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Hello it's Guy Sweeting. our weekly talk TV program Welcome to State Focus, and central New South Wales. for the ACT as well as southern Central West rugby league Today, a book special featuring of war hero Albert Jacka VC. and a Canberra author's perspective with a Monster Truck Then we get up close and next weekend in Orange. on show this weekend in Canberra But first up... most important road link It's hard to believe Australia's isn't double lanes all the way. between Sydney and Melbourne still And in trying to remedy that problem, Coolac area to double lanes, work is being done in the business owners in Gundagai. but much to the concern of To explain their concerns, for Burrinjuck, Katrina Hodgkinson. we're joined by State Nationals MP Welcome to State Focus. Good morning. going along the Hume Highway, Well, tell me about the road works Tuckerbox, five miles from Gundagai? which will affect the Dog and the by-pass that's been in train Well, there is the proposed Coolac eleven or twelve years, for about the last it's finally going ahead, and we're delighted that set up their construction site however, the RTA have decided to the Tuckerbox service centre, right in front of the Dog and dollars spent on it. which has just had ten million can imagine, are quite upset. The local business people, as you place within the last twelve months, The very development only took used to the new system. so they are really getting it's nice and new, I had a look there, the RTA have a consultation process but what I don't get is - wouldn't with the local people? and put all that stuff there, They can't just steamroll in can they, surely? that would be the case, Well you'd imagine that because they were so frustrated but the business people came to me coming forth from the RTA, with the lack of communication they came to me. the RTA on one or two occasions, They had been in consultation with communication stopped. then all of a sudden the to raise this as an issue, They came to me as the local member and to express their concern. the actual development All they want to do is have down the road a little bit of the RTA worksite moved into their business houses. so that access can still continue why that cant' take place. And I don't see any reason Is the construction work the Dog and the Tuckerbox, going to be adjacent to because there's already double lanes Dog and the Tuckerbox. just outside the going to exactly happen there? So can you tell me what's Well that's exactly right, lane part of the highway... I mean, it's already a duel it get's narrow later. It's not that section, That's right. why they can't move it down So that's why we can't see allow the continuation of access just a little bit in order to to those businesses. a reasonable answer. And we haven't been given a reasonable answer? You haven't been given What's the next move? What would you suggest then?

upper house raise it Well, I've had the that we've just had during the estimates hearings in New South Wales parliament. response to those questions. We are waiting to get a of question on notice I've also raised it by way in the parliament, the leader of the Nationals and I've had also Andrew Stoner, with the local business people, to Coolac, to actually discuss it minister has been very tardy but Eric Rosendahl as the with his responses. common sense and logic And I really do hope that some will come out of the situation. young people from Gundagai And he will realise when a hundred by these businesses, are gainfully employed have spent ten million dollars and these local businesses rest area for truckies on doing up this very important common sense would prevail, and tourists alike, that some construction zone and they will move that the road a little bit. just slightly down Has the RTA already put that there? up to at the moment? What stage is it be there in the near future. It's not there yet, but it will the moment just trying So it's a crucial time at bit further down the road. to talk them into moving a little to make that change, So they have got the time will make that change. and we do hope that they In the mean time, Coolac area, Highway which needs to be by-passed, the Coolac section of the Hume heavy trucks and all sorts of things, it's single lanes either way, with it's pretty dangerous. minimise the danger of that? What have you done to try and behind a fatality on that road, Look it is perilous, and I've been and it's not pretty when it happens. that needs by-passing urgently. There's about fifteen kilometres proposed back in 1994, It was originally needed to take place. it was recognised a by-pass impact statement was put out. In 1995 the environmental from the federal government The funding came forward Anderson made that announcement back in the