Port Kembla surge back into finals contention

Olympic’s Javier Ovendo (left) dribbles past Tarrawanna’s Ben Zucco at Wollongong Olympic Park on Saturday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIStuart Beedie has predicted the race to occupy the remaining two Illawarra Premier League finals spots will come down to a test of nerve after his Port Kembla side surged back into contention.
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Almost written off as no-hope of figuring in the post-season a month ago, Port Kembla has strung together four wins in their last five matches to sit just a point outside the five.

Out-of-sorts Wollongong United (32 points) and Cringila (31) also have to play table-topping Dapto Dandaloo in the final two rounds adding further merit to the Zebras’ (30) finals bid.

‘‘They could win both games – it’s as simple as that,’’ Beedie said of Port’s closest rivals after the action-packed 4-3 win over Cringila at Crehan Park on Friday night.

‘‘It’s just going to come down to who holds their nerve. We’ve gone on a bit of a run and other than the loss to [Dapto] Dandaloo we’ve won four out of our last five.

‘‘The league’s like that – everyone takes points off each other and if you can go on a bit of a run you can get yourself up the table very quickly. We’ve put ourselves in a position where we can challenge from.’’

Port Kembla’s revival has coincided with the return of attacking linchpins Daniel Aliffi and Matt Werakso who have shrugged off long-term injuries.

Aliffi was on the scoresheet in the win over Cringila to complement Jon Ramos’ brace and a Peter Richardson strike.

‘‘To be honest, that’s been our thing all year [missing players],’’ Beedie said. ‘‘I’ve obviously been playing players that are not quite up to it.

‘‘The guys who are coming in are quality players – Aliffi and Werakso – and they’re probably our two best attacking players.’’

Adrian Cevenini scored twice from the spot for Cringila and Michael Stojanovski added a late consolation.

Meantime, Dapto Dandaloo edged closer to the league title after a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Fernhill on Saturday. Chris Smith, Dom Magill and Sam Munro all found the back of the net in the second half to overturn Sam Gordon’s opener for the Foxes.

The Fury’s lead remains at two points with two games remaining after Bulli eased past Coniston 2-1 thanks to first-half goals from Brendan Pattman and Ben McDonald. Ile Kostovski was on target for the visitors.

The title race has thinned to just two teams after Tarrawanna, now five points off the pace, were held to a 0-0 draw by Wollongong Olympic at the PCYC.

Daniel Atkins delivered a blow to Wollongong United’s finals chances as he scored either side of the interval in Albion Park’s 2-0 win over the Bert Bampton Cup winners.

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‘No grounds’ to pursue Craig Thomson: committee

Craig Thomson – now an independent MP – in question time today. Photo: Andrew MearesThe parliamentary privileges committee has cleared the scandal-plagued former Labor MP Craig Thomson over allegations of misleading parliament and failing to declare details of his finances on the pecuniary interests register.
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Mr Thomson was referred to the committee by the Coalition in May for failing to declare that Labor had paid his legal bills incurred during a defamation case with Fairfax (owner of this website) and a drawn-out investigation by Fair Work Australia.

The Coalition had also referred Mr Thomson for allegedly misleading Parliament during his response to FWA findings that he had misused union funds for escort services, lavish meals and shopping sprees.

In a tit-for-tat move, Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly, who holds the south-western Sydney seat of Hughes, was referred by the manager of government business, Anthony Albanese, over a range of allegations, including his failure to declare on his register of interests his directorship of several companies.

In a statement to the House of Representatives after question time today, committee chairwoman Yvette D’Ath said the committee — which holds unrivalled powers to discipline MPs for breaches of parliamentary rules — had deemed there ”were no grounds for further investigation” into Mr Thomson and Mr Kelly over the alleged failure of declarations.

Ms D’Ath also informed Parliament the committee were unable to find the source of a leak to The Age’s political editor Michelle Grattan who reported in May details of a meeting in which the committee resolved to write to manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne, who raised the privileges matter, and ask him to specify where he thought Mr Thomson had deliberately misled the house.

Grattan also revealed Labor members of the committee would not agree to a Coalition push for the committee to advertise immediately for witnesses and submissions.

Only four Liberal members sit on the House privileges committee, with six Labor MPs (including the chair) and independent Tony Windsor rounding out the numbers.

Members do not traditionally rule along party lines.

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Woolworths warns of scam

Mid-Western residents have been warned about a scam recently circulating emails, websites and Facebook.
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The scam uses the Woolworths name and logo and often includes a “Customer Satisfaction Survey” with a reward of $50.

A fake Facebook competition also allegedly gives people the chance to win $500.

Woolworths has released a statement warning people the scams are not official Woolworths competitions and advise never to provide personal or credit card details to an unknown source.

All official Woolworths competitions are always listed on the ‘Promotions and Competitions’ page of their website at www.woolworths南京夜网.au.

