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Road Crews Heading To Ironpot
February 13, 2012 - The South Burnett Regional Council has prioritised road repairs in the Ironpot area following a reassessment by Council staff.

This follows action by local residents who approached Council recently to push their case for urgent repairs.

Division 6 councillor Cheryl Dalton inspected the roads in question and then spoke with SBRC Chief Executive Officer Ken McLoughlin.

Burra Burri Road at Johnson Gully has been closed temporarily and a detour put in place.

Council staff will work on a temporary repair so the road can be reopened as soon as possible.

Permanent repairs will be completed at a future date by Flood Restoration contractors.

Road shoulders will also be repaired on the Kingaroy-Burrandowan and Ironpot roads and patching completed on the floodway on Ironpot Road near the Kingaroy-Burrandowan Road intersection.

UPDATE: Residents in the same area who had been pressing to improve their telephone links, (SBBiz, January 23) have also had a win. The work on replacing the radio link between Chahpingah and Chilton Hill has now been completed.

* * *

The South Burnett Regional Council has put out a media release slamming the "Anna Bligh" government for forcing councils to put fluoride into water supplies.

Mayor David Carter said the scheme would cost the SBRC about $300,000 a year in operation and maintenance costs.

He said this was "one of many examples of the State Government making a decision and forcing the on-going costs onto Council".

"These costs have been passed down to the ratepayers of the South Burnett, but they did not vote for it nor do they get a say in whether they can opt out of this scheme," he said. "This is clearly about cost shifting between two levels of government, with the Bligh government introducing this scheme and not funding it for its whole of life costs. The State government then sits back and lets Council take the heat from the ratepayers despite this not being a decision of Council.

"It is about time the State government acted with more integrity when making decisions and not keep cutting into the little money that Councils have, when we are desperately trying to pay for the essential services delivered to our community."

Cr Carter said he would write to all of the Nanango and Callide electorate candidates and party leaders requesting in writing their position on this matter.

  • Is there an election in the air? How Council originally announced this news in December 2010
Would-Be MPs In The Media Spotlight
February 13, 2012 - The tussle for the State seat of Nanango played out again in the city media at the weekend with stories in the Sunday papers featuring both LNP candidate Deb Frecklington and Katter's Australian Party candidate Carl Rackemann.

Frecklington was one of three LNP candidates tipped by the Sunday Mail to be promoted straight into Cabinet if elected.

The other two LNP newbies are Lisa France (Pumicestone) and Saxon Rice (Mount Coot-tha).

The Sun-Herald reported Bob Katter and other KAP candidates took part in a "flash mob" dance at the party's National Conference in Brisbane.

On a more serious note, Rackemann was one of a number of guest speakers who addressed the conference, alongside radio personality Alan Jones (who appeared on videotape).

He told the conference audience it was "time for a change".

* * *

To avoid clashes with other events in South Burnett, the 2012 Colours of Yarraman Festival will now be held on October 19-21.

All the highlights of the inaugural event will be back, including a garden competition, art and photography competitions and garden tours. There'll also be a Blue Light Disco on the Friday night, a Saturday night dinner-dance and a weekend of sporting competitions.
Lucky Envelope Van Served Kingaroy Faithfully
February 10, 2012 - The Kingaroy Local Ambulance Committee's hardworking Lucky Envelope caravan is now enjoying a well-earned retirement.

The van had been in use for at least 40 years.

Long-term paramedic Barney Wyatt recalled it was always parked in the loading zone near the zebra crossing in Kingaroy Street when he started with the Ambulance in 1977.

Back then, the money raised was used to pay one officer's wages.

"There was a dollar-for-dollar subsidy from the State Government," Barney said.

The van was manned by volunteers, with relief from ambulance staff when required, and tickets were 20 cents each. It was moved into place at 6:00am on weekdays and returned to the ambulance station at 4:30pm. On Saturdays, it was open from 6:00am-noon.

It was also a familiar sight at the Burrandowan Picnic Races, Kingaroy Peanut and Christmas carnivals and the Kingaroy Show.

The van has now been retired to the ambulance section of the Highfields Museum.

