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SHIFT MINER The Queensland mining community’s best source of local news

Locally Owned and Operated -

Monday 19th December 127th Edition 2011


BUBBLE WRAPPED The force field protecting you underground

FOUR years after 33-year-old miner Jason Blee was crushed to death, a proximity detection device has been approved for use in underground coal mines in Queensland. Jason Blee was killed when he was pinned to the wall by a shuttle car at Moranbah North underground mine in April 2007. A coronial inquiry into his death recommended proximity detection devices be developed for use in underground coal mines. Such devices are already in use in the state’s open cut mines - and can range from simple GPS devices to systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars per piece. Their job is to alert drivers when their machine is too close to another machine or human - and in some cases, automatically shut down when they are too close. But underground it’s a different story there hasn’t been a device available because of stringent guidelines to do with methane gas explosions. Until now.

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News Safety is the priority in the big wet  page 4 News BMA strikes off while talks continue  page 4 News What’s being done about $3000/week rent?  page 6 Around Town Carols by candlelight  page 11

Off Shift Sprucing up your bachelor pad  page 20 Miner’s Trader Snag a Christmas bargain!  page 16 Money Matters Rural properties sell for railway  page 23

127th EDITION. 2011

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127th EDITION. 2011

Lives not risked in wet: Commish IF accumulated water on mine sites presents an immediate danger to workers it will be pumped out straight away, according to the Commissioner for Mine Safety. Last year, central Queensland mines were inundated during the summer floods, and much of that water still remains trapped on site. While the Commissioner Stewart Bell said there was no immediate threat to any central Queensland site, the situation would be carefully monitored over the coming months. The weather bureau is predicting another summer of destructive storms and cyclones - prompting the mines inspectorate to release a safety bulletin on wet weather. “The biggest risk is people being injured by machinery of equipment that is moving about because of flooding,” the Commissioner told Shift Miner Magazine. “Mine sites usually have plenty of notice from the weather bureau about big storms brewing and that’s when they should act to move machinery out of flood plains.” Water creates an even bigger problem for underground coal mines. “If a large amount of water enters the portal it can knock out seals, which will effect the ventilation of the mine,” said Commissioner Bell.

“Obviously a huge amount of water running in could lead to workers drowning or being washed away, it’s just not a thing you want to allow to happen.” Last year, Xstrata’s Newlands mine was on high alert after the flooding rains filled up surface dams and threatened to spill into the mine itself. The regulations covering the amount of water that can be pumped out of flooded sites has just been changed. Many mines will be hoping to take advantage of this wet season to discharge water trapped since last December when local rivers are flowing at sufficient levels. But the Commissioner has assured workers that regardless of the regulation human life comes first. “If a life was at risk we would advise the mine to pump water out straight away,” he said. “That is the role of our guys, if they see something that is immediately dangerous to life or limb they just do it - they don’t have to ring me for approval - they just act immediately.” Inspectors have also been casting their eyes over demountable buildings on site. Two years ago, several miners were trapped in a crib room that was picked up and thrown over by wind during a severe storm.

TORN APART: This crib room was tumbled around with two workers inside during a severe storm in the Bowen Basin in 2009

“We are checking to see building are properly anchored so they don’t tumble over,” said Commissioner Bell. “Awnings are often a problem because

they can act like a sail in high winds.” “Basically we are checking to see the awnings are not attached to dongas - they should be free standing not fixed to the building.”

“If a life was at risk we would advise the mine to pump water out straight away... they just do it - they don’t have to ring me for approval - they just act immediately.”

Strikes off, three weeks of talks STRIKES have been called off, as coal miner BMA and the unions try to settle on a new pay and conditions deal for central Queensland miners. Twelve months of talks have failed to reach agreement, and back in October BMA bypassed the unions and took a deal directly to its workers. It was rejected by 92 per cent of employees. Since then, there have been rolling stoppages at the company’s seven Bowen Basin mines. However, the CFMEU has now called off

all further industrial action as the company and its representatives sit down for another two days of talks just before Christmas. “We met earlier this month and started sorting out some of the minor parts of the agreement,” said CFMEU vice president Steve Pierce. “But we still haven’t started on the big stuff.” BMA had hoped to have another agreement to take to employees before Christmas, but that is looking unlikely. In fact, both parties have agreed to three weeks of non-stop talks in January to

resolve the dispute. A spokesperson for BMA said the company welcomed the decision by unions to call off strikes while negotiation’s were under way. “BMA looks forward to continuing

negotiations and remains committed to finalising an agreement as soon as possible for our employees,” said the spokesperson. “We have negotiated in good faith throughout this process and we will continue to do so.”

“BMA had hoped to have another agreement to take to employees before Christmas, but that is looking unlikely.”

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127th EDITION. 2011


Riskier green skins a new safety challenge FAST NEWS

The Queensland mines inspectorate has just approved a system that uses a magnetic bubble to protect workers. Basically, each worker has a sensor on their helmet, and each piece of machinery has three levels of magnetic fields around it. If a worker enters the innermost field, the machine automatically shuts off. The Commissioner for Mine Safety Stewart Bell said with the system just approved, he expected the uptake to begin in the new year. “By the end of next year we should have the whole place kitted out,” he told Shift Miner Magazine. “We think mines will do it voluntarily, but if need be we will mandate it.” The Commissioner said the cost of the system was not prohibitive for companies. “In the scheme of things it is a fairly small extra cost,” he said. “If you look at it in perspective, a continuous miner can set you back in excess of $1 million.” “This technology would be in the low tens of thousands.” Above ground, the Commissioner says

many mines and quarries were now refining what system worked best for them. “A lot of systems are available, there is the Rolls Royce to the basic and we are not advocating that it needs to be the Rolls Royce - just something that works.” Over the past two years, the inspectorate and the industry at large - has worked hard to bring down the number of accidents involving machines hitting people or other vehicles. There was a worrying trend of heavy equipment like dump trucks driving over light vehicles, and in several instances it was just pure luck that people weren’t killed. The use of “no go” zones is now heavily enforced, and all underground mines are equipped with airbags to lift or push heavy equipment off trapped people. The crackdown has paid off - with the number of incidents now on the decline. But the Commissioner Stewart Bell has raised his concern about the influx of cleanskins on mine sites over the next decade. “The industry is expanding at a significant rate, with more inexperienced people

“I’m always worried about people who are learning in a very dangerous environment... because sometimes you don’t get a second chance.”

moving into mining,” he said. “There are problems associated with that.” The Commissioner said training, mentoring and buddy systems were all essential for new workers. “I’m always worried about people who are learning in a very dangerous environment - or what can be a very dangerous environment - because sometimes you don’t get a second chance.” “Mining is all about camaraderie and understanding how what you are doing impacts on those around you.”

