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State Focus -

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Hello it's Guy Sweeting. our weekly talk TV program Welcome to State Focus, and central New South Wales. eight thirty for this morning We're at the special time of and next Sunday morning. Today, Cryogenics coming to Cowra, for Wollongong's train station, plans for a trendy social centre National Basketball League season then previewing the Capitals women's with head coach Carrie Graf. couple of weeks ago we were joined But first up, you may remember a minister John Hargreaves by ACT Municipal Services voice recognition booking system to talk about the controversial used by Canberra Cabs. Canberra Cabs CEO At the time we invited explain it for us. Mark Bramston in to but joins us now, He couldn't make it then, director, Tony Briscoe. along with Canberra Cabs

Welcome both to State Focus. Thankyou Guy. I will start with you first, Tony. that I asked John Hargreaves. I guess I will ask the question voice recognition booking system? Why do we need to have the automatic important question. Look, Guy, it is a very The Minister back in February the ACT legislative assembly, introduced legislation into standards that only apply which required us to meet

like Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne in the other major capital cities force us to answer and those standards phone calls in under two minutes. ninety per cent of our incoming us without any consultation That legislation was put upon with the industry, seem to like doing, which the minister doesn't quickly to adapt our call centre and we were forced very

to meet those new standards. large amount of capital investment That does take time and quite a and we started that actually turned the system on and we turned the, we had legislation being gazzetted, just prior to the a very early format. but that was only just the end of January And that went on at people who were ready now and that was purely for and were able to book a taxi. the more sophisticated level, What we turned on in July was the whole booking through which allows people to put to an individual. without actually talking thought was a more reasonable ask Mark to you, what would you have ACT Government wanted you to do then that tough ask that the with the booking responding there? much quicker then we wanted to. The threat of fines made us move out with enough place names in. We didn't role the system by people ringing in We had to learn that and asking us to add names. you, time wise, to implement that? What would have been ideal for About another two months, more customer consultation that would have allowed us to use on the place names. arrived at that level So have you since introduction system, that it is now a comfortable a bit more time pass? now that there has been nearly two thousand place names We went from four hundred to lot of people sending us e-mails. in a very short time, thanks to a

the number of queries I think that certainly with down to less then a couple a day, that are coming in now - they are which has been a great improvement. when it is parliament sitting, And Tony things get a bit busy little hard to cope with? and sometimes it is a major problems Guy That's one of the quite a unique market in the ACT, is that we do really operate in that the minister enough credence to. I dont think, gives

is around about eighty days a year, When federal parliament sits, which with a call volume then we are faced Brisbane's call volume, that nearly matches amount of pressure on us so that places a large for a very short period of time and half in the morning - normally an hour in the afternoon. and a couple of hours with ninety percent of the calls And again, this is the reason why in under two minutes, having to be answered you just cant staff for, it's the sort of thing the morning and afternoon. just for that small peak in when parliament sits, And for that period of extra people employees you couldn't have someone, not employed during the other time. for that parliament time and then Is that what you saying as well? You could if you could find them. from the chamber of commerce I think I saw Chris Peters regarding the skills shortage being interviewed the other day in Canberra and it is quite critical just can't get enough people and we are finding that we into the call centre. them into the call centre, So even if we could fit we can't necessarily find them. Do you still recruit regardless? people to be interested? Do you still call for more We are constantly recruiting. are constantly recruiting people Mark has a full time trainer and we in the call centre. reducing the call centre, Putting ASR on is not about in answering the calls. it is about being efficient ASR meaning? The Automatic Speech Recognition. answered as quickly Is getting those calls and getting the work to the cars, and as proficiently as possible also as quickly as we can. working, the ASR system? Mark how is that system expectation now? Is it working up to the government have put in place We are meeting all the standards standards in February. for their new minimum service us to actually go out The system has allowed and provide new services to people.

providing a viable business The system is all about that rely on us, for a thousand business' way to provide the service and we needed to find a - particularly when parliament sits. that people need in Canberra the skills shortage, And Tony has mentioned when we have colds and flu it gets rather difficult and those other things, in and people dont turn up... when they actually start to cut service starts to drop. that's when our level of way that we can actually The automatic system is one maintain the service levels that we are moving with them. and actually show Canberra but Tony a final comment. Ok, got to rap it up, The people on the street - what comments have you heard about the voice recognition system? What feedback do you get? Guy it is mixed because it is still early stages and undoubtedly some people have difficulty and don't like talking to a machine, but we do it every day in a whole range of other areas. What is you advice to customers, perhaps some tips? Take your time is probably the greatest advice, listen to the voice as it speaks to you, because it will take you through in steps as to what you have to do and people who take their time seem to have no trouble at all. We are working on a range of other incentives for people and initiatives for people, and we will be rolling those out in the next couple of months, This is not a work that has stopped, it is only a work that has just started, and we will be refining and building on it in the months ahead and offering a whole range of additional features to the travelling public of Canberra. Mike, what feedback have you had? What about people who just visit Canberra as a one off, are they able to work out the system pretty quickly?

