MP Bob Baldwin in bid to throw out work safety cases

FRIENDS: Hilton Grugeon and Paterson MP Bob Baldwin.PATERSON MP Bob Baldwin sent letters to the Premier and senior ministers about workplace safety prosecutions that were denying defendants “natural justice” but says the lobbying wasn’t intended to benefit only Liberal donor Hilton Grugeon, who was then being prosecuted.
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The state government is under pressure to explain why charges against Mr Grugeon and fellow Hunter Quarries owner Graham Chevalley were withdrawn in 2012, over the death of worker Darren Smith whose truck rolled at the Karuah quarry in 2005.

The government changed workplace safety laws in 2011, bringing them in line with federal laws from 2012.

Mr Baldwin wrote in late 2011 to then attorney-general Greg Smith, with copies sent to then premier Barry O’Farrell, finance and services minister Greg Pearce, police minister Mike Gallacher, resources minister Chris Hartcher, Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann, Maitland MP Robyn Parker and Newcastle MP Tim Owen.

The government released the letter yesterday following questions from Labor, showing that Mr Baldwin sought a judicial review of whether outstanding prosecutions under the old laws should proceed.

“I am aware of defendants suffering severe hardship and personal distress in defending matters where they have been denied natural justice without a presumption of innocence,” the federal MP wrote.

Asked who the defendants were, Mr Baldwin said yesterday he was not just advocating for Mr Grugeon.

“I told Hilton at the time ‘I am not writing this letter to get you off, I am writing this letter so that the legislation applies equally’,” he said.

Mr Baldwin, who described Mr Grugeon as a close friend, said “I didn’t even get the courtesy of a reply” from the state government.

Mr Grugeon was the target of a recent corruption inquiry over alleged secret political donations to Liberal state campaigns, but was already a prominent Liberal donor. Mr Hartcher and Mr Gallacher were also targets of the inquiry.

Labor MP Michael Daley said the government had to explain why the charges were dropped: “A man has died leaving two young children behind.

“All of a sudden they just walked away from it. There are still serious questions for this government to answer,” Mr Daley said.

Mr Grugeon said he too had not received an explanation for the charges being withdrawn other than being told it was not in the public interest for the prosecution to continue.

But he believed it was due to “trumped up evidence” the prosecution sought to rely on.

He said that would be exposed as part of an appeal against the conviction of the company Hunter Quarries.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for Resources Minister Anthony Roberts said “the decision to withdraw proceedings was taken by the Division of Resources and Energy following receipt of legal advice from the Crown Solicitor”.

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Jacob Cooke-Harrison flies over Ben Lakin and Jordy Schmidt, Horsham Saints v Horsham WFL Grand Final. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Football scores:

Wimmera Football League

2014 Seniors

HORSHAM SAINTS v. HORSHAM

Grand Finals Grand Final – 20/09/2014

Horsham 4.4, 7.8, 9.9, 12.10 (82)

Horsham Saints 3.3, 5.6, 11.8, 11.10 (76)

GOALS, Horsham :

Joel Geue 4, Beau Nelson 2, Jordyn Burke 2, Billy Lloyd 1, Jack Mentha 1, Alex Thomson 1,

Nic Pekin 1

Horsham Saints :

Gavin Kelm 9, Kyle O’Connor 1, Dennis Adams 1

BEST, Horsham :

Billy Lloyd, Ben Lakin, Jack Mentha, Nathan Kelly, Sean Christopher, Beau Nelson

Horsham Saints :

Gavin Kelm, Daniel Rees, Michael Rowe, Dennis Adams, Steven Thomas, Ryan Bird

MATCH REPORT:

WFL Reserves 2014

DIMBOOLA v. HORSHAM SAINTS

Grand Finals Grand Final – 20/09/2014

Dimboola 3.2, 4.5, 6.7, 8.8 (56)

Horsham Saints 1.2, 1.5, 1.7, 5.11 (41)

GOALS, Dimboola :

Darren Jones 5, Darcy Dubois 1, Cameron Ellis 1, Ashley Avery 1

Horsham Saints :

Matthew Hoe 1, George Walker 1, Tom Ballinger 1, Heath Kelm 1, Beau Cassidy 1

BEST, Dimboola :

Darren Jones, Jackson O’Neill, Daniel Greig, Kieran Fraser, Ashley Avery, Mathew Everett

Horsham Saints :

Cooper Bateson, Matthew Hoe, Tom Ballinger, Bowen Friend, Heath Kelm, Benjamin Martin

