Flattened: The unfolding emergency of Cyclone Pam

Grim aftermath: A child walks through the ruins of his family home with his father Phillip, on March 16 in Port Vila and, below, more scenes of the devastation in Vanuatu. Photo: Dave Hunt/Getty ImagesThe scale of the destruction wrought by Cyclone Pam on Vanuatu’s 65 islands is becoming apparent as news filters out of the tiny Pacific nation.
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Up to 70 per cent of the nation’s 69,000 households were damaged by the category-5 cyclone, with 100,000 of the country’s half-a-million people estimated to be homeless, and every single school thought to have been destroyed. The death toll stands at 24 and is rising.

It is a level of emergency almost unfathomable in Australia, and Vanuata’s president, Baldwin Londsdale, fears the numbers could worsen as contact is made with the nation’s outer islands.

“The humanitarian need is immediate, we need it right now,” he said. Starvation fears after crops wiped out

Grave fears are held for the southern island of Tanna, home to popular Australian tourist destination, the Evergreen Resort. Early reports from UN aerial surveys suggest that the 320 kilometre per hour winds have destroyed up to 70 per cent of the buildings on the island, including the resort.

The 29,000 inhabitants of Tanna took the full force of the storm and authorities are struggling to make contact, with runways damaged and communication systems down. According to reports from pilots there is only one known doctor available to treat the injuries.

All of the island’s crops were destroyed, and there are fears the population could starve, a Unicef spokesperson told The Independent.

‘Much more difficult than Haiyan’

Disaster zone veterans like Tom Skirrow from Save the Children said the relief effort was a logistical challenge greater than that posed by Typhoon Haiyan which took more than 7350 lives in the Philippines in 2013.

“I was present for the Haiyan response and I would 100 per cent tell you that this is a much more difficult logistical problem,” he said.

“The numbers are smaller but the percentage of the population that’s been affected is much bigger.” 85 per cent of homes damaged in Port Vila


The nation’s capital, Port Vila, has had 85 per cent of its homes damaged, and its population of more than 44,000 is desperate for resources, according to aid organisation CARE.

A prime ministerial spokesman, Benjamin Shing, said there may be enough food for a few more days and then people would be dependent on aid to survive.

The full impact of the cyclone is only going to become more apparent in the coming days as authorities make contact with remote islands and provinces.  Australia providing $5m in relief 

Australia has committed an initial $5 million in aid to non-governmental organisations working on the islands.

The foreign minister, Julie Bishop said that Australia will also be deploying humanitarian supplies to provide support for up to 5000 people in the form of water, sanitation and shelter.

“We will be sending military transport planes, and deployment personnel, medical, humanitarian, consular, natural disaster experts and of course supplies,” she said.

How you can help

The following charities have launched appeals to help those in Vanuatu affected by Cylone Pam:

UNICEF – Cyclone Pam Appeal 

Save the Children – Cyclone Pam Emergency Response 

CARE – Help CARE provide emergency relief in Vanuatu 

World Animal Protection – Cyclone Pam animal relief fund

with Wires 

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Nine’s Willoughby ‘home of television’ finally up for sale

Channel Nine’s famous Sydney headquarters, once dubbed the “home of television”, is up for sale. The 2.9 hectares in Willoughby is on the market with a value of more than $150 million.
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Nine has been broadcasting from the site on Artarmon Road for 50 years, its tenure dating back to the time of network founder Sir Frank Packer.

It was Sir Frank’s idea to hand out the now-legendary Christmas hampers to Nine’s neighbours after the network first began landing its helicopters at the site.

His son, Kerry Packer, took over the reins of the business and significantly upgraded the site over many years. He sold the network and site and then bought it back from Alan Bond in the early 1990s.

A Nine spokeswoman said: “If we are successful in the sale process, it means we may one day relocate from the Willoughby campus, but that will not happen any time soon”.

But the transmission tower that sits nearby is independently-owned by TX Australia, is located on a separate block, and will stay. The three transmissions dishes on the site will be demolished once the network leaves.

