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‘We are failing’: Bureaucrats on notice

Digital Transformation Office CEO Paul Shetler. Photo: SuppliedMore public service news
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Australia’s public service must stop failing customers and?become as good as Airbnb?and Uber?at helping people, the bureaucracy’s new Digital Transformation Office chief?Paul?Shetler?said.

Mr Shetler told a crowd of 300 at a breakfast at the National Gallery of Australia on Tuesday?that most users were reporting a problem with Australian government websites.

“Our job is to serve the public and we are failing,” he said.

“It’s not good enough in the age?of Uber and Airbnb.

“If Amazon?did that they’d go out of business.”

He said Australians, like people in many countries, often became overwhelmed because they?were wrongly forced to keep in their minds a map of how government services worked when dealing with the public service.

“It’s not a policy problem, it’s a delivery issue,”?Mr?Shetler said.

“In many places now government is leading in service delivery [over the private sector].”

Mr?Shetler?is 28 days into his new job of chief executive of the?DTO.

The DTO is a small agency with a modest budget answering to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull created to reform?how the?government interacts with Australians on the internet.

Secretaries Drew Clarke and Kathryn Campbell from the?Communications and Human Services departments and Australian Public Service Commissioner?John Llloyd?chose Mr?Shetler for the job with final approval granted by the minister.

He has moved from the United Kingdom where he was an executive in?the?Government Digital Service and the?Chief Digital Officer for the UK Ministry of Justice.

Mr?Shetler said his first weeks at the helm of digital reforms in the UK were filled with “hostile meetings” where people thought he represented a group of latte-sipping time wasters?who?wore?cargo shorts and peddled the latest fad.

Eventually he said the attitude changed because he and others focussed on reforms they could make easily and quickly to prove to public servants and clients they were interested in making life easier for people.

They could then work their way toward bigger changes and he said he would?bring the same approach to Australia.

During his time in the UK he made it easier for citizens to access?applications for civil claims, book prison visits and?fill out power of attorney?applications.

He was also involved in overseeing the roll out of a common platform to change the outdated way staff worked across the UK’s court system.

In February CIO reported successful delivery of the platform was in doubt, according to the UK’s?projects watchdog, the Major Projects Authority.

“You can’t do it all at once otherwise it will be a train?wreck – it must be iterative and responsive starting from a position of humility,” Mr Shetler?said at the Institute of Public Administration Australia event?on Tuesday.

At the same time he said goals would be set to make changes within timeframes of about five months.

Small businesses, job seekers and parents were the top three categories of people dealing with the federal public service online and he said the economy could save more than $20 billion each year by reducing face-to-face and postal interactions.

Mr?Shetler said his new position was the “best digital job in the world” and came with huge opportunities because the Australian government was so willing to bring in changes across and between departments and agencies.

He said at all times his focus would be on the customer.

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Money woes for chalet

Stalled: The Mount Buffalo Chalet has been left in limbo with Parks Victoria unable to say when a refurbishment will be done. A community group has been formed to pressure the government.FEARS are growing for the fate of Mount Buffalo Chalet, after a $3.5 million blowout inestimated refurbishment costs.
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The long-awaited redevelopment is in limbo with building administrator Parks Victoriafailing to find a tenderer to meet the $7.5 million budget.

“Five firms responded to the tender and all came in over budget,” a Parks Victoria spokeswoman said.

“The lowest tender was more than $3 millionover the budget.

“Due to the exceptionally high additional costs, the minister asked for further information to ensure the best use of taxpayers’money.

“Parks Victoria has been working with the firms who tendered and government partners to confirm the next steps, and have provided additional information over the past couple of months.”

However no start date has been setand the condition of a Heritage Victoria permit that work begin by April may not be met.

Ovens Valley MP Tim McCurdy, Alpine Shire mayor Jan Vonarx and newly formed lobby group Community Action for the Chalet are pressing for a meeting with Environment Minister Lisa Neville.

“My great fear is that the Labor Government is going to walk away from the Mount Buffalo Chalet,” hesaid.

“The community wants the chalet returned to its former glory and the government needs to commit to the plans that were in place to see the chalet again become a major day visitor attraction.”

Cr Vonarx said the council was “extremely concerned” about the fate of the 1910 guest house.