MATCH REPORT:

Wimmera Football League U17 2014

STAWELL v. HORSHAM

Grand Finals Grand Final – 20/09/2014

Horsham 2.3, 5.5, 9.8, 11.9 (75)

Stawell 2.4, 5.4, 6.5, 8.8 (56)

GOALS, Horsham :

Ryan Kemp 4, Alex Harfield 3, Trent Woolman 2, Jarman Reid 1, Jack Merlo 1

Stawell :

Pilo Dagiaro 4, Mitchell Kelly 2, Aidan Jensz 1, Dj Grundler 1

BEST, Horsham :

Ryan Kemp, Alex Harfield, Sid Hernon, Trent Woolman, Brandon Patterson, Riley Williams

Stawell :

Robert Armstrong, Pilo Dagiaro, Mitchell Kelly, Mitchell Collins, Sam Williams, Jesse Barber

MATCH REPORT:

Wimmera Football League U14 2014

HORSHAM SAINTS v. STAWELL

Grand Finals Grand Final – 20/09/2014

Horsham Saints 0.2, 4.5, 4.5, 7.10 (52)

Stawell 3.1, 4.1, 8.2, 8.3 (51)

GOALS, Horsham Saints :

Jack Butler 3, Will Kennedy 1, Mitchell Martin 1, Angus Gove 1, Thomas Berry 1

Stawell :

Caleb Bretherton 4, Riley McGregor 2, Calder Richards 1, Ryan Nellthorp 1

BEST, Horsham Saints :

Thomas Berry, Angus Gove, Joshua Hedt, Jeremiah McKenzie, Jared Morris, Will Tickner

Stawell :

Enovy Tungi, Joshua Kelly, Tom Walker, Caleb Bretherton, Bailey Taylor, Angus Butt

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Gentlemen, start your electric engines

READY TO RACE: Getting some practice in ahead of the opening of the Atrium’s giant slot car track this weekend are (from left) Dean Woods, Josh Worpel, Dave Willis and Tom Smith. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 170914GOD01IT’S hosted dinosaurs, segways and even an ice-skating rink, and the Atrium is about to reveal its latest school holiday trump card.
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A 25-metre slot car track, one of the biggest in NSW, will be unveiled tomorrow as part of the Tamworth shopping arcade’s annual September holiday program. The two-lane Scalextric track is a throwback to a bygone era, when slot cars were king in arcades and lounge rooms across Australia.

Atrium owner Bruce Read said, while many of today’s kids may have only seen cars racing on a screen, they will quickly embrace the old-school game. He said the track would also offer a nostalgic flashback for adults.

“They’ve been around for a million years but what they’ve done, just as they have with Lego and Barbie, is evolve with the market,” Mr Read said.

“They’re now all digital and the performance is far better.”

The track will be open for eight days from tomorrow, with a competition day offering nearly $1000 in prizes from Toyworld on September 28.

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Netball’s night of nights

MOUNT Isa Netball Association held its presentation night at the Buffs Club last Friday.
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RUNNERS-UP: Division 1 runners-up Strikers.

It commemorated a strong season by teams in all five divisions, recognising the hard work by all members of the committee.

Major award winners included Most Valuable Players each side, grand final winner, Best and Fairest of each division and representative awards.

MVP Team Awards: Bullets – Amy Davy, Starbursts – Kayleigh Knight, Socialites – Zoie Belingham, 2PH Redbacks – Brooke Wessels, Start – Sarah Gale, St Joeys – Lenore Krutzfledt, Fantales – Christeena Haines, Matariki Just Do It – Tynaya Toumau, Matariki C – Danica Crebbin, NQ Rescue Vixens – Trudi O’Brien and Jessica O’Connor, Thunder – Kimberley Thornton, Supernova – Kimberley Stokes, Panthers – Kathy MacDonald, Workpac Wildcats – Liz Constable, HV & IS – Ashley Burke, VS – Tara Gadischke, Sapphires – Nicola Caldwell and Jennifer O’Neill, GSCC – Pheobe Ryder, 2PH Shots – Latasha Venz and Joanne Drier, Strikers – Tamhara Holder, Marariki MIGATE – Mareta Alexander.

