Big new Council Budget for 2018

A really exciting budget this year for ratepayers, with a minimal rate increase but a huge expenditure on infrastructure and new projects that will last the city well after I am only a memory on a park sign (if that ever happens).

Next financial year we are proposing to spend $114,093,100, about $1M short of this year, and rate revenue is estimated to make up $97,566,300 of that income, and we are aiming for a balanced budget.

We are also anticipating an Asset Sustainability Ratio of 125% this coming year (ASR is the rate at which infrastructure is replaced) which please me greatly, as we need our infrastructure to be replaced when it needs to be. I am a stickler for replacing ageing infrastructure and I let our new Director of City Assets know that I would not accept under 100% – so glad I didn’t have to push that one.

To keep the rate increase low, we have lowered the rate in the dollar, from $0.00578 to $0.00577 of property valuation for non-residential rates and from $0.00267 to $0.00266 of property valuation for residential rates and increasing the minimum rate 2.6% to $816.00.

This will mean an average residential rate increase of 2.6% (and not 2.9% as reported in the City North Messenger), which is slightly higher than Adelaide’s CPI which is 2.0%.

This year our Council got a nice thwack from the State Government when they transferred several hundred Housing SA (formerly known as SA Housing Trust) properties to community housing providers so the State Government no longer had to pay rates on these properties, and we are not allowed by law to charge rates to community housing, this alone costing us $645,000 this coming year.

As the shift of old government housing stock to the community housing sector continues, we will end up losing millions of dollars in rates, and this will restrict what we can do in years to come.

The Federal Government also gave us a nice kick with a reduction in the Roads to Recovery program of $2.0M (that’s right, that’s the reduction) to less than a $1M this year.

Other vastly increased costs included waste management costs increasing $400,000 mainly due to the increase in the Solid Waste Levy (this is not charged for recycling), public lighting costs increase of $200,000, and change to residual asset values by the AASB costing us net $1.2M in depreciation costs. If you suffer from insomnia, the full explanation of that will cure it.

If not for the State Government mandated increases alone, we would have kept our rate increase to just 1.6%, under CPI.

For the first time in many years, we have dumped our Treasury Management policy (thank goodness!) and whilst interest rates are at historic lows, locked in those low rates for $7.5M loans for new capital works.

Speaking of capital works, we will be spending approximately $5.5M this coming year on the new Lighstview Stadium (there, I have renamed it from the staff moniker of the Lightsview Indoor Recreation Centre) in our area.

We are also working on the Duncan Fraser, Northfield minor upgrades, FJ Garrad Reserve, Northfield upgrade (my idea), Hawick Reserve, Valley View upgrade (my idea); irrigation and drainage work on Thomas Turner Reserve, Valley View and Harry Wierda Reserve, Oakden; Nelson Road road reserve, Roy Amer Reserve, Oakden and Sir Ross Smith Boulevard (my idea) upgrades.

The above expenditure in Northfield ward is $7,742,000 out of $20,836,000 for the whole Council combined in Parks & Gardens Capital Works alone.

In works construction, we will see repair to the Briens Road Retaining Wall (my idea), and new footpaths to Briens Road, Northfield (my idea), Moreshead St, Greenacres, p and path upgrades to Delhi Reserve, Hillcrest and Roy Amer Reserve, Oakden (my idea).

There will be a new safer road in the Fosters Road service road near the library (happening now – my idea), and replaced roads in:

GREENACRES: Princes Rd, Rellum Rd.


HILLCREST: Chaplin St.

NORTHFIELD: Arthur St, Cox Tce, Harrison Gr, Justin Ave, Link St, Meryl Ave, Northfield Rd.

NORTHGATE: Vickers Vimy Pde.

OAKDEN: Saltram Pde.

VALLEY VIEW: Burton Ave, Haddington St, Hawick St, Paul Dr, Plews Ave, Vista Ave, Woodstock St, O’Loughlin Rd.

That totals to $3.2M out of a works budget of $14.2M, again punching above our weight.

Now who is that says we are forgotten about by Council in our ward? Oh, yes, idiots.

Further, Northfield Ward will see work on the Greenacres Local Area Traffic Management Plan (my idea), and a masterplan for Edward Smith & LJ Lewis Reserves.

As usual, Council consulted the community on what it wanted in the budget and only had responses wanting to increase expenditure, mostly on the arts.

No one, it seems, has any ideas on how to cut expenditure, apart from staff and elected members, and we do find ways to do this almost every year.

If you want to read it all for yourself, here is the Special Council Meeting Agenda & Report:

Here is the Draft Annual Business Plan and Budget (you can remove the word ‘Draft’ – and I have told staff to correct the spelling error on page 12 too):

And here is the Draft Long Term Financial Plan (also now remove ‘Draft’):

Happy Reading!!!

Oh, and love to hear what you think of all this – please comment below.

When Dogs Attack

Very recently you may have seen on Facebook, on TV or heard on the radio of a dog attack on Semaphore Beach.

Without going into too much detail, Mr Alan Timms’ posted a photo on Facebook of his very damaged (but thankfully recovering) dog after it was allegedly attacked by an off leash dog on March 19th.

But it didn’t happen at Semaphore Beach. It happened on Semaphore Park Beach, which is in Charles Sturt Council area, and they are following up the matter, and doing the best they can I am sure.

And no aspersions on Mr Timms, because if I had just gone through what he did, I am not sure I would be able to post the correct state of Australia, let alone beach.

He later reposted, with the exact location of Semaphore Park Beach, as below:

However, this didn’t stop a massive howl of protest from people directed at our Council, some of which was sent to me.

Well, I will tell you what I am going to do about it, because I already have – last year I instigated in Council a review into our Council’s policy of dog handling in public.

At the moment we have a policy that allows people to pretty much walk their dog/s anywhere on Council property (unless signposted otherwise) with their dog “off leash” as long as being under “effective control”.

Unfortunately, it appears “effective control” for some dog owners means “I will let my dog harass other dogs, people, other animals and generally do anything it wants and I can’t stop it”. Wrong.

It means your dog, when off leash, can be controlled by you so that it does not harass other dogs, animals or humans in the vicinity.

For reasons I cannot explain, the number of dog attacks are on the rise, almost all from people walking their dogs “off leash”. If your dog attacks another one on public property, it cannot, by definition, be under “effective control”.

