BENDIGO East kept premiership hopes alive in yesterday’s division one match in Bendigo Bowls midweek pennant.
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East won the preliminary final against Eaglehawk by two shots at Golden Square’s greens.

Scores from yesterday’s play:

Division 1 – Bendigo East 12-69 d Eaglehawk 4-67. H. Clough 22 lt Y.Boyd 24, G. Holt 21 lt B.Bodinnar 23, S. Howes 26 d J.Robertson 20.

Division 2 – Woodbury 14-77 d White Hills 2-65. E. McMaster-Smith 18 lt C.Jansen 32, K. Tanner 23 d N. Crothers 19, J. Grainger 36 d P. Franzi 14.

Division 3 – North Bendigo 14-71 d Golden Square 2-59. M. Griffiths 19 lt J.Brennan 24, P. Stevenson 22 d R. Pearce 18, D. Hocking 30 d J. Warfe 17.

Division 4 – Golden Square 14-74 d Castlemaine 2-62. A. Schultz 29 d M.Stevens 22, M. Craze 19 lt B. Renn 20, J. Owins 26 d B. McLean 20.

Division 5 – Lockwood South 14-42 d Inglewood 0-33. G. Manallack 24 d E.Roberts 18, M.McClure 18 d B.Wardley 15.

BOWLING ON: Bendigo East’s Hlen Clough bowls in yesterday’s BBD division one preliminary final win against Eaglehawk at Golden Square. Picture: PETER WEAVING

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MORE than 50 supporters of the Save the Golden Square Swimming Pool last night attended a meeting to decide the fate of the group.
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The Golden Square Football Club rooms were filled with disappointed locals after the City of Greater Bendigo council last week passed a motion to permanently close the pool. Councillors Rod Fyffe, Elise Chapman, Peter Cox and James Williams all attended the meeting.

One of the first issues on the agenda was to select a pool committee, with supporters asked to nominate who they thought would best represent the group.

Ken Hamilton was nominated as president, Bernadette Wright the vice-president, Linda Howell the secretary and Karen Moore the treasurer.

Six committee members were also selected.

Mr Hamilton then addressed the supporters on the latest developments regarding the pool’s future.

He said the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal had already been contacted.

“VCAT has been approached,” Mr Hamilton said.

“However, because there has been no application before the council regarding the pool, they won’t accept our appeal.

“I then contacted the Ombudsman and they were very helpful. “They said they would be interested in having a look into the issue.

“We will also be contacting a local solicitor.”

Mr Hamilton also informed the supporters about the recision motion that will be put before the council this week.

ELECTED: Members of the Save the Golden Square Swimming Pool group vote for the committee members during last night’s meeting. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

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ALMOST 18,000 Hunter households could not afford to pay their water bills last year and entered deferred payment plans with Hunter Water.
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It is the first time that Hunter Water has reported the figure, and provides more evidence that household budgets are feeling the squeeze.

Financial counsellors and charities told the Herald that the figure was not surprising and reflected the large increase in the number of people seeking financial assistance and guidance.

‘‘We’re seeing more and more people needing assistance every day,’’ Samaritans chief executive Cec Shevels said. ‘‘And rents and rising utilities bills are the most common issue.’’

The data is contained in the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s latest report card on Hunter Water.

All up, 17,946 households sought to defer their water bill payments in the 2011-12 financial year.

‘‘That figure includes short time extensions that assist customers with short-term payment difficulties,’’ a Hunter Water spokesperson said.

The report also shows that more than 170 people complained to the NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman about Hunter Water last financial year – the highest number since 2007-08.

But it noted that ‘‘the change in the economic environment and financial impact on customers are contributing to higher rates’’ of complaints.

For every 100,000 customers, Hunter Water received 2.87 complaints – a rate five times higher than Sydney Water, but vastly better than neighbouring Gosford and Wyong.

On a more positive note, the new data shows that Hunter households have reined in the amount of water they use.

