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Cougar Energy Seeking $34m Compensation
October 17, 2011 - Cougar Energy is suing the Queensland Government - and three government officials - for more than $34 million in damages.

The company, whose Underground Coal Gasification trial at Coolabunia, (right), was officially halted in July, filed proceedings today in the Queensland Supreme Court seeking compensation.

Cougar has named previous Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) chief executives John Bradley and Terry Wall and current head James Reeves, in the action alleging "negligence and breach of statutory duties" in their administration of the Queensland Environmental Protection Act.

Company chairman Malcolm McAully said Cougar Energy had received legal advice that the shutdown of the Kingaroy UCG project was unreasonable and extreme. He said it had inflicted severe losses on the company and its 7500 shareholders.

Cougar is alleging that DERM applied inappropriate water quality guidelines to justify the closure of the site.

Speaking to SBBiz this afternoon, Mr McAully said he wanted to emphasise to Kingaroy residents that at no time had Cougar Energy contaminated the environment or endangered the health of any Kingaroy citizens.

Mr McAully said today's legal action was completely separate to the appeal Cougar Energy has lodged in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court against the DERM decision to close down the project.

He said the plant was currently in "care and maintenance" mode and could become fully operational in a short time if this appeal was successful.

"The biggest challenge would be people. Unfortunately we had to retrench staff in Brisbane and Kingaroy and close our Brisbane office," Mr McAully said.

Up to a dozen positions would be required to be filled in Kingaroy if the plant could become operational again.

DERM is also taking action against Cougar. Late last month charges laid by DERM against Cougar Energy for allegedly breaching the Environmental Protection Act were adjourned in the Kingaroy Magistrates Court to December 15.

Regional Food Group Invites Farmers To Shed Meeting
October 17, 2011 - The South-East Queensland Country Regional Food Network - a joint project of local councils, Regional Tourism organisations and the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation - will be holding a "Shed Meeting" in Kingaroy next month for local farmers and food producers.

Regional Tourism Development Officer Jules McMurtrie said 18 "food champions" from the South Burnett, Southern Downs, Toowoomba and Darling Downs have been meeting since March this year to devise a way to establish a regional food network.

The group has now secured $150,000 in grant funding which will be enable a series of Shed Meetings to be held throughout south-east Queensland.

Ms McMurtrie said the network is for farmers who are looking to find an alternative market for their produce and who are considering selling their products locally or to visitors within the region.

"It is also for farmers who wish to build a customer base or increase yield from production and for those who wish to sell their produce to businesses in the food service, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality sectors," she said.

"If any or all of these thoughts have crossed your mind, then you should find out more about the establishment of a regional food system and short supply chain planned for the region."

The aim of the Shed Meeting will be to provide information on how to connect into the local food supply chain and how to maximize the opportunity that selling products locally can present.

The Kingaroy meeting will be held at the DEEDI complex (opposite Kingaroy Airport) on November 22 from 3:30pm–5:30pm.

To register your interest and secure a seat, email the SEQC Regional Food Network or call Jules McMurtrie on 0437-008-712.
Leading Youth Choir Performing In Wondai On Saturday

October 14, 2011 - The Brisbane-based St. Peters Chorale - widely acknowledged as Australia's leading youth choir - will be performing in concert at the Wondai Town Hall this Saturday night, October 15th.

The group has been brought to Wondai by regional arts organisation South Burnett Arts and Chorale members have been billeted at homes in and around the Wondai area for the weekend.

South Burnett Arts President Jane Iszlaub said that the concert will provide a rare opportunity for music lovers to sample some of the best vocal talents currently on offer in Queensland.

"The Chorale was established by Graeme Morton in 1982. It comprises students between the ages of 13 and 17 years of age and it's performed with many of Australia's leading musicians as well as overseas directors.

"The group has established a reputation for its commitment to all styles of choral music and for its particular focus on Australia's own composers."

