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Wednesday 18 August 2010

Vol. 3 No. 37

School in 'chaos' after tough principal ousted


SUSPENSIONS have almost tripled and truancy has doubled at Coober Pedy Area School since the ousting of principal Sue Burtenshaw.

Figures obtained by The Advertiser, have shown an alarming decline in student attendance, with almost half the school's 230 pupils not attending on a regular basis.

In 2009, 31 students were suspended under Ms Burtenshaw, who was removed from her role this year following complaints over her tough stance on students and treatment of parents.

But under the leadership of interim principals this year, behaviour has "swung out of control" with 86 students suspended and three excluded while only half-way into the school year.

Figures show that in May and June, student absences ranged between 86 to 124 students a day, compared to 36 to 66 students at the same time last year under Ms Burtenshaw.

Coober Pedy Area School assistant principal Kym Taylor has chosen to speak out on the issue, saying the school is in a "state of chaos" following the departure of Ms Burtenshaw, who joined the school in 2008 after the school had employed seven principals in nine years.

"The school is in a state of chaos with kids not coming to school, children not staying in class and running in and out of classrooms, and swearing at teachers," Ms Taylor said.

"What we are doing is creating a generation of children at risk here.

"We had policies in place, but because the policies were implemented by Sue and some people didn't like (them), there is now nothing in place."

After a six-month investigation into alleged misconduct, Education Department chief executive Chris Robinson announced last month that it was in "the best interests of the students, staff, community and Ms Burtenshaw that a new principal be appointed to Coober Pedy Area School".

But Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni said he found it "extraordinary" that a principal who was able to improve attendance, reduce suspensions and improve NAPLAN results was removed from the school in the "interest of the students".

Education Minister Jay Weatherill said: "We now have a principal appointed for the rest of 2010 and are working to ensure there is a permanent principal appointed as soon as possible to start next year."

Ms Burtenshaw has appealed the decision. 

MAYOR'S REPORT (From the DCCP August Agenda)

I have set aside Saturday the 18th of September for the official opening of the

airport terminal building. Relevant Ministers and their representatives have

been offered an invitation to the opening and an open invitation will also be

extended to all residents of Coober Pedy.

We expect that after the official opening the terminal will be open for

inspection and a bbq will be provided. I will advise further as details are


I attended with a group of people on the 6th August for drinks at the Desert

Cave with Mr Ian Darbyshire and his wife Jackie. Ian was appointed in

February to the position of Chief Executive with the South Australian Tourism

Commission and was in Coober Pedy on his way to join the Great Outback

Cattle Drive. We spoke at length about the airport and the need to attract a

regular air service from Alice Springs or Yulara. Further discussions will take

place at a later date.

I also escorted Ian and Jackie to the airport on Thursday 12th August and

gave them a tour of the new airport terminal. I am hopeful that Ian will be

available to return for the opening of the airport next month. The SATC

contributed $200,000 towards the construction of the airport terminal


On the 7th and 8th of August I attended the 41st annual Coober Pedy Races.

A great weekend was had by all who attended this well organised and well

attended event. The race weekend is one of Coober Pedy’s calendar events

and it was great to see so many of the established and emerging mining

companies in and around Coober Pedy supporting this event.

On Sunday the 1st August my wife and I represented Council by attending

the St Elijas luncheon at the Serbian Orthodox Church. The service and

luncheon was attended by Bishop Irinej who had travelled from Adelaide to

attend the celebrations. I congratulate the small group of local Serbian

people for their efforts and hospitality.

Coober Pedy is submitting an entry in the SA Tourism Awards Category 1

Major Tourism attraction. This is the first time that a destination has been

submitted or considered in the tourism awards. The submission has been

driven by Trevor Berry who has put in a tremendous amount of work, and

has been supported by many businesses and individuals in Coober Pedy.

TAFE offered two students to put together the submission and these

students visited Coober Pedy in May to speak to interested stakeholders,

which included Council. The submission is nearing completion and will be

lodged with the SA Tourism Awards within the next week.

We expect that a member of the judging panel will visit Coober Pedy in the

next couple of weeks. The awards will be announced at the SA Tourism

Awards dinner on the 18th November and if successful Coober Pedy will

benefit enormously by the increase in exposure and the notoriety that comes

with winning an award such as this.


Steve Baines


Peculiar Knob Progressing 

Western Plains Resources Limited (ASX:WPG) intends to take the decision to commit to project development at its flagship Peculiar Knob direct shipping iron ore project, 90km southeast of Coober Pedy, in H2 2010.
Export sales are expected to commence in H2 2011.
WPG said on 17 August that the South Australian government has agreed that the construction of the iron ore storage and export facility at Port Pirie proposed by WPG will be assessed under Section 49 of the Development Act 1993.
The government has indicated that the facility has the potential to
benefit all South Australians.
WPG entered into a 30-year agreement with Flinders Ports Pty Ltd in June 2010 to export iron ore and coal from Port Pirie. The capacity of the materials handling and transhipment facilities to be built at Port Pirie will be some 7-8 million tonnes per annum.
WPG's own initial requirements will account for 3-4 million tonnes perannum and the Company intends to make surplus capacity available to other users. WPG will commence a community consultation program at Port Pirie within the next few weeks, well before the Development Application is finalised and lodged and before any construction activities commence.
To the best of WPG's knowledge, Peculiar Knob is the highest grade
undeveloped direct shipping iron ore deposit in Australia, with the
lowest levels of the key impurities alumina and phosphorus.

