Nick Kyrgios’ biggest win hurt him, says Rod Laver

Laver said Kyrgios’ stunning 2014 Wimbledon upset of Rafael Nadal appeared to have contributed to outrageous shot selection at times. Photo: Max RossiShanghai Australian tennis legend Rod Laver believes the biggest win of Nick Kyrgios’ career encouraged a low-percentage style of play that is now damaging his ability to win major titles, and regards part-time mentor Lleyton Hewitt as the wise head capable of overseeing his reform.

Laver said Kyrgios’ stunning 2014 Wimbledon upset of Rafael Nadal appeared to have contributed to outrageous shot selection at times from the young Canberran, who meets sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Wednesday.

“His charisma is that he likes to show off all the shots he’s got, and his great forehand and big serve, and I think because he won at Wimbledon against Nadal he feels that it’s gone up a little further, and that’s where he’s got to try and understand that that type of showmanship doesn’t win matches,” Laver said at Tuesday’s Australian Open launch.

“You need a whole range of different shots to win a match, and I think that’s potentially in my mind where he’s vulnerable; he’s got a lot to learn [such as] how do you win a point without exploring every shot that you’ve got. How about just keeping the ball in the court and making sure it’s a nice deep shot, and if I want to come to the net, don’t try and hit it like you’ve got to bust the ball, and hit the ground and put it over the stand somewhere, that sort of showmanship gets him in trouble.

“This last US Open, he could have won the tournament but he comes to the net [against Andy Murray] and he’s half-volleying it between his legs, and you figure well, ‘yes, if you don’t have any other way of hitting it, then you have to do it that way’.

“Maybe it’s boring for him, to be on the court not being able to show all the shots he has, but that’s not going to make him a champion and he does have the ability to be a champion, and I think it’d be a shame if he doesn’t allow himself to be that much better.”

While Laver predicts Hewitt, the soon-to-be Davis Cup captain, “could heal a lot of the things Nick has been doing”, Kyrgios believes his attitude has already been improved by his recent period of turbulence, the lowlight of which was the Montreal sledging incident involving Stan Wawrinka.

“I feel as if it’s helped me a little bit, everything that’s happened in the last couple of months,” Kyrgios said after an opening round 6-3, 6-2 win over Austrian world No.60 Andreas Haider-Maurer here. “I feel like I’ve definitely picked up my act a little bit. But I’m playing well and I’m enjoying myself, so that’s what matters.”

The 20-year-old was also defended by his friend Thanasi Kokkinakis, the day after the bizarre match against Haider-Maurer in which Kyrgios — who is on a six-month probation period from the ATP — received his second code violation warning in a week.

“To be fair, I’ve been watching him and he’s playing well and he’s probably a bit more switched on then I’ve seen him before,” Kokkinakis said. “He’s not going to change completely and not get frustrated. But he’s toning it down a bit.”

A semi-finalist in Kuala Lumpur and quarter-finalist last week in Japan, Kyrgios remains without a coach, but is in no great hurry to appoint one. He believes the mutual agreement to leave him out of last month’s Davis Cup semi-final after a controversial stretch in the headlines was “the best decision” for his welfare.

“I know what I need to get better at in my game. I don’t think a coach is necessary right now. I don’t think there’s any rush to get one,” he said. “The last few weeks have been really good. I think I’ve played some good tennis. I think I’m going OK at the moment.”

Linda Pearce is a guest of the Shanghai Rolex Masters

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Bill Shorten’s AWU ‘sold out’ workers for $300,000

Bill Shorten in Canberra on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares Witness Julian Rzesniowiecki outside the royal commission. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Ex-Thiess manager admits company issued bogus invoices

A serious cloud hangs over Bill Shorten’s record as a union leader. He ran a union that took $300,000 from an employer in disguised payments based on fraudulent invoices as part of a deal that hugely benefited that employer.

That’s the damning conclusion from Tuesday’s evidence to the royal commission into union corruption, and documentary records, of former Thiess John Holland senior executive Julian Rzesniowiecki.

