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Information Kits On Hendra Virus Available
July 29, 2011 - The State Government is encouraging all horse owners and handlers to access a Hendra virus information pack which outlines how to reduce the risk of their horses becoming infected.

The pack includes information on:
  • What Hendra virus is,

  • How to protect horses,

  • What to do if a horse becomes ill.

You can receive a Hendra virus information pack by subscribing online or by contacting DEEDI's Customer Service Centre on 13-25-23.
Cougar Energy Seeks Review of DERM Ruling
July 28, 2011 - Cougar Energy has advised the ASX today that it will seek a review of the State Government's decision to restrict activities at its Underground Coal Gasification trial site. near Kingaroy

Cougar received formal notification on July 19 of the decision by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) about the future of the site - more than a week after the decision was reported in the media (see SBBiz July 8).

Under the Qld Environment Protection Act, Cougar Energy has until August 2 1994 to seek an internal review by DERM.
10 Traineeships For Indigenous Students Available
July 28, 2011 - Indigenous Year 10 school students in the South Burnett are being invited to apply for school-based traineeships being organised through the MRAEL Group.

The training group has 10 school-based traineeships for 2012-13 on offer for current Year 10 students who plan to complete Year 12.

They have been supported by funding from the Indigenous Land Use Agreement between Stanwell Corporation Ltd (formerly Tarong Energy Corporation Ltd) and the Wakka Wakka people.

MRAEL Apprentice Specialist Frances Ross said the project aimed to provide fully funded school based traineeship opportunities for indigenous students where opportunities did not exist previously.

"Community consultation has identified opportunities in the areas of Hospitality, Horticulture, Health and Community Services, and Business and it is expected that there will be other areas that will present themselves as we progress in to the project," she said.

"The overall goal of the project is to see each school based trainee through to successful completion of their traineeship and to provide a pathway for ongoing training and development."

The students will acquire a nationally recognised qualification as well as skills and abilities that will translate into future career opportunities.

Indigenous Year 10 students who are keen to undertake a school-based traineeship in their field of their choice should complete an MRAEL application form and send it to before August 26.

For more information, contact MRAEL on 1800-441-511.
Extra $6m For Hendra Virus Research
July 27, 2011 - Qld Premier Anna Bligh and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell today announced an extra $6 million would be spent over three years to accelerate Hendra virus research.

Ms Bligh announced the funding after meeting with key members of the Hendra Virus Taskforce in Brisbane today.

The Taskforce has identified three main research questions which need answering:

  • Why does the virus spill-over from flying foxes?

  • How are horses and other animals exposed to Hendra Virus?

  • Why is there such a spike in cases this year?

"Today's announcement quadruples research dollars to a pool of $7.8 million from the frontline States of Queensland and NSW," Ms Bligh said.

The new research will include:

  • Improving our understanding even further on how the disease behaves in flying fox colonies - through mapping age and immunity structures within colonies and monitoring the stress of a colony by testing steroid levels in urine

  • How horses and flying foxes interact - through further monitoring of flying fox and other animal behaviour at night, with more infra-red cameras in more locations throughout Queensland and NSW

  • How environmental factors, such as food availability, temperature and rainfall impact on the likelihood of the disease "spilling over" from flying foxes to other animals.

  • A better understanding of what is driving flying fox movements, including the impact of extreme climatic events, using satellite tracking and other remote sensing techniques.

  • Further laboratory studies to investigate the susceptibility and transmission of Hendra virus in domestic species.
Looking For A Function Venue?
Ringsfield House

July 27, 2011 - There's been some exciting things happening recently at the Nanango Historical Society's Ringsfield House complex, (above), in Nanango.

Top of the list is a new website - - built with the assistance of funding from the Heritage Building Society (Nanango Community Branch).

Historical Society President Ros Gregor said Heritage has also assisted with the printing of brochures to promote the Ringsfield complex as a unique conference, wedding and function venue.

"It's all part of making Ringsfield economically viable by investing in the facilities and better promoting the heritage aspect," she said.

The Old School building on the site - Nanango's first school - has been equipped with high-tech conference equipment with the assistance of Tarong Energy. WiFi internet access, a big screen TV, Blue-ray player, and electronic whiteboard have been installed to encourage workshops of up to 30 people. The old school desks have also been transformed into workstations for smaller groups to provide a modern meeting facility but also maintain the heritage feel of the building.