This is from the Dog & Cat Management Board about dog handling in public:

– Your dog must be exercised on a leash of no more than two metres unless you are in a designated off-leash area.
– When in an approved off-leash area, your dog must be kept under “effective control”. I.e. responds to commands, comes when called, etc.
– Do not allow your dog to approach other dogs or people. Even well socialised dogs can attack with little provocation.
– Consider getting your dog desexed. Desexing has many health benefits, including reduced aggression.
– You should consider enrolling your dog in a recognised training program. This builds a strong bond between you and your dog, and ensures your dog responds well to commands when off-leash.
– It is a criminal offence to allow your dog to chase, harass or attack a person or other dog.

PAE is one of the few Councils that historically allows dogs to be walked “off leash” almost everywhere, whereas most Councils only allow dogs “off leash” in a small number of parks, especially dog parks.

This policy also allows people to walk their dogs “off leash” on our beaches during certain hours of the day.

Last year I thought it was time to review this policy as it had not been looked at, that I can recall, in my entire time on Council, and it deserves to be seriously reviewed. Previously it had just formed part of our Dog and Cat Management Plan but was not specifically reviewed as part of it.

Council released the following statement today:

Over the weekend we were made aware of a dog attack which occurred on a local beach. We appreciate the concern of residents, and advise that as this happened within the City of Charles Sturt their Community Safety Officers are investigating the incident further. 
We have recently been working on our 2017-2022 City of PAE Animal Management Plan which will be released for public consultation soon. We welcome you to have your say on a range of issues including leashes on beaches.
If you have any concerns relating to dogs within the City of PAE, please email or give us a call on 8405 6600. The City of PAE would like to take the opportunity to remind residents that Community Safety Officers actively patrol our beaches.

When it comes time for public consultation, please have your say on this.

I too, hope the owner of this dog is caught, and if found guilty, cops a hefty fine including a criminal conviction, and is banned from owning a dog; but the best cure for a dog attack is prevention.

My thoughts for now are with Mr Timms and his bluey.

City of PAE Australia Day Awards Ceremony 2017 – on a Navy ship!

This was such a great occasion, I thought it worthy of a post here.

This year’s City of Port Adelaide Enfield Australia Day Awards & Citizenship Ceremony (which we always hold on January 25th) was on held on board the HMAS Leeuwin whilst docked in Port Adelaide’s inner harbour.

As CEO Mark Withers drily pointed out, it was one of Mayor Gary Johanson’s better ideas, and we were told it was the first time a Citizenship Ceremony had taken board upon a Royal Australian Navy ship.

I guess that makes the HMAS Leeuwin the first New Australian Citizen Ship.

We had to gain entry to the ship’s main deck by walking across the gangway and then up a flight of steps and what naval personnel call a ‘set of steps’ but was really a metal ladder!


Due to this and lack of room on the main deck, some guests listened to events from the dock below.





The marvellous Enfield Brass Band played the music for the ceremony, as they do every year, but also from the dock below.



We started the ceremony with a traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country from Jack Buckskin.



We followed that with our Citizenship Ceremony where 35 people from 7 countries became Australian citizens and then the Australia Day Award winners were announced.

City of Port Adelaide Enfield Service to Community winners included:



Norm Ogier

President of the Northgate Oakden Residents Assn for many years & very busy with many other community activities.






Pam and Perry Brook

from the Gaza Cricket Club.






Melissa Burnie for her work

with the Hillcrest Girl Guides.




And the Citizen of the Year was Yunus Noori for his work with the Afghan Community, and as he put it, an Afghan helping to teach Afghan immigrants Australian values and culture.




Young Citizen of Year is Kyran Dixon for his work in the indigenous community and also for fundraising for leukaemia prevention, a cause close to him as a survivor of the disease. A truly remarkable and lovely young bloke.






The Community Event of the Year went to Izla’s Purple Crusade, organised by Kym & Jarrod Meers to raise awareness and funds for epilepsy research.


And there were joint winners of the Emerging Event or Community Groups Award, with the Port Adelaide Shellfish Restoration Group (sorry, no photo) sharing the honours with the Punjab Aussie Association of SA.

There were lots of politicians there:

Federal: Christopher Pyne, Sturt; Mark Butler, Port Adelaide and Tony Zappia, Makin.

State: Michael Atkinson, Speaker, Croydon; Russell Wortley, President, MLC; Tung Ngo MLC, Peter Malinauskas MLC; Dana Wortley, Torrens; Frances Bedford, Florey; Stephen Mullighan, Lee and Jing Lee MLC.

Council: Mayor Gary Johanson, Deputy Mayor Vanessa McCluskey, Cr Carol Martin, Cr Ray Guscott, Cr Michael Iammarrone, Cr Anne-Marie Hubycz, Cr Paul Russell, Cr Tony Barca, Cr Helen Wright, Cr Kim Dinh, Cr Guy Wilcock, Cr Michelle Hogan and Cr Peter Jamieson.

Both Christopher Pyne and Mark Butler gave short, humorous speeches relevant to Australia Day and citizenship. Mr Pyne told us that since the inception of the Nobel Prize, Australia has had fifteen winners, five of whom have been South Australian – amazing!

We finished off with a rendition of Advance Australia Fair, complete with child visitors leading the singing along with the Mayor’s Official Singer, and the traditional Port Adelaide Enfield rousing Australian sports cheer, “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi”.

Thanks must go to the organisers of the event: Council staff and wonderful members of our Navy and the HMAS Leeuwin, Australia Day Award recipients, the Enfield Brass Band and all who attended to make it a truly memorable experience for all.


Left, myself, Dana Wortley MP and Norm Ogier, with wife Andrea.


Right, Northfield Ward recipients of Australia Day Awards, with Dana Wortley MP.





Last two photos by the Hon Russell Wortley MLC, all others by Mark Basham

Council Meeting Agenda – January 17th 2017

Wow, first meeting of Council for the year, already! I think it will be an interesting ride this year, so sit back and read my thoughts on the agenda items of the January Council meeting where most relevant to Northfield Ward.


And the winner is….Yunus Noori (as recommended by staff).

Now, some of you may be wondering why I am publicly declaring who the likely winner is, when in the past this was only announced publicly at the Australia Day Awards Ceremony itself.

Well, firstly, this is not a slight on Yunus, who is a fine chap and worthy winner (if Council votes that way) – he is even a Facebook friend of mine.