Unfortunately for Shorten and his then AWU sidekick, Cesar Melhem, Rzesniowiecki kept a detailed diary from his mid-2000s dealings with the AWU duo over the $2.5billion EastLink tollway in Melbourne.

In the diary he records that Shorten, now Opposition Leader, proposed in December 2004 that builder Thiess John Holland pay for four AWU staff on site at the tollway project.

That would have equated to at least $1 million to the AWU over the three years it would take to build the road through Melbourne’s south-east.

That figure was later negotiated down to $300,000 to, ostensibly, pay for one union organiser.

The diaries also show that Shorten’s proposal came at a time when the parties were negotiating an industrial agreement that halved the number of mandatory rostered days off for workers.

“Politically the AWU has sold out the 36 day [hour] week,” Rzesniowiecki wrote in his diary, noting also questions about how to publicly “package” the workplace deal to avoid criticism and how to “pay it out”.

There is no doubt the workers were paid well on the project, their actual pay being above then current rates.

But the ground-breaking “flexibility” around weekend work and rosters was worth huge money to Thiess John Holland, tens of millions of dollars in fact, and possibly as much as $100 million.

The project was completed as much as six months ahead of time.

EastLink was celebrated by employers and conservative institutions like the Institute of Public Affairs because the builder had been able to minimise the influence on site of militant union the CFMEU, and reduce the conditions it had gained over many years.

In return the AWU got its kickbacks.

As Rzesniowiecki admitted on Tuesday, Thiess John Holland was prepared to receive and pay false or inflated invoices from the AWU for work either the company did not need or was not done.

That included for seminars and forums organised by the union, for AWU magazine advertisements and back strain research.

The true purpose was to disguise payments for an AWU organiser on the project.

Yet the builder had so little interest in what it got for its $300,000 it did not care if an organiser even turned up on EastLink.  “It wasn’t a concern to me,” Rzesniowiecki admitted.

The AWU could spend the $300,000 as it saw fit, he told the royal commission.

From Rzesniowiecki’s evidence and records, the payments were suggested by Shorten but implemented by Cesar Melhem, now an embattled Victorian MP.

Shorten on Tuesday said he struck no such deal for payments. True there is no document headlined “deal for dodgy payments”.

Yet it was Shorten who ran the union as its state and national secretary when the money started to pour in from Thiess John Holland. His denials, and failing memory, are becoming harder to believe.

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Throat and tongue cancers linked to sexually transmitted virus on the rise

Dr Matthew Magarey, a surgeon who uses robotic technology to remove cancer from people’s throats. Photo: Simon O’DwyerThe sexual revolution is producing a new wave of throat and tongue cancers among middle-aged people, who are falling victim to a rare side effect of the “common cold of sexually transmitted infections”.

A growing number of Australians with oropharyngeal cancer are testing positive to the human papillomavirus (HPV), suggesting it has caused their disease rather than smoking or heavy drinking – factors responsible for many head and neck cancers in the past.

Oropharyngeal cancer is usually found in the back third of the tongue or the tonsils. In 2014, about 125 Victorians were diagnosed with it. Most were men.

An Australian study of 515 patients diagnosed with the condition between 1987 and 2010 found that the proportion of people with an HPV-related diagnosis increased from 20 per cent between 1987 and 1995 to 64 per cent between 2006 and 2010.

Over the same period, the proportion of people diagnosed with throat cancer who had never smoked increased from 19 per cent to 34 per cent, suggesting HPV may overtake smoking and drinking as a cause of the cancer in future.

American doctors say more oral sex following the sexual revolution of the 1960s probably spread HPV to more people’s mouths and throats. Actor Michael Douglas said he believed oral sex was to blame for his HPV-related throat cancer in 2013. 

But Dr Matthew Magarey​, an ear nose and throat surgeon at Epworth and Peter MacCallum hospitals in Melbourne, said while HPV-related throat cancers were occurring in more people aged 40 to 60, it should not necessarily be associated with oral sex because scientists believe HPV may be transmitted through kissing or simple hand to mouth contact as well.

Up to 80 per cent of the adult population is thought to have had some sort of HPV infection during their life (there are more than 100 strains) and most of them will not have experience any symptoms. Many people clear the virus within months of getting it.

