his ending his tenure early. The club’s board and Williamson agreed to a joint press release announcing his resignation late last week.

“We are thankful for Alan’s contribution to the club,” Gardens chairman Brett Lazzarini said in the statement.

“The club will continue with its transformation into a viable and successful club and member of the greyhound racing and local community.”

Williamson was the only paid executive of the club, which started in July last year after firm PPB Advisory won a tender from owner Greyhound Racing NSW to operate the Birmingham Gardens track.

Tim Coenraad and Oscar Forman hope Hawks management can resolve the crisis which has hit the club. Picture: KIRK GILMOURWorried Wollongong players are unlikely to sit by and wait on the club’s fate if rival NBL teams start making offers.

The Hawks were placed into voluntary administration on Monday and have 28 days to find a new major sponsor.

Players have received permission from management to speak to other clubs, though the free agency period doesn’t officially start until two weeks after the grand final series.

Forwards Tim Coenraad, Oscar Forman and Brad Hill were under contract for next season, while Rhys Martin, Tyson Demos and Larry Davidson are effectively free agents.

Even if the Hawks defy the odds and the club carries on next season, the playing roster will probably have to be built from scratch.

“I’d love to see the club get some more sponsorship and continue, but in those 28 days a lot of the guys will be thinking about their families and their livelihood, and they have to do what they have to do to keep playing,” 2014-15 club MVP Coenraad said.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now and if you wait too long you might not be included. It’s definitely something you have to consider and you know you might have to make a decision if another team comes along, and it’s going to be a very hard decision.

“I’d love to stay in Wollongong. [Wife] Nelly and I have called it home for six years and we’ve got roots here. I don’t want to go anywhere. But you have to think about your welfare and the time that you get to play basketball, because we don’t get to do this for a very long time.”

Coenraad is counting on Wollongong companies to pitch in to help the Hawks survive.

“I’d like to get a call of action out to the Illawarra if you’re a big business, save your Hawks and put your hand up if you can,” he said.

“It’s devastating to think I might have to move away or possibly not even have a basketball career anymore. I want to try and keep the Hawks alive. For the time being we’re going to need businesses to put their hand up. If you can be involved, please do so.”

Martin has blossomed into one of the NBL’s top point guards and doesn’t want the Hawks to die. But he also doesn’t want to be a player without a team next season.

“From a playing group’s perspective, if you can get a job you take it,” he said.

“It’s pretty hard to run the risk of hanging around in the hope of Wollongong being back in. It might not even be resolved after the 28-day period. They might extend it to 45 days and it could be over for you if you try to wait it out.”

The Hawks have pulled through two well documented fights for survival over the past decade and Martin believes they can do it again.

“It’s a tough situation for everyone and [club owner] James [Spenceley] is trying to make a smart business move and keep this brand going, and what needs to happen is that local businesses need to get together,” he said.

“We’re not talking about the fish and chip shops. It’s the big local businesses, the guys who earn big bucks. If five of them get together and say, ‘hey, we love the Hawks, we love supporting an NBL team from Wollongong and we want to keep them around’, the club would survive.

“If they want to keep something going in this community, then they need to get behind it, because that’s really the only thing that’s going to save the club.”

Forman has just completed his fifth season with the Hawks and hopes he hasn’t played his final game in red and white.

“If this is the direction the club has to take to have a chance of surviving and coming out the other side, then I’m with it,” he said.

“I want to 100 per cent stay with the Hawks, but I don’t know if there’s going to be a Hawks. I love it here and I think there should be a basketball team here. If it’s not going to work, you have to deal with reality and move on or you’re starting to jeopardise your own future, but I’m going to try and stay positive that something will work out.”

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