Discussions to sell the land for redevelopment started a decade ago but were shelved. The latest round was reignited about two years ago, but the plan has faced tough opposition from the local Willoughby Area Action Group.

After a lengthy battle, Nine will now sell the land to a developer. No sale price for the land disclosed but developers said the site could command up to $150 million, thanks to its city and district views.

In early January, Nine chief executive David Gyngell, whose father Bruce was the first person on Australian television, received the news that NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) and the NSW Land and Environment Court had allowed an increase in the maximum number of apartments to 400 units, up from the previously approved 350 units. Among the significant details contained in the court’s determination are a 6 per cent reduction in overall floor space allowing more open space and less site coverage.

The apartments will be housed in five planned buildings will be limited to a maximum height of eight storeys. Two rows of terrace houses also form part of the plan.

Nine will sell property through CBRE’s Matt Ramsay and Scott Gray-Spencer on the basis of a leaseback, providing time for the network to secure new Sydney premises and move.

This will be the second such deal for Nine, which in 2010 sold its former Bendigo Street, Richmond site in Melbourne to Lend Lease, for a reported $50 million. The first stage sold out quickly and the second of three stages, of what is now a $450 million development was launched late last year.

Mr Ramsay said he expected significant local and offshore developer and investor interest. “The NSW government has a clear focus to address Sydney’s housing shortfall and this site is ideally positioned to deliver a project of significant scale in a highly desirable, north shore location,” he said.

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NBN is coming to a town near you, soon

An NBN tower is contructed near Watervale. PHOTO – Trevor Ackland.
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The much anticipated NBN is arriving in the region soon, with construction of towers in the lower north almost complete, and community consultation happening in the Southern Flinders this week.

The benefits of the NBN to businesses and residents included more consistent, reliable and faster internet speeds, an increase in the number of internet service providers, and more competitive pricing.

Community Information Sessions are the starting point to developing the National Broadband Network in a given area.

“We engage with the local community, explain time frames and construction requirements and generally explain the process to people.

“Before any construction begins we need to submit development applications with local councils, and those approvals need to be granted before we can start digging,” Peter Gurney, Lead Community Affairs Manager WA/NT/SA at NBN Co Limited, said.

He acknowledged that rural and regional communities were desperate for better broadband, and said communities appreciated that the infrastructure needed to be built.

NBN Co infrastructure was built to comply with national standards for electromagnetic energy and local planning rules.

“It then takes about 12 months from the time the build commences until the network is switched on in an area, depending on the location and the nature of the terrain,” Mr Gurney said.

People living and working in the area from Watervale to Tarlee have already observed towers being constructed, and were eagerly awaiting launch of the service, which is due in the second half of the year.

“Whilst it might appear that all infrastructure is in place, in some rural locations fibre connects to one tower, and all other towers are connected via microwave link.

“This means towers are interdependent on one another, and the entire system needs to be in place before any one tower can operate,” Mr Gurney said.

Where possible, NBN technology is co-located onto existing infrastructure, which keeps costs down and reduces construction time.

Systems are built for the number of premises in a given area, allowing for population growth into the future, which means speed and reliability should not fluctuate as it does with fixed wireless internet.

Many locals currently using mobile internet service have experienced variability in speed and connection, depending on the time of day or if there was an event that brought many visitors to the region (eg during the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend), but this will not happen with fixed wireless internet.

Once the system is operational, internet service providers are able to sell fixed wireless internet to consumers using the NBN Co infrastructure.

Competition between providers is expected to push the retail price of internet access down to much lower levels than rural businesses and residents have experienced in the past.

Other towns in the current Fixed Wireless Internet rollout that should be able to access service by the end of the year include Leasingham, Auburn, Balaklava, Armagh, Brinkworth and surrounding districts.

A fixed wireless internet service connecting Gladstone, Laura, Wirrabara, Melrose and surrounding areas could be live within the next 18 months, with Clare, Jamestown, Crystal Brook, Peterborough and Burra to get fixed line technology within a similar time frame.

The NBN or National Broadband Network is an Australia wide upgrade of existing fixed line and internet infrastructure, focusing on closing the digital divide.

