So close for brave Demons

After a brave and gutsy performance the Dubbo Demons have narrowly gone down to competition leaders Cowra Blues.
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The round nine match of the Central West AFL saw the determined Demons come with within three points of victory at the weekend.

The final score was Cowra 11.19 (85) defeating Dubbo 12.10 (82).

The Demons started the game full of running and caught Cowra by surprise to lead at the end of the first quarter by 14 points.

In the second quarter the Demons continued to force the ball forward at the stoppages and run hard in attack.

By half-time the Demons had kicked 3.5 to Cowra’s 2.5 and had increased their lead to 20 points.

The Blues came out at the start of the second half and lifted their work rate.

Cowra’s Dave Manning started to win more of the footy at the stoppages and the Demon’s centre line started to tire.

As Cowra peppered the goals, the Demons struggled to move their ball out of their defensive zone and battled with the breeze as the inexperienced backline and midfield faltered under the relentless Cowra pressure.

By the end of the third quarter the Blues had scored 5.9 to the Demons 0.1, moving into the lead for the first time by 18 points.

In the last quarter, the Demons struck back going all out in attack as they tried to make up the deficit.

They regained control of the midfield and were able to create more attacking opportunities.

The Demons again took the lead with just a few minutes left on the clock, thrilling spectators with spectacular play.

However experience proved all too valuable as Cowra exploited their opponents’ attacking ploys and kicked a very late goal to hold off the Demons challenge and win by a final margin of 3 points.

Despite the loss the Demons were happy with their performance as they hit the ball hard at the contest, showing plenty of character to get back into the game against the competition’s top team.

In the coming weeks the Demons will need to work on hard their fitness and skill levels to improve their competitiveness and take the next step.

Better players for the Demons were Steve Howlett, Doug North, Ben Bunt, Rohan Brill, Jacob Maljers and Hunter Johnston.

Doug North (4), Dale Lawrence (3), Greg Richter (2), Greg Sutton (1), Stewart Todd (1) and Mick Haley (1) were the goal-kickers for Dubbo.

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Cancer funding snub under fire

DOCTORS are furious at a recommendation not to extend Medicare funding to new cervical cancer screening techniques widely used in other countries, saying ”outmoded technology” means women are being retested needlessly for harmless cell changes.The decision by the Federal Government’s Medical Services Advisory Committee – which could also derail a planned revision of the entire national cervical screening program – was a missed opportunity to improve women’s health care, said the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia’s spokeswoman, Gabriele Medley.”For many women it would reduce the need for invasive and possibly unnecessary further investigations and treatment, with their attendant costs and stress,” Dr Medley said.At issue is liquid-based cytology, in which cells are preserved in a liquid sample instead of the glass slide used in conventional Pap smears. Australian research has shown the $35 ThinPrep version of the technology detects abnormal cells more accurately than regular Pap testing, which is offered free through the national screening program.Another advantage is that the sample can be preserved for further testing if it shows initial abnormalities, meaning women need not return to the doctor.The committee also rejected a funding proposal for $90 human papilloma virus (HPV) testing. This can determine whether cell changes are likely to be cancer without the need for colposcopy – an invasive direct microscope viewing of the cervix.The committee – whose advice must be accepted by the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, to become official policy – said both tests were useful, but too expensive for public funding.But Dr Medley said this ignored potential savings from removing the need to recall women for follow-up smears.Neville Hacker, the director of the Gynaecological Cancer Centre at the Royal Hospital for Women, said research suggested women who were free from HPV could safely go without further tests for several years, saving money. ”I think we are way behind the times … we are doing screening too frequently and using outmoded technology,” Professor Hacker said.Liquid samples – processed by machine instead of having to be viewed by technicians – would become additionally important as more young women received the cervical cancer vaccine, Professor Hacker said.This was because laboratories would encounter fewer abnormal samples, and might lose the skills to detect them.Doctors are also concerned that the committee’s decision could hobble a wider redesign of the cervical screening program, to take account of changing technologies and patterns of disease.A draft plan for the review stated its recommendations would be consistent with Medicare funding decisions.But a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Ageing said yesterday the plan was ”only a draft aimed at providing health officials with a broad picture of how the renewal could go forward”.Holly Simmonds, managing director of ThinPrep’s manufacturer, Hologic, said yesterday the company could not control the final price of testing, because pathologists set their own fees, but wider use of the tests would push costs down.
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Alcohol’s impact is filling our courts

