Councils a drain on water, sewerage

THE state’s 29 councils should reflect on comments made by Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein last week concerning their grab for the profits of TasWater.

The water authority made a profit of $27.2 million last financial year and almost $30 million in potential repairs and maintenance to our water and sewerage systems was paid as a dividend to the councils which own the authority.

As Mr Gutwein said, the fact that we have 22 towns through the state on boil water alerts is due in large part to under-investment by councils in much needed infrastructure over the decades.

The cynic would see this trend as the councils draining TasWater of much needed capital in order to prop up their budgets and keep rates down.

It is obvious that over the past few decades councils have deferred expenditure on water and sewerage; hoping that the other two tiers of government would step to fix up the pipes and pumps with election promises.

As a result there are parts of Tasmania with Third World water and sewerage systems. People in regional and remote parts of this small state are just as entitled to a safe and adequate water supply as are city and urban dwellers.

This is not to blame those responsible councils that have spent a respectable amount on water and sewerage and attempted to keep up with the maintenance backlog.

The greedy ones may be putting a higher priority on healthy looking budgets, but their neglect of this vital infrastructure is bad practice, immoral and highly damaging to Tasmania’s clean green image.

Councils should reflect on this and why the concept of a separate water authority was created in the first place – because they had been neglecting their obligations for decades.

And they wonder why there is a push for fewer councils, and why there is cynicism over their plans for resource sharing.

– BARRY PRISMALL, deputy editor

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Countdown to Logie night

Scott Cam is a TV Week Gold Logie nominee for Most Popular Personality on Australian TV.Many are nominated, few win and everyone has an opinion. It wouldn’t be the Logies without the argy bargy of disagreement, about who ought to have one, who didn’t deserve theirs, or indeed about the value of the awards themselves.

In the television business they are both sacred and superfluous, at once something to be pursued at any cost, and also a conversational football which is, every year, giving a rare and brutal kicking for the amusement of the masses.

But the inescapable truth is this: everyone within arm’s reach of them wants one. And, unless you know how to game the system, you’re fighting an uphill battle to wrestle Australia’s voting public from their TV-host-of-the-moment-inspired inertia.

In truth, awards nights are largely smoke and mirrors, from the Oscars down, a sort of manufactured pageantry packaged as entertainment and largely intended to give viewers, strapped to their couches, a meat parade of the who’s-who, the who-used-to-be and the who’d-like-to-be of showbusiness.

Much of the competition is on the red carpet – fingers crossed there’s a lift in the quality of interrogation on offer there this year – but some of it is still left on the stage, as actors and actresses, presenters and programs, slug it out in the key categories for a little golden man named Logie.

The most striking thing about the most important category of the night – the Gold Logie – is that everyone in it has been nominated previously, which suggests, with respect, that Australian television needs to stir up the gene pool a little.

A win would be a glorious footnote for Hollywood-bound Stephen Peacocke, but given this category has a historical lean towards safe and solid, it would take a small miracle to unseat Nine’s safe-as-houses Scott Cam.

Seven’s Home and Away had a historical hold on the Silver Logie for the most popular actor, so it was a surprise win last year for ABC’s Chris Lilley. So, does Jonah from Tonga resonate in the same way? Best in class here would be Craig McLachlan whose performance in The Doctor Blake Mysteries confirms his depth and range.

Andy Lee (Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South America, Nine)

Asher Keddie (Offspring/Party Tricks, Ten)

Carrie Bickmore (The Project, Ten)

Hamish Blake (Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South America, Nine)

Scott Cam (The Block, Nine)

Stephen Peacocke (Home and Away, Seven)

Chris Lilley (Jonah From Tonga, ABC)

Craig McLachlan (The Doctor Blake Mysteries, ABC)

Josh Thomas (Please Like Me, ABC 2)

Luke Arnold (INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, Seven)

Stephen Peacocke (Home and Away, Seven)

Asher Keddie (Offspring/Party Tricks, Ten)

Bonnie Sveen (Home and Away, Seven)

Jessica Marais (Carlotta/Love Child, ABC/Nine)

Julia Morris (House Husbands, Nine)

Mandy McElhinney (Love Child, Nine)

Janet King (ABC)

Puberty Blues (Ten)

Rake (ABC)

The Code (ABC)

Wentworth (SoHo)

Ice is a problem, but not an epidemic

Glen Innes Police Inspector Garry Huard says that crystal methamphetamine or ‘ice’ is a problem in Glen Innes but there is no epidemic.

The Federal Government recently announced a new national taskforce on the drug ice that will give priority to rural and regional Australia.

