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  • 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.

    CLAYTON HICKEY: Have a plan for the worst

    2019 - 02.21

    The way people responded to the recent storm was indicative of the Newcastle spirit. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERSWHEN disaster strikes …
    Nanjing Night Net

    The reaction to the recent storms that ravaged Newcastle and surrounding areas was an outstanding representation of the Novocastrian spirit that epitomises our great city. Now that the water is receding, many residents are counting the cost and considering what can be done differently next time the weather takes a turn for the worse.

    And it is no different for business owners.

    A critical component of how a business responds to a disaster is underpinned by how effective it has been in planning for disaster. Too often we see this planning limited to “I can retrieve a back-up of my information”, and the common trap of associating business continuity risks with IT is fallen into …

    Two weeks ago, the loss of electricity over an extended period of time, damaged phone lines, and physical and dangerous impediments to accessing the business, were unable to be alleviated by the restoration of a back-up.

    So what lessons can we take away from this event, and what questions can we ask of ourselves?

    Is the tail wagging the dog? Quite often the business continuity plan (BCP) is driven by a single individual, or department, often IT. As disruption commonly affects the entire business. All segments of the business should be involved in developing the BCP. It should never be left for one part of the business to assume what the rest of the business needs.

    Revisit key business impacts: Does your plan truly isolate and focus on the “mission critical” elements of your business? These elements should be mapped in a Business Impact Assessment. Quite often the accounting system is listed as one of the first to be restored – how will this help you communicate with your workforce, customers and suppliers?

    Beware the macro focus: the planshould give guidance on the “big events”, but not be isolated to these. The more frequent disruptions, including IT, telephone outages and loss of power, are often less catered for and, over time, become a significant expense.

    Investment risk: the risk of not committing BCP resources to the most critical areas can result in time and money being poured into the restoration of equipment and services that you do not need.

    External effects: often the plan is limited to disruption created within the business, without considering external effects. For example, what if a major supplier has an extended power outage? How often do you enquire on the BCP capability of third parties who are critical to your operations?

    Will it all work? The most effective way to ensure your planwill deliver in the time of need is to test it through simulation. To find out the BCP processes implemented, and the people and technology surrounding them, do not respond when the time comes for it to be all “switched on”, is a disastrous and expensive outcome.

    I have yet to meet a person who isn’t an expert in hindsight.

    However, some small adjustments in some critical areas might have a big impact next time around.

    Clayton Hickey is a Partner with the PKF audit and assurance team in Newcastle. He is an expert in audit, risk, technical advisory services and due diligence activities.

    Soccer takes centre stage

    2019 - 02.21

    See more photos
    Nanjing Night Net

    WOMEN’S soccer is building momentum on the Far South Coast.

    The Bega Devils have been boosted by an influx of junior players stepping up from the under 16s, while the Wolumla Tigresses welcome back some returning players.

    In matches this week, the Pink Devils were on the wrong side of a 6-4 scoreline against Merimbula, while the Tigresses levelled 2-2 with the Pambula Penguinettes.

    Devils spokeswoman Kerryn Constable said the side had been boosted by “fit young legs” as players came up from the under 16s.

    “We have people like Chloe Harlow and Lucy Holzhauser, those girls are like ‘I can’t wait to play in the ladies’,” Constable said.

    “Some of them are still eligible to play in the 16s, but they really coulnd’t wait tog et up and be part of the close-knit team.

    “And we are more than happy to have them.”

    The Devils opened the scoring early as Seanine Cooper fired one into the net from a solid cross.

    Constable said the Devils had controlled play for 95 per cent of the game and was going “goal for goal” with Merimbula, but fitness proved a factor.

    “We were lucky we had a couple of subs – for me it’s good because I am the oldest person on the team,” she said with a laugh.

    “We’just got to really work on our fitness – stepping it up really does make a diffeence, having subs helps, but it breaks the flow of play.”

    Unlike other club’s who have struggled early on for numbers, the Devils are going strong.

    “I don’t think the interest was just because we won the grand final, we just had the 16s who were ready to come up and play with the ladies,” Constable said.

    The team receieved some words of encouragement from the coach after the game and the future looks bright for the club.

    “We’ll plan to come out and play good football and to keep learning and growing as a team,” Constable said.

    At Wolumla, the Tigresses were still one player short.

    “We were short again with 10 taking the field, including Soph who was still limping from last week,” coach Kirsty McPaul said.

    She said the Penguinettes were focused, fit and well-drilled.

    It was Michaela Wilson in her new role as sweeper picking up woman of the match honours.

    “She kept the rest of the back line organised by containing Pambula’s danger players and made many last line of defence sprints and saves,” McPaul said.

    Pambula scored late in the first half from a fantastic shot that floated just into the top corner of the net.

    However, McPaul levelled the odds just after the break.

    McPaul was taking a corner kick, but instead of sending a wide cross, booted a short one-two pass to Katrina Oldham.

    Oldham passed the ball back to McPaul, who then kicked a high shot that curled into the top corner of the net.