MVP per Division: Division 1 – Mareta Alexander (Best and Fairest) and Tamhara Holder (Best and Fairest runner-up), Division 2 – Ashley Burke (Best and Fairest) and Katie Luckman (Best and Fairest runner-up), Division 3 – Danica Crebbin (Best and Fairest) and Kathy MacDonald (Best and Fairest runner-up), Division 4 – Sarah Gale/Christeena Haines (Best and Fairest) and Lenore Krutzfeldt (Best and Fairest runner-up), Division 5 – Kayleigh Knight (Best and Fairest) and Amy Davy/Zoie Bellingham (Best and Fairest runner-up).

MVP of Grand Finals: Division 1 – Kate Donaghy, Division 2 – Paige Drewe, Division 3 – Amelia Adams, Division 4 – Rachel Thwaites, Division 5 – Hayley King.

Representative Awards: A Grade Players Player – Mareta Alexander, A Grade Coaches Choice – Mareta Alexander, B Grade Players Player – Kimberley Stokes, B Grade Coaches Choice – Latasha Venz.

President’s Award: Lenore Krutzfeldt and Hayley Hogan, Spirit of Netball Award: Amy Clark

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Tipping places his hopes on Rapman

IT’S not often a maiden event is the race that a trainer targets, but that’s exactly the plan for Mount Isa’s George Tipping in Winton tomorrow.
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The 1200-metre maiden plate, worth $10,000, is the race Tipping desperately wants to win on Winton’s six-race program.

Tipping is hoping his three-year-old colt Rapman is up to the task.

“I thought he had a strong chance before the barrier draw, but being given the outside track (barrier 9) is going to be tough,” Tipping said.

“He has only raced three times before and looked good in his last start in Birdsville, so we are hoping he continues to improve.

“Winton is a relatively small track so it it could be a hard task for him, especially with a strong field assembled.”

Tipping expects Julia Creek trainer Grant Wiles to saddle up the favourite with Russian Black.

Jockey Alannah Badger will partner Rapman, along with Tipping’s other three runners on the day.

“Month Of Sundays had a decent run in Cloncurry and if he didn’t get impeded at the start, he would have gone very close to the placings,” Tipping said.

After disappointing in Birdsville as a $1.50 favourite, Tipping hopes his top sprinter General Web can return to form.

“He simply didn’t turn up at Birdsville, which I’m putting down to him not being used to travelling that kind of distance,” Tipping said.

“Hopefully, he has learnt from that because Alannah believes he is getting back to the form he showed before Birdsville.

“If that’s the case, he should be right up there in the 1200m class 1 handicap.”

Tipping’s final runner of the day is Buffett, but the trainer isn’t expecting too much from him in the 1400m benchmark 70 handicap.

“We are running him this weekend as a bit of a warm-up to the Longreach Cup next weekend,” he said.

“The distance looks to be a shade too short for him, but it will give him a chance to get his legs under him again.

“It will also give Alannah another chance to ride him before her final meet of the year next weekend as she is heading home for the year after Longreach.”

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Rally to protest closure of Robb College

HUNDREDS of University of New England students will march in protest this morning against the closure of Robb College next month.
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More than 500 students representing each of the university’s colleges are expected to turn out for the rally, sparked by last week’s shock announcement that Robb College would be closed at the end of trimester two and its residents relocated to Drummond and Smith.

The university’s administration said it had had no choice but to close the college while the Heritage Council of NSW considers the building’s heritage listing, delaying essential safety compliance works.

But UNE Student Association president David Mailler labelled the sudden announcement a “kneejerk reaction” and said the university risked losing the opportunity for a “win-win” with the affected students.

“College students are key stakeholders and they have been badly treated,” Mr Mailler said.

“That (management) haven’t chosen to listen and include usin developing a solution before (making the announcement) has angered normally easy-going and conservative students and pushed them to protest.

“A management style in recent years of neglecting or ignoring student ideas and aspirations, as well as the impact of trimesters, has pushed down on student goodwill, and this runaway decision was a step too far.”

Mr Mailler acknowledged there were hurdles to negotiate when it came to the refurbishment of the ageing college buildings, but a consultation process would have created respect on both sides.

Adding to student concerns is the uncertainty around just how long Robb will be closed and the impact on both colleges’ cultural heritage.

Mr Mailler said Robb College had built a proud history since its founding in 1960, and was known for a strong connection to the rural community, with an emphasis on leadership and integrity, while Drummond and Smith traced its roots back to 1930 and the Armidale Teachers’ College.

“The proposal to co-house Robb students in Drummond and Smith College has alarmed Drummond and Smith residents,” he said.

“The UNE administration has failed to communicate a vision and strategy for the future ofthe colleges and their rich heritage and contribution to theuniversity.

