Issue No. 91 â€“ Thursday, September 3, 200 2009 9
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INSIDE YOUR FREE RIVERLAND WEEKLY THIS WEEK ...
PENNY DROPS IN
Minister Wong to visit
By BRAD PERRY FEDERAL Water Minister Penny Wong will today see the regionâ€™s water woes first hand when she arrives in Renmark. The Minister is meeting with irrigators and key government representatives to discuss water management issues as part of her Southern Murray Darling Basin tour. Local experts are welcoming the senator to the Riverland, with many growers hoping to have questions answered. Senator Wong said she is hoping to gain information about the difficulties faced by communities along the River Murray. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to hearing from a range of people across the southern basin about how we can build on our work to restore health to the Murray Darling Basin, as we deal with the continuing drought and the effects of climate change,â€? Sena-
tor Wong said. â€œIn particular during this tour, we will be focused on how best to deliver on our vision for a strong and vibrant future for agriculture and industry in the basin, along with the communities they support.â€? River Murray Minister Karlene Maywald welcomed the visit by the key Federal Minister. Minister Maywald said it is important for federal politicians to visit communities to gain a much better understanding of the water difficulties faced. â€œWe need more federal politicians to visit to see the plight of the River Murray,â€? she said. â€œIt is a good thing she is coming to the Riverland.â€? Meanwhile, irrigators received more than the expected rise on Tuesday when water allocations doubled from five to 10 per cent.
We need more federal politicians to see the plight of the River Murray.
â– Continued Page 3
&OR ALL YOUR )RRIGATION NEEDS AND EXPERT ADVICE
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Getting ready for Fatherâ€™s Day â– FATHERâ€™S DAY: Pyap farmer Ryan Arnold probably wonâ€™t have time to relax on Fatherâ€™s Day with daughters Lila (left) and Amelie keeping him busy, along with the demands of the farm. Full story Page 7. Photo: BRAD PERRY
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2 • Riverland Weekly – Thursday September 3, 2009
Interested In Our Parks?
Phone 8582 5500 Fax 8582 5505
Expressions of Interest Sought – Murraylands Consultative Committee
A letter to Minister Penny Wong
Are you interested in the management of parks and the conservation of animals, plants and ecosystems in your local area? If so, here is a chance to have a key role in their future.
Dear Minister Wong, It is nice that after all of this time you have been able to visit the Riverland, an economically important region and part of our nation’s foodbowl. Being a South Australian, we’re sure you have heard all about our woes, so it is nice that you can come and experience our problems first hand. Please do not be offend-
A community based Murraylands Region National Parks and Wildlife Consultative Committee has been established to provide the Minister for Environment and Conservation with advice on matters relating to park management and conservation in the Murraylands Region. We are seeking suitably experienced people to serve voluntarily as Committee members who have an interest in: • Biodiversity Conservation; • Local Government; • Fire Management; • Land and natural resource management; • Tourism and recreation; • Built and Cultural Heritage; • Planning, business and work expertise; • Education; and • Volunteering and community engagement.
ed if some of our locals are angry about the lack of action over the national water plan, or the part being played by governments further upstream in killing off our once great river. You see, we’ve been struggling through this water crisis for a few years now and have been given very little indication that the river issue is being treated seriously by the Federal Government.
Word of the Week: Take over
ROB McLEAN The federal take-over of the basin is barely inching along, while all along the Murray irrigators are being forced out of the industry. We have a wonderful lifestyle and thriving communities with their own strong identities but all of those things could be eroded if the situation is not fixed soon. Yours sincerely, a concerned constituent.
Quote of the Week I regret that this is an ongoing embarrassment to my colleagues, my friends, my community, my church and my family – John Della Bosca ENRCML011910
Further information, including a copy of the Committee’s terms of reference, can be obtained from Ms Merridie Martin, Regional Conservator, Murraylands, on telephone (08) 8595 2106, email: email@example.com or PO Box 231 (28 Vaughan Tce), Berri SA 5343.
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The Committee will have from 10 to 12 members, meet up to 4 times a year and work closely with the Regional Conservator, Murraylands, Department for Environment and Heritage.
Expressions of interest and a CV outlining your experience should be forwarded to the above address by: Friday 18 September 2009.
