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Carnage continues on highway of heartacheinteractive, photos

Carnage continues on highway of heartache | interactive, photos HORROR STRETCH: Robyn and Max Wake outside their Whittingham dairy farm, the scene of the latest fatality on the New England Highway. Picture: Stuart Scott.
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December 29, 2015: Nicole Rayner, 29, is killed in a head-on crash with a utility at Whittingham, about 600 metres north of Range Road. Picture: NBN News.

July 14, 2010: Kevin Fritz West, 36, of Queensland is killed when the car he is a passenger in crosses to the wrong side of the New England Highway at Whittingham and slams into two other vehicles. Picture: Peter Stoop.

April 29, 2009: Kristin Munn, 23, and Tammy White, 20, are killed when Ms Munn performs a U-turn into the path of an oncoming four-wheel-drive on the New England Highway at Whittingham. Picture: Kitty Hill.

July 30, 2008: Cathy Mitchell, 41, is killed in a head-on crash less than a metre from where Lynette Beverly Davis, Glen Russell Lucas and David Peter Lucas are killed three years earlier. Picture: Kitty Hill.

December 3, 2005: Lynette Beverly Davis, Glen Russell Lucas and David Peter Lucas are killed on the New England Highway at Whittingham while a fourth man is critically injured. A Roads and Traffic Authority spokesman says the crash site is not a known black spot. Picture: Robert Whiteman.

August 11, 2004: Kearsley man Robert Ellery, 30, dies when his Holden Rodeo crosses to wrong side of the New England Highway and collides head-on with a cattle truck. Picture: Supplied.

TweetFacebookThe latest crash occurred a little further north of many of the other fatalities, with crash experts still investigating what happened in the moments before the head-on about 600 metres north of Range Road.

Ms Rayner was travelling south from Muswellbrook to Newcastle to see her sister while the Volkswagon four-wheel drive was heading north to Singleton where three of the four occupants lived.

The four men suffered relatively minor injuries and were taken to John Hunter Hospital for treatment.

The highway was closed for several hours.

“They have to find an alternative route for the traffic travelling up the highway,’’ Mrs Wake said.

“The traffic is just getting busier and busier – I was actually shocked last night about how quiet it was with the highway shut.

“Sometimes we can’t hear the television.’’

Police and local authorities have constantly called for improvements to the road, successfully getting some improvements after a series of fatalities in 2010.

In 1999, two people were killed in a head-on before a triple-fatality in 2005 took the lives of Glenn Lucas, 45, his stepson David Lucas, 40, and 63-year-old Lynette Davis.

Three years later Cathy Mitchell, 41, is killed in a head-on crash only one metre from where the three had died.

In 2010, Queenslander Kevin West, 36, died before a Mudgee woman, 63, was killed when he car travelled into the path of a truck at the intersection of the Golden Highway and the New England Highway.

Con declares Summer Stonefruit Day

Con the Fruiterer.Con “The Fruiterer” Dikaletis reckons “ah cuppla days? does matter and he wants to gift his adopted homeland a special day of celebration to extend Australia Day commemorations.
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The iconic character from the 1990s hit comedy series The Comedy Company has declared January 25th “Summer Stonefruit Day” in an impassioned address via YouTube.

A huge fan of the summer stonefruit quartet – nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots – Con believes Australia would be a better place if we lost ourselves in the joy of eating his favourite fruits.

“Life is often not fair,” Con said. “Like turning right on the yellow when you waitin’, waitin’, waitin’ for the oncoming cars to notice the light he’s yellow, but I’m the one what gets booked!

“But as long as you are eating these dribblicious, sexy summer stonefruits you is not paying petrol tax on a tax, worrying about getting booked or thinking about what’s wrong… because you too busy thinking about what’s right.

“That’s why we need a special national day of appreciation for summer stonefruit. I was thinking Tuesday – like, every Tuesday – but then I thought it should be the day before Australia’s birthday because it’s like the present you get the day before and it makes you excited because you know it’s there and you get reminded about why it’s great to have a birthday.”

