Economic, social life of the Murray in spotlight

Members of the Murray CMA Community Committee at their first meeting in Barooga late last month. The management of natural resources and the way they influence the economic and social life of the NSW Murray catchment will be under the spotlight as the Murray CMA Community Committee works with the catchment community to develop the Murray Catchment Action Plan over the next 12 months.
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Murray CMA Board have taken a fresh and innovative approach to the development of the Catchment Action Plan by devolving the task of preparing the plan to a community based

committee.

This approach will ensure that the opinions and aspirations of the NSW Murray catchment community are listened to in the development of the five-year plan, which will guide investment to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of productive landscapes across the catchment.

The Committee is chaired by David Sexton of Thurgoona, who has served on a number of boards and committees involved with catchment management, pest plants and animals as well as having a distinguished career in local government administration.

The Committee reflects not only the geographic spread of the NSW Murray catchment, but represents all aspects of the social and economic fabric of the community from farmers to the urban

population, local government to indigenous

communities.

David Sexton said that the Murray Catchment Action Plan would balance the expectations of the community and government to produce a plan that is adopted by the community and endorsed by all government agencies.

“We are committed to balancing sound environmental management with economic well being for farmers, the wider catchment community and the towns that support them.

“It is essential that the agricultural industries are productive, profitable and viable, to get investment in natural resource management across the Murray Catchment”, he said.

“We are keen to involve and collaborate with a wide range of community groups and individuals, whether they are farmers, residents of the towns of the Murray catchment, small landholders, or groups with a special interest in biodiversity, cropping, irrigation or soil health.”

“Our committee members are well known in their communities and industries, so I would strongly encourage people to contact them and have a talk about their ideas for managing the natural resources of the Murray catchment”, he added.

An extensive engagement program will commence in April and continue right throughout May and June, providing the catchment community with an opportunity to become involved and help shape the future of natural resource management within the catchment. Details on the times and locations will be announced in the near future.

Other committee members include: Ray Stubbs (Albury), Judy Frankenberg (Burrumbuttock), David Wolfenden (Rand), John Keogh (Holbrook), Robin Crawford (Moulamein), Bruce Saxton (Khancoban), Bruce Simpson (Deniliquin), Louise Burge (Tuppal-Bullatale), Russell Ford (Jerilderie), Jenny Mcleod (Finley), Debbie Flower-Briggs (Deniliquin), along with Murray CMA Board members – Brian Royal (Tabletop), Andrew Urquhart (Holbrook), and Sally Dye (Conargo).

More information about the Murray Catchment Action Plan is available on the Murray CMA website and from the Murray CMA offices in Deniliquin and Albury.

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Greater Hume to gauge residents satisfaction with Council

From mid-April, Greater Hume Shire Council will be asking its residents ‘how satisfied are you with Council’s services’?
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General Manager, Steven Pinnuck said: “A random telephone survey will be conducted across Greater Hume Shire to identify levels of customer satisfaction with Council’s services and seek views on what should be the priorities for the Council into the future”.

Hundreds of residents within the Greater Hume Shire boundary will be contacted by telephone seeking their levels of satisfaction regarding Council’s operations and services.

The telephone survey will be conducted by IRIS Research, a widely respected and professional market research company that has conducted hundreds of similar surveys for councils across New South Wales and Queensland.

Simon Pomfret of IRIS Research said: “Residents can be assured that all interviewers will be clearly identified calling from IRIS Research on behalf of Greater Hume Shire and all responses provided by residents will be treated with total confidentiality and remain anonymous”.

“Residents can be further assured that at the completion of the telephone interview, the interviewer will provide residents with a telephone number to directly contact IRIS Research should they wish to do so for any reason” added Mr Pomfret.

Specific issues to be addressed in the survey include:

* What local services and facilities are important to you as a resident?

* How satisfied are you with the delivery of services by Greater Hume Shire Council?

* Are you willing to pay more for rates and charges to maintain the existing services and facilities in your local area?

Council recognises that the services it provides must be funded properly and delivered in a way that meets community standards.

Greater Hume Shire Council appreciates that there has been a big increase in telemarketing and nuisance calls in recent years with many from overseas based companies, but the IRIS researchers will clearly identify themselves and the Greater Hume survey project.

Greater Hume Shire Council asks that residents receiving calls agree to take part in this important survey project.

IRIS will contact residents by telephone at random from 16 – 22 April.

For residents who are not selected to participate in the survey, an online survey will be available on Council’s website from 23 April until 6 May 2012 at www.greaterhume.nsw.gov.au

At the end of the day Greater Hume Shire Council is investing the community’s money in this survey to get accurate, statistically valid data that will inform and guide Council’s priorities and resource allocation decisions.

Council need people who are contacted to participate and provide their opinions and views.

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Peak brings relief to frustrated community

The predicted major flood peaked at 10.55 metres on Thursday evening, bringing relief to the Forbes community.
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The announcement of the flood peak was made by the Bureau of Meteorology at 10.31am on Friday morning, signalling the worst of the flood was finally over.

Forbes residents have been on flood alert for over a week, with the first SES flood watch notifications rolling out on Wednesday last week.

The 10.55 metre reading was 10 centimetre short of the predicted peak and only nine centimetres short of the 10.64 metre peak in August 1990.

News of the eventual peak was welcomed by Forbes SES Deputy Controller Jordon L’Estrange.

“Any peak below what they predicted is a good peak.

“[I am] very pleased with the peak. That was good,” he said.

“All the figures upstream of us predicted figures for the 1990 flood but it was only that it pushed south that we missed it.”

Mr L’Estrange said changes to the topography of the land east of Forbes helped push a greater than expected volume of water to the south.

