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Monday 14 July 2014

Special Edition 92

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Outback city power win


Electricity prices in Coober Pedy and a dozen other outback centres have been cut, backdated to July 1.
The new tariffs and the start date have been confirmed in writing by the state government, fulfilling an election promise made by Mines and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis.
An elated Coober Pedy mayor Steve Baines said the win was a direct result of a campaign waged by the District Council of Coober Pedy and the Coober Pedy Retail, Business and Tourism Association, strongly backed by Member for Giles Eddie Hughes.
"The new tariffs exceed our expectations and I'm very happy with them", Mr Baines said.
"The new tariffs will be posted on the Department of State Development's website and can be accessed at www.energy.sa.gov.au/raes".
The new domestic power rate for Coober Pedy is $70.45 supply charge per quarter, with the first 300 kWh charged at 33.44 cents/kWh per quarter, rising to 39.71 cents/kWh for the highest users.
The general supply rate is $72.02 supply charge per quarter, with the first 2,500 kWh rate set at 35.02 cents/kWh per quarter, rising to 38.18 cents/kWh at the highest level.
"I commend the government for standing by its commitment in reducing tariffs to these new levels, which will make a significant difference to business confidence, and to domestic users throughout the SA outback", Mr Baines said.
"I would also like to thank the Retail, Business and Tourism Association for joining with Council in the Outback Power Action Lobby - OPAL - which worked hard to bring about this change.
"Particular thanks also go to the Member for Giles, Eddie Hughes, who took the case to his parliamentary colleagues and helped ensure the treasurer understood the importance of this measure, even while framing a difficult state budget".
OPAL Co-Chairman Robert Coro agreed that the outcome of the campaign was very good.
"Good partnerships get good results", he said.
"We are pleased Coober Pedy has got a big win".

Fixing the world's longest fence

By Lauren Waldhuter

PHOTO Jeff Boland maintains the dog fence near Coober Pedy (Lauren Waldhuter)

When it's the longest fence in the world, maintenance can be a pretty big job.
But Jeff Bolan from Coober Pedy in South Australia's far north, says he loves heading out for days at a time to patrol the 300 kilometre stretch of the dog fence he's responsible for.
Australia's 5,000 kilometre dog fence extends through some of the country's most isolated landscapes; from South Australia to Queensland.
Its purpose is to keep the wild dogs of the north out of the sheep grazing country in the south.
But Jeff Bolan says they are still getting through - especially when the rains come.
"You can't get out for two or three weeks to repair [the fence] because of the boggy ground," he says.
"The dogs - you'll see their tracks going backwards and forwards from the outside.
"But the day that you repair the fence you're either going to lock them in or lock them out and then you've got problems."
Jeff says these heavy rains cause just as much damage as the wild animals roaming the outback.
"Some of the water went through five or six feet deep," he says of the most recent deluge.
"So it just took out 200 or 300 metres."
Jeff Bolan's been patrolling the fence since 1989.
He says he'd been a fencing contractor for most of his life before deciding to have a crack at the biggest.

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