Top 10 Star Maker finalists announced for 2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival

FUTURE STARS: Country legend Lee Kernaghan with 2016 winner Karin Page at the Star Maker Grand final. Photo:Gareth GardnerTHEY could be the next Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan or Kaylee Bell in just a few short weeks.
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The top 10 finalists in the Toyota Star Maker competition were announced on Friday morning where ten of Australia’s top emerging talent will vie for the honour of becoming the 38thToyota Star Maker in a winner-takes-all, event.

2015 winner Mickey Pye

For the very first time in Star Maker history, the event will be free, with all 10 finalists being judged on the night, with one winner emerging onSunday, January 22.

Festival goers will be able to witness history in the making.

The 2017 Toyota Star Maker finalists, chosen from across the country, are Andrew Swift from Berwick, Victoria, Angus Gill from Wauchope,Brook Chivell of Labrador Queensland,Cassidy Rae Gaiter, Flagstaff Hill South Australia,Jade Holland ofBalgal Beach Queensland,Liam Kennedy-Clark fromSippy Downs Queensland,Meg Doherty, Pakenham Victoria,Megan Sidwell, Melbourne Victoria,Michelle Plozza, Kingston Queensland andRachael Fahim ofCherrybrook NSW.

The winner will receive aprize package which includes anew Toyota vehicle, an unlimited fuel card for 12 months to transport them around the country, plus guaranteed performances at major festivals and events throughout Australia.

Toyota Star Maker co-ordinator Cheryl Byrnes said she was delighted with the standard of performers applying for Toyota Star Maker 2017.

“Toyota Star Maker is a fabulous opportunity and it truly is getting harder to judge each year as entrants raise the bar,” Ms Byrnes said.

“It’s a great platform and gives the finalists and the winner a jumpstart in their careers. For the winner, the title also brings exposure to invaluable contacts in the industry and a variety of exciting challenges.”

Toyota Australia sales and marketing executive director Tony Cramb was thrilled with the exciting changes to the long-established quest.

“It’s a wonderful thing that Star Maker will now be so much more accessible to a worldwide audience, through live-streaming in the park, and an absolutely free event for the public,” Mr Cramb said.

“Toyota is very proud of its long association with this prestigious quest and we offer our hearty congratulations to the 2017 finalists.”

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Driving for a good cause

Supporting a good cause: Terry Massara with actor Shane Jacobson and Co-driver Mendo Joncevski during the Aussie Muscle Car Run. Photo: Supplied. West Australian teams played a key role in raising more than $350,000 as part of the Leukaemia Foundation’s recent Aussie Muscle Car Run.
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Team DBR Collie, which consisted ofTerry Massara and Mendo Joncevski,raised the top amount of$17,753 in Western Australia as part of an overall$51,306 contributed by four teams from WA.

The seven-day, 2000-kilometre car cruise was held between November 5 and 11 across South Australia.

Terry Massara said he enjoyed being part of the event which raised vital funds for theLeukaemia Foundation.

“This is my second year as DBR Collie and we are blessed to be able to help other people that are in need, and that’s what really got us into it,” he said.

“There are a lot of people around Collie and the South West that are going to benefit from our $350,000 fundraising. “I think it’s not hard to take a week off work and join the run and also raise funds in the 12 months leading up to the event.

“It was just good to achieve what we did, have some fun and help people at the same time for a very good cause, we will be back next year.”

Mr Massara thanked the community for their support and contributions.

“We ran a golf day, and I wouldlike to thank the Collie Golf Club, and Motoring South West, also to small coffee shops for allowing us to put in our tins, and our main sponsors who jumped on boardand helped us,” he said.

“Local businesses helped out andthat’s how we got to second place in the fundraising.”

Forty two cars took part in this year’s event titled “Igniting the Island” – a tribute to the run’s keyattraction – a day spent on motorsport at the iconic Phillip Island Circuit. The run, which departedAdelaide and finished at Renmark, SA, was also joined by Aussie actor and former Top Gear Australiahost Shane Jacobson.

Event Manager Rachel Carson said the Leukaemia Foundation was grateful to not only the registrants in this year’s event, but also the people who supported the run.

