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Surat Basin Thursday, May 31, 2018

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From strength to strength Santos continues to grow in the Basin: FULL STORY, PAGE 3

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INSIDE: Solar influx a ‘carbon copy of gas industry’: Bender – PAGE 8


WELCOME Thursday, May 31, 2018


◗ HOP TO IT: They’ll live to see another day. These billies, or nannies, were too smart to hang about when the truck pulled up to the processors in Charleville.

From the editor

A window into a long-term future WELCOME to this month’s edition of the Surat Basin News. Throughout this edition, it is evident that businesses, consumers and all levels of government have a role to play in enhancing innovation, competitiveness and productivity in the resources sector. From Santos steaming ahead with $900 million worth of capital investment in upstream developments across the Maranoa, Western Downs, Central Highlands and Banana regions, to the ongoing fight for fair vegetation management laws in state parliament. The Federal Coalition Government also struck a deal with Labor to ensure the Murray-Darling Basin Plan remained intact. This agreement finally provided certainty to the two million people who live and work throughout the sprawling Murray-Darling Basin, putting much of their angst to rest. The Linc Energy court case has also finally come to a conclusion, with the underground coal gasification company being ordered to pay a record $4.5 million in fines. It appears Surat Basin stakeholders, councils, governments and communities have abandoned short-term economic fixes in favour of a more sustainable, long-term vision. These changing priorities provoked communities to think outside the box, collaborate and come up with their own strategies. Success for this region means protecting people and their jobs, promoting growth and enhancing innovation. It’s about people living in the Surat Basin working together to provide not only international investment, but local business opportunities as well. Put simply, this region continues to plough ahead in leaps and bounds, proving its place in all sectors, placing the Basin in good stead for many years to come. — Marguerite Cuddihy



IN THE NEWS Santos secures Easternwell services ........................................3 Record fines may never be paid ................................................5 New technologies on the farm...................................................6 Safety first on Second Range Crossing .....................................7 Land Court decision on coal mine overturned ..........................8 GasFields Commission takes a snapshot ..................................11

HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE Envision Partners.......................................................................13 Village Green Chinchilla ............................................................16 OPINION .............................................................................................24-27 PLACES AND FACES ..............................................................................................29-31

The newspaper

The team

The Surat Basin News publishes every month and is delivered via the four dominant newspapers of the region: the Chinchilla News, Western Star, Dalby Herald and The Chronicle. It will reach the homes and offices of almost 50,000 people living, working and playing in the Surat Basin, connecting the business and mining communities throughout the booming region. Surat Basin News is a necessity. It was born out of a passion for Australia’s fastest growing communities – a passion for a region of unbridled potential and a future of vast economic growth and opportunities. The newspaper, professionally designed and regionally topical, is a must read for anyone associated with the exciting Surat Basin. ONLINE: Surat Basin News has gone online to ensure our readers in every corner of the country have the latest news sent directly to them. Go to: PURCHASE FROM: Newsagents in Chinchilla, Roma, Dalby, Gladstone, Moura, Toowoomba, Calliope. VISION: Surat Basin News will allow local businesses to network and communicate with everyone in the 1200 sq km basin, providing unprecedented access to new clients and markets. It will give a revealing insight into major industry while lifting the veil on current and proposed developments. It will be there for each and every announcement shaping the region’s future while profiling the colourful characters.

GENERAL MANAGER Erika Brayshaw, Chinchilla Phone 4672 9921, email ADVERTISING TEAM Jodie Williams, Chinchilla Phone 4672 9900, email Greg Latta, Roma Phone 4672 9927, email Nicole McDougall, Dalby Phone 4672 5500, email EDITORIAL

Marguerite Cuddihy, Roma

Phone 4578 4119, email SURAT BASIN NEWS 12 Mayne Street, Chinchilla Q 4413 PO Box 138, Chinchilla Q 4413 The Surat Basin News is published by Chinchilla Newspapers Pty Ltd, 12 Mayne Street, Chinchilla Q 4413 The Surat Basin News is printed by News Corp Australia.




Thursday, May 31, 2018

◗ WELL, WELL, WELL: Jeremy Fagan, Kurt Wakeham, Ben Bengtsson, Kane Maclachlan and Owen Sumerton.


Activity boost across Basin

Santos continues to grow “This is a result of the team’s hard work, collaboration and innovation since GLNG’s operations began. “While this is a wonderful achievement, there is a lot more to come. “This year Santos plans to drill around 300 GLNG wells in Queensland, including the first of our sanctioned 480-well expansion program at Roma East. “The Roma East Project is a very exciting project that is creating 400 construction jobs and significant local business opportunities in the Roma area. “This project is helping to sustain and boost the benefits of Santos’ and GLNG’s earlier investments in the region.” Santos also recently successfully completed commissioning and start-up of the Scotia CF1 project, ahead of schedule and

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under budget. More than 400 people worked on that project which involved expanding the Scotia compression plant and field from 23 to more than 100 wells, building 85km of linear infrastructure, two 4G communications towers and an irrigation system for water treatment. Mr Simpson said the culmination of work is part of a massive $900 million capital investment in upstream developments in the Maranoa, Western Downs, Central Highlands and Banana regions this year. “Santos has been part of the community in regional Queensland for more than 50 years and we want to continue to invest in the Roma area for many years to come,” Mr Simpson said.

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SANTOS continues to ramp up activity across the Surat Basin, contracting Easternwell to provide well servicing operations for Santos’ Eastern Queensland CSG fields. Santos vice-president of onshore upstream Rob Simpson said the Easternwell rig would be used to undertake completions work at all of Santos’ fields, including Fairview, Roma East, Roma and Scotia. “We are very excited about all of the work that Santos is doing in regional Queensland at the moment, and this new contract with Easternwell is just one of the many ways that we are supporting businesses and jobs in the area,” Mr Simpson said. “The Santos GLNG project recently reached a significant milestone by connecting its 1000th well.


IN THE NEWS Thursday, May 31, 2018

◗ JOB LOST: The APLNG Origin office in Chinchilla, where up to 75 local jobs were cut in April.


Local focus remains despite employment reduction

Origin restructure costs jobs SEVENTY-FIVE Western Downs jobs have been cut as part of Origin Energy’s restructure announced in January. Origin Queensland senior external affairs manager Chris Zipf said the loss of 32 local and 43 fly-in fly-out roles was offset by 16 new roles filled in late March and early April. He explained the company advised all employees of the results of the restructure in March. “Considerable effort has gone into completing this process as quickly as possible to provide certainty for people,” Mr Zipf said. “Looking ahead, 225 people – around a quarter of our workforce – will continue to work and either live or stay locally in Western Downs.” Mr Zipf said despite the cuts, Origin Energy remained


Considerable effort has gone into completing this process as quickly as possible to provide certainty for people.

— Chris Zipf

committed to its goal to localise their workforce. “The principles that have guided our living local commitments have not changed – we encourage and provide incentive for people to live locally, our fly-in fly-out workforce will continue to stay locally while on shift and we will continue to use motel accommodation for short stays to the region,” Mr

Zipf said. “We have structured our business around the operation of our regional assets.” Western Downs Regional Council mayor Paul McVeigh said it was disappointing to see jobs lost in the region. “Council has worked tirelessly to secure jobs in our region,” Cr McVeigh said. “While we’re disappointed, business is business. “The big thing council is certainly driving for is any jobs in the business being advertised as local jobs.” Cr McVeigh said contractors were a big part of resource company workforces and “we want to see the contractors be advertised as local jobs as well”. — Brooke Duncan

RME’s 400th machine rolls off the production line

◗ 400 AND COUNTING: Shadow Minister for Manufacturing Andrew Powell, Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Minister for Justice and Toowoomba South MP David Janetzki and Russell Mineral Equipment executive chairman Dr John Russell. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

TOOWOOMBA’S Russell Mineral Equipment is celebrating a massive milestone, with the manufacture of their 400th Mill Relining Machine. From humble beginnings, RME sold its first Mill Relining Machine in 1990 and today the company’s global reach extends to 345 mine sites across 56 countries. Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki MP congratulated RME on their success. “RME is one of the only local manufacturers that designs, engineers, fabricates, manufactures and exports directly from Toowoomba to the world,” Mr Janetzki said. “They are a major employer of local people and export 90 per cent of their products overseas.” A Mill Relining Machine is a purpose-built

machine designed to remove worn liners and place new liners in grinding mills at mines. RME founder and executive chairman Dr John Russell said RME contributed one per cent of the Toowoomba region’s gross domestic product. Dr Russell said to ensure Australian businesses weren’t left behind in the global economy, the government needed to re-examine payroll tax and upgrade the NBN. “Australia seems to be backward,” he said. “We’ve got offices in South America and North America and South Africa and they’re all faster – not by a bit, but by a lot. “When you’ve got engineering drawings, they’re massive, and when you’re trying to transfer those around the world, that’s one thing – but we can’t even transfer them to the CBD. So that’s a bit of an issue.”



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Linc fines may never be paid

Company’s ‘ecological vandalism’ ◗ IN COURT: Prosecutor Ralph Devlin leaves court 70 days after the Linc Energy trial began. INSET: Witnesses Shane O’Sullivan (left) and Steel Johnston leave the District Court in Brisbane. PHOTOS: JOHN WEEKES

presented to the court over 10 weeks of trial, stating that the company began its campaign of environmental destruction from the second of five wells constructed at the site. The first stage of the project, G1, was not subject to the case. But from March 2007 when the decision was made to construct a second gasifier despite the fact that “the evidence on trial was that the site was not adequately characterised before the process began”, the environmental impacts began to pile up. Judge Shanahan said Linc used high pressure air to connect wells despite risks it would create fracturing beyond what was aimed for. A worst-case scenario resulted, creating damage spanning up to two kilometres. Linc became aware of damage that included bubbling of air and escape of contaminants as early as September of 2007.

