OPINION: Absence of impartial planning system

RECENT donation revelations concerning AGL’s Gloucester Gas Project raise deep community concerns about its approval and future operation.
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The project was hurriedly approved under the former Part 3A provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act by an outgoing government that was in caretaker mode.

Such practice, though not illegal under planning law, was highly irregular and caused much criticism at the time.

However, that situation was worsened by the assessment procedure.

The Planning Assessment Commission was supposed to provide an independent assessment made at arm’s-length from the planning pressures of the time but examination of the process shows it was anything but independent.

The Director-General’s 64-page Environmental Assessment Report (November 2010) concluded with the recommendation that the Planning Assessment Commission approve the project and sign the attached instrument of project approval.

The Planning Assessment Commission responded by acknowledging the inadequacy of geological and groundwater assessments but accepted the Department’s position that the project could be satisfactorily developed using the adaptive management process.

Obtaining proper environmental assessment was doomed from this point.

The use of adaptive management overrides the application of the precautionary principal as required by Commonwealth environmental law but the applicant’s mere assertion that the precautionary principle had been considered was sufficient to satisfy the excessively liberal Part 3A planning provisions.

The Planning Assessment Commission accordingly approved the project with 13 operational conditions which, although providing nominal improvement, did not address the critical deficiencies in the assessment and approval process.

We are now aware of the political donations made by AGL at the time.

AGL’s present lack of social licence for the project and the deep community concern are natural developments from the inadequate planning procedure and the recent revelations.

No amount of AGL publicity, promises and propaganda can rectify the problem. In consideration of all the issues we can but regret the absence of an honest and impartial planning system.

Garry Smith

Gloucester

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Symposium: impact of global crises on NSW

The Community Relations Commission for a multicultural NSW ( CRC)) Symposium whichattracts community leaders from all around our State will this week discuss the impact oncommunities in NSW of conflicts and other humanitarian crises in other parts of the world in Parramatta today.
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The Chief Executive Officer of the CRC, Mr. Hakan Harman, said: “This is a difficulttime for many communities in NSW affected by overseas conflicts.

“The conflicts in Gaza, Iraq and Syria and elsewhere clearly have real implicationsfor people with family and community connections in those parts of the world.

“There is a humanitarian crisis unfolding in many parts of the Middle East andacross other parts of the World today, and our thoughts are with the innocent victimsof these conflicts.

“NSW is home to people who have come from every corner of the world. Many havefled places of conflict and strive to find peace and security in this beautiful State”, hesaid.

Asked why Parramatta was chosen as the locaiton,Mr Harman said:“Parramatta is the geographical, commercial and cultural capital of Western Sydney and is the heart of greater Sydney.

“Parramatta represents a diverse multicultural community with 45% of its population being born overseas and over 40% from Non English Speaking Backgrounds”.

On 20 August 2014, the CRC’s annual symposium will carry the theme, The impacton communities in NSW of conflicts in other parts of the world’.

“The symposium is an opportunity for communities to come together anddemonstrate ‘harmony in action’.

“We want NSW to set an example for the world, to show how people can livetogether in peaceful coexistence.

“The NSW Government stood by the cultural and religious communities of NSW intheir united opposition to proposed changes to the federal Racial Discrimination Act.

Now it is more important than ever that we protect all communities from vilificationand extremist hate.

“Whatever happens in other parts of the world, the CRC and the NSW Government willcontinue to work with all of the communities of NSW to uphold and protect our cohesiveand harmonious multicultural society.

“We are hoping that the discussions at the symposium will produce some good ideas andsome practical steps to maintain the harmony we all seek for ourselves and our families.

“We have invited a list of impressive speakers who will examine the state of communityrelations in NSW, in particular the impact of those overseas events.

“We expect this symposium will send some clear messages of calmness to the wholecommunity in New South Wales.

“Issues discussed during the Symposium assist the CRC to confirm and realign priorities andto advocate for change to services and programs as appropriate”, Mr Harman concluded.

