· Specific funding for investment ready projects in regional, rural and remote Australia.
· Funding available across two streams – infrastructure projects and community investments.
· Information session in Coffs Harbour on 1 February 2017.

Federal Member for Cowper, Mr Luke Hartsuyker, is encouraging community groups and local councils to apply for funding under the Building Better Regions Fund

“The funding under the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) is available for community and infrastructure projects in the North coast and I hope those eligible in our area apply.

“The BBRF will give communities the opportunity to think outside the square and show us the types of investments they believe will strengthen their local community and create jobs,” he said

Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the fund is dedicated purely as an investment in opportunities across rural, regional and remote Australia.

“The Coalition Government’s BBRF is designed to invest in projects that will create the kinds of regional communities that our children and grandchildren want to either stay in or come back to,” Minister Nash said.

“Flexible, creative thinking can be a winning formula to receive funding, providing clear objectives are mapped out that show benefits for the region.”

Mr Hartsuyker said applications will be assessed in three categories depending on the size of the project – so small community projects are not competing against huge projects worth tens of millions.

“ The North coast is our local community and we want to invest in the infrastructure, events and initiatives that we are passionate about and that we know will make a difference to our region..

“Our region has already been successful in securing funding for regional priorities with the Coalition Government committing funding to key regional development projects such as the Pacific Highway upgrade,” he said

The BBRF information session will be held at Coffs Harbour Ex-Services, Vernon Street, Coffs Harbour on Wednesday1 February 2017. The session will allow applicants the opportunity to find out more about the BBRF.

Applications will close on Tuesday 28 February 2017 for the Infrastructure Projects Stream and Friday 31 March 2017 for the Community Investments Stream.

To register for an information session or to find out more visit


I hardly recognised Peter and Kiran Rowe when they called in to see us the other day, they were calling on a few of their friends from the past and feeling somewhat home sick for Dear old Mid North Coast NSW, they also had their son Harry with them who has grown into a fine young man.
Peter is working for a local paper in WA and Kiran is working locally and seems to be enjoying life out in Perth and West Australia.

WE sat and reminisced about the old days and and the “Big Fat Controller” who much to Peters surprise and our dissapointment is still here!!

With a bit of luck soon to be gone.

If you want to send a message to Peter you will be able to contact hime through this blog. Hugh

SCU student named National Indigenous Law Student of the Year


Johanna Byrne, a Southern Cross University student who overcame personal tragedy to find solace and inspiration in her law degree, has been named the 2016 National Indigenous Law Student of the Year by the Attorney-General’s Department.

The former florist was left a single mother with seven children after the sudden death of her husband in 2014, less than 12 months into a Bachelor of Laws at Southern Cross University. Soon after, Johanna relocated from Coffs Harbour to Perth for a fresh start, while continuing her studies online.

“Despite this adversity, I have managed to remain focused and succeed with my studies while continuing to bring up my children, albeit now on my own,” she said. “While it has not been easy, my passion to become a criminal lawyer and help disadvantaged people has kept me focused.”

Johanna will receive her Bachelor of Laws qualification at the Southern Cross University graduation ceremony in March.

“I was a florist for 16 years. While this seems like it would provide no background that would help with a career in law, it has given me emotional intelligence,” said Johanna.

“Law is a people profession, much like floristry, as both deal with clients who are emotionally vulnerable.”

After working at Legal Aid Western Australia in the Appeals Department for more than a year, Johanna will start a graduate role with top Perth legal firm Lavan Legal in February.

Johanna, who admits to being naturally shy, made networking a priority when she moved to Perth. Her mentor is Peter Quinlan SC, the Solicitor-General of Western Australia.

“Through networking, I was introduced to Peter who was then head of the WA Bar Association. I’m indebted to him. He’s given me good advice. Peter is a good friend to have on my side,” she said.

The annual National Indigenous Law Awards (NILA), awarded by the federal Attorney-General’s Department, recognise the achievements of Indigenous Australians who improve justice outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

Johanna said the NILA judges were impressed by her idea for a Practical Legal Clinic at Southern Cross University. Her proposal is for the School of Law and Justice to establish an interdisciplinary clinic involving law students working alongside students from other disciplines – such as business or psychology – to provide advice to the Indigenous community.

“The clinic will be an opportunity for students to gain firsthand practical experience, giving them an edge when they are ready to enter into practice. At the same time it will enable Indigenous people to receive legal and other advice they may need.”

The Practical Legal Clinic is currently being developed by the School of Law and Justice.

Johanna’s Honours research thesis, ‘The under-utilisation of Section 32 of the Mental Health Forensic Provisions Act 1990 (NSW)’, was inspired by an experience close to home.

