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Ararat Prison development in crisis

Hopkins Correctional Centre.ARARAT – The Department of Justice has criticised the performance of the consortium overseeing the construction of the new prison at the Hopkins Correctional Centre following damning revelations in The Saturday Age last week that claimed the project ‘may be more than $100 million short of capital and, without government intervention, in danger of collapse’.
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The Saturday Age stated documents it had obtained revealed that the prison was ‘in financial trouble, with builders unable to pay contractors this (last) week’.

‘A memo to contractors revealed the Aegis consortium, which includes project manager Bilfinger Berger, the Commonwealth Bank and builders St Hilliers and Hawkins, is in negotiation with the government over a rescue strategy for the project, which unions believe will now not be completed until Christmas 2014,’ The Saturday Age stated in the report.

Many local contractors and sub contractors are employed on the site.

Yesterday The Age stated that the joint venture building the $400 million prison told sub-contractors at a Melbourne meeting on Wednesday not to bother invoicing for work because there was no money.

According to The Age unions were to meet yesterday to discuss their response to the crisis.

Claims that workers had walked off the job this week were denied by the Department of Justice.

A spokesperson from the Department of Justice told The Ararat Advertiser that as with other infrastructure projects, the Department will continue to put taxpayers’ interests first in relation to the Ararat prison project.

“Although the project will be completed later than planned, responsibility and risk remains with the private sector consortia who are obliged to deliver the project and manage the financial impacts of delay under their contract with the state. As a PPP (public private partnership), completion risk including time and cost is the responsibility of the consortia.

“The department is disappointed with the performance of the consortia, the extent of delays and the challenges they have advised that they face to complete the project.

“Under the contract the department is under no obligation to make payments to the consortia until the services phase of the project and does not intend to relieve the private sector of its substantive obligations under the contract.

“All construction projects have issues to resolve, and the Ararat Prison Project is especially complex as construction encompasses an existing prison.

“This situation confirms that a PPP arrangement is appropriate given that cost risks due to delay and mismanagement remain within the private sector.”

The spokesperson said the Departments of Justice and Treasury and Finance have allocated senior officers and technical specialists to monitor and manage the government’s obligations under the contract.

“Corrections Victoria is undertaking contingency planning as a result of delays to the project. Further details are commercial in confidence,” the spokesperson said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Sporting memorabilia to be auctioned at Blue Ribbon Ball

Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Ararat branch president Terry Weeks with a selection of auction items for the 2012 Gala Night of Nights. Picture: PETER PICKERINGARARAT – The Victorian Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Ararat branch Gala night of Nights is fast approaching and as all regular ball goers know, the auction is a highlight, with amazing auction items offered each year.
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This year the cycling community and keen soccer lovers are in for a treat with two great items of memorabilia to be auctioned.

A signed boot from Australian soccer play Tim Cahill, presented in a beautiful glass case, will appeal to soccer lovers, while a framed portrait of Tour de France legend Cadel Evans will also be auctioned and is sure to be snapped up by a member of Ararat’s flourishing cycling community.

Even if you are unable to attend the ball and wish to ‘get your hands on’ one of these auction items, you may be able to bid through someone who is attending the ball so as not to miss out.

This year’s 11th Gala Night of Nights will be held on Friday May 25, with police band Code One set to get the crowd dancing all night.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation is currently raising $150,000 towards a new CT scanner for East Grampians Health Service.

In the 10 years the Ararat branch has been operating, it has raised more than $600,000 for the health service, helping to purchase many vital pieces of equipment.

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Pool fundraiser planned for next weekend

ARARAT – The team at GJ Gardner Homes and Blyss Kitchens together with Fishers IGA Ararat, are holding a day of fun activities to raise funds for the Ararat Solar Olympic Pool redevelopment.
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The fundraiser will be held at Fisher’s IGA on Saturday May 19 from 10am to 2pm.

There will be a sausage sizzle, rock climbing wall, face painting and balloons.

A raffle to be drawn on the day will feature a range of great prizes.

Sally Heard from Blyss Kitchens and G J Gardner Homes said she hoped everyone would get behind this event as it has proven such an important issue to the community.

