Greenough ‘G’ plates back by popular demand

City of Greater Geraldton Councillor Jerry Clune (from left), Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham and Mayor Shane Van Styn with reintroduced ‘G’ plates.

City of Greater Geraldton Councillor Jerry Clune (from left), Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham and Mayor Shane Van Styn with reintroduced ‘G’ plates.

You’ll soon be seeing more of the ‘G’ vehicle number plates around town as the Department of Transport has approved the City’s request for the reintroduction of former Shire of Greenough registration plates.

Following the amalgamation of the Shire of Greenough with the City of Geraldton with in 2007, the Shire’s ‘G’ and the City’s ‘GN’ number plates were discontinued and ‘GNG’ plates introduced. After the amalgamation with Mullewa in 2011, these registration plates were then replaced with the current ‘CGG’ plates.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said continued community sentiment for the rural shire was the reason for requesting the number plates be reissued.

“Many residents still have strong feelings for the former Shire of Greenough and many still retain their existing ‘G’ plates on their licenced vehicles,” he said.

“Following the amalgamation with Mullewa, the Department continued to issue the Mullewa ‘MW’ registration plates so all the more reason for the Greenough plates to be reintroduced.”

Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham has long been a proponent for a return of the ‘G’ plates.

“It’s very satisfying that the City of Greater Geraldton undertook this process with Department of Transport. I have lobbied for the return of ‘G’ plates for Geraldton as a citizen, Councillor and now as a member of State government,” he said.

“This decision helps us retain and strengthen our identity in Geraldton and I am looking forward to putting new ‘G’ plates on my work vehicle as soon as possible.”

Greenough ‘G’ series plates are available to vehicles, trailers and motorcycles as well as farm vehicles and trailers from the Geraldton Dept. of Transport office.

New heritage drive trail honours military ties

The War Years Drive Trail booklet is now available from the Geraldton Regional Library and includes old photos of Geraldton like the above and more much.

The War Years Drive Trail booklet is now available from the Geraldton Regional Library and includes old photos of Geraldton like the above and more much.

A new heritage drive trail which honours the long association Geraldton has had with the military has been produced which explores places and stories associated with war in the City of Greater Geraldton.

The War Years Drive Trail booklet which is now available, takes readers on a journey through Geraldton to a number of different sites and places of significance.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said many locals will be interested with the war connections Geraldton has.

“Many locals might not associate Geraldton with war but we actually have a long history and this new trail gives us a whole new insight into that era,” he said.

“Geraldtonians have continued to serve our country in the various theatres of war, from the battles of World War I and World War II, to the more recent military conflicts of the Korean and Vietnamese Wars.

“We have deep connections with the loss of the HMAS Sydney II in 1941 which came as a huge shock for Geraldton at the time, dispelling any previous thoughts that it would not be affected by the war.

“Despite the terrible loss of life inflicted during the war, the presence of large numbers of servicemen and women in Geraldton and the wider district introduced activities, industry and experiences which has changed our City forever,” Mayor Van Styn added.

Geraldton’s involvement with the military and war began as early as 1629 when a group of soldiers, led by Private Wiebbe Hayes, rose against the mutineers of the shipwrecked Batavia.

The self-drive heritage trail takes approximately one-day to complete covering around 200km.

Locations include West End beaches, Olive Street Memorial, Marine Terrace, Geraldton Railway Station, Birdwood House, sites in Greenough, Mullewa and many more.

The War Years Drive trail booklet is available as a free download via the Geraldton Regional Library website and will also be available as a free app early in 2019. 

Hardcopies of the trail booklets are available for purchase from the Geraldton Regional Library, Geraldton Visitor Centre and the Mullewa District Office for $10 each.

Mid West Ports Authority

Mid West Ports Authority (MWPA) operates with the values of integrity, caring, courage collaboration and accountability. The Community Respect and Equality (CRE) Agreement for Workplaces is aligned with these values and its aim is to improve the imbalance of equality in the workplace.

During the 2016/2017 financial year the Mid West-Gascoyne Police attended over 50 family violence incidents a week. This is a shocking statistic and even more disturbing knowing that only 33% of women who experience physical violence from a current partner actually contacted Police.

Desert Blue Connect and the CRE Reference Group have developed the CRE Agreement in an effort to stop the high incidence of family violence in our community and make it a safer place to live for everyone.

The CRE Agreement is for workplaces to acknowledge and recognise that family violence is a whole of community social and health issue. By addressing the norms, attitudes and behaviours that create the violence we, as a community, can work towards preventing the violence.

Dr Rochelle Macdonald, Chief Executive Officer at MWPA says, “MWPA has made a commitment to the CRE Agreement by signing the CRE Endorsement Certificate and is taking the actions within the Agreement to increase awareness of equality and stopping family violence in our community. MWPA promotes and advocates for a safe and healthy community.”

MWPA is a strong advocate for equality within the workplace in-line with the UN Global Compact Women’s Empowerment Principles and demonstrates this through

  • The provision of corporate leadership for equality;

  • Treating all employees fairly - respecting and supporting human rights and anti-discrimination legislation;

  • Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all employees;

  • Promoting learning and development for all employees;

  • Implementing enterprise-wide practices that empower all employees;

  • Promoting equality through community initiatives, and

  • Measuring and reporting on progress to achieve equality.

