Keeping children safe

STAY SAFE: Eglinton Public School captain Jane Sheather, vice captain Lachlan Taylor and kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 students with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation Big Red truck. Photo:CHRIS SEABROOK 102516cdaniel
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IN 2003, 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe was abductedfrom the side of the road as he waited for a bus.

He was later killed, his remains not found fornearly eight years.

His story is well-known throughout Australia and has spawned the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, which now aims toeducatechildren about personal safety through various school-run programs.

On Tuesday, Eglinton Public School was visited by the foundation’s Big Red truckin a joint-effort with the Australian Federal Police to continue spreading its message.

Assistant principal Ross James said child safety is a very important part of the curriculum at Eglinton Public School.

“It is important for every child to remain safe and ensure that while they are in our care they are safe,” he said.

The school has participated in Day for Daniel, held onOctober 28, for the past three years, but Tuesday was the first time the truckhad visited.

Educators from the truckwere keen to spread one vital message to students: recognise, react and report.

Students were told to trust their instincts in unusual situations and react accordingly.

“In a lot of situations about child safety, instincts tell us that if you don’t feel safe, you probably aren’t safe,” Mr James said.

Internet safety was another focal point of talks during the visit.

Studentswere told to protect their identities online, regularly changes passwords, restrict social media use until they’re over 13 years of age and never add someone they don’t knowas a friend on social media.

“It is one of our biggest concerns and I don’t think we are aware about how dangerous it can be,” Mr James said.

Eglinton Public School will participate in formal Day for Daniel activities on Friday.

Students will wear red to school in support of the day and talk about a specific child safety issue in classrooms, which will be shared at an assembly later in the day.

Mr James said the Daniel Morcombe Foundation has made addressing these issues with students easier thanks to itssupply of classroomresources.

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Funding boost for Wimmera schools

Seven Wimmera schools have received new state government funding for buildings. WIMMERAschools will be able to upgrade old buildings after the state government announced new money for maintenance.
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Seven Wimmera schools are among 400 schools to share in $40 million.

Hopetoun P-12 College will receive $246,000, Horsham Primary School will receive $166,000 andHorsham West and Haven Primary School will receive $60,000.

Dimboola Primary School will receive $47,000, Kaniva College $29,000, Apsley Primary School $13,000 and Beulah Primary School $5000.

Hopetoun P-12 College principal Tony Hand said he was ecstatic to learn about the money.

“We haven’t got the finer details yet about where exactly we can spend it, but it will certainly contribute to our refurbishment work in putting all the students onto one campus,” he said.

The collegemoved all of its students onto the senior school campus from the start of this year.

Previously there was about onekilometre between the junior and senior sites.“This money will allow us to now focus on some of the secondary school buildings and remove some old, decommissioned buildings,” Mr Hand said.

“We had plans in place for these buildings, but we weren’t expecting any money, so this willallowus to get our plans into action.”

Mr Handsaid merging the school’s two campuses had been a positive move.

“The transition of all students onto one campus has been exceptionally smooth, which is a credit to students, staff and the community,” he said.

Horsham Primary School principal Chris Walter said how the money would be spent was still to be decided.

“We are really pleased got some money and it is always very helpful to our school,” he said.

Education Minister James Merlino said the funding boost would allow more schools to replace or upgrade building that were in poor conditions.

“It’s important our teachers and students have the first-rate classrooms they deserve,” he said.

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Shire canoe club face a very Hawkesbury Halloween

Big day: Sutherland Shire Canoe Club members. Picture: SuppliedWhile you and your kids are out trick-or-treating this weekend, some of theShire’s fittest and fastest will be spending their Saturday night in a very differentway.
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Around 14 members of the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club have entered theannual Hawkesbury Canoe Classic, a 111km overnight paddle that raises fundsfor the Arrow Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation.

The Classic, now in its 40thyear, starts at Windsor and ends at Mooney MooneyBridge at Brooklyn, on the Hawkesbury River.

The paddlers will leave Windsor in groups between 3pm and 5pm on Saturdayafternoon, with the fastest taking around 8.5 hours to do the route, arriving inBrooklyn at around 2am. The average paddler will take 13 hours while theslowest will take 16-19 hours – and probably get to see the sun rise.

“A few of our paddlers – and about two-thirds of the entire field – have enteredwhat’s called ‘Brooklyn or Bust’ which is simply focused on finishing the eventrather than racing,” club presidentSteve Dawson said.

