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Drought Won’t Stop the Music



The Toyota Country Music Festival is one of Australia’s longest standing and truly authentic music events and it’s back in 2020 from January 17 to 26.

Returning for ten big days in Tamworth, the Toyota Country Music Festival will flood the town with music, activities and entertainment despite the current drought.

The country music artists gathering in Tamworth every year from all over the country, the friendly and smiling faces on everyone from young kids to retirees as they wander through the crowds, and the genuine excitement and pride that everyone feels are the reasons the Festival draws in 50,000 people to the region each day during those ten days.

Toyota Country Music Festival 2019

According to a statement by the Tamworth Regional Council, “Bearing in mind our current circumstances Council has revisited the most current water consumption statistics and found that there is minimal difference between consumption during Festival and other days in January.”

“As this same influx of visitors adds more than $50M to our economy, the Festival must proceed to support our local business community during these especially difficult economic times.”

With over 700 artists performing across 120 venues, it’s clear to see why the festival draws such a crowd. “We are committed to remaining the top destination for country music in Australia and showcasing Australian country music’s hottest stars, emerging talent and perennial favourites. And we are proud to have Australia’s biggest country music stars return to Tamworth year on year to perform,” said Festival Manager Barry Harley.

For locals, it’s Tamworth’s transformation, the economic boost to local businesses and the great vibe in town that gets everyone out and about each year. Experiences such as the Cavalcade Parade, the buskers that line the streets and bustling venues to visit around town will entertain the whole family. It’s really an event that everyone can enjoy.

Toyota Country Music Festival 2019

With an abundance of multi-award-winning artists and industry luminaries such as Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts, John Williamson, Sara Storer, Beccy Cole, Melinda Schneider, Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont, Adam Harvey, Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart, Fanny Lumsden, The Wolfe Brothers, Travis Collins, Shane Nicholson, Catherine Britt, Sunny Cowgirls, Lyn Bowtell, Christie Lamb, Viper Creek Band, The Bushwackers, Brothers3, Amber LawrenceFelicity Urquhart & Brad Butcher, Jetty Road, Cornell & Carr, Libby Donovan, plus local Tamworth artists Ashleigh Dallas and 2018 Female Artist of the Year Aleyce Simmonds all set to perform, the 2020 line-up is as impressive as ever.  

“Music-lovers visiting Tamworth in January have a unique opportunity to experience the biggest music festival in Australia featuring the biggest stars, the biggest line-up of artists, and the biggest country music awards show in the country all in one place,” said Barry.

The Tamworth Regional Council also mentioned in their statement their expectations that visitors to the region will adhere to water restrictions just like any resident and are subject to the same enforcement’s if breached. 

So, if you’re looking for a way to support those affected by drought in our North West region, why not have a boogie and some fun at the same time by attending Australia’s Biggest Music Festival. Support local drought affected businesses and families and come together this January 2020 for the Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth. 

For all festival info, tickets, accommodation and lineups, head to
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Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is seeking leader to join Advisory Committee



The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is calling for Expressions of Interest from local business and community leaders to join our Hunter Advisory Committee. The Committee represents the region comprising Newcastle and the Hunter, Central Coast, Central West and Mid North Coast. Its purpose is to advise and assist the Board and Senior Management Team on matters relevant to the local region while providing governance and oversight on decision making.

The Committee currently has 7 members, including its Chair. Nominations are open for one new member and this appointment will be through a merit based process that considers skills, experience and qualifications. 

Expressions of interest close on Friday 16 October

Position advert and Position Description:

This is an unpaid voluntary position and the Service would like to thank our Community for your continued support as we operate 24-7 for all people in our community.

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Students Have A Yarn



St James’ Muswellbrook welcomes a newly constructed yarning circle thanks to the generosity of Malabar Resources.

Fully funded by Malabar, the Yarning Circle will give students and teachers at St James’ Primary School in Muswellbrook the opportunity to sit together and enhance their understanding of Indigenous culture.

A Yarning Circle is an important part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and a harmonious and collaborative way of communicating. It promotes respectful relationships and provides an open environment to share cultural knowledge.

In August Malabar designed and installed the Yarning Circle which involved the placement of more than 5000kg of sandstone blocks.

Malabar’s Manager of Health, Safety, Environment and Community, Donna McLaughlin said, “We are delighted to continue building our relationship with St James’ and other schools in the region by providing resources that help their specific needs.”

“We look forward to seeing the Yarning Circle develop as native plants and artwork are added to the space, which will further facilitate cultural learning and understanding.”

The new space was enthusiastically received by students. “Thank you for this amazing and respectful area where we can teach others about our customs and traditions,” said year 6 student Tushawn.

St James’ Aboriginal Education Teacher, Tania Thompson expressed how thankful they are to have a designated place for our CREST Crew to meet and yarn.