“We don’t want it to go to wrack and ruin and then have them saying ‘we can’t do anything about it’,” Cr Vonarx said.

“Everyone is getting toey about what’s happening.”

Chalet groupinterim co-ordinator David Jacobson said his group washarnessing concern with aFacebook page attracting more than 500 likes since Friday.

“If the government can spend millions of dollars to not build a freeway in Melbourne, what’s $3 million for the chalet,” Mr Jacobson said.

“We don’t think the tenders came in high, we think the budget was set too low by the previous government.”

Parks Victoria said repairs would be done at the chalet.

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Holbrook Landcare appoints highly skilled project officer

Ashley Paech and Tim Trescowthick collect soil samples on the Trescowthick’s property Roachdale near Holbrook. Picture: Supplied.
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Holbrook Landcare Network has recruited Ashley Paech as the new Farming Systems project officer to work mainly on its prestigious carbon project.

Holbrook Landcare executive officer Dale Stringer said he was very pleased to have such a skilled agricultural professional join Holbrook Landcare.

“Ashley will be primarily responsible for the delivery of the ‘Carbon Farming and Your Business’ project, but will also bring a strong agriculture focus, particularly livestock, which I believe will greatly strengthen Holbrook Landcare’s capacity in this area,” Mr Stringer said.

“We will also be working towards a staff structure where Ashley will play a leading role to help shape our sustainable agricultural activities.”

Mr Paech was formerly employed as Program Manager Meat and Wool (Hume Region) with the Victorian Government’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, where he was involved in farm business management and agricultural extension at the delivery and management level.

His professional interests lie in areas such as business strategy; farming systems; risk management; grazing management and animal nutrition; change and adjustment in rural industries; value chain analysis and project development and management.

Mr Paech said he has a strong passion for working with land managers to understand the capability of their land, the relationship between their farming enterprise and the landscape and interactions within the farming system.

“I am really passionate about finding the right balance between sustainability, productivity, economic and social outcomes,” he said.

Mr Paech said he was very keen to get out and about in the community and meet the region’s farmers.

Having grown up in the Walla Walla area, he has a good grounding in mixed farming systems and the challenges for land managers in the region.

As well as being employed with Holbrook Landcare four days a week, Mr Paech will help run his family’s mixed farming property near Walla Walla.

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Take a bow, the gentlemen of Mittagong

Above: The 1972 gentlemen of Mittagong. BACK: Paul Munro, Tom Orford, Jim Allen, Chris Bartlett, Frank Van Haeff, Vic Isedale. MIDDLE: Ken Hansen, Chris Millbank, Terry O’Toole, Merv Wortz, Garry Roberts, Ian Jones, Jim Manning. FRONT: Grahame Andrews, John Collins, Bill Campbell, Geoff Goodfellow, Ray Crothers, Guy Roberts, Ross Isedale.Photo by Studio KinomaI DIDN’T write that headline. The words were penned by the editor of the Daily Mirror in 1972 following the return of the Mittagong Rugby League side from a tour of New Zealand.
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The Sydney newspaper story was prompted by a letter to Cooks Tours, who had organised things for this Mittagong side to play a couple of games across the ditch. The hotel used by the team in Christchurch had sent the bill to Cooks with a handwritten note saying, “the members conducted themselves as gentlemen. We enjoyed having them stay with us.”

Cooks must have been so surprised they passed the note on to the Daily Mirror.

The story probably made the Sydney tabloids because sporting teams at the time had earned a dreadful reputation for trashing hotels and behaving badly on end of season trips, or overseas tours. But not these gentlemen of Mittagong, who collected glowing testimonials wherever they went.

Like the Christchurch hotel, which congratulated the boys on, “first class manners and behaviour,” saying, “this team is a credit to Australian rugby league.”

Up in Rotorua, the hotel manager wrote; “the behaviour of the team, without exception, was perfect.”

The Linwood club said the team was exemplary, while the Central club in Rotorua congratulated the Australian Rugby League on sending such a good bunch of ambassadors.

Golly gosh, what can a man say.

Were those the same lads in this photograph?

Course they were. What gentlemen.