NBN Co is the business that is constructing the infrastructure, but is not a service provider.

In rural South Australia, fixed wireless facilities and satellite are the main technologies being implemented, with fixed line technology being offered in larger rural towns and cities.

Once service is available in an area, businesses and residents can go to the NBN Co website (www.nbnco南京夜网.au), search for their address and select a provider.

The provider will install an external antenna and a box within the premises, which will connect the business or household to the internet.

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Local beef producers make debut on national TV

Guyra beef producers Bill and Jacqui Mitchell have leapt from the paddock to the green room to appear on behalf of Coles in content pieces created specifically for Channel 7’s My Kitchen Rules on Tuesday March 17.
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Bill and Jacqui from Glenbrook Pastoral Company, who produce grass-fed beef for Coles, were among 12 outstanding Coles suppliers approached to appear on behalf of Coles in the top rating television program.

As Coles suppliers who have supplied the supermarket with beef for four years, Bill and Jacqui run 2000 cattle on their property and recently began supplying cattle for Coles’ new grass-fed beef range, GRAZE.

Coles General Manager of Meat, Allister Watson, said Coles was pleased to support Bill and Jacqui’s appearance on My Kitchen Rules because of his commitment to quality beef.

“Coles source products directly from hundreds of beef producers across Australia. Highlighting their great products to a national audience through My Kitchen Rules is another way we can celebrate local suppliers as well as the great food grown on family farms,” he said.

“We were delighted to nominate Bill and Jacqui on behalf of Coles in My Kitchen Rules and, in doing so, shine the national spotlight on such an innovative NSW business that produces high-quality grass-fed beef.”

“NSW producers such as the Mitchell family are vital in ensuring Australians have excellent fresh local food to buy at Coles. It’s our belief in companies like Glenbrook Pastoral Company which drives our efforts to source Australian-grown food whenever and wherever possible.”

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More Yass Show photos

More Yass Show photos The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended, including stall holder William Shakespear. Photo: Jessica Cole.
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The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

Norwegian Fjord displayed by Lesley Cameron.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

Chris Broers with Prince. Won supreme Champion Clydesdale at Yass Show.

Class 78 Other heavy horses won by Leisa Doggett’s Welsh Cob D Nullah

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

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Angus cow makes $22,000 

TOP GENETICS: Jeanette and James Newman, with managers Tim and Jemma Reid, Melon pastoral Company, Roslyn, and agent Tom Wilding-Davies, Landmark Albury pictured with the $22,000 cow. Picture: Brett TindalANGUS breeders love a dispersal and the opportunity to take advantage of good genetics.
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At N BAR Angus dispersal sale buyers shelled out a top price of$22,000 for a donor cow.

Stud breeders put plenty of bids in for thewell-known genetics that featured many show champions.

Donor cows topped the unreserved sale at $22,000 with 34 cows averaging $2859, 64 cow and calf units topped at $14,000 to average $3302.

Meanwhile,38 heifers topped at $3800, averaging $1650 and 47 Angus bulls averaged $2322 after topping at $7000.

The top cow was N BAR A115 Bara C133, who was part of the 2011 Sydney Royal Horden Trophy winning team, by Circle 8 0699 Bando A115, and was snapped up by James and Jeantte Newman, Melon Pastoral Company, Roslyn, with the help of their new managers and former N BAR Angus managers Tim and Jemma Reid.

Mr Newman said they took the opportunity to buy the eight-year-old HBR cow to flush and breed bulls and females for their own commercial operation, as well as selling bulls to interested parties.

Mr Reid said she was a cow that would pay herself back in spades, through quality progeny, as she showed on the day, grossing $70,000 for her progeny sold at the dispersal.

The Newman’s went on to buy a second cow at $7000 and four heifers averaging $4125.

The second top priced cow N BAR765JH Champagne E43, was secured by Landmark Goulburn agent Daniel Croker for an undisclosed client for $21,000.

Once again the animal tracedback to the Circle 8 line on the dam side, with Circle 8 5321 Champagne, by a Harb Pendleton sire.

