Mother’s Day Classic was in the pink

Kieran Ryan and Indy Calvert sprint to the fi nish line.ARARAT – Despite the frosty weather it was a warm atmosphere at Richardson Oval on Sunday for the 2012 Mother’s Day Classic.
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A crowd of more than 300 donned pink apparel and took part in either an eight kilometre run or four kilometre run/walk to raise money for breast cancer research.

Mother’s Day Classic committee member Julie Kilpatrick said although numbers were slightly down on previous years, more than $3,000 was raised in the lead up and on the day.

“Registrations were just down on last year due to the weather, but the way we look at it was that there were a lot of passionate people who came down for various reasons including to honour a loved one or support someone who is going through it at the moment,” she said.

Ararat West Primary School skipping team and local band Parso and Dave kept the crowd entertained on the day, while breast cancer survivor Helen Tucker took part in the formalities before the Classic began.

“It was also great to have Helen read the dedication prior to the commencement of the event,” Ms Kilpatrick said.

“This is a formality that takes place at each event every year and is followed by a minute’s silence, which once again is a very touching experience for everyone, it is a chance to remember those that have been affected by breast cancer.

“We always like to get somebody that has gone through the battle to assist with the formalities. There are plenty of people in the area that are affected by breast cancer.

“There was one lady who ran the four kilometres who had lost her mum last year to breast cancer and she was emotional when she crossed the line, but really proud that she did it for her mum.”

Former Ararat runner, Paul Fenn, who now trains at the Australian Institute for Sport in Canberra was first across the line in the eight kilometre race.

Rachel Murphy was the first lady to finish, while in the four kilometre race Zander Laidlaw was the men’s winner and Robyn Curnow the women’s.

Organisers of the Mother’s Day Classic thanked all the sponsors and volunteers for there generous support on the day.

For more pictures of this year’s Mother’s Day Classic – See page 16.

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Community can’t afford to lose DPI jobs

The Department of Primary Industries’ offi ce, housed in the old Ararat Shire Hall, will close.ARARAT – Ararat Rural City Council has hit out at the State Government following last week’s announcement that the Ararat office of the Department of Primary Industries will close.
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The closure will see the loss of 12 jobs and relocation of staff to either the Hamilton or Horsham offices.

Council will request a meeting with the Premier Ted Baillieu to discuss the closure and the impact it will have on the wider Ararat community.

Cr Ian Wilson said Ararat must retain its services.

“This community cannot afford to lose 11 full time positions especially in the current economic climate,” he said.

“I was rather disappointed to read on the front page of today’s (Tuesday’s Ararat Advertiser) paper that the VFF had formed an opinion in relation to the DPI closure. I urge the VFF and in particular the local members, to lobby strongly on behalf of their members for retention of the fantastic services the DPI provides in Ararat.

“I don’t believe their members would say it was adequate for farmers in Elmhurst or Moyston to have to travel to Hamilton for advice, when we’ve got that advice provided here in the regional office in Ararat. I urge the VFF not to take this decision laying down.”

The Ararat/Tatyoon branch of the VFF said in Tuesday’s edition of The Ararat Advertiser that while disappointed, they believed the decision was inevitable given the reduction in staff over the past few years.

“I urge the people who are responsible, and do have some control in this matter, being the state government, to work with all concerned, all those people responsible, to get a resolution for the benefit of this community,” he said.

Cr Gwenda Allgood reminded the gallery of the economic downturn of the 1990s when many government institutions closed their doors, causing economic hardship in the town.

“In 1994 these sorts of things happened, we all lived through that,” she said.

“Basically it isn’t about supporting country Victoria any more it’s about drawing everything back down to Melbourne.

“They’re taking these offices that keep us alive and flowing, and taking them out of these areas and I can’t believe it.”

Cr Allgood was also disappointed with the response by the VFF.

“I don’t very often disagree with the VFF I must admit, but I was extremely disappointed to get up this morning and read that. We have bent over backwards with the VFF. We’ve looked at their rates, we’ve tried everything as a council to support the farmers, but now I think it’s up to the farmers, instead of saying you can go to the internet or someone can drive out to see them, it’s not about that, it’s about visiting the farmer,” she said.

Cr Allgood said a recent visit to Broken Hill brought home the difficulties farmers face.

“You look at these vast tracts of areas where you actually plant this seed, hope for the rain to come so as they get a good crop and when they don’t, we have suicides. So it’s a really serious situation,” she said.

