IVF parents lose $10m wrongful birth case, hit with legal costs

Debbie Waller with her disabled son Keeden. Photo: Quentin JonesThe parents of a severely disabled boy have lost a $10 million case against an IVF specialist who failed to properly warn them of the likelihood their son would inherit a blood-clotting condition, but are considering appealing against the decision.
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The couple face the prospect of having to pay the doctor’s legal costs, which could run to tens of thousands of dollars.

Days after Debbie Waller gave birth to Keeden in August 2000, the infant suffered a stroke that caused severe brain damage and meant he was never able to walk, talk or go to the toilet unaided.

Mrs Waller and husband Lawrence claimed the stroke was the result of a rare blood-clotting condition known as antithrombin deficiency [ATD], which Keeden inherited from his father.

They sued the IVF specialist who oversaw his conception – Christopher James – in the NSW Supreme Court for what is known as ”wrongful birth”. The couple were not properly made aware there was a 50 per cent chance Keeden would have the defective gene and said that had they been properly informed of the risk, they would not have had the IVF treatment that resulted in his birth.

They sought compensation in the order of $10 million for the lifelong care of their handicapped son.

On Monday – 15 months after the case was heard – Justice John Hislop found Dr James had failed to ensure the Wallers were properly informed about the risks of inheriting ATD, and that had they been so informed, they would not have given birth to Keeden.

But he said the Wallers had not proved Keeden’s stroke had actually been caused by the blood-clotting condition. He accepted the evidence of a medical expert called by the defendant that Keeden’s antithrombin condition ”at most was a minor contributing factor and was possibly irrelevant to the outcome”.

”In my opinion the plaintiffs have failed to establish that the CSVT [stroke] was caused or materially contributed to by the ATD,” Justice Hislop said.

The Wallers were ordered to pay Dr James’ legal costs. Given that the hearing ran for four weeks, these costs are likely to run to thousands of dollars.

The couple’s lawyer, Bill Madden of Slater & Gordon, said his clients were ”upset and disappointed” and were considering an appeal.

”They want an opportunity to read through the judgment and its conclusions before making a final decision.” He said it was up to Dr James’ insurer, Avant, to decide whether it would seek to have the legal costs order enforced.

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‘Good on them’: Father of red-faced robber supports chilli attack

An alleged chicken shop robber who was thwarted by a splash of chilli sauce to the face has been refused bail with his father saying the shop’s quick-thinking staff did not go far enough in efforts to stop his son.
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Tyrone Holmwood, 19, on Monday appeared in Waverley Court with red, irritated eyes and wearing a blue plastic forensic jump suit after his clothes were taken by Botany police.

The alleged chicken shop thief was left red faced and empty handed when an employee on Sunday night thwarted the heist with a serve of chilli to the face.

Mr Holmwood, charged with assault with intent to rob, had been in trouble with the law before and that on each occasion alcohol had been a factor, the court heard.

He had allegedly been drinking prior to the incident on Sunday night when he is alleged to have assaulted worker Joanna Petry-Tartnoski.

“Tyrone, now he is sober, is shocked at the allegations,” his solicitor Anthony Brookman told the court.

His father offered his son support as he made an unsuccessful bail application but outside that support wavered with Mr Holmwood saying if his son did what is alleged the shop owners should have come at him with more than just chilli.

“They poured hot chilli on his head? Good on them. I would have poured hot fat upon his head.”

He was refused bail and the matter returns to court next Tuesday.

Botany police were called to O’Le Portuguese style chicken takeaway in Rosebery when Mr Holmwood was incapacitated with minor burns from the bucket of chilli.

Inspector Paul Thornton said there was a dispute with staff about payment before the alleged robbery attempt about 6.15pm.

“It’s alleged he walked behind the counter and tried to push the two workers aside before attempting to open the cash register,” he said.

Inspector Thornton said one employee ran to the front of the store and called police while the other, a 27-year-old woman, tried to hold the man back from the register.

“We will allege he’s tried to smash open the cash register on the floor and struck the woman, she’s responded with a bucket of chilli flakes over his face, it was the actual chilli that’s got in the face and floored him,” he said.

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Without wetlands, what will protect the Great Barrier Reef?

Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Supplied. Aerial view of Great Barrier Reef, Cairns.
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UNESCO has released its latest report on the state of the Great Barrier Reef, and has once again raised concerns about excessive port development along the coast, and the state of water quality around the reef.

In March I was invited to Queensland to see for myself the threat posed by proposed massive port expansions along the Great Barrier Reef.