Actually I bumped one of those gentlemen last Saturday, when out watching the Robertson Spuddies playing a home game.

I hadn’t been to Robertson for a while. Did you know they have traffic lights in Caalong Street these days? What is the old village coming to when you have to stop at a red light on your way up the hill to the showground on a quiet winter’s Saturday afternoon in Robbo.

Anyhoo, that gentleman of Mittagong I bumped into was Grahame Andrews, a bloke who has put so much back into sport since the days he ran around the hockey and football paddocks.

Grahame has been president of group six rugby league since 2008, but before that he was a successful coach and a committed sporting administrator, running touch footy, a hockey club and much more.

Congratulations on your contribution to Highlands sport mate. Your dedication has been epic.

And while talking about good manners and gentlemen, I was delighted to see Narellan and the Spuddies run to the centre of the field and shake hands before the kick-off.

Took me back to a time when all teams did this before a sporting match began. Such a nice touch and a reminder that sport is all about having a bit of fun, not hating your opponent.

Sure, they got into it after the friendly greeting with a bit of sweat, blood and grunt, but when the final whistle went they all shook hands again and wandered off for a cool drink.

That is how sport should be played.

So good to see.

FINALLY, I must tell you a lovely story from the snowfall the other week.

I have a mate lives up on Mount Gibraltar, who tells me some yobbo in a 4WD drove rather recklessly up Oxley Drive, churning the sides of the road, but also delighting in knocking over snowmen built by the kids up there.

Then he spotted a bigger snowman and went for that too. Turned out to be a 5 tonne boulder covered in snow.

Who said there isn’t a God?

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Inflation to hit Northam

One month: Northam residents will be looking to the skies during August and September.ALL eyes will be skywards in Northam in amonth’s time when the National BallooningChampionships are contested in the AvonValley town from August 28 to September 6.
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It has been 31 years since Northam hostedthe championships so locals are preparing fora huge party withplenty of balloons.

The town previously hosted the competitionin 1984 and 1981.

Organising committee chairman GrenPutland said balloon pilots from China, Japan,Russia, the UK andacross Australia will competeover five days.

“The championships are all about testingthe skills of pilots at varying winds and altitudesrather than speed, in a variety of differentchallenges,” Mr Putland said.

“Northam is WA’s home of hot air ballooningand to see up to 30 balloons in the skieshere over the course of the event will be anincredible treat for spectators and ballooningenthusiasts.”

Competitors include the currentWomen’s World Hot Air Balloon ChampionNicola Scaife (NSW), five-time Australianchampion Paul Gibbs (NSW) and 2014Australian Champion Matthew Scaife (NSW).

The three West Australians competing inthe championships are brothers Andrew,Michael and PeterClements.

Organisers anticipate two flights per day atdawn and in the late afternoon, weather permitting.

The competition area extends over 40 kilometresnorth to south, and 30km east to westof Northam with a variation of launch locationsdepending on weather conditions.

People planning a trip to Northam to enjoythe spectacle are encouraged to visit the eventwebsite the nightbefore for the latest information.

The championship will take place over fivedays with practice flights on August 29 and30, and thechampionships running fromAugust 31 to September 4, with a reserve dayand the exciting Key Grab atfirst light onSeptember 5.

Non-competitive flying is likely to takeplace on September 6.

The Key Grab is a highly skilled challengewhere pilots have to literally grab a foam keymounted on top of a10m pole.

The key represents the key to a prize.

Pilots select a take off point that will allowthem to fly a minimum distance to reach thetarget.

This will take place over the NorthamAirfield and will be a highlight for spectators.

A number of community events includingexhibitions, expos and performances are beingheld around the championships, making it afantastic time to visit Northam and the AvonValley.

Highlights include the Balloon Glow andFiesta official launch August 29, the NorthamFiesta and Northam Small Farm and BusinessExpo on August29-30, the Northam Art Prizeand the History of Ballooning display.

The Northam Aero Club is hosting theNational Ballooning Championships, which isalso actively supported by Shire of Northam,Tourism Western Australia through Royaltiesfor Regions funding, Northam Chamber ofCommerce, ABF, Windward BalloonAdventures, Avon Community DevelopmentFoundation, Kavanagh Balloons, Santos,Kleenheat Gas, Country Builders WA, the BigPicture Factory, HotFM, and DowerinRefrigeration and Air Conditioning Services.

