BATTING ON: CAW on the attack to attract Sheffield Shield match

CRICKET Albury-Wodonga is refusing to give up hope of hosting a Sheffield Shield match early next year.
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While Wangaratta’s Norm Minns Oval is believed to be the preferred option if it misses out on an AFL pre-season match, Cricket Victoria officials inspected Tallangatta’s Rowen Park facilities last week as a potential back-up plan.

Tallangatta’s pitch is widely regarded as being one of the best in country Victoria, with its facilities undergoing a $1.85 million upgrade earlier this year.

North Albury’s Bunton Park and Birallee Park in Wodonga have also been mooted as possible venues for a four-day match but appear longshots.

Cricket Albury-Wodonga chairman Michael Erdeljac said the competition hadn’t given up hope of bringing top-class cricket to the Border despite Albury Council’s recent decision to withdraw its interest in hosting a match at Lavington Oval because of a possible clash of dates with the AFL.

“I’m not going to go into the specifics of where a match could be played, but we are still looking at venues to host a Sheffield Shield match,” Erdeljac said.

“We haven’t given up.

“I’m a big believer in bringing top-class cricket to the region and no stone is being left unturned in doing that.

“We will keep chipping away.”

Five boxes must be ticked to host a match, with the top priority being a pitch capable of holding up for four days.

Geelong and Bendigo are also being considered as potential venues.

Victoria is yet to decide venues for its final three ­Sheffield Shield home matches against Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, with the clash against the Bulls the most likely to be played on the

Border or North East.

The AFL will announce ­the winning bids for its NAB Challenge matches on August 15.

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Gallery: Swan Lake rehearsals

Gallery: Swan Lake rehearsals The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs
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The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

The Australian Ballet The Dancers Company Swan Lake rehearsal, Princess Theatre. Photos: Phillip Biggs

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need2know: Flat open ahead

A weak lead from overseas, where Wall Street ended mostly lower, and caution ahead of China growth statistics are expected to keep local shares in a narrow range to start the session.
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What you need2know:

• SPI futures up 6 points to 5467• AUD at 93.72 US cents• On Wall St, S&P500 -0.2%, Dow +0.03%, Nasdaq -0.5%• In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 -1%, FTSE -0.5%, CAC -1%, DAX -0.7%• Spot gold down $US12.56 to $US1294.59 an ounce• Brent oil down $US1.20 to $US105.78 per barrel

What’s on today

Australia: building activity;

China: economic data;

US:  industrial production, capital flows, import and export prices, Testimony by US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen to the House finance committee.

Stocks to watch

Rio Tinto will release its 2Q14 production report.

Fortescue Metals Group production and sales quarterly report.

Commonwealth Bank has an “underweight” recommendation on Fortescue Metals Group after it pre-released production and sales data ahead of its quarterly report on Wednesday.

Private equity giant KKR & Co has teamed up with Canada’s largest asset manager, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, on its $3.05 billion buyout offer for Treasury Wine Estates.

Deutsche Bank is maintaining a “buy” rating on rubber glove manufacturer Ansell, with a target price of $22.50.

Currencies

The US dollar climbed against most other leading currencies on Tuesday after Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen championed continuing loose US monetary policies to boost employment and stagnant wages.

The British pound jumped to a multi-year high against the greenback, meanwhile, as inflation data encouraged speculation Britain will raise interest rates sooner than other big economies.

The US dollar index, which weighs the greenback against six currencies, was up 0.24 per cent to 80.382 in late trading, versus a 0.02 per cent decline shortly before the US government reported a 0.2 per cent rise in retail sales in June.

Commodities

Stock depletion, mine closures and rising demand have driven the price of zinc close to three-year highs, making it the best performing base metal after nickel on the London Metal Exchange this year.

Indonesia could terminate Newmont Mining’s copper mine contract if the US-based firm does not withdraw a legal challenge to the country’s export taxes, a government official said.

Oil prices dropped, deepening their biggest slide this year as rising Libyan supplies and downbeat economic data sharpened concerns the global market was heading into a near-term glut.

United States

US stocks mostly pulled back on Tuesday after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and her fellow Fed policymakers raised concerns about “substantially stretched valuations” in some equity sectors.

JPMorgan shares gained after the biggest US bank, when ranked by assets, reported second-quarter results that were not as bad as investors had feared. Shares of Goldman Sachs rose after the company reported a 5 per cent increase in second-quarter profit.

