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    Musicians unite for flood aid concert

    2019 - 04.21

    Country musician Jason Carruthers has teed up more than 20 artists to perform in a flood relief concertThe communities of Maitland and Dungog mean a lot to Jason Carruthers.
    Nanjing Night Net

    He grew up in one and lives in another.

    So when the country music artist started hearing the stories of those affected by the recent storms, hedecided to do something about it.

    “This has affected so many people that I just couldn’t sit back and not do anything,” Carruthers, of Aberglasslyn, said.

    “This was a once in a lifetime flood, but it has devastated so many people.”

    Carruthers, 45, has garnered the interest of more than 20 artists to take centre stage for The Dungog Maitland Flood Relief Concert.

    “If we can all chip away and do something it will help someone,” he said.

    “There are people out there who have lost their livestock, others have lost kitchens, and some have lost their homes.

    “Really, our lives have been turned upside down, but I think everyone wants to help and this concert will be the place to come and do it.

    “But the concert is also about ­getting people together to celebrate the fact we can do something to help ­people.

    “We’re sad about it but we are also happy that we can do something about it.

    “There has been a lot of negativity, so this will be a positive thing and hopefully this will pick people up.”

    The flood relief concert at Maitland City Bowls Sports and Recreation Club is on May 24 from noon to 7pm.

    Tickets cost $10 at the door.

    Half of the money raised will come directly to the Dungog flood appeal organised through the Dungog Shire Community Centre.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Movement gives works life

    2019 - 04.21

    Peter Steller with the bronze cast of his wooden sculpture Flamenco Fire, inspired by a flamenco dance performance at QPAC. Photos by Chris McCormack
    Nanjing Night Net

    Peter Steller s wooden sculpture Twirling through the Forest to be exhibited at the Brisbane Sculpture Festival on May 15 to 17.

    Peter Steller’s wooden sculpture ‘She’ to be entered in to the Brisbane Sculpture Festival on May 15 to 17. Photo by Chris McCormack

    WELLINGTON Point wood sculptor Peter Steller puts his heart and soul into every piece of wood he sculpts and the results are breathtaking.

    He began his journey into the realm of art 13 years ago when he took up woodturning.

    After a while he grew bored with woodturning and craved something more in his work.

    “After you have turned a few hundred bowls, a bowl is a bowl is a bowl is a bowl,” he said.

    “I started cutting out sections in the bowls and entered that in the RNA competition and won first prize.

    “It’s just one of those things that you gradually morph into.”

    Peter, a retired physiotherapist, said he had an appreciation for the form of the human body.

    “That’s why I like to make things now that always have a sense of movement,” he said.

    “It is the essence of the sculpture and it has got to be seen from different angles.”

    Peter said he had found inspiration from a number of influences, including a performance he went to at QPAC called Flamenco Fire.

    “Just a phenomenal performance and I could not get over how beautiful it was,” he said.

    “It was the swishing of the shawls, the dresses and the stamping of the feet and jumping in the air and the like.”

    That performance inspired his award-winning sculpture Flamenco Fire.

    His favourite woods to work with were from jacaranda and Moreton Bay fig trees.

    “To me the Moreton Bay fig is the essence of Queensland,” he said.

    “It is a beautiful tree on the outside, but inside the tree is even more beautiful.”

    Peter enjoyed entering competitions because it helped him improve his work.

    “Competition picks out your flaws and you can build on that,” he said.

    “Each year I think ‘what can I do now that is even better?’.”

    Peter said he would enter six of his sculptures in the upcoming Brisbane Sculpture Festival at Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens Auditorium.

    His work can be viewed from 10am to 4pm daily from Friday, May 15 to Sunday, May 17.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Scarecrow ball to secure future of Milton event

    2019 - 04.21

    BELLE OF THE BALL: The staff at Bella Coastal Property Lucy Cairns (left) and Jodie Cliff have thrown their support behind the Milton Scarecrow Festival’s fundraising ball and are working on their vintage scarecrow creation.The first Glad Rag, Sad Rag Ball is shaping up to be a colourful, fun-filled night out as well as ensuring the future of the Milton Scarecrow Festival.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The fundraising ball will be held at the Ulladulla ExServos on Saturday May 30, with Milton’s own Escalators band sure to have everyone on the dance floor for a foot-stomping good time.