I flew over Abbott Point to examine the present coal terminal. We visited the adjacent Caley Valley Wetlands in a tinny, revealing dozens to hundreds of birds at every creek turn. Huge flocks of whistling ducks took flight as we approached, herons perched in trees or stalked among water lilies; we saw great pelicans, magpie geese, kingfishers, elegant long-necked cormorants, kites, and half a dozen other species of duck, rails and black swans. The density of birds was astonishing, the highest I have ever seen in any wetland. It was immediately clear that this was an extraordinary haven for wildlife.

The present coal terminal and connecting road and rail links follow the southern side of the wetlands to a long loading jetty. This infrastructure is large and has clearly had a significant impact, but there is much intact and unspoiled wetland left. The plan is to expand the port to become the largest coal terminal in the world; that expansion would be the end for these wetlands. The impacts on the Great Barrier Reef directly would also be considerable: millions of tonnes of dredge material are likely to be dumped near Holbourne Island and its coral reefs, with potential for much greater dispersal further offshore.

Further south we travelled by boat from Yeppoon to Gladstone. The Fitzroy River delta is one of the wonders of this coastline. Approached by sea, it probably looks much as it did when Captain Cook sailed by more than 200 years ago.

People tend to develop estuaries wherever they find them. They have lots of low-lying land to build on, easy access to the ocean and plentiful water to flush away waste. Given this long historical association, there are very few of the size and importance of the Fitzroy that are left undeveloped. This means the estuary is as significant, extraordinary and precious as the Great Barrier Reef itself. If it is destroyed it cannot be recovered. Yet it is deeply threatened by proposals for a massive new port.

The importance of the estuary is underlined by the presence of endangered and iconic species, such as a small and genetically distinct resident population of snub fin dolphin.

Travelling south we encountered the mangrove-laced Narrows, flushed by powerful tidal currents that promote high productivity and attract large animals like bull sharks and even occasional crocodiles. The northern section, like the Fitzroy Delta to which it is connected, is undeveloped and has a timeless quality about it. On the southern stretch, construction cranes and the silhouettes of bulk carrier ships loom, soon merging into a relentless string of industrial constructions.

I have never seen such a sprawling port. Every company appears to have its own separate facility, so that Gladstone is more like a collection of many ports than a single entity. There seems to have been little need to build gas hubs on the world heritage-listed Curtis Island, had land been used more wisely. Images taken before dredging operations opened up the Curtis Island jetties revealed that dredging hadn’t just deepened and widened channels, it had removed the entire network of shallow wetlands.

Gladstone’s wasteful sprawl now threatens more of Curtis Island as well as the Fitzroy Delta.

I doubt that many Queenslanders or other Australians realise what they are about to lose: the wild open spaces, places for recreation, inspiration and fun, and habitats that sustain the wider ecology of the coast, support significant fisheries and protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Wetlands along the coast are vital to the survival of the Great Barrier Reef region. They are the reef’s first line of defence from adverse terrestrial influences, retaining and trapping sediments and nutrients that would otherwise be moved offshore to stress and damage corals. They help limit the spread of flood waters, which will be an increasingly important function in the future as the climate changes. And they provide nurseries for many commercially important species of fish like prawns, snappers and emperors.

I was alarmed by the enormous threats to the unspoiled coastal environment and quality of life for Australians; one cannot ignore the global significance of the Queensland coast, the role of intact, healthy habitats in the economic prosperity of the region, and the interdependent nature of the entire coast to the outer reef region – you can’t damage one part without damaging others.

Visiting these amazing places first-hand has revealed to me how mining interests are prepared to squander the future of many to enrich just a few in the present. Open spaces and unspoiled country are the soul of Australia, embedded in the national psyche. But there is a real danger that Australia is selling its soul to the mining industry.

The World Heritage Committee was wise to send a mission to investigate. The risk to the Reef is profound.

Coastal wetland protection and protection of the Reef from port expansion, dredging and shipping are fundamentally intertwined. Without a swift change of direction, Queenslanders and the world risk ruining a living priceless treasure.

Callum Roberts has in the past received research funding from a variety of organisations, including the UK Natural Environment Research Council, UK Department for International Development, UK Darwin Initiative, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, Pew Charitable Trusts, WWF, and Greenpeace. Callum is a WWF UK Ambassador, trustee of Seaweb, Fauna and Flora International and Blue Marine Foundation, and advisor to Save our Seas and The Manta Trust.

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Sale Specialist School gains land funding

FUNDING to buy land and begin planning for the new Sale Specialist School has been secured as part of the 2013-14 Victorian Budget.
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Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan said the funding was the critical first step in delivering a new Sale Specialist School.