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Early bird tickets for Gypsy

Rhys Sheffield and Marni Stacpoole get into character. Indigo Whiting, as Baby Louise, and Emma McCready in a scene from Gypsy. The production features a large cast of children, teenagers and adults
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Rachel McCready rehearses her dance number for her role as Baby June in Ararat Musical Comedy Society�s production of Gypsy. Pictures: PETER PICKERING

ARARAT – Early bird tickets are now available for Ararat Musical Comedy Society’s production of Gypsy: A Musical Fable, but get in quick, because the early bird offer closes next Thursday.

A cast of 30 are busy rehearsing for the production which opens on Friday June 22 at the Ararat Performing Arts Centre.

In her debut as director, Suellen Blackie is encouraging Ararat audiences to get behind the hardworking cast and crew and head along to enjoy yet another fantastic production from the Society.

“Gypsy is a wonderful show that all the family will enjoy,” she said.

“We have a cast of children, teenagers and adults who have all been rehearsing hard over the past few months to ensure our audiences will once again enjoy a quality show.”

Gypsy follows the dreams and efforts of Rose (played by Leanne McCready), who raises her two daughters (Rachel McCready and Indigo Whiting, as the young girls and Maddie Dalgleish and Tamara Brand, as the older girls) to perform on stage.

Rose is the quintessential ‘stage mother’ and the story casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life.

The musical contains many songs that became popular standards, including Small World, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Some People, Let Me Entertain You and Where Ever We Go, What Ever We do.

Gypsy will be staged on June 22, 23 (8pm), 24 (2pm), 29 and 30 (8pm).

Early bird tickets for May are adult $23, concession/child $20. In June tickets will be full priced at adult $25 and concession/child $22.

Book at the venue on 5352 2181 or go to www.trybooking南京夜网

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Evans Park needed

Evans Park project director Bill Clydesdale and developer Paul Thompson on site.ARARAT – The $7 million housing subdivision Evans Park is progressing well, with the developers expecting to release titles later this year.
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Evans Park is situated on the western outskirts of Ararat, with stage one of the three stage subdivision expected to have 34 housing titles, varying in size from 350 square metres to 800 m2, with the average block around 700m2. Prices will start from $63,500.

Currently services such as storm water, gas and electricity are being installed, which will be a priority over the next few weeks, followed by the road building process and landscaping.

Project manager Bill Clydesdale said it was hoped to finalise this work by mid August.

“This means that the construction’s complete, compliance is achieved through council, and from there obviously we hope to have titles available after a six to eight period after that,” Mr Clydesdale said.

“Things are progressing well.

“The project is utilising mainly local content and that’s been a real positive for the construction industry in Ararat and we wear that with a badge of honour as it’s been good for those guys.”

Mr Clydesdale said the marketing of the project had been on hold until these works were completed and potential buyers could see the layout of the development.

Evans Park will be flanked by natural reserve, which developer Paul Thompson said was a positive aspect of the project.

“The reserve will also flank stages two and three,” he said.

A wetland area will also be part of stage one.

“It has a function for retaining storm water from the development but the idea is to create a environment where frogs and the like can exist and filtrate the water. It’s actually a strong feature of the development when it comes to the aesthetics of the development,” Mr Clydesdale said.

“We’ve had environmental consultants assist us to put the correct plantings in there that encourages the natural eco system to exist there and that’s been a strong positive for the development.”

Mr Thompson said much of the planning is for the entire development over several years, with up to 700 trees to be planted.

For every tree that is cut down the developer needs to offset it with a number of new plantings.

“All the offset arrangements will be complied with,” Mr Thompson said.

“The tree plantings have taken place in the nature reserve – not off site, but as part of development.”

While the project is currently set out in three stages, there is the potential to break it down into smaller stages depending on demand.

A parcel of land, fronting the Western Highway and also part of the project, remains set aside for future development of a motel.

The project has been in the pipeline for close to nine years and Mr Thompson is excited about what it will bring to Ararat.

“This is a project that hasn’t happened in Ararat for a long time,” he said

“It’s fantastic, it will be a great place to live, for the betterment of residents of Ararat and to a nice high standard, allowing eight to 10 acres of public reserves, which will have walkways, bicycle tracks and public space.