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Thursday September 3, 2009 – Riverland Weekly • 3
Local schools cashing in on BER By BRAD PERRY SEVEN local primary schools were given a boost earlier this week after receiving $7.5 million in the the ﬁnal round of the State Government’s Primary Schools for the 21st Century funding. Amongst the big winners was Waikerie Primary School, which received a total of $2.5 million for a new multi purpose hall and library refurbishment. Barmera Primary also received $2 million dollars to refurbish its hall and classroom, while the Riverland Special School received $850,000 for a new library. Other schools to receive signiﬁcant funding were KingstonOn-Murray Primary, Loveday Primary School, St Albert’s Catholic School and the Riverland Christian School. Meanwhile, Riverland primary
schools have begun major projects using the Federal Government’s funding from the ﬁrst two rounds of the Building the Education Revolution program. Loxton Lutheran School is well into planning a multi-purpose hall with its $2 million funding and principal Terry Sawade said using local builders and contractors is important for the community. Mr Sawade said having the funds available not only beneﬁts the school but the whole Riverland. “It is something we would have only ever dreamt about,” he said. “You only get one shot at this and we are looking at producing something for not only the school but all of Loxton.” Renmark North Primary School principal Peter Hunter also praised the funding. The school was succesful for $2 million dollars in Primary Schools of the 21st Century funding and
will use the money to construct a new library and building. “It is a once in a century type opportunity,” he said. Many Riverland schools also received an allocated ﬁgure of money based on school numbers known as National School Pride funding. With this money, schools were able to use local tools and suppliers for such things as making-over classrooms or adding interactive whiteboards. However, schools in smaller communities are ﬁnding the weight of hefty fees hard to bear. Swan Reach Area School principal Tim Benger said it was great to receive the funding but was disappointed with the variability in costs. “It is a certainty that we will get funding but exactly how much for our wish list items is still up in the air,” he said. Mr Benger said the school may
Wong visit coincides with allocation increase ■ From Page 1 At the same time last year, irrigators were only able to access six per cent of their water allocation, before a rise to 11 per cent half way through September. Central Irrigation Trust chief executive ofﬁcer Jeff Parish said he was expecting the allocations to rise but not as far as 10 per cent. “I was probably thinking eight or nine per cent, so I am really pleased with 10 per cent,” he said. “We now dare to hope that we get another ﬁve per cent next month... every cloudy day brings hope.” Minister Maywald said there are no expectations on allocation increases because it is all dependent on rainfall. “It is certainly moving in the right direction, which is good,” she said. “We would like it to be much higher of course.” Minister Maywald said while River Murray system in ﬂows remain low overall, recent rainfall into the catchment in August and snowmelt in alpine areas has helped improve inﬂows. Liberal candidate for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said while he is relieved to get an additional ﬁve per cent in water allocations, it is still not enough. “As a citrus grower the additional ﬁve per cent will give me about two weekswater in Spring,” he said. “Being a citrus grower I have already used the 10 per cent, as
■ HERE: Federal Water Minister Penny Wong will be in the region tomorrow to see ﬁrst hand the situation both local growers and the river is in at the moment. would have almond and avocado growers, and I’m relying on carryover and leased water to keep my trees alive.”
■ CHANCE: Renmark North Primary School principal Peter Hunter believes the BER funding is a once in a lifetime opportunity. have to look beyond the Riverland for contractors due to the short time frame in which the proposed projects must be completed. “The costs associated with ac-
Peake push postponed By BRAD PERRY A LOCAL irrigator’s push to have the voice of the Riverland heard on the federal stage may be postponed for up to a year as his coalition gathers support and momentum from around the state. After organising a successful meeting at Grieger’s sand bar last month, Swan Reach irrigator David Peake is planning the ﬁrst ofﬁcial meeting for a Coalition of River Murray communities in September and has been appointed chairman of that group. Mr Peake said representatives, including a number of political heavyweights, met at Parliament House in Adelaide last week and decided to host the Coalition’s ﬁrst meeting on September 14 at the same venue. “Anything to do with the River Murray right through to Canberra will be done through the coalition,” he said. The coalition will be moving along the River Murray over the coming months supporting the Lower Lakes Action Group and the Water Action Coalition, attend-
ing meetings in Mildura, Wentworth and AlburyWodonga, as well as protesting on the steps of parliament in Adelaide and Melbourne. Mr Peake said a Canberra visit is still the ultimate goal but believes the coalition will not meet its initial goal of next month for the visit. “It (the Canberra trip) may not happen for 12 months but we are planning to get the whole River Murray there in the thousands,” he said. “We are not just talking about South Australia now but the whole basin.” A meeting is currently being organised for the Riverland in October and Mr Peake is hoping for great support to continue to lobby the Federal Government about the Murray Darling Basin water issues. Meanwhile, Independent Senator Nick Xenephon visited Mr Peake’s property last week and met with several local potato and onion growers. “It was just to highlight how we are not getting any assistance down here” Mr Peake said. “He has taken on the cause and is on board.”
commodation for out of area tradespeople will be quite signiﬁcant,” he said. “If it comes off to plan, we will be signiﬁcantly better off.”