“I know how passionate and committed the Sale Specialist School community has been in pushing for a new school on a single site, so I am absolutely delighted to be announcing this funding commitment,” Mr Ryan said.

“The funding will enable land to be identified and purchased, and the planning and design of the school to be in place ready for construction when the remaining funding is secured.

“An expression of interest process will soon be launched to identify a well located, fully serviced site for the new Sale Specialist School.”

The news of the funding was welcomed with excitement by Sale Specialist School principal Shelagh Donegan.

“We at the school very much welcome this announcement; it will enable us to purchase a site and begin planning for a purpose built school,” she said.

“We look forward to securing the land as soon as possible.”

Ms Donegan stressed planning for the new school needed to take into account its increasing enrolment.

“We are excited and thankful for the support we have received from the New School Parents’ Action Group, the community and all the politicians who have lobbied on our behalf,” she said.

” This is the first step in a long process, which we need to keep on track,” she said.

“The hard work will not be over until we walk in the door.”

School council president Alan Rankin was equally excited by the announcement.

“The council is really pleased there is provision of funding to secure the site, but it is only the first step in a long journey,” he said.

Mr Rankin stressed this budget allocation needed to be followed up with funding to build the school in a subsequent budget.

” We appreciate the support of the community and acknowledge the support we have received from Mr Ryan and from Darren Chester, who raised our plight in federal parliament.

Mr Ryan said good financial management by the state government meant a new site could be purchased for the Sale Specialist School, which was at capacity.

“Due to rising enrolments, the Sale Specialist School has had to expand beyond its Raymond St campus to include a senior campus within the grounds of Sale College,” Mr Ryan said.

“Having two campuses is a less than ideal situation, however this announcement will mean the students of Sale Specialist School can look forward to a school which is designed to maximise their educational opportunities.”

Mr Ryan said the state government had been a champion of special education.

“The Coalition has provided record funding for the Program for Students with Disabilities and Students with Disabilities Transport Program, and the single largest capital investment in specialist and autism schools across metropolitan and regional Victoria for over a decade.”

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BFL: Sunbury surge thanks to Jack

Full force: Melton South’s Ben Peters rides a bump from Sunbury’s Matthew Parker Picture: Shawn SmitsJACK Sheahan’s Sunbury Lions debut set a lofty standard as his team crushed Melton South by 80 points on Saturday night.
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The 19-year-old out of Diggers Rest via the Calder Cannons kicked three first-quarter goals and five for the night in an impressive first showing in Ballarat Football League.

Sheahan, VFL listed with Bendigo Gold, held a key forward post in the absence of Simon Clarke to spearhead Sunbury’s 21.15 (141) to 9.7 (61) victory.

*Coaches Rick Horwood and Matt Sutton on the match – see below

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*Around the grounds from round three & interleague squad named- see below

A flowing exchange of first-quarter goals became one-way traffic in the second, with Sunbury’s six goals to one setting up a 41-point half-time lead.

The second half hit no great heights, with Sheahan spending the final quarter on the bench due to hitting his game-time limit.

Melton South was outmuscled in midfield and blanketed by the Sunbury defence.

The match-winning burst came early in the second quarter, with Sunbury extending its lead of 13 points in the ninth minute to 39 in the 19th.

A Sheahan set shot was followed immediately from the re-start by a quick clearance and Jamie Lobb snap, kickstarting the run of five Sunbury unanswered goals in 10 minutes. Scott Lobb’s courage to mark with the flight was an inspiring end to one Melton South attack, while another broke down due to back-chatting the umpire at a stoppage in the Panthers’ forward 50 metres.

Dale Ciunik (three goals) and Sheahan started the second half with back-to-back majors to ensure there would be no Melton South swing of momentum, like its comeback from 47points down against Melton the previous weekend.

Melton South coach Matt Sutton had a tough night as his team’s full forward but still finished with four goals. Jaiden Spicer also booted four.

The Panthers lost Ben Peters to a seemingly serious ankle injury mid-way through the third term.

SUNBURY coach Rick Horwood isn’t just winning without a raft of last year’s premiership team — he’s winning big.

After the rarity of an away win against Redan last week, Sunbury smashed a Melton South team that had been competitive to date in the Ballarat Football League.

With North Ballarat City storming out of the blocks with three monstrous wins, the first head-to-head clash between the premier and new title contender feels a long time away, not until June 22.

For now, Horwood has a number of returning players to reintegrate into a winning team.

