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You have to wonder at what might be so important in life to risk getting hit by a train.
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What makes a person want to face the consequence of possible death or serious injury rather than wait a minute ortwowhile that train passes by.

Surely gaining a minute is not worth costing you your life.

Police Transport Command are targeting those people who take their lives into their own hands by running in front of trains.

The Illawarra has seven level crossings and NSW TrainLink figures have proved the level crossing at Bellambi is one of the worst in the state.

In 2014, rail staff reported eight instances of people willing to risk their lives at the Bellambi crossing.

“Anecdotally, it’s always had a high number ofpeople trespassing,’’Chief Inspector Craig James said.

“I don’tthink peoplerealise they’re actuallyputting their lives in danger.”

The innocent and often forgotten victims in all this is the train drivers.

Imagine having to confront the prospect of knowing each day someone might do something stupid and you might have to bear witness to the consequences.

It’s a horrible thought.

Perhaps those people that are willing to take that risk should perhaps think of the unintended consequences next time.

In Rail Safety Week, police are reminding the public it’s actually illegal.

“It’salso about remindingthe community generally that if they enter the rail corridor they are committing an offence,” Insp James said.

CELEBRATING IN STYLEThe Wollongong City Council is examining how best our community can come together to celebrate the achievements of the Illawarra’s own Olympic champion and four-time Rio medallist Emma McKeon.

The council is working with the McKeon family at organising a fitting public ceremony.

The Illawarra Mercury editorial for the August 16 edition called for a public celebration and it appears that’s what we willget.

There were some good suggestions on our Facebook page too.

“Parade, autographs and keys to city,” was one suggestion.

“Make all council pools free for a month to celebrate,” was another interesting and different suggestion.

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GRAMPIANS emergencyservices personnelhave expressed concern after a three-day power outage left Halls Gap residents unable to call for help.
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For the second time in two months, Telstra customers in the region were left in the dark with services dropping out from 11pm on August 7 to 9am on August 11.

District 16 Country Fire Authorityoperations manager Chris Eagle said the loss of phone reception in a popular tourist and hiking area was worrying.

“If the phones go down it’s a real challenge to ring triple zero,so naturally it’s a concern to us if it’s out for that long,” he said.

Last month emergency services attended five Grampians rescues within two weeks.

Mr Eagle said phone outages hadserous implications on emergency service response.

“People have to look for alternate ways to report an emergency,” he said.

“If they phones are out and there’s a car accident or vehicle fire, or even someone needing to be rescued,there’s a delay in notifying us, ambulances or police.”

Mr Eagle said emergency services were not reliant on the mobile network.

“It wouldn’t affect us at all once the caller was able to alert triple zero,” he said.

“It would have no impact on our ability to respond, we only use phones as a back up method. All volunteers respond by pager and communications are done by radio.”

Telstra area general manager Steve Tinker apologised for the outage and said the voice call and 3G service loss was the result of a complex software error.

“Issues with the Telstra mobile service in Halls Gap were reported late on Sunday night to Telstra,” he said.

“Telstra identified an issue with the 3G signal to the local area resulting in a loss of voice services to residents using the 3G network.

“Residents were still able to access data on their mobile phones and limited voice services were still available through the 2G and 4G network.

“Telstra apologises for any inconvenience caused and will carefully monitor the site over the next week to ensure it continues to operate effectively.”​

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The Premier’sletter urging thePrime Minister to reversecuts to Gonski funding isa “turning point” for the future of Tasmania’s education system,the Australian Education Union’s Tasmaniapresidentsays.
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AEU state president Helen Richardson said a letter from Will HodgmantoMalcolm Turnbullwas welcomed by the AEU.

She said itshowed Mr Hodgman was willing to stand up for the state’s education future.

“The letter has beena fantasticturning point,” Ms Richardson said.

“We arevery happy that Will Hodgmanisactually standing up for Tasmanian kids.”

In a letter dated on August 2 Mr Hodgman wrote thateducation funding remained a“significant concern” to Tasmanians.

He asked Mr Turnbullthat the issue be“resolved as a matter of priority”.

Ms Richardson saidother states had beenvocal about the issue in parliament.

