南京夜网 22/09/2018

Single parents protest against welfare cuts

Sole parents fear a generation of children will be entrenched in poverty if the federal government doesn’t reverse cuts to single parent benefits.
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Dozens of protesters gathered in cities across the country yesterday to rally against welfare changes, which moved 60,000 single parents on to the lower Newstart Allowance.

From January 1, single parents have received between $60 and $100-a-week less under entitlement changes.

Single Parent Action Group protest organiser Samantha Seymour says 730,000 children are living below the poverty line and the figure is set to rise.

‘‘Effects of poverty include obesity, depression, suicide, developmental delays, poor school outcomes,’’ Ms Seymour told a rally in Canberra.

Single mum Bianca Maciel Pizzorno said her twin boys, aged eight, had offered to empty their piggy banks to help pay the bills.

‘‘It’s hard to explain to an eight-year-old that $10 isn’t going to help,’’ she said.

At a rally at Martin Place in Sydney on Tuesday morning, Louise Plitz, 31, was one of about 50 protesters.

She said the payment changes were already affecting her and her 10-year-old son.

‘‘For example, after rent comes out this week, there will be $100 to live off for two weeks.’’.

Shellharbour councillor Kellie Marsh is behind a local push to increase welfare payments for single mothers. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

‘‘By the time you put a full tank of petrol in, there’s not much left to cover bills.

‘‘It’s extremely stressful.’’

Feminist author Eva Cox, who also attended the Sydney rally, said the federal government’s reasoning that the parenting cuts would become an incentive for more people to get into the workforce was ‘‘just plain stupid’’.

‘‘For a sole parent, a child’s needs come first otherwise they’re bad parents, so this idea that people can do full-time or near full-time work is ridiculous.’’

The federal government has said the cuts, worth around $728million in savings over four years, are needed to achieve a budget surplus in 2012/13.

NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann told the Sydney rally the government was ‘‘looking at the wrong end of town to find savings’’.

Organisations such as the Benevolent Society and Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) also supported the national protest.

‘‘It beggars belief that we can be having a national conversation about the inadequacy of Newstart, with politicians lining up to say that it is too low to live on, whilst at the same time we are forcing already vulnerable and disadvantaged families on to that very same payment,’’ said Joel Pringle, campaign manager for AAH.

AAP

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南京夜网 22/09/2018

Carving out a new career

Katrina Beams’s mother can’t believe her little girl in frilly socks has gone on to punch through ice in Antarctica.
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Ms Beams, 35, still struggles to believe it herself, having never expected she would one day be at the helm of Australia’s Antarctic flagship.

As third mate on the Aurora Australis, Ms Beams spends eight hours a day navigating the 3911-tonne research and resupply ship through ice up to 1.23 metres thick.

The West Launceston woman has also acted as a safety officer on the ship which, according to the federal government’s Antarctic division, can roll up to 45 degrees in big swells, making the angle of the deck steeper than any street in the country.

“It’s a big responsibility, you have up to 140 people on board, and their lives, and a very expensive ship, are in your control,” Ms Beams said.

She said the unpredictable nature of the job, and the harsh environment she navigated, meant she was always learning.

“Understanding the differences in the ice takes a lot of time – you need to know about areas of pressure, thickness and the weather conditions and what impact they’ll have on the ice,” she said.

“You have to choose the best route by seeing where the ice is likely to be thinnest. The ship has a flatter hull, meaning you literally come up on to the ice and break it out.

“If you’re in the lower hull it sounds like metal on metal, or fingers on a chalkboard.”

Ms Beams, who has a background in administration and hospitality, said she never planned or considered a job on the water until she took a stewarding job with the Spirit of Tasmania more than seven years ago.

She said that led to a chief steward position with P&O Maritime Services, owner of Aurora Australis, at which point her career changed course.

“I never thought of third mate as a career path until I started at P&O because it was a smaller environment than the Spirit, you were there on the ship all the time and I had access to the bridge so I could see everything that was going on,” Ms Beams said.

“I applied for P&O to retrain me as third mate and spent 3 1/2 to four years training, 18 months of it sea time and 21 months school time at the (Australian) maritime college.

“The first time I was left on my own it was overwhelming, I was full of nerves because the training wheels were off . . . then I realised it was no different to when I was a cadet, I just didn’t have someone with me – and the captain’s always just a phone call away.”

Ms Beams said there weren’t many negatives of working on the Aurora Australis, but acknowledged she wouldn’t be able to rush home for a personal emergency.

“Once the ship sails, that’s it, and I’ve told my family that if anything bad happens at home I don’t want to know until I’m back, because I don’t see the good in knowing when I’m stuck in the middle of the ocean,” she said.

“Also, I don’t book holidays within two weeks of a job’s end, because you don’t know what will happen and there can be unexpected delays – one guy I worked with almost missed his wedding last year.”

Still, she said the wonders of working in the Earth’s southernmost continent easily outweighed any downsides.

“There are a lot of bests about my job. I only have to work half a year because I get one day off for every day I work, and I get to go to places anyone else would spend thousands of dollars to see,” Ms Beams said.

“The first time I saw Antarctica it was just amazing, and it still is amazing, every minute – especially because it’s daylight all the time, you can look out the porthole and see so much change in the landscape, 24 hours a day.”

This floating hazard offers a picture-postcard opportunity.

