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Monthly Archives: December 2018

Comments Off on Kearsley Public School thanks firefighters on National Red Balloon Day

Kearsley Public School thanks firefighters on National Red Balloon Day

Kearsley Public School thanks firefighters on National Red Balloon Day

Community thanks firefighters on National Red Balloon Day | PHOTOS RED-LETTER DAY: Kearsley Public School students were joined by Kearsley Rural Fire Brigade for National Red Balloon Day on February 28. Pictures: Krystal Sellars
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GRATITUDE: Kearsley Public School students Jack, Chevelle and Sandra with the Thank You Fireys balloons that were tied to the school fence.

Kearsley Public School students Tyler, Zoe and Dylan on National Red Balloon Day. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Kearsley Public School students Kai, Hannah, Maclyn and Broddie on National Red Balloon Day. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Kearsley Rural Fire Brigade captain Les Goldie and Kearsley Public School principal Melissa Trigg on National Red Balloon Day. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Kearsley Rural Fire Brigade volunteers give the Kearsley Public School students a demonstration of firefighting equipment on National Red Balloon Day. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Kearsley Rural Fire Brigade volunteers give the Kearsley Public School students a demonstration of firefighting equipment on National Red Balloon Day. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Kearsley Rural Fire Brigade volunteers give the Kearsley Public School students a demonstration of firefighting equipment on National Red Balloon Day. Picture: Krystal Sellars

National Red Balloon Day at Kearsley Public School. Picture: Jarrad Folpp

National Red Balloon Day at Kearsley Public School. Picture: Jarrad Folpp

National Red Balloon Day at Kearsley Public School. Picture: Jarrad Folpp

National Red Balloon Day at Kearsley Public School. Picture: Jarrad Folpp

Picture: Sarah Thomson

Picture: Sarah Thomson

Cessnock Multi-Purpose Children’s Centre took part in National Red Balloon Day on February 28. Picture: supplied

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Comments Off on Newcastle image consultant Deanne Hobday says we need to forget about the Kardashians and channel our own celebrity

Newcastle image consultant Deanne Hobday says we need to forget about the Kardashians and channel our own celebrity

Newcastle image consultant Deanne Hobday says we need to forget about the Kardashians and channel our own celebrity

“It takes 27 chances to change the first impression you make,” says Deanne Hobday of the importance of dressing for success. “I like to have qualifications. I don’t like to wing it in the world.”
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So says businesswoman Deanne Hobday, who has been true to her word as she has moved into new career paths, and hit the books to gain her latest qualifications.

On Wednesday, she will launch Deanne Hobday Image Consultant’s stylish new office space in Beaumont Street, Hamilton, withtwo Knights first-graders scheduled to attend in their finest.

Ms Hobday began her business in 2015 on the advice of a friend who,noting her flair for styling, asked her to edit her wardrobe.

She was soon in her creative element.

“I like the idea of empowering women and men to look and feel their best,” she says.“People lose themselves through different life events –a separation, being a mum, illness –but I help them put the fun back in their lives.”

Raised in Deniliquin, after school Ms Hobday went to Melbourne and studieda Diploma of Arts (Interior Design): “I love colour, scale and design, and as a girl I’d be designing houses and playing with those paper doll games where you changed the doll’s outfit,” she smiles.

She worked in styling and visual merchandise for corporates in the super and retail sectors before studying to gain her real estate licence.

She worked in Sydney offices for McGrath before being headhunted to the Central Coast and Newcastle, learning valuable business and life skills along the way.

For her latest career, she studied two diplomas –one in image consultancy, the other in advanced personal colour analysis –and now offers personal image consults (including colour and style analysis) and workshops.

“We all have people who influence how we dress, but I do so with the science behind it,” she says, explaining how she assesses a client’s skin tone and works out their colour palette and hero colours.

Shehas simple fashion advice for we mere mortals: “Everyone is on Instagram and following the Kardashians. Follow yourself, be your own celebrity and cheer yourself. Present yourself in the best way possible at work and in life.”

