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Australian skipper Steve Smith ready to bat at No.4 for top-heavy top order

Steve Smith said the anticipated influx of top-order batsmen for the opening Test against New Zealand could result in him batting at No.4, but he has made it clear he won’t bat any lower than that during his first series as skipper.
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Smith conceded it was feasible he could drop down the order for next month’s opening Test in Brisbane after speculation that batting at No.4 could provide the order with balance, especially against spin bowling.

“It depends upon the make-up of the team where I’m going to bat,” Smith told Fairfax Media. “I think a lot of the players coming through at the moment, they’re top-order players, so there’s a good chance I’ll be batting at No.4

“I think I performed really well at No.4 last summer. I won’t be batting any lower than there – I can tell you that!”

While his baptism as Michael Clarke’s permanent successor was put on hold when the threat of terror against Australian “interests” in Bangladesh forced the postponement of the two-Test tour there, Smith said he understood his role.

“It is my team now, I guess,” said Smith. “It’s a really exciting time; a bit of generational change, some young players coming into the team and trying to build almost a new team.

“[My leadership approach] is about leading from the front with my performances. That’s the most important thing from my aspect.

“I’m also ensuring I have a good group of guys around me; a good leadership group and people who I can talk to away from cricket to give me some guidance and a kick up the backside if I need it.”

Smith was excited with the new-look team the selectors will unveil in Brisbane after the post-Ashes retirements of Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Clarke, saying they now had an opportunity to grow together.

He also conceded being blooded at home rather than on the sub-continent could be a smoother introduction to Test cricket for a side expected to be lacking experience.

“It might take a little bit of time but I’m hopeful the guys can come straight in and perform this summer,” he said.

“It would’ve been nice to have played the two Tests in Bangladesh but I think for the start of this new team playing at home might be a little bit easier for us, although it’s going to be a tough summer against New Zealand and the West Indies.

“It’s a really exciting time. I think there’s going to be a few experienced guys around the group – which is going to be good – but it’s a pretty new team. We have to try and build that up as much as possible and learn quickly on our feet and hopefully keep improving every day.”

Smith, who spent Tuesday at a training camp for the Australian Test squad at Hurstville Oval to bowl and train with the ‘red ball’ in the middle of the Matador Cup one-day competition, has a simple formula to safeguard his batting against the pressures of captaincy.

“I just try to put it out of my mind when I’m batting,” he said. “First and foremost I’m a batsman in the side and that’s my job, to score runs. I’ve performed pretty well in the games I’ve captained Australia in and hopefully I can keep it up.”

Smith added he was not overly concerned by the lack of red-ball action Australia’s Test players will have had when the Gabba Test starts on November 5.

“Guys are playing cricket, that’s the main thing” he said. “One-day cricket, four-day cricket  … it doesn’t matter. We’re going to have the one Sheffield Shield game and that will be with the pink ball.

“I haven’t faced the pink ball since I was at the Academy in 2009 and it felt like the ball left a bit of a trail behind it. I imagine they’d have made a few improvements since then, so I’m looking forward to playing in that game.”

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Treasurer meets Clive Palmer over Townsville’s Queensland Nickel refinery

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt. Photo: Chris Hyde
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Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt has become the second senior Queensland government member to meet with Clive Palmer to discuss his Queensland Nickel refinery, but he has refused to say whether there was a request for help.

But Mr Pitt did confirm that no decisions regarding assisting the Townsville refinery had been made.

Less than two weeks after Deputy Premier Jackie Trad confirmed she met with Mr Palmer late last month, Mr Pitt said he met with the Federal MP and other Queensland Nickel representatives but said the discussions were protected under “commercial-in-confidence”.

Mr Palmer fired off a series of tweets against the Queensland Premier and government on Monday afternoon, highlighting the state’s unemployment record under Labor, claiming Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk “has never been a worker” and that “worker men and women in Queensland are disregarded by the Queensland Labor Government”.

The ABC reported Mr Palmer had approached the government for a $25 million loan and “a government guarantee for banking facilities”.  Mr Palmer has denied making an application for assistance.

At an event to release the Queensland Resources Council’s report on mining’s contribution to the state’s economy, its chief executive Michael Roche said the nickel price was in flux.

“What I know about Queensland Nickel is it is a major employer in Townsville…I’ve watched the nickel price and it is swings and roundabouts,” he said.

“I think its making a bit of a comeback at the moment but one would hope Queensland Nickel is a company which is here for the long term.

“It has been an important part of Townsville economy for some decades.”

At the same event, Mr Pitt would not discuss whether the government had been approached for assistance, given the impact falling commodity prices are having on refineries such as Mr Palmer’s.