* * *

Local Ambulance Committee members will be meeting in Kingaroy tomorrow to discuss various matters including community safety programs and the upcoming North Coast Regional Conference which will be held in Kingaroy on August 31-September 1.

The regional conference, which will be held in the Tobruk Room at the Kingaroy RSL, will attract LAC delegates from the Sunshine Coast, North and Central Burnett as well as across the South Burnett.
Thiess Wins $325m Gas Contract
February 9, 2012 - Thiess has won a $325 million contract from coal seam gas producer QGC Pty Limited to construct gas processing facilities about 30km north-west of Dalby.

The six field compression stations and one central processing plant will process gas for transport via an underground pipeline to Gladstone. On Curtis Island, off Gladstone, the gas will be converted into liquefied natural gas for export.

Work on the stations - which will be located between Dalby and Chinchilla - will begin this month and is expected to be completed in April next year.

At its peak the project will employ about 570 workers.

Thiess said it would look to maximise local sub-contractors and suppliers during the project, and would seek to recruit employees from areas around the site.

* * *

Gordonbrook Dam was reopened yesterday for limited boating and recreational use.

The South Burnett Regional Council said algae levels at the dam have fallen to "moderate".

Only boats with electric motors (max 6 knots) will be able to use the dam, as will man-powered vessels such as kayaks and canoes. No ski-boats, jet skis or other fuel-powered boats are permitted.

* * *

Graham House Community Centre at Murgon will receive $230,952 from the State Government over the next three years to help vulnerable local families who need support to get back on track.

Community Services Minister Karen Struthers said Graham House provided access to specialist services such as counselling and community education.

"The funding will specifically target families who face problems such as domestic and family violence, mental illness and abuse of drugs, alcohol or other substances." she said.

* * *

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies Tim Mulherin yesterday announced more than $61,000 funding to assist local groups in the South Burnett area.

The grants came from the final round of the Building Rural Communities Fund.

Successful applicants were:
  • South Burnett Community Orchestra - $8500
  • Toowoomba, Golden West and South Burnett Tourism - $15,000
  • Bell Bunya Community Association Inc - $4399
  • South Burnett Arts (South Burnett Youth Choir) - $15,000
  • Bloomin' Beautiful Blackbutt Festival - $12,751
Rackemann Tipped To Win Nanango
February 9, 2012 - Election analyst Malcolm Mackerras has predicted that Katter party candidate Carl Rackemann will win the State seat of Nanango, one of just four seats he has tipped the new party could take at the upcoming Queensland election.

Interviewed by the Fairfax media today, Mackerras also expects Katter's Australian Party to be successful in Mt Isa (where Katter's son Robbie is standing), Beaudesert and Dalrymple.

Other pundits agreed with this assessment, emphasising it was unlikely the party would be able to replicate the One Nation landslide of 1998.

Carl will be heading to Brisbane this weekend to take part in the Katter Australian Party's first "national convention".

Topics include a moratorium on Coal Seam Gas mining, State assets and "the removal of unnecessary restrictions" on Queenslanders.

In a media release about the convention, Carl said he was deeply concerned about the direction successive governments were taking Australia.

He was particularly critical of the Howard Federal Government's deregulation of the dairy industry in 2000. Before deregulation Queensland had more than 1500 dairy farmers, he said.

"We now have about 560 and found ourselves last winter importing 1 million litres of milk per week from southern States," he said.

Cougar Energy Presses Ahead With Appeal
February 8, 2011 - Cougar Energy advised shareholders yesterday that it intends to continue with its appeal against the State Government's closure of its Coolabunia Underground Coal Gasification site.

In a statement to the ASX, Cougar said the company would seek to have a full hearing set down before the Planning and Environment Court "at the earliest possible date".

A directions hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 1.

On December 21, the Queensland Planning and Environment Court dismissed an application by Cougar seeking a stay of conditions that required it to decommission and rehabilitate its UCG site. Cougar said yesterday it would not appeal this decision but it had "no relevance or bearing" upon its Planning and Environment Court appeal.

Cougar is also proceeding with its damages writ against the State Government and several DERM officials (see SBBiz, October 17, 2011). It expects this matter to go to trial later this year.