For more information go to梧桐夜网northamnationals南京夜网, email [email protected]南京夜网 or check out the eventon Facebook at 梧桐夜网facebook南京夜网/ northamnationals.

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Gorge driver nabbed at .233

RESCUE: SES and CFA members winch the woman to safety from the Beechworth Gorge last August after her Holden Commodore travelled into the ravine.
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A WOMAN who drove her car off the Beechworth Gorge last yearhas allegedly been caught drink-driving, returning a reading nearly five times the legal limit.

Police had been amazed that no-one had died when the 50-year-old’sHolden Commodore plunged 100 metres into the gorge on August 18.

Her passenger climbed safely to the top of the gorge and thewoman had to be winchedout on a stretcher.

The former Myrtleford woman was charged with reckless conduct endangering life over last year’s incident, and will return to court next month.

But the woman is in further strife after allegedly being caught drink-driving with a reading of 0.233in central Beechworth on Sunday night.

She will receive a summons over the latest incident.

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Five things we learned: South West Football Leagueround 13

Carey Park has come across shaky in recent matches. They will need to piece it all together before the finals arrive.The Panthers have been a great side this season and sit tied for first spot in the win/loss column, but something looks a little off about them.
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I’m not sure if it’s an internal issue, external issue or something completely unrelated to football, but it’s been a while since Carey Park put forth a four-quarter effort.

They had lapses in their game against the last-placed Bulldogs and at one point it looked like they might even get rolled.

Fortunately for them, they came through when it mattered.

But if the Panthers have lapses against sides like Eaton or Busselton, it won’t end so joyfully for them.

But if you’re going to have a slump, let it be now rather than in September, right?

In the words of Homer Simpson – “it’s like the measles, good to get it out of the way.”

Now I’m not one to believe in home field advantages very much – especially in the SWFL.

If driving down the road for 40 minutes affects your play, then you aren’t all that good, are you?

But nonetheless, Busselton has shown that they are extremely hard to beat at home.

The only game they’ve lost on home soil this year was a freak upset in extremely wet conditions to South Bunbury – a game in which the Magpies kicked inaccurately.

However, travelling does seem to be their downfall.

They’ve lost to Eaton and Carey Park when on the road but won against both of those sides at home.

You won’t find me tipping against Busselton when they play at Sir Stuart Bovell Park.

Up to now, Augusta-Margaret River’s season has been great.

One of the competition’s worst sides in 2014, the Hawks turned it around big time this season and look like playing finals.

But a heavy loss to Donnybrook would not have been the way the Hawks wanted to come out of the bye.

They’ve started the business end of the season on the wrong foot, and their game this week against Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault looms as a “must-win”.

Although they sit two games clear of Harvey, an unexpected loss to the Hawks will put an enormous amount of pressure on them.

Being three games outside of the top five, South Bunbury can still mathematically make finals.

But the key word is “mathematically”, and they probably won’t.

Still, their form has been impressive in recent games and some of the top sides should be worried about facing them.

They’ve already beaten the Boomers and they won’t see Carey Park again, but they have Busselton this week and Donnybrook in round 17.

These Tigers are capable of causing upsets against both of these teams and damaging their chances of a top-three finish and a qualifying final berth.

Look to South Bunbury if you’re searching for a side that could cause upsets.

A few weeks ago, a pair of my colleagues and I sat down to determine what would happen in the back half of the season.

In case you’ve forgotten or missed out on the predictions, I tipped Donnybrook to fall away and finish fourth (making them the worst of the best sides).

So now I’m wondering, is it too late to buy a ticket to the bandwagon?

Every time Donnybrook gives us a slight reason to doubt them, they come out and demolish a quality opponent.

With or without Jeff Smith, this team can challenge.

They have next-to-nothing in terms of finals experience, but I’m eager to see where this team can finish and how far they can go.

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Man charged with unauthorised firearm possession

A man was arrested after allegedly being found in possession of unauthorised firearms at Weston on Sunday.
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About 2.30pm Sunday, police were called to a home on Third Street, following reports of an armed man in the yard.

Police attended and attempted to speak with the man, who allegedly refused to cooperate.