She said Tasmania needed their support, given alack of senior Tasmanian Liberals in federal parliament.

“It’scritical that all the state Premiers andministers stand up and insist we get Gonski without doing a deal,” Ms Richardson said.

“I’d like to see our minister be as forthcoming as some of the others,” she said.

In April this yearMr Rockliff told a Senate inquiry into federal educationfundingthat the statecould lose up to $100 millionif Gonski is notcontinued beyond 2018.

The federal government committed an additional $1.2 billion dollars for education in this year’sbudget, but it did not include funds to ensure Gonskicontinued to2020.

Ms Richardsonsaid two-thirds of the state’s Gonski funds were allocated for the final two years.

She said the AEU’s Tasmania branchwouldmeet with Mr Rockliff next week todiscuss the issue.

“Hopefully we’ll be givenmore detail about how the government isactually going to lobby for the fundsand what theirstrategy will be.”

“If we don’t get the fundswe’re committing generations ofkids to disadvantage.”

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FIELD TEST: HIA research and development lead Dr Anthony Kachenko with RIPPA, a prototype robot which can detect weeds and foreign bodies within a paddock.THE vegetable industry’s association with robotics continues to become more intertwined with a weed and foreign objection detection bot being tested on a Queensland farm.
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Trials of the robot, named RIPPA (Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application), were conducted on a Gatton property prior to the 2016 National Horticultural and Innovation Expo in July.

RIPPA has the ability to collect data using sensors that can map an area of a crop and detect weeds as well as highlight foreign objects.

The University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics director of innovation and research Professor Salah Sukkarieh said the device can also use this data to estimate yield and fertilise crops.

RIPPA was developed six months ago and for the first time was trialled outside New South Wales so it could experience new soil and crop types.

Professor Sukkarieh said the robot has a collection of sensors and sophisticated algorithms that can detect weeds from amongst the crop as well as foreign objects such as a stone, glass or metal.

The next step is to build systems that can remove the weed and the foreign object.

Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) commissioned RIPPA using industry funds and matched funding from the Australian Government.

HIA research and development lead Dr Anthony Kachenko said food safety is a huge priority for growers and the whole supply chain.

“RIPPA gives us an insight into a future not too far away where growers can have increased assurance that no foreign matter has slipped through the cracks,” Dr Kachenko said.

“Currently there is only so much that can be detected with the human eye, and the results can be devastating.

“It’s also great to be watching the capacity of this farmbot steadily increase. At the moment it can estimate yield, spray weeds and fertiliser, and it can run up to 21 hours straight.

“It’s exciting to think that such robots could be available to growers in Australia in about five years’ time.”

The 250 kilogram solar-powered robot spent three hours moving up and down vegetable growing rows, conveying extensive data live to the laptop of Sydney university researchers.

Rugby Farm co-owner Dan Hood said when offered the opportunity to trial the machinery on his farm which produces 14,000 acres of vegetables a year, he jumped at the chance.

“We are very keen to see new technologies come online that make the business of producing vegetables easier,” he said.

“Managing weeds can be a difficult and time consuming activity, and if not controlled can be detrimental to both the yield and quality of our crops.

“Weeds can be removed by hand, chipping hoe, mechanical scuffling or by sprays. All are expensive and we are struggling to find people with the skills and the perseverance to do this type of work.

“We are hoping RIPPA will provide a cost effective solution to this challenging problem.

“An autonomous system that has the capacity to do all this 24-hours-a-day could save money and improve accuracy – and we are extremely excited to be part of this trial.”

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West dominate South | PHOTOS Souths player with possession before being tackled.
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Souths player in the process of being tackled whilst trying to get possession onto the ball with a kick.

Winders for West Whyalla running down the centre corridor being pursued in a chase by South’s Liam Edgecumbe.

Maitland with possession as he focuses on options.

Westies player down the wing looking for an option.

Wests player going for a long kick uncontestedly.

South looking for an opportunity to score through set play.

Tackling pressure continues as West Whyalla steal possession from South.

South maintaining possession in their defensive midfield.

Westies player going for a short kick.

Souths player ready to earn possession that is hard earned.

Westies player gazes at the ball from the ground as he tries to encounter ownership with a Souths player closing in on him.

