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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King’s headmaster Tim Hawkes admits ‘catastrophic failure’ at sex abuse royal commission

The King’s School headmaster Tim Hawkes outside the royal commission in 2015. Photo: Daniel Munoz The King’s School is part of a sexual abuse inquiry.
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The King’s School’s inaction on reporting an alleged indecent assault between teenage students was described as a “catastrophic failure” before a royal commission on Tuesday.

Senior staff at Parramatta were warned they could face criminal charges by not reporting an alleged indecent assault to police but failed to do so, the commission heard.

The Parramatta school’s deputy headmaster Andrew Parry told the inquiry he contacted police for advice about the alleged assault involving a teenage student ejaculating on another child at a 2013 camp.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard an officer at Castle Hill police advised him via email to make a formal report “to avoid any possible (criminal) action”.

The email was circulated to senior school staff, including headmaster Tim Hawkes, school counsellor Greg James and staff development director  Robert Chandler, the inquiry heard.

Dr Hawkes told the commission he did not dispute receiving the email but could not recall reading it.

The inquiry heard Dr Parry read the email but conceded in evidence: “I did not read the email carefully enough.”

Dr Parry told the commission the email was discussed at a meeting with Dr Hawkes, Mr James and Mr Chandler in August 2013. Dr Hawkes’s evidence is that he could not recall the email being discussed at meetings.

Counsel assisting the commission David Lloyd put it to Dr Parry that it was “extraordinary” that senior staff mis-read the email.

“So the leadership group had access to an email saying it would be  a criminal offence not to make a report to the police . . . and you say to the commission that not one person at that meeting raised the fact of advice of police that it would be a criminal offence not to report. That is an extraordinary state of affairs, would you agree?,”  Mr Lloyd said.

Dr Parry replied: “I would agree.”

Dr Parry told the commission he later apologised to Dr Hawkes for his mistake, writing in an email: “It was a complete oversight on my part.”

Under questioning from Mr Lloyd, Dr Hawkes conceded it was a “catastrophic failure” by the school.

In a 2000 email from Dr Hawkes tendered to the commission, the high-profile headmaster indicates that schools would be reluctant to report abuse due to adverse publicity.

The email, in relation to media coverage of a sexual abuse case at Trinity Grammar School, was sent to the school’s headmaster Milton Cujes​.

“If, in reporting an incident it means that the broad flapping ears of the press will be allowed to sensationalise the case on the front page of their newspapers, then this will be a very strong disincentive to report anything,” Dr Hawkes wrote.

“The newspaper article the other day would have served a clear warning to head that responsible reporting of an incident is an ill-advised action, and best avoided as much as possible. No threats from legal quarters will come close to persuading a head that it is worth reporting something if this is the reward they are going to reap.”

Dr Hawkes is expected to continue giving evidence on Monday.

The inquiry into public and private schools continues before Justice Peter McClellan​.

Lifeline 13 11 14 Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 Survivors & Mates Support Network 1800 472 676

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Derby Day 2016: Team Hawkes out to add to group 1 spring at Flemington

Ready to shine: Star Turn is in great shape to take on the best in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday. Photo: Bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛
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Team Hawkes started the spring with a sprinter, a miler and a couple of stayers looking for group 1 glory. They have already banked the Caulfield Guineas with Divine Prophet and will look to add a Victoria Derby and Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

“We just try to have our horses right for the right races and are lucky enough to have a couple of good ones,” said John Hawkes, who trains Derby hopes Swear and Inference and Coolmore prospect Star Turn in partnership with sons Michael and Wayne.

“We were looking towards Saturday with them from the start of the preparation. It would be nice to get another group 1 but they are tough to win.”

No trainer has been able to knock off the Guineas, Derby and Coolmore in the same year since the Coolmore Stud Stakes moved in 2006, but Hawkes’ stable could give it a decent shot on Saturday.

While the Derby has been the long-held blue riband event and is the naming race of Saturday’s card, the highlight of the opening day of the Flemington carnival will be the Coolmore Stud Stakes as a talented group of three-year-olds battle it out down the straight 1200 metres.

Capitalist, Extreme Choice and Astern have already won the Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond and Golden Rose respectively with Extreme Choice adding the Moir Stakes to his group 1 haul on his spring return.

But the Hawkes stable will depend on Star Turn, a flashy chestnut son of Star Witness, to beat them. He is a powerfully built colt, which won the San Domenico Stakes, before a close second to Astern in the Run to Rose, leading to a decision to target this race. He won the Schillaci Stakes against the older sprinters at Caulfield last start and Hawkes believes he is up to the group 1 three-year-olds.

“He was very strong against the older horses and is already a group 2 but this is the race we have targeted,” Hawkes said. “It is why we programmed him the way we did, and this is the race for him to become a stallion.