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Govt focused on growing local jobs WHETHER it’s cotton grown and harvested in Dalby, beef grown and sold at Australia largest cattle-selling centre in Roma or Western Downs grain – the Coalition’s agricultural counsellors are great news for the Surat Basin and surrounding communities. The $51 million we announced in the recent budget to get more market access for our growers, by investing in more agricultural counsellors who work to win us market access, will help give farmers more choice when they sell. Wherever there are opportunities in the world for Australian businesses to export – whether it is raw materials, food, agricultural products, services or new technology – this Federal Government will create opportunities to help grow local jobs and boost our rural economies. We want to throw open the doors wider to more markets. The biggest single economic

market in the world is the European Union. This week we welcomed the announcement by the Council of the European Union that negotiations for the Australia-EU FTA will kick off in coming weeks. The previous deal saw us win good access so we need to fight to protect what we’ve got. In 2016-17, our wool was worth $333 million; beef and veal were at $229 million and nuts exports raked in $226 million. This deal is all about ensuring that Australians are able to get the best produce in the world out onto the supermarket shelves and onto the restaurant tables of the world. That’s what this government is about: making strategic investments in regional and rural Australia to reach the potential we have. — David Littleproud, Federal Member for Maranoa

“In October 2007, a recommendation was made to shut down the G2 process due to the continued loss of containment,” he stated. “There were consistent reports of a loss of containment. However, Linc continued to operate the G2 process until December of 2007. “They also decommissioned it in a way that was not consistent with its ‘clean cavern’ concept by simply flooding the cavity. Such a process did not even attempt to draw back any contaminants that had escaped.” This was his description of one of the lesser offences by the company, which attracted a fine of $700,000. The two greater offences, which took place years later in the lead-up to the conclusion of the project in December 2013, each attracted fines of $1.2 million.

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DANGERS of explosion and toxicity at the site of Linc Energy’s Underground Coal Gassification site near Chinchilla are just the beginning of ongoing issues that may be left for taxpayers to clean up for years to come. A litany of failures by Linc Energy resulting in “disastrous consequences” may never be paid for despite a record $4.5 million fine against the company handed down in sentencing in the District Court of Queensland. In a blistering series of remarks regarding the company’s failure to appropriately assess and learn from the environmental impacts of a series of gasifiers, Judge Michael Shanahan noted that the company, now in liquidation, may not even have the ability to pay the fines imposed. He described the company’s failure to suspend operations and its subsequent expansion of operations despite the advice of its own scientists as “ecological vandalism” purely for financial gain. “In the operation of earlier gasifiers, my view is that Linc ignored the obvious risks and continued on,” he said. “But in relation to the two later offences, my view is that Linc acted with clear knowledge of the environmental damage and made commercial decisions to proceed.” Liquidator Grant Sparks of PPB Advisory has stated that fines are not “provable in liquidation” and would not be prioritised in the process of dissolving the company, meaning ongoing costs of monitoring and re-mediation would likely fall to the taxpayer. Judge Shanahan meticulously outlined the damning evidence


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IN THE NEWS Thursday, May 31, 2018

Specialists showcase ag tech

Tech to lead the way for farming ◗ FUTURE PLANS: Dr Cheryl McCarthy detailed her work in machine vision systems like automatic recognition technology on drones. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

otherwise known as domain knowledge, is connected with the growing use of ag tech. “This knowledge is crucial to understanding which problems we should focus on and the appropriate technology solution to get the best outcome.” The AIA event included a tour of NCEA, which involved a hands-on display of ag-tech developed by researchers such as Associate Professor Bernadette McCabe who spoke about her work in bioenergy; and Dr Alison McCarthy’s irrigation system, which uses sensors and artificial intelligence to improve irrigation efficiency. Dr Cheryl McCarthy detailed her work in machine-vision

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systems like automatic recognition technology on drones. “These are drones to automatically perform crop scouting operations and provide specific information to the farmer in real-time about areas in their field that need further action, for example, weed spot spraying or identification of diseased areas,” she said. “Visitors to this event have been given an early look at this work, and can see how work turns from ideas and concepts on the ground to practical outcomes.” NCEA specialises in developing solutions for a sustainable and profitable rural sector through applied engineering research, training and commercialisation.

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CUTTING-EDGE technology advances promise to revolutionise the agricultural industry, but traditional farming knowledge is far from obsolete. University of Southern Queensland’s Professor Craig Baillie led a group of agriculture specialists in discussing a brave new world for their industry at a Queensland Division of the Ag Institute Australia event on April 26. The conference featured AIA’s AGM and award ceremonies, while also exploring the topic Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning in Agriculture. Prof Baillie, director of USQ’s National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, spoke on the importance of technological advancement coupled with existing understanding. “NCEA is innovating in the areas of automation, robotics, machine vision, precision agriculture, irrigation and bioenergy,” he said. “Technologies developed through this research are world leading. “Right now we’re seeing a massive increase in mass consumer electronics, which has helped fuel rapid advancements in agricultural technologies. “But it’s important that we remember practical experience,

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Thursday, May 31, 2018


IN THE NEWS “We have been assured by our contractor that all of the recommendations, including the ones identified in our own independent third party audit, will be implemented.� – John Hagan

Minister wants answers

Safety the priority on Range Crossing WORK has begun on implementing all 51 recommendations by an independent auditor to ensure improved worker safety on Second Range Crossing work sites. It was the final straw for Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey when an unsecured heavy load was dropped on a work car at one of the viaduct sites late last month and work was stopped at two sites amid safety concerns. It came just two months after the minister visited the site of the $1.6 billion project due to ongoing problems with health and safety. Earlier this year, Mr Bailey demanded an independent safety audit on the project in response to ongoing problems, carried out by risk management firm Prensa and industry expert Ennio Bianchi. There were 18 reported rollovers on range crossing worksites throughout 2017 analysed in the audit. Prensa and Mr Bianchi found there were a number of comprehensive risk management plans in place, but found problems with reporting and categorisation of the numerous incidents. A lack of consistency was found between the classification of similar incidents and the report described incident descriptions as “lacking�. Six of the 18 reported incidents were classed as Category 1, meaning they were serious enough to require external auditing,

â—— VITAL SIGNS: New safety recommendations are being implemented on Second Range Crossing work sites.

and it was found that only one of these incidents appeared to have been investigated by external auditors. There were also some issues flagged with a lack of experience in some health and safety representatives working on the site. It did, however, note that Nexus had increased its vigilance surrounding plant equipment safety procedures, particularly since late 2017. The report was handed down with 51 recommendations to


improve health and safety for workers at the sites. Nexus Infrastructure CEO John Hagan welcomed the findings and said the company and its lead contractor, Nexus Delivery, would implement the full list of recommendations. “A number of the earlier recommendations have already been adapted into practice and we have been assured by our contractor that all of the recommendations, including the ones identified in our own independent third party audit, will be implemented,� Mr Hagan said in a statement.

Ostwald liquidators work on case despite demands to step aside A MEETING planned for May 22 to demand a liquidator working on the Ostwald Bros case step aside did not go ahead. Members of the committee representing the hundreds of creditors owed money by the failed Dalby business wanted to see liquidators PricewaterhouseCoopers and lead liquidator Derek Vickers removed from the case. The Dalby-based empire spanning a number of businesses including Ostwald Bros Transport, Ostwald Bros Mining, Ostwald Bros Investments, Ostwald Bros Equity, Roustabout Services Australia, Facility Security Services, BAS Aviation and Ostwald Accommodation, went into administration in September last year, leaving some $60 million in debt to a range of creditors. The members said in a meeting notice filed with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission last month

that “it has no trust or faith in PwC and Mr Vickers to continue to conduct the liquidation�. Last month The Chronicle obtained a letter from Mr Vickers and colleague Sam Marsden stating that PwC would resign from the case on April 30. Committee members later were told the company and Mr Vickers would stay on past the agreed date, stating that it needed to consult with secured and priority creditors before making any move to consider a replacement liquidator. Members of the committee then moved to hold a meeting demanding the company step aside, pending the approval of ANZ Bank and the Australian Government through its Fair Entitlements Guarantee, which are the secured and priority creditors to Ostwald Bros. A PwC spokeswoman confirmed the

meeting did not go ahead. “A meeting of the creditors did not take place on May 22, 2018,� the spokeswoman said. “As trading has now ceased, the liquidator is currently calling for final accounts from suppliers which then need to be reconciled and processed. “Once this has been achieved a further Committee of Inspection meeting will be called so the liquidator can update the committee on the status of the liquidation.� Since Ostwald Bros was placed in liquidation last year, brothers Brendan, Daniel and Matthew Ostwald were able to secure the assistance of a silent investor to salvage one of the businesses, Ostwald Construction Materials, which is now trading as Surat Basin Construction Materials.

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IN THE NEWS Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bender’s energy woes

Solar just the same as CSG

CHINCHILLA cotton grower Brian Bender has described the current influx of solar energy projects in the region as “deja vu of the CSG industry”. “I believe this solar industry, it’s a carbon copy of the gas industry at the moment.” Mr Bender last month received a letter from juwi Renewable Energy, a German energy company, informing him of a potential solar farm site near his property in Chances Plains. He said he was disappointed by the letter which did not state which block the company was interested in developing. The letter advised Mr Bender to attend a community forum discussing solar farm development in Queensland, held last month by the State Government in Dalby, to learn more about the solar industry. The session sought feedback on draft Queensland solar power guidelines which will be finalised later this year. Though he attended the session, Mr Bender said he did not feel reassured about the future of the solar power industry, and how it might impact on his business. “It just reminds me so much of the gas industry,” he said. “The companies are getting in before there’s any real legislation really to go by. The legislation that’s going to come out, it’s going to have no teeth. “It’s all going to be open to interpretation.” While juwi Renewable Energy is yet to lodge a development application with the Western Downs Regional Council, a spokeswoman said the company was four to six weeks away from doing so. Mayor Paul McVeigh said he was “pleased to hear this energy company is talking to the community”.