‘‘At the moment we’ve got eight premiership players out of the side. It’s going to be a headache when they all come back.

‘‘Jack Landt, 16 years old, second game. Young (Jordan) Baumgartner, only his third game and he did well on Rex Hickman.

‘‘With players out our leaders have all stood up.’’

Jack Sheahan’s bag of five goals was by no means a surprise. His return perfectly timed with Simon Clarke suffering a groin injury.

Sheahan was cut from last year’s Vic Metro squad in the late stages of selection and was on the radar as a potential draftee for one AFL club.

‘‘That’s his first game of the year, having not played any football, and Melton South had to move a premier backman in the league in Leigh Burke onto him.

‘‘He’s come back from ankle and knee operations after the Calder Cannons. We’ll send his stats and his edits back to Bendigo (Gold). He’s got some raw talent.

‘‘Clarke’s got a groin injury and it’s early in the season. If it had have been a final he would have played, but at round four it’s not worth the risk.’’

Melton South coach Matt Sutton said his team had made a good start but could not match the work rate of Sunbury.

‘‘They were first in for the footy and outplayed us all night, probably the best run and spread team in the competition and we got taught a footy lesson in that regard.

‘‘We got outplayed by a better side.’’

Verbal exchanges between the umpires and players is likely to become an agenda item for South this week, with Sutton suggesting one umpire had baited his players.

‘‘I think the players are getting confused. We’re both in confusion with the differences between the Ballarat umpires and Riddell District umpires.

‘‘There was nothing in it. We spoke out on the ground. I’ll nail back-chat from my own players, but I said to one umpire, ‘do us a favour and don’t bait us’.

‘‘The players are heated. They’ll come back at it.’’

DARLEY paid the price for inaccurate kicking by coming up short against Ballarat by 12 points at Alfredton Oval on Saturday.

The Devils’ Ballarat Football League season was squared at two wins and two losses with the 6.16 (52) to 10.6 (66) defeat.

The third quarter told the story of the day, with Ballarat converting four goals from six scoring shots, whilst Darley could only manage two goals from fourteen scoring shots.

Harley Inglis was gallant for the Devils whilst the decision was made to send star player Jake Edwards forward to generate a bit of momentum.

Saturday was not the first time this season Darley had suffered from profligate kicking, missing no less than three shots for what would have been the late go-ahead goal against Sunbury a fortnight earlier.

“Do a lot of these guys even own their own footy?,’’ Darley coach Rod MacPherson said.

‘‘At the end of the day it is their tool of trade and they need to be able to use it to get by.

“You need these guys to practise but it’s a fine line.

“You can’t harp on it too much then it gets in their head if they miss one or two.”

Melton Bloods lost a battle of winless teams to Lake Wendouree at CE Brown Reserve, 13.17 (95) to 6.7 (43).

Melton led two goals to none at quarter time but fell off the pace after half time, kicking three goals to Lake Wendouree’s nine.

Tate McCutcheon was the Bloods’ best and also the team’s only multiple goal-kicker.

Bacchus Marsh sunk to one win and three defeats after East Point blew open the game in the third quarter.

The Cobras trailed by 16 at half time after a low scoring opening half but the Kangaroos jumped away with six goals to one, setting up the 16.16 (112) to 7.13 (55) result.

Alec Del Papa was Bacchus Marsh’s only multiple goal-kicker while Matt Denham was best in the defeat.

‘‘I just think we have too many blokes who, when they are not playing well, play really badly,’’ Marsh coach Doug Hawkins said.

‘‘It shows we’ve got a long way to go. We’re going to go back to training and work on our kicking skills, especially when we are under pressure.’’


Bacchus Marsh: Tyson Shea, Declan Phyland

Darley: Darren Leonard, Shane Page, Rhys Ellis, Brad Inglis, Dane Grenfell, Jarrod Edwards

Melton: Matthew Notman

Melton South: Leigh Burke, Rex Hickman, Doug Thomas

Sunbury: Jamie Lobb, Matthew Medcraft, Simon Clarke, Brett Chambers, Xavier Linton, Michael

Coleman, Pat Cariss, Jay Cheep, Andrew Duhau

East Point: Dan Jordan, Hayden Walters, Jason Delaney, Paul Koderenko

Sebastopol: Michael Powell

Redan: Dean Chester, Grant Bell, Jarrod Edwards, Ryan Waight, Brendan Pearce, Tom Lamb

North Ballarat City: Derick Micallef, Shaun Lyle, Michael Williams, Ryan Luke, Ryan Hobbs, Brendan

Howard, Ayden George, Jason McNamara, Jake Hicks, Tristan Cartledge, Daniel Jones

Lake wendouree: Tim Malone

Ballarat: Braeden Deary, Mitch Rodd, Chris Prockter

– with Ballarat Courier

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VCAT: Shire, dog owner make another pitstop

AFTER more than a year without his best mate, Arthur Kalamaras will front a second Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing in a final attempt to be reunited with his beloved dog.
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Mr Kalamaras has been embroiled in a 14-month legal stoush with Cardinia Shire after his dog, Rocket, was seized in March last year as an alleged American pit bull.