The issue is that due to changes to the Local Government Act from the &^%$@!s in the Office of Local Government, led by the invisible Minister, Geoff Brock, Council can no longer legally decide in private who wins this award and then declare it at the ceremony.

Not allowed any more, as Mr Brock says we must have transparency in local government. I agree, even though I wish Mr Brock and his State colleagues were so keen on transparency for State MPs as well, but then, everyone wants that – apart from State MPs.

Thanks to this poorly worded legislation, there is no longer, legally, any way we can now decide the winner of the Australia Day Awards, privately, and thus not only is the surprise element gone, but we have to tread carefully in debate, if there is one, on the qualities of the various nominees.

What was once a positive experience for all, is now fraught with trouble.

Whilst we’re at it, I can also say the staff have also proposed that the Young Citizen of the Year is Kyran Dixon, the Community Event of the Year is Izla’s Purple Crusade, with the Emerging Event/Community Group of the Year jointly awarded to Port River Shellfish Restoration Group and Vaisakhi Mela*.

The following individuals/groups are awarded 2017 Service to Community Awards: • Pamela Joan Brook* • Perry Nelson Brook* • Melissa Burnie • James Dwyer • Norman Richard Ogier* • Desmond Tucker • Rahim Shah Zaidi • Power Community Ltd – Power to End Violence Against Women Program.

I won’t be able to vote on the above (apart from the Young Citizen of the Year) as I have a perceived conflict of interest as I lodged nominations in some categories (marked by *) so I won’t be in the chamber to listen to the debate.


Believe it or not, some people are parking their cars in the slip lane that leads into the Adelaide Women’s Prison

This is dangerous of course and so Council is proceeding to paint yellow lines there to make it clear that it is a ‘No Stopping’ area.


Toilets at the Roy Amer Reserve has been a matter of conjecture since the park opened in 1995 (I know, I was there).

There were toilets built, somewhat almost unhelpfully, 500m to the west at what is now Harry Wierda Reserve, but patrons of the lakes reserve (as I prefer to call it) have either had to cross their legs, hide behind a tree, or plead to use the facilities at the Lakeside Cafe.

The Lakeside Cafe did allow their toilet to be used for years, but too many people who were not patrons over years have stopped that due to their poor behaviour in the toilets, to the extent that the owner of the building and the Cafe both refused point blank to entertain any idea of public use of that facility any more, which legally they could do.

However, there were still hurdles to pass to build toilets – firstly, the opposition by some residents to the siting of the toilets, citing the usual issues such as dodgy behaviour, smell and it looking out of place; and secondly, opposition from Council staff who were adamant that it would cause problems and its high cost could not be justified.

Along comes Cr Osborn who decides to take this matter up, and as someone who lives quite close to the reserve, was a keen supporter of a public toilet there. Cr Osborn asked me in 2015 why the toilets had been rejected, to which I gave the reasons as above in a potted history, and he enlisted my help to have them constructed, which I willingly gave.

Thankfully, after a lot of community consultation and planning work by staff, we now have a recommendation to put the toilet in.

The main issues have been resolved by it being a modern Exeloo toilet which can be designed to blend into its surrounding environment, it will open automatically after 10 minutes of use (no reading the paper in there, grandpa!), it is self cleaning and its outer shell is built of graffiti resistant material.

Council will also check on it regularly to make sure it is in satisfactory condition.

I have asked a question of Council staff to whether its siting will cause any issue if there was a flooding incident.

So, after all these years, I am glad to say, the lakes reserve will finally have a convenient convenience, if the Council votes that way.


I find it staggering that Council, or rather – us, the ratepayers, will have to foot an increase of $250,000 (65%) in the next financial year for local street lighting charges due to the current state of the electricity market.

The LGA went to tender for our street lighting, and only two companies wanted the business, Origin and AGL, and Origin was slightly cheaper.

We have decided to sign up to a one year plan hoping prices settle down. I doubt it but if something isn’t done soon, the state will be going broke on electricity prices alone.

What do you think?


These changes are, on the whole fine if one wants to to cut red tape for the industry. However, my concern is that what works well in the entertainment hub in the city will not necessarily work well when a licensed premises is based in a residential area, or next to one.
These changes need to be considered in that light. Also, so I am suggesting that, like the small bar provisions (which have worked well), that these changes only apply to the CBD for now where it impacts on opening hours, or other provisions may affect the amenity of the area.
Changes to allow entertainment at any trading hour, or to allow alcohol purchases without a meal (a backdoor to turning a restaurant into a bar), or automatic extensions to trading hours are NOT welcome in the suburbs, unless the premises are in a non-residential area or not cause loss of amenity to one.
I shall use some real life examples in my local area – The Grand North Tavern could operate longer hours with entertainment with little impact on the local residents due to its distance from them and being across a major road. The Oakden Central at Oakden has hundreds of residences within 150m west of its location in Northgate that can hear considerable noise from its currently operating function centre, and has to put up with patrons leaving the gaming lounge up until 2am, often drunk and disorderly. The OG Hotel in Klemzig operates pokies and bar until 4am, its bottle shop until midnight and causes no issues of which I am aware to any residents as the closest is over 200m away and buffered by main roads and business premises.
My suggestion to both fix current issues and prevent further problems is for suburban licensing issues to be handled by Councils who are more in tune with local conditions. If not, then they will need to be licensed differently to meet the requirements of the Community Impact & Public Interest Test, which some already do not.
Recommendation 69 removing a Council’s right to object is a poor decision, being that Councils are often the only body residents can turn to when they have an issue with liquor licensing issues. This will leave residents no other choice than to go to their local MPs instead, creating a larger workload for them. Please do not change these provisions.
My submission is made as that of a local government Councillor with over 25 years experience in that role, but also as someone who has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years (I have an RSA) including sporting clubs, events and indoor/outdoor functions.

What do you think?


My last post for the year and I thought it reasonable to reflect on the some of the highlights – and lowlights – of the year from my perspective.


From a Council perspective, we have had another challenging, but very successful year.

Once again, the City of Port Adelaide Enfield has come out on top, with the best value for rates in metro Adelaide, overall low rates with high service levels.

Of course I know some will not agree and say more needs to be done in some areas, and of course, they are right – we can’t sit down and applaud ourselves and not continue working to improve.