◗ DEJA VU: Chinchilla cotton grower Brian Bender.

Cr McVeigh said the council was “happy to have those communications” with concerned residents regarding potential energy projects and said the council had previously been involved with renegotiations to amend project plans. “As a council we have to do our due diligence to approve or disapprove projects,” he said. He also stressed the relationship between landholders and solar companies “was about being good neighbours”. Cr McVeigh said the council had not allowed solar farms to be built on top-quality agricultural land, but said solar farms could benefit the region more than traditional agriculture. “The return of the solar farms will be more than the returns of cropping land,” Cr McVeigh said. Mr Bender feels there needs to be more open and transparent communication between the council and residents about potential projects to protect farming families and their land. “I want to protect farming land, agricultural farming land,” he said.


“I just think they (council) just need to stop and think ‘hey, where do we want to place all these solar farms?’ “You don’t want bloody solar farms all over the place.” While Mr Bender has no problem with solar power, he believes solar farms should not be built on land that has traditionally been used for agriculture. Another concern of his is the potential devaluation of properties in the area of solar farms that could drive away families from the region. “There’s a lot of people out there that don’t want to live beside a solar farm,” Mr Bender said. “So that means it’s taking away from people who could potentially buy more property. “If you put a solar farm on good country beside houses, you’re taking good people away from the market.” Mr Bender said agricultural land across the Downs should be protected for generations to come. “We need to protect it as much as we can.”

Coal battle: Judge overturns decision on $900m New Acland plan JOBS and groundwater debates are back in the spotlight after the $900 million New Acland mine proposal got a boost in court. On May 2, Justice Helen Bowskill overturned last year’s Land Court recommendation. New Acland’s owners were buoyant, saying 700 jobs could be saved, but opponents were worried about implications for groundwater conservation. The proposal will now return to the Land Court, which previously recommended rejecting the coal miner’s Stage 3 plans. In Brisbane Supreme Court, Justice Bowskill cited three major reasons for her decision. The first related to groundwater, the second to intergenerational equity and the third to noise. New Acland Coal’s proposal sparked one of the longest land

court cases ever. NAC submitted Land Court Member Mr Smith’s personal feelings had possibly “coloured” his objectivity. It was sometimes a very emotional case, Justice Bowskill said. “It seems fair to assume that emotions ran high, perhaps particularly in the case of the lay objectors who participated and gave evidence,” she added. “The hearing and determination of the matter was clearly an onerous task for the member.” But she said Mr Smith “brought an impartial mind” to the matter, so New Acland’s claim of apprehended bias was not made out. NAC owner New Hope Corporation welcomed the new judgment. It said it was “committed to securing approval” for Stage 3, and providing work for roughly 700 people relying on

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the project. Oakey Coal Action Alliance opposed the expansion. It said it was pleased claims of bias were not upheld, but was worried about the judgment’s broader potential impact. “We’re extremely concerned [this] has placed into question the ability of the Land Court to consider groundwater issues,” the Alliance’s Paul King said. Mr Smith found there was a chance surrounding landholders’ groundwater supplies could be affected for many generations if Stage 3 proceeded. Outside court, Toowoomba scientist John Standley said the new judgment was disappointing. Dr Standley said he was “amazed” New Acland challenged the earlier recommendation. — John Weekes, NewsRegional



Thursday, May 31, 2018

No declaration, but still a drought

◗ OPERATION COOL BURN: Cattle are being used to curb regional fire dangers, by filling them up with feed.


Cattle used to tackle potential fire threat CATTLE are being used to tackle bushfire prevention in a unique take on the traditional hazard reduction burn. People often associate bushfire mitigation with more fire, but west of Toowoomba the cattle are quite literally eating a potential fire’s fuel. Rural Fire Service Roma Area Director Inspector Goetz Graf said there was about 8500 head along stock routes and the Warrego and Canarvon Highways, in the Roma region towards Charleville. “Burning paddocks on the side of the highway is one of only many ways to reduce bushfire risk. If you just burn on a regular basis it won’t help vegetation management and will reduce biodiversity,” Insp Graf said. “It is effectively removing fuel in one particular area so it wouldn’t burn as severe or intense.” It is part of a statewide program from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services called Operation Cool Burn.

It is a multi-agency initiative to help ease the bushfire threat. “A lot of stock is brought into the area as well from drought-stricken places, even as far as Riverina in New South Wales,” Insp Graf said. “It helps the individual farmer to feed their cattle and also helps the community to reduce vegetation thickness and potential bushfire risk along the highway. “This is just a great example of stakeholders and communities working together. One activity can meet different objectives.” Insp Graf also wants people travelling through the area to be aware of what is happening as many were under the impression it could be a traffic hazard. He encouraged people not to stop and take photos, to reduce speed but keep moving and don’t honk their horn. Insp Graf added it was important for residents to prepare their own homes and land for bushfire season. — Amy Lyne

ONE farmer said he was left speechless when he heard the news he no-longer lived in a drought-declared area. His disbelief at the announcement comes from the lack of rain he has had in the last three years. The Queensland Government announced the percentage of the state which was drought declared had fallen from 88 down to 57. Minister Mark Furner stated several regional councils, including the Western Downs were no longer drought declared. But this has stunned Kupunn farmer Wayne Newton, who said he does not believe there has been enough rainfall in the region. “Basically I am speechless. I am astounded,” Mr Newton said. “We have just come off a dry set of about three years. “Some small parts of the Western Downs region have had some rain, but in the largest part of the area there has been very little.” Mr Newton said it was a hit to the morale of farmers to hear they are no longer drought declared, when the sub-soil moisture for the upcoming winter season is low. He said many farmers in the region were expecting a tough winter season. “Some farmers I have spoken to say they have missed out on a year’s worth of rain over the last three years,” Mr Newton said. Mr Furner said farmers would not be left without assistance if they were still experiencing hard times on their properties. “I want to stress that any producer who is experiencing difficult conditions in the revoked areas, or in any council area that is not drought declared, can apply for an Individually Droughted Property declaration,” Mr Furner said. “This gives them the same access to our drought assistance as an area declaration and we will review the 80 IDPs in 10 other council areas that we have in the coming weeks.” — Michael Doyle

◗ NO DROUGHT?: Wayne Newton.




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IN THE NEWS Thursday, May 31, 2018

Improved phone coverage in region IMPROVED mobile and internet service has reached the Wallumbilla community. A new Telstra communications tower, north of Wallumbilla, has been installed by Santos which will offer 3G and 4G service. Santos claims the new tower will increase phone coverage in the area and provide a faster, more reliable internet service. Santos Maranoa regional manager Andrew Snars said it was important to provide the region with a high-quality service. “We hear stories of farmers having to do their internet banking in the middle of the night because it’s the only time of day they can get reasonable coverage, so this new tower will provide a more reliable service and reduce the number of black spots in the area,” Mr Snars said. “A reliable internet service is now critical to conducting day-to-day business in rural communities, so this service will make life much easier.” Roma East landholder Neville Maunder said he noticed the changes to his internet and mobile coverage immediately. “I now have faster internet and mobile reception inside my house is much better,” Mr Maunder said.

◗ FAMILY HEALTH: New scientific research has found that kids playing in the dirt (like the Mortons) is as important for mental health as building up immunities. PHOTOS: JESSICA MORTON

Muddy days keep doctor away

◗ COVERAGE: Santos’ Andrew Snars is excited about the new phone coverage for Wallumbilla. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

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GROWING up in the west comes with its fair share of frolicking in the mud. And now scientists have found that playing in the dirt is as important for children’s mental health as it is for building up immunity. For the Morton family, who own Ridgelands, 32km northwest of Wallumbilla, outdoor play is all in a day’s work. “I grew up on the land with my parents Leon and Ree, two younger sisters Ash and Annie, and younger brother Brandon,” mum Jessica Morton said. “We had the best childhood anyone could ever have asked for. We experienced the freedom to play and explore the great outdoors. There wasn’t a mobile phone, iPad or computer game in sight.” Mrs Morton said an outdoor lifestyle kept her four children healthy and happy. “Our kids love playing outside every day too. Their favourite things to do include riding their ponies and bikes, climbing trees, playing in the sandpit, making cubbies and having picnics,” she said. “Their favourite time of the year is when it rains because this means jumping in muddy puddles.

