THE federal budget delivered to the parliament this week was a curate’s egg – good in parts.
Nanjing Night Net

It was a blatantly political document by a government desperate to improve its standing in the polls.

It promised a surplus simply to avoid another Opposition attack about another “broken promise”.

It was a political necessity (not an economic imperative) in our two-speed economy, where many of the non-resource sectors are teetering on the brink of recession.

It was all about wealth distribution, not wealth creation. It splashed cash in a blatant to attempt to buy votes, with the added political advantage of being able to overcompensate for the unpopular carbon and mining taxes.

It sold (i.e. explained-spun) this as “sharing the benefits of the mining boom to families and businesses across Australia”.

Treasurer Swan emphasised “this Labor government knows that for too many Australians this feels like somebody else’s mining boom. Someone else’s prosperity”.

However, rather than doing what in the past it had described as “the right thing”, namely using the proceeds of the mining tax to fund business tax cuts, superannuation, and essential infrastructure, it did what it had consistently criticised the Howard government for doing with his mining boom, namely splashing it around in short-term “benefits”, rather than using it to build our economy/society for the longer term.

Don’t get me wrong; some of the benefits to low- and middle-income families struggling to meet the ever-rising cost of living, in particular, were most welcome.

However, they should be seen for what they really are, namely bribes, in the hope of winning votes.

And the poorest, the unemployed and some single parents, missed out altogether.

Of course, this was all wrapped up in the claim, “Staying true to our Labor ideals and to the promise of a fair go, converting economic success into real benefits for the majority of Australians”.

Me senses an election in the air. Me senses a testing of themes and slogans for the next federal election.

The promised surplus will never be delivered – their track record alone should tell you this. They originally predicted a budget deficit last year of some $12 billion, which was soon revised to $22 billion, and then revised again to $37 billion, and then in this week’s Budget revised again to $44 billion, and this is not yet the final figure.

The surplus figure was produced by a combination of innovative accounting (by moving expenditures back and forth) and by assuming unattainably strong economic growth.

It would only take the mining tax to earn half what is predicted (which many in the industry have been saying) and the surplus would evaporate.

It failed as an economic document for two reasons.

First, it failed to offer any program for now urgent, broad-based, economic and social reform, and, second, it left our economy particularly vulnerable to the substantial downside risks in the global economy, especially from Europe and China.

In fact, it explicitly left “demand management” to the Reserve Bank.

However, in the event that they would need to stimulate the economy, the RBA may be powerless to do so, as while it can always, and should, lower its official interest rate, this may not be passed on by the banks.

The best bits were the start to a National Disability Insurance Scheme and some aged care initiatives.

However, the tens and tens of billions of dollars that will be needed to properly fund these initiatives are nowhere to be seen

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Exif_JPEG_PICTURE Toby Rofe competing at a campdraft recently. Photo supplied
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HIGHLANDS campdrafting riders will face some tough competition this weekend at Camden when some of Australia’s top campdrafters turn up to compete.

The Moss Vale Campdrafting Club, previously run by Toby and Margot Rofe, in conjunction with the Moss Vale Football Club have formed a new committee and this year is again running a draft at the Camden Grounds of Bicentennial Park starting at 2pm today and continuing from 6.30am tomorrow.

With full canteen and bar facilities all weekend, and free entry, it will be a great family event that everyone can enjoy.

The sport of campdrafting is one of precision, speed and control that requires a horse and rider duo selecting a suitable beast from a yard of eight, removing it from the herd and bringing that one bovine to the front of the camp to perform a series of turns.

The rider must display complete control and the horse’s ability to work a cow without losing it back to the herd.

This camp workout is judged as the rider calls for the gate to release the cow and the horse on to a set course.

Once out the gate, riders are required to move the cow around witch’s hats in a figure 8 motion and complete a second change of direction to get the cow through a gateway within 40 seconds, which will earn them top points.

The horse and rider team are scored on horsemanship; the tightness of the course they were able to make the cow take and the number of obstacles they managed to get around.

This score combined with the camp score gives the overall score, deciding the final places.

A portion of the proceeds from the weekend will be donated to Breast Cancer Research and Moss Vale Rugby League Football Club.

Some of the top campdrafters will be attending, making for some fierce competition between the Highlands riders and the well travelled.

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EFFORTS by Moss Vale Dragons Rugby League club to tackle issues of alcohol management in community sport have paid off.
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The Dragons recently received Level 2 accreditation as part of the Australian Drug Foundation’s Good Sports Program.

Good Sports has been designed to assist clubs with the responsible management of alcohol through an accreditation process, which requires clubs to implement a variety of practices and policies at each level.

It is the first nationwide alcohol accreditation program of its kind.