More females are becoming involved in alcohol-related violence, according to a Greater Western Area Health health expert. FILE IMAGEThe number of young people in court over alcohol-related violence is on the rise in Dubbo and a health expert has warned that attitudes toward binge drinking are a big part of the problem.
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It was historically an issue that mainly involved males, but there has been an increase during the past few years in alcohol-related violence from females, Greater Western Area Health Service team leader of the Magistrate’s Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) program Michelle Warn said.

“I’ve really become aware of it over the last two years – the number of girls in court related to binge drinking,” she said.

“And in general, young people going to jail as a result of alcohol-related violence.”

One in three referrals to the MERIT program alone are related to binge drinking, while on average, there are two binge drinking-related referrals to the community drug and alcohol program in Dubbo per week.

The MERIT program was introduced to give offenders an opportunity to do something about drug and alcohol problems before they are sentenced.

“It’s becoming a real problem … violence-related offences are overtaking PCA (prescribed concentrate of alcohol) offences, from what we see in the program, with assaults on the increase,” she said.

“Alcohol is so entrenched in our country and culture, I don’t know what the answer is.”

Dubbo Local Court deals with a number of alcohol-related offences on a weekly basis.

A learner driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road, causing other cars to pull over, returned a 0.105 blood-alcohol reading, the court heard earlier this year.

Last month, the court dealt with an 18-year-old girl who was so drunk she was swerving her car on the road before she crashed it into a tree.

A man was charged with recklessly wounding and drink driving after he consumed 25 middies of beer and struck another man on the head with a metal bar.

And just last week, a 19-year-old man was sentenced for drink driving three times in one night after a party in Dubbo.

Alcohol is a drug that slows down the central nervous system and is known as a depressant, a NSW Ambulance spokesperson told the Daily Liberal.

“Abuse of alcohol, such as binge drinking or drinking to intoxication, can cause unconsciousness, vomiting and even death,” the spokesperson said.

Ms Warn said it was “time to make a stand”.

“It’s not okay to be a binge drinker,” she said.

“Because it’s so culturally accepted, no one is making a stand. Professionally, we need to start stepping up to the plate and saying that it’s not okay.”

On average, one in four hospitalisations of 15 to 25-year-olds are a result of intoxication, according to Reach Out Australia.

“Seventy Australians aged under 25 will be hospitalised due to alcohol-caused assaults in an average week,” the organisation reported.

“Four Australians aged under 25 die due to alcohol-related injuries in an average week.”

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Anglican Church slashes staff, programs