Sinopec deal ORIGIN Energy and ConocoPhillips are to sell $70 billion worth of coal seam gas to Sinopec through a non-binding deal that will see the state-owned Chinese oil company boost its stake in Gladstone’s biggest proposed liquefied natural gas plant to 25 per cent. Currently the company has a 15 per cent stake in the Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) joint venture with Origin Energy and ConocoPhillips holding 42.5 per cent each. Under the deal, Sinopec will buy an additional 3.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG through to 2035. To become binding, the agreements will be subject to approval by the Chinese government and Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board and conditional on APLNG reaching a final investment decision on the second LNG train. ...................................................................

NEAR MISS: Proximity detection devices help prevent accidents likes this - and will now be used underground

Hub report The state government is contributing $17,000 towards a pre-feasibility study into developing an intermodal logistics hub in central Queensland. AEC Group has been contracted to conduct the $50,000 study with private companies, the Gladstone Ports Corporation and the Rockhampton Regional Council contributing the remaining funds required. The pre-feasibility report is due by next February and if it is favourable the next step is a full feasibility study valued at about $400,000. Depending on size, the storage and freight facility would mean an investment of $200 million to $500 million and could create up to 200 permanent jobs in the region. ...................................................................

New CSG lab THE world’s largest oilfield services provider is to fund a new multimillion dollar gas research laboratory in Brisbane. The lab will be focused on studying unconventional gas technologies such as coal seam gas and other difficult to extract natural gases. The centre will be established in collaboration with QUT and is scheduled to open early next year. Kyel Hodenfield, vice president of Unconventional Resources for Schlumberger, said the company had considered a number of international and domestic locations for the facility before deciding upon Queensland. Up to 18,000 jobs and more than $45 billion in CSGLNG investment in Queensland have now been approved by the state and federal governments.

Page 5 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011


127th EDITION. 2011

Astronomical rents drop in collective punch? COLLECTIVE bargaining power might be used by the state government and mining companies to try and bring down exorbitant rents in central Queensland boom towns. Queensland’s Housing Minister Karen Struthers will meet major employers and mining companies in the new year about what pressure they could collectively apply to keep rents at reasonable levels. The Bowen Basin town of Moranbah and the port city of Gladstone have been in the media spotlight for months as rents skyrocket as high as $3000/week. Now the Minister has set up a taskforce to investigate the situation, and what can be done to ease the rental squeeze. “I visited Moranbah last week, and I saw one house where the rent was $2500 and you’d pay between $420 and $450 for the same house in Brisbane,” Ms Struthers told the WINO. Mining companies and big contractors pay a subsidy for their workers to live in local houses - but the Minister wants them to stop paying above what’s reasonable. “If mining companies continue to pay it, then property owners will continue to ask for it,” she said.

“If we could get some co-operation to say no to high rents then that will hopefully have the effect of drawing them down.” “It might sound a bit like wishful thinking but it is certainly worth discussing.” In Gladstone this approach is already in train. Major employer Bechtel has been working with the local council to establish a housing price index, which they then use as a definitive guide to how much rent they will pay. “We had rentals on some homes where we paid $350 a week 12 months ago,” Kevin Berg, general manager of Bechtel’s local operations said recently. “Those 12 month leases are now coming due and they are asking for $850 a week so we vacate the house.” “The current rent on a four bedroom house is in the $500 range, so rather than agreeing to pay that higher rate and then creating or contributing to the escalation of rents we will actually relocate the family, which is not an easy thing to do after you have been in a home for a year.” Minister Struthers also wants resources companies to be more open about their expansion plans for the region.

She said one of the biggest problems facing town planning in places like Moranbah was that local councils simply did not know what to build for. “That was one of my first questions to the council - based on your assessments how many houses do you need to get this back on an even keel?” “But they simply do not know.” “A lot of the expansion plans of mining companies are kept under wraps - understandably - a lot of it is commercial in confidence information.” But she said resources companies needed to provide a clearer picture on workforce numbers - including a break down of local residents, FIFO and DIDO workers. “People are critical that we are not one step ahead of the game, but you can’t be one step ahead of the game if you don’t know what you’re planning for.” “It’s the chicken and the egg.” The cyclical nature of the resources sector means that just 18 months ago when the region was experiencing a downturn, the state government leased 100 social housing homes to BMA for its workers. The Minister says she’s asked for those

leases to be re-negotiated when they run out in mid-2012 and 2013. “The reality is that in the downturn in towns like Blackwater we were putting houses on the back of trucks and moving them to places where they were needed,” she said.

A LOOK AT MORANBAH: • 4000 houses/units - and of those: • 1000 owned by mining companies (BMA 700, Anglo American 250) • 600 owner occupied • 300 social housing • 2100 rental - 90 per cent interstate investors • ULDA planning 200-300 houses/units in 2012/2013 • BMA building 160 new homes by June 2013 • Anglo American building 50 new houses/units

Massive Mac village on the table for Moranbah A new 3200-room accommodation village is on the cards for the Moranbah, with the Mac Services Group applying for a development application. The Mac has had to apply through the Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA) for approval because the village would be located on a 50-hectare site in the south-west of the Moranbah Urban Development Area (UDA). The state government has just approved the development scheme for the area - and the community had identified the southwest corner as suitable for large scale non-

resident worker accommodation. The community will have 20 business days to make submissions on the application - but the submission period won’t open until late January after a public advertising campaign. The ULDA then has 40 days to make its decision. The Mac currently operates a 1200-room village at Moranbah. This application comes just months after the state government approved BMA’s giant Caval Ridge mine - which will operate on a 100 per cent FIFO workforce.

Those workers will be housed another new accommodation village on the outskirts of Moranbah called Buffel Park. The number of FIFO workers in the Isaac region has been the source of much publicity and local angst over the past 12 months. KPMG Demographer Bernard Salt estimates there are 19,800 non-resident workers living in accommodation villages in the region - and that will rise by more than 8000 a year for the next two years. Mirani Independent candidate Jim Pearce wants to see a levy introduced on FIFO and DIDO workers to generate funds

for local communities struggling to supply services and infrastructure. He has proposed a weekly $20 per head on all companies using commuting workers for their project construction and mining activities. “I am not suggesting that individual workers be made to pay the levy,” he said. “There is no doubt that these companies and their employment policies are changing the living standards of the coal towns and as such it is their responsibility to be community conscious, making contributions to the well-being of local communities.”

