Tabourie Lake being opened to the sea

Heavy equipment digs a channel to open Tabourie Lake on Friday afternoon.TABOURIE Lake is being opened to the sea on Friday afternoon ahead of expected heavy rain and possible flooding.

Shoalhaven City Council’s Environmental Services Manager, Kelie Lowe, advised heavy machinery moved in during Friday afternoon to mechanically open the Tabourie Lake entrance in anticipation of further rain.

“With the expectation of more rain in the coming days, council is taking action to mechanically open the entrance to Tabourie Lake,” said Ms Lowe.

Ahead of sending in machinery to excavate an entrance opening, Ms Lowe the water level was at 1.12 mAHD at the Bureau of Meteorology gauge and 1.15 mAHD at the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory gauge.

“The entrance will be opened to prevent minor flooding and low level persistent inundation which causes some amenity issues in the area.

“However, opening the entrance won’t prevent medium to major floods should significant rainfall occur in the catchment.”

Members of the public are reminded to stay outside the work area and keep away from the edges of the dug channel and eroding banks following opening, as these areas are unstable and unsafe.

Council staff will continue to monitor the entrance over the coming weeks.

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Australian bass and estuary perch off the menu

PUT IT BACK: Australian BassFISHERS are reminded a closure on taking Australian bass and estuary perch from all rivers and estuaries in NSW was put in place from Friday May 1, for a four-month period.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Senior Inland Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway, said the annual zero bag limit period has been extended to protect early migrating species.

“The zero bag limit will be in place from May to August, to protect these important native fish species while they spawn,” Mr Westaway said.

“Both Australian bass and estuary perch form schools and migrate to parts of estuaries with the correct salinity to trigger spawning.

“These great native sports fish can be vulnerable to fishing when they are in large groups – hence the reason for the closure.”

Mr Westaway said the zero bag limit does not apply to Australian bass and estuary perch caught in freshwater impoundments and dams, as they do not breed in these areas.

“All fish in freshwater impoundments, including Glenbawn Dam and Glennies Creek Dam in the Hunter Valley, Brogo Dam near Bega and Clarrie Hall and Toonumbar Dams in the northeast are stocked fisheries, meaning anglers may continue to fish for these species in those waters all year round,” Mr Westaway said.

“It’s worth noting the zero bag limit closure for rivers and estuaries does permit catch and release of these species during the spawning closure.

“The zero bag limit does not close any waters to fishing and does not affect anglers fishing for other estuary species, such as bream or flathead.

“However, any Australian bass or estuary perch caught must be immediately returned to the water with the least possible injury.”

DPI fisheries officers will be patrolling bass waters during the zero bag limit period to advise anglers on the fishing rules and enforce size and bag limits for other species.

Detailed information on fishing rules can be found in the NSW DPI Recreational Fishing Guides, at DPI fisheries offices, and at most bait and tackle stores.

Anglers should check they have a current NSW Recreational Fishing Fee, available from more than 1000 agents, including bait and tackle stores, on 1300 369 365 or online at 梧桐夜网dpi.nsw.gov419论坛/fisheries/recreational/licence-fee.

RETURN TO WATER: Estuary Perch.

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Teddy Bear repair

Morwell Park Primary School students took part in operation Teddy Bear Hospital. photographs tom morrisonPrepsof Morwell Park Primary School were greeted by student doctors on Friday morning, when their classroom was turned into a make-shift teddy bear hospital.

Monash University Medical Undergraduate Society members, who are placed at Latrobe Regional Hospital in Traralgon, visited the school for two hours to reduce “white-coat anxiety”.

MUMUS’ ‘Teddy Bear Hospital’ Gippsland coordinator Morgan Clayton, a third year medical student, said the main idea was to create a positive association with hospitals.

“The idea of it is to reduce that white-coat anxiety that comes with going to see a doctor. That’s why we wear the scrubs and teach some health messages,” Ms Clayton said.

Prep student Sarah helped fix teddy’s arm.

“It’s good for us as well, because none of us are actually from this area, so everyone is excited for a chance to see the community other than the hospital.”

Teddy Bear Hospital is an international project, which began at Gippsland Medical School in 2009, and allows young people across the state to interact with student doctors. Morwell Park Primary School preps each brought their own teddy bear to school, with MUMUS members talking them through different medical scenarios.

Doctors Emily and Yazmin plastering fingers with preps.

Stations ranged from surgery – where students got to see the organs of a teddy bear – to healthy eating and exercise, x-rays, asthma, plastering and first aid.

Prep teacher Steph Wilson said the students had been excited all week to join in on the program.

“The whole idea of it is that the students then feel safe and calm when they go to hospital,” Ms Wilson said.

Five year-old Abby was one of 50 preps who took part and said she enjoyed learning about asthma.

“It’s really cool; you get to look after your teddy,” Abby said.

Abby’s classmate, Jack, said Big Teddy was his favourite part of the day and he was looking forward to speaking with the doctors.

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New paths to employment

Skye Dore, AGL’s Mark Waller, Tyson Osborne and AGL’s Anthony Waller workshop employment pathways. photograph bryan petts-jonesTacklingyouth unemployment through education is the main focus of The Smith Family, which held a mentor workshop for 32 Latrobe Valley students last week.

