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New! Now You Can
Follow Us On Facebook
August 12, 2010: Regular readers of SouthBurnett.Biz can now follow us on the popular social media site Facebook.

Today we added a Facebook social link to our front page (see the left-side column just above the "Discover The Magic" box).

So if you'd like to follow SouthBurnett.Biz on Facebook in the future, all you need to is click the "Like" button.

We'll be posting regular updates to our new Facebook page every Monday to Friday in future. These will provide a quick summary of our latest news, as well as short notes about any improvements or upgrades that we make to our core services as they occur.

And if you want to read the full story about something that catches your eye, just click the link that we'll provide to it in every post - easy!

You'll also have the opportunity to discuss any of the issues of the day in our Facebook page's discussion area, or simply voice your opinion about current affairs by commenting on any of the posts we make.

We hope our new Facebook page will provide a valuable and useful addition to our services - one that lets you "talk back" to the news and share your views about important issues that affect the South Burnett. And we hope you enjoy it too!

PS: Don't have a Facebook account yet? It's completely free and it only takes a few minutes to get one. Just click here.
John BradleyDERM Lifts Ban On
Use Of Groundwater
August 11, 2010 - Restrictions on the use of groundwater bores near Cougar Energy's UCG trial plant at Kingaroy have been lifted.

Department of Environment and Resource Management Director-General John Bradley, (right), said today the latest testing results had shown there were no concerns with water quality in the local bores.

The use of bores in a 2km zone around the Cougar plant was banned late last month after a water contamination scare and cattle sales were temporarily halted.

"While the latest tests show low levels of benzene and toluene at the Cougar Energy plant itself, these are below Australian Drinking Water Guideline standards and only trace levels of toluene can be detected at some neighboring bores," Mr Bradley said today.

"After reviewing the fifth round of testing results, DERM is advising Kingaroy landholders there is no need to continue restrictions on access to groundwater sources in the 2km radius. DERM's scientific staff consider the groundwater quality at neighbouring bores is comparable to the water quality shown in tests undertaken before the UCG plant commenced."

Biosecurity Queensland has also confirmed no special precautions are now required before cattle in the 2km zone are taken to slaughter. Landholders had been advised previously to restrict access to the groundwater in that area for 48 hours prior to slaughter.

Belltower Closes But
Catering Will Continue
August 11, 2010 - Karen Bradwell will continue her catering, decorating and event organisation business despite the upcoming closure of the Belltower Restaurant.

Karen told SBBiz yesterday the restaurant would officially close on August 22 "due to unforeseen circumstances".

"If you have an existing booking or a function, I will assist you to find and/or arrange a suitable alternate venue," she said.

"If you find a suitable venue for your function, I will still be available to provide the catering and decorating for that function."

* * *

Last night's power blackout in Kingaroy and surrounding areas was caused by a damaged lightning arrestor on a pole just outside the Kingaroy substation.

About 5000 customers supplied from four of the feeders at the Kingaroy substation lost power at 9:45pm.

Supply was restored to almost 4000 customers in eastern and northern Kingaroy and Coolabunia in just over two hours after Ergon Energy crews carried out safety checks at the substation. They then replaced the lightning arrestor so supply could be restored to the remaining customers on the Kumbia feeder at 2:10am.
Minister Meets With
Concerned Citizens
August 10, 2010 - Queensland Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Kate Jones met with members of the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group (KCCG) at Parliament House last Thursday to discuss the recent UCG water contamination scare in Kingaroy.

Also at the meeting were Member for Nanango Dorothy Pratt and the Director-General of the Department of Environment and Resource Management, John Bradley.

KCCG members John Dalton and Damien O'Sullivan presented the Minister with information to support the concerns held by local residents that underground coal gasification is not appropriate in areas with valuable water resources.

Mrs Pratt also took the Minister through a timeline of events showing the plant was not shut down until mid-July, three months after the first contamination reading.

Concern was also raised that, although the benzene levels were now being reported at or below the acceptable drinking levels of 1 ppb, there had been no explanation for an earlier reading of 84ppb just after the trial burn.