The program helps to break the so-called “link” between alcohol and club profits and in the process guides clubs to a healthier and safer future.

“We offer friendly and safe club facilities which comply with Liquor Licensing’s legal requirements,” Dragons spokesman Ross Webb said.

“An important part of the program was that we put our volunteer bar servers through a training course in responsible service of alcohol.

“We want people to know the Moss Vale Dragons focus is sport, not drinking. We serve alcohol in a safe, responsible manner.”

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By Lauren Wright
Nanjing Night Net

AFTER tasting success the week before, Robertson Spuds fell hard this week with a 30-10 loss against Macarthur Bulls.

“We played pretty bad,” Spuds captain Doug Tilly said.

With only about four sets completed in the entire match, the Spuds were forced to defend for most of the game.

“We could have done a lot better. Our defence wasn’t so bad. Set after set we had to tackle and we had nothing left. We were stuffed and our big guys ran through us,” Tilly said.

The Spuds went into the break scoreless and it was just after halftime that Tilly broke though the Bulls big defence.

Arron Ditton then scored late in the match but it had little impact on the final result.

“We did a lot better in the second half, it was more evenly matched,” Tilly said.

It was also a difficult game for the Spuds in terms of injury.

Four players were taken high which led to three concussions and broken nose for Pat Pearse.

“There were a lot of high shots,” Tilly said.

With their next match against East Campbelltown this weekend, Till said they assessed their injuries last night and hoped to have a few big forwards back for the clash.

In their last match, East Campbelltown had just nine players and Tilly said if that were the case again this week, they were confident of a win.

“If they turn up like that we should be able to knock them over,” he said.

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WITH two glorious weekends in a row, it has been a fantastic start to the local soccer season.
Nanjing Night Net

Watching the latest recruits in the under-6s take the field is always a highlight for players and spectators alike.

However, for a band of young Highlands players, the season started way back in December when training for the Skill Acquisition League (SAL) and Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) for Southern NSW started in earnest.

The Skill Acquisition programs are running at an elite level, with players competing on a weekly basis against the best in the state.

This program runs from a development stage at under-8/9s where players train and play in tournaments while still maintaining their local club teams, through to the under-12s where players commit to Southern NSW for a 40 week program of training and weekly games.

Older players represent Southern in the NSW Youth League.

The Highlands have been fortunate to have players represent in all age groups, with Harry Pinczi, Austin Cribbin-Blencowe, Braedon Egan and Thomas Dunn in the under-9s.

Ben Canute and Griffin Payne have been selected in the under-11 team.

Tyler Egan, Louis Connell and Connor Falshaw are into their second year at Southern in the under-12s, with Matthew Payne newly selected for 2012.

Nicholas Pinczi and Nathan Atkinson play in the U13s Youth League team.

Not to forget the girls, Kiara Rochaix is also in her second year with the under-12 girls team.

The season culminates for the players under-11 and above with selection in the Southern NSW team for the State and Country titles.

In 2011, the Highlands were represented in unprecedented numbers, with 11 players (including two of our girls) selected.

In the under-11 boy’s team, seven players, including Louis, Tyler and Connor, and Highlands FC’s Justin Smith, were pitted against the best players in NSW.

With trials for the under-13s and 14s commencing shortly the Highlands Soccer Association hopes for similar levels of representation from the area.

Selection into the NSW Country teams for the National titles will be an aim for more than one of the players at these tournaments.

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ROUND three of the South Coast Junior AFL competition demonstrated the potential of the Highland Hawks when they played host to the visiting Wollongong Lions at the ‘Hawks Nest’ on Sunday.
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The under-9s went down in a tight struggle against the Lions 14-2

Adrian Chapman, Hayden Pope, Ethan Bambridge, Nathan Bowditch, Lachlan O’Brien and Oliver Castle were most impressive in their efforts throughout the game and along with their teammates, outscored the Lions in the last quarter, to demonstrate a great fighting spirit .

The explosive talents of the Hawks under-11s were on show when they smashed the Lions 112-17.

Jock Heinrich with seven goals and Matthew Stamoulous with six goals were magnificent in the forwards but the goal of the day went to one of the Hawks ‘mosquito fleet’.

Ethan Bambridge constantly troubled his larger opponents with speed and tenacity capping a great day out with his first goal of the year.

Sav Saures played a key tagging role and with his ability to run off his opponent and create a scoring opportunity in the forward line, he produced a tremendous individual goal for his team.

Other players who showed great dash and teamwork throughout the game were Lachlan Kolster, Finn White, Nick Stone and Galih Van Kruyssen plus the determination of the backline to repel opposition attacks were led by Travis Whitby and Sam Lawrance.