“The Symposium is also an opportunity for the Minister for Citizenship andCommunities, Victor Dominello, to launch our new strategic plan, our vision, ourpurpose and our key the deliverables for the next three years”, Mr. Harman said.

Endorsing the CRC’s Strategic Plan, 2014-17, Mr. Dominello, said: “Ourmulticultural society is no longer a small segment of our community. It is a vitalpiece of our collective NSW identity and the time has come for us to revisit who weare and who we want to be.”

The symposium will be held all day on Wednesday 20th August at the Novotel Hotel 3350Church Street, Parramatta.

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Abbott and Hockey: Why poor people don’t matter

GITTINS: SAVING CAPITALISM FROM ITS EXCESSES:We simply cannot take the capitalist system, which produces such plenty and so many solutions, for granted. Ross Gittins comments.
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It doesn’t seem yet to have dawned on Tony Abbott that he was elected because he wasn’t Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd, not because voters thought it was time we made a lurch to the Right.

The man who imagines he has a “mandate” to mistreat the children of boat people, ensure free speech for bigots, give top appointments to big business mates and reintroduce knights and dames, represented himself as a harmless populist before the election.

Illustration: Kerrie Leishman.

The other thing he doesn’t seem to have realised is that just as he has us moving to reduce our commitment to action against climate change and to make the budget much less fair, the rest of the advanced economies are moving the opposite way.

President Obama is taking steps to overcome Congress’s refusal to act on global warming, the Chinese get more concerned about it as each month passes and the International Monetary Fund is chastising us for our apostasy.

And while we use our budget to widen the gap between rich and poor, people in other countries are realising the need to narrow it.

Wayne Swan, former Labor treasurer, noted in a speech on Monday that “centre-right political leaders across the globe are acknowledging the obvious truth that capitalism is facing an existential challenge . . . only last week ratings agency Standard and Poor’s emphasised yet again that high inequality is a drag on growth”.

In Australia, however, an increasing “vocal minority has decided to oppose any reform, no matter how necessary and no matter how obvious in its benefits to the whole nation, if they perceive it is in their short-term interests to do so.

“This is a recipe for unnecessary political division and widening social inequality, and unfortunately permanent reform failure,” he says.

Australians had done much better than the Americans at matching strong economic growth with social equity but, according to Swan, “we’re witnessing the Americanisation of the Right in this country. Obsessed with defending the advantages of the wealthiest in our society”.

In his various efforts to defend rather than correct his first budget’s unfairness, Joe Hockey seems to be doing just that. Meanwhile, the messages coming from international authorities are very different.

In a recent paper on policy challenges for the next 50 years, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned the growing importance of skill-biasedtechnological progress and the rising demand for skills, will continue to widen the gap between high and low wages.

Unless this was corrected by greater redistribution of income, other OECD countries would end up facing almost the same level of inequality as seen in the US today. “Rising inequalities may backlash on growth, notably if they reduce economic opportunities available to low-income talented individuals,” it warns.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, noted in aspeechthat the 85 richest people in the world control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population – 3.5 billion people.

“With facts like these, it is no wonder that rising inequality has risen to the top of the agenda – not only among groups normally focused on social justice, but also increasingly among politicians, central bankers and business leaders,” she said.

“Many would argue, however, that we should ultimately care about equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.” As it happens, Hockey has defended his budget’s unfairness with just that argument.

“The problem is that opportunities are not equal. Money will always buy better-quality education and health care, for example. But due to current levels of inequality, too many people in too many countries have only the most basic access to these services, if at all. The evidence also shows that social mobility is more stunted in less equal societies.”

Disparity also brings division, she said. “The principles of solidarity and reciprocity that bind societies together are more likely to erode in excessively unequal societies. History also teaches us that democracy begins to fray at the edges once political battles separate the haves against the have-nots.”

Pope Francis put this in stark terms when he called increasing inequality “the root of social evil”.

“It is therefore not surprising that IMF research – which looked at 173 countries over the past 50 years – found that more unequal countries tend to have lower and less durable economic growth,” Legarde also said.