Ros said Ringsfield could now also offer a full catering service for all events held on site.

Another building in the area, the Old Church, (right), - Nanango's first Presbyterian Church - is also enjoying a makeover. A ramp has been installed to assist entry to the building and leadlight windows have been re-installed. This will also be available for hire for functions and weddings.

Other changes include a shade sail which has been erected in the gardens to make the venue more user-friendly during the popular annual Australia Day celebrations, and new fencing.

Ringsfield House is run totally by volunteers who also maintain the large gardens around the historic buildings.

Photos: Courtesy Clive Lowe
Free Workshop To Help Community Groups
July 26, 2011 - The Department of Communities (Sport and Recreation Services) will be hosting a free workshop in Murgon next month to help community groups and clubs promote their activities.

The Marketing and Sponsorship workshop will cover a range of topics designed to provide community organisations and clubs with some knowledge and resources for promoting their groups.

Presenter will be Leisa Donlan, a fellow of the Australian Society of Association Executives who has 15 years experience in the non-profit sector.

South Burnett Regional Council Mayor David Carter has encouraged sportspeople, parents, coaches and teachers to attend the workshop.

"This is a great opportunity to get free advice from experienced people who can help you build your club as well as help you to promote your activities," he said.

The workshop will be held in the South Burnett PCYC, Macallister Street, Murgon, on Wednesday, August 10.

Registrations must be made by August 5 to (07) 4125-9399.
Opportunity To Balloon Your Business
July 25, 2011 - South Burnett businesses are being urged to put September 20 in their diaries to attend a Business Balloon workshop in Brisbane.

South Burnett Regional Council Economic & Tourism Development Officer Ross Anderson said the organisers had pulled together an impressive array of hands-on industry experts to present on key areas.

"The purpose of the day is to provide some genuine pearls of wisdom for entrepreneurs and business owners to take away and implement in their business and to establish some really strong links between participants," he said.

Guest speakers include Tom Potter (former CEO Eagle Boys), Jon Mailer (National College of Business), Simon Dell (TwoCents) and Anthony Davis (Brightwater).

Tickets are $69 (or $59 for FoodQ members) and also include breakfast, morning tea, a networking lunch and bottomless cups of coffee.

The conference room, at 157 Given Tce in Paddington, has full WiFi facilities so participants can do work between sessions if they choose to.

For more information email Business Balloon or contact Ross at the SBRC on
(07) 4189-9328.
LNP Promises Farmers Will Have A Voice In Cabinet
July 22, 2011 - Candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington has promised that Queensland farmers will get a far better deal under an LNP State Government.

Mrs Frecklington said LNP Leader Campbell Newman had made it clear at the party's State Conference last weekend that when it came to the four pillars of the Queensland economy, none was more important than agriculture.

"Unlike Labor, that thinks agriculture is old world, as a Party, the LNP will always stand up and fight for agriculture in this State – to fight for the people who provide food and fibre for a growing world,” Ms Frecklington said.

"No matter where you go in Queensland, you meet people who are doing amazing things on the land. But sadly, agriculture has been neglected, and is getting less and less support from the Bligh Labor Government.

"Gone is the Department of Primary Industries and the extension services it provided to help raise farm productivity. Gone are the days when the State Government built beef roads, dams and irrigation schemes.

"There's no reason why we can't do these things again. The LNP will make sure agriculture once again has its own department.

"We will give this important industry a strong voice in Cabinet and ensure it is very clearly recognised as an important part of Queensland's future."

Ms Frecklington said Campbell Newman told the conference that an LNP government would give agriculture a strong voice in Cabinet and ensure it was "very clearly" recognised as an important part of Queensland's future.
Government Business For Your Business
July 21, 2011 - Have you bid for government tenders and been unsuccessful? Would you like to learn how to improve your chances of success? Then this Kingaroy workshop could be for you.

Participants will learn the principles of State Government procurement policies and processes, how to complete complex offer / tender documents, respond to standard terms and conditions and identify the pre-requisites of being an eligible supplier.

The Tendering For Government Business workshop will be held from 8:00am-noon on Tuesday, August 9, at the Taabinga Room at the DEEDI Service Centre (the former DPI Research Station) opposite Kingaroy Airport.

