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New parking arrangements for Festival of Footy
New parking arrangements for this weekend’s AFL and AFLW matches at Wagga’s Robertson Oval are now in place after recent steady rainfall affected the Bolton Park
precinct. Wagga Wagga City Council inspected the Bolton Park fields this morning and concluded they will still be too wet to accommodate car parking for patrons attending the games on Saturday (7 March) and Sunday (8 March). Council is encouraging people to park at nearby parking areas where bus services will run to Robertson Oval at regular intervals in the lead-up to the games.
Parking and bus services will be available from Wagga Beach carpark on Johnston Street, and from Tarcutta Street adjacent to the Cross Street carpark, for both Saturday and
Sunday games. On Sunday, buses will also run from Kooringal Mall, Tolland Shopping Centre and Southcity Shopping Centre.
Bus services will then be available to return to the carparks after the games. Council Strategic Asset Planner Ben Creighton said the recent rain event was welcomed
across the region but had affected parking arrangements for the Festival of Footy this weekend.
“Given the current weather conditions, we have enacted our contingency plan for parking and we thank all patrons in advance for their patience and understanding in getting to and from the ground,” Mr Creighton said. “We have a number of buses which will run regular services between Robertson Oval and the carparks. It’s only a short distance to the ground from these pick-up points, so if people miss one bus, then another will be close behind and the wait should be minimal. “We had to make the decision today so alternative arrangements could be put in place with the bus company and also give patrons time to plan their trip into the CBD. “There is also the opportunity to walk to the ground from the CBD carparks if that suits people’s plans.”
All buses will have low floor access. Disability access parking will still be available at the northern end of Fitzhardinge Street, off Morgan Street.

Bus services for AFLW and AFL games
Main game starts 5.10pm
Bus services will operate between 1.30pm-5.30pm before the game and between 7.30pm- 8.30pm after the game.
Pick-up and drop-off points:
Wagga Beach carpark (Johnston St outside St Joseph’s school)
Cross Street carpark (pick-up on Tarcutta St)
SUNDAY 8 March
Main game starts 12.40pm
Bus services will operate between 11am-1pm before the game and between 2.30pm-
4.30pm after the game.
Pick-up and drop off points:
Wagga Beach carpark (Johnston St outside St Joseph’s school)
Cross Street carpark (pick-up on Tarcutta St)
Kooringal Mall (Fay Ave outside Kooringal Hotel)
Tolland Shopping Centre (Nordlingen Dr outside old Tolland Squash Centre)
Southcity Shopping Centre (Pinaroo Dr)

media release: Wagga Wagga City Council

 New employment model for GPs undertaking rural training
Trainee rural generalist doctors in the Murrumbidgee region can now work in private practices and local hospitals under a new and innovative employment model that will provide a greater range of care for local patients. Federal Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton said the Coalition Government was acutely aware of calls from
communities to deliver initiatives to attract and retain doctors in rural and remote areas.
“This new local-driven model is an important step in our commitment to delivering better healthcare for rural communities and ensuring rural practice is more appealing for doctors,” Minister Coulton said.
“New positions need to be attractive to trainees, which includes maintaining their employment conditions as they move between rural hospitals and primary care settings.
“Around seven million people live outside our major cities and they deserve access to quality health care where and when they need it. There’s no silver bullet solution, but a range of short, medium and long-term solutions over time will deliver more doctors in our regions.
“Each rural community is different and requires a local solution to meet the needs of that area, and the welcomes locally lead solutions such as this.”
Minister Coulton said the new and innovative employment model – termed the Murrumbidgee Model – will help to fill gaps in rural health care services initially in this region, and then more broadly across Australia. “Under the Murrumbidgee model, local regional health services—in both primary care and hospital settings—will
work together to support rural generalist training in the region,” he said.
“The program includes a Medicare exemption to encourage new partnerships and the sharing of resources  between state and territory government facilities.
“This reflects a more flexible way of working to deliver training and services in rural areas.”
Minister Coulton said the model is the result of a significant amount of collaborative work driven by health services in the Murrumbidgee and local community leaders.
Minister Coulton said the Coalition Government is committed to delivering more measures to improve access to primary healthcare, and today also announced that a targeted recruitment pilot involving between five and 10 locations across Australia would be expanded.
“The Remote Vocational Training Scheme has a long history of supporting doctors in small communities to gain GP Fellowship,” he said.
“For the last few years RVTS has had success in recruiting doctors to towns such as Mallacoota, Lightning Ridge and Bourke through their targeted recruitment strategy.
“These are just two of a number of opportunities we are looking at trialling for new regional innovative employment models to better support GP training.”
Minister Coulton said the Coalition Government would continue to look at other innovative models to address workforce challenges in rural and remote Australia for doctors.
“Our last budget committed $62.2 million for the Rural Generalist Pathway to help get more doctors into the regions where they are needed most,” he said.
Media release: The Hon Mark Coulton MP Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government


NSW School Updates App launched 

Information relevant to your child’s school will soon be available at your fingertips, with the launch of the NSW Government’s “School Updates” app. Available for download on both iPhone and Android now, the app will ensure parents receive immediate alerts if their child’s school is to be closed the following day. In the wake of recent fires and floods, the automation of information will make it easier for schools to keep parents informed quickly in times of crisis.

At the peak of the bushfire crisis, in November, there were up to 20,000 people accessing school safety information on the Department’s website each minute – and a total of 1.35 million visitors in the last four months.

You can download the app here:
📱 Apple app store…/app/nsw-school-updates/id1494658146

📱 Google Play store…

Media Release: NSW department of education


If your organisation aims to assist seniors to remain social and connected within the community, consider applying for funding through the ‘Seniors Staying Social Grants Program’.

The grants program aims to support projects that help older people connect with each other and enable them to develop quality relationships. Funding, for example, could go towards enhancing an existing program, expanding a program to suit a wider audience or creating new programs to combat social isolation.

Applications close April 19, and you can find out more or apply via this link >>…/seniors-staying-social-grants…

The NSW Government has launched the Seniors Staying Social Grants Program. Grants are available for organisations to create innovative, locally driven programs that foster social inclusion for older people.
Release: Dr Joe McGirr MP


Severe Weather Warning
For people in Central West Slopes and Plains, South West Slopes, Riverina, Upper Western, Australian Capital Territory and parts of Southern Tablelands, North West Slopes and Plains, Lower Western and Snowy Mountains Forecast Districts.

Issued at 10:57 am Wednesday, 4 March 2020.


Plan Image
Weather Situation: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther, currently near the Northern Territory/Queensland border, is approaching New South Wales and deepening a low pressure trough over the western inland. Widespread rain is expected across the inland and southeast of New South Wales today as this trough deepens. Rain is likely to intensify tonight and during Thursday as the remnants of Esther move across the state.

HEAVY RAINFALL which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is possible across parts of inland and southeast New South Wales today and Thursday. Locally heavy rain is possible today, however the heaviest rain is expected for most areas from this evening and/or during Thursday.

Thunderstorms are also possible, and likely to exacerbate rainfall rates and totals where they occur. LOCALLY INTENSE RAINFALL is possible with thunderstorms.

For areas recently affected by fires, heavy rainfall increases the potential for landslips and debris across roads.

A Flood Watch is current for the Murrumbidgee, Tumut, Queanbeyan and Belubula Rivers. In addition, Flood Warnings remain current for river systems across the northern inland.

Conditions will ease across western parts of New South Wales late Thursday as the system moves further east. By Friday morning the rainband will have shifted into the Tasman Sea, though showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue across much of the ranges and coast into Friday afternoon and evening.

Locations which may be affected include Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Deniliquin, Tibooburra, Cobar and Bourke.

Press release: SES

Recovering from natural disasters – practical help for livestock producers Recovery Information Sessions are being held throughout bushfire and drought impacted regions to help livestock producers get “Back to Business” following natural disasters. Focusing on recovery, experts will be on hand to offer practical advice, tools and information on livestock nutrition, water access and quality, mental health support services and accessing financial and government assistance.
Recovery Information Sessions in NSW are being hosted by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), its subsidiary Integrity Systems Company, NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Local Land Services with support from industry partners including Dairy Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, and NSW Farmers.
MLA is also working in conjunction state government departments and farming organisations in South Australia and Victoria to schedule events in impacted regions. MLA Managing Director Jason Strong said the information sessions formed part of a broader response package to support livestock producers during these challenging times.
“MLA has initiated several activities to support bushfire impacted producers as they start the recovery process,” Mr Strong said. ” Events like these are vital – not only as a source of information to assist in the rebuild –but also to bring the community together. That sense of community – and understandingthat they are not alone in rebuilding – can be just as important as other practical
“We’ll continue to work with all stakeholders and industry groups to ensure we’re assisting as many landholders as possible to recover following what’s been a very trying summer,”
said Local Land Services Team Leader Ag Advisory Tom White.
Recovery Information Sessions are open livestock producers and are free of charge. The first round of forums will be held on:
• March 4, NABIAC – Nabiac Showground, 9.30AM – 2.00PM
• March 5, LANSDOWNE, Lansdowne Community Hall, 9.30AM – 2.00PM
• March 10, JINGELLIC, ‘Karoo’ – 371 Jingellic Road, 2.30PM – 5:30PM
• March 10, WINGHAM, Wingham Gold Club, 9.00AM – 2.00PM
• March 11, TOOMA, ‘Kooyong’, 350 Lower Mannus Creek Road, 8.30AM – 11.30AM
• March 11, TUMBARUMBA, ‘Grassmere’, 179 East Burra Creek Road, 12:30PM –
• March 12, YAVEN CREEK, Yaven Creek Fire Shed, Yaven Creek Road, 8.30AM –
• March 12, GLOUCESTER, Gloucester Anglican Church Hall, 9.00AM – 2.00PM
• March 12, OBERNE, Oberne Hall, 2449 Westbrook Road, 12.30PM – 3.30PM

