Corangamite Shire celebrates 20 years

THE outlook was uninterrupted vistas over lakes, craters and volcanic mounds — a quintessential Corangamite Shire scene — as current and former councillors and long-serving staff gathered to commemorate an important day in the shire’s history.

Corangamite Shire’s Cr Geoff Smith (left), mayor Chris O’Connor and CEO Andrew Mason at yesterday’s tree-planting ceremony.140923VH14 Picture: VICKY HUGHSON

Yesterday marked 20 years since the shire was formed in 1994 following state government amalgamations.

To mark the anniversary a tree was planted on a hilltop in the arboretum at the Camperdown Botanic Gardens.

Shire chief executive officer Andrew Mason said it was a small way to commemorate a significant date in the region’s history.

The Bunya Bunya pine, a Queensland native species that produces large pine cones and can grow to be 40 metres tall, was planted by Mr Mason, mayor Chris O’Connor, long-serving councillor Geoff Smith and former commissioner Alan Waterson.

The shire was formed after the Kennett Liberal government restructured local governments across the state.

The reforms dissolved 210 councils and sacked 1600 elected councillors, creating 78 new councils through amalgamations. Commissioners were appointed to drive the amalgamations and develop structures for the new councils before elections were held in 1996.

“We were very keen to mark the date to acknowledge the significant amount of work the three commissioners, Bernie Millroy, Neville Smith and Allan Waterson, did to bring the shire into what we know today,” Mr Mason said.

“They were responsible for setting the culture that continues in the shire.

“There are 37 staff members still working here that have been here since day one and of course Cr Geoff Smith has also been here since the first Corangamite Shire Council elections.

“I think that speaks very highly of what the commissioners achieved.”

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South-west’s most generous giver gets something in return

Geoff Handbury.

DECADES of health care philanthropy by businessman Geoff Handbury will be recognised today with the renaming of a Warrnambool building.

The Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD) will be renamed to honour Mr Handbury as well as to reflect its expanded range of medical services.

The Merri Street site will be renamed the Handbury Medical Suites, honouring the Hamilton-based businessman’s philanthropy.

WRAD director Geoff Soma said it was fitting the centre recognised the tremendous efforts of Mr Handbury, who has donated $700,000 to the organisation over the past seven years.

“The support of Geoff Handbury has been greatly appreciated and has been instrumental in helping WRAD to develop its medical services,” he said.

The renaming also reflects the development of general practice services from the centre. The Handbury Medical Suites are also home to psychology and drug and alcohol intake and assessment services.

Mr Soma said the new name was a positive move in the development of the organisation which started three decades ago as a drug and alcohol support service.

“We will be known as the Handbury Medical Suites incorporating WRAD services, psychology services and Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO) services,” Mr Soma said.

“WRAD no longer correctly describes what happens at the centre. Our services have developed with the support of South West Healthcare and the Deakin School of Medicine who have helped us to provide accessible medical care for those in need.”

The centre, on Merri Street, will soon have four GPs providing bulk-billing services for the general community.

“Over the past seven years medical services have become a permanent and important part of our centre’s operations,” Mr Soma said.

“Many people don’t realise we provide GP services and the new name will be more descriptive of what we do.”

Mr Handbury, who owns and operates the ACE Radio network, has donated millions of dollars to several south-west institutions over the past three decades, including Hamilton Base Hospital, Peter’s Project, Hamilton and Alexandra College, RMIT University and the National Centre for Farmer Health.

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No bail for accused ice dealer

Jordan Carmody, 21, of Cordina Court, unsuccessfully applied for bail in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Monday after being charged with trafficking crystal methamphetamine.AN accused Warrnambool drug dealer alleged to have sought revenge after buying rock salt instead of ice has been remanded in custody after police raided his home last Friday.

Jordan Carmody, 21, of Cordina Court, unsuccessfully applied for bail in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Monday after being charged with trafficking crystal methamphetamine.

He was remanded in custody until December 12, when he has other matters listed in court.

Magistrate Peter Mellas said Mr Carmody by his own admissions was a heavy ice user and had decided to start trafficking. He said it was alleged a dispute had arisen which led to an aggravated burglary and Mr Carmody also failed to answer bail.

Mr Mellas denied bail, saying there had been a warrant executed by police last Friday and Mr Carmody was an unacceptable risk of reoffending or not attending court.

Police allege that on July 6 Mr Carmody and three co-offenders went to a Raglan Parade address looking for a convicted drug trafficker who had sold them rock salt instead of ice.

They forced open the door armed with a stick, baseball bat and axe but the drug dealer was not there. The men are alleged to have threatened women in the home.

Mr Carmody was charged by police but failed to appear in court on September 9. Last Friday, Warrnambool police divisional response unit officers executed a search warrant at Mr Carmody’s Cordina Court home.

After initially being told Mr Carmody was not home, police found him hiding in a rear bedroom wardrobe.

Officers also located a zip-lock bag containing 1.7 grams of ice in a book, empty zip-lock bags with residue and a number of tick lists detailing amounts of drugs sold and money owed.