The Hawks under-12s ran out 10 point winners in a 77-67 ‘nail-bitter’ against the Lions.

The ever consistent Lachlan Billington-Phillips continued to impress as a small forward who made every kick count with a four goal haul with his last goal after the siren sealing the fate of the Lions.

Joel McAloon stood tall not only in his outstanding ruck play through the centre and around the ground but also with his ability to play through pain after sustaining an injury, to be an instrumental member to his teams final result.

The Hawks under-14s had the mercy rule applied to them going down against a dominant Lions outfit.

Alex Coleman, Will Humphrey and Jay Herrod battled manfully across the backline to return the football quickly back up forward for the Hawks.

Connor Gilmore continued his rapid improvement in the game’s fundamentals by putting his body across the opposition kicker to execute some tremendous smothering of the football to lift his team.

Austin Collings made the most of the limited opportunities presented to the forwards by kicking a goal.

This weekend the Highland Hawks will travel away with the under-9s and under-11s up against Albion Park Crows at Croome Road Oval, Albion Park while the under-12s and under-14s face Shellharbour Swans at Myimbarr Oval, Shellharbour.

The first game will commence at 9am.

Training for the Highland Hawks plus any aspiring young umpires is every Tuesday night at Loseby Park from 4pm.

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Connor Caswell will soon travel to Italy to play soccer professionally. Photo suppliedHE’S a third generation goalkeeper and he’s just been offered the opportunity of a lifetime.
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Connor Caswell has recently received interest from a number of clubs in Europe to play professionally.

Over the Easter period, Connor played in a prestigious under-16 tournament held in Pistoia, Italy with his North Sydney United team.

His Sydney team have an affiliation with the AC Milan football academy and were then invited to take part in the tournament.

The players Connor came up against play football professionally full time and posed some fierce competition.

After the scouts at the tournament earmarked him as a potential talent, he received expressions of interest from three clubs and has already trialled with AS Gubbio.

The Caswell family are now making preparations to send Connor over to Italy to play but have not yet decided which club he will play for.

Connor already trains three nights a week in Sydney and plays in an under-18 competition on Saturdays.

“It’s a fairly big drain on everybody, but that’s what you do,” Connor’s father Neil said.

He started off playing for Bowral United and then moved through Southern Branch and Country NSW teams to make it to the big time.

Neil said Conner knew there would be scouts at the tournament and was determined to play well.

“He knew they’d be there and he knew a good performance could potentially lead to something.”

Neil said to begin with he wasn’t sure when Connor became a goalkeeper, but with plenty of hard work he had proved himself.

With discussions now under way with the clubs, Neil said they hoped to have him back over in Italy for the start of their season in August.

With pros and cons for all the clubs, Neil said they would need to carefully weigh up the options.

In what will surely be a life-changing move, Neil said while Connor was excited, he was also a little bit daunted.

“He took Italian in Year 7 and dropped it,” he said.

“He’s a little bit daunted but at the same time he knows this is a great opportunity to do what he loves doing.”

“He’s worked really hard and developed amazingly well. The last two to three years he’s really come on. Sometimes it’s the hard work that gets you places and he’s certainly put in the hard work.”

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IF rising electricity, fuel, food, transport, health and building costs weren’t enough, Wingecarribee’s rates could jump up an average 5.78 per cent from July 1.
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General rates and Fees and Charges are proposed to increase by the full 3.6 per cent rate pegging, approved by the Minister for Local Government.

The Water Access charge will go up $14 to $144 a year, while water usage will rise nine cents a kilolitre to $1.60 a kilolitre.

The sewer access charge will rise from $615 to $662, largely a result of the cost of the Robertson Sewerage Scheme.

From July 1, Robertson residents will now be required to pay the $662 access charge, bringing them into line with other residents across the shire who already payed it.

Capital works costs amounted to about $25 million and included the Moss Vale Aquatic Centre ($8 million), Civic Centre refurbishment ($5 million), Pool Renewal Upgrade Strategy ($2.5 million) and Local Roads Resealing Program ($1.65 million).

Other costs included a 3.25 per cent rise in employment costs based on the Award ($920,000) and the September elections ($300,000).

All this equated to a $300,000 surplus, which Crs David Stranger and Duncan Gair said was “thin”.

“This is the first budget in 17 years I won’t be supporting,” Cr Gair said. “It includes $8 million for covering Moss Vale Pool when there is no tender, no proper costings and is based on estimates. I don’t believe it can be substantiated,” he said.

“A $300,000 surplus will be extremely stressful for the council. Money for Capital Works is just not there. I believe things will come out of left field and I don’t know how we’re going to fund them.”

