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Cougar Energy Raises Another $1m in Funding
January 10, 2011 - Cougar Energy - the company behind the currently halted Underground Coal Gasification trial near Kingaroy - announced today that it has placed $1 million worth of new shares with investors.

The funds will be used for working capital and to develop UCG projects in Australia and China.

Last Friday, Cougar admitted low levels of benzene had again been detected in a monitoring bore close to its Kingaroy UCG pilot plant. Two test results from bore T5066 showed a level of 1 part per billion of benzene. No traces of benzene or toluene were detected in any other bores.

The fate of the controversial Kingaroy UCG trial could be known as early as next Monday. Cougar Energy previously advised the ASX that the Department of Environment and Resource Management had told the company it would decide whether to accept Cougar's environmental evaluations on this date.

News In Brief

Businesses and homes in Woolooga, Kilkivan and Goomeri area were flooded and the Wide Bay Highway badly damaged at the weekend. See ABC-TV report and read more on the Gympie Times website.

* * *

Kingaroy-based BGA Agriservices has expanded its reach into NSW, opening stores at Casino and Tyndale. Read more on The Land website.

* * *

Centrelink has put in place special arrangements for South Burnett customers who are affected by flooding. Customers who usually lodge their forms in person can do so over the phone. These special arrangements are current to Wednesday (January 12) and only apply to residents in the following postcodes: 4306, 4601 (Goomeri), 4605 (Cherbourg and Murgon), 4608 (Wondai), 4614 (Yarraman), 4615 (Maidenwell) and 4615 (Nanango).

* * *

January 10 South Burnett road closures: Download PDF
Merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year!
December 10, 2010 - would like to wish all our readers a very happy and safe Christmas and a prosperous 2011!

The website will be running as usual over the holiday break so please continue to send in any updates or changes to business listings, however our news briefs will be taking a short break until January 10.

A huge thank you to everyone who has assisted us over the past 12 months!
Kingaroy Library On The Move
December 9, 2010 - The vacant shops in Haly Street, Kingaroy, will be put to good use after Christmas when they become the temporary new home of the Kingaroy Library.

The council library in Glendon Street will close on December 24 and re-open on Monday, January 17, in new premises at 189-191 Haly Street.

The move will allow further renovation of the Kingaroy Town Hall forecourt area and the current library facility.

* * *

The executive committee of the South Burnett Wine Industry Association was re-elected unopposed at the AGM held in Tingoora on Monday night.

Re-elected were President Jason Kinsella (Moffatdale Ridge), Vice-President Kevin Temperton (Bellbird Wines) and Secretary Paula Greenwood (Greenwood's Vineyards).

  • Read more on South Burnett Wine
  • So You Thought They Couldn't Be Bought?
    December 8, 2010 - The South Burnett Regional Council has come up with a novel way to raise money for charity - they've decided to flog off their councillors.

    South Burnett businesses will have the opportunity to "buy" a councillor next Thursday and put him/her to work.

    The Work a Day in Your Shoes slave auction - sorry, charity auction - will be held on December 16 from 6:00am to 9:00am in the Kingaroy Town Hall Forecourt, Glendon Street, Kingaroy, and will be accompanied by a BBQ brekkie by the Kingaroy Rotary Club.

    It will also be broadcast live by local radio stations 10.71 and CROW-FM.

    The money raised will help Angel Flight, a foundation that co-ordinates non-emergency free flights for financially and medically needy people anywhere in Australia.

    * * *

    UPDATE December 17, 2010 - Auction results: Here's the going rate for councillors ...

