Shire gets State tick of approval

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THE STATE Government has commended Toodyay’s new council for its response to 23 adverse findings tabled in the WA Parliament last year after a 20-month formal inquiry.

The findings detailed seven years of civic dysfunction that cost Toodyay ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in unlawful spending, futile court cases, unethical conduct and conflicts of interest.

Investigators found that former Toodyay civic leaders failed to properly manage a previous CEO whose contract was terminated by a majority of new councillors after he took three months’ extended sick leave on the morning of a council meeting early last year.

WA Local Government Director General Lanie Chopping said the findings “were distressing to residents and ratepayers”.

She said she was “confident that the shire can restore good governance” through reforms submitted to the State Government for departmental approval.

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They’ve done it again – Australia’s best apple pie

TOODYAY Bakery pastry chef Jodi Johnston (above left) and 3rd-year apprentice Oliva Jarquin have done it again – Australia’s Best Apple Pie for the second time in three years.

“I was stoked,” Jodi said when her creation won last month’s Great Aussie Pie national competition in Sydney.

The recipe includes local Bravo and Granny Smith apples, almond-based frangipani and special cinnamon swirls that give the pastry case its unique appearance.

“We had a few trial runs to get the overall look right,” Jodi said.

Toodyay’s multi-award-winning duo bake 24 of Australia’s best apple pies every day.

Fire chief warns of heightened fire danger

At least 86 homes like this were destroyed in last summer’s catastrophic Wooroloo bushfire.

HEAVY winter rains delayed the start of this year’s fire season but increased undergrowth and an unusually hot summer are likely to increase the bushfire risk in many parts of WA, the State Government has warned.

The 2021 National Seasonal Bushfire Outlook predicts an above-average risk for Perth and large parts of the Midwest, Gascoyne, Pilbara, South-West and Great Southern regions.

High moisture levels in Souh-West soil and vegetation have enabled emergency services to conduct fire mitigation activities throughout spring.

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More than 600 local residents remain unvaccinated

Dennis Toop was one of the first Toodyay residents to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at the Alma Beard Medical Centre in Stirling Terrace last April.

MORE 600 Toodyay residents are estimated to have no vaccine protection against the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

A further 1100 local people are estimated to have only partial protection.

National public health figures published on November 28 for 137 WA local government areas ranked Toodyay as having the 16th lowest record for fully vaccinated residents.

No figures were available for a further 49 WA country shires and towns.

The State Government says borders will remain shut until 90 per cent of West Australians are fully vaccinated.

WA will then move from excluding the virus to allowing community transmission within the state, including in Toodyay.

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Local vaccine protesters addressed by hypnotist

Anti-vaccination hypnotist Ken Robshaw addressed an AustraliaOne branch meeting at Toodyay’s Community Resource Centre in Stirling Terrace earlier this month.

A POLITICAL party that proposes to hang Australian prime ministers for treason and jail judges for life is attracting support from Toodyay residents who oppose Covid-19 vaccinations.

About 30 people attended a weekly meeting of the Toodyay branch of the AustraliaOne party at the Toodyay Community Resource Centre in Stirling Terrace earlier this month.

It was addressed by a professional hypnotist from Yallingup who said his audience would regret not making an extra effort to attend Perth “freedom rallies” if crowd sizes were not big enough to stop Covid-19 restrictions.

The AustraliaOne party claims vaccinations are a global plot to control people’s lives.

In a recent video, AustraliaOne leader Riccardo Bosi said Prime Minister Scott Morrison, former prime ministers and other Australian politicians would be hung for betraying their country “when we get in”.

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Where trees are weeds

AS A RESIDENT of Toodyay who uses the Sandplain Road and Salt Valley Road intersections with Toodyay Road daily, I observe many near-accidents.

It is with that background that I question the intent of all activists, environmentalists, Safe and Scenic Toodyay Road members and Shire of Toodyay Environmental Advisory Committee in their efforts to delay the planned roadworks for this disastrous section of road.

We continue to delay, ignore and stifle improving Toodyay road safety at our own peril.

A road death will occur due to unsafe road conditions and it will be on all of our heads.

This is not if, but when.

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Owen Catto

‘Dictatorship’ claim at ambo inquiry

Sacked local ambulance chief says ‘toxic culture’ caused Toodyay volunteers to quit

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

SEVERAL Toodyay ambulance volunteers have resigned because of a “toxic culture” in St John Ambulance regional management and others are too afraid to speak out about it, a Perth parliamentary inquiry has been told.

Former local St John Ambulance chair Charlie Wroth (pictured left on Anzac Day 2019) claimed under oath that WA’s privately run ambulance service was intolerant of criticism and had failed “in basic areas” of emergency service delivery.

He described it as “more of a dictatorship”.

Mr Wroth, who is also a Shire of Toodyay Fire Control Officer and volunteer firefighter, said the State Government should take over the running of WA ambulance operations, as with fire and emergency services.

St John sacked Mr Wroth and expelled him from the organisation in 2019 after he “raised concerns about how volunteers are treated” at an emergency services forum organised by local WA Nationals MPs in Northam.

His 39-year volunteer membership was cancelled and he was ordered to leave the ambulance depot and return his uniform.

Mr Wroth had been awarded a St John Ambulance Cross for “outstanding service” by State Governor Kim Beazley at WA Government House seven months earlier.

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Record-breaking Show brings smiles to delighted organisers

PERFECT sunny weather drew 5500 locals and visitors to last month’s long-awaited 167th Toodyay Agricultural Show after last year’s Covid-19 lockdown forced its reluctant postponement. Local Agricultural Society President Alison Wroth said it was one of the best turn-outs she had ever seen. A highlight was a dramatic simulated rescue of two ‘injured’ car crash victims by Toodyay emergency service volunteers. Show exhibitor Tony Maddox said “anybody who’s not here is crazy”.

Main Roads says ‘exploring options’ to save two 400-year-old trees from axe

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

TWO 400-year-old Toodyay trees listed for destruction on a flora-designated road have become the latest battleground for local environmentalists seeking to limit damage to native vegetation in ongoing upgrades to Toodyay Road.

The two large Powderbark Wandoos stand near the intersection of Toodyay Road and Salt Valley Road, about eight kilometres south of the Toodyay townsite.

A Main Roads WA plan to re-align the intersection to make it safer for traffic includes axing the two trees.

Environmentalists say the trees stand in an area popular with spring wildflower tourists for its abundance of Leschenaultia and red flowering pea bush.

One of the trees (pictured left with local resident Andrew St John ) is estimated to be 420 years old which predates the arrival of Australia’s first European explorers at Cape York in Queensland in 1606 and at WA’s Shark Bay in 1616.

A submission by Safe and Scenic Toodyay Roads group member Elaine Hall to last month’s Toodyay Shire Council meeting said the intersection could be re-aligned without destroying the two trees.

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