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Panpa Bulletin : May 2010
MEMBER PROFILE www.panpa.org.au 18 | The PANPA Bulletin | MAY 2010 THE Whitsundays is one of the world's most idyllic locations, sitting on the Great Barrier Reef and edged with sandy-white beaches and cool blue waters that are peppered with gleaming sailing boats on an endless horizon. A little putt-putt boat cruises these crystal waters every Thursday morning, carrying the Whitsunday Times on a journey many pay thousands of dollars to take. This delivery route begins at Airlie Beach on the mainland and then goes on to the islands of Hamilton, Hayman, Long and Daydream. That's the best newspaper round on the planet, surely. Tourism Queensland ran a competition last year, titled "The Best Job in the World" in which 34,000 hopefuls from across the globe applied to be a PR rep for the Whitsundays. Englishman Ben Southall was selected for this working-holiday job, which included a day working at the Whitsunday Times. Leanne Abernethy, the newly appointed managing editor of the Whitsunday Times, would have similarly enviable role in the eyes of many. "Ben and I have very different jobs", Leanne says, demanding a reality- check. "What he was doing for six months was a hell of a lot different to what I do at the Whitsunday Times." So maybe it's not all pina colada- sipping and adventure sailing on this APN-owned newspaper. When The Bulletin interviewed Leanne, Cyclone Ului was brewing off the coast of Queensland. "I came to work this morning and thought this isn't a good day to get a photo (to send to The Bulletin) that encapsulates where you live. We have a cyclone forming off the coast. It's a bit grey today, and it's never grey. It is normally beautiful sky and gorgeous blue water," Leanne says. The cyclone eventually ripped through the Islands, lifting roofs off homes, dumping boats on rocks and cutting power to thousands of properties, with a damage bill that ran into the millions. The cyclone put the Whitsunday Times team into overdrive. "We didn't have any power from 11:30pm on Saturday until 6pm Monday," recalls Leanne. Whitsunday Times journalist, Matthew Trotman, wrote the double- page spread on the cyclone by hand, and then dictated the article by one of the few mobile phones working in the area. Luckily, the print site is in the beach town of Mackay, which was not so badly hit. It had lost power but was running off a generator. The only internet connection close to the Whitsunday Times' office was at the Disaster Management Centre in Proserpine. From there, the Times sent its pages to Mackay. "Saturday night was frightening", says Leanne. "Cyclone Ului was a category three, with 200kmp/h winds. I wouldn't like to see a category four or five." The occasional cyclone, however, has not put off people from moving to the area. The population of the Whitsundays is steadily growing. Leanne herself was holidaying in the Whitsundays, taking a break from her dual editorial role at the Canberra Chronicle and the Queanbeyan Age, when she saw the position of editor advertised for the Whitsunday Times. "I saw the job, so I threw my hat in the ring and managed to land it," Leanne recalls. "I didn't know anyone. I didn't move here for any other reason than the lifestyle." The APN publication has a circulation of 7,500 but more than half of those are delivered free to residents. "We have a unique system", she says. "I have worked on free and pays before and this is actually a bit of a mixture." The tourists pay for the newspaper but locals get it delivered for free. Many Australians have followed a similar path to Leanne, opting for a seachange, moving to smaller coastal towns and escaping the hectic city lifestyle. Matt Trotman, one of the three journalists at the Whitsunday Times, moved from the southern state of Victoria, after working for the South Gippsland Central Times. "It's certainly different to what Iamusedto,andthereisalotof opportunities to do some great things up here," he says. "Visiting the islands and the (Great Barrier) Reef, makes it feel less like work when you are on a job." Along with local residents, the Whitsunday Times readership is made up of the large transient population of tourists and backpackers. Consequently, part of the editorial focus is about how to relax. The paper publishes a weekly lift out called "Chill", which contains an entertainment guide, social photos and a profile of a local under the banner "Whitsunday People". "There are some real characters here . . . people from all walks of life," Leanne says. There is a serious side to the newspaper too. It ran a strong editorial campaign against a proposed oil shale mine in 2008. "The community was concerned about the impact this would have on the Great Barrier Reef," recalls Leanne. "We became heavily involved in that campaign." The Whitsunday Times ran articles each week. "We wanted the community to be well and truly informed", Leanne says. Journalists wrote articles weighing up the environmental and economic benefits and covered community protests and council meetings, giving voice to environmentalists, locals and the mining company. "It was clear the community didn't want the mine because there were too many unanswered questions about health implications for the people and the reef," she says. At the end of August 2008, after six months of campaigning, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced a 20-year moratorium against oil shale mining in the Whitsunday region, amending the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld). Leanne, who has just been promoted to managing editor, looks set to take the paper into a new era. Redesigns of the paper and website are planned. "We just want to modernise it, so it reflects the Whitsunday lifestyle," she says. Social media campaigns look set to start, too. "We want to be more involved with multimedia," she says. "Obviously we rely on tourism and so if we can get people to look at the Whitsunday Times website from other parts of the world, that would be really good." This is an influential community role but there is still an argument for claiming Leanne has one of the best jobs in journalism. Perfect one day, cyclone the next ebecca Leaver NPA THURSDAY November 26, 2009 Ph 4940 2100 / Classifieds 1300 136 181 firstname.lastname@example.org RRP$ And A RECORD number of schoolies have spent the past six days cele- brating the end of their school lives in the Whitsundays. More than 2700 schoolies ha v er ing one who was charged with as- saulting another school leaver. Oth- er offences include public nuisance and public urination. A total of 27 liquor infringement