When her eldest son, who has an intellectual disability, got into trouble with the law, Johanna, then working as a florist, did all the legwork in preparing a Section 32 application to get him diverted from the criminal system towards help and treatment.

“There are few resources and little interest in doing Section 32s in NSW which is why I was driven to do it myself to ensure my son stayed out of jail,” Johanna said.

“There’s a large gap in the understanding of both lawyers and the courts about people who have an intellectual disability and the effects the process can have on them.

“We ended up winning the case and when my lawyer said ‘I think you’re wasting your time as a florist’ that planted the seed.

“I enrolled in the degree at Southern Cross University because the law school is very social justice orientated.”

Johanna has been an active member of the University student community and in the School of Law and Justice. She is an elected student representative of the University Academic Board and a former Law Student Committee member. She is also a Student Mentor helping first-year students adjust to tertiary life and study.

Last year Johanna was a recipient of the Bruce Miles Foundation scholarship which provides Indigenous law students with textbooks for their studies.

“The scholarship helped me with much-needed textbooks, which in the past I have been unable to afford at times for certain units I was studying,” she said. “The scholarship is a way of helping Indigenous students through law school where at present the numbers who do graduate are very low.”

Johanna’s long term goal is to be a barrister.

“There are currently not enough Indigenous barristers,” she said. “By going to the Bar I feel I can effectively advocate on behalf of those who are disadvantaged in the community – the Indigenous, the intellectually disabled and the poor – through pro-bono work. A lot of these people cannot afford barristers.”


Students from disadvantaged families in the Coffs Harbour electorate are being urged to apply for new scholarships worth $1,000 to support their education.

Mr Fraser said the FACS High School Scholarship program is open now to students in Year 10, 11 and 12 at a NSW high school or TAFE college.

“This is a wonderful initiative from the NSW Government to help students from struggling families get all the support they need to do well at school. Funds can be spent on expenses including textbooks and course fees, or practical supports such as child care and internet access,” Mr Fraser said.

The program will award 240 applicants $1,000 to help with their studies. Twenty successful students will also be eligible to receive both a scholarship and mentoring.

“Previously this scheme was only available to HSC students living in social housing but we are expanding it right across the board,” Mr Fraser said.

“Now students in social housing or on the waiting list, in Out of Home Care, receiving private rental assistance, or living in crisis accommodation, can apply.”

Mr Fraser said another key benefit of the program is the chance for students to reapply each year, all the way through to the end of their tertiary studies.

“These scholarship had been a one-off but now students can apply year after year – potentially for up to seven years if they successfully apply from high school onwards.

“Education is one of the most effective means of ensuring the cycle of disadvantage does not become intergenerational,” Mr Fraser added.

“We have many families in the Coffs Harbour electorate doing it tough and these funds will ensure bright kids are rewarded, no matter what their financial circumstances.”

Applications are open from January 16, 2017, and close on February 24. Successful applicants will be notified in late May, 2017. Students are encouraged to apply online at


Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, today encouraged surf clubs to apply to the NSW Government’s Surf Club Facilities Program which opened today to help fund upgrade and maintenance of surf club facilities.

Mr Fraser said the program aims to maintain the safety of surf life saver volunteers as they serve the community.

“The Surf Club Facilities Program provides funding for facilities in the Coffs Harbour electorate and across NSW,” Mr Fraser said.

“We all know how important surf life savers are to beach side communities both through protecting us when we swim and providing opportunities for a diverse range of people to give back through volunteering.”

“Our local surf life savers also benefit through maintaining health and fitness while enjoying our beautiful beaches.”

Types of projects that will be funded include:

· construction of new surf club facilities;
· capital enhancement of the facilities at existing clubs; and
· providing ancillary and support facilities at existing venues.

Applications open on 21 December 2016 and close 10 February 2017.

For more information or to apply visit or phone 13 13 02.


Local aboriginal artists and arts organisations are now invited to apply for NSW Government funding to support local projects.

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said the NSW Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund is for projects in remote and regional NSW that encourage Aboriginal people to explore and express their cultural identities.

“I encourage all Aboriginal artists and arts organisations to apply for this funding which will allow them to share their stories and skills with their communities,” Mr Fraser said.

“This is well targeted support to build the skills, capacity and professional development of Aboriginal artists and arts organisations as well as create a diversity of stories and contemporary artworks which speak to local communities.”

The NSW Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund offers up to $5,000 for individual professional artists and up to $20,000 for organisations.

Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said the NSW Government is proud to support a vibrant, distinctive and contemporary Aboriginal arts and culture across NSW.