Inspector Huard said that it would be naïve to think that Glen Innes doesn’t have a drug problem.

“No town is immune to drug problems and abuse of drugs does play a fairly significant part in what we investigate on a weekly basis,” he said.

“We are seeing an increase in ice use and a lot of the people we deal with are clearly affected by that drug, even victims are talking about their incident being related to ice use.

“We have issued search warrants over the last six to 12 months on places where they are allegedly manufacturing ice within Glen Innes and Tenterfield.

“We believe that the use of ice has taken over from cannabis which leads to an increase in hospital admissions and erratic behaviour. We see it as just as much of a health issue as a crime issue.”

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said the taskforce would pay special attention to the problem in regional Australia.

“The unfortunate situation we find ourselves in with ice in so many rural and regional communities will be made very clear to this taskforce,” she said.

“We know that we must include, in fact give priority to, rural, regional and remote Australia.”

In response Inspector Huard stressed the need for any funding to have an emphasis on prevention and education.

“This is the type of drug that once people are hooked it is very hard to turn them around,” he said.

“I hope any funding from the taskforce would be equally shared between health, education and policing.

“We have gone into local schools and given talks on this subject and that is something that we will continue to do.”

Director of Drug and Alcohol at Hunter New England Health Adrian Dunlop says drug and alcohol clinicians are available to support methamphetamine users across the District, including in Glen Innes.

“Hunter New England Health offers a number of services for methamphetamine users including assessment and referral, counselling and withdrawal support,” he said.

“A Drug and Alcohol counsellor is available in Glen Innes and provides evidenced-based interventions to assist people who want to reduce or stop their drug and or alcohol use.

“Demand for assistance through the Stimulant Treatment Clinic, across the District has been steady over the past couple of years.”

Anyone seeking help should contact the Drug and Alcohol Triage and Assessment Service on1300 66 00 59.

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VIDEO: Fountaineer representing Bendigo

VIDEO: Fountaineer representing Bendigo Bendigo band Fountaineer.

Bendigo band Fountaineer.

Bendigo band Fountaineer.

Bendigo band Fountaineer.

Bendigo band Fountaineer.

TweetFacebookFountaineer frontman Anthony White has been so busy he hasn’t had time to be nervous for the Bendigo band’s set at GTM.

“We are really excited. It’s going to be a great show,” he said.

“We have been fine tuning the set and making sure all the details are in order and everything is working.”

Fountaineer have also been rehearsing with a fill in drummer with Anthony’s brother Francis overseas with another band.

The brothers started Fountaineer together 18 months ago. They have played together since they were 14 years old.

“It’s a shame I can’t play Groovin the Moo with my brother,” Anthony said.

“He in LA playing showcases and we are happy for each other but it’s a bit sad he’s missing.”

Since being announced as the Triple J Unearthed band, Anthony has been excited to see Fountaineer’s single, Grand Old Flags, has been well received.

“It’s been selling well on iTunes in Australia and overseas. A couple of the Triple J broadcasters have said they are keen to hear the album,” Anthony said.

The band is hoping to have the album out later in the year and in the meantime is finalising a music video that will be released next month.

“The album is a concept album and is very directly influenced by Bendigo. Instead of the muse being a lover or a heartbreaker, it’s the town,” Anthony said.

“It is a comment on the city. Some things that are happening are concerning but there are some great things going on (in Bendigo) as well.”

The band will also play with Gang of Youths and Ecca Vandal on May 19, May 20 and May 22 at the Northcote Social Club.

Fountaineer play from 11.50am at Bendigo GTM.

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Discover Australian wines

WINNING WINE: Sue Maas from Wongaburra Wines with her winning Goulburn Show entries along with wines from other Merino Country Vignerons.

MAY is here, bringing with it the fourth annual Aussie Wine Month, the country’s biggest celebration of Australian wine.

Aussie Wine Month, an initiative of Wine Australia, encourages wine drinkers to discover the diversity, quality and regionality of our local wines and share their discoveries by including #AussieWineMonth in their social media posts.

Aussie Wine Month events will take place around the country, making it a great time to plan a wine weekend getaway, try a new wine style or explore the wines of some of Australia’s lesser known wine regions.

With 65 Australian wine regions to choose from, there’s plenty for the wine lover to discover right on their doorstep.

There’ll be wineries and regions hosting tastings, dinners, winery walks, festivals and pop-up cellar doors while a range of pubs, bars and restaurants will have an all- Australian wine-by-the-glass list for the month of May.

Share your love for Aussie wine on social media using the #AussieWineMonth hashtag and you could win a dozen bottles of Australian wine valued at more than $400.

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