Blacktown News - February 2022

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Spencer - a captivating performance from Kristen Stewart: 27

Cuddles is now a pet robot. Big growth of robot therapy: 25

Ensuring opportunities of tomorrow, means planning today: 18

Bryleigh Sunshine Lavender Clarke.

Sue Hunter Lawrence with Mayor, Tony Beaqsdale.

OUR BEST Blacktown City’s 2022 Australia Day Awards Sanjeev Kumar.


DEDICATED community advocate and volunteer, a correctional officer who is passionate about the environment, a five-year-old charity founder and a COVID-safe Christmas lunch for those in need, are the recipients of this year’s Blacktown City Australia Day Awards.

Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, congratulated the recipients of the City’s most prestigious awards and commended them for their outstanding contributions to their local community. “This Australia Day, we recognise the unwavering efforts of some of our City’s amazing individuals and organisations,” Mr Bleasdale said. More: page 4.

Keep up to date with the latest news in and around Blacktown! Get your monthly community e-newsletter today.

• • • • • • •

important community announcements upcoming events transformational projects school holiday activities community award programs competitions much, much more...


ISSUE 11 | February 2022

Blacktown City






average economic growth

registered businesses

18.81 billion


regional economy


152,928 local jobs

Cool centres will only be open when the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issues a ‘severe’ or ‘extreme’ heatwave warning. This usually occurs 3-7 days before a forecasted heatwave. Locations and operating hours of these centres will be advertised on Council’s Facebook page. Before leaving to go to a cool centre, you should: •

check what cool centres are open

check pets are left in a cool, secure and safe place at home, or with someone that can care for them.

set a timer on your air conditioner to turn on before you intend to go home.

Make sure you bring the following with you:

Be prepared and beat the heat this summer Over the coming weeks, we will be showcasing tips and tricks that you can follow to beat the heat this summer. Council has introduced ‘cool centres’, which are places you can go if you are unable to keep cool at home. The cool centres will have air-conditioning, drinking water and toilets.

full water bottle


medication and health support

We expect delivery to all of our residents to be completed by no later than Friday 4 March, pending any weather delays.

mobile phone and charger

jacket in case the centre gets too cold

entertainment – consider non-electrical types (e.g. board games, books).

For more information on how to beat the heat, visit

WEDNESDAY 26 JANUARY 4.00 pm p - 9.30 p pm The Rooty Hill, Eastern Road,, Rooty Rooty Hill H Hi Food Food stall sstalls tallss Am Amusement musem ussem ementt rides emen rid ride de s

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Due to the postponement of the Local Government elections, our 2022 Community Calendar will be produced a little later than usual. Please note - residents will not receive calendars until early 2022.


Blacktown City Community Calendar

We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause. If you do not have your calendar by the end of March 2022, please contact Council and we will quickly arrange for a copy to be delivered to you.

Please be advised that Council has made the difficult decision to cancel a number of major outdoor events in the period to 6 March 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a responsibility to our community to minimise the spread of COVID infection. It is also vital that we reduce pressure on our frontline Emergency Services staff who would have normally been required to attend these events. We understand that many people will be disappointed with this decision, but we believe that this is the most sensible approach given the following factors:

For m more ore e information inform nfo nfor fo mat ati tio io on visit v visi issi sitt bla bla acktow own n.nsw nsw.g .gov. .go g au/au au/ausday sday day


high transmission rates of COVID-19 in NSW

concerns amongst the community about holding large group gatherings

current wait time on Ambulance Services should an incident occur

volunteer shortages within St John Ambulance

staff shortages within NSW Police

staff shortages within Blacktown City Council.

In the current circumstances we simply cannot guarantee that we can run our proposed events safely.


The below events have now been cancelled:

Nurragingy Reserve, Knox Road, Doonside

Movies on the Lawn – Riverstone

• cultural entertainment • lion and dragon dance • roving performers • food and market stalls • free kids craft, face painting and demonstrations • Japanese ice sculptor • fireworks

Australia Day Concert and Fireworks – The Rooty Hill

Blacktown City Lunar New Year – Nurragingy Reserve

Sydney Symphony in the Park – Nurragingy Reserve*.

Free event - bookings essential

For more information


*Refunds will be issued to everyone who purchased tickets to the Sydney Symphony event.

Blacktown City Council acknowledges the Darug people as the traditional owners of the land on which Blacktown City was built.

Email us:

Call us: 9839 6000

Visit us: 62 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown

Mail us: PO Box 63, Blacktown 2148


ISSUE 11 | February 2022


Nominate for City Woman of the Year ONINATIONS are now open for the 2022 Blacktown City Woman of the Year award. The annual award recognises the outstanding achievement of women within the local community through voluntary or paid work and is presented on International Women’s Day, 8 March. Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale is encouraging people to nominate an inspiring woman in their community. “Blacktown City has scores of incredible women who make wonderful contributions to their community every single day,” Mayor Bleasdale said. “This Award celebrates the passionate, dedicated and inspiring women who live or work in our City, often without recognition. “Blacktown City Council is proud to


Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM with 2021 Blacktown City Woman of the Year joint winners Rissa McInnes (left) and Harinder Kaur (right).

celebrate these wonderful women on International Women’s Day and highlight the many achievements of women in Blacktown City.” The Award is open to women aged 16 years and over who currently live or work in the Blacktown Local Government Area. Nominations are encouraged for women who: have made an outstanding contribution to their local community, inspired others to contribute to their local community, risen above adversity to reach their goals, consistently demonstrated exceptional and progressive leadership, mentored and inspired other women and demonstrated leadership, innovation and creativity. Nominations close at noon on Friday, February 18, 2022. To nominate, visit Council’s website

Why Blacktown’s tenant-friendly LACKTOWN has listed second in the top 20 tenant-friendly suburbs within commuting distance of Sydney’s CBD. And four other suburbs in Greater Blacktown are listed in the top 10, making the region the rental capital of Sydney. New research commissioned by found the top 20 Sydney rental markets for tenants who have average salaries and want to live in good areas. Blacktown’s median rental is $430, the same as the top-rated rental suburb Ingleburn.


Seven Hills was third, also with $430 and Oakhurst fourth at $440. Rooty Hill was sixth at $450, Toongabbie seventh at $450 and Quakers Hill 12th at $475. The quarterly Tenant Opportunity Report identifies the top 20 suburbs where tenants can find affordable rents in decent suburbs that are within commuting distance of the CBD. To make sure suburbs are suitable for families, only house markets are considered – unit markets are excluded. To further ensure markets are tenant-friendly,

suburbs are excluded if they are more than 100km from the CBD. That leaves a small list of Sydney suburbs. To establish a top 20 ranking, these suburbs are then ranked based on weekly rental rates (from lowest to highest). All the suburbs had a median weekly rent of $525 or below, while most were located within 35km of the CBD. co-founder Ben Pretty said life was tough right now for tenants on average incomes. "Vacancy rates are low in many parts of Sydney and landlords are responding by

jacking up rental rates,” he said. "I really feel for tenants who are being forced out of their homes and suburbs, especially when they have kids who are forced to change schools. “The Tenant Opportunity Report aims to help everyday tenants identify rental markets that are affordable, while also being livable and commutable. “That way, they can focus on raising their families and building their lives, without having to worry about whether they can afford to pay their bills.”

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ISSUE 11 | FEBRUARY 2022 How to get The News The Blacktown News is available at strategic locations throughout Blacktown LGA. To find a location near you visit our website.

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ISSUE 10 | January 2022


Blacktown 2022 Australia Day Awards DEDICATED advocate and volunteer, a correctional officer who is passionate about the environment, a five-yearold charity founder and a COVID-safe Christmas lunch for those in need, are the recipients of this year’s Blacktown City Australia Day Awards. Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, congratulated the recipients of the City’s most prestigious awards and commended them for their outstanding contributions to their local community. “This Australia Day, we recognise the unwavering efforts of some of our City’s amazing individuals and organisations,” Mr Bleasdale said. This year’s Awards presentation was held ‘online’ due to COVID-19 restrictions and was presided over by Deputy Mayor Brad Bunting. The 2022 Blacktown City Australia Day Awards were awarded to:


Citizen of the Year – Sue Hunter Lawrence Sue Hunter Lawrence is a passionate community advocate and volunteer, who dedicates countless hours volunteering in Riverstone and surrounding areas. During the devastating 2021 floods, Sue co-ordinated a Flood Relief Furniture and Non-Perishables drive for those affected. She has organised numerous community events to promote community spirit and support local business. Through the Riverstone Schofields Chamber of Commerce, Sue has been an avid supporter and promoter of local business, offering advice and helping advance the business network. Sue has supported many fundraising campaigns, including Dollars for Dignity for those less fortunate.

Young Citizen of the Year – Bryleigh Sunshine Lavender Clarke At just 5 years of age, Bryleigh Sunshine Lavender Clarke has raised almost $3,000 over the past six months for different charities. Among these charities is the Luke Priddis Foundation, which supports families living with autism.

Bryleigh is a junior finalist in the National Miss Australia Program and has also started her own charity ‘Sunny Girl’ where she hopes to "put a little sunshine in your day". Bryleigh has donated toys, clothes, sheets, quilts, quilt covers and blankets to the Salvation Army and is in the process of selling some of her old clothes online, to help raise even more funds for the Luke Priddis foundation. In December, Bryleigh donated over $100 in groceries, which she paid for out of her own pocket money and shopped for herself, to give to the reverse Christmas Tree 12 days of Christmas appeal at the local Common Grounds Cafe in Lalor Park.

Environmental Citizen of the Year – Sanjeev Kumar Sanjeev Kumar is a Horticulture Overseer at Parklea Correctional Centre with a passion to implement sustainable practices across the prison. In his work, Sanjeev teaches skills to inmates, so that they have a better chance of gaining employment upon their release, help reduce reoffending and leave a lasting environmental legacy beyond the prison walls.

