Adding value: Working at Aroundagain are Chris Dowdy, Matt Reyney, Owen Richardson and Luke Hudson. Picture: Louise DongesWITH the right support, people with disabilities can make a valuable contribution to the workforce, says the Christie Centre chief executive.
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Florence Davidson wants employers to look past a person’s disability when considering hiring them.

She said they were often either “fearful” or “patronising” toward candidates with disabilities – and enough was enough.

Ms Davidson’s comments come as the Federal Government is considering an overhaul of Australia’s $150 billion welfare system.

An independent review has found the system was “out of step” with labour market and community expectations.

It found the system was “failing to identify groups at risk of long-term income support dependence” and needed to refocus on early intervention and supporting individuals through difficult transitions.

A recommendation being considered by the government is moving people on disability support payments back into the workforce.

It’s a move Ms Davidson supports, but she cautioned the government against a “quick fix”.

“There needs to be incentives for work, not a push towards work,” she said.

She said the government needed to recognise there were often medical or social barriers to full-time work for people with disabilities, and successful employment needed to suit individuals.

The Christie Centre is one of a number of Mildura organisations assisting people with disabilities to move into the workforce.

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Your candidates from left: Philip Penfold (Independent), Jenny Aitchison (Labor), Steve Thomson (Liberal), John Brown (The Greens), Tina Esposito (No Land Tax, no picture supplied), Anna Balfour, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group).●Get to know the seats in the Hunter
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AT A GLANCE

In one sense, the race for Maitland will be an open contest in 2015 with the city guaranteed to get a new state MP on March 28.

Liberal Robyn Parker scored a huge win in 2011 when she ousted Labor’s Frank Terenzini. Ms Parker secured a swing of more than 20 per cent to the Liberals, leaving them with a comfortable 4.9 per cent margin. But Ms Parker won’t be contesting the 2015 poll, with Hunter Business Chamber director Steve Thomson ready to do the party’s bidding.

He will line up against Labor’s Jenny Aitchison and the Greens’ John Brown. The boundary redistributions in 2012 might also play a part in this year’s result – the adjustment will steal a bit away from the Liberals which might prove costly in a tight finish.

Oddly, the Newcastle rail issue will play a significant part in the Maitland election. Many of Maitland’s workers travel to the city by train for work, so the truncation of the heavy rail line at Wickham has not gone down entirely well in this part of the world.

Suburbs in electorate: Aberglasslyn, Allandale, Anambah, Ashtonfield, Berry Park, Bishops Bridge, Bolwarra, Bolwarra Heights, Chisholm, Cliftleigh, Duckenfield, East Maitland, Farley, Four Mile Creek, Gillieston Heights, Gosforth, Greta, Harpers Hill, Hillsborough, Horseshoe Bend, Lambs Valley, Largs, Lochinvar, Lorn, Louth Park, Luskintyre, Maitland, Maitland Vale, Melville, Metford, Millers Forest, Mindaribba, Morpeth, Mount Dee, Oakhampton, Oakhampton Heights, Oswald, Phoenix Park, Pitnacree, Raworth, Rosebrook, Rutherford, South Maitland, Telarah, Tenambit, Thornton, Tocal, Windella, Windermere, Woodberry, Woodville.

Currently held by: Robyn Parker, Liberal

Heritage Mall in Maitland. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Margin: 4.9% to Independent

Boundary redistribution: reduced Liberal margin by about 1.4% on 2011 result.

Voters: 53,160

Two-party preferred result 2011: Robyn Parker (Liberal) 22,057 beat Frank Terenzini (Labor) 17,135

Total population: 75,694

Median age: 36

Total workforce: 37,192

Weekly household income: $1329

People who travel to work by public transport: 845

People who travel to work by car as passenger or driver: 27,099

Couples without children: 7545

Couples with children: 9838

One parent families: 3447

Own house outright: 8347

Own house with mortgage: 10,857

Rent home: 6780

Median monthly mortgage repayment: $1733

Unemployment rate: TBC

CANDIDATES IN BALLOT ORDER

1.Philip Penfold, Independent

2.Jenny Aitchison, Labor

3.Steve Thomson, Liberal

4. John Brown, The Greens

5.Tina Esposito, No Land Tax

6.Anna Balfour, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

* Information collected from 2011 Census, Newcastle Herald archive and Elections NSW.