Another tough and battling contest is continued between the two sides.

Cleary gains possession from contested play.

Liam Edgecumbe puts on a hard tackle on a Westies player.

Wests winning the hitout from the centre.

Handball from a South’s player is put under pressure by tackler Josh Quinn with Hage alongside him.

Souths player ready to take an uncontested mark.

Wests player taking an easy uncontested mark.

Ruck contest is battled after play is reset resulted from a goal between the two sides.

Souths player taking some courage to collect the ball.

Scoreboard between West Whyalla and South Whyalla late in the third quarter.

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CHILL OUT: REFCA owner Richard Popovski believes in the value of customer service and the need to run a business that thinks outside the square.
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Advertising feature NEW PREMISES: The REFCA Group have moved to a new showroom and working premises at Unit 6, 112 Munibung Road, Cardiff.

After years working out of Toronto,commercial/industrial cooling experts The REFCA Group have moved to a newshowroom and working premises at Unit 6, 112 Munibung Road, Cardiff.

It was a natural move for the growing business, according to owner Richard Popovski who recently took out theExcellence in Customer Service Award at the 2016 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards.

It was a well-deserved honour for a skilled operator who believes in the value of customer service and the need to run a business that thinks outside the square.

REFCA iswell-established Hunter-based business that specialises in the commercial refrigeration industry, commercial catering equipment and refrigeration, commercial and residentialair conditioning,cool rooms and cool room hardware supplies.

“We have a knowledgeable and experienced team who are able to provide end-to-end solutions for catering equipment, installation and servicing of commercial refrigeration and cool room design, build and installation, as well as commerical and residential air conditioning systems,” Richard said.

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following business. Click the link to learn more:

REFCA GroupRichard and his team understand that the success of your business is dependent on thereliability of your equipment, which is why they pride themselves on a high level ofcustomer service, using only the bestequipment and parts.

Some of REFCA’sclients includePetersons Wines, Bimbadgen Wines, Hunter Valley Wine Contractors,Aldi, IGA Ritichies and Hungry Jacks,Cellarbrations Liquor, refrigerated warehousing and many more commercial and industrial sites.

Richard did hisapprenticeship in the mid-1990s under Ian Smith, regarded throughout Australiaas one of the best in the industry.

“Doing my apprenticeship under Ian gaveme the tools and mindset along with strong work ethic and standards to establish a successful career,” Richard said.

Richard went on to manage refrigerated sites and do tech support for the major supermarket chains before starting his own business.

REFCA Service Pty Ltd works with medium to large industrial and commercialcompanies that rely on refrigeration as a core part of their businessand also specialise inenergy efficiencyconsultation.Theycurrently look after over 45 supermarkets.

The innovative company has recently developed anAustralian first process at First Creek Wine Making Services which has changed the wine making process and saved over 60% on energy.They are working on a world first with another winery customer.

Recent REFCA projects include all new cool rooms, insert doors and refrigeration atCellarbrations Liquor Rathmines,all new Daikin VRV air conditioningat Hungry Jacks Jesmond, and the installation of cool rooms, refrigeration, catering equipement and stainless steel fitoutat the soon to open Harry’s Schnitzel Joint at Market Town.

REFCA are factory approved specialist dealers selling Fujitsu, LG, Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric and Temperzone Air Conditioning. Being specialist dealers, REFCA can offer builders incentives and trade discounts.

REFCA Catering Equipment Pty Ltd offers an A to Z service from design consultation,equipment selection supply and installation, stainless fabrication, service and maintenance.A working commercial kitchen is currently under construction and will be usedto showcase equipment and services.

Some of REFCA’sbrands include Electrolux,Fagor, Unox,Norris,Goldstein, Manitowoc, Bromic, SkopeandSimply Stainless.

Centenary celebrations | Photos UP HIGH: This aerial photograph was taken as part of Bendigo South East College’s centenary celebrations. Picture: REEL AIR IMAGERY
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UP HIGH: Aerial photograph taken as part of Bendigo South East College’s centenary celebrations. Picture: REEL AIR IMAGERY

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Bendigo South East College students celebrate school’s centenary with an aerial photograph. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

TweetFacebookThe school will officially mark the occasion on October 22, when it will hold its Centenary Celebration Day for current and former staff and students.