“All the gauge readings east of us were higher than the 1990 floods but we went lower. Somewhere between Nanami and here we have pushed water south,” Mr L’Estrange said.

Although more floodwater travelled south than expected, Mr L’Estrange said the water will still end up back in the river system.

Yesterday’s confirmation of the flood peak marked the end of an almost marathon flood for Forbes residents, with initial reports starting on February 28.

Initial reports warned the flood would peak on Tuesday and were later revised to say Wednesday.

The slow progress of the flood down the Lachlan saw the peak prediction pushed back to Thursday.

Since February 28 the Forbes SES responded to 231 Requests For Assistance, five of which were classified as flood rescues.

It is estimated between 150 and 200 residents joined SES volunteers in making sandbags at the Forbes depot over the last 10 days.

A further 150 SES, Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue volunteers were on the ground in Forbes on Thursday with support from Forbes Shire Council.

Sandbags not being used and unlikely to get wet were being collected by SES volunteers yesterday and are set to be sent to Bedgerabong and Condobolin.

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Lachlan River to peak today

Photo by Forbes Advocate reader Jan Stewart.An elderly gentleman and a younger female were airlifted from a rural property around 12 noon yesterday.
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The property became isolated by flood waters and as a result, the home lost essential services.

Deputy Controller for the Forbes SES Jordon L’Estrange said the pair was airlifted out for medical reasons.

The Bureau of Meteorology advised yesterday afternoon a level of 10.65 metres is still expected today, despite long grasses causing the floodwaters to slow and spread.

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This will cause a prolonged peak and flood period.

“What people are seeing now is nothing compared to what we will see,” he said.

Mr L’Estrange confirmed three houses have been inundated by the floodwaters.

Eight hundred residents were doorknocked during the Evacuation Order. Since then, 65 residents have registered at an evacuation centre.

Mayor of Forbes Shire, Councillor Phyllis Miller said yesterday although Forbes is a strong community, there is assistance for those who need help.

“Once the water goes through we will go into recovery,” Cr Miller said.

“There will be a recovery centre at the town hall and we will start to assist people [who’s homes] have been inundated.”

She also said Forbes is doing well thanks to local people and emergency service personel.

“We planned well for the flood and we are in capable hands with the emergency services people,” Cr Miller said.

While the emergency continues today, Cr Miller said people should remember that flood water is dangerous.

“One thing that concerns me is children playing in the flood water,” she said.

Police patrolling closed roads

Forbes Police have warned all motorists they will be enforcing road closures during the floods.

Sergeant Adam Beard said a number of motorists have been seen driving around ‘Road Closed’ signed and proceeding into flood waters.

Driving into flood waters is causing bow waves into homes and damaging property, Sgt Beard said.

Police have been called to rescue a number of motorists who have entered flood waters and become stranded. Sgt Beard described such actions as a waste of resources.

“Police will issue an on the spot fine to people who ignore road closed signage,” Sgt Beard said.

Sgt Beard said people should not be walking, driving or entering the flood waters.

“We are asking that all the community exercise common sense,” Sgt Beard said.

Flood water activity will be monitored by police.

Lachlan R at Forbes Iron Bridge – Bureau of Meteorology

Current river levels:

❏ Iron Bridge 10.56m as at 2pm

❏ Nanami 10.64m as at 1pm

❏ Mulyandry 11.41m as at 1pm

❏ Cottons 7.04m as at 1pm

❏ Jemalong 7.84m (as 8am)

Wyangla at 10am:

❏ 101.4%

❏ inflows 13,400Ml and outflows 13,000Ml

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Organisers tickled pink with Holbrook Races

Winning Jockey of the Abigroup Ladies Bracelet Benchmark handicap, John Kissick prepares to weigh in after the race. Kissick’s winning mount, Jaberi Boy.
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A huge crowd turned out for the Commander Holbrook Cup Race Meeting held on March 31, which was not only drenched in sunshine but also in pink, in support of the McGrath Foundation.

The day was a huge success according to Holbrook and District Race Club’s President Susie Finlay.

“It was an excellent crowd which was up from previous years,” Ms Finlay said.

“Everyone made a huge effort with race goers really embracing the cause donning pink hats, ties and outfits, it was great to see.”

Tracey Bevan from the McGrath Foundation attended the race meeting and presented the trophy to the winner of the Abigroup Ladies Bracelet Benchmark handicap.

The winning horse was Jaberi Boy trained by Gordon Hulm from Tumbarumba and ridden by jockey John Kissick.

The Fashions on the Field categories were hotly contested with large entries.

Winners on the day included Bridie Herriott of Holbrook who took out the Most Elegant Lady title, Sheila Smith of Hay, won the Young Miss Race Goer category, Most Fashionable Man went to Dr Lakshmanan, Sharon Bagley won the Best Dressed Local and Katrina Shobbrook took out the Pretty in Pink category.

The race meeting was not just a great family day out but the crowds were generous with donations towards the McGrath Foundation.

The committee held money raising events during the day including auctioning off a Rose Auburn hat that fetched $500 and auctioning off pink saddlecloths signed by racing legend Damien Oliver.

The Holbrook and Race Club also donated $1 from the sale of each official race program to the McGrath Foundation.

“We sold all the merchandise within hours,” Ms Finlay said.

“Each race horse sported a pink saddlecloth and we sold every one of them through an auction held at the end of the race meeting, which raised a lot of money”.

Ms Finlay added she was pleased with the support of local businesses and the community of Holbrook.

“All the businesses in town really got behind the cause and decorated their shops in pink and white a week out from the races.

“The local businesses also had donation tins on their counters which added another $1100 towards the McGrath Foundation.

“It was overwhelming the amount of support we received, I am so proud of our town Holbrook,” she said.

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