St Peters Chorale has received many awards and accolades including the Sounds Australian National Critics Award for the Best Performance of an Australian Choral Work in 1991 (Stephen Leek's "Once On a Mountain", released on the recording Until I Saw) and a Sunnie Award for the Best Recording of a High School Choir in 1997 (Voyage).

During their European tour in 1990, the ABC produced the documentary Singing Cambridge profiling the choir and its music throughout part of its tour to Cambridge in England.

The Chorale will be supported by the South Burnett Youth Choir and tickets to the 5:00pm concert are $5 for adults, a gold coin donation for students and pensioners or $12 for a family.

ABOVE: The St Peter's Chorale are is regarded as one of the best youth choirs in Australia. They'll be performing in the South Burnett tomorrow
Somerville To Head Another Review Of Electricity Network
October 13, 2011 - The State Government has announced that Darryl Somerville will head another review of Queensland's electricity network companies, seven years after his original review led to substantial changes to the Electricity Act.

This time Mr Somerville will focus on the capital infrastructure programs of Energex, Ergon Energy and Powerlink Queensland.

"This review builds on the work undertaken seven years ago and will determine whether the network is still being delivered in an efficient manner to provide for a secure and reliable system," Energy and Water Utilities Minister Stephen Robertson said.

"Times have changed since the original Somerville Review so it's judicious we have another close look at the network."

Other members of the review panel are Queensland Commissioner for Electrical Safety Jack Camp, and Stephen Blanch, an energy and management consultant and CEO of Dellwind Pty Ltd.

Mr Robertson said the panel would review reports by the three government-owned corporations and provide advice to government on the appropriateness of any proposed changes for a more efficient and cost-effective delivery of a secure network.

They will provide a final report by the end of next month.

UPDATE December 8, 2012: The results of this independent review of government-owned energy corporations found network reliability has improved 40 per cent since 2004 and that power outages are now significantly less frequent and shorter in duration. Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said the review also identified a potential $1.5 billion in savings that Energex and Ergon could implement over the current five-year regulatory period, linked to network planning and lower-than-forecast electricity demand.

* * *

Here's a couple of interesting items for November to put in your diaries:
  • Sunday, November 6 - Ken and Carolyn Stone's Passchendaele Farm Holiday host farm will be featured on The Great South East on Channel 7 at 5:30pm.

  • Saturday, November 12 - First Avenue Machinery Sales and Redland Farm and Garden will be holding a machinery and parts expo at their premises at 23 First Avenue from 9:00am-1:00pm

  • Friday, November 25 - Have Dinner With Deek ... The Orana Lutheran Complex will be hosting a dinner with marathon runner Robert De Castella from 6:30pm-11:00pm as a fundraiser. Deek will be talking about exercise and healthy ageing. Tickets to the dinner are $38.50 per head or $352 for a table of 10. They must be booked and paid for by Friday, November 7. For more information, phone (07) 4162-6555.

  • Saturday, November 26 - The Orana Hilltop Markets will run from 7:00am to 2:00pm at the Orana Lutheran Complex in MacDiarmid Street, Kingaroy.
Rackemann To Address Anti-Mining Rally
October 12, 2011 - Carl Rackemann - former Test bowler and now the Katter's Australian Party candidate for the State seat of Nanango - was scheduled to be a guest speaker at today's "National Food Security Forum" held in Gunnedah, NSW.

The rally, the second in a series hosted by broadcaster Alan Jones, was promoted by the Lock The Gate Alliance and NSW action groups the Mullaley Gas Pipeline Accord (MGPA), the Caroona Coal Action Group (CCAG) and the Save Our Soils Liverpool Plains (SOS).

"Australia is fast approaching the point where it will no longer be able to provide for its food security needs and unchecked mining development needs to be addressed," Carl said before the rally.

"Australia was built on the sheep's back but now it has become the sacrificial lamb for foreign-owned mining companies to exploit. Katter's Australian Party intends to rectify this situation."