“I can confirm that I’ve met with representatives from Queensland Nickel, including Mr Palmer, relating to the facts that Michael Roche has just referred to and that is there is a decline in the price and of course we are interested to see how that is affecting their operations,” he said.

“…Those sorts of discussions are commercial in confidence and it would not make me a very good treasurer if I was going to be discussing matters that involve a private company in a public forum.

“I can say that there has been no decision to provide any assistance to Queensland Nickel.”

The government also vowed not to assist Adani with its attempts to get its Galilee Basin project, the Carmichael Mine, set to be the state’s biggest coal mine if it gets off the ground, by providing any infrastructure, at the 2015 election.

It has since qualified that as “no direct assistance” and has admitted it has been lobbying the Federal Government to provide the infrastructure funding, such as a rail line from the basin to the port, as part of its Northern Australian initiative.

Stay informed. Like the Brisbane Times Facebook page.

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Call to crack down on gambling ad ‘bombardment’

Victorian Minister for Gaming and Liquor regulation Jane Garrett. Photo: Josh RobenstoneMore footy clubs push back against betting advertising
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The constant onslaught of gambling ads should be reined in by tougher federal laws, Victoria’s Gaming Minister says.

Self-regulation of sports odds in live broadcasts failed to quell community concern and a recently announced review of online gambling laws should be expanded to include gambling advertising rules, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Minister Jane Garrett said.

In September, then social services minister Scott Morrison announced a review of online gambling laws to consider how they could be strengthened to tackle illegal overseas online bookmakers.

It has been estimated offshore wagering is a $1 billion illegal business in Australia.

In recent years, criticism of betting advertising has come from all political corners, including former Victorian Liberal premier and ex-Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett, the Greens and independent senator Nick Xenophon.

“We need to start a national conversation now, particularly around its impact on kids and young people who are bombarded through sports betting advertising,” Ms Garrett told The Age.

This week, she wrote to Social Services Minister Christian Porter and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, urging them to expand the online gambling review to include advertising.

“Recent research suggests that sports betting advertising may have negative economic and social impacts on vulnerable groups such as young people and problem gamblers, and it contributes to the normalisation of gambling as part of sport,” she said.

“Given many wagering services providers operate nationally, there is scope for the Australian and state and territory governments to work collaboratively to improve the effectiveness of gambling advertising regulation.

“This could include the development of measures to control or minimise harm associated with gambling advertising.”

Deakin University public health academic Samantha Thomas said gambling advertising was shaping children’s attitudes so that there was a blurred line between sport and gambling.

“When we talk to kids in the community, they tell us that the places they see gambling advertising is on the TV and at sporting stadiums,” Dr Thomas said. “They are two environments where the government could very quickly act to ensure kids are not exposed to gambling ads.”

As gambling advertisers used the full gamut of promotional tools, including social media, Ms Garrett said the review must be expanded to find out if the Australian Communications and Media Authority had adequate powers and resources to regulate the sector.

A spokesman for federal social services minister Christian Porter said the government “always prefers self-regulation over government regulations. But we will legislate to control gambling advertising if self-imposed industry regulations prove ineffective”.

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Kids as young as 18 months needing rotten teeth pulled because of bad decay

A three-year-old had 11 teeth extracted, and (right) a two-year-old was often given soft drink, which had dissolved the teeth down to the gum, exposing the nerve. Photo: Supplied Toddlers as young as 18 months are having rotting teeth pulled out, and in some cases older children are having all of their baby teeth removed in major operations, dentists say.
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Sophie Beaumont, a dentist at Victoria’s public dental hospital, said some children were presenting with blackened teeth and pus-filled gums, suspected to be caused by soft drinks and high sugar diets.

Some parents delayed going to a dentist until their child was in so much pain that the child’s cries were keeping the family awake at night, she said. And some children’s mouths were so bad they had to have all 20 of their baby teeth removed.

“It is very sad because you can imagine the impact on that child when they have to go to school with no teeth and try to function without them. It is quite upsetting,” she said.

“It is not uncommon to be taking out 12 or 14 baby teeth in one go. We would do that quite frequently.”

More than 1000 children throughout the state were put under general anaesthetic at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne last year, mostly to get multiple decayed teeth removed. Of these, 178 were three or under. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Nurse convicted of child porn crimes free to work in healthcare again

An intensive care nurse convicted of serious child pornography offences involving images of abuse, sadism and bestiality accessed over four years has been allowed to care for patients again.
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Peter Omant, 58, of Geelong, was put on professional suspension after Australian Federal Police raided his home uncovering more than 1000 images and videos of children being sexually abused in late 2010.