The KCCG members were also concerned that there had been no plan in place to restore water quality or aquifers had the full trial proceeded and produced higher contamination levels.

After the meeting, Mrs Pratt spoke in Parliament about her frustration about the Cougar incident:

ABOVE: Dorothy Pratt, John Dalton, Kate Jones, Damien O'Sullivan and John Bradley
Beef-Up in Kingaroy
August 9, 2010 - Meat and Livestock Australia will be holding one of its popular Beef-Up forums from 11:30am at the Kingaroy Town Hall reception room tomorrow.

There'll be discussions on the key profit drivers of beef businesses and sustainability practices that can make a real difference to the bottom line, including:

  • Nutritional technologies to improve animal performance, better target markets and improve profitability.

  • Innovative heifer and breeder management practices to improve turnoff.

  • Strategies to improve land condition for long-term sustainability and greater profits.

  • Updates on the latest factors affecting markets here and overseas.
    how to improve reproductive performance and liveweight gain.

Cost is $20 per business.

For more information contact Rodd Dyer on (07) 3620-5234 or by email.

* * *

By a vote of 7-1, the South Burnett Regional Council has agreed to support the integration of South Burnett tourism with the Toowoomba Golden West tourism organisation.

Council is currently a member of the Fraser Coast South Burnett Regional Tourism Organisation.

It voted to support the merger despite admitting it had been misled by the Fraser Coast body over a funding application. Council believed this funding was to investigate a possible merger, however the funding (which has since been approved) was actually to implement a merger.

All councillors, except Cr Kathy Duff, voted to "progress the potential integration" with Toowoomba and actively participate in the process.
KCCI Backs Careflight Fundraising Scheme
August 6, 2010 - The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry has thrown its weight behind a fundraising initiative for the CareFlight Rescue helicopter service.

The Careflight service, based in Toowoomba, currently is available to service the South Burnett only at weekends and during school holidays but they are working towards providing a seven-day a week service this year.

However to do this, Careflight requires an additional $750,000 per year.

The KCCI has launched a CareFlight Community Support Initiative where local businesses will promise to match community donations dollar-for-dollar.

For more information download a sponsorshop proposal (1.2Mb PDF) or contact KCCI president Leanne Stallwood on (07) 4163-6006 or CareFlight Fundraising Program Manager Bianca Ousley on 1800-630-014.
Jazz On The Lawn Key Fundraiser For Kumbia Kindy
August 5, 2010 - Kumbia Kindergarten's popular annual fundraiser Jazz on the Lawn - which has grown into a special celebration for the whole local community - will be held at Cardowan Homestead on Sunday August 29.

Cardowan, owned by Rick and Alice Greenup, is located about 20km north-west of Kumbia at 1563 Ironpot Road.

Tickets for the day can be purchased online (search for "jazz"). The $45 entry fee includes champagne on arrival, a gourmet meal and entertainment from jazzman Andrew Riek. Under 18s are $20 and Under 12s free.

"Support for this event is really key to being able to keep the centre open," spokeswoman Abigail Andersson told SBBiz.

"Next year with changes to the government funding scheme, kindergarten will become out of reach for many working families. The government promised with the restructure it would open 112 new kindergartens but they are not even trying to keep the existing ones afloat.

"For small kindergartens such as ours with such a small group of mothers trying to orchestrate the fundraising and do all the government requires of us on top of our own personal lives, it's a big ask."
Graham House Wins ClimateSmart Award
August 4, 2010 - Graham House Community Centre, in Murgon, has taken out the prestigious ClimateSmart Partnership Award at the 2010 Premier's ClimateSmart Sustainability Awards in Brisbane.

The trophy was presented at a gala dinner attended by 500 people at the Brisbane Convention Centre.

The Partnership Award recognises partnerships between local communities and/or government which bring about real social and ecological benefits through sustainability initiatives.

