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South Burnett Observer'No Link' With Rural Press
November 7, 2008 - The publishers of the new South Burnett Observer news magazine, (right), which hit local streets yesterday have denied claims they are connected with publishing giant Rural Press.

It had been reported elsewhere that Rural Press and APN, the publishers of the South Burnett Times, were now going head to head in the South Burnett.

However Editor Olav Muurlink said the only connection Rural Press had with the South Burnett Observer was that in Sydney they acted as an agency for handling Federal Government advertising for the Observer's sister publication in Warwick, the Free Times.

"In fact we compete with Rural Press," Olav said.

Disclosure: SBBiz editor Anne Miller is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the South Burnett Observer
Load Limits Lifted On Bridges
November 6, 2008 - Load limits on four bridges along the Kingaroy-Burrandowan Road - the subject of local protests in August - were lifted today following extensive bridge rehabilitation and strengthening works.

Main Roads Minister Warren Pitt said the four bridges - Wiedens Crossing, Ironpot Creek, Sandy Creek and Boyne River - were now back to full operation.

"Routine inspections identified the need for work to strengthen four bridges along Kingaroy-Burrandowan Road and replace the older timber components," Mr Pitt said in a media statement.

"In response to feedback from the community and regular users of these bridges, the rehabilitation works were prioritised and have now been completed in just two months.

"The bridges remained open to general traffic in an effort to reduce travel disruption as much as possible."
$73,000 Funding Boost For Showgrounds
November 5, 2008 - South Burnett showgrounds will receive a total of more than $73,000 in funding under the latest round of the State Government's annual Show Societies Grants (SSG) program:

  • Blackbutt Agricultural Society - $7084
  • Cooyar Agricultural Society - $8733
  • Proston Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Society - $6658
  • Goomeri and District Show Society - $5899
  • Kilkivan Show and Campdraft Association - $5144
  • Murgon Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Society - $9435
  • Nanango Agricultural and Pastoral Society - $12,024
  • The South Burnett National Show Society (Kingaroy) - $11,420
  • Wondai Agricultural, Pastoral and Industrial Society - $7405

SSG funding can be used for any purpose necessary to conduct shows or the construction and maintenance of show-related assets. Show societies receive a minimum base funding of $5000 a year, with extra funds based on annual show attendance.
Local Trainees and
Apprentices Scoop Awards
November 4, 2008 - A big congratulations to all the local apprentices and trainees who starred at the 2008 Wide Bay Group Training Awards held in Maryborough last Saturday.

Apprentice of the Year was cabinetmaker Rachel Niemann who is employed by Hatchett's Joinery at Murgon. It was a fitting win for Rachel who earlier this year was named Apprentice of the Year at the State Government's Queensland Training Awards. She will compete in Darwin on November 20 for the Australian Apprentice of the Year title.

Host Employer of the Year (medium) was the Peanut Company of Australia, based in Kingaroy. Host Employer of the Year (small) was Bill Giles Plumbing from Goomeri.

Tarong Energy Corporation was also in the spotlight, with five employees taking home awards:

  • Kimberley Reynolds (PCA) and Rebekah Dukes (Tarong Energy) tied for the Administration Trainee award.

  • Patrick McCallum (Swickers) won the school-based trainee and engineering /automotive trainee awards.

  • General Trainee - Kyron Tunstall (Tarong Energy)

  • South Burnett Regional Award - Paul Freeman (Tarong Energy)

  • Outstanding Apprentice Stage 2 - Caleb Mayne (Tarong Energy)

  • Outstanding Apprentice Stage 4 - James Giles (Bill Giles Plumbing)

  • ATSI Trainee / Apprentice of the Year - Barbara Stewart (Tarong Energy)
Handover of Karcher unitMitre 10 Helps
Ambos Clean Up
November 3, 2008 - Kingaroy paramedics will be able to spend less time cleaning their vehicles and more time on training and patient care thanks to a recent donation by Kingaroy business Turners Mitre 10.

Col Turner, from Turners Mitre 10, presented a Karcher industrial pressure cleaning unit to the Kingaroy ambulance station after a request from the Kingaroy Local Ambulance Committee.

Officer-in-Charge Brian Long said the Karcher unit would help to cut the time taken to clean the six ambulances based in Kingaroy. The vehicles will be washed with tank water.