On the 21st Aug one of the two 1st finals of the Woomera and Districts Football League will be held at
OZ Oval Coober Pedy between Coober Pedy and Andamooka.

Regional Development Australia Far North (RDAFN), (formerly known as the Northern Regional Development Board) is compiling a regional roadmap of Far North South Australia. The roadmap is a key document for the RDAFN Board and as such is a detailed and living document. 

A regional roadmap is an easy to read snap shot of the region,

describing its attributes, industries, employment base and key

advantages. It also sets out key issues of the region covering economic, social and environmental aspects including priorities for actions to address these issues. A key focus of the roadmap will be outcomes that can be delivered by and for communities. The roadmap will also identify opportunities, and mechanisms for the region to take advantage of Commonwealth, State and Local Government programs and services. It will describe the region, its strengths and weaknesses and a long term vision for further development. 

The regional roadmap will drive RDAFN's economic, social and

environmental vision for the region and underpin the work and priorities of the Board. It will assist RDAFN to establish its broad direction over the coming years and will confirm priorities of our work with stakeholders and communities. The roadmap will also be a major promotional and informative tool provided directly to the Commonwealth Government. Once completed the document will be available on RDAFN's website and will be a valuable resource for use by communities, businesses and agencies of Commonwealth, State and Local Government. 

In developing the regional roadmap for the Far North of South Australia, RDAFN is seeking your input and feedback relating to characteristics you see as important both at a community and regional level. We ask that you spare a small portion of your time to complete the survey questions and indicate to us your view of the regions strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This information will assist us in providing a clear picture of our region and will be collated in a way that will not reveal the identity of any individual or organisations providing input to the consultation process. 

This is an opportunity to directly contribute to our regional roadmap

for the future prosperity of your region. 

To complete the survey please use the following link 


Please contact Claire or Christo on 8641 1444 if you are having problems with the link or have any further questions.



Thanking you in anticipation


Rob Gibb


Chief Executive Officer


Regional Development Australia Far North


Formerly Northern Regional Development Board


2a Stirling Rd


PO BOX 1762






Phone - 08 8641 1444


Fax - 08 8642 6951


Website - www.rdafn.com.au <http://www.rdafn.com.au> 


Exploration funding a must for both major parties


(From The AusIMM)

The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy represents 10,000 professionals working in the global minerals industry. Its role is to maximise opportunities for professionals in the minerals sector through continuing professional development and to represent members on global, national and local issues that affect them and their communities.

Australia must increase its global share of minerals exploration funding if the mining industry is to continue to support jobs and growth in local communities and across the economy, according to the group representing mining professionals.

The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The AusIMM) says both major political parties must commit to support for minerals exploration, or Australia will lose its position as a major minerals-based economy.

In 1996, minerals exploration in Australia accounted for 20 per cent of the total global exploration programs for non-ferrous metals. By 2010, that has slipped to 13 per cent.

The AusIMM represents 10,000 professionals working in the minerals industry. Chief Executive Michael Catchpole said the ongoing debate over the mining tax had obscured one of the real issues facing the mining industry, governments and communities.

“Unless we provide support for exploration and build up our minerals inventory, we will lose ground to other minerals-rich nations,” Mr Catchpole said.

“The wealth that flows from the mining industry – to governments, companies and communities – is not guaranteed forever. It is dependent on finding new resources to sustain our industry and our economy.”

He said the Coalition’s election promise last Saturday of $150 million to support minerals exploration echoed the promise by the Labor Party in the lead-up to the 2007 election to encourage small exploration companies to uncover new resources in Australia.

“The Coalition promise is similar to that made by Labor in 2007, providing investment incentives for small companies who shoulder the burden of high-risk exploration for new minerals deposits.

“The Government’s mining tax in its earlier form also offered exploration rebates, but that program was lost in the hastily-constructed mining tax mark two and Labor must commit to its original exploration incentives scheme if it’s to at least match the policy put forward in recent days by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.”





 2 Corinthians Ch. 10, vs 3 & 4 (Backpackers Bible): 

"We live in this world, but we don't act like its people or fight our battles with the weapons of this world. Instead, we use God's power that can destroy fortresses."


Church Meeting Times
: Catacomb (Anglican) Sunday 9.30am; Catholic Saturday 6.30pm Sunday 10am; Coober Pedy Revival Fellowship Sunday 10.15 am, 7 pm Wed 7.30 pm; Coober Pedy Brethren Sunday 10am;
Coober Pedy Christian Home Church Sunday 3pm Ph 0417 814 559 or 0408 890 280; Coober Pedy Community Church - Assembly of God, Paxton Rd Sunday 10:00 am Wednesday 7:00 pm Friday Prayer Meeting: 7:30pm

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