“Being down the straight adds a little more to the race because they have to handle that, but we are happy with [Star Turn]. He has done well since Caulfield.”

Hawkes’ son Wayne quipped “[Dad] doesn’t give away too much does he.”

But while the Hall of Fame trainer kept his cards close to his chest, there is satisfaction in being a major player on Saturday.

It is an example of the strength of the Hawkes yard that they arrive with three colts in the biggest three-year-old races of the spring and all could secure lucrative stud careers with victory on Saturday.

Swear carries a group 1 second behind Yankee Rose in the Spring Champion Stakes into the Derby, while Inference put together three wins before a fourth in the Stutt Stakes and third in the Caulfield Classic.

“They have both got there doing the right things, but like all the Derby horses they have to run 2500m and you don’t really know if they can do that until Saturday,” Hawkes said.

“Swear is a nice colt and has had the right preparation to get ready to for the trip and Inference is the same. We are happy with them both and they will run good races.”

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Melbourne Cup 2016: Gai Waterhouse predicts Australian-trained winner, defends quality of race

Home support: Gai Waterhouse is adamant the winner of the Melbourne Cup will be prepared by an Australian. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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A defiant Gai Waterhouse has predicted an Australian-trained horse will repel the challenge of the internationals and win the Melbourne Cup while launching a passionate defence of the slumping entries and quality in the race.

As she searches for her second Cup winner in the space of three years with $61 hope Excess Knowledge, Waterhouse blamed the cyclical nature of the country’s staying stocks for triggering a low-key build-up to the first Tuesday in November.

“There are times where you don’t have a vintage year,” Waterhouse said. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It might just be one of those years and we might have a really good Cup next year. I think it just ebbs and flows.

“Godolphin might have seven horses and Lloyd [Williams] is going to have four. There are still some pretty hefty numbers involved.”

But with just 32 still in contention for a spot in the $6.2 million handicap, the traditional scramble for places on the fringe of the 24-horse field has not been as ferocious this year.

Up to 10 overseas-trained horses remain in contention, but Waterhouse is adamant the winner will be prepared by an Australian conditioner.

“I’m quite confident in my fellow trainers and I still think one of the locally-trained horses will win,” Waterhouse said. “It’s hard to get a gauge on the Japanese [Curren Mirotic] and you’ve got to respect them as they’re always serious contenders.”

Godolphin’s army is likely to include Caulfield Cup runner-up Scottish, but his handler James Ferguson said on Tuesday that Winx’s no-show in the Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington carnival may have a bearing on Sheikh Mohammed’s plans.

“If she was going to run – she won the Cox Plate so fantastically – you’d be a bit foolish to take her on if she were to run in the Emirates Stakes,” Ferguson said.

“Obviously it makes that option a bit more viable … I haven’t been told a final decision yet so I’m just heading in the one direction. At the moment a decision hasn’t been made, [but] he could easily go for the Emirates Stakes.”

But Waterhouse has a one-track mind about Excess Knowledge, who used an 11th hour golden ticket after winning the Lexus Stakes last year to produce arguably his best performance since being in Australia when finishing seventh in the Melbourne Cup.

Vlad Duric will maintain the ride after the horse wobbled around the tight circuit when fourth in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last Saturday.

“He is going under the radar,” Waterhouse said. “He caused his own luck on Saturday and he rolled around like a big whale in the straight. Vlad came off him and said, ‘put him in blinkers and I think you’ll get a much better result’.

“He’s got the right weight, he’s a proven performer and he’s probably at the right age to win the Cup, he looks well and I’m extremely pleased.”

Waterhouse’s chances of going back-to-back in the Lexus Stakes will rest with out-of-sorts Canberra Cup winner Hippopus, who doesn’t hold an entry in the Melbourne Cup.

“He’s a funny old thing and he wins every two years,” Waterhouse said. “He’s going about as well as Hippopus can and he’ll be 100-1 and if you have a bet on him he might pop up.”

Godolphin lodged a late entry for the Lexus Stakes with Oceanographer on Tuesday given the horse is a Melbourne Cup fringe dweller at No.29. He can secure his passage into the race with victory on Saturday.

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Derby Day 2016: Danny O’Brien convinced De Little Engine can still make the Melbourne Cup

Chad Schofield hits the front on De Little Engine on Melbourne Cup day last year. Photo: Robert CianfloneWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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Danny O’Brien is confident he will have a runner in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, although he is leaving it late with De Little Engine.

The focus for O’Brien is the Cup, although his appeal in the long-running cobalt inquiry will come to a conclusion next week.

“I have just been concentrating on training and hopefully we can get this horse into the Cup,” O’Brien said. “He is in good form and capable of running a good race, the other stuff will take care of itself.”