At MWPA we are proactive and taking steps to create a truly gender equitable workplace. By signing up to the CRE Agreement this is just another step to ensuring that our workplace is safe for everyone.

MWPA is implementing a number of things in support of the CRE Agreement:

· The CRE Agreement Agreed Values and Codes of Behaviour for the Workplace included in employee induction packages.

· Family violence information will be made available to all employees through the provision of equality related resources, professional development and meetings.

· MWPA Enterprise Agreement and employment contracts provide prevention of family violence provisions and supports for employees impacted by family violence.

· Participating in safe work month, including a focus on family violence prevention.

· Participation of MWPA representatives in community family violence events.

· The CRE Agreement workplace logo and hashtags will be displayed on MWPA website and in social media.

 

To find out how your workplace can be part of the Community, Respect and Equality Agreement call Desert Blue Connect on 9964 2742 or visit www.communityrespectandequality.com.au

If you are in immediate danger call the Police on 000

If you are feeling unsafe or are worried about a colleague or friend you can contact:

· WA Police on 131 444

· The National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Service 1800Respect - 1800 737 732

·  Desert Blue Connect Geraldton – 9964 2742

·  Sexual Assault Crisis Line – 1800 016 789

· The Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline -  9223 1188 or free call 1800 007 339

· The Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline - 9223 1199 or 1800 000 599

· Kids Helpline (for young people to the age of 25) - 1800 551 800.

Council wants tourism at Abrolhos Islands to become a reality

Council have shown their support for the development of tourism at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.  Picture: Eco Abrolhos

Council have shown their support for the development of tourism at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands. Picture: Eco Abrolhos

Council have shown their support for the development of tourism at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands and have asked the State Government to help make it a reality.

At this week’s Council Meeting, Council agreed to write a response to a request from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DCBA) to show support for future developments at the Abrolhos Islands, including the creation of a Class-A National Park.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said developing tourism at the Abrolhos Islands would be the economic boost the region and the state needed – a real game changer.

“While the Midwest economy is showing signs of improvement, there is still a long way to go and we agree that properly managed tourism based on the Houtman Abrolhos has the potential to not only significantly lift the local economy but also enhance WA’s overall visitation statistics,” he said.

“This has been identified as our game changer project.

“Ironically, a great deal of ‘unofficial tourism’ already exists on the Islands and at times hundreds of people arrive in boats they own or charter to enjoy some of the world’s best coral formations and a unique ecosystem.

“It is one of the most untapped sources of tourism in the state and it is important we monitor what is happening over there and moving forward we need to permit environmentally sensitive development of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands for tourist orientated purposes,” he added.

In August 2017, the City adopted the Abrolhos Islands Tourism Policy which supports the development of sustainable tourism on the Islands as a means to diversifying and expanding the City and regional economies and to grow local employment in the tourism industry.

The City is highly recommending the $10,000,000 allocated by the State Government be used on the construction of tourism enabling infrastructure.

The City will form an Abrolhos Islands Tourism Development Committee to ensure there is a clear focus.

Mayor Van Styn also added that a body similar to the Rottnest Island Authority, would be needed to have overarching responsibility for the Islands.

“If managed properly, the benefits to local employment and investment would be huge,” he said.

“With best practice management in place of the Islands’ terrestrial and marine environment, we could create huge opportunities but it will be imperative to preserve the area’s nature, culture and visitor appeal.

“In 2017 WA was the only state in which tourism declined and we believe the Abrolhos Islands has what it takes to be the turning point for tourism in WA.”

WACRH signs on to the Community Respect and Equality Agreement to prevent Family Violence in Geraldton

WACRH staff are keen to start working collectively towards the prevention of family violence in Geraldton as part of the CRE Agreement.

WACRH staff are keen to start working collectively towards the prevention of family violence in Geraldton as part of the CRE Agreement.

The WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) is one of the first organisations in Geraldton to sign up to the Community Respect & Equality (CRE) Agreement for Workplaces. 

The CRE Agreement enables workplaces and community organisations to stand together to say #violenceisNEVERok. It provides a framework and support for organisations to raise awareness of family violence, how it can be prevented, how to support staff experiencing violence and how to develop internal policies and procedures to embed these actions within the organisation.

Led by Desert Blue Connect and a strong Reference Group of local organisations and agencies, the CRE Agreement is a key component of CRE Strategic Action Plan for the Prevention of Family Violence in Geraldton.

The Midwest has among the highest rates of family violence in WA, with 2819 incidents recorded by the WA Police in the year to June 2017.  These are alarming statistics, however, family violence is preventable and there is something that everyone can do to work towards making our community free from family violence.

Professor Sandra Thompson, Director of WACRH says “As an organisation, WACRH is deeply committed to improving health outcomes.  Family violence contributes more to the burden of disease  of women aged 18-44 years than any other risk factor, including smoking and road accidents. A number of our own staff and friends have been personally affected by family violence, so WACRH as an organisation was keen to sign on to the agreement and work towards its prevention. We also see the consequences and impact of family violence in some of the work we do in the community.”