Sanjeev is passionate about teaching younger generations about the environment and has actively engaged local schools, offering saplings and other plants for them to use, and teaching students how to plant gardens and about the importance of green spaces for health, wellbeing, and sustainability Sanjeev has been innovative in his horticultural practices by cultivating a worm farm at the prison to ensure organic material is saved from landfill, by using this waste to feed the worms and enrich the soil used in the edible gardens. Sanjeev has propagated and delivered almost 2 tonnes of salad mix produce to local charity Food Bank for distribution to those in need.

Community Event of the Year – Mount Druitt Combined Churches Christmas Lunch Mount Druitt Combined Churches have held a Christmas Lunch event for the past 17 years, but, due to COVID-19, the event was in danger of being cancelled, leaving vulnerable people without company, food and nothing to celebrate.

INDEX Support Partner The Blacktown News is the official media partner of Blacktown FC and the Greater Blacktown Chamber of Commerce.

News ..........................3 Stephen Bali ..............7 Blacktown Workers ....8 Blacktown Show ........11

Property .....................16 Michelle Rowland ......18 Women's Health ........20 Men's Health ..............21

Auto ...........................22 Games .......................23 Travel .........................24 Trends ........................25

Fitness .......................26 Films ..........................27 Directory ....................28 Sport ..........................31

Local entertainment Watch locally made films. Stay up to date on infrastructure. Watch profiles of regional leaders.


ISSUE 11 | February 2022


Sydney Symphony for Blacktown City HE Sydney Symphony Orchestra will bring world-class music to Blacktown City for a spectacular children’s event. Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM said Blacktown City Council, in collaboration with Blacktown Arts, was proud to partner with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to present ‘A Music Adventure–Emily Who & the Sydney Symphony’. “This partnership with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will provide a wonderful opportunity to bring world-class music and musicians to Blacktown City for children to enjoy,” Mr Bleasdale said. “This event will bring amazing musical talent to our own backyard and give our littlest musicians a chance to learn from some of the industry’s best.” Singer Emily Who and musicians of the Sydney Symphony will combine their talents as children experience the sounds of a string quartet in an interactive musical mystery at the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre. Children will learn about the violin, viola and cello as they solve a series of fun


musical clues. They will stretch up high on their tip-toes and bend down low, all while listening and moving to different music. The 30-minute concert is for children under 5 years of age and their parents.

A Music Adventure – Emily Who and The Sydney Symphony Date: Saturday, 12 February, 2022 at 11 am Location: The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, 78 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown. Tickets are $5 per person with all proceeds going to local charities. Entry is free for children 5 years and under. Book tickets here: au/e/a-music-adventure-emilywho-the-sydney-symphonytickets-228073543107

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra will bring world-class music to Blacktown City for a spectacular children’s event, A Music Adventure – Emily Who and The Sydney Symphony. Photo credit: Nick Bowers

Top baby names for 2021 revealed MEDIA and Oliver remained the most popular baby names in NSW for 2021, with new contenders Matilda, Theodore and Levi making their debut in the top 10. Attorney General Mark Speakman and Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello today revealed the favourite names for the state’s newest residents, as recorded by the NSW


Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. “NSW welcomed more than 90,000 babies in 2021 and I send my congratulations to all the families who now have little ones in their homes,” Mr Speakman said. “While Amelia and Oliver remain popular choices with parents, it’s good to see Matilda waltzing up the charts, along with Theodore and Levi.” There were 90,059 babies born in NSW

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last year, only 14 more than the 90,045 who arrived in 2020. Mr Dominello said choosing the right baby name is part of the joy of parenthood. Parents have 60 days to register their newborn, which can be done for free online. This establishes the child’s legal identity in the community and is important in accessing government services such as schooling and Medicare.



ISSUE 11 | February 2022

High land values reflect boom  DALLAS SHERRINGHAM AND values have shot up by 18.5% across Western Sydney, reflecting the region’s booming property market. The latest land values have just been published for Western Sydney region and it is no surprise that there has been a dramatic increase in the figures. NSW Valuer General Dr David Parker released the land values for the region and they reflect the value of land only, as at July 1, 2021.


Dr Parker said property sales were the most important factor valuers considered when determining land values. “Land value is the value of the land only and does not include the value of a home or other structures,” Dr Parker said. “Private contract valuers with expertise in their local areas have prepared the land values on behalf of the Valuer General, to determine new land values across the region. “The valuers consider a range of factors in determining land value, including the

features of the land and its legally permitted use. “The Valuer General NSW department has quality assured the land values for fairness and consistency.” Western Sydney West region local government areas include Blacktown, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Liverpool and Penrith. The total land value for the Western Sydney West region experienced a strong increase between July 1 2020 and July 1 2021 from $240.6bn to $285.1B. Residential land values experienced

a strong increase of 16.3% overall and occurred across the entire region. Commercial land values experienced a very strong increase of 30.3% overall. The movement in land values was not consistent across all market segments, however value uplifts in the commercial sector were driven by the demand for well-located properties in close proximity to infrastructure projects or with development potential. Stronger increases in Fairfield were due in part to demand for higher density properties surrounding commercial precincts.

Locals open gym at Doonside T is a vision 10 years in the making, including a pandemic delay, but four Doonside locals have finally realised their dream of opening Doonside’s first ever gym. One hundred and ten days after their original opening date in April, four Doonside residents opened the doors to Snap Fitness Doonside in October 2021. Michael Georgy, his wife Tamara Georgy and husband and wife duo Shirein and Jay Hickman, had a vision for more than 10 years to open a gym in the area they grew up in, providing a positive health and fitness community for residents. Franchisee Michael said the idea to open a gym in Doonside had been in the works for many years with the opportunity coming to fruition three years ago. “Growing up in Doonside, we understand the area and identified a gap in the market and a need for a community location where people could gather together to socialise, exercise and a place for the youth in the region to come and spend their time,” he said.


The team at Snap Fitness Doonside.




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ISSUE 11 | February 2022

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ISSUE 11 | February 2022






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ISSUE 11 | February 2022


Life success is about organising your time  DALLAS SHERRINGHAM et’s face it, Life can be a real time juggling hassle in this day and age. Whether it’s being forced to stop at every single traffic light when you’re already running an hour late and then finding out your phone isn’t charged or missing your train by 30 seconds, stress is part of your life. It could be dealing with stresses of work or receiving a bit of unpleasant news – yes, life is full of challenges in 2022. And when you’re already at maximum capacity, coping with these unexpected challenges may be much more difficult. Well, Donna McGeorge, productivity expert and best-selling author of ‘The 1 Day Refund’, has the answer. “it’s important to find ways to lengthen your fuse by making space in your life so you are able to respond effectively to unexpected challenges,” she said


Some of Donna’s expert tips to length your fuse and ‘hacking back happiness’ include: • Practice adaptive capacity: It is about budgeting your time so you are not constantly surging. When you have a lot of energy and a lot of time, you have adaptive capacity. This is the ability to take advantage of change, to respond to disruptive circumstances positively and to cope when the unexpected happens. • We perform best with less: For many of us, we have been conditioned to think we need to be operating at 100% all the time to be productive, but that is simply not the case. Our addiction to be ‘busy’ and ticking off to-do lists can often lead to burnout long term, which is why on a day-to-day basis you should aim to use only 85% of your energy. Save the extra 15%

for when something facilitation to corporates — urgent comes up and such as Nissan Motor Compayou need additional ny, Jetstar, Medibank Private capacity. and Ford Motor Company. • Intensity vs. impact: They learn to manage We need to schedule their people well and protasks that require induce great performance and tensity for when we results. are at our most alert Donna believes that and energetic. Make workplaces are complex, but sure you set boundaries not hard. More often than around your most pronot, it is getting the simple ductive time, to keep it things right, consistently, free of distractions. that has the greatest impact. ‘The 1 Day Refund’ draws She also knows that when upon Donna’s decades of we decide to be intentional, Donna McGeorge. experience to help people we can surprise ourselves better manage their capacity and free up with what we can achieve. one entire day be productive, as well as Known as The Productivity Coach, enjoyable. she has a range of 10 books, products and Donna has worked with managers and services to help you improve your producleaders throughout Australia and Asia–Pativity. cific for more than 20 years. She delivers practical skills, training, workshops and Details:

Ambulance response rates concerning SW Ambulance response times are the worst they have been in at least a decade while the NSW Government has cut spending to the service, according to the latest Productivity Commission report. The average wait time for the most urgent cases in the 2020/21 financial year


were one full minute longer than the previous year in NSW, up to 12.3 minutes from 11.3 minutes–again exceeding the accepted target of 10 minutes. It is the sixth slowest ambulance response time for urgent cases in capital cities across the country behind the ACT at 9 minutes, WA at 9.4 minutes, the NT

at 9.5 minutes, Victoria at 10 minutes and Queensland at 11.3 minutes. The report also found spending on NSW Ambulance went backwards at $140.9 per person in the population from $142.05 in the previous financial year. The NSW Ambulance service remains critically under-resourced per head of pop-

ulation with only the St John’s Ambulance in Western Australia having fewer paramedics per 100,000 people. “The NSW Government’s decision to spend less on paramedics during the worst pandemic in 100 years is incomprehensible,” said Health Services Union NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes.

Better Foundation raises money for Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals to provide lifesaving additional services and equipment for the people of Blacktown City. Better Foundation is pleased to announce our media collaboration partnership with Blacktown News to provide monthly updates on Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals.