    The Tigresses got ahead shortly after when a hustle of play on the right wing had Anna Martin making deep runs in Pambula territory.

    As both teams flocked in, Martin shot a good cross to Amy Legge, who weaved through three defenders to score a goal.

    Unfortunately for the home squad, Pambula scored as the clock wound down.

    Play had fluctuated back to Wolumla’s defensive lines and goalie Judith Orman stopped the initial shot.

    However, the ball slipped from her hands and a quick kick from the Penguinettes levelled the score.

    Neither team could capitalise in the final minutes for the score to finish level 2-2.

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

    Farmers pledge support

    2019 - 02.21

    The Guyra branch of the NSW Farmers Association has thrown its support behind Guyra Shire Council in their efforts to remain a stand alone shire.
    Nanjing Night Net

    At the recent AGM, Jason Siddel was re-elected as branch chairman, James Jackson as Secretary, Sally White as Treasurer and Jenni Jackson as Publicity Officer.

    With the future of the local Council at stake there was a good roll up to the meeting to hear Councillors Simon Murray, Dot Vickery and general manager Peter Stewart give an outline on the councils Fit for the Future Plan.

    The meeting resolved to support the council in their Rural Council Model. This is the model which is most achievable by our council but will still mean increase in rates by approximately 30%.

    A forced amalgamation with Armidale could see an 80% rate rise, something that will impact heavily on rural ratepayers. Residents and property owners are urged to attend one of the public meetings that will be held across in the coming weeks.

    The Guyra Branch also opposed a proposition by Glen Innes to include Ben Lomond, Wandsworth, Llangothlin and large part of Wards Mistake into their Shire. The branch also opposed the Armidale Dumaresq Councils proposal to merge with Guyra Shire.

    Other resolutions at the meeting were:

    • that the Branch put in a submission to the senate enquiry into the effect of consolidation in the meat processing sector on the income of producers in New England

    • that the branch supports a Farmer friendly animal welfare accreditation system that is industry designed, managed and audited.

    • that NSW farmers support significant increases in Federal and State government contribution to Agricultural R and D.

    • that the branch supports better feral cat control.

    Thank you to the councillors and all members who attended.

    Public meetings are being held as follows:

    May 24th Wards Mistake tennis courts 11am, May 25th Guyra Community Hall 6pm, May 26th Tingha Hall 6pm, May 27th Black Mountain Public School 6pm, and May 28th Ben Lomond Memorial Hall 6pm.

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

    Disappointing blow

    2019 - 02.21

    Disabled Peoples Incorporated has one of its transport vehicles stolen and damaged beyond repair. Disappointed by the act were DPI transport manager Carol Craney and president Greg Byrne.Disabled Peoples Incorporated Whyalla received a low blow last week when one of its cars was stolen and damaged beyond repair.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The not-for-profit organisation provides a low-cost transport service in and around Whyalla for the disabled, aged and infirm, run by a team of dedicated and caring volunteers.

    DPI also operates Amaroo Lodge, a residential facility that offers a home away from home for people in need of long or short term care.

    DPI president Greg Byrne said the incident had significantly affected the not-for-profit organisation and it would cost about $15,000 to rectify.

    “The car is irreplaceable,” Mr Byrne said.

    “It’s a huge impact.”

    Damage to the car included the front-end becoming detached, a dent to the right passenger door, severe tyre damage and the offenders also ripped off the number plates and car’s DPI signage.

    Mr Byrne said the organisation has had to rearrange its transport schedules to work around no longer being able to use the car.

    “Unfortunately we’re a car down,” Mr Byrne said.

    DPI is currently investigating purchasing a replacement vehicle and waiting for an insurance claim to be processed.

    Mr Byrne said if the claim was approved, the replacement of the vehicle would still come at a cost to the organisation as the stolen car was about 10 years old.

    Mr Byrne said this money would have to be taken out of a reserve saved for making upgrades and replacements to further improve care for residents at Amaroo Lodge.

    “It normally goes towards the residential facility,” Mr Byrne said.

    Once a replacement vehicle is purchased, the organisation will still need to pay for the vehicle to be inspected and accredited for use as a transport vehicle as well as have new signage.

    DPI transport manager Carol Craney said it was disappointing that people would do this when the organisation tried so hard to help the community.

    “It just makes you feel sick,” Mrs Craney said.

    “You try to help people and something like this happens.”

    The offenders have since been apprehended by police and charged with numerous offences in relation to the incident.

    Anyone wanting to make a donation to DPI can contact president Greg Byrne on 8644 1099.

    RELATED CONTENT:Offenders charged for stolen DPI car

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

    Pool for next summer

    2019 - 02.21

    The pool refurbishment tender has been awarded and Mayor Cr Paul Hooper is pictured going over plans with Rhonda Holz, Kylie Walker, Maddy Vernon and Ambrose Cashin. Picture: PETER PICKERINGAFTER a community campaign of almost four years, with the aim of re-opening the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Swimming Pool, work on the redevelopment is expected to begin soon.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Ararat Rural City Council has awarded the tender to refurbish the pool to Farley Pools and works are expected to commence soon in preparation for the pool to open in time for the 2015/2016 summer season.

