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Fencing Crews Ready To Roll

February 28, 2011 - Iron Bark Ridge Services, near Murgon, has taken delivery of a new tractor which will have a double benefit for the local community - help provide work for Indigenous youth plus assist with the task of repairing flood-damaged fencing.

Funding for the tractor was made possible through the Indigenous Land Use Agreement which was negotiated between Wakka Wakka elders and Tarong Energy in 2009. Local businesses were also keen to help, including South Burnett Machinery in Murgon and the Wooroolin Machinery Centre.

IBRS on-site manager Danny Hoogstraten said he had crews ready to go and plenty of work lined up.

The Agreement Implementation Group - which is made up of Wakka Wakka elders and senior Tarong Energy employees - decided last year that the investment in the tractor would help generate more employment opportunities for local Aboriginal youth.

Wakka Wakka elder Beryl Gambrill said the group was always searching for ways to improve the employment prospects for the local Aboriginal population.

"There's dignity in labour and dignity in providing for your family. Plus there's always a need to link in with other businesses like Iron Bark Ridge Services to make sure that we're getting the best return on our community investment as we can," she said.

ABOVE: Many local people pitched in to help organise the fencing equipment which will help improve Aboriginal employment prospects in the South Burnett: agricultural machinery suppliers, Tarong Energy, Wakka Wakke elders and Iron Bark Ridge Services. Also pictured are some of the crew that will be using the tractor and machinery

* * *

The Blackbutt to Moore Rail Trail - used by hikers, cyclists and horse rides - has been reopened after volunteers repaired damage caused by the January rainfall and floods.

A working bee held on February 18 restored the Linville to Moore section of the trail. Volunteers came from as far as Brisbane, Caboolture and Nambour to lend a hand, clear debris and plant seedlings.

A similar working bee will be scheduled at Yarraman later this year.
Tarong Energy Backs Our Junior Chefs
February 25, 2011 - Tarong Energy is the latest sponsor to come on board to help make the 2011 South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival on March 12 in Kingaroy even better than ever!

Tarong Energy's support will ensure the junior chefs who will be performing on stage in the PCA marquee during the day - and then the "Sample the South Burnett" food and wine master classes with gourmand Peter Scudamore-Smith which will follow immediately afterwards - will have a top-class sound system.

Five young chefs aged between 8 and 12 will be preparing dishes on stage in the PCA Junior Cook-Off from 10:45am under the watchful eye of local chef Jason Ford. Their efforts will be judged by three-times cook-off winner Steve Gudzinski, chef Tim La Budde from Endeavour Kitchen and David Costello from the Courier-Mail. Prizes have been donated by Harvey Norman, Big W, Flamingo Wish and SQIT.

Then at 4:30pm and 6:30pm Master Of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith will be conducting two wine tasting classes. He'll be joined by Kingaroy Catering's Sheree Strauss who will serve up gourmet tasting platters of South Burnett foods. Tickets for these two master classes are strictly limited to 40 at each session. To book, contact Sheree on 0417-726-702.

* * *

Congratulations to well-known regional jockey Jason Hoopert who has been given the all-clear to resume racing after recovering from the life-threatening injuries he suffered in a horrific race fall on July 29, 2006, at Kilcoy.

The popular jockey suffered head injuries, broken ribs, a punctured lung and a broken arm and was in an induced coma in hospital for several days after his mount Iris Kiap crashed approaching the home turn in the second race on the program.

Jason then faced a long period of intensive rehabilitation.

His proud mum, Denise Keelan, from Kingaroy, said on Facebook last night that Jason had been told at the time he would never race again but his recovery proved the saying "never say never".
Kingaroy Landcare Hosts Field Day
February 24, 2011 - The Kingaroy Landcare Group will be holding a field day on Saturday (February 26) to discuss ways of improving rainfall infiltration on pastures sown on old cropping land.

There will be a comparison of different strategies including placing small check banks in between existing contour banks, ripping and area with no soil disturbance.

The field day will be held from 3:00pm to 5:00pm on Neville Jorgensen's property on Jorgensen's Road, Booie (off Kingaroy-Barkers Creek Road).

For more information, contact Ian Crosthwaite on 0409-622-319 or by email
New Faces on BIEDO Board
February 23, 2011 - The Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO) elected two new Board members at its AGM on February 14.

Joining long-term Chairman Cr David Carter and Vice-Chairman Cr Paul Francis are Penny Kennedy, who is taking up the role of Treasurer, and Andrew Bryant who will be the new BIEDO Secretary.

Cr Carter welcomed the Board members. He said they were business and community leaders who had demonstrated their commitment to the Inland Burnett in every aspect of their lives.