The Community thanks all hospital staff for their dedicated service during the COVID pandemic. Thank you! Updates on the hospital and Gala Dinner Night on Saturday 19th March 2022 can be found on Better Foundation website:

ISSUE 11 | February 2022




the show’s




Blacktown is bouncing back so come and enjoy entertainment for the whole family Showbags, Carnival Rides, and a great variety of Food. Visit the Arts & Crafts, Cooking, Photograph & Horticulture Pavilions. Kids will enjoy the Animal Farm Nursery, Reptile Display, Prof. Wallace’s Puppet Theatre, and Joey Presto Magic Show. Great stage entertainment on Saturday night featuring Elvis in Concert and Pop Country singer Shara Rose followed by the FMX KAO’s International Freestyle Team performing the most death defying entertaining stunt show ever seen in the country. Finally the Blacktown City Councils Fireworks Spectacular. Sunday features the “A Search for a Star Talent Quest” and the Car Show & Ute Muster.





ISSUE 11 | February 2022

Police urge school zone safety to locate the vehicle, which they found travelling northbound on the M1. The SUV was stopped when it reached Newcastle, where two men, aged 52 and 60 and two women aged 75 and 53 were arrested, police said. After appearing before Magistrate Cheetham at Raymond Terrace Court House near Newcastle, the matter will be heard for first appearance committal at Parramatta Local Court on March 23 for all four people. Only one has been refused bail. The young girl was located by police inside the car uninjured, but in a distressed state and was later reunited back with her father.

 LAW & ORDER | JADE HOBMAN SW road safety and police are reminding drivers to look out for changing speed limits in school zones as kids head back to school. School zone hours are normally between 830am and 930am, and 230pm and 400pm school days, where drivers must drive no faster than 40km/h. Note that some schools have alternative hours. NSW road safety said school zones are enforceable on all NSW government school days, including pupil free days. “School zones operate and are enforced on pupil free days because pupil free days can vary from school to school,” a post on their Facebook page said. “Consistent operation of school zones aims to reduce driver confusion, which improves the safety of school children.”


Lewd act in Quakers Hill

Lalor Park brawl Two men and two male teenagers were seriously injured in a clash in Lalor Park that saw baseball bats, metal sticks and knives brandished on the eve of Australia Day. Not long after 500pm on January 25 a brawl took hold between a number of people at a reserve on Rose Place in Lalor Park, police said. By the time emergency services had arrived the participants had left in vehicles. Police said a 21-year-old Oakhurst man arrived with a headwound shortly after the police secured a crime scene. He was treated at the location by NSW Ambulance before being taken to Blacktown hospital with bleeding on the brain. His brother, an 18-year-old man, also was taken to the

Sign reminder: drivers are cautioned to heed the 40km/h speed limits as school kids get back into the swing of things.

hospital with facial and head injuries, police said. A 16-year-old male rocked up to Blacktown hospital with head injuries and other wounds, while another 16-year-old male was taken to Westmead Children’s Hospital with a stomach stab wound, police said. All four males were involved in the commotion and were in serious but stable conditions. Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Child abduction thwarted Four people have been charged over a child abduction in Stanhope Gardens. Riverstone Police were told that a fouryear-old girl was with her father, when an SUV stopped close by. After a man and woman alighted from the car, the woman took the girl and put her into the vehicle, which then drove off, police allege. Police then teamed up with PolAir and the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command

A man has fronted court facing stalking and inappropriate sexual behaviour charges committed in Quakers Hill in early January, police said. At around 400pm on January 10 a woman was walking along Jewel Street with her young son in a pram, when she noticed a man walking behind her. When she went into a nearby reserve, she saw the same man following her into the park and perform a sexual act before fleeing away, police said. Riverstone police executed a warrant at a Quakers Hill home about 630pm the next day. A 23-year-old man was arrested and charged and was granted strict conditional bail to appear in Blacktown Local Court. The matter will be heard on March 16 for brief status committal before the Blacktown Local Court. Anyone with information about the police incidents is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.




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Blacktown Mayor Tony Bleasdale with NSW Labor leader Chris and with staff at Blackktown Workers Club.

BOUNCING BACK Free event ope n to business


SW Labor leader, Chris Minns visited Blacktown Workers Club last week to express his support for the Blacktown businesses community. The leader’s visit comes as Blacktown Workers Club gears a special event on November up for 16 called Blacktown Bouncing Back (BBB)). BBB is a collaborative project inform and educate teams created to Blacktown about adaption,in and around protection and redefining success as we progress from lockdown. “We need Western Sydney to bounce back as it is the heartbeat of New South Wales and the third economic zone in Australia,” largest Mr Minns said." MORE PAGE 3.

Blacktown beauty shines:

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Blacktown Council

Fox Hills Golf Club

Stanhope Leisure Centre

Blacktown Council Libaries

Lillys Function Centre

Blacktown Workers Club

Riverstone Newsagent

Blacktown Chamber events

Prospect Hotel

Blacktown FC

Stanhope Gardens Library

Blacktown Sports Club Blacktown Travelodge The Australian Hotel Vineyard Motel

Toongabbie Bowling Sports Club Wests Tradies


Nine years of Council what's been acheived: 23

Seven Hills Plaza Lalor Park Library Riverstone Library



18.81 billion


regional economy


Blacktown RSL


4.6% average economic growth




registered businesses

local jobs


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WESTPOINT backs domestic violence fight: 3 Mayor calls for local vaxx clinic: 6

Blacktown doctor Jana

Pittman competes in SAS



Sub-branch answers calls for support: 10


LACKTOWN Hospital’s famous Olympian Dr Jana Pittman for a grueling survival challenge has swapped her stethoscope in the latest series of ‘SAS’ Jana’s roller coaster ride TV on the Seven Network. of triumph, defeat, failure and makes her ideal for the rigorous format of the show. success throughout her life one of the 18 celebrities The 38-year-old dual Olympian who will be subjected to is extreme physical and psychologica on the upcoming military-styl l testing e show. More page 5.

Why Blacktown is tops for property investment: 14

Blacktown City blacktow





18.81 billion


regional economy

4.6% average economic growth

24,990 registered businesses

143,259 local jobs

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ISSUE 11 | February 2022




Free solar program for locals HE NSW Government is currently trialing an exciting new way to assist people on low incomes with their power bills. The program will see free 3kW solar systems installed on up to 3000 eligible households in place of the Low-Income Household Rebate. It is being run by SAE Group and it aims to improve energy affordability by helping households unlock long terms savings on their electricity bills. SAE Group Managing Director Glen Ashton outlined the groundbreaking new program to consumers. “While this means you will no longer receive the $285 annual rebate on your electricity bill, you could receive up to $600 in savings per year from your new solar system.” “The program is only available to a limited number of households that live in the region and meet the eligibility criteria,” Mr Ashton said. “When participating in this program households will receive a free, fully installed 3kW solar system in place of their Low-Income Household Rebate,” he said. SAE Group are the only approved provider, designing and installing solar systems to eligible homes across NSW. To be eligible you must: • Currently be receiving the Low-Income Household Rebate. • Agree not to receive the rebate for 10 years. • Own your own home..


The solar program offers many advertages.

• Not already have a solar PV system. • Hold a valid Pensioner Concession Card or a Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Card If you are not the registered homeowner, but your spouse is, you may be considered eligible collectively as a household. Mr Ashton said a 3kW system was designed to generate an average of 12.6kwh per day. “This will deliver electricity savings

depending on each household’s energy consumption.” “We know electricity bills continue to place a lot of pressure on households and we are pleased to be working with the NSW Government to help ease the pressure on low income households.” SAE Group is a Clean Energy Council Approved Retailer and hold accreditations ISO 9001, AS/NZS4801 for safety and quality systems as well as being Gold Accredited Master Electricians.

‘Safety is paramount to us and it is our goal to ensure we provide quality solar systems to eligible households that will deliver ongoing savings for many years to come,” Mr Ashton said. For details visit: solar-low-income-households This allows consumers to check their eligibility and apply online. Alternatively, visit or phone SAE Group on 02 66 389 439. The Solar for Low Income Household Trial is supported by the NSW Government


ISSUE 11 | February 2022

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ISSUE 11 | February 2022


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ISSUE 11 | February 2022

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Suburbs join magic $2M mark By comparison, 20 years ago a mere one per cent of NSW suburbs had a $1M plus median. Nowadays, suburbs like Old Toongabbie and Cabramatta West have recently joined the list, recording respective medians of $1.075M and $1.035M. Northmead and Roselands were joined by Condell Park ($1.010M), Bankstown ($1.025M) and Georges Hall ($1,03M), all in the Canterbury Bankstown council area. Glen Alpine (with a median of $1m) and Harrington Park ($1.185M), both more than 50km south-west of the CBD, and suburbs like Stanhope Gardens ($1,22M), Cecil Hills ($1.1M) and Heathcote ($1.2M) joined the million-dollar club. Glenbrook ($1.2M) in the Blue Mountains was another region to top the figure. They were part of a string of suburbs across Sydney’s west and south joining the

 DALLAS SHERRINGHAM N increasing number of suburbs in the west will join the magic $2M median house price in 2022, as Sydney’s property market continues to boom. Suburbs threatening to reach the median price include Epping, Eastwood and Bella Vista, making the old key mark of $1M largely superfluous across the west. Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee said a million-dollar home was now considered inexpensive, so you could say that $2m is the new $1M at a national level. In 2021, the median house price in Sydney was around $1.5M and many suburbs out west recorded sales in this price range.


ranks of the city’s ever-expanding million-dollar club, as seven-figure house sales become the norm in the booming property market. Significant growth Data shows more than half the city’s suburbs – some more than 50km from the CBD – have recorded a seven-figure median house price. Suburbs hovering around the $1m mark and considered good buying opportunities include Wetherill Park, Milperra, Girraweeen, Punchbowl, Holsworthy, Auburn, Canley Vale, Greystanes, Regents Park., Rosehill, Yagoona, Merrylands, Sefton, Wiley Park, Wilberforce, Prairiewood, Quakers Hill, St Johns Park and Bass Hill. Just under $1M are Casula, Edmonton Park, Chester Hill, Guilford, Hammondville, Marsden Park, Scofields and Seven Hills.

