Nanjing Night Net

LOCAL motorists are being urged to take a stand on petrol prices by the electorate’s state and federal politicians.

Member for Calare John Cobb and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole say the cost of fuel will rise even further with the introduction of the carbon tax, amid concerns local motorists are already paying too much at the bowser.

The Federal Government, however, says the carbon tax will not apply to petrol used by households.

Mr Cobb and Mr Toole have joined forces to appeal to local motorists who believe they are being ripped off by fuel prices to make a complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Mr Toole said he was concerned by recent reports that motorists in the Bathurst region and further west are paying considerably more for fuel than their city counterparts.

“Both John Cobb and I have received a number of calls in recent days from motorists outraged by the current cost of petrol,” Mr Toole said.

“The best way we can see this issue addressed is for customers to make complaints to the ACCC.

“The more complaints the ACCC receives, the more it will be under pressure to act.”

Mr Cobb said the carbon tax would affect the cost of production, distribution and retailing of fuel, putting upward pressure on petrol prices.

“Just like groceries and household bills, petrol prices will not be immune from the world’s biggest carbon tax, and families in Calare will be paying even more for fuel,” he said.

“Last week in parliament, the treasurer Wayne Swan refused to repeat or endorse the prime minister’s assertion that ‘petrol prices won’t be touched by carbon pricing’.”

Motorists can make a complaint to the ACCC by phone on 1300 302 502 or by email at [email protected]

GOING UP: Member for Calare John Cobb and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole say the cost of fuel will rise even further with the introduction of the carbon tax.

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The Bathurst Business Chamber is moving into the 21st century with the launch of its first website today.
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Chamber president Angus Edwards said the chamber has been talking about setting up a website for the past three years, adding that is wonderful to finally see it up and running.

The launch will be held at Bathurst Council Chambers and will be performed by mayor Greg Westman.

Mr Edwards said the website will contain a live news feed, which will include Facebook posts.

There will also be a members directory to allow chamber members to promote their businesses, with links to their contact details and web pages.

An updated list of events will be posted with the provision to register online, while an online membership payment service will also be available.

Information on changing legislation, media releases, and links to interesting media articles and news from the NSW Business Chamber have also been included.

The web page will be public, but will also include a

members’ only section.

“We want to make sure we are getting all the relevant information through to our members,” Mr Edwards said.

“It’s pretty exciting. We have been talking about doing this forever.”

The Bathurst Business Chamber web page has been designed locally.

The chamber also has a less formal Facebook page.

“It is important to make sure the Bathurst Business Chamber has an online presence so new businesses to town can keep up to date,” Mr Edwards said.

Today’s launch will be attended by chamber members, councillors and council staff.

IN THE WEB: Bathurst Business Chamber president Angus Edwards gets ready for today’s launch of the new chamber website. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 070412chamber

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THE practice may be a regular sight on Bathurst’s roads, but it seems most motorists are getting off scot-free when it come to talking on their mobile phones while driving.
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Fewer than 180 motorists across the whole Chifley local area command have been charged with using a handheld mobile phone while driving since July last year.

But new figures published on the NSW Office of State Revenue website show that drivers who are caught paying a high price for their misdemeanour.

Chifley highway patrol officers wrote 133 tickets for drivers caught talking on their mobile phone between July 2011 and May 2012, pumping a total of $35,245 into the state’s coffers.

In addition, Bathurst sector officers wrote 21 tickets worth a total of $5565 and Lithgow sector officers 20 tickets worth a total of $5388.

But the figures also reveal the impact of an industrial campaign by NSW police officers last November and December, when they refused to respond to non-emergency calls as part of a pay dispute with the state government.

In the two months just nine tickets were written by Bathurst, Lithgow and Chifley highway patrol officers – well down on the monthly average of almost 20. By comparison, last August and September were the biggest months for officers, with more than 30 tickets written in each month.

The past year’s figures include three tickets issued to P-platers or L-platers caught using a mobile phone while driving. Each was fined $265 for the offence.

BAD MIX: Chifley highway patrol officers wrote 133 tickets for drivers caught talking on their mobile phones while driving between July 2011 and May 2012.

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The noise is unmistakable, even when you don’t expect to hear it. It’s a gentle roar that rises every now and again; it bubbles with passion.
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It seems so out of place here in the market, where most of the sounds are of vendors entreating you to relieve them of their wares. Below that is the normal hubbub of tourists stocking up on their Peruvian souvenirs, the colourful beanies and mass-produced T-shirts.

But deep in the background there’s that noise, that distant hum of action, so I decide to follow it, to see if it really is what I think it is.

Out on the street it’s been raining – the river here in Aguas Calientes is as strong as ever, rushing past the town with a promise of violence that seems strange in such a beautiful place. Slip in there at this time of year, during the rainy season, and you’d be in serious trouble.

Bus after bus rolls through the little town’s narrow streets, dropping passengers off and preparing to ferry yet another load up the hill to Machu Picchu, the sight everyone is here to see. Brakes groan, doors squeak, people file on and off.

