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Wind farm proposal a jobs boom

More than 70 ongoing regional jobs would be created by the proposed Golden Plains Wind Farm if the project is given the green light, according to the developer WestWind.
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The company said a further 768 local jobs would be created during the construction process of the 200-240 turbine project, which will be completed by 2021 if the project does not face any hold ups.

The Mount Mercer Wind Farm, which is also located in the Golden Plains Shire.

WestWind held a community consultation process at the Rokewood Hall on Thursday, with around 200 locals attending.

WestWindcommunications and stakeholder engagement manager Paige Ricci said while the feedback from the community had been overwhelmingly positive, some residents had expressed concern at the scale of the project.

“It allowed a lot people to come through and hear about the proposal andthe majority were supportive and keen to hear how it might benefit the community,” Ms Ricci said. “We had a few who were concerned with the visibility of the project and some were a little bit overwhelmed by what they had read in the paper.”

Developers have proposed installing turbines with a tip height of between 190-220 metres, notably taller than the nearby Mount Mercer Wind Farm turbines which are also located in the Golden Plains Shire.

The farm would generate more than 2500 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power more than 450,000 homes.

The developers will hold a briefing with Golden Plains Shire councillors next Tuesday ahead of the council meeting. The project will need to have a planning permit approved by the state planning minister before construction can begin.

Rokewood councillorHelena Kirby said the response from Rokewood residents had been surprisingly favourable after the proposal was first made public a fortnight ago. “Most people have seen the turbines over in Mount Mercer so they’ve got some experience with them,” Cr Kirby said.

At least $200,000 per annum is required to be spent in the community as part of the farm’s community fund program.

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The poisoner’s handbook: What Israel and North Korea have in common

The front page of the New Straits Times showing an image purportedly of Kim Jong-nam moments after the attack. Photo: Supplied/New Straits Times Ri Jong-chol, the North Korean man in Malaysian police custody over the killing of Kim Jong-nam. Photo: thestar南京夜网
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In this image from security camera footage, Kim Jong-nam gestures towards his face while talking to airport security at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, shortly before his death. Photo: Fuji TV/AP

Khalid Mishal and his security detail walk the streets of Doha, Qatar, in February 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Washington: Avoiding unfriendly airspace, Benjamin Netanyahu took a circuitous flight path to Australia this week.

Still, the Israeli prime minister’s Singapore stopover was probably closer than he would have preferred to the scene of a crime that draws attention to Netanyahu’s membership of an oddball global fraternity.

Its members are the messy assassins – either they botch the kill or they can’t make a clean getaway. The fraternity recently admitted as a high-profile member the erratic North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Try as they might, these two have been unable to master the craft like, say, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, whose opponents are poisoned or gunned down with regularity – but invariably the perpetrators evade capture, leaving a cloud of suspicion but, in most cases, no smoking gun.

As Netanyahu flew by early this week, authorities in Malaysia were trying to unravel the February 13 death by poisoning at Kuala Lumpur International Airport of a slightly pathetic figure – 46-year-old Kim Jong-nam, who might have inherited the Pyongyang dictatorship had he not been elbowed aside in the Kim family’s power struggles and eventually supplanted by his younger half-brother, Kim Jong-un.

A team of four North Korean agents reportedly watched the attack on the exiled Kim from the Kuala Lumpur airport concourse, before boarding flights out of the country on their own circuitous return to Pyongyang. A fifth North Korean, a senior diplomat at the country’s Kuala Lumpur embassy, was with the four on the concourse and is now a wanted man.

The men reportedly recruited two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese, who police say they trained in executing the attack on Kim with several dry runs in local shopping malls.

Authorities quickly detained the women. But despite some police statements and the leaking of dramatic snatches of CCTV footage from the airport security system, the emerging narrative is incomplete – for now.

The two women are said to have doused their hands in a poison, possibly one of them with a part-A potion and the other with a part-B additive, a concoction that became lethal only when the two mixed them on Kim’s face. Yet the leaked footage shows only one of the two women accosting Kim – from behind.

Other reports suggest a poison was sprayed in Kim’s face and according to China Press, a Chinese-language newspaper in Malaysia, his last words were: “Very painful, very painful. I was sprayed liquid.”

Kim’s reported use of the word “spray” recalled Netanyahu’s humiliation in 1997 when, during his first stint as Israel’s prime minister, he approved a plan by the intelligence agency Mossad to assassinate Hamas leader Khalid Mishal –  which was then spectacularly botched.