STUNTED: Lawrence “Legend” Ryan with his new flying bikes, which will be used in the daredevil’s 25th anniversary tour.
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IT’S been a while since the order was signed sealed and delivered, but they’ve finally arrived.

Two race-prepared Harley Davidson XR750’s have made the journey from America for Lawrence “Legend” Ryan’s 25thanniversary tour.

The tour will include six death-defying stunts and were planned to begin earlier this year, but delays in getting the bikes to Australia have held up the schedule.

“Good things are worth waiting for,” Mr Ryan said.

“People are telling me it’s a little longer I have on this earth,” he joked.

With the bikes finally in Australia and in Mr Ryan’s hands, work to make them ready to fly can finally begin.

“They have the same power to weight ratio as American NASCAR racers,” he said.

“The American tuning is not designed for Australia and they’ve been sitting in a shipping container for three months,I’ll need to go over them with a fine tooth comb,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said everything had to be considered –right down to the foot pegs are so they aren’t gouging landing ramps or causing crashes.

Despite being prepared by the same person the bikes are not exactly the same.

“One bike has a slightly shorter stroke and both are race engines so they have a higher compression and have to run on race fuel.”

Race engineers will normally rebuild an engine after competing and it meant the engines could be temperamental at times.

“(But) it’s the easiestlife they’ll have.”

With fresh paint in Mr Ryan’s colours now freshly applied, some testing will be needed to see how the bikes will perform on the ramp.

“When a normal motor-cross bike is jumped, if you accelerate it brings the back-end down in the air and on the ground,” Mr Ryan said.

However, because of the difference in weight and engine torque, the XR750s tend to pull to the side –either the left or right.

“The balance of wheels to torque of engine is completly different,” Mr Ryan said.

Once the bikes themselves are sorted, it will come down to preparing ramps to make the most of the bikes’ power and ensure Mr Ryan will be able to jump obstacles.

“If all goes to plan, it will be Aprilbut it could be May if there’s more work to be done on the bikes than expected.”

“I’m getting pitches from around the country to jump boats, buildings and buses.”

Despite the offers Mr Ryan said he wasn’t interested in rushing out and risking everything.

“I want to make sure it’s done right, from how the bikes ride down to the fuel they use,” Mr Ryan said.

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Brotherly love: Drew Tyler will join his brother Matt at Springbank in 2015. PICTURE: KATE HEALYTHERE will be double the Tyler influence at Springbank in season 2015.
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The younger brother of former Brisbane Lions player Matt has joined the Tigers after making the move from Horsham District Football League side Rupanyup, where he played the past three seasons.

Drew Tyler is expected to boost a Springbank midfield missing last year’s Central Highlands Football League best and fairest Luke Fisher, who has signed with Donald.

His recruitment comes through the obvious connection with Matt, who joined the club last season, but also an association with new coach Terry Simpson during his time at Lake Wendouree, where he last played in 2011.

Springbank will rub shoulders with Fisher in a pre-season practice match against Donald on March 21 before a game against Geelong and District league side Newcomb.

These hit-outs will serve as a lead-in to the round one encounter against Dunnstown on April 11.

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INTEREST rates were left on hold by the Reserve Bank of Australia yesterday, but local observers suggest another cut may becoming in the near future.
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On hold: The Reserve Bank has decided against moving on rates.

Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens said in his statement that after reducing the cash rate to a historically low 2.25 per cent last month it was appropriate to hold steady.

He also said the board would assess the case for cuts in the coming months.

ANZ regional executive Lionel Sexton said he believed this was a sign of a reduction around the corner.