Intel forecast third-quarter revenue above Wall Street’s expectations, signaling that a shrinking personal computer industry may be stabilising. The chipmaker’s shares rose 3.9 per cent in extended trading. 

Europe

Investment sentiment in Germany fell to the lowest level for 19 months in July amid signs of a dent in activity in Europe’s top economy, a survey showed.

In Lisbon, shares in Portugal’s largest listed lender Banco Espirito Santo slumped for the seventh day on concerns that one of the bank’s holding companies is at risk of default.

Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg was elected Tuesday to lead the most powerful agency of the European Union after overcoming fierce opposition from Britain and some lawmakers at the European Parliament. 

What happened yesterday

Early gains on the sharemarket on Tuesday were erased after bank stocks suffered a late morning decline as the interim report from the financial system inquiry spooked bank shareholders.

The S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 point to 5511.3.

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Gerard Baden-Clay: Threat of appeal looms over Allison’s family

Gerard Baden-Clay has 28 days to lodge an appeal for against his conviction and sentence for the murder of his wife Allison.
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Baden-Clay was found guilty of murdering his wife at their home in the western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012, and dumping her body on the muddy banks of Kholo Creek at Anstead, about 14 kilometres away.

The 43-year-old, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, began shaking violently at the jury delivered its verdict about midday on Tuesday.Full coverage

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 15 years without parole.

However, the threat of an appeal looms over Mrs Baden-Clay’s family and friends and the homicide detectives who dedicated countless hours to gathering evidence against the former prestige real estate agent.

Baden-Clay’s defence solicitor Peter Shields would give no indication of a possible appeal when questioned by media outside the Supreme Court shortly after the verdict was announced.

“It would not be appropriate to comment on an appeal at this stage,” he said.

Justice John Byrne was scathing in his sentencing remarks about Baden-Clay and warned future prison parole boards not to be duped by the 43-year-old’s ability to lie.

“You are given to lies and public deception so much so that whatever you may say on any application for parole, 15 years or more hence, will need to be assessed with considerable scepticism,” he told the murderer.

Unlike during the trial of Brett Peter Cowan, who was convicted earlier this year of murdering Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, Baden-Clay’s defence team made no applications for mistrial.

Cowan’s lawyers made two applications for mistrial due to alleged ‘‘prejudicial publicity’’ about their client in the media on which they have since based an appeal.

Baden-Clay has no such application on which to rest an appeal.

The cases of Raymond Carroll and Graham Stafford are among the most high-profile, successful murder appeals in Queensland’s recent history.

Mr Carroll was convicted of murdering Ipswich toddler Deidre Kennedy and throwing her body on the roof of a toilet block 500 metres from her family’s home in 1973.

The critical evidence in the case came from eminent odontologists, who said it was Carroll who had made the bite marks on Deidre’s body.

However, Carroll was later acquitted, with the Court of Criminal Appeal putting considerable weight on what it regarded as discrepancies in the dental experts’ testimonies.

Mr Carroll was convicted of perjury in 2000 for lying on the stand at his trial when he claimed he had not killed the toddler.

But he was acquitted again, with the case progressing all the way to the High Court, meaning Mr Carroll could never be tried again.

Graham Stafford, a former sheet metal worker from Goodna, was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s sister Leanne Holland with a hammer and dumping her body in Redbank Plains in 1991.

Mr Stafford appealed his conviction on three occasions, also claiming his innocence in the High Court.

His conviction was overturned in 2009, after the Court of Appeal found Leanne may have died the day after police alleged Mr Stafford killed her.

Under Queensland law, an appeal against conviction may involve a complaint regarding the way in which the trial was conducted.

The most common grounds for appeal against a conviction include: the verdict was “unsafe and unsatisfactory”, there was an error of law, or there has been a miscarriage of justice.

For its part, the Queensland government extended the non-parole period for murder from 15 to 20 years in August 2012, but the legislation was not made retrospective and therefore does not apply to Baden-Clay.

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Police suspected Gerard Baden-Clay immediately

Gerard Baden-Clay Allison Baden-Clay. Photo: Queensland Times
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Police were immediately suspicious of the scratches on Baden-Clay’s face. Photo: Supplied

Full coverage

One of the first police officers to attend the home of Gerard Baden-Clay on the morning he reported his wife missing two years ago immediately sensed something was not right.