A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision on Monday reinstated Omant’s registration to practice nursing but attached special conditions, which were called “severe” by his lawyer after five years of suspension.

They include monthly counselling, regular breath tests, a ban from caring for children and working night shifts and require him to make disclosures to prospective employers.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia referred the allegations of professional misconduct and unprofessional conduct to VCAT but once they were found proven, had not pushed for Omant’s registration to be cancelled.

Omant served an 18-month suspended jail sentence after admitting to three charges of using a carriage service to access child pornography and knowingly possessing child pornography, in 2011.

He was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

In July, a VCAT panel headed by president, Justice Greg Garde, found Omant had also failed his profession’s code of conduct with behaviour that was “unbefitting a nurse” and eroded public confidence in nurses.

Omant completed further nursing qualifications while serving the suspended sentence, which ended in May 2013.  A psychologist who assessed him in April 2013 found there were limited factors to suggest he represented an ongoing risk of sexual offending and argued he should he be allowed to return to nursing.

His offending had been linked to alcohol abuse.

On Tuesday, his lawyer Mark Comito said Omant was rehabilitated and that five years was an “inordinate period of suspension” which had caused him severe financial hardship.

“He has learned from his mistakes in the past and has not transgressed in any way to engage in any similar conduct which was the subject of this particular hearing,” Mr Comito told Fairfax Media.

“He’s ready to enter the workforce and contribute to society once again.”

Mr Comito said Omant was concerned about his ability to get a job due to the “severe” conditions imposed on his registration. “They have serious ramifications for him,” he said.

“The board did not seek the cancellation of his registration but have sought quite severe conditions which he will work towards and endeavour to prove to the profession that he’s worthy to practice.”

A spokeswoman for the board said the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s national principals required action taken against members be proportionate and “uses the minimum regulatory force needed to manage risk to the public”.

She said the board supported the outcome, taking into account several factors, which included that he has already served an effective suspension of five years and is banned from working with children.

The VCAT panel in handing down its decision accepted the suspension already served was sufficient and that the conditions imposed on Omant’s registration would “ensure that both he and the public are protected during his transition back to practicing as a registered nurse.”

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Planned demolition of Brooks Jetty saddens St Kilda locals

Brook Jetty in St Kilda, which has been declared unsafe and earmarked for demolition. Photo: Penny StephensThe removal of a pier on the St Kilda foreshore where a jetty has stood since 1894 has angered locals, including relatives of the family that built the structure decades ago.
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Demolition of the Brooks Jetty was to commence this week, after Parks Victoria – which manages the St Kilda foreshore – declared it unsafe.

The 70-metre-long, L-shaped jetty was severely damaged by a storm in June 2014 and has remained partially closed since then. “The storm damage that occurred in June last year has made the jetty unsafe for the public to continue using it,” Parks Victoria district manager Graeme Davis said.

Parks Victoria also argues that, since 2010, a no boating zone on St Kilda beach has applied to keep swimmers safe, meaning the water around Brooks Jetty is now off-limits to boats. Mr Davis said Parks Victoria wanted to upgrade facilities at St Kilda Pier, only 600 metres away, and a nearby harbour, instead of rebuilding the jetty.

Port Phillip mayor Amanda Stevens said the council supported Parks Victoria’s decision to demolish the jetty.

There was a fatality in 2008 and there have been several injuries from people diving into the shallow water around the Jetty.

A stormwater drain beneath the jetty will remain in place once the jetty is removed.

Beachgoers at Brooks Jetty in 1930. Photo: State Library of Victoria

Local resident, architect and former Port Phillip councillor David Brand said this was a bad result for the beach.

“We’ve got the entrance to St Kilda Beach that is now going to be the gateway to an outfall drainage pipe,” Mr Brand said. “Is the urban design that the City of Port Phillip has spent millions of dollars on now to be spoilt?”

Mr Brand said the jetty had formed an integral part of the St Kilda beach promenade. “It’s a very beautiful and charming mini-pier. It’s narrow and it’s sweet and it’s a beautiful experience just walking on it.”

Rob Lechmere is a descendant of the family that had built the existing pier (itself a replacement for an earlier structure on the site). He said it would be a sad result if it was demolished this week. “It should stay,” Mr Lechmere said. “It’s not the original pier, so it has been rebuilt before.”

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

Stronach calls to demolish Queens Wharf

Newcastle stalwart and prominent developer Keith Stronach.CBD height limits cut: poll
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Editorial:Cut down to size

HE doesn’t speak publicly very often, so prominent Newcastle developer Keith Stronach draws a crowd when he does.