"I'd also like to sincerely thank our two outgoing Executive members, Loris Doessel of Mundubbera Community Development Association and Jenny Todd, formerly of Tarong Energy," Cr Carter said.

"Both Jenny and Loris have given generously of their time and energy and offered their leadership and expertise to BIEDO for more than five years."

The BIEDO Board meets face-to-face twice a year, once in the North Burnett and once in the South Burnett.

ABOVE RIGHT: From left, Secretary Andrew Bryant (Lifeline Fraser Coast), Treasurer Penny Kennedy (business owner and primary producer from Booubyjan), Cr David Carter (Chairman) and Cr Paul Francis (Vice-Chair)
State Govt Takes Back Rail Trail Project (and $1m)
February 22, 2011 - A decision to hand over the development of the proposed Kingaroy to Theebine (K2T) Rail Trail to the Department of Infrastructure and Planning (DIP) will mean the South Burnett Regional Council will relinquish $1 million in funding which had been allocated to the project.

The funding had been assigned to Council as part of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Transport and Main Roads when the rail line was closed. It was conditional on Council taking over a 30-year lease on the corridor and could be used for the purpose of maintaining the corridor and/or redeveloping it into a rail trail.

As part of the MOU, $100,000 from this funding was allocated this financial year for a study to determine if it was feasible to convert the corridor to a rail trail.

Tenders had been sought for this study but no contract had been signed when an email offer came from DIP - which has been developing the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. DIP requested Council consider allowing them to take over the K2T lease with the potential of eventually linking the two projects.

At its January meeting, South Burnett councillors unanimously approved the proposal that DIP take over development of the K2T rail trail. They also approved that the $1 million previously allocated be redirected to DIP.

Council representatives will continue to work in partnership with DIP to develop the trail. However, any decision by Council to take over the lease again in the future would have to be re-negotiated.

ABOVE: Kingaroy Railway Station in 1991. Photo courtesy:
Storms Cause Widespread Blackouts
February 21, 2011 - The band of storms that swept through the South Burnett this afternoon caused many blackouts.

An Ergon Energy spokesman said 5500 customers in Nanango, Yarraman, Blackbutt and surrounding areas had their power supply interrupted in separate events between 2:00pm and 3.15pm. Power was restored to most within 40 minutes.

About 6000 customers in the Murgon region also were affected, mostly for about 15 minutes.

Repairs have had to be made at the Kilkivan town substation. Power is expected to be restored to about 600 Kilkivan customers at 7.30pm.

There have also been widespread reports of damage affecting supply to individual customers across the South Burnett, including in Kingaroy. Ergon Energy crews will be working on these repairs throughout the night.

* * *

Today's storms also caused drama at Nanango State School when a pine tree near the staff room crashed down in the high winds, damaging a powerline.

Principal Lyal Giles this evening congratulated staff, students and parents on Facebook for remaining calm during the events and being "extraordinarily understanding".

To ensure the safety of students the school was put into lockdown. The damaged tree has been cut back and QBuild has begun repairing the damage.
Share Your Memories of Chahpingah
February 21, 2011 - Do you have any historic photographs - or memories - you'd like to share about the Burrandowan / Chahpingah area?

The Chahpingah Reserves Association is putting together an interpretive board and marking the sites of Burrandowan State School, Burrandowan Bush Nursing Centre, Chahpingah Telephone Exchange and Carriers Depot, and Chahpingah Hall.

Anyone who has any photographs, stories or contact with people associated with any of the above are asked to contact Carolyn Stone as soon as possible on (07) 4164-8147 or by email

* * *

Gympie Regional Council is seeking feedback from residents whether they want to stay with the current whole-of-shire representational system for councillors or whether to introduce divisions.

Public meetings have been scheduled this week throughout the shire, including on Thursday at Kilkivan (Public Hall Supper Room from 4:00pm) and Goomeri (Hall of Memory from 2:00pm).

Alternatively, residents can fill out a feedback form on council's website
Cougar Energy Shareholders Fight Back
February 18, 2011 - A group of angry shareholders has banded together in a last-ditch bid to save Cougar Energy's stalled Underground Coal Gasification project at Kingaroy.

The group, which claims shareholders have $25 million invested in the project, has been writing to politicians and the media alleging State Government "discrimination" against Cougar Energy and UCG in favour of Coal Seam Gasification (CSG).

They claim some CSG companies have reported 2ppb benzene contamination at their operations without any action being taken.

Spokesman Cameron Buchanan, from the Gold Coast, told SBBiz yesterday he believed Cougar Energy had been made a scapegoat.