    Scarecrow festival coordinator Bedelia Wilson is encouraging friends to get a table together and dress in their best glad rags or their rattiest scarecrow attire for the inaugural event.

    She said, as well as loads of fun on the dance floor, there will be raffles, a host of prizes and a good old fashioned country feast,complete with beef and lamb on a spit, roasted potatoes and corn cooked on the fire.

    Vegetarians and people with special dietary requirements will also be catered for.

    “Grab some friends and get a table together for a great night out with fabulous music dancing and some delicious food roasted on the spit,” she said.

    The Scarecrow Festival has limited funding this year and Bedelia said funds raised would ensure it runs smoothly on June 6 and for years to come.

    “This is ball is to save the festival,” she said.

    “Not only will be it be a great night out, but it will make sure we can keep running the festival that is so loved by the community.”

    With the ball just around the corner and the festival only weeks away, local families, businesses and community groups are starting work on their vintage scarecrow creations.

    The vintage 40s, 50s and 60s themed scarecrows will be judged by a panel of Milton CWA ladies, with tonnes of prizes on offer.

    More than 30 of the best creations will line up in Wason Street on Saturday June 6 for judging, with a new people’s choice category added this year.

    Bedelia helped kick start the festival 21 years ago and she said she would hate to see it fold.

    She is rallying community support and hopes the 2016 will be the best ever, with a full weekend of activities for the whole family.

    “We cannot lose this festival – it’s too important for our community,” she said.

    Scarecrow entry forms are in Wednesday’s print edition and can be dropped off the Akwa Surf, the Milton Newsagency or Ulladulla Dry Cleaners.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Clothing bank for Dungog flood victims inundated

    2019 - 04.21

    Tammy Zanardi sorting through clothes in the pavilion at Dungog ShowgroundThe response to Dungog’s recent devastating floods was overwhelming with clothing, household goods and furniture arriving by the truckload.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Tammy Zanardi, who was the volunteer in charge of the depot at Dungog Showground, said the response from outside the area was unbelievable.

    “There were donations from all around the Hunter, Sydney and western NSW,” she said.

    “People brought trucks, 4WD and car loads of stuff to help out the people in town affected by the floods.

    “The centre was set up barely two days after the floods and it was only last week that people were starting to come up here and get what they needed.

    “People are starting to get homes to go to and it now they realise what they don’t have.”

    Ms Zanardi said volunteers Bernadette Skuse, Anne Hugo, Emma Picker, Jenni Denniss and Jacqui Wilkinson spent a lot of time at the centre.

    “Two ladies – Mel and Amanda – came down from Muswellbrook last weekend and bought a team of volunteers with them,” she said.

    “They organised us and helped out and we are really grateful for their help.

    “But we still have plenty of stuff here for those affected by the floods.”

    The centre will finish operating on Sunday, May 17 and will be open from 11am to 3pm and will be open to all the community across the shire and Stroud area.

    For a donation of $5 people can fill a bag with clothes and $10 will get you a boxful.

    “All the money raised on that day will go to the flood fund,” Ms Zanardi said.

    “It will be our final day here and everything has to go.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Donation stuns Dungog flood victim

    2019 - 04.21

    Colleen Jones, left, with best friend Nicole Lancaster, who nominated her for the Today Show, $10,000. Photographed at the Bank Hotel, Dungog where the owner has allowed flood victims to stay and with her dogs, from left Nipper, Kinky (being held) and PriscillaAnother 10 minutes and Colleen Jones and her three foxy-cross-Jack Russell companions could have died in her home as it was swept away down Dungog’s main street last month.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The 59-year-old will never forget standing chest deep in flood water in her front yard and screaming for help with the three dogs held strongly in her arms.

    She was standing next to a large tree for some protection from the current, and she knew the strength of the water would soon carry her and her dogs away.

    Moments earlier she had re-entered the house, after helping her mother escape with her daughter, to get her dogs. There was no way she was leaving her “babies” inside.

    It was still dark, and the three of them were stranded on the raised half of the electric bed in her mother’s room. They looked terrified.

    As Ms Jones grabbed them tightly in her arms and headed for the door, the entertainment unit collapsed, and she found herself wading around furniture to get out the front door.

    It was then she made her way to that tree, thinking it could be the end.

    Luckily her 26-year-old son, Keegan, and neighbour John Edwards came to her rescue and they made it to safety.