Style queen: Deanne Hobday in her Hamilton office.

Dressing by Knight: Former Newcastle Knight Jake Mamo, styled by Deanne Hobday.

Suiting up: Former Newcastle Knight Jake Mamo as styled by Deanne Hobday.

Comments Off on Convicted armed robber and property developer Savas Guven scores $9 million in Mosman

Convicted armed robber and property developer Savas Guven scores $9 million in Mosman

Convicted armed robber and property developer Savas Guven scores $9 million in Mosman

AllRound Access boss Savas Guven has scored $9 million on his partially demolished home in Mosman. Guven’s partially demolished Mosman home.
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Savas Guven and his wife Jade had been planning to build their dream home on the block. Photo: Supplied

Savas Guven, the former violent criminal, with big property plansDouble life of high-flying AllRound Access CEO Savas GuvenBalmoral House racks up Mosman’s first double-digit house sale of the year

Savas Guven, the convicted armed robber-turned-property developer, has scored $9 million from the sale of the Mosman property owned by his wife Jade.

The bullish result is all the more impressive given the Guvens paid $5 million for it in 2014 and have since largely demolished the house.

In a twist, property records show it was purchased by Blue Storm Properties, of whom the sole director and owner is Leichhardt-based Rino Criola, a business associate of Campbell Duncan, son of mining mogul and the Guvens’ next door neighbour Travers Duncan.

Travers Duncan was one of the Guven’s neighbours who objected to their DA application to build a 15-metre high house because it “grossly exceeded” council guidelines. Last June, Duncan added further objections to the Guvens’ plans on the grounds of height and floor space, shadowing and concerns over lack of privacy.

Mr Guven, the owner and chief executive of scaffolding and building services company AllRound​ Access, came to attention last year when he proposed the redevelopment to his Hopetoun Avenue dress circle address overlooking Cobblers Bay Beach.

But revelations around his business dealings quickly overshadowed his reputation, including that he was a convicted armed robber using a pseudonym who controlled a $23 million property empire. None of his companies is large enough to disclose its earnings to the corporate regulator.

He was filmed manhandling two women attempting to stop the unauthorised felling of protected gum trees on a property controlled by one of his companies. He also faces charges for assault and intimidation over a parking rage incident and is due to face court next month.

While the Guvens’ DA was knocked back by council last year they won an appeal in the Land and Environment Court just before Christmas, allowing them to proceed with building their dream home.

However, two days before that court ruling, Fairfax Media revealed three of Mr Guven’s employees at AllRound​ Access were arrested as part of one of the biggest drug busts ever in .

The sale of the Hopetoun Avenue home was deemed bullish by local agents familiar with the high-end market values, with one saying on condition of anonymity: “At that price it must have coal deposits under the site”.

Mr Duncan has been found to have acted corruptly by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, by concealing the involvement of an Obeid family in a coal tenement.

The new owner Rino Criola is joint owner and director of the Village Living property group with Campbell Duncan and Ben Ingham, of the poultry and thoroughbred racing family.

Mr Guven has amassed an impressive property portfolio in recent years since he did time in jail for a violent armed robbery.

In 2000 Savas Yucel, as he was then known, was sentenced to four years jail for threatening to stab a store worker with a knife, although that sentence was revised to three years periodic detention on appeal.

Comments Off on James Packer’s Barangaroo suddenly not such a ‘VIP-restricted gaming facility’

James Packer’s Barangaroo suddenly not such a ‘VIP-restricted gaming facility’

James Packer’s Barangaroo suddenly not such a ‘VIP-restricted gaming facility’

No gamble: John Alexander says Crown will remain one of ‘s ”most valuable tourism assets”. Photo: Rob Homer The original Barangaroo concept was for a 168-metre hotel. At last count, it had grown to 271 metres. Photo: Supplied
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15 Crown employees were detained in China over alleged gambling crimes. Photo: Dave Tacon

The new chief dealer at James Packer’s Crown Resorts seems to have a flexible view of what “VIP” might mean at Crown’s Sydney casino when it finally opens in 2021 or so.