Con, the alter ego of renowned comedian Mark Mitchell, reckons all Aussies should devour summer stonefruit on Summer Stonefruit Day, as long as they embrace the appropriate kit.

“Paper bibs, the kind you wear when eating spare ribs, should become standard for all patriotic Australians to protect their bewdiful singlets and footy jumpers.

“So, here’s to our great summer stonefruit, available tax free, right now. And here’s to January 25th – Australia Summer Stonefruit Day! Get a bit of Dribbilicious into ya!”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Con declares Summer Stonefruit Day

Con the Fruiterer.Con “The Fruiterer” Dikaletis reckons “ah cuppla days‟ does matter and he wants to gift his adopted homeland a special day of celebration to extend Australia Day commemorations.
老域名

The iconic character from the 1990s hit comedy series The Comedy Company has declared January 25th “Summer Stonefruit Day” in an impassioned address via YouTube.

A huge fan of the summer stonefruit quartet – nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots – Con believes Australia would be a better place if we lost ourselves in the joy of eating his favourite fruits.

“Life is often not fair,” Con said. “Like turning right on the yellow when you waitin’, waitin’, waitin’ for the oncoming cars to notice the light he’s yellow, but I’m the one what gets booked!

“But as long as you are eating these dribblicious, sexy summer stonefruits you is not paying petrol tax on a tax, worrying about getting booked or thinking about what’s wrong… because you too busy thinking about what’s right.

“That’s why we need a special national day of appreciation for summer stonefruit. I was thinking Tuesday – like, every Tuesday – but then I thought it should be the day before Australia’s birthday because it’s like the present you get the day before and it makes you excited because you know it’s there and you get reminded about why it’s great to have a birthday.”

Con, the alter ego of renowned comedian Mark Mitchell, reckons all Aussies should devour summer stonefruit on Summer Stonefruit Day, as long as they embrace the appropriate kit.

“Paper bibs, the kind you wear when eating spare ribs, should become standard for all patriotic Australians to protect their bewdiful singlets and footy jumpers.

“So, here’s to our great summer stonefruit, available tax free, right now. And here’s to January 25th – Australia Summer Stonefruit Day! Get a bit of Dribbilicious into ya!”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Con declares Summer Stonefruit Day

Con the Fruiterer.Con “The Fruiterer” Dikaletis reckons “ah cuppla days‟ does matter and he wants to gift his adopted homeland a special day of celebration to extend Australia Day commemorations.
老域名

The iconic character from the 1990s hit comedy series The Comedy Company has declared January 25th “Summer Stonefruit Day” in an impassioned address via YouTube.

A huge fan of the summer stonefruit quartet – nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots – Con believes Australia would be a better place if we lost ourselves in the joy of eating his favourite fruits.

“Life is often not fair,” Con said. “Like turning right on the yellow when you waitin’, waitin’, waitin’ for the oncoming cars to notice the light he’s yellow, but I’m the one what gets booked!

“But as long as you are eating these dribblicious, sexy summer stonefruits you is not paying petrol tax on a tax, worrying about getting booked or thinking about what’s wrong… because you too busy thinking about what’s right.

“That’s why we need a special national day of appreciation for summer stonefruit. I was thinking Tuesday – like, every Tuesday – but then I thought it should be the day before Australia’s birthday because it’s like the present you get the day before and it makes you excited because you know it’s there and you get reminded about why it’s great to have a birthday.”

Con, the alter ego of renowned comedian Mark Mitchell, reckons all Aussies should devour summer stonefruit on Summer Stonefruit Day, as long as they embrace the appropriate kit.

“Paper bibs, the kind you wear when eating spare ribs, should become standard for all patriotic Australians to protect their bewdiful singlets and footy jumpers.

