Cripps says Trad ignoring farmers, pandering to green activists

by admin on January 20th, 2019

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Opposition natural resources spokesman Andrew Cripps says the Palaszczuk Government is continuing to pander to green activists at the expense of farmers.THEPalaszczuk Government is continuingto pander to green activists and overseas bureaucrats while refusing to consult with Queensland’s farmers and landholders on vegetation management says opposition natural resources spokesman Andrew Cripps.

Mr Cripps saidDeputy Premier Jackie Trad’s media statement following another meeting with UNESCO was clear evidence that the Palaszczuk government wascontinuingto manipulate environmental issues for political gain.

“We’ve had AgForce, the QFF and Growcom all issue statements calling for greater certainty about vegetation management legislation to increase confidence and attract new investment in agriculture, but Labor has again turned its back on the bush,” Mr Cripps said.

“Jackie Trad went to Bonn last year to make promises to UNESCO and she’s gone to Paris this year to make more promises to UNESCO. But as usual, the Palaszczuk Government has left Queensland’s farmers and landholders out of the loop.

“Labor is trading on the legacy of the former LNP Government’s excellent track record of protecting the Great Barrier Reef,including strong investment in water quality and environmental programs and sustainable ports legislation,to win brownie points with UNSECO.”

Mr Cripps said the Palaszczuk Government needed to put the same effort into understanding Queensland’s agriculture sector as it did ingratiating itself to overseas bureaucrats.

“If it did, it may find there is no need for it to be running this elaborate scare campaign about the future of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Deputy premier Jackie Trad says Labor will reinstate its controversial vegetation laws.

MsTrad said the UNESCO meeting in Paris provided an opportunity to outline the actions the Palaszczuk Government was taking to implement the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.

The Deputy Premier met with Dr Fanny Douvere, the coordinator of the Marine Program for the World Heritage Centre, UNESCO.

“While UNESCO provided positive feedback on the work already underway, they recognised the importance of strengthening our vegetation protections laws – one of the Palaszczuk Government’s key commitments to protect the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Trad said.

“Despite recent setbacks in Parliament, the Palaszczuk Government is still resolutely committed to protecting our Reef and will reinstate our nation leading vegetation protection laws if we are returned at the next election.”

The setbacks Ms Trad refers to is the defeat of its controversial Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill in August. Those anti-farmer laws were defeated 44 to 42 when the LNP oppositionled bynatural resources spokesman Andrew Cripps, two Katter members and Labor-turned-independent Billy Gordon voted against the bill.

The Australian and Queensland governments are due to submit aprogress update on Reef 2050 Plan to the World Heritage Centre and International Union for Conservation of Nature in December.

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More than 180,000 voters in WA face fines for not voting in federal election

by admin on January 20th, 2019

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Voters in WA who failed to cast a ballot at the recent federal election face a $20 fine. Photo: Jamila Toderas Voter turnout was as bad as it has ever been across Australia. Photo: Max Mason Hubers MMH

More than 180,000 people enrolled to vote in Western Australia could be slugged with a fine for failing to vote at the recent federal election.

The July election saw more than 1.4 million Australians fail to cast a vote for the House of Representatives, which is the worst turnout since compulsory voting began in 1925.

In WA, of the 1,577, 215 people enrolled to vote, 183,209 didn’t bother to tick the ballot box on election day.

That’s just under 12 per cent of eligible voters in WA.

Now the voter no-showers in WA have been sent a letter from the AEC saying if they can’t give a valid reason for not voting by October 17 – they will be hit with a $20 fine.

If people miss the October deadline, then they run the risk of getting a $180 fine plus court costs.

One Fremantle resident who didn’t want to be named, said she was gobsmacked when the letter arrived as she actually hadn’t enrolled to vote.

“I have no recollection of enrolling or going onto a website and enrolling or anything,” she angrily told WAtoday.

“I am angry because I thought you couldn’t get fined unless you were enrolled to vote.”

The 19-year-old said she had no option but to pay the $20 fine.

“I would rather pay the fine then it going to court,” she said.

AEC WA state manager Marie Neilson said while the turnout was pretty low for the recent federal election not everyone sent a letter would be fined.

“You can finalise the notice by paying a $20 fine,” she told Radio 6PR on Friday afternoon.

“However, if you haven’t voted and haven’t paid the penalty we may take the matter to court and it might result in a fine of up to $180, plus court cost and possibly a criminal conviction.”

The AEC had previously told Fairfax it made a concerted effort before the election to boost enrolment figures, including directly enrolling people based on information from other government agencies such as Centrelink.