He didn’t disappoint the business industry faithful at a meeting of Newcastle Business Club on Tuesday, calling on Newcastle council to demolish the Queens Wharf harbourside complex and start again, calling for greater public discussion on how the city’s planned light rail line could be expanded, calling for the old Newcastle train station to be transformed into an arts and cultural space, and expressing disappointment that his controversial plans for the former Newcastle Bowling Club site remain in limbo.

The Stronach family’s long history in developing and building Newcastle is almost 100 years old and includes construction of the iconic Civic Theatre, the tower of Christ Church Cathedral and, more recently, Merewether Surfhouse and the Arena residential development on Newcastle Beach.

The Queens Wharf Brewery and cafe strip ‘‘should be demolished,’’ he said, and replaced with a harbourside venue that more would use. It needed floating pontoons, he said, to attract more visitors to the city and cater for the growing number of locals who visit the city on weekends.

On the question of city revitalisation, Mr Stronach said he backed the state government’s plans to run its planned light rail line partly down the existing corridor and onto Hunter Street because ‘‘it has to go where the people and businesses are’’.

Keith Stronach’s plan for the site of the old bowling club at King Edward Park which was over ruled by the Land and Environment Court in May.

‘‘We’ve got to think about the next 50 years and not just the next few years,’’ he said.

The six-year battle over the maligned Newcastle Bowling Club site, though, remained his greatest disappointment.

‘‘To be honest, I still find it hard to understand why we couldn’t do something there,’’ he said.

‘‘I only wished I wasn’t forced to, well, part of the agreement with Jodi McKay at the time was to knock that building down. We should have left it there, even though it was in a dilapidated state because it would have been, well, people would have said ‘aren’t you better doing something new rather than leaving that there?’ Hindsight’s great, but contractually I had to demolish it.

‘‘The result of all that is the site is in limbo and will likely be like that for a long time. We can’t proceed with our DA because it’s been deemed invalid and it’s now up to the Department of Lands as to what happens with the site. I still believe it’s a fantastic site so, absolutely, I’d still do it if the opportunity came up again.’

The then NSW Lands Minister Tony Kelly and developer Keith Stronach in November 2009 at the King Edward Park Bowling Club site before it was demolished. Picture: Darren Pateman

Ring-in touch to charity race

Ready to race: Jack O’Shea will be attempting to win the ovarian cancer charity race for the third time in Wodonga on Saturday.FINE Cotton will be running at Wodonga on Saturday and like his notorious namesake not everything will be quite right with him.
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This equine imposter, atoy horse, will be part of the Border Ovarian Cancer Awareness Group’s celebrity race which raises money to assist with treatment and research.

It is the third year the event has been held with Fine Cotton’s rider, apprentice carpenter, Jack O’Shea having won the previous two.

He is upbeatdespite having towearankle weights.

“I’ll stack up,” Mr O’Shea said.

“I think I should go alright; I’m not worried about the extra weight.”

The awareness group’s president Heather Watts said the 10 entrants had each paid $1000 to compete in the 200-metre race which will follow the Caulfield Cup on Saturday.

She also announced on Tuesday that cancer trials to be done at the new Border cancer treatment centre would be under the banner of the Kelsey Watts Memorial Research Fund.

It honours her daughter who died of ovarian cancer in 2011.

Mrs Watts said uponthe centre’s opening$100,000 would beraised by her group for research now done at Wodonga’s private hospital.

She also said an awareness lunch would be held on February 6 with guest speakers cancer researcher Professor David Bowtell and oncologist Dr Robyn Sayer.

A motorcycle rally and skydiving will also be held in Wodonga laterthe same month to aid the cause.

Entrants for this year’s celebrity race are:

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Carer wins NSW honours

Well deserved: Sheila Openshaw is the NSW Carer Awards carer of the year for 2015.YEARS of caring for her two sons, and for the community in which she has lived for 21 years, have led to Sheila Openshaw being named NSW Carer of the Year for 2015.
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She was nominated by Dympna Maslin of Mission Australia Port Macquarie, who called to ask if Mrs Openshaw if she minded being nominated.

After providing a file of background information to Ms Maslin, she promptly forgot about it until she got a phone call on her way to a fundraising event she was hosting.

“It was from NSW Carers Awards to say I had won,” Mrs Openshaw said.

“It was quite overwhelming, humbling and a total surprise.”

She was told to keep the news quiet until Monday after the presentation at Parliament House.

On Sunday, she and husband Alan were flown to Sydney where they were accommodated and given dinner and breakfast before the ceremony on Monday morning.