Further information sessions will be held in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria in the coming weeks. Dates and locations will be announced once confirmed.
For more information visit or

Media release: LLS NSW Government

Woolworths to apply purchasing limit on toilet paper packs as suppliers ramp up production to meet demand

Woolworths to apply purchasing limit on toilet paper packs as suppliers ramp up production to meet demand.  Wednesday 4 March 2020: Woolworths has today moved to apply a quantity limit on toilet paper packs to ensure more customers have access to these products.  The purchase limit of four packs per customer transaction applies in-store and online.

It will help shore up stock levels as suppliers ramp up local production and deliveries in response to higher than usual demand. Our teams are continuing to work hard on restocking stores with long-life food and groceries from our distribution centres.

The vast majority of the products in our range remain available for our customers as normal. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused by temporary stock shortages and thank them for their patience.

Media release: APP Medianet


 Pharmacists to boost influenza vaccination rates for children in NSW

Pharmacists in New South Wales will be able to administer the influenza vaccination to children aged 10 and above, in a move announced by the NSW Government that has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

PSA NSW Branch President, Professor Peter Carroll, congratulated NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on today’s announcement to enable pharmacists to better protect the community from influenza from mid-March.

“This is a significant announcement from the NSW Government and will protect younger children from influenza and significantly increase immunisation rates in the state,” he said.

“During 2019, NSW recorded the highest confirmed cases of influenza in Australia with children particularly susceptible to the flu. Studies have found that less than a third of children are being immunised each flu season and influenza causes a substantial number of ICU admissions in Australian children each year.”

Professor Carroll said NSW children would now be better protected from influenza as today’s announcement would allow families greater access to the vaccine and was particularly timely with the upcoming flu season.

“Allowing pharmacists to vaccinate makes it more convenient for families, providing greater access to the influenza vaccine and improving rates of immunisation,” he said.

“Already, this year there has been 4,725 confirmed cases of influenza in NSW and with the likely convergence of a COVID-19 pandemic with winter influenza, this move will help to bolster immunity in NSW.

“Boosting vaccination rates and preventing influenza outbreaks can ease pressure on our GP surgeries and hospital emergency departments.

Professor Carroll said as the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has previously advocated, including most recently in PSA’s NSW pre-budget submission, to allow pharmacists to improve access to influenza vaccinations for adolescents.

“PSA commends the NSW Government and NSW Health for continuing to progress recommendations made to better protect the community,” he said.

Media release: AAP Medianet

A Country Girl at Heart

A singer, dancer, actress, and musician, Gina Hogan has been taking Australia by storm with her sensational self-devised shows.  The Women of the 60’sThe Belles of BroadwayNight and Day – the Doris and Shirley Show and The Christmas Belle have wowed audiences over the past five years with many return seasons through popular demand.

More than excited to return to her roots with her latest show, A Country Girl at Heart, Gina will be performing the much loved hits of the country greats: Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John, Tammy Wynette and many more.  Her vocal versatility, endearing personality, and infectious sense of humour, make it a certainty that A Country Girl at Heart will be a nostalgic, fun filled trip down memory lane, offering something for everyone.

Tickets available:

There are three Silver Circle shows on offer in 2020. Tickets are $25 per ticket for an individual show. If you purchase all three shows you will pay $20 for your ticket.

The three Silver Circle shows are:

  • A Country Girl at Heart – Wednesday 4 March
  • 70’s Unplugged – Wednesday 20 May
  • Gene & Judy –  Wednesday 2 September

Media release: Wagga Civic Theatre


All About Women Livestream

You don’t need to be at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday 8 March to experience All About Women, a vibrant festival that asks questions about gender, justice and inequality.

Tickets provide entry to all three sessions, streamed to the Council Meeting Room, inside the Civic Centre.



 Federal Government confirms PBS listing to give melanoma patients affordable access to adjuvant treatment. OPDIVO® (nivolumab) immunotherapy to be PBS listed for adjuvant melanoma treatment.

 Bristol-Myers Squibb today announced that eligible patients with stage IIIB/C/D and IV completely resected melanoma will now have affordable access to OPDIVO® as an adjuvant treatment via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from March 1st 2020.1,2  

The reimbursement of OPDIVO® as an adjuvant therapy will provide healthcare professionals and patients with an affordable treatment option to treat melanoma earlier, rather than watching and waiting for the cancer to possibly return. Typically, when melanoma is found at an early stage, it can be successfully treated with surgery.However, if melanoma is discovered at a later stage (Stage III and IV), even when completely removed by surgery, there may be an increased risk of the cancer coming back.

Adjuvant therapy is a treatment given to eligible patients who have a high risk of cancer reoccurring.  Australia has one of the highest incidence rates of melanoma in the world5, with over 15,200 patients diagnosed in 2019.6 Melanoma is also the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australians aged 25–49.Immuno-oncology treatments, like OPDIVO®, use the body’s natural defences – the immune system – to fight cancer. Cancer cells often find ways to ‘switch off’ the immune system to avoid detection. Immuno-oncology agents can restore the immune system’s ability to recognise and attack these cells. Associate Professor Matteo Carlino, Medical Oncologist and lead investigator at the Melanoma Institute Australia welcomed this PBS listing as an important new option for healthcare practitioners.  “Traditionally, once patients finished their primary treatment (usually surgery) the approach was to watch and wait, hoping the cancer did not return. Now, adjuvant treatment can help reduce the risk of cancer returning for some patients with a higher risk of melanoma coming back.  “We have a lot of experience using immunotherapies in the later stages of the disease and we are looking forward to being able to provide a reimbursed option to melanoma patients in an adjuvant setting,” said Associate Professor Carlino.

Neil McGregor, Bristol-Myers Squibb Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, said this PBS listing is a significant milestone in helping to reduce the recurrence of melanoma in Australia.

“BMS is pleased that eligible Australian patients with completely resected stage IIIB/C/D and IV melanoma are now able to access OPDIVO® via the PBS. Immuno-oncology is a rapidly evolving field, and this PBS listing is an important step in providing patients with further options in addition to their primary treatment,” said Neil McGregor.

Victoria Beedle, CEO of Melanoma Patients Australia, said the PBS listing of adjuvant treatment may give patients hope in reducing the chance of their cancer returning. “The ‘watch and wait’ approach can mean that patients deal with a substantial amount of anxiety and fear of the cancer returning after surgery.” “Having access to reimbursed adjuvant immunotherapy treatment that is affordable on the PBS will help alleviate some of the fears that patients with advanced melanoma can experience after successful surgery,” said Victoria Beedle.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) for the adjuvant treatment of completely resected Stage IIIB/C/D or Stage IV malignant melanoma will be available on the PBS from March 1st 2020.1,2

OPDIVO® has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for the treatment of a range of cancers including lung, head and neck, kidney, bladder and liver cancer.

About Immuno-Oncology (I-O)

Immuno-oncology is based on the premise that the immune system could be a powerful and effective tool for recognising and fighting disease. Immuno-oncology treatments are designed to harness the patient’s own immune system to combat cancer by targeting the same immune pathways that tumour cells use to evade recognition and destruction.

About OPDIVO’s safety

OPDIVO acts on the immune system and may cause inflammation. Inflammation may cause serious damage to a patient’s body and some inflammatory conditions may be life-threatening. The most frequent adverse events reported for OPDIVO include difficulty breathing, rash, itchiness, fatigue (feeling tired or weak), diarrhoea (watery, loose or soft stools), joint and muscle pain, underactive thyroid gland and nausea.2

Further information about OPDIVO can be found in the Consumer Medicine Information here.

Media release: AAP Medinet


Coronavirus dents demand, but China still set to dominate 2020 beef imports

 Recent widespread rainfall has buoyed Australian beef producer spirits and lifted cattle prices, but the sector faces reduced export demand from China as a result of coronavirus, according to Rabobank’s latest global Beef Quarterly report. In its Q1 report, the agricultural banking specialist says China will again dominate beef imports in 2020, albeit at a far slower rate than the heady 60 per cent increase in imported volume recorded in 2019. Rabobank senior animal proteins analyst Angus Gidley-Baird said that whilst hard to predict how long the coronavirus would disrupt the Chinese market, lower sales volumes and limited cash flows would delay a return to normal beef imports in the short term.