Baden-Clay appeared calm and composed and was dressed in business attire.

But he had three scratches on his right cheek.

If not for the intuition of first-response police officer Constable Kieron Ash the investigation into the disappearance of Allison Baden-Clay might have taken a very different direction.

Constable Ash phoned his supervisors back at Indooroopilly Police Station soon after arriving at the Brookfield property to tell them of his suspicions.

“At that point, being a police officer and a first response police officer, I thought it possible that perhaps domestic violence had taken place,” Constable Ash told Brisbane’s Supreme Court last month.

The next officers to arrive at the house, Senior Sergeant Narelle Curtis and Sergeant Andrew Jackson, were also concerned by the scratches on Baden-Clays’ face.

“Gerard, I have to ask this question – those two marks on your face could be consistent with being scratched,” Sergeant Curtis said.

Baden-Clay dismissed the injuries as shaving cuts, but Sergeant Curtis was dubious of his claims.

She phoned the Indooroopilly Criminal Investigation Branch, flagging the case as a possible homicide investigation within three hours of Allison being reported missing.

On Tuesday, a Supreme Court jury found Baden-Clay guilty of murdering his wife at their home in the affluent western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012, and dumping her body on the muddy banks of Kholo Creek at Anstead, about 14 kilometres away.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 15 years behind bars without parole.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the investigators used some “unique ideas” to gather evidence when he was asked if officers had bugged flowers at Mrs Baden-Clay’s funeral in hopes of eliciting a confesssion from her husband.

Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth, who oversaw the lengthy police investigation, praised the efforts of the team of police who worked tirelessly to bring justice to Allison, her three young daughters and her family.

He emerged from the Supreme Court flanked by the investigators involved in the case to praise the work of the first-response, uniformed officers.

“The work that they demonstrated was nothing short of outstanding,” he said.

“They formed a suspicion very early in the piece, contacted their supervisors, who again performed some outstanding work notifying the Criminal Investigation Branch at an early stage.

“The detectives from Indooroopilly CIB that responded and ramped up this investigation up to a high level at a very early stage are to be commended in relation to their activities.”

Superintendent Ainsworth said he never seen such dedication from police during the 10 day search for Allison.

“Police officers giving up days off, public holidays, police recruits doing the same, working hand in hand with the State Emergency Service, the Queensland Fire Service, the Brisbane City Council … everyone determined to find Allison,” he said.

“One disappointment out of this investigation, if anything, was the time it took us to find Allison.”

The mother-of-three was found dead on the banks of Kholo Creek on April 30, 2012 – 10 days after her husband reported her missing.

Superintendent Ainsworth said the investigation into Allison’s death never wavered, with detectives from Homicide, Indooroopilly CIB, State Crime Operations Command and Metropolitan North and Metropolitan South joining forces.

“Initial stages had in excess of 60 detectives,” he said.

“It’s the team behind me that need to be thanked for their untiring efforts and the work they put in behind the scenes. I’ve never seen [such] a committed bunch.”

Police had more than 1500 lines of inquiry during their investigation, before compiling a brief of evidence comprising more than 2000 pages.

Superintendent Ainsworth also thanked the members of Allison’s family.

“Throughout the whole duration of that search the Dickie family were present, not only the immediate family, but the long-extended family of the Dickies. The support that family gave us under the circumstances, I’ve never, ever seen before,” he said.

“It was overwhelming and encouraged the police to conduct their search in the manner we did.”

He also thanked the members of the public, particularly the Brookfield community.

“The support that we had from the public out there – the Brookfield community – again was overwhelming,” Superintendent Ainsworth said.

“We had young children drawing photos and coming to the forward command post and asking for photos to be hung up, encouraging the police.

“We had people bringing food to the police and words of encouragement. It was absolutely sensational.”

Finally, he spoke of Allison.

“We never got to meet Allison, but dealing with the Dickie family and extended family, after this lengthy investigation, I’m sure I not only speak for myself but the other investigators, I feel we know her,” he said.

“We should all agree that Allison was nothing short of a wonderful person, a wonderful mother, friend and daughter.

“It’s now up to the Dickies to look after these three wonderful children. And I’m sure none of us would like our children to go through what they’re going through at the present time.”