AUSTRALIA’S richest Anglican diocese will slash staff and ministries after revealing it lost $160 million on the sharemarket – $60 million more than reported at the height of the global sharemarket downturn.The cutbacks will be deepest at St Andrew’s House, Archbishop Peter Jensen’s power centre, with central funds for ministries and programs to spread the Gospel slashed by half over the next three years.St Andrew’s Cathedral will need to delay a planned refurbishment of its Town Hall forecourt and has lost funding for some of its city services.In effect there is to be a three-year freeze on special diocesan grants for new ministries and, while the diocese will pay for the recruitment and training of apprentice ministers, their growing congregations will need to become self-sufficient.In an address to the faithful on Monday, Dr Jensen will announce a shake-up of the diocese’s regional organisations because distributions from a separate property-based fund can no longer support the ”existing episcopal staff structure”. The position of one regional bishop will not be filled and the diocese’s remaining four bishops will lose a full-time archdeacon and be asked to take on extra management responsibilities.Twenty mission areas, representing a cluster of parishes, will be created and a parish rector appointed to undertake the work of mission leader. The leaders will be required to co-ordinate senior ministers, research and identify ”tribes and deserts” and other opportunities for spreading the Gospel. The initiative is expected to save $2.5 million.The archbishop has ruled out reintroducing a levy on parishes, which raise $70 million annually through the collection plate and donations. The burden will fall mostly on congregations to fund their programs to spread the Gospel and partner new congregations and churches. Next week the church’s investment arm, the Glebe AdministrationBoard, will report a loss of $160 million. The global crisis slashed the value of the trust’s net assets from $265 million in December 2007 to $105 million at the end of last year.In its report to the synod, the board expresses regret for mistakes made, not only for its highly geared portfolio which exposed it to the market freefall, but for realising debts just as the market rebounded. ”We thought we would be able to ride out the fluctuations in the market and hold the bulk of our market positions.”We did not, however, envisage the severity of the falls that occurred concurrently in the various markets due to the global financial crisis. Our diversification strategy did not provide the protection we had expected.”As a result, distributions from the diocesan endowment fund – the main source of funding allocated by head office to support ministry and organisations outside the diocese – halved to $5.3 million.Distributions through a separate fund that owns a share in St Andrew’s House and other residential properties, whose values were written down, has also been slashed. This funds the expenses of the archbishop and bishops.The pain will continue for at least three years and some sources suggest it will be at least a decade before funds recover to levels before the global crisis.The cutbacks, some of which have to be voted on by next week’s synod, could not come at a worse time because the diocese is past the midway point in its mission to convert 10 per cent of Sydneysiders to Bible-based churches.The archbishop has preserved funding for prayer initiatives such as its community outreach program Connect09 and women’s ministry. The diocese has also tried not to affect funding for the recruitment and training of new ministers at the training institution, Moore College, and Youthworks, which recruits young people for mission work.But there will be no new money for Anglicare’s in-house counselling services for clergy, and rental subsidies for diocesan organisations at St Andrews House are to cease.The Bishop of South Sydney, Bishop Rob Forsyth, said: ”We can’t work harder but we have to work wiser, more disciplined and more prayerfully.”
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Race falls ‘part of the game’: Ryan

Philip Hide takes a tumble aboard Maximix at Fontwell in England in March this year. Research has shown that Australian jockeys will fall once in every 240 flat race rides. Photo: GETTY IMAGESHorse racing in not a gentle profession and a new Australian study shows why.
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The Menzies Research Institute has found Australian jockeys face one death in every 620 falls.

Researchers from the institute showed how a licenced Australian jockey would have one race fall for every 240 rides in flat racing. On average a jockey is likely to have 900 to 1000 races a year.

The world-first study found 27 per cent of the falls resulted in an injury and 0.2 per cent resulted in death.

But after a bad run around the tracks in recent weeks jockeys don’t need statistics to show that risk comes with the ride.

On Tuesday champion Newcastle jockey Allan Robinson and fellow rider Scott Thurlow were involved in a two horse fall in Cessnock.

Meanwhile Jockey Patrick Ferris was placed in an induced coma at John Hunter Hospital after suffering severe head injuries in a fall at Muswellbrook last Monday week.

Veteran Dubbo jockey Greg Ryan said he had become “immune” to the mental effect of risking a fall.

Dealing with falls was “second nature” for a jockey whose pedigree includes about 15,000 races and another 15,000 rides in training over two decades.

“I have had my fair share of (falls) more than I can count on my fingers,” he said.

“If something is going to happen it’s going to happen.

“You get immune to it after a while, it’s part of the risk, part of the game.”

For Dubbo apprentice jockey Kody Nestor falls were something riders tried to block out.

“It’s not a good thing to see but you can’t let those things affect you,” he said.

“If you let it play on your mind that’s when you lose concentration and that’s when mistakes happen.

“It’s been an ordinary few weeks. There were some falls at Cessnock (Tuesday) as long as they are alright, which hopefully they are, you can’t dwell on it too much.”

The Hobart-based institute studied 74,873 races conducted at more than 10,000 meets between 2002 and 2006.

The races resulted in 3,101 falls with 836 injuries.

Peta Hitchens who co-authored the report said the experience of both jockey and horse were important factors to include in a fall and injury prevention strategy.

“This is only the beginning. It is vital to safety in the thoroughbred racing industry in Australia that the risk factors for falls and injuries are further investigated,” she said.

The study was published online in the international journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine and the institute said it had taken the “first steps towards developing appropriate interventions to reduce the number of jockeys injured or killed in thoroughbred horse racing”.