“So, here’s to our great summer stonefruit, available tax free, right now. And here’s to January 25th – Australia Summer Stonefruit Day! Get a bit of Dribbilicious into ya!”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Con declares Summer Stonefruit Day

Con the Fruiterer.Con “The Fruiterer” Dikaletis reckons “ah cuppla days‟ does matter and he wants to gift his adopted homeland a special day of celebration to extend Australia Day commemorations.
老域名

The iconic character from the 1990s hit comedy series The Comedy Company has declared January 25th “Summer Stonefruit Day” in an impassioned address via YouTube.

A huge fan of the summer stonefruit quartet – nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots – Con believes Australia would be a better place if we lost ourselves in the joy of eating his favourite fruits.

“Life is often not fair,” Con said. “Like turning right on the yellow when you waitin’, waitin’, waitin’ for the oncoming cars to notice the light he’s yellow, but I’m the one what gets booked!

“But as long as you are eating these dribblicious, sexy summer stonefruits you is not paying petrol tax on a tax, worrying about getting booked or thinking about what’s wrong… because you too busy thinking about what’s right.

“That’s why we need a special national day of appreciation for summer stonefruit. I was thinking Tuesday – like, every Tuesday – but then I thought it should be the day before Australia’s birthday because it’s like the present you get the day before and it makes you excited because you know it’s there and you get reminded about why it’s great to have a birthday.”

Con, the alter ego of renowned comedian Mark Mitchell, reckons all Aussies should devour summer stonefruit on Summer Stonefruit Day, as long as they embrace the appropriate kit.

“Paper bibs, the kind you wear when eating spare ribs, should become standard for all patriotic Australians to protect their bewdiful singlets and footy jumpers.

“So, here’s to our great summer stonefruit, available tax free, right now. And here’s to January 25th – Australia Summer Stonefruit Day! Get a bit of Dribbilicious into ya!”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Con declares Summer Stonefruit Day

Con the Fruiterer.Con “The Fruiterer” Dikaletis reckons “ah cuppla days‟ does matter and he wants to gift his adopted homeland a special day of celebration to extend Australia Day commemorations.
老域名

The iconic character from the 1990s hit comedy series The Comedy Company has declared January 25th “Summer Stonefruit Day” in an impassioned address via YouTube.

A huge fan of the summer stonefruit quartet – nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots – Con believes Australia would be a better place if we lost ourselves in the joy of eating his favourite fruits.

“Life is often not fair,” Con said. “Like turning right on the yellow when you waitin’, waitin’, waitin’ for the oncoming cars to notice the light he’s yellow, but I’m the one what gets booked!

“But as long as you are eating these dribblicious, sexy summer stonefruits you is not paying petrol tax on a tax, worrying about getting booked or thinking about what’s wrong… because you too busy thinking about what’s right.

“That’s why we need a special national day of appreciation for summer stonefruit. I was thinking Tuesday – like, every Tuesday – but then I thought it should be the day before Australia’s birthday because it’s like the present you get the day before and it makes you excited because you know it’s there and you get reminded about why it’s great to have a birthday.”

Con, the alter ego of renowned comedian Mark Mitchell, reckons all Aussies should devour summer stonefruit on Summer Stonefruit Day, as long as they embrace the appropriate kit.

“Paper bibs, the kind you wear when eating spare ribs, should become standard for all patriotic Australians to protect their bewdiful singlets and footy jumpers.

“So, here’s to our great summer stonefruit, available tax free, right now. And here’s to January 25th – Australia Summer Stonefruit Day! Get a bit of Dribbilicious into ya!”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Damned if they do: the LNP’s water problem

The Queensland opposition’s call for less of Wivenhoe Dam to be used as a flood buffer last year could come back to bite it, a political expert says.
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The dam’s operation is now in the spotlight, with a commission of inquiry set to investigate whether this month’s Brisbane River flooding was made worse because the government-owned dam operator initially acted too slowly to release excess water.