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Taree to host country swim carnival

Taree Swimming Club members celebrate the news the Country Regional Carnival will be held here next January. Pictured are (back from left):Mark Dew, Bevan Smith, Jordan Smith, Keira Bosher, Jade Page, Olivia Dew, Shyanne Gregan and Wendy Bosher. Front: Jasmine Jackson, Brady Cross, Bailey Wilson, Tasmin Gregan, Georgia Bosher, Tobias Gregan and Marcus Smith.TAREE Amateur Swimming Club has been chosen to host the NSW Country Regional Championships next January.
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With only three country locations selected across NSW, this will be a popular event.

“Taree was selected along with Lightning Ridge and Queanbeyan,” club president Mick Cross said.

“We expect more than 300 swimmers to come to Taree to compete over the two day event. Being on January 10 and 11, we are hoping that swimmers and their families will not only compete, but also stay a little longer and have a holiday enjoying our beautiful coastline and mountains.”

Taree has one of the most impressive swimming venues on the coast with the outdoor 50m Olympic pool and excellent grandstand.

“We can’t wait to show off these excellent facilities,” Mr Cross continued.

“It has been at least five years since a carnival has been held at this venue.”

He is also enthusiastic about how the swimming club is growing in numbers.

“Not only do we have young swimmers trying club for the first time, but we also have mature swimmers returning to the sport after many years,” Mr Cross explained.

“Some of our most competitive races are kids against their parents.

“Having this level of swimming competition in Taree is a great opportunity for our swimmers to compete at this high level. As you can see we are very excited.”

The club passed on thanks to the Greater Taree City Council.

Mr Cross was very appreciative of the support provided by council to make this event a reality.

“Council recognised that we haven’t had a swimming carnival in Taree for a number of years and contributed significantly to make this event happen.”

Meanwhile the first of the club’s winter events will be conducted on Sunday starting at 2pm.

Further events will be held on August 17 and September 14 in preparation for the start of the new season in October.

Races will be held at the indoor pool at the YMCA Manning Aquatic Centre. A range of strokes will be covered.

Members of the public are invited to join in.

For further information contact Mick Cross on 0409 924 807.

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Unbeaten Manning wins State crown

MANNING didn’t have a goal scored against them in winning the State division two under 13 girl’s hockey championship in Orange.
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This means the side goes to division one next year, although some players will move into the under 15 age division..

Manning played two matches on the opening day and two the following to win their pool.

This included a 12-0 win over Crookwell. The side then came up against Orange in the semi-final. Orange eliminated Manning last year.

Manning prevailed on this occasion 2-0 to set up a showdown against New England in the final. The sides played a 0-0 draw in the pool games.

Manning only had one sub for the game as a player came down with a virus overnight and was unable to play

The final was also a hard fought affair, with Manning netting the winning goal 10 minutes from fulltime.

“It was a great effort – all the players went really well and I’m proud of them all,” coach Leanne Yarnold said.

Leanne added that centre defender, Georgia Tran defended strongly and encouraged her team-mates while centre mid fielder Emma Yarnold controlled play with great talking and defence.

Centre striker Lara Watts created a lot of gaps up front.

Younger players Bree Pensini and Kalani Cross both played up front and hassled their defenders. As preparation the side played in the State under 15 championships in Taree last month and won the ‘play to the whistle’ award.

The Manning side was Aleah Clark (goalie), Georgia Tran, Bella- Rose McIntosh, Madeline Betts, Brianna Williams, Emma Yarnold (captain), Jordan Moscat, Paige Webster, Priya Bourke, Makayla Cornall, Lara Watts, Bree Pensini, Kalani Cross.

Leanne Yarnold was coach with Ashley Harry assistant.

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NSW Farmers conference : LLS questioned

Farmers gathered in Sydney raised concerns about the roles and responsibilities of the NSW Government’s Local Land Services agency and the declining levels of associated funding.
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NSW Farmers’ President Fiona Simson said: “Farmers have continually raised their concerns about funding cuts to their agency which has prime responsibility for bringing together agricultural production advice, biosecurity, natural resource management and emergency management issues.”

“Local Land Services is responsible for a huge portfolio of issues and ratepayers are keen to see their new agency deliver on all its obligations. However, they recognise the agency is hampered by its broad remit while at the same time facing increasing budgetary pressures,” she said.