    But what happened next still shocks her to the core. Her weatherboard house, which was at least 120 years old, floated off its piers and was swept away.

    It was the third house to disappear on that street as floodwater lashed the town. Her son’s house and the house Mr Edwards was living in also disappeared.

    “We all could have been washed away,” she said.

    Each time the near-tragedy replays in her mind she is emotional. But on Friday she had a reason to smile.

    Perched at the local pub since April 21 in a room that faces the balcony, so the dogs can be with her and her husband, Stephen, she had an unexpected visitor, Channel Nine’sToday Showcrew.

    Presenter Stevie Jacobs handed Ms Jones $10,000 to help her rebuild, and Keegan was also given $10,000.

    “I’m still in shock, I’m speechless,” Ms Jones said.

    “I’m amazed at their generosity and the fact that they came here knocking on the pub door to tell me.

    “I’m also so thankful for the generosity of the Dungog community.”

    Her friend Nicole Lancaster contacted the show after it advertised a competition to help a deserving mum, and she kept the secret for almost a week.

    “She is a wonderful person. I’m not sure how we became friends, but we have been friends for a long time,” Mrs Lancaster said.

    Ms Jones wants to buy a house in Dungog that will not be touched by floodwater.

    “In 2007 the water was knee deep in the house, and I said if it ever happens again, we will move,” she said.

    “It’ll be sad that we won’t live across the road from Keegan any more, but at least we won’t have to go through anything like this again.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    More court challenges to ICAC findings

    2019 - 03.21

    Craig Ransley arrives at the ICAC inquiry.A series of court challenges toIndependent Commission Against Corruption findingswill ride on the coat-tails of a legal bid by mining mogul Travers Duncan and his associates to have findings against them overturned.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Mr Duncan and his former business associates John McGuigan, John Atkinsonand Richard Poole are seeking to have findings that they acted corruptly by concealing the involvement of the Obeid family in a coal tenement struck down by the Court of Appeal.

    A second group of businessmen, formerDoyles Creek Mining directors CraigRansley, Mike Chester and Andrew Poole,are challenging findings made against them in a separate ICAC inquiry.

    The Supreme Court heard on Monday that the matters are “likely to be interrelated” and the latter should be adjourned until the former is heard.

    The Baird government rushed a bill through state Parliament lastWednesdayto validate past corruption findings,which were jeopardised by a High Court ruling on theICAC’s powers.

    But the bill, which becamelaw on the same day,does not preclude a challenge to corruption findings on grounds that are unrelated to the High Court ruling.

    Lawyers for Mr Duncan and his associateshave alsoforeshadowed a constitutional challenge to the validationlawas part of their case.The outcome of this challenge will be watched closely by lawyers for the former Doyles Creek directors.

    The ICAC found former mining minister Ian Macdonald acted corruptly by awarding an exploration licence to Doyles Creek Mining, which was then chaired by Mr Macdonald’sfriend andformer union boss John Maitland.

    Mr Ransley, Mr Poole and Mr Chester were found to have acted corruptly by making or agreeing to Mr Maitland making “false or misleading” statements to the Department of Primary Industries about the proposed mine.

    The Court of Appeal will hear the Duncan matter in mid-June.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Miners need iron ore prices to steady to hold share gains

    2019 - 03.21

    Iron ore has plummeted as much as 67.3 per cent from its 2014 high of $US144.18 to a low of $US47.08 reached in early April. Photo: Erin JonassonShares in Australia’s listed miners have mimicked the strong rebound in the iron ore price, but with Chinese growth forecast to soften in the second half and supply to remain high, the price of iron ore and resources stocks may still suffer.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Over the last month, the price of iron ore for immediate delivery at the port of Qingdao in China has jumped more than 30 per cent to $US61.40 a tonne, according to Metal Bulletin.

    Iron ore plummeted 65.2 per cent from its 2014 high of $US135.27 to a low of $US47.08  in early April.

    Since early April, Fortescue Metals shares have surged 43.4 per cent, BC Iron shares 57.4 per cent, and Mount Gibson 12 per cent. Atlas Iron has been in a trading halt since April 2 after it was forced to stop mining some of its operations.

    Shares in major miner BHP Billiton have added 4.3 per cent over the last month, while Rio Tinto has gained 4.7 per cent.

    However, the impact the iron ore price crash had on the smaller miners’ share prices has not come close to reversing.