I believe they do. This is a common system used in Sydney Brisbane and Melbourne, and people that travel a lot are used to it. I think they adapt very quickly and we do have information packs located at various hotels and at parliament house, I think they are becoming quite used to the technology. Alright, well thankyou Gentlemen for coming in today. Thankyou Guy. Tony Briscoe and Mark Bramston who run Canberra Cabs. Temora and Gundagai play in the Group Nine rugby league grand final

this afternoon at Wagga's Eric Weissel Oval. Its a sad end of an era today for fans of the oval as the ground will be closing for good at the end of the match. Eric Weissel Oval has been the home base ground for Group Nine rugby league for more than thirty years. It also hosted Rugby League World Cup matches from 1985 to 1988. There's still uncertainty as to where future Wagga Group Nine matches will now be played. The most likely new location is the Equex Centre, The Wagga Exhibition Centre on Kooringal Road, and there's also Alan Staunton Oval and Harris Park. Still ahead, what's planned for Wollongong's Railway Station. But now to cryogenics in Cowra. A man is planning to build a cryogenics centre in Cowra in a first for Australia. Why does Australia need a cryogenics centre and why in Cowra? That man is Philip Rhoades, who lives in Sydney

and to find out more we're joined on the phone by Philip. Welcome to State Focus. How are you Guy? Yes very well thanks, now it's not actually cryogenics is it? No it is actually Cryonics. Cryogenics is a branch of physics dealing with low temperature solids and their behaviour. Ok, on Southern Cross Ten we often see episodes of Futurama depicting comically Cryonics or Cryogenics. Is what you are planning going to be anything like that?

Probably not to many heads in bottles, I guess, but yeah it's similar. I suppose that has popularised the idea - that and other science fiction stories and films and whatever, that once you reduce someone's temperature down low enough and they can stay in that state for quite a while, and so it could be decades or even hundreds of years later that they could be revived as long as you have got the technology to revive them. And is that quite correct because I have had cryogenics or Cryonics, I have been told that when you freeze human cells, icy water particles pierce the protective cell membrane and kill the cell so cryonics may not work, because simply freezing human tissue in fact might cause death. Is that right? Partly, the real problem up here is to be not so much in the freezing, but in the thawing out. That's when most of the ice crystals form and cause most of the damage. More recent developments are looking at a process called vitrification, where you prevent most of the ice crystals from forming and in particular in the brain. There's less of a problem in other tissues, because the argument is that in the future

you will be able to regenerate organs and limbs or whatever anyway. What you are trying to preserve is the memories and behaviour and personality of the original person, and all that stuff is in the brain, so that's what you really care about. And are we that far off being able to do that? Well it looks like with the more recent technologies coming along, like Vitrification, it looks like we are getting pretty close,

or we think we are getting pretty close to being able to preserve that sort of structure fairly reliably. like quantum computing and nano technology around, it shouldn't be too hard, we think, to be able to repair any damage Ok why Cowra? Where in Cowra? And what do the Cowra people think about it?

Well it was a little bit of a shock to the Cowra people particularly the Mayor a little while ago, but the main reason was that I had contacts in Cowra anyway, and I did want to be a fair distance out of major Sydney suburb area. And so that was a convenient sort of place. The blocks that we have go already are about twenty five kilometres west of Cowra, so that's out in the bush basically. So that's one part of the facility, there is other things that we want to do out there as well, in terms of bio medical research and other things, but, yes, it is good to get away from the major centres, and also the land is cheaper, of course. Yes that's right and what does the local council think about that? They have been relatively, a couple of years ago, they have been relatively enthusiastic, I think.

I think if we are successful with all the plans that we have, it will probably be not so much the cryonics side of things, but the bio medical research and the other things that we have got envisaged. to the usual sort of businesses been in that area. Yeah ok well fascinating stuff. We look forward to hearing when it will come to Cowra. Yep, not too far away. Ok thanks for your time. No worries. That's Philip Rhoades who's planning to build a cryonics centre in Cowra, joining us there on the phone. The people of the Weddin Shire are going to lighten up literally with a community attempt to lose the collective weight of a 300 kilogram bale of hay. The Hay U Challenge, launched at the Grenfell Bowling Club, continues for another eleven weeks. As the challenge applies to all of the Weddin Shire, it's open to all people who live in Greenethorpe, Caragabal and Quandialla as well as Grenfell. Next up, we find out more about a plan to build a social and trendy trading centre around Wollongong's Railway Station. Back shortly.

