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Bad boys team again for world championships

The men’s 4×100 metre freestyle relay team central to the Stilnox bonding session controversy before last year’s Olympic Games is set to be reunited for the world championships, and will be looking to re-establish itself as the world’s best, according to two of its members.
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James Magnussen and James Roberts, speaking after they qualified fastest and 10th for Wednesday night’s national 50 metre freestyle semi-finals, said they were eager to prove that last year’s flop in London, when as world champions and pre-race favourites they finished out of the medals, was just a bad night.

Five of the six swimmers who were disciplined for their bad behaviour at a pre-Olympic Games camp in Manchester qualified for the relay squad by finishing in the top six places of the 100 metre freestyle final of the national titles on Tuesday night. They will team up for the world championships that will start in Barcelona in July.

Eamon Sullivan did not swim as he has taken the year off to recover from a shoulder injury, with Matt Abood the new face.

While Swimming Australia chief executive Michael Scott has indicated that selectors may not chose all eligible swimmers for relay squads, the core of the Olympic relay team will be there and Roberts said they had something to prove.

“We want nothing more… to prove not only to ourselves but to everyone else that we’re up there with the best,” Roberts said.

“I’m really happy to secure that relay spot. The other guys are swimming great and especially it’s awesome to see (Cameron) McEvoy (who came second in the 100 freestyle) come along so far.

“We want nothing more than to get on with the job. It was always going to be a tough few months but I think everyone’s come out really well and the team as a whole is swimming fantastically at this meet.”

Magnussen said he was impressed that his relay teammates had been able to overcome the controversy and swim strongly in Adelaide.

“I think that was one of the real positives out of it that everyone in that team was able to put the past behind them and be able to get out there and do the job on the night,” Magnussen said.

“I think it’s really impressive especially for a young guy like Cam (McEvoy). You put most 18-year-olds in that situation and they’ll probably walk away from the sport, but he’s turned around and had a massive week here and obviously moved on from that quicker than any of us. It’s great that all the guys have turned things around.”

As for the 50 freestyle, Magnussen believed Thursday night’s final would be a blanket finish.

“I don’t know if I can go as quick as I did last year … it may not be as fast as last year, so it will be touch and go between probably about five of us I reckon,” Magnussen said.

In other results, Belinda Hocking was the fastest qualifier for the 200 backstroke semi-finals in two minutes 10.60, Christopher Wright is the fastest from the 100 butterfly heats in 52.59, and Alicia Coutts was the fastest qualifier for the 50 butterfly semi-finals in 27.47. Katie Goldman was the fastest qualifier for Thursday night’s 800 final in 8:33.03.

Daniel Fox (S14) and Taylor Corry (S14) were the fastest qualifiers for the men’s and women’s 100 freestyle multi-class finals respectively.

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Industry joins China project

A PROJECT to get wild caught Australian abalone into the Chinese abalone market has entered its third phase.
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The China Project, which was launched in 2009 by Abalone Council Australia and the Seafood CRC, focused on expanding the footprint of wild caught abalone from Australia in the emerging Chinese market.

South Australian Abalone Industry Association president Jonas Woolford said the project had been exciting and it was starting to go ahead.

“We have now launched what could be seen as the third stage to the project,” he said.

“It is in fact a new project in that we are now working with Australian rock lobster because we are both exporting premium Australian seafood, accessing the same Chinese market and experiencing the same challenges.

“This is a first in that Australian abalone and rock lobster industries have spent the last eight months drawing together their experience of exporting to China from over the last 20 years to come up with a plan to work with the Australian and Chinese governments to facilitate, support and expand the legitimate direct trade platform to China.”

Mr Woolford said the project had also highlighted that there were big gaps in the supply chain.

“If we are to supply this new market with our premium Australian Wild Abalone then we need to sure up the direct trade platform with China,” he said. Through the project, the China Trade Reference Group has been formed and has been meeting in Canberra to meet with various ministers and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mr Woolford said the reference group had met with prime minister Julia Gillard and Trade Minister Dr Craig Emerson before they made their trip to China in March.