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FRIENDS will become foes in the sporting arena next week.
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BIG STAGE: Meg Haylen and Chelsey Ellis will compete in the PSSA State Touch Championships in Coffs Harbour next week.

For the past four years, Chelsey Ellis and Meg Haylen have been team mates as part of the Muswellbrook Mambas under-10s and under-12s.

But, next week, they will turn rivals when the duo heads to Coffs Harbour to compete in the PSSA State Touch Championships.

Ellis, a Year 6 student at Muswellbrook Public School, will represent Hunter while Haylen, a Year 6 pupil at St James’ Primary School, is scheduled to take the field for Polding.

Due to the size of the selection area for Polding, Haylen’s team will gather in Coffs Harbour the weekend before the tournament and have training sessions and trial matches.

However, the Hunter girls have been able to get together on several occasions since the squad was selected to practice their skills.

They even played a trial match against Nelson Bay at the weekend.

The girls will face 11 other NSW regions over three days, while both vying for selection in the state team.

In local touch news, the women’s, mixed and junior competitions will start on Monday, October 10.

Registration information days will be also be held at the Muswellbrook RSL Club on Saturdays, September 10 and 17, between 10am and 11.30am.

Juniors wishing to be placed in a team must register their name on either one of the above registration days.

Nominations for the NSW Touch Junior State Cup squads strictly close on Monday, October 17.

The annual general meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 8, starting at 6.30pm at the Muswellbrook RSL Club.

All interested Junior State Cup coaches and officials are invited to attend.

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LEADING Thoroughbred sales company Magic Millions has rounded out another racing season as the number one source for Australian racetrack stars.
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With 104 individual stakes winners of 154 black type races, Magic Millions graduates had another 12 months to remember during the recently completed 2015/16 racing season. Magic Millions’ 104 stakes winners during the season ranged in purchase price from $1800 to $720,000 and emerged from 14 different auctions the company stages each year.

During the 2015/16 racing season Magic Millions graduates won about 5000 races in Australia alone, earning more than $154 million with no fewer than 620 black type top three finishes.

The high class performances were led by champion mare Winx – the highest rated Australian racehorse and highest rated mare in the world. During the season Winx remained unbeaten in seven starts, a streak which included five Group One victories – Epsom Handicap, WS Cox Plate, Chipping Norton Stakes, George Ryder Stakes and Doncaster Handicap.

Bred by the Camilleri family’s Fairway Thoroughbreds and sold through the draft of Coolmore Stud for $210,000 at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Winx boasts a career record of 13 wins and three seconds from 19 starts with earnings of more than $6.6 million.

Winx is the highest rated Australian racehorse and highest rated mare in the world.

Another exceptional performer was Queensland-bred international Group 1 winner Buffering, who also won another two Group 1 races in Australia. The $22,000 Gold Coast March Yearling from Racetree, has now earned a staggering $7,267,694.

Black Heart Bart – from the Queensland-bred mare Sister Theresa and a $20,000 Perth Yearling Sale purchase – won five stakes races during the season including the Group 1 The Goodwood in Adelaide and boosted his earnings to $1,979,850.

Tarquinn Shadow, winner of the listed Starstruck Classic, emerged as the company’s best value stakes winner of the season – a $1800 purchase from the 2012 Perth Winter Thoroughbred Sale.

Another great success story was multiple stakes winner Sold For Song, a $2500 purchase from the Gold Coast Yearling Sale. With three wins and five placings from just nine starts, Sold For Song has already earned connections more than $350,000.

Hopwood joins Sky RacingFORMER jockey Libby Hopwood has joined racing broadcaster Sky Racing as a form analyst a on Sky Thoroughbred Central.

Hopwood suffered a career ending fall at Murray Bridge, South Australia in late 2014. The same race claimed the life of her close friend Caitlin Forrest. Hopwood initially thought she would have no trouble getting back in the saddle, but with the realisation that wasn’t going to happen she began studying and working towards a media career. Libby joins other successful female former jockeys like Bernadette Cooper, Priscilla Schmidt and Chantelle Buckley in the Sky team.

