Wine bar plan for arts centre

A COFFEE and wine bar could be opened in the Nautilus Arts Centre, adding to the revitalisation of the centre.
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A coffee and wine bar could be opened in the Nautilus Arts Centre, adding to the revitalisation of the centre.

Former local Jemma Schilling, who is returning home to Port Lincoln, and Elouise Dukalskis have approached the Port Lincoln City Council with their idea for a licenced coffee and wine bar offering coffee, light meals and a communal space for pre and post-dinner drinks.

The venue would not just be open for shows at the theatre and they believe it would have a positive impact on the centre.

It is proposed to be located in the the current box office area, small store room and kitchenette, and the office of the civic hall officer, which would be leased from the council at commercial rates.

The council voted this week to support in principle leasing an area of the centre for the business, which still has to go through the development application process and a lease is yet to be negotiated.

The proposal also has the support of the Nautilus Arts Centre Community Reference Group.

The council’s community development manager, Janet Grocke, said the reference group had discussed the proposal and was keen to have it investigated.

She said there would be issues to do with the gallery shop and office space for council staff but they would be considered further in the assessment of this proposal.

The council’s deputy chief executive Katrina Allen said a longer term possibility could be to use the courtyard between the Nautilus Arts Centre and the Civic Centre and possibly have seating in the Rotary Gallery and alfresco dining out the front of the centre.

However she said the whole concept was still subject to development approval.

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Joe’s flying high at just 15

HIGH FLYER: 15-year-old Joe Peter with flying instructor Earl Longstaff after completing his first solo flight.IT is never too early to start achieving your life goals according to 15-year-old pilot in training Joe Peter, who recently completed his first solo flight in a Jabiru aircraft.
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Joe, in Year 10 at the Port Lincoln High School, said he wasn’t even a little bit nervous before he flew without supervision for the first time.

Instead, he said he felt confident that he knew how to operate the aircraft.

“I knew I had the knowledge and ability to complete a circuit of the airport,” he said.

He has now done four solo flights and is halfway through completing his recreational aviation licence.

Once he sits his exam and completes the flying test he will be qualified to fly on his own.

He then intends to continue on to get his private pilot licence before ultimately becoming qualified to fly commercially.

Joe said he wanted to join the Royal Australian Airforce as a pilot flying transport aircraft after finishing high school.

His love for flying came from his father Graeme who flew gliders in Alice Springs.

Joe is also an avid model flying club member, spending hours building model planes and flying them every weekend.

His father said he was proud of Joe and said he would continue to support him in his flying while Joe still enjoyed it.

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Annual men’s foursome competition

THE Robe Golf Club competition on Sunday was the annual 27-hole Bruce Hinge Handicap Men’s Foursomes.
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Richard Bateman (left), Keith Couzner and Scott Sawyer have a practice before hitting the greens over the weekend.

Bruce was a valued contributor to the club as a member, volunteering his time and scooting around the course collecting green fees.

The seat up on the 15th tee block in his memory is there for golfers to take a load off as they come down from the back nine hills.

Winners on the day, by the narrowest of margins, were Sean Emery and Richard Bateman (net 108, gross 132).

David Murch and Andy Van Der Stelt were in second place (net 108.5, 140 gross) with third place going to Ian Regnier and Harold Manton (net 115.75, 139 gross).

This weekend is a stroke round, the combined first qualifier for the Handicap Championships, first round of the Caledonian Inn Trophy and also the Rymill Wines sponsored Monthly Medal.

On the following weekend is a stableford event, the first round of the John Leake Trophy on June 29.

On June 28 and 29 there is also the Robe Bridge Tournament, held at the Robe Golf Club.

Bar volunteers will be needed to assist Peter DeLaine.

July 6 is a stroke round for the second qualifying round of the Handicap Championship, Caledonian Inn Trophy and the Rymill Wines sponsored Monthly Medal.

The second stableford round for the John Leake Trophy will be on July 13, then the annual travelling round to Lucindale for the Cavpower tournament.

Come along and get your game tuned up with the mix of stroke and stableford events to suit all golfers coming up at the Robe club.