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Page 6 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011


127th EDITION. 2011

Grosvenor Dudgeon Point joins Abbot Point gets the green light THE board of Anglo American has approved the new $1.7 billion Grosvenor mine near Moranbah in the Bowen Basin. The underground mine will be built just south of Anglo’s Moranbah North mine, and is expected to produce five million tonnes of coking coal each year over a projected life of 26 years. The mine represents the first of the company’s new growth projects as it aims to triple production of coking coal from Australia over the next decade. In its first stages, the mine will consist of a single longwall, but Anglo is investigating adding a second longwall further down the track. The mine will target the same well-understood Goonyella Middle coal seam as Moranbah North, and coal will be processed at the existing coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) and train loading facilities at Moranbah North. The Grosvenor project has already received approval of its Environmental Impact Statement, and a mining lease is expected to be granted early next year. The CEO of Anglo American’s metallurgical coal business, Seamus French, said the company was creating a “Moranbah hub” which would drive a target of 12 per cent compound annual production growth by 2020. “Grosvenor and the wider hub will produce some of the highest quality coking coal in the world and represents a major investment commitment for the region,” he said. “Our longwall design model will enable us to replicate our approach across our expansion footprint, ensuring the transfer of best practice project efficiency, cost control and risk mitigation.” “We have also now received confirmation of our development rights from the Queensland government for the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port – a dedicated export facility that would have the capacity to accommodate the growth from our Moranbah hub.” The first coal from Grosvenor is expected in 2013, and the longwall will be commissioned in 2016.

ANOTHER massive coal port looks set to go ahead in Queensland - this time at Dudgeon Point, south of Mackay. The state government has announced that Indian infrastructure giant Adani and Canadian company the Brookfield Infastructure Group will both be awarded land to build two new terminals. Both developers have been allocated a 190 hectare parcel of land just north of the

existing Dalrymple Bay coal port - which Brookfield currently operates. The new port will have a capacity of 180 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), making it Australia’s second largest coal port behind Abbot Point near Bowen. The announcement comes just a fortnight after the Premier revealed nine coal terminals could operate out of Abbot Point under a $9 billion super-expansion which would see capacity at the port rise to 400mtpa. The project is worth an estimated $10 billion in investment and is expected to provide about 5000 jobs. Construction of the terminals will begin in 2013 if all the relevant approvals are obtained. “The developers will work closely with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation to now carry out a comprehensive environmental assessment as part of the overall development master planning process for the Hay Point area,” said the Premier Anna Bligh. “The Hay Point master plan is expected to be completed early next year followed by a draft Environmental Impact Statement

which will be released for public consultation mid-2012.” “The Coordinator General will be looking very closely at the project’s environmental, economic and social impacts to determine if they are acceptable before any approvals are granted.”

The proposed terminals at Dudgeon Point are expected to include:

• six rail loops and dump stations • large stockyards • eight new offshore berths • two jetties to the offshore wharves • rail spur line to Dudgeon Point • expanding Half Tide Tug Harbour to accommodate extra tugs • supporting infrastructure such as roads, buildings and barge facilities.

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“Our longwall design model will enable us to replicate our approach across our expansion footprint...” Page 7 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

127th EDITION. 2011

Qld gas expansion “world class” QUEENSLAND has the potential to become the world’s third biggest natural gas exporter within the next six years, the industry’s largest annual conference has been told in Brisbane. Noel Tomnay, Head of Global Gas for Wood Mackenzie told the 500 national and international delegates at the Queensland International Gas Symposium last week that optimistic projections place the state at the centre of the booming global market. He said as the Pacific Basin continues to develop its gas resources it makes more established production zones around the world look like “poor cousins”. “Australia is blessed with the right product at the right time at the right price,” he said. By as early as 2018 Queensland could be the world’s third largest exporter - but that relied on some variables, he said, particularly how quickly infrastructure was completed and new projects developed. Mr Tomnay was glowing in his description of what is occurring in the state. “This expansion is generally world class,” he said. “What is significant is the range of tech-

nology being applied in Queensland.” “If we look at the exploration success in LNG in the last 10 years Australia keeps adding gas and has added more gas in the last 10 years than anyone else in the world and that creates the platform for future sales and growth.” “The number of projects on the go once current ones are developed is staggering. No where else in the world is there that much LNG development but it is very much what Australia makes of it.” Premier Anna Bligh had earlier opened the two-day forum at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre. In welcoming delegates she told them the state had a positive future because of its ample gas resources. “Queensland is now not only leading the nation as an emerging LNG export hub for key markets in the Asia-Pacific region, we are also breaking new ground in research and development so we can develop the industry in a safe and sustainable manner,” the Premier said. “A lot of hard work has taken place to get the industry to where it is today. In a

BIG PLAYER: Wood Mackenzie’s Noel Tomnay says Qld will be huge on the world gas stag

little over 12 months, we have seen three projects worth $45 billion achieve final investment decision.” “These are the largest CSG to LNG

projects in the world and Queensland is a major international player as a result. The benefits we are creating from all this investment will be felt for many generations.”

CSG impact on water still unknown THE Queensland Water Commissioner has admitted the long term impacts of the coal seam gas industry on ground water supplies are not fully understood. The Commissioner Mary Boydell addressed the recent Queensland International Gas Symposium in Brisbane. She outlined the work being undertaken by her office to gather data and build up knowledge on how the burgeoning CSG industry will effect water tables. “Our knowledge is improving all the time,” she told the conference.

“The more drilling that is undertaken the richer our database and information is.” Commissioner Boydell said CSG-related water issues fell into the three categories: water level impact, contamination and disposal. But she said the long term impacts of the industry were not fully understood. “This is an evolving space and certainly our knowledge is evolving.” The Commissioner acknowledged there had been many references to water at the conference, and that indicated concern within the industry to get it right.

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To start your journey go to Page 8 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

NEW FIELD: Queensland’s Water Commissioner says it’s an “evolving” space

Communication still key says country mayor TO the experienced observer, Western Downs Regional Council mayor Ray Brown was a man swimming against the tide at the recent Queensland International Gas Symposium in Brisbane. After almost two days of pro-industry updates and breast-beating he fronted up for the after lunch speakers slot on the final day. And as all experienced circuit speakers know - and Cr Brown acknowledged - it’s the session where most delegates are more concerned with checking their phone or digesting lunch rather than listening to what’s being said. The body language of the 200 or so delegates - down from the previous day’s 500 when the Premier Anna Bligh opened the event - suggested Cr Brown was right. An engaging and polite man, the Western Downs mayor had decided to provide a few home truths to the industry that has changed almost every aspect of the communities he represents. To some he may have come across as a country mayor having a whinge but he was giving his update - and that involved an assessment of the impact of the CSG industry that swayed between highly positive and simply confronting.

He told delegates his region realised that with CSG it was on the cusp of something “absolutely huge” that was progressing so quickly his PowerPoint slides on the existing and planned developments were already out of date. As rents, roads and services struggled the region needed support - he continued - while acknowledging the Premier’s Fund had offered some help but not enough. “We do struggle with it (development),” he told delegates. “We have communities out there facing the impacts right now. We need money put into the community to help right now.” The regional council is facing a re-think on staffing as workers depart for the highlypaid resources sector, and long-term locals can’t afford to live in the region any more because of skyrocketing rents. Meanwhile, whole villages are set to double in size. More than 40 major companies are currently operating in the region and there are more knocking on the door. Cr Brown was quick to point out the silver lining on the CSG cloud had been the opportunities it had brought to the region. Properly managed - he said - these would

provide a greater future for the region’s young people who, in the past, had left the rural district for work. Other positives had been the improving infrastructure and social opportunities now in the region’s towns, such as Dalby. The challenges of finding the balance as development continues will remain. Communication is key, Cr Brown said, and great progress had been made despite the major companies “getting it wrong” in the early stages. Mayor Brown said the first contact with rural landholders was always crucial and that might involve something as simple as calling in and having a cup of tea rather than sending a letter. He said the government and industry needed to ensure the right information was provided to all people in the community on issues that affect them. The underlying message of the address was for companies to be more mindful of the residents and what’s important to them - but it is questionable how many were really listening as the race for resources continues.