The end of 2021 property report for the west showed average prices from Emerton, Tregear and Bidwill ranging from the late $500,000 mark. It’s all part of a wider nationwide trend and takes in the Central Coast which one of the hottest markets in Australia right now. In just seven months, more than 300 suburbs in Australia reached a median value of $1m with Sydney the biggest winner, as prices across the country skyrocketed 22% in 2021. There are now 1120 suburbs that can count themselves as part of the million-dollar club or higher in Australia, lifting the total nationwide to 38% of suburbs, CoreLogic data showed. In Sydney, there are now 417 suburbs with median prices of $1M or more, which was first achieved in 2016.




ParramattA ParramattA T I M E S



DECEMBER 2021 | EDITION 128 APRIL 2021 Edition 120

Voice of Australia’s most progressive city



Chamber’s plan for arts sector: 4

Dune – 5 Stars. The greatest movie of the decade: 26


Фf^ ÌÓ æ â î î±Ë æ ® þ Ì î® îÓó©® æî ÓÌ EÓÿ â î ±Å âæ ® þ â þ Å î® æÓÅóî±ÓÌæ Ì â Óâ ¨Óâ w æî âÌ ^ą Ì ąФæ У â± Âæ Ì ËÓâî âФ æóßßÓâî Ë æóâ æ Ì ¨Óâ î® ±Ì óæîâą ÓóÌ â î ±Å ±Ì óæîâąϻ óî î®±æ æ îÓâ ® æ ßâÓó Â î®±æ ą â Ì ąÓÌ Ϻ ®±æîÓâą Ó¨ ÓóÌ ±Ì©  ¨âÓË î® ® â æî Ó¨ î±Ë æϺ FULL STORY PAGE 5

WSABE 2021 celebrates hope, resilience de si in ARRAMATTA Chamber of Commerce found-


2021, about 700 guests gathered at ATC, Rosehill immaculately dressed in theme ‘Back in Black’ with ed the Western Sydney Awards for Business Gardens to celebrate business excellence in the a touch of gold celebrating hope and resilience. Excellence in 1990, affectionately known region. After what has been the most challenging The resilience of the business community in as WSABE. On Wednesday, November 24, period of our working lives, guests flowed, Western Sydney is second to none. More page 17. World class health care New suburb named BradÀeld Family business in COVID How hope really works

Westmead Hospital’s new clinical tower oepns: 2

Govy ofÀcially names high tech city at Aerotropolis: 6

How many leveraged patience capital during COVID: 12

Feature on the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal: 15




World ranking for WSU Business School: 8



Thank you to all our readers and advertisers for your support during 2022 and we look forward to returning with some exciting new projects in 2022.

ITS beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the City of Parramatta with an assortment of fun Yuletide activities for people of all ages to enjoy. See page 12.

ISSUE 9 | April 2021

Minister pushing for more women on Parramatta Council: 3

BEST GIFT SINCE THE OPERA HOUSE POWERHOUSE Parramatta CEO Lisa Havilah is more interested in the flood of excitement over the controversial $920M project than any flood-waters that may lap at its riverside approach. After the recent devastating rains that saw Parramatta River break its banks between the ferry wharf and the site of the museum, Ms Havilah is adamant that the building and its exhibits will not be affected.




FTER a few hot summers for swimmers who loved Parramatta and w ÌîÿÓâî®þ±ÅÅ ßÓÓÅæ Ì æóđ â during their closures, relief is on the AUTO: SsangYong's mid-life update: 30 way. Just a day apart, the refurbished BUSINESS: Retailers reveal solutions: 34 Wentworthville pool opened and TRENDS: Is love passing you by?: 36 î® Ĝâæî æÓ ÿ æ îóâÌ ÓÌ î® spectacular Parramatta Aquatic N its 160 years as a local government area, Centre. Parramatta certainly has grown up - all Both communities have the way to the sky. Four days after a ceremony commemorating declaration of been without a poolthe since 2017, the Parramatta as a municipality, Sydney’s burgeoning second city welcomed Premier Parramatta Memorial Pool demolished Dominic Perrottet to the “topping out” ceremony of the 225 metre 55 storey high 8 to make way forSquare, Bankwest Stadium Parramatta Square, which, with adjoining 4 and 6 Parramatta will house 9500 and the previous Holroyd Council NSW Government workers. More page 8. wanting to close the tired Wenty pool SALOVS: How hope really happens: 19



rather than refurbish it. After a bit of æ óĖ îÿ Ì W ââ Ë îî ÓóÌ ±Å and the NSW Government on who would pay for its replacement, an agreement was reached on funding for the state-of-the-art aquatic centre. And in Wentworthville, a concerted community campaign and the Cumberland Council, saved the beloved pool with an upgrade. While Parramatta residents wait two years for their pool, they are welcome to dive to Wenty.


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Issue 1 | April 2021

EXCLUSIVE: Bob Turner on his new role at Blacktown FC.

MERRY CHRISTMAS Thank you to all our readers and advertisers for your support during 2021 and we look forward to returning with some exciting new initiatives in 2022.

WIN See page 4 for a chance to win a $150 dining voucher from Blacktown Workers Club.

Young people turning their lives around at BYSA.

Youth Needs Our Support


VITAL youth service in Blacktown is set to close after missing out on important State Government funding. The Blacktown Youth Support Association’s Youth HQ program helps young people at risk - those who have

been in trouble with the law or those who may be headed that way. But the service was told at the end of last year by the Department of Communities and Justice that they had missed out on funding, in favour of more “targeted” youth

programs. A letter from the Minister for Families and Communities Gareth Ward suggested that the BYSA seeks funding from other government departments such as education and sport. FULL STORY 10


WELCOME to the Blacktown NEWS


ELCOME to Blacktown's NEW LOCAL media The News will be distributed across 110 strategic disAs one of the state’s fastest growing cities, Blacktown voice, The Blacktown News (BN). tribution points in the LGA. has undergone a signiĜcant transformation. The Blacktown News is the much-anticipated It's population is set to rise from 400,000 to 540,000 Published in digital and print editions the Blacktown new and digital media brand that is set News residents byof 2036. ers maximum impact for next targeted advertising HEnewspaper troublesome Prospect Highway for a ođ $280M year on the 3.6km stretch highway, after the contract was covers Blacktown LGA with local news written by experiThe Blacktown News is the print and digital media opportunities and reach to Blacktown's diverse populaupgrade that will improve safety and travel times in Greater awarded to Fulton Hogan. Federal Minister for Communications, enced journalists. resource that connects residents and visitors to the city’s tion. Blacktown WesternONLY Sydney. The blackspot been of championingUrban Infrastructure, Cities community, and the Arts Paul Fletcher the The Blacktown Newsand is Blacktown's printed diverse its progress, businesssaid opportunities Withhas a mission community and newspaper and is independently owned and managed lifestyle. business issues, the BN is a proud media partner of the given the green light thanks to a joint funding commitment project would deliver and improvements to travel times and safety for locally by a management team that has been working in We value your feedback. Go to www.greaterblackGreater Blacktown Chamber of Commerce, the Blacktown from thefor Australian and NSWs governments. Work willBusiness start early drivers, More 6. story. Blacktown almost 20 years. to page share your Local Awards and Blacktown FC. cyclists and pedestrians.

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ISSUE 11 | February 2022



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ISSUE 9 | December 2021

Ensuring opportunities of tomorrow, means PLANNING TODAY

• Aged Care & Pensions • Centrelink • Immigration • Medicare • National Disability Insurance Scheme • Taxation & Superannuation

 MICHELLE ROWLAND UST last week, I joined parents across the state in dropping my kids off to school for the first time in almost two months. Unlike other years, preparing for the return back to school this year looked quite different. As parents we picked up the necessary lunchbox items on our back-to-school grocery shop, like bread (which most of us know is around $3.00 a loaf) and Vegemite, of course. But instead of just picking up new uniforms or heading to Officeworks for stationary, parents and children across NSW also had to prepare for school by putting masks in school bags and doing a bi-weekly Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT). It was yet another reminder that this is our new normal. It has been an especially trying year or two for our kids: missing out on formals, excursions, birthday parties and sporting events. But coming out of the pandemic, we shouldn’t just build back after COVID — we must build back stronger and smarter. As parents, we want the very best future for our children. We want to give


Level 1, Suite 101C, 130 Main Street, Blacktown PO Box 8525, Blacktown NSW 2148 (02) 9671 4780 MRowlandMP Authorised by Michelle Rowland MP, Australian Labor Party, Suite 101C, Level 1, 130 Main Street, Blacktown NSW 2148

them the opportunities we didn’t have growing up. But to ensure the opportunities of tomorrow, we have to start planning today. That same week Labor announced our Schools Upgrade Fund and Student Wellbeing Boost. We’ll provide schools with extra funding to get children’s mental health and wellbeing back on track, with more school counsellors and psychologists and extra funding for camps, excursions, as well as sporting and social activities that improve kids’ wellbeing. Labor will also have the education department conduct a rapid review of the impact of COVID on students with disability, so they get the support they need. Students deserve better infrastructure at schools, and a Government that supports their mental wellbeing. We believe no student should be left behind. We are dedicated to providing these opportunities for all children, especially coming out of this pandemic. Only Labor has a plan to make that happen for our kids. Michelle Rowland is Shadow Minister for Communications Federal Member for Greenway. Visit:


ISSUE 11 | February 2022

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Women's Health


ISSUE 11 | February 2022

Eating to support immunity  ANNEKA FINN S the kids return to school, I’m sure I’m not alone in letting out a big sigh of relief. Christmas and school holidays are exhausting enough. To add on top of this the likelihood that the majority of you reading this also battled covid during this time, it is enough to leave most feeling a little frazzled and worn out. Nutrition in isolation is not responsible for a ‘good’ immune system; it is a complex matrix of our genetics, sleep, stress, exercise and the environment we live. There are however some key aspects to consider when wanting to fight off and recover from illness and maintain good energy levels moving forward in 2022.