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4 • Riverland Weekly – Thursday September 3, 2009
Have your say about the issues that affect you.
Education fairness THIS debate continues in South Australia about equity of access to education services for our children. What I fear most is that in spite of all this debate, nothing will change for country families and country students will continue to experience reduced educational opportunities and outcomes than their city based cousins. Unless there is a change in political thinking in this nation. Education is an important key to
sustainability of country communities What country families and their communities need is real incentives for teachers to live and work in rural, regional and remote schools in South Australia, a real commitment by government to put additional resources into country schools to overcome the current educational disadvantage, and real financial support for all country students who need to leave home to pursue tertiary studies. The current lack of educational choice is a limiting factor for many
rural and regional families. Does our public education system provide sufficient secondary choices for country students no matter where they live? It’s about time the SA Government carried out a stock-take, community by community, of the education options available to country families. If we keep on making the same old choices at the ballot box we are surely going to get the same old party hacks, and we will continue to lack the educational choices for our children.
It is time for country voters to act to ensure that more country community champions stand up in our parliament. Wilbur Klein, SA Nationals President.
Local heroines HAVING written a number of factual books, including my last publication Almost Human Doggies, endorsed by the RSPCA and distributed throughout Australia; I’m now researching my next work entitled Great Australian Heroines. There are so many stories out there of women who have acted above and beyond the call of duty, without receiving much, if any, recognition for their actions. I would be very interested in receiving any information about local ladies from settlement to 1960, who were born before 1940 and who have never been officially recognised yet as “the real quiet achievers”, left their mark through their dedication, kindness, or who sadly committed the ultimate sacrifice and until today have received little or no thanks, gratitude, or formal appreciation for their actions. If any of your readers have stories of family members, friends, or know of any wonderful ladies within the area whose good deeds, changed for the better the life of just one person, or the entire community, I would very much appreciate being contacted. Contact me at greataustralian email@example.com or by snail mail to P.O. Box 2009, Moorabbin, Vic. 3189. Jodie Forsyth, Moorabbin.
Pieces of silver CAN you be bought with thirty pieces of silver? The Rudd government believes so with its offer to only part of the ‘Grey Power’ community, to supplement the self funded retirees’ with the ‘silver’. This he believes, with a twinkle in his eye, and grin, will make him seem to be the good, caring, Prime Minister. Prime Minister Rudd, it seems, is only seen on the TV/media when there is good things to promote. He has not the internal fortitude to be seen when there is ‘doom and gloom’. He delegates these odious tasks to his ministers, thus Mr Rudd is only seen as squeaky nice. Unfortunately the self funded retirees miscalculated their needs for the future. But they accepted the tax breaks on their contributions in the past. My question is: after the retirees have surrendered their superannuation to create this proposed fund, where will Rudd get the extra billions of dollars to pay for the ‘top up’ and again, who will pay the vast interest bill? I, and others on the aged Centrelink pension, again, get nothing. I personally believe if the Rudd scheme goes ahead, all and every self funded retiree must be in it with no exceptions. Irrespective of who pays the contributions or in what scheme. Mr Rudd, what will your ministerial colleagues think of this, with their huge pensions at risk of having to surrender it along with the other ‘perks’. Mel Smith, Berri.
Send your letters to PO Box 1279, Berri, SA, 5343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org All letters must be signed, include full name and address of the writer for verification purposes. The Riverland Weekly reserves the right to edit letters before publication.
POLICE NEWS Break and run POLICE are seeking a teenager alleged to have broken into a shed on the Old Sturt Highway near Berri early yesterday morning. Police said the man was disturbed by the property owner at around 1am and fled the scene. He is described as being about 160 centimetres tall, of athletic build, wearing a light grey hooded jumper with dark pants. Anyone who can assist the police investigation should ring Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Car confiscated AN 18 year old Waikerie man had his car clamped by police after al-
legedly doing burn outs on Monday. Police said the man’s vehicle was clamped for seven days. He will be summonsed to attend the Waikerie Magistrates Court at a later date. Meantime, a 51 year old woman was arrested for refusing a breathalyser test in Waikerie on Sunday.
