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Congratulations on being nominated for the REX Airlines' Regional Woman of the Year Award. 

You were nominated by Claire Coulton (on behalf of NSW Nationals Women's Council).

We wish Kelly a lot of luck with this award.

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"I was struggling at the 50m mark and needed something. I'm not sure if it was Rex's training or help from Tim above but we got there" - Jockey Damian Browne pays tribute to Tim Bell after the emotional win of Tinto in the Magic Millions Trophy
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WITH rain falling from Collarenebri to the coast this new year has arrived with confidence, despite a consolidation of commodity prices during the latter half of 2015.  

NSW Farmers’ president Derek Schoen, speaking from a tractor on his Corowa property, predicted 2016 would be a “solid year for agriculture”.

“Pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place,” he said.

Our grains remain in vogue – especially chickpeas and mung beans - which should help offset the current global glut in wheat.

The China free trade agreement alone will see the removal of a 2 per cent sorghum tariff which will provide an immediate $7 to $8 per tonne advantage, said GrainGrowers chief executive Alicia Garden.

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This year’s offensive will see 16,000 ground baits laid across 160 properties, covering an area of around 260,000 hectares across the Northern Tablelands and North West region.

Landholders are now able to use canid pest ejectors, a new technology designed to specifically target dogs and foxes.

Wild dogs cause an estimated $11 million worth of damage to the state’s primary industries sector every year.

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A 54 year old Tweed Heads woman locked herself onto a truck for more than five hours today, protesting Santos’ Leewood water treatment facility near Narrabri.


Mina Hunt and a number of other protesters arrived at the site just before 7 o’clock, claiming ground water was being poisoned by the gas company.

“I’m just an ordinary Aussie mum standing with another Aussie mum from Narrabri, you know, people just really need to wake up and realise how serious this is.”

Police attended the site mid morning and Ms Hunt unlocked herself from the vehicle around midday.


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LOCAL firefighters believe their safety messages might finally be getting through to residents, with a drop in the number of fire call-outs last year.

It’s in contrast to state figures for 2015, released this week, which show an increase in the number of accidental fire deaths (17) and house fires (4070), compared to the year before with 12 deaths and 3946 residential fires.

Tamworth FRNSW senior firefighter Rob Gander said locally the overall number of callouts for 2014 and 2015 were about the same, but there had been a slight drop in the number of fire-related incidents they attended. 

“Last year, 18 per cent of our callouts were fire incidents, which is a slight drop from 2014, when 25 per cent of our callouts were fire-related,” he said.

“What that says to me is people are listening to our fire safety message and doing the right thing.”

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SUBMIT A BLACK SPOT: scroll to the bottom

THE deadline for government funding to fix mobile black spots is approaching fast, and residents across the country are encouraged to make sure they have nominated the worst spots in their area. 

Round two of the Mobile Black Spots Program closes on January 15, with the federal government committing $60 million to improve coverage in areas reported to have poor or no mobile coverage.

The areas to be funded will be selected from the database of mobile black spot areas, nominated by members of the public. The areas are those with poor or no mobile coverage. 

In round one, announced in June 2015, there were 499 mobile base stations to be affected by $100 million in funding. The stations were to either be built or upgraded. 

Click the heading to go to the full story.

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The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority is investigating a report of run-off being discharged from a Santos-run site near Narrabri, in northern New South Wales, following recent rainfall.

The environmental regulator received reports of a minor discharge of water from the Leewood site yesterday and contacted the company to discuss how to control it.

The Leewood facility has been the subject of a number of recent protests by anti-coal seam gas activists and the approval of the site's waste water treatment facility is being appealed by the NSW EDO.

The Authority's Northern Branch Director, Gary Davies, said there's little information available about the run-off at the moment, aside from the preliminary reports received from complainants.


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They are our precious pets.  Please take care tonight, we have had a lot of dogs going missing over the festive weeks.  Tonight will be another night where dogs will go missing.  Keep them inside or in a locked area.  There will be fieworks tonight and there will be missing dogs.  For those who find strays let people know by posting on Facebook or contacting your local pound or why not let us know here and we can post it for you.

 

Happy New Year Everyone look forward to your support in the New Year, may 2016 be a big one.

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A race against time…

Samantha Wolfe is no stranger to death. As a senior forensic pathologist at the Department of Forensic Medicine in Sydney, she’s lost count of the number of post mortems she’s performed in the quest to find answers. But something strange is happening in the Glebe Morgue. The number of bodies coming through with donated organs has surged upwards and there doesn’t appear to be any valid reason. Has the government’s initiatives to increase the number of organ donors finally paid off, or is something far more sinister at play? The more Sam delves into the mystery, the more she’s certain evil lurks nearby.

