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State Focus -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Welcome to State Focus, our weekly talk t-v program for the A.C.T. as well as southern and central New South Wales. Hello its Guy Sweeting. Today: the stars of Revfest: Wagga's answer to Summernats.

Also: a thousand children coming to Canberra for an environmental conference Then: a Wollongong woman with a pet pig that has outgrown suburbia and is moving to the open spaces surrounding Goulburn. And: a community outreach program in Wollongong, helping jobless and homeless youth stay off the streets. But first up; Canberra annual Spring flower festival: Floriade began yesterday at Commonwealth Park.

This year's theme is Aussie icons, myths and legends. We're joined by Floriade head gardener Andrew Forster to explain the months of preparation behind the event. Welcome to State Focus Andrew. Morning Guy how are you? Yes very well. Tell me about the effort that goes into getting all the garden beds and everything up to scratch. Okay yeah this years theme is Aussie icons and the design for that was being developed 18 months ago, we're into the next theme for on that.

So that's a bit difficult to have 2 going at once, you need to sort of stay a little bit ahead. How do you keep the grounds up to that sort of demand I guess? Well at the moment we're just getting set up for this years event and it's all looking fantastic, we're working with the designers for next years event aswell and so we started planting the bulbs for

this years event back in April so the 10th of April. And particular to this years event which is as you say the Aussie Icons Myths and Legends what different kind of work has gone into the flower beds to make it look a little bit different this year? Well this year we've been able to work on using lake water from working with the national capital authority so we've been able to use the lake water with the pumping system, the design changes every and sand is one of the garden beds,

our sunburnt country, birds in the bush, sports mad which is an MCG with goal posts to walk through, we've got the Uluru, we've um... Some great Aussie themes there. ...yeah we've got shining stars we've got Dame Edna's glasses in flowers and Rolf Harris' face, we have also a holden ute planted up with flowers and an outback dunny, we've got Ned Kelly's mask in

flowers and our golden past which has Eureka stockade and also gold nuggets in the garden beds. And there's plenty of toilets on sight there so no one will actually have to use that. Yeah that's right. The dunny that is. Okay alright well better tell me about the whole drought and the water restrictions thing, that's been an issue the last couple of years, you're using the lake water this time round, is that something that wasn't available last year? That's right we've been able to work with the national capital

authority to put in a pumping system and we've been welcome to have that and it's a fantastic initiative @ have What kind of a difference has that made? Has it made the job a bit easier? It means that we're using lake water as appose to drinking water and that's the big advantage that we have there. You've had a little bit of gentle rain recently has that helped? Rains always helpful, we like to have rain at night time so that we can do things during the day. And the team behind you how many gardeners are there? There's about 20 people at different times and they do a fantastic job it's good to work with a whole range of people, we have apprentices, we have subcontractors that work with us we have a whole range of different people that work with us and they do a fantastic job. Alright congratulations on a job well done for another year we look forward to having a look at it. Thankyou.. Floriade head gardener Andrew Forster. And some of the highlights on today at Floriade include: a Bonsai

display, a guided walk and patting paddock then Bordonian music and dancing. Those who love fishing in Narrandera will benefit from a pontoon to be built at the town boat ramp. It will make fishing activities a little easier for those interested in catching freshwater fish like Murray Cod, Murray crayfish, golden perch and yabbies. Now down the road to Wagga where excitement is building for the upcoming Revfest 2007 at the end of next month.