Dr Magarey said a tiny proportion of people will get an HPV-related cancer, such as cervical, anal, or throat cancer. He said HPV in the throat probably took 30 to 40 years to turn into a cancer in the minority of people it affects in that way.

He said treatments were getting better for the cancer, which has a high survival rate if found early. Depending on the circumstances of the cancer, radiation, chemotherapy and sometimes surgery are used to treat it.

While the surgery has been long and complicated in the past, Dr Magarey said a new robotic procedure available at Peter Mac and Epworth was helping surgeons remove cancers more precisely and in less time. This was reducing long-term recovery problems such as difficulty eating and drinking and swallowing.

Dr Magarey said the most common first sign of throat cancer was a lump in the neck that persists for more than two or three weeks. Symptoms can also include a sore throat that persists for more than three weeks and difficulty swallowing.

“If you have these symptoms, see your GP and get a referral to a qualified ENT surgeon who can properly examine the throat. Just looking in the mouth is not enough,” he said.

Dr Marcus Chen, a sexual health specialist with Alfred Health, said the Australian government’s HPV Gardasil vaccination program for young people will reduce such cancers in future. In the meantime, he said testing for HPV – the “common cold of sexually transmitted infections” – was not recommended because there is no way of treating the virus or preventing it from being passed on to others.

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North Queensland MP Rob Pyne to allege fraud, bullying in local government

Labor MP Rob Pyne. Photo: Chris HydeLabor MP Rob Pyne will demand an inquiry into local government in Queensland, alleging fraud, bullying, nepotism and toxic environments are running rife.
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Mr Pyne, a former Cairns Councillor, will use parliamentary privilege to table “explosive allegations” against the Tablelands Regional Council, where residents are to face a 30 per cent rate rise in the 2017/18 year, which Mr Pyne said had been brought to him residents.

Mr Pyne said he had also received complaints regarding other councils and believed a widespread inquiry into local government in Queensland was over due.

“As a result of a number of issues which have been brought to my office by constituents concerning the maladministration and allegedly illegal conduct within their local councils [I am calling for this inquiry],” Mr Pyne said on Tuesday.

“I’ve made a number of appointments to speak to Jackie Trad [Local Government Minister] and I am sure I will speak with her very soon,” he said.

“Cairns is a long way away, and I am confident I will be talking to Jackie very soon and I am confident of a fair hearing.”

Mr Pyne said he believed the current complaints system was a failure.

“The first thing that will happen when people complain to the CCC will be the matter will be referred back to the CEO of the relevant council, that is obviously wrong on a number of levels,” he said.

“The other thing is the whistleblower protections are actually quite unsatisfactory, because what you’ll find is matters will go back to the local council to the CEO, and people won’t be dismissed for raising their concerns – but it just happens a few weeks later they are dismissed for completely different reasons.”

Mr Pyne believed the local government changes introduced by the LNP to allow councils more autonomy had contributed to the problem.

Tablelands Resident and farmer Lyn O’Connor said there was “deep division” within her local government, which had led to serious problems, while fellow resident Jason Ward said concerned citizens were seeking to “stop the harm” across the board.

Mrs O’Connor said an inquiry was needed to “pull apart all the causal effects”, but a spokesperson for Ms Trad said there were other steps as outlined in the Local Government Act.

“It is understood that the complainants have previously provided information to the Department of Local Government, Infrastructure and Planning (DLGIP) regarding the administration of local governments,” she said in a statement.

“We are advised the issues raised were investigated by the Department and found to be unsubstantiated.

“The complainants have previously been advised that if they have further evidence then there are appropriate avenues for progressing their complaints depending on the nature of the allegations – this includes investigation by DLGIP, referral to the CCC, or Queensland Ombudsman.

“Our office understands that the complainant has not yet provided any further evidence to the department or to the Deputy Premier’s office.

“If there are new allegations they should be provided to DLGIP for investigation or referral to another agency.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Association of Queensland said they could not comment without knowing the allegations.

But Mr Pyne said he believed it was time to take a stand.