“To the regional communities of Kingston SE, Naracoorte, Mount Gambier, Halls Gap, San Remo,Bendigo and Renmark thank you for your support and for being so welcoming during our stay,” Ms Carson said.

“We would like to thank all 42 cars that participated in this year’s run. Their dedication and passion towards this event and the Leukaemia Foundation has once again left us in awe and we hope to see them back again in 2017.”

The Aussie Muscle Car Run has become an iconic event on the State’s fundraising calendar and has now raised more than $2 million for the Leukaemia Foundation, which helps support its accommodation, transport, patient support and research programs.”

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Screen time has an impact

Dream time not scream time: Children and adults have more problem sleeping after watching TV or using ipads and could face obesity or develop behavioural problems.When I was a child, I was allowed to take a book to bed and read for a short while before one of my parents came to turn out the light.
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Now I sometimes read using my mini-ipad. The nights I use my ipad and forget to turn it into night mode, I take some time to fall asleep.

There is a clear link established between using technology before bed and the quality of sleep.

Light from screens impacts on the production of melatonin, a chemical produced by our brains to help us sleep.Blue light is a major culprit here though all wavelengths of light have some impact.

Research shows repeated exposure to bright screens in the evening overfivenights slows the body clock by 1.5 hours – we stay awake longer and need to sleep-in longer.

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable –they need more sleep and are likely to want to engage with technology.Up to 60 per centof Australia’s young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are now affected by sleep problems.

If we don’t get the necessary hours of sleep or the quality of our sleep is poor, there is an increased risk we will develop anxiety issues, become depressed, gain weight, have reduced immunity and maybe even risk higher blood pressure and heart disease.

There is evidence beginning to develop that young children are more likely to develop behavioural problems when sleep patterns are disturbed. For every hour children watch TV each day, research suggests there is a 10 per centincrease in risk they will develop attention-related problems.

Preschool-aged children witha TV in their bedroom are exposed to a very high risk of obesity: there is a 31 per centincrease in risk for every onehour of TV watching. Children with a TV in their room are likely to watch an extra 4.8 hours a week.

As parents, what can we do about this? We need to be aware of what screen-based media our children are using and when they are using them.

If it is necessary to use screen-based media in the evenings, use night settings to minimise (but not eliminate) the impact of light on sleep – free software programs are available which decrease the amount of blue light on screens.

Try and avoid the use of screen-based media in bedrooms: no bedroom TV for example.

Engage in non-screen-based activities that children enjoy before bedtime. Quiet times reading together, cuddling and talking, singing quiet songs, a relaxing bath are good ways to prepare children’s bodies for sleep.

Living in one of the early NBN cities, Armidale citizens have become very used to their screens, and it is now time to re-think what we use them for and when we need to use them.

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Racking up awards

AWARD: Bultarra Australian Saltbush Lamb owner Jamie McTaggart, Professor Mehdi Douroudi and Bultarra’s manager of operations Greg Bailey.Bultarra Australian Saltbush Lamb’s mercurial rise has continued in just its 10th year of existence.
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Bultarra won thePrimary Industries and Regions South Australia Regional Award and the Visy Export Award with 15 employees or less at the South AustralianFood Industry Awards.

Owned by Jamie McTaggart, a fifthgeneration Northern Pastoral Livestock Producer, Bultarra produces 50,000 Dorper lambs per year.

Exporting to Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and 22 countries around the world, Manager of Operations Greg Bailey said Bultarra was ecstatic to win the awards.

“If we think about our providence, we’re really proud to be part of Port Augusta and the Northern Pastoral Area, it’s really important to us,” Mr Bailey said.

“We couldn’t do what we do now if we were in Mount Gambier, if we were in Port Lincoln, we can do what we do because of the country we’re in.

“(Also) putting on new staff is important to us and also the trickle down in buying morelambs from local growers so more money stays in northern country South Australia.”

​The Regional Award wasn’t just a taste test, Bultarra had a panel of judges inspect their 300,000 square hectare property at Pernatty Station to inspect a range of aspects including business planning and financial security.