Last year's event, which is Wagga's answer to Canberra's Summernats, attracted nearly 9 thousand people. This year national drag racing competitor Victor Bray is a special guest of Revfest and he joins us now. Welcome to State Focus. Thankyou very much. Okay have you done Revfest before? We haven't done Revfest but we did travel around Australia doing that type of event and Revfest has been building into one of the greatest

events in the country so we're looking forward to getting down there and seeing what all the locals are like. It's only 1 day Revfest this year they're squeezing it all in to Saturday the 27th of October so busy one for you? Yeah mate that's so it doesn't bore the people that so it doesn't bore the fans and these sort of events they love to have them just stuff going on all the time so if you're over here at the burnout's and then they've got the show and shine on over here and then they've got

something else over here and I mean there's always something going on it never never ends and it's pumped up we're really looking forward to getting down there. Okay you specialise in drag racing how long have you been going that for? Um I've been drag racing now for just over 25 years or so - very cloudy area when you say when I actually started because I started form the street machines scene in places like Revfest you know, Summernats and that in it's early years and I progressed into drag

racing where I've sort of gone and you know my roots are like the Revfest type events where we go down there and you know lifestyle events where the fans all rock up, we interact with them all day have a chat and they're out there in their cars you know doing what I'm doing in my race cars ad stuff and we're all pretty much doing the same thing, it's good fun. So you're enjoying it as much as they are? I'm probably enjoying it more but I just make out I'm not.

That's right, okay now I want you to tell me about you machines. Well the cars we're bringing down - the drag racing cars that we use they make them for a quarter mile straight like, the engines are made of solid aluminium you've got no water and no cooling so we build special machines for these events.. So they're air cooled? Yeah they're water cooled or air cooled you know so it's similar to a street type car year and you know they're super charge, they burn

methanol fuel, they're 511 cubic inches, they've got about 2500 horse power, they've got more - 7, 8, 9, 10 times more that your average car so they've got plenty of power, they're fun to drive and they've been built specifically with safety in mind obviously any type of motor sports obviously dangerous so these cars are built to handle it and we get out there and we use the knowledge that we

gained thought drag racing and the fan base too I believe through drag racing to get to these events and to some burnouts and try and compete - we actually compete one on one with the people in their street cars, so all the participants at Revfest are competing one on one with us out there and we're suppose to be professional with all the right equipment and all the right cars but don't worry we get knocked off every now and then by the locals. Victor thank's for joining us today. Love it don't forget Revfest mate, we'll be there, bring your street cars out guys and we'll see how good we are, maybe you might see how good you are too. Sure. Thanks mate. Okay thankyou. National drag racing competitor Victor Bray, who's coming to Wagga's Revfest on Saturday October 27. Victor's son Ben will be there as well. He'll join us on State Focus right after the break. Back shortly.

In Illabo, as well as Bredbo and Thredbo, you're watching State Focus. And speaking of the Snowies area, a long wanted airfield for Polo Flat looks like it will be developed by Christmas. After support from the relevant authorities in Canberra, the airfield's owners Michael and Elizabeth Apps say the next step is to have talks with the local council to make sure the airfield meets their requirements, and that the council will meet the objectives of the airfield set-up. When the paper work is done, hangars will be built and business partnerships developed, hopefully before Christmas. Just before the break we were joined by national drag racing competitor Victor Bray, who's coming to Wagga's Revfest on Saturday October 27. But Victor is one half of the father son drag racing team. His son Ben joins us now. Welcome to State Focus Ben. Hey how are you? Good how long have you ben drag racing? I've been drag racing since I was 11 I started in one of the lower categories of junior drag starts and I stepped up in 2002 into the top Ball slammer, that's the category that Dad races in, I've