In Warraderry, you're watching State Focus. Wagga farmers are desperately hoping for a wet Spring, otherwise 2006 will be one of the driest years on record. At the beginning of September the Wagga weather bureau

had only recorded Two hundred millimetres of rain for the whole year, compared to the average of five hundred and seventy four. And it's not only the farmers who are suffering from the fifth straight year of drought in the area. Snowy Hydro has had to put on hold a six year cloud seeding experiment costing forty million dollars. It's supposed to boost snow falls in the Kosciuszko skiing area. Still ahead, previewing the women's NBL season ahead

for the Canberra Capitals with head coach and Caps legend Carrie Graf. But now to plans to remodel the Wollongong Railway Station to include shops, cafes and trendy clothes stores. To explain those plans we're joined by Fay Steward from the Wollongong City Council. Welcome to State Focus. Good morning. Well what is the plan? The master plan for the railway station is actually part of a much broader vision that our council has for the city. One of the things we want to do, is to bring more investment into the CBD, create opportunities for people to live in the city, and too deal with a lot of the problems that we have in terms of, I guess, accessibility. We know in terms of revitalising a city, it has to be accessible, it has to be memorable, and it have to be livable. So we have got some challenges ahead of us,

but the council has come up with a very comprehensive plan for the city overall. And the railway station master plan is one of those corner pieces. It's a four hundred million dollar infrastructure plan. How long will it take to build? we dont have any firm proposals on the table at this point in time. It's more important from the outset to be able to make sure that you can have a concept plan, that you know is going to be workable and it's got the agreement of the relevant state government agencies, because no investor is going to come to e regional city unless they know that there is a plan in place that is going to work and that they know that all the stake holders have effectively signed off on it as a concept that they can work towards achieving. What time frame would the council like to see, this go ahead by? We would like to see some development happening

in the next few years. We have got all of the planning processes sorted out. Iemma launched in August, just last month and that sets the whole framework for the city. So we have an agreement with the state government at this point in time, on how the vision of the city should proceed, and we can give confidence to both the residents and to investors

that we have a collaborative relationship with the government that can effectively make this happen. Let's get down to the specifics a little more. The plan for the railway station itself is going to include cafe's and shops. And I have been told it is modelled on the Chatswood railway station, which has got... You come out of the railway station when you get off the train, and there you have it. You have shops and newsagency, stores, all sorts of things. Is that the idea? Absolutely. This plan is based on a model that has been used all around Australia, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and there is a number of things that make it work. One is that you have to have people living in the city, and ideally in a transit oriented development you have got to have people living as close a possible to the railway station. What they have done is too realise that you need a mixed use of development, and that's a mixture of retail and commercial and residential, with really great public domain. So when you look at the master plan itself you will see that we have a number of tall buildings, but there is really good quality public domain where people can meet and greet people, it can be a place for cultural event and certainly it can be a place for alfresco dining. What do the people of Wollongong think of this plan, so far? Well the plan hasn't been on exhibition.

It was adopted last night by council as a policy framework to hold further discussions with the government and with the private sector. But just from being in the paper and just the general feeling about the rough idea of future plans, has there been any feedback in the local community? We feel quite confident that we do have quite alot of endorsement from the local community. We have spent three years, I guess, this council has consulted very closely with the local community and the business sector, to have confidence in the vision and the plan that they have set for the city centre And we've found that our community is embracing change. They have basically said, we want to have things changed around here, we want more jobs, we want to be able to have a much livelier cosmopolitan feel about the city and they have all signed off on the railway station precinct as the area where we need to concentrate out efforts first. Alright, well Fay Steward we have to leave it there. Thanks very much for your time. Thankyou. Fay Steward from the Wollongong City Council. A public rally is being held next Sunday in Nowra to protest the New South Wales Labor government's plan to take up to a hundred and five gigalitres of water a year from Shoalhaven River. The rally has been organised by the local state Liberals MP, Shelley Hancock. She says people want to stand up and be heard about their opposition to the increased extraction of the river

to sustain Sydney's water supply. The Rally is in the park opposite The Waters Edge Cafe, Scenic Drive, Nowra. Next up, we talk sport, as we look ahead to the Canberra Capitals women's NBL season. Stay with us.