Just as Pyongyang chose the territory of Malaysia to unleash its attack on Kim, so Mossad chose to go after Mishal in the streets of Jordan’s dusty little capital, Amman.

In both cases the government setting out to kill was prepared to burn a friend – in the case of the Mishal attack, one of only two Arab states that had diplomatic relations with Israel.

Netanyahu was determined to avenge a recent series of bloody Hamas suicide attacks in Israel. But the Mossad team’s blunders left Jordan’s King Hussein holding all the aces.

Mishal’s life hung in the balance for days. But his bodyguard had captured two of the Mossad attackers, who were thrown into prison – and King Hussein announced theatrically that he’d happily hang them. When it emerged that four of their accomplices were holed up in the Israeli embassy, the king threw a military cordon around the mission.

Hussein then got on the phone to Washington, demanding the unquestioning support of the Clinton White House – Netanyahu had to be ordered to hand over the formula for the poison and an antidote. If Israel refused to comply, the king would tear up the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, signed in 1994 in the first optimistic days of the Oslo peace process.

The audacity of Netanyahu’s venture meant that Hussein was able to demand and win the release from an Israeli prison of Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, and dozens of other long-term Palestinian prisoners.

In the assassination business, poison usually is preferred over a bullet, because the cause of death might go undetected and if it is administered correctly, death might not occur for some time after what ideally would have been a surreptitious attack.

That was certainly Israel’s plan for Mishal. And it seems likely that the North Koreans would have intended Kim to have died on the flight he was due to board, rather than making a spectacle of themselves and of his death in a foreign country.

Mishal survived the attack – in which a poison was sprayed in his ear. His doctors concluded that the Mossad team had sprayed a little less of the drug than was required for him to die over a period of hours, quietly and seemingly of natural causes.

Did Kim’s attackers apply too much of their chemical weapon? Malaysian doctors have concluded an autopsy, and a statement from the inspector-general of police on Friday said a preliminary analysis of substances taken from Kim’s face identified a “VX nerve agent”.

In Mishal’s case the drug was levofentanyl, an incredibly powerful derivative of the widely used surgical painkiller fentanyl, which, experts believe, had been shelved by its Belgian producers because it had no medical application – but which was then acquired by Mossad.

If Mishal had quickly ingested a large quantity of levofentanyl, he would likely have died very quickly. His doctors were puzzled – they could find no research on the efficacy of administering the precursor drug fentanyl through the ear, in which the tougher tissue of the eardrum effectively acts as a shield.

But looking through a killer’s prism, and not a doctor’s, the thinking became clear – the Israelis had wanted Mishal to die in his own time, so they needed the drug to be absorbed slowly. Ideally, his attacker was to have brushed past him, spraying the drug into the Hamas leader’s ear as an accomplice distracted Mishal by popping a pre-shaken can of fizzy drink.

Had they not botched that street encounter, Mishal’s family and colleagues probably would not have connected his bodily system shutting down to bumping into someone in the street – the  expectation was that his only symptom would be a need for sleep, from which he would not awake.

But that deliberately delayed action became the plan’s fatal flaw – the hours in which the Israelis had expected Mishal to die became the hours in which Jordanian doctors might save him.

Both governments, Israel in 1997 and North Korea nearly 20 years later, resorted to censorship in efforts to keep their people in the dark on the detail of their acts and the uproar they provoked. And in both cases they would have been relying on whispers, not megaphones, to convey the message to their target audience – the Hamas leadership in the case of Israel;  the wider Kim family and activist dissidents in the case of North Korea.

Netanyahu wore his shame quietly. He really had no choice – the Clinton administration was remarkably friendly to Israel, yet at the time of the attack on Mishal, not a single senior Clinton official was prepared to defend the Israeli prime minister.

Pyongyang, however, is kicking like a mule.

On Thursday, it accused Beijing of hypocrisy for suspending coal imports from North Korea, in punishment as much for the Kim killing as for its recent ballistic missile test, analysts say. Kim Jong-nam was reportedly being warehoused by Beijing – if for no other reason than as a bloodline successor to the North Korean leadership, he was a useful pawn at China’s end of the regional chessboard.

But Pyongyang has saved its most vitriolic language for the Malaysian government, blaming it for Kim’s death, demanding that the body be handed over and that the “innocent” women be freed.