STIRRING STUFF: Mayor Ray Brown gave an honest account of the CSG industry’s impact on his region

“We have communities out there facing the impacts right now.”

CSG companies to demonstrate bush skills RESOURCE companies are to pull on the Akubra to prove a point to their rural neighbours that mining and farming can co-exist. Origin Energy and Santos are establishing demonstration farms that will use water from their coal seam gas (CSG) operations. Origin with run the 1100 hectare Monreagh property, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane, with 20 CSG wells and water from its Talinga CSG facility on the other side of the Condamine River. The facility can produce 20 megalitres

of water a day - and up to a third of that will be piped to Monreagh. The property will have a live-in manager and grow a range of crops. A local grazier will also agist 5000 head of cattle on the property. Meanwhile, Santos has built a 240 megalitre dam on a western Queensland property where it will provide the owners with water left over from its CSG operations. The property runs cattle, and the water will be used to grow feed crops.

Monreagh Farm Manager Stuart Gray, who will live on-site with his family and run the property.

Page 9 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011


127th EDITION. 2011

Smart thinking changes train safety A throwaway comment from a bystander has led to the development of a new system that could revolutionise coal train safety. Electrical and automation engineering company Multiskilled Resources Australia has just won the 2011 HunterNet Chairman’s Innovation Award for its “Vision System”. The system uses hardware and software linked to several cameras to monitor train wagon conditions including unlocked or jammed doors, locked wheels, hot wheels as well as train speed and direction. Open wagon doors are a big safety risk for train drivers, and can lead to derailments. In fact, Multiskilled director and principal engineer Ken Hipwell said the brainwave for the invention came after an accident. “After the derailment a guy standing nearby commented ‘gee it would be great if there was something to make sure the doors were properly closed’.”

“That was our cue to start designing a system that eliminates human error.” While a human always checks to see if wagon doors are shut after unloading, the new system is much more accurate at detecting problems. “We have refined this to the point that it will miss one wagon in 15 years,” said Mr Hipwell. “As the train moves past the camera at the docking station, the driver will get a message instantaneously if there is a problem.” “He can then stop the train and sort it out.” The system has been trialled at a dump station in Newscastle for the past 18 months, and at least one rail provider is extremely interested purchasing the system. Multiskilled has opened an office in Mackay during the past 12 months and is currently working with Adani at Abbot Point on a job automating and refurbishing stacker reclaimers.

“We have refined this to the point that it will miss one wagon in 15 years.”

INNOVATIVE THINKING: Multiskilled directors Doug Lithgow and Ken Hipwell with their award

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Visiting Moranbah, Proserpine, Sarina & Northern Beaches Advanced Hearing Aid and Audiological Specialists e


Page 10 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

Grant Collins Audiologist B.PSYCH(DIST)., M.AUDST., MAUDSA(CCP)

Jodie Miles Audiologist B.SPATH(HONS)., M.AUDST., MAUDSA(CCP)

around town 127th EDITION. 2011


Rain coats and umbrellas proved to be the most popular accessory to bring to end of year Christmas celebrations in Moranbah.  Stormy conditions may have shortened some celebrations,  but the weather failed to dampen the community’s Christmas spirit!







Page 11 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

around town 127th EDITION. 2011


Little Miss Kronk

Tis the season to be jolly, and Blackwater has been buzzing with Christmas parties this month. See who we’ve snapped at the T&J Whitehouse Christmas party, the Rotary Carols night and the Blackwater North and Blackwater High Christmas parties.

Lachlan Anderson

Megan Latchford and Trent White

Murray and Deb Haigh

Cassie and Petrina

Alana Cruickshank and Frank Maschke

Ian and June Huxley

Delaney and Tyler

Kathy North, Lisa Dawson & Scott Beddow

Stan Vipen and Kelly Gannon

Abbie Green, Melissa Dwyer & Kellie Burrett

Josh, Kelly and Nadia

Joye Beath and Leanne Cracknell

Jenny Napper and Kerry Anderson

Alan and Allyson Gray

Cameron Twaddle, Mitchell Brown and Alistair Gyemore

Sharna, Tracey and Jo

Mandy-Jo and Gabby Morris

Jasmine Lumley

Michelle and Abby-Rose Rogers

Holding a social event you want photographed?  Call the Shift Miner office on 4921 4333 to let us know.  You can also give our office a bell if you’d like a copy of any of the photos in this edition.

Page 12 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

around town 127th EDITION. 2011

Esme and Mike

Ryan and Rosita Sparreboom

Lylaan Crous

Mimmo Cisternino, Jo and Jo Coppo

Melanie Ives Caitlin Renn and Yolande Stephenseon

Laureen Fenner, Jane Napper and Donna Flint

Zack and Stella Hare

 Ty Mayne and Jess Dibley

Marita Ahern and Sarah Hansen

Vil and Al

Phil and Desley Storch

Helen and Steve Wood

Kate Tankey and Marty Thompson

Matt and Jess Cashman

Ian and Caroline Hare

Julie and Greg Fox

Matt Wiseman and Charmaine Leorke

Rodney and Lynda Rogers

Clinton and Shandahl

Greg and Cheryl Brumby

Damien Berlin and Julie Sparreboom

BUY THIS AND MANY OTHER IMAGES AT Shift Miner magazine – bringing the mining community closer together Page 13 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

stuff to the editor 127th EDITION. 2011

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increase in a dramatic mine has been THERE l Queensland e on centra f-year fatigu near misses rs battle end-o mas. Christ sites as worke upation with all workand a preocc menaces affliction it’s a high The same of year, but this time a minor distrac places at when site on stakes game life. the can cost a Whyte said Tim tion or error cer offi calls. CFMEU safety seen a spike in close fhave nts, it’s eye-of last six weeks all small incide of stuff,� he “They are sort elsewhere mind ll, the-ba Magazine. ness’ onal aware told Shift Miner ‘loss of situati up’.� “It’s called for ‘I just f*cked missnew term of the near which is the lot a said ng in close Mr Whyte nes worki ed machi es involv s, to other digger proximity. s too close said. “It’s digger trucks,� he close to other have also trucks too er storms the summ The first of and s on site. truck slides caused hazard too many seeing to meet “We are ng their speed not reduci operators ions.� with safety the condit so bombarded the biggest of Miners are s, that one rs to pay and target messages getting worke ’t just on site is challenges warning doesn so the latest attention noise. and fade into white not care about figures figures “Miners do ly performance month the getting . Mr Whyte man on down,� said g to the nothin “That means d page 6 the ground.�

I tell you what those girls on the front were enough of a distraction to take me mind off the job!! R.D, Blackwater Thanx for your article on safety at xmas - every year I wait to hear the bad news about a friend of colleague being hurt or worse. It’s just that time of year when people’s minds aren’t on the job. T.D, Emerald Keep safe on our roads this xmas. Better to make it home and be late. E.S, Mackay

The expected growth in new resources projects means an extra 5000 megawatts of electricity, 20,000 megalitres of water and 40,000 workers, according to the QRC. That’s interesting news for readers: If we need 40,000 more workers in mining - what will the industry look like in 5 years time? It’ll be full of green skins and overseas workers. Not enough training being done now - it’s pathetic. F.D, Rockhampton Maybe they could look at using CSG water? W.D, Brisbane

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Our article on CQ’s X Factor and how lifestyle (read fishing and 4WDing) lure workers to the region is no suprise to those of you already living in the region. No better place than CQ. I just hope it doesn’t get too busy. R.D, Rocky When I’m not at work I’m fishing. I guess that makes me a statistic! W.F, Mackay

And, as always, Frank the Tank’s fan mail pours in: Frank - you are a man after my own heart. If only I had followed your advice earlier in life I wouldn’t be married and broke. E.D, Emerald For a man like Frank, paternity suits are always going to be a problem. B.M, Dysart


Got something to share? Send us your text messages or phone photos to 0428 154 653 Or email to

Text to 0428 154 653

Tune into the Michael J. Breakfast show from 7:35 am every Monday for 4RO's CQ Mining Update, with special guest Angus from Shift Miner.

Michael Bailey

Greg Cary

Alan Jones

Laurie Atlas

Weekdays 5am - 9am


Page 14 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

Weekdays 12pm - 1pm PHONE: 1300 872 911

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SALES ENQUIRIES: (07) 4920 2000


Fair Dinkum! IN BRITAIN – Police have arrested a man after a fight broke out at a school nativity play near the city of Newcastle. The 32-year-old victim was taken to hospital for medical treatment after his finger was bitten off. No comment was made as to whether medical staff were able to save the appendage. Police say that children did not witness the attack as they were inside preparing for their performance.

IN POLAND – A couple were ejected from a water park after they were busted having sex on a waterslide. They were spotted on CCTV taking a long time to ‘get ready’ for their trip down the slide. Security was waiting for the couple at the bottom of the ride, where they were promptly ejected from the park. A spokesman for the park was quoted as saying, “This is a family pool and water park and we want everyone to have fun, but not that sort of fun.”

IN GERMANY – A 15-year-old girl suffered vomiting and short term memory loss after she was poisoned at a Berlin marketplace by a man dressed as Santa Claus. The girl was given free alcohol by the man, which was later revealed by doctors to contain an ‘unidentified substance.’ It is the eighth poisoning in a week at the same Berlin marketplace. Police are uncertain whether the man dressed as Santa Claus is responsible for carrying out the other poisonings.

IN MELBOURNE – A recent study has revealed that driving with a full bladder is just as dangerous as driving sleep deprived, or with a 0.05 blood alcohol level. The study showed that cognition remained relatively normal until someone “absolutely positively” needed to visit the toilet. At that point the level of impairment in a driver is comparable to being tipsy, or having been awake for 24 hours. The study won an Ig Nobel Prize, which honours achievements that first make people laugh, and then makes them think.

Boom leaves inspectors scrambling THERE are not enough safety inspectors to keep up with Queensland’s rapidly expanding mining industry. The State’s mines inspectorate has long had problems with recruitment - given the big money that can be made working for companies in the industry. That pressure is intensifying as new mining provinces - like the Galilee and Surat basins - open up, and a raft of new mines and big expansion projects in the Bowen Basin come on line. “We just don’t have enough inspectors to cover the new mines starting up,” said the Commissioner for Mine Safety Stewart Bell. “It is very hard, we have vacancies at the

moment and are again looking at another overseas recruitment drive.” The department is also looking to locate a team of inspectors in Emerald to service the Galilee Basin. “But we will have to make it a fairly attractive offer because most will think if I am living in Emerald I may as well work in the mines.” Commissioner Bell said the job did tend to appeal to a certain demographic within the mining community. “We get a lot of people in their mid to late 50s who don’t want to work really long hours and don’t want the constant pressure of being a mine manager.”

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Frank the Tank’s

“Streakin” good love advice I’ve been seeing my girlfriend for three years now, and every year I buy her a fairly expensive Christmas present. This year I’m very light on cash though, and I’m afraid she’s going to be expecting something bigger and better than last year. How can I get my girlfriend a gift she’ll love on a budget? Craig, Emerald I wish I had the ability to send letters back in time, Craig, because I could have helped you extensively right from the very beginning. The only time you should ever buy a woman a present that’s even close to being expensive is when she knows something that might send you to jail. I had to spend a fortune on a gold necklace for my ex-wife after she caught me selling footage of her in the shower to teenagers on the internet. Truth be told, the necklace wasn’t real gold, but then again, most of the ‘interesting’ parts on my ex-wife were fake as well, so I figured it was rather fitting. Don’t beat yourself up though, Craig, you’re not the first man to think that he

Sensible Susan Craig, As the old adage goes, it’s the thought that counts, not how much the gift is worth. If you’re really worried however, maybe you could suggest to your girlfriend

can wrestle the balance of relationship power from their girlfriend by buying her expensive gifts. What most men don’t know, however, is that buying a woman a gift sends a clear signal to your lady friend that you like her, and once she knows that it’s game over my friend. When your girlfriend’s birthday is coming up you’ll naturally be tempted to rush out and buy a present to impress her. Resist these urges and plan a fishing trip on that day, ensure that you return home from fishing extremely drunk and smelling of pilchards. She’ll be very upset, but then come Christmas, when you don’t go fishing she’ll be so impressed that you could give her a box of horse manure as a gift and she’ll absolutely love it. If you’re not prepared to take the hard line approach and upset your girlfriend with frequent fishing trips, subscriptions to mail order pornography, and surprise anniversary dinners at your local strip club then I have one other tactic that might work for you. A lot of people go on holidays around Christmas time, so spend a bit of time spying on your neighbours. When you notice someone appears to have gone for a substantial amount of time, break into their house and steal some gifts for your girlfriend. A word of warning though, don’t steal from anyone your girlfriend might be friends with, you’ll have a hard time explaining to Bill and Alice from next door why their TV is in your lounge room when your girlfriend invites them over to watch the footy. Frank.

that this year it might be nice to exchange gifts you have to make yourself. You could make her something thoughtful, like a photo album of you guys together, or maybe even something as simple as an old fashioned mix tape (although that is very eighties). In any case, I’m sure your girlfriend hasn’t stuck with you for three years just to receive a ‘fairly expensive’ Christmas present every year. My advice, don’t stress and enjoy the festive season. Susan.