There’s no other reason to come to Aguas Calientes, nothing else to do here but wander through those tourist markets and select something to remind you of your visit to Machu Picchu. It’s a Sunday afternoon but it’s business as usual in town – the tourist trade here never sleeps.

The sound seems like it’s coming from up the hill, away from the train tracks and the main square. Not many gringos make it up there, because there’s no reason to. There are just a couple of local restaurants of questionable quality and blocks of apartments. Nothing much to see.

I’m almost certain I’m right now – the sound has joy in it, and passion, but also a little fury. Two kids dash past me on the cobbled alley, making their way up the hill, and I’m sure it’s what I think it is.

Sure enough, I round one last corner, past one more block of flats, and there in the middle of Aguas Calientes, not two blocks from the tourist markets and the bars but hidden in another world, is the local football pitch. It’s perched on the hillside right in among the city, carved between the buildings and alleys and squares.

The noise is from the crowd, the large group of locals who’ve gathered outside the high wire fences that surround the pitch to cheer on their local team. No one pays any mind to the gringo in their midst – they’re engrossed in the game, in chatting to each other, in eating their food and drinking their beers.

It might sound stupid but I’ve found my holy grail.

This morning I’d been in Machu Picchu, the Incan ruins that must top more bucket lists than almost any sight in the world. It had been fascinating, of course. A lifelong highlight. But I like my culture living and breathing, which is why I’m just as happy having stumbled upon a local football game as I was stumbling across ancient ruins just a few hours earlier.

This is fun. I can’t even tell which team is the local one, until the guys in blue score a goal and no one cheers. Right, so we’re going for the pink team then. The people around me don’t seem too bothered by the score – this is a social event, the game comes second.

I don’t speak Spanish, so I’m not joining in the conversation, but still, there are few global unifiers quite like football. Put it up there with music, or dance, or food, or a simple smile. Doesn’t matter where you go in the world, if you know football, you’ve got something in common with everyone.

I know when to cheer. I know who the bad guys are. I know we hate the referee. And I know that here, very briefly, until the guy in black blows the final whistle, I won’t be treated as a tourist. I’ll just be a fan.

The setting is spectacular. The Andes rise steep and imposing on all sides of the narrow valley. The synthetic pitch is a raw, striking green among the drab greys and browns on the buildings.

The crowd, perched on concrete benches or standing with fingers curled around the wire fencing, is a sea of colour, from their beanies to their knock-off football jerseys of teams from around the world. They’re still chatting, or cheering, or some even singing.

With just a couple of minutes to go, the pink team – our team – scores, sending the crowd wild. The guy on the bench next to me throws an arm around my shoulders, gives a high salute to the gods of the beautiful game. I’m doing exactly the same.

You don’t expect to top a visit to Machu Picchu in a lifetime, let alone that same day. But strangely enough, I might have.

Do you prefer interacting with locals to seeing the sights when you travel? What have your memorable experiences been? Post a comment below and share your stories.

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The report suggests there has been a lack of action in cases of abuse within the Defence Force.Defence Minister Stephen Smith has publicly released a damning report into allegations of abuse within the Defence Force, warning the contents ”will shock some people”.
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The report, coming in at more the 1500 pages, has been prepared by law firm DLA Piper.

The review received ”within scope” claims of sexual and other forms of abuse from 847 people, dating back to 1951 and as recently as 2011.

Mr Smith today said the government was close deciding how it will respond to the allegations of abuse and that a royal commission was still an option.

Extracts of the report were first released by Mr Smith earlier this year, and last month the full 24-page executive summary was released to ABC TV’s 7.30 program under freedom of information laws.

The full report – released today – includes findings such as:”From the 1950s through to the early 1980s, many boys aged 13, 14, 15 and 16 years of age in the ADF suffered abuse including serious sexual and other physical abuse”; and”It is certain that many young females in the ADF have been subjected to serious sexual and physical assault and other serious abuse inflicted.”

The report also finds that it is “likely” that a “substantial” number of victims of abuse or assault within the ADF have not reported the assault to anyone.

It also suggests that there has been a lack of action in cases of abuse. The report notes that Lieutenant Colonel Northwood working in parallel with the Grey Review identified 24 cases of rape at ADFA in the late 1990s. “It seems that none of the matters went to trial,” the report said.

The firm also found that “it is possible” that male cadets who raped female cadets in the late 1990s and other cadets who witnessed the assaults and did not intervene may “now be in ‘middle’ to ‘senior’ management positions in the ADF”.

Mr Smith commissioned the review last year after an 18 year-old cadet alleged she was filmed and broadcast over Skype while having sex with a fellow cadet. In the wake of the ”Skype Scandal”, Defence was inundated with other allegations of abuse.

The government has been considering a range of responses to the allegations, including an apology and compensation. Today, Mr Smith confirmed a royal commission was still ”on the table”.

”[We are] not too far away from making final conclusions in this area,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

Mr Smith said the release of further material today underlined the ”serious and concerning” nature of the review’s findings.

More to come


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