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Freed lawyer shocked by focus on her ordeal

Freed lawyer shocked by focus on her ordeal

Happy … Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, left, arrives at the airport in Rome. Detained in Libya… Melinda Taylor with husband, Geoffrey Roberts, and daughter, Yasmina.
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The parents of previously detained lawyer Melinda Taylor, John and Janelle Taylor, are chilling a bottle of champagne to celebrate when they see her daughter’s face via Skype later today.

Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor leaves jail.

UPDATED

Human rights lawyer Melinda Taylor has been “shocked” by the media attention surrounding her almost month-long detention in Libya, telling her parents she had no idea it was getting any coverage.

Ms Taylor has arrived at her home in the Hague to her husband Geoff Roberts and two-year-old daughter Yasmina after being released. Despite a Skype session with her Brisbane-based parents Janelle and John Taylor, she is yet to go into detail about her ordeal.

Ms Taylor, has been held with three International Criminal Court colleagues since she travelled to Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, on June 7 to help prepare the legal defence of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam.

On Skype today, her mother and father talked to Ms Taylor and Mr Roberts about midday.

Both couples popped a bottle of champagne, though Ms Taylor did not talk about her experience of the past three and half weeks.

‘‘She didn’t [tell me about her experience in jail] she was too excited to be back home with her husband and her daughter,’’ Mrs Taylor said.

Mrs Taylor said her daughter did not think anyone would be interested in her ordeal and had no idea of the extent of the media coverage when she was being held.

‘‘She’s well she’s just looking forward to getting back to her normal life,’’ she said.

‘‘She didn’t know the media attention was happening, she had no idea, she had no idea there had been any media attention whatsoever.

‘‘She was hit with the media in Zintan where she was a little bit shocked that anyone was interested.’’

An “ecstatic” Mrs Taylor heard her daughter say “I love you” in the early hours of this morning when she was first freed.

The lawyer was able to reassure her Brisbane-based mother that she was fine in what Mrs Taylor described as an “emotional” phone call.

Mrs Taylor said she spoke to her daughter after the Libyans handed her over to Australian ambassador David Ritchie.

“She didn’t tell me anything about her experience in the jail because she was in the convoy and the phone call was monitored so the only thing she said was she loved us and looked forward to speaking to us and she’s excited to go home,” Mrs Taylor said.

Mrs Taylor has been in constant contact with her daughter’s husband Geoff Roberts over the past few weeks and arranged to talk to her daughter on Skype so Mrs Taylor and her husband could have a proper celebration.

“We’ve got a bottle of champagne here that our other daughters brought over two weeks ago and the whole time Melinda has been in there we said ‘we have to do something to support Melinda so we went off alcohol’,” she said.

“So the bottle of champagne is now in the fridge and [Melinda’s husband] Geoff said he’d Skype us when she gets home at about midday today and that’s when we’ll drink the champagne.”

“…It will be great, I’ll be very happy to see her face.”

Foreign Minister Bob Carr rang Mrs Taylor in the early hours of this morning to tell her that her daughter had been handed over by Libyan officials ending a “harrowing” few weeks for the parents.

“We are now ecstatic that she’s actually been handed over by them because we were excited when we told she was going to be released but we were ecstatic when we got the email last night to say and a phone call from Bob Carr to say the Libyans had handed her over to the ambassadors,” Mrs Taylor said.

She said Melinda did not have plans to come to Australia until December and her parents had decided it was best to wait until then to see her.

“Melinda said ‘look Mum and Dad I would love you to come over’ and we would be on the next plane but we feel maybe Melinda’s life need to go back to being normal so she can get on with her life,” she said.