year 2004, John - and yet here we have still, for this Coolac by-pass to proceed. we are still waiting and waiting Aboriginal person or persons Now one of the hold ups has been an claiming cultural sensitivity from outside the area, to the route of the by-pass, out in the public domain whereas the EIS has been ten or eleven years. for really the last The local Aboriginal group, Aboriginal Land Council the Brungle-Tumut local want to see these works proceed. has given it the tick off - they remains a dual lane highway, Everybody is at risk while this separated bypass. rather than a fully is extremely concerned. So local Aboriginal Land Council They want the work to proceed, and this hold up is really frustrating everyone - from the council through to the local communities, through to tourists, truck drivers, everybody is very frustrated by these delays. Now the Minister for Roads could actually come out and say that this is a piece of critical infrastructure, which it is - I mean there are so many fatalities, so many accidents on this piece of the highway. Is he balking on saying that? He hasn't said it. All he needs to do is come out and say, this is a piece of critical infrastructure, the department of environment and conservation must give it the tick off, and works could proceed tomorrow. So why isn't he doing that? Let's get back to the Dog and the Tuckerbox. What will happen there? Will that be blocked off? Can people still go to it? What will happen there? Well people would still be able to get access into it, but what the business people are really concerned about is that when there are road works right outside a business house, tourists and locals alike will be concentrating on those roadworks, and trying to get through and negotiate them without being distracted. I guess it does put tourism off a little bit, doesn't it - the tourists off a little bit? It will put tourists off, quite a lot I think. And look, the Dog and the Tuckerbox is a significant tourist attraction for the Gundagai region. It's just part of our Australian History. It is. We want to make sure that tourists and locals alike have got the ability to access that. Also, I mean, obviously truck drivers - it's essential that they take their proper breaks. And we want to make sure that there is no inability for them to be able to access that very important rest area as well. Well it's going to take a couple of years if that happens, so it's not going to be finished in a hurry, although we do wish it would speed up a little bit. Thanks for coming in today. You're welcome. Thankyou. That's State Nationals MP for Burrinjuck, Katrina Hodgkinson. Wollongong charity, Anglicare, has celebrated 150 years of providing essential community services like aged and respite care, counselling, emergency relief, as well as catering for the needs of migrants and children. And the work continues with Anglicare's services extending down to Ulladulla. Some of the ongoing challenges include moving to corporatisation, funding and competing for tendering with non profit organisations. Still to come... Monster Trucks in Canberra. But next, a new book on Central West rugby league in the mid 70's. Back shortly. In Temora, you're watching State Focus. And Temora has had a pretty rough trot over the years, back in the early 90's voted Australia's most boring town and totally ignored by all Prime Ministers. So when John Howard visited Temora last Saturday he felt he had to do a bit of apologising, for all the Prime Ministers of the past who never bothered once, visiting the quaint northern Riverina town. But now things are looking up for Temora in more ways than one, with the rural centre becoming quite an aviation hub. When he was there, John Howard opened a new runway aviation museum. Still ahead, we head outdoors and down the road to explore a Monster Truck on show in Canberra tonight, and Orange next weekend. But now to the memory and legacy of possibly Australia's best known solider from World War One: Albert Jacka VC. What has inspired a fresh book to be written about an Aussie cult war hero. Canberra author, Robert Macklin, has written a new book called Jacka VC: Australian Hero. Thanks for joining us today, Robert. Hello Guy. Well, what is the story of Albert Jacka? How do you see it? Well I think Jacka really was Australia's ultimate war hero. And it's not just because he won the first VC in World War I and then went on in France and Belgium to earn two more VC's - though he didn't actually get awarded those, he was given MC's instead, but he deserved VC's. Yes, which has been sort of a talking point down through the decades since, hasn't it? It has. It has. But it's not just for those reasons, that I think he's the ultimate war hero. It's because he was almost as hostile towards the British incompetent and arrogant