Get that? Until now, the conventional wisdom among economists has been that efforts to reduce inequality come at the expense of economic growth. Now a pillar of economic orthodoxy, the IMF, has found it works the other way round: rising inequality – as is occurring in Australia, the US and almost all advanced economies – seems to lead to slower growth.

Lagarde said other IMF research had found that, in general, budgetary policies had a good record of reducing social disparities. Social security benefits and income taxes “have been able to reduce inequality by about a third, on average, among the advanced economies”.

What can we do? “Some potentially beneficial options can include making income tax systems more progressive without being excessive; making greater use of property taxes; expanding access to education and health; and relying more on active labour market programs and in-work social benefits.”

Perhaps in his efforts to get a modified version of his budget passed by the Senate, Hockey could bring in the IMF as consultants.

Ross Gittins is economics editor.

SMH

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Rural roads send Debbie postal

Debbie Prest knows a thing or two about the local roads.
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As a contractor for Australia Post she travels some 44,772 kilometres every year. And up until October 2012 she served four years on Young Shire Council.

So having served time on both sides of the fence – she’s no longer content to sit in the middle.

“I’m calling you Edwina because I am fed up,” she said on Monday from her mobile phone.

At that point Deb was sitting 35 kilometres north west of Young on Blayneys Road which weaves toward the Weddin Moun-tains.

“When I was serving as a councillor [council’s director of operations] Dirk Wymer promised us the best roads in 20 years and I am asking where are they?” She said.

She’s well qualified to judge – the 287 kilometre journey Debbie takes three times a week sees her travel from Young along some of the shire’s more remote rural roads, stretching from Lirambenda in the north, across to Bimbi to the west and further west to Longhursts Road, which just skirts the edges of Morangarell. Her journey back to Young weaves through the village of Bribbaree, the back roads of Thuddungra.

On Monday she did most of this journey in her station wagon at 40 kilometres per hour. Worst roads were Ashville School Road, Blayneys Road and Barries Lane.

Peppered with potholes and water laying across the road, mud patches that have her sliding from side to side, she wonders how the people who regularly use those routes to travel to Grenfell and Forbes.

And she’s frequently asked why she doesn’tdrive a four wheel drive.

“Why should I – I’m driving on a public road – these roads should be able to be used by everyone,” she said.

“People always say you know when you’re in the Young shire because the roads are so bad but I am here to tell you as soon as you cross the creek and hit the Weddin Shire the roads are beautiful,” she said.

She contends that the funding given to council following the devastating floods of 2010 and 2012 should have been put to better use.

“We got around $4 million in funding on top of the usual allocated road funds and I can’t see how that has been spent,” she said.

“There’s no gravel on the roads, the formwork is terrible, the drains are located in inappropriate places and in some instances guide posts have been graded into the ground – I mean how much is one of those?”

She says that residents of these outlying areas were disgusted.

Rural roads send Debbie postal Baileys Road

Bribbaree village

Blayneys Road

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Scammers need to be stopped

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched a new campaign to disrupt scammers who are conning millions of dollars from Australians every year.
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A successful trial saw the ACCC team up with businesses to firstly identify people who appeared to be at risk of being conned and then secondly to issue warning letters to those would-be victims.

Romance scams, in financial terms, account for more than a quarter of all the money Australians lost to scammers last year.

These wannabe Romeos are ripping off unwary Australians for about $25 million a year in romance scams, but all up these grubs snaffled a heart-breaking $90 million.

So if you’re sending thousands of dollars via an international wire transfer to someone in, say, western Africa, after forming an online relationship with them, you can expect the ACCC to drop you a line asking if you’re completely confident you’re not going to be scammed.

The ACCC’s fifth annual report on scam activity in Australia highlights the significant harm that these rip-offs continue to cause to our community.

According to the report, in 2013 nearly 92,000 scam-related reports were received by the ACCC, an increase of almost 10 per cent from 2012, although the amounts of cash they snaffled reportedly dropped.

