Hundreds get proof of identity

IMPORTANT DOCUMENT: UNE Enactus co-ordinator Koady Humphreys and The Minimbah Project national co-ordinator Will Winter at the birth certificate sign-up day at TRECC. Photo: Barry Smith 060815BSB01A WOMAN who walked more than two-and-a-half hours to get hold of her legal identity document was among the hundreds of people at a recent birth certificate sign-up in Tamworth.
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More than 400 people are expected to receive their certificate for free after the session during the Tamworth Homeless Connect Day at TRECC.

Spokesman Will Winter said there had been 240 applications on the day, and another 200 were expected to come through in the next few weeks.

He said one of the applicants had walked a great distance to get her birth certificate so she could then obtain her driver’s licence.

“There is a whole host of reasons why people don’t have them,” Mr Winter said.

“Cost is a really significant factor for people who are otherwise struggling with household budgets.

“We sometimes get families of four or up to nine – it’s a significant cost, at $51, a big impediment.”

However, Mr Winter said other factors could include poor literacy; shorter hospital stays after births, meaning parents don’t have time to get help with the forms; and a separation between registering a birth and ordering a birth certificate.

“Four years later, bub becomes ready for school and they then need that registration process, which is a complex thing to go through,” Mr Winter said.

He is the national co-ordinator of The Minimbah Project, which, along with UNE Enactus and Pathfinders, staffed the day.

Volunteers travel widely to help people apply for a free certificate.

“It’s a locally grown solution to the national – and in fact, international – issue of the lack of legal identification,” Mr Winter said.

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Wests Tigers trip up Raiders

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 10: Sisa Waqa of the Raiders passes the ball during the round 22 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on August 10, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)RUGBY LEAGUE
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Canberra’s hopes of an NRL finals berth are hanging by a thread, after going down 20-18 to Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on Monday night.

Needing to win at least four of their remaining five games, the Raiders failed to hold off a resurgent Tigers outfit who have now claimed back-to-back wins for the first time since the opening two rounds.

A first-half double to prop Shannon Boyd and the late inclusion of influential hooker Josh Hodgson wasn’t enough to inspire the home side.

The disappointing result was only made worse with veteran David Shillington sent off in the dying seconds of his 200th NRL appearance for an alleged headbutt on NSW enforcer Aaron Woods.

Seemingly still riding high from last week’s upset win over Melbourne, the Tigers looked sharp and dangerous throughout the match.

Fullback James Tedesco again took control and, with the help of halfback Luke Brooks, set up Sauaso Sue for their first try in the 14th minute.

The Raiders threatened to bite back quickly, but thwarted their chances with a handful of errors.

It was through Boyd they eventually found the points, the 122kg prop using his brute strength to cross in the 27th minute and again just before half-time for a 12-4 lead.

Tedesco started the second spell scoring and in the 63rd minute the Tigers hit the lead via a converted try by Pat Richards.

Wighton and Hodgson then combined to set up skipper Jarrod Croker to put the Raiders ahead.

However, Brooks scored in the closing 10 minutes to give the Tigers the last laugh.

The Raiders next face Manly at home on Sunday, while the Tigers host Newcastle on Saturday. – AAP

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Computer scammers hold files to ransom

CAUTION: Max Mundy of Codas Computers says be wary of all things on the internet. Picture: Jason Hollister.BUSINESSES and householders have been warned about a new version of an email scam that freezes computer files and holds the files to ransom.
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To protect against the scam, businesses and householders have been told to ensure all their computer files are backed up properly.

Ransomware is a virus that won’t release computer files until a ransom is paid. The new version of the scam is called Cryptowall, which encrypts files so they cannot be read or seen.

The virus infects computers through a credible looking email not sent by the source it appears to have come from.

In most cases a demand is made for payment in Bitcoin because it is virtually untraceable.

Max Mundy, of Codas Computers at Ulverstone, said one person had brought their computer in after being hit by the scam.

“We’ve only had one computer to fix but there are some other hotspots dealing with [the ransomware scam],” Mr Mundy said.