“We grew up knowing that dirt built up the immune system. Whether it was an old wives’ tale or not, we believed it, and now there have been studies to suggest this. “Our kids are usually happy and healthy all year round and I believe the combination of eating well, getting adequate sleep and being outdoors in the dirt all play a big role in this.” A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that children raised in a rural environment, surrounded by animals and bacteria, grow up to have more stress-resilient immune systems and will likely be at lower risk of mental illness than pet-free city dwellers. Roma Goodstart Early Learning Centre director Tabatha Lippert said outdoor play was also important for physical development. “It’s important for children to be exposed to physical movement opportunities from an early age,” Ms Lippert said. “We can learn everything from our natural world. Being outdoors you are exposed to sensory elements, such as a puddle of mud or some gritty sand, and it’s naturally building the immune system as well as strengthening cognitive function. “The fresh air is important too.” — Alexia Austin

No breaches found on Dalby solar farm ALLEGATIONS that German backpackers were performing unlicensed electrical work on a solar project near Toowoomba have been hosed down by the State Government. Union representatives confirmed it received reports from the site of the $200 million Darling Downs Solar Farm near Dalby last month, alleging that principal contractor RCR Tomlinson was using 417-visa workers to carry out “untested” electrical jobs. The 45 workers are believed to be mostly from Germany. “We believe they’re doing illegal and unlicensed electrical work,” Queensland Council of Unions representative Dan

McGaw told The Chronicle. But a spokesman for the Office of Industrial Relations said it was yet to find a breach on the site. “We are aware of allegations of unlicensed persons performing electrical work during the construction of solar farms in the Darling Downs area,” he said. “These matters have been investigated and no breach of Queensland’s electrical licensing requirements has been identified at this time.” — Tom Gillespie


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Thursday, May 31, 2018

New snapshot of the industry

◗ CHEERS TO SCIENCE: Organiser Jake Clark with speakers Ursula Kennedy and Peter Harris at the first night of the Pint of Science festival in Toowoomba. PHOTOS: TOBI LOFTUS

Cow poo turned into biogas

Time to enjoy a Pint of Science

FROM the power of bulls--t to how cyanide is used in wine, pub goers were able to learn a little bit of science at the Irish Club recently. University of Southern Queensland phD candidate Peter Harris gave the opening talk of the festival on Monday night, where he spoke about his research of turning cow poo into biogas. “The amount of biogas we’re getting is quite small, but we have other benefits going alongside it such reducing pollution and what’s going into landfill,” Mr Harris said. “The renewable energy scene needs to be mixed so we have something to draw on when the sun isn’t shining. “Biogas is just another energy we can throw into that mix and get some benefits.” Wine scientist Ursula Kennedy also spoke about how science impacted the alcoholic beverage. “There is a lot of science behind wine,” she said. “Biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy and even psychology,” she said. Ms Kennedy said wine makers used chemicals such as cyanide to remove metal cations such as copper and iron from wine, though it was harmless to drinkers. Organiser Jake Clark said the event was sponsored by the CSIRO.

A NEW 19-page snapshot developed by the GasFields Commission provides one of the clearest pictures yet of the Queensland petroleum and gas industry. The snapshot is an easy to read reference guide that shows the size of the industry, its contribution to the economy, water usage and other useful information. It shows that the petroleum and gas industry has contributed $418 million in royalties to the State Government since 2010, invested $4.3 billion in exploration since 2007 and supported 1380 regional business in 2016/17. Of the approximately 14,450 wells drilled in Queensland, 76 per cent of the active wells are in the Surat Basin, 12 per cent in the northern Bowen basin and another 12 per cent in the Cooper and Eromanga basins. At the end of June 2017 there were 5711 Conduct and Compensation Agreements in place, with $387 million paid to landholders in compensation. The vast majority of groundwater taken from the Surat Cumulative Management Area continues to be for agriculture. Almost all the water taken as part of gas production is being used for beneficial purposes including other agricultural production, aquifer recharge and industry. “The snapshot uses a wide range of data collected from across government and industry, fact checked and then reproduced as an easy to read reference guide,” GasFields Commission CEO Carolyn Collins said. “There has never been a central point for the collection of data for the Queensland gas industry in the past with different agencies, industry bodies and companies all collecting the information for different reasons and often in different formats. “What we’ve done with the snapshot is pull that data together into one document to provide a clearer picture of the industry.” Data collection and dissemination was one of the recommendations of the Scott review into the GasFields Commission in 2016 and supported by the government. “Accurate information about the industry will assist landholders, gas companies and government to make informed decisions about the future direction of the industry,” the CEO said. “There has been a lot of inaccurate and misleading information circulated in the past and this report should go a long way to correcting and clarifying the real state of the industry.”

◗ Adrian Dawes and Ross Kruger.

“Pint of Science provides our community, an opportunity to engage with the amazing research conducted in our region, and also provides a platform for our community to converse with scientists,” he said. — Tobi Loftus

◗ REGIONAL SNAPSHOT: GasFields Commission CEO Carolyn Collins. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

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Thursday, May 31, 2018



Envision Partners

I don’t know what to do!

TRY to imagine a sudden tragedy in your family. Imagine you are a husband who has relied on your wife’s financial management skills your entire working life. She has taken care of planning and managing the family since you first married and you have come to rely heavily on her. Perhaps she has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or had a major car accident and you now need to step into the role of family financial manager. So, without notice, you may need to step in and take over the financial and medical decision making for your loved one. ■ Where do you start? ■ What documents do you need? ■ What information do you need? ■ What questions should you ask? ■ Who should you talk to? ■ What is important? ■ What can wait? ■ How long is all this going to take? The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) tells us that $3.387 billion is owned by people over 55. For practical purposes all of this money/property will change hands in the next 25 years and yet studies have shown that 45 per cent of Australians don’t even have a will, let alone a record of all the things their family will need to know to assume control. With so much focus on the longevity of baby boomers, the subject of how their wealth will be managed through their declining years and transferred in death has been largely

◗ FINANCIAL HELP: If the worst should happen, Envision is there to help you.

ignored – it is the “elephant in the corner” within today’s society.

What is estate planning?

After more than 20 years working with clients who have lost loved ones, the best definition of estate planning is as follows: The right money, the right information, the right documents and the right guidance, to the right people, at the right time. We know from experience that clients who fail to get this area in order, experience significant distress and, in many cases, substantial financial loss or hardship. Our experience has seen even the simplest of wills costing an estate thousands of dollars due to poor planning and consultation. One example was Jim and Betty. Jim and Betty just wanted simple wills. They left the two properties and investments to

The bugger went and


each other and if they both died, it would go equally to the five children. What they did not realise is that the children had different ideas. One of the boys (Sam) wanted one property and one of the girls (Jill) wanted the other. The other three siblings were happy to share the investments. What resulted was that Sam and Jill each had to purchase the balance of the property from their siblings, resulting in unnecessary stamp duty and taxation costs. The Envision Partners Estate Planning For Life process makes sure your family is as well prepared as possible. It is our fervent hope that by investing a few simple hours over a week or two you can ease your family’s journey through those most painful and common of experiences – illness or death. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Envision Partners today.

died on me and…

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! Without notice, you may need to step in and take over the financial and medical decision making for your loved one. › Where do you start? › What documents do you need? › What information do you need? › What questions should you ask? › Who should you talk to? › What is important? › What can wait? › How long is all this going to take?

Sourced from Thebuggerwentanddied onme and...IDon’tKnowWhat ToDo! by Gil Gordon

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HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thinking longer term, the bathroom is an important part of any renovation for the person wanting to stay in their own home as long as possible.

Browns Carpets and Floorcoverings

First port of call for renovations

NOW that you are semi or fully retired, which project do you start on first? When it comes to renovating or updating your flooring, we at Browns Carpets and Floorcoverings have you covered! We have an extensive range of floor coverings to suit all types of needs and customers. Yes, you have a right to be picky about your floor coverings. Luxury thick plush carpets to enjoy that barefoot feeling while you watch your favourite movie in your new media room. Perhaps you are reading a book or having a cuppa in your reading space. Maybe you would prefer the loop pile carpet for easy maintenance. Carpets are available in a wide range of standard colours of brown, grey and beige plus the new modern colour pallets that encompass colour – think of pink, purple, greens, blue and now popular stipple toning. The kitchen and living areas in your house can be spruced up too. One of the more economical flooring products is the traditional sheet vinyl or the modern click or drop vinyl planks. Vinyl is so versatile that it can be used in all parts of your house – even in the bathroom, toilet and laundry. A lot of people are finding that ceramic tiles start having an influence on their joints and mobility as the they age. Vinyl has the capability of being able to be installed over the existing ceramic tiles, saving the customer the huge cost of having the ceramic tiles removed. Vinyl is also very easy to maintain and a huge help to people

◗ NEEDS COVERED: Rebecca Brown, Jaz Brown and Lynne Mason from Browns Carpets and Floorcoverings.

who required mobility aides. Thinking longer term, the bathroom is an important part of any renovation for the person wanting to stay in their own home as long as possible. While having a bath is a lot of fun, climbing out of and over it when you’re 90 plus years old can be a bit scary. The team at Browns is working with local builders to install commercial safety vinyl in their wet areas. This added safety factor will help minimise any falls or slips in the bathroom, toilet and laundry. Now that the main floor covering renovations have been completed, what about the final little touch? A new floor rug can bring cheery colour in winter or vibrant colour in summer.


Rugs are also a perfect choice for grandparents who need to protect their new floor coverings from the joys of their grandkids – customer purchase a basic rug and roll it out when the grandkids come. This helps keep the nail polish, paint, playdough and small Lego pieces out of the new carpet and it can be put away till the next visit. Here at Browns, we have a large display of floor rugs to suit any style. Did you know that we can order a larger size rug specific for your needs? We also have lay-by options. So, enjoy being healthy, wealthy and wiser about your floor coverings. Remember, Carpets and Browns Floorcoverings have your floors covered.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Crown Currency Exchange

A special milestone for Crown

◗ LOCAL FOCUS: Senior consultant Hannah Stewart-Koster and foreign exchange consultant Sophie Barram from Crown Currency Exchange. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED


AS A Downlands old boy, Toowoomba had always held a special place in Crown Currency Exchange founder Henry Koster’s heart. He always had designs on expanding to Toowoomba and upon the refurbishment of Grand Central, the ideal location became available and Henry immediately signed on the dotted line. The company’s GM, Gail Keating is a Downlands old girl, who schooled at St Ursula’s, and keeping it in the family, the company CEO Jim Stewart-Koster spent time growing up in nearby Ravensbourne. Still in the family, the shop’s senior consultant Hannah Stewart-Koster hails from nearby Peranga and foreign exchange consultant Sophie Barram is also a local girl! Hannah and Sophie love to hear about their customers’ news and holiday plans. Always with a smile, they make sure everyone receives the best rates with no fees on all their foreign currency needs. This month, Crown Currency Exchange at Grand Central is celebrating its first birthday. Hannah and Sophie will be hosting a rare US$ sale for the week beginning June 4. This is great news if you’re planning on basking on the beaches of Miami, enjoying the entertainment of Las Vegas, discovering downtown New York or taking the family to Disneyland. It’s great news if you’re going anywhere that accepts this universal currency! There will be birthday surprises during the entire month of June, so drop in and say g’day and see if the day will bring something special for you.