Detective Sergeant Rohan Coleridge is put in charge of the investigation and he’s not exactly happy about it. The last time he spoke to Samantha Wolfe, she was a college student and accused him of walking out on his responsibilities. Taking on the investigation means significant hours spent up close and personal with her and he’s not sure if either of them will walk away unscathed… or even if he wants to.

The more Rohan investigates, the more he’s convinced something is amiss, but is the perpetrator one of the doctors of the prestigious Sydney Harbour Hospital, or is it someone far closer to home….?

 




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Glove Box Guide to Mental Health is available now and has got everyone talking across NSW.


Featuring personal stories from people across all of life's stages; including teenagers who have experienced a family members' mental illness, stories about postnatal depression and the effects on family members from suicide.

 

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Some decorated hay bales in the form of Minions are stopping traffic on the Newell Highway in north-west New South Wales.

Rob Aitken's 13-year-old daughter and a German backpacker employee thought it would be fun to bring the animated movie characters to life by painting six round bales blue and yellow and attaching white tyres as eyes.

The movie Minions, released six months ago, made more than one billion dollars at the box office worldwide, so it was no surprise that the hay bale replicas have become so popular with passing traffic.

"I think they're Bob, Stuart and I can't remember the third one's name. I just carried them out there," Mr Aitken said.

Sitting near the front gate of Mr Aitken's property at Edgeroi, near Narrabri, the three Minions are hard to miss.

He said dozens of drivers stopped to investigate daily.

"They stop about 40 or 50 cars a day: truck drivers, caravaners, holidaymakers, everybody.

"They take photos and climb on top of them."

The hay bale Minions have not done much for Mr Aitken's hay business though.

"Most of the people that stop aren't really hay buyers," he said with a big chuckle.

"It's just a bit of fun."


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A road trip to spend New Year's Eve in Queensland has left two young footballers dead, another fighting for his life and two others injured, and five families in Melbourne's west reeling with grief.

On Saturday afternoon, Jesse Edwards posted on Facebook "roadtrip :)" as the 19-year-old Werribee teen and four of his mates headed for a New Year's Eve in Queensland. 

The five 19-year-olds – who all played football for local clubs in Werribee and Hoppers Crossing – were driving to the Gold Coast to celebrate New Year's Eve together.

They never made it. 

Less than 12 hours later, the 19-year-old would be dead, along with his friend Brandon Christopoulos, in a horrific car crash that left three of their friends seriously injured.

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Two people have died and the Newell Highway is blocked after a single-vehicle crash south of Narrabri this morning.

Emergency services were called to a location 25km south of Narrabri shortly before 6am today (Sunday 27 December 2016), responding to reports a vehicle had left the highway and struck a tree.

Five people were in the vehicle at the time; two died at the scene, three are being treated by NSW Ambulance Paramedics and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter team from Tamworth.

One person will be airlifted to hospital, two will be taken by road ambulance.

Investigators from Barwon Local Area Command are on en route.

Diversions are in place; check www.livetraffic.com for updates.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.
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Two young males have been refused bail after they were located with a stolen quad bike in Narrabri yesterday.

About 4.30pm yesterday (Monday 28 December 2015), Police responded to a number of reports of two males on a quad bike trespassing in Narrabri.

One boy was located with the stolen quad bike whilst a second attempted to flee on foot. He was located a short time later hiding in shrubbery in Park Crescent.

Alleged stolen property from break-ins at a Maitland Street business on 7th and 28th December 2015 was also found with the juveniles.

The boys, aged 14 and 16, have been charged with offences including:
• Agg B&E & commit serious indictable offence-in company, 
• Enter inclosed land not presc premises w/o lawful excuse, 
• Custody of knife in public place, 
• Take & drive conveyance w/o consent of owner, 
• Never licensed person drive vehicle on road, 
• Motor bike rider (alone) not wear/secure fit approved helmet, 
• Use unregistered vehicle on road or road related area and;
• Resist officer in execution of duty.

Barwon Local Area Command Commander, Acting Superintendent Kylie Chinnery said “assistance of members of the public along with a swift response from local Police worked together to effect the timely arrests and recovery of stolen property”.

“This is a really good result for both Police and the community and one which wouldn’t haven’t occurred without the input from vigilant and community minded people” he said.

Enquiries are continuing.

Anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet spoken with Police is urged to contact Barwon Local Area Command on 02 6757 0799.