notices have also been issued dur- ing the week "They have still been very happy and vibrant but have done so with- out causing any major problems. "Overall, we are extremely im- pressed with the behaviour of the schoolies and their interaction with with an additional eight officers from Mackay. Whitsunday Schoo- lies event manager Nicole Graham said 2704 kids registered for schoo- lies between Saturday and Monday ith Whitsunday students were amongst the 2700 schoolies to celebrate the end of school in Airlie Beach this week. Jasmyne Edwards, Chloe Dittman, Sally-Anne Sterling, Bonnie King, Millie Borellini, Kadina Hawkins and Skyye Hiscox relax on the beach during the week. PARTY TIME 2700 schoolies in Airlie Beach By Matt Trotman 2565830aaH IF you were driving alo Harbour Road between vale and Airlie Beach on Saturday, there is a goo you were stopped by the p Almost 1200 cars were during a two day traffic o on Friday and Saturday af outside the Whitsunday P tion in Cannonvale. Despite the large amoun stopped, only one of the 1 ers intercepted was charg drink driving with that d cording a BAC of 0.066 per Three other people were drink driving in the Airli area over the weekend an corded readings between cent and 0.08 per cent. A further six people, all to the area, were charged w sessing small amounts of ca Police also issued 40 in ment notices during the t operation for registration cence breaches as well as defects. Cars were also searched the operation but according ficer in charge at Whits und 1200 drive breat tested THURSDAY March 25, 2010 Ph 4940 2100 / Classifieds 1300 136 181 email@example.com RRP$1(inc And wo THE Whitsundays is edgi wards normality after Cyclon turned life upside down on Su Just 2000 Ergon Energy custo in the Proserpine/Whitsunda gion are still in the dark after p went out late on Saturday nigh stayed out for at least 48 hours In most cases, businesses we first to come back online and ough trade came to a grinding from Saturday night until Tue industry's big wheel is now ro again. With the exception of Cannon State School students, all of Whitsundays' school kids ha least one day off while their lear environment was restored to usual standard of safety. Although the cost of Ului is st be counted, the category three clone was described as "a made t der cyclone" by Whitsunday M Mike Brunker after less than houses suffered major roof dam and no major injuries were repor Damage on the land was perh less significant than the damage the water with more than 20 bo sunk or washed ashore, some which were also the owners' hom The cost is likely to be greates the two industries that drive the e nomy of the Whitsundays - touri and sugarcane. Early estimates from Canegro ers Proserpine indicate that at le $8 million will be lost from this yea harvest -- about 10 per cent of t crop's annual value. It's not so easy to put a figure tourism losses but concerns ha been raised about the negative p blicity being pedalled to the nati regarding the state the Whitsunda has been left in by Ului. Queensland Premier Anna Blig has moved to abate these concer by releasing a public statement ur ing holidaymakers to honour the E t THE BIG BLOW Life returning to normal after Cyclone Ulu Two boats lay washed up against a jetty at Shute Harbour on Sunday morning after Cyclone Ului. By Ben Glover 2565 830aaH Phone 4946 8231 THURSDAY August 20, 2009 Ph 4940 2100 / Classifieds 1300 136 181 firstname.lastname@example.org RRP$1(inc.GST) And worth it. BEN Southall is starting to think about what he would like to do after his current job is over. He would like to see more of Australia and raise more money for charity -- and he is even considering rowing the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef. Ben was the winner of the 'Best Job in the World' campaign and is currently living on Hamilton Island and acting as 'caretaker' for the is- lands of the Great Barrier Reef. He started work on July 1 and will finish on January 1. Every day is a highlight and he has visited 14 islands so far. He has a five year plan which in- cludes a lot of expeditions and char- ity work. In six weeks, Ben has also been sailing on "Another Fiasco" in 25 knot winds and enjoyed a Reef Sleep at Reefworld. "I would like to sail around the world one day," he said. He has been to Airlie Beach which he described as "quite a vi- brant place". Last weekend, he was at Club Med on Lindeman Island with a group of journalists from all over Australia as well as representatives from Tourism Whitsunday, Tou- rism Queensland, Virgin Blue and Club Med. Caretaker considers life after 'best job' Ben Southall enjoys the view from his home on Hamilton Island. 25658 30aaH MIDNIGHT swims in the Airlie Beach Lagoon are now a thing of the past after Council voted to restrict the opening hours. Late night swimming in the lagoon has been a feature of the party lifes- tyle that Airlie Beach is famous for but any after dark paddlers in future run the risk of facing police charges. The motion to restrict lagoon opening hours was moved by Coun- cillor Jan Clifford and seconded by Rogin Taylor. The new hours for the lagoon that are now in place will ensure that it is patrolled by lifeguards for the major- ity of the time it is open. Lifeguards will be employed to su- pervise the lagoon between 9am and 7pm in June, July and August and from 8am to 9pm for the rest of the year. Lap swimmers will still be able to use the lagoon from 5.30am but it will be at their own risk prior to the life- guards arriving. For the rest of the night, a security guard will be responsible for keeping people out of the lagoon in a move that Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Mike Brunker said was made for reasons of safety and cost. "We've put the time restrictions in place to ensure that at 2am a drun- ken tourist doesn't jump in the la- goon," Cr Brunker said. "Yes, we are a party town but at the end of the day there has to be some kind of restrictions. "I don't know of any public pools where you can just jump in any time you like and this had been a concern of mine since taking over as mayor." As well as the safety factor, Cr Brunker said that the lagoon cost about $1.6 million per year to run, nearly a tenth of Council's budget, which needed to be controlled. "We're looking at ways to cut costs any way we can," he said. No more swimming in lagoon at night By Ben Glover All the Race Week Triathlon just a Front pages from paradise . . . the Whitsunday Times is a mix of free and paid circulation Whitsunday Times managing editor, Leanne Abernethy and journalist Mat- thew Trotman cover one of the most picturesque areas of Australia