We are always looking at what next, what we can do better, what can we do that is new and make a positive difference for our community. By “we” I mean both elected members and staff.

We have faced some major issues this year – weather related storm damage chief amongst them, where our “hands on” staff did, and are doing, a fantastic job. We are planning to upgrade stormwater management in some areas previously not flooded until this year, whilst the worst affected areas for flooding in our Council, as always, the Le Fevre Peninsula, has had new flood mitigation systems commissioned this year and there is lots more to come there.

On the down side, I am frustrated by some senior Council staff’s overall ‘Port centric’ approach to matters, which this year I think got even worse (the Technical Services Department are not included in this gripe).

This is not to say that “all the money is spent in the Port” or the services this side of town are worse (both of which are said to me regularly by residents) which are both provably untrue, but there is a strong perception of that.

What we have is a Council area that geographically that has a very busy seaside centre, and a suburbia which has no other real ‘centres’ (the Parks was one), and that Port centre is currently at the forefront of a revival in many ways. That is great, as it will add to the wealth and progress of the city overall.

However, the challenge as a Council is to ensure that ratepayers, wherever they may live or own property, feel and are included in Council’s progress. I do not believe many, even most, feel that way, and that is a current failing. I have discussed this privately with the CEO recently, which includes ways to fix this. Look for changes in 2017!

Image result for port adelaide centre

Other downers include the State Government’s changes to the Local Government Act which makes the way Councils perform more expensive and with more red tape. I am all for transparency and accountability but the conflict of interest provisions are incredibly convoluted and all three local government lawyers I have spoken to don’t totally understand how it is meant to work. Even State Government bureaucrats don’t know, and I am left wondering how it managed to pass Parliament. Maybe I shouldn’t wonder.

Image result for parliament house adelaide

We have also faced even more cutbacks in Federal and State grant funding and more dumping of responsibility onto us, but acknowledge the new dog and cat changes are a welcome change in the other direction.

The continued bleatings from the organisation representing the wealthiest property developers in SA, The Property Council, for forced Council amalgamations, eagerly repeated ad nauseam by their corporate newsletter, The Advertiser, whilst supplying garbage financial figures to back up their claim bored everyone.

The only good to come from it is that most people don’t believe huge Councils will solve anything (necessarily) and are understandably dubious when the wealthy elites want to take their local democracy from them for their “benefit”.

I am concerned with the relish with which the The Advertiser/Messenger Press have taken up the cudgels to fight for the little man, er, Property Council, and beat the crap out of Local Government in general, and specific Councils and Councillors.

Speaking of which, there was really only one major low light Council wise, personally, and that was the hysteria surrounding my notice of motion for a report into the banning of cricket balls on reserves whilst other people were using the reserve.

I will go into greater detail in another post later, but I will say now that I learnt a lot after that episode. Oscar Wilde must have been tongue in cheek when he said all publicity is good publicity, but it did impress me that such a small matter was being misreported right across the globe, even in the West Indies!

Back to the positives and I have been pleased with my overall success in having work done in our ward this year, even if at least one of my colleagues from other wards is not quite as pleased. However, as much as I admire and love to work with all of my fellow elected members, I am here to represent my constituents, and I make no apologies for negotiating hard, and successfully, for projects and improvements. Do you expect anything less from me?

Anyway, just some of the projects in Northfield Ward I have initiated include The Sir Ross Smith Boulevard northern footpath, and 3 pedestrian crossings; the Fosters Road service road (next to the Greenacres Library) upgrade; the Greenacres LATM being brought forward to 2017; Fosters Road streetscape upgrade; improvements to the Vickers Vimy Reserve in Northgate; solved a major car parking issue in Lightsview; FJ Garrard Reserve Masterplan; Thomas Turner Reserve Masterplan and improvements to the LJ Lewis Reserve Dog Park.

I have worked hard on the above Masterplans and that for Duncan Fraser Reserve; the proposed Northfield DPA (rezoning); the State Government’s draft Fosters Road Management Plan, and on reporting matters to Council to be fixed – this year I reported over 300 matters from illegal dumping, pot holes, damaged footpaths and street tree issues to stray dogs and even a feral cat infestation, usually via app but also by email and phone, when urgent.

For 2017, I have even more improvements planned in Northfield Ward, which includes a major and innovative reserve revamp program; some local traffic management issues to be resolved; more park upgrades; of course further design work and community consultation on the previously mentioned master plans, proposed Northfield rezoning and Fosters Road draft RMP; and another dog park.

This year, I achieved 25 years of service to the residents of the City of Enfield, then the City of Port Adelaide Enfield.


As this is a Council related webpage, I am rather circumspect in discussing my private life, but feel it is important in context of this year.

I have had some amazing highs in 2016.

Being appointed the inaugural coach of the first ever Women’s Football team at the great Gaza Football Club was an amazing honour. At the end of the season Gaza FC chose to replace me in the role by my friend and Assistant, Kym Knevitt, and I became the U18s coach.

I can look back on the great wins we had, the many friends I made, and the satisfaction of working to build up the team with some great people whom I really adore, and I believe leaving the team in a good place.

The football team’s captain, Tell, married her beau, Simon, in October, in the best wedding I think I have been to, and I enjoyed the time with the team’s players and support staff immensely, and was delighted to watch two great people start their married life together.

Image may contain: 17 people, people smiling, people standing, wedding and indoor

My 50th birthday in March was outstanding, being present with over 100 people who were special to me, it was the best birthday I have ever had, and I will cherish the memories, some lovely gifts, and the kind friends who donated over $1000 to the two charities I was supporting on the night.

I was also immensely proud, and humbled, when Sonia was awarded her University Degree, a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) this year. I am immensely proud of her achievement and the person she has become; and humbled, as she reminds me often how she has a degree and I don’t. Her mother has two.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and suit

I have also started a new business in late November, which is so far so good, but I have barely touched the surface on possibilities there, so 2017 is the big year for me in business.

2016 has been an awful for year for losing well known people whose music, literature, performances or other life’s work meant something to me – in my case: David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Andrew Sachs, Gene Wilder, Ronnie Corbett, Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, Muhammad Ali, Alvin Toffler, Robert Vaughn, Edward Albee, Dario Fo, Johan Cruyff, Ross Higgins, Laurie Dwyer, Bob Francis, Max Walker and John Siddons.

This year I attended more funerals than I care to remember, with some people who were close to me.