No government likes to see its territory used a killing field. So Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak likely took great satisfaction in informing Pyongyang that a requirement of Malaysian law must be met before Kuala Lumpur could hand over Kim’s body – a DNA sample was required from the victim’s next of kin.

Kim Jong-un is not expected to provide a blood sample any time soon.

Paul McGeough is the author of Kill Khalid: Mossad’s failed hit … and the rise of Hamas

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‘I had the courage not just to give speeches, but to act’: Malcolm Turnbull hits back at Tony Abbott

“I’m not going to be provoked,” says Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: SMHPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he will not be distracted by Tony Abbott’s “latest outburst” and most direct attack on the government to date, defending his record of achievement and portraying the backbencher as a hypocrite who was unable to govern effectively when he was leader.
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Mr Turnbull has joined cabinet colleagues Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne in rounding on an emboldened Mr Abbott following his “deliberately destructive” speech and interview on Thursday calling for a shift to the right to avoid defeat at the next election.

Mr Turnbull said every Coalition MP should ask if they are contributing to the government’s success and said Mr Abbott “knows exactly what he’s doing and so do his colleagues”.

“I’m not going to be provoked,” Mr Turnbull told Melbourne radio station 3AW when asked if he would punish Mr Abbott.

“The fact is my government has a record of achievement. In the last six months or so since the election, we have achieved more with fewer seats in the Senate, in the House, than in the previous three years.”

The Prime Minister contrasted his record with Mr Abbott’s, declaring: “We are acting and we’re getting things done. We’re getting things done that we couldn’t or wouldn’t or didn’t get done in the last Parliament.

“I have not talked about abolishing the life gold pass for former MPs and minister, I’ve abolished it. I have not talked about reforming parliamentary entitlements and politicians expenses, I have set in place the biggest reform in that area in a generation. I have set up an independent parliamentary expenses.

“I haven’t talked about restoring the rule of law the building sector, I’ve done it. I had the courage not just to give speeches, but to act.”

As leader, Mr Abbott promised to scrap the gold pass – which affords certain retired parliamentarians free air travel – but never acted on it. Many Abbott government bills, including the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and contentious measures from the 2014 budget, were blocked by an unpredictable Senate.

In his speech launching a new book, Making Australia Right, on Thursday night Mr Abbott said “our politics can’t be just a contest of toxic egos or someone’s vanity project” and urged the Coalition to cut the renewable energy target, abolish the Human Rights Commission, halt all new government spending, reform the Senate and, notably, “cut immigration to make housing more affordable”.

Mr Turnbull dismissed the former prime minister’s calls for a review of the RET and a cut to immigration, observing that the RET was reviewed and set by the Abbott government.

He defended the immigration program as a “nation-building exercise” and a “question of getting the best and brightest of the world to meet the demands of our economy”.

Mr Abbott has also copped a strong rebuke from Senator Cormann, a senior conservative who backed the former prime minister in the September 2015 leadership spill.

“I was flabbergasted by Tony Abbott’s interview last night. I was watching live from my office in Perth and there is nothing good from an interview like that. It was deliberately destructive, it was completely unhelpful, it was not designed to be helpful, it was not trying to help our cause or help our country. It was quite self-indulgent,” Senator Cormann told Sky News.

After it was also reported that Mr Abbott has not given up hope of returning to the leadership, Senator Cormann told Sky News “I can’t see any scenario in which there is a return of Tony Abbott to the leadership of the Liberal Party”.

The ordinarily restrained senator said Mr Abbott’s latest intervention was sad and “much of what he says is either wrong or inconsistent with what he did as prime minister”.

The Prime Minister later said Senator Cormann had described the situation “perfectly” and reaffirmed his critique of Mr Abbott, declaring: “I don’t think Australians were impressed by that latest outburst and I am not going to be distracted by it.”

“It’s sad,” Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Pyne, a senior moderate, also hit back at Mr Abbott on Friday morning, saying his policy proposals would either be a disaster or had failed the first time around.

“We won’t be slashing spending, Tony Abbott tried that in 2014 in the budget during his leadership but of course a whole lot of zombie legislation sat in the Senate unable to be passed,” Mr Pyne told Channel Nine’s Today show.