been racing that category ever since then so I'm up to my fourth year as a pro. Okay and loving it all the way? Yeah it's been pretty fun, I guess it's a challenge in a way being so young and trying to compete with the guys that have done it so long, I come from a car that was running 14 seconds into a car that was running low 6 seconds so that was a bit of a jump for me but it's been fun @ bit of a Yeah okay and have you been to Wagga before? I've only been there with Dad and Mum I've never actually been there and done burnouts or anything, not legally anyway. So you wont tell us about anything else, okay and what's you - father and son do they go up together and race side by side? How does the father and son things work? Yeah well we race in the category of 20 people, we've always got to qualify in the top 8 positions to get in the field and lately we tend to always compete in the early rounds we'd rather compete in the semifinals or the finals but like it's just the luck of the draw you've got to try and qualify for the top if you don't want to race each other so like at the moment we probably race at least 10 times and I've got the upper had at this point in the stage. Tell me about the machine you'll be driving at the Revfest event. I've got a 2005 SS ute, I drive under the - it's red at the moment, it's getting repainted hopefully before Wagga, so it will be a different look up there but it's supplied by Holden to us so it's pretty much it's a dead stock use, I've got airbags under it, I've got the biggest set of tyres I could fit under the back of it and it's got a 2500 horse power engine in it. Okay and how often do you update vehicles, this is a vehicle that's been done up for Revfest but do you have to change your vehicles every now and then? We try not too, the cars get a pretty big name over Australia so we try to keep them at least for 5 years and we keep them out there so people recognise them. You must go through a whole lot of engines and tyres in that time I reckon. We try and keep the engines on a low but the tyres yes we go through a set of tyres in ab out 3 minutes. A bit longer than it takes me or any regular driver I'd imagine. Yeah definitely.

Okay well we look forward to you coming to Revfest you and you dad and thanks for joining us today. No thankyou can't wait to get there. Should be great. National drag racing competitor Ben Bray, who's coming to Wagga's Revfest on Saturday October 27 along with his dad Victor who joined us earlier. Both of Bombala's schools are being upgraded a little to provide extra shade, computers and sporting equipment. It's a relief to the local community who hasn't had to pay for the

improvements. The funds provided by the federal government's schools investing program. Still ahead: we meet a Wollongong woman who's having to part with her pet pig "Portia" who has outgrown suburbia and is moving to spacious pastures near Goulburn. But now to a community outreach program in the Illawarra which is aimed at finding practical solutions to jobless and homeless youth. Paul Bartlett is the senior minister at the Lighthouse church organising

the program and joins us now in our Wollongong studio. Welcome to State Focus. Thanks Guy thanks for having me. No problem tell me about the outreach program and the benefits of the jobless and homeless youth locally. One of the things that we are doing with our youth is we've started up a youth housing program called Myplace and Myplace exists to house homeless young people that otherwise couldn't find somewhere to stay and of course Wollongong has a huge problem with that, we

launched our first one and we're actually hoping to have many Myplace houses right across the Illawarra and so the first one with just young men has been quite saucerful and of course that links across too our conference which is helping people just discover ways to reach the community. Alright lets go back to the specific Myplace that you're talking about, there's just one, how big will you expand it too? At the moment we're just running the one house with about 6 homeless guys, for the us the skies the limit, we received some DOC's funding for that but we also have people from our own church and around the community that finance that aswell so we would love to see in the next 5 years at least 10 of those kind of houses that are set up, not just for young men but also for young women aswell. How long did it take to set that one up and to identify the problem locally? We've actually been doing a similar sort of thing locally over a long period of time we just changed it's focus probably over the last six months we juts really began to hone that, we had a larger house that was pretty hard to manage and so we've narrowed it down to lots of houses that house us to say 6 or 8 young people maximum and we find we can manage that easier and that's you know the model that we'll use right across the city. Okay that's the homeless, are you going anything on the jobless front? On the jobless front we're just trying to - obviously as we develop this program with homeless young people we also see that there's the need for employment, need for training so out of that we're just developing programs - we're really in it's infancy at the moment - that will assist young people find work that will a Okay and the ages of the young people that you're helping? From 14 to 19 years of age.