De Little Engine hasn’t passed the first ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup, his ninth in the Caulfield Cup was one place from clearing the ballot condition. Therefore he will try to use Saturday’s Lexus Stakes to move up the order of entry.

“It was a good run in the Caulfield Cup and we didn’t realise until later that he would have passed the ballot if he had finished eighth,” O’Brien said. “That was disappointing but he is looking for the 2500 metres and loves Flemington, so he should get the job done on Saturday.

“We have been aiming at the Cup since he won the 2800m race on Melbourne Cup day last year and we always planned to run in the Lexus because he races best [at Flemington].

“If he can run in the first three he should get into the field and he will be running if he does.”

O’Brien was delighted to engage Hong Kong-based jockey Chad Schofield for Saturday and he will also ride in the Melbourne Cup if things go to plan. De Little Engine worked over 1800m at Flemington on Tuesday morning and has a preference for the long stretches of his home track.

“He has always been a Flemington horse and he is a real stayer, the further the better for him,” O’Brien said. “It is a bonus to get Chad back riding him because before he went to Hong Kong he had a great record on him and knows him well.

“In fact his last three rides on him have been wins, so when I knew he was coming back I wanted to book him.”

Schofield is back to ride Seaburge in the Cantala Stakes, but De Little Engine could be a handy bonus.

Tom Melbourne and The Bandit are the other two horses, which paid up for the Melbourne Cup on Monday without having cleared the first ballot clause and have to win the Lexus to gain the exemption from the ballot.

There are still question marks over a couple of horses that comfortably sit inside the field, including Tally, Real Love and Howard Be Thy Name, which runs in Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup.

Michael Moroney has decided not to start Vengeur Masque on Saturday, although he is No.28 on the order of entry after running eighth in the Caulfield Cup.

“We will just hope that he gets into the field, if not he can run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the final day,” Moroney said.

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‘Reduced’ size for new Maitland hospital

Health Minister Jillian Skinner. PICTURE: Edwina PicklesHEALTH Minister Jillian Skinner says it’s“nonsense” to suggestthenew Maitland Hospital will have less than 300 beds, despite a leaked departmental document stating the scope of the project had been“reduced”.
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Ms Skinner was in Newcastle on Tuesday to announce the opening of the $7 million upgrade of theneonatal intensive care unit at John Hunter Children’s Hospital, which she said would provide“state-of-the-art-care” for about 1100 newborns each year.

But as opposition growsto the Baird government’s decision tohand the new Maitland hospital over to the private sector, MsSkinnerwas forced to deny reports the hospital will bemuch smaller than initiallypromised.

TheNewcastle Heraldhas previouslyreported concernsthe newhospital at Metfordwould be significantly smaller than the 400-plus beds initially promised by the government, prompting Labor to dub itthe‘‘incredible shrinking hospital’’.

On Tuesday Ms Skinner insistedthe new hospitalwillhave “upwards of 350” public and private beds,despite a Health Infrastructurebriefing note from August last year revealingthe new hospital had been“reduced” tohave only282 beds“based on 2022 demand projections”.

It comes at the same time asAustralian Medical Association presidentProfessor Brad Frankum saysMaitland Hospital doctors believedthe government had not properlyconsulted them about which services the region needed–particularly better emergency and intensive carefacilities.

The internal briefing note, marked confidential, reveals thata preliminary business case for the new hospital from 2014 had preferred a 464bed hospital costing $766 million.

However that optionwas knocked backin favour of thecheaper $450 million option.

The briefing note states that as a result of that, and other events including the opening of the Hunter Expressway reducing travel times from the Hunter Valley to the John Hunter Hospital, the scope of the new Maitland hospital would be“reduced” to282 beds.

The documentis more than a year old, and does not include reference to the public-private partnership. Nor does it state that the minister signed off on the proposal.

On Tuesday Ms Skinner said the hospital wouldbe“at least as big as what we proposed, and I think we proposed 350 to 400.

“It will be at least that, I would expect, but possibly more.

“But the nonsense that one of the local members talking about 220 beds is just that.”

Meanwhile, ProfessorFrankum has slammed the government for offering mixed messages on the hospital.

“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.”

About 700 people attended a protest against the government’s public-private partnership plan in Maitland on Saturday, amid concerns about public access to the hospital.

But Ms Skinner said she could“guarantee”that a public patient“would be given exactly the priority they have now” under the terms of contract the government would negotiate.

“It is all about a doctor making a clinical decision about which patient goes first,” she said.

“If they show up at an Emergency Department together for example there will be no distinction between the private and the public patient.”

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.
Nanjing Night Net

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.

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

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.
Nanjing Night Net

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
Nanjing Night Net

 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.

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