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Ley’s move a good step

JUST weeks after becoming the nation’s new Health Minister, the member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, yesterday made her mark by announcing a plan to slash the Medicare rebate for short GP visits had been scrapped.
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The plan, introduced by regulation rather than Parliament, cut the rebate to GPs for short consultations with them passing on the shortfall to patients.

As recently as Wednesday, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, had defended the proposal to cut $20.10 from the rebate to GPs for visits of less than 10 minutes.

Ms Ley’s announcement yesterday has understandably been widely welcomed by the Australian Medical Association, both nationally and locally. Doctors feared the rebate cut would reduce their ability to provide good service and increase demand on hospital emergency departments.

Yet one Wodonga doctor Bill Walton had backed the rebate reduction, saying it would promote better preventative health measures.

Mr Abbott this week challenged to doctors and the community to offer their opinions on Medicare reform.

And Ms Ley’s commitment to consultation means there is much more discussion ahead.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Please don’t axe our shade trees

THERE is an Albury Council proposal to remove all the gum trees on the eastern side of QEII Square when the youth cafe is being built.
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These trees provide wonderful shade for the square.

The only trees apparently will be small ones that line the pathway.

It looks as though the council is trying to make the square a neat European park with no regard for the need for summer shade.

There already is little enough shade in the centre of Albury where citizens can sit without more trees being removed.

The Bureau of Meteorology each day reminds us of the increasing burning ultra-violet rays — Tuesday, January 13, reached 14 on the bureau’s scale of 14. That is an extreme reading, just as most of the days this summer so far have been on the high end of the scale. The winter reading is about four.

With the plan open for public comment until January 26, we are lodging a protest with the council about the removal of these essential shade trees. We ask that this protest be noted by the mayor, council members and staff.

— WENDY COLE, SIMON YATES, JO LANCASTER, GROVER LANCASTER-COLE,

Albury

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Federal level must go not state

IT is easy to sympathise with Kevin Chinnock (The Border Mail, January 10) in feeling over governed, but to dispense with the states would be a serious inroad into the form of democracy that has served us well, even if not perfectly.
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The idea of regional administration areas, he suggests sounds like a bun fight to me.

Imagine 100 or so administration areas clamouring for federal funding, vying with each other for money to support schools, police, transport and medical facilities.

Imagine the infrastructure that will build up to secure, distribute and service those funds. Imagine which areas will miss out.

Imagine the difficulty of influencing a regional administration for local and specific issues.

If you think it is too expensive to support a state system, imagine the cost of supporting a 100 or so “mini states”, each seeking to protect and advance its own patch.

The cost of two licenses for the fishing and tradespeople which is of concern to Kevin Chinnock may well blow out to five or six of them.

Devolving decision making among federal and state upper and lower houses and local government provides for a range of representatives.

One of the problems of being over governed, is the intrusion of federal governments into state affairs.

Federal governments use the tax collected from the population and industry to push their own agendas by tying funds to specific projects and undermining the autonomy of states.

If you want to make cuts, start with the federal government.

— SUE WILTON,

Howlong

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Fred proves his time is well past

FRED Nile has again qualified for a stupidity award in his comments about the bravery of the Martin Place hostages and the role of men in that terrifying episode.
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From his armchair — or rocking chair — he analyses the motivation of individuals caught in a terrifying moment and make declarations about worthiness, just like a 19th-century Christian fundamentalist.

It highlights the real weakness of his political influence in modern Australia.

This is a good time to do some clearing out after Christmas.

His reliance on ancient stereotypes on the roles of men and women is echoed in his regressive contribution to public life.

Now might be a good time to give Fred whatever gold watches or medals are required to push him into retirement so a more sensible, compassionate voice can be heard.

For heaven’s sakes, don’t judge the attitudes of Christians or the church by the archaic political noises from this moral and social dinosaur.

— Peter MacLeod-Miller

Albury

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Drivers cheer inquiry plans

The price of fuel has fallen consistently at Caltex Wodonga, on Melbourne Road. Pictures: JOHN RUSSELLBORDER drivers seeking an end to the disparity between rural and city petrol prices yesterday welcomed an inquiry by the prices watchdog.
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Albury, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Benalla and Wagga are among 180 regional centres already being monitored by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The commission will next month publish its first quarterly report on petrol price movements.

It will focus on three regional markets to find what drives petrol prices.

An analysis of bowser prices in regional areas in July showed the average retail price of petrol was 5.7cents a litre higher than in the five largest cities.