Cost is $45.30. For more information - and to register to attend - contact the Maryborough Service Centre of the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation on (07) 4121-1780 or by email
Oil Slick on D'Aguilar Highway
July 20, 2011 - The South Burnett Regional Council is urging motorists to avoid using the D'Aguilar Highway between Blackbutt and Kingaroy if at all possible because of an oil spill on the road.

"Please be advised that Council is currently addressing the issue of a road oil slick on the northern bound side of the D'Aguilar Highway between Blackbutt and possibly to Kingaroy," a council statement released this morning noted.

"It is requested that all drivers drive with caution and please obey direction of police, SES and road closure signs. It would be appreciated if alternate routes could be taken to avoid this area."

UPDATE 11:45am: The slick area is between the current roadworks site approximately 6km south of Nanango, to the intersection of Appin Street and Cairns Street, Nanango. Please drive with caution in this area and at a reduced speed.
Apprentices Receive
Their Tools Of Trade
July 20, 2011 - Eight lucky apprentices received their full apprenticeship tool entitlements last week after successfully completing their probation periods at Tarong Power Station.

Stanwell Corporation and MRAEL worked closely to ensure the local apprentices and trainees received all the tools and training they require to complete their trades of choice.

This year's intake included Electrical Fitter Mechanic apprentices, Mechanical Fitting qpprentices, a Boilermaking apprentice, a Rigging trainee, a Community Services trainee and Business Administration trainees.

MRAEL will begin recruiting next year's intake of apprentices and trainees for Stanwell Corporation towards the end of July.

More information will be available at the South Burnett Careers Market at Kingaroy State High School on July 28 or visit the MRAEL website.

ABOVE RIGHT: Back Row, from left, Paul Blanch (Electrical Apprentice), Kyron Tunstall (Mechanical Fitting Apprentice), Hal Little (Electrical Apprentice), Matt Hislop (Mechanical Fitting Apprentice), Josh Larney (Electrical Apprentice), Dave Stapleton (Mechanical Fitting Apprentice); front row, Frances Ross, Apprentice Specialist MRAEL and Jeremy Moffett (Boilermaking Apprentice). (Absent: Colin Draper, Electrical Apprentice) [Pic supplied]

* * *

An open-cut nickel mine near Kilkivan looks more likely after the results of the latest drilling tests by AusNiCo at its Pembroke prospect.

The testing found nickel ore as well as small traces of copper, gold and cobalt.

In a statement, the company said it was encouraged by the results as they contributed to an increase in the area of nickel sulphide mineralisation at the Pembroke prospect where AusNiCo ultimately aims to "delineate a substantial open pit development".

Managing Director Nick Mather said AusNiCo was now testing other targets on the Black Snake plateau.

Boral Buys Ballogie Quarry
July 19, 2011 - International building and construction material supplier Boral has acquired Fortrus Quarries at Ballogie as part of its $81.5 million purchase of the Sunshine Coast Quarries Group.

Sunshine Coast Quarries also operates a quarry at Moy Pocket, on the Sunshine Coast, and a concrete plant at Gympie.

In a media statement, Boral said the acquisition was subject to informal clearance by the ACCC and finilisation of procedural issues but the transaction was expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The quarry at Ballogie is a freehold quarry with long-term reserves of more than 40 years.

The Moy Pocket quarry will replace Boral's existing quarry at Coolum which has about two years of quality reserves remaining.

UPDATE October 19, 2011: The ACCC today approved the $81.5m sale of Sunshine Coast Quarries to Boral.
Local Businesses On Show In Gympie
July 18, 2011 - Several South Burnett businesses will be proudly flying the flag for the region at FlavourFest which in on this Saturday at the Gympie Showground.

Tipperary Estate, The Peanut Van, Moffatdale Ridge Winery, Taste South Burnett, Bellbird Vineyards, Crane Wines, Fat Hen Farm and Clovely Estate will all have stalls at the inaugural event to showcase food and wine from the Gympie-Cooloola region and South Burnett.

FlavourFest will run from 10:00am to 6:00pm in The Pavilion and features wine tastings and cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs Ben O'Donoghue, Matt Golinski and Rita Macali. Entry is $5 with children under 14 free.