And that view, as quoted in a Daily Telegraph interview over the weekend, doesn’t sound like the “VIP-restricted gaming facility” announced by then Premier, Barry “Don’t-Call-It-A-Casino” O’Farrell. It reads more like predictable mission-creep by Crown chasing more than it pitched to win the gambling licence in controversial circumstances.

The Murdoch newspaper reported Crown executive chairman John Alexander “dismissed concerns about the impact the four-month detention in China of 15 Crown employees over alleged gambling crimes would have on the high-end Barangaroo casino” and that Barangaroo would appeal to “more than just VIP high-rollers”.

“We expect to have a lot greater clarity of our VIP operations by then,” the paper quoted Alexander as saying. “Our Barangaroo project will be the principal attraction for our customers.

“VIP is very important but it is not the only arm and leg of Barangaroo. We expect to capture our share of the local market, which is strong and growing.”

That quote is similar to what Alexander was saying when Crown’s results were released last week.

“It would be wrong to see Barangaroo as solely as a VIP property,” he said then. “We believe it will be very attractive to the local market, the local VIP market, which is quite strong and growing.”

The Barangaroo licence won by Packer’s media and lobbying blitzkrieg was for a VIP-only gambling facility and no poker machines.

The “local market” presumably means the existing all-comers Star casino with its 1500 pokies, never mind every other pub and club in the city with many thousands more.

Mission creep and “flexibility” has been a common theme for Crown’s Melbourne operation and the Barangaroo project even before it is built. The original Barangaroo concept was for a 168-metre hotel. At last count, it had grown to 271 metres.

That original pitch for what sounded like exclusive VIP rooms morphed into one big floor of tables in the fat podium level, because Crown’s Melbourne and Macau experience showed split-level gaming isn’t as profitable.

In the wake of the arrests in China, Crown’s latest results showed a collapse in VIP income at its Melbourne and Perth casinos of 47 and 39 per cent respectively. The company is unleashing a round of cost cutting that’s expected to wipe out hundreds of jobs.

Comments Off on Toby Price back racing two months after Dakar crash

Toby Price back racing two months after Dakar crash

Toby Price back racing two months after Dakar crash

BACK: Toby Price at the Dakar Rally this year. Picture: Getty Images FORMER Maitland-based off-road motorcycle star Toby Price will return to racing of a different kind at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide from Thursday, just eight weeks after breaking a leg in his Dakar Rally defence.
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Price, the first n to win the Dakar,will drive in the Stadium Super Trucks, an event he has competed in the past three years in Adelaide.

The 29-year-old, who moved to the Gold Coast last year, broke his left femur in four places when crashing while leading stage four of the Dakar on January 5. Price was set to again headline the Enduro-X motorcycle event, which he helpedlaunched last yearat the Clipsal 500.

Price was still keen to score his first podium overall result in the trucks after finishing second in one of three races last year.

“I want to be able to see if I can get an outright podium on one of these super trucks,” Price told Fox Sports.

IN FRONT: Toby Price in stage four of the Dakar Rally this year before his crash. Picture: Getty Images

“Unfortunately we won’t be on this [dirtbike] part of the course this year. Actually last year was quite busy so I’m kind of glad I’m missing this side of it, but it’s going to be a strong field and hopefully we can chase that record.

“It’s an auto so it’s all good,” he said of driving. “There’s no clutch in this thing, so it’s just throttle and brake and I can do that with the right foot, so I’ll be sweet.”

He said he was fortunate to escape the crash with only one broken bone –which was the 28thof his career.

“Usually you have a crash and break a lot of bones at one time, but I’m very lucky to come away with just what I did,” he said. “I probablycrashed at about 150kph, so it definitely wouldn’t have been too pretty.”