Rock attack RENMARK’S Chaffey Theatre was the target of a vandalism attack early on Sunday morning when a rock was thrown through a window. Meantime, copper wiring was stolen during a break-in on the Barmera ETSA depot on Sunday morning.
Thursday September 3, 2009 â€“ Riverland Weekly â€˘ 5
Central Irrigation Trust members make it clear that...
Costs forced CITâ€™s exit from SAMI By BRAD PERRY MEMBERS of the Central Irrigation Trust have cited the ongoing cost of membership as one of the reasons why it terminated its membership with South Australian Murray Irrigators at last Fridayâ€™s annual meeting. Nine out of the 10 districts at CITâ€™s annual general meeting in Barmera last week supported a motion to cease membership with the stateâ€™s number one irrigation body. CIT chief executive officer Jeff Parish said the current tough conditions facing irrigators played a role in the decision. â€œThe members who put up the motion from the Waikerie and Chaffey districts stated that CIT has been cutting staff and costs to keep water prices down,â€? he said. â€œThey believe they can ill af-
ford to pay membership fees when growers are doing it so tough.â€? Mr Parish believes CIT is currently doing a good job of representing its members and therefore SAMI membership is not needed. â€œMembers believe CIT is very good at representing growerâ€™s interests in water policy and politics,â€? he said. â€œWe tend to operate in coffee houses, lifts and corridors trying to influence decisions that affect growers.â€? Meanwhile, all 10 districts at the AGM voted on a motion involving water pricing. Mr Parish said changes included going from consumption based pricing to a system introduced by the Commonwealth of mixed and variable costs. â€œThis also included termination fees in the pricing,â€? he said.
â– OPINION: A grower addresses River Murray Minister Karlene Maywald at last weekâ€™s CIT annual general meeting. Photo: JANE WILSON
During the meeting Mr Parish added that with the new changes, irrigators will need to look closely at the way they manage their water. â€œWe think in the next year there will be considerable numbers of people selling part allocation,â€? he
said. â€œIt is just the circumstances we have arrived at, the change to fix the variable costs will lift up holding prices and people need that cash flow. â€œThe circumstances will become very individual and I think
our growers will re-think water products as you become familiar with the changes and I would predict we will see a substantial number of people selling perhaps a quarter of their allocation to rearrange the water products they have got.â€?
Centenary marked for Berri irrigation district By BRAD PERRY ALMOST 100 years ago, the Plush family purchased their property in Winkie for just 20 pounds and from there have seen the ups and downs of life on a block over several decades. The Plush family was one of five irrigator families on hand to cut a celebratory cake recognising the Berri irrigation districtâ€™s 100 years. John Plush, the third generation owner of his Winkie property, said that back in 1914, water rates were 30 shillings an acre and he was amazed at how things have changed over the years. â€œIt is great to see the challenges that have come along and the massive changes in our lifetime since going from the open channels, when we got water when we were told to have it, as to now with water on order and computers,â€? he said. â€œI have got some water running at home at the mo-
but the water supply is the one thing we havenâ€™t really had before and that is the one that is hitting peopleâ€™s confidence.â€? Representing the Wade family, Judy Roberts has spent 45 years involved with the familyâ€™s Glossop block and said it was an honour to be at the celebration. â€œI have always been proud of the history of the Wade family and I think it is a great honour to be able to come down here and help cut the cake,â€? she said. Mrs Roberts said growing up on a fruit block has many benefits. â€œLiving out on (a fruit) property, you are your own boss,â€? she said. â€œIâ€™ve enjoyed it, I have always been brought up on the block and my grandfather, and even on my motherâ€™s side, they were pioneers in Lyrup.â€? However, Mrs Roberts has also seen the conditions for irrigators change over the
ment, at 7:55 I got on the computer and ordered it and by eight oâ€™clock I had it running, whereas in the old days we had a meeting and it was plotted out months in advance, irrespective of the climate.â€? Mr Plush said adjusting to the lack of available water
Living out on (a fruit) property, you are your own boss, Iâ€™ve enjoyed it.
for crops has been the hardest part. â€œI think we are sticking in there because we have no choice, I am of an age where you think what do you do other than stay and hope?â€? â€œWe have all seen the crops and the ups and downs of the prices before
â– BIRTHDAY: Judy Roberts, June Chapple and June Plush represented three long serving irrigation families when cutting the cake at the Berri irrigation districtâ€™s 100 year celebration. Photo: JANE WILSON
years. â€œIt has usually been frosts or mildew or things like that and it is the first time we have had water shortage and it really is bad,â€? she said. â€œIt makes you cry when you go elsewhere and you
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