“The rest are racing classes divided by boat type, age, and gender. Personally I’drather finish fast because sitting for longer in a boat is physically worse thanworking harder.”

Among the club members hopeful of good results are Dawson and his wife,Kate, who are record holders from previous years, as well as fellow husband andwife team, Ross and Robyn Bingle. Other hot tips are Bob Turner and JasonCooper paddling together, and Kristy Benjamin.

Steve and Ross covered the distance last year in less than nine hours (8h:46m).Bob and Kristy have also posted sub-ninehour paddles previously. Others whohave competed before but not this year will be at the river as support crew.

All the club members who have entered have been training hard. Most haveclocked up 40-50km each weekend; the Dawsons have been doing 60-80km.

Many have been cross-training too, either running or cycling.While it might seem a punishing way to spend a weekend, Mr Dawson saidfinishing the 111km race comes with a real sense of achievement – and more.

“The event has a great atmosphere. Everybody encourages others as they passin the night. In last year’s race, where Ross and I were racing for a podiumposition, we were paddling alongside the other leaders, chatting and swappingstories for almost the entire race,” he said.

“When we came across a paddler in difficultly, all the lead boats stopped tocheck they were okay, even though we didn’t need to. When we knew they werealright, we all went off again together.

“The chatter stopped in the final two kilometres as everyone got down tobusiness. We finished third, two seconds behind the boat that came second.

“There are tough times, because it is such hard work. Between 40km and 60km isthe worst, while the final 30km is almost a relief. Crossing the line is ecstasy.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the cause can do so via the club’sEveryday Hero account.

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Turnbull’s coal call part of a global game

IN the years before he became prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull was a politician who liked to burnish his environmental credentials, all the while touting the inevitable rise of renewable energy.
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But like Labor’s Kevin Rudd before him, Mr Turnbull in power has found that cutting Australia’s reliance on the black gold of coal is not as easy as he might have imagined.

And for valid reasons.

For all of the compelling concerns aboutcoal combustion and its role in the warming of the planet, the political reality is that climate change is no longer –if it ever was –the only political game in town.

Yes, scientists are predicting planetary death and disaster if governments around the world do not get serious about cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But politicians of all persuasions have to balance long-term concerns against immediate needs, which is why Mr Turnbull can so confidently say that coal will be part of Australia’s energy mix for “many, many decades to come”.

If renewable energy sources do have the potential to replace coal as the world’s bedrock fuel for power generation, then they will. In the meantime, there will be a struggle asadvocates oneither side prosecutetheir cases, and not only in the court of public opinion.

Mr Turnbull’s re-entry into the coal debate comes as his government pushes for laws to restrict environmentalchallenges to the federal approval of resource projects. Delays to the Adani Group’s Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin are citedas justification. While the government’s frustration over delays to the Adani mine is understandable, the reality is that modern environmental groups have international links –and international financing –in the same way that resource companies jealously protect their ability to operate across borders.To suggest a litigant should be barred from a court simply because of their identity does not hold water in a democracy, and the government would be far better off letting projects stand or fall on their merits than trying to thwart the efforts of those whose ideas they oppose.

Even so, Mr Turnbull is correct to say that any coal that Australia does not sell will be supplied from elsewhere, and probably at a greater environmental cost than if it was mined here.The more technologically complex our society becomes, the more dependentit is on electricity. And for the time being at least, that means relyingon coal.

ISSUE: 38,372

Dreamworld emergency: multiple deaths confirmed

The Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld. Photo: YouTubeRefresh regularly for the latestBRISBANE 7:15PM
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As the investigations move into full swing, here is what we know so far

Four people are dead after an incident on Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Paramedics say two people were thrown from the ride and two people were trapped inside when the ride malfunctioned.

The victims are aged in their 30s and 40s.

Witnesses have described the tragic events, while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk describes it as a “dark day” in the state’s history..

The theme park has been closed “until further notice”

Ardent Leisure, the operator of the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast, had its share price fall by as much as 8 per cent

Police and workplace safety officers are investigating.

Our live coverage has concluded. Please check the main site for the latest developments.

BRISBANE 6:45PM: Tony Moore

Dreamworld’s car park is empty of holidaymakers now,.

It is virtually dark and the main lights come from television news crews still doing live crosses.