Three charges against Cougar which allege breaches of the Environmental Protection Act are due back in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on February 23.

* * *

Ergon Energy volunteers from the South Burnett have gone west to help restore power to the flood-affected communities of Roma and Mitchell.

General Manager Service Delivery Paul Jordon said more than 20 staff from Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Kingaroy and Murgon had volunteered for the task.

"They arrived in Roma on Sunday and are making a real difference," he said. "More than 1000 customers have been reconnected since the floods peaked."

Mr Jordon said Ergon Energy crews had a history of supporting their colleagues and communities in disaster zones.

"But we are always careful to ensure sufficient resources remain at their home depots to respond to any emergency situations that could arise," he said.

* * *

Yesterday afternoon's wild storm caused about 5700 Ergon Energy customers in the Nanango and Yarraman areas to lose power.

Tree branches fell onto main high-voltage powerlines about 10km south of Kingaroy at 4:15pm. Power was restored to customers about 6:00pm by re-energising the Nanango substation from another high-voltage powerline.

Ergon crews subsequently removed the tree debris from the powerlines so the network could be returned to its normal configuration.

An intermittent fault connected to the same storm caused about 930 customers on the West Kingaroy feeder to lose power at 4:09am this morning. Power was restored successfully at 4:24am.
Greens Back Coopers Gap Wind Farm
February 7, 2012 - The Greens candidate for Nanango Grant Newson has come out in support of AGL's proposed Coopers Gap wind farm, saying it will boost the economy, create jobs and reduce electricity prices.

"It is urgent that we find renewable energy sources that tackle climate change and ensure Queensland remains economically competitive into the future," he said.

"Unlike coal and coal seam gas, wind turbines have negligible impact on water resources and food producing land.

"After the initial set-up costs, wind farms deliver energy that is practically free of charge and emissions-free. They're also very beautiful and have the potential to become tourist attractions."

While not wanting to dismiss people's concerns, Mr Newson said it was important that the decision about Coopers Gap be based on facts and solid research.

"Wind farms have been used in Europe and America for many years and there are no credible, peer-reviewed studies that indicate wind farms directly impact human health. By contract, burning fossil fuels causes serious and well-documented health problems including cancer, heart disease and respiratory disorders," he said.

He said wind turbine blades were responsible for only a very small percentage of bird deaths (approximately 0.02%), far fewer than those caused by cars, cats, powerlines or birds flying into glass windows.

"I can be sure every person would rather have a wind turbine on their property than either an open cut coal mine, CSG well or UCG plant," he said.

The blue dots show the nominal position of the wind turbines proposed for the Cooranga North / Boyneside areas
Prospector Buys Two
Coal Exploration Permits
February 7, 2012: Mining Projects Group Limited has entered into an agreement to buy two prospective coal exploration permits in the Kingaroy, Wondai and Murgon areas.

The Exploration Permits For Coal Applications, (right), cover approximately 1030sq km of land straddling the Bunya and D'Aguilar highways.

Mining Projects Groups - which has extensive holdings in South Africa - has entered into an Heads of Agreement to purchase Delcarmen Energy Limited for $1 million. Delcarmen has filed the two EPCAs, ie applications for EPC 2527 and EPC 2528.

In a statement to the ASX today, Mining Projects Group chairman Bryan Frost said an initial geological study of the area suggested the potential for high energy thermal coal and well as semi-soft coking coal.

However "any potential quantity and grade is conceptual in nature and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the determination of a coal resource".

He also noted that "existing rail infrastructure" - presumably the currently closed Kingaroy-Theebine rail line - runs through the tenements.

Mining Group Projects will seek to raise up to $800,000 by a share issue to provide working capital to proceed with the project.

UPDATE February 29: Mining Projects Group announced yesterday that it had completed its due diligence and intends to proceed with its acquisition of Delcarmen. The company said an initial study of the geological prospectiveness of the EPCAs suggests the area demonstrates potential for high energy thermal coal as well as semi-soft coking coal. However any potential quantity and grade is "conceptual in nature" and "it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the determination of a coal resource". MPJ's first step after acquisition would be to engage an independent consultant to develop a conceptual target and initial drill program.

