Cops chop winter firewood for oldies in need

FOUR local off-duty police sergeants have been cutting and splitting free firewood for elderly Toodyay residents and others in need.

The scheme operates with the support of Toodyay Race Club, Toodyay Op Shop and local firewood supplier Charlie Ferguson.

“We’re happy to help vulnerable people who can’t afford to run electric heaters or buy and chop fire wood themselves,” organiser Sgt Dave Flaherty (far left) said.

For more information, please call Toodyay Local Care on 0427 744 352.

Ambo inquiry vindicates Wroth claims

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

SICK and injured people in regional WA cannot continue to rely on unpaid volunteers to provide ambulance services, a State parliamentary inquiry has found.

It said country communities had no guaranteed access to ambulance services and that patients living in 98.5 per cent of the state had no guaranteed response times.

“Continued reliance on volunteers to perform ambulance services is not sustainable,” the inquiry found.

Public health officials were urged to investigate using paid paramedics to extend regional ambulance services in a ‘hybrid model’ to support volunteers who currently respond to 90 per cent of all country calls.

A total of 74,000 calls last year were responded to by regional volunteers – a 22 per cent increase over the previous five years.

The inquiry also reported that more than 85 per cent of “frontline” paramedics did not trust senior St John Ambulance management.

Evidence suggested that “cultural issues” inside WA’s privately run ambulance service “extends to serious matters such as harassment and bullying,” the inquiry said.

“Current processes do not adequately address these matters.”

Despite three other recent inquiries, St John Ambulance had failed to resolve “issues” in its workplace and organisational culture.

The inquiry reported “numerous examples of employees in fear of reporting their issues to come forward and air their concerns because of possible ramifications”.

The findings echo claims by former veteran Toodyay St John Ambulance chair Charlie Wroth (above), who was sacked by Perth administrators and stripped of his 39-year volunteer membership after criticising management workplace culture at a private 2019 emergency services forum organised by WA National Party MPs in Northam.

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Ngain-ya-ye-ya cooling – watch out Boss Ladies, the Wagyl swims in murky waters

THREE Toodyay Boss Ladies, as the local Noongar Kaartdijin Aboriginal Corporation likes to call them, celebrated Reconciliation Week (May 27-June 3) by launching a new display at Duidgee Park.

The sign is one of nine on a Noongar Trail to show the connection of Yued, Ballardong and Whadjuk people to the Toodyay area.

The display describes how the Wagyl Spirit Snake swims in dark and murky waters, and visitors should call out ngain-ya-ye-ya cooling to say they are coming.

Pictured right: Noongar Elder Sharmaine Miles (left), Toodyay Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst (centre) and Shire President Rosemary Madacsi in Duidgee Park.



Former councillor prosecuted over ‘false’ $500m claim

FORMER Toodyay shire councillor Ben Bell (right) is being prosecuted by Australia’s corporate watchdog for allegedly misleading overseas investors over a claimed $500 million deal that government lawyers say did not exist.

He is also accused of making “false and misleading” representations to investors in London and Hong Kong about a $5 billion deal with a South Korean manufacturer of electric batteries for motor vehicles.

Former Cr Bell stood unsuccessfully in a secret council ballot for Toodyay shire president in 2019 before resigning from the council at the end of January this year.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is seeking Federal Court orders for Mr Bell to be fined and barred from managing a corporation for a period of time to be decided by the court.

Court documents show that the alleged “serious” corporate offences are claimed to have occurred in April and May 2018 when Mr Bell was serving as a Toodyay shire councillor.

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New JPs needed to sign police warrants and witness forms

TOODYAY needs new Justices of the Peace young enough to sign police search warrants.

The only local JP who is qualified by age to do that is former shire president Brian Rayner (right) who is planning to be away from Toodyay on an extended holiday in coming months.

Two other local JPs – Max Heath and Jeff Roberts – are both older than the legal 75-year age limit for signing police warrants.
Without younger JPs, Toodyay police will need to travel to Northam or beyond for a signature required by law for search warrants, which could impede criminal inquiries and enable offenders to escape.

Mr Rayner said he was normally asked up to three times a week to witness statutory declarations which have no age limit and can be signed by Toodyay’s two other JPs.

But they were unable to sign police warrants, which Mr Rayner said was usually required two or three times a month.

Two or more new younger JPs could share the community responsibility by working to a roster so that that someone was always available to assist police in their work.

“It would suit a reputable person with good community standing,” Mr Rayner said.

JPs are appointed by the State Governor who authorises them to carry out a range of official administrative duties in their local communities.

For more information about how to become a JP, visit the WA Justice Department online.


Men’s Shed rift prompts mass defections

A COURT-FUELLED rift in the Toodyay Men’s Shed has led to mass resignations and the formation of a new rival group that has registered the name ‘Moondyne Men’.

Veteran Men’s Shed member Jeff Roberts (right) applied in the Northam Magistrates’ Court last month for a restraining order against former Men’s Shed member Owen Webb, who is now a member of Moondyne Men.

It followed a verbal dispute between the pair after five former Men’s Shed committee members – including the chairman and secretary – resigned their elected positions and quit their Shed membership on April 14.

The former committee had voted 4-1 on March 10 for Mr Roberts to resign from the committee over several emails he sent to other members and for “serious concerns” about his ability to continue in the role.

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Toodyay Community Resource Centre needs $10,000 to avert closure

LAST-MINUTE community support and $916 from a wood raffle have helped Toodyay’s popular Community Resource Centre to avert imminent closure – but more money is needed to ensure its future.

“We need $10,000 more to get us back in the black,” centre manager Nicole Coleman (left) said at the end of last month.

“We can stay open for at least the next little while but need to raise $50,000 to keep going for the whole of the next financial year.”

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No jobs for leavers

THE PURPOSE of my letter is to support the views put forward by Alison Wroth in last month’s letters in The Toodyay Herald.

Alison’s letter pointed out that a proposed Chalice mine in Julimar may bring opportunities for young workers and school leavers hoping to be able to secure local apprenticeships.

My personal experience is that young school leavers who want to get apprenticeships for skilled employment really struggle to get that opportunity in Toodyay.

Our son wanted to be a heavy diesel mechanic only to find that opportunity out of the Shire.

Two of his school friends who also wanted to become mechanics had to leave the Shire as well to find apprenticeships in Perth.

Employment self-sufficiency in Toodyay is poor.

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Frank Panizza

How’s your glass?

AS WE enter winter and the middle of 2022 perhaps it is time to ask the question “is the glass half full or half empty?”

If it is half empty, we can look back and remember the lovely summer days, the warmth and the barbecues, cold beer and sun tans.

Despite COVID-19 and restrictions, we still had Christmas and New Year celebrations as well as Australia Day.

We did lose a bit of freedom such as eating out, happy pubs full of people, night clubs and wearing masks so we could not recognise each other.

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Barry Keens

Brekkie plea

PEOPLE of Toodyay your help is needed.

The Breakfast Club at our local school is in danger of closing.

This is a very necessary service because some students have to catch an early bus to school and don’t eat any breakfast at all.

Studies show students who eat a healthy breakfast tend to have better concentration in the classroom than those who skip breakfast altogether.

They can focus on tasks better and are less distracted in their learning.

Toodyay’s School Breakfast Club service operates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Each shift needs three volunteers who can offer their support for just one hour a day.

At the moment we are down to just Wednesdays and Fridays, with only two people available for each of those shifts.

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Max J Heath

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