Almost an hour later, the 32-year-old man exited the garage and was arrested without incident.

No-one was injured during the operation.

Police located and seized two air rifles and various types of ammunition.

The man was taken to Maitland Police Station and charged with unauthorised possession of firearms, not keeping firearms safe, and possessing ammunition without holding a licence or permit.

He was refused bail and was due to appear at Maitland Local Court on Monday.

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PM tackled on?Bishop’s behaviour

THE member for Indi believesBronwyn Bishop’s $5000 helicopter trip is bringing ridicule to parliament, but she does not thinkthe Speaker should resign.
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Instead Cathy McGowan has written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott outlining her concerns about Ms Bishop’s actions.

“I want to meet with him and talk about it,” Ms McGowan said.

She wrote to Mr Abbott on Monday after an electorate tour through the Mitta Valley on Saturday brought home to her how Ms Bishop’s Melbourne to Geelong chopper ride was seen by voters.

“It’s very, very important that that Speaker has got the confidence of the people of Australia and I just haven’t seen it this last week in Indi,” Ms McGowan said.

“If people are joking about it and telling me the jokes and thinking it’s hugely funny and wanting people to laugh with it, I go ‘aw’.

“What’s currently happening is that we’ve had an enormous loss of respect for the institution of parliament.”

Though Ms McGowan does not believe Ms Bishop’s resignation as speaker is the “only way” torestore confidence in parliament.

“Bronwyn could apologise, she could accept responsibility for what’s going on, that would certainly me happy because I think in lots of ways she is a very important figure in Australian politics,” Ms McGowan said.

“I’m definitely not calling for her to resign, because I don’t think that necessarily solves the problem, because we could get another speaker in who doesn’t bring with them a gravitas for the job.”

Ms McGowan declined to sayMs Bishop should repay money claimed for attending Mrs Mirabella’s wedding in 2006, saying she did not know the full circumstances.

Meanwhile, Ms McGowan will launcha Kitchen Table report on Sunday.

It is basedonfeedback from 1500 North East residents and will feed into an Indi Summitin October.

Ms McGowan said topics covered includetransport, phones, jobs, education, drugs andagriculture.

“You’ll look at the report and go ‘we know all this’ and to me that’s really lovely because it gives me such confidence in my representation…and me as an independent can be really clear on how I vote on things,”she said.

Feedback: Cathy McGowan speaks to constituents at The Cube In Wodonga. She has written to the PM about Bronwyn Bishop. Picture: MARK JESSER

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New timber bridge expected to last 50 years

ACCESS: Council engineer Peter Davis overseeing craning in of the new bridge structure on Watagan Creek Road.The usually peaceful Watagan Creek Road, Laguna saw much more activity than usual last Thursday with the craning in of a new timber bridge.
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The full bridge replacement saw the existing 7.4-metre structure completely removed and replaced, including high-tech laminated components.

It was lifted in and secured in place by specialist bridge technicians.

Cessnock City Council design delivery manager Katrina Kerr said every effort was made to ensure there was minimal disruption to the adjacent conservation area.

“Access at the bridge site was tricky, and required careful planning,” Ms. Kerr said.

“This new bridge is expected to have a 50-year life and will solve access issues for residents who live in this beautiful area.”

Regular inspections revealed the existing bridge was deteriorating and in need of extensive repairs or replacement in September 2014.

A 7.5-tonne load limit was imposed on the bridge due to the severely decayed condition of some components, with a further reduction to 3.5-tonne recently.

Replacement of the bridge is now complete and is open to traffic.

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Skinner wants Bulls thriving

HEAVY WORKLOAD: Southcity playmaker Kyle McCarthy will refreshed after the Bulls’ bye last weekend. Picture: Kieren L Tilly
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SETTING sights on a top-three finish, Southcity captain-coach Nick Skinner has used thebye to re-energise the Bulls for their charge to the Group Nine finals.

Searching for a remedy for Southcity’s faltering form, Skinner has revealed the team is returning from some late season R and R.

“I gave everyone the week off,” Skinner said.

“I think we needed it, and hopefully we’ll all be refreshed and ready to go again.”