Tony Sears

QTIS premiers decidedAFTER a hotly contested 12 months, the final five weeks determined the QTIS Premiers for the 2015/16 racing season.

John Zielke

Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association webnews reports that John Zielke, Tony Sears, Royal Tithe and Too Good to Refuse were the outstanding QTIS performers over the past 12 months.Both trainers won complimentary entry into the 2017/18 Magic Millions Series for a yearling that they purchase at one of the 2017 Magic Millions Sales.

Zielke won the coveted title of 2YO QTIS Premiership Trainer on Earnings, banking a phenomenal $318,750 worth of QTIS bonus prizemoney (general prizemoney not included in these figures) for the season. Last year’s premier, Les Ross, was second with $230,400 and Krystle Johnston was third, earning $154,440 in QTIS bonuses.

Zielke was helped significantly by his two top runners, Royal Tithe (by Show a Heart) and Spot the Diff (by Snitzel) who placed first and second on the QTIS Premiership table for 2YOs by Earnings. Royal Tithe collected $165,000 in QTIS bonus prize money and Spot the Diff earned $120,000. The Kelly Schweida trained Bagus (by Jet Spur) rounded out the trifecta with $72,750.

Winner of the Toowoomba Trainer’s Premiership for the second consecutive year, Tony Sears was hovering around the top of the 3YO table all season, but it wasn’t until the final month that he passed Krystle Johnston. Sears banked $153,900 in QTIS bonuses, with Johnston ending the season with $146,010. Last season’s 3YO premier, Tony Gollan, was third with $135,300.

The Desleigh Forster trained Too Good To Refuse (by Rothesay) was the top QTIS earner for 3YOs, collecting $87,500 for the season. Sold For Song (by Collate) trained by Kevin Kemp was second with $85,500 and Sears’ Blue Desert Moon (by Monashee Mountain) was third with $82,000 in QTIS bonus prize money.

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INDUCTION: Provisional Mayor of Whyalla Lyn Breuer said she would be a ‘tough’ chair of the Whyalla City Council who would ‘stick to order’.After a winning tight electoral race, Lyn Breuer was sworn in as Provisional Mayor of Whyalla during Monday’s Whyalla City Council meeting.
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Ms Breuer swore an oath to fulfill the duties of Mayorin front of a Justice of the Peace before addressing the Councillors prior to the meeting.

“I want to thank the people of Whyalla for making me the Mayor of Whyalla, and I particularly want to make tribute to Jim Pollock who served this city long and well…Jim should still be here, we miss him terribly,” she said.

“Whyalla is at a crossroads as we all know, I have lived in Whyalla all my life and this, certainly to me, is the most important time in our history.”

“Council must be respected, happy and proactive, and we need to provide leadership to our city.”

Ms Breuer described herself as a ‘tough’ chair, having previously been speaker for state parliament.

“I will make mistakes tonight, there are some differences in council procedure and I will forget, be a little bit patient with me,” she said.

“I will stick to order, certainly with procedures for speaking, we will follow that through over future meetings.”

Ms Breuer said her experience and knowledge of Whyalla would help her navigate a ‘very difficult period’ over the next two years.

“It was a difficult election…a difficult time for council staff, but we have to put that behind us now, we need to move on in the interest of our city and our people,” she said.

“We as a council need to work together, to respect each other, to be professional and look after Whyalla.”

“Thank you for the honour of being Mayor of Whyalla, and I will do my utmost to look after this city which I love.”

Ms Breuer survived a tight race against fellow candidate and forming Acting Mayor Tom Antonio, who received more first preferences, but ultimately fell short after preferences were distributed from the remaining candidates.

Councillor Robert Schmitz fared well in the election, with the third-highest amount of votes giving him a solid result.

All councillors retained their positions on the council, meaning Cr Jenny Barnes and Cr David Knox remained on the council along with Cr Schmitz and Cr Antonio.

Ms BreuerI served on Whyalla Council from 1991 to 1997, during which time I was Deputy Mayor for threeyears.

She was then elected to State Parliament for 18 years which includedthreeyears as Speaker.

Ms Breuer is currently Chair of CEG in Whyalla, a member of the RDAWEP, and Chair of the Andamooka Town Management Committee.

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