“This call for a judicial inquiry is not merely based on evidence that has been brought to me in my short time as an MP, but the likelihood that much more material will come forward if any inquiry is set up and witnesses feel safe to testify,” he said.

“I am more than confident it is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg’.”

With Cameron Atfield

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Phone reception flickers to life in City Loop as telcos conduct final tests

Mobile phone coverage in the City Loop will soon be a reality. Photo: Craig AbrahamThe long wait could soon be over for commuters frustrated by one of Melbourne’s worst blackspots, as mobile phone reception in the City Loop flickers to life.
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It is understood the major telecommunications companies switched on their services for testing in the City Loop on Monday night, with a formal announcement expected from the state government later this week.

Some mobile phone users reported strong 4G reception in Melbourne’s train tunnels on Tuesday, as telcos work to extend coverage underground after a series of false starts.

Plans for mobile phone services through the City Loop have been delayed multiple times due to complications over possible interference with train radios. The most recent schedule was for the service to be ready by November.

VicTrack, the government body leading the project, said on Tuesday that telecommunications companies were undertaking final tests on the service before switching on the network.

Spokesman Jason Murray was not able to provide a solid date for when the service would be fully available, however he said an announcement could be expected soon.

“This is the last round of testing so what they picking are up is the telecommunications companies optimising their mobile phone service,” he said.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan would also not be drawn on when the much-awaited mobile phone network upgrade would go live:

“Mobile carriers are carrying out testing of the system, which is why passengers may receive mobile coverage in the loop,” she said.

Melbourne is well behind other cities when it comes to phone reception underground, however the New York Subway and London Tube have also grappled with the issue.

The project first stalled in December last year after the previous Napthine government promised to have a 3G phone service working underground by the end of 2014, with 4G ready by 2015.

It was delayed for a second time earlier this year, as VicTrack blamed issues with radios communicating with Metro and a lack of access to the City Loop to install the required infrastructure.

Optus is leading the consortium of telcos piping phone coverage through the City Loop, however a spokesman would not comment on the project, saying it was best to speak with VicTrack. I HAVE 4G IN THE CITY LOOP TUNNEL! Thank you for finally catching up with technology, #Melbourne— Leith Marshall (@LeithMarshall) October 13, [email protected] I notice I had 4G coverage through the Melbourne city loop. Has it been turned on for testing? Or is official turn on imminent?— Rocco Dimase (@resadude) October 12, 2015I have 4G in the city loop.. first time ever. testing, testing @VodafoneAU— Andrew Collins (@AndyCollinsSP) October 13, 2015Not losing phone coverage in the city loop is an absolute game changer for Melbourne. #nostoppingusnow— Riley Brettell (@RBrettell13) October 13, 2015Strong mobile signal Richmond-Parliament (Caulfield Loop). On and off over recent months. Assume still testing. pic.twitter南京夜网/JAnS6pOLnz— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) October 12, [email protected] Hi Daniel, mobile carriers are currently undertaking final testing in the loop— VicTrack (@VicTrack_Vic) October 13, 2015I just got full 4G coverage in Melbourne city Loop. Has this been turned on for all? Go #vodafone— Rajesh Vasa (@rvasa) October 12, 2015

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Police force grapples with mental health and guns

John Silvester: The emotional toll of policing
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A veteran police officer charged with murder had an extensive history of psychiatric problems, which has raised further concerns about Victoria Police’s handling of mental illness and its policies surrounding access to firearms.

The suicide of another police officer on Monday, who is also understood to have suffered from mental illness yet was armed with a service revolver, is expected to intensify pressure on Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton to act.

Force command has been accused of being slow to react to the increasingly erratic behaviour of several officers, who were deemed fit to work and permitted to carry firearms.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force had strict policies to the ability of members to carry personal firearms which take into account, health, wellbeing and welfare issues.

“Members are monitored very closely in relation to carrying a firearm. We are not complacent and continually review these policies to ensure they remain robust, and we look for opportunities to improve,” the spokeswoman said.

Senior Constable Tim Baker, 44, is understood to have suffered serious mental health issues for almost a decade before he killed Vlado Micetic during a routine intercept in Windsor in 2013. He was charged with one count of murder last week, after shooting Mr Micetic three times in the chest and claiming he acted in self-defence.