When the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was affected by the scam it paid $350 to recover its files.

Mr Mundy said the best advice was to always have computer files backed up no matter what, and to avoid the trap in the first place rather than have to wonder what to do after it happens.

“Don’t go downloading random things, and always be wary with everything on the internet,” Mr Mundy said.

Mr Mundy advised avoiding random emails and watching out for emails that pretended to be sent from other people or other sources.

“Don’t get tricked into downloading programs that are unneeded,” he said.

Mr Mundy said people could bring computers in to have files backed up to an external drive.

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Quake forces Renison to stop its production

ANOTHER West Coast mine is in a tight spot, made tighter after an earthquake forced a processing halt.
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The Renison tin mine was already marginal due to low tin prices before the August 2 quake, according to half-owner Metals X Limited’s CEO, Peter Cook.

“We are doing our best to ride through this tough period in the mine and tin industry without impact on people’s livelihoods and the West Coast mining community,” Mr Cook said yesterday.

As well as Renison’s difficulties –

■ The Mt Lyell mine remains closed and a re-opening is not certain;

■ efforts to secure a buyer for the mothballed Avebury nickel mine are continuing, with definite interest after a previous sale deal fell over;

■ the Henty Gold Mine is scheduled to close, although there are hopes an exploration drive will revive it;

■ Savage River miner Grange Resources’ return per tonne of iron ore production went negative in the June quarter; and

■ Henty aside, exploration spending is shrivelling amid lower prices for a range of metals.

Mr Cook said the processing plant at Renison stopped production on Sunday night when the mine ran out of surface stock.

“Production from unaffected areas has continued,” Mr Cook said.

“However, the area where the footwall development was slightly impaired by the seismic event is still under review.”

He said ground support did its job and held all the ground together, and there were no injuries or damage to equipment from the quake.

“However, as a consequence, mining areas below this point remain inaccessible which is significantly impairing productivity.”

Mr Cook said the plant would not operate this week as stock was built up for a re-start, while some scheduled maintenance was being brought forward.

Metals X is now making most of its money from its growing gold division on the mainland, rather than from Tasmanian tin.

The magnitude three quake’s epicentre was about five kilometres west of Rosebery.

MMG’s Rosebery Mine was not affected.

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Adventure Playground is credit to everyone involved

Rosemary Milson from Tamworth writes about the Adventure Playground.
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I FEEL moved to write this.

It was a wonderful experience to be one of the volunteer “brigade” who have worked over a period of a week, three shifts a day, to erect the Tamworth Adventure Playground in Endeavour Park.

The park itself is very special asset for the people and visitors of Tamworth.

A park of native vegetation, birds and some animals maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers who work every week maintaining and developing the well-cared-for environs. A delight to visit always.

The Adventure Playground is a vision and plan of Charles Impey, who was instrumental in this when it started five years ago.

He told me the playground committee had been wonderful. He was most grateful to them. It ensured his dream became a reality.

I hear Charles has been fantastic, too. All volunteers were working constantly, but the atmosphere was great. Happy to be productive and sharing the load for something special. Workers ranging in age from the young to, shall we say, more mature, worked, welcomed, constructed, built, laboured, painted and catered.

TAFE allowed their students to participate and work every day.

No doubt they enjoyed using their skills and benefited from this experience.

Businesses were generous giving resources, food and even personnel to assist. The bell went promptly at noon for lunch, breaks for morning and afternoon tea or coffee provided by a business in town.

A very big thank you and a hearty congratulations to all who contributed in anyway. Much generosity of kindness and help has made it an outstanding achievement and an asset, for children, able-bodied and disabled, can safely use this exceptional playground. Well done.

It is a tribute to the spirit ofTamworth.

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Attempted murder case before the court

A TAMWORTH woman is likely to stand trial accused of the attempted murder of a teenage girl earlier this year.
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Chloe Galbraith did not appear in Tamworth Local Court yesterday due to a technical difficulty with the video link, but was supported in court by family.