ABOVE RIGHT: Wendy Patterson (paramedic), David Bruce (paramedic), Liz Bruce (LAC Member), Brian Long, Col Turner and John Box (Local Ambulance Committee President). [Photo courtesy: South Burnett Observer]
Milk Producers Urged To Accept Buyout Offer
October 31, 2008 - South Burnett milk producers are being urged to accept a takeover offer by National Foods of $5.65 for every Dairy Farmers share they own.

Representatives from Australian Co-operative Foods (Dairy Farmers) and Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative (DFMC) met with producers in Kingaroy last night as part of a series of roadshow meetings which have been held in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

In August, the ACF Board unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the proposal by National Foods, which is owned by Japanese brewing giant Kirin. National Foods already owns the Pura milk brand and has also offered a further $2.57 each for a partial buyout of DFMC shares.

The offer requires the support of 75 per cent or more of active members to succeed but is subject to a number of conditions, including that DFMC suppliers enter into revised milk contracts.

The Gympie Times reported today that farmers could expect an average payout of $500,000 if they accepted the offers.
Ergon Wins
Customer Service Awards
October 30, 2008 - In a week of congratulations, mention must also be made of local electricity provider Ergon Energy which won two awards at the Australian Service Excellence Awards in Melbourne this week.

Ergon beat contenders from around the country to win the State/Federal Government Category and Ergon's Fraser Power (yes, that is his name!) was named Customer Service Advocate of the Year.

“This is an outstanding result for our people but more importantly, for our 650,000 customers,” said Maryborough-based Customer Service Acting Executive General Manager Paul Jordon.

The State/Federal Government category win was the second in a row for Ergon.
Wondai Scoops Tourism Awards!
October 29, 2008 - Congratulations to the South Burnett winners at the 2008 Fraser Coast South Burnett Tourism Awards for Excellence which were announced at Hervey Bay last Saturday night.

Local winners were:
  • Moffatdale Ridge - Best Winery
  • South Burnett Region Timber Industry Museum (Wondai) - Best Regional Attraction
  • Wondai Garden Expo - Regional Festivals and Special Events award
  • Kingaroy Information, Art and Heritage Precinct - General Tourism Services.

    Captain's Paddock (Kingaroy) was inducted into the Winners' Hall of Fame and a Hidden Tourism Treasure Award was presented to the Wondai Regional Art Gallery.

    NB. Congratulations also to Martin Stern from Durong who organised the Guinness World Record-breaking soccer match at the weekend. The game went for 31 hours and 45 minutes and Country Roar Fans defeated City Roar Fans 210 - 193! The event raised funds for Beyond Blue. Donations can be made at
  • Powerlink Seeks MP's Approval To Clear Route
    October 28, 2008 - Powerlink is seeking submissions from the public concerning the Ministerial "designation of land" for the construction of two 115km power transmission lines linking Halys Substation (west of Tarong) to Springdale Substation (north of Gatton).

    Transmission towers would be constructed in the foothills of the Bunya Mountains near Wengenville through to near Cooyar and Mt Binga and on to Springdale (Study Corridor map 1.7MB PDF).

    An Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared and can be viewed on the Powerlink website. The route mostly passes through cleared grazing and cultivated land although the EIS has identified three vulnerable ecosystems which will be impacted. Four houses are also located within 500m of the proposed route. An earlier field survey located 37 significant Aboriginal sites in the study area as well as 30 potential archaeological deposits.

    Submissions can be sent to Mr Andrew Owen, Powerlink Queensland, PO Box 1193, Virginia, Queensland, 4014, by 5pm on Monday, November 24, 2008.
    Shareholders To Vote On Cougar Funding Strategy
    October 27, 2008 - Shareholders at the Cougar Energy annual general meeting on November 27 in Melbourne will vote on resolutions that may ultimately determine if a multi-million dollar underground coal gasification project (1.2MB PDF) in Kingaroy proceeds.

    In June this year, Cougar entered into a Memo of Understanding with Direct Invest Pte Ltd (the Australasian arm of German financial services institution Direct Invest AG) to raise capital for the development of the 400MW power project.