"WACRH staff have already started looking at how we can implement the Agreement internally as a whole of organisation process. A WACRH Working Party has planning underway to ensure that internal actions and policies align with the CRE agreement. We want to demonstrate WACRH’s organisational support for the prevention of family violence and give visibility to an issue where silence means the problem of family violence that exists in our community is under recognised.” Professor Thompson said.

To find out how your workplace can be part of the Community, Respect and Equality Agreement call Desert Blue Connect on 9964 2742 or visit www.communityrespectandequality.com.au

If you are in immediate danger call the Police on 000

If you are feeling unsafe or are worried about a colleague or friend you can contact:

  • WA Police on 131 444

  • The National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Service 1800Respect - 1800 737 732

  • Desert Blue Connect Geraldton – 9964 2742

  • Sexual Assault Crisis Line – 1800 016 789

  • The Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline -  9223 1188 or free call 1800 007 339

  • The Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline - 9223 1199 or 1800 000 599

  • Kids Helpline (for young people to the age of 25) - 1800 551 800.

City seizes property over unpaid rates

The City of Greater Geraldton has taken possession of a property due to an excess of $300,000 outstanding on rates and rubbish charges, including penalties and legal fees, dating back several years.

In order to recover these costs, the City took possession of a property located at 1004 Chapman Road in Glenfield on 8 August 2017 under section 6.64 of the Local Government Act.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn stated that this action was taken as a last resort.

“This drastic action has been taken by the City because we have exhausted the legal process for recovery of the unpaid rates and charges,” he said

“We have also exhausted attempts to find negotiated solutions that would have avoided the need to exercise our powers in this way.

“The recovery action has taken a great deal of time and cost, and this was the result of the ratepayer refusing to admit at all times that he and the other titleholder on the property were obliged to pay the outstanding rates and charges, despite having no legal grounds for doing so.”

The property owner has been declared by the Supreme Court of WA to be a “vexatious litigant” and all courts the ratepayer has appealed to during the recovery process found no legal basis at all for his arguments against meeting his obligation to pay the rates and charges. 

The City understands that the courts consider the ratepayer’s arguments to be based on a misunderstanding of the Commonwealth and State Constitutions and entirely lacking in legal merit. 

The City is committed to exercise the powers it possesses under the law in order to provide good government to the people of Greater Geraldton. 

This includes ensuring that no ratepayer unfairly avoids their legal obligation to pay rates and charges, to the detriment of the wider community.

Mayor Van Styn also added that there were options for ratepayers who were encountering financial hardship.

“We understand that some ratepayers may be faced with financial difficulties and the City offers such ratepayers a number of payment arrangements,” he said.

“There are a number of instalment options available and if someone is struggling they just need to give the City a call and discuss it with us.

“We are here to assist and we want people to know that there are a number of ways in which we can do so.”

For those looking for more information about rates arrangements call the City on 9956 6600.

Minister gives extended trading official go-ahead

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Extended trading hours in Geraldton has received official sign off today by WA Minister for Commerce Hon Bill Johnston MLA.

In a letter from the Minister, the application to adopt extended trading hours has now been officially approved after Council unanimously resolved to continue the trialled hours.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said it was a very positive outcome for the community.

“Council agreed that this was what our community wanted,” he said.

“We trialled the hours for 12-months and measured the community’s feedback which was in support of adopting the extended trading hours.

“Getting official approval opens up a lot more opportunities for Geraldton and it is a massive step in the right direction.

“Our goal is to stimulate broader local economic activity by activating business precincts and we’re already seeing this happen,” Mayor Van Styn added.

A 12-month trial of extended general retail trading hours was officially introduced in October 2017 after getting the tick of approval by the Minister.

As part of the trial, a comprehensive review was undertaken in the form of two independent surveys commissioned by the City including a survey on community views and on impact and views of the business community.

Survey reports confirmed 63 per cent of community respondents were in support of continuing extended trading hours. 

Council endorsed the continuation of extended general retail trading hours at the September Council Meeting before seeking approval for the hours which align with Metropolitan Perth. 

“This has been a long journey but a very rewarding one,” Mayor Van Styn added.

“It’s great to see the State Government has listened to the needs and wants of our community.”

Retail trading hours will be as follows:

  • 8.00 am – 9.00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday;

  • 8.00 am – 5.00 pm on Saturday;

  • 11.00 am – 5.00 pm on Sunday;

  • 11.00 am – 5.00 pm on public holidays;

  • Closed on Christmas Day, Good Friday and ANZAC Day;

Flares released as part of HMAS Sydney II Commemoration Service

The City of Greater Geraldton wishes to advise local residents that they may hear a series of loud noises and flares released on Monday 19 November, as part of the HMAS Sydney II Commemoration Service. 

At approximately 7pm, a large blank cannon shot will be fired as well as a display of multiple flares off the coast as part of the ceremony, kindly donated by the Geraldton Volunteer Marine Rescue and West Coast Fireworks. 