"I believe in this company and I know the technology works," he said.

Mr Buchanan said the UCG process which Cougar had licensed for Australia was developed by Canadian company Ergo Exergy Technologies and was successfully operating in South Africa. Other plants using the same technology were under construction in Canada and New Zealand.

He said everyone had also "forgotten" about a successful 1999 trial of UCG technology at Chinchilla which Cougar Energy Managing Director Dr Len Walker had initiated and which ran until 2002.

The shareholders group has labelled the State Government's handling of the Kingaroy project as a "disgraceful fiasco demanding public and media scrutiny".

It also alleged local MP Dorothy Pratt moved from initially supporting the project to attacking it because to have done otherwise would have been "political suicide" in the wake of protests by local farmers.

Cougar Energy has until February 28 to appeal the State Government's decision to axe the Kingaroy project.
Kingaroy To Host Queensland
Training Awards Regional Final
February 17, 2011 - The Queensland Training Awards - which recognise outstanding trainees, apprentices and their workplaces - are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2011 - and Kingaroy will be playing a special role.

Competitors from all over the Darling Downs and south-west Queensland will be coming to Kingaroy on July 29 for the announcement of the regional award winners at a gala event at Kingaroy Town Hall.

The regional winners will then compete in the State Final in September and, if successful, will take part in the Australian Training Awards competition which will be held in Brisbane in November.

Regional QTA Co-Ordinator Scott Jones-Christ, (pictured, above right, with Sharon French, Murgon SHS, and Leanne Krosch, Kingaroy SHS), briefed attendees about the awards at the first SATS Committee meeting for 2011, held in Kingaroy yesterday.

The SATS (School-based Apprentices and Trainees) Committee consists of representatives from local high schools, group training companies, SQIT Kingaroy and other training organisations.

Mr Jones-Christ said a new category had been introduced to the Awards this year: VET teacher / Trainer of the Year which will recognise excellence by an individual in vocational training delivery.

Other categories are: Apprentice of the Year, Trainee of the Year, Vocational Student of the Year, School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, Small Employer of the Year and Employer of the Year.

Nominations for all categories close on March 18.

For more information, visit the QTA website or contact Mr Jones-Christ on (07) 4687-2833.

* * *

Rival wine tourism regions the South Burnett and the Granite Belt could soon find themselves under the umbrella of the same tourism promotion body if a likely merger takes place.

The Warwick Daily News is reporting today that a majority of tourism operators in the Southern Downs and Granite Belt are supportive of a merger between their Regional Tourism Organisation and the Toowoomba Golden West RTO which the South Burnett also recently joined.

  • Read the full report here
Kingaroy Water Almost Back To Normal
February 16, 2011 - The South Burnett Regional Council has lifted the emergency water supply conditions imposed on Kingaroy residents after a major water main broke on Monday.

Council announced late today that the water main had been repaired and the town's reservoir levels were approaching normal.

Residents can now revert to back to Level 1 Water Restrictions however there may be some incidents of dirty water over the next few days.
Kingaroy Water Update
February 14, 2011 - Kingaroy has experienced a severe break in the water main supplying the town.

The South Burnett Regional Council has advised that the town is now under Emergency Water Supply Arrangements.

No external use of water is allowed unless for cleaning of vehicle windscreens, mirrors and pet enclosures or for emergency purposes.

Council is endeavouring to repair the main and will advise on any change to the situation.

UPDATE February 15: Council expects to finish repairing the main late this afternoon. Pumping has resumed to Kingaroy with a limited flow however water supplies are not expected to return to normal until Wednesday (Feb 16). In the meantime, residents have been advised that dirty water may be experienced intermittently due to low reservoir levels so it is recommended clothes washing be delayed.

Local Road Damage Update:

  • Road closure information (updated 3:30pm). NB. Repairs have started on the D'Aguilar Highway just north of Yarraman. Traffic lights may cause some small delays.
Skilling Solutions May Be The Answer
February 10, 2011 - Have you got skills and experience but need the "piece of paper" to prove it? Then this may be what you're looking for!

The State Government's free training and career information service Skilling Solutions Queensland regularly visits Kingaroy and Murgon to talk to people who are looking for a career change, want to up-skill or re-enter the workforce.

The team usually visits Murgon on the 3rd Monday of every month from 12:30pm-4:30pm and Kingaroy on the 3rd Tuesday of every month (9.00am-5.00pm) and 3rd Wednesday (9.00am-1.00pm).