We lost my favourite former school teacher, who was one of the three people who had the most effect on my life, Rajendra Kumar Dayal. Raj was born in South Africa of Indian decent, his father employed in his legal firm a young Indian immigrant called Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – better known by his honorific, Mahatma (my 3 degrees of separation to Gandhi).

Apart from his superb drama teaching in which steps I tried to follow, Raj also inspired me with his teachings of cultural understanding and by being just a great bloke. We disagreed on politics often (he was an avowed socialist) but we were both similarly passionate about social justice.

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For most of this year, however, I spent time with my ailing (adopted) father, who finally passed away on September 28th.

He has had more influence than anyone else on my life, and having spent so much time with him this year was both a blessing and a curse, in that to watch him fade away was heart wrenching, and for me, losing him has really overshadowed the whole year.

Yes, I can look back on many good times, but I would rather him here still.

In 2017, I am looking forward to the challenge of coaching juniors again, success in my new business, some more trips interstate and moving into our new home (when we find the right one).

How was your year? What are you looking forward to in 2017?



Hello Readers

The December Council meeting pretty much went as I had expected, at least, in the items most relevant to Northfield Ward.


This was approved with some debate that the proposal doesn’t go far enough. The result will be that if you own vacant land and start building a residence on it within the first 12 months of that ownership, you will not be charged the vacant land rate, upon application to Council.

I know of a few (very few) cases over the years where people could not start their build on vacant land within the first 12 months due to reasons outside of their control. This also happened to us, when we were in court with Homestead Homes, who we regretfully chose to build with.

The problem is to change the policy to rope in these rare cases as well starts to defeat the purpose of the policy, and so I think a case by case assessment would be a better way to go here. If you are aware of a case in this category, please contact me so I can chase it up for you.

Unfortunately, there is no legal way we can make this policy change retrospective, so if you were forced to pay the vacant land rates in 2015/16 or earlier, nothing can change that.

Anyway, I am celebrating another win here, a change of policy after 20 years of trying!


In this debate, Cr Osborn added in a few additional lines, which were supported by the majority of Councillors, as can be seen in red below:

Legislative Compliance (Leadership)
All Procurements are to be undertaken so as to ensure compliance with legislative requirements, including, but not limited to, legislation applicable to:
Suppliers and their workers, including work health and safety law, equal opportunity law, employment law, occupational licensing and provisions for working with vulnerable persons; and Supplies, including Australian Standards.
The evaluation of Suppliers as part of a Procurement is to include Practice/Shared Values (Leadership, Community) consideration of:
the Supplier’s commitment to ethical practice, including, but not limited to, avoidance of cartel behaviour/abuse of market power, ethical sourcing of its own supplies and, as appropriate to the nature of the Supplier and the Supplies, compliance with United Nations declarations, covenants and treaties, International Labour Organization Conventions, and Social Accountability International Standard SA8000; and the extent to which the Supplier shares Council’s values (as set out in the City Plan 2030).


This was an odd debate.

We have a Local Government Minister, who though very experienced in Local Government, appears to be completely out of touch with the sector. I suspect that he is one of those Ministers who has his department do all the work for him, and I can promise you, they are also, apparently, completely out of touch with the sector. Anyway, on the heels of a comprehensive review of the Local Government (Elections) Act, out of his office came a previously completely unheralded idea.

The idea is that all candidates for Council must complete weekly donation returns during the election campaign to Council staff which includes how much they have had donated to them during the previous week.

I see no problem in this, apart from the sheer hypocrisy of this idea, being that the current State Government receives millions of dollars in donations which don’t need to be disclosed under state legislation.

So, I am happy if Local Government is leading the transparency charge, because, once again, we can show the public how we do things better, and this idea is hardly going to be an impost on anyone I would think: my weekly donation return during the last election would look like this: $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00.

In response to the argument that it would be too hard for candidates to keep up to date with weekly forms, my answer is: how on Earth are Council candidates going to keep up with all the work being a Councillor if they can’t fill out one simple form a week for about 6 weeks?

Yes, the idea has merit, and yes, the idea is also a bit of overkill, and I am sure there is a better compromise possible somewhere; but I was fascinated by the absolute passion of those speaking against this in the debate. Council ended up voting to write to the LGA, to oppose this. I voted against this.

One of the reasons raised in debate about why Council should oppose it was that it will discourage people from running for Council.

Discourage people? Last election there were a record 11 candidates in Enfield Ward, and a record 6 in Northfield Ward. I am sure the majority of those would also have completed this return if it had existed then the same as mine – $0.00 all round, and not one would have been discouraged by this law, if it had been in place.

Even if some people had needed to complete a return including a donation or two, how hard is that? A completely hypothetical one for example:

Week Ending Date: 13/10/2018

1.Acme Roadrunners Pty Ltd             $500
2.Amalgamated Widgets Union       $1500

The debate has made me curious as to who donated what to which candidates at the last Council election, so I shall be checking on that in January and reporting the outcome here, in the public interest.

Now, if you’re reading this, and wish to donate* to me for my next election campaign in 2018, please feel free to do so, however, knowing that whatever that amount is will be publicly declared by me for the world to see, whether this idea becomes law or not.

Anyway, what do YOU think of this?

* I reserve the right to decline the donation depending on the circumstances under which it is offered, and the potential donor, as per my ethics.


Council almost unanimously passed this report – where the key points (as reproduced below) will be sent to the Minister for Local Government.

Not one person felt the need to contact me, or Council, after a thorough second round of community consultation. Tends to show me there is not a problem.

The key points are:

• The Mayor for the City of Port Adelaide Enfield be elected by the electors for the area.
• The area be divided into seven (7) wards as depicted as Option 1 in the Representation Options Paper and presented in the Representation Review Report.
• The number of Councillors be seventeen (17) ward councillors and no area councillors.
• Council retains the current geographical ward names

In other words, no changes from the present, other than a small boundary change between Port Adelaide and Semaphore Wards.


Cr. Basham moved that Council resolves that sufficient funds be set aside in the 2017/2018 budget process to construct 3 dog parks across the City subject to the investigations into dog parks already occurring in the financial year.
Cr. Osborn seconded CARRIED.

After much work, I was successful a few years ago to have Council fund an investigation into installing 3 dog parks across the City.