The City also wishes to remind guests that there is a free shuttle bus service leaving from the QEII Seniors and Community Centre to the Memorial from 4.15pm and returning to the Centre after the service. 

The service will commence at 5pm at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial on Gummer Avenue.

Partnership forged on back of biodiversity burns

Biodiversity burn at Byne Park early in 2017.

Biodiversity burn at Byne Park early in 2017.

An Everlasting Partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions -Kings Park Science - has resulted in the expansion of their Prescribed Burning and Weed Management Research to include Byne Park in the City of Greater Geraldton as its most northern research site.

The project, which involves other sites across the southwest, researches how changes in fire frequency and season, invasive species and climate interact with each other and affect Banksia woodlands regeneration with Geraldton now the most northerly site.

Banksia woodlands are an important and iconic part of the west Australian landscape and fire is essential for healthy regeneration of the plants.  With proper management, fire may also help manage bushland weeds, without that management fire can promote weeds. Understanding how and when to use fire is essential to maintaining healthy Banksia ecosystems.

Project Research Scientist, Dr Katinka Ruthrof, said the research involves trialling four different methodologies on small plots within the 80h size woodland located near Bootenal.

“The plots will be treated with a combination of fire/no fire, followed by weed control/no weed control,” she said.

“After the prescribed burns take place in autumn 2019, the sites will be revisited to assess the degree of burning, and fuel consumed, and to directly seed into areas around the plots.  In spring 2019, the plots will be resurveyed to identify recruitment of seedlings and the impact of burning and weed control on recruitment success.

“We have already been seeing some good results elsewhere in the State and it’s important to see if these can be achieved in the Mid West as well.”

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the outcomes of the research will assist the City in better managing its bushland.

“The results of the trails will give us a better understanding of how to predict fire behaviour in terms of regenerating our bushland which will enable us to determine the most cost effective and efficient ways of maintaining healthy and diverse bushland for the future,” he said.

“One of the long term outcomes would be to scale up the successful methodology and replicate it on other sites across the City region.”

For more information on the project, please contact Environmental Planning Officer Erin O’Connor on (08) 9956 6600.


RedFM sponsors 2019 WOW Fest Concert

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn (from left) Seven West Media Midwest Regional Manager Jason McCarthy and City CEO Ross McKim seal the renewed deal for RedFM to sponsor the 2019 WoW Festival Concert.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn (from left) Seven West Media Midwest Regional Manager Jason McCarthy and City CEO Ross McKim seal the renewed deal for RedFM to sponsor the 2019 WoW Festival Concert.

The Wind on Water Festival 2019 is well on its way to being another smashing success following the signing of an Everlasting Partnership agreement with Seven West Media - RedFM to sponsor the concert component.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn was very pleased to see RedFM return as the WoW Fest concert sponsor.

“Thanks to RedFM’s generous support WoW Festival goers were able to rock out with The Veronicas and San Cisco at the first Wow Fest held in April this year,” he said.

“With negotiations underway to secure the headline and support acts for the 2019 event, the signing of an Everlasting Partnership with RedFM to present the concert couldn’t have been better timed.

“The fact Seven West Media continues to partner with the City with this Festival and other arts and cultural initiatives is helping make the City a fantastic place to live and is exactly what the Everlasting Partnership program is all about.”

Seven West Media’s Midwest Regional Manager Jason McCarthy said the WoW Fest sponsorship is a good fit for RedFM.

“We were very proud to be part of the first WoW Fest and in particular the concert which is why we jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the event a second time as we know how much the community loves live music,” he said.

In April 2018, more than 10,000 people from all over the state flocked to the Geraldton Foreshore to take part in the inaugural two-day festival. The 2019 event will take place on 20 and 21 April 2019.

The event was born from two of Geraldton’s natural elements – wind and water, both of which play a key part in the City’s lifestyle and were chosen as the theme for the Festival.

National Recycling Week; find tips on Member for Durack Melissa Price’s Facebook page

National Recycling Week starts today, and Federal Member for Durack and Minister for the Environment Melissa Price urges everyone to do their bit to reduce the massive amount of waste generated across the Durack electorate – and the nation.

“We all have a role to play in reducing the almost 67 million tonnes of waste we generate each year, and be conscious of ways we can increase recycling and save the environment,” she said.

“That’s why the Federal Government has committed to updating the National Waste Policy and setting a clear vision for our recycling industry.

“We have delivered a National Food Waste Strategy to bring together actions by governments, researchers, business and the community to halve food waste by 2030,” said the Minister.

In addition, the Government has provided nearly $50 million to support research and action to meet this goal.

In September, new National Packaging Targets were launched by industry and supported by the Federal Government. The new targets are that by 2025:

·         70% of plastic packaging to be recycled or composted

·         30% average recycled content across all packaging

·         Phase out problematic and unnecessary single use plastic packaging through re-design, innovation or alternative delivery methods

“Recently, I launched the industry-developed Australasian Recycling Label,” the Minister said.

“This is a simple labelling system that gives people the information they need to recycle when it matters most – the few seconds when they’re deciding which recycling bin or collection point to use.