The court heard a pre-committal report had been sent by the DPP solicitor to the DPP director’s chambers and further time was needed before the case could proceed.

Galbraith’s solicitor, Rae Parker, asked for a brief two week adjournment to move the case along, telling the court it would head to trial.

“Well I was ready to commit for a trial today,” she said.

But the short adjournment was opposed by the DPP, who said it would not be ready in time.

“Your honour, we’re not in a position to do that,” DPP solicitor Fiona Irwin told the court.

“We do need a bit more time.”

Galbraith, 19, remains in Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, after her bid for Supreme Court bail was adjourned last week in Sydney.

She is charged with the attempted murder of a 17-year-old girl in a late-night fight at a Queen St block of units in Tamworth on March 30.

Galbraith allegedly stabbed the teenage girl in the abdomen with a 30cm knife and police will allege she told the victim, if she was going away, “[she] was going away for murder”.

She is also charged with the malicious damage in relation to a broken window at the units but is yet to enter any formal pleas.

An extensive brief of evidence including crime scene statements, footage from a mobile phone and medical reports have already been served on Galbraith’s legal team.

Galbraith has been in custody since she was arrested on the night of the alleged incident but a Supreme Court bail application will be heard in October.

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Farm crime is a big concern

THERE has been much to examine and analyse in this week’s report released by the University of New England (UNE) about rural crime.
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More specifically, the study conducted by UNE was about crime on farms and looked at the trends evident since a similar 2001 study.

Of major concern will be the finding that while crime might have fallen in most other places, it hasn’t on our farms.

In fact, more than seven of every 10 of those farmers caught in the survey – and there were some 3160 of them – had experienced some type of crime on their place in the past 12 years.

There have been more incidents of trespass and illegal hunting and theft of fuel and stock.

Alarmingly, and overall, only about half of all farm thefts or crime are actually reported to police.

And that, according to New England local area commander Superintendent Fred Trench, poses more of a problem for police.

He’s encouraged farmers and those on the land to shed any form of reluctance about reporting suspicious behaviour or their theories of suspect crime.

It is only through being armed with that intelligence that the force can in fact put into place local strategies that can target the crime, he says.

Farm crime invariably pops up with regularity – not just a few jumbucks from the top paddock, but also fuel, firearms, household items, prize breeding stock, machinery and farm vehicles.

They disappear, and often their reports come eons after they might have occurred, because they’re isolated or not missed for ages, or simply overlooked until there’s a roundup or reckoning for sale.

UNE Associate Professor Elaine Barclay’s survey found that in the main farmers failed to report crimes because they were too difficult to prove, or they were not considered serious.

She also discovered that sometimes there was uncertainty over whether a crime had actually occurred and many farmers thought it was a waste of time reporting crimes because there was little the police could or would do.

And while many of us might just think farm crime is purely a financial cost and pressure, it isn’t. It has wider impacts, psychologically and socially.

Neighbourhood thefts cause rifts in the community and can isolate victims of crime.

Some large thefts are committed by organised crime networks.

Some create more suspicion in their communities, of a local nature, of individual suspects.

The results are food for thought for many. And a basis for strategic action for some.

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Antiques fair hailed as one of the best

BARGAIN HUNT: Collectors from across the region descend on the Tamworth Town Hall in search of curios to add to their collections. Photos: Geoff O’Neill 020815GOC06EXHIBITORS hailed the Tamworth Antique and Collectables Fair the finest in regional Australia, after yet another successful event.
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Everyone from the merely curious to the serious collector was catered for during the annual fair’s 30th edition earlier this month.

Jewellery, vases, guns, furniture, coins, telephones, paintings, silver, clocks and taxidermied animals were just some of the items on display.

The fair, which is a major fundraiser for Oxley High School, attracts some of the best antique dealers from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

Robert Neilsen, of Toowoomba’s Roundabout Antiques, said it was his fifth year exhibiting at the fair and it was always a delight to be back.

“It’s an exceptionally well-run fair. It draws people from a large area and I would go as far to say it’s the best-quality regional antique fair in Australia,” he said.