“Last year the fund supported 15 striking projects including painting, carving and fibre workshops in Western Riverina and Wollongbar, a collaboration with the Slim Dusty Museum, music, performances and artwork in Bathurst, Deniliquin and Walgett and documenting community stories in Wilcannia,” Mr Grant said.

The Fund supports projects that:
· enable Aboriginal communities in regional NSW to explore and express their cultural identities;
· engage and promote regional Aboriginal artists, arts and culture in NSW;
· encourage people to engage with Aboriginal arts and cultures;
· build the capacity and sustainability of Aboriginal arts organisations in regional NSW;
· increase skills development opportunities for Aboriginal artists in regional NSW.

Applications close on 27 February 2017. For more information:


The Coffs Harbour electorate is being encouraged to come forward to the NSW Government with solutions to stamp down on local crime and anti-social behaviour.

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, urged community groups, council, businesses and organisations to apply for a grant up to $250,000 for ideas to boost local safety and pride.

“The Community Safety Fund will invest in projects that address local crime hot spots and promotes safe and inclusive use of public space,” Mr Fraser said.

“I know many people in our community have innovative ideas of how to make our community a safer place and I encourage them to take up this funding opportunity. The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to reducing crime and making our state a safer place to live.”

Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant said crime is a social and financial burden that the NSW Government is committed to reducing.

“We know there is always more that can be done to stamp out crime in our towns and suburbs and are working with the community to identify opportunities,” Mr Grant said.

“The reasons and consequences of crime in one region of NSW can be very different to other regions therefore it is important to invest in local solutions.”

Attorney General Gabrielle Upton said the $10 million program over four years has already helped make local crime reduction ideas a reality.

“The NSW Government is proud to partner with the community to prevent crime and address the fear of crime. This program has funded in community initiatives right across the state to enhance the work of Government and law enforcement agencies to combat crime,” Ms Upton said.

The Community Safety Fund aims to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour through infrastructure and service delivery projects that address local crime hot spots, anti-social behaviour and promotes safe and inclusive use of public space and collaborative approaches to crime prevention and detection.

Further information including application information:

Library News

Summer Reading Club
Summer Reading Club – Discover Local Heroes and Villains
Cultural Performance for Children
Aboriginal Storytelling – Biripi and Worimi Elders
Summer Reading Club – Movie Night
Book Launch – Patricia Degens
Ten Minutes a Day at Woolgoolga
Yarn and Yak Mornings

Brought to you by Coffs Harbour City Library


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Summer Reading Club
Summer Readings Club
It’s not too late to join this year’s Summer Reading Club!

For over 11 years Coffs Harbour Libraries have been running the Summer Reading Club to encourage children to continue reading through the school holidays.

The theme for this year’s Summer Reading Club is Heroes and Villains and we’re encouraging all school-aged children (including those starting Kindergarten in 2017) to join in the fun.

Children can participate by JOINING ONLINE or, by calling in to Coffs Harbour, Toormina or Woolgoolga libraries. All members will receive a kit containing summer reading ideas, a reading log and fun activities.

For more information go to the Library’s Website

Summer Reading Club – Discover Local Heroes and Villains
Coffs Harbour Regional Museum
Friday 13 January, 10am – 11am
Coffs Harbour Regional Museum

Coffs Harbour Summer Reading Club Members are invited to join in a tour of the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum & learn about your local heroes & villains. The event includes garden rock painting activity. All materials are provided.

BOOK ONLINE to attend this tour.

For more information on the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum, visit the website

Cultural Performance for Children
The Adamriginal Show
Thursday 19 January
Harry Bailey Memorial Library, Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Libraries are excited to host The Adamriginal Show: The Didgerido’s and Don’ts of Urban Aboriginal Art as part of the Saltwater Freshwater Exhibition at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.

Indigenous artist Adam presents an original, humorous, highly energetic program of song, puppetry, language, personal stories and Yidaki (didgeridoo). While he draws on storytelling and performance traditions for inspiration, Adam has added his own unique touches to this cultural program – including a display of his basketball prowess.

There will be two sessions on Thursday 19 January:

Ages 5 – 12 10am -11am BOOK ONLINE
Preschool 3pm – 4pm BOOK ONLINE

More information on the Saltwater Freshwater Exhibition

Aboriginal Storytelling – Biripi and Worimi Elders
Aboriginal elders Janice Paulson & Lyn Davis
Thursday 19 January, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Harry Bailey Memorial Library, Coffs Harbour

In conjunction with the Saltwater Freshwater Exhibition at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Coffs Harbour Libraries will host Biripi & Worimi Elders sharing their stories and reflecting on Aboriginal culture and history.

