A splash of spring

LADIES will strut their stuff on the catwalk on Saturday in aid of Wentworth’s Murray House Aged Care facility.
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Fundraiser: Shirley Kumm, Sharon Rose and Carol McWhinney in garments from Lorraine’s Ladies Wear, which will be showcased during a charity fashion parade for Wentworth’s Murray House Aged Care facility tomorrow.Picture: Clancy Shipsides

The latest in spring fashions will brighten up the Wentworth Town Hall with a huge range of warm and colourful styles for women of all ages.

The parade, which is run by the Murray House Aged Care committee, is held twice a year and has been going for the past nine years.

Over those years the event has raised thousands of dollars for the aged care facility, enhancing residents’ lifestyles and improving equipment to make the residents feel comfortable.

Lorraine’s Ladies Wear owner, Carol Pulisi, said coming into summer there were many options for ladies that would be showcased in the colourful parade.

“We run a parade each year before both summer and winter, showcasing the different ranges of stock for the different seasons,” Ms Pulsi said.

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Meat truck goes up in flames on highway

A MEAT truck travelling towards the SA border caught fire yesterday morning creating a road-side roast. The male driver of a B-double was travelling along Sturt Highway, Victoria, about 10km from the SA border, when he noticed flames from the rear trailer about 1.30am. Mildura police Highway Patrol Sergeant Mark McDonald said the driver pulled over and managed to unhook the trailer to save the rest of the truck going up in flames. Sgt McDonald said the man was lucky not to sustain any injuries during the incident. He said SA police from Berri and SA Country Fire Service crew attended the scene. The road was reduced to one lane for several hours. Police said the blaze was not suspicious however the cause was still being investigated.
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Handbag stolenfrom hospitalPOLICE are appealing for information about a stolen handbag from a Mildura hospital. Police said a black handbag was taken from the hydrotherapy pool at Mildura Base Hospital on Ontario Avenue. They said the theft happened last Thursday between 4.40pm and 5pm. Police said opportunistic thefts were common in the region and they have had reports of stolen items from other public pools and public areas. They urged residents to keep valuables secure at all times. Anyone who saw anything suspicious should phone Mildura Police Station on 5018 5300 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Game sees town unite for fun day

A RUGBY League clash in the North West is bringing community members together to momentarily forget about the hardships of the drought.
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Petero Civoniceva will make a guest appearance at the Town v Country clash tonight.

The McKinlay Shire has once again been a victim of drought with many property owners selling cattle for less than the fuel it costs to get them to auction.

Plumber Adam Hartley and local Senior Constable David McNab last year decided to create Town v Country – a football event to bring together members of the community.

It is now Julia Creek’s biggest event of the year outside of the town’s Dirt n’ Dust Triathlon.

The benefits have had far wider reach than just lifting the morale of the town, with one business stating their profit was on par with what it reaps from the Dirt ‘N’ Dust.

Senior Constable McNab says the event has attracted the support from the game’s highest level.

“Knowing everyone is benefiting from this, businesses, locals, gives the town a sense of achievement,” he said.

“The NRL and QRL have been so supportive in getting behind this event, especially in organising NRL legend Petero Civoniceva to attend again, it’s going to be as memorable as last year.”

Local businesses and individuals immediately put forward donations to support the venture in whatever form they could with jerseys, trophies, bar support and food.

Joint organiser Adam Hartley said the match united the community.

“This football match really has brought the community together; we have boys that are willing to play for either side if needed to get this game happening,” he said.

“This is what it is all about, not just a great game of competitive football but a game where we will all unite at the end of the match with pride and mateship.”

Mayor Belinda Murphy said events such as the rugby league clash were critical for social interaction in the community, bringing physical and mental health benefits.

“It has been a really hard year for everyone in the drought declared western Shires and it is so wonderful to see great people in our community from police and local business develop this outside their working commitments,” she said.

“It will be a great afternoon for our children and a great night for the community.”

The match starts at Kev Bannah Oval at 6.30pm tonight.

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FINAL WORD: It all comes down to this

RACE AGAINST TIME: Nick Stagg (right) walks laps at training on Tuesday night.LW: It all comes down to this, Bourkey – Strathfieldsaye v Sandhurst for the 2014 Bendigo Football League premiership on Saturday.
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They are certainly two fitting grand finalists having been the clear standout sides of the year.

As good as Sandhurst has been this year in getting to the grand final with an 18-3 record, all signs point to it being a historic day for the Storm and the club winning its first senior premiership.

AB: It’s hard to tip against a side that is 18-1 and coming off a seven-goal second semi-final win.