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BEST RATES. NO FEES. BEST SERVICE Crown Currency Exchange Toowoomba is celebrating our 1st year in Grand Central Shopping Centre with a sale on US$ from 4 – 9 June 2018. Call, email or visit us to find out what other birthday surprises are happening for the entire month of June, and for all your foreign currency needs.

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HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE Thursday, May 31, 2018

No more dry skin MOTHER nature can play havoc with our skin – particularly anyone with sensitive skin, babies and the mature aged. Itchy, dry and flaky skin needs a good moisturiser and Vegesorb, with high quality cold pressed almond and apricot kernel oils and other plant derivatives, combine to create a soothing moisturiser.

What is Vegesorb?

Vegesorb is a safe, highly tolerated, fragrance free, colour free apricot and almond oil based moisturiser. Vegesorb is an alternative to pharmacy brand sorbolenes containing petrochemical by-products such as paraffin, mineral or petrolatum which were primarily designed to act as barriers.

Why use Vegesorb?

Vegesorb is light, non-greasy and due to the natural physical and chemical properties of apricot and almond oils, is rapidly absorbed by the skin providing quick effective and lasting moisture with skin compatible natural fatty oils.

Who uses Vegesorb?

Why do they use it?

◗ PLACE TO CALL HOME: Village Green Chinchilla provides something for everyone.

Because it’s safe and it does the job for them because of its versatility. It’s also affordable and economical and available at similar prices to pharmacy brands in Queensland at $9.55/100g, $15.40/250g and 1kg/$50.90. Prices may vary slightly depending on location. Vegesorb is Australian owned and developed and is manufactured in Brisbane at a TGA approved premise by Queensland Company, Vegesorb Australia Pty Ltd. Available at health food stores and some pharmacies. For information and retail outlets, visit or phone Neale Scott (07) 3885 2882.

Village Green with envy VILLAGE Green Chinchilla is a new concept in affordable retirement living. Our beautifully landscaped park has been operating as a villa and caravan park, but is now able to offer large studio villas, in a secure, comfortable, community lifestyle. We are able to offer very affordable packages that conform to all government regulations. Our village has all that you will need, such as a swimming


pool, man shed, community area, library, dining room, laundry, meeting area, parkland, dam filled with fish, gym, barbecues and much more. The villas are very modern with large ensuites and can come with furniture if required. There is plenty of room to park your caravan if needed. Stage one has 28 villas available, so phone the office on (07) 4668 9613 for an information pack.

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Medical centres, compounding chemists, podiatrists, aged care centres, beauticians, aromatherapists, beauty clinics, surfboard manufacturers, engineers, hairdressers, horse trainers, babies and normal everyday people for the whole body. People with problematic skin conditions who react to foaming agents in soaps successfully use Vegesorb as a soap alternative and then as their daily moisturiser.



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Your Pharmacy Chinchilla

The pros are willing to go the extra mile IN BUSINESS, a certain level of care is often the catalyst for repeat trade. This is a principal Your Pharmacy Chinchilla possesses in spades. Catering to all your pharmaceutical needs with the hospitality to match, it’s easy to see why Your Pharmacy Chinchilla has established such an enviable reputation within the region. Your Pharmacy Chinchilla’s pharmacist manager Katie Porteous alluded to what separates them from other providers in the industry. “We pride ourselves on having easy access that delivers a greater level of convenience for our consumers,” Ms Porteous said. “We provide customers with professional advice through private face-to-face consultations, a service that our clientele really appreciates.” With long waits at the doctors, the barriers that come with rural living and confusion over medication quantities, Your Pharmacy Chinchilla accommodates to a demographic that are heavily reliant on their services, with the elderly community being some of their biggest beneficiaries. Two stand-out services that Your Pharmacy Chinchilla offer

◗ HELPING HAND: Your Pharmacy Chinchilla pharmacist Katie Porteous.

are their MedsChecks and blister packs. “Medchecks is a service offered to Medicare card holders that provide them with access to a bulk-billed private consultation with a pharmacist to gain a better understanding of their medications,” Ms Porteous said. “Added to that, our blister packs provide specialised medication packaging, a very useful tool that is extremely popular with senior citizens.” Coupled with their up to date products and services, Your Pharmacy Chinchilla is also willing to go the extra mile (literally), offering a weekly home delivery service in and around the township. So whatever your health needs, no matter how big or small, Your Pharmacy Chinchilla has you covered.


◗ Your Pharmacy Chinchilla pharmacist Katie Porteous with owners Mark and Julie Woodward.

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Did you know....

Hearing Loss is linked to other health issues. Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears) 90% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss.





Dementia & Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dementia risk up to 5x higher with hearing loss

Diabetes Hearing loss is 2x more common in people with diabetes.

Loneliness & Isolation Increased risk with untreated hearing loss

Hospitalisation 32% more likely for older adults with hearing loss

Depression & Anxiety Symptoms go down & quality of life goes up with hearing aid use

Kidney Disease Linked to 43% increased risk of hearing loss.

Cardiovascular Disease Hearing loss may indicate cardiovascular disease.

A hearing check is FREE and easy. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put it off any longer.

CALL YOU LOCAL CLINIC ON 4638 1277 329 Margaret Street, TOOWOOMBA





Gatton l Goondiwindi l Highfields Millmerran l Oakey l Pittsworth







Thursday, May 31, 2018

ihear Toowoomba

Improved hearing health leads to better overall health

IHEAR audiologist Marguerite Dunstan works to transform lives by providing better hearing to the Toowoomba community. “We provide services to look after the hearing needs of a wide range of locals including pension and DVA card holders, retirees, workers and children, making better hearing more convenient and accessible than ever,” Marguerite said. Hearing loss is far more prevalent in the community than most people realise, with recent studies showing one in six Australians have a treatable hearing loss. But what may surprise many is that nearly 50 per cent of these are under retirement age. “As the world gets louder, the age of those with hearing loss gets younger. The effect of noise exposure means we are increasingly seeing people in their 40s and 50s coming to us with a hearing problem,” Marguerite said. ihear range of hearing services include: ■ Complimentary hearing screening ■ Trials of the latest hearing aids ■ Free hearing aids and services for Pensioners and Veterans (on behalf of the OHS) ■ Hearing aid repairs and batteries ■ Noise protection ■ Diagnostic hearing assessments ■ Paediatric hearing tests (over four years of age) ■ Friendly professional service ■ Wax removal services available (new service) The ihear hearing clinic is located at 329 Margaret Street, Toowoomba and is open five days a week (extended hours

◗ ABOVE: ihear Audiologist Marguerite Dunstan provides better hearing to her Toowoomba patients. RIGHT: The ihear Toowoomba clinic is located at 329 Margaret Street, Toowoomba. PHOTOS: CONTRIBUTED

Tuesday and Thursday) with convenient parking and wheelchair access. There are also visiting clinics around the Darling Downs area (Chinchilla, Dalby, Gatton, Goondiwindi, Highfields, Mactown, Miles, Millmerran, Oakey and Pittsworth). For more information or to book a Free Hearing Screening, phone ihear on 4638 1277.

Treating snoring and sleep apnoea You snore while you’re asleep when parts of your throat vibrate. The vibration occurs in the pharynx region, behind your tongue. When you sleep muscles relax, and your pharynx can become narrower, most likely obstructed by the tongue. The larger the obstruction, the louder you will snore. Snoring is often hereditary, but there are other factors that enhance the likelihood of snoring including being overweight, drinking alcohol before sleeping, sleeping on your back, using sleeping tablets and other sedatives.

How common is snoring?

About 40 per cent of men suffer from at least mild snoring, while approximately 30 per cent of women snore as

well. Overall 25 per cent of adults snore on most nights. People of any age can snore, even some children have a problem with snoring, but the age group people are most at risk are the middle aged and older.

How does snoring affect people?

For many families, snoring is a big problem. Often, the snorer sleeps alone in another room, so other family members can achieve a good night’s sleep. Often loud snoring can indicate the snorer has a health condition known as sleep apnoea. As high as 25 per cent of regular snorers have this condition, which often goes undetected and untreated, which can lead to health issues like high blood pressure, hypotension, heart attacks, strokes and other health issues.

How can snoring and sleep apnoea be treated?

One known successful treatment is a device called a Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS). It is an oral device that looks something like a mouthguard, that you wear at night. It helps hold the tongue forward, so your pharynx and airways remain open, allowing you to breathe more freely and easily. For a MAS to be highly successful, it needs to be customised to you and tailored to a setting that works. Some sleep specialists and dentists perform this type of service to provide a customised product. Some other successful solutions are CPAP machines and surgery conducted by specialist ear, nose and throat surgeons. It is always prudent to speak with your GP and seek a professional opinion on how to best resolve your health issues.



Why do people snore?



HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE Thursday, May 31, 2018

Age is no excuse, staying active helps

A KEY to aging well is maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Not only does it improve physical fitness, but it plays a huge role in maintaining and nurturing mental health as well. A nutritious diet and at least 30 minutes of exercise a day can contribute to a higher quality of life. Here are five of the best, easiest exercises to keep you active at any age:


WALKING is a great low-impact endurance exercise, and all you need is a good pair of shoes. It’s easy on the joints, requires little planning, and can be a great social activity too.