“Actual losses are likely to be much higher than what is reported to the ACCC – people report scams to a number of agencies, some don’t recognise that they have fallen for a scam, and unfortunately many others are too embarrassed to report their experience,” the ACCC said.

For the third consecutive year the ACCC has seen a drop in what it calls the “conversion rate” of people who responded to an approach by a scam admirer and subsequently lost money – from 48 per cent in 2011 to 46 per cent in 2012 to 43 per cent in 2013.

However, those who were stung were hit hard because, as the ACCC reports, “financial losses continue to remain substantially disproportionate to contacts”, with dating and romance scams making up only 3 per cent of all scam-related contacts in 2013.

If you have some concerns about a romance scam – or any other type of scam, from a dodgy phone call to an email phishing scam – check out www.scamwatch.gov.au.

There are lots of tips on dealing with potential scams, as well as updates on the latest rip-offs doing the rounds.

While it’s good news, to some extent, that more people are realising they are being conned, the cost to those stung by scammers is still far too high.

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AD FEATURE: Dress your home at Emporium

BIG CHOICE: Ruth Allen at the large Charmhaven showroom this week. Picture: David StewartRUTH and Greg Allen of Emporium Blinds, Curtains, Shutters and Awnings, at Charmhaven, aren’t kidding when they say they take their work personally.
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“We’re both really passionate about what we do,” Ms Allen said.

And they understand that customers feel the same way about getting it right when adding curtains, blinds, shutters or awnings to their homes.

“We’re very honest and we’re committed to providing a very personalised touch for our customers to make sure that their window dressings will be just right,” she said.

“And if that means that the customer has to come back and see us 20 times before they feel comfortable about their decision, then that’s fine.”

Emporium Blinds, Curtains, Shutters and Awnings aims to provide quality products at affordable prices.

The Allens and their staff make the process simple for customers: from providing a free measure and quote and expert advice, to making the product, and then installing it, they handle it all.

The Charmhaven showroom stocks a range of quality fabrics from the likes of Warwick, Wilson, Rowe, Morris Kain and Nettex.

There’s every style of made-to-measure curtain and blind imaginable, in a myriad of fabrics and materials, colours and patterns.

And the made-to-measure awnings are sourced locally from a manufacturer at Kincumber, and Sydney.

Outdoor and privacy blinds are particularly popular, Ms Allen said.

Outdoor PVC blinds, typical of those featured in trendy Terrigal eateries, are increasingly being added to the decks of local homes.

Depending on the style and type chosen, they can help to block the wind and harsh afternoon summer sun.

The Allens share an immense sense of satisfaction in exceeding a customer’s expectations.

“I get very excited when people phone or drop in to tell us how happy they are with us,” she said.

“It tells us that we’ve done a great job and made them feel special.”

■ Emporium Blinds, Curtains, Shutters and Awnings is at 2 O’Hart Close, Charmhaven. Phone 4393 2100.

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Man bashed during Mount View home invasion

Police are hunting two men who bashed a 51-year-old man during a home invasion atMount View on Tuesday night.
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Central Hunter crime manager Detective Inspector John Zdrilic said the men, one armed with a bat and the other wielding a wrench, entered the Pyne Way home about 8pm.

Inspector Zdrilic said they beat the man on the head with the weapons before they stole a quantity of cash and left the premises.

A 39-year-old woman, who was also at the home during the incident, was not physically injured.

The 51-year-old man was air-lifted to John Hunter Hospital with head and arm injuries.

He is in a stable condition.

A crime scene was established at the site and forensic investigations are ongoing.

One of the offenders was described as being Caucasian while the other a Pacific Islander. Both men were of a large build.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact Maitland police on 4934 0200 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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AD FEATURE: Swimart franchisee the finest

TOP TEAM: Andrew and Hollie Morton credit their staff with Swimart Charmhaven’s success. Picture: David StewartPOOL and spa business Swimart Charmhaven has picked up a host of awards at the 2014 Swimart conference in Malaysia.
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Owner Andrew Morton returned with awards for NSW Franchisee of the Year, Best Sales Growth, and Australasian Best Sales Growth.