Graham House was recognised for its Carlink project, a regional corporate carpooling facility which enables partnering organisations (government and non-government service organisations) to log and coordinate planned travel via a web interface.

Minister for Disability Services Anna Palaszczuk congratulated Graham House saying it was a "strong example of Queensland's commitment to environmentally sustainable enterprise and community action on climate change".

Graham House Transport Coordinator Lesley Dennien said Graham House was extremely proud and privileged to accept the award.

  • See SBBiz May 14, 2008 - "Booklet To Help Transport Woes"
Michael MonkSaving Money is A Snip
August 3, 2010 - South Burnett residents from Yarraman to Goomeri are being invited to join a Secret Savers Club in a Clip Save 'N' Win flyer being distributed to mail boxes throughout the region this week.

The club is an initiative of Wondai businesspeople Michael and Mandy Monk and promises to offer members instant updates on local sales, limited offers and great deals in the South Burnett.

People who join the club will also go into a draw to win two nights' accommodation at the Coral Beach resort at Noosa.

The flyer also includes discount coupons from a number of local businesses (which can also be downloaded from Facebook).

"We feel that now is as good a time for coupon books as it can help families looking to save on purchases and stimulate the local economy at the same time whilst also helping local business to maintain trade and move stock," Michael told SBBiz.

"The coupons are for local South Burnett businesses only and while coupon books have been seen before in the South Burnett (produced by parties from outside of the SB), Clip Save 'N' Win is compiled and produced by locals."

Michael and Many are already hard at work producing their September edition with the deadline for advertising this Friday (August 6).

* * *

Cougar Energy was this morning granted a further extension until August 18 of the Voluntary Suspension from trading on the Australian Stock Exchange. A company spokesman said this was pending completion of Cougar's ongoing negotiations for a new funding package.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Resource Management says the latest results of underground water quality tests on 10 bores near Cougar's plant at Kingaroy have found traces of benzene and toluene but within Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

KCCI Seeks Input On Its Future From Members Tonight
August 2, 2010 - The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry is holding its August Meet'n'Greet from 5:30pm tonight at CTC Employment Services, 101 Youngman Street, Kingaroy (just behind Subway).

As well as guest speakers from CTC Employment and the South Burnett Regional Council, the KCCI will also be seeking input from members on the following topics:

  • Is the KCCI a relevant support entity for businesses in Kingaroy - looking forward?

  • If not, what form could a support entity take?

The KCCI's Annual General Meeting is scheduled to be held in November. The current President (Leanne Stallwood), Treasurer (John Carey) and Secretary (Polly Birchall) have all announced they are unable to continue in these roles although Leanne and John have indicated they are willing to continue as general members of the Executive Committee.

KCCI Project Officer Kylie Schulte recently wrote to all KCCI members encouraging them to consider nominating for these positions.
Cougar Quizzed By ASX Over Kingaroy Water Contamination
July 30, 2010 - Cougar Energy has replied to a series of questions posed to the company by the Australian Stock Exchange in the wake of its $1.23 million share issue in mid-July this year and the water contamination scare that followed at its Kingaroy UCG plant shortly afterwards.

The ASX quizzed Cougar about exactly when it first became aware that benzene and toluene had been detected in groundwater; when it first learned of the DERM order; and why it didn't release the information to the market at an earlier time.

In its reply, Cougar states that it didn't have enough information to determine whether the recorded levels were related to the company's activities as hydrocarbons can derive from a number of sources.

Cougar also said it didn't consider that the test results indicated that serious or material environmental harm had been or was being caused.

"If DERM considered that the Test Results indicated a threat to the environment, the company would have expected DERM to contact it immediately," the letter to the ASX states.

Patrick is 2010
Student of the Year
July 29, 2010 - Nanango State High School student Patrick Walsh, (pictured, right, with Kingaroy Quota Club president Wendy Tully), was named Quota International of Kingaroy's 2010 Student of the Year at a ceremony held at the 1938 Council Chambers in Kingaroy last Saturday night.