Meals on Wheels in Warren has been given some help from the federal government. Funding will allow the essential service to have a specially assigned vehicle for the Home and Community care co-ordinator to use in client assessments. This now allows for people benefiting from the service to have a higher level of independence

by staying in their own homes with the support of their families. The Canberra Capitals have always been a force to contend with in the women's National Basketball League, with talents like Lauren Jackson, Shellie Sandie, Tully Bevilaqua, Kristen Veal and Eleanor Sharp. Another of those talents, Carrie Graf, is now the head coach of the Capitals and she joins us now to preview the season ahead, which starts on Friday October six. Welcome to State Focus. Thanks for having me. Well how have preparations been going for the up coming womens NBL season? Yeah really good. I mean we are really just cranking up now. A lot of our players play overseas or play interstate in the off season, with the season five weeks away. and we are slowly getting back in It's an exciting time, you know. We dont have Lauren Jackson, to happen post Lauren Jackson, and people are saying what's going a really exciting team. but we are going to have We have recruited some new talent, up last year into major roles, some of out players really stepped being here in Canberra and I am really excited about for the next three years and taking our program even further. who do we have this year? Specifically to the player line ups, just come off a play-off series Tully Bevilaqua's back, and she has in the WNBA from America to our games know that Tully's and those people that have been little go getter, a nuggety tough rugged that really excites the crowd. team in the world championships She will play with the Australian next couple of weeks. coming up over the We have got Kelly Abrams, the preliminary final who saved our season in and made a huge three our exciting new talent. And Jessica Bibb is You know, she is super quick. runs around and goes crazy A quick little blonde that and can shoot the lights out. some excitement on our team, So you know I think we have got

recruited Donalof Hargot and then we have massive profile as a netballer who is a Newzealand netballer, - Silver Ferns for a long time, - played for the Olympic basketball team, and played on the Newzealand played in the Commonwealth games, the Capitals two years ago and played a short season for when Lauren Jackson was injured. is still pretty t lented, So we have got a team that excited about stepping up and that are really into new and bigger roles. been a force in womens NBL. The Capitals have always this forth coming year, How are we looking for remaining that threatening force?

have got to say that, I am the coach, I but yeah, I mean absolutely. competition to come last, We don't play in the elite or to aim for the finals. even have to state I think you don't the championships. that you want to win surely that must be your goal, If you are in an elite competition, and achieve that goal. and you do things to try levels change each year Obviously your talent and different things, and you have injuries it's about success, but our team's about winning, in womens sport in this city, it's about doing something special not as long as I am the coach. and that won't change - always be aiming to do, That's what we will and I think that's what will remain. successful winning team. This team wants to be a coaches dont like to hear, Probably questions that threats as far as other teams go but what are the biggest in the competition? this year will be the thing. I think the parody in the league weren't as strong last year I think some teams that players also fall in their lap have recruited well and had some who plays NBL moved state through things like their boyfriend and the team gets her. and the girlfriend goes, So there has been some, better team than last year, Perth I think will be a Townsville will be a force, Sydney will be a force, and ourselves and Dandeynong championship last year. - who played in the that championship teams You can't write off or suggest right in that mix again aren't going to be . here in Canberra, which is exciting. And we start our season with them

Dandeynong in front of their fans We played Dandeynong last year in Canberra, here is our championship. and had to come home and say to Canberra at the start of the season We've got a chance to say to come and watch us unfurl the banner. come and watch us start our season we smashed last year against the team that so that's exciting for me to say, in the league, you know, well a bit more parody new challenge, exciting times. we may be seen more as an underdog, And across town is AIS.

good fight locally, They always put up a good battle to watch. and it makes it a the best young talent in Australia. Yeah, they are the local, Canberra at the AIS, They are here based in and it's always that local derby then to beat the Capitals, you know. that they would love nothing more We have a great profile in Canberra. are aspiring to be WNBL players, They see our girls on TV and they and hopefully Capitals. and Australian players, young girls come out So they always, those

Capitals let's give them a big shot. and say alright we are playing the always been constant support there, Talking about the crowds - they have will hold up this year? how do you think they is we get amazing crowds, I think that's on of my goals here and grand finals here at home, when we have played semi finals you know, we sell out the AIS arena, know as the Palace what long term Canberrans get that place cranking. when the Cannons used to

One last thing, October Six at the AIS arena. that is a significant match Friday - should be a good one to watch? It's a bit of a grand final rematch Yeah absolutely. grand finals are great, I mean it's... floor in your home gym, and when you step on the to start your season, with an amazing crowd say look what we did last year, and you hold up that banner and here is the start of something new. in the grand finals The team that you beat we are going to get you guys - they are saying, right - so it will be huge,

it's going to be great. October the Six AIS arena, three years here in Canberra. I am looking forward to It's going to be super. us today, we wish you the best. Alright thank's for joining Thankyou. NBL head coach, Carrie Graf. That's Canberra Capitals women's our viewer feedback contact details. Almost out of time, but before we go, about our show. We welcome your comments statefocus@scbnetwork.com.au. or email us

interest during the week And great to get some brewing championship in the ACT, in our interview about the amateur in last weeks program. and if you'd like to find out more We were able to pass on details canberrabrewers.org. you can check the website: I'm Guy Sweeting. Join us again next Sunday morning at 8:30, for State Focus. Live captions by Southern Cross Ten, Canberra. We apologise for the temporary loss of captions.

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