This gap had blown out to 17.6cents by December.

Wodonga driver Paul Rowe said that although fuel prices had fallen, he wanted an inquiry.

“Apart from a bit of freight, we should be paying what they pay in Melbourne,” Mr Rowe said.

“Carting freight from Melbourne to the Border is a minimal cost. That’s not the problem. There lies a problem somewhere in between.

“There seems to be a bit of price gouging going on and I think they should keep a close watch on prices because we are being ripped off in the country big time.”

Wodonga’s new APCO station on Moorefield Park Drive has helped lower the city’s price.

The price gap has not gone unnoticed by regular traveller Matthew Fagence.

“An investigation is a good idea. Regional people shouldn’t get hit more than the people in the city,” he said.

“I do a lot of travelling to Melbourne and, usually, it is cheaper there than it is here.”

The commission will be able to call on its compulsory information-gathering powers, activated under ministerial direction, in an effort to explain the pricing anomalies.

The powers give the commission the right to sensitive pricing information from companies, along every level of the fuel chain, in specifically targeted markets.

The three regional areas to be studied in this way will remain secret until after the compulsory notices have been issued to avoid market players altering behaviour before the probe begins.

The first market to be targeted will be announced in March.

The studies will look at the cost of fuel in the nearest port, transport and storage costs, as well as wholesale, distribution, and retail costs to fully explain prices and where money is being made in the petrol price value chain.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Change of venue but the opera must go on

Albury’s Peter Ludorf helps to set up the stage for Opera in the Alps at the Beechworth Golf Club yesterday. Picture: JOHN RUSSELLTHE night won’t be complete until 150 performers sing at tomorrow night’s Opera in the Alps, which will be held on the 18th fairway of the Beechworth Golf Course.
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A change of venue was decided on Wednesday, after concerns heavy rainfall this week could cause the stage to sink into Baarmutha Park.

Despite the last minute move next door, Director of Opera in the Alps Graeme Wall said the event was shaping up to be a great night.

“We have already sold more than 3000 tickets,” Mr Wall said.

“We have been really pleased to have so many pre-sold and there is still room for people to roll up, but it is better to book ahead because you get a better position.

“The weather is also looking perfect, you might even need a cardigan.”

This year the performers include David Hobson, Silvie Paladino and the Opera Scholars Australia.

The 100-voice choir will return alongside the Alpha Sinfonia Orchestra, led by conductor Guy Noble.

Mr Wall said organisers were also keen to try something new this year.

“Guy Noble himself is a very big drawcard, he is well known and a favourite with the audience,” he said.

“There will also be a lovely surprise ending, I won’t say what it is but it might involve the audience.

“We haven’t done this before, so it will be interesting.”

World-renowned soprano Yvonne Kenny won’t be performing but she has spent the past week providing guidance and inspiration for 30 young opera singers.

Among the musical talent on the night, a feast of local produce and wine will be on offer.

Mr Wall said the golfers had been “very accommodating”.

For tickets, go to the Beechworth visitor information centre or visit beechworthonline南京夜网.au.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Thief as low as you can get

I’M a victim of recent thefts in the Lavington area — a few weeks ago, somebody walked into my office at night, and took my handbag.
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I have sucked up the fact I was an idiot for leaving the door unlocked.

But I’ve never been so grateful for not having credit cards.

It’s ridiculous that you can’t leave clothes at the Wagga Road laundromat without having them swiped.

On a recent rainy day, I left some clothes at the laundromat and nipped home while they dried to watch a DVD with my granddaughter.

I returned to find a lovely blue dress and black top my husband bought me for Christmas had been taken.

This is a bit of a first-world problem — some people have no clothes to wear — but I’m over the whole Lavington “The world owes me and I can take what I like” thing.

And I suspect other decent, bill-paying Lavingtonians who treat others with kindness and respect know what I mean.

I am not a mean person — I try be generous whenever possible.

If the thief had asked me for those clothes I would, in all likelihood, have given them to her.

I just feel very angry at the meanness inherent in the thief’s actions.

These people care absolutely nothing for other people’s needs.

Have fun with that attitude, whoever you are.

I hope your self respect is holding up — just don’t let me catch you in my clothes.

If they don’t fit, perhaps you can sell them and use the money to pay for a few lessons in basic integrity.

I am fed up with people like you.