With Southcity precariously perched in fourth position following three losses in their last four games, the bye was a timely break for the team – and particularly playmakers Nathan Rose and Kyle McCarthy.

“What with all the rep footy they’ve (Rose and McCarthy) had a big preparation,” Skinner said.

“Hopefully they’ll have picked up.”

Heading into the last three games of the home and away series, Skinner knows halves Rose and McCarthy hold the key to Southcity’s fortunes.

Despite Southcity dipping to fourth on the ladder, the newly re-appointed Bulls coach has definitely not lost heart or confidence in the team.

Counting down to a critical Wagga derby against third-place Kangaroos at Equex Centre on Sunday, Skinner is adamant the Bulls can climb the table.

“Definitely,” he said.

“We’ve got three games to go and they’re all must win.

“At the moment Roos are ahead of us.”

For Southcity, beating Kangaroos, Cootamundra and Tumbarumba in the final three games would ensure the team finishes no worse than third.

And Skinner believes his team is not far off its best touch.

“We haven’t been playing bad, but we haven’t been playing good either,” he said.

“We can play a lot better. We were playing a lot better earlier in the season.”

Southcity trumped Kangaroos 28-16 at Harris Park on May 2, but have won only four of their next nine games.

Wiping the slate, Skinner said Roos had grown in stature since the loss to Southcity two months ago.

“They’ve come a long way,” he said.

“They’re third on the ladder, young and enthusiastic and (coach) Adam Hall steers them well around the paddock.

“We definitely have to match their enthusiasm.”

The Bulls will not make any changes to their line-up.

On the other side of the coin, Roos are in injury strife, with forwards Chris Jordan, Tom Webb and Tyler Austin all in doubt for Sunday.

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Rollout of shire signage starting soon

New shire entry and locality signs will be seen as soon as August this year.NEW shire entry and locality signage will be seen around the Highlands as soon as August this year.
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Earlier this year, councillors voted to endorse new creative signs to be installed at entry and exit points and between localities within the shire.

In last week’s Ordinary Meeting of Council, councillors supported the installation of the new signage which would be rolled out from August this year.

Current signage across the shire is considered to be outdated and not consistent with Destination Southern Highlands branding.

Three types of signs will be installed including, two shire-entry billboard signs which would be made to be re-adapted as the marketing of the Southern Highlands changes.

Seven rural shire-entry signs will be installed from August 30 this year, in road reserve areas at key entry points to the shire and about 150 locality signs will be installed to clearly define entry and exit points from shire localities.

The locality signs would be placed back to back so as commuters leave one area, they will see the sign of the next locality they are moving into.

State roads have been identified as priority for the rollout and council staff members have started investigating the position and quotes for the highway billboards.

Council has allocated $130,000 to fund the project over 2015/16 and any additional funds would be considered in the 2016/17 budget.

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Going green, by royal decree

The King and Queen of Green from the Eaton Gorge Theatre Company, spreading the word about composting, worms and chooks in Bundanoon last Sunday. Photo supplied
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DON’T be alarmed if green royalty stops you in the street. They only want to talk about worms.

The initiative is part of a council program to encourage residents to recycle their organic matter, whether that be through composting, worm farms or backyard chooks.

Council’s Waste Education Project Officer Esther Landells said while Highland residents were good recyclers, we could improve when it came to organic matter.

“In a recent audit of garbage in the shire, we found that 60 per cent of material in the red bins could be recycled – mainly food scraps and the like.

“By recycling this organic matter, not only will this give you more space in the your red bin, but you will also help to cut down on the methane gas that organic matter produces,” she said.

The royal couple is encouraging people to attend upcoming information sessions on waste recycling, with the added incentive of a free compost bin or worm farm (including worms) for attendees.

The information sessions will be held at the Resource Recovery Centre next week: Monday, August 3, Tuesday, August 4 and Thursday ,August 6 between 3.30pm and 5.30pm (each session is half an hour) and also on Saturday, August 11 between 11am to 12.30pm.

To book into a session email [email protected]论坛 or visit council’s website.

The King and Queen of Green come from Wollongong’s Eaton Gorge Theatre Company, which specialises in spreading environmental messages. They will be visiting Bowral in a couple of weeks and will also make an appearance at the Home and Garden Show.

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