It meant 95 per cent of Australians aged 18 and over were on the electoral roll, up from 92 per cent in 2013.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said this increase may have contributed to the lower voter turnout, because “you end up enrolling people who tried to avoid voting for years”. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Friends and family farewell Carly McBride two years after she was first reported missing

by admin on January 20th, 2019

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Farewelled: Carly McBride’s mother Lorraine Williams (right) hugs a mourner following the funeral of her slain daughter. Photo: Simone De Peak Carly McBride’s father, Steve McBride (centre), at the funeral service. Photo: Simone De Peak

Mourners circled following the funeral service as butterflies were set free in tribute to Carly McBride. Photo: Simone De Peak

As the awful weeks turned into heartbreaking months, the shattered family of murder victim Carly McBride made tearful plea after plea to bring their “sweetheart” home.

On Friday, exactly two years after she was murdered and dumped off a lonely Upper Hunter road, the popular mother of two was farewelled at an emotional funeral service at Ryhope.

“Everyone here would have had the question asked to them: where’s Carly,” her father, Steve McBride, told the 200 mourners.

“Does anyone know where Carly is. Some of you have been hearing me say that for a lot longer than two years.

“Try a lifetime. It is an old saying, there is nothing new about it.

“But, you will never have to listen to me ask that again because we know where you are Carly.

“You are everywhere.”

Carly, 31, vanished during a visit to see one of her children at Muswellbrook on September 30, 2014.

She remained missing for 678 days before her remains were discovered last month only metres off Bunnan Road, west of Scone.

Her killer remains at large, although Strike Force Karabi investigators remain confident they will get their man.

The funeral service, held at Lake Macquarie Memorial Park, heard about justice coming for the mother and popular Belmont woman.

But possibly the most emotional words spoken were from her grieving father.

“Carls, I have always tried to be there for you, whenever you needed me and no matter what the circumstances,” Mr McBride said.

“I’m just so sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me more than ever.

“Rest in peace, sweetheart. We will always love you and we will never forget you.”

Mother Lorraine Williams told the congregation that finding Carly had allowed her to finally rest.

“We are very lucky to be able to send Carly off to the dreaming, and I know that her grandmother’s looking after her,” she said.

“And I know she is at peace now and has some serenity.

“She is always here with us and always in our hearts and we will never forget her.

“No one can take away our memories of Carly away, of her big laugh. I feel she is here with us now.”

The service heard of a “bubbly, beautiful, free-spirited person” who loved horses and was immensely popular before her children released butterflies into their air in tribute.

Newcastle Herald

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‘I’m the last one left from Linton’

by admin on January 20th, 2019

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“Why did they all die working for the Lands Department?”

Ewen “Cameron” Ching –the last of the Linton spray hands –has outlived his colleagues, with whom he made and sprayed batches of toxic chemicals.

But he says he’ll be next.

The 78-year-old has Parkinson’s, bowel disease, cysts on his liver and kidney, and his pancreas has shut down.

Mr Chingis yet to hear from the state government since making his submission to the inquiry into the toxic chemicals –including Agent Orange and Mustard Gas–that he and his colleagues used without protection for decades.

Nor was he notified of a freemedical screening forall former and current spray hands, one of threerecommendations from the inquiry adopted by the government when it released its findings on the former Lands Department, now Department of Environment and Primary Industries,in March this year.

“Why did they all die working for the Lands Department?,” Mr Ching said.

“They’re all dead, it just wiped them out.

“There’s only one left and that’s me.

“I shouldn’t say but I’ll be the next, the way I’m going.”

I’m next: Ewen Ching, 78, suffers from Parkinson’s, bowel disease, cysts on his liver and kidney, and his pancreas has shut down. Mr Ching worked as a spray hand for 23 years. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.

He is still looking for answers as to what caused the litany of ailments he has endured since he developedperipheral neuropathy –a nerve disease –in 1998, two years after taking a redundancy package andafter more than two decades in the job.

When he was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, he was told by doctors it could be linked to his exposure to toxins.

However doctors have been unable to identify exactly what has caused his pancreas to shut down.

“Spraying it in your system eight hours a day for 23 years, it’s got to affect you somehow,” Mr Ching said.

“From the time we left home to the time we got home, we never washed our hands … I never washed mine, we had nothing to wash them with.

“Years ago, you wanted a job and that was it,it didn’t matter what you were in or up against, you had to do your job.”

Mr Ching worries he might die before a resolution is found.

“What happens if I die in between, and the case comes up? Does my wife get anything out of that?”

Former Linton spray hand Ewen “Cameron” ChingThe Courierbroke the “toxic legacy” of the formerLands Department workers exposure to potent chemicals in 2014.

The Andrews government launched an inquiry in late 2014.

The report found that prior to 1981,exposureto a contaminant of 245T called TCDD may causenon-Hodgkin lymphoma orsoft sarcoma.

The report also noteda consensusamong academic papersfrom the 1980s finding alink between exposure toTCDDand the incidence ofcancer butthat the many causes of cancer meant it was impossible to be certain that was the cause.