“We do, however, expect China’s beef imports to continue to grow in 2020, with a strong rebound in the second half of the year,” he said.

Coronavirus effects on Chinese imports

 With a high inventory of frozen beef unconsumed over the Lunar New Year, and a significant percentage of the Chinese public avoiding eating out entirely, Mr Gidley-Baird said China’s beef demand will be down. “Food service and tourism will remain disrupted until the virus is contained, with decreased restaurant sales contributing to weaker beef demand in the first half of the year than in previous years,” he said. “Importers also face the additional challenge of limited cash flow due to unsold stock at ports, and financial losses incurred in the late-2019 price plunge.”

A slowing economy and side-effects of the coronavirus will curb the extraordinary increase in beef import volumes China experienced in 2019, and potentially lower global prices, particularly in the first half of 2020, but Mr Gidley-Baird expected demand to improve over the second half of the year.

Brexit’s potential export opportunity

The report expects Brexit’s impact on the beef industry to be minimal for the next 12 months, but may offer potential future opportunities for Australian exporters. “The UK remains a member of the EU single market during the 12-month transition period, and we expect change to be limited during this time, however it does allow global beef exporters, including Australia, to negotiate new deals with the UK,” Mr Gidley-Baird said. Uncertainties remain for the beef trade post the Brexit transition period.

Mr Gidley-Baird said while the UK and EU are heavily linked on beef trade – with 89 per cent of the UK’s total beef imports originating from the EU-27 and 44 per cent of EU-27 beef exports going to the UK between January and October 2019 – major beef exporters were already positioning themselves for a trade deal.


Australian outlook

Mr Gidley-Baird said recent rainfall across large areas of Australia had ensured an increase in cattle prices as competition for limited stock heated up. “Producers are flocking to the saleyards, with the recent rain providing an opportunity to restock and rebuild breeding numbers after such a prolonged dry period,” he said.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator lifted 21 per cent from AUD 5.13/kg cwt in November 2019 to AUD 6.23/kg cwt on 14 February 2020 and now sits above AUD 7.00/kg cwt, reflective of this turnaround. Despite the drought, Australian beef exports for 2019 were strong thanks largely to China, where, Mr Gidley-Baird said, 2019 exports eclipsed 2018 by 84 per cent.

“By year end, China’s market share of Australian beef exports increased from 14 per cent to 24 per cent. Australian exports to the US also increased nine per cent, while exports to Japan were down nine per cent, year over year.”

With almost a quarter of Australia’s beef exports exposed to the Chinese market, a reduced demand was now expected due to coronavirus, and Mr Gidley-Baird said the potential lower global prices could prove challenging for processors, given the strong domestic livestock prices.

Media release: AAP Medianet


The peak body representing Australia’s franchised new car Dealers has welcomed today’s announcement of a Senate Inquiry into the decision by General Motors (GM) to withdraw the Holden brand and operations from Australia.

“As an industry we were shocked by GM’s decision and the way it was communicated. However, we have been even more shocked by reports from our members on the grossly inadequate compensation on offer,” said AADA CEO James Voortman.

“The withdrawal of GM from the Australian market leaves around two hundred dealerships in the lurch, and up to nine thousand workers out of a job,” Mr Voortman said.

“Holden Dealers invested significant capital in facilities, stock and equipment. Many signed up to long term leases. They employed people in their businesses and took on apprentices. All of these decisions were made in good faith based on commitments from Holden that they were in Australia for the long-haul,” Mr Voortman said.

“This inquiry is crucial as the way in which Holden is allowed to exit Australia will set the benchmark for other offshore car Manufacturers considering an exit from the country, a rationalisation of their network or a change in their distribution model,” Mr Voortman said.

“The decision of the Senate to review the impacts of GM’s decision is very welcome, particularly as it will also look at the broader context of the Franchising Code and its role in this mess,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the Senate on this inquiry and to keep the Prime Minister, whom we met with yesterday, abreast of developments,” Mr Voortman said.

“The AADA is working closely with our Holden members, as well as the Government and Senate to ensure that the hard-working Australian businesses and their employees are properly looked after,” Mr Voortman said.

Press release: AADA



A new survey of community sector employees has found that services are at risk, and staff could lose their jobs if the Federal Government does not guarantee vital funding.
The funding in question is the Equal Remuneration Order supplementation, which was put in place to provide fair pay in the highly feminised sector. The funding is due to expire on 30 June 2021, and the Federal Government has not yet committed to extending it. The survey, conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney, shows 55 per cent of community sector services in NSW currently receives the at-risk funding. These services can provide vital support to vulnerable people, including domestic violence, mental health and homelessness support.
According to the survey, many respondents said that staff would be cut, and services reduced if the funding was not guaranteed. COSS CEO, Joanna Quilty, said community organisations perform a critical role in helping the most disadvantaged, and their funding must be guaranteed, or services risk being affected.
“Community service workers deserve fair pay for their important work. This funding must be guaranteed and built into baseline funding to ensure long-term certainty,” Ms Quilty said.
“These services employ dedicated and experienced staff who are often dealing with increased demand and increasing complexity. “This is a sector that already runs on a shoestring and we need the Federal Government to guarantee this funding so they can move forward with confidence.”
Founder/CEO of the Small Business Association, Anne Nalder backed the calls from the social services sector. “The last thing small business needs is for community services workers to be out of work, or reducing their hours. “It is crucial that the Federal Government properly support community services workers, so they can continue to support those doing it tough.”

CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie, said:“Cutting funding for community sector workers would mean less people to help those who reach outin times of great need.
“Without adequate funding, community services can’t keep up with demand and people are not getting the help they desperately need, such as emergency food relief, affordable housing or mental health services. “In the lead up to International Women’s Day, we’re calling on the Government to commit to continuing to provide to Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation funding, which established almost a decade ago to provide fair pay in the feminised community service sector,” Dr Goldie said.
The survey can be found here. To find out more about NCOSS, visit:

media release: NCOSS


Breaking down the barriers on Men’s Mental Health

Having suffered from mental health challenges, Paul Macauley founded Project Into The Light in 2019 with a simple goal, to break down the barriers on Men’s Mental Health and #breakthestigma.

In January 2020 after six months of training Paul summited the highest mountain in the Southern and Western Hemispheres, Mt Aconcagua (in Argentina) with a summit elevation of 6,960 meters all with the aim to raise money and awareness for Men’s Mental Health. He battled temperatures of minus 30 degrees, frost bite and blisters so bad that his feet swelled, and his tissue separated from the bone, to show that anything is possible and that even what seems like the hardest challenge can be overcome.

“I was one of those blokes that just shrugged things off and got on with life as best as I could, but deep down these issues were destroying me inside. Mt Aconcagua was my biggest challenge and was the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life – if I can conquer these challenges I want all the men out there to know they can overcome their darkest days, and I am here to help” – Paul Macauley, Founder Project Into the Light

Throughout 2020 Project Into the Light will be continuing to raise awareness and funds all in support of men’s mental health in the Riverina and we will be kicking off with a Barefoot Bowls afternoon on Saturday 14th March from 2:00pm-5:00pm with all money raised going to help those blokes in need.

Teams of 4 are $100 ($25 per person) and include a free drink on arrival, a raffle ticket into our major raffle which will be drawn later in the year and a super fun afternoon of connection and
discussion. This event is family friendly and open to all ages, so come along and enjoy a fun afternoon and hear a little from Paul about his recent climb and what he is planning next.
Team tickets can be purchased from Sticky Tickets –

Media release: Project Into The Light


Medicine safety in aged care is a game of Russian roulette A new report released today by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia shows that medicine safety for our older Australians is a game of Russian roulette and our most vulnerable are unnecessarily being put at risk every day. “Our Medicine Safety: Aged Care report sounds an urgent alarm that medicine safety in aged care must be tackled without delay,” said Pharmaceutical Society of Australian (PSA) National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman.

“The Royal Commission has shone a light on significant shortcomings in residential aged care. Unfortunately, our report has found we are also neglecting vulnerable older Australians when it comes to protecting them from medicine-related harms.  “One of the most shocking findings of our report is that 20 per cent of unplanned hospital admissions for aged care residents are a result of inappropriate medicines use.”

Half of all residents are taking medicines that cause sedation or confusion, with 20 per cent taking antipsychotics and more than half of these residents taking these medicines for far too long. “While medicines are meant to help patients, in many instances these types of medicines can make symptoms worse, cause excessive drowsiness and make residents more likely to experience significant injury from a fall,” A/Prof Freeman said.

“Pharmacists are medicine experts and in collaboration with other health professionals and carers can help identify and diminish the risk of medicine side-effects and harmful interactions. One way pharmacists already do this is through medication reviews.

 Currently, these can generally only be conducted once every two  years. When they are, nearly all aged care residents have at least one problem with their medicines and most have three problems. The Government has gone some way to addressing this by providing $25.5 million to improve medication management programs to reduce the use of medication as a chemical restraint on aged care residents and at home, and new restrictions and education for prescribers on the use of medication as a chemical restraint.