Please BOOK ONLINE if you would like to attend this event.

More information on the Saltwater Freshwater Exhibition

Summer Reading Club – Movie Night
BFG movie
Tuesday 24 January, 6pm – 8pm
Harry Bailey Memorial Library, Coffs Harbour

FREE activity for all Summer Reading Club Members, bring a pillow and dress for comfort to relax and watch The BFG

Certificates will be given out to all Summer Reading Club members who attend.

BOOK ONLINE to attend this event

Book Launch – Patricia Degens
The Australia-Japan Society of Coffs Harbour Inc book launch
Wednesday 25 January, 5:30pm for 6pm start
Harry Bailey Memorial Library, Coffs Harbour

Local resident & author Patricia Degens will launch her newly published personal account of the Australia-Japan Society of Coffs Harbour.

Everyone is welcome to attend this FREE event;
BOOK ONLINE to secure your place.

For more information and to find out about all upcoming library events, go to the Library’s What’s On Calendar

Ten Minutes a Day at Woolgoolga
Ten Minutes a Day program
It’s not too late to book in to the upcoming Ten Minutes a Day program at Woolgoolga Library

Fridays in February – 3, 10, 17 & 24 at 10am

Ten Minutes a Day Parent & Baby Workshops are specifically designed for parents and their babies, 2 years and under. The program is designed to give parents an opportunity to share and experience the love of reading with their baby.

Visit the library website for more information.
BOOK ONLINE to secure your place at these workshops.

OBSERVATIONS 1991 comments about Coffs some 25 years ago

MR Keating and Labor are only telling half the story when they claim they have created 714,000 jobs since 1993, Garry Nehl, member for Cowper said.
Mr Nehl said that from July 1960 to January 1996 less than 30,000 (actually 29,700) full time jobs have been created.

Mr Keatings recession destroyed 358,000 full-time jobs and these must be netted off against the 714, 000.and to rub salt into the wound, 299,300 of Mr Keatings “new ” jobs are part time!

“Labors failure is illustrated by the fact that from 1990 to 1996 the unemployment rate has jumped more than 38% from 6,2% in March 1990 to 8.6% today. There are still more than 777,000 unemployed people.
The people of Cowper will not be fooled by Labor’s lies and deceit this time round” Mr Nehl said. A HELPING HAND FOR FIRST HOME BUYERS. Coalition’s superannuation policy announced this week will allow first home buyers to use their super funds for a home deposit, Garry Nehl said.

Workers earning between $450 -$950 per month will be given the choice between receiving superannuation guaranteed contributions of taking the equivalent amount in wages and salary. “The big winner will be the Australians with broken workforce participation, particularly women, low income earners, and young people who will be given greater choice and control over their super.

With the Coalition, spouses will be allowed to contribute to non working partners super funds and employees will be given the option of contributing to the retirement savings employees’ spouses while the spouse is on maternity leave. The Coalition will notching the existing dollar for dollar watching super contributions scheme established under Labor, but we will make super more flexible so everyone can get real benefit from it.” NO COMPULSARY UP FRONT FEES FOR UNDERGRADUATES.
“There will be no compulsory fees for undergraduates: no changes the HECS system and no moves to introduce a voucher system, under the Coalition’s Higher Education Policy,” Garry Nehl said.
AUSTUDY AND ABSTUDY will be retained and improved, the level funding of operating grants to Universities will br maintained and there will be no cuts in University placed. Cowper families with capital assets but little money to spare for education, will greatly benefit from the `Coalition’s proposal to relax the Austudy asset tests on farm and business assets.” Mr Nehl
said delivering on these commitments is vital to restore the faith of the students who have become disillusioned with Labor’s string of broken promises.

Trump Received Unsubstantiated Report That Russia Had Damaging Information About Him

Trump Received Unsubstantiated Report That Russia Had Damaging Information About Him

On Tuesday night, Mr. Trump responded on Twitter: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

In an appearance recorded for NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” Mr. Trump’s spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway, said of the claims in the opposition research memos, “He has said he is not aware of that.”

Since the intelligence agencies’ report on Friday that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had ordered the hacking and leaks of Democratic emails in order to hurt his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and help Mr. Trump, the president-elect and his aides have said that Democrats are trying to mar his election victory.

The decision of top intelligence officials to give the president, the president-elect and the so-called Gang of Eight — Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress and the intelligence committees — what they know to be unverified, defamatory material was extremely unusual.