The Export Award was just as stringent, including three interviews, an onsite interview and rigorous testing on business aspects such as logistics and risk management.

Those very lambs Mr Bailey speaks of are Dorper Lambs –first bred in South Africa, they’reprimarily referred to as a ‘meat sheep’.

The noticeable differences of a Dorper compared to a Marino are greater muscle definition anda short-fine hair that Dorpers shed themselves when seasonal temperatures rise.

This creates the near-perfect lamb in the harsh arid country of Northern South Australia, resulting in lower maintenance costs and lamb racks that around 25 percent bigger than British cross-bred lamb racks.

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Mount Dee has support

CARAVAN PARK: Landowner Bob Parsons has been trying to secure approval for a caravan park on his farm at Mount Dee and he has strong support for Big4 Holiday Parks. Picture Marina NeilPlans to build a caravan park on farm land at Mount Dee might have hit a snag, but there has been plenty of support for it.
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Big4 Holiday Parks, ‘Mr Maitland’ Milton Morris and former Maitland MP Robyn Parker all backed the project while land owner Bob Parsons tried to get it approved.

The holiday chain gave its blessing for the 87-site facility to be built at theintersection of Junction Street and Mount Dee Road, near Hunter V-Tec, as early as 2009.

Then NSW manager Steven Watson wrote a letter of support to Mr Parsons after spending a day at the site, and in Maitland assessing the city’s tourist attractions.

Maitland council thoughtMount Dee Road would not handle the increased traffic, but Mr Watson said it was “more than acceptable”.

He said Maitland was missing out on‘self-drive travellers’ and the growing baby boomers market because it did not have enough facilities to accommodate their needs.

“Caravans, RVs etc would in my opinion have no trouble using the road to the property, and in fact, is significantly better access than many parks in NSW,” he said.

The holiday chain did not share the flooding concerns that were raised by theNSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and the NSW SES.

Mr Watson said the park wouldbe an opportunity to capture tourists who had come to eventsin the region, and provide more beds in the city.

“It would help in relieving the stress currently on accommodation providers in the region over events and weekends,” he said.

“I believe that a new holiday park in the Maitland shire would be an exciting thing and beneficial not only to the Shire but the entire caravanning industry.

“Parks act as a huge economic stimulus for the local economy as the tourists bring money into the shire adding to the recycled money spent by the locals.”

Mr Parsons’ plans for the park included plenty of cabins and sites for caravans, RVs and camping on a 14.8 hectare site that has views of some of Maitland’s most historic landmarks, and is close to the CBD.

The site has been in Mr Parson’s family since the 1800s and has been used for agriculture.

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Glass used by Wagga woman to stab her man in the neck

A WOMAN who stabbed her partner in the neck with broken glass and then told police she wish she had slit his throat has been jailed.
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Eight weeks pregnant at the time, Shelley Anne Nowell was drinking alcohol with the man in the Tolland house they shared on August 9 when the couple began to argue.

The man pushed Nowell, now 37, out of the house, locked the door and taunted her.

According to police facts tendered to the court, Nowell walked to the side of the house, smashed a bedroom window and climbed inside.

Police said Nowell picked up a piece of glass between 15 and 30 centimetres long and struck the man in the neck.

The man suffered a superficial wound and ran to a neighbour for help.

A still angry Nowell told police who were called to the scene that the victimdeserved what happened to him and she would do it again.

“He pushed me, so I cut him with glass because he’s a ….,” Nowell said.

“I tried to kill the …., I’ve got no apologies, I wish I had slit (his) throat.”

While police were putting Nowell into their car she saw her victim and said: “I should have killed you. I would do it again.”

Nowell has been in custody since her arrest.

A bail application in Wagga Local Court the following day after Nowellpleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm was refused by visitingmagistrate Greg Grogin.

Mr Grogin told Nowell she was lucky not to have been charged with a more serious offence.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions later decided to finalisethe case in the Local Court rather than in the higherDistrict Court.

This week, Nowell was given a head jail sentence of 15 months, backdated to her arrest.