“The DPI are the sort of people that go out and visit the farmer, they know the farmer, the farmer can go there for help, it might only be someone to talk to, but you have them in this area.”

In relation to staff, Cr Allgood said not only do these people live and work in the community they’re part of the community.

Cr John Cunningham also spoke about the hardships of the 1990s.

“We went through periods in the 90s where we lost a whole range of people from high/medium level senior employees, similar to the types of people moving out of the DPI offices into other places and we lose skills and knowledge and abilities and those skills, knowledge and abilities are lost to our community,” he said.

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AusKick action begins this Sunday

Sponsors with their donations to the Auskick program are Ash Sladdin Ararat Eagles, Dean Pinniger AME Systems, Terry Pye AF Gasons, Terri Anne Lewis Ararat Football Club, Mick Driscoll and Scott Bohner from Auskick, Sarah Blizzard Sportzbiz, Matt Summers Ararat and District Junior Football Association and Norm Tosch from Ararat Lions.ARARAT – AusKick action begins this Sunday at Richardson Oval and the popular program has been boosted by a series of generous donations from Ararat sporting clubs and organisations.
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Outgoing Ararat AusKick co-ordinator, Mick Driscoll said all up about $2,500 had been donated to purchase new equipment.

“The donations have all been different, anywhere between $50 to $200, and we even got $1000 from the Lions Club which was just fantastic,” he said.

“I am really grateful to all the clubs and businesses that have helped us out.”

Sporting clubs and businesses that donated included Ararat Football Netball Club, Ararat Eagles Football Netball Club, Tatyoon Football Netball Club, AF Gason, AME Systems, Sportz Biz and the Ararat Lions Club.

Mr Driscoll said new equipment purchased, such as goal posts, cones and handball targets, were much needed with the AFL only providing a small number of footballs and jumpers.

“We basically get no assistance from the AFL so we really do rely on donations,” he said.

“I used to make goal posts out of PVC pipe!”

Any local businesses looking to donate to AusKick can still do so, with the program still needing at least $1,500 to pay for a bus down to Melbourne later in the year where the group will playing during halftime of an AFL match.

Mr Driscoll said AusKick in Ararat has now become the second largest of its kind in the Wimmera, with a record 115 children registering to take part this season.

After five years as co-ordinator Mr Driscoll will hand over the reigns to Tim Shea and Scott Bohner in the coming weeks.

“I’m now coaching Mounties and most of the kids there are ones that have come up through AusKick during my time,” he said.

“I’ll hand it over to Tim and Scott over the next few weeks and they will take it from there.”

Week one of AusKick will begin on Sunday at Richardson Oval at 9am.

Children wishing to participate who haven’t registered can still attend the session, while Mr Driscoll said organisers are looking for parents to volunteer and help out with the larger numbers in 2012.

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Council demands meeting with Premier

Hopkins Correctional Centre site manager Steve Ritchie discusses the prison project with Corrections Minister Andrew McIntosh.ARARAT – Ararat Rural City Council is demanding an urgent meeting with the Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu following the announcement that the Hopkins Correctional Centre worksite has been shut down and that the Department of Primary Industries Ararat office will close.
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Council at its meeting on Tuesday agreed to write to the Premier requesting an urgent meeting between the Mayor Cr Colin McKenzie and CEO Andrew Evans to find a solution to the Hopkins Correctional Centre delay and identify how local and regional contractors can be paid as matter of urgency; and to determine how the action of closing the DPI and loss of 11 full time positions will affect the long term economic and social impact on the local community.

St Hilliers Ararat Pty Ltd, a member of the Aegis Consortium overseeing the construction of the Hopkins Correctional Centre, was placed into liquidation this week, leaving 400 people without jobs and owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to contractors, many of whom are local.

“I think we’ve had enough of the bad news in this municipality,” Cr Ian Wilson said.

“I really believe we need some urgent intervention by our senior political figure in the state, that being the Premier Mr Baillieu.

“It’s been reported…that many local suppliers have extensive financial exposure to the prison project with one operator reporting exposure in excess of $400,000.

” I don’t believe any business in Ararat can afford to suffer that form of financial loss and I urge the Premier to take it on board and work with all concerned and get a result and get the project back on track and get workers back out there and get the project finished.”

Cr Wilson acknowledged that the joint partners have been very supportive of and have worked closely with the community and a range of organisations and supported the community very strongly over the time they have been working in Ararat.

“But I urge all concerned to work together to get a positive outcome for the community,” he said.

“Enough is enough we don’t want to see any more losses in Ararat.”