“We have a really motivated team of staff – that’s our 11th award in eight years, so it shows how great the staff are,” Mr Morton said.

Swimart Charmhaven has been recently renovated to include a spa showroom.

It will accommodate the arrival of the new resort and swim spas range, which is exclusive to Swimart.

The new range is powered by Waterco pumps and air blowers, which means the spas are made in Australia, Mr Morton said.

“A lot of people buy spas from overseas brands, but if they break it’s hard to get the parts to fix them,” he said.

“But because our spas are made in Australia, it ensures their quality and if there does happen to be a problem, it’s easy for us to get the necessary parts to fix it.”

There are three spa models to choose from: the Phuket, Bali or Hawaii.

Starting from $7490, the Phuket is the basic model.

But there is a large range of added extras available to fully customise any spa.

The optional add-ons range from steps and ladders to lights, subwoofer speakers in the seats, and global wi-fi.

“With the global wi-fi you can access your spa from anywhere in the world,” Mr Morton said.

“So if you go overseas and forget to turn the spa off, you can log in and do it remotely.”

Another product Mr Morton is excited about is the new chlorine-free pool system.

“It’s great for people with a chlorine allergy, asthma or eczema,” he said.

■ Visit the Swimart Charmhaven store at 1/1 O’Hart Close, Charmhaven, or call 4392 6412.

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News in brief

GRILL POWER: Sandy Williams, getting ready for the Australia Red Cross 100-year fund-raiser. Picture: Stephen WarkHolistic lookat good healthA FREE complete health improvement program (CHIP) information night will be held at Dora Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church on Monday, August 27, at 7pm. CHIP is a holistic approach to good health, focusing on diet, exercise and mental attitude. Phone 4973 6228.
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Piper speaksat breakfastMP Greg Piper will talk about what’s happening in the area when he addresses the Toronto Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast next Thursday, August 28, from 7am at Toronto Multi-Purpose Centre. Financial security for small businesses will also be discussed.

Funds raisedfor Red CrossBUNNINGS Warehouse Morisset recently hosted a Red Cross Centenary Fundraiser which raised $921, including $140 from donations. Proceeds will go to the Red Cross.

Grant cuts hit nowFEDERAL government budget cuts will remove $24 million from the first quarter’s payment of vital grants to local councils across Australia this week, the Australian Local Government Association said. The Financial Assistance Grants, provided annually by the government, help councils pay for community services and infrastructure, including roads, parks and libraries.

Fare evasion targetedTHE Central Coast and Lake Macquarie have been identified as hot spots for public transport fare evasion, and will be among areas targeted by the state government, which is recruiting 65 extra transport officers. Fare evasion costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year, which means less for extra transport services, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.

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GARDENING: The truth about bulbs

FLOWERING: The term bulb applies to any plant with a swollen storage organ.
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I NOTICED this week that the early summer bulbs have arrived at the nursery – it seems like yesterday that we were stocking up on jonquils and tulips, which should be fertilised when they begin to die off.

I did consider writing this column about the magnificence of spring bulbs, their perfume and colours, but in reality the new bulbs made me stop and think about correct terminology for the many flowering perennials we simply label bulbs.

The most popular planting time is autumn when we prepare for spring colour – if you haven’t been successful and there isn’t any sign of emergence you might still be able to buy freesia and ranunculus plants in seedling punnets.

Now to be a little more definitive – it may surprise you to know that freesias are not bulbs but corms.

Bulb is a term applied loosely to any plant with a swollen or thickened storage organ. Nevertheless, all bulbs and bulb-like structures have one characteristic in common, they are food storage bins that the plant can draw on to start active growth after dormancy.

These storage bins are the reason that you leave the foliage on the plant until it has ripened and dried naturally.

The food for these reserves in the bulb is manufactured in the leaves, so the longer the leaves survive, the bigger the bulb for next season.