“The Commonwealth Government has recognised the need to address medicine safety and quality use of medicines and declared medicine safety as the 10th National Health Priority Area.

 This commitment needs to translate into actions and sustainable funding. When it comes to protecting older Australians, we must support pharmacists to spend more time in aged care and enable them to conduct more frequent medication reviews and follow-ups.

“Pilot programs which have embedded pharmacists in the aged care team have achieved demonstrable improvements in medicine safety and quality use of medicines.”

Jean Fry who is a resident of Goodwin David Harper House said there were many benefits of having a pharmacist in residential aged care homes.

“In my opinion, every nursing home should have its own pharmacist to help residents maintain independence and safety regarding their medications,” Jean said.

And Peter Heaume, son and representative of parents Jane and Ern who have both been aged care residents said it was invaluable having a pharmacist take the time to explain each drug and its purpose to him.  “It gave me confidence that I could make an informed decision and both understand and agree to the changes proposed. I found it very informative and also beneficial,” he said.

Pharmacists in aged care can provide training and advice on medicines to support others involved in the care of residents. “Aged care staff, trying to do the right thing, often alter medicines. For example, if a resident finds it difficult to swallow, they may crush a medicine, not realising this can negatively impact its efficacy,” A/Prof Freeman said.

PSA has a 10-point plan to protect our older Australians from medicine harm and is calling on the Commonwealth to implement these recommendations in order to keep aged care residents safe.

“Pharmacists are key to improving the quality and safe use of medicines in aged care. We look forward to working with the Government, the aged care sector, other healthcare professionals, residents and families to improve this untenable situation,” A/Prof Freeman said.

Media release: AAP MEdianet



Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says Cootamundra-Gundagai and Junee local government areas (LGAs) have been given a further boost to assist local communities through the continuing drought. Following last month’s announcement in which Cootamundra-Gundagai and Junee councils were made eligible for the Drought Communities Programme, the Federal Government has extended the Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI), which means farmers, farm workers and farm contractors and supplies could access up to $3,000 in cash payments.

Mr McCormack said the Federal Government continued to listen to local communities. “As the drought continues its grip on rural and regional Australia, the Liberals and Nationals in
Government will continue to ramp up assistance measures,” Mr McCormack said. “The Drought Community Support Initiative delivers much-needed cash injections for those on the
ground who are suffering the most. “This money can help those who are experiencing financial hardship to pay for basic household expenses.”

Eligible farming households in Cootamundra-Gundagai and Junee LGAs will now be able to access the DCSI from mid to late March, from either The Salvation Army or the St Vincent de Paul Society. The Federal Government has provided more than $180 million to drought-affected farming households through the DCSI since 2018. “We will also continue to support those coming off the four-year Farm Household Allowance (FHA) by providing a one-off payment which is the equivalent to a further six months on the FHA,” Mr McCormack said.
“As the drought continues, we will continue to adjust assistance as needed.”

Media release: The Hon Michael McCormack MP

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WAGGA NEWS – MONDAY 24th February 2020

Charles Sturt University sponsors Committee 4 Wagga’s School Leaders Program

Charles Sturt University is a major foundation sponsor of a leadership program that develops Wagga Wagga high school students into positive and successful ambassadors for the city. The Committee 4 Wagga started the School Leaders Program in 2016 and the University is again sponsoring the program and hosting the first session and launch event in the Biomedical Science building on Tuesday 25 February.

Over the course of the program, students will attend six single-day sessions and an evening session to participate in workshops, lectures, excursions, physical activities, and mentoring sessions to develop their leadership capacity. Through mental and physical activities, students will be able to analyse their strengths and areas for improvement, set personal and vocational goals, and develop self-awareness and confidence.  Charles Sturt Director of External Engagement in Wagga Wagga and Albury-Wodonga Ms Samantha Beresford said the University was proud to support the program.

“Charles Sturt University is committed to furthering the education and opportunities of people in our communities,” she said.  “These students could be future leaders in our communities and the University is committed to supporting the growth of the youth in our regions through such a fabulous program.”  This program is another example of Charles Sturt University partnering with local organisations to develop and support outstanding rural and regional future leadership.”

CEO of Committee 4 Wagga Mr Alan Johnston said that it has been fundamental to the ongoing success of the program to have the support of Charles Sturt and have the University facilities as a resource to enhance the students’ learning experience since the inception of the program.  “The Committee 4 Wagga recognises the importance of community leaders taking responsibility for the development of our city’s future leaders,” he said. “We are extremely thankful to the sponsors and supporters involved, and for Charles Sturt University and C4W.  “It is an excellent opportunity to showcase the collaboration between the University and the business community in delivering benefits for the community.”

The official launch will be held on Tuesday 25 February at 10.20am at the Biomedical Science building (building 288). Students will graduate from the program in June 2020.

Media release: CSU

Committee to examine different challenges facing city and country schools

Representatives of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) will appear before the House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training on Wednesday, 26 February 2020 at a public hearing for the Committee’s inquiry into the education of students in remote and complex environments.

Chair, Mr Andrew Laming MP, said ‘AHISA have identified a range of factors that have a negative impact on a schools’ educational provision, and on the educational experience and aspirations of students, which vary according to remoteness. These factors also vary between students attending schools in their home community and those being educated away from home.’

Mr Laming said ‘Regardless of where they live, young Australians should be supported to meet their potential with high quality education and meaningful pathways to further education and employment. The Committee is examining how education meets the learning needs of students and how barriers in education can be overcome.’

One in every five Australian Year 12 student gains part of their education at an AHISA member’s school. Almost a third of AHISA’s members lead schools with boarding provision.

‘The Committee is particularly interested in hearing from AHISA about strategies that help students living away from home overcome personal and educational challenges, and suggestions for how governments can improve education provision for students from rural and remote locations being educated away from home’, Mr Laming said.

Public hearing details

Date: Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Time: 11.30am to 12.45pm
Location: Committee Room 1R2, Parliament House, Canberra

The hearing will be broadcast live at

The closing date for submissions has been extended to Friday, 28 February 2020. Submissions can be made online or by emailing


Media release: Parliament of Australia


WAGGA NEWS – FRIDAY 21st February 2020


NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) has welcomed the call from NSW Disability Services Minister, Gareth Ward that the Federal Government should release vital NDIS funding. NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty said the funding was crucial to supporting people in NSW living with a disability. “The NSW Government is standing up for people living with disability in NSW and the Federal Government needs to listen and release these funds,” Ms Quilty said. “It is simply not right that the Federal Government is hoarding this funding away, when there is clear demand in NSW for this funding to be rolled out.” Ms Quilty said the issue was particularly acute for people with mental health issues in NSW. “Programs previously provided by the Federal Government to support people with mental health issues have ceased on the basis that they would be rolled into the NDIS,” Ms Quilty said. “But we know that there has been low take up of NDIS packages by people with psychosocial disabilities because the system is so difficult to access, and now we see that NDIS funds are being withheld. “This is not fair on those struggling with mental health issues who are not getting the support they need. “It means more people with psychosocial disability ending up in emergency departments and homelessness services.” Research recently released by NCOSS and NATSEM at the University of Canberra found that people with disability are more than twice as likely to live in a low-income household compared to people without disability. “We know that many people living with disability are living in economic disadvantage and the NDIS is supposed to be there to support them. “We therefore urge the Federal Government to listen to Minister Ward and release these vital funds to the people who need it most.”

To find out more about NCOSS, visit:
Media release: NCOSS

World-class The Bells to ring in Wagga Wagga

Is it musical bell-tolling? Is it acrobatics? Is it outdoor theatre? The Bells is all three.  Coming to Wagga this Saturday, 22 February, The Bells is a free community event. Bring your picnic, bring your friends, bring the family and enjoy this astonishing performance by the 5 Angry Men theatre group.

“We are so pleased to be able to bring world-class entertainment to Wagga and offer it for free to our community,” Civic Theatre Manager Carissa Campbell said. “In 2019 they played at festivals across the country including Splendour in the Grass and Womadelaide. The performance is full of energy and just fabulous to be part of.”

To begin, the cast work their way through the crowd on black vintage bicycles – ringing their bicycle bells as they process through the onlookers to the bell-tower. Their task begins and instantly, the air is full of flying bodies and the sound of enormous church bells – commanding the attention of any and all within sight or earshot. At its heart, The Bells is a task – an enormous creative task that is being tackled by the performers. They attack their work with manic determination. The results are comic, triumphant, tragic and absurd.

The performance starts at 7.30pm with pre-show entertainment by Charles Patterson from 6.30pm. You are invited to arrive early and bring a picnic to enjoy as the sun sets over the Wollundry Lagoon.  PLATFORM, an accessible chill-out space for people of all ages and abilities, will be at the event.

More information at site) or contact the Box office on 6926 9688

News release: Wagga City Council

My Business Health reaches out to bushfire-hit small business owners

My Business Health, a web portal designed to provide holistic support to small business owners, now features a dedicated section for those impacted by natural disasters.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has been struck by the devastation of the recent bushfires, saying small businesses are dealing with extraordinary challenges right now.