* * *

The remaining obstacle for the sale of PCA's Northern Territory properties has been removed with the release of the Draft Water Allocation Plan for the Oolloo Aquifer by the Northern Territory government.

This was the one outstanding condition in regards to the sale of PCA's Katherine properties (see SBBiz, January 16).

Settlement is now expected to occur on February 13, 2012.

* * *

South Burnett Regional Council and the Kingaroy Landcare Group will be holding a Parthenium Management workshop at the Cherbourg Conference Centre (Bert Button Lookout) on Friday, February 24.

The workshop, from 9:00am-11:00am, will cover identification, treatment techniques, grazing land management practices to assist with control, and weed hygiene.

For more information - and to RSVP - contact Natural Resource Management Officer Denise Whyte on (07) 4189-9122 by February 22.
Mariner Corp Buys Major Stake In PCA
February 6, 2012 - Corporate investor Mariner Corporation has secured a substantial shareholding in the Kingaroy-based Peanut Company of Australia after purchasing a 19.83% stake in the company.

Mariner announced its purchase to the ASX last Thursday.

PCA majority shareholder GPG Nominees Pty Ltd - a subsidiary of the Guinness Peat Group - sold 1,441,039 shares to Mariner, reducing its holding in the unlisted company from 24.78% to 4.95%.

A new management team headed by Darren Olney-Fraser took control of Mariner in November 2010.

According to its website, Mariner is now focussed on exploring and pursuing investment opportunities that have emerged as a result of the GFC.

"Mariner will identify investment opportunities where change is occurring, because change creates value," the website says.

"We can drive change through mergers and acquisitions, consolidation and aggregation, company restructuring, and bringing in the right people to execute a clear strategy for a growing business. We will make meaningful, strategic investments in other listed companies, agitate for change at board level where warranted, and work with management to deliver improved results."

* * *

Wondai residents may soon have a taxi service again.

South Burnett mayor David Carter said the service would go out to tender before the end of this month.

The Wondai taxi service stopped in 2010.
It'll Be Alright In The Long Run
February 3, 2012 - Former Redgum singers John Schumann and Hugh McDonald and their band The Vagabond Crew will be bringing a message of hope to the South Burnett next week in a free concert in the Dr Ellen Kent Hughes Forecourt (outside Kingaroy Town Hall).

Joining them on stage will be award-winning Nanango country music artist Amber Goldsmith.

"It'll Be Alright In The Long Run" is a free community event to promote health and well-being.

It's being brought to the region by the Australasian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health in association with Centacare South Burnett, the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, RHealth, and Tarong Power Station - Stanwell.

The concert - and a free barbecue - will start at 6:00pm on Thursday, February 16.

There'll be free buses running from both Blackbutt and Goomeri. To book a seat, contact Centacare South Burnett on (07) 4162-5439 or by email

Redgum were one of Australia's most popular folk bands during the 1970s and 1980s. Their hits included "I Was Only 19" and "I've Been To Bali, Too".

The title for the Kingaroy concert comes from the Redgum track "Long Run", below:

Tarong Signs Up 11 New Faces

February 2, 2012 - Congratulations to the 11 new MRAEL apprentices and trainees who have started work recently at Stanwell Corporation's Tarong power stations.

The latest intake brings the number of apprentices and trainees at Tarong to 29.

Pictured above are: Back row, Dave Layton (Apprentice Electrical Fitter Mechanic) Nanango, Cameron Kerr (Apprentice Mechanical Fitter & Turner) Nanango, Craig Sippel (Warehousing Operations Trainee) Kingaroy, Jim Ryan (Apprentice Electrical Fitter Mechanic) Cooyar, Ashley Carroll (Apprentice Electrical Fitter Mechanic) Kingaroy, Ashley Bird (Apprentice Boilermaker) Kingaroy, Leigh Devlin (Apprentice Mechanical Fitter & Turner) Kingaroy, Robbie Hartley (Rigging Trainee) Nanango, Skip Litzow (Apprentice Electrical Fitter Mechanic) Kingaroy, Frances Ross (Apprentice Specialist - MRAEL), Aimee Sutcliffe (Learning & Development Coordinator - Stanwell), Helen De Vries (Business Administration Trainee) Yarraman, and Jayde Heckendorf (Business Administration Trainee) Kingaroy. Front row, Richard Van Breda (Acting Chief Executive Officer - Stanwell), Dennis Franklin (Site Manager Tarong - Stanwell) and Rob Woodall (Maintenance Manager - Stanwell)