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Five things we learnt from Super Rugby

Five things we learnt from Super Rugby

The Reds have two winnable home games to finish the season.1. Beware the Reds. The Brumbies will not be the only ones keeping a close eye on Queensland over the next two weeks. They have two winnable games at home and, more importantly, that priceless ability to switch between styles. Dom Shipperley scored a beautiful, long-range try from turnover ball against the Rebels but their work in tight, with the pick-and-drive, has repeatedly been exceptional. They can hurt any side in this competition, home or away. We have been critical of the wilder aspects of Saia Faingaa’s play in the past but he was great on Friday night – as was Adam Wallace-Harrison – while the durability of Will Genia continues to astound. But is the brilliant No.9 ever going to get a break?
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2. Too many Test players can be bad for your health. A month ago the Crusaders were the form team in the competition. Three Tests and three big injuries later – Kieran Read, Dan Carter and Israel Dagg – the All Blacks-laden Cantabrians simply couldn’t match the spark generated by the admirable Hurricanes on Saturday. Kiwis might want to look away at this point – there is an entirely plausible set of results over the next two weeks that would leave the Crusaders outside the top six – and with just one New Zealand side in the finals.

3. The weaker teams provided a softer landing. While most interest focused on teams with a healthy number of Test players backing up, another story emerged. The games involving the Force, Rebels and Cheetahs – who have few internationals and essentially nothing left to play for – were effectively over by half-time. Rust or lack of appetite? Perhaps a touch of both. There was one telling moment in the Rebels game when James O’Connor made a handy break but found himself isolated at the breakdown. The usual suspects – Gareth Delve and Stirling Mortlock – were among the first to arrive to clean out, but the tight five was conspicuous by its absence. The Rebels have now conceded 457 points in 2012 – 10 per cent higher than the next leakiest side.

4. Berrick Barnes might have some voodoo dolls. For there to have been a stampede for his Wallabies No.10 jersey at the weekend, you first would have had to find someone who could walk. James O’Connor did a hamstring, Kurtley Beale looks like he is playing with shrapnel wedged into his ribs and Quade Cooper’s removal at half-time prompted that dreadful word that no supporter wants to hear: “Precautionary”. In that 40 minutes, however, the Reds No.10 looked a lot better than in his previous game and a half. O’Connor’s injury has opened the door for him, too.

5. Aaron Cruden is nipping at Dan Carter’s heels. Carter will start at five-eighth for New Zealand in The Rugby Championship, unless struck by lightning. But for the first time in a long time there is a player who can change the conversation around the All Blacks No.10 jersey. Cruden is shaping as an alternative, not just the preferred boot-cleaner. He played injured against the Highlanders and still got the job done – he’s a tough, increasingly mature navigator who brings a subtle box of tricks when attacking the gainline.

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The ghost ships that creep across the blue

The ghost ships that creep across the blue

Apparitions at dawn, but the asylum seeker arrivals at Christmas Island are real enough.DAWN on this rocky outcrop in the Indian Ocean brought the sight of two near-identical wooden fishing boats, each painted an almost cheery blue, riding a gentle swell hardly 200 metres offshore, right below the Christmas Island township.
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You needed to blink, for only the evening before, there had been only one of these boats, and its cargo of 53 Tamils from Sri Lanka had been unloaded and driven away to detention.

The sun had not yet risen over the island’s steaming jungle and it was difficult to discern if there was life aboard the second craft. I raised a hand and called a ”hullo” and suddenly a forest of arms appeared above deck.

Some time on Sunday night, as Christmas Island slept off its weekend, another 39 Tamils from Sri Lanka – 37 men and two boys – had slipped in from the Indian Ocean. Appearing as if from nowhere, theirs could have been a ghost ship. Plenty of people on this remote island, as it happens, believe in ghosts.

Next month, on August 17, the ethnic Chinese population, descendants of coolies shipped in and worked like slaves, will celebrate the annual Festival of the Hungry Ghost. Food offerings will be made to keep the spirits of ancestors content and disinclined to enter homes, prayers will be offered for those who suffered and died mining phosphate in the hot sun, and the population will stay indoors at night, fearful that at this moment, the gates of hell are open for those who venture out.

Only this week a sober member of the 72-strong contingent of Australian Federal Police on the island swore to colleagues he had seen the apparition of a ”lady in white” floating among the Islamic and Chinese graves bordering a main road out of the island’s township. The other police were amused, but many of the island’s permanent population claim to have had the same experience.