Sixteen former students of Lowanna, Kurnai and Traralgon secondary colleges spoke of their experience in finding work through various pathways.

Melissa Brown, who studied at Kurnai until 1990 and now works with Quantum youth services, said she dropped out before year 12 and returned to school in her mid-30s.

‘Inspiring Young People’ was held at the Italian Australian Club in Morwell yesterday, as part of a series of events aimed at combating youth unemployment.Photograph bryan petts-jones

“I hope they’ll see there’s more than one pathway to achieve your dreams, but education is important to achieve whatever you want to achieve in life,” Ms Brown said.

Her message was one of many in the Inspiring Young People program, an ongoing series helping young people make the leap from school to work.

The Smith Family Victorian general manager Anton Leschen said its aim was to break down the barriers and allow students to become more comfortable with adulthood.

“Schooling can be a long, dark tunnel for students – 13 years,” Mr Leschen said.

“For young people who aren’t sure where they’re heading or if education is worth it, these events enable them to talk to people who’ve walked the same path as them.

Skye Dore, Mark Waller from AGL, Tyson Osborne and Anthony Waller from AGL.Photograph bryan petts-jones

“It’s to help them realise the significance of schooling and to help them consider real life after-school options.”

Ms Brown, who has also worked with Quantum’s homelessness and mental health programs, said she often dealt with teenagers who were disconnected from education.

She said she hoped her own experience – of living interstate, returning to Latrobe Valley and completing further study – would help explain the range of options out there.

“I want to reassure them that everyone has a different goal and I want to encourage them to keep up with their education, because then they can reach for the stars,” she said.

“I didn’t do year 12, but I went back to school and here I am.”

Although Latrobe Valley’s youth unemployment rate of 11.2 per cent for 15 to 24 year-olds is below the state average of 14.6 per cent, Mr Leschen said prevention was key.

“Our focus is always on education, because that is the preventative measure,” Mr Leschen said.

“It’s far better to help young people get fully educated to have all of the opportunities they might have in life,” he said.

“Rather than a remedial approach dealing with homelessness, unemployment and other issues or barriers.”

Baw Baw Latrobe Local Learning and Employment hosted yesterday’s workshop alongside The Smith Family, which launches its annual Winter Appeal tomorrow.

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Government’s forestry plan reduced to ashes

THE best laid plans of mice and men, it’s said, often go awry.

Before last election, the Liberals were effective in their attack on Labor and the Greens over forestry, and successfully prosecuted the former government in the public’s eye as the chief architect of the industry’s demise.

The minority government, and particularly the Tasmanian Forests Agreement, they argued, had a ruinous effect on an industry that would have otherwise had a bright future.

But rest assured, the Liberals had a plan to rebuild the forestry industry.

That plan had three prongs: mandatory sentences for pesky environmental protesters, allowing companies to sue for defamation, and most importantly, the government’s “support” for the industry.

As a political strategy, it was spot on.

It harnessed the strong anti-green sentiment, particularly in Braddon, and managed to tar Labor and the Greens as partners in crime who were thrilled about the sector’s decline.

But since coming to government, the much-vaunted plan has slowly gone awry.

The TFA was indeed scrapped, but there will be no additional trees for the industry until 2020.

Anti-protest laws eventually made it through Parliament, but only after they were neutered by the Legislative Council, with mandatory sentencing provisions removed.

The net result was largely a duplication of existing trespass laws.

The introduction of corporate defamation laws was then unceremoniously dumped when the government discovered the Tasmanian community and every other state and territory government thought it was a bad idea.

This week, the public finally learned the government’s plans for Forestry Tasmania – let the company sell valuable hardwood assets to stave off immediate ruin, and shrink in the hope that the private sector can fill the void.

The endless streams of public money for Forestry Tasmania will stop, but there will be job losses and no clear date at which taxpayers can expect a dividend.

It should be remembered that markets are the primary cause of the industry’s woes.

As Resources Minister Paul Harriss belatedly noted in Parliament this week, the collapse of Gunns and the global financial crisis wreaked havoc on the sector.

Regardless of whether selling FT’s hardwood plantations is a broken promise or not, the sale looks like a temporary fix for a permanent viability problem.

Additionally, the government has put the Southern residues problem in the too-hard basket, and has instead asked the industry to find a solution.

This is just months after its decision to pursue Macquarie Wharf as the best point of departure for Southern timber residues.

Perhaps a solution could have already been found if fewer resources were invested into the politically motivated inquiry into the sale of the Triabunna mill.

The announcements gave Labor and the Greens a second wind, particularly for Opposition Leader Bryan Green, who seems more comfortable talking about forestry than most other issues.

But a day after the ministerial statement, the chamber descended into farce as the non-governmental parties excitedly returned fire on the government.

Greens leader Kim Booth was ejected for disrespecting the chair, before Speaker Elise Archer suspended the entire house during the debate of Labor’s no-confidence motion against Mr Harriss.

It painted a poor picture of Tasmania’s political leaders, while the forestry sector is still on its knees.

The next time the government faces voters, it will have a much harder task selling the effectiveness of its plan, particularly if Forestry Tasmania is still losing money and has shed dozens of workers.

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