Inside Dreamworld, police and accident investigation teams can be seenmaking their way inside the first section of the theme park.

But other than that, night has now fallen on a day when two men andtwo women have died in an accident at one of Australia’s main theme parks.

Investigators at the scene where four people died on a ride at Dreamworld. Photo: Tony Moore

BRISBANE 6:31PM:

Theme park closed until ‘further notice’Dreamworld hasannounced the parkwill be closed until further notice after a tragic ride incident killed four people.

Dreamworld is currently closed until further notice due to an incident at the park.

— Dreamworld (@Dreamworld_AU) October 25, 2016What we know so farFour people have died on theThunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld.

Paramedics saytwo people were thrown from the ride and two people were trapped inside.

Police and workplace safety are investigating

The Gold Coast theme park has been closed to the public.

Police and emergency crews remain outside Dreamworld after the horrific accident on the Thunder River Rapids ride. Photo: Tony Moore

BRISBANE 5:42pm:Cameron Atfield

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who wasin Queensland today, has issued a statement on today’s Dreamworld tragedy.

“I’m very saddened to learn of the tragic accident at Dreamworld earlier today,” he said.

“Theme parks are a place for family fun and happiness, not tragedy.

“This is a very, very, sad, tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives.

“This is a verysad day, and we trust there will be a thorough investigation into the causes of this accident over the days to follow.”

BRISBANE5:40pm:Georgina Mitchell

There was a problem with the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld several hours before one part of the ride flipped over, a witness said.

On Tuesday morning, visitors were left waiting as engineers were called in to inspect the ride.

“We were waiting there for about half an hour and the engineers had to come,” a witness told Nine News.

“They drained all the water out and then had to refill it back up. Then we were allowed to go. We were stuck there for about 30, 40 minutes at least.”

A witness said the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld was drained on Tuesday morning. Photo: Nine News

BRISBANE5:23pm:Carolyn Cummins

Ardent Leisure, the operator of the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast, had its share price fall by as much as 8 per cent following news of a tragedy at the venue.

In a short statement on Tuesday afternoon the group confirmed there had been at least three fatalities at its theme park in Queensland on Tuesday.

BRISBANE 5.20pm:Jorge Branco

Witnesses have described shock and confusion in the aftermath of the accident as first responders reacted.

“They just told us to evacuate, ‘you’ve gotta go’,” one park-goer told Ten News.

“Then as we got down other people said they heard a massive big bang and it sounded like an explosive big bang.”

Emergency crews on the scene. Photo: supplied

BRISBANE 5.12pm:

‘Everyone is in deep shock’: PremierQueensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said police and workplace health and safety were doing a “thorough” investigation and expected that to continue into the early hours.

“I understand there were many witnesses and I want to thank paramedics and police who were there,” she said.

“I have been told the scene was horrific.

“Everyone is in deep shock that this has actually happened at one of our most popular theme parks, our heart goes out to family and victims.”

BRISBANE 5.04pm:

Inspector and regional duty officer Todd Reid confirmed two males and two females were confirmed dead, however would not confirm whether the adults were related to each other.

“Workplace health and safety officers and the Forensic Crash Unit of Queensland Police in attendance along with state coroner,” he said.

“We are working with park to determine how tragic incident has occurred.”

BRISBANE 4.52pm:Dreamworldchief executive Craig Davidson said the park had been closed.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this and our hearts and our thoughts go to the families involved and their loved ones,” he said.

Inspector Todd Reid speaks to media about the accident at Dreamworld. Photo: Queensland Police

Paramedics said two people were thrown from the raft and two people were trapped inside.

Queensland Ambulance Service Officer Gavin Fuller said the people were aged from 32 to their early 40s.

He said park staff attempted first aid but weren’t able to save them.

Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson speaks to media about the accident at the park. Photo: ABC News

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has launched an investigation into the tragedy, with an investigations team and the chief engineer on site.

It’s understood the chief engineer will be looking into the mechanics of the ride and what went wrong.

Authorities and Dreamworld representatives have spoken about the tragic incident at Dreamworld. It begins about 5.20 minutes:

BRISBANE 4.19pm:The Queensland Police Service has issued a statement ahead of the press conference.

“Police are currently investigating an incident that occurred this afternoon at a theme park on the Gold Coast.

Police were called to the site at Coomera around 2.20pm following reports that a number of people had been injured by a conveyor belt.