“Both industries have been working on strengthening the direct trade to China and have invested over $5 million in cash and in kind contributions over the last few years,” he said.

“On current Australian government statistics for 2010-11, abalone and rock lobster exports to China contributed $372.8 million direct benefit to the economy across the supply chain, with a major benefit to regional communities.

Mr Woolford said the current political climate was right in both Australia and China to act.

“Our trading partners are asking us for support to have safe and secure access to our products,” he said.

“Our industries are building the foundations for long term results for all food industries in Australia and China.”

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Role of parents is a key factor in literacy debate

ONE issue that often dominates educational debate in Dubbo and other areas of NSW is the standard of literacy teaching and learning in schools.
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It’s recently been stated that as many as 30 per cent of Australian students leave school functionally illiterate in their first language, English.

Of course, there have always been such students. But in recent decades, the problem has become more pronounced.

Even if the current estimate of 30 per cent is overstated, there can be no doubt that the level is far too excessive.

In fact, it could be argued that even one student leaving school devoid of adequate functional literacy is excessive.

The main reason usually put forward for this deficiency is the absence of phonics’ teaching, the explicit instruction to children on how to link sounds to the letters in the conventional English-language alphabet. One comment often made is “why don’t they teach phonics in the schools any more?” Well actually they do, at least in those around Dubbo.

A small article recently published in London’s The Times newspaper about modern affluent Norwegian society, provides vital perspectives on literacy teaching in Australia.

This opinion piece related the exodus of oil-rich Norwegians for their Easter holidays, well before most of the world started theirs. Four decades of wealthy income has apparently created a Scandinavian population that doesn’t take kindly to a long working week.

Six years ago, I lived in Norway and worked at a Norwegian independent school, and can certainly testify that a little pampering is sometimes apparent in their society.

Taking into account the fact that lucrative oil resources have been at their disposal since around 40 years ago, then today’s Norwegian parents of school-age students have had most of that period to enjoy an extremely well-off lifestyle.

And their children, today’s school students, have known no other existence than very comfortable affluence.

But these students do often have a very high standard of English literacy in read, spoken and written language.

Significantly, this considerable expertise had been achieved in their second language.

Although my Norwegian school was a fully English-speaking institution, its students’ proficiency in the language was generally consistent throughout Norway.

The students’ excellent use of English as their second language suggests that the same standard should prevail in Australia.

The fact that it apparently doesn’t, according to relevant observers such as employees, is not only a cause for great concern regarding Australia’s future, but demands a clear explanation for this deficiency.

It’s often stated that in decades past, a new way of teaching literacy, using the whole text language context approach, was instituted rather than phonics-based teaching.

This factor is seen as the major cause of the problem. But with phonics being taught today, then it’s time to look at a generational issue.

A crucial element in children’s literacy has always been the contribution of parents at home. Arguably, many of today’s parents have come out of that era when phonics received far less priority in schools.

Therefore, they may have their own literacy struggles, which impact on the ability to help their children, today’s current students.

Contemporary Norwegian parents might often be financially comfortable, but at some time, many of them became fluent in English as a second language.

This proficiency has been passed on to their children, combined with the learning of English from an early age in Norway’s schools.

It should be an example to educationalists attempting to deal with too many students’ current lack of functional literacy in Australia.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Cyber scare: restaurant CCTV streamed on web

Footage from the Three Chefs restaurant’s security camera streams live over the internet yesterday.Source: The Daily Advertiser
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Peepingtoms, thieves or anyone with a web connection could be watching your private moments at home or work.

As break-and-enters in Wagga skyrocket, many residents have rushed to install security cameras to feel safer and deter thieves.

But this could come at the price of becoming a live peep show on the internet.

That’s because many people don’t realise they need password protection when installing cameras themselves.

This was the case for Wagga restaurant Three Chefs.

The Daily Advertiserwas able to watch them hard at work yesterday on 10 security cameras placed throughout the restaurant.

One camera was directed over the cash register, another in the kitchen and others showed customers sitting at tables.

Owner Karl Kelly said he had become aware of the issue recently after someone called him about it.