“So as time goes on, from stage one to stage two, all that will be developed into a great family environment.”

Despite the Hopkins Correctional Centre expansion currently on hold after St Hilliers Ararat, a member of the consortium contracted to carry out the project, going into liquidation, Mr Clydesdale is still confident that a housing development is needed.

He believes the underlying demand for further housing can sustain the project but appreciates the effect the extra families moving to the Ararat area will eventually have on that demand.

Mr Clydesdale said the government is still committed to the prison and it will be completed and operational in the near future, so it still remains that there will be a potential influx of up to 100 families moving to Ararat.

He also said the talk around town about the project is still positive.

“If you go and talk to builders and the like, they’re continually saying to us that there is no suitable land available so there is quite a need for this sort of product,” he said.

“Ararat hasn’t seen a project like this before. In total it’s probably a seven million dollar development, it’s quite a large undertaking for the Ararat market, so it’s a big thing for the town, with 70 lots coming onto the market in one planned estate.

“It doesn’t happen often, so I think that’s positive.”

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All aboard for the first Ararat Heritage Festival

The inaugural Ararat Heritage Festival will be held this weekend, and Ararat’s museums have jumped aboard with the theme of ‘Ararat and the railways’. Preparing for the Heritage Festival are Ian Batty from the Ararat Genealogical Society, Bob Saunder, J Ward, Noel Grigg, Ararat Railway Heritage Museum and Trevor Gallahar, Langi Morgala Museum.ARARAT – Heritage attractions and groups will be opening their doors and inviting residents and visitors to enjoy their railway themed exhibits and events in a celebration this weekend.
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A wide range of events and activities will take place in museums, parks and heritage sites across the town, with activities on offer both tomorrow and Sunday to celebrate Ararat’s inaugural Heritage Festival.

The theme for the Heritage Festival is Ararat and the Railways, to highlight and explore the importance of the railway to the development of Ararat and to the lives of the people who lived here. The Ararat Genealogical Society will be running their ever popular cemetery walk, this time with a railway theme, on Saturday afternoon (see story below). A new exhibition, Rail Tales, Stories from the Ararat Railways, allows visitors to find out more about specific events and stories peculiar to Ararat and to the lives of the generations of Ararat railway workers.

Ararat’s heritage attractions including, J Ward, Langi Morgala Museum and the Ararat Railway Heritage Museum will conduct tours and hold exhibits all weekend with a railway theme, so a comprehensive picture of the influence of the railways to the town will be clearly evident.

As part of the family fun, the Grampians Vintage Vehicle Club and the local Vintage Engine group will hold displays on Elizabeth Park on Sunday from 10am – 3pm.

On Saturday night J Ward will conduct a night tour for brave souls!

For more details of the Ararat Heritage Festival, including listings and ticketing information, please visit or call the Ararat and Grampians Visitor Information Centre on 1800 657 158, or pick up a leaflet in your local museum.

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Guts earns Rats glory over rivals

Tom Cairns slipped this through for a goalWFL – The Ararat Rats’ gutsy win over arch rival Stawell has it knocking on the door of the Wimmera Football League’s top five.
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The Rats steadied and held off a late challenge in the dying minutes of Sunday’s battle to win by nine points, 15.9 (99) to 14.6 (90), in front of a large crowd at Alexandra Oval.

On two occasions in the final quarter the Warriors got within three points of the home side, however Ararat continued to rally, with young forward Zac Louder sealing the match with his fourth goal at the 26-minute mark.

The stirring win was even more impressive given the Rats were without Aaron Searle for most of the match, after the key forward was stretchered from the field with a knee injury late in the first quarter.

Coach Scott Turner said Searle looked set to continue his red hot form for another week before injury struck.

“He is a big loss for us and hopefully he won’t be out for too long,” he said.

“Obviously he has been in good form and he started off well today and kicked that goal early.”

Louder and Searle got the ball rolling for the Rats with two quick goals in the opening 10 minutes of the first quarter, which was played with high intensity.

Stawell then began to run the ball through the middle and hit back with two consecutive goals.