Mr Baker took extended leave on several occasions because of his illness, and was only allowed to resume work after approval from a Victoria Police psychiatrist.

But less than a year before the shooting, it is believed Mr Baker was involved in a serious altercation with another officer during Operational Safety Tactics and Training that should have set off alarms, according to colleagues of the accused man.

During firearms training, an instructor placed a hand on Mr Baker to assist with his stance. According to a source, Mr Baker responded: “take your hands off me or I’ll f…ing kill you”.

Two former colleagues have expressed serious concern that Mr Baker was subsequently issued with a gun and permitted to work alone.

“He should not have been operational and he definitely should not have been working by himself. It’s a failure of the department and Tim’s supervisors, they’re the ones who should also be held accountable for this tragedy,” said a former colleague.

Another officer, who worked briefly with Mr Baker, said his mental health issues were widely known and he had received professional help.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles refused to discuss Mr Baker’s case, but said more than 200 officers had gone on sick leave over the past year because of depression and post-traumatic stress.

As Victoria Police force grapples with the issue of mental health and an entrenched history of “suffering in silence”, Mr Iddles urged more members to seek help when they were unable to cope with the demands of the job.

The state coroner is presently investigating at least four police suicides, including the death of an information technology specialist at the Victoria Police Centre in June, who did not carry a weapon as part of his daily duties, but was issued with a gun by the transit safety division.

The man shot himself at a Rosanna primary school, where his estranged partner is believed to have worked.

A senior police officer said the man should never have been given the weapon .

“The force hasn’t always been great at dealing with (the) mental health or stability of its people. Obviously the job’s stressful and people handle it different ways, and there’s definitely some coppers who shouldn’t have guns.”

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force had appointed Deakin University to assist with a workplace analysis, while also undertaking an internal review of the welfare work and support it provides to officers.

“The Chief Commissioner has commissioned an external review to look at what more Victoria Police can do to best manage the issues surrounding mental health to ensure that going forward we deal with these issues in the best way possible,” the spokeswoman said.

For any help contact:

Lifeline 131 114

beyondblue 1300 224 636

SuicideLine 1300 651 251

MensLine 1300 789 978

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New CBD skyscraper rules ‘stunned’ Asian investors

Planning Minister Richard Wynne. Photo: Paul JeffersAsian investors in Melbourne’s central business district have been “stunned” by new rules restricting skyscraper density in the city centre, a planning consultancy that works extensively with overseas firms building apartment towers has warned.
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Urbis director Sarah Horsfield said the new rules risked putting “a handbrake on investment”.

Ms Horsfield told a Property Council breakfast that the introduction of the one-year interim rules last month had hurt the confidence “of a lot of our Asian investor clients who have been quite frankly stunned that the rules of the game can be so fundamentally changed overnight without any prior warning”.

But the government insists that billions of investment dollars are expected to flow into the CBD.

The measures impose mandatory height limits for an initial one-year period and require more space between buildings and shadow and wind controls.

The measures dictate that highrise buildings in the CBD can only go above set, lower height limits if they make trade-offs with contributions to public open space or other community facilities.

City real estate agents CBRE, which has been successful in marketing scores of CBD properties to Asian investors, said there had “been a major shift in terms of confidence from developers coming to Melbourne from Malaysia, Singapore and China since the election of the Andrews government” because former planning minister Matthew Guy signed off on so many high-rise apartment projects.

“Victoria needs to be very aware of how many of these groups are now looking to deploy capital to both New South Wales and Queensland. It’s real and they are a major threat to Victoria’s competitiveness and future prosperity,” said CBRE’s Mark Wizel.

However, Planning Minister Minister Richard Wynne said this year he had approved more than $3.7 billion worth of construction around the inner city, including 6000 apartments and 1550 hotel rooms.

He said it was his responsibility to ensure investment improved the city rather than creating “dark, windy streets”.

“What sort of a city does not have a plan for how it will grow?” he said. “Sydney, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong are among the major cities which have a plan for growth with far stricter conditions than what I have introduced.”