Cr Gwenda Allgood said she was ‘really devastated for those people’ who had worked at the prison construction site and indicated she had heard disturbing reports of the amounts of money owed to some contractors.

“I’ve heard $400,000 to two and $300,000 to another one,” she said.

“This community and people within our community can’t sustain that sort of loss.

“This is the thin edge of the wedge, we’ve loss one big business in the last couple of weeks, we’ve got a few others that are just teetering on the brink and we’ve got to stop this rot, I lived through this in 1994 and I don’t want to see it happen again.”

Cr John Cunningham said the two major things impacting on Ararat weren’t impacting because of decisions relating to small government businesses.

“We’ve got a government private project which was put in place, where the government actually employed people to come out and talk to people in our community about gaining work and earning income out at the prison project,” he said.

“The work at the prison might be government private enterprise but it is government sponsored project.

“Over next 18 months (it will take a lot to) recover from what’s happening out there at the prison from the lack of funds going into our community, because we’ve got to remember if an employer isn’t paid that amount of money, whether it’s $300,000 or $400,000, then there’s stress on that employer and employees, there’s a whole range of people who are impacted by this.”

Cr Cunningham said the loss of social capital from our community could not be underestimated.

“Not only do we lose wages, but we’ve got to remember the shops in town that rely on wages, the businesses and those providing services, they are also impacted as well and they are going to go through some hard times as well as a result of this,” he said.

“There will be less money going through the tills

“There will be people who will be put off and this will have an impact on schools, hospitals, major service providers.

“Our government, our state government, they’re responsible for helping us throughout the whole of the state to form and maintain responsible and comprehensive well functioning communities – and it is our government, our state government, that is responsible for doing this to us.”

Council met with Minister for Corrections Andrew McIntosh yesterday.

See page 7 for Council’s reaction to the closure of the Department of Primary Industries.

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Prison crisis must be solved

Ararat Rural City Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Evans addresses the media on Thursday.ARARAT – Ararat Rural City Council has criticised the State Government following the announcement that one of the parties involved in the construction of the Ararat Correctional Centre has gone into liquidation.
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St Hilliers Ararat Pty Ltd, a member of the Aegis Consortium involved in the construction of the prison, has gone into liquidation, with the work site closed.

Ararat Rural City CEO Andrew Evans said this will have a significant flow on effect to the community, with the prison construction meant to be a major boost to the Ararat economy.

“Spring Street told us that there would be an economic flow on effect from that construction and economic flow on as a result of the added permanent jobs,” Mr Evans said.

With news that a number of contractors are now owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, Mr Evans said many of these contractors will not be able to ‘hang out for the money for long.’

“Very few contractors in rural areas can maintain a cash flow to cope with a $300,000 to $400,000 debt for any length of time,” Mr Evans said.

“It’s grossly unfair on contractors.”

Mr Evans said Council was told at the beginning of the project that the government has prisoners waiting in inappropriate holding cells, waiting to move to Ararat and that with the current Government platform of an increase in law and order, he said there will now be more prisoners needing extra accommodation.

“The project needs to be finished, the two parties have to sit down and work out a solution,” he said.

The subsequent flow on effect of the closure of the work site will filter all the way down through many areas of the community, according to Mr Evans.

“Many of the 400 employees live in the region, most have been stood down,” he said.

“They won’t be coming into town to spend and this will continue if the dispute lingers.”

Mr Evans said Council will continue to lobby the government to solve the dispute and get the money flowing again.

“We will do what we can to assist,” he said.

“At the end of the day we don’t have a handle we can tweak, we will put it to the Government and consortium that they need to solve it as it is what the Ararat community needs.”

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Salvos offering hope

Sarah and James Thompson at the Salvation Army�s KidsZone – a fun place for kids! Picture: PETER PICKERINGARARAT – Door knockers will be out in force this weekend collecting for the Salvation Army’s Red Shield appeal and its national programs, but at grass roots level, the Ararat Salvation Army Corps is hard at work in the Ararat region offering support to people in need.
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Ararat Corps Officer Lieutenant James Thompson said it all starts at Sunday Meetings, where people can come along without much hope or feeling depressed but leave happy, saved and free and all this comes through knowing Jesus.

Lt Thompson said through the work of the church they have seen God heal people of diseases and injuries.

“Because God has made such an impact in our lives we want to share that with the world,” he said.

“Salvos are known for their practical work and this is what’s known as ‘Christianity with its sleeves rolled up’.”