Mr Kalamaras said it was up to the council to allow him to see Rocket, after the dog’s location was revealed at directions hearing late last month.

“I would love to see Rocket. It’s been more than a year since I have seen him.”

Mr Kalamaras said he would rely on expert assessments of Rocket by a vet and breed judges to form his defence, for the May 30 hearing at the VCAT — “we are hoping a breed judge will find that Rocket does not fit the restricted breed standard”.

Rocket will be judged on a range of physical features including body shape, legs and tail to determine if he fits the characteristics of a restricted breed.

But Mr Kalamaras said DNA tests — which show Rocket is a Staffordshire terrier cross miniature bull terrier — were not admissible at the tribunal.

Canine geneticist at Australian Specialised Animal Pathology, George Sofronidis, said DNA testing should be used to determine if a dog was a restricted breed.

“Genetic testing is a lot more accurate than someone looking at the physical features of a dog,” he said. “When it comes to restricted breeds [in Victoria] they fall into the bull terrier breeds. The tests can distinguish [which type of bull terrier a dog is].”

Mr Sofronidis said it was difficult to develop a DNA signature for pit bulls given their restricted nature. Genetic testing was 98 per cent accurate for purebred dogs and tapered off as breeds were crossed.

Mr Kalamaras said Rocket was a “calm and friendly” dog but Cardinia Council argued that he was a potentially dangerous American pit bull.

Rocket escaped Mr Kalamaras’ Cardinia backyard last year and council officers impounded the dog under Victoria’s Domestic Animals Act.

Mr Kalamaras appealed to the VCAT and when the tribunal ruled against him in July last year, sought to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

But Cardinia Council said a Supreme Court hearing scheduled for April this year was “unnecessary” as both parties had agreed to return to the VCAT.

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Vic Uni to resume tertiary courses in Sunbury                       

THREE years after closing its Sunbury campus, Victoria University will resume running tertiary education courses in the town.
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As part of the Hume Multiversity project, the university will run classes from the Sunbury Neighbourhood House and Community Centre from semester one next year.

Hume Multiversity is a joint project of Hume Council, Kangan Institute and Deakin and Victoria universities.

It offers access to tertiary education courses across the municipality.

Classes started in Broadmeadows this year.

Council organisation and community learning director Kylie Ezzy said the courses might include bachelor degrees in the arts, business or the sciences.

“The expansion of the Hume Multiversity program reflects the council’s commitment to providing state-of-the-art facilities and services to Hume residents.”

She said the university had already invested in videoconferencing equipment at the Sunbury Neighbourhood House.

Victoria University educational innovation senior adviser Amanda Achterberg said the classes at Sunbury were part of a new approach by the university.

“Victoria University is deeply committed to demonstrating its mission to Melbourne’s west by providing tertiary education opportunities for the Sunbury community.

“The university will be establishing a new collaborative learning space in the local community to engage students in both formal and informal learning experiences.

“These spaces will be technology-rich and have high-definition videoconferencing facilities that can link to both the broader university and to industry.

“While the final details of specific courses are yet to be resolved Victoria University is developing ‘flipped classroom’ programs for Sunbury in 2014 that are responsive to the needs of Sunbury residents and contribute to the ongoing development of the local community.”

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Arthurs Seat quarry landfill plan closer

PENINSULA Waste Management is expected to submit plans this week to turn the former Pioneer Quarries site at Arthurs Seat into a landfill.
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The organisation has spent the past few months drawing up plans and consulting community members.

Peninsula Waste Management development manager David Maltby said everything had been signed off and it was simply a matter of lodging the forms with Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Environment Protection Authority.

Plans afoot: The proposed Arthurs Seat quarry site. Picture: Daryl Gordon

“I am confident the documentation is accurate and meets all the necessary requirements.”

He said the project could take months to go through the necessary protocols.

“We expect the project to go to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, so it could be up to a year before anything happens. Over the coming months we will be responding to issues people have raised and meeting with members of the community to discuss their concerns.”

The former quarry has already been recognised as a preferred landfill location under the council’s regional waste management plan.

