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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Serious safari Outback Western Australian

August 2009 welcomes more than 100 competitors from around the world to Outback WA.

These gladiators will spend seven days in Western Australia’s outback, participating in the gruelling Dakar-style Australasian Safari.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23:  Joeys rescue...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Tourism Minister Liz Constable will flag-off the first competitor in the 3,700km race at a ceremonial start in Northbridge

today. Competitors in their four-wheel drives, motorbikes and quad-bikes will test their driving skills against the challenging terrain from Perth to Geraldton, Meekathara, Mt Magnet, Leonora and Laverton, before concluding in Kalgoorlie. “After each day’s racing, about 500 competitors, support crew and officials will convene at a designated bivouac camp site that will double as the event’s service park, generating an economic boost for the regional towns along the route,” Dr Constable said.

Black Swan on the Swan River, Perth Western Au...Image via Wikipedia

“The Australasian Safari is a cost effective way to promote regional WA with the global television broadcast to millions of viewers. “A Chinese team of 25 members, including Chinese television media, will be among the 4WD competitors. The team’s progress will be covered along the way, generating media exposure in a massive tourism market for potential visitors.” The Minister said a lot of attention would be focused on

Annie Seel, known in her native Sweden as the “Rally Princess”. Ms Seel completed the Dakar in South America in January on her KTM bike and, despite a broken hand and nose, battered and bruised body and a damaged bike, she finished 76th. She will be competing in Australia for the first time. Alongside the competitive element of the Australasian Safari is the non-competitiveAdventure Tour, involving 18 participants. It is open to anyone with a 4WD or bike and a sense of adventure. Dr Constable said the Australasian Safari featured among the 2009 events that were estimated to attract more than 850,000 spectators in WA, lure visitors to stay almost 300,000 nights and generate over 2,000 hours of television broadcast to millions of viewers in more than 100 countries.

The Native Kangaroo Paw This is the red variet...Image via Wikipedia

Mid-West School of the Air to be rebuiltThe Meekatharra School of the Air that was destroyed by fires in 2006 and relocated to Geraldton is to be rebuilt. Premier Colin Barnett said the new $3.7million facility would be built at the Geraldton Camp School and be completed in time for the 2011 school year. “This is a tremendous decision for the students, teachers and parents who have been looking for a permanent home for the school since 2006,” Mr Barnett said. “The new custom-built facility will ensure students continue to receive a quality education at home and have access to excellent resources when they visit Geraldton to meet their teachers and peers.” The School of the Air in Meekatharra was destroyed in two separate fires in 2006 and was temporarily relocated to Beachlands Primary School in Geraldton in 2007. It currently has 67 students, seven teachers and three support staff. Education Minister Liz Constable visited the school in November last year and spoke to teachers and parents about the need for a permanent home for the school. As a result of her visit, the Department of Education and Training commissioned consultants to determine the feasibility of building a new facility, in consultation with the principal and members of the school community.
The north-west corner of the Geraldton Camp School was considered the best site. The new facility will include:

2 KTM 640 LC4 Adventure in the desertImage via Wikipedia

* IT and communications rooms
* library, staffroom and conference room
* multipurpose classroom
* studios and work areas
* a reception and waiting area
* administrative offices
* store rooms
* reprographics and mail sorting room.The Premier visited to the school today and spoke with students ‘over the air’. He said it was clear that the transportable buildings at Beachlands Primary School were not the long-term answer to the school’s needs. “The new facility will be a vast improvement for teachers and staff, especially in dealing with school materials that are collected, packaged and mailed out to students,” Mr Barnett said. School of the Air lessons were originally delivered using the Royal Flying Doctor Service HF radio network, but email and other technologies are mostly used today. Teachers regularly visit remote home locations to advise and assist home tutors, parents and students. School camps give students the opportunity of socially interacting with their peers and to expose them to cultural and arts programs as well as to a range of school based activities such as art, drama, music and literacy. Other WA Schools of the Air are located in Carnarvon, Kalgoorlie, Derby and Port Hedland.

Barnett to be sworn in as 29th Premier.Image by publik16 via Flickr

New look for Geraldton-Greenough Visitor CentreThe Geraldton-Greenough Visitor Centre has undergone a $50,000 refurbishment, thanks to a partnership between the City of Geraldton-Greenough and the State Government. The new-look centre was officially launched today by Premier Colin Barnett. “Visitor centres play a critical role in tourism in Western Australia,” Mr Barnett said. “Research shows that up to 56 per cent of travellers who use a visitor centre end up visiting additional attractions in the area.” The Premier said the Geraldton-Greenough Visitor Centre, located inside the historicBill Sewell Complex, would provide a bright and welcoming hub for the 181,000 annual visitors to the city and those travelling along the coast. “It is the role of the visitor centre to encourage these passing travellers to stay longer and spend more so that the economic and employment benefits can flow to the community,” he said. Geraldton has experienced significant visitor growth in recent times. Visitor Centre manager Bevan Orchard said the number of people using the centre had increased by 27 per cent during the last two years. In addition to the physical refurbishment, some of the money had been used to buy a new security system, hands-free telephone headsets and signage.