CYCLING can help improve arthritis pain, lower blood pressure and improve mood. It’s a great low-impact endurance exercise – it’s easy on the joints because your body absorbs minimal shock from pedalling.

◗ HERE TO HELP: Briese Lawyers principal Kym Briese.

The client comes first


SWIMMING is excellent for improving endurance and flexibility while maintaining a very low risk of injury. The water relieves stress on bones and joints, so it’s a low-impact exercise that conditions your whole body as you move through the water.


ADDING some gentle stretches to your workout routine will help to improve your flexibility and range of motion as you age. Focus on stretching the muscles you’re working during the rest of your routine, but also try some general stretches in the morning and evening to keep up your flexibility.

Water aerobics

WATER aerobics combines cardiovascular exercise with strength training for a low-impact, full-body workout which is gentle on your joints.


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Thursday, May 31, 2018



Coalition, Labor come together

Decision saves Murray Darling Basin Plan

THE Federal Government has struck a deal with Labor to ensure the Murray Darling Basin Plan remains intact. Water Minister David Littleproud and his opposition counterpart Tony Burke agreed to quash a Greens disallowance motion in the Senate on Monday that would have led to the NSW and Victorian Governments walking away from the water plan. “I’m extremely pleased to have reached agreement with Labor, which means we’ll deliver the entire Murray Darling Basin Plan, including the Northern Basin Review,” Mr Littleproud said. “I reached out across the aisle to seek bipartisanship and aimed to provide leadership on this issue from day one. We rarely achieve lasting results by going to war.” Mr Littleproud said the agreement represented an historic moment, five years after the original compromise deal between all political parties and four state governments was achieved against huge odds. “Labor and Tony Burke created the plan and I’m delivering it as I promised to,” he said. “In my short time as minister I hope to have demonstrated that transparency, integrity and compliance are important to me. Given this, I’m rapt with adjustments which will now be made to the plan.” Mr Littleproud said Labor sought more clarity and firm assurances on a number of issues.

◗ CROSS PARTY DEAL: Maranoa MP David Littleproud (left) is a fierce advocate in trying to secure a better Murray Darling Basin Plan for the Dirranbandi and St George communities. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

“The government has reiterated its commitment to the 450 gigalitres and the process of attaining it can now begin,” he said. “Tony Burke pushed us on indigenous issues and we responded with a package we believe delivers opportunity to indigenous communities. “The package also delivers $20 million to help economic adaptation in communities impacted by the Basin Plan.

“This agreement finally provides certainty to the two million people who live in the Basin. “People who are fatigued from the stress of not knowing how much water – the economic driver for most of these communities – will be in their district next year, not knowing if farmers will make money and employ people next year, not knowing if their own families, farms and businesses will be hurt.”

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Vegetation management

Debate a ‘fight to the death’

GRAZIERS and politicians alike are calling today a ‘dark day for ag’ after state parliament passed the Palaszczuk Government’s divisive environmental laws recently. The laws were passed after a gruelling three days of debate and protests outside of Parliament House in Brisbane. The changes to the law are said to increase protection for regrowth and remnant vegetation and boost protection for environmental habitats, including waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef. The LNP and landholders have rallied against the changes, citing research that demonstrated the need for careful ongoing management to prevent detrimental woodland thickening. Warrego MP Ann Leahy said it was an “absolutely horrendous” outcome for landholders and their families. “It’s been an appalling week in State Parliament for not only farmers and their families, but for small businesses and communities right across regional Queensland, who will all suffer from these destructive management laws brought in by the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” she said. “During the debate on the clauses there was an attitude from the Palaszczuk Labor Government that they were going to use anything they could, and do anything they could, to get these unjustified draconian laws through. “The LNP stood up, we fought in every possible way we could, it was an absolute fight to the death. “This affects everyone because it affects the entire economy of our region. This will affect places all the way into Dalby and Toowoomba and businesses in Brisbane as well. “I saw people like Donna and Laurie Heinemann at the protest, who own the bakery in Charleville, because they’re concerned for the small businesses in towns right across the

◗ FIGHTING HARD: Rosalita Calcino at a Charleville protest.

region.” Ms Leahy said the laws would contract the economy across rural and regional communities throughout the state. “One thing that really disappoints me is that there is a great future for agriculture and food production for many good, young farmers across the region, and this will make it so much harder for them to be the next generation of good farmers,” Ms Leahy said. “The Palaszczuk Labor Government has forgotten about the worker, they are all about representing the Greens. “When you have minor parties like the Katter Party and One Nation who preference the Labor party ahead of the LNP, these are the outcomes that happen in legislation with a Labor Government that is hell-bent on sweeping up Green preferences in city electorates.” Ms Leahy said the fight was far from over. “This is the beginning of a two-year campaign. We will not rest in the LNP, we will continue that campaign right up until October 2020. We will go out there and continue to listen,” she said. AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said agriculture was the social and economic fabric of many Queensland


communities, and the impact of these laws would be felt far beyond the farm. “Farmers love and care for their land and only manage vegetation to sustainably produce the great food and fibre that consumers in Australia and overseas demand,” Mr Maudsley said. “It’s a real kick in the guts for the next generation of farmers who want to expand and grow their businesses but have now had their futures stolen away from them. “One thing is for sure – this is not over. “Farming families have shown they can and will get much more active in explaining what they do, calling out misinformation and sharing stories of what life on the land is really like. “The Palaszczuk Government ignores at their peril the tsunami of support farmers are receiving from people of all walks of life from all over Queensland – city and country. “Vegetation management has been divisive for two decades and the Palaszczuk Government had an opportunity to develop a long-lasting solution, but they squandered it and rammed through flawed laws that just guarantee the political ping pong will continue.”

Govt zeros in on farming technology

◗ HELPING HAND: Chinchilla Ainsworth Motors’ Gerard Bellgrove discussed the benefits of GPS technology for landholders. PHOTO: BROOKE DUNCAN

SELF-STEERING machinery has become an important part of agriculture and as part of the Federal Budget, the government has announced $64 million to improve the accuracy of GPS data to within 5cm. Ainsworth Motors Chinchilla dealer principal Gerard Bellgrove said the technology was already in use in the region and the funding could open up access for more landholders. “Farmers are adopting precision agriculture very quickly, including our area,” Mr Bellgrove said. He said the GPS worked through a base station network in the area. “Instead of being like the GPS in your car which can be a metre accurate, our base stations get our customers down to one inch of accuracy, so that’s what currently is in place.” While he didn’t know how long it would take to roll out, Mr

Bellgrove said the important thing was that the funding could enable farmers to access the technology at a lower cost than current options, which in turn would reduce costs and increase efficiency. “It enables them to do different farming practices and... cost-saving things,” he said. “They stop overlapping – they’re not double planting, double spraying, missing bits which grow weeds – so it enables them to save money, save cost, save time. “It also is easier on the farmers because the machines steer themselves, so they haven’t got to concentrate on steering all day. The machine does it itself and does it a lot more accurately than a human can do it. “And that’s why the government has brought it in – it will make farming more efficient, so make food production better.”

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OPINION Thursday, May 31, 2018

Management laws will hit hard ANN LEAHY

Member for Warrego

THE Vegetation Management Laws will cause catastrophic economic impacts on hard working food and fibre producers. Time was not permitted in the Parliament to raise inaccuracies of vegetation mapping or changes to the definition of regrowth, instead debate was guillotined (i.e. cut short by the Labor Government). Principal petitioner Scott Sargood invited the Premier to take the petition of over 15,000 signatures, however the Premier did not accept the invitation and no member of the government joined the over 500 strong protesters who chanted “No way Palaszczuk” outside Parliament House last week. This legislation has come into law with no economic impact assessment on the Agricultural Industry or the Rural and Regional Communities affected. However it will impact the profitability and confidence of every landholder and small business in rural and regional Queensland.

Warrego Highway Upgrade Program

Over three years ago, the Warrego Highway Upgrade Program was agreed by the State and Federal Governments. I have been keeping a watching brief on each of the highway projects, not to mention driving the highway regularly as I travel to and from Dalby.

It is disappointing a number of these projects have had the date of construction commencement date significantly delayed by the State Labor Government. The Chinchilla open level rail crossing was to commence construction in mid-2017 – however this is not due to commence until June 2018 – 12 months late. The Dalby to Miles overtaking lanes were to commence construction mid 2017 now construction has only just commenced in January 2018 – six months late. Miles western access upgrade construction was to commence late 2017 – and it is now due to commence in the month of May – at least six months late. I have no doubt everyone wants the intersections upgraded and the passing lanes constructed, however one wonders if this lazy State Labor Government share the same view.

Linc Energy

I welcome the court’s decision to fine Linc Energy $4.5 million, but no amount of money will reverse the damage to the Hopeland community. This project should never have been approved by the Labor State Government in the first place. Annastacia Palaszczuk was a member of the government that approved this project in 2008, with very poor environmental safeguards in place. The LNP, when in government, initiated an Independent Scientific Panel and Chief Scientist to look more closely into Underground Coal Gasification and the LNP supported the legislation to ban Underground Coal Gasification (UCG).

It’s a numbers game

Our region makes big waves across country


◗ PRODUCE BOOST: Member for Warrego Ann Leahy at the Surat State School. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

A celebration of small businesses

CEO GasFields Commission


TSBE will continue to drive the promotion of our region...


