EnergyConnect project to deliver economic benefit to Wentworth Shire

Transgrid CEO Brett Redman, Elecnor CEO/Managing Director Joseph de Pedro, Clough Vice President NSW Paul Farris, Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Tim Elstone and Barkindji Maraura Elders Environment Team Senior Ranger Malcolm King turn the soil at the EnergyConnect project launch.

Wentworth Shire Council is excited for the continued economic boost to be brought about by Transgrid’s $1.8 billion EnergyConnect project, launched at Buronga on Tuesday.

More than 9000 kilometres of conductor cabling, enough to span from Sydney to Perth three times, will be used to deliver Australia’s largest electricity grid project which will enable the sharing of energy between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for the first time.

Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Tim Elstone lauded the project’s overall benefits for the Wentworth Shire region.

“We have seen Transgrid and SecureEnergy Joint Venture (who is undertaking the project’s construction) engage local businesses and communities for the project with a great number of contracts and tenders still to be awarded,” Mayor Elstone said.

“These opportunities, whether they have been for health screening, providing infrastructure or services or even accommodation, have been a great boost for the local economy at a time when things have been tough amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated impact.

“Transgrid has also provided more than $35,000 worth of grants to community and not for profit organisations in the Wentworth Shire since 2019 through its Community Partnerships Program which we are grateful for, helping these organisations to continue to function.”

Transgrid CEO Brett Redman joined local representatives in launching the project at Buronga, which included the use of digging sticks created by Barkindji Maraura Elders Environment Team Senior Ranger Malcolm King.

“EnergyConnect is a once in a generation transmission project that will help to revolutionise the National Electricity Market and we are really pleased to be getting underway with this critical infrastructure,” Mr Redman said.

“The project will be a key component of the future grid, which will enable the integration of renewable generation and support the decarbonisation of the nation’s economy.”

EnergyConnect is a 900km interconnector which will enable the sharing of energy between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for the first time.

Transgrid is building the 700km NSW section from the South Australian border to Wagga Wagga and South Australia’s ElectraNet has started building the remaining 200km from the border to Robertstown, SA

The construction of the eastern alignment, (Buronga to Wagga Wagga) is due to commence in 2023, with project delivery expected by 2024.

Historic painting donated to Wentworth Shire

Vince Dichiera (right) hands over the painting to Wentworth Shire Mayor Tim Elstone

A PART of Wentworth’s history has been returned to the town with the Dichiera family donating an oil painting of the Crown Hotel in the 1890s to the Wentworth Shire Council for display.

Vince Dichiera, former owner of the Crown Hotel, handed the painting completed in the 1980s by his brother-in-law Terrence David Doyle to Wentworth Shire Mayor Tim Elstone on Thursday along with a plaque detailing the history of the Crown Hotel and the town of Wentworth.

It is a faithful representation of a photo, provided to Mr Dichiera by local historian Geoff Whyte, of the Crown taken in the 1890s during a visit to Wentworth by the then Earl of Jersey, who was in the district at the time to declare the settlement of Curlwaa.

“(To donate the painting to the Shire) gives me great pleasure, I feel we have completed a historic occasion handing this over to Wentworth and for the town to display it where not only selected people can view it, if they are interested they have a history that can tell them about it,” Mr Dichiera said.

Mayor Elstone thanked Mr Dichiera and his family for their donation.

“It’s fantastic, it’s a great part of the town’s history and very, very generous of the Dichiera family to donate it back to the town,” he said.

“It’s a terrific thing and we look forward to it taking a prominent place in the new Civic Centre when it’s done.

“It’s very detailed … it’s a great part of what Wentworth was so many years ago.”

The original Crown Hotel was built by wealthy businessman William Gunn, Wentworth’s first Mayor, in 1862.

Further additions were made to the building, including a new wing along Sandwych Street, a new lounge and a publican’s residence upstairs.

The grandeur of the hotel was not built to last however, and the floods of 1870 and 1956 damaged its foundations.

The iron lace seen in the painting proved to be too heavy, eventually replaced by wooden balustrade.

The interior of the building was renovated in the 1960s to suit the style of the time.

By 1985 the Dichiera family, now owners of the hotel, concluded reluctantly that the rapidly deteriorating building needed to be replaced with a new one as their only practical option.

On March 18, 1988 the new Crown Hotel was officially opened by Shire President Geoff Rodda and Vince’s father Ilario Dichiera.

National Rural Health Commissioner tours Wentworth Shire

Wentworth Shire Council General Manager Ken Ross, Far West Local Health District General Manager District and Remote Health Services Denise McCallum, National Rural Health Commissioner Ruth Stewart, Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Tim Elstone, Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner Faye McMillan, Collaborative Care Program lead Kate Carlisle, Collaborative Care Program Project Manager Kevin O’Neill and Rural Doctors Network Regional Manager – Western NSW Mark Muchiri in Wentworth earlier this week.

The National Rural Health Commissioner Ruth Stewart and her Deputy – Allied Health and Indigenous Health Faye McMillan toured the Wentworth Shire earlier this week, touring key health services.

Prof. Stewart’s visit included a tour of the Wentworth Health Service, Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation and the Buronga HealthOne development and included an update on the Collaborative Care Program.