It was a free flowing quarter, with both sides moving the ball from end to end with pace.

Brendon Lovell and Luke Todd saw plenty of the action and created scoring opportunities with their penetrating kicks.

The Rats took an eight point lead into the first change, however Turner said the second half of the quarter was lacklustre from his team.

“The first 10 minutes the intensity was there, but I think Stawell responded well to that and had some good running players which were a bit unknown to us going in, so we probably didn’t give them that respect and accountability,” he said.

That intensity was lacking for much of the second quarter also and Ararat was doing just enough to match it with the Warriors.

Acting skipper Brad Harricks found himself further up the ground in a match up with Warriors’ forward Scott Nicholson and did well to continually force the ball forward, while in defence Nick Maddison was imposing as he ran and peeled off his opponents.

“‘Billy’ Maddison just controls the ball down in the backline for us and directs traffic. His experience is very valuable,” Turner said.

Despite having more inside-50s, the Rats were outscored by Stawell, which prompted Turner to demand his midfielders and defenders play tighter football.

“After halftime they got a bit of a spray and our accountability improved heaps after that,” he said.

“I said to the guys if they play accountable footy and know where their opponent is when they’ve got it, we can cause turnovers and when that happens we can get the ball and go forward.”

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Lovell added to Ararat’s five-point halftime lead with a goal in the opening seconds of the third quarter, while Jake Robinson moved into the centre and had an immediate influence.

The Rats’ pressure on their opponent was much higher in the second half of the match and as a result they were able to follow the coach’s instructions and create more turnovers, which kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Brett Dowie was moved to the forward line to fill the void left by Searle and slotted two handy goals, while Mick Fratin also bagged a double.

Stawell was disciplined and continued to respond whenever the Rats looked like breaking away, even hitting the lead at one stage during the third term, however Ararat showed its character to wrestle the lead back by three quarter time and didn’t allow the Warriors to get their noses in front for the remainder of the game.

“After halftime our footy was much better and we played more to our game style which suits us down here on our home ground,” Turner said.

“We got the ball inside-50 30 times, so the more opportunities you get going inside-50 the more chance you have to score goals.”

Turner said Jake Harman’s shutdown role on big man James Delahunty earned him best on ground honours, while Lovell, Todd and Robinson were also in the Rats’ top six.

The coach is now looking forward to a weekend off (due to interleague), which will hopefully give a few injured stars an extra week to recover.

“The break has come at a good time because the injuries are sort of taking a toll, but having said that we have numbers coming through (in the reserves) putting pressure on,” he said.

“This makes it three wins in a row now and it was probably better opposition today than the last couple of weeks, so we are definitely playing good footy in patches.

“Three good wins and we are now knocking on the door of the top five.”

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Lions pride: Great Western wins

MDFL – Great Western made a triumphant return to the winner’s list following a one point victory over Woorndoo Mortlake in the Mininera District Football League.
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The nailbiting victory was the club’s first in the MDFL and its first in senior football since August 2010.

Great Western Football and Netball Club secretary Danny Hoare was thrilled with his club’s maiden win in its new league.

“It was probably the best game for the year by both teams,” he said.

The Lions trailed the Tigers at every change.

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Great Western dug deep however in the last term and managed to hit the front. Woorndoo Mortlake regained the lead with three minutes to go, but a last-gasp goal was enough for the Lions to snare a one-point win, 12.10 (82) to 11.15 (81).

Lachie Green was again a stand out, providing a hard body at the contest and was named best on field.

Shannon Notting booted four goals and Tim Shalders contributed three with Rayne Salmon and Sam Cocks also looking impressive in the Lions’ win.

Hoare praised the effort of Great Western youngster Nic McCartney.

“He just played good footy onball and got the hard ball gets,” Mr Hoare said.

A great crowd stayed following the match and Hoare said it was great to sing the Lions club song for the first time this season.

It was Tim Shalders’ 150th game, which made the win even more special and Hoare thanked Woorndoo Mortlake for its participation in forming a guard of honour for Shalders prior to the game.

Hoare said the atmosphere at the Great Western Recreation Reserve was friendly, although the Tigers’ supporters would have been bitterly disappointed with the narrow loss.

