Rally to protest closure of Robb College

HUNDREDS of University of New England students will march in protest this morning against the closure of Robb College next month.
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More than 500 students representing each of the university’s colleges are expected to turn out for the rally, sparked by last week’s shock announcement that Robb College would be closed at the end of trimester two and its residents relocated to Drummond and Smith.

The university’s administration said it had had no choice but to close the college while the Heritage Council of NSW considers the building’s heritage listing, delaying essential safety compliance works.

But UNE Student Association president David Mailler labelled the sudden announcement a “kneejerk reaction” and said the university risked losing the opportunity for a “win-win” with the affected students.

“College students are key stakeholders and they have been badly treated,” Mr Mailler said.

“That (management) haven’t chosen to listen and include usin developing a solution before (making the announcement) has angered normally easy-going and conservative students and pushed them to protest.

“A management style in recent years of neglecting or ignoring student ideas and aspirations, as well as the impact of trimesters, has pushed down on student goodwill, and this runaway decision was a step too far.”

Mr Mailler acknowledged there were hurdles to negotiate when it came to the refurbishment of the ageing college buildings, but a consultation process would have created respect on both sides.

Adding to student concerns is the uncertainty around just how long Robb will be closed and the impact on both colleges’ cultural heritage.

Mr Mailler said Robb College had built a proud history since its founding in 1960, and was known for a strong connection to the rural community, with an emphasis on leadership and integrity, while Drummond and Smith traced its roots back to 1930 and the Armidale Teachers’ College.

“The proposal to co-house Robb students in Drummond and Smith College has alarmed Drummond and Smith residents,” he said.

“The UNE administration has failed to communicate a vision and strategy for the future ofthe colleges and their rich heritage and contribution to theuniversity.

“Students are mystified and in search of answers (and) want a change from the autocratic governance of the recent past.”

The protest will start at 9am on Queen Elizabeth Dve and will culminate in a rally at Booloominbah at 10am.

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Swans’ focus is defence

Jack Ziebell offers more firepower to North Melbourne’s impressive middle group for Friday’s preliminary final against the Sydney Swans. Picture: GETTY IMAGESAFL
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Sydney coach John Longmire will put the acid on all players to put the defensive squeeze on North Melbourne in Friday’s AFL preliminary final.

While minor premiers Sydney are hot favourites to win the ANZ Stadium showdown, the Kangaroos have cause for optimism.

They have won six in-a -row and humbled the Swans at the SCG in round four, inflicting their biggest loss (43 points) and lowest score 6.12 (48) of the season.

North didn’t have Andrew Swallow or Jack Ziebell that day and both will add firepower to an already impressive midfield group.

“[Nick] Dal Santo, [Sam] Gibson, [Daniel] Wells, [Brent] Harvey. You can’t tag them all,” Longmire said on Thursday.

“We need to make sure that our 18-man defence is really strong.

“We are going up against a team that has won six in-a-row and are in ripping form, and have a good team available as well.

Kangaroos coach Brad Scott expected the inside midfield battle to determine the contest, but hinted at a plan to again curtail the influence of Sydney’s Coleman Medal winner Lance Franklin.

The Swans spearhead was held goalless for the only time in 20 games this season in the SCG clash, where he was outplayed by Scott Thompson.

“It’s about mitigating the supply to him and making sure we defend really well,” Scott said. “We’ve got a plan in place, but it’s going to come down to how well we execute it.”

The fitness news on Thursday favoured the Swans.

Longmire expected All-Australian defender Nick Malceski to play after recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered early in the Swans’ qualifying final win over Fremantle.

For North, Jamie Macmillan (hamstring) was ruled out on Thursday, along with Lachie Hansen (hip) and Leigh Adams (concussion), neither of whom played in last week’s semi-final win over Geelong.

While Sydney will be playing a preliminary final for a third straight year, North haven’t advanced so deep into September for seven seasons.

Longmire couldn’t quantify how significant that was.

But Scott alluded to the Kangaroos’ big-time temperament by referring to their wins over the three other preliminary finalists, and finals victories over Essendon and Geelong in the past fortnight.

“The facts are the facts, we’ve beaten all the good sides,” Scott said. “You can say that’s irrelevant. You can say that was a long time ago, but big games in finals we’ve won.” AAP

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Randwick a welcome challenge for Shannon Fraser

RUGBY UNION
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Shannon Fraser

Shannon Fraser has no intention of ducking the pressure that comes with being the first outsider to coach the famous Randwick club.

Fraser, who coached the Wollongong Vikings and NSW Country Cockatoos this season, has been hand-picked to lead the Galloping Greens in 2015.

The 36-year-old’s appointment might raise a few eyebrows among Randwick’s old boys, but Fraser is keen to throw himself into the role.

“I’m conscious of the challenge I’m about to take on, being the first non-Randwick person to be offered this position,” he said.

“It comes with a bit of pressure because it’s never been done before in the history of the club. They’ve taken a bit of a punt on me so there is that little bit of pressure there, but at the same time I’m excited by the challenge.

“There’s a good playing roster there, the Randwick Colts have just won the premiership, so there’s good youth in the club.

“It’s a very strong, traditional club that plays a good brand of football. It has a fantastic alumni, and to be submerged in that environment is something I’m looking forward to.”

An assistant coach with the NSW Country Eagles in the National Rugby Championship, Fraser has paid his dues over the last decade.