By late last night he had put in place passwords to restrict access to the live footage.

He said it did concern him that anyone could be watching.

“We put them all in ourselves and installed a few different types,” he said.

“They’re sensor motion detector ones.

“We have a mix of wireless ones and fixed cameras that were already here.”

Mr Kelly said he had a Samsung phone and had used it to access the footage on a web browser.

Noting the restaurant had nothing to hide, Mr Kelly said his main concern was that people could watch the staff close at night.

“We often show the chefs working in the kitchen on the big screen in the restaurant anyway,” he said.

“It is a bit weird and, ultimately, we put this security in for the safety of the staff so we will be putting passwords in because you don’t know who could be watching.”

Owner of Wilsec Security Services in Wagga, Chris Wilson, said it was common for cheap security systems to be bought over the internet or at certain retail stores.

“There are a lot of cheap systems being promoted out there and people can look at (the footage) on their mobile,” he said.

“Normally you have to set up a password and a static IP for a wireless IP camera, but many people don’t realise.

“Technology is changing all the time and there is that move across from analogue to digital.”

Mr Wilson said it was important residents and businesses knew whether their system was secure because of the potential for credit card fraud and identity theft.

He said this could be done by contacting an IT expert, a security company or the retailer for information.

Workshops aim to give farmers a legal leg-up

Throughout May and June, NSW Farmers’ industrial relations team will be running a series of workshops across the state specifically for the dairy industry.
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The workshops will be a useful opportunity for dairy farmers to get a greater understanding of their employer obligations under law as well as strategies for effective workplace relations.

The workshops will cover in detail provisions of the Pastoral Award, as well as discussing employment lifecycle, performance management, tips to minimise risks when executing a termination of employment, the Fair Work Act 2009 as well as recent developments in workplace relations law.

NSW Farmers’ Industrial Relations Manager Gracia Kusuma said busy farmer operators often found it difficult to stay abreast of the many legislative requirements placed on them as employers.

“Knowledge and understanding is critical when it comes to workplace relations. It ensures that farmers are well equipped to effectively manage their workforce,” she said.

“These workshops are part of NSW Farmers’ ongoing strategy to provide practical benefits and on-going support to members which is aimed at empowering them to elevate the productivity of their farm enterprise.”

The workshops are free for members of NSW Farmers with non-members being charged a small fee. Register online via our website, email [email protected]南京夜网.au or call (02) 9478 100.

NSW Farmers industrial relations workshops to run across NSW

Workshop locations:

o Wagga Wagga – Wednesday May 1 – 10am at Wagga RSL Club

o Finley – Thursday May 2 – 10am at Finley Returned Soldiers Club

o Singleton – Thursday May 9 – 10am at Singleton Diggers

o Wingham – Monday May 13 – 10am at Wingham Golf Club

o Lismore – Wednesday May 15 – 10am at Lismore Workers Sports Club

o Bellingen – Thursday May 16 – 10am at Bellingen Golf Club

o Tamworth – Monday May 20 – 10am at Tamworth Golf Club

o Parkes – Thursday May 30 – 10am at Parkes Service Club

o Bega – Tuesday June 4 – 10.30am at Bega Cheese Training Centre

o Bodalla – Tuesday June 4 – 7pm at Bodalla Arms Hotel

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Guarding the crop against diseases

Calls today for increased global investment into research and development to prevent the spread of potentially devastating crop diseases have been welcomed by Australia’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
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GRDC chairman Keith Perrett says a recently-released report by an international team of researchers, warning that the strain of stem rust known as UG99 remains a threat to world crop production, serves as a timely reminder of the need for ongoing funding of cereal crop protection research.

Mr Perrett says significant Australian research dollars have been and will need to continue to be directed towards research and development (R&D) aimed at halting the spread of – and ultimately eliminating – rust diseases such UG99.

“GRDC, on behalf of Australian growers and the Australian government, each year invests $30 million in an extensive portfolio of crop protection research projects and initiatives right around the globe,” Mr Perrett said.