All official Woolworths competitions are always listed on the ‘Promotions and Competitions’ page of their website at www.woolworths南京夜网.au.

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Care for an ‘unreal’ kid

Margaret and Greg Herbert have enjoyed participating in the CareSouth Aunties and Uncles Program so much they encourage others to consider taking part. Photo: ROBERT PEETGreg and Margaret Herbert are an “unreal” uncle and aunty.
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The Kiama couple are volunteers in the CareSouth Aunties and Uncles Program, which helps build a better life for children.

The program matches volunteer “aunties” and “uncles” with children in need of support.

The Herberts decided to apply to the program several years ago when their own children, Matthew and Isabel, were in their teens.

“We knew of the program and our two children were getting more independent,” Mrs Herbert said.

“We have had our little girl for three years now.”

Isabel was keen to have someone she could treat like a younger sibling.

Mr and Mrs Herbert thought it would be fun to invest in the life of another child.

The Herberts said CareSouth provided training and all the assistance they needed to take on the role of an aunty and uncle for the young girl.

“They stressed we were not there to do exciting, adventurous things all the time,” Mrs Herbert said.

“You just do some one-on-one things with that child. A lot of the time the children who are in these programs don’t get a lot of individual time.”

Mr and Mrs Herbert said they saw the child at least once a month and stayed in phone contact more regularly, often once a week.

They have also been able to help out in emergencies.

Recently they looked after the child for a week when her mum broke her leg.

Mr Herbert said the relationship between the aunty and uncle and the child was allowed to develop at the child’s pace. The child’s family must OK all activities.

The Herberts said the first night their “niece” stayed over was a big deal for her but their daughter was happy to share her room and make it easier.

Since then the trust has kept growing.

“We just know her so well now,” Mrs Herbert said.

“Isabel is really good with her. Mainly we do homey things and bake.

“We have also done school projects and it is very rewarding. It is quite good fun for all of us actually.

“We have taken her down to the beach and swimming, and a couple of weeks ago we took her down to the snow,” Mr Herbert said.

“That was a big thing for her to go and see snow and play in it. We took her on a train to Sydney and walked across the bridge. We are not doing anything better than her mum can do. We are just helping out.”

Mrs Herbert said many people in Kiama knew of the girl they called their “unreal niece” but not her name or any personal details.

CareSouth hosts events to give the aunties and uncles and children involved the chance to meet each other and network.

CareSouth Aunties and Uncles Program manager Clare Wilson said the program targeted children who would benefit from mentoring and support from an extended family or “unreal” uncles and aunties.

“We use that term because there is something fabulous and unreal about it,” she said.

Children involved often kept in contact with their unreal aunties and uncles when they grew up.

Most families who became involved felt it added to their own life experiences without having to give up anything or having to take children on expensive outings, Ms Wilson said.

“It is about having an impact in a child’s life.

“There are a lot of families who are struggling and need support. There are quite a lot of kids on the waiting list.”

Twenty children are already involved in the program, which extends as far south as Batemans Bay.

All volunteers go through an assessment and training process.

CareSouth will hold an information night on the program at 5pm on Thursday at Kiama Leagues Club and an information stall at the Kiama Seaside Market tomorrow.

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Amp It Up youth concert a huge hit

Rumour Mill vocalist Maddy Silk performs at Amp It Up. Picture: GREG TOTMAN The ringing had barely stopped in everyone’s ears before Shellharbour City councillor Paul Rankin was discussing plans to make the next Amp It Up youth concert ‘‘bigger and better’’.
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About 200 teenagers and a smattering of mums and dads filled Albion Park’s Centenary Hall on Saturday evening to see almost a dozen young bands hit the stage, many of them for the first time.

Cr Rankin said the ‘‘awesome’’ youth festival aimed to give teenagers who were interested in music a chance to showcase their talents.

‘‘Not all kids are into sport,’’ he said. ‘‘Next year we would like to expand it. ‘‘We had to knock back a couple of bands because we just couldn’t fit them on the day, so what we want to do is expand it and maybe get bands from Wollongong and bands from Kiama.’’

He is already eyeing up options for bigger venues like the Croome Rd stadium and Albion Park Showground for 2013.

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LIVE BLOG: Dragons v Cowboys

Maths is the only thing keeping the Dragons in the NRL finals race. Can they prolong their season by another week with a win over the Cowboys tonight? Join in the discussion from 6.30pm.
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Dragons v Cowboys live blog

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New Killalea boss seeks volunteers

Killalea State Park’s new manager Nathan Cattell, left, and trust member Chris Homer are keen to get more volunteers working at the park. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERKillalea State Park’s new manager is already well acquainted with the rugged coastal reserve thanks to years of surfing in the area.
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Nathan Cattell, who became familiar with the park’s popular break, is looking forward to forging a closer relationship with the park when he steps into the demanding top job early next month.