The Tamils, of course, were not ghosts, and neither was their little boat – though for all the interest shown by the locals, inured to the sudden and regular appearance of asylum seeker vessels from far away, they may as well have been. And soon, the 39 men and boys were barged ashore and removed by bus to the big detention centre far out of sight in a remote valley on the island.

At another time in history, their voyage might have been the stuff of adventure stories. They had endured 21 days at sea, travelling – assuming their helmsman had managed a straight course – about 3400 kilometres beyond sight of land, finding their way to a speck of an island 1500 kilometres west of the nearest mainland Australian coast. Food and water must have been in short supply for these hungry ghosts on such a small and crowded boat, but those of us on the island denied access to the detention centre and the asylum seekers themselves cannot know the depivations they may have suffered.

They were mere apparitions in the dawn, waving, insignificant among the 72 boats that have made it to Christmas Island this year and the 5242 passengers they have carried, including the 18 bodies retrieved from two sinkings in the past 10 days that are believed to have claimed about 100 lives.

Meanwhile, as Australia’s federal parliamentarians take their six-week winter break, having reached no agreement about how to dissuade such perilous voyages, there’s not a person on Christmas Island who does not expect each dawn to reveal more ghostly craft below their township.

The navy will tow the wooden boats out to sea and burn them, and steel craft will be sunk, leaving no sign of their coming.There are now 1475 asylum seekers out of sight in detention on the island.

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Bird call to keep Cook Park aviary

Bird call to keep Cook Park aviary

FOR THE BIRDS: Orange Bird Society president Tony Ford hopes Orange City Council keeps the Cook Park aviary. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0301aviaryBIRD enthusiasts are calling on Orange City Council to keep Cook Park’s bird aviary open as questions surround the future of the facility.
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“Lots of people go to the park to look at the attractions and read information about them,” Orange Bird Society president Tony Ford said.

The society’s treasurer Ray Smith agreed.

“It would be disappointing if it closes because birds are animals that people don’t get to see,” he said.

“It’s a positive thing for Orange to have. If they moved it somewhere else it would need the same access.”

The future of the bird aviary was brought up as part of community consultations to form a draft master plan for the park, Orange City Council corporate and community relations manager Nick Redmond said.

Consultants preparing the plan hope to maintain and enhance the Union Jack layout of the park but the aviary is in the way.

“Questions were raised about whether it was a council core business to hold a licence for fauna,” Mr Redmond said.

Mr Ford said in the past bird lovers had concerns about the treatment of native birds in the aviary but now the birds appeared to be healthy.

“A lot of people don’t like to see birds in aviaries,” Mr Ford said.

“But nowadays they’ve been bred there, they wouldn’t know how to survive in the wild.”

Mr Redmond said there may be an animal welfare argument against the aviary but the council always met the high standards of their licence to keep the birds.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is the licensing authority for the aviary.

The DPI’s exhibited animals leader Matthew Crane said the licence sets standards for the welfare of the animals including the enclosures, social arrangements, diet and the educational value of the signage.

While he could not comment on the conditions of the park’s aviary, he said licences were renewed each year with regular inspections part of the process.

Mr Smith said in the past bird society members were instrumental in running the aviary with many donating birds and helping to clean and maintain the facility before it was taken over by council.

“People in the club would be happy to be more involved,” he said.

“Since there is a dedicated bird society in Orange there is a lot of knowledge from the members of our club.”

Mr Redmond said it was still early days for the draft plan and all views would be balanced in the document when it comes back to councillors.

The community will again be able to have input on future plans for Cook Park in April.

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Updated road closures

Updated road closures

Due to extensive flooding across the region the following roads have been closed.
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Orange road closures

– Ophir Road Second Crossing has 80 to 100 millimetres of water. Water on road signs have been erected and motorists are advised to proceed with caution.

– Ophir Reserve is closed due to flooding

– Bulgas Road causeway at base of Suma Park Dam has 100mm of water across the road. Water on road signs have been erected and motorists are advised to proceed with caution.