“GRDC has long recognised just how critical it is to address crop protection issues as potentially destructive as UG99, so we welcome any investigations and reports that underline to the broader community the importance of work being carried out in this area and the need for all countries to contribute to funding. As the world population grows at a rapid rate, secure food production remains a fundamental priority for us all.

“Australia plays a pivotal role in not only producing safe and healthy grain that is sought by domestic and international markets, but is also an important player in terms of providing dollars, resources and expertise to enhance global R&D into long-term food security.”

Mr Perrett said that given the threat of cereal rust to food security, Australia has adopted a nationally co-ordinated approach to rust control since rusts are airborne, pathogenically variable and sporadic in their occurrence.

“GRDC is the key funder of the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program (ACRCP) involving various research agencies from the University of Sydney, CSIRO Plant Industry, University of Adelaide, plus all state departments of agriculture, among others.”

GRDC has in place a strategic management plan for cereal rust control and has committed to an investment of up to $6 million per year until 2017.

“About two-thirds of that investment is in pre-breeding and integration into breeding of rust-resistant varieties,” Mr Perrett says.

Mr Perrett says the cost of stem rust to the grains industry in Australia is estimated to be $8 million, but without current management strategies that cost would be as much as $478 million.

“But it’s not just stem rust that we are concerned about,” Mr Perrett says. “The GRDC approach is to look at all strains of rust. In fact, stripe rust is the rust disease which presently has the most economic impact in Australia.”

Mr Perrett says the GRDC remains committed to investing in research, development and extension in areas which matter most to Australian growers, the broader grains industry and consumers.

o GRDC chairman Keith Perrett.

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Green light for teachers to move with the times

ORANGE teachers were pulled out of the Stone Age and thrown into a new era of rock’n’roll through professional development workshops this week.
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Dr Rick Allen, an American educational psychologist who taught maths at the same school as United States president Barack Obama, spoke to hundreds of public school teachers about the importance of changing with students and leaving traditional teaching methods behind.

The program is called Green Light Classrooms.

“Red light stands for teachers who haven’t changed when students have,” he said.

“Students need to stand up more, talk more, play music.”

Dr Allen said the natural behaviour of children was to talk with friends, run around and be active and classrooms needs to adopt the same theory.

“Traditional teaching is devoid of emotions,” he said.

He bases his model on brain-based learning theories that show people can only concentrate for up to 10 minutes.

Teachers need to learn to teach in short bursts and reward students for success with music and dancing.

“Students need to feel successful as often as they can,” Dr Allen said.

“They need to be rewarded with a big dance, it’s quick and easy and they need to know yeah, we rocked.”

Orange school education director Paul Stirling said Dr Allen’s approach to learning was based on an appreciation that today’s students are “digital natives” whose brains are hardwired differently.

“They have grown up in a fast-paced world of digital technology,” Mr Stirling said.

“Dr Allen believes that they have shorter attention spans and are used to learning through self discovery.

“Success comes from different teaching strategies and he has found success wordwide by engaging students in interactive and brain-based learning.”

NEW AGE: Dr Rick Allen spoke to teachers at Canobolas Rural Technology High School on Tuesday about staying clear of traditional teaching methods. 0430nkdrallen

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Stay alert near overhead power lines while aloft

With aerial spraying activities under way in many parts of the state, Essential Energy is reminding property owners and pilots to be aware of the potential danger posed by overhead powerlines.
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Essential Energy’s regional general manager and Water Operations Far West Region Guy Chick said there had been three recent incidences of aircraft involved in aerial spraying in western NSW and southern Queensland coming into contact with powerlines.

“Anyone engaging in activities such as aerial application, mustering, property or powerline inspections needs to remember that the smallest contact between a plane and powerlines can be fatal,” Mr Chick said.

For more information contact Essential Energy on 13 23 91 or visit www.essentialenergy.

To report an incident contact 132 080.

“Essential Energy has about 200,000 kilometres of powerlines across 95 per cent of NSW. As the height of overhead electricity lines vary significantly with changing topology, pre-flight planning and briefings are crucial.

“Pilots and those who engage their services need to be mindful of safe work practises and always identify the location of the overhead electricity network before taking to the air.”