If you have a question for Frank and Susan Email Us at:

Page 15 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

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Page 16 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

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Never Again

I don’t know for the life of me why I do it. I mean, I know what my reasons are, it’s just that my reasons: they don’t make any sense. The reasons are one reason really, and that reason is money. Money, and maybe a few other things, but mostly just money. But there are some things that money can’t buy – that’s what doesn’t make sense – but here I am trying to buy them all again. Here I am, a few hundred ks west of the middle of nowhere, on Christmas day, working myself to the bone, while my wife and little one are at home doing Christmas by themselves. Except I think they’re all at her mother’s this year, so her mother’s probably telling her what a complete waste of time I am, and a derelict husband and a useless father, and an alcoholic, of course. Meantime, I’m out here working harder in one day then her nineto-five desk-jockey husband ever did in a week of his precious flexitime, civil-servant, working life. I don’t know why I do it, but someone’s gotta do it. That’s the other reason, I suppose: someone’s got to do it: and I can, and they’re paying a small fortune to keep this place running, so it’s crazy not to, isn’t it? But I’m doing it, and it still feels crazy. What’s with that? Is it my wife’s fault maybe, because she doesn’t ever complain? She never nags, or says, can’t you stay home this Christmas? Can’t you be here with me, and your daughter? She just smiles, with sad eyes, and she cries a little bit and says sorry and that she understands, and

that she really appreciates me, and the work I’m doing, and the opportunities that I’m giving her, and Louise. Would I stop working Christmas if she asked me to? Maybe; or maybe I’d get angry and all defensive and blow up about it. That’s probably closer to the truth, isn’t it? So maybe I just wanted it this way the whole time, even if it’s pure torture now just thinking of them halfway across the state, and me here working for some great big mining company that surely must have enough profit for the year already, but no, they’ve got to keep moving more dirt and scraping out more coal, and railing more trains, and getting more and more of that black stuff onto the boats and over to the other side of the world so everyone in Japan or India or China can have more steel and electricity and enjoy their up-and-coming middle-class lives together with their families. No, that’s it. No, I’ve just decided, I don’t want it anymore. I’ve been an idiot – I’ll grant you that – but it’s over, as of right now. Never again: this is the last Christmas I’m working, I promise you. I promise myself, and I promise my family. I’ll finish this tour, because I said that I would, but I’ll never do it again. Now that I’ve decided, suddenly, I’m crying, like a girl, but I don’t care. I’ll ring her up tonight and tell her, never again sweetheart, and maybe she’ll cry too. Maybe she won’t believe me, but next year: next year, she’ll know that it’s true. Never again.

Bernard S. Jansen is 32, married has three young boys. He lives in Emerald, works as an engineer at a local coal mine and is active in his local church. Read more of Bernard’s writing online at or email him at GOT AN IDEA FOR A STORY? Let Bernard know - email him at or hop on his blog

Page 17 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011



Out wide, and people are catching queen fish and trevally and tobia. The spear fishing is also good - especially if you fancy a coral trout.

With the school holidays upon us, there is nothing better to do than take the kids out crabbing. And Tony from the Secret Spot at Yeppoon reckons you can’t go wrong at the moment. “With the big storms we’ve had stirring everything up it’s just great,” he said. “There are crabs everywhere from Coorooman Creek right up to Corio Bay.” “The place is absolutely crawling with them.” There are plenty of bream, flathead and whiting still about in the estuaries as well and Corio Bay is throwing up the odd salmon on live baits. Tony says there have been lots of reports of guys are accidentally hooking barra while fishing on live baits - but given the season is closed you have to throw them back. “We advise that you don’t pull the hook out of them, just cut off the line and let them go as quickly as you can,” he said.

FISHING IN MACKAY The weather has picked up in Mackay, and the fishing is looking good into Christmas and beyond. “It’s not too bad at all,” smiles Bruce from Nashy’s Compleat Angler. “The prawns are jumping - they are widespread from creeks south of Sarina to north of St Helens.” The best time to catch them is on the low tide. While the crabs aren’t going gang busters, it’s still worth throwing in the pots. “It’s not wasted effort, put it that way,” said Bruce. “Grunter and salmon are also having a bit of a chew, but a lot of boats are land

based rather than getting off shore at the moment just with the winds.”

FISHING IN GLADSTONE The crabs are also running in Gladstone - so get your pots in to ensure you’re feasting on the sweet meat this Christmas. The creeks are jumping with everything from flathead to bream... so take the kids down for some school holiday fun. Out wide has been a bit dicey with the wind, but if it cuts out over the next week there should be plenty of red fish about. Anecdotally, it seems the number of fish with skin problems in the region is on the decline. If you have a good photo or fishing yarn send it through to our resident bait chucker-

Tide Times


MACKAY Gladstone

Mon 19 Tue 20 Wed 21 Thu 22 Fri 23 Sat 24 Sun 25 Time Ht Time Ht

Time Ht

Time Ht

Time Ht Time Ht Time Ht

0359 3.39 0511 3.67 0614 3.96 0036 0.70 0130 0.58 0220 0.51 0307 0.49 1012 1.42 1128 1.25 1234 1.03 0709 4.23 0758 4.41 0846 4.51 0931 4.53 1607 3.52 1718 3.50 1826 3.52 1332 0.81 1424 0.65 1512 0.55 1558 0.53 2233 0.96 2337 0.83

1925 3.57 2018 3.61 2107 3.64 2153 3.63

0555 4.65 0036 0.87 0135 0.65 0231 0.48 0321 0.37 0409 0.32 0454 0.35 1209 1.64 0701 5.08 0800 5.50 0853 5.84 0940 6.08 1026 6.20 1110 6.19 1805 4.75 1323 1.39 1429 1.10 1526 0.87 1618 0.71 1705 0.64 1750 0.67

1911 4.78 2012 4.82 2107 4.84 2159 4.84 2247 4.82 2333 4.76

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Page 18 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

MACKAY Gladstone

Mon 26 Tue 27 Wed 28 Thu 29 Fri 30 Sat 31 Sun 1 Time Ht Time Ht Time Ht Time Ht Time Ht Time Ht Time Ht 0351 0.55 0432 0.69 0509 0.89 0001 3.39 0043 3.27 0129 3.16 0227 3.10 1014 4.46 1057 4.31 1138 4.11 0544 1.13 0619 1.39 0705 1.63 0818 1.83 1641 0.59 1722 0.71 1802 0.88 1217 3.87 1255 3.62 1339 3.37 1432 3.17 2237 3.59 2320 3.50