“As part of National Recycling Week, I will post on my Facebook page seven recycling tips over seven days this week, and I encourage Durack residents to visit my page each day of the seven day campaign to embrace the tips and share them to your friends’ Facebook pages.”

You can find Minister Price’s Facebook page by going to MelissaPriceDurack.

Big win for Geraldton and Pilbara Universities Centres

Member for Durack and Minister for the Environment Melissa Price said she is excited that today funding has been announced for the expansion of the Geraldton Universities Centre and the establishment of the Pilbara Universities Centre in the Pilbara.

“The Geraldton Universities Centre has been operating since 2010 as an incorporated body and funding of $1,829,400 has been allocated to expand the centre,” Minister Price said.

“The Pilbara Universities Centre in Karratha and Port Hedland (initially) is new and will be revolutionary for the region and the State; and I’m excited that $3 million in funding has been approved to establish this tertiary education centre.

“I am so excited that both the Mid West and Pilbara will now have nationally recognised and accredited university centres,” Ms Price said.

“I have long been an advocate for preventing the ‘brain drain’ that occurs in regional areas when students leave to study and possibly never return.

“It has always been a priority of mine and I have pushed hard for the Federal Government to support existing and new regional university centres. The approval of the centre in the Pilbara means that students no longer have to leave home to study on campus at a university.

“My vision is to create a ‘Pilbara School of Mines’,” said Ms Price

“The Geraldton Universities Centre was ground-breaking as an education model and I am thrilled this has been recognised and replicated not only in the Pilbara but across Australia,” the Minister said.

The Regional Study Hubs at both Geraldton and Karratha/Port Hedland will provide infrastructure such as study spaces, video conferencing, computing facilities and internet access, as well as academic support for students studying via distance at partner universities.

The Federal Government’s total additional new funding for regional higher education is now $400 million over five years.

Wildlife control program recommences

The City of Greater Geraldton wishes to advise that the wildlife control program has recommenced in order to relocate an influx of corellas in the Geraldton area.

Members of the community are requested to exercise caution and if any loud noises are heard, to not be alarmed.

The City apologises for any inconvenience. If you have any queries please contact the City on (08) 9956 6600 or email council@cgg.wa.gov.au.

Service commemorates HMAS tragedy

This year will mark 77 years since the sinking of the HMAS  Sydney  II.

This year will mark 77 years since the sinking of the HMAS Sydney II.

This year will mark 77 years since the sinking of the HMAS Sydney II and the legacy of Australia’s greatest naval tragedy will be remembered with a commemorative service.

The annual ceremony held on Monday 19 November will pay homage to 645 crew members who lost their lives at sea after the ship sunk off the Geraldton coast in 1941.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said hundreds flock to the ceremony every year to honour the significant tragedy.

“The battle of the HMAS Sydney II and the German ship the HSK Kormoran is a significant part of Geraldton’s history and our nation’s history,” he said.

“It is only fitting that we pay our respects to those who lost their lives.”

LCDR, RANR Desmond Woods will deliver the main address on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy and guest speakers will include Memorial artists, Joan and Charlie Smith.

The commemorative service will be held at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial on Gummer Avenue on Monday 19 November at 5pm.

To ensure a quiet and reflective HMAS Sydney II Memorial Service, Gummer Avenue carpark will be closed to traffic from 3pm to 8pm.

The City encourages residents to park at the QEII Seniors and Community Centre as there will be a free shuttle bus service.

The service will take passengers from the QEII Seniors and Community Centre to the Memorial from 4.15pm and return to the Centre after the service.

For more information regarding the service, contact the City on 9956 6600.

Police seeking help after two intentionally lit fires on weekend

Geraldton Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in relation to 2 separate intentionally litfires over the weekend.

The first occurred at the rear of the Northgate Shopping Centre and the second fire occurred shortly thereafter on the rear balcony of the Bill Sewell Complex in Geraldton between 7 and 8pm on Saturday 10 November 2018.

Minimal damage sustained to both locations.

Police are seeking assistance from members of the community who may have witnessed the fires being lit or from any who has information in relation to the fires, please contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Central Regional TAFE to compete in National Training Awards

Central Regional TAFE is set to compete at the Australian Training Awards in Sydney this November after winning at this year’s WA Training Awards.

The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.

Central Regional TAFE won the WA Industry Collaboration Award 2018 at the WA Training Awards in September for its Integrating Training and Biodiversity Conservation project run through the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI).

The project saw a collaboration formed between Central Regional TAFE, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, City of Greater Geraldton and the WA Museum.

Central Regional TAFE Portfolio Manager Dr Suresh Job said the multi-faceted nature of local environmental issues make them very difficult for any, one stakeholder to manage on their own.

“We saw a clear need for greater collaboration between stakeholders to increase organisational and community capacity to deal with environmental challenges,” Dr Job explained.

“We focused initially on two major initiatives, firstly restoring habitats at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands and secondly the management of invasive aquatic species in the MidWest.”