However, due to disruptions caused by the recent weather, their next visits will be:

  • Murgon - Monday, February 14, at CTC Employment, 76B Lamb Street, Murgon; and

  • Kingaroy - Tuesday, February 15, and Wednesday morning, February 16 at the Southern Qld Institute of TAFE, Geritz Road, Kingaroy

Customers of Skilling Solutions Queensland may be eligible for a subsidy of up to $1000, depending on the qualification being sought.

Local Road Damage Update:

  • The South Burnett Regional Council announced today that the Bunya Mountains Road is now open at Burtons Well. However, there are areas where work is still continuing and the road is "one lane" only near the Alice Creek Road intersection where a 40km/h speed zone is in place.

  • Road closure information (updated 3:30pm). NB. Kingaroy-Burrandowan Road is now open but drive with extreme caution.

* * *

The South Burnett Mayor's 2011 Flood Appeal has raised more than $23,000 so far to assist local SES groups.

Cr David Carter announced on Facebook today that more than $8000 had been raised at Wondai. Heritage Nanango Community Branch has contributed $10,000.
2011 Peanut Festival Axed
February 9, 2011 - The 50-year history of the Kingaroy Peanut Festival looks to be over with a decision last night to cancel the 2011 Festival - which had been set down for June 4 - and a recommendation that Peanut Festival Inc be wound up.

A meeting of the not-for-profit Incorporated Association held in Kingaroy was told community support for the Festival was lacking. There had also been little response from advertisements calling for volunteers in the local newspaper.

It was feared that local businesses - which are suffering a trading slump - wouldn't be able to offer strong support for the 2011 event.

Final blows were the failure to secure State Government Queensland Day funding, which it had been hoped would offset the cost of re-locating the festival back to the Kingaroy CBD, and the resignation of the Association's Secretary.

Peanut Festival Inc successfully ran the 2009 Festival - achieving a small profit - after taking over from the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

A Special General Meeting of Peanut Festival Inc will be held from 5:30pm in Shed 1 at the South Burnett Enterprise Centre on March 29 to consider motions to officially wind up the Association.
Afloman Targets Disease Risk For Peanut Growers
February 8, 2011 - An online computer program designed to help local peanut growers minimise quality issues during drought, can now help the same growers assess the risk of their crops developing leaf disease during wet growing seasons such as we're now experiencing.

The Afloman website - which was developed by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Industry (formerly the DPI&F) in conjunction with PCA, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit (APSRU) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) - allows growers to gain updates from sample growing areas at Kumbia, Wooroolin, Memerambi and Coalstoun Lakes.

A new drop-down menu allows growers to select either "Aflo" or "FDR" (foliar disease risk) charts. The FDR menu leads to graphs that assess the risk of rust and leafspot diseases.

Peanut growers are also given the opportunity on the website to register to join the Afloman program which will then provide real-time estimates of risk in their own individual paddocks.

For more information about Afloman, contact Dr Yash Chauhan at DEEDI - Primary Industries and Fisheries - Kingaroy on (07) 4160-0700.

* * *

Cougar Energy, the company behind the failed UCG project near Kingaroy, has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers Securities Limited to find investors.

In a statement today to the ASX, Cougar Energy said PwCS would approach "a select number of companies" to explore options including investment in Cougar Energy as well as merger and acquisition opportunities in Australia and/or offshore.
A Free Picnic To Say Thank You!
February 7, 2011 - By now you're probably feeling a bit of "flood exhaustion" ... if so, the people behind the popular Boots'n'Bulldust Festival in Nanango are aiming to help you "recover" from all the recent events.

In conjunction with Kingaroy Rotary and the South Burnett Regional Council, the Boots'n'Bulldust volunteers have organised free Flood Recovery Picnics which will be held in Nanango and Kingaroy later this month.

This will be an opportunity to thank emergency services teams and council staff for all their hard work during the January floods.

There will be free entertainment, games, a sausage sizzle, face painting, drinks and ice creams. As well, there'll be flood recovery information and where to get assistance.

Co-ordinator Sandy Towell invited participants to being along their photos of the flood to put up on a "Wall of Water" which will be used to create a pictorial history.

The Nanango picnic will be held at the Nanango Showgrounds on Saturday, February 19 from 1:30pm to 5:30pm.

The Kingaroy picnic will be held at Memorial Park on Sunday, February 20 from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

BYO picnic basket to share for afternoon tea.

For more information, contact Sandy on (07) 4171-0753 or by email
Meet'n'Greet To Gauge Impact Of Floods
February 4, 2011 - The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry's next Meet'n'Greet will be held on Monday, February 21, from 5:30pm at the Kingaroy Country Motel in Knight Street, Kingaroy.

The topic will be the impact of the recent flooding on local business and the economy. Guest speakers will include Damien O'Sullivan (DEEDI) and Phil Harding (South Burnett Regional Council).