* * *

The South Burnett Regional Council, in conjunction with DEEDI and the Australian Industry Group, will present a SMART Exhibiting workshop for small businesses in Kingaroy later this month.

The workshop will be presented by events trainer Ron McDermott, who has been presenting exhibitor education workshops and seminars across Australia for the past 10 years. It will cover how to make the most of your exhibition space, how to plan for the event and how to bring your show to life.

The cost is $25, which includes a handbook, tool kit and morning tea.

The workshop will be held at the Taabinga Road at the DEEDI Service Centre opposite Kingaroy Airport (the former DPI complex).

To book, contact the AI Group on (07) 3244-1727 or by email

* * *

Toowoomba Regional Council Deputy Mayor Paul Antonio and councillor Joe Ramia have announced they will be challenging Mayor Peter Taylor at the April council elections.

Prior to amalgamation, Cr Antonio was mayor of Millmerran Shire Council for eight years and Cr Ramia was Deputy Mayor of the former Toowoomba City Council.

* * *

Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney has sponsored an E-petition to State Parliament from a Cherbourg resident critical of the "ineffective" Youth Justice Act.

Katina Leedie has attracted 28 signatures so far for her online petition which aims to draw the attention of MPs to juvenile crime.

The petition calls on the Minister for Community Services Karen Struthers to conduct a major overhaul of the Youth Justice Act 1992 with particular reference to the enforcement of restitution and compensation.
Rackemann Defends Road 'Vision'
February 1, 2012 - Katter's Australian Party candidate for Nanango Carl Rackemann today defended his vision of a road linking Kingaroy to the Sunshine Coast in the wake of an anonymous YouTube video, ridiculing the proposal, that has gone viral in the South Burnett (see story January 31).

"It's something that I want to see happen," Carl told SBBiz.

"It's not a first-term promise and it's clearly not possible in the first term. It's ridiculous to suggest that we want to do it in the first term, but I'm not going to apologise for having a vision.

"It would be a wonderful infrastructure development for our part of the world. Anyone who is criticising the idea doesn't want our part of the world to go forward and progress.

"I appreciate that the idea itself is being promoted and considered. I'll let people make up their own minds whether it would be a good thing.

"It's something I want to see happen and achieve if humanly possible, but it's ridiculous to suggest that we would be doing it during the first term."
Workshop To Help Local Businesses
February 1, 2012 - Award-winning "cluster" expert Rodin Genoff will be delivering a workshop in Kingaroy tomorrow to allow local businesses to learn how to win contracts, new customers and increase profits.

The workshop will be held from 5:30pm-7:00pm at DEEDI's Taabinga Conference Room (the old DPI complex) opposite Kingaroy Airport.

It has been organised by the Wide Bay Burnett Cluster Development and Business Matching Project.

For more information, contact South Burnett Regional Council Economic and Tourism Development Officer Ross Anderson on (07) 4189-9328.

* * *

The South Burnett Regional Council has called tenders for the next phase of its Flood Restoration roadworks program.

Tenders have been called from contractors short-listed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads. The tender is for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of sealed and unsealed roads, cross-road culverts and floodways at more than 1000 sites on 233 roads.

* * *

Council's "Healthy Communities" program is travelling throughout the region with launches in nine different towns.

The first occurred in Blackbutt on Monday. The program will then move to Nanango on Friday (at Reg McCallum Park) and Kumbia on Monday (Kumbia Hall).

There will be prize giveaways at each launch plus free activities including breakfast and personal trainer sessions.

Each launch will run from 7:00am to 9:00am and will include a live broadcast from CROW-FM.