Alright and that's fairly consistent across that age groups as to whose most in demand? Yeah definitely an infact the sad fact is there's literally hundreds that we could house and so the more about ton start these up the better. Okay and to the conference you've got going on which is Tuesday to Friday coming up called insight, what's that about? Well insight is a conference designed to help the community at large, not just the church community at large to focus on the

needs that are literally in our community and we want to actually train and equip and help people start community initiatives and ideas within the Illawarra area. So this is to help more ideas similar to how Myplace was set up another workable solutions put in place. Yeah well I think actually people have ideas to help the community

but just feel very alone in the way that they do it so insight conference has been designed to get together with like minded people and allow them to kind of have a think tank, also to hear from our speaker Mathew Barnett who is coming out from Las Angeles who himself started this kind of community work we now actually feed as a church group they feed over 30,000 people a week, they house over 600 young people on their facilities to he has a great story

to tell and an inspiration that we - I believe - help other people. Yeah they can see it happening there they can see it happening in Wollongong aswell so we wish you all the best for the work that you've done and that lies ahead so all the very best with that. Thankyou Guy. Paul Bartlett from the Lighthouse church's community outreach program joining us in our Wollongong studio. Always good to hear when local battlers get a break. Debbie Lawrence from Raglan, east of Bathurst, had been working 3 jobs to make ends meet for her young family when she won a half million dollar art union prize. She now owns a new fully furnished house on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and 40 thousand dollars worth of gold bullion. Next up: a Wollongong woman with a pet pig of a problem. Stay with us.

From Armatree to Adaminaby, this is State Focus. A new event for Wellington this November. A group of local women are putting together the Percy Street Harvest Festival. Highlights will be wine-tasting, a long lunch, a group art exhibition and markets. Its hoped the festival, which has the support of Wellington Council,

will become an annual event. Just ahead: Australia's Environmentalist of the Year joins us to talk about an international river health conference for children next month in Canberra. But now to a Wollongong woman who has a pet pig called "Portia". Obviously very cute when it was small, but Portia is now porker size and is no longer suitable for seaside suburbia.

Portia's owner Tanya Mans has had to make the difficult decision to relocate the pig to wider open spaces in the Goulburn area. Tanya joins us now in our Illawarra studio as does Portia. Hello there Tanya. Hello how are you? Good you're going to be busy looking after Portia while we talk but we'll just watch you in progress with Portia as we ask a few questions. Alright. Tell me about the having to move Portia to Goulburn. Well When I got her, I'm an agriculture teacher and also I just it would be fascinating to get a pig so when I got her she was meant to be - on the website it said that meant to be... Was that like an RSPCA website? No it was a place that went to the - they go to the pet expo's so when they - on they're website they said that she'd be about 42 to 45

centimetres and that she'd actually be about 18 kilograms and she's... That would be the adult weight. Yes and she's double that size now so she... How big was she when you got her? She was Teeny Tiny, she was like a little guinea pig.

Right okay so how old? I got her after a month. A month okay so they are pretty small then okay. Yeah so when I got her she was only just very little. How old is she now? She is now 18 months old or about 20 months probably. Okay so she was be an adult size now? Yes and also she'll just fill out and get longer so year even though

I love her to death and she was an inside pig whole time and she you know she'd sleep at my feet and on the bed and like she was just wonderful, she still is wonderful don't get me wrong. Most people are fairly horrified with a pig being a pet but I guess if you've raised from the very beginning then it knows nothing different. Yes and also if you actually research about pigs they're

actually incredibly clean animals they're.. @ actuall despite what people think. Yes despite what people think they actually get a bad name fromthe 16th century when people brought them into the houses to keep warm in Europe and because we keep them in really small cages they're - people think that they're dirty animals but they're actually some of the cleanest animals and you'll probably know George Clooney has a pig that's just we I think George Clooney's pig has just passed away 2 weeks ago so yeah he's got a pot belly pig. We are running out of time but what I will ask you is where is it going to go to in Goulburn just a pig farm there or? No she's - it's people outside of Goulburn and they've got a farm and they just love animals themselves, they've got 3 hand reared goats and.. they've Oh yes.