She was +6.1 for birth through to +115 for 600 day growth, with positive carcase data.

Tamworth livestock agent Chris Paterson and his son Jye, Heart Angus,who arethree years into the newly formed Angus stud were looking to increase numbers.

They secured15 cows to $14,000 on two occasions to average $5513, before buying two heifers for $2700.

Jemma and Tim Reid, JTR Cattle Company, Goulburn, paid $12,000 for N BAR 004 BLKCAP Mary D08, by Sav 8180 Traveler 004, with moderate birth, high growth and a good balance of carcase data, before securing another two cows for $2800 and $11000.

Fellow stud breeders the Geard family, Premier Angus, Mittagong, paidto a top of$5000, averaging $2567.

Jim Wedge and Jackie Chard, Ascot Angus, Warwick, Queensland, averaged $2467 for three cows and $2800 for three heifers.

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Pru’s commitments for health

Last week Goulburn MP Pru Goward announced funding to enhance health services in Yass, with the construction of a new ambulance station and Multi-Purpose Service (MPS), as another election commitment under a re-elected Baird Government.
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If re-elected on March 28, the State Government will invest $3.7 million for a new ambulance station and $8 million to construct a new MPS building for the benefit of the Yass community.

The Liberal party’s $11.7 million funding promise was the third announcement last week, following $3 million set aside for the Barton Highway and the $6.3 million promise to address sewerage problems in the Yass Valley.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said the government will be quick to make-good on its promises.

“Planning for the new MPS at Yass will be complete by the end of the year, which will determine the type of services to be delivered by the facility,” Mrs Skinner said.

“The new Multi-Purpose Service for Yass will care for the community for decades to come.”

Ms Goward welcomed the announcements saying regional and rural health is a key focus of the Baird Government.

“These health enhancements not only deliver enhanced care for patients but they will act as a magnet to attract new staff to Yass,” Ms Goward said.

“The Baird Government is committed to ensuring rural and regional communities have better access to health services closer to home and these announcements are a great example of this commitment in action.

President of the Yass Valley Aged Care Limited Ron Badger said that the NSW Government has been unable to facilitate the provision of aged care packages for home care service programs to be actually used in Yass over recent years.

“The announcement of the new Multi-Purpose Service is welcomed as it might address this deficiency,” he said.

He added that Ms Skinner’s promise that plans for the new MPS at Yass will be completed by the end of the year is also welcome.

“NSW Health has already established the Community Consultative Committee in Yass as part of the Southern NSW Local Health District and I look forward to that being part of the consultation for the proposed MPS.

“I would expect the planning to include a revision to the NSW Health Policy for Multi-Purpose Services last addressed in July 2010, so that it aligns with the Living Longer Living Better initiatives used at our Warmington Lodge and Horton House and other local facilities.”

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Beaudesert SES needs more members

Beaudesert SES group leader Tuli LauLau said he gains a lot of satisfaction from being part of the SES.BEAUDESERT SES has put out the call for more local volunteers ahead of a recruitment drive on Saturday, March 21.
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The group is keen to boost volunteer numbers in town to be better prepared to serve the community, with rescue attempts sometimes held back by a lack of available volunteers.

Beaudesert SES group leader Tuli LauLau said he loved being a part of the SES and would do it full-time if possible.

“People don’t see the exciting side of it, when you get that activation call at 9pm at night and you’re trekking through the bush with a stretcher, you really get the adrenaline flowing,” he said.

Mr LauLau said he and his team gained a lot of satisfaction from being in the SES and serving the community.

“When you complete the rescue and you’re placing someone in an ambulance and you realise you’ve done it, you really do get some genuine satisfaction from it,” he said.

Mr LauLau said the issue the Beaudesert branch currently faced was a large portion of its members work outside of town, leaving few available to immediately attend callouts when a situation arose.

“If we had people who can get things ready while everyone else gets back to town, that would a huge help,” he said.

Mr LauLau said the SES, which meets every Tuesday night in town, had several positions available for people of all fitness levels.