— LOUISE McORMOND-PLUMMER,

Lavington

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Youth guilty of bashing elderly man

A NORTH Albury youth who attacked an elderly man he believed was a paedophile, broke two of his ribs and fractured his skull near his right eye, has been convicted and fined after failing to attend court.
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The youth, 17, appeared in Albury Children’s Court last September on a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Magistrate Tony Murray ordered a Juvenile Justice report after the youth pleaded guilty and sentencing was adjourned until October.

But when he failed to attend court in October, the youth was convicted in his absence and a warrant issued.

An application was later made to have the conviction annulled, which was granted and a hearing date was set for this week.

Magistrate John Favretto imposed a conviction and $550 fine when the offender, now 18, failed to attend court.

The attack happened on August 12, 2013, when the victim was waiting at a bus stop in Griffith Road, Lavington, at the front of Centro Shopping Centre about 9.30am.

He had known the youth for about two years because they lived in the same street.

The victim was approached by the youth, who began abusing him.

The youth used his left hand to punch the man twice on the right side of his face and forced him backwards.

He inflicted a further blow to the victim’s nose breaking his glasses, while the youth continued holding the man’s jacket.

He released his grip on the jacket and punched the victim to the left side of his chest.

The youth left the location and the victim went home seeking assistance from an ambulance.

He was taken to the Albury hospital where his injuries were assessed which revealed two broken left ribs and the facial fracture.

The following day the victim went to the Albury police station, made a statement and photographs of his injuries were taken.

Police tried several times to arrange an interview with the youth, but they were unable to find a support person and the youth was aggressive.

He told police on one occasion: “I hate that paedophile. I’m gonna stab him for what he did to my sister.”

The youth declined to be interviewed by police on October 17.

But he made partial admissions about the assault, claiming he was acting in self- defence.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Army at war with weeds

Green Army supervisor Greg Wippell in a blackberry infestation. Picture: KYLIE ESLERTHE Green Army is out to recruit more troops to march on Mount Beauty.
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Young people aged 17 to 24 are required for a six-month Upper Kiewa River restoration project, that supervisor Greg Wippell said provided a rare opportunity.

“As an ex-farmer, I’ve been keen to get into this field for a long time, to work with young people and the environment,” Mr Wippell said.

“This first program is a great opportunity for me — you have to get the experience otherwise it’s hard to get in the door.”

“Troops”, who are paid $10.14 to $16.45 an hour for 30 hours a week to work on such activities as weed management, revegetation, fencing, surveys, building nest boxs and track maintenance.

The North East Catchment Management Authority program starts on Tuesday week.

Participants can apply at conservationvolunteers/green-army.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Pregnant mother remanded

LAVINGTON mother Karen Elizabeth Ezzy has been remanded in custody despite having a child aged one and being eight months’ pregnant with another.
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Ezzy appeared in Albury Local Court earlier this week, pleaded guilty to a break, enter and steal offence in North Albury last October and her sentencing was deferred until February 24 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

But she was arrested on Tuesday night and charged with two more break, enter and steal matters, having goods in custody and possession of a prohibited drug.

The latest offences happened between 5.50pm and 8pm on Tuesday at houses in central Albury including one in Stanley Street where Ezzy allegedly stole a jewellery box.

Solicitor Jason Hanke said when making a release application that Ezzy, 35, of Greyfern Court, intended pleading not guilty to the latest charges.

Mr Hanke said a curfew already imposed on Ezzy could be made more stringent.

Magistrate John Favretto asked whether Ezzy had a drug problem, but Mr Hanke denied that was the case after speaking to her.

“I have my significant misgivings,” he responded.

Police prosecutor Sgt Chris Toole opposed bail saying Ezzy was an unacceptable risk and likely to commit more offences.

Ezzy was refused bail with a police brief of evidence for the latest charges to be prepared by February 10.

Police facts tendered to the court outlined the offence committed by Ezzy in Kooba Street at North Albury on October 9.

The house was locked about 8.20am by the owner and Ezzy went there about 1pm attempting to remove a flywire screen from a window near the front door.

She went through a side gate and tried to jemmy open a rear glass sliding door.

Ezzy managed to get the door off its tracks, squeezed through and ransacked each room in the house, collecting items in a bag.

When the victim returned home and parked in the carport, Ezzy ran across the backyard with the bag.

She jumped a fence, but a neighbour heard noise, went outside and saw Ezzy.

Ezzy dropped the bag, jumped a side fence and the victim recovered $1400 of property which included a video camera, two bracelets and a necklace.

She declined to comment about the break-in when she attended the police station on October 17.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.