Magistrate Michael Crompton found special circumstances to reduce the non-parole period to five months.

Nowell will be released on supervised parole on January 8.

Nowell was also placed on a two-year good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to destroying the window.

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Brand-new Levi ready to hook in

KNIGHTS tyro Danny Levi feels like “brand new” after spinal surgery and is ready for a season he hopes will culminate in New Zealand selection at next year’s World Cup.
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Levi, the dummy-half dynamo who turns 21 on Monday, played in 18 games last season but a protruding disc pressing on a nerve in his back meant he was often battling the pain barrier.

Two weeks before Newcastle’s last game of 2016, he underwent repairs that haveallowed him to resume full training and given him a fighting chance of starting next year in Newcastle’s No.9jersey, despite competition from new signing Rory Kostjasyn, versatile Tyler Randell and possibly veteran Jarrod Mullen.

POINTERS: Danny Levi and Knights assistant coach Simon Woolford at training.

“I feel like I’ve got a completely whole new back,’’ Levi told the Newcastle Herald.

“I haven’t got any pain in there. I’m feeling brand new.

“Straight after [the surgery], I was sore as. I was a bit worried, thinking they might have got the wrong spot or something. But about a week later, the pain had disappeared, although I was still a bit stiff.

“Two or three weeks later, I was able to start training and came back completely fresh. I was pretty sore in a few of the games last year, but I’ve got no excuse now and just have to go my hardest.’’

Levi said the injury initially flared in unusualcircumstances.

“Before round one last year, I had a bit of a sore back and I was stupid enough to lift furniture becauseI was moving house,’’ he recalled.

“I woke up the next morning and could hardly walk.

EXPERIENCE: Rory Kostjasyn

“It just gradually got worse throughout the year.’’

His surgery cost him a likely spot in the Kiwisquad for the recent Four Nations tournament in England.

A Wellington junior, Levi was called into the New Zealand camp as a standby player for the mid-season Test against Australia in Newcastleand was shaping as Issac Luke’s understudy for the tour of England.

“I had to get ruled out [of the Four Nations],’’ Levisaid.

“I got a text asking if I would be eligible for selectionand had to tell them no, which was pretty gutting.

“If I was fit, I might have been in the mix, although I don’t know if I would been picked.

OPTION: Jarrod Mullen

“But it’s a World Cup year coming up, and hopefully if I’m good enough, I can get selected for it.’’

Knights coach Nathan Brown said Kostjasyn, Levi andRandell were vying for Newcastle’s dummy-halfduties and Mullen –currently nursing a hamstring injury –would also be considered after his impressive stopgap game in the last-round loss to St George Illawarra.

“It was an area where we lacked a bit of depth last year and we had a lot of people play there,’’ Brown said.

“We’ve got two really experienced players [Kostjasyn and Mullen], Danny’s obviously a development player and we’ve got Tyler Randell as well.

“So we’re far stronger in that position, which is pleasing.’’

Levi has welcomed the arrival of Kostjasyn, whose 126-game NRL career was highlighted by playing in North Queensland’s 2015 grand final triumph.

“It’s good that that he’s come in,’’ Levi said.

“The Cowboys are one of the top sides, so he’s got a lot of knowledge and it’s awesome that he can pass that on and help my game.’’

VERSATILE: Tyler Randell

Levi said the competition for a position would spur him on.

“I definitely have to step up and show this pre-season that I really, really want that job,’’ he said.“I’m not too worried about what Browny is going to do with everyone else. I just have to make sure I’mbusting my arse to show I want the job.’’

Goose’s maverick music venture

Glenn ‘Goose’ McGrath
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AS a young country sportsman, Glenn McGrath showed promise.

But this ‘Goose’ from Glengarry, not to be confused with the cricketing great ‘Pigeon’ he shares his name with, was destined to soar in another field.

When McGrath broke his back riding motorbikes in the hills of his hometown at 14, his body was in no state to pursue his athletic aspirations.

Instead he turned to his other passion – music.

“Back then there wasn’t really a whole lot going on for people under 18 so I thought as soon as I could walk again (I’d pursue that),” McGrath said.