The appendix summarized opposition research memos prepared mainly by a retired British intelligence operative for a Washington political and corporate research firm. The firm was paid for its work first by Mr. Trump’s Republican rivals and later by supporters of Mrs. Clinton. The Times has checked on a number of the details included in the memos but has been unable to substantiate them.

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The memos suggest that for many years, the Russian government of Mr. Putin has looked for ways to influence Mr. Trump, who has traveled repeatedly to Moscow to investigate real estate deals or to oversee the Miss Universe competition, which he owned for several years. Mr. Trump never completed any major deals in Russia, though he discussed them for years.

The former British intelligence officer who gathered the material about Mr. Trump is considered a competent and reliable operative with extensive experience in Russia, American officials said. But he passed on what he heard from Russian informants and others, and what they told him has not yet been vetted by American intelligence.

The memos describe sex videos involving prostitutes with Mr. Trump in a 2013 visit to a Moscow hotel. The videos were supposedly prepared as “kompromat,” or compromising material, with the possible goal of blackmailing Mr. Trump in the future.

The memos also suggest that Russian officials proposed various lucrative deals, essentially as disguised bribes in order to win influence over Mr. Trump.

The memos describe several purported meetings during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump representatives and Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.

If some of the unproven claims in the memos are merely titillating, others would amount to extremely serious, potentially treasonous acts.

One of the opposition research memos quotes an unidentified Russian source as claiming that the hacking and leaking of Democratic emails was carried out “with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.” In return, the memo said, “the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue” because Mr. Putin “needed to cauterize the subject.”

Michael Cohen, a lawyer and adviser to Mr. Trump, also went to Twitter to deny a specific claim in the opposition research involving him. One of the memos claims that Mr. Cohen went to Prague in August or September to meet with Kremlin representatives and to talk about Russian hacking of Democrats.

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Mr. Cohen tweeted on Tuesday night: “I have never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews.”

In addition, in a recent interview with The Times, one of the Russian officials named in the memo as having met with Mr. Cohen, Oleg Solodukhin, denied that he had met with Mr. Cohen or any other Trump representative.

“I don’t know where that rumor came from,” Mr. Solodukhin, of the Russian organization Rossotrudnichestvo, which promotes Russian culture and interests abroad, said in a telephone interview.

The Times reported before the election that the F.B.I. was looking into possible evidence of links between the Trump campaign and Russia. But the investigation surfaced again at a Senate hearing on Tuesday in a series of questions from Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, to the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey.

Mr. Wyden, trying to draw Mr. Comey out on information he may have heard during a classified briefing, asked if the F.B.I. had investigated the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. Mr. Comey demurred, saying he could not discuss any investigations that might or might not be underway. Mr. Wyden kept pressing, asking Mr. Comey to provide a written answer to the question before Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20 because he feared there would be no declassification of the information once Mr. Trump took office.

After the hearing, Mr. Wyden posted on Twitter: “Director Comey refused to answer my question about whether the FBI has investigated Trump campaign contacts with Russia.”

The F.B.I. obtained the material long before the election, and some of the memos in the opposition research dossier are dated as early as June. But agents have struggled to confirm it, according to federal officials familiar with the investigation.

Allies of Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader from Nevada who retired at the end of the year, said the disclosures validated his call last summer for an investigation by the F.B.I. into Mr. Trump’s links to Russia.

Democrats on Tuesday night pressed for a thorough investigation of the claims in the memos. Representative Eric Swalwell of California, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, called for law enforcement to find out whether the Russian government had had any contact with Mr. Trump or his campaign.

“The president-elect has spoken a number of times, including after being presented with this evidence, in flattering ways about Russia and its dictator,” Mr. Swalwell said. “Considering the evidence of Russia hacking our democracy to his benefit, the president-elect would do a service to his presidency and our country by releasing his personal and business income taxes, as well as information on any global financial holdings.”

David E. Sanger and Carl Hulse contributed reporting.

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A version of this article appears in print on January 11, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump Was Told of Claims Russia Has Damaging Details on Him. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Continue reading the main story

Trump Calls for Closer Relationship Between U.S. and Russia JAN. 7, 2017

Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds JAN. 6, 2017

Fred 1 minute ago
Having read the report, I truly wonder if this is real or what in the document as fact an what is fiction. We now live in a media world…
MWR 1 minute ago
Look, I didn’t vote for the guy (unfortunate I have to say that), but “unsubstantiated” and “uncorroborated” accusations by “political…
Investor 1 minute ago
One can only hope that DT’s tendency towards risky behavior in the bedroom does not translate into risky endeavors in both foreign and…

Trump Calls for Closer Relationship Between U.S. and Russia JAN. 7, 2017

Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds JAN. 6, 2017


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