There is no cover charge. To RSVP, contact KCCI Project Officer Joanne Thorp on (07) 4162-8466.
Kingaroy Group tells Cougar To
Accept the Referee's Decision
February 3, 2011 - The Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group has told Cougar Energy to "accept the referee's decision" over the State Government's decision to end the pilot Kingaroy UCG plant.

Spokesman John Dalton said the group applauded the decision which reflected the values of the Kingaroy community and also the seriousness of the technical failures identified by Cougar Energy in their reports to DERM.

"Recent statements by Cougar Energy that they will challenge the decision seem to ignore the technical incompetence identified by DERM in documents supporting the decision," a statement from KCCG said.

"Cougar Energy is still not publicly admitting the nature and seriousness of the events that have contributed to the Government's decision but is instead spinning the decision so that they appear the be the victim of an injustice, thereby trying to resuscitate their share price.

"Statements by Cougar Energy . . . that the government decision is depriving the State of a lucrative industry seems at odds with the values of the State and the local community, which values industry, but not at any cost.

"KCCG members suggest that so far, the biggest threat to the development of UCG in Queensland would be the spectacular and very public failure of the Cougar Energy trial.

"KCCG believes that Cougar Energy will soon have to accept the referee's decision that they are out of step with Queensland and Kingaroy expectations, and cease wasting shareholder and tax payer money on the defence of a seriously flawed venture. "

Local Road Damage Update:

  • Kingaroy-Cooyar Road was re-opened to traffic in the Goodger area about 3:45pm today. Warning signs have been erected and a 60km/h speed zone will apply. A 40km/h zone has also been imposed on a stretch near the Lankowski's Road intersection that is showing signs of pavement failure.
Ergon Crews Head North For Cyclone Emergency
February 2, 2011 - Ergon Energy employees from Murgon, Kingaroy and Yarraman are on their way north to help with the restoration effort after Cyclone Yasi.

The teams will be stationed in Rockhampton tonight so they can move into the cyclone-affected areas as soon as it is safe to do so.

General Manager Service Delivery Southern Paul Jordon said Ergon Energy was preparing for significant damage to the electricity network given the warnings about the unprecedented force of Cyclone Yasi.

"Ergon Energy crews from all parts of regional Queensland, supported by Energex crews and others from interstate, required four weeks to repair the damage inflicted by Cyclone Larry in 2006," he said.

"On that basis, we are expecting similar or greater support will be needed in the coming days and weeks, so we will get our crews from the southern region into North Queensland as soon as possible after the immediate cyclone danger has passed."

Local Road Damage Update:

Cougar Energy Weighs Up Legal Challenge
February 1, 2011 - Cougar Energy is considering if there are legal grounds upon which to challenge the Queensland Government's decision to axe its Kingaroy UCG project.

A spokesman said today the company was receiving legal advice in respect of the next steps which could be taken and would advise the ASX once it had reached a decision on the most appropriate course of action.

The Cougar Energy statement emphasised the Department of Environment and Resource Management announcement was a proposed course of action and that Cougar had until February 28 to make representations why the action should not be taken.

Cougar was also concerned about "a number of factual inaccuracies" which it alleged were contained in the Independent Scientific Panel's report. It would make a public response to address these inaccuracies and would also explore to what extent DERM had relied on this report.

"If the company is not able to convince DERM through consultation that it should be permitted to recommence operations at Kingaroy, consideration will need to be given to whether there would be any merit in challenging DERM's decision by making application to the Queensland Planning and Environment Court," the statement said.

Scientists Puzzled Why UCG
Project Site Was Approved
January 31, 2011 - The Independent Scientific Panel (ISP) investigating the Cougar Energy UCG Project near Kingaroy has issued a scathing report which criticises both the company and the State Government for allowing the trial to go ahead at that location in the first place.

In its summary report, the ISP said a consultant's report, which indicated the site was "not optimal" because of the complex geological conditions, was available to both Cougar Energy and the State Government at the time the project was approved.

"It is unclear why the trial was not located in a more simple hydrogeological setting," the report noted.

The fact that surrounding farmers relied on the groundwater also made the site not "prudent for trialling UCG production".

The ISP said it had been difficult to assess the implications of the environmental evaluations because of a lack of sufficient baseline information.

"More systematic monitoring should have been required and undertaken at the outset," it said.

The scientists also noted Cougar Energy's reliance "on a whiteboard alone" to explain to them the project's underground design. They said some documentation from the company also "generally lacked detail and had been less-than-clear in explanation with some self-contradictory comments and other comments that were difficult to interpret".