    • Mayor David Carter - $1602 for a day of work at the Booie Bello Vista Restaurant and another day at Brumby's Bakery, Kingaroy Shoppingworld.
    • Cr Keith Campbell - $1668 to work for charities including SB Care, the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and Meals on Wheels.
    • Cr Kathy Duff - $300 - Kingaroy Office Central
    • Cr Cheryl Dalton - $425 - Fortrus Quarries
    • Cr Damien Tessmann - $370 - Donut King
    • Cr Deb Palmer - $200 - CROW-FM
    • Cr Barry Green - $250 - South Burnett CTC

    A total of $4814.00 was raised for Angel Flight as well as an additional $60 from the gold coin breakfast. Congratulations everyone!
    Time Is Running Out
    To Have Your Say!
    December 7, 2010 - The deadline for South Burnett residents to have a say on the draft Wide Bay Burnett Regional Plan - an important State Government planning document that will shape the direction of the region until 2031 - is rapidly approaching.

    The regional plan plan, (see SBBiz, October 4), sets out strategic directions - where people are going to live, land use options, growth areas, green space - in fact, everything from air quality and noise to economic development, tourism development, transport and waste recycling.

    It can be downloaded from the Department of Infrastructure and Planning website

    Public comments close on December 24, 2010.
    Algal Bloom Closes
    Gordonbrook Dam - Again
    December 6, 2010 - Local residents or visitors hoping to do a spot of fishing at Gordonbrook Dam, (right), over the Christmas break will be disappointed with the news today that the dam has again be closed due to water quality issues.

    The South Burnett Regional Council says recent sampling has detected very high levels of blue green algae following fresh inflows into the dam over the past few months.

    All access to the dam has been closed, including access to the boat ramp and fishing from the banks.

    Council says the dam will remain closed until subsequent water samples indicate acceptable levels.

    UPDATE: December 21, 2010: Recent rainfall has allowed Council to re-open Gordonbrook Dam over the Christmas period. The dam is open for limited boating and recreation. Only boats with electric motors (max 6 knots) are permitted, as well as man-powered vessels such as kayaks and canoes. No ski-boats, jet skis or other fuel-powered boats are allowed on the dam.
    Two Representatives From South
    Burnett On Merged Tourism Board
    December 3, 2010 - The South Burnett will have two representatives on the Board of the newly merged Toowoomba, Golden West and South Burnett Tourism Association.

    They are Neil Archer (Red Rock on Booie) and South Burnett Regional Mayor Cr David Carter.

    They will join:
    • President Debra Howe (Toowoomba Regional Council)
    • Vice-President James Haig (Department of Environment and Resource Management - Environmental Protection Agency),
    • Secretary Stephen O'Brien (Park Motor Inn - Toowoomba)
    • Treasurer Cr Robyn Fuhrmeister (Balonne Shire Council)

    and Board Members:
    • Deborah Bailey (Cobb & Co Museum, Toowoomba)
    • Helen Bawden (Museum of Australian Army Flying, Oakey)
    • Cr Joy Denton (Maranoa Regional Council)
    • Gerry Golder (Gundy Star Tourist Van Park, Goondiwindi)
    • Michelle Hogan (City Golf Club, Toowoomba)
    • Cr Andrew Smith (Western Downs Regional Council)
    • Branton Woodhead (Crows Nest Motel)
    Pilot Carbon Capture
    Plant Opens At Tarong
    December 2, 2010 - A pilot carbon capture plant - which captures carbon dioxide from flue gases - was officially opened at Tarong Power Station today, (right).

    The $5 million project is a partnership between the CSIRO and Tarong
    Energy Corporation.

    The post combustion capture (PCC) technology uses a liquid solvent to capture carbon dioxide from the station's flue gases and has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations by more than 80 per cent.

    CSIRO Advanced Coal Technology Director Dr John Carras said the PCC technology could help strike a balance between the increasing global demand for energy and the need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

    The pilot plant is designed to capture about 1000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. It will be used to assist the development of efficient PCC technology at a commercial scale.

    The pilot plant was officially launched by Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson.
    New Face Joins CTC Board
    December 1, 2010 - Michael Hammond, from Thiess, was elected to the Board of South Burnett CTC Inc at the not-for-profit association's Annual General Meeting held in Kingaroy this evening.