FlavourFest will be followed in the evening by the FlavourFeast dinner at the Gympic Civic Centre from 7:00pm. Cost is $95 for four courses plus wine tasting.
Tourism Operators To Vote On Second Merger
July 15, 2011 - South Burnett tourism operators, just settling down after merging with Toowoomba and Golden West Regional Tourism Organisation late last year, will now be asked at a Special General Meeting in August to approve a merger with a second tourism body, the Southern Downs and Granite Belt (SDGB) Regional Tourism Organisation.

Toowoomba, Golden West & South Burnett (TGWSB) general manager Stuart Perry confirmed today that the TGWSB Board had ratified a decision to merge with the Granite Belt group. The SDGB Board ratified the same decision a few months ago.

Mr Perry said both boards were now awaiting the outcome of funding applications to implement the merger and increase marketing activity.

However, he said the merger was still up to members.

"The two RTOs will hold Special General Meetings to discuss the decisions with the members and seek membership approval of the merger," he said.

"Between now and then, we will make sure all of the facts are put in front of you so you can make an educated decision on the future of your organisation.

"It's exciting times ahead and looking at growth patterns and some of the accommodation occupancies from around our region, we should feel pleased with ourselves that collectively we are ‘punching above our weight. As Mahatma Gandhi once said: 'The future depends on what we do in the present'."

A merged Toowoomba, Golden West, South Burnett, Southern Downs and Granite Belt tourism group will see Queensland's two major and competing wine tourism regions being promoted by the same body.

UPDATE July 19: South Burnett Wine Industry Association gives merger a thumbs down

UPDATE July 25: Toowoomba South Burnett manager Stuart Perry defends proposed merger
Mayor Pleased With Council Budget
July 15, 2011 - Mayor Cr David Carter is proud of the 2011/2012 South Burnett Regional Council budget handed down this week (see story, below).

"I am sure that there would not be many, if any, other amalgamated councils in the State that could boast that they had turned around an enormous budget deficit and 'weak' financial rating the way this council has," he said.

Cr Carter said 8.6 per cent of ratepayers would enjoy an overall reduction in rates and services charges under this latest budget. About 80 per cent of ratepayers would have a rates rise less than 10 per cent.

"I do want people to understand that the aim over the last three years has been to minimise the impact to ratepayers," he said.

"We have achieved this by reducing our expenditure as much as possible while still delivering effective services across the region. We have used every tool available to us as a Council to limit the large impacts that could have been placed on our community."

Some more highlights from the South Burnett Regional Council's Budget handed down this week:

  • $190,000 - new toilet blocks in Memorial Park, Kingaroy, and at Nanango
  • $145,000 - upgrade to Taabinga Cemetery in Kingaroy
  • $75,000 - walking track at Coomba Falls, Maidenwell (externally funded)
  • $40,000 - for Wondai Sports Ground
  • $40,000 - window upgrade and painting of Kingaroy Museum
  • $33,000 - painting of Ringsfield House, Nanango
  • $32,000 - walking track and exercise equipment at Proston (externally funded)
  • $20,000 - maintenance at Boondooma Homestead
  • $15,000 - upgrade of the diorama at the Wondai Timber Museum

  • Download Council press releases (94kb PDF)
  • Some More Training Opportunities
    July 15, 2011 - There's a few more training courses coming our way ...

  • Manufacturing Skills Queensland will be holding a one-day Leadership Workshop to help businesses "get the most" out of their employees.

    The workshop covers topics including team building, motivation, feedback and delivering results. It will be held on September 9 at the Kingaroy Service Centre (the old DPI&F research station) at 214 Kingaroy-Cooyar Road, Kingaroy (opposite the airport).

    Cost is $380 per person (lunch provided) and places are limited. To register
    visit the QMI Solutions website

  • Zero Harm Safety & Training is conducting four two-day Bridging Courses for the new GI Coal standard for health and safety obligations in the coal mining industry which was introduced on July 1.

    The courses will be held at Taste South Burnett's function room at 67 William Street in Kingaroy on July 18-19, 21-22, 23-24 and 30-31. Cost is $850 per person. For more information and to book, contact Nathan Andrews on 0417-425-176.
  • Highway To Close Briefly For Blasting
    July 14, 2011 - The Department of Transport and Main Roads has advised South Burnett residents that the D'Aguilar Highway through the Blackbutt Range will be closed for a brief period next Friday to allow blasting to take place.