Other dates are: Kingaroy (Feb 10 - Dr Ellen Kent-Hughes forecourt), Wooroolin (Feb 13 - Wooroolin State School), Tingoora (Feb 17 - Tingoora State School), Wondai (Feb 20 - Visitor Information Centre), Murgon (Feb 24 - Visitor InformatioN Centre), Proston (Feb 27 - Proston State School).

* * *

Local independent broadcaster Our Country FM (87.6FM Murgon and 88FM Wondai) was officially switched off yesterday. The station was launched in March 2009.

* * *

Kingaroy's Club Hotel, on the corner of Alford and Kingaroy streets, has been listed for sale at auction on site on February 25. The hotel includes pokies and a TAB agency.
Mixed Reception For New Cropping Land Laws
January 31, 2012 - The State Government's Strategic Cropping Land (SCL) legislation - which came into effect yesterday - has received a mixed reception in the South Burnett.

Natural Resources Minister Rachel Nolan said it was landmark legislation that would protect cropping land for future generations.

"This legislation means that our best land, notably but not only, on the Darling Downs, in the Lockyer Valley and in Central Queensland's golden triangle, will now be protected for agriculture forever."

The Queensland Farmers' Federation welcomed the new laws. QFF CEO Dan Galligan said the legislation was an important milestone.

"The real test will be ensuring that SCL is implemented to the full intent of the policy, and that it is done so based on science," he said.

However Greens candidate for Nanango, Grant Newson, was highly critical, saying the legislation was "little more than a green light to mining companies" and left most farms in the South Burnett unprotected from CSG mining.

He said said the legislation was "deeply flawed".

"Coal seam gas is given a complete exemption from any of the strategic cropping land legislation," he said. "The majority of the SCL legislation is weighted heavily in favour of mining companies that would force our food producers into a bureaucratic labyrinth while allowing miners to carry on business as usual.

"For the Natural Resources Minister to claim that this legislation would protect Queensland's food bowl forever is untrue and indicates to me that the State Government either does not understand or doesn't care about the long term economic sustainability of the South Burnett or the Brisbane Valley."

LNP candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington said the party had two key policy papers which would remove uncertainty for both farmers and mining companies.

She said it was already on record that iconic farming areas like the South Burnett would be protected by the LNP, (see SBBiz, September 29).

The LNP proposes 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.

The LNP also supported the continued shutdown of the Cougar Energy UCG project at Kingaroy and would ensure that any trials of such unproven technology in future would be conducted well away from communities and areas of agricultural importance such as the South Burnett.

During a visit to Kingaroy last year, Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney said "the resource companies that are currently exploring the rich red soils of the South Burnett ... are wasting their time and money".
Battle For Nanango Turns To YouTube
January 31, 2012 - The campaign for the strategic seat of Nanango has been wound up a notch with the publication of an anonymous "attack ad" on YouTube.

The short video ridicules Katter's Australian Party's vision of connecting Kingaroy to the Sunshine Coast with a high-speed highway (see SBBiz, January 20).

Katter candidate Carl Rackemann told SBBiz this morning that he had no official response at all at this point.

LNP candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington said she saw the video for the first time last night after she returned home from a meeting. She had no idea where it came from.

Local Anger Over Aircraft Auction
January 30, 2012 - A receivers auction scheduled to be held at Kingaroy Airport tomorrow is causing anger and frustration among South Burnett businesspeople, some of whom have sunk thousands of dollars into the failed Dean-Wilson Aviation Boomerang project.

The auction, which is being held under the instruction of receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), includes tools and metal fabrication equipment, aircraft parts and office and computer equipment.

Whitney BoomerangLot 156 will probably attract the most interest: a Whitney Boomerang experimental two-seat training aircraft which will be sold unregistered.

The pre-auction sale of the Dean-Wilson Aviation hangar - built with the assistance of a $165,000 grant from the Federal Government - has particularly upset some local aircraft owners who had been considering forming a consortium to purchase the building.

They question why the sale was not advertised locally. They also question why interested parties were not made aware that tomorrow's auction was occurring.

"We only stumbled across it by accident," one businessman told SBBiz. "If I could stop that sale, I would do everything in my power to do it."