Just off Boundary Road, the site is four kilometres from the main precinct of Arthurs Seat.

Mr Maltby was quick to clarify that it was the old quarry site that was being put forward as a proposed landfill site and not the current Hillview Quarry site, which is just west of the site in Dromana.

The development has been met with some community resistance

More than 100 people attended a public meeting about the tip proposal in March and banners have been displayed at various locations on the peninsula opposing the tip.

There was also an advertisement placed in local newspapers last week by Andrew and Joy Duncan of Dromana and headed ‘No tip for the Arthurs Seat escarpment, Dromana’. It described the proposed tip as a “toxic timebomb” that future generations would have to clean up.

The advertisement also raised queries over the site’s proximity to Sheepwash Creek and the possibility of leachate leaking into Port Phillip Bay.

Mr Maltby said opposition to the application was to be expected.

“Like most things, you can’t expect to keep everybody happy but we are confident the proposal won’t impact negatively on anybody,” he said. “If we couldn’t demonstrate that it could be run safety and properly, we wouldn’t be submitting the application.”

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Brewarrina only team still winless

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Enngonia and Bourke secured their first wins of the 2013 Barwon Darling Cup competition over the weekend which means five clubs from six have tasted competition victory after just two rounds.

The Outlaws defeated Newtown 30-8 at Enngonia Sportsground yesterday, while Bourke was clinical in its 60-nil demolition of Brewarrina at Geoff New Fields, Brewarrina on Saturday.

Meanwhile, last year’s runners-up Walgett stand alone as the only undefeated side in the BDRL after a strong victory against Goodooga at Walgett on Saturday.

While an official score has not been received yet the Dragons were runaway victors and it’s believed the final margin was 64-8.

That result puts Walgett in the outright lead on four competition points with Bourke, Enngonia, Newtown and Goodooga all having one win each. Brewarrina remains the only winless club.

Enngonia sizzled at home to beat the Newtown Wanderers from Walgett in a clash of the Barwon Darling Cup’s newcomers.

At Walgett, Goodooga back-rower and vice-president Kevin Hooper said the Magpies tried hard but Walgett capitalised on Goodooga mistakes to run away with a good win.

Walgett’s resident Facebook sports reporter Richard Walford pointed to Dragons’ speedy backs Louis Murphy and Kevin Murray being damaging out wide on the back of experienced forwards Richard Dennis and Charley Kennedy’s hard work in the middle.

The junior games in Walgett saw the Dragons’ under-14s make it two from two with a 52-6 win against a young Collarenebri while the Bulldogs hit back in the under-17s with a 48-34 win against Walgett.

Dale Jones got the three points off coach Jason Horan for Walgett’s under-14s and bagged a double alongside frequent try-scorer Cohen Fernando while Tony Scott (two points) and Jermaine Sands (one point) also did well for the Dragons.

Collarenebri coach Chris Kirkland was delighted with Zac Flick and Will Simmonds, two youngsters playing their first BDRL game for the Bulldogs while Kyran Walford and Jeffrey Flick also went well in the 14s.

Jeffrey Wright, Lachlan Paters, Shaquille Peters and Peter Adams were Collarenebri’s best in the 17s.

At Brewarrina on Saturday, Bourke had a great day with wins in all grades on the road. Before the big boys ran on, the Warriors won 28-16 in the under 14s. The two sides produced a thriller in the under-17s, Bourke scraping home 28-26

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Macedon Ranges proposes 6.9% rates hike

MACEDON Ranges ratepayers will fork out 6.9 per cent more on rates if the council’s draft budget is given the green light.
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Shooting goals: Annabel, Tanae, Bianca and Livi pictured at the proposed netball complex site in New Gisborne. Picture: Marco De Luca

The increase — the highest in the region — was revealed in the council budget papers released for public comment last week.

Hepburn Council has proposed a 4 per cent rates rise while residents in Mount Alexander will pay 6.5 per cent more.

Last year’s rate rise in the Macedon Ranges was 4.8 per cent.

Sunbury residents will find out their rates next Monday when Hume Council’s draft budget is revealed publicly.

An average ratepayer living in a median valued property in the Macedon Ranges will pay $1691 this year compared with $1582 last year, a difference of $109. Rate revenue accounts for 60 per cent of the council’s total revenue each year.

Mayor Roger Jukes said the proposed budget was balanced.

“Our recurrent operating income is $63 million and our recurrent operating expenditure is $57.36 million. This means we generate an operating surplus of $5.4 million, of which $4.5 million will be invested in capital works and $0.9 million will be spent on new initiatives.