Patrick, from Year 12, competed against students from Kingaroy and Nanango State High Schools. The students were quizzed on their general knowledge and then presented prepared and impromptu speeches in front of a small audience.

Patrick was presented with a cheque for $100 and now has the opportunity to win a $2000 bursary from Quota International for his tertiary studies at the district finals which will be held in at Coolum on August 14.
Les is a STAR at CTC
July 28, 2010 - The leader of Cherbourg's Safe Haven program, Les Stewart, (right), was presented with the inaugural Howard Leisemann STAR Award at the recent CTC Staff Day held at the Murgon PCYC.

STAR stands for "Service, Teamwork, Attitude and Reliability" and will be presented annually to the CTC staff member who has made an outstanding contribution in the area of service, has promoted teamwork and collaboration and has done so with a positive, dedicated and forward-thinking attitude.

CTC's Safe Haven team includes a community capacity building program, family support and youth workers and the Community Patrol which operates Wednesday through to Saturday between 5:00pm and 1:00am.

Les won the award from 17 nominations.

The STAR award has been initiated in honour of CTC's long-serving Chairman Howard Leisemann.
Action Group Urges Public To Attend UCG Meeting
Cougar Energy trial site

July 27, 2010 - The Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group has invited all South Burnett residents to attend a public meeting to be held from 7:00pm tonight in the Tobruk Room at the Kingaroy RSL.

Spokesman Gary Tessmann said the meeting would discuss the recent water contamination near Cougar Energy's Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) trial plant, (above), as well as proposals by other companies for more UCG plants in the South Burnett.

"Companies with UCG interests now have exploration permits under about 35 per cent of Kingaroy residential homes and businesses," Mr Tessmann said.

"It is the view of the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group that all South Burnett residents need to be informed about these matters which concern land valuation, and coal and power industry activity that may potentially occur within 0.5 km of the town centre. Our silence is our consent to UCG.

"Only by attending this meeting can we become informed and express our concern. UCG is not an option for the South Burnett."

The State Government has imposed a moratorium on new UCG projects until the safety of the industry can be established.

Michael Slots In On Radio 1071
July 26, 2010 - A familiar local voice will be hitting the airwaves this afternoon on 1071AM.

Michael Monk - also known as DJdirex to younger folk about the South Burnett - will be hosting the Drivetime slot (3:00pm-6:00pm) throughout August.

The local promoter and entertainer is also well-known for his MC duties, including last year's Kingaroy Peanut Festival, Wine and Food in the Park, and Wondai's Funky Futures Festival.

Michael, (right), told SBBiz he'll be talking local issues, having fun with "Impossible Questions" and playing plenty of great music on 1071.

And next Saturday, Michael will again be in action as an MC at the Quota Oaks Day "races" which will be held at the Kingaroy Senior Citizens Club from 4:30pm.
Cougar Sacks
Kingaroy Workers
July 23, 2010 - Cougar Energy Managing Director Dr Len Walker announced this afternoon that the ongoing uncertainty around the company's Kingaroy UCG trial had forced it to sack employees in Kingaroy, Brisbane and Melbourne.

It's believed about 20 workers - about half of whom were based in Kingaroy - have lost their jobs.

Dr Walker told SBBiz that Cougar had been working three shifts per day at the Kingaroy project but because the site had now been put into care and maintenance mode, only one day shift was now required.

Cougar was forced to lay off the other employees as the company had no idea when the State Government would allow the project to restart.

"I'd like to pay a quiet tribute to all our staff," Dr Walker said. "They've all been passionate about this technology and this plant site which is probably unique in the world."

Dr Walker said the uncertainty and delay had not only been a disappointment to him but also to all Cougar's employees.
Classical Choir To
Perform This Sunday
July 23, 2010 - It's not every weekend you can hear a nationally renowned choir perform classical music in Kingaroy ... but you can this Sunday.

The Brisbane Chamber Choir will be performing a repertoire of German masters at the St John's Lutheran College Hall from 2:30pm.

Cost for the Singfest Showcase Concert is just $12 ($8 for aged pensioners and high school students), with under 12s free. A family ticket is $25. Tickets will be available at the door.