“The upshot is there’s not a lot of concern about rates going up,” Mr Sexton said.

“The way the statement has been worded, it would imply that there’s room for a rate cut to come, either in April or May.”

The statement also mentioned the Australian dollar had “declined noticeably” against the US dollar and declined somewhat among a basket of currencies.

Mr Sexton suggested this trend could be good for the region. “A positive is the view that there will probably be an increase in exports that will drive growth in the economy,” he said.

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Tom Richardson will accompany partner Kimberly Erin on guitar during her yoga sessions at the Port Fairy Folk Festival.THE evolution of Tom Richardson as a performer will take another step forward at the Port Fairy Folk Festival.
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Richardson has been a regular on stage at the main festival arena since emerging as a highly talented performer at a young age.

The Warrnambool singer-songwriter-guitarist will return to the festival this weekend to add another string to his bow.

Richardson will perform alongside his partner, Canadian-born Kimberly Erin.

The couple will conduct Yoga Loves Music sessions on the Railway Place stage from 9am on Saturday and Sunday.

Erin is a Yoga Alliance certified chakra instructor and will use her expertise to conduct yoga sessions at the festival.

Richardson will use his skills with a guitar to produce a live soundtrack for the sessions.

Richardson said he is excited to be back at the festival with a new project.

“I didn’t actually apply to play in the main arena this year. The festival have been so supportive of me over the last few years, I thought it was time for them to be able to offer someone else the chance,” Richardson said.

“I love the festival so it is great to be able to come here with Kim and do this together.

“Kim has Seachange Yoga in Warrnambool, which is going gang-busters, so we hope everyone comes along to Railway Place and joins in.”

Richardson will also be busy at the festival overseeing the APRA Songs in Schools project.

This has seen Richardson go into Emmanuel, Brauer and Warrnambool colleges and work with music students on the art of songwriting.

This work will come to fruition on Sunday from 10.30am on the Railway Stage when the students perform original songs they have written.

As a performer who has risen through the ranks, Richardson is thrilled to be involved in giving young talent a chance to shine.

“The big thing about this is the students get the chance to play at the Port Fairy Folk Festival,” he said.

“That is one of the messages I will be getting across to them — this festival is as good as any so to be playing at it is a massive opportunity.”

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CONSTRUCTION work on Ouyen’s new recreational lake will begin this year.
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Imagine it: Deane Munro and Ray Morrish of the Ouyen Lake working group with the concept plan for the lake. Picture: Louise Donges

A further boost for the project came this week when a mining company announced it would tip in $75,000 for the project.

Mineral sands miner Iluka Resources pledged its financial support for the lake at the monthly meeting it holds with local residents to update them on its mine’s activity.

Establishing a lake for fishing, boating and water sports has been a long-term goal of the Ouyen community.

The lake will be built atthe site of the town’s old reservoir.

The State Government provided $500,000 toward the lake, which provides Ouyen residents with their first spot for recreational water activ­ities since the old Walpeup Lake dried up in 1998.

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Moyne Warrnambool Road Users Group’s Nicole Wood (second from left) with Warrnambool police officers (from left) Sean Halley, Trudy Morland and John Keats.150303VH55 Picture: VICKY HUGHSONPOLICE chiefs are urging all motorists to take extra care this long weekend as visitors flock to the south-west for the start of the annual tuna fishing season and the Port Fairy Folk Festival.
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Police will be out in force during the long weekend as part of Operation Arid, which aims to combat a traditional Labour Day spike in road trauma.

Senior Sergeant Russell Tharle, of Warrnambool police, said extra officers were rostered on this weekend to assist in Port Fairy and target driver behaviour across the south-west.

He said those officers would be on the road from Friday through to Monday with a focus on drink-driving, driver distraction and speeding.

“We would ask all motorists to plan their drives and take two-hour breaks when they feel tired so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable long weekend,” Senior Sergeant Tharle said.