Focus on adding more of the good stuff rather than starting another “diet’ You have heard it before, but I’ll say it again – eat your veggies! Vegetables play a key role in overall health and immune function. They are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. These act in the body to help clean-up bacteria and poorly functioning cells which could potentially cause illness and harm. The key with adding more vegetables to your diet is not to overcomplicate it. Pre-made salad mixes, packed stirfry vegetables, frozen vegetables, baby cucumbers, roasted vegetables in the air fryer – make it as easy as possible to do so it is more achievable and sustainable. Most of us include vegetables and salad with dinner. As a goal, aim to include some form of salad or vegetable to your lunch AND at least one snack each day.

Choose minimally processed carbohydrates Despite the dirt carbohydrates have received in recent years, they are the primary fuel source in the body. They play an important role in supporting a healthy immune system. The problem occurs when we start choosing highly processed options that are low in nutrition yet high in calories. Whole grains, rolled

oats, beans and legumes, low GI rice, pulse pasta, potato/sweet potato, corn and fresh fruit are all healthy sources of carbohydrates. As a goal aim to include a serve of carbohydrates at each meal (approximately 1/3 of your plate) and 1-2 serves of fresh fruit per day (approximately the size of a tennis ball each).

Balance meals out with protein Aside from building muscle, protein is essential in maintaining cell function and fighting infection in the body. Again, as per carbohydrates, aim to include minimally processed options. Traditional protein sources such as meat, chicken, fish, pork, eggs, milk, yoghurt & cheese all provide valuable nutrient rich protein options. Don’t underestimate the powerhouse plant sources of protein offer; soy, tofu, quinoa and legumes are all great sources. Combined with carbohydrates, protein helps to balance out blood sugar levels, which leads to more sustained energy levels. The key with protein is portion size. Small and regular portions are best. For example: ½ the size of your palm of meat/chicken/fish, 1-2 eggs, ½ Cup chickpeas is a good serve to include 2-3 times per day.

Healthy food options.

Book a check in with your G.P or an Accredited Dietitian If you continue to feel fatigued and utterly exhausted after a few weeks check in with an expert. See your G.P for a check-up and a potentially a blood test. As I Dietitian I would be looking at your levels of vitamin D, iron, B12 and zinc as these all play a key role in our immune function and energy systems in the body. We are all different and need an individualised approach to our nutrition and health.

Anneka Finn is an accredited practicing dietitian & nutritionist. Visit or email

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Men's Health

ISSUE 11 | February 2022


I’m unhappy, don’t know why I’M a Man Doing Everything I Think is the Right Thing to do in Life, But I Still Feel Unhappy. Why?  MENTAL HEALTH | MARCUS WHEAN ell, firstly, you’re not alone. So many men I talk to and work with echo this very sentiment and it’s such a common theme and highlights the very real issue that many men face and experience. It could explain why there is a growing prevalence of men suffering needlessly with mental and physical illness. Life is difficult. This isn’t always the case. It can be amazing but by-and-large, life is difficult because it has its many challenges that only seem to be growing in this fast-paced world built around so much technology; not to mention the issues we’ve had to deal with due to Covid-19. Speaking generally, as men we are socialised as boys to “be a man”. We learn directly and indirectly from our parents and role models, social groups and peers, teachers, colleagues and of course, the big one, the media. The notion of ‘being a man’ is unique to everyone but there is arguably a consensus that it usually means the following: You have to be strong. You must be a provider. You mustn’t show weakness or your emotions. You must build wealth. You must always show that you’ve got it together and so on. The point is, we, as


men, come to define ourselves not by how we would really like to be but by what and how we think we should be based on these influences. When you start to feel stressed, unhappy or even depressed or anxious, the reality is that your body and mind is actually telling you something isn’t working. Often what we then do as men is try harder and get ourselves frustrated that we just can’t seem to feel happy like we think we should. You’ve built your life around doing what you think you should do and maybe have done…get married, get the house, the car, the boat, the money, the promotion……whatever. These pursuits in and of themselves aren’t the issue but it’s what they mean or meant to you is where issues arise.

When doubts set in If you grew up thinking “being a man” and achieving these goals is the right thing to do and would make you happy, what can start to happen from about the age of 30 or so, is you don’t feel like you expected, then you question yourself and doubts set in. And when these doubts set in, we lose trust and confidence in ourselves and try harder at the things that ultimately don’t work in the way we hope they will in terms of making us feel successful, accomplished, content and happy as men.

But if that sounds like you. It means you actually have an opportunity to take stock of your life. How do you really want to be as a man? You! Not other men, you! How do you want to really live your life? What are your personal secret goals that no one knows about? What are your values and are you living by them? Here are some easy steps to start with that I recommend: 1. Do an audit of your life to ensure it is well balanced and you’re doing things YOU want to do. 2. Write down personal goals for the next year and break them down into monthly goals and weekly plans. 3. Start a journal of your thoughts to reflect on what it is about your life that makes you feel unhappy and make plans to try and solve them if possible or

to help you set your goals. 4. Connect with other blokes 5. If you’re really struggling see your GP and get a mental health care plan to see a psychologist. Finally, when we are working on and achieving goals that are aligned with our personal values, not what others value, but you; then you are in a really good place to feel truly fulfilled, content and happy as a man. You then define for YOURSELF what it means to be a man. Marcus Whelan is a Registered Psychologist and Mental Fitness Coach with 10+ years’ experience in private practice. He holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in psychology and education. Visit:



ISSUE 11 | February 2022

Turbo-petrol, hybrid and PHEV power available alongside next-gen safety  MATT BROGAN EXUS will roll out its next-generation NX into Australian showrooms from January 2022. The five-seat SUV will be priced from $60,800 (plus on-road costs) and offer various engine choices, including a direct-injection 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol, 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol, and both petrol-electric hybrid and plugin hybrid variants. Two- and all-wheel drive configurations will also available. In addition to the broad powertrain line-up on offer, Lexus says the NX will debut a range of next-generation design and technology features, including new safety and connectivity features. Four trim grades will be offered, in conjunction with Lexus’ optional Enhancement Packs. "The all-new Lexus NX combines luxury specification and famous Takumi craftsmanship with next-generation design and a level of technology that extends from active safety and security to infotainment and powertrains," Lexus Australia Chief Executive Scott Thompson said. "The range starts with a focus on lightness and agility, extends to our renowned best-selling hybrid-electric system, and a focus on power with an all-new turbocharged petrol engine and a high-performance, low-emissions PHEV." The NX range begins with the NX 250. Fitted with a 152kW/243Nm normally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, the two-wheel drive variant debuts Lexus’ “human-centric” Tazuna cockpit, which includes power adjustable and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and a 9.8inch infotainment array featuring “Hey Lexus!” voice recognition, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity, plus DAB+ digital radio reception. The entry-grade NX also features 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic high-beam assist, a power-operated tailgate, as well as an extensive range of safety technologies. The NX 250 includes safe exit assist (SEA) with new e-latch electrically activated door handles, which can detect cyclist and passing vehicles and prevent the Lexus’ doors from being opened. The Lexus-first system joins intersection-turn assist (ITA), emergency steering assist (ESA), parking support brake (PKSB), blind-spot monitor (BSM), dynamic radar active cruise control (DRCC), lane-tracing


assist (LTA), and road-sign assist (RSA). All NX derivatives are further equipped with Lexus Connected Services, which includes SOS call functionality. Lexus says the NX 250 will accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 8.7 seconds and has a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.9 litres per 100km. The Enhancement Pack (+$3000) for the NX 250 includes a wireless phonecharging pad, moonroof, and kick sensor for the powered tailgate. Moving up the price sheet, the $65,600 (+ORCs) NX 350h Luxury range will arrive with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine coupled to an electric motor. The maximum combined power for two-wheel drive variants is listed at 179kW/239Nm (petrol engine), with the electric motor adding its own 270Nm kick. On all-wheel drive variants, the peak output of the electric motor is 391Nm. Both variants feature a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Lexus says the two-wheel-drive NX 350h Luxury can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 8.7 seconds and the AWD variant is a second faster. Optimal combined-cycle fuel economy is 5.0 litres per 100km. The NX 350h’s equipment levels are otherwise identical to those of the NX 250. The Enhancement Pack (+$3000) for the NX 350h is identical to that offered on the NX 250.

Next up is the NX 350h Sports Luxury. Priced from $73,100 (+ORCs), the mid-tier derivative is available in two- and all-wheel drive guises, but offers additional equipment compared with its Luxury-spec siblings. Extra features include 20-inch alloys, tri-beam LED headlights, leather-accented upholstery, a larger 14.0-inch infotainment screen, 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster, colour head-up display, 360-degree camera, ventilated front seats, digital rear-view mirror, wireless smartphone charging pad and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.

Priced from $73,000 The NX 350h Sports Luxury is available with two enhancement packs. Enhancement Pack 1 (+$3000) adds a panoramic moonroof, while Enhancement Pack 2 (+$6000) adds a panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel, digital rear-view mirror, parking assistant ¬ this marks the first time automatic reverse parallel and perpendicular parking has been offered on a Lexus NX. The F Sport range is also priced from $73,100 (+ORCs) and is offered with the hybrid powertrain found in the NX 350h or with a 205kW/430Nm 2.4-litre turbo-petrol engine and eight-speed automatic combination. Lexus says the latter can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 7.0 seconds and return a combined cycle fuel economy figure of 8.1 litres per 100km.