    Fortescue shares are still down 55.2 per cent since the beginning of last year, Atlas shares down 89.6 per cent, Mount Gibson shares down 78.3 per cent, and BC Iron shares have plummeted 90.8 per cent.

    Rio and BHP have been less affected thanks to a range of factors, including resource diversification, break-even cash costs, and grade qualities. Since the start of 2014, Rio shares have dipped 13.7 per cent, while BHP is 16.3 per cent lower.

    UBS is forecasting iron ore to fall to $US45 a tonne in the second half of 2015, and current share prices are factoring in an iron ore price higher than that.

    Fortescue’s share price factors in an iron ore price closer to $US55 a tonne, while BC Iron’s  was factoring in a price around the $US51 a tonne mark and Atlas closer to $US52 a tonne.

    “If prices were to stay at $US60 per tonne, or better, then clearly the market will react favourably to that,” UBS analyst Glyn Lawcock said. “That’s the price you need iron ore to stay for a couple of years and Fortescue needs to keep its cost base down where it is to deleverage. There’s a lot of water that needs to flow under the bridge in terms of time for that to occur.

    “We still believe that supply needs to be rationalised to rebalance the iron ore market, given that iron ore demand growth looks set to fall dramatically from recent rates as Chinese steel production reaches and maintains peak levels for the rest of this decade.”

    Mr Lawcock said UBS had a neutral rating on Mount Gibson because of its strong net cash position, and low leverage could help it during the volatile price period. According to UBS analysis, Mount Gibson’s share price was factoring in an iron ore price of around $US51 a tonne.

    “Our sell recommendations on Fortescue and Atlas reflect their higher leverage and net debt positions, which we see as more risky, given that our estimates for their break-even prices are in line, or above our second half 2015 forecast for iron ore of $US45 [a tonne].”

    BHP is rated a buy, with UBS tipping oil to rebalance sooner than iron ore and the company to benefit from the demerger and separate listing of South32, Mr Lawcock said. Rio is rated neutral.

    “Combined with new supply under construction and set to commission over the next few years, our analysis shows the market moving into a protracted surplus. In our view, the price rally seen this week reflects slightly improved sentiment, as we have seen initial indications that supply rationing may be under way.”

    Atlas has lowered its output by around 5 million tonnes, Vale has hinted it may switch off 30 million tonnes a year of its high-cost capacity if prices fell even lower, and BHP is increasing supply at a slower rate as it aims to hit 290 million tonnes a year, Mr Lawcock said.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Fundraising auction lifts Dungog’s spirits

    2019 - 03.21

    Wayne Pritchard’s house went under water in the recent floods‘‘I’ve always just done me own thing,’’ says Wayne Pritchard as he leans against the old saloon doors of Dungog’s Royal Hotel.
    Nanjing Night Net

    ‘‘I’ve never asked for anything in me life, but this time, this time I just had to get some help.’’

    In the next room, about a hundred locals are bidding for signed photos, kitchen appliances, pamper packs and a patchwork quilt – all among the dozens of things donated to the fundraiser for those starting over. Bob Berry from around the corner even donated a trailer load of firewood. It’s just gone for 110 bucks.

    ‘‘This one just knocked me down to my knees,’’ Wayne says over his schooner. ‘‘I worry about my wife ‘coz she’s just not showing a lot of emotion,’’ he says of Lynette who’s just ducked up the road to take his 88-year-old mum home after a Mother’s Day pub lunch.

    ‘‘It’s like we’re still in shock a bit, you know. It’s a bit like a twilight zone.’’

    It was 10 to four in the morning when Wayne and Lynette were woken by a neighbour.

    ‘‘He’d just climbed out of bed and stepped into water up around his ankles so he raced over to wake us up. We went outside and the water was up to the top of our piers. I told Lynette to go and grab some things while I moved the cars, but then it came up so quick.

    ‘‘At 5.30am, I closed the doors and heard the fridge fall over. Couldn’t do nothing. Couldn’t even get some clothes.’’

    The floodwater went right through their Hooke Street home. Their daughter and grandchildren, staying for a couple of days, had already left. The brown line on the curtains shows the flood peaked at about two metres inside. The grandfather clock had stopped at 6.50, about the same time it was swallowed by the brown swirling torrent in the lounge room.