Four adults have been confirmed as being deceased.”

The incident comes about six months after a near-drowning on Dreamworld’s popular log ride.

A man was on the log ride when he fell out in April.

He was treated by the theme park’s medical staff after he swallowed water and suffered cuts to his head before paramedics arrived.

4.57pm:Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said it is a “very sad day for our city”.

“Our thoughts are with the families of those affected – and the emergency staff in attendance,” he said.

“I urge everyone to show the respect needed as the relevant authorities undertake investigations in to what has occurred.

“A truly sad day for all.”

4pm: Dreamworld has confirmed “at least three fatalities” at its theme park.

“Dreamworld confirms there has been at least three fatalities at its theme park in Queensland today,” the statement read.

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate. Photo: Supplied

“Dreamworld is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts around the incident and is working closely with emergency authorities and police to do this.

“Dreamworld’s focus and priority is with the families of those involved in this tragedy and will be providing an update to the public as soon as information becomes available.”

People were “hysterically crying” and running after the accident, witnesses say.

One woman who spoke to media at the theme park said a young girl was crying and being comforted at the ride.

“We think it was her mum that was involved,” the woman said.

“There was just police and lifeguards everywhere.

“It happened on the Rapids ride. I spoke to a guy and he said he looked behind and the whole thing flipped over.”

Another witness said she believed three adults involved in the accident were from the same extended family.

Thunder River Rapids isconsidered a quite tame family ride.

Photo: Twitter / Nine News

Up to six people are strapped into one circular cart with a loose belt around the abdomen, then the ride travels down a water track.

According to the Dreamworld website, it travels up to 45 kilometres an hour through “turbulent rapids”.

Earlier: One person has reportedly died and three others are injured after an incidenton a ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

Police say it appears one person had become caught in a conveyor belt at the Coomera theme park.

Paramedics said four people were injured, though they couldn’t confirm media reports one person had died.

It’s believed the accident occurred on the Thunder River Rapids ride with a six- person circular raft flipping over onto the conveyor belt.

Emergency services workers and police at the scene of the incident at Dreamworld. Photo: Nine News

“The situation is unfolding,” a Queensland Ambulance spokeswoman said.”The QAS is working with other emergency services to assist at the scene.”

– with Georgina Mitchell

Four people have been critically injured at #Dreamworld. There is nothing further we can confirm at this stage.

— QPS Media Unit (@QPSmedia) October 25, 2016

Confusion over new Maitland hospital

Health Minister Jillian Skinner. Picture: Edwina PicklesConfusion reigns over plans for the new Maitland hospital.
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Hunter doctors believe they are not being consulted about services and Health Minister Jillian Skinner insiststhe facility willhave “upwards of 350” beds –despite a leaked confidential document indicating otherwise.

TheNSW Health Infrastructure brief, obtained by Fairfax Media, showed the facility dubbed“Maitland’s incredible shrinking hospital”, could be just that.

The Lower Hunter’s population willgrow by more than 43,000 people in the next 20 years, but the new hospital could only have 88 more beds than the current Maitland Hospital by 2022.

That’s 180 fewer than the 462 that the original business case recommended at a cost of $316 million less to get up and running, according to the August 2015 document.

But Health Minister Jillian Skinner told Fairfax Media on Tuesdayshe expected a public-private partnership would mean “upwards of 350 beds”, including public and private beds. “Any operator will be required to treat all public patients who present at the hospital,” she said.

“There will be no designated limit or proportion of beds allocated for public as opposed to private patients.

“This means that, if necessary, 100 per centof the hospital’s bed capacity would be utilised for the treatment of public patients.”

Fairfax Media reported last year that Maitland Hospital Medical Staff Council had heard plans for the facilityhad been reduced from the promised 450 beds, but the government hadremained tight-lipped about the issue since then.

Ms Skinner told 1233 ABC radio on Tuesday morning she “would expect [the new Maitland hospital]to be much bigger than the current Maitland hospital, which is about 200 beds”.

Australian Medical Association presidentProfessor Brad Frankum said Maitland Hospital doctors believedthe government had not properlyconsulted them about which services the region needed.

Professor Frankum said the region needed better critical care services.

He said the size and complexity of the emergency department and intensive care unit at the new hospital was important to get right.