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Labor moves to thwart Joe Hockey’s asset recycling scheme

Anthony Albanese says the Abbott government is trying to “con” Australians about its commitment to infrastructure spending. Photo: Andrew Meares Greens oppose privatisation: Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt. Photo: Wayne Taylor
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The federal government’s plan to spur state government asset sales through an asset recycling fund could be significantly modified by the Senate under a plan put forward by Labor.

The $5 billion fund, announced by Treasurer Joe Hockey in the lead-up to the budget, pays states a 15 per cent bonus if they sell old assets and reinvest the proceeds of the sale in new infrastructure.

But Labor infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese on Wednesday unveiled two amendments to the new laws that could limit the availability of that 15 per cent bonus payment.

The first amendment would give the Parliament the power to disallow the 15 per cent bonus payment to states on a project-by-project basis.

The second measure would require a cost-benefit analysis by Infrastructure Australia of a project before payment is approved.

Mr Albanese said the fund was an attempt by the Abbott government to “con” Australians about its commitment to infrastructure spending.

“On a superficial level, it sounds like the government is doing something . . . but there is a real problem here. The budget includes no new money for infrastructure,” he said.

“The few new projects are being funded by cuts to existing road and rail projects. But more than anything else, this bill is about an attempt by the Commonwealth to flick pass responsibility for nation-building to state governments.”

While the government’s plan is expected to pass the House late on Wednesday or early on Thursday, Labor could team up with the Greens to modify the bill when it comes to the Senate – expected next week.

The Greens and the Palmer United Party, who will hold a large share of the balance of power in the Senate after July 1, are opposed to privatisation of assets.

On Wednesday, the Greens called on Labor to vote down the proposal in the Senate. Deputy leader Adam Bandt argued the bill would create a “toll-roads slush fund at the expense of investment in public transport”.

Mr Bandt said the Greens would consider Labor’s amendments, “but Labor must refuse to aid and abet Tony Abbott’s privatised roads agenda and vote with the Greens to block this bill”.

If the Greens vote against the Labor amendments, then Labor, in turn, is likely to pass the government’s bill in unamended form.

Melbourne’s East West link and the Sydney West Connex project have, for example, not been subject to a benefit-cost analysis by Infrastructure Australia, but federal money has already been allocated for these projects.

However, the 15 per cent federal bonus funding for future projects could face being blocked in the Parliament if Labor’s amendments pass.

The NSW government is banking on up to $2 billion to flow from the fund if it is re-elected, in which case it will push ahead with its privatisation of the state’s electricity assets.

Finance minister Mathias Cormann said the government was determined to pass the fund as it had been designed in the Senate.

“As with all the government’s budget measures, we will work respectfully and constructively with all senators to ensure we pass the budget that Australia needs,” he said.

“In the end, Labor will have to make a decision on whether they really want to stand in the way of important additional investments in productivity-enhancing infrastructure designed to build a stronger more prosperous economy.”

Earlier on Wednesday, federal Labor frontbencher Richard Marles told Sky News that the ALP would not stand in the way of assets being recycled, such as the sale of the poles and wires proposed by NSW Premier Mike Baird.

“Privatisations can be good, they can be bad, they need to stand on their own two feet in terms of there being good public policy,” he said.

“So what we’re saying is this; we’re not standing in the way, we’re proposing couple of amendments.”

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia said if the asset recycling plan does not go ahead NSW would miss out on $1.9 billion on the ”poles and wires” privatisation.

Victoria would lose $750 million from the sale of the Port of Melbourne which has bipartisan support at state level.

Chief executive Brendan Lyon said a lack of state funds had slowed the delivery of infrastructure, describing the asset recycling program as ”one of the most sensible pieces of national infrastructure policy in years”.

“This policy has been a circuit breaker, because it puts real money on the table to reward state governments for undertaking potentially unpopular but necessary reforms, like the sale of the Port of Melbourne and the NSW electricity grid,’ he said.

“NSW  alone would miss out on nearly $2 billion in funding from the long-term lease of the poles and wires – money that is desperately needed to renew and repair the state’s ageing infrastructure.