    Re-elected were John Quatermass (patron), chairman Howard Leisemann and Board Members Nina Temperton, Max Lehmann, Geoff Hosking, John Box, Keith Campbell, Michael Carroll, Eric Cross, Graham Easterby and Jenny Walters.

    Mr Leisemann said there were many individuals and businesses who had assisted the organisation over the past 12 months but he extended a special thank you to Thiess who had helped CTC establish a commercial laundry at The Gumnut Place in Murgon.

    He also thanked CTC's managers and employees for their dedication and support.

    Secretary Nina Temperton said CTC was currently running more than 40 programs in the community, including 65 per cent of employment services contracts in the South Burnett, however she cautioned that this Federal Government contract would expire in 2012.

    It was also announced at that the meeting that the National Australia Bank would be assisting CTC through its "staff volunteer days" over the next 12 months.

    ABOVE: Relaxing after the meeting, South Burnett Regional Council Mayor David Carter, Nina Temperton and Howard Leisemann

  • Download CTC's 2010 Annual Report here
  • Sunday Trading Application Before Commission
    November 30, 2010 - A renewed application by the National Retail Association to allow Sunday trading in Kingaroy will be heard by a Full-Bench of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission today.

    The application, which will be heard at the Kingaroy Courthouse, seeks trading hours from 9:00am-5:00pm on Sundays and 8:30am to 5:30pm on public holidays (except Christmas Day, Good Friday, Anzac Day and Labour Day).

    The South Burnett Regional Council does not support the proposal. At their November meeting, councillors voted 5-1 against supporting the application due to the impact it would cause on smaller communities in the region. Cr Barry Green was the dissenting voice.

    The last time this idea was mooted was in 2005 when the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry held a public debate to discuss the idea.

    There was strong opposition from local shopkeepers and a petition was presented which included 65 signatures from CBD traders collected in just two afternoons.

    UPDATE 1/12/10: NRA Executive Director Gary Black told SBBiz today the Commission had reserved its decision after hearing evidence from about 10 witnesses, both for and against the application. He expected a decision would be handed down early in the New Year. The NRA represents many national chains including Gloria Jeans, Best & Less, Target and Woolworths.
    Council Approves Youngman Street Motel Site
    November 29, 2010 - The South Burnett Regional Council has voted to approve rezoning of a block of land behind the South Burnett Private Hospital to allow construction of a motel.

    The land, which fronts 76-78 Youngman Street, Kingaroy, will be now included in the Business and Commercial Zone to allow the construction of a 28-unit motel plus a manager's residence.

    The two blocks have remained vacant for many years following the removal of cottages on the site.

    Kingaroy real estate agent Freeman Estates is now marketing the land on behalf of the developer.

    The council approval for the development will remain current for four years.
    Artists impression of UCG wellCougar Energy 'Here To Stay'
    November 26, 2010 - Cougar Energy Chairman Malcolm McAully told shareholders at the company's AGM in Melbourne today that Cougar was "here to stay" despite a most challenging year.

    He admitted the company had struggled to manage the consequences of a decision earlier this year by the Queensland Government to shut down its Kingaroy UCG pilot plant.

    "Cougar Energy remains confident that Underground Coal Gasification can provide a cost-competitive and cleaner source of power generation," he said.

    He criticised reporting of the water contamination scare in Kingaroy and the "premature" reaction of the State Government.

    "Cougar Energy remains undeterred by the, at times, ill-informed public comment and the seemingly premature reaction of the Queensland Government to events at Kingaroy," he said.

    "In fact at times it appeared that the discussion in public was based more on fear and hysteria rather than reality.

    "We, at Cougar Energy, understand the need for thorough scrutiny and debate about our business as we demonstrate the viability of UCG as an alternative energy source of the future. However the debate must be informed by facts and not misinformation nor deliberately misleading statements and accusations."

    He said Cougar Energy was strongly committed to achieving the re-commencement of the operations at Kingaroy but was also exploring UCG opportunities elsewhere.