    The design for the new kiosk, changerooms and public toilet facility is also underway and this new building is expected to be located to the north side of the pool providing access to the pool from the gardens and use of the kiosk by users of the gardens who will also be able to utilise the facilities.

    Incorporated in the designs are new public toilets for Alexandra Gardens to replace the existing toilets.

    While council is still to receive confirmation of funding for the kiosk and changerooms, Premier Daniel Andrews came good on his election promise to award $350,000 for this facility with an announcement in last Tuesday’s State Budget that funding would be available.

    Following closure of the pool due to safety reasons for the 2011/2012 swimming season, a public meeting was held in February 2012 at Alexandra Oval to rally community support and around 1500 residents attended concerned that the pool would be closed permanently. This prompted the formation of the Save Our Pool Committee.

    Public support continued with a rally in Barkly Street in October 2013, again attracting a huge crowd of around 1500 people.

    At one stage council voted to demolish the pool but public outcry again saw the pool back on the agenda and finally, last year, Council agreed throw its support behind re-opening the pool and formed a Project Control Group, including representatives from the Pool Committee and Council officers, to manage the process.

    Council also restated its commitment to provide $450,000 funding, based on the understanding the $350,000 balance will be provided by the party elected at last year’s State Government election and that all remaining funds would be able to be provided by the Pool Committee.

    Ambrose Cashin, who spearheaded the campaign to reopen and redevelop the pool after it was originally closed, is thrilled that work is finally about to begin.

    “It just shows you after many years of hard work, works are about to start on the redevelopment and refurbishment of the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Swimming Pool, in what will be a great amenity for the whole community and we aim to be swimming there in December 2015,” Mr Cashin said.

    Mr Cashin thanked the community for its support, the contractors and businesses who have offered in-kind works and donated money and also, since the project was finally approved, the council officers who have worked alongside the pool committee.

    “The expertise and help from all the council officers involved in the project has just been truly amazing and so beneficial in getting this project up,” Mr Cashin said.

    “What we saw as problems they were able to deal with … and work together to come up with what I see as a magnificent facility.

    “It just shows when we all work together, when the community works together, local government works together, and then the Daniel Andrews Labor government comes in to assist at the end, by everyone working together, much can be achieved.

    “I remember way back when this project kicked off someone saying, small communities working together can achieve great things, and I think this is a fine example of this occurring.

    “From primary school kids donating their pocket money and their sausage sizzle money, secondary school kids doing it and also secondary school kids in senior years questioning the council and saying how they believed that we need it, to young parents wanting it and then to the senior generation who were involved in the original building of it demanding that we continue to work for it

    “At times when the committee was doing it tough and feeling ‘is it worth it?’ the continual support coming from the community members made it worth it.

    “This project has been driven by the community, they’re the ones who have continually, over four years, made it clear to both council and government that they want this facility, they believe that Ararat can’t afford to lose any of its amenities and this will be a great asset for the whole of Ararat.”

    Mr Cashin said the multipurpose area will include the changerooms and kiosk area, and will be available for use 12 months of the year.

    “It’s use is going to be more versatile and not just restricted to the pool swimming season,” he said.

    Mr Cashin praised the council officers for their work over the past few months.

    “Their enthusiasm matches ours and we’ve just got to take our hats of to the help we’ve had from the council officers in doing this because it’s going to happen and it’s going to be viable and it’s going to be a great asset for this Ararat community.”

    From what was originally touted as a $4.1 million project Mr Cashin said the pool committee, working with the community through offers of in-kind contributions from contractors and businesses, and council, had now brought that project cost down to about $1.1 million.

    The Pool Committee is also continuing to raise funds and has to date received around $78,000 in pledges. Anyone wishing to donate to the pool fund can do so through the Bendigo bank. The committee’s goal is to raise $100,000.

    With the tender now awarded, Mr Cashin and the pool committee are excited to see work start on the pool.

    While areas of the original proposal have had to be scrapped due to costs at this stage, including installing a ‘wet deck,’ works will including repairing the pool itself, which is structurally sound.

    “It’s still in good knick, but it’s a tired pool in need of refurbishing, but the standard our forefathers put into building that pool has made it such a viable proposition to keep,” Mr Cashin said.

    “The level of workmanship that they put in is something that we should all be proud of and thankful that they’ve done.”

    It was originally intended to demolish the old changerooms, but the cost of making it safe will see the building secured and left as is.

    A new plant room will be built over where the old toddlers pool currently is. On the gardens side of the pool there will be a new children’s water play and the new multipurpose facility.

    With just seven months until the pool can be used, Mr Cashin said the support of the community is what has enabled the pool committee’s dreams become reality.

    “It is truly a people’s project. People have said it’s like Ararat’s version of ‘The castle’ – and it’s going to work,” he said.

    “What I’ve learned from this is that nothing is unachievable.”

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