Speaking on Sydney radio this morning, forum host Alan Jones said agricultural land was being "plundered and raped" for mining revenue.

Highlighting proposed bauxite mining in the Kingaroy area and coal seam gas exploration on the Darling Downs, Mr Jones said the Queensland government had allowed miners "to plunder the very land that will guarantee our food security".
Blasting To Resume At Meandu Mine
October 10, 2011 - The State Government granted approval late this afternoon for blasting to resume at the Meandu coal mine near Nanango.

The mine received a notice from DEEDI on Friday to halt blasting while a review could be carried out of the mine's Blasting Management Plan.

This followed concerns raised in the media that blasting at some Queensland coal mines could be releasing "clouds of toxic gases".

A spokesman for the mine's operators, Thiess, told SBBiz today the mine's operations had not been affected by the temporary halt.
Discover The Colours of Yarraman
October 7, 2011 - The inaugural springtime Colours Of Yarraman Festival will be taking over the town this weekend with lots of fun events to keep the whole family happy!

A giant country market will kick off at 7:00am tomorrow in Errol Munt Park. At 8:30am, there'll be a free sausage sizzle at Station Park (located at the end of Millar Street), the former site of the Yarraman Railway Station.

This will be followed by the official opening of the latest section of the Yarraman to Linville Rail Trail, after which everyone will be free to join in a combined community walk or ride along the trail.

Between 3:00pm and 5:00pm the Colours Of Yarraman Art & Photography Exhibition will be open for viewing at the Yarraman Community Hall in Browne Street, followed by wine and nibbles prior to a gala Community Dinner at 7:00pm and the presentation of prizes to the winners of this year's art and photography competition about 9:00pm.

On Sunday, there'll be a free breakfast at Errol Munt Park from 7:00am-9:00am with entertainment provided by Wild Horse FM.

This will be followed by a day of fun, with stalls, drinks, raffles and kids' activities, including a jumping castle, egg and spoon races and skateboarding. At noon, a barbecue lunch will be held. Barker's Creek Bush Band will be on stage from 9:45am to 1:00pm.

Find out more details on the Festival's website
BIEDO Revamps
Services For Business
October 7, 2011 - Do you need someone to help you get your business idea off the ground? Are you looking to expand and need good advice or a sounding board? Do you need brochures, business plans or help with BAS? Do you want to be a member of a vibrant and informative business network?

BIEDO - the Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation - believes it can help you!

The group's newly revamped Business Services program now has two "Business Pilots", an "Admin Angel", a "Clean and Clever Co-ordinator" and a Media and Promotion Team to help local businesses:

  • Business pilots Trudi Bartlett, from Kingaroy, and Nathan McKean, from Degilbo, (above right), will work one-on-one with business owners to assist with business plans and tender applications.

  • Admin "angel" Sharon Dowden can help with BAS, financial and payroll systems

  • Clean and clever co-ordinator Tameka Gogerly can provide support in energy, water and waste management

  • The media team provides media releases, copywriting and graphic design to assist businesses with brochures, media releases, promotional materials, annual reports and complex documents.
BIEDO CEO Linda Silburn said the first hour of a consultation is free, whether over the phone or face-to-face.

For more information, contact BIEDO on (07) 4169-7851.
Speakers Will Help You Get A Voice
October 6, 2011 - Do you work in the livestock industry or have a strong involvement with it? Then you can learn how to be a better, more powerful advocate for it at the Durong Bowls Club tomorrow (Friday).

Between 9:30am and 12:30pm, Agforce and Meat & Livestock Australia will be presenting four speakers who'll be looking at the topic of advocacy:

  • Trent Loos - a sixth generation US cattle producer who travels all over the USA to meet farmers and share their stories on his daily radio programs Loos Tales and The Truth Be Told

  • Georgie Somerset - QRWN President and Kingaroy cattle producer

  • Matt Dwyer - online editor of Meat & Livestock Australia; and

  • Jane Paterson - Agforce's Media & Communications Manager.