Another Kingaroy businessman said he was concerned about the way the whole matter had been handled.

"There has been very little communication with the shareholders and debtors and we only found out about the auction by chance. The liquidators will get their money but everyone else will dip out."

Receiver Darryl Kirk had no comment when contacted by SBBiz.
A Cheap Shot Angers
Proud Wondai Residents
January 29, 2012 - Stand-up comedian Mandy Nolan came back home to Wondai recently to visit her gran ... but no one is laughing.

She published a column, (right), about her trip in a NSW newspaper last week, describing Wondai as a "dry and desolate ghost town" with only an emu wandering the streets.

Well, Mandy may be surprised but Wondai isn't as backward as she implies. Her column - which was published on Page 21 of an obscure weekly newspaper in far-off NSW - was being passed around on smartphones just a day later at Wondai's Australia Day barbecue.

The reaction from locals was swift and predictable.

Mandy noticed that people don't wander Wondai streets on a hot day. No, these days they're sitting inside, in the cool, at their computers, writing letters to the editor and using social media to express their anger.

Amongst the letter writers has been Jane Iszlaub, daughter of former Wondai Shire mayor Percy:
I am proud to be a resident of the beautiful township of Wondai, located in the centre of some of the most scenic and productive farming land in Queensland. Wondai is home to many young families, professionals, business owners and retirees and is the home base for a significant number of "Grey Nomads" who find its central location appealing.

Wondai is well-endowed with facilities including a hospital, a P-9 state school and several nearby rural schools, a beautifully-maintained heritage post office, a 25 metre swimming pool, cafes (with excellent coffee), an RSL, three pubs, a C&K Kindergarten, a daycare centre, a well-stocked library with children's section, an equally well-stocked IGA, a quality motel, a B'n'B, skate park, acreage developments, tennis courts and, of course, much, much more.

Another former Wondai mayor, current South Burnett Regional Council Mayor David Carter also put pen to paper and expressed his outrage in a letter to the newspaper, on Facebook and on his website.

Local resident Renita Olsen created a Facebook page "I Am Proud Of Wondai" where proud locals are posting all the reasons why they love the town.

The slogan of the newspaper in question is "cheap to those who can afford it". This says it all really ... it was a "cheap shot" and Wondai residents are not happy.
ALP Names Candidate For Nanango
January 27, 2012 - The ALP this afternoon announced the name of the candidate who will be contesting the seat of Nanango at the upcoming State elections.

Virginia Clarke, (right), lives at Woolloongabba in Brisbane but is a foundation member of the Wivenhoe branch of the Labor Party.

The former Ipswich resident is also familiar with campaigning in the region as she stood for the seat of Blair at the 1998 Federal Election.

At this poll, she actually came in second on the primary vote, behind Pauline Hanson but ahead of the eventual winner Cameron Thompson. Thompson won after the distribution of preferences. This is one of the rare occasions in Federal elections when a candidate who did not finish first or second actually went on to take the seat.

Ms Clarke sees the 2012 State election as an opportunity to "have a conversation" in public about the issues that concern her.

She has a grown family and is a volunteer at UnitingCare. She is a former member of the Federal Labor Women's Committee and the State Labor Women's Committee, anti-racism groups and ecumenical social justice groups.
$6000 Helps Endeavour Clean Up
January 27, 2012 - The Kingaroy Lions Club and the Kingaroy Masonic Lodge have joined together to lend a hand to the Endeavour Kitchen.

The two groups have donated $3000 each to help Endeavour purchase some new industrial cleaning equipment for their premises in Kingaroy Street.

The groups presented a cheque for $6000 to Endeavour recently.

Lions Club treasurer Neil Edmunds said the club had donated profits from the 2011 Lions Rodeo.

"We received lots of support from local businesses for the rodeo. This is an opportunity to let them know what happens to the money they helped to raise," he said.

RIGHT: Endeavour Kitchen supervisor Jeffrey O'Shannessy and client staff member Rodney Millard with some of the new equipment purchased with the help of the Lions Club and Kingaroy Masonic Lodge.