Gladioli are corms and are in the same family as crocus, anemones and ranunculus – gladioli flower in summer and together with water lilies and bearded iris will soon be available for planting.

Dahlias are popular summer flowers – they are tubers, not bulbs, as are some begonias, cyclamen and potatoes.

Herbaceous perennials grow from crowns – the difference being that crowns are left divided and cut back, whereas bulbs can be lifted.

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PHOTOS: Brahmans through to grand final

PHOTOS: Brahmans through to grand final The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.
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The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

The Brahmans are through to their second straight grand final in the George Tooke Shield. Photos: RS Williams.

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AD FEATURE: Love is in the air

PLAYFUL: Galahs often get up to amusing antics. Picture: Geoffrey Dabb
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GALAHS are starting to show off and perform for their partners all over Lake Macquarie, as they get ready for the breeding season.

Galahs are well known for their playful activities, such as hanging upside-down or playing soccer with pebbles.

“Towards the end of winter, galahs begin renovations and interior decorating of their nest hollows for the arrival of their eggs,” Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife chief executive Susanna Bradshaw said.

There are plenty of creative options to make backyards more galah-friendly.

“Leave big, old trees in your garden so that galahs have somewhere to nest and socialise.

“On farms, try to provide hungry birds with their own feeding area away from crops.

“And if you love having these characters in your garden, it’s worthwhile installing a bird bath as galahs never stray too far from water and love playing in it.”

■ Visit backyardbuddies.net.au.

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Author heading back to Port Fairy

PORT Fairy has always been a special place for author Larry Votava.
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As a child Votava and his family would head down the coast from their Geelong home to spend their summer holidays camping in Port Fairy.

For 14 summers the Votava family would camp at the Gardens Caravan Park, a time that had a lasting effect on Votava.

“I have really strong and fond memories of Port Fairy and the summers we spent here,” Votava said.

“Camping was a popular thing for families to do back in the 1970s and Port Fairy was the perfect place.

“Our parents could let us just take off and they didn’t have to worry about us.

“I remember the East Beach and Pea Soup and the spinning wheels and procession down the street on New Year’s Eve.”

Now aged 55, Votava is coming back to Port Fairy as part of the town’s Ex Libris Book Fair on the weekend of September 5 to 7.

He has published his first novel, The Mahogany Ship, a fictional story about a young boy on his summer holidays searching for the fabled ship.

In the book a reward has been offered for anyone who can find the ship ensuring the young boy has to contend with treasure hunters and other weird and

wonderful characters.

The town the book is set in is Frigate Bay, a town that has an uncanny resemblance to Port Fairy.

“I must admit I find it hard to put the book into any certain category, it is fun, adventurous and a coming-of-age story in some ways.

“I think it appeals to a wide range of readers and I have feedback from people that it brings back memories for them of their own summer holidays,” Votava said.

The appearance at the Ex Libris will be the first major promotional engagement for Votava since becoming an author.

He said he was looking forward to seeing Port Fairy having only been back once since his childhood holidays.

“When I started writing the book four or five years ago I brought my parents to Port Fairy to have a look around.

“We certainly noticed some changes from those earlier days but essentially it was still very much the same, the vibe of thetown hadn’t changed much.”

Votava combines his time as an author with his work as a mineral exploration field assistant in the mining areas of Western Australia with Perth now his home.

He will be taking part in the Men Talking Books session on the Sunday of the Ex Libris festival along side Derek Guille, Roger Haldane and Matt Porter.

Getting the chance to talk about the role of men in literature as both authors and readers is something he is looking forward to.

He said given the strong presence of men in the mining industry workforce he had gained an insight into the reading habits of his workmates.

“As a rule women do probably read more than men do but I think men read more than might be thought.

“Spending long periods in those mining areas you can see that reading is an important part of everyday life for many of the men, it is certainly a valuable relaxation tool.”

The Mahogany Ship is on sale at Warrnambool Books and at online bookshops and will be for sale in Port Fairy during the Ex Libris weekend.