Council now has 3 operational dog parks – LJ Lewis Reserve, as above (Northfield), Jack Watkins Reserve (Kilburn) and Roy Marten Reserve (Taperoo).

These are well patronised reserves, and much loved, but people in other area are also lobbying Councillors for dog parks closer to their homes.

To this end, I moved for another 3 dog parks to be looked at. Already there are significant numbers of residents asking for dog parks at Thomas Turner Reserve (Valley View) as part of our Masterplan community consultation , and TK Shutter Reserve (Klemzig), where Council is about to embark on a  playground upgrade, and others are looking for one in the Port Adelaide Ward area.


Cr. Basham moved that Council resolves that a report be brought back to Council on:
1. The condition of the Council owned retaining walls on Briens Road, Northfield, and the most efficient way to replace or repair them, with sufficient funds to be considered in the 2017/2018 Council budget process subject to the outcomes of that report; and,
2. Sufficient money be set aside in the 2017/2018 budget process to pave the footpath on the eastern side of Briens Road, Northfield subject to work not interfering with any actions taken due to the report in part one of this motion.
Cr. Russell seconded CARRIED.


December 2016 Council Meeting Agenda

Hello Again

I sometimes wonder why I post reports on Council meetings. Sometimes.

I notice that amongst my posts on Facebook, my posts on Council meetings are amongst the least read, with posts on missing dogs being more popular. Then again, dogs are important. That’s why I provided a pets’ page for people to post their pet stories on my website.

However, I am encouraged by my fellow ward Councillor, Matt Osborn’s, regular entreaties as to my next Council post, which leads me to the conclusion he is really keen to see my thoughts on the next Council meeting, or he just wants me to waste my time, or perhaps both.

So, here they are again, my thoughts on the items most relevant to Northfield Ward at the December 12th 2016 meeting of Council:

ITEM 12.1.3 Dolly Parton Imagination Library

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library may sound quite odd as the title of a Council report – okay, it does – but apart from her two most well known assets, being her singing and songwriting, Dolly Parton is also an amazing philanthropist and helped develop a program to assist with early literacy learning in the USA, which is now extended to many countries.

Even though staff have recommended a small pilot study in Parks Ward, I am hopeful that this scheme whereby children seen to be ‘at risk’ of literacy deprivation, are provided with one book per month until they start attending school, can be expanded across the Council.

rom the website

ITEM 12.3.2 Rates Rebates Applicable to Vacant Land

For many years, I have been trying to change this policy to make it fairer for those caught up in paying double for their rates as they own vacant land for residential purposes but cannot develop it for reasons out of their control.

I voted for, and fully supported, this policy when it first came in to the City of Enfield back in 1992, when land speculation was still common in the eastern part of the Council, so doubling the rates on vacant land seemed a good idea to, if not stop the practice, at least, tax it for some community benefit.

The problem became apparent when greenfields sites such as Oakden were opened up and hundreds of land holders were hit with this double rating on their property (including me on my first home in Oakden), yet were not in the least bit part of the land speculation brigade. The policy was a very blunt instrument and innocent people were being hurt by it.

I failed in 1996 to have it amended when the amalgamated Council voted to begin the practice, and I have been trying every few years since. The former CEO was intransigent on the issue, dismissing concerns and telling Council that amending the policy to hit the land speculators but sparing the innocent land holders was “too hard”. Unfortunately in all those years I could not convince enough of my fellow elected members of the benefits of amending the rates policy on vacant land to be fairer. Until now.

This year I pounced on the opportunity to try again, and in July I was successful in having a report commissioned into how to make the policy not apply for the first twelve months of ownership of land proposed for residential purposes.

Staff have now brought back a report with an excellent way of achieving this via a rate rebate which is administratively simple and fair way to land owners previously caught up in this unfair practice.

ITEM 12.3.7 Automatic Property Franchise Voting Entitlement

I was once a fan of property owners having automatic rights to be on the Council electoral roll.

Not any more.

Even though only a fraction used to vote, it was still I thought, only fair that ALL ratepayers have this right, after the State Government in 2009 changed this to require property owners to register annually to remain on the Council roll.

I changed my mind after I saw the costs involved. We are talking around half a million dollars for Council to keep this roll up to date at general elections and for the number of electors who vote this way, this is incredibly expensive, and simply unjustifiable.

Now it seems the Local Government Association is pushing to reinstate the automatic franchise to property owners (I sometimes wonder whose side they are on) which is not, I think, one of the more pressing issues with which we have to deal.

If you are a property owner, I think it is fair you have to fill out a simple form once every few years if you want to vote at a Council election – that I can cope with, after all, ‘normal’ electors who are residents have to complete a new form every time we move home, which can be several times in some people’s lifetimes (I am in my 21st home at 50 years of age) and that form is more complex than the one used for property owners.

What do you think? Or do you care as much as most do?

ITEM 12.3.14 Events Grants Summary Report

Council has a problem in that it has already spent its Events Grants Budget for the Financial Year so the only way to consider other events was to refer them to the Council meeting to endorse the additional spending.

Council tonight will consider 20 applications, 14 recommended for funding and 6 not, on top of the 13 already granted funding at the Grants Committee meeting back in November.

Of the 14 recommended for funding, only two are located this side of town, both at Klemzig Reserve, and I won’t be able to vote on them due to conflicts of interest (one I am on the organising committee, and the other I am very close friends to the organisers).

I am interested to see whether the two our side of town may have some elements of Council trying to stop the events, relocate them or otherwise lower the amounts recommended for grant approval. If this happens, it will show who does and does not care for promoting events in all areas of the Council, not just in the Port.

ITEM 12.3.36 Elector Representation Review – Preparation of Final Report

The above final draft underwent its second  round of community consultation recently and received a ripping ZERO submissions. So, Council, I would expect, shall send this off to the Minister for Local Government for rubber stamping.

The changes for Northfield Ward? None. Good.

ITEM 14.2 Notice of Motion – Dog Parks

I have submitted a Notice of Motion for Council to put aside money in the next budget to construct 3 dog parks across the Council, subject to Council staff investigations as to locations (already occurring).

ITEM 14.3 Notice of Motion – Briens Road

I have submitted a Notice of Motion for Council to investigate fixing the Council owned retaining walls on Briens Road, Northfield, and to do so in the next Financial Year if possible; and to pave this part of Briens Road, subject to if and when the work is done on the above retaining walls.