“The clinicians at Maitland seemed to be getting a whole lot of different messages over the last few years about exactly what the hospital size and complexity was going to be,” he said.

“The Ministryof Health and Local Health Districtdo seem tohave changed their mind on a numberof occasions and that creates quite a bit of uncertainty.

“Big projects like this only succeed if they are done with good clinician engagement–that’s not just doctors but nurses and Allied Health professionals as well.

“Those are the people who understand the needs and if they’re not on board, you’re not going to succeed.

“There’s been very significant lack of engagement with clinicians in this whole thing so far.”

Professor Frankum said the planning process needed to change or the hospitalwould “not be up to the task” of catering for the region’s rapidly growing population.

“Doctors at the hospital have been alarmed for some time about the way the government has approached the redevelopment,” he said.

“They know they need a bigger facility than is currently planned to cope with the growing and ageing population.

“It’s the same story across NSW–more people, who are older and sicker, are presenting to hospital emergency departments every quarter.

“Maitland Hospital is very important to get right because it supports nine other hospitals, including Kurri Kurri, Scone, Muswellbrook, Cessnock and Singleton.”

He said no hospital in NSW was“an island” butneeded to provide a minimum level of care for their communities.

“For that to happen in Maitland, the government needs to get it right from the outset,” he said.

Mrs Skinner’s statement to Fairfax Media did not respond to Professor Frankum’s comments.

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Couple attacked by ‘ice junkie with shovel’

Lee Walker in hospital on Monday after being attacked with a shovel. Photo: FacebookA young Bunburycouple attacked outsidetheir home on Monday by a stranger allegedly suffering a drug psychosis have spoken about their terrifying ordeal.
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Mother-of-one Stephanie Skilbeck told Radio 6PR she feared for her life aftera 41-year-old man allegedlyjumped their fence and stolea shovel from their backyard before attacking her partner, Lee Walker.

“It was about 7.30am in the morning and my partner’s car wouldn’t start, thank goodness, otherwise I would have been there by myself,” she said.

“We were out the front trying to start it and our neighbour came over and said someone’s just jumped your fence.

“[The man] just walked around the side of the house and he already had a shovel in his hand which was from our backyard and came straight up to me and told me to be quiet and said he would hit me.”

Ms Skilbeck, 19, who was holding her 10 month old baby at the time, screamed for her partner and raced next door to give her son to her neighbour.

By the time she returned, her partner was wrestling with the man on the ground..

“I just jumped straight in and tried to grab the shovel off him and Lee was still wresting him so between the two of us we managed to get the shovel away.”

Ms Skilbeck said she warned the man she would hit him with the shovel if he did not get off her partner.

“He refused so I hit him about four or five times with the shovel before he let go of him.

“I don’t even think he even realised he was being hit, I don’t think the pain registered.”

Mr Walker, 24,remained in hospital on Tuesday after requiring surgery for his injuries on Monday night.

In a Facebook post, he described the man who attacked him as an “ice junkie”.

Police later told the couple they believed the man had suffered a drug-related psychotic episode and may have thought he was being chased.

It took two police officers and a neighbour to hold himdown to be cuffed.

Police also allege the man hadearlier that morningpunched a doctor in the face and stolen her car outside Bunbury Hospital.

He has been charged with aggravated robbery, stealing a motor vehicle, making threats to kill, acts intending to cause grievous bodily harm and trespass.

WAtoday

Pressure mounts on George Brandis to salvage some honour in legal bunfight

Pressure is mounting on Attorney-General Senator George Brandis to withdraw the new regulation. Photo: Andrew Meares Justin Gleeson is universally admired for his keen legal mind. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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 It may look like George Brandis is the last man standing, but there have been no winners and no positives in the public scrap between the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson.

It is tempting to think this problem is now resolved.

The latter has withdrawn, citing irreconcilable differences over a legal services direction (LSD) tabled by Brandis in the Senate in circumstances viewed by Gleeson as tantamount to an ambush.

That direction summarily ended the custom of the SG providing legal advice to other ministers, mandating instead that all future requests be ticked off by the AG himself.

In the wake of the Gleeson resignation, the opposition has called for Brandis’ scalp. Its main charge is that Brandis misled Parliament when tabling the LSD by claiming it had been formulated in consultation with Gleeson.

Gleeson has since denied this, prompting Brandis to roll out a legal backstop argument. In the end, he told a Senate inquiry the dispute between the two officers turned on a narrow definition of the word “consultation” (Gleeson’s) compared with a broader definition of the word (his).