The interim controls apply to the Hoddle Grid, which covers the CBD and Southbank.

Mr Wynne said he could also use his discretion to approve applications that “give something back to the community”, such as open space or a child care centre.

The government will conduct consultation on the measures early next year before they are fully implemented.

Property Council Victorian deputy executive director Asher Judah said the property industry generally agreed that rules governing development in the CBD needed to be “refreshed”. However, he said the latest measures had eroded the confidence of investors.

“The interim measures have undermined investor confidence and have raised question marks over the values of some properties in the city, particularly along Flinders Street,” he said.

Mr Judah said Asian investors may have been rattled by the combination of the cancellation of the East West Link contract, a new foreign investors’ tax and the latest interim measures.

He said those particular conditions did not exist in other cities, including Sydney and Brisbane.

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Bendigo junior cyclists impress in state school road finals

Bendigo cyclists performed strongly in Sunday’s Victorian Schools Cycling Championship Road State Finals in the Bendigo central business district.
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Students from across Victoria converged on Bendigo for the final leg of the 2015 series.

RISING STAR: Belinda Bailey dominated the under-11 female race. Picture: DION JELBART PHOTOGRAPHY

Five Bendigo riders – Dylan McKenna, Jagan Woods, Angus Gill, Belinda Bailey and Sam Buckell –won gold medals in the criterium event.

Creek Street College’sBelinda Bailey started the gold medal haul with victory in the female under-11 race.

THRILLER: Jagan Woods, far right, holds off his rivals to win the under-17 final. Picture: DION JELBART PHOTOGRAPHY

Camp Hill’s Angus Hill followed suit in the male under-11 race.

TOP CLASS: Sam Buckell cruises to the line to win the under-15 final. Picture: DION JELBART PHOTOGRAPHY

Young gun Sam Buckell reaffirmed his status as one of the most promising junior riders in Victoria by winning the under-15 male final.

WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: Angus Gill celebrates his under-11 victory. Picture: DION JELBART PHOTOGRAPHY

Buckell, from Bendigo South East College,won a sprint to the finish line in the 20 minutes plus two laps event.

Girton Grammar’s Jagan Woods won a thrilling under-17 male final in a bunch finish.

Bendigo Senior Secondary College’s Dylan McKenna rounded out the event with a strong victory in the male under-19 final.

SPEEDSTER: Dylan McKenna, left, wins the under-19 state final. Picture: DION JELBART PHOTOGRAPHY

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Welcome to Australia

CITIZENSHIP: Cr Anne Napoli, Sanjay Devji Devalia, Arti Sanjay Devalia and deputy mayor Cr Doug Curran. Picture: Stephen Mudd.An eager group of new Australians took their citizenship oaths on Tuesday, October 13 at Griffith’s council chambers.

More than 25 people joined “the Australian family” in the citizenship ceremony, conducted by deputy mayor Doug Curran.

Australia’s newest citizens came from diverse cultural backgrounds and nations including Fiji, Ghana, India, Pakistan, thePhilippines, South Korea, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

RogerPenrith, council’sAboriginal liaison officer, opened the ceremony with a Welcome to Country which included a greeting in the Wiradjuri language.

Councillor Curran then congratulated the people who had taken the important step of becoming Australians.

Peta Dummett,council’s community development co-ordinator, said it was heart-warming to see so many people recite the oath.

“It’s thrilling to see people wanting to make Australia their home,” Ms Dummett said.

“You can see the excitement on their faces.”

In addition to the annual Australia Day citizinship ceremony, Griffith hosts another two or three ceremonies each year.

TheDepartmentofImmigrationand Border Protection notifies local councils around the country when enough people are ready for the ceremony. Councils are then sent the certificates and electoral roll paperwork to be filled out.

Sunita Patel was one of the people who became a citizen on Tuesday night. The nursing student said she had come to Australia eight years ago seeking a better life and future for her family.

Another new Australian, Sanjay Devalia, said he wanted to make his home in Australia because it was “a good country”.

Cr Anne Napoli helped with the proceedings.

As a 15-year-old girl, Cr Napoli took her oath at the former council chamber. She said it felt “strangely appropriate” to be on the other side of the ceremony years later.