If you really want to read the whole agenda (and you are welcome to), here is the link:

Any comments on the above? Tell me below!


People are dying wishing to die earlier

Yes, this article is about euthanasia, also known as assisted dying, dying with dignity, mercy killing or assisted suicide to the anti-euthanasia lobby. Call it what you will, it’s the same thing.

WARNING: This article contains graphic descriptions of dying people which may be disturbing to some readers. Caution is advised.

Why am I qualified to speak on this? Apart from being a human being and citizen of South Australia, over the past two years, I have had the miserable experience of watching both of my dearly loved adopted parents die lingering deaths.

I know this happens to a most people, and I know nursing home and hospital staff watch this day in, day out. I don’t know how they do it. My admiration for them exceeds that of any sportsperson, scientist or charity worker. Their dedication and care is a wonder of the world that makes building the pyramids seem like kids playing with blocks.

The sad fact is we are finite beings. I am going to die, you are going to die, and your children and your grand children will die too.

Horrible thought, isn’t it? – and I truly hope all of your families live full, happy and healthy lives. Fortunately, being in Australia, statistically, most of us will do that, with only the few issues as we move into the twilight of old age.

The South Australian Parliament debated a bill to allow voluntary euthanasia last night. It is an emotive topic for some, as to some it means dying with dignity, others read it as murder.

As predicted, it lost in the House of Assembly, but by the barest of margins, on the Speaker’s casting vote. Thus change is getting closer, and is inevitable, so the anti-euthanasia lobby are celebrating a Pyrrhic victory. Once approved, it will be here to stay forever, and they know it.

As for all matters where I feel I need to make a decision one way or another, I studied various points of view on this, starting in my teen years and still read information from both sides, mainly those opposed, to this day. My opinion has changed little in that time.

I support voluntary euthanasia (VE) as a dignified means for a human being, if so wishing to end their own life early, when their own prognosis is clearly terminal and they face acute pain in their last stages of life.

“I do not support voluntary euthanasia who do not want it for themselves – that is why it is voluntary.”

I do not support VE for those people who do not want it for themselves – that is why it is voluntary. They have the right to die as they wish. Which, is the whole crux of my argument. The debate comes down to those who want it for only those who want it for themselves, versus those who oppose it for everyone.

What is clear in the documents and debates I have read and heard on this issue over the years is that the opponents of VE will oppose it in any form, with any safeguards in place, for anyone, at all. Their opposition is total and unyielding. It is dogmatic.

The very good reason for this dogmatic disapproval is simple – the vast majority of VE opponents are doing it for religious reasons, which means power. Religion wants power over you, your body, your life, your money. Your religion dictates what you do with your life.

This is generally fine by me. As long as you don’t hurt anyone else, I am comfortable for you to have your beliefs, and I will not even be offended if you try and ram it down my throat, as I am very good at listening to other people’s points of view, and I like to hear from people who don’t agree with me. As long as they have empirical evidence to back up their claims.

The reason many MPs oppose VE is not because of belief but fear of religious zealots’ reaction at the ballot box. Anti-euthanasia campaigners are well organised and well funded from church money. Pro-euthanasia campaigners are not. I have been told this by a few MPs, some of whom are supporters, and some opponents, of VE, privately.

This is irrelevant of overwhelming community support for VE, as MPs are afraid that some electors won’t be voting for pro-VE MPs, but may vote against pro-VE MPs. They are correct because this is how the cashed up conservative church groups run – they threaten MPs with a barrage of letters, emails and phone calls. The VE groups do not have this money or organisation but have relied on real life stories of the pain and anguish families go through watching loved ones die horribly to change MPs’ minds.

Another excuse for opposition to VE is that it will open the door to a scenario where disabled people will be forced to die—disabled-views/ which again is not what VE is about. Remember, VOLUNTARY – the individual MUST give their consent.

What? Why? Well, it is a good scare tactic, and diverts attention from the real issue. I, nor anyone I know, support disabled people wanting to die – unless they are in their final stages of terminal illness – being permitted to go down the VE path.

Unfortunately some of the disabled community have fallen for this as part of their genuine and proper campaign for disabled rights. Not only is this quite unnecessary, but it is damaging the credibility of their wider disabled rights campaign, as it diverts support away. But it does gain attention!

However, my favourite opposition approach is the one that proffers the nightmare scenario similar to Logan’s Run where people will be killed by their governments when they reach a certain age. If we as a society really are heading down that path, then VE for the terminally ill is the least of our worries. It is of course nonsense, just another outlandish scare tactic.

“Death really is the final frontier.” 

Death really is the final frontier.

We can talk about sex and politics quite comfortably, gosh, even full frontal nudity has been on TV in Australia since the 1970s, but when did you last see a documentary or realist fictional account of the last days of someone dying of cancer or Parkinsons? I mean realistic fiction because the pathetically sanitised American made drama shows we are subjected to here are as real as the manifestly insincere gush of affection from your elderly aunt at Christmas. They only show relatively healthy looking actors with some make up and poor lighting – think Barbara Hershey in Beaches, which is one of the more vaguely realistic dying scenes in US film.

They won’t show real life lingering death. It is just too horrible.

Yet, every day, this happens to hundreds of Australians in their final day.

Back to my parents. My mother was firm in her views against euthanasia. She believed that medical science would progress to the stage whereby one day people could live forever, regardless of illness, and she was determined to have every opportunity to see that day, and take advantage of it.

Many years ago, my father, somewhat tongue in cheek, attempted to debate this with her. He was met with a volley of invective and not terribly coherent phrases supporting her point of view. After a while, I tried to stop the argument telling my father that my mother had the right to decide what she wanted done with her life, as it was her life. She nodded her agreement.

“That’s fine,” he said, “But if I want to die earlier without becoming a vegetable or a lingering death from cancer, am I allowed to?” he asked.

“No,” she said, “No one has the right to decide when you should die.”

We ended that conversation, despite the obvious contradictions, hypocrisy and her almost unchallenged dogmatic position. Such were my parents when discussing something ‘controversial’.

Ultimately, on Boxing Day 2014 I visited my mother in her nursing home room, to find her lying there languidly, silent, and her eyes apparently not making contact with me. I called staff and a doctor was found who confirmed she had suffered a massive stroke, from which she would not, could not, recover.