As he recovered from his injury a teenage McGrath scraped and saved doing odd jobs around Latrobe Valley until he could afford to hire a hall in Traralgon, where he booked a couple of local punk acts and had a mate act as PA for a music gig.

By 17 Goose had formed his own event management, production management and promotion company, in an effort to offer a cultural outlet for the region’s youth.

“When there’s nothing culturally for young people to do and engage with you tend to find they develop drug and alcohol problems earlier in their lives. That was a big focus, trying to create something for people to engage with,” McGrath said.

Success wasn’t instantaneous.

He ran his first festival at the Traralgon Showgrounds “which totally tanked but it was a good learning experience” before leaving school early to pursue a career in the industry.

It proved a shrewd move for the now world-renowned festival director and production/stage manager.

He wrote a list of all the major music festivals he wanted to work at one day, from Burning Man to Glastonbury and Big Day Out, and has ticked all but one off his list by the age of 30.

By 18 he was already assistant site manager for the Melbourne Big Day Out, and that year became the assistant production manager for Jack Morton Worldwide, specialising in creative events across Australia and the world.

Some 12 years later his next major event, The Pleasure Garden at Catani Gardens in St Kilda, is taking that creativity to a new level.

Inspired by the immersive nature of Boomtown Fair in the United Kingdom, where he has acted as site manager the past three years, McGrath hopes to bring something similar back home.

“That is a fully immersive, creative arts and community experience,” McGrath said.

“That’s a festival that has a storyline, a plot, actors and experiences. It engages people in a way that’s not just about music. It’s got 127 programmed stages and venues. There’s more than enough music and entertainment for you to be able to see.

“You walk in and you’re in the Wild West and that’s activated by actors, there’s shootouts and stuff, you’ve got the whole town of Mayfair which is the posh part of town.

“There’s big acts there, cool check those boxes, but it’s about immersing yourself in the environment.”

Welcome bands and face painting and makeup artists at the gate will be stationed at the Pleasure Garden entrance “so people start to get a little change in their psyche before they enter the gate”.

The St Kilda festival seeks to incorporate marching bands, roller rinks, custom décor stages, an Aboriginal smoking ceremony, theatrical performances, abstract installation pieces – such as a six metre geometric timber and Perspex tree as centrepiece for the food court – and more to transcend the standard format.

“We’re enriching the entire environment with loads of décor and art, sculptures, we’re having theatrical performances, there’s big decored stages,” McGrath said.

“We’re trying to change the way people view events as a whole; no longer will it be show up, there’s the bar, there’s the toilets, there’s the stage with the bands I want to see.

“It’s about actually trying to change the social fabric of our community”

McGrath views the Pleasure Garden as a stepping stone to a more diverse future for music festivals.

He said it was about bringing in a new audience as the festival model moved away from urban experiences to boutique camping extravaganzas.

“What we want to do is engage people who don’t normally go to these things and show them what the wonderful positivity is,” he said.

“That’s kind of left a gap in the market for people who maybe don’t want to go camping or maybe aren’t regular festival goers.

“We’re trying to do something different. You have to curate the patron experience so they understand what you’re doing.

“As that grows we want to grow the festival in St Kilda.”

The Pleasure Garden will be staged on Saturday, 10 December at the Catani Gardens in St Kilda.

The lineup includes The Cat Empire, Blue King Brown, The Opiuo Band, Tash Sultana, Dub Pistols Sound System, The Correspondents, Dub FX, Spoonbill, OKA, Jakubi, Mista Savona, The Chicken Brothers and more.

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Magpies and Coelho ready to soar

WESTERN Suburbs will use the disappointment of not meeting expectations 12 months ago as a motivating factor at this year’s NSW State Cup.
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Paddy Coelho

The Magpies will head into the open men’s division as one of the competition favourites.

They will enter the tournament in good form after repeating their Vawdon Cup heroics from 12 months ago, but will hope that’s where the similarities end.

Port Macquarie’s Paddy Coelho is looking forward to returning home and donning the black and white.

He said there had been plenty of lessons learned after they bowed out of the competition at the quarter-final stage in 2015.