– Ophir Road Fourth Crossing in Cabonne is closed with a reported 1.5 metres of water flowing across the roadway.

Great Western Highway at Kelso in Bathurst

– Traffic affected in both directions. RTA advice – exercise caution and allow extra travel time.

Canowindra Road from Canowindra to Cowra

– Road closed in both directions. RTA advice – avoid the area, use an alternate route

Mid Western Highway between Blayney and Cowra

– Traffic affected in both directions. Emergency services on site

Lachlan Valley Way between Cowra and Gooloogong

– Road closed in both directions. RTA advice – avoid the area, use an alternate route

Condobolin Road, Parkes to Bogan Gate

– Road closed in both directions. RTA advice – avoid the area

Newell Highway, Forbes to Parkes

– Highway closed in both directions. RTA advice – avoid the area

Abercrombie Road at Abercrombie River Crossing, Tuena

– Road closed in both directions.

Olympic Highway between Young and Cowra

– Road closed in both directions, motorists advised to avoid the area and use an alternate route.

– The Bendick Murrell bridge is washed out, the water is not expected to recede until after the weekend.

– Motorist can use Henry Lawson Way to Grenfell and then the Mid Western Highway. This detour is suitable for all vehicles.

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BLEAK CITY

BLEAK CITY

SWAMPED: Windyhill Nursery staff member Denise Patteson looks on as the plants receive a drenching. Photo: MARK LOGAN 0301mlrain2AREAS around Suma Park Dam are being monitored by Orange City Council following continual rainfall across the region.
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Areas surrounding Bulgas Road, the Second Crossing, Emu Swamp Road and Hiney Road are being monitored, however, as of late yesterday no road closures were in place.

Heavy rainfall has lashed much of the central west with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warning heavier rainfalls are expected today.

Orange City Council corporate and community relations manager Nick Redmond said areas close to Suma Park Dam were safe despite water levels being 40 millimetres above the spillway.

Mr Redmond said the city’s stormwater drainage systems were built to cope with a lot of rain over a long period of time, and he was confident they would stand up to predicted rainfalls.

Should water reach amber alert levels, or 230 millimetres above the spillway, council will consult with the State Emergency Service (SES) for action to be taken.

By 5.30pm yesterday more than 14mm of rain had fallen, with the BOM predicting between 50mm and 100mm to fall today. A severe weather warning and flood watch is in place, with thunderstorms likely to produce flash flooding over the coming days.

Orange SES controller Kim Stevens said volunteers delivered more than 120 sandbags to 10 properties across the city yesterday as residents prepared themselves for flooding.

Sandbags were delivered to residents on Bathurst Road, Autumn Street, McLachlan Street and in Clifton Grove, according to Mr Stevens, who said it was a case of the community being prepared rather than being located in known flood zones.

“If the community learnt anything from the flood event in Quinlan Road recently, it is that this event could pretty much happen anywhere,” he said.

Stay tuned to the Central Western Daily’s website and Facebook page today for regular weather updates.

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No time to panic: Cowra mayor

No time to panic: Cowra mayor

THE message from Cowra mayor Bill West is for people to remain calm and use common sense as the 12,000 strong community waits to see what flows down its surrounding creeks and rivers.
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The town has been the centre of national attention since reports of flooding and evacuation yesterday.

However, Cr West stressed that, at this stage, it was a waiting game and for people to remain on alert and be prepared but not to panic.

The focus is on Back Creek, several kilometres west of Cowra, although reports from local SES crews are that its level is dropping.

It’s the next 48 hours, with forecasts of more rain, that is causing worry.

“The majority of locals understand what is happening,” Cr West said.

“Back Creek is the issue now, but in a day or two days’ time it will be different. We are watching very closely what the Boorowa River does, and also how quickly Wyangala Dam is filling up.

“The Lachlan River at present is of great concern, let alone with predictions of more rain and potentially higher levels.”

There are reports the Lachlan River could reach a height of 15 metres.