The 36-year-old from Bulli is passionate about land management and said he would focus on maintaining Killalea as a community facility for recreation, conservation and education.

He said he believes residents should play a key role through volunteering.

Mr Cattell works for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and is the senior field supervisor at Lane Cove National Park, a challenging role given its 1500 residential neighbours.

‘‘Where I currently work I’ve got in excess of 250 volunteers [and] I run various volunteer programs, so I’m well experienced in that side of things,’’ he said.

‘‘I want to get the community involved [at Killalea]. It’s a community-based facility so I think the public should have some say and input into what happens to the park.’’

Possible volunteer programs included managing weeds, wetland work, pest management and rubbish clean-up.

‘‘It is unique – you won’t find another place like it on the South Coast,’’ he said.

Mr Cattell also wasn’t going to get bogged down in the controversies that have plagued Killalea in the past, including failed plans for an eco-resort.

‘‘We’ve got a new trust, new slate, new manager, so we’re starting brand new,’’ he said.

Killalea State Park Trust deputy chair Chris Homer said Mr Cattell would bring ‘‘fresh energy’’ to the park, adding that he also supported more volunteer involvement.

Challenges included making sure the park’s day-to-day activities ran effectively and efficiently, he said.

Mr Homer also thanked outgoing park manager Clare Farrell for her work on behalf of the trust board.

‘‘Clare has done a great job. It’s quite a demanding role down here and she’s handled that role really well and we just want to thank her for that.’’

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MPs debate Jones’ same-sex marriage bill

Photo: ANDREW MEARESA bill to legalise same-sex marriage will be debated in Parliament for the first time today, sparking concerns by the Greens that the government may be trying to bring on an early vote in an attempt to push the politically fraught topic off the agenda.
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Mr Jones’ Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 will be debated for half an hour this evening in the lower house. It is one of three same-sex marriage bills before Federal Parliament.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said this morning that he was worried the debate would be unduly pushed through the House of Representatives.

‘‘I am concerned that the government is trying to bring this on for debate and push it to an early vote so that Tony Abbott is not brought under any more pressure to grant a conscience vote,’’ he said.

He urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to ‘‘show leadership’’ and change her position on the issue to make sure she was not on the ‘‘wrong side of history’’, citing US President Barack Obama’s recent change of heart in supporting same-sex marriage.

‘‘We have to make sure we do not fast-track a debate in the House of Reps only to see the vote lose in an attempt to get it off the election agenda,’’ Mr Bandt said.

A recent poll by Galaxy Research – commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality – showed support for same-sex marriage at 64 per cent, which was the highest level since polling on the topic began in 2009.

The same research reported that 52 per cent of Coalition voters were in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, with 44 per cent of voters more likely to throw their support behind Mr Abbott if there were a Coalition conscience vote on the marriage equality bills.

Mr Jones introduced his private member’s bill in February.

Despite the ALP changing its party platform to support same-sex marriage at its national conference in December, Ms Gillard has refused to give the bill caucus support.

She has granted MPs a conscience vote, which is destined to lead to failure as the Coalition has vowed to oppose the bill.

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Vietnam vets have won our respect

There have been few more controversial moments in Australia’s history than its decision to enter the Vietnam War 50 years ago.
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It was a decision that divided the nation and saw hundreds of thousands of people pour onto the streets of Australia’s capital cities in protest.

It would be 1972 by the time Australia pulled out of Vietnam and by then, 521 of our troops had been killed and another 3000 wounded from the 6000 who served during the conflict.

In total, millions of people died and millions more were displaced during the war.

So divided was the nation that our troops were shunned on their arrival home and it would be many years and much heartache before Australia embraced its Vietnam veterans, affording them the respect and dignity they had always deserved.

So today we pause to remember those brave Australians as they celebrate Vietnam Veterans Day and the 46th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, one of the fiercest of the entire campaign that claimed the lives of 18 of our finest soldiers.

Joining them in celebration will be Australia’s Vietnamese community, especially here in the Illawarra, who have never forgotten the sacrifices of Australian troops.

Lest we forget.

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RSPCA celebrates Cupcake Day

Charlie the 10-week-old fox terrier cross at the RSPCA Cupcake Day at the Unanderra Industrial Park animal shelter. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIThe RSPCA celebrates Cupcake Day today, with many Illawarra schools, groups and workplaces raising funds to help the shelters, clinics, inspectors and animals in NSW.
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The RSPCA’s Illawarra Shelter at 54 Industrial Road, Unanderra got in early on Saturday.

‘‘We have a lot of people come through the shelter on Saturdays so we’ll celebrate Cupcake Day on Saturday and Monday,’’ said shelter manager Judith Wright

‘‘We sold $710 worth on Saturday.’’

The Unanderra shelter, is open from 9am-4pm.

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