However, in March, October and December, the opposition called on authorities to look at reducing the portion of dam capacity set aside for flood protection so that more could be used for drinking water storage.

Wivenhoe Dam can hold a total of 2.6 million megalitres but is deemed to be “full” of drinking water when it reaches 1.15 million megalitres.

The remaining space is used to store water from heavy rain events in a bid to reduce floods along the Brisbane River.

When the dam was at 94 per cent of its water storage capacity last March, opposition water spokesman Jeff Seeney told State Parliament “it would be absurd to release water from Wivenhoe Dam” until authorities reviewed options to increase water storage.

In October, Mr Seeney criticised the state government over releases of water from the dam, saying they were being done at a time when the dam was only at 40 per cent of its “true capacity”.

“Isn’t this release of water from Wivenhoe Dam, when it is holding only 40 per cent of its available storage capacity, a clear indication that the government has learned nothing from the water crisis and is still failing to plan for the next inevitable drought?” he asked Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson.

Deputy Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg repeated the call as recently as December 20, when he told Fairfax Radio 4BC it would be sensible to “start looking at things like can we actually eat into the flood buffer a little bit more”.

“And indeed, if we could store 50 per cent rather than 40 per cent before we let it spill, that’s an additional one year supply,” Mr Springborg said at the time.

“There’s still a lot of air room in Wivenhoe Dam that we could potentially capture some further water.”

Some engineers now believe government-owned dam operator Seqwater should have acted faster to release more water after Wivenhoe rapidly rose well beyond its full water storage level on the weekend before the Brisbane River flood peak.

Seqwater figures show the dam level rose from 106 per cent of its normal water storage limit on the morning of Friday, January 7, to 148 per cent by the following Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology had predicted further heavy rainfall. The dam operators had to ramp up the scale of their major water releases from the dam in the days before the January 13 Brisbane River flood peak.

Queensland University of Technology political science professor Clive Bean said the opposition may find it hard to attack the government for being too slow to bring the dam back down towards its normal level, given previous comments.

“It may well be that the opposition will find it more difficult to make their criticism stick when they were making comments like that in a previous time, unless they can in a sense sheet it back to: ‘we were talking about specific circumstances,’” Dr Bean said.

“It’s probably one of those things that will come back to bite them a little bit but probably not totally.

“Politicians often find a way out of statements they’ve made; in a way it’s easier for an opposition to make statements off the cuff and qualify them later.”

Mr Seeney said yesterday his central point had been that a review of the dam operating rules was needed “to get better usage of the infrastructure”.

He said he had stressed at the time that flood mitigation remained important and stood by his call for a re-examination of the dam operating rules.

“We were calling for a review of the operating rules that had been in place almost unchanged since 1978 that took no account of the advances that had been made in weather forecasts and climate patterns,” he said.

“That need for a review applies just as much to the flood mitigation rules of the dam as it does to the water supply rules of the dam.”

Following the Brisbane River flood, Seqwater emphasised it had operated the dam according to the state government-approved manual.

However, Mr Seeney said the rules were “restrictive” and should have been reviewed sooner.

Independent Member for Burnett Rob Messenger, who quit the Liberal National Party last year, accused his former party of making a “serious water policy mistake”.

The state government last week released the Wivenhoe Dam operating manual but blacked out large portions, claiming terrorists might take advantage of an uncensored version.

The Queensland Water Commission last year identified a range of potential water sources for further investigation, including more desalination sites and use of recycled water to top up the Hinze and North Pine dams.

It outlined four options to secure more water from dams and weirs in the future, including the possibility of raising Wivenhoe Dam operating levels.