The region soaked up 65.7billion litres of water last financial year, down from the 73.4billion litres used two years prior. The difference equates to about 3080 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

In terms of supply continuity, water quality and performance, the report shows that the utility met its key targets in the year to June30, 2012.

Meanwhile, recent rain has done its bit for the Hunter region’s reserves. Grahamstown Dam, the region’s largest, is at 90.6per cent capacity while the region’s overall reserves are at 91per cent of capacity.


THE operation of Terang’s showcase DemoDAIRY is under review after making a $78,000 loss last year.
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The demonstration and research farm, which is expected to make a further loss this year, has been placed under the management of farm consultant Paul Groves.

DemoDAIRY chairman Bryan Dickson said it was expected to take 18 months to two years to return the farm to profit.

Mr Groves, from near Timboon, said control of costs would be essential in returning the farm to profit.

“We don’t have the milk income to do everything as we would want in an ideal world, so we will be looking at better feed budgeting, better cash flow budgeting and making sure the farm is stocked and staffed appropriately,” he said.

“We have to make compromises to make the farm work. The farm needs to make a profit without external funding.”

Mr Groves said overstocking has been a major contributor to the farm’s poor results.

The 166-hectare property has about 110 hectares devoted to the dairy.

“The board has been focused on having a 300-cow herd to be representative of a typical dairy in the region,” Mr Groves said.

“But you can’t milk 300 cows on 110 hectares. We’ll be looking at more like 240 cows next season.”

DemoDAIRY employs the equivalent of three full-time employees in administration and two on the farm.

“You wouldn’t have three administrative positions on a normal farm. I have yet to get my head around how these costs are distributed, but we have to ensure administrative costs that don’t arise from the farm operation are not borne by the farm,” Mr Groves said.

“I’m not suggesting a reduction in numbers, but costs that arise from work with outside companies have to be properly allocated.”

About 22 hectares of the farm are devoted to research trials, for which DemoDAIRY receives income.

“That’s not included in the farm income. I’m looking at money made from milking cows,” Mr Groves said.

He said the farm’s costs were inevitably higher than a normal farm because it was run entirely by employee labour, but he was confident it could be profitable.

“It has made a profit in the past and I’m sure it can make a profit again.”

DemoDAIRY is owned by a co-operative of about 300 dairy farmers and service providers. It was set up in 1996 as a showcase dairy and a centre for industry research.

Its facilities host industry events and it also rents office space to WestVic Dairy, the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia and the University of Melbourne.

DemoDAIRY chairman Bryan Dickson (pictured) said it was expected to take 18 months to two years to return the farm to profit.

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WORK has started on a $10 million railway passing loop at Warncoort which will enable more passenger and freight trains to use the route to Warrnambool.
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Work is expected to be completed by Christmas.

Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder, who inspected the project late last week, said the new 1200-metre loop would allow trains to pass each other safely.

“Late-running freight trains are less likely to have to sit at North Geelong for hours waiting for a clear run on the largely single-track Warrnambool line,” he said.

“When it opens at the end of 2013 the new Warncoort crossing loop will complement the recently upgraded Warrnambool intermodal terminal.

“Rail freight is not just efficient, but environmentally friendly.

“Warrnambool freight trains, operating five nights a week, keep 280 trucks a week off the Princes Highway west, while also lowering farmers’ and exporters’ costs.

“The crossing loop is a further step in the revitalisation of rail that is occurring under the Coalition government.”

An old passing loop at Winchelsea was ripped out under the previous Labor government.

Mr Mulder said the existing shorter crossing loop at Camperdown would remain open to assist with the operation of trains.

He said passenger numbers on the Warrnambool to Melbourne service rose by almost 10 per cent last year to about 480,000.

“It’s great to see local residents and visitors taking advantage of good value V/Line fares,” he said.

The Department of Transport said track and civil works were contracted to Whelans Earthmoving and new signalling to Invensys Rail.