Such vagueness is embarrassing and puts Brandis in “vibe” territory.

Either way, senior lawyers are aghast that a public disagreement going to probity has forced the resignation of a solicitor-general for the first time in 100 years.

The outgoing Gleeson is universally admired for his keen legal mind and for his adherence to proper process.

Attention has turned to a replacement and most particularly to the negative impact of this affair on the prestige and perceived independence of the office.

The Senate could strike out the LSD in any event, a prospect even government senators acknowledge as likely – perhaps desirable.

Within the law, however, pressure is mounting on Brandis to withdraw the new regulation to restore trust – to take the honourable course and accept that it had been an error and one over which procedural questions continue to hang.

If it is to be reinstituted, this must follow proper consultation with the new solicitor-general – as a matter of law.

That Malcolm Turnbull has kept Brandis is unremarkable, but the Attorney-General would be more vainglorious than even his critics suggest if he assumes his grip on the portfolio is not materially weakened.

Rather, he might show the profession, and the government, the common courtesy of displaying at least some contrition.

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City support for hospital growth plan

Maitland Private Hospital is poised to develop an intensive care unit and chemotherapy suiteafter Maitland councilvoted to refer expansion plans to the Joint Regional Planning Panel.
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Councillors voted unanimously on Tuesday night to make a submission to the panel indicating its support for the proposa,l which will include a new 25-bed surgical ward, alterations to incorporate anintensive care unit and achemotherapy ward.

The project would also include the demolition of some houses to accommodate 28 additional car parking spaces.

The application has been referred to the planning panel because the proposed cost of the development is more than $5million.The proposal, if approved, will result in 172 hospital beds on site.

Councillors had little debate on the matter, which was moved by Cr Peter Garnham.He said council hadalways known that the private hospital, on the corner of Chisholm Road and the New England Highway at East Maitland, would continue to grow.

Cr Arch Humphery said the application was an indication of the demand for health services in the Maitland area. He said there hadbeen difficulty developing the facility in the pastdue tosome site constraints.

Fairfax Media reported in May thatMaitland Private Hospital was toreceive a $25 million upgrade that wouldinclude an intensive care unit and a chemotherapy suite,two theatres and associated services, a new 24-bed ward and more parking.The upgrade is expected to create 50 more jobs in the hospital.

The announcement came after Healthe Care, the company that owns the hospital, was sold to China’sLuye Medical Group.Healthe Care CEO Steve Atkins said the upgrade wouldmake chemotherapy and intensive caremore accessible for people in Maitland and the Upper Hunter.The additionis part of a wider cancer project at thehospital.

Mr Atkins told Fairfax Media in Maythe plan wasto acquire houses behind the hospital to transform into a cancer institute.“We’re keen to develop a more comprehensive cancer service, which we’re really excited about,” he said.

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Senator’s larceny charge proven but dismissed

No conviction: Barrister Peter King, left, and Senator Rod Culleton, right, leave Armidale Local Court. Photo: Breanna Chillingworth
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It was ‘foolish’Magistrate Michael Holmes has found the larceny charge proven butdismissed itunder Section 10A, meaning Rod Culleton will be free to continue as a senator for Western Australia.

Senator Rod Culleton says the only reason he dropped the application to have the larcenycase heard by a jury was because due to a plea deal.

Speaking outside Armidale Local Court on Tuesday, Mr Culleton said it was a “favourable outcome” after he was handed a Section 10A dismissal fora larceny charge.

“It’s been at huge expense, not only to my family but to a number of parties over $7.50 of a key, a key that I put the value too,” he told media.

Senator Rod CulletonSenator Rod Culleton admits he was “foolish” to take tow truck key during dispute in #Guyra in 2014. He’s escaped conviction today @The_NDLpic.twitter南京夜网/ikUhd2NElY

— BreannaChillingworth (@breannachill) October 25, 2016Barrister Peter King says Senator Rod Culleton has been “exonerated” in #Armidale court after escaping conviction for larceny @The_NDLpic.twitter南京夜网/wEAgmsmW21

— BreannaChillingworth (@breannachill) October 25, 2016Barrister says Culleton ‘exonerated’Culleton’s barrister Peter King says his client’s name has been cleared.

