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Monday 14 October 2013

Special Edition 53

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Coober Pedy Local Announced as Finalist in South Australia's Australian of the Year Award

Photo and text from http://www.mediaopps.com.au/

Dean Walker - Community Constable

A lynchpin in the Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta communities, Senior Community Constable Dean Walker has shown excellence in bravery, sensitivity and cultural awareness.
From rescuing two young girls from a swollen river to helping young Indigenous offenders get their lives back on track, Dean goes beyond the call of duty to make a difference to his community and the lives of the people he serves.
Dean uses his advocacy, communication and leadership skills to connect the local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, and to influence society for the better.
Dean was responsible for delivering the South Australian Police Aboriginal cultural awareness program, which increased the police service's cultural knowledge of Indigenous issues.
Dean gives back in many ways - from coaching sporting teams to bringing together young and old Aboriginal men to promote healthy living, bush skills and positive role models.



With the ACT and NSW considering same-sex marriage, Pastor Margaret Court has called on all Australians to put the birth-rights of children first.
Man + Woman marriage is the only institution able to protect the biological birth right of children to know and be raised by their natural mum and dad, to know their relatives and ancestors, their medical history and, most importantly, their identity.
Same-sex marriage is a social construct that fails to recognize this deeply, biologically-based, birth right of every child. We must fight for the rights of our children and stand united together and put God first in our Nation.
In the beginning God made man for woman and woman for man to multiply the earth. Marriage is ordained by God. We need to fight for the family unit and protect it for the future of our land.
When legislation is changed to please man and not God, greater darkness comes upon a Nation resulting in greater immorality and therefore the decline of a Nation. Let us stand for righteousness and truth.
I implore you, do not go the way of man but the way of God. Fight for the family and ensure that we are a united voice to protect marriage between a man and a woman.

Rev Dr Margaret Court AO

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Does a Faltering Opal Market Spell Doom For Coober Pedy?

By Melissa Paine. Repeated from Special Issue No.51

It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the uncertain future of opal mining in Australia. Years of a booming mining sector draining young talent, uncertain and sometimes stifling business and regulatory conditions, and competition from synthetic opals have all contributed to the local industry's gradual decline. Towns that were built and thrived on the opal industry such as New South Wales' Lightning Ridge are now wondering what the future holds. The Lightening Ridge Mining Association even held a public meeting earlier this year to rally support for their town and its opal industry.
In Coober Pedy, the “Opal Capital of the World”, it is important to realise these issues exist – even with a council that prioritises keeping an opal industry as vital. The town already has a declining population according to the 2011 Census, as well as a relatively high unemployment rate. Could a faltering Australian opal industry be the last straw for one of Australia's most recognised opal bases.
Almost a Century of Opal Discoveries
Coober Pedy has been associated with opals and opal mining since they were first discovered in February 1915 by a group of prospectors searching for gold. The arrival of a railway line combined with the migration of construction worker and returned soldier miners cemented the town's future, as the famous dugout mining method developed. Today, with more than 70 opal fields Coober Pedy is the largest opal mining area in the world and supplies roughly 80 per cent of the world's opals. However, there are increasing worries that Australia's historic opal mining industry is in deep trouble. Something that could have drastic implications for Coober Pedy.
Losing Talent, Too Many Regulations
Most opal miners are self-employed – searching for, digging out and selling opals as they go. While this maximises profit by eliminating any middlemen or bosses, it can result in unstable pay checks. Compare this to the huge, $100,000-plus pay rates being offered by mining companies and it is easy to understand why many younger people have left opal mining. Some industry insiders now estimate the average age of opal miners is 60 years old as a result. Compounding this, many opal miners in Australia are complaining that increasing costs and regulatory frameworks are making opal mining harder than ever. Kev Phillips, who has been mining opals in Queensland since the 1980s, told the ABC that “mountains of fees and paperwork imposed by state governments” was pushing people out of the industry. It goes without saying that anything pushing people from the industry will equally discourage the next generation from joining – furthering the exodus of young blood. Add to this mix the impact of synthetic opals, introduced to the market from the mid 1970s and now estimated by some to be impacting by as much as $300 million, and it is easy to understand why Australia's industry may be in trouble. With opals acknowledged as the backbone of the Coober Pedy economy, there is a real danger for the town's economic future.
Hope in Oil and Gas
Paradoxically, for Coober Pedy the mining, oil and gas industry which drained much of the opal industry's young blood is the very thing that could provide a foundation for future prosperity. At the start of this year Brisbane-based company Linc Energy released oil drilling reports estimating there could be between 3.5 billion and 233 billion barrels of oil in the Coober Pedy's Arckaringa Basin, worth trillions of dollars. Linc engaged Barclays Bank to find an investment partner to help fund the staggering $150-$300 million cost of the project's next stage. Finding the money should not be problematic, with the outlook for oil stocks good and promising with “robust” earnings and dividend streams, according to money.co.uk This shale oil find alone could spark a new boom in Coober Pedy reminiscent of the town's opal exploration boom of the 1960s and 1970s.
Looking Towards Tourism
Tourism could be Coober Pedy's other economic saviour. The town's world-famous reputation as the Opal Capital of the World has created a strong local tourism industry, and given it the sort of international exposure many other isolated Australian towns would love to have. In fact, tourism has developed so much that it is one of Coober Pedy's biggest industries these days – equal to opals. Although it is important to recognise that this tourism is intrinsically linked to opals, including events such as the annual gem shows and opal festivals. Without maintaining this strong link, Coober Pedy's tourism industry would surely suffer despite attractions such as underground houses, churches and museums. By 2007, the Coober Pedy district was averaging more than 100,000 international and domestic visitors a year injecting tens of millions into the local economy. While this has been impacted by 2008's global financial meltdown tourism remains a strong local industry. This was recently recognised by the District Council of Coober Pedy, which named tourism a primary economic driver for the area that was critical for the future in its Strategic Plan 2013/14–2017/18.
Diversification Essential
This year's major oil revelations mean Coober Pedy is particularly well placed to survive any drastic downturn in the opal industry. However, as recognised by the council, tourism and opal mining are both essential to a prosperous future for the town. It is an important step for government to recognise and act on this. More must be done to preserve the historic opal industry, lest Coober Pedy risk putting all its eggs in the oil and gas industry – and risk facing an eventual Lightening Ridge situation. A vital first step for this is to attract young blood back into a dying art.


From a reader

A broadcaster speaking in Auckland , says, "I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built in Auckland . I think it should be the goal of every New Zelander to be tolerant regardless of their religious beliefs Thus the mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.
That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque. We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, "The Turban Cowboy ", and the other a topless bar called "You Mecca Me Hot."
Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called " Iraq o' Ribs." Across the street there could be a lingerie store called " Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret ", with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods.
Next door a liquor store called "Morehammered." All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us, so their mosque issue would not be a problem for others."


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