He said farmers could take simple measures to reduce the risk to pilots and their aircraft.

“Powerlines can be difficult to see from above, especially at dawn and dusk and on rainy or overcast days,” Guy said.

“Essential Energy recommends farmers install line markers to increase the visibility of powerlines on their property. Flag markers are lightweight, visible both day and night and flap in the breeze to attract attention. Essential Energy can fit them for a fee.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of knowing the location of overhead powerlines on properties and surrounding areas – the information could save your life.”

Maps detailing the location of Essential Energy’s overhead electricity network are available on request for individuals and companies involved in aerial activities. Contact Essential Energy on 13 23 91 or visit www.essentialenergy南京夜网.au/content/overhead-electricity-network-maps.

To report an incident involving an overhead powerline, contact Essential Energy immediately on 13 20 80.

Essential Energy also has available for download a ‘Low Level Aerial Activity Safety Fact Sheet’ at www.essentialenergy南京夜网.au/asset/cms/pdf/safety/AerialSafety.pdf and a short film clip on aerial safety around powerlines at www.essentialenergy南京夜网.au/content/agribusiness.

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Floral entries encouraged for show

Twenty-one members and interested yet-to-be members (we will work on them) came along to the Uniting Church Hall for the April 2013 Garden Club meeting.
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Two guests were also welcomed – May Clarke, our Floral Art tutor, and Noreen Pulver who is the Floral Art Steward at the Nyngan Show.

Noreen attended the meeting to encourage more entries in the Floral Art section of the Nyngan Show which is only a small section in the Wye Pavilion. Noreen gladly welcomes more entries, as the numbers are small each year.

Floral Art may be a dying art so we all have to do our bit to keep the Floral Art section alive and well at the Nyngan Show.

The Garden Club is organising markets for June 8 (long weekend) as part of the 130-year celebrations of Nyngan Railway.

Eleven stalls have been booked so far with several stallholders from Cobar also interested in attending.

The Garden Club will have a stall at the markets and maybe an entry in the parade as well.

Lots of activities are being planned for the celebration including a street parade, dinner and train rides.

Train rides will be offered on the Saturday and Sunday.

Griffith Bus Tour – there have been a couple of changes to the itinerary, as Gilgandra is no longer going on the trip.

The bus will now leave Nyngan at 7am on the Saturday morning and the wineries will not be open on the Monday.

Names are required for the bus to be booked and a deposit of $100 needs to be brought along to the May meeting (May 27).

If anyone would like to attend the dinner dance on Saturday night, an extra deposit of $10 is required.

The dinner dance includes a three-course meal with wine and juice on tables.

Christmas Hamper – it was agreed that members would contribute towards the purchase of goods ($5 each). This makes it easier to put together the hamper for the Christmas markets.

Nyngan Community Hub has been approached by businesses in the main street with the idea of having a market stall type of event for local businesses.

This will probably be held in late October or in early November to encourage locals to shop locally.

The idea was discussed at a Bogan Community Tourism and Business Group meeting and it was thought that late night shopping on a Thursday night may be the way to go.

Two suggestions were put forward for future bus trips – the Blue Mountains (and Leura) or Melbourne Flower Show.

Details of these trips will be kept for consideration. The raffle winner today was Di Donald.

The meeting ended and after a quick bite to eat and a cuppa, the Floral Art lessons began.

May passed on many tips and methods to achieve a lovely design with the One Flower Arrangement.

May’s two examples were lovely and both so different.

Tips included

o Wiping large green leaves with baby oil to give that glossy look, using bottles or flat containers and also using a tray covered with a fabric drape with added embellishments as required to complete the effect you are trying to achieve.

o Chinese Elm and Tortured Willow branches add height and extra interest to a design.

o If you are using florist’s oasis make sure none of it is visible to the judge’s eye.

o Pick flowers early in the morning and soak them well in a bucket of water.

o Also make sure the oasis brick has been well-saturated.

o Blutac or plasticine may also be used to stabilise a design but must always be applied before the addition of water to the bottle/dish etc.

o The lip of bottles and other edges must also be covered but no part of the flowers or greenery may touch the table/tray.

o Instead of vases you can also use bottles or pie plates or any other containers.

o Embellishments may be anything like fabric, ornaments, stones, shells, tools etc. Anything that adds to the design, appeal and the look you are trying to achieve.