generals, who were putting his men in needless danger, as he was against the Germans and the Turks who were killing them. And he made his attitudes very well known. And I think that's the main reason that he didn't rise above the rank of Captain, though he began as a Private. And that's the reason that he didn't get those two other VC's. And is that the reason that you have connected with his story? That's part of it, it is. It's part of it. And it's also because, when he came back after the war, he became a counsellor in Saint Kilda, in Melbourne, and then the Mayor of Saint Kilda, at just the time that the great depression hit in 1929. And he threw himself into that battle on behalf of his mates and their wives and children once again. And a battle at any time for any leader of any sort at that time, wasn't it, really? Oh, it was. It was. But Albert Jacka basically worked himself to death. It killed him - he actually died in 1932. He'd been a very healthy man until the depression hit, and he just completely gave himself to the task, and his marriage broke up, his health broke down, and it was the end of him. But he was able to give himself in such a selfless way, no matter what he was doing, at I find him absolutely inspiring. And that's what really gave me the inspiration to write the book and to follow it through. How do you research such an incredible story going back so many decades, to ensure it's represented historically correctly? Well, the first thing you do is travel. You first decide where the main action took place and you go there and feel it yourself. Did you think you would end up feeling the way that you did when you got to Gallipoli? No I didn't. As a matter of fact, I'm a very anti war person, and I conceive this, I really see this as an anti war book, because the first world war was an appalling crime against humanity. It was a shocking war. And I didn't have any genuine feeling for Gallipoli before I arrived there, but when I did, and when I walked to the place where Jacko almost single handedly stopped the Turkish advance, on the 19th of May, 1915, I found myself absolutely affected by the situation. As you know, we landed there on April 25. The Turks one month later - May the 19th - began the big counter attack that was going to throw the Australians and the New Zealanders back into the sea. And they almost broke through, and it was at Courtney's Post where Jacka was on duty, that they actually got into the trenches. And if they had broken through, they would have split the ANZAC forces and the result would have been a slaughter. Jacko went around, jumped into the trench where the Turks were killing Australia men, he shot five, he bayonetted two, and the others went running, and it was that action that held the line. Yes, and that is remembered for the VC. Now just quickly moving on to wrap up, what other projects are you working on? Well one of the things I'm doing is a screen play based upon the book. It will be slightly different from the book. You were approached to do that? Yes. I was. Yes. By a Melbourne merchant banker, who's got a great passion for the subject. How did he, briefly, find out your interest? Has he read the book? He read the book. He read the book, yeah. Yeah, yeah, but I have a range of projects involving moving pictures, most particularly my previous book, which is Fire in the Blood, about bush ranging - that's going to be a movie. And I am working on that screen play now. Which incidently deals with some areas of south west New South Wales? It does. It does indeed - Young, Temora, that whole area, Cowra, Cootamundra - Coota's just a little bit further out than basically bush ranger country, but that's a fascination for me. And I think the time has come, really, for Australian movies to deal with Australian subjects in an entertaining way, and that hasn't been happening lately. Yes. Oh, well, we have to leave it there. We'll leave it with that thought. Thankyou for coming in today. Thankyou. The shortage of GP's in Cooma, Bombala and Delegate has reached crisis point. Locals are waiting up to three months to see their doctor in Cooma because the town is short of three full time doctors. Bombala medical staff are working flat out to meet the demand and Delegate struggles with its local GP recently finishing practising. Of the doctors that remain, there are shorter consultations, so doctors can see more people in a day, but a much bigger workload. Local doctors say the main problem is most GP's don't want to practise in rural areas. Still ahead, we head outdoors to talk Monster Trucks, in Canberra again tonight and Orange next weekend. But now to another new book just out league in the Central West. - this time all about rugby as a rugby league tragic Author, Noel Dixon, regards himself "Country Strong" and has written