“When we meet as a whole group from K-6 around the Yarning Circle, it gives students the opportunity to bond, form strong ties, and unite as one mob,” she said.

“Communicating, sharing and problem solving as a team are some of the extremely important life skills that we refine when meeting for Yarning Circle.”

“We learn to listen to one another and to respect the ideas and opinions of others regardless of their age, as we all have wisdom to share.”

St James’ will use the Yarning Circle as an extension of their classrooms and teaching practice to foster knowledge of Indigenous culture by engaging both indigenous and non-indigenous students and teachers.

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Have You Checked On Your Mates?



This year has been an absolute shocker and it’s no secret that it has certainly taken a toll on all of our mental health in some way. R U OK? Day this year was more important than ever, and our mining companies and leaders went above and beyond to encourage employees to have meaningful conversations and connect with those around them. Let’s remember to take care and reach out to our mates every day of the year.


This year with COVID-19 restrictions in place the McLanahan team’s participation in R U OK? Day was a little different compared with previous years when they have hosted an R U OK? Day ambassador at their Newcastle premises.

Still wanting to make a difference, McLanahan donated over $2,000 to Craig Clarkes in his Coals to Newcastle Ocean Swim to raise money for Beyond Blue.

“Wow what an amazing generous donation from the McLanahan team. Hugely appreciate your kind praise and lifting the fundraising campaign over the $30,000 mark. Thanks heaps. I will be in touch.”

All staff members received an R U OK? lanyard and a yellow iced cupcake with the R U OK? flag.

DK Heavy Plant Services

RU OK? – that is what everyone was asking in the DK Heavy Plant Services (DKHPS) Workshop on September 10.

Too often people struggle in silence, do not know what resources are available, or even where to start when talking about their mental health.

Sue Milton, General Manager of Upper Hunter Community Services, was able to share with the DKHPS workforce simple advice and resources on these issues and whilst together enjoyed a great afternoon tea and conversation.  


To start the conversation, Banlaw grabbed some delish donuts for the team to enjoy, whilst taking time out to ask work mates R U OK?

“As you can see from our cheeky photo’s, the donuts were a hit and a way for all areas of the business to mingle and remind staff the importance of prioritising their mental health and looking out for those around them,” said Internal Sales Coordinator, Lauren Tonks.

With the combined efforts of their Newcastle and Perth offices, Banlaw successfully raised $216 for suicide prevention.

Northwest Mining

The team at Northwest Mining started the day bright and early with a mental health toolbox talk for R U OK? Day and encouraged the guys to participate by wearing their TradeMutt shirts – a workwear brand, with the mission to make the invisible issue of mental health impossible to ignore. 5% of TradeMutt’s profits go towards ‘This is a Conversation Starter Foundation’.

This led into a BBQ lunch for everyone, cooked by the company owner Shayne Clark. “We discussed some statistics on mental health and chatted about how to start conversations if you’re concerned about someone’s mental health,” said Shayne.

“Everyone was keen to be involved and engaged in the conversations, it was a great day.”


The Bengalla Team celebrated R U OK? Day this year, focusing on teaching people that there is more to say after the initial R U OK? It is important to keep the conversation going and check in on your work mates.

To support the initiative employees enjoyed a coffee and a Kit Kat before and after shift to start the conversation with their work mates. The four important steps include:

– Ask R U OK?
– Listen without judgement
– Encourage action
– Check in

It was an opportunity for team mates to check in on each other and it was well supported from all of site.

MACH Energy

R U OK Day saw Tom, Chloe and Matt take the opportunity to catch up over coffee and acknowledge that a conversation could change a life.

There was discussion around keeping an eye on your mates, actually asking R U OK? and what’s next after you’ve asked the question. The team remembered there’s more to say after R U OK? such as;

– How are you travelling?
– You don’t seem yourself – I am here if you want to talk about anything.
– Have you been feeling this way for a while?
– Have you thought about talking to your doctor or a health professional?
– Just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing.


The PERSAS team enjoyed each other’s company during a BBQ and discussed the benefits of R U OK? Day, while social distancing of course.

One thing that was emphasised on the day was not waiting until the next R U OK? day to have open discussions regarding each other’s wellbeing, instead keeping it as an open page where employees can talk to each other at any time.

Morgan Engineering

The R U OK day message is important to Morgan Engineering, but not only just one day a year. Mental Health is important to the Morgan Engineering workforce all year round. This year R U OK? Day coincided with the company’s fortnightly Toolbox talk, and Business Development Manager Graham Sutton said that everyone got involved with the conversation.

“It was a great opportunity to discuss what mental health means to our company,” said Graham.

“With many of employees on shift work and having to spend a lot of time away from their family and friends, it’s important for the whole Morgan Engineering team to be there for each other and check on their mates.”

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