Woorndoo Mortlake has been struggling at the bottom of the MDFL ladder for the past few years and are yet to win a match in 2012.

Gate attendance was on par with previous weeks and although it has been a tough season so far, Hoare said the Great Western Football Netball Club is sticking by their players.

“The players are really valued at the club and we’re really proud of the way they’ve stuck by us,” he said.

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Moyston Willaura suffered its first loss for the season against Penshurst in a hard-fought clash at Moyston.

Penshurst got off to the better start, kicking 6.3 in the opening term to the Pumas’ 2.2.

Moyston Willaura fought back in the second quarter to take a two-point buffer into the long break, but the lead see-sawed again the third term and ended up 19 points in the Bombers’ favour.

The Pumas refused to give up, outscoring their opponents in the last quarter, however they were unable to account for the deficit, falling short by 16 points, 14.9 (93) to 16.13 (109).

New recruit Brian Thomas was a clear standout for the Pumas, named in the best alongside the consistent John Vanderwaal (two) and key defender Nathan Stapleton.

Coach Daniel Guniane top scored with five goals, while Leo Bell, William Bell and Jeremy Cronin also had an impact.

The Bombers were best served by Luke Ferguson, Brandon Ross (one) and Tom Simson.

Despite the loss the Pumas retain third spot on the ladder, with the undefeated Bombers in second place, equal with ladder leader Tatyoon on points.

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Tatyoon key forward Ross Panther continued his red-hot form on Saturday, booting seven majors in the Hawks’ 89-point victory over Caramut, 19.16 (130) to 6.5 (41).

Tatyoon dominated the match from the outset, kicking 6.6 in the opening quarter while restricting the Swans to a lone behind.

Caramut managed to get a major on the board in the second term, but was never in with a chance as the Hawks showcased their class and ability across the ground.

Swans Benjamin Grinter, Adam Lehmann and Hans Gubbins continued to work hard throughout the encounter, but it was not enough to nullify the likes of Panther, Tim Barr and Cameron Gellie, who were among the Hawks’ best.

Sean McDougall (two), Tim McDougall and Tyler Cronin (one) made up Tatyoon’s top six players.

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The Ararat Eagles were no match for a rampaging SM&W Rovers at Mininera on the weekend.

The Eagles have hit a rough patch after a stellar start to the season and struggled to match it with the Bulldogs.

As predicted, Rovers’ key forward Lee Marshall (eight) and handy recruit Billie Leskosek (five) created a number of headaches for the Eagles, slotting 13 goals between them.

The side made light work of Ararat, which was restricted to six majors for the match.

Defenders Haydn McCrow and John Forbes continued their good form to be named best on ground for the Bulldogs alongside Tyler Mason (one), Steven Lodge (two), Tom Brady and Jaye Cahir (three).

It was not all doom and gloom for the Eagles, with youngster Tom Taurau judged best afield and captain Richard O’Connell and recruits James Dalkin and Nathan Wemyss providing solid contributions. Jamie Elder and Ash Leggett also stood tall.

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Wickliffe Lake Bolac continues to languish down the bottom of the ladder following a loss to fourth placed Glenthompson Dunkeld.

The Magpies were competitive early, holding their own against the swift Rams for the first half of the match.

Glenthompson Dunkend’s depth began to show through in the third quarter, however and it pulled away to claim a 33-point lead by the final change.

The Magpies continued to battle on in the last term but it was too little too late as the Rams ran out 64-point victors, 18.17 (125) to 9.7 (61).

Tristan Ritchie, Benjiman Johnson and Brad Keilar made the biggest impression for the losing side, with Aaron Stewart, Timothy Blake and Andrew Day also named among the Magpies’ top players.

Sam Brewer finished with six majors for the Rams, while Tyson Hogan (three) was judged the team’s best.

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In the final match of the round, Hawkesdale Macarthur proved too strong for Lismore Derrinallum, winning 16.11 (107) to 8.9 (57).