Comments Off on Chloe Logarzo out of Matildas’ Algarve Cup campaign in Portugal

Chloe Logarzo out of Matildas’ Algarve Cup campaign in Portugal

Chloe Logarzo out of Matildas’ Algarve Cup campaign in Portugal

Chloe LogarzoThe Matildas will have to contest the Algarve Cup without Chloe Logarzo after the Jets midfielder suffered a setback in her recovery from ankle surgery.
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Logarzo travelled to Portugal last week ready to play with the n women’s team for the first time since their Rio Olympics quarter-final run last August.

But the 22-year-old, who missed the W-League season with Newcastle, has since developed bone bruising that will delay her return until at least April, when she starts the Norwegian season with new club Avaldsnes.

“She’ll be out for another four or five weeks, unfortunately for us, and her,”Matildas coach Alen Stajcic said.

“Now we just need to be patient and get her right, and make sure she’s 100 per cent for the upcoming season she’s got in Norway, and then the internationals we’ve got later on in the year.”

The squad is also without Michelle Heyman, while Katrina Gorry is suspended for Thursday’s opening match against Olympic silver medallists Sweden.

But Germany-based pair Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond joined the team on Monday, and Stajcic remained confident of a strong showing at the invitational tournament.

Statistics indicate the group-stage battle will be hard-fought.

The world No.6 Matildas last drew 1-1 with eighth-ranked Sweden at the 2015 World Cup, defeated the 12th-ranked Netherlands 1-0 earlier that year and have drawn 1-1 with 13th-ranked China three times in the past 24 months.

“So we know there’s a struck match between us,” Stajcic said.

“Going into the Sweden game we’ll start with our strongest line-up and see where we go from there.

“But the intention is to get as much depth and experience in the team as we can.”

Less-experienced faces including Ellie Carpenter, Emma Checker, Amy Harrison and Alex Chidiac are all set to get minutes. Stajcic was particularly impressed at Chidiac’s progression during pre-tournament camps.

The top two teams from across the three groups advance directly to the final.

“You could win every game in your group and still not make the final, so it’s a little bit tough,” Stajcic said.

“But at the end of the day the biggest objective for us is playing well and testing out our team and individuals, rather than worrying about the mechanics of the draw.”

’s games will be screened live on Fox Sports.

v Sweden, 5.30am Thursday AEDT v Netherlands, 2am Saturday AEDT v China, 2am Tuesday AEDT

Comments Off on Searing heat drains farm incomes

Searing heat drains farm incomes

Searing heat drains farm incomes

Summer has signed off fromthe Haltoncattle-grazing property of Peter and Rosalie Lawrence by sending in some rain, but the brutally hot season has left behind a scarred landscape.
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Summer saps livelihoods Peter Lawrence with his cattle on the family property near Gresford. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Peter and Rosalie Lawrence check their cattle on the family property near Gresford. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

With the paddocks parched, the Lawrences have had to hand feed their stock. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Reflecting: Peter and Rosalie Lawrence checking their cattle on the family property near Gresford. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Peter and Rosalie Lawrence on the parched family property near Gresford. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Peter Lawrence on the parched family property near Gresford. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Dry times: Peter Lawrence checks the dam level on his parched property near Gresford. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Peter and Rosalie Lawrence checking their cattle on the parched family property near Gresford. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebook Summer scorches paddocks and livelihoodsFor graziers Peter and Rosalie Lawrence, the run of hot days has parched their paddocks, near Gresford, and dried up their income. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers “It’s probably some of the toughest weather I’ve experienced,” said Peter Lawrence, who has lived all of his 62 years on the land in the shadowof the Barrington Tops.

“We had an extraordinary number of days over 40 degrees, and that just saps the life out of the country.”

The grass in the paddocks turned brown, dams were being drained, and the usually reliable Allyn River that nourishedthe Lawrences’ land and stock was dropping to alarmingly low levels.

Mr Lawrence said he had seen “serious” summers before, but not one thatchanged their landso dramatically and so quickly. At Christmas, their 131-hectare property looked healthy.

“It’s hard to believe it got to where it did in just two months,” he said.

Faced with parched paddocks, the Lawrences have sold off dozens of their cattle, mostly Black Angus, and have had to hand feed their stock.