Anyone with information about this incident should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page:https://www1.police.nsw.gov.au/. Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information v

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We’ve got the land in our blood Not everyone is made like us We’re made to do our best And find ways of doing it better We’re made to know that listening is 
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THE University of NSW has reaffirmed its position that the drop in groundwater levels around Werris Creek are in part caused by the Whitehaven Coal mine, despite an independent state government commissioned report claiming otherwise.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Water commissioned independent expert Noel Merrick to conduct a peer review of the UNSW study, which was done on behalf of Caroona Coal Action Group who have used water concerns at Werris Creek in a campaign against the proposed Shenhua mine.

Dr Merrick’s review confirmed there had been a drop in groundwater levels, but “found no evidence that the declines are due to the mine”.

Instead, Dr Merrick pointed to climatic conditions as the likely cause for the decline.


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Racing around on motorbikes, riding horses, swimming in dams and generally getting dirty is a dusty dream-world for the many children visiting farms these summer holidays. But they’re not always as aware of potential dangers as those who live there, so it’s important to set some rules and boundaries to keep everyone safe.

Children under 15 years old make up about 20 per cent of the on-farm deaths in Australia each year, and nearly one-third of those children are visitors, according to the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (ACAHS).

Historically the biggest risk has been drowning, but quad bikes are an increasing issue, with two deaths involving children recorded in the first half of 2015.
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The process to complete an application for funding can be challenging and is often approached with a degree of apprehension. RDA Central West has developed a Guide to Successful Grant Writing to help individuals, organisations and communities in our region develop an understanding of how to apply for funding assistance.

 

 

The Guide to Successful Grant Writing will help you to:

  • Identify which grants will support your project.
  • Research and collect background material for your proposal.
  • Clarify the components of grant applications.
  • Learn to write an effective application.
  • Have confidence in the final result.

Download the Guide to Successful Grant Writing


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Protests in the Pilliga Forrest about the region's coal seam gas (CSG) project are only going to get bigger, according to Dubbo resident Dave Mould.

The proposed Narrabri Gas Project area covers about 95,000 hectares of land in and around the Pilliga, south of Narrabri. It is expected to supply up to 50 per cent of NSW's gas needs.

Earlier in the week farmers blocked access to a CSG wastewater plant with a six-metre high wall of hay. There have also been numerous blockades at different work sites.


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A word from the CEO

Firstly, thanks to those who sent such warm words of welcome in response to my being formally appointed CEO of FRRR – they were greatly appreciated. There is a wonderful legacy on which to build and I am very much looking forward to continuing to grow FRRR and connect even more donors with local leaders to deepen our reach into rural, regional and remote Australia. Recently, we welcomed Dominos as a new partner, and I hope they will be the first of many. 
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Northerners are being urged to help map the NSW koala population west of the Great Dividing Range to save them from localised extinction.

The Western Woodlands Alliance (WWA) said its project was the first step towards creating a landscape-wide koala park.

The group is calling on people from the New England region to share their memories and records of koalas over the past 50 years.

WWA spokesman Noel Plumb said koalas and their woodland habitats were being lost rapidly due to intensive over-logging, coal mining, coal seam gas extraction, land clearing, and climate change with record drought.

Koala numbers in the Pilliga forest have fallen from about 10,000 to less than 100 in only 20 years, while numbers in the "Koala Capital" of Gunnedah are down significantly.

"Koalas are nearly extinct in the mighty Pilliga forest, after decades of intensive industrial logging and fire management that has put the interests of the logging industry before the wildlife, the woodlands and the safety of the broader community," Mr Plumb said.

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Three Narrabri males, including a 13-year-old boy, were arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning after allegedly arming themselves and going to a local house looking for someone they had been arguing with hours earlier.

Inspector Robert Dunn said there had been "ongoing issues" through Friday night with a street fight and cars damaged.

The trio then went to a Park Crescent house and allegedly forced entry after throwing rocks through a window.

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Narrabri Shire councillors have narrowly rejected a median strip with trees and lights on Maitland Street.

But just what will finally happen in the main street is no clearer after councillors did not vote on any of the other options. - a median strip with lights only, footpath lighting and an extension of the footpath and footpath lighting.

They voted 6-5 on Tuesday night not to adopt a recommendation by council officers that Option Three - a 2m median between Bowen and Lloyd Streets containing both lighting and trees - be chosen.

That option would have cost $1.3 million. The council has $1.437 million available.

Before deciding councillors heard arguments by residents and business owners for and against the median strip option.

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