“In Victoria, the state government could potentially miss out on around $750 million in payments from the sale of the Port of Melbourne.

“We have to be honest about the challenging and inflexible position states are in, and that failure to sell assets will see us fail to increase the pace and quality of transport and other infrastructure.”

with Heath Aston

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Former Police Inspector faces jail over drug lies to PIC

A former police inspector suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder could be jailed for lying to the Police Integrity Commission about a drug-fuelled ”boys weekend” with fellow officers.
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Court documents reveal that in October 2010 Matthew Mark Dennis, a former duty officer at the Hunter Valley Local Area Command, was secretly filmed by commission investigators taking ecstasy during a three-day trip to the Gold Coast.

”Have you had your pill … go and grab one if you haven’t had one,” a police superintendent and friend of Mr Dennis was allegedly recorded telling him.

”I just had one, put it in me gullet,” Mr Dennis replied.

When Mr Dennis was hauled before the commission the following year as part of its investigation into drug use and drug supply in the NSW police force, he denied that he or his colleagues had ever taken drugs.

When shown the footage, the inspector was forced to admit his evidence was wrong and he subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of knowingly giving misleading evidence before the commission.

He was subsequently dismissed from the force.

On Wednesday, Mr Dennis’ lawyer, Karen Weeks, applied to have the two charges dealt with outside the usual provisions of the criminal law because of mental trauma he suffered during his years on the force.

Ms Weeks sought to have the matter dealt with under section 32 of the Mental Health Forensic Procedures Act, which would have allowed Mr Dennis to avoid the usual punishments for the offence, which includes possible imprisonment.

Ms Weeks said Mr Dennis had been diagnosed with untreated post-traumatic stress disorder from doing a job that “most of us can’t even imagine”.

“Picking up the parts of people who have committed suicide, dealing with families of people who have been killed in horrendous circumstances,” Ms Weeks said of the work.

But Magistrate Lisa Stapleton rejected the application, finding that the need to punish Mr Dennis appropriately outweighed the community interest in allowing mental ill offenders to be diverted from the standard criminal process.

”Those charged with the responsibility of investigating crime, proferring charges and giving evidence … must have absolute integrity – they must be irreproachable,” Magistrate Stapleton said.

”Giving false evidence to the Police Integrity Commission is a very serious matter and to my mind is made more serious when the person involved is an inspector of police.”

Her honour said that ”nothing less than a criminal conviction” was appropriate and that ”it may be the case that this leads to a custodial sentence”, though she was yet to consider an appropriate punishment.

The court documents reveal that in addition to taking ecstasy during the Gold Coast holiday, Mr Dennis was present when several of his colleagues ate cookies made with hashish.

”Here ya go … have another biscuit,” one officer allegedly said to the superintendent.

”Can you believe Mr Superintendent, two steps from the boss, eating your cookies?” another officer allegedly says.

”The only problem with that would be if I took two more steps and I was the boss … imagine doing cookies when you’re commissioner of police,” the superintendent allegedly replied.

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Rising From Ashes documents Jock Boyer’s uphill cycling battle in Rwanda

Jock Boyer and Adrien Niyonshuti in the documentary Rising From Ashes, about Rwanda’s first Tour de France team. Photo: Philippa HawkerMore on Rising From AshesMore movies coverageMovie session times
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Jock Boyer signed on for three months to teach cycling in Rwanda in a program that aimed to turn a group of young men who started with nothing into a team of international competitors. More than seven years later, he’s still there, determined to develop the Team Rwanda program into something that can endure.

“It’s the most difficult thing and the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done,” he says.

T.C. Johnstone’s documentary Rising From Ashes introduces us to Boyer’s first charges and the challenges they faced. Their story is strong and inspiring – and it’s also far from over.

Boyer (born Jonathan Boyer, but generally known as Jock) was the first American cyclist to enter the Tour de France, in 1981. He rode it five times; his best result was 12th.

He arrived in Rwanda for those first three months knowing virtually nothing about the country’s history and culture, or about the genocide of 2004. “I wasn’t interested in Rwanda until I got to Rwanda,” he says.