An example of this provided by Gary Turland was the recently announced $187,000 cost of disposing of asbestos-contaminated material at the former Welby tip site.

Cr Gair’s measured statement was met with a tongue-lashing from Crs Ken Halstead and Larry Whipper

Cr Halstead accused Cr Gair of having a “flipsy flopsy” attitude and of “sitting on the fence”.

Cr Whipper joined in, saying Cr Gair was using “double-speak or Duncan-speak” and that he “hissed” behind closed doors.

“Let’s get on and do something for the community that we’ve fought for,” he said.

The council’s draft Operation Plan and Budget will be on public exhibition from May 14-June 10 with the final adoption on June 27.

Meanwhile, councillors could get a 2.5 per cent pay rise for the next financial year, in line with the public sector salary-rise cap.

Not all councillors support getting a pay rise, such as Mayor Ken Halstead, who said he would give his 2011-2012 pay increase, about $1500, to charity.

Cr Jim Mauger also voted against the 2011-2012 pay rise, which gave councillors an extra 4.2 per cent.

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HIGHLANDS home grown produce and wine will be showcased at two produce lunches planned for the long weekend in June.
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The event is the latest addition to attractions organised for Flavours of the South, an initiative of Highlands Foodie Group, to be held from June 8 to 10.

Two lunch sittings have been planned for June 9 at Mount Ashby cellar door on the outskirts of Moss Vale with chef Will Sawtell planning an impressive menu of dishes to highlight some of the region’s best products and producers.

The lunches will be served in one of the Highlands early buildings relocated to Mount Ashby and restored several years ago.

These days the building is a key feature of the property, showcasing antiques sourced from Europe.

But on June 9 it will be the venue of a culinary treat destined to impress.

The menu includes Charcuterie platters, beef bourguignon pies, chicken roulade with products sourced locally from Hot Canary Gourmet Meats in Bowral; Raspberry Pane Cotta desserts from Cuttaway Creek Raspberry Farm, Country Valley milk and Joadja Vineyard’s Brambelini liqueur, apples from Tennessee Orchard at Yerrinbool, mushrooms from Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms in Mittagong and freshly dug potatoes from the Big Spud at Wildes Meadows.

Bookings for the produce lunches, with sittings at 12.30pm and 2.30pm, are essential and are now being taken.

Details: [email protected]南京夜网.au or phone 4871 2524.

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Jazz in the Vines at one of the region’s oldest vineyards and wineries, while sipping on the latest vintages and dining on woodfired pizza, will be among the many highlights of the Flavours of the South weekend on the June long-weekend.Photo supplied Highlands grown potatoes and many other local products will be showcased during the Flavours of the South event.
Nanjing Night Net

PLANS are well under way for the annual Flavours of the South event on the long weekend in June.

Food and wines of the Southern Highlands will be highlighted from June 8 to 10 as producers of a variety of food and wines including jam, cheeses, mushrooms, gourmet meats, apples, dairy products and more join in the celebration of Highlands flavours.

The popular event, organised by Highlands Foodie Group, leads people on a trail through some of NSW’s most beautiful inland countryside in the Southern Highlands, offering a variety of specially chosen attractions to treat the traveller to new experiences.

Highlands Foodie Group marketing director Claire Cooper said the event had become an integral part of the foodie visitor market in the region, promoting regional producers, their products and services, which made a valuable contribution to the character and prosperity of the community.

A highlight of this year’s event is a producers’ lunch, which will feature a menu specially designed to include products from those in the Flavours of the South food and wine trail.

The lunch will be held at Mount Ashby Vineyard and cellar door in Moss Vale on June 9.

Among the many other activities on offer over the weekend are tours of the Li-Sun Mushroom tunnel at Mittagong; the chance to sample products at properties including Cuttaway Creek Raspberry Farm, Mittagong, Thistledown Creamery, Goulburn, and Highlands Gourmet Potatoes, Wildes Meadow; sample wines and picnic in the grounds of the region’s oldest vineyard while listening to jazz music at Joadja Wines, Berrima; sample wines or take a break in the cafe at Marist Wines, Mittagong; try some award-winning sausages at a barbecue at Hot Canary Gourmet Meats, Bowral; purchase some “freshly picked” apples from Tennessee Orchard, Yerrinbool; treat yourself to lunch or a light snack at Le Jardin Cafe and Garden, Tahmoor; or choose from the impressive selection of freshly baked treats at Bakers’ Delight in Bowral and Mittagong.

Accommodation at the Gibraltar Hotel and Flavours of the South tours run by Highlands Chauffeured Hire Cars are also available to ensure visitors and locals alike can take in the Flavours of the South in comfort and style.

Details and bookings: [email protected]南京夜网.au or 4871 2524.

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