“It closes the circle,” Cr Napoli said.

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Ejected: credits roll as last video store in Wagga set to close

IT’S CLOSING TIME: Blockbuster Kooringal owner Brian Judd is calling it quits in Wagga and closing down his video store. Picture: Les SmithA DECADE ago, on-demand video meant getting off the couch and paying a visit to the video rental store.These days, it’s all about buffer speeds and how many seasons of The Walking Dead you can soak upin one day.

Just as Daryl Dixon systematically kills off the walking dead with his crossbow, the final blow has also been delivered to brick and mortar video storesin Wagga.

The city’s last remaining video store at Kooringal Mall will shut its doors at the end of the month. It follows a processionof once-buzzing video outlets, with two other stores shutting down last year.

Until now, Blockbuster Kooringal owner Brian Judd was last man standing. He boasted 10 employees and had more than 20,000 movies under his belt.

“It’s really, really sad,” Mr Judd said.

“It’s sad not only for my employees, but the people of Wagga. If people want a movie, they will have to turn to the internet or they will have to buy it.It’s the end of an era.”

The store fought for its survival in an internet-dominated landscape and as recently as last month moved to subscription-based rentals–the same pricing method used by streaming giants.

Mr Juddsaid he had seen some success with subscriptions, and the store remained profitable, but cited family as the ultimate reason for the store’s closure.

“It’s been a hard decision, but I need to get home to Albury and spend time with my family,” Mr Judd said.“We just want to say thanks to all the people that did support us.”

Reflecting on industry changes, Mr Judd recalled a time when Wagga boasted eight video rental stores.He singled out illegal downloads as one of the industry’s biggest killers.

“It’s the fact that people don’t believe downloading is illegal, and it’s not treated as illegal,” Mr Judd said.“It’s wiped out an entire industry.”

The storewill cease trade on October 25 –and will from then hold a two-week DVD fire sale to clear stock.

There are an estimated 650 video stores nationwide –down from more than 2000 in 2009.

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People in WA underprepared for the threat of bushfire

People in WA underprepared for the threat of bushfire Be prepared: DFES are warning residents in or near bushfire-prone areas to begin preparing now.

TweetFacebookStartling new research has found three quarters of Western Australians believe they are not at risk of bushfire and are likely to be underprepared.

The survey of people living in WA’s south is being released as part of the State Government ‘Are You Ready?’ campaign which was launched yesterday.

The campaign calls upon the community to play their part in preparing for bushfires.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Steve Fewster said the Western Australia summer and searing temperatures bring with them the threat of bushfire.

“Western Australia is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world and part of residing here is living with the bushfire threat,” Mr Fewster said.

“It is concerning to think that nearly three quarters of respondents don’t have a bushfire survival plan, but the good news is that you can sit down tonight with your family and write one up.

“I encourage everyone to get on board and do more than ever this year to prepare your home and family.”

Mr Fewster also warned that people should take the time to prepare for the one in a life time catastrophe.

“Once every century or so a big event comes along that fundamentally changes us as a community – this could be a fire, storm, earthquake, flood or any other natural disaster,” he said.

“Changing weather patterns and history all point towards the fact that this event could hit Western Australia at any stage and we all need to be ready.”

DFES recommends creating a bushfire plan, writing it down and practicing it with your family.

Simple actions you can take around your home include cutting long grass, ensuring trees are well away from buildings and clearing roof gutters.

Red Cross WA executive director Steve Joske said that while we can’t change the fact that bushfires and other emergencies happen, we can change how they affect our lives.

“Being prepared isn’t complicated, it’s about four things: knowing the local risks, knowing your community, making a plan and having an emergency kit,” he said.

“And it is about developing a mindset that will help you deal with the emotional and psychological impact of a disaster.

“It isn’t just about how to survive a disaster, it’s also about how to recover from one.

“Recovery can take years, but people who have prepared are more likely to get their lives back on track faster, with less stress and anxiety.

“A key part of that is a plan to protect those irreplacable things that matter most to you, that shape who you are – that 80s vinyl collection, your kid’s teddy bear, your high school diary.”