“We started with 190 [head of cattle] at the beginning of the financial year; we’ve now got 120,” Mrs Lawrence said.

While the farmhadreceived about 29 millimetres of rain in recent days, Mr Lawrence said more was needed to ensure some feed was restored before winter arrived.

The impact of summer stretches across property boundaries and seasons. The Gresford community is preparing for its 85th annual show, which is held at the end of next week. The Gresford Show celebrates the area’sagricultural heart.

Rosalie Lawrence, who is the show society’s honorary secretary, said she expectedthe summerwould reduce exhibit numbers, particularly in sections such as flowers and vegetables. There had been only seven entries so far for the commercial cattle section; the organisers usually hadabout 20.

“Unfortunately, the weather’s had that flow-on effect,” Mrs Lawrence said. “But it will still be a good show.”

The summerthat has been so testing for the Lawrences’ livelihood has shone great fortune onStephen Delaney’s business. Mr Delaney is the co-owner of Raisbeck Refrigeration in Newcastle.

“Summer’s beenflat-out,” Mr Delaney said.“We’ve been 50 to 60 per cent busier than normal summers.”

His team of five mechanics were each doing up to six jobs a day, mostly repairing stressed-out refrigeration and air-conditioning units.

“I’m glad it’s slowed down a little bit, we can start to catch up with office work and maintenance,” Stephen Delaney said.

Not that Mr Delaney is wishing for a longwinter. For when summer rolls around, so does morework.

Comments Off on Bruce MacKenzie offers to help Gladys Berejiklian win back Port Stephens

Bruce MacKenzie offers to help Gladys Berejiklian win back Port Stephens

Bruce MacKenzie offers to help Gladys Berejiklian win back Port Stephens

MAYOR’S OFFER: Port Stephens Mayor Bruce MacKenzie has offered to campaign for the Liberal Party against Labor at the 2019 state election. PICTURE: Max Mason-HubersIN 2015 he threatened to blow up Stockton Bridge. Now, the mayor of Port Stephens, Bruce MacKenzie, is offering to campaign for the Liberal Party at the next state election.
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Following the state government’s decision to scrap proposed council mergers in regional areas –including the mooted amalgamation between Newcastle and Port Stephens –Cr MacKenzie has lent his support to the Liberal government’s reelection cause.

In a letter to new Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Cr MacKenzie said the governmenthad his support in the “winnable conservative seat” of Port Stephens in the 2019 election.

“I realise as much as anyone how difficult it can be to muster the political will and support to make the right decisions consistently,” Cr MacKenzie wrote to Ms Berejiklian.

“But I think I can safely say you have started your Premiership in the right fashion.”

It marks a dramatic shift in the outspoken mayor’s attitude to the government in the wake of the merger controversy.

After the government announced its merger plansCr MacKenzie became the focal point of a bitter campaign against the move, telling the government it would not win back the seat of Port Stephens for more than a decade if it went ahead with the plan.

Port Stephens was won by Labor’s Kate Washingtonin 2015. No friend of Cr MacKenzie, she said she was not worried about him helping the opposition.

“I would think him throwing his support to any local Liberal candidate can only help my cause,” she said.

“Butif Gladyshas any moral fibre she should be saying thanks but no thanks.”

Meanwhile, Labor has announced it will run endorsed candidates at the next local government election in Port Stephens due later this year.

Councillors at the local level in Port Stephens traditionally stand as independents, a practice that theNewcastle Heraldhas previously revealed often obscures existing allegiances.

“The Labor Party will be running a Labor Party ticket when this election occurs,” local branch official Giacomo Arnott said.

“Our community is sick of people hiding behind the word ‘independent’ to put forward their hidden agendas.”

He said others considering running should “show the community what their true colours are”.

Heather Letham, Labor’s Tomaree branch president,said the community“hashad enough of the Mayor and many current Councillors ignoring the will of residents”

“Residents of Port Stephens are sick of being dictated to, and want the opportunity to elect people who will be local champions, rather than head-nodders, in council,” she said.