1840 1.06 1920 1.22 2006 1.36 2105 1.44

0537 0.47 0017 4.65 0100 4.50 0144 4.33 0232 4.17 0329 4.05 0443 4.05 1152 6.06 0619 0.70 0659 1.01 0739 1.37 0824 1.76 0921 2.12 1043 2.34 1832 0.78 1233 5.80 1313 5.47 1354 5.09 1439 4.69 1533 4.32 1646 4.06

1912 0.95 1952 1.16 2034 1.37 2123 1.56 2222 1.70 2331 1.71


Sprucing up your bachelor pad…on a budget CHRISTMAS is a fantastic time of year, unfortunately it can have quite a devastating impact on the old bank balance. Suppose the new year comes around and you want to spruce up your place, but when you open your wallet to check out the situation there’s nothing but cobwebs. Don’t despair just yet, for there are many ways to spruce up your bachelor pad that won’t break the bank. Say you’ve got hardwood floors in desperate need of a polish, should you pay a professional hundreds of dollars to sand and polish your floor? Of course not, just go to your local thrift store and buy a couple of used rugs and use them to cover up the most damaged parts of your floor. Similarly, your new year’s festivities might have gotten a little too festive and left you with some damage to the walls of your house. Don’t pay a plasterer to fix the wall, buy a cheap painting and hang it over the damaged area, your friends will compliment you on your appreciation of the arts.

A lot of houses have white walls, if there’s any damage to the paintwork (and your walls are white) you can save a fortune by using white-out to touch up the damaged spots. Sure, the brush is a bit smaller than your conventional paint roller, but the savings are well worth it. If there’s a serious problem with your house, for example a leaking roof, or a backyard so overgrown you need a machete to get from one side to other you might need to take more drastic action. Using licensed professionals is advisable, but it’s also extremely expensive. Text all your friends and tell them you’re having a barbecue, when they arrive inform them that the barbecue will take place after the ‘surprise’ working bee. For the cost of a tray of sausages and a carton of beer you can clear your backyard, fix your roof and maybe finally discover what’s been living in your ceiling. If you follow these few handy hints your house will be looking like Buckingham Palace in no time, without affecting your bank balance.

Page 19 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011



I love this time of year, and nothing gets me into the spirit of things like a good Christmas movie or two. Year after year I just can’t let the festive season go by without watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Packed with one liners and a veritable buffet of slapstick comedy gold, Christmas Vacation is an undisputed classic for comedy lovers. Chevy Chase reprises one of his most

Merry Christmas Clark Griswold memorable roles as well-meaning bungler, Clark Griswold. As Christmas approaches Clark decides he’s going to make it one to remember for his family, right down to the last detail. The film then follows the Griswold family’s disastrous attempts at getting into the Christmas spirit. There’s a light display that could be seen from space, a Christmas tree that contains live animals and leaks flammable sap, and of course, an insufferable visit by the in-laws. Randy Quaid plays ‘Cousin Eddie’, the Griswold’s dimwitted cousin-in-law, and provides some of the film’s most hilarious moments. Amidst the turmoil of hosting Christmas, Clark Griswold anxiously awaits his Christmas bonus cheque, with which he plans to use to buy his family a swimming pool. When his mean spirited boss cancels Christmas bonuses Clark Griswold has a meltdown and does the only logical thing, kidnaps him and attempts to force

him to pay him his bonus. What makes Christmas Vacation so enjoyable is the fact that the Griswold’s dysfunctional holiday celebrations remind us of an over-the-top version of our own Christmas celebrations. Everybody has an uncle that likes to have too much to drink on Christmas day, a set of meddling in-laws, or a relative that always goes overboard with the decorations. Despite the dysfunctional nature of the Griswold’s family Christmas, the film still manages to deliver a heartwarming message about the holiday season, and although some may find it a bit cheesy, it doesn’t detract from the comedic elements of the movie. Featuring a number of recognisable faces (for example, Johnny Galecki from The Big Bang Theory, Julia Louis-Dreyfus from Seinfeld and Doris Roberts from Everybody Loves Raymond) Christmas Vacation is a must watch during the festive season. If you’ve never seen the film before, or even

if you have, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy, it’s sure to make your Christmas vacation a bit more jolly.

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Page 20 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

Heat develops big storms Week 1 - Temperatures jumped into the high thirties preceding severe storms on the weekend of the 10-11Dec. Collinsville recorded, 70mm, Springsure 65mm and Emerald 34mm from large storms. There were reports of hail in Capricornia and tornadic winds knocking down large gum trees and trees taking out power lines in Rocky. After the dry November the Coalfields is on track to reach above average totals in most places. The Upper Dawson jumped up 4 metres to minor flood levels about Taroom. After the relatively cooler relief late last week more heat starts the week. Storms over the Central West and Warrego encroach into the western parts during mid to late week. Camping near the rivers could be a problem just before Xmas. Yes, it should be a muggy affair over the Xmas turkey/chicken.

Boaties - the winds should ease by Tuesday. Watch rain north of Mackay. It may move south. Afternoon sea breezes could be a problem. Week 2 - The SOI has risen to +17. Not seen for months. The Monsoon in the north should be starting, which means we have to watch for lows developing in the tropics. This could affect the North Tropical Coast and move into the Central Coast. Particularly into the New Year. It could be a could be very dangerous for the young BOATIE. Take extra care with any trips over the Festive Season and double check the WEATHER. Have a Safe and Happy Xmas.

Your Health 127th EDITION. 2011

EXPERT ADVICE For those too busy or embarrassed to ask the important questions about their health Dear Tammy, What’s the best way to deal with stress? I’m working long hours, I’ve just found out I’m about to become a dad again, Christmas is just around the corner and I feel like I’m about to explode from the pressure of it all. Help! Stress Head Dear Stress Head, Not surprisingly, the festive season can bring on a whole lot of stressful issues for a whole lot of people and it sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate at present. When it comes to stress, one of your greatest weapons of defense is recognising you have stress then putting in place ways to deal with it. It sounds like you’ve got the first bit figured out so here’s some ways to help manage your stres: . 1. Get some mates around you to give you a bit of support – having mates to talk to (even over a quiet cold one) can just help take the edge off your stress levels 2. Change your attitude and outlook – look at the positives in your life and learn to have a good laugh 3. If you feel like you’re about to explode stop and slow down your breathing. Spending just two minutes focusing on your breathing works wonders at calming you down

4. Plan ahead – sit down with your partner and talk about the baby, finances, and Christmas then map out a plan for how you are going to tackle each situation. Taking back control of a situation can greatly reduce your stress levels 5. Exercise. Exercise on a regular basis can help turn down the production of stress hormones the body produces 6. Take a break from work. Whether that is a lunch break, coffee break or taking a day off work to relax and unwind, do it. Speak to your supervisor about better managing your hours without damaging your pay packet 7. If you feel you need more, talk to someone at work or your GP about stress-management or counselling

Choc Coconut Christmas Balls Makes 50 Christmas is full of indulgences and this recipe is no exception. These Christmas balls are somewhere between a conventional chocolate and a chocolate biscuit. Perfect to serve for afternoon tea or even give as a small Christmas gift. The kids will have fun helping to make these too.