Dalby Operations Manager, Dingo Australia

SMALL Business Week seems like one of those recurring celebrations and ‘days’ that swamp us. There are a lot of important issues and groups out there, and it seems that in them all trying to get our attention and any specific one can get a bit lost in the volume! Having said that, with this opportunity, I am keen to make sure everyone is aware of Queensland Small Business Week. Small Business Week (May 28-June 1) aims to “celebrate the vital contribution small business makes to Queensland’s vibrant economy”. A noble intention, but probably not an event we count down the days to like Christmas! But it is a most important event and worthy of our attention! All of us reading this live in regional communities, that we love. Part of the vibrancy of our communities are the small business owners who personally work long hours and employ other locals. They are the backbone of our community. More often than not, they live next door to us and their kids go to the same schools as ours. And small businesses are often the first port of call for other parts of community – our P&Cs, football and netball clubs for sponsorship and donations – all of which they do as part of being in our community. Their success is only possible with the support of the community in which they work. All it takes is that you give the local a go first. So next week, please remember: small business is local business!








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TOOWOOMBA and Surat Basin Enterprise continues to drive ongoing investment within the regions we service. This month particularly highlights the work we’re doing nationally to showcase the Surat Basin as a place to do business. Our Investment and Supply Chain team waved the flag and championed the Surat Basin at the APPEA 2018 Conference and Exhibition held in Adelaide from May 14-17. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Ltd (APPEA) is the peak national body representing Australia’s upstream oil and gas exploration and production industry. The APPEA Conference and Exhibition has been running for more than 50 years and is widely recognised as the premier oil and gas event in the southern hemisphere. This advocacy builds on our successful Major Project Pipeline event we held in Chinchilla last month. Nearly 200 delegates attended to hear from 10 of the region’s leading energy sector leaders to learn about the significant projects taking place across the Western Downs. Further, TSBE’s agribusiness division, Food Leaders Australia, showcased the region’s businesses, land and infrastructure at Beef Australia 2018. Regarded as the single largest beef event in the country, Beef Australia occurs every three years in Rockhampton and allows businesses to make connections along the entire beef supply chain in one event. To help connect businesses with opportunities, FLA chartered a direct flight from Wellcamp Airport to Beef Australia to ensure local businesses had the best opportunities to be involved. FLA also represented the region at National Manufacturing Week (May 9-11) at Sydney Olympic Park. This is the nation’s largest manufacturing event, with over 4500 attendees, 150 exhibitors and delegates from over 20 countries. This event allowed us to expand our investment attraction work within the advanced food manufacturing space and highlights the exceptional work our region is doing on specialised manufacturing spaces, and connectivity to national and global markets through the infrastructure spend currently occurring within the region. TSBE will continue to drive the promotion of our region on a national and international scale.

ANY business owner will tell you that to make good decisions, you first need to have good information. The problem is there is so much information swirling around cyberspace these days that it can be hard to sort fact from fiction. One of the key roles of the GasFields Commission is to address that problem by collecting and disseminating accurate information about the Queensland gas industry so key stakeholders can make better informed decisions. The GasFields Commission has just finished the challenging task of collating and fact-checking a wide range of data from across government and industry to produce an easy to read 19-page industry snapshot. The document provides one of the clearest pictures yet of the Queensland petroleum and gas industry. The snapshot shows that the petroleum and gas industry has contributed $418 million in royalties to the State Government since 2010, invested $4.3 billion in exploration since 2007 and supported 1380 regional business in 2016/17. Of the approximately 14,450 wells drilled in Queensland, around one quarter have since been converted to water bores or decommissioned and the sites rehabilitated. About 76 per cent of the active wells are in the Surat Basin, 12 per cent in the northern Bowen Basin and another 12 per cent in the Cooper and Eromanga basins. At the end of June 2017 there were 5711 Conduct and Compensation Agreements in place with $387 million paid to landholders in compensation. The vast majority of groundwater take from the Surat Cumulative Management Area continues to be agriculture. Almost all the water taken as part of gas production is being used for beneficial purposes including other agricultural production, aquifer recharge and industry use. To download a copy of the Petroleum and Gas Industry Snapshot, visit the GasFields Commission website at

Cumulative direct e penditure (


General Manager of Food Leaders Australia

C • • • •


regional businesses directly supported by the petroleum and gas industry in 2016/17

regional jobs local business purchases community contributions local government payments

Financial year

(QRC 2011-2017)


1 1

regional community organisations directly supported by the petrolem and gas industry in 2016/17

direct economic contributions to regional Queensland communities in 2016/17

◗ SMALL BUSINESS WEEK: Small businesses are the lifeblood of so many of our regional communities. PHOTO: YVONNESTEWARTHENDERSON

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Job security is now even less secure DAN MCGAW

ETU South West Queensland State Organiser

AUSTRALIANS’ work is becoming less secure. Only 60 per cent of workers are in full or part-time ongoing employment. The rest – around four million workers – are engaged either as casuals, on short-term contracts, in labour hire, or as “independent” contractors. Casual work was originally limited to those rare cases where an employer could not cover the workload with permanent workers because of unforeseen workload peaks or temporary short-term staff shortages. It was closely regulated in awards and agreements to protect permanent work. Today things have changed. Employers use casual and other insecure work arrangements to cover entire work functions. For many employers, it’s now a business model. Our work laws have made it more and more difficult to protect permanent work. The result is an emerging class of workers without jobs they can count on. They have no sick leave, no holidays, no job security, little bargaining power and severely reduced capacity to get home loans. Casualisation and insecure work have led to Australia having more inequality now than at any time on record. Recently a report was released showing how little wages in our region have grown. Inequality in this country has never been greater. That means the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. No one blinks an eye when a corporate fat cat CEO gets a $10m pay rise, but when unions ask for a rise in the minimum wages, the business community cries blue murder. A rise in the minimum wage will benefit the entire community, because an average worker will spend that money in the local economy, giving tax cuts to big business does not result in wage rises. That money goes offshore. Trickle-down economics does not work, and there is no data to support that failed theory. When the Reserve Bank Governor comes out and say that Australian workers need a pay rise, it’s time to sit up and listen. The workplace rules need to change to make our jobs, and our lives, more secure.



Western Downs ag support in the Budget DAVID LITTLEPROUD


Federal Member for Maranoa

Western Downs Mayor

THE future of agriculture in Western Downs is being supported through the initiatives announced in Coalition Government’s budget. Maranoa MP David Littleproud has welcomed the $224 million investment for agriculture in the Budget, and said it would help grow our agricultural exports and jobs, underpinned by strong biosecurity. “Trade is key to the future of Western Downs. Our investment will deliver better access to global markets and jobs to rural and regional Australia,” Mr Littleproud said. “We have committed more than $51.3 million to grow agricultural exports, including funding an extra six Agricultural Counsellors in key markets and to support successful market access. This builds on the momentum of the Agricultural Competiveness White Paper. “This will ensure we capture the gains from new export agreements like the TPP-11, the Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. “The agricultural counsellor network helps farmers build strong relationships with key trading partners. It also provides vital market intelligence and works through trade barriers. “We are also focussed on growing employment opportunities in regional and rural Australia through $20 million to support implementation of the National Forestry Industry Plan. “It is focused on growing our industry, including expanding the renewable timber and wood fibre industries, to take advantage of global demand for timber products. “Our clean, green image is key to our farming future. We’re delivering a $121.6 million boost to the biosecurity system, to support our trade push and ensure we can protect that clean, green status. “This will help us to detect, identify and respond to exotic pests and diseases earlier. “We are investing a further $6.6 million to continue the fight against established pests and weeds to help limit their impact on our land, produce and industries.”

Key budget measures:

Big Skies produced even bigger result

■ $121.6 million investment in the biosecurity system to better manage future risks to maintain our favourable pest and disease status and support our agricultural trade push. This includes $20.0 million in 2017-18 to the Tasmanian Government to assist with the management of the fruit fly outbreak in northern Tasmania. ■ $51.3 million to grow our agricultural exports and seize market access opportunities in global food chains, with six additional Agricultural Counsellors and funding for the technical, scientific work to support market access requests. ■ $10.1 million for digital transformation of the APVMA and a $6.3 million extension of the initiative to improve grower access to minor use chemicals. ■ $20 million to support the implementation of the National Forestry Industry Plan and drive growth in the renewable timber and wood fibre industries. ■ $6.6 million for the Established Pest Animals and Weeds Management Pipeline – an extension of initiatives from the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

WHAT a festival, what a team effort, what an achievement! I couldn’t be more proud of the inaugural Big Skies Festival that wrapped up last month. We had thousands of people flocking to the Western Downs to experience just what it is we love about our region. I met one couple Roger and Thelma Cutcliffe, who drove all the way from Tasmania to see the live music on the Jimbour Plains. There was something special about sitting on the grounds of the historic Jimbour House as some of Australia’s greatest rock legends gave us a show to remember. The Day on the Plain rock concert saw 2700 people come through the gates, and a further 500 visitors for the Food and Fibre Festival the following day. The townships on the Western Downs were also abuzz with activity as people arrived in droves to attend the Dalby Saleyards Tours (98 people) and Camp Oven Experience (531 people) as part of the seven days’ worth of Big Skies events. The economic benefit this had for our region was evident at our roadhouses, restaurants, hotels and stallholders, artisans and food vendors at Day on the Plain and Food and Fibre Festival. It brought people from as far away as Western Australia, Melbourne and Tasmania to see our iconic big skies for themselves. The feedback from our community was incredibly positive at having an event of this calibre in very our own backyard. Glenn Shorrock, former lead singer of The Little River Band, said to me how great it was to have a concert with the spectacular backdrop of Jimbour House. The Western Downs has chalked up a reputation for great events, and 2018 is set to deliver two more must-sees on the calendar. This month we’ll be treated to the spectacle of a working bullock team at the Jandowae Timbertown Festival, and in September we will experience all the country charm of the Miles Back to the Bush Festival. These events not only create the vibrant communities that our residents really enjoy, but they draw visitors out to the Western Downs, stimulate the economy and show off what we are so proud of. Putting on fantastic events is just one of the great things council is achieving for our community. Council has recently approved the 11th solar farm application for our region, continuing our commitment as the energy capital of Queensland to generate opportunity and jobs through the energy sector. We are not only attracting new residents through our employment pathways, but continually bettering the lifestyle of our existing residents here on the Western Downs. Another great example of this is the new services being offered by Swimfit, who will take over operations of the Western Downs aquatic centres from July, offering lots of new services. These will include free swimming lessons for babies aged 3-6 months, aqua aerobics and adult fitness squads help make our communities great places to live, work and play.