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南京夜网 22/09/2018

New water treatment plant for Manilla

PLANS for a new water treatment plant at Manilla are well under way.
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The project, believed to be the biggest water infrastructure investment in the town in the past 50 years, is worth several million dollars.

The existing plant at Court St was brought online in 1933 and has passed its useful life.

Tamworth Regional Council water enterprises director Bruce Logan said the council bought a 34-hectare property east of Manilla, between Kanangra and Reservoir roads, in recent months and work to develop a concept design had started.

“The abundance of space at this greenfield site provides many design opportunities, as well as buffers for environmental and safety consideration,” he said.

“The site is also near the existing reservoir in Manilla which offers advantages for operational and capital cost savings.”

Mr Logan said construction was not expected to start until next year, but would involve refurbishing the Namoi River weir pump station, a new raw water pipeline to the new treatment plant, and a new treated water pipeline to the existing seven-megalitre storage on Reservoir Rd.

There will also be a raw water supply pipeline built from the Manilla River to the new plant.

The Namoi River weir is Manilla’s source of raw water, while the Manilla River is a secondary source.

The new water treatment plant will result in a greater volume of treated water for the Manilla community and improvements in the quality of the water.

“The new plant will provide the ability to treat a greater volume of water and a broader range of raw water quality,” Mr Logan said.

“New process units will be included in the plant’s design, to provide a better quality of treated water – such as iron and manganese removal, which is not possible at the existing plant – and there will be new process controls, which will lead to improvements in operation and reliability.”

Manilla will soon get a new water treatment plant.

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南京夜网 22/09/2018

Tamworth youth get in right headspace

MENTAL health services for the region’s youth have been boosted with the opening of Tamworth headspace this week.
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Headspace is for young people aged 12 to 25 and brings together mental health support and counselling, as well as general physical health, drugs and alcohol and education and employment services.

Yesterday saw the service receive its first clients, who can make appointments themselves or be referred by a GP or other provider.

Manager Helen Carter said headspace was a “one-stop shop” where young people could go to get help with a range of issues.

“It’s about improving access for young people who perhaps haven’t felt confident about seeking help before and weren’t sure where to go,” Ms Carter said.

Just one in four young people who need help for mental health issues receive it.

But it was expected the new service would be well-used – Ms Carter said, on average, headspace centres helped about 600 people each year, with more-established services seeing about 1000 clients.

She said the service would work alongside existing mental health services and provide assistance to young people on the mild to moderate end of the mental health spectrum.

Headspace is operated by a consortium led by Centacare New England North West, with Hunter New England Mental Health Service, Northwest Health, a4e, Aboriginal Employment Strategy, the PCYC and local police also involved.

The centre is staffed by seven full-time employees and visiting practitioners, including GPs from Northwest Health and psychologists from Centacare.

“(They are) very excited, very enthusiastic; they’re a very dedicated team, they just want to make a difference for young people,” Ms Carter said.

A reference group made up of young people has overseen the building, design and service delivery processes of the centre.

Youth who want to access the service can call 6762 9290, email [email protected]南京夜网.au or visit the centre at 2 Darling St to make an appointment.

Service providers can get referral forms at www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/headspace-tamworth

YOUTH-FOCUSED: Staff of the newly opened Tamworth headspace, front from left, Bree Constable, Mel Murphy and Lisa Staples, and back from left, Helen Carter, Jennifer Fisher, Barbara Eames and Katie Bryant, are excited about the new service. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 050213GOB02

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南京夜网 22/09/2018

Pool visitors lap up cool splash to beat heat

RECORD breaking temperatures across the state in December and January didn’t lead to record breaking attendance records across the Tamworth region’s pools, but they were a huge improvement on the 2012 summer period.
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More than 100,000 people visited the six Tamworth regional pools – Tamworth city and south, Barraba, Kootingal, Nundle and Manilla between December and the end of January – 30,000 more than during the same time last year.

Council’s technical officer of pools, Gary Johnson, said a stand out for attendance was Barraba.

“It had been on track to set a record for attendance since council amalgamated in 2004,” he said.

Unfortunately the cooler weather in that final week of January pushed the record a touch out of reach.

“Barraba is just 110 visits behind its record of 9872 visits to the end of January, set over the summer of 2005-2006,” Mr Johnson said.

“The new pool supervisor at the Barraba pool this year, Shaun Wilson was pleased with the visitors.”

Mr Johnson said warmer weather and a tweak to the pool’s opening hours appeared to attract more members of the community to the pool this summer.

“The hot weather means elevated water temperatures and while most people attend the pool to cool off they don’t tend to like cold water much,” he said.

“It’s been a pleasant season in the water.”

With school swimming carnival season fast approaching, Mr Johnson said, about 35 swimming carnivals would take place over the coming months.

“That traditionally means attendance rates at the six pools are very stable regardless of the season,” he said.

During the 2012-2013 summer season 35 staff have been employed by council to deliver services at the six pools.

“This year that number included instructors delivering the council initiated Swim and Survive program, which in the past was delivered by the Department of Sport and Recreation,” he said.

More than 200 children participated in the various nine-day Swim and Survive programs at each of the six regional pools.

GREAT SEASON: Pools around the region were well attended during December and January. Pictured is lifeguard Megan Hunter helping out young swimmer Megan Johnson. Photo: Steve grubbing

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