    The blasting is part of the reconstruction works on the Range. For safety reasons, it cannot be done at night.

    The highway will be closed between Benarkin and Moore from 1:45pm to 2:15pm on July 22.

    Major landslips damaged the highway across the Blackbutt Range during the January floods. Reconstruction work is well underway.

    Further blasting will be required so further closures are also expected but have not yet been scheduled.

    When blasting is not in progress, the highway is open to a single lane through the range under 24-hour traffic control, with a 3m width limit.

    Traffic is allowed up the Range on the hour and half-hour, and down the Range at a quarter past and a quarter to the hour.
    Carbon Tax Won't Lead To Job Losses At Tarong
    July 14, 2011 - Any fears that the Federal Government's new carbon price scheme could lead to the closure of the local Tarong and Tarong North coal-fired power stations is misplaced.

    An official statement from the stations' owner, Stanwell Corporation, confirmed yesterday that the weekend announcement regarding a price on carbon was not expected to close any of Stanwell's power stations or assets, including Tarong, Tarong North or the adjacent Meandu Mine.

    The statement also said there was expected to be no impact on jobs.
    Council Rates Rise More
    Than 25% Since Amalgamation
    July 13, 2011 - South Burnett rates bills will rise a total 5.94 per cent - generating $1.72 million in extra revenue - in the 2011-12 Budget brought down today.

    At their Budget meeting, South Burnett councillors approved a general rate revenue rise of 4.3 per cent. The extra percentage above this covers service charges, including water, waste water and waste collection.

    Mayor Cr David Carter said that since amalgamation Council had reduced its operating costs by a total of 19.7 per cent or $6.2 million. Overall debt has been reduced by $2.86 million to $9.43 million with minimal loans proposed for the next few years.

    He said it would have been "very easy" to only have a very small rate rise this year but this would have been "both a cynical and irresponsible action" in a election year.

    "Three years ago the starting point was a huge deficit and a 'weak' financial rating," Cr Carter said.

    "Today we are rated as 'moderate', meaning Council is considered able to manage unforeseen financial shocks and any adverse changes in our business and in general economic conditions."

    Other Budget highlights:
    • $22 million on capital works (renewing or replacing assets) - an increase of more than $4 million per annum since amalgamation

    • $40.61 million for "Strategic Priority 5" which covers service delivery and infrastructure, including $4.3 million for road maintenance and $8.97 million for water supply and waste water collection and processing.

    Since amalgamation, South Burnett general rate revenue has risen a total of more than 25 per cent: 9 per cent in 2008-09, 7.5 per cent in 2009, 5 per cent in 2010-11 and 4.3 per cent in 2011-12.
    Blackbutt Range Crossing Identified As Local Priority
    July 12, 2011 - Improvements to the Blackbutt Range Crossing have been identified as a major task for the Wide Bay region in the State Government's Queensland Infrastructure Plan (QIP) released today for comment.

    Other priorities identified for the Wide Bay area are Bruce Highway upgrades, the development of a cycle network, trade training centres in schools and an expansion of Bundaberg Hospital.

    The QIP sketches the infrastructure blueprint for Queensland for the next 20 years.

    Premier Anna Bligh said it was a "visionary plan" that would strengthen regional Queensland and the entire State.

    It is the foundation document to the Queensland Regionalisation Strategy.

    "Queensland is now the only State in Australia with a 20 year infrastructure plan for the entire state," Ms Bligh said.

    The State Government is now seeking feedback from local residents.

    To view the consultation version of the QIP and find out more about planned discussion forums and how to provide feedback, phone 1800-093-903. Community consultation will run until September 9.

    * * *

    Regional pay-TV company Austar announced today it had reached an agreement for Foxtel to take over Austar in a $2.5 billion deal.

    At least 75 per cent of minority Austar shareholders must approve the scheme at a proposed scheme meeting later this year. Foxtel's major shareholders, Telstra, News Corp and Consolidated Media Holdings have already endorsed the deal.

    UPDATE July 22: The ACCC has delayed ruling on the proposed takeover, saying it is concerned the deal could create a near-monopoly