“I’m very pleased to say that Rod Culleton has been completely exonerated in the court today and the charges against him have been dismissed,” he said outstide Armidale Local Court.

“On the basis he was to be completely exonerated and he was, and indeed the magistrate held that he was a man of very good character.”

No convictionMagistrate Michael Holmes has found the larceny charge proven butdismissed itunder Section 10A, meaning Rod Culleton will be free to continue as a senator for Western Australia.

In sentencing, Mr Holmes said Culleton acted “foolishly” during the dispute in 2014.

In court: WA Senator Rod Culleton outside Armidale Local Court earlier this year. Photo: Matt Bedford

Mr Holmes said he took into account the extenuating delays in the case by Culleton, his good character, family ties and his work.

“The trivial nature of the offence … but I do find that you acted somewhat foolishly,” he told Culleton.

Mr Holmes ordered Culleton to pay $322.85in compensation to the tow truck driver.

Guilty pleaRod Culleton has pleaded guilty to stealing a tow truck driver’s key after an altercation in April 2014.

Barrister Peter King said his client was acting in “self-defence” when the key was “flung” during the confrontation on April 11 in Guyra.

“[His actions] was to prevent a criminal trespass to his vehicle and the property on which he was located,” he told the court.

Application to have case heard by a juryWA ONE Nation senator Rod Culleton will try and have a charge he stole a towtruck driver’s key in Guyra heard before a jury.

The newly-elected senator appeared in Armidale Local Court on Tuesday morning where the case was set down for hearing before the court was told he wants the matter dealt with in the district court.

Mr Culleton’s barrister Peter King lodged an application in the court to have the matter which he says is strictly indictable heard by a jury.

In court: WA Senator Rod Culleton outside Armidale Local Court earlier this year. Photo: Matt Bedford

But Magistrate Michael Holmes is refusing to grant the application.

“This was never flagged, the matter is listed for hearing today,” he told the court.

“This was received yesterday morning at this courthouse …not very satisfactory is it.

“Iwould have expected more courtesy to the court.”

For the charge to be dealt with in the district court the larceny charge must relate to an item worth more than $5000.

Mr Holmes questioned the application and said Mr Culleton had been quoted in the mediasaying the charge related to “a $7.50 key”.

“He now puts the value at over $5000,” Mr Holmes said examining the papers.

“I think the charge sets the value of the obtaining the key the value of … just say about $300.

“That’s what the crown is relying on for the purposes of these proceedings.

“It is not a proper case for a jury.”

Mr King said there were two issues in the case and it should be heard before a jury.

Barrister Peter King

“There’s been … fair to say abeefing up of the prosecution case,” Mr King told the court.

Mr Culleton has pleaded not guilty to the charge of stealing the key in Guyra on April 11, 2014.

According to court documents, Culleton is accused of the theft of a key for a Peterbuilt heavy haulage tow truck between 8am and 10am.

Court papers state the property is worth $322.85, with the tow truck owner seeking compensation for the purchase and installation costs after he was forced to get a new ignition switch and door locks.

The court has been told the prosecution has obtained further evidence with four extra statements served on the defence in the lead-up to the hearing, including two new statements.

The prosecutor said “discussions” were ongoing but “majority” of the prosecution witnesses were ready for the hearing today.

Northern Daily Leader

Same-sex marriage plebiscite was a ‘shitty political deal’ between Liberal factions: Christine Forster

Christine Forster is a member of the City of Sydney council. Photo: Brook MitchellTony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster has described the stalled same-sex marriage plebiscite as a “shitty political deal” struck as an agreement between the Liberal Party’s conservative and moderate factions.
Nanjing Night Net

The Liberal councillor and same-sex marriage advocate made the startlingly frank admission during a heated debate of Sydney City Council on Monday night.

On Tuesday, Ms Forster told Fairfax Media she stood by her comments but stressed she was not suggesting the plebiscite was cooked up in a cross-factional “deal where Tony sat down with Malcolm, or Eric Abetz sat down with Simon Birmingham”.

“I’m saying it was a shitty deal because it was. From my point of view, it was a bad deal because I never wanted a plebiscite; I wanted a free vote in Parliament,” she said.

“But we got a plebiscite as policy and that’s the only way I see this progressing now, at least for the next few years.

“What I said [at council] was a plebiscite was a compromise agreement because it provided a way forward on same sex marriage for both the Left and the Right of the Liberal Party.”