“Students are mystified and in search of answers (and) want a change from the autocratic governance of the recent past.”

The protest will start at 9am on Queen Elizabeth Dve and will culminate in a rally at Booloominbah at 10am.

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Swans’ focus is defence

Jack Ziebell offers more firepower to North Melbourne’s impressive middle group for Friday’s preliminary final against the Sydney Swans. Picture: GETTY IMAGESAFL
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Sydney coach John Longmire will put the acid on all players to put the defensive squeeze on North Melbourne in Friday’s AFL preliminary final.

While minor premiers Sydney are hot favourites to win the ANZ Stadium showdown, the Kangaroos have cause for optimism.

They have won six in-a -row and humbled the Swans at the SCG in round four, inflicting their biggest loss (43 points) and lowest score 6.12 (48) of the season.

North didn’t have Andrew Swallow or Jack Ziebell that day and both will add firepower to an already impressive midfield group.

“[Nick] Dal Santo, [Sam] Gibson, [Daniel] Wells, [Brent] Harvey. You can’t tag them all,” Longmire said on Thursday.

“We need to make sure that our 18-man defence is really strong.

“We are going up against a team that has won six in-a-row and are in ripping form, and have a good team available as well.

Kangaroos coach Brad Scott expected the inside midfield battle to determine the contest, but hinted at a plan to again curtail the influence of Sydney’s Coleman Medal winner Lance Franklin.

The Swans spearhead was held goalless for the only time in 20 games this season in the SCG clash, where he was outplayed by Scott Thompson.

“It’s about mitigating the supply to him and making sure we defend really well,” Scott said. “We’ve got a plan in place, but it’s going to come down to how well we execute it.”

The fitness news on Thursday favoured the Swans.

Longmire expected All-Australian defender Nick Malceski to play after recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered early in the Swans’ qualifying final win over Fremantle.

For North, Jamie Macmillan (hamstring) was ruled out on Thursday, along with Lachie Hansen (hip) and Leigh Adams (concussion), neither of whom played in last week’s semi-final win over Geelong.

While Sydney will be playing a preliminary final for a third straight year, North haven’t advanced so deep into September for seven seasons.

Longmire couldn’t quantify how significant that was.

But Scott alluded to the Kangaroos’ big-time temperament by referring to their wins over the three other preliminary finalists, and finals victories over Essendon and Geelong in the past fortnight.

“The facts are the facts, we’ve beaten all the good sides,” Scott said. “You can say that’s irrelevant. You can say that was a long time ago, but big games in finals we’ve won.” AAP

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Randwick a welcome challenge for Shannon Fraser

RUGBY UNION
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Shannon Fraser

Shannon Fraser has no intention of ducking the pressure that comes with being the first outsider to coach the famous Randwick club.

Fraser, who coached the Wollongong Vikings and NSW Country Cockatoos this season, has been hand-picked to lead the Galloping Greens in 2015.

The 36-year-old’s appointment might raise a few eyebrows among Randwick’s old boys, but Fraser is keen to throw himself into the role.

“I’m conscious of the challenge I’m about to take on, being the first non-Randwick person to be offered this position,” he said.

“It comes with a bit of pressure because it’s never been done before in the history of the club. They’ve taken a bit of a punt on me so there is that little bit of pressure there, but at the same time I’m excited by the challenge.

“There’s a good playing roster there, the Randwick Colts have just won the premiership, so there’s good youth in the club.

“It’s a very strong, traditional club that plays a good brand of football. It has a fantastic alumni, and to be submerged in that environment is something I’m looking forward to.”

An assistant coach with the NSW Country Eagles in the National Rugby Championship, Fraser has paid his dues over the last decade.

He was an assistant coach with Fiji for the 2007 and ’11 World Cups and a NSW Waratahs assistant coach from 2004-08. He was a consultant with the Western Force in 2012 and filled a similar role with a Japanese club for three years.

Fraser’s appointment with Randwick started with a cup of coffee a couple of weeks ago.

“Stephen Hoiles and Bob Dwyer got in contact with me and put the proposal together and whet my appetite a little bit about the opportunities at Randwick,” the Illawarra Academy of Sport general manager said.

“It escalated from there. The vision the club has, they felt my coaching style and my experience was a good fit with where Randwick are at the moment. Over the last few days, we all got on the same page and they made the offer.

“There’s a good feel within the game at the moment with the experimental laws and bringing the running back into the game, and obviously that’s the foundation Randwick has had a lot of success on. I’m quite excited by that and the prospect of contributing to the tradition of the club going forward.”

