Drier future awaits Heywood Recreation Reserve

FOOTBALLERS and other users of Heywood Recreation Reserve have had to contend with dodging puddles because of its inadequate drainage system.

However, help is on the way and by next winter the problem should be solved.

A $352,000 planned project by Glenelg Shire Council has been given the green light with a $60,000 state government grant. New drainage will be installed, existing pipes lowered and drains cleaned out.

Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine has seen first-hand the problems which he said meant footballers had to dodge puddles on and off the oval during training sessions and matches.

“The project will involve a big clean-out of the drainage system, ensuring water can be flushed out into the stormwater network,” Dr Napthine said.

“Heywood Recreation Reserve is a busy sporting precinct hosting football and netball during winter with cricket and tennis in summer.

“The main clubroom is also used regularly for community meetings and events while the oval hosts auctions, car-boot sales and show dog competitions.

“It is important the precinct is able to cope with various functions.”

Applications for the next round of grants of up to $100,000 under the country football program close on January 30 through local councils.

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Central Coast bikie charged on drug offences

A BIKIE has been charged with commercial drug supply, making him the fifth member to be caught in a gang squad sting targeting drug dealers on the NSW Central Coast.

The 27-year-old, from Daleys Point, was arrested and charged on Monday after four other men, aged from 25 to 37, also with bikie links, were charged earlier in September with commercial drug supply offences and participating in a criminal group.

Their charges came after raids at a unit in Gosford, a semi-rural property in Picketts Valley, the 27-year-old’s Daleys Point home and a house in Niagara Park.

‘‘Over the course of the investigation gangs squad detectives have seized approximately 3.5kg of amphetamine, 1kg of methylamphetamine, 1000 PMMA tablets (an ecstasy like substance) and significant amounts of heroin,’’ police said in a statement on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old is due before Gosford Local Court on December 12. AAP

Warrnambool transport companies opt forco-operation, not duplication

TWO Warrnambool-based transport companies have collaborated to reduce duplication of their trucks travelling the same roads, often to the same customers.

From October 6 the Ryans Group and Allens Freight will share premises and customers in Hamilton and Portland, while a shared arrangement at Warrnambool will follow later.

“We realised there must be a more efficient way of doing business,” Ryans marketing manager Richard Van Bergeijk said.

“It’s not a takeover — the companies are still operating as separate entities.”

The collaboration is designed to improve economic and environmental sustainability and safety by servicing each other’s customers with Allens concentrating on smaller, express deliveries and Ryans focusing on larger linehaul components.

“In the past we would compete in some sectors of the supply chain and would both have trucks travelling down the same roads making deliveries,” Allens Freight operations manager Richard Allen said.

“Now we are able to concentrate on core business and have less trucks on our roads.”

Warrnambool City Council growth director Bill Millard said the collaboration would help the two companies seek further growth opportunities.

Ryans managing director Graham Ryan said the deal met his company’s three main criteria — sustainability, safety and environment.

“This opens up new opportunities with both businesses able to attract further customers through greater service depth, a reduction in environmental footprint and making sure the customer is at the forefront of decisions we make collectively,” he said.

Ryans is one of regional Victoria’s largest trucking companies operating from eight locations and employing about 190 staff.

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Labor vows to keep rail and revive Newcastle CBD

PROMISES: Opposition Leader John Robertson says Labor will retain the heavy rail but still revitalise the Newcastle CBD if elected next March.The NSW opposition says Newcastle City Council’s aim to increase public transport use by 400 per cent is only achievable if the government keeps the rail line open between Wickham and Newcastle beyond Boxing Day.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said yesterday that Labor would revitalise Newcastle CBD and retain the existing rail line.

“Newcastle council’s goal to get more ­people out of their cars and onto public transport is the right move, but unfortunately the Liberals’ plan to rip up the rail line will have the opposite effect,” he said.

“Instead, the Liberals want to waste $340 million to rip up the line at Wickham.

“This will make travelling into the city more difficult and create a substantial ­disincentive to catch public transport in the first place.”

Labor has committed $750 million, half the net proceeds from the Port of Newcastle lease, to infrastructure in Newcastle and the greater Hunter.

Labor candidate for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said Newcastle council’s Draft Transport Strategy, which included the 400 per cent target, contained good recommendations to reduce traffic congestion in the city.

“However, the best place to start is to ­immediately stop the plans to remove the existing public transport link that goes right into the city centre,” he said.

“Other cities would give anything to have this infrastructure.”

MORE RAIL STORIES:Save Hunter Rail: Get on board

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Rural GPs call to retain regional training

There are fears medical training will become too city-centric under a new system. THE Federal Department of Health is being urged to keep rural and regional based-training programs for general practitioners.

The call from the Rural Doctors Association of Victoria (RDAV) comes after the federal government announced a shake-up to how training programs for GPs are delivered beyond the end of the year.

Under the current arrangement, 17 training programs are provided nationally by regional and metropolitan training providers to deliver the Australian General Practice Training Program (AGPTP) under contract from federal agency General Practice Education and Training (GPET).

The changes mean the 17 programs re-tendered and the functions of GPET will be transitioned to the Department of Health by the end of the year.

RDAV vice president Nola Maxfield said the fear was training would become too city-centric under the new system.

She said the changes would result in savings to the government but they were concerned the desire to save money would compromise the safety and quality of general practice training.

“We believe that a GP in a small rural community needs to have a different skill set. They are often required to perform more specialised tasks and their training needs to prepare them for it,” Dr Maxfield said. “There are three agencies in Victoria that have offices in rural and regional areas and there is a fear they may close under this plan.

“What we want to see is one rural based training provider, with offices in various locations, and one metropolitan based training provider. We do not support a model where there is one GP training provider for Victoria.”

Dr Maxfield said RDAV was also disappointed the Prevocational General Practice Placement Program (PGPPP) had been axed.

“This program was starting to deliver doctors to regional GP training programs,” she said.

“It means junior doctors will no longer be given the opportunity to experience rural and regional general practice; this decision alone will have an impact on attracting doctors to work in country Victoria.”

Chief executive officer of Warrnambool based Southern GP Training Greg McNeil said his group would join with two other regional training providers to prepare a tender to provide training to regional areas.

He said it was expected invitations to tender would be called early in the new year with contracts in place by September.

“There is quite a distinction between general practice in a metro area and in a regional area. We think we have a model that will address those differences,” Mr McNeil said.

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