He did not plan to stay. In fact, there was no plan to begin with, and that was a good thing, he says. “It all emerged organically as the challenges came.”

Training the first group of cyclists was only the start. He is now involved in Team Rwanda, and with the Africa Rising Cycling Centre, which has been open for almost two months. “It’s been a game-changer for us and this country in regards to cycling, and going forward will ensure that it can have a future.”

Some of the riders we see in the film have “aged out of racing”, but they’ve gone on to take other roles: as a mechanic, a masseur, or a cook, for example, for which they have received additional training. “With the amazing riders that we spent so much time with, it’s so vital that they stay on the program. They’re the ones that had the experience at the beginning, they know how to travel and they are the mentors for the juniors we are bringing on board.”

Speaking on the phone from the centre, he now says he is there for the foreseeable future. His wife Kimberly Coats is also working with a women’s team.

“We don’t want to come home and have this fall apart because we haven’t trained and supported local riders and staff in order for them to take over,” he says.

His notion of the task has evolved over time. “It became much less about winning races and a lot more about teaching people to have hope, and the ability to provide for their families.”

There is still room to be ambitious, however. Boyer believes that Adrien Niyonshuti, one of the young cyclists we see in the film, might be the first rider from Rwanda to tackle the Tour de France. “We are also working in Eritrea and Ethiopia, and one of our plans is to have an all-African team in the next couple of years, to race in Europe.” They need to raise the level of expertise in the other countries, he says, “but the prowess is definitely there”.

The documentary has undoubtedly helped to raise awareness of Team Rwanda and its goals, but it took Boyer a while to feel comfortable with the production, he says. “I actually fought the film. I didn’t want it to be made; I just wanted to do my job, and I didn’t want to be above the radar again.”

For two years, he objected. “But it’s something a lot bigger than me, and I accepted that, reluctantly.”

Boyer’s wish to stay below the radar relates to something the film reveals: in 2002 he pleaded guilty to lewd behaviour with a minor, and was sentenced to a year in jail. He understood, he says, that this needed to be acknowledged in the documentary. “I came to realise that if I can be up front about my past and show that I am going forward, maybe that can help someone else.”

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Coles guilty over false ‘freshly baked’ bread claims

Furore: the case was triggered when former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett discovered his ‘freshly baked’ breads and muffins were made in Ireland.Coles has been declared guilty by the Federal Court of misleading shoppers with claims its bread and other baked goods were “freshly baked” when that was not the case.
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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched proceedings against Coles in June last year, accusing the supermarket giant of misleading consumers into thinking bread was made on the day at the store when, in some cases, the bread had been partially baked months earlier in overseas factories.

Federal Court chief justice James Allsop said Coles had breached three sections of Australian Consumer Law, in his ruling, handed down on Wednesday.

“There has been, in my view, a misleading representation available to be understood that these goods have been baked on the day of sale, or baked in a fresh process, using fresh, not frozen, product. Thus, in my view, there has been a contravention of section 29, 1a, also,” he said in his judgement.

During the court case, Coles’ barrister Philip Crutchfield SC, said the supermarket did not intend to suggest the bread was baked on the day with the labelling.

“What is happening with this ‘baked today, sold today’ in a Coles supermarket is that a consumer is being given the choice between the juxtaposition, the commercially manufactured bread, which has preservatives and keeps for longer, with the bread that is baked in-store and doesn’t have preservatives,” he told the court earlier in the year.

“The bread that is baked in-store is crunchier, and smells and has the flavour of freshly baked bread. That’s what we submit it is.”

Coles could face fines of up to $1.1 million per breach.

The offending breads were sold under the brands ‘Cuisine Royale’ and ‘Coles Bakery’, with labelling and advertising claims that they were “Baked Today, Sold Today” and/or “Freshly Baked In-Store”.

ACCC investigators said the goods had in fact been made months earlier on the other side of the world, namely, Denmark, Germany and Ireland, before being frozen and transported to Australia.

The former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett triggered the furore after discovering his “freshly baked” Cuisine Royale breads and muffins were made in Ireland. He mailed the offending items to the chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, and vented on talkback radio for a year, garnering enough public support to prompt the watchdog into action.