The Brisbane Chamber Choir, which was formed in 1997, is one of Australia's most exciting choral ensembles. It has toured Sydney (2007) and Melbourne (2006) to rave reviews and earlier this year presented Handel's Messiah in Brisbane.

The repertoire for its Kingaroy performance will be selected from works by Pachebel, Bach, Mendelssohn, Bruckner and Busslied. It will also perform selected numbers with local singers who have formed a Singfest Choir just for this occasion.

The Singfest Showcase Concert is the culmination of a weekend of training workshops organised by South Burnett Arts Inc in partnership with the Brisbane Chamber Choir and the South Burnett Regional Council's Regional Arts Development Fund.

For more information contact Jane Iszlaub
Council Budgets For $650,000 Surplus

July 22, 2010 - The South Burnett Regional Council passed its slightly delayed Budget for 2010-11 at a council meeting yesterday.

General rates revenue will rise 5 per cent and ratepayers will also notice the introduction of a small levy to assist aerial medical evacuation units.

Council has budgeted for an overall expenditure of $63.3 million with almost 80 per cent of this dedicated to service delivery and infrastructure. Importantly, there is also a small surplus of $650,000.

Fears that the Coolabunia Saleyards are about to be sold may fade with the announcement that more than $600,000 will be spent on upgrades to it and Yallakool Tourist Park.

A uniform rating system has been introduced across the region, including one differential rating category for all rural properties. Waste water charges have also been standardised.

Mayor David Carter said it was one of the toughest budgets he had been involved in but he was proud of what Councillors and staff had been able to achieve.

He said the 5 per cent increase had been due largely to costs imposed on Council by the State Government such as the ongoing costs of amalgamation, removal of State Government subsidies and new regulations such as the new Dog and Cat Legislation.

"Our Council would actually have been able to cut rates if we didn't have the huge impact of so many State Government costs we must now bear," he said.
Kunioon Mine Now On Hold To At Least 2025
July 22, 2010 - Tarong Energy confirmed this week that the Meandu Coal Mine will be used to supply Tarong Power Station until at least 2025.

It said this followed extensive investigations to determine the quantity of economically viable coal at Meandu Mine.

Tarong CEO Helen Gluer said the corporation has scaled back its activities at Kunioon because there was no longer an urgent need to establish a mining lease however some exploration and environmental activities would continue.

"The Corporation will remain in the market for land in the Kunioon Mine area as the resource remains an important part of the Corporation's fuel supply strategy," she said.

"Since taking ownership of the Meandu/Kunioon resources in February 2008, Tarong Energy has undertaken an extensive program to determine the quantity, quality and cost of extracting the coal from both resources.

"This information has provided the basis for our decision to continue at Meandu Mine. The mine will sustain our power generating and mining operations in the long-term and ensure jobs and investment stay in the South Burnett region.

"While most mine development related activities on the Kunioon resource have been scaled back, the information we have gathered through environmental impact studies, land acquisitions and drilling has laid a solid foundation for future planning and mine development at Kunioon sometime in the future."
Scientists To Meet With Community
July 22, 2010 - The Independent Scientific Expert Panel examining Queensland's Underground Coal Gasification trials will meet with the Kingaroy community to discuss the results of its environmental evaluation of the Cougar Energy project, South Burnett Mayor David Carter said today.

He said Department of Environment and Resource Management Director-General John Bradley had confirmed to him that the meeting would take place as soon as the environmental evaluation was complete.

The Independent Scientific Expert Panel has been appointed by the State Government to assist with the preparation of a Government Report on the future of the UCG industry.

The panel consists of Prof Chris Moran, former CSIRO scientist and founding director of the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry at the University of Queensland; Prof Joe da Costa from the Centre of Coal Energy Technology at the University of Queensland; and Dr Christopher Cuff, former Dean of Science at James Cook University and currently Director of C&R Consulting (Geochemical and Hydrobiological Solutions) Pty Ltd.