She didn’t. She never spoke again, nor seemed to acknowledge human contact. I went there to see her almost daily, and on January 3rd, told my father that he should not visit her again. She was unable to eat, with minimal fluids, and her body was shrinking as she lost weight, and she was turning brown from once her fine porcelain paleness.

Thankfully, she finally died on January 12th 2015. I saw her the day before, her skin stretched over her skull and arms, all I could see of her body; her head looked like a prune with mould on it, being her once beautiful white hair.



“His mind was now on his own likely looming mortality.”

My father did not see the worst of this, but suspected it I guess, from what he didn’t say. His mind was now on his own likely looming mortality.

In late August this year he was finally moved into the same wonderful nursing home as my mother, in the very next room in fact, for his final weeks, having spent some time in the equally wonderful Mary Potter Hospice.

His oncologist had agreed that further chemotherapy, radiotherapy and blood transfusions would not extend his life, nor quality of life after his three year battle against what started as bowel cancer. A doctor there told me he had four to six weeks to live.

He was fine for two weeks, but then deteriorated badly, the cancer in his lungs, liver, bones and god knows where else by now, were so painful, and regardless of the painkillers he was given, he was still in excruciating pain. He was given enough morphine like drugs to knock Phar Lap onto the next track, but he wasn’t allowed to take any more or it would kill him. So much for palliative care.

Eventually, through lack of nutrition – he had refused to eat or drink – and the drugs, he fell into a coma from which he did not wake. His skin went yellow, due to his failing liver I was told by a nurse, and his skin stretched over his face and eyes too.

Just after an hour into Adelaide’s big blackout in September, which I stress, had no effect on this nursing home as it had a fully functioning back up generator, I visited him, and he died in my presence, his eyes staring at the ceiling, mouth open, arms curled up like a sleeping dog. He had died four weeks to the day after the doctor has said four to six weeks.

His final countenance is burnt into my memory. I see it every night as I go to bed, and every morning as I wake up, and sometimes during the day a lot, too.

He was a beautiful man, of rare kindness, generosity and a true gentleman to all. No one had a bad word to say about him. He didn’t deserve to die like that in a so called enlightened modern western democracy. I have been present when three of my dogs have been euthanized – they died with more dignity than my father.

He had told me months earlier he had wished he could die…

He had told me months earlier he had wished he could die, painlessly, with his children, grandson, sisters and my dog by his side. He wished this could happen if he only had a few weeks to live before he lost the ability to appreciate what little life he had left.

He wanted to die with dignity, relatively pain free.

The laws in this state still prevent this, and surely with some more negotiation, that will soon change, despite some people still saying this is wrong.

No, those who oppose it are wrong. You may be a good person, you may live a fulsome, wholesome life and do much good, but if you want to continue to prevent others from dying with dignity in these situations, then please take your religion, your misguided problems, your gutless pandering to the anti-euthanasia lobby and your fears of some future dystopian world and look after yourself only.

I will not, ever, support anyone who wishes not to die earlier than ‘natural’ being forced to die earlier, and will join you to fight that.

It is your right, to deal with your body as you see fit. I don’t want VE for you.

But, please, cannot we have that right too?


A quick update on matters of interest to Northfield Ward, as I see it, now the minutes are out.


The new policy was passed with no comment.


Council agreed to assist in writing the application for new changerooms in the Edward Smith and LJ Lewis Reserve Precinct under the State Government’s Female Changeroom Grants Scheme.

NOTE: I declared I am a member of the Greenacres FC, but do not believe I have a conflict of interest and stayed in the chamber and voted for the motion.


Replacement bio-bags will now cost $10 per roll, as recommended, down from $19.45.


The 2 hour parking controls outside the shops at 19 Ways Road, Hampstead Gardens, will be removed, at last.


This was probably the longest debate of the night.

Due to our busy schedules, the three ward Councillors had not had time to sit down to work out what we thought of the Council staff’s reaction to DPTI’s (State Government) Draft Management Plan for Fosters Road.

However, during the debate, it became obvious that not only did we all agree the staff had the same opinions as us on the draft plan’s, ah, limitations, but that we also agreed that more needed to be done, and what that was.

Accordingly, after Cr Osborn had originally moved the staff recommendation, I asked him to add the details that Council at my behest had already been asking for, for many years, namely, lights at the North East Road and Fosters Road intersection, and a pedestrian operated crossing in the most suitable location on Fosters Road.

Cr Osborn sort of agreed, but cleverly, changed my words to include more than one crossing, and then Council staff chipped in, asking that their suggestion that the Fosters/Sir Ross Smith/Folland intersection be signalised, be added in, so this was added in too.

The final motion read:

Cr. Osborn moved that Council resolves the following:
1. The Director Technical Services’ report titled “Draft Road Management Plan for Fosters Road” be received and noted. 2. Council Administration provides Technical feedback as outlined below to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) for their consideration and continues to lobby DPTI to upgrade Fosters Road, especially the intersections with North East Road and Sir Ross Smith Boulevard / Folland Avenue. 3. Council support a signalised intersection at the corner of Fosters Road and North East Road and pedestrian activated crossings at appropriate locations.

Bit of teamwork there.

I firmly believe now that with the projected increases in traffic, especially at the roundabout corner, and the dangers to pedestrians trying to cross, that DPTI will need to budget around $15M to fix Fosters Road with two sets of traffic lights, multiple roundabouts, a redesign at the southern end and landscaping throughout to slow the traffic down and make it safe for pedestrians.

What do you think?

I have an entire page devoted to this on this site –

which will updated with my full thoughts soon.

I will be distributing a special leaflet to suburbs either side of Fosters Road later this month asking for people to supply feedback to DPTI on their feeble and misguided effort on this one, and I hope for their next attempt at this, we get something that matches community expectations.


Council has agreed to looking at reviewing options for management of Council’s golf assets portfolio. This of course (no pun intended) includes our Valley View Par 3 course and the adjacent golf driving range.


Council has agreed to investigate constructing an additional three dog parks across the city in the next financial year, with Klemzig Ward Councillors getting in on the action quickly writing to staff asking for one to be build at TK Shutter Reserve. I also received an email from a resident of Windsor Gardens to this effect.


Council agreed to look at fixing the parking issues when there are junior football games on at LJ Lewis Reserve, Northfield.

You can read the full minutes (minus the confidential bits of course) here:

And please, don’t be shy, feel free to post a comment!

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