Mr Kennett said he took no personal pleasure from the decision handed down today.

“The ramification is wider than just to Coles – it’s to every advertising agency, every marketer, every promoter of goods and services. They must accurately portray what they’re offering or be prepared to pay a penalty,” he said.

Mr Sims said: “Today’s decision confirms that Coles misled consumers about the baking of these bread products. Consumers should be able to rely on the accuracy of credence claims made by businesses like Coles to promote their products, especially where those claims are used to compete with smaller businesses which are genuinely offering a differentiated product.”

Coles said it accepted the guilty verdict, conceding that it could have done more to explain how products were baked.

“We certainly never set out to deliberately mislead anybody,” a statement by the Coles Group said. “We are already well advanced in changing product packaging and other information.”

In a separate legal battle launched by the ACCC in May, Coles is fighting allegations it engaged in unconscionable conduct towards 200 small suppliers to reap $16 million in rebates.

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TAMS expects more vandalism during the kangaroo cull season

Windows were smashed in the building. Photo: Elesa KurtzGovernment staff are bracing for more vandalism in the wake of two incidents this week protesting the kangaroo cull.
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Territory and Municipal Services media manager Geoff Virtue said no incidents of vandalism were reported on Wednesday, though staff members expected further property to be damaged in coming weeks.

”It’s guaranteed we’ll get more vandalism before the cull is over,” he said.

”We’ve had a history of it during previous culls and it wouldn’t surprise me at all.”

Animal activists broke through fences at the Parks and Conservation depot overnight on Monday to slash the tyres and smash windscreens of 10 government vehicles, before damaging the building itself and leaving a note declaring their opposition to the kangaroo cull.

The vandalism came after 18 sections of wire were cut open at the Jerrabomberra Grassland West Nature Reserve at the weekend, one of the planned locations for the kangaroo cull.

Mr Virtue said the vandalism significantly disrupted operations as staff attention was diverted to amending the vandalism at the depot.

Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury said the “senseless act of vandalism” was disappointing.

“It’s not a protest against the cull. All it’s done is destroy government property and it will have no impact on whether the cull takes place or not,” he said.

“This all costs the government and it’s an unfortunate additional expense that is borne by the Canberra taxpayer.”

Meanwhile, the community legal centre that represented Animal Liberation ACT’s unsuccessful challenge of the kangaroo cull in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal has declined to condemn the vandalism at the Parks and Conservation depot on Tuesday.

An Animal Defenders Office spokeswoman said the legal centre “promotes the use of law to protect animals” and “encourages members of the community who wish to protect animals to pursue legal avenues of challenge”.

The spokeswoman said the non-profit organisation had no knowledge of who carried out the vandalism, which included the graffiti anarchist symbol on at least one government vehicle.

“Regarding the instances of property damage you refer to, we are not aware of any evidence linking the damage to any particular groups or individuals,” she said.

“Any conclusions regarding the damage should wait until police investigations into the matter are complete.”

The spokeswoman said she was disappointed that the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal had approved the cull despite evidence of serious animal welfare concerns, including the livelihood of young joeys.

”The tribunal admitted that as a small jurisdiction, the ACT should accept lower standards in terms of the administrative checks and balances in place to ensure the integrity of the culls,” she said.

”The Animal Defenders Office maintains, however, that the size of the jurisdiction should not affect government decision-making standards in sensitive matters such as deciding whether or not to kill thousands of healthy wild animals on public land.”

The Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected Animal Liberation’s appeal and found the government’s kangaroo cull had a ”solid scientific basis”.

Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman Carolyn Drew declined to condemn the vandalism when asked on Tuesday but said she had no knowledge of the event and maintained the group’s adherence to a philosophy of non-violence.

An ACT Policing spokesman said on Wednesday afternoon that the vandalism was still being investigated.

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Bulldog James Graham urges team to ‘get on with it’

The Bulldogs may have seven NRL players sidelined and are staring down the barrel of four consecutive losses, but prop James Graham has urged his team to “get on with it”.
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The Bulldogs have lost their stranglehold on top of the NRL ladder with a string of losses which have been compounded by injuries and Origin representatives missing from their recent games.