“Although our debt will increase [to $9.8 million], it is still below prudential levels and it will enable us to invest in some important projects that will provide benefits to the community for many years to come.”

Budget highlights include spending $1.55 million to develop land at the east paddock of Hanging Rock, $764,000 to upgrade Gilbert Gordon Oval in Woodend and $800,000 for playground projects in Kyneton and Romsey. Capital works are valued at $6.2 million.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the council decided to advertise its intention to sell four blocks of land to fund its contribution for the $1.02 million netball complex proposed for New Gisborne.

The outdoor complex, on the corner of Hamilton and Barringo roads, was approved in September and will be paid for by the council, Gisborne Netball Association and with a state government grant.

An indoor basketball stadium development at Gisborne Secondary College will also go ahead, with the Education Department giving the nod for the project.

Council chief executive Peter Johnston said it had now reached an agreement with the department on building the stadium, which would be available for community use.

The council will contribute $1.5 million towards the stadium.

Submissions on the budget and supporting papers can be made until noon on Friday, May 31. They will be considered at a public meeting at 4pm at the Kyneton town hall on June 5.

Details: mrsc.vic.gov.au

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Welcome Isaac … and Frankston was first to 23m Aussies

THE Australian Bureau of Statistics says Australia’s population counter ticked over to 23 million at 9.57pm on Tuesday, April 23.
Nanjing Night Net

Statistically, our newest citizen was a boy named Jack born to a 31-year-old mother and 33-year-old father living in western Sydney.

But we reckon they got it wrong by 60 seconds, and that Isaac Mansell takes the crown as the country’s milestone baby.

Australia’s future: Baby Isaac and brother Hayden with proud parents Krystal Love and Mark Mansell.

Isaac was born at 9.58pm at Frankston Hospital to Krystal Love, 24, and Mark Mansell, 23.

Mr Mansell is a furniture removalist, Ms Love’s a stay-at-home mum and, along with Isaac and his four-year-old brother Hayden, they now call Frankston home.

The young family moved from Tasmania four months ago in search of better job opportunities and chose Frankston because of its affordability and access to public transport.

In 2011 there were 22,421 people living in the Mornington Peninsula Shire, including 6095 families. These were made up of 38.6 per cent couples with children, 17.9 per cent single parent families and 42.5 per cent couples without children.

In an attempt to ensure that all of its young citizens have a bright future — at least in the short term — the shire held a series of workshops late last year to look at developing a Plan Peninsula.

Feedback from the 15 sessions formed the basis of the shire’s submission to the state government’s Mornington Peninsula Planning Statement, a plan that will set the direction, extent and nature of development on the peninsula for the next 20-30 years. Maintaining the 70:30 rural-urban mix and protecting the coastline are major priorities.

But what does the future hold for baby Isaac? It’s impossible to predict, but we can imagine.

By 2050, 37-year-old Isaac will be living with his partner and child in a high-tech apartment on the outskirts of Frankston. They both work from home, him three days a week and her two. While the cost of living is high, it’s worth it because they get to spend more time with each other.

The days are hotter and the rainfall heavier than before. He drives a smaller, safer and more efficient car, but because parking is at a premium and public transport inadequate, bicycles are the preferred mode of transport.

Clothes, furniture, entertainment and fresh food grown in climate-controlled warehouses are delivered to the door with just one voice command.

Isaac’s seven-year-old son is already multi-lingual thanks to classmates from all over the world who sign in to international schooling each day for lessons on the home’s big screen.

There a fewer open spaces but their facilities are a 2050 child’s fantasy of virtual worlds and thrilling rides. Advances in medicine and technology means they are healthier and expected to live longer than their parents. And like generations before them, time is passing quickly.

But for Isaac’s parents, their hope for their sons is much simpler.

“Like all parents, we just hope our children will be happy and healthy,” Ms Love said.

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$12bn Hastings port plan ‘a disaster’

THE Napthine government’s plan to spend up to $12 billion developing the Port of Hastings would be a “financial disaster” for the freight industry, one of the nation’s leading logistics experts has warned.
Nanjing Night Net

Former Toll boss Paul Little, who resigned from the company in late 2011 but remains the largest private shareholder and a consultant, has thrown his weight behind a proposal for another port development on the other side of the bay near Geelong.

Full steam ahead: Denis Napthine (second from right) announces ports funding in Hastings last month. Picture: Gary Sissons

Mr Little, who according to Forbes is the nation’s 37th-richest person with an estimated net worth of $780 million, said the proposal to develop Hastings was deeply flawed.