The dam’s operation will be among issues examined by a statewide commission of inquiry on the floods, which is due to produce an initial report by August and a final report by January next year.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Wheat market stronger: AWB

AWB’s 2010/11 season estimated pool returns (EPRs) are higher for most grades this week, reflecting a firmer international market and a slightly weaker Australian dollar.
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AWB’s estimated pool return (EPR) for benchmark APW wheat in the eastern pool is up $5 to $365 a tonne, while FED1 is up $6 to $277 a tonne and stockfeed SFW1 is up $6 to $285 a tonne. In AWB’s western pool APW wheat is up $5 to $377 a tonne and ANW1 noodle wheat is unchanged at $510 a tonne (FOB, excl GST).

AWB General Manager Commodities, Mitch Morison, said the improvement in EPRs was demand-driven, as the international market shows increased sales activity in a world where wheat stocks are relatively tight.

“The market was subdued through the Christmas period, but we are definitely seeing more buying activity now for grain from the European Union and the United States; indeed last week the USDA reported US sales of over one million tonnes for just one week,” he said.

“It is many months yet until the next northern hemisphere harvest and buyers are aware that world stocks are tight, particularly for good quality milling grain, so they must secure supplies or cope with the potential for even higher prices.

“Australia is gaining its share of customer interest and with the current frenzy of activity we have senior AWB representatives visiting Asian customers to help build on demand for all wheat grades, working with customers to help them understand the supply picture from Australia this year.

“In the feed wheat market there is good business occurring, as we had predicted, with Australian feed wheat continuing to displace corn into Asian feed markets.

“Without question buyers are keen to secure supply from Australia and our pools are gaining benefit from these opportunities.

“This week AWB will be making a $39 million top-up payment to growers who utilised AWB’s harvest finance for their 2010/11 wheat pool deliveries.

“It will mean that AWB harvest finance clients will have received (or have available) payments representing around 80% of the current estimated pool return (EPR) for 2010/11 season wheat,” Mr Morison said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Steers hit 260c/kg as supply wanes

Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) export manager Paul Keenan.PRICES as high as 260 cents a kilogram liveweight are being paid for cattle as intense competition from the live export sector and supply concerns heat up WA’s cattle market.
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Both Wellard and Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) are currently sourcing cattle to fill boats leaving in the next month, bound for Indonesia, Turkey, Israel and the Middle East.

While neither exporter would confirm they were paying prices as high as 260c/kg, they did admit that they were paying record prices to secure supply.

At the Landmark Boyanup cattle sale earlier this month, a line of 228kg Angus steers hit a top of 260c/kg in an absolutely red hot sale. Long-time Farm Weekly markets reporter Rob Francis said it was the hottest sale he had ever witnessed.

Wellard managing director Steve Meerwald said 260c/kg was not their official price and was above their schedule but the prices they were paying were up there with the highest they had seen.

Mr Meerwald said they were paying the market price, which was favourable as a reflection of the competition in the market place.

“I suspect that there is some manoeuvring being done by a whole range of parties to try to secure supply,” Mr Meerwald said.

“I’ve certainly had no-one come to me and say they need more money.

“There is a relatively strong and competitive market due to the short supply and as we’ve seen before with sheep, there are official prices and unofficial prices.

“While it’s tough to be having to pay these sorts of prices, particularly with the dollar at parity or thereabouts, I think it’s a great story for producers and a confidence builder relative to having multiple outlets and competition for their product.

“It generally indicates the strength of the protein markets around the world and the impact we hope that they’ll have on Australian producers for many years to come, in terms of a consistent demand for quality products from Australia.”

Mr Meerwald said they were loading for a shipment to Indonesia due out at the end of the month, as well as one to Turkey and possibly another bound for the Middle East.

He said they were sourcing bos Indicus heifers and steers under 350kg for Indonesia, feeder and slaughter bos Taurus cattle for Turkey and heavier bos Indicus cattle for the Middle East.

Due to the short supply, Mr Meerwald said they were buying in the Eastern States as well as WA and as a result would be doing split-port loadings.

“What we can get from here, we’ll get from here and what we can’t, we’ll balance that up from the east,” he said.