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Tough times ahead: let’s try to reduce the impact

James Brady.TOUGH times are becoming increasingly apparent for Launceston.
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Economic changes have already brought the closure of once strong industries in the North, and the downstream effects are settling in.

With closures comes a decrease in disposable income and fewer dollars landing in the pockets of local employers.

Impacts are already familiar to young job seekers as they begin to feel the pinch of tightened Newstart regulations.

As a 26-year-old, the problem seems daunting and is often a point of discussion for many of my friends.

One guy I met while walking through Brisbane Street Mall was jamming away on a beaten up acoustic guitar.

We’re not overly close, but I stop to chat whenever I see him out playing.

He continues to encourage me with my own music, and always has an open ear when it comes to menial day-to-day problems — a top bloke.

Last month I learned he was busting his guts on that instrument in between study courses to buy bus tickets home.

It was something that really hit hard, I can’t help but think how lucky I was to secure a cadetship four years ago, before everything appeared to blow up in the job market.

Unemployment does not mean you lack drive or are unwilling to try, and reverting to study no longer seems like an easy option.

At the beginning of this year Northern Tasmania’s youth unemployment rate was at 18.6 per cent, the sixth worst rate in Australia.

I hear from too many young people who are stuck in job-seeking predicaments, their hands bunching overlooked CVs as they vent their frustrations.

“We’re looking for someone with experience” is the catchcry relayed by those lucky enough to get a call-back from would-be employers.

A line so rich, it’s poor.

Many of those same people have considered Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s suggestion of moving interstate for work, a statement criticised by Youth Network of Tasmania in May this year.

Even if they do scrape together enough money to move interstate, what then?

They’d be away from family and friends in search of work they have not yet secured.

As time goes on, the risk of falling into further financial struggles presents itself and, with that, a chance of relying on crime to avoid hunger or homeless.

It is apparent that many Northern Tasmanians are already leaning on illegal activity to get by.

Only this month Launceston detectives reported dramatic increase in amphetamine seizures, snatching nearly $4 million worth in 2013-14.

There are some serious implications in that alone.

For some the report card seems bleak for Launceston, which can still grasp last year’s ‘most family friendly city in Australia’ award as a shield from bad news.

Even those who hold jobs are facing crisis situations — one charity representative last week described rising cases of “the working poor” as cuts to shifts and wages are made.

Aside from sitting back and adding another lash to the long-dead jobs horse, there are other things residents can do to lessen the impact of tough times for others.

Buy local, volunteer for charity, conduct fundraisers or donate funds or items when able.

Keep an eye out for those in need, or those doing it tough and work to establish communication with people in your area.

Reach out to friends who may be falling by the wayside or struggling to work out their own plan of action.

Invite a neighbour over for dinner, give people a place to go, and offer assistance to those in need.

Or, like I wish I had done for my busking friend, offer them a lift.

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Illawarra disability workers to fight privatisation plans

Illawarra disability workers hold a stopwork meeting and protest on Foleys Road, Gwynneville, in August. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIIllawarra disability workers will again take to the streets on Friday to protest state government plans to privatise the sector.
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About 100 Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) workers are expected to attend a lunchtime rally at Mood Park, Albion Park.

Public Service Association regional organiser Tony Heathwood said the action would not impact upon the delivery of services, but would send a clear message to the NSW government.

The action follows recent rallies in North Wollongongand Dapto.

“Disability care workers in the Illawarra are protesting the impact that the privatisation of disability services will have on the services they provide and their jobs,” Mr Heathwood said.

“We believe that the government is implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme in a manner that is ineffective and inappropriate by privatising all government-delivered services.

“They’re selling their plan by saying it will increase choice, but they are reducing that choice by removing the government as a provider of last resort.”

Mr Heathwood said ADHC was the most experienced service provider in the sector, particularly in high level care for people with severe disabilities.

“The hundreds of disability workers in this region are concerned that their jobs and conditions will be adversely affected and that their employment will be forcibly transferred to the non-government sector,” he said.

Mr Heathwood said many parents with children with disabilities were concerned about the move, especially when some children had been with the same carers and services for decades.

A spokesperson for NSW Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka said employees who were transferred would have their key entitlements protected. This included continuity of superannuation, continuity of service, accrued long service, annual and sick leave.

“By 2018, it is estimated about 25,000 more disability staff will be needed to support the NDIS program statewide.”

The spokesperson said the minister intends to continue to work closely with the unions to discuss any of their concerns.

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