F Sport derivatives include a sports body kit, body-coloured wheel arches, black window surrounds, scuff plates, perforated leather-accented steering wheel and transmission lever, alloy pedals, sports seats, Hadori aluminium ornamentation, and five-mode Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with performance dampers front and rear. Lexus’ F Sport range is available with the same enhancement packs offered on the NX 350h Sports Luxury. Finally, and priced from $89,900 (+ORCs) is the NX 450h+ F Sport all-wheel drive. The range-topping variant merges the equipment from standard NX F Sport grades with a moonroof, heated steering wheel and a digital rear-view mirror. The NX 450h+ F Sport is powered by a 227kW plug-in hybrid powertrain comprising a 2.5-litre petrol engine and dual electric motors – one on each axle. Power is sourced from an 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which Lexus says can provide an all-electric driving range of up to 87km. The flagship variant is said to be capable of accelerating 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds and its optimal combined cycle fuel economy is rated at just 1.3 litres per 100km. There are no further enhancement packages available on the NX 450h+ F Sport. The Lexus NX range is available in eight paint colours: Sonic Quartz, Titanium, Sonic Chrome, Onyx, Graphite Black, Caliente, Khaki Metal and Celestial Blue. F Sport variants are further offered with an additional two paint colours: White Nova and Cobalt Mica. Four upholstery colours are available across the range: Hazel, Black & Rich Cream, Dark Rose, and Black. F Sport variants are available with F Sport Black, F Sport White and F Sport Flare Red. All Lexus passenger vehicles are backed by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants receive a 10-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty on the battery.

2022 Lexus NX pricing* NX 250 (a) $60,800 NX 350h Luxury (a) $65,600 NX 350h Luxury AWD (a) $70,400 NX 350h Sports Luxury (a) $73,100 NX 350h F Sport (a) $73,100 NX 350h Sports Luxury AWD (a) $77,900 NX 350 F Sport AWD (a) $77,900 NX 350h F Sport AWD (a) $77,900 NX 450h+ F Sport AWD (a) $89,900 *Pricing excludes on-road costs.

ISSUE 11 | February 2022



Solutions page 25

CROSSWORD ACROSS 1. Little jerks 5. Head downtown? 10. Help in a holdup 14. Balming target 15. Beyond partner 16. Screenplay direction 17. T-bone region 18. Medical research goals 19. Every family has one 20. Illuminated 23. Holiday follower? 24. Skiier's challenge 25. Unlike a litterbug 27. Palindromic windmill part 30. End of two state names 33. Scratch, say 36. Better copy? 38. Bahrain bread 39. Passed with ease 41. Genetic info carrier 42. Arboreal abode 43. Things to rattle 45. Fishtail, e.g. 47. Daydreamer's limit? 48. Fit to be fare 50. Killed, as a dragon 53. Tux accessory 54. Prepare for hanging 57. Wrestling area 59. Serving as a diplomat 64. Beer selections 66. Hindu grouping 67. Tat-tat intro 68. Folk facts 69. Pagoda roofing 70. Black cat, some think 71. It may come before "we forget" 72. Failed as a sentry 73. Bird's perch, perhaps

DOWN 1. Chaucer bit 2. They may be clicked on 3. Flu symptom 4. Grad-to-be 5. Bushwhacker's tool 6. Go to the edge of 7. The good olde days 8. Cooking place 9. Transmit anew 10. Back on a battleship 11. Crooners, often 12. Creation location 13. "High School Musical" extra 21. Main mail drop (abbr.) 22. Disconnected, as a phone line 26. Like siblings 28. Chances in Vegas 29. Roller Derby milieus 31. Checklist item 32. Pretentiously stylish 33. Attack deterrent 34. Military sch. 35. Enrolls 37. Barbary ape's lack 40. The red 44. Inner city concern 46. Most absurd 49. Official orders 51. Emotion of the miffed 52. Long and thin 55. Sight from Biscayne Bay 56. Gourmand 57. Shoppers' site 58. Ubiquitous lily relative 60. Place for some polish 61. "Cast Away" setting 62. Manual component 63. A driver may change one 65. Firm or fixed



ISSUE 11 | February 2022


Dispelling myths of NT south, you can watch dry river beds become full of energy following an afternoon downpour. There's nothing more 'Top End' than sitting back on the patio and watching afternoon storms roll in – preferably with a cold beer in hand!

 DALLAS SHERRINGHAM F you have dreamt of visiting the Northern Territory but are worried about making the journey, there are a few myths that you should dispel right from the start. Maybe you tell yourself that it’s too hard, too hot, or it’s too far, or it’s too expensive. Well, I’m here to tell you that the NT really does have something for everyone. I have toured the Territory and Western Queensland in a 4wd, a campervan, a bus and a Toyota 4 cylinder sedan. The roads are good and the driving is easy. So, it's time to bust the top seven myths about the NT!


Myth 6: The Territory is too expensive

Myth 1: The Northern Territory is too hot Australia is just about as hot as it gets, so a trip to the NT must be a mercury-busting experience, right? Wrong! Whether you're in the Top End, the Red Centre or anywhere in-between, the NT is in fact one of the coolest places you've never been. Darwin is famed for its waterholes and swimming lagoons – many of which are in and around the city itself. Darwin's waterfront Wave Lagoon generates artificial swell year round, while the Swimming Pool has waterslides and aquatic fun for the whole family. There are beautiful waterholes where you can cool down all over the NT. In the Top End you can visit Gunlom Plunge Pool or Jim Jim Falls at Kakadu National Park and both the Litchfield National Park at 1.5 hours from Darwin and Berry Springs, just 45 minutes from Darwin will let you cool down in natural surroundings. If you're going swimming in the Top End, always check the signs and Be Crocwise. Even in the Red Centre you'll find natural waterholes all year round which are perfect for a swim. The Tjoritja / West McDonnell region is home to Ellery Creek, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen and many more refreshing places to cool off. And for residents from Australia’s east or south coasts, the NT's temperate winter – which coincides with the Northern Territory’s dry season – provides an excellent escape in the cooler months. Just imagine sitting back with a cocktail in June while all your friends are shivering away down south!

Myth 2: The Northern Territory is too far away This is a total misconception–the NT is actually much closer than you think. Qantas, Virgin Australia, Tigerair and Jetstar all

operate regular domestic flights into the NT from most major Australian capital cities. You could be in Darwin, Alice Springs or Uluru in just a bit longer than the time you waste during your average Sydney traffic jam. If you have a bit more time, the Ghan Railway is internationally renowned for both its scenery and its luxury, while self-driving experiences let you combine getting there with the fun of actually being there.

Myth 3: The Northern Territory is too rugged I know that the NT has a reputation for being rough and rugged and if you're looking for your modern day Crocodile Dundee then the NT has its fair share of characters. In fact, for many tourists, this is the appeal of a trip to the Territory. But a trip to the Territory doesn't mean you have to rough it. You can do the NT in style, whether you're in the city or in the heart of the Outback. In recent years, the luxury accommodation scene in the Northern Territory has exploded. In the Red Centre, go glamping in a luxury Dreamtime Escarpment tent near Kings Canyon, rest and recuperate at Longitude 131 in Uluru. In Katherine, the Cicada Lodge is an Aboriginal owned-and-operated 5-star resort, situated right alongside Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. You can experience a range of relaxing activities, from canoeing down the pristine gorge to enjoying a Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Dinner Cruise. Just two hours east of Darwin and on the door-step of Kakadu National Park

lies Wildman Wilderness Lodge, a frontier-like experience with all the creature comforts you're accustomed to. Just west of Kakadu National Park on the Mary River floodplains you will find Bamurru Lodge, a stunning retreat that combines luxury and natural beauty.

Myth 4: The Northern Territory is too dry Look at a map or a postcard and you might think the Territory is one big, long desert. But look a little closer and you'll see that the NT possesses some of the most pristine and secluded waterholes on the planet. In the Red Centre, there are plenty of waterholes just a short drive from Alice Springs, including Ellery Creek – which has its own gorgeous picnic area – and Redbank Gorge, where you can go tubing through ancient rock formations and tree-lined creeks.

Myth 5: The Northern Territory is too wet OK, so I convinced you that the NT is not too dry – but is it too wet? The famous Northern Territory wet season sees monsoonal rain each year, but that's certainly not a reason to stay home! The Top End bursts to life in the wet season from November to April), when the waterfalls and natural landscape come alive with color and vibrance. If you want to really experience the Top End's luscious beauty, why don't you try a helicopter tour, a river cruise or an airboat ride? The wet season gives you access to some stunning natural wonders that you simply couldn't see if the rivers weren't flowing. Meanwhile, further

Earlier I mentioned that the NT is luxurious and modern – so does that mean it's expensive? Hardly. The NT has something for travellers on any budget. The temperate climate means camping is a cheap yet comfortable option, while the popularity of the Territory among Australian and international backpackers means that hostel accommodation is very affordable. What's more, an NT holiday is a unique experience like no other–the benefits will easily outweigh any costs. Not sold yet? Remember that the best parts of the NT are free – the stunning natural beauty doesn't cost a cent. Whether it is a sunset walk around the Darwin Waterfront and a swim in the free lagoon, or visiting one of the local museums or art galleries, you can have a memorable time on a shoestring while in the Top End. In the Red Centre, all you need is a car, a tank of petrol and a full picnic basket to enjoy the natural wonders of the East and West MacDonnell Ranges. Don't forget to bring your swimmers, because you'll need them for the Ellery Creek Big Hole, one of Australia's prettiest and most secluded swimming spots. If you prefer bushwalking, you can head to Kings Canyon for some breathtaking outdoor experiences. Hike along the Kings Canyon's Rim Walk, or take the easier Kings Creek Walk through the creek bed, all the while observing the native wildlife and natural scenery. Cost of entry? Free!