Within a short time there were several beautiful designs on the tables. The focus was on greenery this lesson and there were many different shades and textures with some striking effects produced.

Well done to everyone and thank you very much to May for the many tips and tricks shared.

The next meeting will be held at Mary Burley’s garden on May 27 at 12pm. Please bring your lunch, a chair and deposit for the Griffith bus trip if you are attending.

Dates to remember

May 27: Meeting 12pm at “Woodlands Station”

June 24: Meeting at 18 Cathundril Street.

December 7: Christmas Carnival and Markets

Looking forward to rain, many hours of gardening and beautifying our town.

The Happy Gardener

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Resident abandoned in fight

Alone: Dianne Baltussen was shocked to watch as a developer knocked her fenced down despite warning signs against her wish.
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A Murray Bridge resident says she has been abandoned by the council and police after a neighbouring property developer knocked down her fence without warning.

Verdun Street resident Dianne Baltussen said Aspire Property Invest began work on a Grey Street property behind her home in 2005 with the intent to build six homes.

Ms Baltussen said she arrived home on October 10 last year to find her back fence leaning on a 65-degree angle.

“I looked over the fence and could see the development site behind had been levelled with backfill and quarry dust up to, against, and pushing over the fence,” she said.

“Which, I add, was already inside the true boundary line.”

Ms Baltussen said she had not received a letter of intent and was given no warning that her fence would be compromised.

After contacting the Murray Bridge council about her situation, Ms Baltussen said she was alerted to multiple errors in the developer’s actions.

Ms Baltussen said she had a land surveyor assess the situation who confirmed the fence was entirely inside her boundary line, except for one strainer post in the corner.

“The very next day I released all beams, iron and nails from that post so he could pull the post out,” she said.

In a letter dated October 30, Murray Bridge council health, building and compliance manager Clarry Fisher notified Ms Baltussen that the developer had promised to replace the fence when the dwellings were completed.

Ms Baltussen said it was not the result she was looking for.

“It’s not about the fence, it’s not about the money, it’s about principle,” she said.

“It’s my property and he showed complete disregard for that.”

Three months later the next issue in the dispute flowered in the form of the noxious weed, caltrop.

In spring, the development site became overgrown with the weed and Ms Baltussen again contacted the council in fear it would spread to her property if the fence was taken down.

She said she was directed to the Natural Resource Centre SA Murray Darling Basin, who inspected the property next door and informed her it was badly contaminated.

Ms Baltussen said the man who helped her even went as far as to say he would testify in court on her behalf, however, the organisation would not confirm the conversation after being advised by its media coordinator.

The ongoing dispute reached boiling point last month, when Ms Baltussen heard banging outside her house on April 19.

“I raced to the window and it broke my heart,” she said.

“(The developer) was on a mad rampage with his co-worker, just belting into the fence and knocking, pushing any which way all the time looking to see if I had noticed yet.”

Ms Baltussen called the police, but she said she was left even more heart-broken after their visit.

“The sergeant came late on the scene and didn’t look at nearly all the information the other policemen did,” she said.

“They didn’t understand half of what had happened.

“They said “look at your old fence, he’s putting up a new one” … all the time telling Scott to continue”.

Ms Baltussen said she was upset after the run-in – not only because of the invasion of her property – but also because she felt the police had failed to help.

“The police sergeant failed to act on my complaint,” she said.

“They gave the developer permission to proceed and have no right to.

“I was the one that obeyed the rule book, kept my land clear of declared weed, never knocked over a neighbour’s fence and not tell them.

“I’ve got no one to fight for me.”

Ms Baltussen said the entire dispute was based on principle and could have been avoided.

Ms Baltussen said she was now considering seeking legal advice.

Aspire Property Invest did not return calls from The Standard.

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