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Promising signs for future investors ANDREW MCCALLUM

Real Estate Manager/Director, Ruralco Property GDL

THE outlook across our region looks bright and is showing plenty of positive signs for future growth. The continued investment by government, councils and companies along with the wider business community are playing a major role in setting up solid foundations for long-term sustainability across our region, with the market currently offering a smorgasbord of opportunities for investors. The last eight months we have seen a moderate improvement in residential sales in relation to the reduction of the average days that properties are sitting on the market. However, we are yet to see any significant price improvements in the market with still some ground to make up on the prices received at the height of the market in 2010 and 2011. The lack of capital growth in our areas the last few years, compared to our metropolitan markets, in my opinion can be contributed to our region going through a transitional and adjustment phase in a number of industries, as well as seasonal conditions and finance providers adjusting their lending criteria due to ongoing reviews – a snapshot only of some of the factors affecting our current market. The real estate market is like any other market and runs in cycles. If you look at where we are in the market cycle at the moment all indications point towards significant shift in price for residential properties in our region.


The last eight months we have seen a moderate improvement in residential sales...



Investors eager to buy up across region WARREN DANIELLS

Director, Surat Basin Real Estate

THE Chinchilla residential rental market has tightened considerably over the past six months, with the current vacancy rate hovering between 1.7-2 per cent. The vacancy rate in Chinchilla at the end of the March 2017 quarter was 5.5 per cent. The average rent for a four bedroom home at March 2017 was $228/week. The Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA) statistics for the quarter ending March 2018 show the weekly rent for a four bedroom home in Chinchilla has increased to $260, an increase of 10 per cent on the corresponding quarter. The RTA Statistics measure Houses, Units and Town Houses separately and only the number of bedrooms per dwelling are considered in their statistics. We are now receiving multiple tenant applicants for various properties. Some tenants have recognised this rise in their rent and have now purchased properties or currently looking for their dream home. Sales inquiry and volume of sales has increased over the past year with the majority of buyers being owner occupiers. Our agents at Surat Basin Real Estate have seen an increase in investors inquiring about Chinchilla. This interest is driven by three things: the steady rise in rental prices, the vacancy rate at below two per cent and housing affordability. Commercial and industrial sales and leasing has been solid, with a number of offices and shops as well as industrial sheds leased and or sold in the last six months. Should your current lease be within a year of expiring, now is the time to consider the various options for the future growth of your business. Business owners and managers should to consider their current leasing arrangements and now may be the ideal time to consider a new business premises or location.

Commerce group investigates budget ROBYN HAIG

Manager, Chinchilla Community Commerce & Industry Inc

BESIDE the welcome news that the $20,000 instant asset write-off will be extended for another year to June 30, 2019, there is not a lot of new information to be excited about for businesses from the May 9 budget. However, if you take a step back we can perhaps appreciate Australia’s relatively stable position among global economies and see no need for major changes. Small businesses who use a Self-Managed Super Fund model for their business premises might appreciate the change that has been made to the audit requirements for SMSF from annually to three yearly, but only for funds with a good history of record keeping and compliance. For Personal Income Tax, there is an adjustment to the tax brackets to be phased in over seven years which is really just an adjustment keeping up with inflation and probably won’t be felt by most. There are some steps in the budget to shine a light on potentially shady dealings with cash payments to businesses to be restricted to less than $10,000 from July 1, 2019 onwards. Also, those who fail to report or remit PAYG payments withheld from employees will no longer be able to claim deductions on these payments. Businesses who fail to withhold tax from contractor payments without an ABN being quoted will no longer be able to claim deductions on these payments. Both these measures will take effect from July next year. For anyone wanting detailed information on the effects these changes might make to them and their business, the Chinchilla Community Commerce & Industry has several members who provide these professional services who we would be proud to recommend. Get in touch today.


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PLACES AND FACES Thursday, May 31, 2018

Big Skies and bigger smiles at Jimbour station

◗ Kelly and Darcy Hubbard.

◗ TEAM EFFORT: Members of the Big Buddy program were on hand providing coffee and other drinks to patrons of the Food and Fibre festival. PHOTOS: MICHAEL DOYLE

◗ Michelle and Eliza Nitz with Maree Turner.

◗ Troy Ziesemer with Nuriann, Sophia and Aydan Rusev.

◗ Maya and Danielle Schmidt.

◗ Leanne and Rowan Clewley.

◗ Alison and Susan Hockings.

◗ Noelene Sanderson with Christie Allison.

◗ Graeme and Helen Davies.

For Sale - 85 Bowen St, St George MODERN FAMILY HOME WITH BEAUTIFUL GARDEN Located on a 1-acre corner block, this beautiful house (completed in 2012) offers supreme privacy, being surrounded by vacant land on three sides and overlooking grapevines on its quiet Bowen St frontage. The buyer will have first option on the 1 or 2 acres next door. High quality features throughout include: - 4 large bedrooms with ensuite & walk-in wardrobe to Master - A 5th bedroom or study - 2nd full bathroom with bathtub, shower & separate toilet - Modern, well-appointed kitchen with huge storage space - Guest toilet and wash basin - Open, spacious living area leading to alfresco covered BBQ kitchen - Excellent insulation & two reverse cycle Daikin Aircons - Mixed hardwood flooring; carpets in all bedrooms - Great storage throughout & room to move - 7M x 12M shed with 5 kVa solar system

OPEN HOUSE Saturday 9th June 10am - 4pm

- Price on application - More details available on request - Brochures at front gate Contact: Nick Bligh 0427 733 816 | Web: www.bitely/85bowen



Thursday, May 31, 2018

◗ Jon and Stacey Burrell.

◗ Barbara Beggs, Tony Prentice, Glenn Dempsey and Sharon Dempsey.

◗ Barry and Vicki Dever.

New direction for Burke & Wills

◗ FRESH START: At the Burke and Wills Hotel gala re-opening celebrations are (from left) John O'Neill, Vicki Adds, Craig Harley and Trent Dixon. The opening event was held on Saturday, May 12.

◗ Greg Brown, Kim Brown, Candice Galis and Anthony Galis.


◗ Tracey Batty, Nell Hakfoort holding Jack Hakfoort and Bronwyn Covarr.

◗ Graeme Hoad with Hazel Snell holding Kye Hoad.

◗ Linda Harrison, Cherry Brosnan and Mel Brosnan.

Window Tinting on all • Cars • Trucks • Earthmoving Equipment • Boats


75 Loudoun Rd - 4662 2375


48 Colamba St - 4668 9914


Raglan St - 4668 9672


• Windscreens • Chip Repairs • Heavy Machinery Glass • Mobile Service



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Keep in touch with the latest news with just a mouse click. Thursday, May 31, 2018

Surat Basin News Published by Chinchilla Newspapers Pty Ltd 12 Mayne Street, Chinchilla Printed by News Corp Australia, Murarrie General manager: Erika Brayshaw

TSBE Access New Zealand

Special guest at Auckland conference IN A major agribusiness coup, one of New Zealand’s leading agribusiness experts, Ian Proudfoot, will headline the speakers for the Access NZ conference organised by Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) on June 12 in Auckland. TSBE Chief Operating Officer Stacey Burrell is thrilled to have secured the global thought leader for the five-day international delegation that departs Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport on June 11. “Mr Proudfoot is one of the leading strategic thinkers on agribusiness in New Zealand and the world,” Ms Burrell said. “To secure him to speak and meet delegates at our Access NZ conference is a major win for our region and local businesses.” Ian Proudfoot, Global Leader of AgriFood KPMG in Auckland, will address the conference on the future of food production, processing and consumption. “I am very excited to be speaking and meeting delegates at the upcoming Access NZ conference,” Mr Proudfoot said. “Here in New Zealand, our focus is on producing high-quality natural products. “At the conference, I will be challenging people to think about how businesses are evolving and how they can extract maximum dollar from producing high-quality products.” Mr Proudfoot has provided strategic agribusiness advice around the world and identifies a strong benefit in continuing to build relations with our Kiwi neighbours. “I believe there are some good opportunities for trans-Tasman collaboration, especially with the Toowoomba and Surat Basin region,” he said. “Access NZ will help businesses from both countries explore opportunities from co-marketing to co-branding.” Mr Proudfoot joins a list of innovative speakers at the conference. Speakers include Beach Energy Chief Executive Officer Dawn Summers, Terax Waste Conversion Chief Executive Officer Brian Vass, Plant and Food Research senior scientist Kevin Patterson, Austrade Consul General and Senior Trade Commissioner John Brand, and Business NZ Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLP) secretariat Fiona Cooper. The full-day conference will take place at the Pullman Hotel

◗ SPECIAL GUEST: Global Leader of AgriFood KPMG Auckland Ian Proudfoot.

Ballroom on June 12, followed by a gala dinner with fellow delegates and distinguished NZ leaders including a special celebrity appearance by former All Blacks legend Andrew Mehrtens.


Tickets to Access NZ can be booked by phoning (07) 4639 4600. A full program of Access NZ including details of guest speakers can be found at


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Surat Basin News  
Surat Basin News