* * *

The Peanut Company of Australia told ABC Radio today that the recent rain in the South Burnett should restore confidence amongst peanut growers.

PCA chief operating officer John Howard said it was still a long time to harvest but it was "looking good".

"If we can get a good crop coming through from a yield perspective, well it's a year where prices are going to be good as well, so hopefully it'll be a double whammy for the growers," he told the ABC.

* * *

Lady Bjelke-Petersen will officially open the new home of the South Burnett Toy Library next Thursday (February 2).

The library, which was formerly run as co-operative, was located at the South Burnett Enterprise Centre. It has now been re-located to the South Burnett Family Day Care centre at 9b Toomey Street, Kingaroy.

The official opening will occur at 10:00am and anyone interested is invited to attend.

* * *

Local landholders interested in forestry management practices have been invited to attend a "chopper roller" field day at BJ Gentry's eastern property off Manumbar Road, Nanango, next Friday (February 3).

The free field day, from 9:00am-3:00pm, will demonstrate cost-effective ways to thin overstocked spotted gum regrowth forest.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Private Forestry Service Queensland on (07) 5483-6435 or by email
Australia Day 2012 Round-Up
January 27, 2012 - Here's the full list of all South Burnett Regional Council Australia Day award winners announced at Murgon on Wednesday night:
  • South Burnett Citizen of the Year - Maree Hammond, (see story below)

  • South Burnett Young Citizen of the Year - Georgia Payne

  • South Burnett Cultural Award - South Burnett Filipino Australian Caring Group

  • South Burnett Community Event of the Year - Nanango Country Music Muster

  • South Burnett Small Communities Award - Rose Park's Charity Fair for Proston Angels Relay for Life Team

  • Murgon Citizen of the Year - Prue Collard

  • Murgon Young Citizen of the Year - Amanda Anderson

  • Wondai Citizen of the Year - Winston Burrows

  • Wondai Young Citizen of the Year - Anita Welch

  • Kingaroy Citizen of the Year - Davic Crawford and Denny Etherinton (joint winners)

  • Kingaroy Young Citizen of the Year - Jarred Gunn

  • Nanango Citizen of the Year - Robin Ashby

  • Nanango Young Citizen of the Year - Sarah Coughlan

  • South Burnett Senior Sports Person of the Year - Felicity Reinke

  • South Burnett Junior Sportsperson of the Year and recipient of the $1000 Matthew Hayden Bursary sponsored by the South Burnett Regional Council - Mikeely Roberts

Two Special Australia Day Certificates were presented to the Barambah State Emergency Service and Doreen Campos for their exceptional work within the community, especially during and after the heavy rains and flooding last year.

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Yarraman's Australia Day celebrations were held at the Memorial Hall in Browne Street.

Local awards were presented to:
  • Citizen of the Year Award Jeffrey Thomson. Jeff is a member of the Yarraman Community Council and was instrumental in helping to make the "Colours of Yarraman" a success.
  • Young Citizen of the Year Award Eden Farrar
  • Sports Award Lorraine Holmes
  • Cultural Award Yarraman Community Council Inc (Colours of Yarraman)
  • Community Group/Event Award Yarraman Bowls Club Inc (Rosalie Fours Bowls Carnival)
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At the Gympie Regional Council's Australia Day awards, Kilkivan's Donna Atthow was presented with the Sports Administrator of the Year Award for her work for many years as secretary of the Kilkivan Show and Campdraft Association.

Last year was a particularly tough year for the association after floodwaters destroyed much infrastructure at the showgrounds. Donna helped secure a $40,000 grant from Freemasons Queensland to rebuild the announcer's box and storage facilities.

TOP: South Burnett Mayor David Carter with new Australian citizen Leonard Kake at the Australia Day celebrations in Kingaroy yesterday. Leonard has been in Australia for 38 years, including the past 10 in Nanango. ABOVE: The canetoad races - with toads named after local celebrities - proved popular in Kingaroy. First home was "Fireworks Frecklington" (Deb Frecklington), followed by "Croakin' Kratzie" (Wayne Kratzmann). SBRC CEO Ken McLoughlin's toad "Meltdown McLoughlin" came in third.