Police allege Mr Carmody told them he used up to 0.4 grams of ice a day and had been using amphetamine for 12 months.

He is alleged to have told police he had been selling ice since March, buying it in $1250 lots before splitting it up for sale to cover the cost of his own extensive drug habit.

Mr Carmody told the court he had no prior convictions, wouldn’t reoffend if granted bail, would seek help for his addiction and that he had good family support.

He said he failed to appear in court because of “complete confusion” after his home was ransacked and he had property stolen.

Mr Carmody said when he reported that incident to police he had his head sliced open in an assault and he was suffering depression and anxiety due to the recent death of his grandfather.

He said he wanted to do something about his drug problem but didn’t know how to go about seeking help.

All Mr Carmody’s charges have now been adjourned until December 12, although he was told he could reapply for bail before then.

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Merri’s back on her bike for a good cause

FOUR months ago Killarney nurse Merri Vandekolk was a virtual non-cyclist — now she pushes the pedals almost every day in a bid to ride 500 kilometres next month to raise money for cancer research.

“In my work I see many cases where adults have cancer, but I’m also aware of the very young who have it in their infancy,” Ms Vandekolk said.

“They should be able to live a full life. I decided to join the Great Cycle Challenge to help find cures for cancer.”

The challenge is a national initiative aimed at raising $1.5 million this year towards a research centre at the Children’s Medical Research Institute.

More than 5150 people, including several from the south-west, are preparing for the October challenge in which they set distance and funding targets.

Ms Vandekolk has raised her profile via Facebook and raised more than $200 so far towards her $500 target.

“Before I bought a road bike in May I hadn’t been on a bike much since I was a kid,” she confessed.

“Now I try to go riding three or four times a week.”

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Julia Gillard cried when she found out Kevin Rudd viewed her as disloyal, former PM tells Ray Martin

Julia Gillard says she went out of her way to prop up Kevin Rudd when he was prime minister. Photo: Channel Nine Julia Gillard speaks to Ray Martin on Tuesday night. Photo: Channel Nine

A screen grab of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard being interviewed by Ray Martin, Tuesday, September 23, 2014. Photo credit Channel Nine

Ratings: Gillard more popular than Howard and Home and Away

Julia Gillard was so upset at being viewed as disloyal by Kevin Rudd that she broke down in tears on the day she challenged him for the leadership.

Ms Gillard stood behind her decision to challenge Mr Rudd – and her later decision to form a minority government with The Greens – in an interview with Ray Martin on Channel Nine.

On the morning of Ms Gillard’s leadership challenge in June 2010, Fairfax Media published a report saying Mr Rudd had dispatched his chief of staff to test his caucus support, because he did not believe his deputy’s public assurances that she was not interested in the leadership.

This upset Ms Gillard, who said she and other senior ministers had worked hard to shield the public from Mr Rudd’s flaws as leader.

“I’d felt like I’d done everything I possibly could to help and support and prop Kevin up and there had already, in the days before, been some signs that you know now I was being viewed with suspicion, and just I cried because I felt it was just so unfair,” she said.

But Ms Gillard admitted she felt “self-recrimination” about a conversation she had with Mr Rudd and NSW Labor elder John Faulkner. While Ms Gillard denies offering Mr Rudd extra time as leader, she says she “fed” his hope by talking to him for too long.

“[I]f anything, the accusations against me in politics and [that] you … still read in the newspapers – you know, the women who wielded the knife – if anything, the reputation I have from that night is one of political brutality.

“Actually in the moment I was hesitant, a conversation went too long, I certainly fed hope. I shouldn’t have done that. I, you know, really do here and more extensively in the book talk about my sense of self-recrimination over that.”

Ms Gillard says she expected Mr Rudd to feel “shock” and “grief” about losing the leadership but did not expect him to retain leadership ambitions.

“I thought it was likely that he would, or at least possible that he would, walk away,” she said.

Ms Gillard said she had “no choice” but to offer Mr Rudd the job of foreign minister after the 2010 election, because he would otherwise have leaked against the government.

As Prime Minister, Ms Gillard said she faced a “cocktail” of internal destabilisation and public criticism – some of which was related to the fact she was an unmarried woman.

Ms Gillard defended her decision to attack then opposition leader Tony Abbott as a misogynist in a famous speech to Parliament.

“I know the dictionary has been moving these definitions on;  the traditional definition is obviously hatred of women,” she said. “I guess I’ve expanded that to conduct that shows a hatred of women enjoying true equal opportunities, trying to confine them  to more traditional roles or lesser roles by word or deed.”

Ms Gillard said her decision to form a minority government with the Greens and independents was not dissimilar to the situation the Abbott  government faces today in the Senate.

“One could say: is Mr Abbott Clive Palmer’s slave today?” she said. “I mean it depends on how people want to argue it and put the politics but it’s certainly true, that on big questions where the major parties have divided, Mr Abbott can’t do anything unless Clive Palmer says yes.”

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