Work carried out at the Abrolhos Islands included installing erosion control matting, mangrove mapping and seedling germination, revegetation, weed removal, marine debris removal, mouse eradication program, and seabird and habitat monitoring.

Central Regional TAFE Abrolhos Project Manager Maryke Gray said the project was successful due to the outstanding collaboration between project partners and stakeholders.

“This project was a great opportunity for students to receive the theory in the classroom and then step out and receive real life practical experience. They also had many opportunities to network with project partners and those in the industry” she said.

Central Regional TAFE Managing Director Bill Swetman said the award was a great outcome for all those involved in the collaboration that proved to be very beneficial for students.

“We saw significant improvements in student outcomes throughout the duration of the project. For example the number of students who successfully completed their Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management increased by 33% between 2014 and 2016,” Mr Swetman said.

“The focus on learning through working on actual priority environmental conservation projects gave the students a sense of pride and accomplishment as they could see the value and the results of the work they were doing.”

Mr Swetman said other positives had resulted from the collaboration.

“As a consequence of these partnership we have developed new training programs that ensure that students have clear pathways from lower level qualifications into higher level qualifications, and then on to employment,” he explained.

“Students gained not only new technical skills and knowledge, but also grew in selfconfidence and motivation. Most of our students involved in these projects have come through the programs with a clear idea of what they want to do in terms of a career and what the next steps are to achieve their goals.”

BCMI student Kevin Tobler, who took part in the project as part of his studies, agrees that the partnership were very beneficial.

“During my involvement in the projects and thanks to the BCMI I have been able to build contacts with many different people from all walks of life. From volunteers that joined us to leading experts in their field,” Mr Tobler explained.

“This collaboration has enriched my personal live as much as it has my studies and my career.”

Corin Desmond, another BCMI student, said the project had opened up many pathways for him.

“The collaboration has been so wonderful for me and without it I would not be in the position I am now. My studies have advanced to a university level,” Mr Desmond said.

“I have increased opportunities for employment and have received offerings for such due to connections developed from the collaborations undertaken by the BCMI.”

Dr Suresh Job said the collaboration was also extremely beneficial for disadvantaged groups within the community.

“We worked together with the Department of Justice to provide on-ground CALM training for inmates who are allowed out of Prison during the day with a warden,” Dr Job said.

“The outcomes from the program have been simply amazing, with a number of inmates returning to Central Regional TAFE to continue their studies after release from prison. The partners in the collaboration have also helped to look for employment opportunities for the inmates after their release.”

Richard McLellan, who was the CEO of NACC during the time of the project, said these types of collaborations were beneficial on a number of levels.

“By working together we are able to effectively prioritise and efficiently use resources to protect the biodiversity in our operational area. The partnership approach between CRTAFE and NACC gives the best chance to achieve positive results for the conservation of threatened species and NRM in the Mid-West region,” Mr McLellan said.

“As part of the Abrolhos islands restoration project, NACC and CRTAFE have worked very closely together to offer students scholarships to study Conservation and Land Management at the BCMI. More than 30 scholarships were awarded throughout the project, with the scholarships proving to be invaluable for the development of local students. The successful recipients gained real ‘in the field’ work experience – with highly trained professionals – at a number of different locations.”

Regional Manager of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Ron Shepherd agreed on the benefits of a collaborative approach.

“As the land manager of the Abrolhos Islands, I have been impressed by the collaborative approach taken by the staff at Central Regional TAFE’s BCMI,” Mr Shepherd said.

“The multi-agency collaborative approach achieved cost efficiencies and resource sharing that enabled the project to be completed in a manner that was beyond any one agency.”

Central Regional TAFE Managing Director Bill Swetman congratulated all those involved Integrating Training and Biodiversity Conservation collaboration and acknowledged other students who had made it to the finals of the WA Training Awards.

“I would like to sincerely congratulate students Isabelle Croswell who was a finalist in the WA Apprentice of the Year category and Jazmin Hahn a WA School-Based Apprentice of the Year finalist. The college is very proud of your efforts,” Mr Swetman said.

Outstanding students recognised at VETDSS Awards

Central Regional TAFE Midwest and Gascoyne have celebrated their top Vocational Education and Training Delivered to Secondary Students (VETDSS) at a recent award ceremony.

Central Regional TAFE’s VETDSS pathways are the perfect introduction into the world of work. Year 11 and 12 students learn practical skills whilst gaining an insight into the needs of the workplace. Success in the program can lead to employment or give students a head start in other nationally recognised qualifications or create pathways into higher education and university studies.

The CRTAFE Vocational Education and Training Delivered to Secondary Students Awards recognise excellence in students undertaking Vocational Education and Training programs in schools. They also acknowledge the partnerships between CRTAFE and local businesses who continue to support students in hosting valuable work placement opportunities.

Students were urged to apply or were nominated by a member of their school staff, a parent or guardian, student or an employee involved in the program for one of the seven awards on offer.

The categories included:

  • Aboriginal Vocational Education and Training Student of the Year

  • Education Support Student of the Year

  • Trade Based Training Student of the Year

  • Employment Based Training Student of the Year

  • Certificate II Studies Student of the Year

  • Higher Vocational Studies Student of the Year

  • 2018 Mid West & Gascoyne VETDSS Student of the Year

The VETDSS Employer Awards that recognise the support of business and industry with the VETDSS program were also presented on the night.