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Rats look back: 2005

Richard Tucker was Ararat’s leading goal kicker in season 2005. Tucker’s presence in the Rats forward line was one of the few positives in what was a tough year for the senior team. David Law joined the Ararat Rats as senior coach from the Victorian Amateur Football Association in 2005. Law put a high emphasis on giving the club�s junior talent a taste of senior football throughout the season.
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ARARAT – In the lead up to the announcement of the Ararat Football Club’s Team of the Decade The Ararat Advertiser continues its look at the period between 2001-2010.

It was a tough first year for Ararat’s new senior coach David Law in 2005, after he joined the club following a stint coaching the strong St Bernard’s under-19 side in the Victorian Amateur Football Association.

Having had experience developing juniors during his coaching career, Law gave plenty of the Rats’ up and coming talent a taste of senior football in the Wimmera.

Ben Cashin, Shane Clarke, Mark Dadswell, Jake Harman and Matt Smith all made their debut during the season, while Alan Batchelor, Jarrod Searle and Tom Foster continued to make a name for themselves in the red and white.

Matt Jackson was one of the most experienced players in the team and was awarded the responsibility to captain the young Ararat outfit.

Despite a few close matches the Rats had to wait until round 12 for their first win of the season, where they upset top-five team Stawell by 23 points.

Ararat was on the end of some massive losses for much of the season and although it was able to upset the Warrack Eagles in the final round of the home and away season to claim a second victory for the year, the team was handed the unenviable title of wooden spooners.

Jackson was a blotter in the Rats’ senior best and fairest count, defeating runner-up Craig Cooper by 21 votes.

Richard Tucker topped the club’s goal-kicking tally with 28 goals from the 14 matches he played, which included a bag of eight against Minyip-Murtoa in round five.

There were some good signs for Law in the latter half of the season that suggested the Rats could be on the improve in 2006 with a big off season ahead.

The Ararat Football Club is holding a function at the Ararat Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, June 9 where it will announce the Team of the Decade. Tickets will need to be purchased prior to the night. For further information contact Murray Jensen on 0422 608 458.

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Community spirit will help Ararat survive prison crisis

“It’s not all doom and gloom,” ‘Nats’ McRoberts said.ARARAT – While the immediate flow on effect of the liquidation of St Hilliers Ararat, part of the consortium contracted to build the Hopkins Correctional Centre, will cause problems in the region, one local who worked for St Hilliers and has now lost his job believes most businesses will survive.
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While acknowledging that many people were owed money, ‘Nats’ McRoberts, who was one of the last 12 to lose their jobs at St Hilliers, informed of the news on Thursday morning, said that it wasn’t all bad news.

“Most people will survive and most businesses will survive, the community spirit here is pretty good, it was pretty good prior to them (prison project) coming, this (job) is the just the cream on the top for a lot of people,” Mr McRoberts said

“It’s not all doom and gloom.”

Mr McRobert said people had been quick to play the blame game.

“A lot of people seem to be pointing the finger at the unions which is not the case. Obviously it’s now there in black and white (in the newspapers) what has happened,” he said.

Mr McRoberts said a meeting was held in the week prior to the site closure with all union representatives.

“Every person who attended that meeting was guaranteed that their jobs were secure when the site opens back up again,” Mr McRoberts said.

“If they gain employment elsewhere, it’s all well and good, but they’ve got first option when it gets up again.

“There isn’t a lot of work locally at the moment trade wise, this is probably a good opportunity, while it was running, and when it does get going again, for blokes that are struggling for work that do have a trade to have something in concrete for 18 months or for however long it takes.”

A concretor by trade, Mr McRoberts said the opportunity to work on the prison project enabled him to work in his home town, after living and working away from Ararat and his family for some time.

“It was fantastic out there, for me, after being based in Melbourne and living away from home, and this was something at my back door and I grabbed it with both hands.

“We can all jump in the car and pack up and drive 4000km to Western Australia and earn the same sort of money, but it’s here in our back yard, so while it’s here and my family’s here I’m more than happy to be a part of what’s going on out there.”

However, Mr McRoberts is disappointed at the rumours which abound regarding the work site.

“It really got on my goat when something was twittered into the prison how there were blokes on a Saturday morning on $70 a hour standing up the main street drinking beer and having a barbecue at the Lions Club (Lions Club Saturday morning barbecue in Barkly Street),” he said

“Yes that did happen, but there was definitely no beer.