“One thing we’ve taken from last year’s disappointing result is that we know what we need to fix and how to handle ourselves,” he said.

“We learnt a lot on how to cope with the tag of being one of the top teams and everyone gunning for you.”

Wests are one of the team’s everyone loves to hate, but Coelho and his teammates welcomed the opportunity to right the wrong’s of one year ago.

“It makes you want to play a lot better knowing everyone’s out there to knock you off the perch,” he said.

“I think it’s a compliment to our side because it’s a very hotly contested division that we play in.

“Every game will be tough in the men’s premier league division so unfortunately there will be no easy ones.”

Luckily for Coelho, the Magpies tournament won’t start until Friday afternoon at 1.10pm.

It means the 22-year-old can have a sleep-in after younger brother Liam’s 18thbirthday party on Thursday night.

“It’s definitely a good thing for us to have that bye in the first round,” he said.

“Our first game is against Donnybrook, a Scottish team who are a bit of an unknown quantity for us, but it’ll be a good hit out.

“Having a sleep-in isn’t a bad way to start.”

But it isn’t all about the touch football for Coelho who will no doubt take to the water at Flynns Beach for a swim or surf.

The influx of bluebottles earlier in the week won’t be enough to keep him out of the water.

“The best part about coming home is definitely being able to walk down to the beach and go for a swim or a surf whenever I want which we can’t do in Sydney,” he said.

Coelho and his teammates will welcome any additional support from the grandstands if Port Macquarie wishes to adopt another team.

“As a club we’re known for not being liked by many people in Sydney, but if the Port Macquariecrowd can support Wests that’s a big plus for us,” he said.

“I know I’ll head out and support the other Port Macquarie teams that are here this weekend.”

Coelho was confident Western Suburbs would give themselves the best opportunity at making finals day on Sunday.

“To win the State Cup is what everyone comes here this weekend to do, so that’s our main focus,” he said.

“But at the end of the day if we play to our strengths we’ll give ourselves every shot at doing that.”

The men’s final is at 4.10pm on Sunday at Regional Stadium.

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Millthorpe Murmurs: Villagers in an uproar over plan to sell units

HOMES ON THE LINE: Residents of Millthorpe Inala units Ray Crossley and Tony Hunt. Photo: PIP FROGLEYBlayney Shire Council’s motion on Monday, November 21 to move to the proposed sale of theMillthorpe Inala units is creating angst and frustration across the community.
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It will bedetrimental to the local community should the sale of this important community residence goahead.

Details on how the community may respond shall be published next week, with councilallowing until the end of January to respond.

It appears council wants to proceed with the sell offwithout exploringother options and taking into consideration the community for affordable housing.

MillthorpeInala units are the only local-government-owned, affordable-housing residence in the shire.

The units were built in 1980 from a grant given to the council from the FederalGovernment – a grant that came from tax payers’ money and, with it, implied a perpetual asset for thecommunity.

Local councils are in the role of supporting the community and organising collaborative housing withthe State Government.

In the Local Government NSW Interim Policy Statements on Housing it says, “local Government recognises that all residents have a right to housing that is affordable,appropriate and secure to their needs. When people are denied this right and are homeless, itbecomes a social justice issue.

Local Government seeks to use the capacity of theEnvironmental Planning and Assessment Act to assist in the retention and provision of affordablehousing and adaptable housing.”

The council’s proposed business paper for the Millthorpe Inala Units demonstrates a one-sided viewwithout opening an opportunity to present the case from both sides.

Council representatives presented the case at the Millthorpe Village Committee and BusinessCommittee meetings in October.

The majority of local attendees responded with the desiredoutcome to keep the Inala units.

Theoccupancy of the units is currently 80 per cent.

President, Millthorpe Village Committee John Mason commented this is theworst Christmaspresent for the people who are living in Inala.

“How is it possible to sell the asset as it was a grant? This is morally wrong,” said Mr Mason.

“Blayney Shire Council has lost its moral purpose.

“Why is council rushing and striping out assets from the community when the merger of OrangeRegional Council may look favourable to keeping the asset for the community.”

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