the book Amco Cup win in 1974. inspired by Western Division's in our Wollongong studio. We're joined by Noel Dixon Welcome to State Focus. Thankyou Guy. book go to country Rugby League. Well firstly, all profits on the What inspired you to do that? a bit of a rugby league tragic. Well, as you described it, I'm I think it's a great cause, book out there in the shops, and I'm really happy to have the to make money of it, you know, talking to people like you about it, go to country rugby league. want you to know, as well, Guy. My wife asked me that question, I Ok, well that's a great cause. on the 1974 Amco Cup win, And the novel is loosely based Orange, Bathurst, Gilgandra. by Western division, involving largely, I suppose, Gilgandra, It's a story centred around or Gil as the locals call it. to go back to 1974? What inspired you the great sporting stories Well I thought, to me it's one of of all time, through and win something where the underdogs can go like the Amco Cup of the time. characters are fictional - In my book, you know, the same story line that follows. fictitious, but it's still the It's about the underdog doing well. to me, winning the Amco Cup Gilgandra, western division was a great story, in a town called Gilgandra, and, you know, I've set it I've been out to see, which obviously from all the towns out that way, but it also, there's players Milthorpe, yeah. Parkes, Dubbo, Orange, experience is mixed in with it. How much of your personal of country rugby league Were you playing a bit back in the seventies? back in the central west I was a keen rugby league player, until I was about 25 years of age. I've played from about under sevens So never missed a season. that I did personally, No, it's not based on anything bit of country rugby league as well but, you know I did play a little but also in Sydney. - mainly in town, one of the reasons I'm just wondering, back to 1974, perhaps, you might have gone be something romantic is that there might league of the seventies, about the country rugby same any more, do you think? which may not quite be the is suffering like a lot of sports Well I think country rugby league high insurance costs, from, you know, working a lot longer these days. and the fact that everyone is sport is not always as easy to do. You know, the time to devote to great stories, you know, But, I just one of those it stuck with me. teenager at the time in 1974, You know, I was only a things that stuck with me but it's one of those when they won the competition. I thought, this is my interest, When I got a chance to write this is a great way to go. league - I've read a bit of it - And it's not only about rugby country love, country living. and it's a little about How did you mix it all up? characters, you know. Well, it's full of great country to those towns out there a bit, Obviously I've been out there centred in Gil, and it's like, really of the towns out that way as well. but it's also got parts of a lot full of great characters, You know, Australia is those great stories. and this is one of to be able to tell the story. And it's my, I guess, great thing you had about the book? How much feed back have What have they said? Many people read it? I've had some great feedback. It's only just come out, but great read on the footy show, Paul Harrigan called it a George player from Wewa - Ricky Wolford the great Saint it was a terrific read. he's read it, and he said for me a couple of weeks ago, He actually launched the book interested in rugby league, but people aren't even lot of interest in it. have really shown a a fun read, Country Strong. It's all good stuff and quite very much for you time. Noel Dickson, thanks Thanks very much Guy. Cheers. in our Wollongong studio. Author Noel Dixon joining us And speaking of Wollongong, making it through to the final four well done to our Dragons team for of the NRL premiership this season. To qualify for the grand final, The Melbourne Storm tonight the boys of the Red V must overpower at Telstra Stadium. Fingers and toes crossed. and down the road Next up, we head outdoors doing their second weekend show to find out all about Monster Trucks coming to Orange next weekend. in Canberra tonight and Stay with us. This is State Focus. were in Dapto last weekend, Well the Monster Trucks Orange next weekend, they are in Canberra. but this weekend all about Monster Trucks, We wanted to find out because they are just too big, and we couldn't do it indoors, the road a bit to find out more. so we've headed outdoors and down Monster Trucks is Wade Aunger. And joining us to talk about Welcome to State Focus. great to be here. Thanks very much Guy, Lovely day in Canberra. good to have you guys here. Yes. It's good to have it, and Tell us about Monster Trucks. you've ever seen, Guy. They are like nothing What are they?