While Cr MacKenzie has been coy on his future in local government, his strong voting bloc since 2012 has given him a mandate to make a number of decisions popular among supporters but bitterly opposed by Labor.

In his letter to Ms Berejiklian Cr MacKenzie said he understood what it was like to have to make difficult decisions.

“I have been a mayor, councillor and businessman in Port Stephens for many years and, as such, I very much understand the need to be economically rational and make hard decisions, even when they’re not popular,” he wrote.

He said he applauded Ms Berejiklian’s decision to stick with Sydney mergers while recognising the different situation in regional areas like the Hunter.

“As a popularly elected mayor in a winnable conservative seat, I trust you will accept my offer of assistance and show faith in your government,” he wrote.

Comments Off on The top five must see-and-do events in the NT in 2017

The top five must see-and-do events in the NT in 2017

The top five must see-and-do events in the NT in 2017

This article was sponsored by Tourism NT
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FROMhigh octane to chilled out, there issomething to suit everybody happeningin the Northern Territory this year.

Here are our hot five reasons to holiday in the Northern Territory in 2017 fora well-rounded experience of top end hospitality and action.

1. Enjoy the serenity in lightParrtjima – from September 22 to October 1Just outside Alice Springs, the MacDonnell Ranges will be the backdrop for this world-class festival of light. Lights will be projected onto a two and a half kilometre stretch of this 300-million-year-old canvas using the latest in lighting technologies.

The display celebrates and showcases the oldest continuous culture on earth in one of the most magnificent cultural events to ever occur in . Combining the most magical of our n landscapes it celebrates the history of our Indigenous forefathers making it a not to be missed event.

Register your intention of attending Parrtjimahere

2. Super-hot actionCrownBet Darwin Triple Crown Supercars – June 16-18When it gets cold down south it’s time to escape north to the territory. Get your crew together for the biggest party in the sun the Northern Territory has to offer. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown Supercars and it is set to be spectacular.

This is an exciting event for true-blue racing enthusiasts looking for some Supercar action as well as for those new to supercars. The Darwin Supercars is a safe, fun and family friendly event with some spectacular racing too.

There will be an abundance of entertainment on and off the track.

Start your Darwin Supercar action in the city centre with the massive Supercar Transporters parade as they roll into town. See Supercar driversup close and take a selfie with your favourite.

It’s all about the action, the entertainment, the concerts and of course the party.

With the acts for 2017 still to be announced, you can be sure it will be on par with last year’s entertainers, popular rockers The Living End, who fired up centre stage on Saturday night.

After all that action….A visit to the Northern Territory would not be complete without a visit to arguably some of the most beautiful National parks and naturally occurring ranges, gorges and waterholes in the world.

3. Re-invigorateLitchfield National Park and Kakadu National Park – anytimeOnly one and half hours from Darwin, you can make Litchfield National Park your base-camp to all the must do waterfalls for swimming, military history, indigenous culture, fine camping, wildlife parks, fishing lodges and other adventure attractions.

The park is home to several stunning waterfalls, crystal clear swimming waterholes as well as iconic termite mounds and the weathered sandstone pillars at the Lost City. With many beautiful walks to choose from there arealso plenty of shady monsoon forest in ancient gorges to shelter in and enjoy the plentiful bird life.

Kakadu is a must do so put it on your bucket list. With waterfalls, escarpments, aboriginal rock-art, crocodiles and exotic bird life, and only 2.5 hours from Darwin, Kakadu is bound to change how you see the world.

4. Alice Springs to lifeIn association with Summernats is Red CentreNATS – September 1-3Make Father’s Day 2017 one to remember for Dad with the ultimate weekend away at ’s ultimate must do automotive festival. Rev heads of unite.

Start it with a road trip of your own and continue to celebrate all things wheels with three days of automotive competition, action and entertainment at different venues across Alice Springs.

PEDAL TO THE METAL The Summernats in 2016 was one of the most successful in years. Pictures Jeffrey Chan

Be part of ’s biggest street parade and get up close to the street machines, elite show cars, hobby vehicles, hot rods, classics and supercars and take the opportunity to drive your car on the open road.