The workshop is free and morning tea and lunch will be provided
Be Careful ... There's A Very High Danger Of Fires
October 6, 2011 - South Burnett firefighters are preparing for potential heightened fire danger which is expected to impact the area from tomorrow through to Sunday.

A combination of strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity will increase the chance of fires breaking out particularly around Murgon, Mundubbera, Monto, Gayndah and Kingaroy.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service will be deploying a strike team of 17 firefighters from Dalby to Kingaroy tomorrow to relieve local rural fire crews.

QFRS Regional Manager of Rural Operations for the North Coast Region Peter Hollier said while QFRS was well prepared operationally for the potential of heightened fire activity it was vital residents did their part.

“If they haven't done so already, residents should take the necessary steps to prepare their homes for a bushfire event in the area by visiting the Rural Fire Service website and downloading a bushfire survival plan,” Mr Hollier said.

“If people see even a small fire in their area they area urged to call triple zero (000), this way QFRS have the opportunity to extinguish fires before they have the potential to spread quickly and put lives and homes at risk.

“We are also asking people to ensure they are not throwing cigarette butts out of car windows and to be careful when operating machinery in grassed areas.”

Mr Hollier reminded residents of the current Fire Danger Period which will remain in place to midnight on Sunday, January 1, 2012.

“The current Fire Danger Period rules dictate that Queenslanders are not allowed to light a fire, regardless of size, without a permit, except for a fire for cooking or warmth,” he said.

“People who have a permit and are considering lighting a fire today are urged to make contact with their local fire wardens before going ahead.”
Kingaroy Workshop To Help Local Sporting Committees
October 6, 2011 - Queensland Minister for Sport Phil Reeves is urging South Burnett sporting groups to send representatives to a free Financial Management workshop which will be held in Kingaroy next week.

The workshop is designed for local sport and recreation clubs, administrators, instructors, coaches and volunteers.

"Participants will be provided with useful information on the role of a sporting club's board and management in relation to a range of financial and administrative topics," Mr Reeves said.

Topics to be covered include:
  • Why budgets are important;
  • What it means to be a non-profit organisation;
  • Funding schemes that are available;
  • Making the most of what you have; and
  • Modern fundraising options
The workshop will be held from 6:00pm-9:00pm on Wednesday, October 12, at the South Burnett Enterprise Centre, 6 Cornish Street, Kingaroy.

Admission is free but bookings are essential (before Oct 7). You can register online or to obtain more information, phone (07) 4125-9399.

* * *

UPDATE: The first of the upcoming DEEDI Small Business workshops, (see SBBIZ, Sept 27) is free.

The workshop, "Improve Your Business Performance", will be held on Monday from 8:30am - 11:30am and will be led by local businesswoman Trudi Bartlett.

To register, contact DEEDI in Maryborough by email
Carbon Tax Slashes Tarong Energy Profits
October 5, 2011 - Tarong Energy - now part of Stanwell Corporation - made a net loss after tax for 2010-11 of $465.7 million, solely due to a write-down of assets in the lead up to the introduction of the Federal Government's new carbon tax.

In its Annual Report, tabled in State Parliament last week, Tarong showed an operational profit after tax of $33.7m (down from $91.5m in 2009-10) however the writedown of assets was a massive $499.4m.

"As a result of the impact of the Federal Government's proposed carbon pricing mechanism announced on 10 July 2011, the impairment tests resulted in the generation and mining assets being written down by $709,602,000 ($664,912,000 reduction in property, plant and equipment and $44,690,000 reduction of goodwill)," the report noted.

"A further impairment of $3,916,000 was recognised in relation to land. The total loss on measurement of assets to fair value less costs to distribute was $713,518,000, contributing a $499,464,000 after tax loss to the result."

Tarong's actual revenue over the 12 months rose to $607.6m (2010: $497.2m) as did the amount of power generated: 10,014 Gigawatt Hours (2010: 9150GWh).

