The South Eastern Times : June 2nd 2015
2 OpINION HEALTH Minister Jack Snelling and the senior management of Country Health SA should explain to the people of this community why they have decided, in effect, to keep local doctors out of Millicent Hospital. Due to a shortage of senior doctors, the Medical Clinic Millicent has only been able to staff the hospital on alternate weeks in recent years. However, the Medical Clinic Millicent has offered to increase its staffing commitment to the hospital by providing in-patient and accident and emergency care on every weekday. This would reduce the amount of time OUR VIEW locum doctors would need to spend at the hospital to just weekends and public holidays. According to the clinic, continuity and patient care would be enhanced. The offer to work additional days at Millicent Hospital was made by the Medical Clinic Millicent during the latest round of contract negotiations, but was refused by Country Health SA. The new contract will have the same arrangements as before. In other words, patients at Millicent Hospital will continue to see locum doctors on 182 days per year rather than the 112 days per year as proposed by the Medical Clinic Millicent. Attempts by this newspaper to seek an explanation from Country Health SA for its actions have not been successful. It would be appropriate for Liberal Member for MacKillop Mitch Williams to direct questions in the House of Assembly to Mr Snelling about why the department has taken this course of action. Another avenue would be for Wattle Range Council to continue its “watch-dog” role and continue to hold Country Health SA to account. After all, it was only a few months ago Wattle Range Mayor Peter Gandolfi and chief executive Peter Harriott travelled to Adelaide and were assured by Country Health SA officials services would not be downgraded at Millicent Hospital. Perhaps answers from Country Health SA will be forthcoming later today at a meeting of the Millicent and District Health Advisory Council. Come what may, The South Eastern Times will seek a detailed explanation from Mr Snelling and Country Health SA. TALKING TO THE TIMES With winter beginning yesterday, what is your favourite food at this chilly time of the year? 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Several highly productive rural areas in the South East, including my district of Keilira, have been left in the dark ages. We are without any mobile service and have only fickle internet access, which despite being supplied by “latest and greatest” NBN satellite network, is barely on par with dial-up speeds of the 1990s. We are told the next round of “black spot” mobile phone funding projects will be announced in the next month or so, but it seems we will be overlooked once again. In the meantime, we are missing out on countless business and technology opportunities and remain at far greater risk in emergency situations. Whenever there is a car crash, a truck roll-over or a bushfire in our district, the situation is ever more dangerous because we can’t even access the emergency repeater frequency on main roads to dial 000. It is the sort of isolation in a populated area which simply isn’t acceptable in this day and age. INDEX 50 yEARs AgO ...........................................8 TV guIDE .......................................................15 puzzLEs ........................................................16 TRADEs AND sERVICEs ..............17 CLAssIfIEDs ............................................18 spORT REsuLTs ..................................19 WEATHER FOR MILLICENT Tuesday Max 13°C Min 5°C Cloudy Chance of Rain - 5% 1-5mm UV: Low Wednesday Max 13°C Min 4°C Partly cloudy Chance of Rain - 0% 0mm UV: Low Thursday Max 13°C Min 4°C Shower or two Chance of Rain - 75% 5-10mm UV: Low 2 - The South Eastern Times, Tuesday, June 2, 2015 Tuesday Cloudy. Patches of light morning frost near the eastern border. The chance of morning fog. Areas of fog at night. Light winds. Overnight temperatures falling to between 1 and 5 with daytime temperatures reaching around 13. Wednesday Partly cloudy. Patches of morning frost. Light winds becoming northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h during the afternoon then tending northerly during the evening. Overnight temperatures falling to between 1 and 4 with daytime temperatures reaching around 13. Thursday Cloudy. High (75%) chance of showers, most likely in the morning and afternoon. Winds northerly 20 to 30 km/h shifting west to southwesterly 15 to 25 km/h during the morning. Overnight temperatures falling to around 4 with daytime temperatures reaching between 12 and 16. Coastal: Tuesday Winds variable about 10 knots. Seas below 1 metre. Swell southwesterly 2.5 to 3 metres. Wednesday Winds variable about 10 knots becoming northerly 10 to 15 knots during the morning, then increasing to 10 to 20 knots late afternoon and to 15 to 25 knots during the evening. Seas below 1 metre, increasing to 1 to 2 metres during the afternoon. Swell southwesterly 1.5 to 2.5 metres. 