Lt Thompson said Sunday meetings are vibrant and welcoming and people can come in and leave changed.

From there the Salvation Army’s work in Ararat moves to Life Groups, which are groups where people can make friends and share in Christian community.

Currently there are about 10 groups, with around 50 people involved and growing.

The Salvos’ kids’ program is also growing and proving popular.

The free after school kids club called Kidzone provides fun activities such as games, craft and some teaching.

Another group, Junior Soldiers, teaches kids to be good Christians and members of society, showing them the benefits of reaching out to help other people. This is also aimed at primary school children.

The youth program Fisheye, gives youth a place to share openly about their life, make new friends and learn about Jesus.

Many people in Ararat know the Salvos for their well stocked Thrift Shop.

The shop has about 20 enthusiastic volunteers and offers a community where people can be involved, accepted and find purpose in their life.

The Thrift Shop also assists with emergency relief, offering material aid in the form of furniture, clothing and other practical ‘bits and pieces’.

Emergency Relief is an important aspect of the Salvos work in Ararat, who work with other churches to provide assistance to those in need.

In addition the Salvos can offer food vouchers, petrol vouchers, food, clothes, furniture and prayer.

Also offering assistance to those in need is the Positive Lifestyle Program, a 12 week course that deals with issues like self esteem, stress, depression, goal setting and loneliness.

This year the Salvos have commenced working in the Willaura community, visiting Willaura Health Care and Parkland Hostel as well as forming a Life Group.

With an exciting future, more Life Groups are set to start.

“We will also be reintroducing visit to the pubs, where we will be able to meet people, offer any help, listen to them and offer prayer if needed,” Lt Thompson said.

“It’s about meeting them where they’re at.”

In the future a League of Mercy will also be formed.

“This is a group dedicated to reaching out to people in practical ways like home visits, bringing meals, helping out around the house, sharing in prayer, all in the love of Jesus,” Lt Thompson said.

The Ararat Salvation Army Corp has also introduced a prayer room, which will offer a quiet place for people to pray.

This weekend the Salvos will be knocking on doors to raise funds for the Red Shield Appeal and anyone who would like to assist as a volunteer should contact Lt Thompson on 5352 2720.

People are also more than welcome to come and volunteer their time to work at the Thrift Shop, or join in any of the groups and meetings.

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WFL – The Ararat Rats weren’t deterred

WFL – The Ararat Rats weren’t deterred by the longest road trip in the Wimmera Football League, comprehensively disposing of Nhill by 52 points in a fast paced match.
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Rats’ coach Scott Turner said their second win from as many matches was a good indication that the team’s game style is beginning to take effect.

“The feedback we get from other clubs is that once we start playing that fast flowing football we are hard to match,” he said.

“With the new guys, (Brett) Dowie, (Aaron) Searle and (Jake) Harman coming in it was always going to take time to gel. We are still a bit inconsistent, but we are starting to play good footy in patches.”

It was the junior players who were the top performers for Ararat against the Tigers, with Zac Louder and Brady Miller putting early goals on the board.

There were numerous turnovers from both sides in the opening term, as the ball moved quickly from end to end.

Up forward for the Rats, Searle picked up where he left off last week, with an early goal setting up his afternoon. Turner said he has been impressed with the forward pressure Searle has shown over the past fortnight.

“He spent the first few games adjusting to the team and finding his feet,” he said.

“He is a strong player and a good mark but not just that, his tackling and intensity in our forward-50 is really important.”

James Laidlaw, making his senior debut, showed great composure late in the first quarter to deliver the ball to Mick Fratin, who converted to put Ararat ahead by 13 points at the first change.

Turner asked his charges to carry the ball and use the wide open space of Davis Park and young-gun Jake Robinson did just that to score a goal within the first minute of the second term.

Despite several contentious umpiring decisions which led to the Tigers scoring, Ararat was able to maintain its discipline and stick to the game structure.

Dan Vearing and Tom Rowe shared ruck duties and once again gave the onballers first use. Vearing was particularly dominant over Nhill’s big man Mark McEldew.

The second quarter saw Ararat produce its best football for the day, with the lead ballooning out to five goals at the midway mark.

Wingman Luke Todd and Brendon Lovell were working hard to create scoring opportunities, along with Miller and Robinson.

“All the young blokes had a good dip,” Turner said.

“Jake Robinson and Luke Todd are in good form and they have been gaining good experience on the ball while Batchy (Alan Batchelor) has been out injured. They are standing up which is a good sign for the club.”