Other highlights from the annual report:
  • Queensland's severe weather in January has led to the urgent progressing of a new ash and ash water management strategy for the two Tarong power stations. This includes the possible construction of a floodwater diversion channel from the Black Creek Dam catchment around the ash dam into Meandu Creek. This channel would minimise the potential of the ash dam overflowing during heavy flooding. The report noted that the ash dam reached the mandatory reporting level (MRL) during the January rainfall; DERM was notified immediately and Tarong provided written reports to the government daily until the water levels dropped.

  • Tarong Energy's 2010 Christmas functions, which approximately 500 employees attended, cost $29,037.

  • Download Tarong Energy's 2010-11 Annual Report here (2.75MB PDF)
Are You Having An Identity Crisis?
October 5, 2011 - If you are, the answer could well be to "think branding" ...

Kingaroy businesswoman Lynnelle Richardson's "Network 5" group for business and career women will be focussing on branding at their next get-together, which will be held at the Booie Bello Vista on Wednesday, October 19.

Lynnelle promises the event will be an opportunity to "sip, sell & socialise" on the deck of the Bello Vista from 5:30pm.

Cost is $25 which includes a glass of champagne plus hot breads, dips and tapas.

For more information, and to book, contact Lynnelle on 0419-719-120.

* * *

The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry's October Meet and Greet will be held on Monday, October 31, from 5:30pm at Swickers Kingaroy Bacon Factory, 206 Kingaroy-Barkers Creek Road, Kingaroy.

There will be a $10 cover charge for this event. To book, contact Joanne Thorp on (07) 4162-8466.
Plan Predicts Population To Reach 42,900
October 4, 2011 - The State Government's long-awaited regional plan for the Wide Bay Burnett, unveiled late last week, shows population in the region will jump from 293,500 in 2010 to 425,200 by 2031.

This includes rises from 33,040 to 42,900 in the South Burnett Regional Council area and 1200 to 1700 at Cherbourg. An estimated 4500 more houses will be required to cater for this growth.

Acting Minister for Local Government and Planning Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Plan 2011-2031 - which covers an area stretching from Bundaberg to Blackbutt - would provide the framework for sustainable growth for the region.

She said State and local authorities would now "have the legal clout" to back up plans for sustainable growth.

Ms Palaszczuk said six local councils - Bundaberg, Cherbourg, Fraser Coast, Gympie, South Burnett and North Burnett - had been involved in the development of the plan.

In the South Burnett, water has been identified as a key issue, with demand "likely to exceed supply in the short term".

"Infrastructure and investment may be required to provide a long-term solution to water security, in particular for Kingaroy, and to a lesser extent Nanango, Wondai and Murgon," the plan notes.

At Cherbourg, the emphasis is on boosting jobs and providing better access to services at Murgon.

"The regional plan recognises the need to promote new opportunities for industry and small business, such as the re-use of the existing abattoir facility and the establishment of new businesses in Cherbourg," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Job growth can also be stimulated by building on the community's close proximity to and partnership with Murgon, and working more closely with the South Burnett Regional Council."

Seilers Have A Food Design For Life
October 3, 2011 - Organic farmers Wil and Meg Seiler, from Crownthorpe, near Murgon, are expanding their popular organic business to also include permaculture schools and design.

The new business will be called Life Food Design, although they'll still be using Bottle Tree Hill Organics as the marketing arm for the farm.

The new umbrella business will tie together the couple's organic farming, food promotion, host farm, permaculture instruction and farm design businesses.

They'll still be selling organic pork, bacon and ham - which they've been doing now for 12 years - as well as olive and gourmet food products, organic vegetables, mango products, honey, seasonal beef, seeds, plants and organic garden products.

Their permaculture educational programs include primary and high school sustainability day programs plus an introduction to permaculture for teachers and parents.