665970 www.thesoutheasterntimes.com.au Tues 2nd Sunrise 7.14am Sunset 4.58pm Wed 3rd Sunrise 7.15am Sunset 4.57pm BEACHPORT TIDE TIMES Tues 2 4.18am 0.5m 12.28pm 1.4m 8.08pm 0.6m Wed 3 12.12am 0.8m 4.35am 0.5m 12.57pm 1.5m 8.47pm 0.6m ROBE TIDE TIMES Tues 2 4.30am 0.5m 12.40pm 1.4m 8.20pm 0.6m Wed 3 12.24am 0.8m 4.47am 0.5m 1.09pm 1.5m 8.59pm 0.6m At Keilira, we are paying $240 a month for two home phone lines. We would happily disconnect our landline, but given the absence of a mobile network, we have no choice but to maintain our home phone. Of course, we are also paying for mobile phones which only work when we are away from home. Even our landline connection is unreliable. It runs above ground in neighbouring paddocks and the line is evidently a tasty treat for cattle to chew on. For the past decade, we have consistently lost access to our home phone for two or three weeks each year. fails, Telstra very kindly diverts our calls to my mobile - which of course doesn’t get any reception. Local technicians know that if it isn’t the cattle causing the outages, hot weather, rain in the exchange boxes or power failures can also be to blame. Farmers like us are forking out at least $1000 for a simple antenna just to try and improve the situation. Some are being forced to buy Yagi 14-16 dbi directional antennas and legalised repeaters which cost between $800 and $1800. This might give a bare-minimum mobile signal in the house, but it isn’t feasible for everyone. No wonder some locals have even been tempted to buy illegal repeaters from overseas to boost their own signal at home, even in the knowledge that it further diminishes the network capability for other users. I believe we could consider the feasibility of cost-sharing arrangements, whereby local landholders top-up any available government funding to help ensure we get the coverage we need. Instead of paying $1000 each to improve our own house service, it would make more sense if locals contributed a similar amount towards actually achieving adequate coverage, not just around our homes, but in the paddock and on the roads as well. We need common-sense solutions, like utilising newly erected broadband towers, where appropriate, to increase mobile phone service. In the same vein, we should gauge the likely cost to Telstra for retrofitting existing state-owned towers, such as those used by the Country Fire Service. There are many towers along the ranges in our area that only service a single purpose, but could easily be retrofitted with repeaters. As it stands, each CFS volunteer has a pager which has an up-front price of $220 and costs $144 a year per pager to test. These expenses are exacerbated by the significant costs incurred for batteries to run the pagers and the costs of buying replacement units. As landholders, we fund the pager system, which is run with funds collected by the State Government via the Emergency Services Levy. Farmers, most of whom are CFS members, should be allowed to provide mobile phones as in-kind replacements to the existing pagers and then direct the savings towards upgrading the mobile network. This would be a win for the phone companies, our businesses and families, the CFS, its volunteers and, perhaps most importantly, it would mean we could respond to road accidents and fires more efficiently and effectively. I know similar problems are being experienced elsewhere in the South East and it is time we as landholders took proactive steps because it seems government is not listening. I note Malcolm Turnbull recently visited parts of regional South Australia to talk about what he is doing as federal communications minister. Let’s hope his tour amounted to more than just a fly-in, fly-out stopover to talk-up what the Coalition is supposedly doing in rural black spot areas. Further political grandstanding without any tangible improvements in our local area will not be looked upon kindly by silenced farmers in my district and surrounding areas. Jack England, Keilira CALVIN RADDON Millicent Hot chips and chicken salt. KATIE MILLER Millicent Home-made pumpkin soup with crusty bread. OLIVE THORNE Millicent Hot apple crumble.
May 28th 2015
June 4th 2015