He was an assistant coach with Fiji for the 2007 and ’11 World Cups and a NSW Waratahs assistant coach from 2004-08. He was a consultant with the Western Force in 2012 and filled a similar role with a Japanese club for three years.

Fraser’s appointment with Randwick started with a cup of coffee a couple of weeks ago.

“Stephen Hoiles and Bob Dwyer got in contact with me and put the proposal together and whet my appetite a little bit about the opportunities at Randwick,” the Illawarra Academy of Sport general manager said.

“It escalated from there. The vision the club has, they felt my coaching style and my experience was a good fit with where Randwick are at the moment. Over the last few days, we all got on the same page and they made the offer.

“There’s a good feel within the game at the moment with the experimental laws and bringing the running back into the game, and obviously that’s the foundation Randwick has had a lot of success on. I’m quite excited by that and the prospect of contributing to the tradition of the club going forward.”

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Tough times ahead: let’s try to reduce the impact

James Brady.TOUGH times are becoming increasingly apparent for Launceston.
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Economic changes have already brought the closure of once strong industries in the North, and the downstream effects are settling in.

With closures comes a decrease in disposable income and fewer dollars landing in the pockets of local employers.

Impacts are already familiar to young job seekers as they begin to feel the pinch of tightened Newstart regulations.

As a 26-year-old, the problem seems daunting and is often a point of discussion for many of my friends.

One guy I met while walking through Brisbane Street Mall was jamming away on a beaten up acoustic guitar.

We’re not overly close, but I stop to chat whenever I see him out playing.

He continues to encourage me with my own music, and always has an open ear when it comes to menial day-to-day problems — a top bloke.

Last month I learned he was busting his guts on that instrument in between study courses to buy bus tickets home.

It was something that really hit hard, I can’t help but think how lucky I was to secure a cadetship four years ago, before everything appeared to blow up in the job market.

Unemployment does not mean you lack drive or are unwilling to try, and reverting to study no longer seems like an easy option.

At the beginning of this year Northern Tasmania’s youth unemployment rate was at 18.6 per cent, the sixth worst rate in Australia.

I hear from too many young people who are stuck in job-seeking predicaments, their hands bunching overlooked CVs as they vent their frustrations.

“We’re looking for someone with experience” is the catchcry relayed by those lucky enough to get a call-back from would-be employers.

A line so rich, it’s poor.

Many of those same people have considered Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s suggestion of moving interstate for work, a statement criticised by Youth Network of Tasmania in May this year.

Even if they do scrape together enough money to move interstate, what then?

They’d be away from family and friends in search of work they have not yet secured.

As time goes on, the risk of falling into further financial struggles presents itself and, with that, a chance of relying on crime to avoid hunger or homeless.

It is apparent that many Northern Tasmanians are already leaning on illegal activity to get by.

Only this month Launceston detectives reported dramatic increase in amphetamine seizures, snatching nearly $4 million worth in 2013-14.

There are some serious implications in that alone.

For some the report card seems bleak for Launceston, which can still grasp last year’s ‘most family friendly city in Australia’ award as a shield from bad news.

Even those who hold jobs are facing crisis situations — one charity representative last week described rising cases of “the working poor” as cuts to shifts and wages are made.

Aside from sitting back and adding another lash to the long-dead jobs horse, there are other things residents can do to lessen the impact of tough times for others.

Buy local, volunteer for charity, conduct fundraisers or donate funds or items when able.

Keep an eye out for those in need, or those doing it tough and work to establish communication with people in your area.

Reach out to friends who may be falling by the wayside or struggling to work out their own plan of action.

Invite a neighbour over for dinner, give people a place to go, and offer assistance to those in need.

Or, like I wish I had done for my busking friend, offer them a lift.

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Illawarra disability workers to fight privatisation plans

Illawarra disability workers hold a stopwork meeting and protest on Foleys Road, Gwynneville, in August. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIIllawarra disability workers will again take to the streets on Friday to protest state government plans to privatise the sector.
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About 100 Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) workers are expected to attend a lunchtime rally at Mood Park, Albion Park.

Public Service Association regional organiser Tony Heathwood said the action would not impact upon the delivery of services, but would send a clear message to the NSW government.

The action follows recent rallies in North Wollongongand Dapto.

“Disability care workers in the Illawarra are protesting the impact that the privatisation of disability services will have on the services they provide and their jobs,” Mr Heathwood said.

“We believe that the government is implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme in a manner that is ineffective and inappropriate by privatising all government-delivered services.

“They’re selling their plan by saying it will increase choice, but they are reducing that choice by removing the government as a provider of last resort.”

Mr Heathwood said ADHC was the most experienced service provider in the sector, particularly in high level care for people with severe disabilities.

“The hundreds of disability workers in this region are concerned that their jobs and conditions will be adversely affected and that their employment will be forcibly transferred to the non-government sector,” he said.

Mr Heathwood said many parents with children with disabilities were concerned about the move, especially when some children had been with the same carers and services for decades.

A spokesperson for NSW Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka said employees who were transferred would have their key entitlements protected. This included continuity of superannuation, continuity of service, accrued long service, annual and sick leave.

“By 2018, it is estimated about 25,000 more disability staff will be needed to support the NDIS program statewide.”

The spokesperson said the minister intends to continue to work closely with the unions to discuss any of their concerns.

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