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We’re slow to aid the world’s hungry: study

JUST 10 days after the United Nations declared Australia to have the second-best quality of life in the world, a less flattering study has found it slow to share its wealth with a world in which more than a billion people go hungry.The international group ActionAid will release a scorecard today on which Australia is ranked 17th out of the world’s 22 most developed countries in terms of their aid.The report Who’s Really Fighting Hunger?, says that while much of the world battles obesity, a sixth of the world’s population does not have enough to eat.”Almost a third of the world’s children are growing up malnourished,” it says. ”This is perhaps one of the most shameful achievements of recent history, since there is no good reason for anyone to go hungry.”Early this month the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report for 2009 found that Australia had the second-best quality of life out of 182 countries on a scale measuring life expectancy, school enrolments and income.But ActionAid’s chief executive in Australia, Archie Law, said many people seemed oblivious of the global food crisis.Millions were surviving on less than $1.25 a day, which was not enough to buy more than one meal. Since 2005 the number of people facing chronic hunger had increased 20 per cent, or 170 million people, and the worst was still to come.The report said food prices remained stubbornly high in developing countries, the global recession was hitting jobs and incomes and climate change was battering rain-fed agriculture.The heaviest price was paid by children, with nearly one in three chronically malnourished.ActionAid based its survey of developed countries on how close they are to meeting the level of aid to agriculture and food security that they have promised the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation by 2012.Luxembourg came first, already 18 per cent over its target. Australia is 17th, having reached 24 per cent of its expected aid.
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Newcastle flights could be just eight months away

Rorque PoissonThe foundations are set and Dubbo should have air flights to Newcastle within six to eight months, Dubbo City Development Corporation (DCDC) general manager Rorque Poisson has said.
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It’s part of a much bigger plan the DCDC has to secure Dubbo as Brindabella Airlines’ “epi-centre” and comes after the airline’s CEO on Tuesday told the Daily Liberal it had no plans to service Dubbo in the near future.

But Mr Poisson said the primary role he played in securing flights direct from Cobar to Sydney through Brindabella had established a potentially profitable relationship.

“I actually secured the whole deal,” he said.

Brindabella Airlines CEO Jeff Boyd confirmed Mr Poisson “helped us get the whole thing up and running”.

“He came to us initially to get something up and going at Dubbo,” Mr Boyd said.

Mr Poisson initially wanted Brindabella Airlines to provide a Cobar-to-Dubbo service but it didn’t have the $2 million, nine-seater plane that was suitable to fly between regional airports.

“It was my suggestion” to get the Cobar Shire Council and mines to offer to split the risk and underwrite the costs if the airline failed to break even,” Mr Poisson said.

He said it was “not the best outcome in the first instance” when Mr Boyd then suggested the company trial Cobar to Sydney flights instead of Cobar to Dubbo so it could use its 19-seat planes rather than outlay $2 million.

“But I can see the big picture (and) the end result will be so much bigger and better than a 10-seater flying in to Dubbo from Cobar,” Mr Poisson said.

“The fact that they’ve brought a 19-seater into the region opens up the Newcastle link.”

Mr Poisson said with so many mines in the pipeline around Dubbo “the dynamics have changed significantly” and there was potential to exploit the fact “mining in general is all around the Hunter and Muswellbrook area”.

He said the Newcastle mayor, general manager, airport manager and Hunter Business Chamber had already conveyed expressions of interests during preliminary discussions.

“If there’s a way to share the risk between Dubbo and Newcastle, that’s when it will happen,” he said.

“I’m going to try and wrap this up in six to eight months.”