VicTrack is also rolling out fibre optic cable between Geelong and Warrnambool and signals at the loop will be connected to the new cable.

Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the new 1200-metre loop would allow trains to pass each other safely on the Melbourne to Warrnambool line.

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THE decision to close the Golden Square pool could be up for review, with one councillor labelling the lack of consultation with residents “outrageous” and an “absolute embarrassment”.
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A 5-4 vote from councillors sealed the fate of the pool at last week’s council meeting, despite a petition to save it gaining more than 1800 signatures.

Councillors Peter Cox and Elise Chapman – who both voted to maintain the pool – have worked together to come up with a revised motion looking at whether the decision process included enough consultation.

Cr Cox said the recision motion, which will be put before the council this week, would focus on the process leading up to the decision to have the pool closed.

“I want the decision to be reviewed,” he said.

“One of the grounds that I’m suggesting is that we haven’t consulted enough with the Golden Square community.”

Cr Elise Chapman backed the call and said she was ashamed at the way the council had treated local residents.

After a one hour debate at last week’s meeting, including a failed motion to spend $50,000 on mediation with the Save Our Golden Square Pool group, a motion to permanently close and demolish the pool was passed.

Cr Chapman said she was disappointed with the outcome and said she was “embarrassed by the whole process.”

“If you were mega-religious and the church that you’d been going to for years was suddenly just shut and the council said ‘boo hoo, bad luck’.

“How would you feel?”

Cr Cox said any recision motion would concentrate on a formal consultation process.

“I’m not saying one way, open it or close it. I’m saying the council is committed to consulting with residents.

“People need to be heard and we should have procedures in place.”

Councillor Barry Lyons said the consultation process was as open as it could possibly be with a frank dialogue.

Crs Chapman, Cox, Fyffe and Leach voted against the closure in favour of mediation.

ELECTED: Members of the Save the Golden Square Swimming Pool group vote for the committee members during last night’s meeting. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

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The Bendigo Bank Spirit has never been in with a better shot of Women’s National Basketball League glory and the club is calling on the community to help it to a first-ever grand final appearance.
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The Spirit, Bendigo’s only team competing in a national competition, hosts the Dandenong Rangers on Sunday in the second semi-final.

Bendigo has only hosted one final in its previous five seasons – with Sunday’s match the biggest game the club has played locally.

The winner of the first versus second clash earns a spot in the grand final, and Bendigo could host the match, while the loser faces a sudden-death preliminary final against in-form Adelaide, increasingly seen as a genuine title contender.

Spirit coach Bernie Harrower hopes to avoid that scenario and is calling on the community to be the “sixth player” in Sunday’s 4pm tip-off. “It’s extremely important we get a big crowd there because although we’ve beaten Dandenong three times this season now we’re in finals it doesn’t mean anything,” he said.

The reigning champions boast a star-studded team, with the likes of Australian Opals Jenna O’Hea and Kathleen MacLeod.

Tickets are all allocated seating and can be bought online at www.bendigostadium南京夜网.au or by calling the stadium on 5440 6214.

Prices are $28 for adults, $18 for children and $25 for concession.

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A WARRNAMBOOL P-plater was lucky to survive after her car burst into flames in the early hours of yesterday.
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The 19-year-old woman was travelling north on Wangoom Road in Wangoom when she hit a power pole.

Acting Sergeant Cameron Ross, of Warrnambool police, said the woman lost control of the car and was lucky to get out of the car in time.

“The car was smoking when she made the call to triple-0,” he said.

“She wasn’t injured.”

Acting Sergeant Ross said the cause of the crash was still being investigated by police.

Police, paramedics, SES and fire brigades from Warrnambool, Allansford and Wangoom were called to the crash at 4.30am.

It took firefighters an hour to put the blaze out and firefighters used thermal imaging to ensure the fire was completely out.

A spokeswoman for Ambulance Victoria said the woman was taken to Warrnambool Base Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The burnt-out body of a Toyota on Wangoom Road after a single-vehicle accident yesterday.

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