In the opening seconds of the third quarter Mick Fratin built on Ararat’s halftime lead of 33 points with a long goal from 50 metres out, while Bernie Peoples continued to shutdown the Tigers’ number one player Daniel Batson.

Robinson, who was named Ararat’s best player, enjoyed a 10-minute purple patch in the third quarter which saw him kick the goal of the day with a snap hard on the boundary line, while he then repeated those efforts two minutes later with a more conventional drop punt in the same pocket.

An unmanned goal square gifted Louder his third goal for the day, with the ball dribbling across the line after he shanked the kick from a set shot.

Ararat ran out the match well to win 20.13 (133) to 12.9 (81) and with no major injuries for the first time this season, the team will take plenty of confidence into the blockbuster match against arch-rival Stawell on Sunday.

“It is always good to go up there and have a win, now we need to do the same at home this week against Stawell,” Turner said.

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Magpies dispose of Tigers in confidence boosting win

Ash Leggett intercepts the ball from Tom Taurau in the Ararat Eagles’ loss to Caramut on Saturday. Both were named in the top six for the Eagles. Picture: PETER PICKERINGMDFL – Wickliffe-Lake Bolac has claimed its first premiership points of the Mininera and District Football League season with a strong performance against Woorndoo-Mortlake.
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The Magpies fielded one of its strongest sides for the year and led for the entire match to defeat the Tigers, 18.16 (124) to 6.4 (40).

Wickliffe-Lake Bolac captain Tom Gibson said the win is a good confidence booster for the 2011 runners-up.

“It sets us up for next week’s game against Glenthompson and then Great Western after that, so it was an important win,” he said.

The Magpies had plenty of fire power up forward, with Nic Willox leading the charge with six goals.

Ben Johnson was an important player in the midfield for the Magpies, as was coach and ruckman Brad Keilar, who also went forward and kicked two handy goals.

Gibson said the team didn’t underestimate its opposition heading into the match.

“We thought it was a fairly even contest going in, we just ended up being too strong in the midfield,” he said.

“Having a full team in gave us a bit more depth, but what we really need is to start playing four quarters of football. Most weeks we’ve been playing at least one good quarter and then not going on with it.”

The Magpies outscored the Tigers in every quarter on Saturday, with Josh Keys (five goals) and Richard Blackburn (three) also contributing down forward.

The win was soured by the injury to centre half back Simon Rogers, who appears likely to miss the remainder of the season with a serious knee injury.

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Moyston-Willaura kept its unbeaten run alive with a hard fought 23-point win over Glenthompson-Dunkeld.

Only five points separated the two teams at halftime, however the premiership quarter was where the Pumas pounced.

The visitors kicked five goals, while the Rams only managed to score one major for the quarter.

Trent Fiscalini made it back-to-back best on ground performances, while full-forward Jeremy Cronin booted four goals to lead the scoring.

Glenthompson-Dunkeld came roaring home in the last quarter, easily out scoring the Pumas, but the side had given away too big a lead and was unable to overcome the deficit.

In form ruckman Josh Bywater also had a big impact on the game, as did in and under player Leo Bell, who racked up numerous possessions in the 11.16 (82) to 9.5 (59) victory.

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Also making it five from five was Tatyoon, which sits on top of the MDFL ladder with a healthy percentage.

The Hawks led all day against Hawkesdale-Macarthur, although errant kicking in the first quarter left the door slightly ajar for the Eagles.

Aiden Bell and Ross Panther were their usual damaging selves, slotting nine goals between them to set up the 66-point win.

Tim and Sean McDougall starred through the midfield, while Steven Nicholson chipped in with three goals to be named among the team’s best.

Captain Damien Cameron showed his versatility across the ground and was well supported by young-gun Tyler Cronin (two goals) who has established himself as a genuine senior player.

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Penshurst is the third team to remain undefeated after five rounds of Mininera and District football action.

The Bombers broke away from a gallant SM&W Rovers in the final quarter to record victory, 15.10 (100) to 8.15 (63).

The lead chopped and changed for much of the first half, with the Bulldogs in front at both quarter and halftime.

John Forbes and Nick Byrne continued their stellar starts to the year and were named SM&W Rovers’ top two players.

Penshurst edged its nose in front at three quarter time, however the Bulldogs were still in touch, with the deficit only 15 points.

The Bombers put their foot down to kick away in the final term, with Grant Ewing proving the difference, booting seven goals in a best afield performance.

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Ararat was no match for Caramut, going down to the Swans 15 points.