Staff and the local community played a significant role in the centre’s new look. Local artists and tradesmen created a mural, photographic displays and counters. The refurbishment was funded through $20,000 from the State Government (via Tourism WA’s Visitor Centre Premises Enhancement Scheme) and $30,000 from the City of Geraldton-Greenough.Benefit of

BHPIO iron ore train arriving at Port Hedland,...Image via Wikipedia

Coastwest grant on show at Point MoorePlanning Minister John Day today visited Geraldton’s popular Point Moore beach to see the progress of coastal restoration work made possible with the help of State Government funding. The Point Moore Coastcare Group received a $24,000 Coastwest grant to undertake a number of projects at Point Moore in conjunction with the City of Geraldton-Greenough. “These projects are almost halfway through and it is fantastic to see the results on the ground and what can be achieved when you have community and State and local governments working together,” Mr Day said. “As one of the most popular beaches in Geraldton, Point Moore's popularity has resulted in damage and degradation to the dunes and coastal environment. “The Point Moore Coastcare Group is installing fencing and brushing and undertaking earthworks to improve dune stability and protect the sand dunes.

“The group is also educating people about appropriate beach use through the use of interpretive signs and a Respect the Beach community awareness program. “Surfing, fishing, windsurfing, diving, four-wheel-driving, dog walking, boating and swimming are all popular activities at Point Moore. “It is important beach users recognise the needs of other groups and protect the area for future generations.” In the 2009 Coastwest grants round, grants worth $639,164 were awarded to 26 projects to rehabilitate and rejuvenate the State’s beaches and dunes. The grants range between $4,800 and $100,000 for projects on metropolitan and regional beaches. The grants were awarded to those projects which would substantially contribute to improved amenity and condition of the Western Australian coastline. A complete list of projects is available at outlines future for education and training in MorawaTraining Minister Peter Collier laid out plans for the future of training in Morawa during a meeting with members of the Morawa Education Alliance in Geraldton today.

Mr Collier said the recent agreement between the alliance and the Department of Education and Training would give people in Morawa access to a greater range of quality education and training options. “It is vital for the future of Morawa and neighbouring communities that the drift of people away from the town is halted,” he said. “Improving education and training opportunities locally is an important step towards this aim. “By identifying local training needs and developing courses and career opportunities around those needs, we can help young people in Morawa to see that they don’t have to move elsewhere to enjoy a bright future.” The Minister said liaison with mining companies had determined their local training and employment needs. “As a result of this, a short Resource and Infrastructure course will be offered to students of Morawa District High School, Carnamah District High School and the WA College of Agriculture in Morawa as part of a pilot program,” he said. The Morawa Education Alliance was formed in 2005 and comprises representatives of the Shire of Morawa, Morawa District High School, the WA College of Agriculture (Morawa) and Central West TAFE, as well as from local industries and businesses. Mr Collier said he looked forward to the upcoming release of the alliance’s findings about the education and employment aspirations of local residents, which would form the first phase of the new Midwest Regional Training Plan. “To develop the Mid-West as an education and training hub it is important to first find out what employers and students want, so the infrastructure and programs can be built around the needs of the community,” he said. “This is an outstanding example of a community working together to reduce the impact of the economic downturn by making education and training the cornerstone of a local revival.”Liberal-National Government gets tough on community work ordersOffenders on community work orders will be more visible to the public with Corrective Services Minister Christian Porter launching the new Repay WA vest today.

Yellow vests worn by all outdoor adult community work parties are designed to increase public awareness and confidence in community work as an effective sentencing tool. “For the public to view community work as an appropriate sentencing tool, they need to see the work carried out as ordered by the courts,” Mr Porter said. “These vests are about restori

ng confidence in community-based orders and ensuring the public can see the benefits of the court-ordered work in their local communities.” The Minister said that under the Liberal-National Government, compliance rates for community work had already increased. “Compliance has risen from 40 per cent in June 2008 to 55 per cent in June 2009 as a result of measures taken by the State Government, and we expect that rise to continue,” he said. “Unfortunately, under the previous Labor government, the public and the courts lost faith in community work as a meaningful sentencing tool because Labor failed to manage it effectively. “In 2007-08, Western Australia had the lowest completion rates in Australia with44 per cent of offenders failing to complete their community work orders. “The Liberal-National Government will do what it takes to restore public confidence in the justice system. “We will turn community work in WA from what was the lowest performing system in Australia under Labor to the most stringent system in the country and part of that is making it visible.” “Corrective Services is already enforcing community work standards more stringently and in the next six months we will finalise a tough new breach system, designed to crack down on offenders failing to turn up to their work orders. “Under Labor, offenders were only breached if they failed to turn up to community work three times in a row, which meant many offenders missed large numbers of appointments without ever being breached. “Under this Government, if an offender fails to turn up on any two occasions they will be breached and they will be back at court for re-sentencing.” Mr Porter said he expected the implementation of the new breach system to be fully implemented by mid-2010.

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