Central Regional TAFE Managing Director Bill Swetman said that since its inception in 1997, the VET Delivered to Secondary Students program had been in high demand.

“It has grown to become a significant and well subscribed pathway for secondary students; particularly since the changes to the school preparation age,” Mr Swetman said.

“We provide these programs to over 350 students through 33 different qualifications at around a dozen schools throughout the Midwest and Gascoyne.”

Mr Swetman said a program such as VETDSS was beneficial for a number of reasons.

“The students have the opportunity, if they are involved in work placement, to experience the world of work. This means they are able to apply and practice industry skills in a real workplace and see if that industry is really what they want to do,” Mr Swetman said.

“It is also beneficial to employers and our industry partners, as they get to try out potential employees. Industry like people that can hit the ground running and often employ students who have participated in the VETDSS program because of their experience.”

“The program also increases the likelihood of students gaining localised employment or, alternatively, streamlines their entry into higher level VET qualifications and provides a pathway to higher education.”

Mr Swetman congratulated all students on their decision to be involved in the VETDSS program, as well as the outstanding award winners.

“I would also like to sincerely thank our school, parental and industry partners for their integral support and thank our staff involved in the program.”

2018 VETDDS Student Award Winners

Aboriginal Vocational Education and Training Student of the Year

Winner: Jaide Morgan
Nagle Catholic College student Jaide Morgan is a worthy winner of the Aboriginal Vocational Education and Training Student Award. Jaide has spent the last two years completing a Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics and during that time, has excelled in all tasks presented to her.

Education Support Student of the Year

Winner: Isabella Bellottie
Our 2018 Education Support Student award winner is Isabella Bellottie. Coming to us from Nagle Catholic College, Isabella is working towards a Certificate II in Animal Studies. Isabella has impressed her lecturers with her positive attitude and willingness to give things a try.

Trade Based Training Student of the Year

eWinner: Mitchell Will
Geraldton Senior College and Certificate II in Electro-technology student Mitchell Will is our 2018 Trade Based Student Award winner. During his time with Central Regional TAFE Mitchell has proven himself to be a reliable, highly motivated student who is committed to making sure he is ready for the transition from school to employment.

Employment Based Training Student of the Year

Winner: Jai Lawer
According to his lecturer 2018 Employment Based Training Student Award winner Jai Lawer has displayed a high level of commitment and aptitude since beginning his training. The School Based Plumbing apprenticeship student from Carnarvon Community College impressed his lecturer with his excellent skills and comprehensive knowledge of the plumbing industry.

Certificate II Studies Student of the Year

Winner: Madison Long
Geraldton Senior College student Madison Long is this year’s winner of the Certificate II Studies Student Award. Madison has spent the last two years completing a Certificate II in Community Services and in that time has proven herself to be a motivated and hardworking student.

Higher Vocational Studies Student of the Year

Winner: Sarah Smyth
Certificate IV Preparation for Nursing student from Nagle Catholic College Sarah Symth was nominated for this award by her lecturer because of the extraordinary commitment she demonstrated throughout her course.

2018 Mid-west & Gascoyne VETDSS Student of the Year

Winner: Sarah Smyth

The 2018 Mid-west & Gascoyne VETDSS Student of the Year from Nagle Catholic College is Sarah Symth.

Certificate IV Preparation for Nursing student Sarah impressed her lecturer with her hard work and dedication to her course. Sarah always delivered her assignments on time and worked to the absolute best of her ability.

Sarah was a conscientious student, willing to assist her fellow classmates and lead by example. She was an enthusiastic, diligent and hardworking student, who always strived to do her best.

Sarah has applied to study a Bachelor of Nursing through the Geraldton University Centre next year, which further demonstrates her commitment and dedication to her chosen career pathway.

2018 VETDDS Employer Award Recipients

Place Road Pets and Aquarium Centre
Congratulations to Place Road Pets and Aquarium Centre. Place Road Pets has graciously accepted our Animal Care students into their workplace for the past five years. The practical on the job training provided at Place Road value adds to the skills and knowledge gained at TAFE and provide the student with the scope and confidence to decide if this is the career they want to purse.

The hands-on experience of caring for, cleaning and monitoring the animals, as well as learning how to handle, restrain and medicate them has been invaluable to our students.

Place Road Pets and Aquarium Centre has worked closely with CRTAFE to accommodate our class times and work into our schedules.

S&K Electrical Contracting

Congratulations to S&K Electrical Contracting who have provided many years of support to our work place program in electrical. S&K Electrical Contracting will host multiple preapprentices simultaneously and have been known to host students at very short notice.

S&K Electrical Contracting provide a high-quality experience to our students, which on multiple occasions has led to employment for a student on completion of their training.

GG Pumps and Electrical

Congratulations to GG Pumps and Electrical who have actively supported Central Regional TAFE by accommodating electrical pre-apprentices.