Portland road policing sergeant Ryan Nelson said tuna were being caught in small numbers off Portland and he expected an influx of anglers.

“The tuna are definitely out there and there will be a lot of fishermen on the roads this weekend,” he said.

Senior Sergeant Tharle also warned that automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) will be used in the Warrnambool area during coming weeks.

He said the ANPR system detected stolen vehicles, stolen registration plates, vehicle whereabouts, unlicensed drivers, drivers with an interlock condition and unregistered vehicles. Every police vehicle will act as a mobile booze bus and motorists can be breath-tested and drug-tested anywhere and any time.

Meanwhile, fatigue and speed will be the focus of a new six-month campaign by police and the Moyne and Warrnambool Road Users Group.

Victoria Police south-west road safety advisor Acting Senior Sergeant Sean Halley said both issues had been prominent in recent collisions across the region. He said it would target drivers attending carnivals, festivals and those travelling to and from the south-west on holiday.

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Michael Patrick Malady, 41, of Hoki Street, Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to causing criminal damage and unlawful assault. AN angry offender who smashed a window of his partner’s car and bashed her daughter during an alcohol-fuelled mid-morning argument has been placed on a community corrections order.
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Michael Patrick Malady, 41, of Hoki Street, Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to causing criminal damage and unlawful assault.

He was placed on a 12-month community corrections order which involves assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for alcohol, drugs and mental health issues.

Police said Malady and his partner had been together for three years and on the morning of September 18 were drinking with her mother and daughter.

At 11.40am they argued and Malady demanded his partner leave the home. He threw her clothes out a window, called her names and kicked and smashed a window of her car.

The woman left to seek alternate accommodation but returned to check on the welfare of her mother and daughter.

The daughter armed herself with a stick when she heard Malady make a threat to kill her mother, but he took the stick from her and punched her to the face.

Police were called and arrested Malady, who admitted breaking the window but said he only punched the daughter because she was assaulting him with the stick.

During a previous hearing a magistrate said Malady was a huge man, was clearly enraged, there was alcohol involved and any self-defence response was excessive.

Solicitor Kiernan Celestina said his client admitted pushing the victim with an open hand to the face. He said Malady had a bad reaction to events on the day and admitted his actions were inappropriate.

Magistrate Peter Mellas said photos of the victim showed bleeding and injuries to her face and it looked like a significant assault. He said it appeared that Malady blew up every couple of years and the recent offending was part of a long-term pattern.

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John Knight.DUDLEY residents who have been isolated for days with no mobile phone reception are angry Optus failed to notify them of a planned outage.
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Optus said the Dudley tower had been switched off between February 25 and March 1 during an upgrade to bring stronger 4G coverage to the area.

A spokesperson from Optus told the Newcastle Herald it ‘‘contacts customers to let them know when their service may be affected, and what they can do to stay connected’’.

During this time,with no, or very little service, including three days in which only emergency calls could be made, numerous residents said ‘‘no one was notified’’.

Ross Partridge, a self employed electrician who runs his business from home, said he called Optus last Thursday and was told there would be no reception for a week.

’’When you’re running a business, it’s a joke,’’ Mr Partridge said.

‘‘It’s a planned outage and they’ve not given anyone any notification … it’s an essential service like electricity, you can’t just do that.’’

Dudley corner store owner said elderly customers had been confused and thought their own phones were at fault.

Oceanview Hotel publican John Knight who relies ‘‘massively’’ on his mobile to book the hotels’ entertainment said it was a ‘‘disgrace’’.

‘‘It’s a shut down … and we were not notified at all,’’

An Optus spokesperson said a text was sent on February 19 checking to all customers whose billing addresses indicated their service would be affected by the upgrade work.

Optus said an unrelated transmission issue was discovered at Dudley tower on March 3.

‘‘Optus technicians are on site working to fully restore mobile services as a priority…we appreciate customers’ patience and apologise for any recent service interruptions’’ a spokesperson said.