The Collaborative Care Program is a community-led approach to primary health care of which Wentworth Shire Council is a partner along with the Far West Local Health District, Western NSW Primary Health Network, NSW Rural Doctors Network and other local stakeholders.

The aim of the program is to improve community access to primary health care services and to ensure these services are sustainable.

Primary health care encompasses general practice, nursing, and allied health.

The Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner provides policy advice to the Federal Minister responsible for Rural Health

“To have Prof. Stewart back in the Wentworth Shire provides a great benefit in helping the Collaborative Care Program stakeholders and local health services in general have their voices heard by the Federal Government,” Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Tim Elstone said.

“It is always great to have someone of that standing back in our region and working with us for the benefit of health services in Wentworth Shire.”

Wentworth Shire Council Civic Centre Courtyard construction to begin

CPM Building Contractors Pty Ltd Senior Project Supervisor Deon Blaby, Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Tim Elstone and Wentworth Shire Council Project Officer Betty Withers and GSD Architects Architect Morgan O’Brien look over the plans for the Wentworth Shire Civic Centre Courtyard.

THE first stage of the Wentworth Shire Civic Centre Redevelopment will commence next week with the construction of the Courtyard.

The Courtyard will be situated at the rear of the building, formerly the Wentworth Services Club, fronting the Darling River.

It is the opening phase of the full redevelopment of the Civic Centre, which will centralise key Council services within the one location as well as providing a standout focal point for the community and visitors alike.

On completion the courtyard will encompass structural, hardscape and softscape landscaping and sculptural elements in an attempt to create a unique, secure, and inviting space that engages the curiosity and interests of patrons, excites young minds, and promotes the Shire’s rich cultural and environmental heritage.

Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Tim Elstone said the start of work at the Civic Centre will be a significant milestone as Council looks to progress one of its major projects.

“The overall Civic Centre Redevelopment will give the Shire something to be especially proud of, and visitors a central point that will engage them and educate them about our region,” Mayor Elstone said.

“I can’t wait to see this stage of the development take shape.”

GSD Architects were engaged to undertake project management for the building redevelopment while CPM Building Contractors Pty Ltd were recently successful in their tender submission to undertake construction activities.

Council obtained funding from Phase 2 of the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program Extension to assist with construction of the courtyard.

Construction of the courtyard is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year.

PS Ruby to light up red for Cystic Fibrosis

WENTWORTH’S PS Ruby will “glow” red on Friday night in support of Cystic Fibrosis National Awareness Day.

The community will show its support for 65 Roses Day, an annual event which raises awareness for adults and children living with Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body.

In Australia one in 2,500 babies are born with the disorder.

Wentworth Shire Council encourages community members witness the aura of red surrounding the iconic paddle steamer.

The PS Ruby will glow throughout the night from 7:00pm at Fotherby Park in Wentworth.

Ag plastics recycling pilot launched in north-west Victoria

Farmers can drop-off their old table grape covers, irrigation tube and grain silo bags for free during a pilot program to improve the collection and recycling of agricultural plastics in Sunraysia and Loddon.

The pilot program is being launched this week in conjunction with the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre strategic plan, which focuses on research and development in horticulture, water, energy and the environment that can be implemented to transform the region.

The pilot is part of the National Agricultural Plastics Stewardship Scheme, which is working to develop a viable market to recycle agricultural plastics. It is being led by agricultural consultancy firm RMCG in collaboration with Growcom and a diverse range of partners and local businesses in the region.

“Plastic waste is a huge problem for our primary producers in Australia. As there are limited options for recycling this type of waste, it is often disposed of in harmful ways that can pollute our environment,” RMCG Principal Dr Anne-Maree Boland said.

“We know industry want to do the right thing and this pilot provides an opportunity to work with industry leaders, collect end-of-life agricultural plastics and turn these products back into new ones to help farmers reduce waste and save money.”

From May to October 2022, collection sites will be open in Mildura, Swan Hill and Ouyen. Materials are free to drop-off at the collection sites, with a fee-for-service farm collection available for large amounts of agricultural plastic.

“We are only collecting table grape covers and irrigation tube from horticulture and grain silo bags from broadacre cropping, as these materials are the most problematic for the region,” said RMCG Project Manager Carl Larsen who is coordinating the pilot.

“Following the results of the pilot, we hope to develop a broader scheme that makes it easier to collect and recycle more agricultural plastics in Sunraysia and Loddon and other regions around Australia.”

Mr Larsen said it was easy to prepare table grape covers, irrigation tube and grain bags for recycling.

“The plastic needs to be clean and rolled for collection, so make sure you separate all materials and brush off any excess dirt and plant matter. Retrieval equipment will be available to help producers prepare their irrigation tube and grain bags,” he said.

Drop-off sites and collection times

▪ Mildura Rural City Council landfill, 15 Scherger Dr, Mildura VIC 3500
Tuesdays 8:15am–4:45pm, Wednesdays 8:15am–4:45pm and Thursdays 8:15am–4:45pm

▪ Swan Hill Rural City Council landfill, 6859 Sea Lake-Swan Hill Rd, Swan Hill VIC 3585
Thursdays 8:30am-11:30am

▪ North West Ag Services, 101 Farrell St, Ouyen VIC 3490
The first Wednesday of each month from 3:00pm-5:00pm with a BBQ and networking opportunity.

Further information and an expression of interest form can be found at