Myth 7: I just don't have enough time to visit The NT is big, broad and beautiful, but the distances in the Northern Territory are not prohibitive. You don’t need months to explore it – although that would be a great way to spend a few months, we have to say. No matter where you live, a long-weekend trip to either the Top End or the Red Centre is a great option. In the Red Centre, a number of tour operators such as AAT Kings provide one, two or three-day tours that pack in all the highlights. In the Top End, a long weekend in Darwin is a great option, including a day trip to swim in the waterfalls and explore the beauty of Litchfield National Park. Sources: Northern Territory, authors travel notes.

Games Solutions

ISSUE 11 | February 2022




Big growth of robot therapy  DALLAS SHERRINGHAM obotic pets are becoming popular with Australia’s ageing Babyboomer population which is swapping rock ‘n roll for rocking chairs. Demand for the robotic pet therapy is on the rise following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and is developing into a stand-alone industry with huge possibilities, The Commission was told residential care facilities had found animatronic pet therapy was an innovative way to address challenges in the sector and reduce the need for physical and chemical restraint. While use of robots in some industries and markets is causing ethical, economic and performance related challenges, demand is high in the healthcare sector, particularly in local aged care facilities in Australia and New Zealand, as well as the United States and United Kingdom. Ageless Innovation CEO and Co-Founder Ted Fischer said studies recognised by the American Journal of Medicine had shown robotic pet therapy was effective in improving the quality of life and care for older adults and should be considered as part of an overall treatment plan. “Independent clinical research has shown that animatronic pets reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and improve quality of care and life for older adults,” he said “This reduces agitation, anxiety and use of medication for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” Mr Fischer said. “We have seen a rise in demand for animatronic pets for ageing loved ones, especially those who largely cannot look after animals, but seek comfort and mechanisms to combat loneliness and bring relief. “For those who can no longer care for a living animal, animatronic pets are a safer and more predictable alternative and the older adult population is one which could benefit most from the physical and emotional benefits of joy, companionship, and the power of play,” Mr Fischer said. Carinity Hilltop Aged Care at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane has three Joy for All Companion Pets. Residential Manager Ramandeep Gill said residents were responding well to the animatronic therapy.


“Interacting with animatronic pets can help to improve residents’ health and wellbeing and social interaction, providing opportunities for residents to share stories about the pets they had in their younger years,” Ms Gill said. “Some residents living with dementia who may be unresponsive to other therapies may brighten up, pat and talk to the Companion Pet,” she said. For aged care resident Teresa Nunan, the animatronic pets bring back memories of her former cat ‘Cuddles’, which has now

been replaced by the new ‘Cuddles’, one of three animatronic pets at Carinity Hilltop. Leading Aged Care Services Australia’s Head of innovation Merlin Kong, said innovation played a central role in supporting older Australians towards better ageing. “As the proportion of Australians aged over 65 is projected to grow steadily over the coming decades, this requires creative solutions and the ability to implement,” Mr Kong said. “Technology is pivotal in age services

innovation. The right care technology is one that takes into consideration not just a person’s lifespan, but also their health span.” Nearly half a million Australians currently suffer from dementia and this number is set to double in the next 25 years. Despite the disease being the second leading cause of death in Australia, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and it costs the Australian economy $3bn annually in health and aged care spending.



ISSUE 11 | February 2022

Alcohol VS health, fitness goals  ADAM SIMPSON FTEN, I see people who have weight loss and training goals undo their hard work or minimise their results by consuming too much alcohol. With Summer and the silly season almost behind us, I thought it might be a good opportunity to convey my thoughts on how you can manage your alcohol consumption and still reach your health and fitness goals. Although I would never really recommend anyone drinking alcohol, many of you are like myself and do enjoy a social drink every now and then. Below are some tips you should follow or keep in mind when you are out enjoying a drink. 1. Calories add up! If you have been reading my articles, you would know by now that consuming too many calories is the main factor which will decide whether you lose body fat or not. If you are planning to go drinking on a night out and your goal is to lose or maintain weight it can be very deceiving the amount of drinks you can have before you've stacked on a whole lot of empty calories. Aim to not go over four or so standard drinks or at the very least choose drinks which are lower calorie options. 2. Make sure you eat! If you are going out on a night drinking, make sure you eat a healthy meal and try to fill up a little bit. Not only do all the calories that you drink add up quickly, but the calories from the late-night Kebab or Takeaway joint can really compound on this. You may have been eating and training well all week but then consuming over 4000 calories in a single night is going to undo all of that


Aim to not go over four or so standard drinks or at the very least choose drinks which are lower calorie options.”

good work you have put in. Aim to plan ahead and try have lower calorie snacks as your go to. 3. The lazy next day! If you have a big night out and are feeling a little sorry for yourself the following day, it can be easy to sloth about on the lounge and graze on too many foods that you probably shouldn’t. My advice is to get up and get moving as soon as possible. Drink plenty of water, have a healthy breakfast and get some light exercise in. You definitely do not need to

go smash yourself in the gym. But get out and go for a walk and get your day started. After overconsuming the night before, the last thing you need is another high calorie day with little to no movement. 4. Don't eat less during the day. With the idea of saving your calories for alcohol!! You will feel far worse off. Instead try and eat a well-balanced diet on the day you are planning on drinking. Make sure you include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and get in a good amount of protein.

5. Like anything moderation is the key. It is important to enjoy yourself and have a good time with family and friends. If you enjoy a drink, go for it, but try not to go overboard. If you have too many it is not the end of the world, just get your health back on track the following day and minimise the damage. Adam Simpson is lead trainer and founder at Repetitions Group fitness and Personal Training. Visit:


ISSUE 11 | February 2022


Belfast – 5 Stars A BEAUTIFUL movie, musing on the importance and extent of family.  JACOB RICHARDSON uch like family, though at times the film may frustrate, ultimately you feel more fully realised and whole on leaving the cinema than on en-


tering. Buddy (Jude Hill) is a young kid growing up in Belfast, Ireland. His poor but peaceful life is disturbed, however, when the growing troubles between Protestants and Catholics bursts over, leading to violence in his streets, the army in presence, and his father (Jamie Dornan) returned from his fly-in fly-out job in England concerned for his family. Buddy’s Pa feels the danger of these times is too much for his two sons and wife, and wants to move the family to England, but his Ma (Caitriona Balfe) loves Belfast, and has lived there her whole life; she doesn’t want to leave. Throw into the mix Buddy’s grandparents, Granny (Judi Dench) and Pop (Ciaran Hinds), who are dealing with Pops declining health, and you have a pressure cooker of danger, longing and memory; all while Buddy just wants to play in the street and romance his young classmate. An evidently introspective and personal film from director Kenneth Branagh, Belfast is a quiet and explorative piece that in many respects seems told through the child’s eye.

Whether it’s the slow parsing of information our lead character, Buddy, won’t have been privy to, or the often-low camera angles–both upwards of adults, and cropped to remove upper halves of bodies out of the field of view–the film showcases life for a child during this period, in a world of gigantic happenings. Presented in black and white with the occasional splash of colour, the film hints at modernity while maintaining a varnished sheen of remembered history. There are some striking visuals; whether it’s the initial riot, some crowded and gorgeous set decoration behind young Buddy’s grandparent’s house, or the flickering

flames of a midnight neighbourhood patrol in the centre of a tiny street The movie presents as art, almost as much as it does story. The visuals, even sans colour, capture the imagination and alight the mind, letting you chase down thoughts to fill in the gaps of these characters. Buddy has a definite love of cinema, often taken by his grandma and family to see films of the period. The joyous charm with which this is presented brings a glowing warmth to the movie, and for much of the first two thirds of the film, these moments of levity and warmth glue together the family unit in our eyes; make us realise that and why

these people love one another, despite the troubles afflicting them. Performance-wise, the movie is full of gorgeous work. Dornan, continuing to distinguish himself as the go-to Irish leading man of the period, does great work as the compassionate, strong and kind father, while Caitriona Balfe as the mother is also fantastic. As Granny, Judi Dench does a heck of a lot with only a handful of scenes, and even fewer important dialogue moments. Similarly, as Pop, Ciaran Hinds has a lot of eye-twinkling gravitas to imbue in the film. Together, Dench and Hinds bring the emotional heart to the film; you may well cry at the trajectories their characters have, and their dialogue will stay with you long after leaving the cinema. In the end, Belfast is a period piece that opens the eye to a deeply personal and individualistic perspective on one of the most recent armed conflicts in the Western world, and certainly one of the most recent significant religious conflicts. But it keeps all this as a background curtain to the story of a kid and his family; his love for his town, his burgeoning love of the pictures, and above all else, a family’s uncanny ability to grow, adapt and stay together, despite the troubles thrown at them. Reviews by Jacob Richardson Creative Director | Film Focus

Spencer – 5 Stars A captivating performance from Kristen Stewart anchors a beautifully presented, but ultimately heartbreaking tale.  JACOB RICHARDSON T’S Christmas time, and the Royal Family is taking a holiday break at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. What should be a joyous time, however, has been grievously marred; Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) is struggling with her mental health problems, and is in the throes of deciding to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles (Jack Farthing). Her mental state isn’t helped by the watchful eye of new valet, Major Alistar Gregory (Timothy Spall). As she deteriorates over the three days, she finds comfort in her sons William (Jack Nielen) and Harry (Freddie Spry), and surprising allies in her dresser Maggie (Sally Hawkins) and chef Darren (Sean Harris). Pablo Larrain, of Jackie directorial fame, directs this interesting and at times exceedingly tense biopic about one of the most famous women on Earth. Larrain obviously has a near superhuman grasp of this material, and he expertly sets this apart from the fantastic Netflix series The Crown; delivering a truly unique and must-


see film that breaks through the miasmatic glut of Royal family content we have been subjected to in recent years. Core to the success of Spencer is the stunning performance of the lead actress. Kristen Stewart’s recent years of work in indie films, and even more recent toe-dipping back into mainstream cinema, have solidified her acting talent in the viewing public far apart from her early work in the

Twilight saga, but Spencer takes the cake. For those in the know, it will be a welcome sight; for the unconverted, an indisputable display of talent. She’s a tour de force in this role, delivering a pitch perfect take on the people’s princess, while also bringing a lot of nuance and grace often without any verbosity. Couple that with stunning cinematography. Visually, the film feels like a more artistic take on the already beautiful The Crown. Whereas that series may be dark, contrasty and moody, this feels pastel and light; completely at odds with Diana’s mood. It brings a sense of whimsy and levity to the visuals that (a) transports you back to the period quite well, particularly with the gentle haze misting each frame and (b) further heightens the suspense associated with Diana. There’s some truly on edge moments in this movie, and they play out in pastel royal dreamworlds.