In comparison, the Lachlan River peaked at 12.3 metres in December 2010.

Cr West urged shire residents to continue to use common sense while waiting to see how the flooding situation proceeded.

This was in response to reports of mass evacuation, which have since proven to be distorted.

“At this stage, I am concerned over what appears to be some confusion and the message being broadcast out, particularly with the broader media,” Cr West stressed.

“People really need to remain calm and use common sense, listen to the local and regional media. Work with varying agencies, particularly with the SES, as they are the agency in charge at this time, although that can change.

“In an emergency I would encourage the community to contact the SES on 132 500.”

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Britt takes out first Medal of season

Britt takes out first Medal of season

LUCKY LADIES: Duntryleague Opening Day winners Sharon Scarr (Division 1), Wendy Reid (Division 2), Cheryl Bennett (Division 3) and Marilyn Maxwell (Division 4).The ladies at Duntryleague were delighted to be back on the course on Tuesday to contest the first Monthly Medal, and first WGNSW Medal for the season, which was sponsored by the Country Duntry Girls.
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Coral Britt took out the Monthly Medal with a net score of 74.

Val Pollack won both the scratch and handicap event in Division One with 93 net 76. Ann Williams was runner up with net 77.

Wendy Reid won the scratch event in Division Two with 100 off the stick. Handicap winner was Coral Britt with net 74, Dorothy Collins was runner up with net 77.

Marilyn Maxwell was the handicap winner with 77 on a countback from Sally Heigh. Sally won the scratch event with 113.

Nearest the pin winners were Margot Quigley (4th) Sharon Scarr (7th) Margaret Bellamy (11th) Jenny Brazier (17th).

The putting competitions, sponsored by Janis Pritchard, were taken out by Sandra Robinson (Division One, 31 putts), Dot Beasley (Division Two, 30 putts and Kathy Fisher (Division Three, 33 putts on a countback).

Last Thursday the ladies teamed up to play an 18-Hole 4BBB and a 12-Hole competition.

First place went to Janis Pritchard and Hattie Crossing with 39 points, second place Helen Corby and Sally Heigh with 38 on a countback from Yoka Smith and Val Pollack on a count back.

Twelve-hole winner was Virginia Conran with 24 points, while the runner up was Margaret Bellamy with 23 points.

Nearest the pin winner on the 11th hole was Marilyn Maxwell.

Congratulations to Wentworth Ladies on winning back the Regency Cup last Friday with a 5.5 to 1.5 result.

Many thanks to all the ladies who participated on both teams, a great day was had by all the players.

This Tuesday, March 6 the ladies play WDLGA 3BBB versus Par (time Sheet) sponsored by Helen Corby and Beryl Pearce.

For those ladies not wishing to play 18 holes a 12-hole competition will be played.

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Half-marathon no big deal for Mycroft

Half-marathon no big deal for Mycroft

READY TO RUN: Sarah Mycroft, who has run around Australia, will be the Orange Colour City Running Festival ambassador.FOR one person lining up in Sunday’s Orange Colour City Running Festival, the half-marathon will be a run in the park.
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This year’s Running Festival ambassador is Sarah Mycroft who ran around Australia in 2010.

The mother of two started her 15000km journey on April 4 2010 and finished on November 27.

She became the first woman to run around Australia after being inspired by another distance runner.

“I felt like doing something bigger with my sport, one good major event,” Mycroft said.

“I knew Pat Farmer had run around Australia and he held the record. So I looked for the girls record, to my astonishment, it has never been done.”

During the 238 days Mycroft averaged 60km a day and went through 15 pairs of shoes.

She also raised money during the epic journey for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Running has always been a part of Mycroft’s life as a way to keep fit.

She’s also be competitive being the NSW Female Long Distance Runner of the Year from 2001 to 2004.

Mycroft has also won state title in the 10km cross country half-marathon and marathon distances.

She also enjoys talking to school students about fitness and nutrition.

Mycroft will line up in Sunday’s half-marathon and on Monday will visit schools to speak to students.