Plenty of room. Yes they've got 3 dogs and so yeah she's going to love it out there, I think she needs - she's just eaten herself out of house and home she wants all the grass. And what about you are you going to go out and visit her every now and then? Oh I hope so I love her to death and she just - honestly she just becomes part of your family and I think I would have raised her differently if I'd know that she was going to become this big, I wouldn't have raised her to be an inside pig but I mean she use to sit on my lap and watch TV and like she was just - I mean she still is wonderful like I said but she's just more. Okay well we better leave you there with Portia but thankyou so much for bringing her into out Wollongong studio and she does like to - she's got a bit of an appetite going hasn't she that's for sure. Yes I can get her to do anything for food, she went to puppy school.

The odd pig out. Yeah so she can sit and do all sorts of things. Alright we do have to leave it there thankyou very much Tanya and all the very best with moving her to Goulburn. Thankyou very much. Wollongong pet pig owner Tanya Mans joining us in our Illawarra studio and of course Portia was there aswell. Nowra's Junction Court mall is to get 150 thousand dollars worth of security cameras to prevent crime in the mall. Shoalhaven City Council says people are sick and tired of hoons, vandals

and antisocial behaviour there and the cameras will send a message to would-be criminals they will now be caught. A thousand children are coming to Canberra next month for the International River Health conference, which is seen as the environmental equivalent of a national rock eisteddfod. The kids conference to be held from the 14th to the 17th of October is being organised by Australian Environmentalist of the Year Arron Wood who joins us now. Hello Arron. How are you it's a big mouthful that title isn't it. But congratulations on it anyway and you're coming to Canberra for the 14th to the 17th of October what will be special about this years river health conference? Look its the first year it's actually come to Canberra we had the state events last year for world environment day but this is the big one it runs every 2 years and as you said has 1,000 kids from

ever state and territory and about 15 countries from around the world converging on Canberra and I think it's pretty apt that it's being held in our national capital and soon to be election time I believe and I think they're going to call it very soon and so it's going to be pretty apt that these kids are making the decisions right where the decisions are actually being made the decis Where is it at specifically? Well it's at the new Hotel Realm so it gave me a few nerves this one

because it's a brand new venue and it's only just been completed so there was a clause in there that if it wasn't completed on time they were going to find us alternative accommodation but it has been competed directly across from the press club there so a good location for it so you can actually see Parliament house to for our schools visiting from New Zealand we've got a Maori school coming across, schools from Belgium and Switzerland so it's going to be pretty nice to be able to actually see our national capital right

there see our Is it more international a flavour than it has been in the past. We've always had an international flavour since 2001 the first even was essentially a tri-state event only involving South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales but since 2001 we have involved international students because we recognise that particularly with climate change that you're just looking after your own backyard then you're really not tackling the problem so we're talking to kids about that old adage of thinking global and acting local but then thinking global again so really saying to these kids that the environment could be one of the biggest industries or in fact will ben and that they need to get on board, we really do need to be an educational environmental leader globally educati Is there a specific theme for the conference this year? the theme of the conference is one life one world our future and it's really about saying that we are the decision makers - the decisions

that we can make actually impact on a much wider scale so again really pushing that old adage but saying to them to that they can have because there was a terrible study that cam out recently where it showed that kids - they really fear climate change and I think number one on their list of fears was the death of a parent which is obviously fairly heart breaking stuff and would be quite fearful but the second on the list was climate change and environmental

these kids the idea that they can actually have an impact and that's the important part about the conference the Okay well all the very best for the conference thanks for coming in today. Thanks very much for having me Guy. Okay thankyou Arron. River Health Canberra conference organiser Arron Wood. Before we go, our viewer feedback contact details. You can have your say on our website or email us And we've been getting a lot of feedback

lately. Claire from Canberra, who saw our recent discussion with former has emailed us to say she's in favour of a return of a drag strip in Canberra. Claire says if people who love reading can have libraries, love art can have galleries, why not have a drag strip for those who lose racing. Finally, a reminder to check our mytalk digital TV channel for local

information and highlights of previous State Focus programs. That's as it happened this week. I'm Guy Sweeting. Join us next week for State Focus.

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