Canterbury already had co-captain Frank Pritchard sidelined for the rest of the season with a pectoral injury, but their casualty ward has continued to grow with Josh Morris, Sam Perrett, Chase Stanley, Aiden Tolman, David Klemmer and Moses Mbye all injured recently.

Graham said the side remained confident of climbing back up the competition ladder.

“I don’t think worried is the right term,” Graham said. “We are disappointed but it’s a long season. Just like when we were coming first we weren’t talking about how good we were or celebrating. We are no different now losing three games. It’s not the end of the world. There’s a lot of rugby to be played and it’s still a long season.

“We try not to look for excuses. In all the three losses we looked at it, we review it and we gave ourselves opportunities to do better than we did. We came up against some good teams.”

With Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds on Origin duty, the Bulldogs were forced to use a makeshift halves pairing of Michael Ennis and Josh Jackson in their last-start loss to Parramatta. Injuries forced Jackson to shift out of the halves mid-game, with Tony Williams feeding the scrum at times.

“Mick and Jacko did a good job and the other boys that played some unfamiliar roles,” Graham said.  “As much as you don’t practice for it you have to get on with it.

“You’re not used to seeing certain players in certain positions in defence and attack so it is a little bit foreign to us. We are professional players. Most of us have been in similar situations before. You just have to get on it with it.”

The Bulldogs have lost to the Roosters and Parramatta without their Origin halves, while they were defeated by Manly with their representative players available. Points conceded by the Bulldogs have come in bursts in recent weeks. Graham said his side needs to stop back-to-back tries when Canterbury face the Raiders in Canberra on Friday night.

“We need to put in an 80 minute performance,” Graham said. “When we get our opportunities we have to take them. We have been guilty of not taking our opportunities when the game is in the balance.

“Instead of going a try up we concede a try. [Then there are] 12-point turnarounds in a couple of sets worth of play. We’re making it difficult for ourselves. That’s the key area we need to improve on.”

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Err on the side of caution, junior footy urged

Former NSW team doctor John Orchard has called for junior contact sports to exercise extreme caution when managing suspected concussions after a 13-year-old footballer was left in a serious condition after playing on after suffering a head knock.
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Macarthur Saints rugby league player Jarrod Fletcher was placed in an induced coma on life support after collapsing during the game. Two days earlier, Tyler Horton, 16, was placed in an induced coma after copping a knee to the head in a game in Bathurst. He underwent emergency brain surgery.

Dr Orchard, a former Roosters medico who is now the spokesman for Sports Medicine Australia, said it was crucial for all junior sporting codes to have personnel trained in the recognition and management of concussion.

”Recently updated rugby league guidelines state that any player displaying signs of concussion should receive an urgent medical assessment and should in no circumstances return to play until formal medical clearance has been provided,” Orchard said.

”Children have significant physical, physiological and development differences that place them at long-term risk if sports-related concussion is not managed appropriately.

”Currently fewer than 20 per cent of concussed children are actually diagnosed with concussion.

”This needs to change – if there is any doubt at all, sit them out.”

Orchard said that if any player is displaying symptoms – including loss of consciousness, confusion, memory disturbance, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea and/or unsteadiness – coaches and trainers should immediately remove the player from the field and not allow them to return to play.

”Once removed from play, any child suspected of concussion should then be medically assessed as soon as possible,” Orchard said.

”With research suggesting that full recovery of brain function may take longer than previously thought, it is extremely important that children suspected of concussion are not allowed to return to the field and risk further head injury.

”Concussion not only affects a child’s sporting activities, it may impact a child’s learning at school.

”SMA (Sports Medicine Australia) is aware that many local and community sports clubs simply don’t have the resources to provide a doctor for every game, however in the absence of a qualified medical practitioner, we would urge those coaches and trainers responsible for player welfare to exercise extreme caution where head injuries are concerned.

”It is also vital that local GPs ensure their concussion management and guideline knowledge is up to date, particularly for those regional and remote communities home to local contact sports competitions.”