The Storm have had their injury concerns, but Sandhurst’s issues with Tim Martin and Nick Stagg hurt more.

With the way the Dragons are limping into this game, I reckon a Sandhurst win would be the biggest BFNL grand final upset since Kangaroo Flat knocked off Kyneton in 1996.

LW: Biggest upset for nearly 20 years… are you under-selling the Dragons just a bit here?

But as we spoke about last Sunday, there’s no doubt the footy Gods have conspired against the Dragons at the wrong time of the year on the injury front.

You always felt the Dragons were going to need everything to go right for them to challenge the red-hot Storm and to be potentially down two of their inter-league reps in Tim Martin and Nick Stagg is one of the reasons why they’ve blown out to $6 with Sportsbet.

Amazing to think those Sandhurst odds of $6 are longer than the $5 Bears Lagoon-Serpentine were at ahead of last week’s one-sided LVFL grand final against Bridgewater.

Plenty of selection intrigue still to come, with the two sides picking a combined 49 players in their squads on Thursday night.

AB: I watched the Storm train on Thursday night and Tommy Bartholomew did everything right.

However, the fact he hasn’t played since July 19 makes it mighty hard to pick him.

As good as Bartholomew was in last year’s finals, it’s too big a risk.

With the way the Storm forward line has been functioning of late I can’t see any reason to change it.

Daniel Geary or Jake Dickens would be mighty stiff to miss out.

As for the Dragons, as much as I’d like to see Martin and Stagg play, teams who risk injured players in grand finals usually come off second best.

You might be able to get away with one, but not two.

Throw the fit kids in at the deep end and try to run the Storm off their feet.

LW: My tip is a Storm win by 40 points… just too much class and strength all over the ground.

And Milney to add the Nalder Medal to his Ron Best and Derrick Filo medals that he has already won.

I’m backing Milney to snag eight goals.

What does your crystal ball say?

AB: Storm by six goals, Milne to kick six and Matt Smith to win the medal.

Wedderburn to get the biscuits in the NCFL decider.

I know you’re super excited about Sunday’s MCDFL grand final.

Who wins?

LW: Could be the closest grand final of the three. Navarre by about 15 points to go back-to-back.

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Healthcare crisis looms – ‘Medicare devalued general practice’

AUSTRALIANS, and governments, need to put a higher value on general practice services if the nation is to avoid a looming healthcare crisis, one Tamworth doctor has warned.
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Dr Ian Kamerman, president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, says rather than charge a co-payment for GP services, as proposed in the budget, the federal government needs to rethink the way Medicare is funded and help change patient expectations about the treatment they receive.

He says Medicare, now 40 years old, has devalued general practice to the point where patients expect it to be free, while accepting the need to pay for other medical services.

“The problem is the government has set up a model over time which has devalued general practice, so there is huge pressure on practices to bulk bill,” Dr Kamerman said.

“People have the concept that healthcare should be free – they’re happy to pay for a specialist, but not a GP.”

Dr Kamerman believes co-payments are a very small part of the future of general practice funding.

“If you want to look at the evidence, we need to actually seek payments for quality because then you might be able to convince people of the value of the general practice service,” he said.

“And (rating) the quality in general practice is easy – it’s comprehensive care, co-ordination of … chronic disease management, it’s after-hours service, hospital avoidance.”

For those who reject the notion of dispensing with bulk-billing altogether, Dr Kamerman puts it in “you get what you pay for” terms.

“You, as a consumer can know right away, ‘yep, this is a quality practice, and I’m happy to pay X amount for this service,” he said.

“When you’re running, by and large, a bulk-billing practice – and I’m not pointing out anyone specifically here – generally you’re relying on a model that requires you to have briefer consultations, one problem only and essentially putting people through because that’s the model Medicare funds the best.”

Quality of service is not considered in the current Medicare model, Dr Kamerman says, to the detriment of patients, particularly those in rural and regional areas.

“The issue is, I think, that the government tends to look at (healthcare) as a numbers rather than a skills game, but just because you’ve got bums on seats doesn’t necessarily mean people have high-level skills,” he said.

“In rural areas, the hospital-based care is as important as office-based care; that (doctors) can do the procedural-based stuff and look after whole communities, rather than just people who come into their office.”

The programs that provide this level of quality and expertise though are under threat however, many dismantled in the budget.

“So, we actually get to that position, so what do we do now, we say, ‘oh yes, we’ve solved that problem, let’s change it all and put it under a whole lot of risk’,”he said.

“As with any major reform, this will cause chaos for the next five to 10 years if it goes through (the senate).”

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