‘I’ll be next’: Ewen “Cameron” Ching at his Wendouree home in 2014. Mr Ching’s health has continued to deteriorate since The Courier broke the story.

Toxic legacy is‘Fiskville all over again’Former Maryborough spray hand Adrian McKinnis wishes he left the Lands Departmentwhen he first first feltthecocktail of now-banned chemicals he used to mixsink their teeth into his system.

Mr McKinnis, who retired from the department after 33 years spraying, has twice beaten bowel cancer, and has severe kidney disease in his one kidney.

His was one of 75 submissions made to the Former Lands Department Chemical Inquirybut he and his wife Jude haven’t heard anything since their submission was acknowledged almost a year ago, in November last year.

The couple had hoped the report would bring recognition and compensation for his years of illness.

Mrs McKinnis can still remember the smell of spray soaked into his overalls, and would wash his clothes separate to the clothesof their four children.

“It’s like Fiskville isn’t it, it’s the same thing,” she said.

“It’s been a long time since I would say he’s a well person,I think he’s just getting worn out by the accumulation (of illnesses).”

Former Maryborough spray hand Adrian McKinnisGovernment pledgs to monitor illnesstrendsThe state government says it willmonitor medical screenings of former Lands Department and Forestry Commission workers to see if a pattern of illnesses emergebesides the three conditions identified in achemical inquiry.

The inquiry into the former Lands Department, now the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, released in March found linksexposure to the chemical245Twithnon-Hodgkin lymphoma,soft tissue sarcoma and chloracne.

Now-banned chemicals, including aconcoction similar to Agent Orange,were sprayed by department employeesfor decades without protection.

Former spray handshave reported a legion of illnesses including Parkinsons, cancer and kidney disease,which they attributeto yearsspraying now-banned chemicals.

The department sent letters to 3000 former and current workers employed between 1965 and 1985 to notify them of the screening,a DELWP spokesperson said.

DELWP spokespersonThe Courierspoke to had been contacted about the screening, raising concerns as recently as May that thenotification process and consultation itself wereinsufficient.

Their conditions range from cancers, neurological conditions andlung, liver, bowel and heart problems.

It is not yet known how many of those who completed the screening reported a history of conditions linked to chemical exposure, the spokesperson said.

“Where there is clear evidence of a link established through the Worker Health Study or through significant numbers of former sprayers having contracted the cancers, the government will consider appropriate options for the workers affected.”

The department did not provide a time frame fora policy response or specifically mention compensation.

Asked whether there would be further contact between the government and affected workers, the spokesperson said theywillbe kept informed “iffurther evidence comes to light”.

Read more:



Inquiry into historical chemical use by the Victorian Lands Department in Ballarat area announced

Toxic legacy response afarce: spray hand

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The grand final: From a parent’s point of view

by admin on January 20th, 2019

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The grand final: From a parent’s point of view Easton Wood of the Bulldogs speaks to the media before the 2016 AFL Grand Final Parade. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

WE’RE FLYING: Easton Wood takes a spectacular mark over the top of Port Adelaide’s Paul Stewart. Picture: Getty Images

KEEPING COOL: Fiona Wood is excited to have her son, Easton, leading the Western Bulldogs into the AFL Grand Final. Picture: Rob Gunstone

HAPPY DAYS: Easton Wood with friends after he was drafted by the Bulldogs in 2007. Picture: Angela Milne

RUNNING AWAY: Gary Rohan celebrates after winning the 2008 Hampden league grand final sprint. Picture: Glen Watson

HAPPY DOG: Hamilton’s Liam Picken poses at the Whitten Oval. Picture: Pat Scala/Fairfax Media.

POTENTIAL: Gary Rohan beats Warrnambool legend Jason Rowan to the flight of the ball in 2008.

NUMBER ONE: Gary Rohan after slotting a goal in 2016. Picture: Getty Images

TweetFacebook The journey so farSouth-west Victoria to be represented by three emerging stars in the AFL grand final.►VIDEO: Can the kids tip a grand final winner?

YOUR heart is pounding.

It’s not the same feeling you’d experience if riding a rollercoaster, or at the pinnacle of a sweaty, cardio-intensive workout.

Instead, it’s coupled with a knot in your stomach. It’s coming. The final siren. Immortality.

You can almost feel the seconds tick down, as if each beat of your heart signals another step closer to the siren that would create history before your very eyes.

But you’re helpless. You can’t do anything but watch.

PROUD AS PUNCH: Fiona Wood. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Hundreds of orange-clad supporters spread towards the exits at Spotless Stadium, in Sydney’s west. This is it. Your son is about to become the first captain in 55 years to lead the Western Bulldogs to an AFL grand final.

It’s sinking in. The boy from Gnotuk will lead the long-suffering Western Bulldogs onto the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the grandest day in club history.