Mr Little, who spent 25 years as chief executive of Toll Holdings and is expected to return this year as a non-executive director, said the Hastings option would “not deliver the best outcome for Victoria”.

“Trying to relocate port-based logistics services close to Hastings would be a financial disaster for the logistics industry, if [it was] unable to pass on higher operating costs,” he said.

Yesterday’s state budget included $110 million to begin the planning and design work for the massive project, which would not be completed until at least 2030.

The project has also been privately criticised by business figures concerned about the lack of a standard-gauge rail link in the area and the fact that most of Melbourne’s freight and logistics, including that of Toll, is already based in the west. But until now public criticism has been relatively muted.

“The high cost of building a standard-gauge rail link to Hasting and the construction of suitable freeway access would be excessive and difficult, if not impossible, to justify,” Mr Little said.

“It is also reasonable to assume eastern-suburbs road traffic congestion would very quickly become a major problem for all commuters.”

Last year, Fairfax Media revealed a Department of Transport briefing had found the ‘Bay West’ option offered “significant potential advantages”, including ample land, “almost unlimited potential berth capacity” and proximity to Avalon Airport.

But Premier Denis Napthine has dismissed the idea as “nonsense”, arguing it would require a massive amount of preparatory dredging and even then would be unlikely to be able to accommodate the large container ships of the future.

Despite the government all but ruling out the Bay West option, Fairfax Media can reveal it has continued to quietly assess the option.

In response to a freedom-of-information request by the state opposition, the Department of Transport acknowledged it had undertaken a study comparing the cost of the two proposals, and a site-selection study for the area near Werribee.

However, it refused to release the documents, claiming they would generate “unnecessary speculation”.

—Josh Gordon/The Age

What do you think? Post a comment below.

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Letters to the Editor, Peninsula Weekly

Re: Park hotel welcomed, cautiously
Nanjing Night Net

The Australian Army should have kept the land. It’s now going to be another playground for the rich. The Victorian government cannot be trusted to run anything properly (both Liberal and Labor). If given as a public park, it should stay that way or be returned to the previous owner.

Ex-Digger (via web)

Re: RSL ‘sacking’ row hits centre

We should be giving all veterans our full support, not driving them away from the centre. After all, without the patronage of young veterans there will be no young veterans centre and no need to employ anyone. It is an absolute outrage that Pete Erdman has been pushed out. I have been under the mentorship of Peter and I cannot speak highly enough of him.

Damian Sumner (via web)

Re: Black Caviar: It’s farewell to Nelly

Just as the magic of the Vatican is due to the pillaging of Europe, the inspiration this horse undoubtedly brings sits uncomfortably alongside the reality of those who go to the knackery.

The wealth in Australian racing sits just as uncomfortably alongside the children in disadvantaged sole-parent households who are now forced to go hungry in Australia. We have a bipolar economy. Just like a bipolar sufferer, we seem happy to have the depression, just to experience the elation.

The achievements that wealth and power bring are undoubtedly awe-inspiring — yet it is good to have a more circumspect, balanced view on these things. Communism certainly isn’t the answer.

We need diversity and freedom for all. Blind capitalism is more restrictive on the parts of the community that these great triumphs draws from.

The wealthy will need to be more charitable now the poor have no health and disability services and their welfare is being cut, or there will be no poor people alive, in order to make the rich, rich. We all lose by continuing down this path.

Jade Worthington (via web)

Re: Heritage homes may be demolished

It is appalling that there isn’t protection for our heritage. Other countries in the world certainly value their older buildings. England, in particular, manages to preserve millions of structures that are hundreds of years old and we can’t even manage to retain a handful that are only 100-150 years in age.

The Mornington Peninsula is becoming like the Gold Coast — ugly, cheap and looking the same as everywhere else. I’m not against modern buildings, but so many of them lack charm or significance in any way because they are not special developments, just ‘cookie-cutter’.

Think of the towns around the world that people flock to — they generally are not modern. The south of France, the mission towns of California, and Carmel and Monterey, the charming villages of England, and so on. All these places are defined by their historic architecture.

Older houses can be restored with modern additions and other features to bring them into the 21st century — look at Richmond and other inner suburban areas. They manage it there. What is wrong with the vision of people on the Mornington Peninsula?

Pippi (via web)

What do you think? Post a comment below.

The Weekly welcomes letters no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing and must include a name, address and phone number. Post: The Editor, Suite 2, 10 Blamey Place, Mornington 3931, or email [email protected]南京夜网.au. Post a web comment to any story on this website.

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