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Plenty to do

Congratulations to the organisers of the latest Warialda Offroad 200 – what a massive event with one of the largest fields of cars they have ever had.  Next year’s event is the 25th and sure to be yet another wonderful community event, with people coming from far and wide, but also locals participating as well.

One of the common frustrations you hear from people in small towns is that there’s nothing to do (a VERY common thing to hear from youngsters).  I beg to differ!  There is so much happening throughout this Shire, that if you can’t find anything to do, then it’s really your own fault!

Take spring as an example – we’ve just had the offroad, only weekends before that was a massive community BBQ to recognise our local doctors and on the same day was a rugby event and a physical culture competition.  Next week the Quirky Festival begins, with art, craft, health and wellbeing talks and workshops for nearly 2 weeks.

It’s school holidays, but there’s still plenty to do with Vacation Care held in Warialda and the Toy Library open as well.  There’s also Markets on this weekend in Warialda.

Then of course, once it starts warming up, Warialda gears up for the Honey Festival, followed by the lead up to Christmas.  This is only a small section of what happens locally during a small bit of the year.

Take an interest in your community  - get out there and enjoy it.


Bad behaviour on our roads

While deaths and casualties on our roads is decreasing, there are still plenty of people getting in cars and doing stupid things.

There wouldn’t be many people with a license who would be immune – who hasn’t checked their mobile phone when a message comes in, or gone even 5 kms per hour over the speed limit?  I’m sure there are still way too many people getting in their cars after a couple of drinks – they’re just doing when the cops aren’t there and aren’t getting caught.

Our Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall did one of those stupid things last Friday night. He got into a car and made the decision to drive after a couple of drinks.  Mr Marshall was pulled over by the police and blew a mid-range PCA.

At least Mr Marshall has owned up to his mistake and isn’t making excuses for it.  Often when I cover court, all you hear is excuses as to why people decide to do stupid things.

Over the weekend more locally in Warialda, we saw hoons tearing up residential streets – not only is it annoying for locals and loud, it’s also extremely dangerous – especially given the number of kids who often use those same streets walking or on their bikes.

Vehicles have the potential to be a really deadly weapon.  We all need to think a bit more responsibly when we get inside a car, truck or on a motorbike and think not just about ourselves in the vehicles, but the impact our decisions make on those outside.


Secure your online self

As the world of technology, social media and the way in which we conduct our lives and businesses online rapidly evolves, it appears our attention to security and safety online hasn’t quite caught up yet.

This week is Stay Smart Online Week and highlights the importance of online security for mobile devices especially.

A report has found that Australians are more concerned about access to the internet than their security once online.  The report says that 72 percent of Australians use the wifi in cafes, shopping centres ad airports and are more concerned about deleting their browser history than they are about changing passwords every six months.

It also said that only two in five mobile users always read ‘permission requests’ before downloading an app onto their smart phone or tablet.

Only this week did I have a conversation with someone about the prevalence of people with their noses in their phones as they go about their business – shopping, walking down the street, waiting for the bus, even in cafes and restaurants.

It is part of our culture now that we have to be ‘connected’ to everything.  But, what’s happened to our real, human-to-human contact?  It seems we’re replacing that with texts, snapchats and instant messaging.

Of course, you can’t bury your head in the sand and resist the way the world is moving, but as you do embrace the digital world and the way of the future, make sure that you’re looking after your privacy and securing your information online.


'I touch myself' an anthem

This is for the women....

Next week a redone version of The Divinyls’ ‘I Touch Myself’ will be released, featuring a host of Australian female artists singing the song.

It is being used as an 'anthem' of sorts, to encourage women to actively check themselves and become aware of their bodies and the feel and shape of their breasts, making any changes more noticeable.

Chrissy Amphlett, front woman for the Divinyls, died a year ago and had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and MS in the last 1990's.

Chrissy was passionate about spreading awareness around the importance of early detection of breast cancer and wanted her song ‘I Touch Myself’ to become an anthem for women’s health around the world.

I hope that this song not only resonates with women, especially those in their thirties and forties who might not be having regular mammograms, and they start doing regular breast checks.

I think an initiative like this is far more practical and emotive, than some of the other so-called awareness campaigns that have swept through social media especially.

One of the more recent crazes on Facebook has been to post a make-up free 'selfie' in aid of breast cancer awareness.  The idea that posing make-up free is a hardship is laughable, considering what someone suffering from breast cancer has to go through.

So, don't get caught up in meaningless crazes, but instead, take an active role in your health. 


Competition is healthy

This week, there’s been talk about the decision by junior AFL football clubs across Australia, to stop scoring games and keeping a competition ladder.  They say that this will encourage participation, rather than competition amongst the kids.

I think it’ll man that these kids get a rude shock when they grow up and realise that that’s just not how the world works.

I have a three year old, and at the moment, everything is about her ‘winning’, whether it’s a race down the hallway, who can finish their cereal first or whether she can put the toothpaste on her brush better than I can!

Most of the time I let her win, but occasionally, someone else has to win, and she doesn’t always like that, but it’s going to happen a lot more in her life!

Competition is in-built in us as humans.  If we didn’t lose occasionally, then how do we know we can do better?

On the sports field, at the quite young age I don’t think kids really care too much if they win or lose, they just enjoy playing, so the need to place restrictions on scoring probably isn’t required.  I would hazard a guess and say that the parents are more disappointed in a loss that the child is!

But, at some point, you need to realise that in the real world, there ARE winners and losers.  Like it or not – our world, and especially our sporting world, is based on that.