Silk Art proprietors Ross and Helen Pye showcased their stunning collection of intricate Chinese hand-made silk embroideries for the first time in Tamworth.

Mr Pye said the artworks, which are made using techniques developed over more than 3000 years, had proved a hit with the locals.

“It’s been brilliant,” he said. “They all want to learn about it because it’s so new to most people … and we’ll definitely be back next year.”

Fair organiser Euan Coutts said numbers were up on last year and people seemed more willing to part with their hard-earned dollars on items that took their fancy.

“We’ve had a really good mix of exhibitors this year and quite a few people have travelled considerable distances to be here,” he said.

Tamworth antique aficionado Vivienne Halstead, who tragically lost her entire collection in a house fire several years ago, made a few small purchases on Sunday.

“I just love to see all the old things that we used to use as little ones – like the telephones,” she said.

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Teenagers dig in to deal with a day of disaster

TUNNEL TRAINING: Danielle Hunt from Careers Network, centre, with Oxley High School students Lahkeisha Cook, Kate Cook, Harry Ellison and Josh Trewern doing a tunnel rescue. Photo: Barry Smith 110815BSC02SEVERAL teenagers were involved in the rescue of a body from a series of tunnels in Tamworth yesterday – but they were SES cadets, the tunnels were temporary and the body was a mannequin.
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About 40 high school students took part in an activity day at the Jewry St sporting fields, the culmination of a five-week cadetprogram.

They practised skills such as rescue roping and haulage techniques, saving someone trapped under a trailer, land searches and navigating through a tunnel.

Namoi region deputy controller Heath Stimson said all the teens seemed to have enjoyed the day.

“Participation has been really high today – that’s how you know it’s going well with young people, I suppose,” he said.

The students were from Oxley, Tamworth and Gunnedah high schools.

Another 30 from Wee Waa and Narrabri are working through the program and will have their activity day in a few weeks.

Mr Stimson said the cadet program was in its sixth year in this region.

He said it had several benefits: it informed young people about the role and scope of the SES; taught them leadership, teamwork and communication skills; showed them the dos and don’ts before, during and after an emergency, and gave them a taste of life as an SES volunteer.

He said some teens joined soon after completing the program, but most went “back to their school, sporting and social lives” and came back a few years later to the idea of joining.

“We do see it as a successful thing,” he said.

“Above all else, it’s about making the community aware of what we do and how we do it.

“In an emergency or disaster, these guys will champion the SES.”

For more information on volunteering, call 1800 201 000.

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Busy weekend a record for Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service

THE Westpac Rescue Helicopter has had its busiest weekend on record, after several emergency missions.
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And the Tamworth-based chopper hasn’t stopped, with further airlifts since a record-breaking 24 hours on Saturday.

Since Saturday, the chopper has flown three patients to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital, including a young man involved in a crash near Armidale, an elderly Inverell woman with a cardiac complication and a Wee Waa teenager injured in a polocrosse match.

The helicopter was also tasked to a secondary mission at Tingha, while on Sunday, an elderly woman was flown to Tamworth hospital after her car rolled at Bellata.

She has since been airlifted to Gold Coast Hospital for further treatment.

Service general manager Richard Jones says the region’s rescue helicopter’s missions have significantly increased since a doctor-paramedic team joined the crew in early March.

“Now that the Tamworth base is manned 24/7, our flight team has doubled to four pilots and four air crew in order to respond to the growing demand,” Mr Jones said.

“The past weekend’s missions required 13 engine hours within a day, which is outstanding for the local service in such a short period of time.”

The rescue service has been based in Tamworth for 15 years and has seen 25,000 people flown for urgent medical treatment.

The Westpac service earlier won a new 10-year contract to provide aero-medical services to northern NSW, but Mr Jones said ongoing support from the community was needed to ensure future operations continued.

“Our budget is about $15 million, but the government provides 45 per cent and we have to raise the rest through the generosity of the community. That is why support from businesses, workplaces and a little bit from a lot of people really adds up and allows us to continue this vital service,” Mr Jones said.

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