The GG Pumps and Electrical team are helpful and welcome our students in a positive and supportive environment.

The company has contributed to our VETDSS program through the donation of motors and pumps that are currently used by our Certificate II and III Electrotechnology students. They provide our students with invaluable hands-on experience.

For more information on the VETDSS program contact Alison Noble – Coordinator Education & Training Programs at Central Regional TAFE 1800 672 700 or email vetdss@crtafe.wa.edu.au

Council votes in favour of extended trading hours

Council have endorsed the continuation of extended general retail trading hours in Geraldton at last night’s Council meeting. 

After what Council agreed was a “community decision”, the City will now seek approval from Minister for Commerce William Johnston, to align retail hours with Metropolitan Perth on an ongoing basis. 

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the decision was what the community wanted. 

“We’re not doing anything radical, this is what our community members have asked for,” he said. 

“These are very standard hours, which are actually less than what most centres enjoy so we see it as a fair compromise. 

“Our goals are to stimulate broader local economic activity, by activating business precincts, and – most importantly, to meet the expressed needs and preferences of the community. 

“And we’re doing exactly that.” 

A 12-month trial of extended general retail trading hours was officially introduced in October last year after being given the tick of approval by the Minister. 

As part of the trial, a comprehensive review was undertaken in the form of two independent surveys commissioned by the City including a survey on community views and on impact and views of the business community. 

Survey reports confirmed 63 per cent of community respondents were in support of continuing extended trading hours. 

“Extended trading hours has been very well received by our community since the trial and this is a big step in the right direction for the growth of our City,” Mayor Van Styn added. 

“We are continuing to diversify our economy and if we want to be a regional city of choice for investors we need to be prepared and flexible.” 

The City will now seek approval from the Minister for continuation on an ongoing basis of general retail trading hours, aligned with Metropolitan Perth.

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Retail trading hours will be as follows:

  • 8.00 am – 9.00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday;

  • 8.00 am – 5.00 pm on Saturday;

  • 11.00 am – 5.00 pm on Sunday;

  • 11.00 am – 5.00 pm on public holidays;

  • Closed on Christmas Day, Good Friday and ANZAC Day;

Beresford Foreshore activation gets green light

Midalias Beach Site.jpg

With the Beresford Foreshore Enhancement Project nearing completion, Council has given the green light to further activation of the area by providing two locations for temporary services or facilities to operate from.

The Foreshore Use and Development Policy was amended by Council at their Meeting on 25 September to include space at Midalia’s Beach for temporary services or facilities and another space at the Dean Street node for multi-use mobile orientated businesses.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the inclusion of the two sites in the Policy aligned with community aspirations for low-key activation of the Foreshore.

“In a community survey conducted in 2016, sporting equipment hire or lessons and food and drink outlets ranked 4th and 5th respectively on a list of services or amenities the community said would improve the Beresford Foreshore,” he said.

“Even though the Foreshore has only been partially open since last Thursday, it is already swarming with people walking, jogging or riding bikes along the promenade.

“Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a coffee or snack whilst taking in the fantastic ocean views or treat the kids to some ice cream whilst they are playing on the beach or in the soon to be completed nature playground?”

An Expression of Interest (EOI) for commercial activities for both the Dean Street and Midalia’s Beach locations will be issued in early October.

For more information, please visit the City’s website www.cgg.wa.gov.au


Police Minister unable to confirm whereabouts of sex offenders

Shadow Minister for Police Peter Katsambanis has called on the State Government to immediately reassure the public that police know the whereabouts of all 58 suspects charged with child sex offences as a result of Operation Fledermaus.

Mr Katsambanis said it defied belief that Minister for Police Michelle Roberts could not yesterday confirm to Parliament if any of the 58 men charged with 349 child sex offences as a result of Operation Fledermaus were in custody, or whether police knew the whereabouts of those not in custody.

“What the Minister is saying is that these offenders could be living anywhere in the State and she cannot confirm the police know their whereabouts,” Mr Katsambanis said.

“The Minister could not, even with almost 24 hours’ notice of the question, tell Parliament if any of the 58 offenders and alleged offenders were on the sex offenders register.”

Shadow Minister for Child Protection Nick Goiran, who asked for the information in Legislative Council Question Time, said Minister Roberts requested his question be put on notice, effectively allowing her to avoid answering for more than a month.

“This latest abuse of the Parliamentary question process adds to the shameful list of contradictory, obstructive and obtuse answers the Minister for Child Protection Simone McGurk has provided around the outcome of Operation Fledermaus,” Mr Goiran said.

“WA Police told the media more than a year ago that 184 child victims were identified in Operation Fledermaus, recently the Minister for Police told Parliament there are 50 victims.

“Were there ever 184 victims? Who were the other 134 children Minister McGurk, after eight months of questioning, assured the public were not in the care of a person either charged or convicted of child abuse?

“It has to be asked if anyone in this Government knows what is happening with victims in Roebourne and the West Pilbara.

“I can only imagine the outcry if 58 men in one Perth suburb were charged with child abuse and the Minister could not reassure the public that police knew the whereabouts of all those charged or convicted.”