“Small businesses in bushfire-hit areas are under enormous pressure and the difficult reality is that many will be in survival-mode for months to come,” Ms Carnell says.

My Business Health offers simple and practical information to small business owners to help them get back on their feet.

“This includes the latest information on grants and loans being administered by state and territory governments and assistance with employer responsibilities, finances, insurance claims and tax.

“While some of these small and family business owners will be consumed with the recovery of their business – they may not be aware of the psychological distress they have experienced.

My Business Health was developed in consultation with leading mental health organisations including Beyond Blue and EveryMind. Our web portal now features links to Beyond Blue resources that deal with bushfire-related trauma specifically.

“Mental health is a serious issue for Australia’s small business community with the Productivity Commission finding the cost of absenteeism and presenteeism to the sector is over $17 billion per year.

“That figure is likely to be amplified in the wake of this bushfire season, so it’s really important that small business owners prioritise their wellbeing. Visiting My Business Health is an excellent starting point.”

media release: AAP Medianet


The $431 million Wagga Wagga Health Service Redevelopment has met a major milestone with the Stage 3 Ambulatory Care Building reaching its highest point. Parliamentary Secretary for Health, the Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, attended a traditional topping out ceremony today, marking the completion of the building’s fifth and highest level with the signing of a steel beam and placement of a tree on the roof.

This third and final stage of the NSW Government’s $431 million Wagga Wagga Health Service Redevelopment has now reached its pinnacle, bringing world-class health services closer to home for the benefit of the Murrumbidgee communities,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.  “This new building adjoins the 50 bed mental health unit built under Stage One and the acute Wagga Wagga Base Hospital building completed under Stage Two.”

The NSW Government has invested $10 billion to deliver more than 130 new and enhanced health facilities statewide since 2011. The NSW Government is also investing $10.1 billion more over the next four years in health infrastructure, including more than $900 million for rural and regional areas in 2019-20.

“We’re now well on the way to completing the entire Wagga Wagga Health Service Redevelopment, delivering world class integrated health services from a single campus to our local communities to meet their health needs now and into the future,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.

Construction of the new building is on track to open in 2021 and will include capacity for:

  • additional acute aged care inpatient beds (20)
  • additional rehabilitation inpatient beds (eight)
  • older person’s mental health inpatient unit with an additional eight beds
  • hospital in the home service
  • renal dialysis unit (eight new chairs plus two training chairs)
  • oral health service with two new chairs
  • ambulatory, primary and community care clinic rooms, including prosthetic, orthotics, mental health and drug and alcohol outpatient services
  • staff administration hub
  • new education area, including library, conference rooms and lecture theatre.

Stage 3 also includes relocation of BreastScreen NSW services to central Wagga Wagga, 100 additional free car parks and landscaping on the campus.Further information about the redevelopment can be found here.

Media release: NSW Government

WAGGA NEWS – THURSDAY 20th February 2020

The Travelling Film Festival (TFF), the regional tour of Sydney Film Festival, will return to Wagga Wagga from 6—8 March 2020. The program will showcase six top end feature films and one fascinating documentary direct from the 66th Sydney Film Festival and other major international festivals, at Forum 6 Cinemas.
“We are very excited to bring the Festival back to Wagga Wagga’s local community,” said Festival Manager, Sanam Rodrigues. “Local audiences have plenty to look forward to, with screenings of some of the most talkedabout films, including wonderful Australian productions and excellent cinematic works from all around the world.”
Opening the Festival is Hearts and Bones. In Australian filmmaker Ben Lawrence’s beautifully acted debut feature, a war photographer and a refugee discover a photograph that threatens to destroy them both. Stories from around the globe include the Oscar nominee and winner of several Goya Awards Spanish gem Pain and Glory, Almodóvar’s latest hit; The Truth, the hilarious French drama starring dynamic duo Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche; Photograph- director Ritesh Batra’s follow up to his festival favourite, The Lunchbox, beautifully captures the thin line between hypothetical and real, longing and nostalgia; Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2019, Honeyland is a sumptuous, poetic and funny portrait of a female beekeeper in the remote Macedonian countryside. TFF is also proud to bring the local premiere of the audience- favourite The Farewell. This funny and moving tale brings yin and yang of roots and identities, humour and pathos that comes together into a satisfying, bittersweet wedding banquet of a movie. The Festival closes with the superb Portrait of a Lady in Fire, winner of Best Screenplay at Cannes, Céline Sciamma’s (Water Lilies, Girlhood SFF 2014) beautifully shot period drama is about the romance between an artist and her reluctant subject. Additionally, this year’sshort filmsfrom Australia and one from Macau (Tungrus and Ties That Bind) artistically and organically taps on timely subjects of family and love.

Tickets to Australia’s longest running travelling film festival are now on sale with ‘Subscribe and Save’ packages offering great value for multiple ticket purchases, with tickets from just $9.50 per film. For more information please visit

Opening Night: Friday, 6 March
• Hearts and Bones – In Australian filmmaker Ben Lawrence’s beautifully acted debut feature, a war photographer and a refugee discover a photograph that threatens to destroy them both.
*Preceded by the Opening Night Reception at 6pm

Saturday 7 March
• Honeyland – Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2019, Honeyland is a sumptuous, poetic and funny portrait of a female beekeeper in the remote Macedonian countryside.
• Photograph – director Ritesh Batra’s follow up to his festival favourite, The Lunchbox, beautifully captures the thin line between hypothetical and real, longing and nostalgia.
• The Farewell – An Audience favourite around the world, this funny and moving tale brings yin and yang of roots and identities, humour and pathos that comes together into a satisfying, bittersweet wedding banquet of a movie
*Screens with Australian short film Ties that Bind
• Pain and Glory – Pedro Almodóvar reunites with Antonio Banderas (Best Actor, Cannes) and Penelope Cruz in his most personal film yet: a reflection on cinema, art, family and love.
Nominated for Best Foreign Film, Academy Awards 2020, and winner of several Goya Awards this year.

Sunday 8 March
• When Tomatoes Met Wagner – This is an endearing documentary about two cousins who run an organic farm in rural Greece, growing tomatoes – and blasting classical music across the fields.
*Screens with short film Tungrus
• Out Stealing Horses – Stellan Skarsgård (Chernobyl, Mamma Mia) shines as old Trond, a thoughtful yet lonely man who is prompted to recall a certain Norwegian summer that
changed his life forever.
• The Truth – Written and directed by Shoplifters director, Kore-eda Hirokazu, outside of his native Japan, this enjoyable story brings together iconic Oscar-nominated actresses Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche.
• Portrait of a Lady in Fire – Winner of Best Screenplay at Cannes, Céline Sciamma’s (Water Lilies, Girlhood SFF 2014) beautifully shot period drama is about the romance between an artist and
her reluctant subject.
WHAT: Travelling Film Festival Wagga Wagga
WHEN: Friday 6 March – Sunday 8 March, 2020
WHERE: Forum 6 Cinemas 77 Trail St, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

• Book tickets online in advance at
For ticket enquiries please contact Sydney Film Festival on 02 8220 6600 or contact the cinema
box office 02 6921 6863.

Media release : TFF

NSW Touch carnival attracts more teams to Wagga Wagga
The second edition of NSW Touch Association’s Junior State Cup Southern Conference comes to Wagga Wagga this weekend with a jump in teams from last year’s inaugural
event. The changed format of having a Southern and Northern conference has seen record numbers enter the Junior State Cup with more than 450 teams across the State
participating in the 2020 event. There will be 218 of those teams in Wagga Wagga this weekend.
“We are really excited that the new format has been successful and provided substantial growth with the event right across NSW,” NSWTA General Manager Dean Russell said.
“This year’s team numbers have exceeded our 2019 event as we have 218 teams attending the Wagga carnival. That’s a jump of 20 teams from year one. With the
participants, officials, referees and families in support; it is anticipated some 8000 to 10000 people will make their way to the region.” Mr Russell said the growth of the sport has seen the conference concept successfully evolve. “It provides the justification to split the event and make sure we are providing pathway opportunities for those in the South and South West of the state,” he said. Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Councillor Greg Conkey OAM said Wagga was ready for the second year of this major event.
“It attracts many thousands of visitors to our city and that is fantastic for local businesses,” Cr Conkey said.
“Wagga continues to attract major sporting events and this carnival ranks highly as one of the most popular. Our strong relationship with NSW Touch Association will continue to
grow as we will host this carnival again next year, and then pursue an opportunity to secure the event beyond 2021.
“We want this annual carnival to form part of Wagga’s sporting landscape for many years to come.
“I wish all participants, officials and spectators the very best for another successful

The 2020 version of the Junior State Cup will see the 218 teams representing 26 affiliates. It will require close to 850 games to be run and won over three days. A contingent of
nearly 200 referees will officiate. Wagga Wagga Touch Association will again lead the way with strong teams across all divisions.
Wollongong will be looking to increase its resurgence which began last, while Sydney teams from Eastern Suburbs, Western Suburbs, Penrith, Parramatta and Hills will all be
hard to beat. Games start at 9am Friday and progress through to finals on Sunday which will start from 2pm. The prestigious Girls 18’s and Boys 18’s will be played at 3pm and 3.30pm
respectively. The top four teams from each division in each conference will participate in the State Finals on Saturday, 7 March in Penrith.