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Players unaware of banned substances

Essendon players remain “of the strong belief” they were not administered banned substances, and are “baffled” at suggestions by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority chief Ben McDevitt to accept a reduced ban.
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Acting AFL Players Association chief Ian Prendergast confirmed on Wednesday lawyers representing the 34 current and former players issued with show-cause notices had sought an extension to the 10-day period they had initially been given to respond.

ASADA responded with a statement, declaring it was willing to consider the application.

“ASADA is always willing to consider any reasonable request by an athlete for an extension of time to lodge their submission to a show cause notice,” the statement said.

Regardless of whether ASADA grants this, the players believe the supplements program administered in 2011-12 did not involve anything illegal.

“We’re now looking for co-operation from ASADA in terms of providing the evidence that they’ve gathered since the interim report was released and players were told no cases would be prosecuted based on the evidence that existed at that time,” Prendergast said. “At this stage I’m not aware of any players who believe they’ve taken a banned substance.

“Without the evidence, I struggle to understand how a player could get his head around taking any proposed penalty as was floated by Mr McDevitt over the weekend.

“These players took all reasonable steps, they sought further information from the club in relation to the substances they were to be provided as part of the program which led to a series of meetings, and also the consent forms which were provided which clearly stated that these substances were compliant with the WADA Code and had been approved by the club doctor.

“They were also bound by their contracts to follow any legal direction by their employer being the Essendon Football Club. And their education through ASADA and the AFL says if in doubt make sure your doctor approves anything that enters your body. They followed that to the letter of the law, and I think those circumstances should absolutely be taken into consideration in this matter.”

Whether those circumstances ultimately will be taken into consideration could depend on the result of Federal Court action brought by Essendon and suspended coach James Hird.

If Essendon and Hird are successful in proving the joint investigation by the AFL and ASADA was unlawful, and the case is quashed, then the show cause notices may be voided. However, McDevitt says the case includes more evidence gathered after the joint investigation concluded in August.

He says players can come forward and, provided they admit they were duped and assist the case, could be given up to 75 per cent off a maximum two-year penalty.

Prendergast said it was impossible for players to respond to the show cause notices and prove why they should not be put on a Register of Findings until the Federal Court case was complete. Essendon’s lawyers hope the case begins within three months.

“The stay we’re requesting is for the Federal Court matter to be finally resolved, and for the players’ process to proceed in the event the process isn’t knocked out through the challenge the club has issued,” Prendergast said. “We’ve simply requested the evidence be provided for the purpose of responding to the show-cause notices.

“Largely, we’re in the dark at the moment in terms of being able to properly advise these players, who have fully cooperated through the process.

“I would think in terms of ASADA’s duty as a model litigant, they’d provide that evidence so we can give them advice based on what, if anything, has been gathered since the interim report.

“The threshold for the show-cause stage of the process is very low. It’s based on a possibility, but we would still like to see the evidence that allegation is based on.”

Prendergast said he was unsure whether the players wanted Hird to return as coach later this year but said the saga was “taking its toll” on them.

Meanwhile, Prendergast’s future with the AFLPA could be decided at a board meeting on Wednesday night. He was overlooked for the top job, with Paul Marsh, from the Australian Cricketers Association, winning out. Prendergast, who will remain at least until September, had been the general manager of player relations, before stepping up when Matt Finnis quit.

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Homelessness set to surge post budget

The break up of Lisa’s marriage led to her facing homelessness. Photo: Michael Clayton-JonesCharities are gearing up for a surge in homelessness, particularly among youth, as a result of changes to unemployment benefits in the federal budget.
Nanjing Night Net

The head of St Vincent de Paul’s homeless services says they will be forced to stretch their limited resources to meet demand if the budget is passed with alterations to Newstart that mean under 30s have to wait six months before receiving financial support.

“Even students who have gone through study have to wait that period of time before they qualify for Newstart, so really what are their housing options post the study allowance?” VincentCare Victoria CEO John Blewonski said. “It’s very difficult to search for work when you don’t have a home address.”