Any schools interested in a visit from Mycroft should contact Judy on 6362 9563 or Glenys on 6362 6694.

Sunday’s Running Festival will including 4.8km, 10km and 21.2km distances.

Entries can be taken online at www.orangerunners南京夜网.au or between 2-4pm on Saturday at Leisure Centre Hall in the Bloomfield Hospital grounds, or from 6-6.30am on Sunday before the event.

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Kinross, CYMS put their seasons on the line

Kinross, CYMS put their seasons on the line

VITAL TIME: Jack Rogers will be a key for Kinross as they push for places in the Royal Hotel Cup final and Orange District Cricket Association finals.THERE’S plenty on the line in the final regular season Royal Hotel Cup match of 2011-12.
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CYMS take on Kinross tonight under lights at Wade Park, with the students needing to win to book a place in next week’s grand final against Centrals.

And while CYMS are out of contention for a place in the day-night decider, should the green and golds record a victory against the students it’ll propel them into the top four on the Orange District Cricket Association’s overall standings.

CYMS skipper Dave Neil knows a win is a must.

“It’s a vital match,” Neil said.

“We both have tough two-day games starting on the weekend, and with the weather being what it is there’s no guarantee those games will be completed anyway, so we need to beat them tomorrow night.

“They’re playing for a berth in the final so I’m sure they’ll be keen. But our season is on the line.”

Kinross head into the match following a strong win over Orange City in their last day-night match.

The students bowled out the experienced Orange City line-up for just 87, holding on to win by two wickets in a low-scoring affair.

Kinross coach Mark Gardner said his side would be confident against CYMS after accounting for Orange City.

“We really want to play. In all honesty, the boys would probably prefer to make the final of the Bonnor Cup than the Saturday cricket. It probably suits our game,” Gardner said.

“But we’ve only played CYMS once this season and we won in the last over. I’m expecting it to be close again.”

Orange, like the majority of the region, has received its fair share of rain this week.

As much as 80 millimetres of rain is expected today.

Should the match be washed out, it’ll work in Kinross’ favour.

Although they will fall short in their quest for a place in the RHC final, Kinross will hold a four-point advantage over CYMS on the overall standings, giving them the edge with one two-day round of the ODCA first grade competition remaining.

“Having said that, CYMS are capable of surprising Cavs and by the same token, we’re capable of a strong showing against City. You never know,” Gardner said.

Neil believes the wet weather won’t change Wade Park’s already bowler-friendly pitch too much.

“The pitch will have some juice in it. It’s been kind to the bowlers since cricket resumed there, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for us,” he said.

Tonight’s match begins at 5.30pm.

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Community support vital for medical school bid

Community support vital for medical school bid

ORANGE City Council has backed a plan to create an expert community committee to lobby the government to establish a medical school at Charles Sturt Unversity (CSU).
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The creation of a CSU medical school has long been on the agenda, however, it is hoped the introduction of a community committee would increase the project’s chances of receiving funding.

Australian Health Care Reform Alliance founder and medical consultant to CSU, Professor John Dwyer said Orange City Council supported the concept at a meeting this week.

Made up of doctors, health professionals, teachers, education experts, mayors and interested citizens, the group would lobby on behalf of the central west.

“We have been talking to the government for 18 months and they haven’t said yes and they haven’t said no,” Professor Dwyer said.

“It seems to me the outcome will swing on the outcome of community support.”

Professor Dwyer said showing the government there was strong community support for CSU’s medical school was vital.

He said evidence showed those who trained in the country stayed in the country, and the region deserved to have GPs who were comfortable working in rural areas and wanted to stay there.

“It depends on the rural community making it clear to the government that this situation is not good enough,” he said.

Professor Dwyer said the proposed committee would go beyond just talking and seek an appointment with the health minister.

Orange mayor John Davis supports the project and says a community committee would enhance CSU’s fight to get a medical school.

“It would help to make it a reality if we had community support, that would put more pressure and make it all the better,” he said.