The awards are given to mark Carers Week, October 11 -17.

The NSW Carers Advisory Council states a carer is someone who provides “unpaid support to those who need it because of a disability, mental illness, chronic health condition, dementia or ageing”.

The awards are organised by the NSW government in partnership with Carers NSW and were created to acknowledge and celebrate the significant unpaid contribution carers make to the person (or people) they care for and to the community.

Mrs Openshaw was presented with a trophy and certificate, from among nine others who were in the running for the top award, by the Hon. John Ajaka, MLC, Minister for Ageing and Disability Services at the state ceremony.

She was acknowledged for not only caring for her two sons, aged 47 and 43, who suffer with mental illness, but for her community work as a founding member of the Endeavour Clubhouse and for efforts on behalf of Rotary Health.

Mrs Openshaw has cared for her sons for 22 years and both now live independently, one in Newcastle and one in Port Macquarie.

“I tell people who come to my group [Hastings Mental Health Support Group] that it is important the person you are caring for learns to cope on their own. Use the services and make the connection for them, but we’re not going to live forever.”

One of the things that puts a smile on Mrs Openshaw’s face is talking about Endeavour Clubhouse which has finally opened after 14 years in the making.

“Alan and I were founding committee members and he was secretary and a treasurer of the fundraising committee.

“They already have 40 clients registered,” she said.

Rotary Health’s Hat Day has also been a favourite cause for her and Rotary Club of Port Macquarie.

She has organised many fundraising events and on October 31 there will be yet another.

It is an art exhibition at The Historic Courthouse from 10am until 4pm, with 20 per cent of any art sales going to Rotary Health. Paintings by Cherie Morton, Yvonne Kiely, Maureen Hales and Leanne Prussing will be on showand there will be entertainment by Hastings Choristers, Smashing Drumskins and Z Chords.

Devonshire tea, a barbecue lunch, mobile coffee van and an artist mandala workshop and demonstrations will make for an enjoyable day.

The Hastings Mental Health Support Group meets on the last Friday of each month at the Mac Adams Music Building behind the Olympic Pool from 10am until noon, and all are welcome, including carers of those with brain injury or dementia.

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Hastings jewel returns home

Meet the jeweller to the Bachelorette: Port Macquarie’s own Samantha Wills brings her range of bling to The Department Store where she will meet fans in the Port Macquarie store Thursday night.
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SAMANTHA Wills walks on the streets of New York and heads turn.

Not only is she tall, blonde, attractive and always beautifully dressed, her exotic jewellery sparkles from her fingers to her earlobes.

The former Port Macquarie High School student has worked hard for her success since moving to Sydney in 2004, when she first introduced her designs at Australian Fashion Week to rave reviews.

After growing her brand overseas and in capital cities, Wills’ striking pieces will now be available at The Department Store right here in the Hastings.

To celebrate, the home grown designer will visit the expanded Port Macquarie shop in the Peachtree Arcade, tomorrow from 5pm until 7pm.

Her signature is the shape of her bold rings, pendants, necklaces, bangles and wrist cuffs which all come in a distinctive carved wooden boxes carved with the SW logo.

“The Department Store will feature all our current collections, mainline, fine and eyewear, and I am very excited to be home to launch our latest fine jewellery collection Pania.”

Music and film stars who have worn the self-taught Wills’ jewellery on the red carpet are pop princesses Lady Gaga and Rihanna, actresses Eva Mendez, Kate Bosworth, Drew Barrymore and Eva Longoria and, causing a huge reaction right now – bachelorette Sam Frost on the Channel Ten reality dating show of the same name.

“While we are lucky enough to be able to dress some big Hollywood names, the biggest response we are getting at the moment is from all the SW jewels that Sam Frost is wearing on The Bachelorette,” Wills said.

She said she loves getting back to Port about three time a year to see her parents and catch up with friends.

“Unfortunately it’s only for quick trips due to a bit of a crazy schedule, but it is so nice to get back home. It makes me appreciate growing up in such a beautiful place so much.

“Mum and dad are the best, they are and have always being so supportive of everything I do.

“They are definitely thrilled to have the brand represented in a local retailer.

“I often tell the story about when I had an article in The New York Times naming me a breakout star of the year. I called mum to let her know, and she said ‘that’s great darling, but you had an article in the Port Macquarie News today – how great is that’.”

Wills said she has a few things in the pipeline but the main focus is on expansion by territory, rather then new categories.

“We have international offices in New York, LA, Tokyo, Seoul and Paris and are looking to grow and solidify the brand in those markets.”

Luckily, her home town will also be part of that growth.

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