Media Release: Wagga City Council


Local Land Services is reminding those passionate about regional and rural issues in New South Wales they have until the end of February to nominate for the Local Land Services board election.
Local Land Services works with land managers to help secure the future of agriculture and the environment for NSW communities, with local boards helping deliver meaningful services.
Local Land Services rate payers can nominate online, at Local Land Services offices and those wishing to lodge by ‘snail mail’ will need to raise their hand earlier to ensure their nomination is
received in time.
Riverina Local Land Services General Manager Rob Kelly said community input was an essential part of improving primary production and natural resource management around the state.
“Local board members connect with people and communities within their region to help identify and deliver services relevant to local needs” Mr Kelly said.
Those wishing to throw their hat in the ring will need to officially nominate before the end of February, with voting due to open on 9 April 2020. The current round of nominations follows the
recent recruitment process for 29 Ministerially-appointed members. Mr Kelly explained while the current focus is on nominations, there have been a few changes
since the last local board elections. “It is now easier to participate without the need to enrol. All eligible Local Land Services ratepayers will be included on the electoral roll automatically; however you’ll need to let us know how you’d like to receive your voting pack – either online or in the post,” Mr Kelly said.
“The regulation allows for one vote per ratepayer or company in each region, regardless of the number of holdings you have in the region. This means that each ratepayer in the region will have
equal say in who will be their representative on the local board.” Local Land Services is aiming for diverse and dynamic boards that reflect modern agriculture in NSW. As such, nominations from women, Aboriginal people, younger people and other under-represented groups are strongly encouraged.

“With so many people in our region who are skilled and passionate about land management, I expect we will attract candidates with strong and varied skills and experience to provide a voice
for our regional communities,” Mr Kelly said. “I encourage anyone who is eager to contribute at a local level to nominate for a board position before 28 February 2020.”
Across all 11 Local Land Services regions, ratepayers will elect 34 board members to work with Minister-appointed board members and the Chair to ensure local priorities drive the effective and
efficient delivery of services to farmers and land managers across the State.

To nominate as a candidate visit or and download a candidate information package and nomination form.
Key dates to remember:
Nominations: Opened 1 February and close midday on 28 February 2020
Voting: Opens 9 April and closes at 5pm on 8 May 2020
Announcement: Board members will be announced by the end of June 2020.

Media release: LLS NSW


WAGGA NEWS – WEDNESDAY 19th February 2020

River access closed after theft at Eunony Bridge work site
The theft of specialised equipment from the Eunony Bridge construction site overnight has forced Wagga Wagga City Council to close all access to the Murrumbidgee River either
side of the bridge. Access to the river reserves from the western and eastern approaches along Eunony Bridge Road will now be restricted with the closure of the road and fencing installed either
side of the bridge.
Council’s Director Commercial Operations Caroline Angel said equipment being used in the $10.6M strengthening and widening of Eunony Bridge was stolen between Tuesday
night and Wednesday morning and has resulted in delays to the works. “It’s disappointing from so many perspectives,” Ms Angel said. “The work is now being held up, less than a week into the full closure of the bridge. Acts such as these impact everyone – Council, the contractors and the general public all suffer as a consequence of these unlawful actions.
“Security will now be tightened at the work site and access will be restricted in those areas around the bridge. It means closing a large section of Eunony Bridge Road, particularly to
prevent vehicles accessing the area. “The equipment that was stolen was quite large and required a vehicle and effort to move. “As a direct consequence of this theft, costs incurred by additional security measures and the equipment replacement will all roll into the project. They’re additional costs that are unnecessary and they impact on the project. Ms Angel said the contractor was working quickly to get replacement equipment so work could resume as soon as practicable. “We will be back in action again soon,” Ms Angel said. “It is frustrating for everybody to have to stop work when we had made such a good start to this important project.”
The approach road from the eastern side of Eunony Bridge Road will now be closed at the intersection of Gumly Road. Eunony Bridge will be closed until 1 August 2020, weather permitting.

Media release: Wagga City Council

Today Greens NSW MP Abigail Boyd launched the Riverina Greens ticket for the September 2020 Wagga Wagga City Council elections. 
Two women lead the team, lead candidate Jenny McKinnon, and Sarah Pollard-Williams. They are joined by George Benedyka, Emma Rush and Eric Kaiser.
Jenny McKinnon
Retirement from her role as a higher education executive has allowed Jenny to focus on her family, including eleven grandchildren, and campaigning for a safer environment for future generations
Sarah Pollard-Williams
Sarah is a veterinarian and working in regional and rural Australia has demonstrated  that planning for food security, education, building and transport will be vital as we face a new normal of changed weather and resource availability.
George Benedyka
As a retired Project Designer, and a husband, father, and grandfather, George is very concerned about the lack of direction in addressing global warming and its dire consequences.
Emma Rush
A lecturer at Charles Sturt University, Emma sees how important it is to have all levels of government playing their part to ensure a just transition to a more sustainable future.
Media release: Riverina Greens

WAGGA NEWS – TUESDAY 18th February 2020

Watch Wagga Daily News Bulletin CLICK HERE


Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is urging students throughout the Riverina and Central West to enter his 10th annual ANZAC writing competition.
Mr McCormack said it was important to continue to remember the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have fought for peace and freedom in conflicts all over the world.
“ANZAC Day is the most important day on our national calendar,” Mr McCormack said. “It is imperative that we continue to build on the momentum gained during the centenary of ANZAC
commemorations. “This is why I produce an ANZAC Day booklet each year which also contains ANZAC service times across the region and is distributed to every mailbox in the electorate.
“One of the highlights of the booklet is the publication of the winning entries from the ANZAC writing competition. “Last year, we had more than 800 entries from more than 35 different schools.”
Mr McCormack has written to the more than 120 primary and high schools across the electorate to encourage students to write a creative piece on “Remembering our ANZACs in the Riverina and
Central West”. “Each winning and highly commended entry will receive a book prize with a signed commemorative label,” Mr McCormack said. “Every student who enters will receive a signed certificate which will feature a watermark image of this year’s cover. Entries need to be submitted by 5pm, Friday 28 February 2020 either by mail to the Wagga Wagga
Electorate Office (Suite 2, 11-15 Fitzmaurice Street, Wagga Wagga 2650) or via email to

Media release: The Hon Michael McCormack MP


Four warships left Sydney today to begin the sea phase of the Royal Australian Navy’s first major exercise for the year, Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20). From 17 February to 6 March, HMA Ships HobartStuartArunta and Sirius will war game in the vicinity of Bass Strait with five other Australian ships and submarines.  The exercise will also include military aircraft from Australia, the United States and New Zealand.

Commodore Flotillas (COMFLOT) Commodore Michael Harris OAM, RAN said FCP20 involves over 2000 military personnel and focuses on high-end warfighting to certify participating units to deploy on behalf of the Australian Government.  “FCP20 will test competencies in a range of scenarios, including high-end warfighting in the blue water ocean environment, amphibious operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, similar to our recent bushfire support activities,” Commodore Harris said.

FCP20 will further develop Navy’s ability to engage in complex and dynamic warfighting activities based around sea and air control capabilities. In conjunction with FCP20, Australian Clearance Diving Team One will also conduct water mine counter measure operations as part of a Mine Counter Measures Task Group deployed to North Eastern Tasmania. FCP20 will include port visits to Melbourne and Portland in Victoria and Burnie, Devonport and Launceston in Tasmania. Participating aircraft include a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A, a United States Navy P-8, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K and three RAN MH-60R helicopters. 

FCP20 also marks the first time a Hobart-Class Destroyer, HMAS Hobart, has participated in a fleet certification period.

Media release: AAP Medianet

WAGGA NEWS – Monday 17th February 2020


Today marks a sad day for Australia with the news that General Motors (GM) will be retiring the Holden brand this year.  “This news will come as a hammer blow to Australia’s 200 Holden Dealers, their employees and their customers. Our thoughts are with all of those affected by today’s announcement,” said AADA CEO James Voortman.

“Holden is an iconic Australian brand with one of the biggest Dealer networks in the country and the social and economic effect of this development should not be underestimated,” he said.

“This was a decision made in Detroit and highlights the vulnerable position in which franchised new car Dealers can find themselves. It underscores the importance of the decisions the Government will be making on the future of Automotive franchising in Australia,” he said.

‘It is crucial that these Dealers are adequately compensated for the significant investments they have made in capital, time and effort over many many years,” said Mr Voortman.

“GM has announced that Holden will honour all warranties, servicing offers made at time of sale and recall and safety-related issues. Dealers will naturally step up and help service the large base of Holden customers,” he said.