Laurie Moyle was the Eagles’ only multiple goal scorer with two, while Tom Taurau showed plenty of talent through the forward line and midfield.

Ararat kept in touch for most of the match, but was unable to hit the lead during a wet and windy day at Alexandra Oval.

Aaron Jenkins, Ash Leggett and Daniel O’Connell were also named in the Eagles’ top six players.

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Great Western is slowly but surely improving despite losing to Lismore Derrinallum on Saturday by 98 points.

Coming off the back of a tough week that followed a crushing 300 point loss at the hands of Tatyoon, the Lions showed a vast improvement against the home side.

Damien Scott made his debut for the Lions, providing a focal point at full forward and kicked a goal, while onballer Lachie Green was Great Western’s best player, with his hardness at the contest and willingness to put his body on the line impressing coach Darren Weavell.

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Rats look back: 2003

Wimmera Football League 2003 Toohey Medallist Dale Bligh celebrated his win with daughter Jesse at Alexandra Oval.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.
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By 2003 the Ararat Rats had assembled one of the most talented football sides in the Wimmera Football League.

David Jennings, the 2001 premiership coach, returned to take the senior helm after a year off, while Rohan May and Scott Graham were appointed joint captains.

The Rats’ first month of the season saw them win by an average margin of 86 points, including the grand final re-match against Warrack Eagles, however the streak came to an abrupt end in round five when the Horsham Diggers pinched victory, 16.9 (105) to 14.8 (92).

Ararat only dropped three games from the season, finishing in second position on the ladder, behind a talented Horsham Demons side.

In the qualifying final Ararat went down to Stawell by eight points, which saw them then face Horsham Diggers in a do or die semi-final.

The 94-point thumping saw them back in the hunt for the premiership and back up against arch rival Stawell in the preliminary final.

A dramatic game saw the Rats go down by an agonising two points, which meant the side would not contest a WFL grand final for the first time in five years.

Off the field gifted Ararat onballer Dale Bligh became the second Rats’ player in as many years to win the league’s best and fairest Toohey Medal. Bligh won the top award with 19 votes, one point ahead of team mate and 2002 medallist Matthew Jackson.

“It is not something I thought I could achieve,” Bligh said after winning the medal.

“You don’t aim for individual honours in football. I’d swap it for a grand final spot any day.”

Jackson went on to win Ararat’s senior best and fairest award, while Rohan May once again took out the club’s leading goal kicker award with 63 majors for the season.

Other highlights in season 2003 included decorated midfielder Tim Shea chalking up 250 club games.

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Lawsey gets the energy answer for Tamworth pensioner

A TAMWORTH pensioner has won something of a victory after a dispute over a “move out fee” on his electricity bill – but only after some prettypowerful help from others.
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When they moved house from Kootingal to Tamworth three weeks ago, retiree Jim Wilson said he and wife Linda received a final bill on the property and was furious to discover an extra charge of $96.80.

The charge was called a “move-out fee” and Mr Wilson said he contacted Origin and queried the amount, but was told they were unable to help him.

Mr Wilson complained to heavyweight radio host John Laws, and says that Mr Laws told him the charge was a “load of rot”.

Known as “the man with the golden microphone”, Mr Laws is famous for taking on battles with big companies.

“He said to me, how can a company charge you to move out of your own house,” Mr Wilson said.

The Wilsons noticed the charge after the electricity bill rose by $200 from the last quarter.

“I was very unhappy about it, I just thought what kind of ridiculous charge is this,” he said.

Origin was then contacted by the Laws show producers and received the answer Mr Wilson could not.

Contacted by The Leader, an Origin spokesperson explained it as a charge from electricity provider Essential Energy to manage the customer’s move and passed on by Origin.

However the spokesperson did say the Wilson move out fee was double the normal amount of $48.40 and along with giving an apology to MrWilson, they would be rectifying theproblem.

Mr Wilson said he wanted to publicise his consumer case to make other pensioners aware of the charges – so they didn’t go unnoticed by somepeople who could least afford paying more.

“Every day something is going up in price,” Mr Wilson said.

Mr Wilson said he had since moved to a different electricity company and had rung Origin to tell them that he wouldn’t be using their servicesanymore.

“I told them it’s a typical old rip-the-Aussie-off-scam and hung up on them,” Mr Wilson said.

Every day something is going up: Jim Wilson was charged a ‘move out fee’ of $96.80 on his power bill. Photo: Robert Chappel 100812RCE007

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