REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Regional Australia: In praise of lateral thinking

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by ACM digital news editor Janine Graham.

It's only Tuesday and already you might feel the need for a little respite from the horrors of the news cycle.

Not only does it seem relentless but it reinforces the notion that the world in the 21st century is indeed a smaller place than the one you grew up in.

If you take a look laterally, particularly across our wide brown (regional) land, there is a small comfort knowing we have "doers" in our communities.

The powers-that-be fear all their impressive development work over the past 12 months could go down the gurgler - literally.

The near 50 per cent increase in numbers won't count for much if they can't play and that's a distinct possibility due to the drought.

Drought equals water restrictions and in Tamworth that equals the prospect of the town's pools not opening over summer.

Enter the inflatable water polo field. Blow it up, take it to a body of water and hey presto.

But as the Tamworth association's secretary, Libby Magann, said: "We could take the inflatable field to any open water, like dams that still have water ..."

Crucial words those "dams that still have water" because Chaffey Dam, where Tamworth's gets the majority of its water, is sitting at a paltry 22.21 per cent of its capacity.

Just a small hitch for dedicated water polo players, surely.

Tiger Denver tests out a stethoscope on classmate Ainsley with help from medical students. Photo: Kate Healy

Tiger Denver tests out a stethoscope on classmate Ainsley with help from medical students. Photo: Kate Healy

And how about this inventive health education program which reached Ballarat on Monday - the Teddy Bear Hospital.

With concussion-awareness top of mind for sports codes everywhere, the University of Melbourne took its program beyond urban boundaries for the first time.

"We hope they will apply what they learn to real life, like is a friend feels dizzy after a soccer match, they know what to do," final year medical student Jess Wynn told The Courier's Melanie Whelan.

"We're aiming for younger kids because there is a lot more informal running around and sometimes it's not cool to stop the game and sit out. We want these guys to become concussion champions and look out for their friends and suggest they take a rest and see the doctor.

"Hopefully they can tell their parents, too."

And the NRL. And the AFL.

Police begin the painstaking task of rescuing a boating couple stuck in the mud off Karumba.

Police begin the painstaking task of rescuing a boating couple stuck in the mud off Karumba.

Then again if you're after lateral thought with a fair dollop of just "getting on with it" look no further than John Nelson.

He's the officer in charge at Karumba Police Station. That's closer to Papua New Guinea than the state capital.

Sergeant Nelson was faced with the prospect of two elderly people stranded in thigh-deep mud, 400m off a beach in the Gulf country region of Queensland.

Two spineboards and half a kilometre of donated rope later, the couple was dragged to safety in what was an amazing operation.

No, these mightn't be examples of changing the world but maybe some lives will be changed positively thanks to the actions of others. That's got to be a good thing, right?

Janine Graham, ACM digital editor

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