All Broken Hill articles

Legal Centre wins federal funding

Saturday, 11th May, 2013

Far West Community Legal Centre CEO Tracey Willow (left) and Principal Solicitor Mariette Curcuruto were thrilled yesterday at the news that the Federal Government had come to the rescue of the long-strugging firm. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt Far West Community Legal Centre CEO Tracey Willow (left) and Principal Solicitor Mariette Curcuruto were thrilled yesterday at the news that the Federal Government had come to the rescue of the long-strugging firm. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt

By Erica Visser

After a long battle and forced cutbacks, the Far West Community Legal Centre has been given $215,000 by the Federal Government.
The service had already received $258,000 funding annually, however money has been tight since January last year and the Centre was forced to make cuts.
It is no longer open on Fridays and CEO Tracey Willow and Principal solicitor, Mariette Curcuruto, took a voluntary pay cut, in response to dire financial circumstances.
Ms Curcuruto said that it was important that the service stayed open as it helped the community’s most disadvantaged people who often could not afford to see a private solicitor.
According to Ms Curcuruto, the team had been lobbying for more money since August last year.
The campaign gained publicity and support and a series of fundraisers made around $17,000 for the centre, which was enough to “top it up.”
CEO Tracey Willow said she was “absolutely ecstatic” upon hearing news of the once-off funding injection yesterday.
“The board and all the staff have been told and everyone is very grateful and excited,” she said.
The centre will now reopen on Fridays and Ms Willow and Ms Curcuruto will receive their full salaries from July 1.
Ms Curcuruto said that the money would keep the service afloat for the next 18 months and help fund visits to areas which had seen reduced services of up to 75 per cent.   
These include Wilcannia, Menindee and the Broken Hill Correctional Centre.
But while the centre is thrilled about the boost, Ms Curcuruto said that its annual funding was not enough to service such a large area and for such extensive work.
“In a slow year, we do about 700 advisory sessions and have about 190 to 200 ongoing files.”
She said that it would struggle if more funding was not provided after 18 months.
Ms Curcuruto said the NSW Government has made no financial contribution.
The Legal Centre’s President, Linda Nadge, agreed and said that the government needed to realise the cost of providing such an extensive service.
“Today’s announcement is a positive outcome but there is still much more work to be done to ensure continuity and certainty of the services in the future,” Ms Nadge said.
“We sincerely thank the Minister and the Senator for the allocation. However, we must remind all governments we have lobbied during the last year that more than a ‘one off funding injection’ is needed.
“The board and staff look forward to gaining an understanding in the very near future about how ongoing funding certainty can be achieved.
“This will enable properly planned continuity of services and the ongoing full dedication of all staff.”
All three women thanked the public, the Federal and State local MPs and the Federal Government for their support.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC said that he was pleased to provide the funding to support the disadvantaged.
“Australians are entitled to a fair go under the law and organisations like the Far West Community Legal Centre are essential to providing that access to justice,” he said.

Read more

Changing the law

Saturday, 11th May, 2013

By Andrew Robertson

Judges and magistrates may be forced to take aboriginality into consideration when sentencing if a local man’s High Court appeal is successful.
The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT (ALS) was yesterday granted special leave by the full bench of the High Court to have the relevance of aboriginality to sentencing clarified.
The application was lodged on behalf of Wilcannia man, William Bugmy, who was last year sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ jail for assaulting three prison officers in Broken Hill in 2011.
His sentence was increased by a further one-and-a-half years after the Crown appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal.
The ALS said Mr Bugmy had spent most of his adolescence and adult life in prison.
The ALS application asked the High Court to clarify the application of the Fernando principles, named after a 1992 rape and murder case in which the Supreme Court of NSW said aboriginality should be taken into account in sentencing.
Principal Legal Officer with the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT Ltd (Western Zone) Stephen Lawrence said the Fernando line of case law - which is to be examined in the appeal - was regularly cited in courts across Australia.
“Any interpretation of the Fernando precedent is therefore capable of effecting many cases,” Mr Lawrence said.
The ALS said it welcomed the High Court’s recognition of “the potential significance of the matters” advanced on behalf of Mr Bugmy.
His legal team is now concentrating on preparation for the full hearing of the matter.
Mr Bugmy was serving time in the Broken Hill jail when he assaulted three prison officers in January 2011.
One of the officers suffered severe fractures after Mr Bugmy threw an 8-ball that struck the 42-year-old man in the face.

Read more

Hospital to thank many volunteers

Saturday, 11th May, 2013

The contribution volunteers make to the health service and their community will be recognised by the Far West Local Health District during National Volunteer Week next week.
The theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week is Thanks A Million.
To celebrate this theme, every volunteer for the health district will be presented with a commemorative ‘Thanks A Million’ lapel pin.
“We want to show our appreciation and express thanks to all our volunteers, for the vital role they play in assisting to provide a better level of care to our patients,” said Chief Executive of the health district, Stuart Riley.

Read more

Great response to competition

Saturday, 11th May, 2013

BDT Advertising Representative Sarah Carnie (left) with artist Howard Steer and Mother’s Day competition winner Susan Adams. BDT Advertising Representative Sarah Carnie (left) with artist Howard Steer and Mother’s Day competition winner Susan Adams.

Local woman Susan Adams has got lucky in the BDT Mother’s Day competition.
Almost one thousand people entered the competition, which boasted a Howard Steer painting as first prize.
Second prize was a Barossa outdoor mirror, third was a $100 Sampsons gift voucher and fourth; a Gloria Jeans voucher.
BDT Advertising Manager Peter Keenan said that there was an overwhelming response to the competition.
“I was delighted with the response and I appreciate those business people offering their quality prizes and Howard Steer contributing the painting,” he said.

Read more

Opening a window on Silver City

Tuesday, 30th October, 2012

Play School presenters Justine Clarke and Jay Laga’aia. A number of their “Through the Windows” segments will be filmed here next week. Play School presenters Justine Clarke and Jay Laga’aia. A number of their “Through the Windows” segments will be filmed here next week.

By Gayle Ball

Broken Hill is set to feature on Play School's "Through the Windows" segment for the first time in the show's 46-year history.

A crew from the ABC will be in the region next week to film the segments which will appear on the much-loved children's show at various times
over the next 12 months.

Director Karren Gail said the segment offers children a look into a world that is either indicative of their own life or offers a different perspective to theirs.

Read more