At NSW Farmers’ Annual Conference 2014 at Luna Park in Sydney farmers called for Local Land Services not to be involved with regulation and compliance of native vegetation legislation.

Ms Simson said that by being involved with native vegetation enforcement, Local Land Service officers were potentially placed in a situation of conflict of interest.

“This conflict is not only in terms of whether or not they should be acting as a regulator,” she said.

Ms Simson said that farmers instead were calling for Local Land Services to make the eradication of wild pigs a state priority.

“Biosecurity is a major concern with pig numbers increasing and their eradication requiring different methods to that of wild dogs.

“Farmers have said today that they believe Local Land Services is ideally placed to help them in eradicating pest vertebrates which can have devastating impacts on farm productivity,” she concluded.

Meanwhile,A right to farm needs to be enshrined in planning legislation to promote the sustainable development of our food and fibre producing regions, NSW Farmers’ Association members have agreed at their annual conference.

The motion, which originated from the Orange District Council, will inform the NSW Farmers’ planning policy to specifically push for a right to farm.

Chair of the association’s Conservation and Resource Management Committee Mitchell Clapham said he was pleased to see the motion passed on the floor of the association’s annual conference.

“The right to farm is a concept enshrined in other jurisdictions such as most of the provinces of Canada. It is an explicit legal construct which allows farmers to continue farming where appropriate,” he said.

“At present farmers are fighting a losing battle to retain their rights to earn a living from land which borders regional cities and towns in NSW as these centres expand onto agricultural land.

“This is particularly evident as the demand for lifestyle blocks continues as people moving to these blocks usually do not understand that farmers may sometimes need to work unusual hours to take advantage of weather conditions, for example.

“Naturally, any legislation of this kind must also be considered with the need for farmers to adhere to the many environmental regulations such as the Environmental Protection Authority’s chemical spray drift requirements.

“A right to farm would make farming operations immune from specific nuisance complaints arising from those who move to an area close to a farming operation. The reality of farming is that sometimes it’s smelly, sometimes it’s noisy, but farmers’ hard work to produce food and fibre should be supported and not restricted by our planning laws.” Mr Clapham concluded.

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Mobile phone blackspots

Ask farmers and residents in Gollan, Sandy Hollow, some parts of Dripstone and Mumbil, mobile telephone coverage for 86 per cent of farmers in NSW is intermittent or non-existent, a NSW Farmers’ telecommunications survey has found.
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Meanwhile, 85 per cent of survey respondents said they had no recent improvements in their mobile coverage at all.

NSW Farmers released the results of its 2014 telecommunications survey at its annual conference in Sydney where Fiona Simson was re-elected president.

The survey of 630 farmers revealed a clear trend and pattern with telecommunication issues in the state and highlighted ongoing issues farmers and rural and regional NSW continued to face.

NSW Farmers’ telecommunications spokesperson Anthony Gibson said that good communications were not a luxury – but a necessity.

“The more isolated you are, the more critical reliable communications are. Running a business without access to mobile technology when you are constantly on the move is both challenging and frustrating,” he said.

“For many people in regional NSW, there is no point in having a new phone with the latest applications. Being able to make and receive phone calls effectively is more important.”

Other sections of the survey revealed the quality and volatility of internet services remained a key challenge with many regional users experiencing periods of limited connection or no connection at all. In terms of mobile data coverage, 87 per cent of respondents had intermittent data receival or none at all.

While price remains the most determining factor in choosing an internet provider, coverage is the second largest determinate for farmers choosing their internet provider. Telstra is the market leader in network coverage across regional Australia leaving farmers in remote rural areas with limited choice.

Mr Gibson said that while these issues were starting to be addressed by the federal government’s review of the National Broadband Network as well as the $100 million commitment to mobile phone black spots, this really was only just the start.

The survey also showed that service delivery was another key factor hampering telecommunications in regional NSW.

“The distance and the time taken to access service centres and repairs, the lack of understanding towards rural telecommunications issues and importantly the inability of many to take their businesselsewhere were the main frustrations.

Some 67 per cent of farmers surveyed had experienced a service outage, 47 per cent had experienced a lack of advice on products suitable for regional areas and more than 40 per cent had experienced equipment failure and poor customer service.

