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Local News

MINNS LABOR GOVERNMENT PUTS REGIONAL MANUFACTURER ON THE LINE

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Express Coach Builders TfNSW

MINNS LABOR GOVERNMENT PUTS REGIONAL MANUFACTURER ON THE LINE

 

By Sam Farraway

A local bus manufacturer on the Mid North Coast may be forced to close taking with it 44 regional jobs after Transport for NSW (TfNSW) failed to finalise the approved manufacturers list under the new guidelines.

The TfNSW Bus Procurement Panel 4 was expected to be released by TfNSW last year with tenders closing in early April 2023. With the list still yet to be released in 2024, local bus manufacturers are left without any orders in the pipeline.

NSW Shadow Minister for Regional Roads and Transport Sam Farraway is demanding answers from Transport Minister Jo Haylen and Minister for Regional Roads and Transport Jenny Aitchison on the delay.

Express Coach Builders have been manufacturing our state’s school buses for 28 years. Now they face closing their doors for good because of government inaction despite an estimated 97 school buses in need of replacement across regional NSW,” said Mr Farraway.

“The Minns Labor Government promised to ‘build things here’ and said ‘NSW deserves a government that backs Australian made and that will buy Australian made’ – yet only 10 months in and this government is breaking that promise, proving they are all talk and no action.”

Member for Oxley Michael Kemp said it was a slap in the face from a government who promised to revive local manufacturing in NSW.

Express Coach Builders TfNSW

Express Coach Builders

“Express is the second largest private employer in Macksville, which already has higher than average unemployment. If they shut down and take away our jobs, it will absolutely kill our region,” Mr Kemp said.

“I met Minister Haylen last year and she assured me personally that Express and other manufacturers would have the Panel Four list before Christmas, with regional builds on that list. Now, we’re facing major job losses, with outdated school buses still on the road amidst post-flood damage and cuts to road funding.

I extend an invitation to both ministers and the Premier to come up and meet with Express and give the business, their staff and their families confirmation that new orders are in the pipeline.”

Director of Express Coach Builders Mr Mark Forster said he was disappointed the business may have to close after 28 years of service to the community and providing opportunities to more than 100 apprentices and trainees.

“It’s terribly sad to put your heart and soul into something you love for it to be potentially taken away because the government and their agencies can’t sort out a procurement process,” Mr Forster said.

“Both ministers have the power to intervene and get the Panel four list out or at least offer relief to manufacturers to stay afloat.

“I had to lay off staff just before Christmas – no employer wants to do that. I don’t want to start the new year with more, so I’m pleading with the government to step up and fix it.”

 

For more New South Whales news, click here.

Local News

Two additional men charged over alleged conspiracy to murder plot – Strike Force Barralier

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NSW-Northern-Rivers-Breaking-News

Two additional men charged over alleged conspiracy to murder plot – Strike Force Barralier

 

Organised Crime Squad detectives have charged an additional two men over an alleged murder plot under Strike Force Barralier.

Strike Force Barralier was established in December 2023 by State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad to investigate an alleged conspiracy to murder a man residing in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Investigations identified a group of men as allegedly being involved in a plot to murder the 30-year-old.

Three have already been charged and remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, about 10am today (Tuesday 9 April 2024), strike force detectives travelled to Coffs Harbour Police Station where two men – aged 27 and 29 – were transferred from a correctional centre in Clarence.

The younger man was charged with conspire and agree to murder any person, and knowingly/recklessly direct criminal group assist crime.

The older man was charged with conspire and agreed to murder any person and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

Both men were refused bail to appear in Coffs Harbour Local Court today.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or visit here. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

 

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Coffs Harbour

F-35A LIGHTNING II AIRCRAFT TO FAREWELL COFFS HARBOUR AIRPORT AFTER COMPLETING REPAIRS

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F-35A LIGHTNING II AIRCRAFT

F-35A LIGHTNING II AIRCRAFT TO FAREWELL COFFS HARBOUR AIRPORT AFTER COMPLETING REPAIRS

 

A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft will return to RAAF Base Williamtown following a short stay at Coffs Harbour Airport whilst undergoing repairs following a diversion.

The aircraft was participating in a Royal Australian Air Force training activity over the ocean off the NSW coast when it diverted to Coffs Harbour airport following an in-flight technical issue.

RAAF technicians have conducted repair works at the airport to ensure the aircraft was serviceable as soon as possible.

Residents are advised that an engine-run will be conducted at 2pm prior to the aircraft’s departure to ensure it is safe to return home to RAAF Base Williamtown.

Elevated noise levels will be associated with the engine-run activity, which is required prior to confirming the aircraft’s readiness for departure.

Strict security protocols are in place to safeguard the F-35A Lightning II aircraft whilst undergoing repairs.

The Royal Australian Air Force would like to thank Coffs Harbour Airport for their hospitality, and the local community for their ongoing support.

 

For more Coffs Harbour news, click here.

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Ballina News

New Ballina youth festival – Thrillfest – announced for Youth Week

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Thrillfest

New Ballina youth festival – Thrillfest – announced for Youth Week

 

A new youth festival, Thrillfest, will be held in Ballina for the first time during Youth Week, featuring a battle-of-the-bands, skateboarding workshops, and football drills – and free buses will ferry young people to the events.

The Ballina Youth Network is organising Thrillfest, and the not-for-profit organisation Social Futures is part of that network. The festival will be held on April 16, from 11am, at Missingham Park, Ballina with the support of Rotary Ballina, Cherry Street Sports Club, Ballina Shire Council, Hartley’s Fruit Shop and Ballina Buslines.

Social Futures Children Youth and Families Manager, Kiara McBeath said the Thrillfest lineup was a testament to the diverse interests and skills of the region’s young people.

“Thrillfest festivities kick off with the Battle of the Bands, where aspiring musicians will hit the stage to compete for amazing prizes,” Ms McBeath said. “Get ready to cheer for your favourites and witness the birth of the next big thing in music.

“You can also grab a board and join a skateboarding workshop run by Truckstop Skate School. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned skater or just starting, the Truckstop experts will guide you through techniques and tricks that’ll have you owning the pavement in no time.

“And for the sports enthusiasts, join in on our lively footy drills – a chance to show off your skills and maybe even learn a few new ones.

“The day is all about celebrating young people and their immense talents – from music to skateboarding to sport. And of course, it’s all about having fun!”

There will also be interactive games, and a free BBQ lunch.

“In an effort to make Thrillfest accessible to every teen in Ballina, there will be free transport on the day,” Ms McBeath said.

“Every bus network in Ballina is supporting this event by offering free transport to Tamar Street all day long for young people,” Ms McBeath said.

“Join us for an unforgettable day of fun, friendship, and fanciful feats. Ballina’s youth are the heartbeat of our community, and Thrillfest is here to celebrate that energy and creativity.”

National Youth Week, April 11-24, is a week-long celebration of the contribution that young people make to Australia. It is a joint initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. Each year, all over Australia, events are planned and organised to celebrate and recognise the contribution of young people.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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