    Direct Invest will arrange two tranches of funding, the first of approximately $30 million by the end of this year and the second of approximately $250 million at the end of 2009 in return for a facilitation fee and share options.

    Cougar shareholders must now approve the prior issue to Direct Invest of 10 million share options and a future issue of a total of 70 million options (all exercisable at 0.25). Cougar shares were trading at 0.068 on Friday, down from a high of 0.24 in June.
    Local Wineries Win
    Two Gold Medals
    October 24, 2008 - Two local wineries have won gold medals at the prestigious 2008 Australian Small Winemakers Show held in Stanthorpe this week.

    Confirming the South Burnett's reputation for producing fine verdelhos, Tipperary Estate at Moffatdale won gold for its 2008 Verdelho. Moffatdale Ridge won a silver in the same class and Bridgeman Downs, a bronze.

    Rimfire Vineyards & Winery at Maclagan won a Gold Medal for its 2006 Graciano, a silver for its 2006 Touriga Nacional and five bronze medals.

    Moffatdale Ridge, Tipperary Estate and Bridgeman Downs also won bronze medals in a number of other classes. Click here for the full results (684kb PDF)
    'Fair Go' Promised For Local Business
    October 23, 2008 - Tarong Energy has promised it will give local businesses "a fair go" when tendering for work on the proposed Kunioon Mine (Draft Mine Layout, 1MB PDF).

    The State Government-owned corporation released its Local Industry Participation Plan recently which covers goods and services ranging from engineering and construction works to transport services, catering and cleaning.

    "Local businesses deserve a fair go and this plan outlines how we aim to deliver just that," Kunioon Coal Project Communication and Community Relations Manager David Latchford said.

    Tarong Energy also promised to work closely with "a range of independent business organisations" to ensure local businesses are provided with support when tendering.

    South Burnett businesses interested in tendering for work at Kunioon should contact Tarong Energy on 1800-206-722 and ask for an information pack.
    Men's Health Expo On Today
    October 22, 2008 - A Men's Health, Welfare and Leisure Expo is being held all day today at the Kingaroy RSL Club.

    Starting at 10:00am, the day features presentations on prostate issues, depression, diabetes and Veterans Affairs matters in the Anzac Room as well as a showcase of a wide range of men's health, welfare and leisure services in the Tobruk Room.

    Visitors will be able to participate in the "Pit Stop" program which includes checks on Body Mass Index, flexibility, blood pressure etc.

    The official opening will be held at 2:00pm today by South Burnett Mayor David Carter which will be followed by six 10-minute presentations from health and welfare professionals.
    Nominations Sought For KCCI Executive
    October 21, 2008 - The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling for nominations for its Management Committee for 2008-09.

    All positions will be declared vacant at the Annual General Meeting which will be held at the Chamber Office in O'Neill Square, Kingaroy, from 5:30pm on Wednesday November 12.

    Nominations from financial members on the approved form should be received at the Chamber Office by Wednesday October 29 although names can be taken from the floor of the AGM if insufficient nominations are received.

    Nomination forms are available from the Chamber Office or download from the KCCI website
    Olav MuurnikNew Weekly Newspaper
    Ready To Challenge
    South Burnett Times
    October 20, 2008 - SCOOP! The South Burnett is about to get a new free weekly newspaper ... the South Burnett Observer will hit the streets for the first time on Thursday November 6.

    Co-owner Dr Olav Muurlink, (right), told SBBiz today the full-gloss, full-colour publication would have a strong emphasis on news. He has recruited experienced journalists to the team and has hired advertising representatives to cover the region.

    Olav has experience in running rural newspapers. He started the Southern Free Times in Warwick in 1999 with his late wife Susan. Together they developed a weekly newspaper which now successfully competes against the APN-owned Warwick Daily News.

    "The Free Times has grown to be the dominant product in Warwick in terms of locally booked advertising," Olav said.

    Managing owner of the new publication is Wondai resident Nick Munro who will be based at a new office which opened today at Shop 3, 26 King Street, Kingaroy. He can be contacted on (07) 4162-3336.

    The South Burnett Observer will be published on the company's own heatset web press which Olav says is the only independently owned one in country Australia.
    Heather McCallum and David Ballin2008 Mike Storrien Memorial Award Winner
    October 20, 2008 - If you've had a phone call lately from SBBiz to update your listing, there's a good chance that the voice on the end of the line belongs to Heather McCallum.