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Labor may end union funding

LABOR is willing to sever its financial ties with the union movement as part of its push for substantial reform of campaign finances, including the abolition of corporate donations.The Herald has learnt there is support at the highest levels of the ALP to end the practice of unions paying fees to affiliate with the party. The fees are a lucrative source of income, worth $1.3 million a year to NSW Labor alone.While the fees do not meet the strict definition of political donations, senior party officials believe they should be traded away in order to secure Liberal Party support to ban all corporate donations, as well as those from other third parties and associated entities.”How could we argue to ban people from donating to the Liberals while say, unions, could still contribute to the Labor Party,” said a senior source, intimate with the talks. ”This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get donation reform.”The goal of the reform process is to abolish donations to minimise the potential for corruption or influence peddling.Instead, parties would be allocated public funds to run their campaigns. The process was begun by the former special minister of state John Faulkner and is being continued by his successor, Joe Ludwig.The Liberal Party is amenable to the proposals. and talks with Labor are well advanced.Legislation could be introduced next year.It is understood Senator Ludwig’s Opposition counterpart, Michael Ronaldson, supports abolishing all forms of donation, although it is likely some capacity to donate would remain.The parties are discussing whether to allow donations only from individuals, which would be capped at $1500 or $2000.Unions would still be able to affiliate with the ALP, but would pay a single capped fee per union, rather than the tens of thousands of dollars an affiliation costs now.But views are mixed within the union movement, some fearing the abolition of affiliation fees will be the start of reducing union influence in the ALP.One source said the ACTU and Victorian unions were the most hostile and that internal talks were robust. But he said unions would still be able to affiliate, and their 50 per cent representation inside state Labor conferences would be maintained.Unions affiliate at a state level, and the funds are not collected by the federal Labor Party. But it is expected that the donation reforms adopted federally would be replicated by the states.The talks are being motivated by corruption allegations in Queensland and NSW. The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, has banned her ministers from attending corporate fund-raisers and the NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell, has called for a ban on corporate donations.”Everyone accepts this is going to happen,” the Labor official said. It was only a matter of time before there would be a crisis at federal or state level.
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Many silver linings to these stormy visitors

Storm Co with West Dubbo kids yesterday.Mr Jiggles had the kids in giggles all morning as they ran and played and bounced off castle walls in West Dubbo.
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Face painting, balloon-animal making, cooking and sports have kept about 60 children each day occupied during the first week of their school holidays.

“The kids go absolutely crazy,” Storm Co (Service to Others Really Matters) team leader Caryn Landers said.

Responsible for the oodles of fun were the group of about 30 youths from Sydney, aged between 13 and 27.

Storm Co is an Australian and New Zealand Christian group that sends teams of young people out to communities to “scope out what kind of community service projects” they can get involved in.

They’ve been to Dubbo before and again paid their own way and gave up their holidays to keep kids amused during the break.

The “Kids Club” is open to anyone aged 5 to 15 and operates between 9.30am and midday at the West Dubbo Aboriginal Seventh Day Adventist Church until tomorrow.

Storm Co have also visited Bracken House and Orana Gardens, and also helped locals beautify Sir Roden Cutler Park.

They spent yesterday afternoon on a farm helping with lamb marking.

Ms Landers was a bit squeamish, saying lamb marking was as far removed from face painting as things got, but the group was up for anything.

n More photos page 34

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No end in sight for Tigers’ finals drought

Richmond’s AFL finals drought is unlikely to end soon, with chief executive Brendon Gale saying the Tigers face several years in development mode.Gale says the club is firmly headed down the youth path under new coach Damien Hardwick and will bring in eight or nine youngsters in the upcoming national draft.The Tigers have reached just two finals series in 27 years and their most recent appearance, in 2001, makes them the club with the longest ongoing absence.But Gale said they needed time to reshape and develop their list.”We’ve had one of the oldest lists in the competition up until recently, we’ve taken steps to address that,” Gale told Melbourne’s SEN radio.”But they’re going to be developing years, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”One of the real exciting things about Damien is we’re all very familiar with him as a player and the way he went about his business.”But he’s a passionate teacher, he loves teaching … we’re creating an environment where we’re investing in the capacity of the club to develop and teach our players effectively.”Gale said Richmond would strongly consider disgruntled St Kilda midfielder Luke Ball with their No.2 pick in the pre-season draft, in the unlikely event he gets past Melbourne, who have the first choice.But he said their national draft picks would be reserved for younger players.”(Hardwick’s) got a blueprint for success, I think, which involves a number of ingredients and so there’s a real focus on youth,” Gale said.”We’ve got some established players that are young, 22, 23 years of age, Brett Deledio our back-to-back best and fairest is only 22.”We want to complement that core with a young group and get a core bunch of guys between 21 and 25 in the next few years.”We want to reserve our draft picks to get those sort of players into the club.”Meanwhile, Gale said fan favourite Matthew Richardson is yet to officially confirm he will play on next season.”We’re confident at this stage he will, we’re just awaiting that final confirmation from Matt,” Gale said. AAP
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