Mr Joske said it was important to take practical steps now to protect the things that are important to you, if you live in a bushfire-prone area.

“You will never get the chance to go back afterwards to reclaim what you’ve lost,” he said.

“Plan not just to survive, but to recover.”

Of the 695 respondents to the survey, more than half said they didn’t know exactly what to do during a bushfire, and more than two thirds admitted they hadn’t done enough to prepare.

Mr Fewster said that during an emergency your ability to think clearly can be affected, so it’s important to do as much as possible now to prepare.

“Many things can go wrong, such as losing power and water, having roads cut off, becoming trapped and not being able to reach family members,” he said.

“Having a bushfire plan, writing it down and practicing it with your family will help you know what to do. Build your plan around your family’s day, and make sure you follow it.”

Last season, more than 3,900 bushfires occurred across Western Australia including major fires in Boddington, Bullsbrook, Northcliffe and Waroona.

To develop a bushfire survival plan or find out more about how to prepare your home for bushfires visit areyouready.wa.gov419论坛

Baiting permits now available online

Baiting permits now available online Take the bait: Full information, iincluding manuals, on how to use 1080 bait is now available on the DAFWA website.

TweetFacebookLandholders looking to obtain 1080 or strychnine to control wild dogs, rabbits or foxes can look forward to a more streamlined and efficient service.

The Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) has centralised the procedure to obtain a permit for the use of Restricted Chemical Products (RCP).

Senior policy officer Malcolm Kennedy said landholders would be able to lodge their application for a RCP permit online from 15 October 2015.

All applications would be required to go through the centralised system from 26 October 2015.

Dr Kennedy urged landholders intending to apply for a RCP permit in coming months to make an application as early as possible.

“Landholders simply need to go to the department’s website to get all the information they need,” he said.

“Those landholders who do not have access to the internet can still get a form from the department’s regional offices, however, the application will be sent for centralised processing.

“This new method aims to accelerate application approvals and to maintain more comprehensive records about the use of RCP’s in Western Australia to ensure responsible land use management.”

Applications for RCP permits require details about the baiting period, timeframes, bait requirements, as well as a map of the property showing details about the intended bait location.

Landholders intending to use RCP’s for the first time will be required to undertake the relevant product training to comply with all relevant Acts, Regulations and Codes of Practice.

“The information to complete the online training, including a training manual, is available on the department’s website,” Dr Kennedy said.

“If a landholder is unable to undertake the training online, they can contact their local DAFWA office to request a copy of the required information and can be assessed by a local biosecurity officer.

“A RCP permit cannot be issued without completing the training requirement.”

Dr Kennedy said the RCP permit process would continue to be reviewed and refined.

For further information and to obtain a RCP permit application visit 梧桐夜网agric.wa.gov419论坛 and search for ‘1080’ or ‘Baiting and poison permits’.

Mercury readers can name this lovely pupPHOTOS

This gorgeous little assistance dog has not been named and Mercury readers have a chance to name the puppy.

Assistance Dogs NSW in Maitland bought the Australian labradoodle with the help of the East Maitland Lions Club.

He is just eight weeks old and a very friendly puppy.

He will go into a carer’s home until he is named, and then he will be speciallytrained for a local person in need ofassistance.

“It was really important to our club to do this,” East Maitland Lions Club formerpresident Kathy Barkley said.

“When you hear the stories and see the pictures and the kids that assistance dogs help it is just so special.”

The club raised $3000 towards the puppy, on the condition he would go to someone local.

The puppies are chosen based on a special personality test to make sure they have the right nature to be an assistance dog.

Mercury readers can name this lovely pup | PHOTOS Do you have a good name for the as yet to be named assistance puppy?

Do you have a good name for the as yet to be named assistance puppy?

Do you have a good name for the as yet to be named assistance puppy?

Do you have a good name for the as yet to be named assistance puppy?

Do you have a good name for the as yet to be named assistance puppy?

Do you have a good name for the as yet to be named assistance puppy?

Do you have a good name for the as yet to be named assistance puppy?

TweetFacebookThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 南京夜网.