    The former South Burnett Times and Kingaroy Mail journalist has been helping to check through listings as part of a final Tarong Coal Community Benefit Fund project.

    Now we're proud to announce that Heather, (pictured at right with school principal David Ballin), is an award-winning journalist!

    Heather was presented with the Mike Storrien Memorial Award at the Kingaroy High School Speech night last Thursday. The award honours service to schools through local media. Previous winners have been John Cross, Dave Nugent, Jeanette Morrison, Robert Gellatly and Pauline Peters.

    Congratulations Heather!
    Martin Roars Against Depression
    October 17, 2008 - Durong businessman Martin Stern's bid to use soccer to raise awareness of depression and raise funds for Beyond Blue seems to have struck a chord with the Queensland media.

    Not only has the campaign been featured on the back page of the South Burnett Times newspaper recently, but it has now spread to Brisbane media with ABC radio, commercial stations and TV picking up the story.

    "Depression has touched the lives of many people including myself. I recently have had friends that have committed suicide and its prompted me to do something about it," Martin, (pictured below), said.

    The target for the fund-raising is $10,000 plus which will be raised through donations and sponsorship.

    Martin SternThe first event is an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world's longest football match (currently set at 30 hours and 10 minutes).

    This record-breaking attempt will occur on October 25-26 in Brisbane at Richlands Stadium, Pine Road, Richlands with City Roar Fans v Country Roar Fans. Kick-off is 6:00am.

    Donations can be made on the Roar Fans Against Depression website by credit card, direct bank transfer or PayPal. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.

    For more information, contact Martin on (07) 4168-0273 or by email
    Shoppingworld Butchery
    Makes Lenard's History
    October 16, 2008 - Chicken meat retailer Lenard's has 180 franchises throughout Australia... but their new Kingaroy store which opened recently is extra special.

    The franchise has been integrated into an existing business for the first time: Tony Ralph's Shoppingworld Butchery.

    Lenard's founder Lenard Poulter said he was excited by the potential of the new concept.

    "Any butcher looking to take back market share should consider this concept to piggyback off the national strength and popularity of the Lenard's brand," he said.

    Lenard's sells an amazing 13 million chickens per year in Australia.
    APN Releases Free
    South Burnett Newspaper
    October 15, 2008 - Keen observers could be excused for thinking a mini media war has broken out in the South Burnett with the release this week of the South Burnett Mail, (right).

    The free fortnightly news-pictorial, published by multinational APN Australian Publishing, has grown from the popular, (if at one time controversial), Kingaroy Mail.

    It has a claimed circulation of 7500 copies across a similar distribution area as its sister publication, the bi-weekly South Burnett Times which has a cover price of $1.

    Late last month the independent Country Focus community newspaper, based in Nanango and published free fortnightly, announced plans to soon expand its coverage to the whole South Burnett.

    Publisher Ross Towell told SBBiz: "Our aim is ... if you get a mail delivery, you will get a free Country Focus! Watch this space."
    Difficult Task For Local Emergency Crews
    accident scenario

    October 14, 2008 - The scene ... a semi-trailer is overturned in the former Kingaroy Council yards in Pound Street. An old model Commodore is pinned underneath. The two occupants of the car are trapped and injured.

    Similar scenarios have become frighteningly common but fortunately this time it was only an exercise. On Saturday, a total of 32 fire brigade officers from Kingaroy and surrounding South Burnett towns had the luxury of being able to spend time discussing what were the best ways of tackling the "rescue" and weighing up their options. They were guided by three instructors from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

    North Coast Region Area Director Inspector Kevin Lucas said the exercise had also allowed the teams to familiarise themselves with new gear including PowerShore equipment to lift and stabilise heavy vehicles and improved hydraulic cutters which can cut through the tougher metals found in trucks and new generation passenger cars.

    This new equipment has been issued to the Kingaroy Fire Service, and along with a new computer-aided despatch program, will allow teams to respond quickly to truck incidents throughout the South Burnett.

    PS. The two car crash victims were safely extracted and the experience gained by the firies will probably one day save a life. Thank you everyone!

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