They are also planning workshop weekends for people interested in an introduction to permaculture, organic food productions, landscape design for farms or animal husbandry.

Farm tours are also available by appointment. The Seilers can be contacted on (07) 4168-4669.
Another Amazing Weekend in the South Burnett!
September 30, 2011 - There's so much happening, we don't know where to start ...
  • Kingaroy's Quota Club will be hosting a Spring High Tea Garden Party tomorrow to raise funds for the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter. There'll be performances by the South Burnett Community Orchestra string group and Sing Australia as well as raffles, art union, plant sale and lucky dip. Cost is just $20. The High Tea will be held from 1:30pm in the gardens of the Peterson family property 'Hopevale', just off the D'Aguilar Highway at Coolabunia.

  • The annual Kingaroy Lions Charity Rodeo is on at the Kingaroy Showgrounds from 7:30am tomorrow to about 11:00pm. The Junior Rodeo will be followed by the Open Rodeo program from 12:30pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for pensioners, concessions and students or $40 for a family pass.

  • And, of course, the Nanango Markets and Nanango Funfest (see story, below)!

There's also the Cooyar Campdraft, a Health Choices Expo in Kingaroy, boxing and an Undercover Wear Party to raise funds for the Wondai SES.

For more information, see the South Burnett Online Event Calendar

* * *

APN News & Media, publishers of the South Burnett Times newspaper, has cut staff numbers by 6.5 per cent across its regional media division.

In his 2011 Interim Report to shareholders, CEO Brett Chenoweth said APN's first half profitability had been seriously impacted by floods, cyclones, multiple earthquakes, nervous retail markets, weak economies and low levels of consumer and business confidence.

"Our overall results were well down from where we would like them to be," he said.

The report said regional media markets across Queensland and northern NSW began to slow towards the end of 2010, particularly those not exposed to the mining and resources sector.

"Overall (regional media) revenue was down 4 per cent year-on-year, retail advertising was down 10 per cent, property was down 13 per cent while employment was up 6 per cent," the report stated.

Initiatives to save $7 million a year have been earmarked, including the closure of loss-making magazine titles and the Mackay and Bundaberg printing plants.

* * *

Cougar Energy has filed a Notice of Appeal today in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court against the decision by the Department of Environment and Resource Management in July this year to close down its UCG project at Kingaroy.

Cougar Energy says it has set out significant grounds for appeal against DERM's decision. The next step will be to seek directions from the Court as to the timetable for the conduct of the appeal.
Seeney Promises To Protect South Burnett Farms

September 29, 2011 - The LNP will remove uncertainty for both farmers and mining companies if it wins power at the next State Election, Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney promised during a short visit to Kingaroy yesterday afternoon.

Mr Seeney acknowledged that complaints by the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group were valid that the State Government's new Strategic Cropping Land (SCL) legislation left much South Burnett farmland unprotected.

He said the Labor Government's new laws were based solely on soil criteria. However, the LNP would ensure that iconic farming areas like the South Burnett would be protected.

The LNP proposed to draft Strategic Land Use Maps that would clearly define where mining activity can and can't take place. These maps would be drawn up after community consultation.

"This is an absolute guarantee and a very clear message to the resource companies that are currently exploring the rich red soils of the South Burnett that they are wasting their time and money," Mr Seeney said.

He also warned these companies that the LNP would look to reverse any deals the State Government enters into between now and the election.

"We would look at them closely to see if we can find a way out of them," he said.

However Mr Seeney said the LNP was not against mining and it was important that mining companies have security, too.

"That's why it's so important to a have a regulated plan so miners can have security and farmers have security; everyone knows the areas where mines can be developed ... in the right places."

Mr Seeney said the LNP had committed to double the agricultural production of Queensland by 2040. To do this, not only did farming land have to be protected but the rural skills base had to be re-built. R&D that was formerly carried out at places like the Bjelke-Petersen Research Station in Kingaroy was also important.