Until next time, stay healthy, stay informed.

Tammy Farrell is a registered nurse, nutritionist and author of ‘The Real Man’s Toolbox – A DIY Health Manual for Men’. Tammy grew up in the Hunter Valley with two brothers in the local coal mines. In 2007, she started to give health talks in the Hunter, and that’s when she began compiling the book, helping hundreds of men answer questions about their bodies.

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Place chocolate in a microwavesafe bowl. Microwave on medium-high (75%) for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring with a metal spoon every 30 seconds or until smooth.( Alternatively the chocolate can be melted using a bain-marie.) Add chocolate, condensed milk, 1/2 cup coconut and cherries to crumbed biscuits. Mix to combine. Place remaining coconut in a seperate bowl. Using damp hands, roll one level tablespoon mixture into a ball. Roll in coconut to coat. Place on prepared tray. Repeat with remaining mixture and coconut. Place tray in the fridge to set for an KRXURUXQWLOÂżUP TIP: For an adult only option add a few splashes of Baileys or your favourite dark spirit.

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Page 21 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011


Townhouses lure in new buyers & investors

TOWNHOUSES are becoming an increasingly popular choice of housing for Queensland buyers, renters and investors according to the latest Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) research. The REIQ September quarter median unit and townhouse report found that about 20 per cent of all unit sales over the quarter were townhouses. The growth in the development of townhouse complexes over the past 10 years has

helped to change the landscape of Queensland’s residential property and rental markets, according to the REIQ. Analysis of Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) data shows that the number of three-bedroom townhouses being rented in Queensland has increased more than 80 per cent in a decade. By comparison rented two-bedroom units have grown by only two per cent and rented three-bedroom houses by just three

director Dan Molloy said. “They are attractive to buyers who desire a larger property, which is still affordable, but is located closer to the city or entertainment precincts.� “Many people, whether they are buyers or renters, still want a three-bedroom property but don’t want the hassle of general home maintenance such as spending your weekend mowing the lawn or weeding the garden, so townhouses can offer the perfect solution.� While two bedroom units and three or four bedroom houses remain the backbone of Queensland’s rental stock, the continued development of townhouses will likely underpin growth in this sector of the rental and sales markets in the years ahead. Over the September quarter, REIQ sales figures show the number of preliminary sales of all units and townhouses in Queensland increased seven per cent compared to June. There was a marked increase in the number of unit and townhouse sales under $500,000 across the state, especially sales between $250,000 and $350,000, which were up 18 per cent compared to the June quarter, Mr Molloy said. Median prices eased in many areas, partly due to the rise in sales within this more affordable band of properties.

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per cent over the same period. A solid performer was Rockhampton which recorded a 7.2 per cent growth in its median unit and townhouse price to $289,500, partially due to the sale of properties within new unit or townhouse developments in the city. Townsville also performed well by posting a median price increase of 4.4 per cent to $320,000 over the quarter driven mainly by the sale of new stock. Brisbane performed poorly in comparison with median unit and townhouse prices decreasing 0.7 per cent to $392,250 over the quarter. The preliminary numbers of sales was up 18 per cent compared to the June quarter. The top three locations for rental townhouses by postcode in Brisbane were postcode 4113, which includes Runcorn and Eight Mile Plains; postcode 4152 which includes Carina and Carindale; and postcode 4122 which includes Mansfield and Mount Gravatt East. Most other suburbs returned weaker data. And when it comes to buying a townhouse, the REIQ figures show people are often attracted by the best of both worlds characteristic of this type of housing. “Townhouses are usually priced midway between houses and units so they are the best of both worlds really,� REIQ managing

Nerang The owners are retiring creating an opportunity to acquire a fully set-up and approved Hydroponic Farm currently supplying loose leaf lettuce to cafes and restaurants on the Gold Coast. Other features are:r"MNPTUBDSFT rCFESPPNTDPUUBHF rMBSHFTIFENYN rQIBTFQPXFS Alternatively the Owners are also prepared to sell the property without the Hydroponic Equipment.

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Page 22 - Shift Miner Magazine, 19th December 2011

Premium Queensland business and industrial news



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Notice to sell for Surat landholders THE state government will buy back land from about 60 central Queensland landholders to make way for the Surat Basin rail corridor. The 214-kilometre rail line from Wandoan to Banana is critical to opening up new mines in the Surat Basin, and will supply coal to the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal currently being built at Gladstone. The rail corridor has been placed within what is known as a State Development Area (SDA). The Coordinator General recently gave approval for the development scheme for the area, meaning the state can now compulsorily acquire the land.

Landholders began receiving letters in the mail last week - and that triggers the formal process of negotiating compensation. Rees R & Sydney Jones partner Andrew Palmer has been handling property resumptions in central Queensland for 15 years. “My advice to landholders is always exercise your right to object,” he said. Mr Palmer said when compensation was worked out, it included more than just the value of the land being resumed. In this particular instance, some landholders will face the reality of a block that has been split into two by the SDA. “For example, water points might need to


Comet Downs sold to Xstrata The development of Xstrata’s $800 million Togara North coal mine in the southern Bowen Basin has taken a major step forward with the purchase of a key piece of real estate. If approved, the thermal coal mine would be located halfway between Blackwater and Emerald - land that is currently part of the Comet Downs cattle station owned by the Armstrong family. Shift Miner Magazine understands an agreement between the family and Xstrata to buy the land was struck recently.

“Negotiations have been going on for months, but last week the chief executive of Xstrata Coal was on the property, saying he wanted to get the deal done,” said a source close to the deal. “My understanding is that they wanted to get the project through before the carbon tax takes effect.” The price and other details of the sale are unknown because of a confidentiality agreement included in the sale contract. It’s understood the Armstrong family, who have relocated to Emerald, will continue to graze cattle on the property.

be moved, or new cattle yards built because of the severance of the land,” said Mr Palmer. However the Surat Basin Rail project is being handled differently to the Hancock Rail project, which affects landholders in the northern Bowen Basin. The Coordinator General has declared the Hancock project to be one of “state significance.” The key difference is that Hancock will need to individually negotiate with landholders, and the state government can only compulsorily acquire land if a compensation deal is not struck. For Surat Basin landholders, their land is

automatically acquired and they must negotiate directly with the state government. “From my point of view, I think it’s unfortunate that we see the state government fighting battles for individual companies,” said Mr Palmer. He said that unlike the private sector, the state government did not work with commercial realities in mind. “In fact, they have an obligation to minimise public expense and try to pay as little as possible in terms of compensation.” “For landholders it means there is much less scope to negotiate, because their bargaining position from the start is much weaker.”

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