    Treasurer Promises No 'Operational ' Job
    Losses As Axe Falls On Tarong Energy
    November 25, 2010 - Tarong Energy - operator of the Tarong and Tarong North power stations near Nanango - will cease to exist from July 1 under a restructure plan announced by the State Government today.

    Operation of the two power stations will be rolled into a new body which will also be responsible for the Stanwell, Collinsville and Swanbank E power stations.

    Premier Anna Bligh told State Parliament this morning that as a result of a review begun in December 2008, Queensland's three power-generating companies would be merged into two.

    A second new body would be responsible for the Kogan Creek, Gladstone, Callide B, Callide C and Wivenhoe power stations.

    Treasurer Andrew Fraser said consultations would begin today with employees, including the current CEOs, and unions about the restructure plan.

    While he promised there would be no job losses for the operational workforce at the power stations, he said the restructure would impact on some corporate and office positions.

    "There will be no forced redundancies for award or agreement staff," he said.

    Mr Fraser said the mergers would save $60 million through reduced corporate overheads, improved asset management and maintenance synergies. These savings would be used to expand the Climate Smart Home Service.

    * * *

    Ergon Energy crews began a major upgrade to the electricity network near Kingaroy today to cater for growth in the south-east of the town.

    Crews from the South Burnett and Bundaberg worked on high-voltage powerlines on the D'Aguilar Highway near Taabinga State School and Clarke and Swendsons Road.

    Next Thursday, they will work on lines along Harris Road. They will also upgrade poles as part of the project and replace a transformer on Harris Road.

    About 70 customers may have lost power today while the work was being carried out.
    Survey Assesses Need
    For Aged Care Facility
    November 24, 2010 - The long campaign to build a residential aged care facility in Blackbutt has regathered momentum following community forums held earlier this year.

    Jeff Connor, president of the Blackbutt and Benarkin Aged Care Association Inc, said a loud message had come from the community in Blackbutt and Yarraman.

    The Association has drafted a formal plan to move ahead on the project and a key part of this is a survey which is now circulating in the community to assess the need. A forum for potential users will also be held in early December.

    If you would like to add your voice to the campaign, download the survey form, fill it in and return it to: Secretary, BBAC Association, PO Box 163, Blackbutt, 4306.

    For more information, contact Jeff Connor on 0448-946-702.

    ABOVE: Blackbutt and Benarkin Aged Care Association secretary Ross Heaney and president Jeff Connor on the 5 acre site for the proposed residential aged care facility
    Council Encourages Business Float(ies)
    November 23, 2010 - The South Burnett Regional Council has invited local businesspeople to take part in a "mercantile" swimming relay this Thursday evening at Kingaroy Swimming Pool.

    Council's Business & Economic Development Manager Phil Harding said the event was aimed at encouraging business and community networking along with promoting a healthy lifestyle. The only pre-requisite is that participants can swim ACROSS the pool (about 10-12m).

    "Qualified lifeguards will be at every metre along the way... and the event will be in the early evening (bit dark) so vanity is not an excuse to not participate," Mr Harding said.

    Teams will compete for a perpetual shield donated by the Burnett Business Centre.

    Mr Harding said Council had more business events on the drawing board including a beach volley ball competition early next year and functions with keynote speakers.

  • For more information about this week's mercantile swimming relay, download a flyer (80kb PDF)
  • South Burnett's Tourism Future Passed To Toowoomba
    November 22, 2010 - The transfer of the South Burnett region from the Fraser Coast regional tourism organisation to the Toowoomba and Golden West group is now official following a vote at the Toowoomba group's AGM last week.

    The vote was a mere formality following the announcement by Queensland Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor in July that TGW would receive $42,800 from the State Government to take over administration of South Burnett tourism.

    Ironically, at the Fraser Coast's AGM, also held last week, Kilkivan's Bruce Hurley - owner of The Left Bank B&B and a long-term force in South Burnett tourism - was re-elected to the Board of the Fraser Coast body.