Ms Forster – who wants to marry her long-term partner, Virginia Edwards – called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year to hold a free vote. She then backed a plebiscite when it became clear it was the only path to reforming the Marriage Act in the current term of Parliament.

But her claim in an open council meeting that a plebiscite was a political deal will be a blow to Mr Turnbull, who has maintained that it was a “legitimate and democratic” way forward, rather than part of the price he paid in taking the leadership from Mr Abbott, a strident opponent of same-sex marriage.

In August last year, Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne complained that the party room meeting that resulted in the plebiscite compromise was effectively “branch stacked” because of the inclusion of socially conservative Nationals MPs and senators.

Mr Turnbull has conceded that a plebiscite was part of the Coalition agreement with the Nationals, but never acknowledged any deal with conservative Liberals on the matter.

Labor councillor Linda Scott said Ms Forster had belled the cat on the Liberal Party’s real motivation.

“Mr Turnbull had repeatedly said that his was a principled position on holding a plebiscite. Now Cr Forster has revealed the truth about her party’s position – the plebiscite was a political deal, trading the rights of people and their families,” she said.

Ms Forster’s comments were made as council debated a motion in support of marriage equality.

She voted against a motion that congratulated Labor for opposing the plebiscite but backed a compromise motion authored by councillor Kerryn Phelps which commended the work of marriage equality campaigners, the LGTBI community and mental health professionals in raising awareness “about the real possibility of a potentially divisive and hate-filled campaign against marriage equality”.

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

World’s best-perceived cities versus the reality revealed in new PwC report

London measures up to be named world’s best city. Photo: iStock Sydney also fared better in perception and than in reality. Photo: Tourism NSW
Nanjing Night Net

A closest link between perception and reality: Amsterdam. Photo: iStock

Sydney is considered one of the best cities in the world, but the perception does not match up with the reality, according to a new study.

London was named the best perceived city in the world ahead of New York and Paris, in the global report that examines the perception of major cities versus the reality.

While Sydney came close to the top of the list at no.5 for “best perceived” cities, Australia’s largest city dropped to no.10 when it came to assessing what it is really like.

The report, which comprises two studies, (one on “perception” and the other on “reality” and benchmarks) rates 30 cities on a variety of factors including: corruption; health, safety, and security; innovation and entrepreneurship; transportation and infrastructure; demographics and liveability; sustainability and the natural environment; economic clout; intellectual capital and innovation; and education.

London topped the list with 5200 adults from across 16 countries scoring the city highly. Sydney was ranked No.5 behind Amsterdam and ahead of Berlin (No.6), Tokyo (No.7), Toronto (No.8), Stockholm (No.9) and Los Angeles (No.10). The study did not include any other Australian cities.

Los Angeles, Tokyo and Berlin were named among the world’s 10 best cities, however they all failed to make the top 10 when it was ranked according to quantifiable factors. Sydney also fared better in perception and than in reality, falling five spots from No.5 to No.10. Cities like New York, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro were in the same boat, with their overall perception outpacing their real-world attributes, the report states.

Cities showing the closest link between perception and reality were London, which is No. 1 in both studies, and Paris and Amsterdam, which are in the top five in both studies.

At the other end of the spectrum, Lagos ranks the lowest and Jakarta in the bottom three in both studies, and Shanghai and Moscow are at No. 21 and 22, respectively, on both lists.

The report, published last week by international consultancy firm PwC, was conducted in December 2015, before Britain’s exit from the European Union and the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

London was also named best city in the world for travellers in 2016 by TripAdvisor. It was described as “one of the world’s most admired destinations” thanks to its mix of culture, music, history, fashion, food and beer. 10 best cities: the perception10 best cities: the reality

See also: Countries with the worst and best reputations

See also: The most overrated (and underrated) cities   This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Flashback Friday: This That Festival, Live at the Foreshorephotos

Flashback Friday: This That Festival, Live at the Foreshore | photos Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers
Nanjing Night Net

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. “The Other Stage” Jimay Falcon, left, with Sh”Gazey, right. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Fans rock out to Baby Animals performing.Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Fans watching Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. “The Other Stage” Jimay Falcon, right, with Dawn Tindall, left. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. “The Other Stage” Jimay Falcon, right, with Dawn Tindall, left. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday.Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Sh’Gazey, left, dancing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Fan watch Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing.Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

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