of two and a half thousand When you can jump six tonne twenty feet in the air, horsepower projectile you're from, what age you are, it doesn't matter where and go - that's awesome. you have to sit back Who drives monster Trucks? It's a really unusual mix of people. be, sort of, big hairy, angry men, You would sort of think they'd all but they are actually not. old high school student, There's a fifteen year development program player who's actually a junior for the Parramatta Eels. grandma lady racer, who's amazing. There's a something year old Her name is Sheree Shafer. than any of the guys, She jumps higher runs the whole show, and there's a man who technician side of things, who does all the pyro- the fireworks, the trucks and everything, Clive Feathabe. So there's a real sort of miss match. It's a bit like the Adams Family jumping trucks. What do you do during the week - the shows are generally on the weekend - so what happens during the week? Well the big thing is that we get them out on the road, Guy, and show people that we're here. You can't just rely on ads anymore, you have be out in peoples faces, you have to be down at schools, meeting with people and showing the kids what they are all about. Because until you actually stand next to one and realise you are looking up like that, they are quite an incredible thing in the flesh. So we have to get out and meet the people, and the people from Urban Services have helped us get around what is a fairly tricky lay out in Canberra, when you've got to put them on semi's and things, and it's been a difficult prospect, but well worth while. You were at Dapto last weekend. How was that? Massive. 12,000 people at a little place like Dapto. And that's the thing, when you're capturing significant percentages of the database of a small town, you know that you are doing well. It's just universal, the attraction of these trucks. Whether you're a little boy or a little girl, or a mum or a dad, you are going to be affected in some way when you see these things. You're coming to Orange next weekend, what can they expect? Well they can expect, you know, an experience that shakes the ground - whether it's the fireworks or whether it's free style motor cross of the demolition derby - or these things crushing perfectly good cars and jumping high in the air, are at Newcastle - the week after they're heading somewhere else after that, the schedule runs them right around Australia almost weekly. So it's a very big concern, they do almost fifty shows a year. Who do you have to maintain and service the vehicles? A lunatic bunch of people. The bays not very good, I think they survive on cold pizza, but a bunch of mechanics that have to maintain it. They are very, very unpredictable. You're jumping very high in the air with large bits of steel and you have all sorts of dramas from time to time, but they are fundamentally pretty consistent in what they do. So a team of mechanics keep them going. And do you build them in Australia? How do you make a monster truck? The home of Monster Truck racing is definitely America Guy. There's probably two hundred monster trucks over there. We import several over here to compete against the Australian trucks. There's two Aussie trucks that you'll see in competition - the rest are American. So it's not a big trade, it's not like they are opening monster trucks are us downtown. fully imported from the US. Most of the stuff has to be is not all you have. Ok, Monster Trucks You have other things as well. What do you do there? certainly are the focus Well, honestly the Monster Trucks of the evening, but we have freestyle motor cross, cars on their motor bikes. we have guys who will jump forty foot sheet of flame We have a jet van which shoots a out the back. jet van, it's nuts. You have to see the extreme stunts on the night, Plus we have all sorts of at the end of it. and a demolition derby actually going to field a whole, And locally the 104.7 crew are their on air staff - I think, six or seven drivers - in the demolition derby. are going to come and drive for you if you like? So Guy, I can get a car You have to be game to do that. Alright, what for 2007? Well, more trucks. What happens after that?

the man that own these trucks. I mean, that's Clives focus, the show and making it better. He is constantly investing in great sound system he brings in, There's lasers that get involved a and then there'll be more trucks. allows you the opportunity So this is a rides truck, this and go for a ride on the night. to sit up in the back with a family ever rest on your laurels. So just more innovation, you can't very much for your time. Ok Wade Aunger, thanks Thanks. Alright, thankyou. who were in Dapto last weekend, Wade Aunger from the Monster Trucks Canberra this weekend. Orange next weekend, and are in but as always we welcome your Almost out of time for this show, feedback. You can send us a fax on 6241 9429 statefocus@scbnetwork.com.au. or email us to :30 Sund y mor in Octo er , W a e movIng time s ot next ceeCend so join us then for State Focus. by Southern Cross Ten, Canberra. Live captions loss of captions. as soon as possible.