Media release: AAP Medianet


Wagga Daily Monday 17th February 2020: Community members will have the chance to learn more about local government in the lead-up to the 2020 elections at three information seminars later this year, Shadow Minister for Disability Inclusion Penny Sharpe joined Wagga Wagga Councillor Dan Hayes and local carer Kerein Mullins to launch a petition to get better support for the planning and funding of fully accessible toilets across NSW and Borambola Wines popular Movies by Moonlight movie nights returns for 2020. WATCH NOW



Our first edition of “About Town” with Marguerite McKinnon tackles the issue of Climate Change with local activists Wagga Fridays for Future. How have they handled statements from Federal Riverina Member Michael McCormack MP regarding their time spent protesting on his door steps? What evidence are they relying on to base their concerns for immediate action? Find out here in our in-depth program About Town. To view all our programs including Council Corner, Member Matters, Tourism and Events Snapshot and the Wagga Daily, go to What are your thoughts on Climate Change from your local perspective? Let us know on Facebook. WATCH HERE


Riverina and Central West students planning to start university in 2020 are being encouraged to lodge their claim for Youth Allowance or Austudy now to beat the queue. Youth Allowance provides financial assistance for eligible young people who pursue further study or an apprenticeship after leaving school. Austudy provides assistance to eligible students and apprentices aged 25 or older.
Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said by applying now students could stress less. “They need to be able to focus on the classes ahead, not worry about their finances,” Mr McCormack said. “Thousands of students apply and you don’t want to be waiting for your first payment when you are several lessons in.”
Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert encouraged students to apply to avoid the last-minute rush at the start of the new semester. “The claim process has been streamlined, with tailored questions based on the information provided,” Mr Robert said. “Eligibility for additional support will also be assessed. For example, students who move away from home to study may
get the increased away from home rate of Youth Allowance.”
Students are among the first to benefit from the large scale business transformation under way to modernise the delivery of government payments and services. “We live in a modern world where everything is at our fingertips and students want to access these services at a time which suits them,” Mr McCormack said. “We’ve been working hard on improvements with this in mind.”
The number of questions students need to answer when claiming has been reduced. Other improvements include Digital Assistants ‘Sam’ and ‘Oliver’, which are available 24/7 to answer general questions about payments and help guide students through their online claim. These assistants have responded to more than 1.8 million queries since 2017.

Media release: The Hon Michael McCormack MP


Partnership between City and Chamber of Commerce endorsed

A key partnership between the City and key industry representative, the Chamber of Commerce, has been endorsed providing a vital link in promoting Wagga Wagga as a regional target for growth and new investment.  Wagga Wagga City Council and the Wagga Business Chamber this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to seal a two-year agreement, which will bring several benefits to the city’s small business community. Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga, Councillor Greg Conkey OAM, said the MOU has been developed to define the key objectives, funding administration and management of a partnership between Council and the Chamber. “This MOU will encourage and support the Chamber in key areas of business development, education, advocacy, recognition and advice for businesses, all with Council’s support,” Cr Conkey said. “Our city has a strong business community across many sectors and it’s important for the Council and the Chamber to work closely with them all to achieve greater outcomes which benefit the city’s future as a vibrant and growing regional centre.”

Chamber President Danielle Wait said one of the Chamber’s first aims under the agreement is to develop a four-year strategic plan to engage local business and identify opportunities for the city’s economic development. “We are delighted to be partnering with Wagga Wagga City Council and I expect that we will achieve many positive outcomes together during the next two years,” Ms Wait said. “Utilising both organisation’s resources can only strengthen our economic development opportunities at regional, state and national levels.”

The key objectives of the MoU are to:
** Promote, lobby and advocate for the Wagga Wagga business sector broadly at the regional, state and federal levels
** Jointly seek, promote and advocate for major funding (from all levels of government) and projects within the LGA
** Engage the local business sector in revitalising the commercial and industrial areas of the Wagga Wagga region through increased commercial activity
** Advocate for the creation of new businesses in the LGA, the relocation of existing businesses to the LGA and the attraction of government services to the LGA
** Build the economic development capacity of the Chamber through increased funding and membership

media release provided by Wagga Wagga City Council

WAGGA NEWS – Friday 14 February 2020

SMS scam targeting natural disaster victims promises 8% bonus on tax returns

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning the community about a new SMS scam which promises an 8% bonus on 2020 tax returns to victims of recent natural disasters.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said this is a classic case of fraudsters impersonating the ATO in an effort to collect personal information from people like names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and online banking login details.

This particular scam includes a link to a fake myGov website which looks genuine.

Over the past few years the ATO has seen an increasing number of reports of scammers contacting members of the public pretending to be from the ATO by SMS, email, and phone, and the scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated.

“Last year, over 15,000 people reported to us that they provided scammers with their personal identifying information”, Ms Foat said.

“Your personal and financial information is like the keys to your identity and your money. Once a scammer has your data, they will either sell it on the black market or use it to impersonate you.

“Armed with your details, scammers can do things like get a loan or commit fraud in your name, access your bank account and shop using your credit card, lodge tax returns, or steal your superannuation.

“If you receive an SMS, call, or email and aren’t sure if it’s genuine, it’s OK to not respond. Instead, you can phone the ATO’s dedicated scam line 1800 008 540 to check if it is legitimate. You can also report a scam online at or give us a call” Ms Foat said.

The ATO does send SMS and emails, and also makes phone calls to taxpayers. But there are some tell-tale signs that it is not us. We will never:

  • send an SMS or email requesting you click on a hyperlink to log on to government services
  • ask you to provide any personal identifying information in order to receive a refund
  • use aggressive or rude behaviour, or threaten you with immediate arrest, jail or deportation
  • project our number onto your caller ID – so people can be sure that if there’s a number on their caller ID, it’s not the ATO calling
  • request payment of a debt via cardless cash, iTunes or Google Play cards, pre-paid Visa cards, cryptocurrency, or direct credit to a personal bank account.

“If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a tax related scam, the best thing to do is call the ATO as soon as you can on 1800 008 540”, Ms Foat said.

Any member of the community impacted by disaster and needing assistance or anyone suffering financial hardship is encouraged to talk to their tax or BAS agent or contact the ATO on 1800 806 218, when they are ready, to discuss their situation. Detailed information is available on the ATO website at

Distributed by AAP Median


Freya Jobbins: Return

Saturday 15 February –  Sunday 17 May 2020
Artist Talk: Saturday 15 February, 11am – 12pm | Launch: Saturday 15 February, 6pm – 8pm

Multi-disciplinary artist Freya Jobbins brings together a series of works that explore a deeply personal response to having a son going to war, waiting for his safe return and coping with inevitable aftermath.


WAGGA NEWS – Thursday 13 February 2020

Autumn exhibitions launching this weekend at the Gallery

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery officially launch their Autumn Exhibitions Program on Saturday night. Featuring artists from the Gallery’s Regional Exhibition Program, there is a strong local
focus on the exhibition accompanied by workshops, artist talks and programs scheduled cross the entire weekend.

Michael Agzarian’s Global Melody Project will be opened by renowned ABC Radio and Double J host, Zan Rowe on Saturday night. The Global Melody Project is a social art initiative Michael Agzarian started in 2016. The idea was sparked when he observed a group of pedestrians, all wearing headphones, waiting for traffic lights to change. Watching them, he wondered, ‘what are they all listening to at this moment?’

South-West Sydney based artist Freya Jobbins’ powerful new exhibition RETURN must not be missed. “This new body of work explores my honest and personal response to my eldest son David going to war…waiting on his return and coping with the inevitable aftermath for both of us,” Freya said. “These works have been made over the last seven years, with influences drawn from the German Expressionists where art was shaped by war and I drew inspiration from embittered artists like Erich Heckel, Otto Dix and Kathe Kollwitz” RETURN will be officially opened by Adam Porter of Campbelltown Arts Centre.

The ACT and NSW based collective of artists, Networks Australia also launch their major exhibition which celebrates 10 years of artmaking titled Tree Conversations: Networking with the wood wide web, which shares fresh insights into the world of trees. “This exhibition provides audiences with a thought-provoking theme where we are all invited to take part in a conversation with our leafy companions,” Tree Conversations curator Drew Halyday said. Tree Conversations: Networking with the wood wide web will form part of the evening launch after an afternoon opening book launch and artist talk.