"We will be looking to return these type of stations to their former role. The DPI is a hollow shell ... it bares very little resemblance to what it used to be," he said.

Assets like the DPI's Redvale Farm, which has been marked for sale by the State Government, would be considered "critically important" by the LNP.

ABOVE: Kingaroy peanut grower Robert Green with LNP candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington and Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney

* * *

Charges laid against Cougar Energy for allegedly breaching the Environmental Protection Act in regards to its failed UCG trial have been adjourned to December 15.
Kick Up Your Heels And
Have Fun In Nanango!
September 28, 2011 - The annual Nanango Funfest town carnival - the successor to the popular Nanango Mardi Gras and Pioneer Festival - will be held this weekend with the main day of fun on Saturday to coincide with the Tarong Cup Race Meeting at Lee Park Racecourse.

Saturday's activities will kick off at 8:30am with a sausage sizzle at Foodworks, followed by free facepainting and showbags for kids at the Energy Centre from 10:30am.

At 11:00am, there'll be a Pet Parade at Roccos followed by hobby horse races. All children who enter will get a free showbag.

The Street Parade will start at 12:30pm in George Street then continue down Drayton Street before returning to Pioneer Park. There'll be market stalls around town from 10:00am until after the parade.

At 3:30pm, there'll be more free show bags available at Miss Melinda's Dance Display at the Nanango Cultural Centre.

The annual Heritage King & Queen of the Mountain Footrace will start at 4:45pm.

The action at Pioneer Park will start at noon. There'll be live bands on the main stage plus more market stalls, amusement rides, kite-flying, whip-cracking and hula hoop competitions. Free children's showbags will be distributed at 3:30pm and glow sticks at 6:00pm.

The Boots and Bulldust Talent Quest will be on stage from 4:30-7:30pm until fireworks light up the sky about 8:00pm.

For more information about Funfest, contact the Festival Hotline on 0419-863-079.
DEEDI Hosts Small Business Workshops
September 27, 2011 - A series of workshops will be held in Kingaroy over the next two months designed to help local small businesses improve their performance.

The activity-based workshops, hosted by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, will be held on six consecutive Monday mornings, starting October 10.

Each workshop will tackle a different topic:
  • Improve your business performance (Oct 10)
  • Attract new customers to your business (Oct 17)
  • Retain your profitable customers (Oct 24)
  • Financial management: Back to basics (Nov 7)
  • Financial management: The how to (Nov 14)
  • Planning your successful business (Nov 21)

They will be held in the Taabinga Room at 214 Kingaroy-Cooyar Road, Kingaroy (the old DPI Research Station, opposite Kingaroy Airport).

Each costs $44. Participants can choose to attend any or all of the workshops offered. For more information, and to book, contact DEEDI on (07) 4121-1780.
New Face On Ergon Energy Board
September 26, 2011 - Former Human Resources Manager at BHP Billiton, Ms Annabel Dolphin, has been appointed to the Board of electricity provider Ergon Energy, replacing former Townsville mayor Tony Mooney who has been transferred to the Board of another State Government-owned corporation, SunWater Ltd.

Minister for Finance, Natural Resources and The Arts Rachel Nolan announced the appointments on Friday.

Current Ergon Board member Ralph Craven was re-appointed.

Ergon Energy services about 680,000 customers across more than one million square kilometres of Queensland. Its network consists of approximately 150,000km of powerlines, one million power poles and associated infrastructure such as major substations and power transformers.

Ergon also own and operates 33 stand-alone power stations that provide supply to isolated communities across Queensland which are not connected to the main electricity grid, including the Barcaldine gas-fired power station along with its associated infrastructure.

* * *

South Burnett Regional Council is advising Murgon residents that it is monitoring the water supply from Barambah Creek after a blue green algal bloom was detected.

Council says the water supply remains safe to drink although consumers may notice a change in taste and smell. It adds activated carbon to the treatment process during algal bloom outbreaks to minimise taste and odour problems.