“You don’t have to go out on activations, when we have a rescue we need administrative help to man the forward base, there’s jobs in providing food and supplies, so you don’t have to be Superman to join up.

Beaudesert SES will hold a recruitment drive and fundraising day this Saturday outside Woolworths in Beaudesert.

Food and drinks will available from 7.30am to 3pm.

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Tourism masterclass to hit Beaudesert

AN alliance of tourism organisations is calling on local operators throughout the Scenic Rim to join them for a free business masterclass in Beaudesert on March 25.
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With the aim of showcasing the the beauty of Scenic Rim, Gold Coast and Northern NSW, the Australia’s Green Cauldon masterclasses are aimed at helping operators develop their business.

Ways to increase profit and encourage repeat visitors will be a focus, while tips on generating media publicity and an understanding of distribution and packaging will also be discussed.

The masterclasses are the result of the Green Cauldron alliance between the Queensland and New South Wales government and several local councils, with the aim of using the size of the alliance to leverage long-term business opportunities for the area in the coming years.

The free Beaudesert masterclass is open to any tourism operator in the Scenic Rim and is one of three planned for the region, with the others to be held in Lismore and Coolangatta.

Presenters include Krista Hauritz and Amanda Kruse, with guest appearances from Scenic Rim tourism stalwart Jane O’Reilly from O’Reilly’s Guest House and Heidi Ross of the iconic Nightfall Wilderness Camp.

The masterclasses will be held The Centre in Beaudesert on March 25 from 9am to 3.30pm.

For more details visit www.agclismore.eventbrite南京夜网.au

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Whitewash allows Port Macquarie Golf Club to win Battle of the Hastings

Retaining the trophy: Port Macquarie Golf Club director Brian Harrison, left, receives the Battle of the Hastings trophy from Wauchope Golf Club captain Dennis Hughes. Port s club retained the trophy.A HOME whitewash enabled Port Macquarie Golf Club to easily retain the Battle of the Hastings trophy in the annual clash with Wauchope Golf Club.
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At Wauchope, Wauchope won five matches to Port Macquarie’s three in the four ball, best ball event, but at Port Macquarie the home side won all eight matches.

This gave Port Macquarie a win by 11 matches to five, thus retaining the trophy.

Two pairs made 49 points with Dave McGrath and Dave Lynch beating Ken Stonestreet and Rod Noble on a countback. McGrath and Lynch made three pointers at all of the last eight holes. All up they had thirteen three pointers.

Stonestreet and Noble had a front nine that contained two four pointers and four three pointers, but they made only one point at the fourth hole. They had a countback nine of 24 points after their 25 points out.

Nick Ambrose and Mark Bensley were third with 45 points and the scratch score was taken out by John Heagney and Terry Davis with a best ball of two under par.

The ball competition went down to 41 points with a countback of 23 and the nearest to the pins went to Graeme McLaren, John Scaysbrook, Dave McGrath and Frank Godfrey.

Sunday’s medley fourball was won by Pat and Jenny McCormack who have been members of Port Macquarie Golf Club for about four months. They made 43 points to edge out Brian and Lesley worth and John and Yvone Heslin, both of whom had 42 points.

The ball competition went to 41 points and the nearest to the pins were won by Chris Dickson, Ian Jackson, Col Hardwick and Heather Williams.

In the Lower North Coast pennant Port Macquarie were to play Wingham but Wingham forfeited the division one match.

In division two, Port Macquarie suffered its first defeat, going down four matches to two against Tallwoods. Nick Ratcliffe and Bruce Duncombe were the only players to win with Stuart Rayner, Stephan Tessede, Mick Couper and Dave Lacey all losing.

The division three Port Macquarie team maintained its unbeaten record with a four and a half to one and a half win over Forster Tuncurry.

Andrew Goulding, Tim Gwyther, John Cullinane and Steve Cox all won their matches while John Oakey had a half and Nick Payne went down.

Jeremy Tydd was the only Port Macquarie player to win in the division four team’s 5-1 loss to Forster Tuncurry.

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