“Most of the supply for the Turkish shipment will come from the east and we’ll put on here what we can get within our budget.

“We’ll source from on-farm and where appropriate, we’ll get some of the later cattle from the saleyards but they still have to comply with the import country’s protocols so that does provide some challenges with saleyard cattle.”

LSS export manager Paul Keenan said the company was paying record prices to secure cattle for shipments to Turkey and Israel.

“The company is paying record prices but we believe it’s very good for producers and the cattle industry in general,” Mr Keenan said.

“If producers have any cattle under 320kg for sale, we’d urge them to contact their agent or one of our buyers.”

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Extra water too late for some farmers

Dairy farmer Dale Hanks said he would be at the auction and would look at buying another 100MG but only if the price was reasonable.
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WITH nearly a third of South West irrigation farmers registered to buy water missing out at Harvey Water’s November auction, strong demand and prices are expected at a second auction to be held next month.

But many farmers are unhappy that it has taken so long for the extra allocation to be put up for auction.

Last week Harvey Water and the Water Corporation announced that an additional 2.2GL from Logue Brook Dam would be auctioned on February 8.

The decision was welcomed by Water Minister Bill Marmion, who said South West irrigation dams had received little inflow since the first auction of 5.3GL in November.

“It makes sense for the water to be available this summer rather than just leaving it sitting unused in Logue Brook,” Mr Marmion said.

With Harvey and Waroona irrigation farmers facing summer allocations of around 34 per cent of their full water entitlements, strong bidding at the November auction pushed prices to record levels, with some producers paying up to $300 a megalitre for water.

Harvey Water’s Geoff Calder said dairy farmers had been against the split auction but they were very happy now that more water was being made available.

“With closing prices for the last lots of water sold at the November auction as strong as the first, indicating there was still unmet demand from South West irrigators, we do expect demand and prices to be strong again this time,” Mr Calder said.

Just 57 of the 81 registered buyers were able to secure water at the November auction of 5.3GL, with many unhappy with then Water Minister Dr Graham Jacobs’ decision to hold back the remaining 2.2GL of the 7.5GL initially set aside for irrigation farmers.

“I think the smarter ones paid the money they needed to pay in November and this will be a mop-up for those who weren’t as bullish or aggressive (in bidding),” Mr Calder said.

“That is in the past now and at least that water is available now and we will move forward from here.”

Mr Calder said he did not expect numbers at the coming auction to be as high as the last one, which at around 100 was “a world record” for them.

Yarloop dairy farmer Tony Ferraro, who spent $54,000 buying 223 useable megalitres at the November auction, said he would not be attending next month’s auction.

“Had they put all the water up at the one time, the price wouldn’t have gone up so much and we could have all made decisions when they needed to be made,” Mr Ferraro said.

“February is just too late for us.

“What’s the good of me buying water now that I have dried the land out.

“There was no guarantee back in November that there would be any more water made available, so we had to make a decision on the day and we bought enough to keep us going.”

Around 21mm of rain early in January had “saved a few day’s watering” but was not a major gain.

West of Harvey, dairy farmer Dale Hanks said he would be at the auction and would look at buying another 100MG but only if the price was reasonable.

“Sixty eight dollars a share was ridiculous, if it is around about $40 a share, I will probably look at it,” Mr Hanks said.

“I have got other options in place as I have bought my own hay and I have silage coming in.

“Everyone will still go to the auction as even those who bought water before would have used most of it by now.”

Mr Hanks bought 100 shares or transferable water entitlements (TWE) at $68/share, which was around 34ML of water.

With the volume charge added on, this equated to about $230/ML.

“We irrigate with our centre pivot and we haven’t flood irrigated anything, basically we have gone straight into lotfeeding cows with heaps of hay and pasture,” Mr Hanks said.

“We are getting through the season and we are meeting our milk budget, but our input costs are so much higher and our milk price has not adjusted to reflect that.”

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