    Lynette had lived in Dungog all her life, and so had Wayne’s mum. Wayne, who used to work in the mills and at Tomago smelter, had also spent most of his life there. The house was built in 1938 and a renovation had only recently been completed.

    ‘‘About 28 years in that house,’’ he said. ‘‘And no one has ever seen the water come up like that.’’

    He was good mates with Colin ‘Spider’ Webb who perished when his home was washed away in Dowling Street. And he knew Robin Macdonald too, before she was lost to the flood. They’d worked together in the SES years ago.

    Marion Stuart owns The Bower Retreat over the hill. She was one of the organisers of yesterday’s fundraiser.

    ‘‘We’re getting a bit of spirit back in the town today,’’ she said.

    ‘‘Nothing is going to be a quick fix, but we’ve been inundated with help from people all over the place. It’s really wonderful. There’s a long way to go though.’’

    Three weeks ago, Brian Simpson was rescuing people from the aged care village. Yesterday he was the fundraiser’s auctioneer.

    Vince Melouney, who once played with the Bee Gees and The Aztecs, knows Dungog well and wanted to do his bit on the stage.

    The Royal’s licensee John Masterman picked up the signed Brad Fittler poster at auction, but it cost him $500. He was living in Dalby during the Queensland floods four years ago. He lost two cars and everything in the shed, but the water only got to the top step of the house.

    ‘‘I suppose you could say I’ve been where these people are now,’’ he said.

    ‘‘It’s been three weeks now. People are tired. The adrenalin has run out. They’ve stopped and realised what has happened and it’s only starting to really hit them. But they’ll just keep on going because they know they have to.

    ‘‘It’s been a good day here and we’ve raised about $7000 and that’ll help people with a few things. Right now we’re all buggered. Vince is still here and he’s out there cleaning up so I better get back out in the bar and help.

    ‘‘Tell the people in Newcastle that they need to come up here.

    ‘‘We need people to come back to Dungog because, well, just tell them we’re open for business and we’d love to see them.’’

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    MP makes maiden speech

    2019 - 03.21

    Redlands MP Matt McEachan and daughter Indie at Parliament HouseTHE need to upgrade arterial roads was mentioned when Redlands MP Matt McEachan made his maiden speech made to the 55th Queensland parliament on Wednesday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Mr McEachan, elected in January to replace Peter Dowling, said the growing population in his electorate was affecting infrastructure including arterial roads.

    He urged the state government to honour LNP commitments made before the state election to upgrade Cleveland-Redland Bay Road and Mount Cotton Road.

    Capalaba MP Don Brown will make his maiden speech in the next sitting of Parliament on May 19.

    “I wanted to highlight the challenges facing our bay island communities, most particularly the mainland parking and access issues,” he said.

    “I look forward to working with Mayor Karen Williams and the council to address these issues,” he said.

    Mr McEachan, who has been appointed to the Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee, thanked his mother and daughter for their support.

    “I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to represent the people of Redlands without the support of my family, especially my mother and my daughter.”

    Capalaba MP Don Brown will make his maiden speech in the next sitting of Parliament on May 19.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Trade college project launched

    2019 - 03.21

    Mayor Karen Williams and Australian Industry Trade College CEO Mark Hands cut the ribbon on a tree that will be planted on the new Redland campus, at a launch of the project last week.A NEW college campus for Redland City is set to expand training and employment opportunities for young people in south east Queensland.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Australian Industry Trade College (AITC) was established in 2008 at Robina on the Gold Coast and since then, its combination of senior schooling, trade skilling and apprenticeships has helped to deliver more than 1030 full-time apprenticeships to young Queenslanders.

    The college was launched by CEO Mark Hands at a luncheon attended by mayor Karen Williams, Redland City councillors and local business and education leaders at Sirromet Winery.

    He said Redland City made the perfect choice with the support of Cr Williams and community leaders helping to drive the introduction of the Redlands campus.

    Mr Hands said the AITC offered an efficient, portable schooling model that was based on strong partnerships with industry leaders and employers, registered training organisations and all levels of government.

    “We feel incredibly excited about our plans and hope to have some big announcements in coming weeks as we firm up our Redlands partnerships and begin to establish a real presence on the ground,” Mr Hands said.

    The AITC was a private, independent school with a learning program developed in collaboration with industry to meet targeted, industry needs.

    He said the vollege’s mission was to deliver high caliber, motivated, hard working apprentices and trainees who add value in the workplace.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.