“With the barbecue, we used to have a barbecue at work on Saturday, well instead of doing this, we said ‘Why don’t we all go up to the Lions Club and support them’, so that was a decision made by us to go up there and support the Lions Club and try and put money back into the community.

“We thought we were doing the right thing but we got shot down for it, a few people got upset out at work, and I thought it was worth noting, because people don’t really understand how it works out there.”

Mr McRoberts said he wanted to clear up the rumours on behalf of the workers, because they had all contributed to the community since the prison construction began.

“It’s a good band of blokes that work out there and they are very generous, especially if they are living in the community or they aren’t based here but they’re living here while working here, there’s no shortage of hands going into pockets to contribute to whatever may come up.”

Some of these causes included fund raising for cancer sufferers Alana Jenkins and Jordan O’Riley, the Royal Children’s Hospital as well as sponsorship of sporting groups.

“I know everyone seems to look at the negatives but a fair few positives come out of the place, number one, a fair bit of employment that has been created for locals.

“I don’t think any trade out there could be faulted for their work, that side of things had been working fine.”

Mr McRoberts said 95 percent of the St Hilliers’ crew were locals.

Of the total workforce of 400 who have lost their jobs, Mr McRoberts believes around 200 hail from the Ararat, Stawell, Ballarat, Horsham and Bendigo areas, with 60 to 70 from the Ararat and Stawell area.

He acknowledged there will be a flow on effect to the whole town because of the amount of money owed to some of the contractors.

Many will look for employment elsewhere.

“They may have to, but most people will find their feet. There is always someone worse off than yourself, but you generally find your feet again, it’s not the be all to end all,” he said.

“We’ll be right I think.”

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Opposition slams Baillieu government over DPI closure

Ararat Rural City Council representatives Neil Manning, Cr Ian Wilson and Clyde Humphries meet with Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews (second from right) at the DPI offi ce, which is to close.ARARAT – Victorian opposition leader Daniel Andrews has slammed the state government’s decision to close the Ararat office of the Department of Primary Industries.
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Mr Andrews visited Ararat on Thursday to be briefed by members of Ararat Rural City Council and local business leaders about the effect the Baillieu Government’s decision would have on the local community.

The Opposition leader said despite the government offering to ‘relocate’ staff members to offices in Horsham or Hamilton, the closure is effectively forcing 12 people out of work.

“This office employs 12 people and they are not just workers in this community, they are part of the community,” he said.

“They are involved, they are the lifeblood of this community and this government, despite its claims that its cutbacks wouldn’t effect frontline services, this DPI office and six others are being closed.

“These jobs are being lost to this town, they will have to go to Hamilton or Horsham, they won’t be here spending their money in this community and making a contribution in this local town.

“That is not good for the community, it is a break of trust and we are here today to put as much pressure as we can on Mr Baillieu to urge him to reconsider his decision to rip these jobs out of this town.”

The Victorian Government has confirmed offices will also close in Birchip, Camperdown, Cobram, Kyneton, Ouyen and St Arnaud, while DPI staff based in Department of Sustainability and Environment offices in Alexandra, Broadford, Corryong, Edenhope, Heyfield, Mansfield, Orbost, Seymour, Swifts Creek, Traralgon and Wangaratta will be relocated to consolidated offices.

Some staff from Bairnsdale, Benalla, Geelong and Wodonga will also be relocated.

Mr Andrews refuted claims that closing offices and merging DPI departments would increase food production, economic activity, employment or growth in the state.

He said the agriculture industry in the Ararat region is expected to suffer most from the decision.

“It is no good taking away (these type of services), this community needs additional support,” Mr Andrews said.

“We have had 12 years of drought, fires, flood, all sorts of other challenges, things are not easy in regional Victoria.

“Rather than taking away, Mr Baillieu should be doing more for the good people of this community and regional communities right across the state.”

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Quality tennis on show

ARARAT – There were plenty of even sets and high quality tennis on show in last week’s Ararat City Tennis Club’s Wednesday night men’s winter competition.
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Carey Covers and Gasons went head-to-head in a tight battle, which saw the result determined by the final two sets of the night.