Cr Davis said community support has worked in the past, using the radiotherapy unit at Orange Health Service as an example of the power of the people.

Councillor Reg Kidd said he would support the creation of a community committee to lobby for a medical school.

“Anything we can do as a rural community to encourage better medical facilities is more than a worthy cause,” he said.

“I think there’s a real strength in cooperating so yoy present a united voice to the government.”

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Despite demand, Rex flights come at a price

Despite demand, Rex flights come at a price

ONGOING demand from the mining sector will see Regional Express (Rex) Airlines continue to service Orange at a time when regional cities such as Bathurst are fighting to maintain services.
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However, despite growing demand for Rex services in Orange, ticket prices will rise from July 1.

Rex management claims tough economic times, soaring fuel prices and the government’s policies on regional aviation, including the introduction of new taxes, will translate to price hikes.

Speaking after the release of Rex’s half-yearly results for July to December 2011, Rex network strategy general manager Warrick Lodge said price increases were inevitable.

“These impacts [including the introduction of the carbon tax] are real and now we have to attempt to pass them on,” he said.

Mr Lodge said Rex was aware ticket price increases could result in a reduction in ticket sales but was left with little choice.

Despite challenging times ahead he confirmed Rex’s commitment to Orange.

“It’s difficult to give certainties in the the aviation industry,” he said.

“[However] We’ve seen a growth in the Orange/Sydney route between July and December by 6 per cent.

“The mining sector has contributed to that.”

Mr Lodge said demand for flights was so high in October and November last year the airline increased daily fights between Orange and Sydney from four to five.

“We responded to demand and saw passenger growth during that period,” he said.

The Orange to Sydney route services more than twice the number of passengers, about 60,000 a year, as the Bathurst to Sydney route.

“I’m not saying [we’ve] got Bathurst on the chopping list,” he said.

However he confirmed the Bathurst service was becoming “increasingly difficult to run”.

Mr Lodge said the airline was working closely with Bathurst City Council to ensure Rex continued to service the city.

The results released this week showed Rex made a before-tax profit of $18.5 million on a turnover of $139 million.

Rex executive chairman Lim Kim Hai said in the absence of a more favourable environment Rex would divert its resources from “marginal regional routes to more lucrative mining charters”.

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Union targets unpaid super ‘rip-off’

Union targets unpaid super ‘rip-off’

SENDING A MESSAGE: Australian Workers Union organiser Alan Haynes has warned local employers that failure to pay workers’ superannuation is a serious issue. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0229sgsuperCOMPLAINTS from workers in local industries have prompted the Australian Workers Union (AWU) to remind employers that paying superannuation is not optional.
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AWU greater NSW branch organiser Alan Haynes said he was concerned at the number of recent inquiries from fast food, construction, transport and horticulture workers in Orange.

He said he had reason to believe that some local businesses were flouting the law.

“Superannuation is something that a lot of employers out there don’t take seriously. People, particularly young people, are being ripped off every day of the week,” he said.

“Superannuation is not a bonus. It’s a legitimate legal entitlement that employers must pay.”

Under the law, employers must pay superannuation to workers who are over 18 years of age and earn $450 or more in a month, at a minimum rate of 9 per cent of their wage.

Mr Haynes said superannuation contributions should be noted on workers’ payslips and said “alarm bells should be ringing loudly” for those who didn’t receive payslips.

“I’ve had numerous people come to me and I know a lot of employers in this town, particularly employers who are paying people in cash, are not supplying a payslip. It’s law that an employee must receive a payslip within one working day of receiving their pay. I strongly encourage people to make inquiries if they’re not receiving payslips with that information,” he said.

Employers who fail to meet their superannuation obligations can be reported to Fair Work Australia.

Penalties include interest and administration fees on top of the unpaid superannuation, and fines of up to $6600 for an individual and $33,000 for a corporation.

Mr Haynes also encouraged the parents of young workers to check that their children were being paid properly.

“I don’t care if people are members of the AWU or not in any union whatsoever. I’m more than happy to point them in the right direction,” he said.

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