For Fiona Wood, all of this became a reality in just two-and-a-half hours.

Back home, it’s not far past the crack of dawn and Fiona is out in the garden of her family home.

She’s taking photos of her idyllic property, which overlooks the grand Lake Gnotuk, capturing the sun coming over the hills and the greenery of her well-pruned plants.

It’s something of a common routine.

She will shoot three which encapsulate the tranquility and peace of the south-west community – which is just kilometres from Camperdown – before promptly sending them off to her son.

About 300 kilometres away, the acting captain of the Western Bulldogs feels his mobile phone vibrate. He glances down to see a text message from his mum, showing the start of another day in south-west Victoria.

His day, often a mash of training, conditioning, media commitments and leadership duties, always begins with a tender reminder of his childhood home.

Home is very much where the heart is for Easton Wood.

“He often says he just wants to come home and have great home-cooked meals,” his mum, Fiona, laughs.

“He doesn’t like to talk footy because that’s his profession – in a good way. He comes down with Tiff (his partner) and Jagger (his dog) and it’s lovely and private.

“I spend the time cooking and chasing the dog, because he’s bringing pine cones to the doors. It’s a lovely time, though.”

Easton Wood is a deep thinker. That much, Fiona says, has always been evident.

But it’s his calm, quiet nature that she adores. The same nature which was nurtured into a leader through his time at Geelong Grammar.

Easton was offered a dual academic and sports scholarship to the prestigious private school, on the back of what appeared to be a promising cricket career.

It was at Geelong Grammar, while excelling academically, he caught the eye of the Bulldogs’ then-recruiting manager, Scott Clayton.

RELATED READING: This time last week, Bendigo’s Steve Campbell was with one of his best mates on a motorbike trip around Sumba Island in Indonesia. Click the image to read his story.

Fast-forward to November 24, 2007, and Easton was mooted as a surprise chance to go in the AFL national draft. And he did.

That day will forever be remembered by Fiona Wood.

“We had our family around, and Easton’s mates. It didn’t matter what happened, it really didn’t. It was a really nice day, celebrating my birthday as well,” she says.

“When the call came through that he had been drafted, I nearly fell through the deck.

“The kids do this to you, don’t they?”

As the mother of the Bulldogs’ grand final captain-to-be, Fiona knows how high the stakes are for the Footscray faithful.

She’s become more than just the mother of a star player over the last nine years. In essence, she’s become a fan.

RELATED READING: Bulldogs 1961 grand final centre half back John Hoiles and wife Bernadette are hoping for a premiership win. Hit Darren Howe’s phot and read John Hoiles’ story.

“They know what they’re playing for. But the gravity of this achievement (making the grand final) has not hit these men yet. Right now, they’re living in the moment and they know they can’t enjoy it yet,” Fiona says.

“I think Easton is in the same ilk as Bob Murphy and Luke Beveridge in that he’s a great communicator. He’s not a rah rah boy and he knows he can’t be like that.

“When he took on the captaincy, Bob’s (Murphy) words were profound to him. Bob told Easton he wasn’t a rah rah boy and that the boys didn’t expect that. He told him to keep being him. To keep on keeping on.

“I thought Easton and Macca (Fiona’s eldest son, McLeod) were brothers in arms. But I’ll tell you, Bob Murphy is right in there with them as the third brother.”

Jake Stringer is primed for a big performance in the AFL grand final. Hit the Getty Images photo to read his story.

For the Picken family, a Bulldogs’ grand final triumph would mean just as much.

Their hopes will be riding on Liam, 30, who could well be tasked with the job of shutting down one of Sydney’s damaging midfield quartet.

Liam, born and raised in Hamilton, honed his craft with the Hamilton Magpies – who later merged with the Imperials to spawn the Hampden league’s Hamilton Kangaroos.

His father, the legendary Billy Picken, played 240 games of AFL football for Collingwood and the Sydney Swans between 1974 and 1986.

That included no less than four losing grand finals.

“I played in five grand finals with Collingwood,” Billy says.

“Four were losing ones while the other was the drawn grand final against North Melbourne in 1977. It would be great if Liam can get the monkey off our back on Saturday.

“I reckon Bevo (coach Luke Beveridge) has given Liam and his teammates the confidence to run and take the game on.

“It’s amazing what a heap of young players can do when they are given confidence.”

In a grand final heavily romanticised for its David versus Goliath qualities, Gary Rohan’s own shot at premiership glory emerges as one of the most interesting sub-plots in the biggest game of the year.

Devastated by a severe broken leg in 2012, ruling him out of the Swans’ premiership victory over Hawthorn, Rohan watched his teammates from the sidelines.

He was on the field when the Swans fell to the Hawks in the 2014 rematch. Now his chance for redemption is here.