BEAT IT group discovers USQ’s outdoor gym


Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland tries the headstand trainer in USQ’s outdoor gym, watched by fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and BEAT IT members. Photos: JOCELYN WATTS

LOCAL participants in the Australian Diabetes Council lifestyle program BEAT IT made an exciting discovery recently when they learnt USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym equipment was available to them 24/7, free of charge.

BEAT IT trainer Kim Polglase and Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Robert Garland brought the health and fitness group to USQ’s gym as part of a 12-week program tailored for people living with or at risk of diabetes and other chronic lifestyle-related diseases.

“The group-based program is about creating a supportive environment of people with similar health issues while also introducing them to community fitness facilities that are easily accessible,” Ms Polglase said.

Officially launched in 2010, USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym includes 19 pieces of equipment providing 27 stations, with a soft fall surface and shade sails. After dark, security lights automatically turn on when sensors detect movement in the area.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said the outdoor gym was designed to help students, staff and members of the community get into shape and keep fit.

“Community fitness groups are also welcome to use the outdoor equipment,” Mr Langabeer said.

The gym is located at the Hervey Bay campus, 161 Old Maryborough Road, Pialba, near the city library.

Ms Polglase said the next 12-week BEAT IT program would start in about two weeks.  Classes are run twice weekly, with each class including a combination of aerobic and resistance training exercises.

For more information on BEAT IT visit the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s website at:


Fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland (black singlet) introduce BEAT IT members to USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym.

USQ lecturer seeks answers to poverty in Nepal

RESEARCHING the effects of integrated microfinance in the poverty-stricken areas of Nepal is more than academic for USQ Fraser Coast’s Ratna Paudyal – it’s also an act of passion.

The university’s associate lecturer was born to illiterate parents in a remote village in Nepal. He and his 12 siblings shared a room with their parents, sleeping four to a bed. Now a world away from that lifestyle, the award-winning business and law lecturer is on a mission to find answers to his native country’s poverty.

On a recent journey home, he had three goals in mind – introduce his two-year-old son to relatives, talk with impoverished people and present his research paper at the Nepalese Academy of Management’s 2nd international conference on Reshaping Organisations to Develop Responsible Global Leadership.

“My family had never seen my son before,” Mr Paudyal said.

“I was also working on my doctorate studies, which includes research on Nepalese organisations that implement health and development work to improve quality of life for impoverished people.”

Mr Paudyal’s thesis on Integrated Microfinance is about how education and income generating activities in Nepal could contribute to the development of social capital in that country and hence assist in overcoming poverty and its related issues.

“I interviewed five case workers from Nepalese institutions that were offering those services talked with five community members and 20 recipients about how the services had changed their lives,” he said. “I am also looking at the possibilities of implementing integrated microfinance into Australian context.”

Mr Paudyal said that while microfinance was often used in developing countries as a poverty relief tool, recent research has identified problems with the system brought about by the apparent misuse of loans by the recipients who have found themselves compelled to use the money to fund necessary health care and other basic needs.

“Increasing evidence suggests that minimal support is not enough to assist impoverished people,” he said.

“This is because the causes of poverty are multidimensional – it may be a lack of good health, education or training, or they may have no social networks and rely solely on family members. In many cases, the recipients need more than finance to break the poverty cycle.”

Mr Paudyal’s research paper was one of 105 papers presented to 500 international delegates at the conference.

Work from home – live the dream

BEING your own boss.  It’s a dream that most of us have – shrugging off the shackles of the daily grind and work from home.  And the good news is, anyone can do it!  I know, because I did it … and if I can do it, so can you.

For me, the catalyst to leave the 9 to 5 existence was for family reasons.  However, I didn’t count on all the other benefits that have come with working from home.  Being able to spend extra time with my husband.  Giving myself a half day off every week to run errands.  Being able to stop for an hour to have a cuppa with a friend.  Being able to choose to work on a rainy weekend, then taking a little time on a sunny weekday to ride my horse.  I’m sure that you can think of any number of ways that your life would be richer if you had the freedom to work your own hours!

Without doubt, walking away from a regular salary is probably one of the most daunting things you will face.  However, thoroughly researching your potential business can help you gain the confidence you need to make the massive change in your life.

My tips for those who are thinking about starting a home-based business:

Do your research

Identify your market, and research potential clientele and the income that your business could generate for you.  Consider what demand you may have for your business, and what competition is out there.  Think about things you can do to set your business apart from everyone else.

Talk to an accountant

It is vital that you speak to an Accountant, before launching your new business.  An accountant will be able to give you guidance on the most appropriate way to structure your business and manage your cashflow.  Your accountant will also be able to advise you on what establishment and ongoing costs can be claimed on your tax, and what can’t.  It is important that you have a good understanding of how a business is run, from a “under the hood” perspective.  There’s a lot more to running a business than producing goods and/or services and selling them!

Talk to a business coach

Don’t be afraid to have a yarn to a business coach who can help you to decide what you want to achieve and then help you to actually do it.

Check with your local council

Depending on what sort of business you want to start, you may need to check with your local council to ensure that you are permitted to do the type of work you want to do from home.  For example, if you want to set up a panel-beating shop in your back shed – there’s the chance that Council will have something to say about property zoning.  If you’re planning on working in a home office (like I do), there’s generally nothing to worry about – but ask the question if you’re not sure.

Do your sums

New businesses generally take a little while to gather momentum, before your hoped-for income starts rolling in.  One of the things you should think about is whether you have sufficient cash reserves or another income coming into the household to cover your living expenses whilst your business is getting going.  Money pressure is one of the biggest stresses in life – make sure you have contingency plans if things take a little time to get rolling, so that you don’t hobble yourself before you start.

Hedge your bets

If you can, an excellent way to start a home-based business is to get it started part-time, whilst you are still working.  Whilst this wasn’t really an option for me due to the nature of my profession, you may be able to trial your business idea by working it on weekends or at night.  This can help you get a bit more of an idea of how it could work for you before making the leap.

Set yourself goals and guidelines

Set yourself realistic goals.  There aren’t too many business opportunities out there that can make you a million dollars in your first year, so be kind to yourself and focus on building your business steadily.

For most of us, starting our own business is the culmination of a dream.  It’s a means to getting us to where we want to be in life, and to achieve a lifestyle not generally available when you work for someone else.  By taking your time to think it through, do your research and implement your plans carefully, you are setting yourself up for success.  Believe in yourself, and you will be amazed at what you can achieve!!

Debbie Foale DipFS (FP), JP (Qual)Edendale ContractingParaplanning, Training & CompliancePhone: (07) 4123 3573 Mobile: 0422 813022
– By Debbie Foale