The program features precision grass driving, street cruising, show and shine competition, drag racing and official Burnout Masters Qualifier.

On Friday night enjoy one of ’s legendary rock acts at the Rock ‘N’ Rumble concert.

5. Walk it out and take it inWest MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon – all year roundOnly have limited time in the top end? If you’re keeping it close to Alice then a visit to West MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon is a must do.

Home to famous waterholes, the Ochre Pits, Gosse Bluff, Hermannsburg, and Finke River, the West MacDonnell National Park offers a once in a lifetime experience.

With a sealed road and plenty of facilities on arrival, the West MacDonnell Ranges are the easiest way to get a taste of what the NT has to offer outside thetowns.

Further afield, but still within easy distance of Alice Springs, is the spectacular Kings Canyon.

In Watarrka National Park, Kings Canyon is a highlight for visitors to Central and offers hikes to the canyon rim, walks through scenic desert surrounds and strolls along boulder strewn valleys beneath imposing sandstone walls.

Ancient red canyon walls soar 100m above Kings Creek to a plateau of rocky domes while the sheltered creek environments below protect an abundance of flora.

This article was sponsored by Tourism NT

Comments Off on No mobile phone reception and no landline has business owner fuming at Telstra

No mobile phone reception and no landline has business owner fuming at Telstra

No mobile phone reception and no landline has business owner fuming at Telstra

SEEKING CONNECTION: Ken Rubeli trying to run his business from a stump. He has no mobile reception at home, and has been without a landline for nearly three weeks.
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THE Bandon Grove area at the foothills of the Barrington Tops promises a picturesque, idyllic escape for those who want to switch off.But for the residents whose livelihoods depend on visitors, a bit of connectivity would go a long way.

Thursday will mark three weeks since Ken Rubeli’s landline phones, both business and personal, worked. His home at Wangat Lodge, about 20 minutes from Dungog, is outside the mobile phone coverage area, sohe has been without a working phone since February 9.He can get some mobile reception, if he walks 50 metres into his field and sets himself up in his “paddock office” on his “ergonomic tree stump”.

“I rely on landlines for my business, as I have done for nearly 30 years,” Mr Rubeli said.“I am a 70-year-old man living on my own most of the time. It is also my connection with friends and family.”

After reporting the fault to Telstra on February 9, Mr Rubeli was told it would be fixed by February 14. That was extended to February 23. Then, March 2.

Mr Rubeli said the disruption to his accommodation business was only made worse by a “corporate culture” that showed little concern for the realities of customers in rural areas, where mobile reception was patchy or non-existent.

“People often tend to forget about the landline and use the mobile, but out here the mobile doesn’t work … and Telstra doesn’t care;we are a tiny portion of the Telstra Network.

“There’s a prioritising, I think, and we end up at the absolute bottom of the heap.”

Fortunately, he did have access to email.

A frustrated Mr Rubeli lodged a complaint with Telstra on February 15, but did not receive a response, despite several emails requesting an update.

“I did get my Telstra bill in the mail,” he said.

He then lodged a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on February 24.

Telstra did attemptto contact Mr Rubeli on his mobile phone on Monday night but, due to the lack of mobile coverage, he was unaware of the call until he returned to his tree stump on Tuesday. The timeline for the repair had not changed.

Mr Rubeli said he depended on the network for his business.

“My Telstra phone service is invaluable to my business, but I feel like I’m of no value to Telstra as a customer,” he said.

“My neighbour says ‘we need to go for the jugular’,” Mr Rubeli said.“But Telstra doesn’t have a jugular. It has carefully covered up its throbbing heart with voice robots and multi-digit report numbers. And if you do ever find a blood vessel there’s no pulse, no feeling at all.”

A Telstra spokesperson said late on Tuesday that the issue had the potential to impact up to six customers.

“We wish to apologise for the interruption to some ADSL and fixed line services in the area,” the spokesperson said.

“We are working to restore the issue as quickly as possible.”