In an effort to show how much the face of homelessness has changed from the mythical old man in a trench coat with a brown paper bag, the charity is hosting its fifth annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout on Thursday, where it will introduce some of the city’s more influential characters to a group of Victorians who have experienced homelessness.

One of the speakers, Lisa, 37, had the “white picket fence”, four children, pets and a partner, but a serious codeine addiction saw her relationship fall apart.

She moved out, but had financial problems and ultimately became homeless, living in shelters for seven months.

“The state of mind I was in, it was horrible,” she said. But she believes her situation is more common than people might think.

“Pretty much everybody I’ve met who has left a relationship, has by definition been homeless,” she said. “I don’t think people see it that way. I think people only see homelessness as a person living on the street.”

As well as raising money for their services, St Vincent’s uses the sleepout to get in executives’ ears about the issue of homelessness.

In his speech on Thursday, Mr Blewonski plans on highlighting the challenges that the state and federal budgets will pose to thousands of Australians who are currently facing tough times.

“There’d be no question how many in our community would be one or two pay cheques away from being homeless and that’s the sort of thing the CEOs hear on the night,” he said.

“You’ve got people who ran their own businesses, who were in comfortable stable relationships, the relationships break down and suddenly a young mum finds herself on her own with the main breadwinner gone, or somebody’s business goes broke and the next thing is they lose their house, they lose all their assets and they can find themselves homeless. We see that day after day.”

A person doesn’t have to be living on the street to be homeless; rather it is defined as someone without consistent, safe or appropriate tenure.

On the most recent census night in 2011, 22,000 Victorians were counted as homeless.

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Sentence cut for man who raped and threatened partner

A man previously jailed for bashing a shearer to death in 2001 has had his 12-year jail term for raping and threatening to kill his de facto wife – after she had taken out an intervention order against him – reduced by two-and-a-half years.
Nanjing Night Net

The man, 50, was arrested after he held two knives to the woman’s throat, abdomen and chest, and threatened to kill her and her dog.

Court of Appeal Justices Robert Redlich and Pamela Tate said that at one stage during the attack, the man stood behind his de facto wife of two years with a knife to her throat and told her he would kill her if she called the police.

He told her, ‘‘This will only take five years off my life [in jail], this will take yours forever’’.

He then asked the woman to choose which knife he would use to kill her, before letting her go.

The man was jailed for 12 years with a non-parole period of 10 years after pleading guilty in the County Court to charges of rape, making a threat to kill, and recklessly causing serious injury.

The two appeal judges, in their judgment handed down on Wednesday, said the Crown had accepted the man’s jail sentence had been too excessive given the extent of the woman’s injuries.

But the judges said the gravity of the offending ‘‘was aggravated by the fact that the [man] was at the time the subject of an intervention order, which he flagrantly disregarded’’.

‘‘Offending of this nature is too often perpetrated by men whose response to difficulties in a relationship is one of possessive, violent rage.

‘‘It goes without saying that such a response, to what is a common human situation, is utterly unacceptable.

‘‘The sentences must convey the unmistakable message that male partners have no right to subject their female partners to threats or violence.

‘‘The sentences must be of such an order as to strongly denounce violence within a domestic relationship.’’

The man’s appeal was upheld and he was re-sentenced to nine-and-a-half years’ jail with a non-parole period of six years and six months.

The appeal judges said the man attacked his de facto wife on June 18, 2012, after they had been arguing about his belief that she had been having sex with other men.

He punched her, picked her up by the hair and threw her to the floor, kicked her several times, including to the head, and banged her head on the floor.

‘‘He also grabbed her around the neck as she was lying on the floor so that she could not breathe,’’ the judges said.

The woman suffered bruising, a fractured cheekbone, abrasions and scratches.

The man then raped her before threatening to kill her with two knives he had taken from a kitchen drawer.

The sentencing judge said the man’s threat to kill had been made in particularly cruel and chilling terms.

‘‘You have previously been convicted of manslaughter [committed in 2001] and served five years in prison before being released on parole. There could be no doubting your meaning or the seriousness of your threat,’’ the judge said.

The appeal judges said the Crown’s concession that the sentence was manifestly excessive rested primarily on the nature of the injuries inflicted.

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