We travelled to Bendigo last Saturday for the Chrysler show that was to be held in Bendigo near the town hall.
I am in a wheelchair and booked a taxi from the All Seasons Motel on McIvor Highway for 7.40am on Sunday. The taxi never arrived. After calling them I was told they had "no taxis in the area".
At 8am I decided to travel into town by wheelchair, not knowing the area and on my own, with a $3000 camera set up on my wheelchair.
I was fearful of what could happen, but had no choice. I arrived safely and at 10am I got a phone call from a taxi driver saying they would be at the All Seasons in 10 minutes.
Rural towns are screaming out for tourism and people to spend their money, yet when you try to do something to help, you are confronted with a pathetic transport system, which could have ruined the whole weekend.
I know I won't be using public transport in Bendigo ever again. Not only that, I am thinking I won't go back.
I think I spent about $1000 over the weekend in your city.
Don't expect to be back - especially if more wheelchair users are treated this way. I can only say Bendigo is not wheelchair-friendly.
I am very disappointed that the old police cells behind the new GovHub have now been demolished. Surely they should have been heritage-listed?
I write to thank your community for their interest and input to our annual Stroke Awards, which celebrate Australians for their care, courage, and achievements in this important field.
This year, the winner of the Courage Award left barely a dry eye in the house. The resilience shown by Victorian Nicole Gallacher, who had a stillborn baby after her stroke in November 2020, was amazing to see. What made her accomplishment even more special is that she was joined on stage by her husband Dave, who nominated her for the award, and their newborn baby Angus, who was named after the neurosurgeons who saved her life.
Other 2023 Stroke Award winners include the inspirational young Noah Barlow who couldn't attend the event, as he was in hospital. The 13-year-old Victorian was honoured for his tireless efforts in lobbying for accessible playgrounds at his primary school and playground. A survivor of nine strokes and a huge Star Wars fan, I was among a group of Stroke Foundation representatives who were lucky enough to hand-deliver Noah's award to him, along with Darth Vader, Stormtroopers and Princess Leia herself. That was a moment Noah and I won't forget.
We also had the pleasure of recognising Queensland's Douglas Hemming with a Creative Award. Doug found art after his life-changing stroke. He had worked as a teacher for five decades, right up until the day before his stroke in May 2021.
The very personal stories of Nicole, Noah and Douglas were just a few of the awe-inspiring experiences we got to share in during our annual awards ceremony. They show courage, hope, resilience and are such a strong reminder of why we do what we do at the Stroke Foundation.
Nominees came from across Australia and all walks of life. It is always a joy to read their stories and meet the finalists at the event.
There are 445,000 Australians living with the impact of stroke. That means there are people in every community who know exactly why stroke, awareness, treatment and recovery is so important, and the people who support those critical services are our heroes.
I hope to hear more stories of tenacity and achievements in our 2024 Stroke Awards, so please consider submitting a nomination to recognise and celebrate the people in your community.
Australia's 80,000 disused and abandoned mines have enormous potential for nearby communities.
These range from rehabilitated pits converted to recreational lakes to sources of critical minerals and renewable energy.
The Genex pumped-hydro project in northern Queensland for example will generate up to 900 jobs and store its water in two pits of the old Kidston goldmine.
It has a storage/generation capacity of 250MW for eight hours (2000MWh) and will ramp up in less than 30 seconds.
A second example of long-term storage is Broken Hill's underground Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) system being built for Transgrid by Canadian company Hydrostor.
The air is stored in purpose-built caverns and, when needed, is released to spin a turbine.
When completed, it will be the world's biggest CAES facility and provide at least eight hours of storage.
Another exciting use of old mine sites is the recovery of critical and rare metals from tailings dumps.
Critical metals are vital for clean energy and advanced technologies like smartphones, computers, solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles. Re-using and rehabilitating old mine sites could well be the next "mining boom" in regional Australia.
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