These places feel like they are beyond the issues of us normal people, which is why when Diana suffers in these settings, it feels all the more wrong. There’s a lot to love about this beautiful movie. Stewart brings whimsy to Diana that makes an already likeable underdog even more fun to watch, and her performance is legendary. The visuals are gorgeous, and mix fantasy with the most piercing historical period work. The costuming is iconic, and Larrain stirs up as many of Diana’s most famous fashions as he can. Amongst all of that, and grounded in a story we know so well, the pacing is kept tight and runs over a simple three-day period, so Spencer never overstays its welcome. Larrain’s previous work with Jackie was good, but frankly inessential viewing. Spencer suffers no such flaw; it’s a movie that has to be seen on the big screen, more than once.

Reviews by Jacob Richardson Creative Director | Film Focus



ISSUE 11 | February 2022

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ISSUE 11 | February 2022

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Senior women’s team launched  BOB TURENER T has taken 69 years, but 2022 is a significant year for Blacktown City FC with the launch of its first ever Senior Women’s team. The Board of Blacktown City FC made the decision in early 2021 to nominate a team to play in the NPL 2 Women’s competition. Blacktown City Head of Football, Mark Crittenden, has begun the search for a ‘Women’s Technical Director and 1st Grade Coach’. In August 2021, Coach Crittenden and the Blacktown City Board announced the return of David O’Keefe (or Dok as he’s affectionately known) to fill the position and lead the club in an exciting new direction. Coach Crittenden said, “Dok has the full support of the club with all the same desires to compete at the highest level with the same energy as the men. “I have said to the parents, we are on a fast train and jump on board for an exciting ride”. The Men’s program has produced over 30 Socceroos in its 69 year history and we are looking to find the first woman who steps up to be the Clubs first Matilda,” he said. Dok has a history with Blacktown City and coached the Men’s U20 squads back in 2013 & 2014. Dok is excited at the opportunity to return to the Black and Red of Blacktown City and commenced almost immediately to build a solid squad for the season. The task for Dok is simple, build the Women’s programme to quickly match the Men’s reputation and advance to NPL 1 within three years. The Women’s World Cup in 2023 will be an absolute highlight on the Australian Sport calendar and Blacktown City FC will be doing all it can to do its part in building future Matilda’s! The Blacktown City FC home Stadium on Quinn Avenue in Seven Hills is regarded as one of the best football grounds in Sydney. Building of new change rooms under the main grandstand to accommodate the increase in women’s football is scheduled to be completed by November this year. The improvements to the Change rooms are possible through the NSW Office of Sport and the NSW Government’s Greater Cities Sports Facilities Fund. The announcement by Mark Taylor, State Member for Seven Hills, prior to Christmas was the best Christmas present Blacktown City FC could have received, especially since new amenities has been on the wish list of the club since the grandstand was erected over 20 years ago.


I have extremely high expectations and standards and always strive to pass these same standards on to players and teams I coach, especially in semi- professional and professional environments.” – David O’Keefe. The successful application for new changerooms will provide a huge boost in the development and recruitment of female players. David O’Keefe has over 30 years of football coaching under his belt and started his coaching journey back in 1990. His coaching experience has been divided by coaching boys, girls, men and women at all levels of the game inclusive of grass roots, school, state, NPL and national levels. David was offered and accepted a coaching role at Barker College in 2009 with the key responsibility to coach the Girls 1sts team and to also develop and grow the profile of girl’s football program at the school.

Positive reflection of excellent work Having three daughters of his own, David found this a seamless transition and in the past 12 years the program has grown from one team to six teams and the 1st team remained undefeated ISA premiers and champions for eight successive seasons. More recently (January 2017) Dok was in the privileged position of coaching the Australian School Girls squad who created history by becoming the first schoolgirls’ team to go through an overseas tour undefeated (8 games/8 wins). Many of these players are now playing W-League and NPL respectively. This is a positive reflection on the excellent work Dok has done consistently over an extended period preparing young players for senior football. “My coaching philosophy has and continues to be about playing a high tempo and entertaining style of football allowing players to be creative and to express themselves with the ball, whilst without the ball being disciplined and organized whereby every player understands their role within that team environment. I have extremely high expectations and standards and always strive to pass these same standards on to players and teams I coach, especially in semi- professional and professional environments,” said O’Keefe. “This opportunity with BCFC is incredibly exciting and the challenge to be at the






forefront of setting up and leading BCFC girl’s and women’s program for a club with such a rich and successful history is very humbling. To that end, I see this opportunity as a privileged position and a golden opportunity to extend all my collective coaching experience in an area that aligns well with my personal values, deep beliefs and my commitment to ongoing coaching, learning and education.” After two years of Covid restrictions, the Board and Coaching staff of Blacktown City FC will now look to the 2022 season with enthusiasm to continue building the reputation and momentum for a successful programme in both the Men and Women. The season launch for both Senior teams is scheduled to be held at Bowman Hall at the Blacktown City Council Chambers on Thursday, February 17. As a special bonus, Blacktown City FC has just become a Diamond Member of the Greater Blacktown Business Chamber and to launch their membership and host Chamber members, the 17th will include a Business After 5 event for the Chamber. The goal is a full house on March 6 to open the 2022 NSW NPL 1 Men’s season against Rockdale. The theme for the year is “Bring it Home Blacktown” and the club is steadily building on its reputation and credibility. Go Blacktown City! Bob Turner is Executive Chairman of Blacktown City FC. Visit: www.





ISSUE 11 | February 2022

How to choose a university course that’s right for you Some people just know what they want to study at university. They cruise through high school with a clear view of their pathway to a degree. But for many others, choosing the right course can seem like the impossible decision. “I’ve had lots of conversations with students at subject selection evenings where they come in and say, ‘I have no idea what I want to do with my life’,” says Cara Vanzini, a careers advisor with Australian Catholic University’s (ACU’s) Careers and Employability. So how do you find your dream course (let alone your dream job) if you don’t have a clue where to start? “If someone has absolutely no idea what they want to do, one of the first questions I ask is, ‘What do you do in your spare time?’,” Cara says. “I remember one girl just shrugging and saying, ‘I just spend time with my friends’. And I said to her, ‘Well, maybe you need to look at career choices where you are working with people’. We started identifying what some of those careers were, and her mum standing behind her said, ‘Oh, that’s the best advice we’ve had all year’.” Finding your ideal degree might therefore be as simple as answering a few questions. What are your interests? How do you like spending your time? What are you good at? Which experiences have left a lasting impression? Wise people will tell you that many of life’s big decisions aren’t just about what you want to do; they’re about who you want to be. That’s why it’s important to choose a career path that aligns with your passions, interests and values. “We need to realise that we spend most of our lives at work, so we should focus on developing the skills and qualifications that allow us to enjoy what we do, and to feel good about it,” says Cara, who worked in ACU’s Equity Pathways program for five years before commencing with Careers and Employability in 2018. It’s important to note that even those who do know what degree they want to pursue have to think about university entry requirements and prerequisites. What if you have your heart set on a Bachelor of Laws or a Bachelor of Biomedical Science but you

don’t quite make the ATAR cut-off? It’s always good to have a back-up plan, Cara says, but a lower ATAR than expected does not determine your endpoint. Thankfully, universities like ACU provide alternative pathways and entry programs to help smooth the way to your chosen course. For example, the Foundation Studies program at the Blacktown Campus provides you with another path into university if you haven’t got an ATAR, or your ATAR isn’t what you were hoping for. This fee-free program will prepare you for study at ACU by immersing you in university life while introducing you to a range of foundation units. ACU has just introduced a raft of new diploma courses which are a great way to study before taking on a bachelor degree. There is also a helpful Pathway Finder tool to find out what pathway options are available for your chosen course. If you successfully complete a pathway program, you may be able to gain credit towards your ACU degree, and in some cases, go straight into the second year of the program. On the flipside, if you do excel in the ATAR, it’s best not to let anyone pressure you to enrol in a course with a high cut-off just because you can. “I would really warn against forcing someone into a four-year degree just because their ATAR is high when their passion lies with something completely different,” Cara says. “In the end, the ATAR is only reflective of how sought-after a course is, not necessarily the

quality of the course, or the prestige within the industry itself.” To discuss the courses and pathway options available to you, ACU is running a webinar on 9 December and an online event on 21 January to help you decide what course to apply for.

Ready to explore your opportunities For more information: What to study at ACU: Information sessions:

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