Carey Covers got the jump on its opposition in the opening sets, with Norm Woodhams and Ben Pietsch combining well.

Gason then squared the ledger by winning the next two sets, as Sam Gason and Matt Haddow started to hit their straps.

In the end Carey Covers proved the better team, claiming victory 4-29 to 2-25, with a strong performance in the closing two sets.

Mitre 10 enjoyed a solid win over Debbie Robb’s Hairdressing, although the side was challenged for much of the match.

Mitre 10’s Al Willis and Michael Hope faced Debbie Robb’s Rick Thomas and Ross McGregor in a tough opening set.

Strong serving by all players saw no breaks of serve and a seven-all tie.

Three of the next four sets went Mitre 10’s way, however Debbie Robb’s Hairdressing show plenty of winning potential.

Healthwise were unable to record a set victory in its clash with Eastick Homes, who went on to win the match 4-41 to 0-32.

It was a great night for Keenan Hurst and Brad Harricks, who showed off a combination of powerful ground strokes and clever ball placement.


Eastick Homes 4-41 def Healthwise 0-32

B Harricks, W Gason drew with L Preston, A Mann 7-7; D Rowe, K Hurst def T Warring, S Bohner 7-5; B Harricks, W Gason def L Preston, T Waring 7-6; D Rowe, K Hurst def A Mann, S Bohner 7-5; B Harricks, K Hurst def L Preston, S Bohner 8-4; W Gason, D Rowe drew with A Mann, T Waring 5-5.

Carey Covers 4-29 def Gasons 2-25

N Woodhams, B Pietsch def S Gason, M Haddow 8-4; M Verdon, P Forster def A Drosg, G Hurst 5-2; N Woodhams, M Verdon lost to S Gason, A Drosg 4-6; B Pietsch, P Forster lost to M Haddow, G Hurst 2-5; N Woodhams, P Forster def S Gason, G Hurst 6-5; B Pietsch, M Verdon def M Haddow, A Drosg 4-3.

Mitre 10 3-38 def Debbie Robb’s Hairdressing

A Willis, M Hope drew with R Thomas, R McGregor 7-7; J Lloyd, B Doery def A Cooper, D Holstron 9-3; A Willis, J Lloyd lost to R Thomas, A Cooper 5-7; M Hope, B Doery drew with R McGregor, D Holston 5-5; A Willis, B Doery def R Thomas, D Holstron 5-3; M Hope, J Lloyd def R McGregor, A Cooper 7-5.

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First tour a success

Chalambar Golf President Frank Vernon (left) and sponsor Ash Heard (right) congratulate men�s stableford winner Taine Pearse and men�s stroke winner Michael Harricks on their success in the inaugural Grampians Golf Tour.Picture: PETER PICKERING.REGION – One hundred and fifty rounds of golf were played on four courses over six days during the inaugural Grampians Golf Tour.
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The tour took place at Chalambar, Stawell, Hamilton and Horsham golf clubs over two weekends.

Visitors travelled from Darwin, Adelaide and Melbourne to participate in the tour, which also attracted golfers from the local region.

Golfers had the option of playing three or four courses, taking their best three scores.

Chalambar Golf Club manager, Tim Cronin said the organisers were pleased with the outcome.

“We’re really happy with the presentation of the tournament, which is what this first year was all about,”

“We’ve had some really good feedback from golfers and we’ll take that on board for next year.”

Cronin said now the clubs had established the foundation they would look at changes to next year’s format.

He said next year’s tour would most likely be held in February and that other variations on this year’s event would be discussed at an upcoming meeting.

Cronin said sponsorship for this year’s event was fantastic and that it received support from the councils involved along with Grampians Tourism.

The winners received a $1,200 voucher to use on a golf tour while the runners up received $600.

Chalambar Golf Club champion, Michael Harricks won the men’s stroke category with a nett score of 217, with Michael Watkins earning runner up honours with a nett score of 224.

Young gun Taine Pearse won the men’s stableford on 106 points ahead of Des Pickford on 105, while Ashley Mann (105) claimed victory in the ladies’ stableford over Anne Glenwright (98 points).

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