    The new tourism body will be known as the Toowoomba, Golden West and South Burnett Tourism Association.

    * * *

    The fate of the controversial Kingaroy Underground Coal Gasification trial could be known on January 17.

    Cougar Energy advised the ASX today that the Department of Environment and Resource Management had told the company it would decide whether to accept Cougar's environmental evaluations on this date. This assumes that Cougar delivers "all requested materials" by December 10 and that DERM does not make any new requests for information.

    Meanwhile, Member for Nanango Dorothy Pratt has defended her 'Prattles' newsletter from an attack by Cougar Energy who claimed she had exaggerated the problems the trial experienced earlier this year.

    Read more on the ABC website.
    Can YOU Help Make It A Great
    Kingaroy Christmas Carnival?
    November 19, 2010 - The 2010 Kingaroy Christmas Carnival is coming together quickly after a lot of effort from volunteers ... but they need help with sponsorship to make it a really great night!

    The Carnival will be held in the Kingaroy CBD on Thursday December 16.

    This year a citizen's committee has taken over the organisation from the "FLM & Friends" group which put on last year's event.

    The event is coming together well, but they need financial support to cover the public liability insurance and to subsidise the cost of rides and entertainment.

    Any leftover monies after the Carnival will be donated to a local charity. The 2009 FLM & Friends committee was able to donate $1000 to both Centacare and Lifeline in Kingaroy.

    Help is also needed with setting up and packing away (people power!), loans of equipment, and products and services which can be used as prizes.

    • To find out how you can help the 2010 Kingaroy Christmas Carnival contact Gary Wakely on 0419-727-050 or download the sponsorship letter (92kb PDF).

    • For more information about the night, visit the Carnival website
    Big Money For Small Businesses With Ideas
    November 18, 2010 - Are you a small business with a BIG idea? Then this could be the State Government grant program for you - but you'd better hurry!

    Small businesses who employ less than 200 people have the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $50,000 to make their big ideas a reality. There are conditions, of course, which are spelled out on the funding program website.

    Grants must be able to turn an idea into reality within 12 months and can be used for product/process development, new business model development etc.

    Best of all, applications can be made online ... but the deadline is December 10!

    The Big Idea Queensland Grant Program is a partnership between the Australian Industry Group and the Queensland Government.
    Friday Deadline
    For Regional Summit
    November 17, 2010 - Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett will be hosting its inaugural regional summit in Bundaberg on November 30.

    South Burnett residents have been invited to attend the event which will include expert speakers and provide opportunities for attendees to share their views on the future of the region.

    The regional summit follows a series of forums to draft a "roadmap" for future development (see story, October 28). RDA Wide Bay Burnett hopes the summit will further strengthen this roadmap which will be used by Local, State and Federal governments for future planning.

    The summit will be held at the University of Central Queensland Bundaberg Campus on Tuesday November 30 from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Cost is $40 and numbers are limited.

    The deadline for registrations is this Friday (November 19). For more information phone (07) 4125-9272 or contact RDA Wide Bay Burnett by email,
    Volunteers Invited To Help At Plant Nursery
    November 16, 2010 - The not-for-profit Iron Bark Ridge plant nursery at Ficks Crossing, near Murgon, is looking for volunteers who may be able to lend a hand around the nursery.

    Nursery manager Han van Beek said the project specialises in the growing of plants native to South East Queensland which are used in revegetation and habitat regeneration projects as well as sold to the general public.

    The Iron Bark Ridge Nursery is a not-for-profit sustainable business set up by the Silver Lining Foundation on the 235ha Bahun jal Mono property to help indigenous youths learn new skills which could lead to eventual employment in the wider nursery industry and related environmental services.

    However to make the nursery a truly integrated and successful part of the local community, Han is also looking for people from the wider community interested in native trees and plants to volunteer their time as a nursery
    assistant or handyperson.

    For more information, phone Han on 0450-830-977 during office hours.