Weekend of programs at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

Launch: Autumn Exhibitions Launch
Join us for the Autumn program launch with special guests Zan Rowe of ABC Radio and
Adam Porter from Campbelltown Arts Centre in Western Sydney
When: Saturday 15 February, 6pm – 8pm | Free event


Talk: Artist in Conversation: Peter Minson
Churchill Fellowship recipient, Peter Minson, walks us through his retrospective exhibition Six
Decades in Reflection.
When: Saturday 15 February, 11am – 12pm | Free event
Where: National Art Glass Gallery’

Talk: In Conversation: Freya Jobbins and Adam Porter
Artist Freya Jobbins will join Adam Porter, the Curator Contemporary Visual Art at
Campbelltown Arts Centre, in conversation about her new exhibition RETURN – a deeply
personal work centred on the experiences of having a son serve in the Australian Army.
When: Saturday 15 February, 11am – 12pm | Free event
Where: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery (Margaret Carnegie Gallery)

Program: Exhibition Tour + Catalogue Launch | Tree Conversations
Join artists from Tree Conversations: Networking with the wood wide web for their official
opening and catalogue launch followed by a guided tour with the artists at 3.30pm.
When: Saturday 15 February, 3pm – 4.30pm | Free event
Where: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

Talk: Artist in Conversation | Michael Agzarian
Michael Agzarian will talk us through his new work the Global Melody Project.
When: Sunday 16 February, 10am – 11am | Free event
Where: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

Program: Workshop | Recycled Fabric Pot Stands
Textile artist Anne McMahon will also host a free workshop creating recycled fabric pot stands,
inspired by her work in Tree Conversations: Networking with the wood wide web exhibition.
When: Sunday 16 February, 10am – 2pm | Free event
Where: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

Michael Agzarian: Global Melody Project
1 February to 22 March 2020

Networks Australia: Tree Conversations: networking with the wood wide web
8 February to 3 May 2020

Freya Jobbins: RETURN
15 February to 17 May 2020
More information:

media release provided by: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery



Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) today announced the first of its greyhound care and welfare updates for 2020 with latest figures from the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) showing 2,085 greyhounds have been rehomed by the industry in the past seven months.

In detailing the record rehoming numbers, GRNSW Chief Executive Officer Mr Tony Mestrov also announced a major expansion of the Greyhounds As Pets program into regional NSW – with six adoption regions to be established across the State.

“The industry is on track to exceed all rehoming targets set out in the GRNSW 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, which is the culmination of the industry’s turnaround over the past few years,” Mr Mestrov said.

“The latest figures are exceptional and clearly show the rehoming initiatives and programs are working.

“In the past seven months we have seen reported figures from the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission (GWIC) of 2,085 greyhounds rehomed after leaving the industry.

 “Since July 1, a total of 816 greyhounds have been rehomed through their owners, which in part can be attributed to the improvements in our Owners’ Incentive Scheme (OIS), while 1,269 dogs have been rehomed to a third party outside the industry, either via their owners, or through Greyhounds as Pets (GAP) and similar rehoming organisations.”

The aim of the OIS is to support participants who would like to keep their greyhounds as pets or rehome them to family or friends once their racing careers are over, with the scheme now providing funding for a greyhound to be desexed, have any minor dental work done, and have booster vaccinations carried out.

Mr Mestrov said the Greyhounds As Pets program had undergone an operational restructure after a review led by new General Manager Welfare Strategy and Development, Dr Alicia Fuller. While GAP runs adoption facilities at Wyee and Londonderry, the program is more than just adoption centres, it now focuses on achieving complete rehoming for all greyhounds involved in the industry.

The review has led to several new staff appointments and a strategic push into regional NSW to establish a more effective adoption network across the State.

“The new regional GAP programs are an important step for the industry’s overall rehoming success. With more than 70% of our participants outside the city, we are building a better rehoming pathway for all greyhounds in these areas – whether they race or not – and uniquely connecting regional owners and trainers, with their dogs’ adopters.”

Greyhounds As Pets has already established a thriving Southern NSW GAP program in partnership with the Nowra, Goulburn and Bulli Greyhound Racing Clubs in the Shoalhaven region.

Late last year the program was introduced in the State’s north, with Northern Rivers GAP unveiled, encompassing Grafton, Lismore and Casino.

“Now we are able to announce that similar regional GAP programs will this year be introduced in another four regional areas: the Riverina, the Western Districts, the Hunter and in the New England region,” Mr Mestrov said.

With the regional GAP program, instead of having to attend a facility, prospective new owners can lodge an application, and are then matched with a greyhound to their specific needs from the greyhounds listed with the Regional GAP programs.

“This has already proven to be hugely successful in the Southern NSW program and a unique part of the program which is working extremely well, is that the adopters are able to directly communicate with the previous trainer or owner of the dog, to work out any likes, dislikes, or quirks about their new pet.”

The ongoing success of the GAP program follows a review and restructure of the operations, which led to Dr Fuller taking on her new role, with Dr Norman Blackman, the GRNSW’s Chief Veterinary Officer, moving into the role of General Manager of GAP Operations and Projects. New site managers have also been appointed at both Wyee and Londonderry Adoption Centres.

Just as GAP NSW is working closely with owners, expanding the program regionally, and working with other rehoming providers, GRNSW is continually working with GWIC around policy formation and welfare programs.

 Rehoming of NSW greyhounds, either post racing or otherwise, is critical to the industry and a major pillar of the GRNSW 2018-21 Strategic Plan, and the theme of ‘lifetime greyhound care and wellbeing.’

media release provided by: medianet




Penny Sharpe MLC will hold a press conference on Wednesday 12 February in Wagga Wagga with Clr Dan Hayes and local carer Kerryn Mullins to launch a petition calling for more support for fully accessible toilets on highways and in regional and rural locations so people with disability are not forced to lie on the floor of public toilets when travelling.

media release provided by: Labor Media



WAGGA NEWS – Tuesday 11 February 2020

Hino Australia handed out its annual accolades at its Dealer of the Year Awards in Sydney on Saturday 8th February. Held at the Hilton Sydney, the evening was hosted by Supercars legend and Hino Ambassador Neil Crompton and attended by over 300 guests including Hino Australia President and COO Sam (Takashi) Suda and Mr Lotter. Wagga Trucks was successful in winning the regional Service Excellence award. Steve Lotter, Hino Motor Sales Australia Chairman and CEO, congratulated the winners on their achievements: “Customer experience is extremely important to Hino and a cornerstone of our success in recent years so it’s fitting that our annual awards duly recognise outstanding achievement in this field in both the Sales and Service sectors.”

In the Parts Excellence category, the Metropolitan award was claimed by Sci-Fleet Hino of Brisbane, Queensland, while the regional Excellence award was added to the trophy cabinet at West Orange Motors.

Service Excellence (Regional):
GOLD – Wagga Trucks, Wagga Wagga, NSW
SILVER – West Orange Motors, Orange, NSW
BRONZE – Illawarra Hino, NSW

media release provided by: medianet


High-rise Sturt Street building approved
A multi-level residential and commercial building in Wagga’s CBD, which will be 17 storeys at its highest point, has been approved by Council. The development application is for 67 residential apartments, three commercial tenancies, 91 car parking spaces and associated works at 11 Sturt Street subject to the conditions contained within the assessment report.
The tallest part of the building will have 14 residential storeys and three of car parking. A six storey section will be one level commercial tenancies and five residential levels.
The design was modified during the assessment period to respect surrounding buildings and the conservation area resulting in an increased scale to the northern side of the site
adjacent to the Murrumbidgee River.
WAGGA LOT 12 DP1237398

media release provided by: Wagga Wagga City Council


Support for roadside memorial guidelines
A rescission motion to overturn a resolution on Council’s Roadside Memorials Policy and progress towards developing a set of new guidelines in its place has been supported by Council.
Councillors unanimously agreed to rescind the original resolution from the 20 January Ordinary Meeting and hold a Councillor Workshop to develop guidelines to which Council
staff can refer. An amendment to the original motion included the workshop to assist in developing the guidelines.

media release provided by: Wagga Wagga City Council

Weissel Oval development concept
Council has approved a concept application for a future staged development at the former Weissel Oval site in Gurwood Street, Wagga. The concept development application is to provide an overarching development scenario for the site. This provides a clear indication of the future development outcome and includes parameters to guide future urban development on the site.
This application does not propose any works, which will be subject to a separate development application.


media release provided by: Wagga Wagga City Council

Land rezoned at shopping centre site
A planning proposal to rezone land to increase development potential of a neighbourhood shopping centre site, located on the corner of Avocet Drive and Rainbow Drive in Estella,has been approved by Council. The proposal was presented to Council on 26 August 2019. Council has since received a Gateway Determination from NSW Department of Planning, Industry and environment to proceed with the planning proposal subject to public consultation, which took place in November and December last year. The land will be re-zoned from RE1 Public Recreation to B2 Local Centre. The Land Reservation Acquisition Layer applicable to the same portion of land was removed.

media release provided by: Wagga Wagga City Council

Urana Street lease renewed
Council has agreed to a renewed lease agreement with Wagga Mini Mix and Precast Concrete Pty Ltd for a disused section of property in Urana Street. The lease is for the purpose of depot/storage and expired on 31 December 2019.

media release provided by: Wagga Wagga City Council

Councillor appointed to committee
Councillor Greg Conkey has been appointed to the Floodplain Risk Management Advisory Committee following the resignation of Cr Tim Koschel. The primary purpose of the committee is to provide communication and consultation with the community and key stakeholders around floodplain risk management in the Wagga Wagga Local Government Area.

media release provided by: Wagga Wagga City Council

Complaint Handling Policy
Council has endorsed its Complaint Handling Policy after amendments were made to the document. No public submissions were received during the exhibition period of the draft policy late
last year.

media release provided by: Wagga Wagga City Council


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