“We have met with Telstra as the main service provider in regional NSW and hope that our ongoing dialogue will help address some of the challenges our farmers and their communities face,” Mr Gibson said.

“In our state, 44,000 farm businesses operate across 72 per cent of the state’s total land area.

“When you are living in rural and remote areas, telecommunications play a vital role in maintaining social, community and business links and NSW Farmers will continue working with the National Farmers Federation to ensure that it remains a high priority for the federal government,” he concluded.

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Five lessons for your first year in business

P-plateVirtually every small business faces a steep learning curve as a newbie.
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Trial and error is how infants build skills and strength. So too do corporate start-ups.

We ask five bosses who survived their early days of enterprise to share the biggest lesson they learnt when their business was a newborn.

Eve John, co-founder of Bent Over Silicone Nozzles, has learnt that really listening builds business

The plumbing product – with the memorable name – was invented when Eve’s husband Alex, a plumber, broke his back and “had five months staring at the ceiling”.

Patent secured, it launched in 2012 and has already got retail interest in the UK and nationally.

Eve admits she knew nothing about plumbing two years ago, but it proved invaluable as she had to listen doubly hard to trade customers.

“The biggest lesson was listening to the words our customers were using when they were speaking to us,” she says.

“Rather than selling them a plumbing tool ‘that saved them time and money’ we changed our initial copywriting, which was using all this technical language, and sold them a plumbing tool that ‘allowed them to stop having to spend hours on their knees as they wanted to go home without pain and play with their kids’, because that was what they were telling us they wanted.”

Denise Shrivell, founder of MediaScope, has learnt the importance of pacing yourself

Shrivell launched her B2B specialising in media and advertising in 2009 with “plenty of passion” and adrenaline pumping.

The Sydney sole trader says: “I had had this concept for a business for years and all these ideas in my mind, you feel this great urgency to tick all the boxes on your list, it is so exciting in those first months as a new entrepreneur.”

But Shrivell now knows small business “is a marathon not a sprint” if you want to trade long-term. You cannot afford to burn out.

“As a sole trader the business is you so if you wear out physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, early on you will not have a business and I learnt the hard way that you must pace yourself to give the adrenalin rush time to settle down.”

Madeleine Wilkie, founder of Urban Rec, has learnt not to listen to everyone’s advice

Wilkie’s non-competitive sports and social club business – almost 1000 members-strong – almost didn’t get off the ground.

She had seen the unique club in action while living in Vancouver and her gut feeling told her it should also work in Sydney, given its outdoorsy and big city lifestyle.

She returned home to Australia and in 2011 launched Urban Rec.

Pre-launch, she bounced her idea off “a friend of a friend” who is also “a financial advisor type person” as she thought it would be smart to get his take on her venture.

“He was well meaning but basically said ‘that sounds fantastic but that’s never going to work in Sydney; I would never play sport and then go to the pub’.

“His reaction definitely surprised me as I was so convinced this was a great match for Sydney so I pushed on … and now that person is one of my customers!”

Ben Neumann, managing director of Liquid Infusion, has learnt mega-riches don’t come overnight

Nine years ago, aged 22, Neumann launched his mobile cocktail bar on a shoestring budget from his parents’ garage in Melbourne.

Today it caters more than 30 private and corporate events weekly across Australia.

It reached a seven-figure annual turnover figure “about five years ago”, which is no mean feat.

He laughs recalling his initial ambition was “instant success” within months.

“We started off with three [events] a week so I thought this meant I’d be a millionaire in a year but of course I soon discovered my timeframe was out of step with the reality of the impact of seasonal fluctuations etc, so the biggest thing I learnt was you can’t always control the time it takes to fulfil your initial aspirations.

“Be patient and back your winning horse even if it may take 5-10 years to win the race.”

Jamie Lee, founder of Kids at Switch, has learnt real success is measured by how much you can help others

Lee started her early childhood education business in 2012 with three students in term one: “I loved every minute of it.”

Today the Sydney-based venture has hundreds of primary-school-aged children in its alumni.

“I’ve learnt so much since starting and realised that success is not about what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself: it’s about what you can do for others.

“I laugh every time the kids refer to me a ‘superhero’ and remind them that they are the superheroes and that helping them realise their unique talents is a joy.”

What’s the most important lesson you learnt in your first year in business? Share your comment below.

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