“We won’t be going down the track of putting a freeze on immigration for example, which Tony Abbott wants to do, because it would be catastrophic in places like the Northern Territory, Tasmania – most places outside the major cities,” he said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also defended her conduct after Sky News host Andrew Bolt, in his interview with Mr Abbott, said Ms Bishop was not “conservative, plain-speaking and loyal”. This elicited a laugh and smile from Mr Abbott, who accused his former deputy of treachery when he lost the top job.

The Prime Minister has refused to promote Mr Abbott to his frontbench, resisting pressure from him and his allies. Mr Abbott now regularly cites his backbench status as a licence to speak freely and says it is his duty as a former prime minister to speak up on matters of importance.

The theme of his latest remarks is the disaffection of right-leaning voters who have drifted to minor parties like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

with Latika Bourke

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UC study looks to develop a smartphone app to prevent falls

University PhD candidate Hafsa Ismail is investigating an alternative method using inexpensive video equipment to produce a new walk assessment tool that could prevent falls. Photo: Georgina Connery Video footage and data from the expensive force plate is collated and analysed. Photo: Georgina Connery
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University PhD candidate Hafsa Ismail is investigating an alternative method using inexpensive video equipment to produce a new walk assessment tool that could prevent falls. Photo: Georgina Connery

Tens of thousands of elderly Australians are hospitalised each year for fall-related injuries but a new University of Canberra PhD study hopes to put prevention in the palm of people’s hands.

University PhD candidate Hafsa Ismail has to firstly investigate whether video can replace the the need for expensive and cumbersome force plate walking assessments.

The project aims to create a computer program or a smartphone app which could be used by older people to capture changes to their walking, gait and balance through their smartphone camera.

Over time, it would alert them or their carers to changes in the way they walk that might mean an increasing risk of suffering a fall.

“Clinicians now are using video to look back at movement but they also use a force plate in their assessment – a tool which costs about $50,000 and weighs between 20 to 30 kilograms,” she said.

“The idea is we can do the same assessment without the force plate. The main goal with the research is to have an app that can do the analysis from the movement on the video.”

Professor Roland Goecke is supervising Ms Ismail’s study and said it harnessed accessible technologies to improve healthcare access and would hopefully reduce the likelihood of falls.

“What we are interested in is three months in advance whether we can notice changes in people’s gait and sway so that there is enough time to put an exercise regime in place to counterbalance those changes so people don’t even have a fall,” he said.

Professor Goecke said the app would be a “set and forget style tool” and likely work by placing the smartphone on a dock or single spot and having the user pace past the camera.

It’s hoped portability and ease of use will allow the tool to be used in the home or in aged care facilities and end the era of booking on site appointments for regular walking assessments.

Ms Ismail is calling for 50 participants aged 50 years and over to get involved in the three stages of monitoring set three months apart.

Judith Wimborne, 77, has just begun monitoring sessions and said she had been mindful of her stability since she had a nasty fall tripping over something while walking hurriedly last year.

Ms Wimborne hoped taking part in the study would see the handy app developed rolled out for use very soon.

“I use my phone a lot so the app would be helpful,” she said. “The health field is full of things that cost a lot of money so if you can have something simple like this it could be so much better.”

People interested in participating in the research can contact Ms Ismail on [email protected]论坛.UC PhD candidate Hasfa Ismail is testing participants like Judith Wimborne to find smarter tools for falls prevention @canberratimespic.twitter南京夜网/9Q3TOEHdPM??? Georgina Connery (@georginaconnery) February 23, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Show pavilion upgrades receive support

The Parkes Showground is in for a major face-lift and Parkes Shire Council has decided to throw its support behind the project.
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With plans to demolish five out-dated pavilions to make way fora new multipurpose pavilion at the site, council last week voted to provide ‘in-principle’ support.

They also agreed to provide financial support for the future construction of themultipurpose pavilion.

The Parkes Showground Trust says the existing pavilions have “reached the end of their useful lives”.

“There’s always a need for more venues for functions around town,” Cr Ken McGrath said during the February 21 meeting.

But the councillor asked if council would have a say in the project.

Council’s general manager Kent Boyd told the meeting it depended on council’s commitment to the project.

“If council contributes a certain amount of funding, then that’s a whole different ball game,” he said.

“I’ve seen this grow from a wide span building to now what is a substantial, [well-thought-out] project, it has come a long way.

“But there’s no reason why we can’t (have a say).”

Councillors also agreed last week to offer to assist the Showground Trust in its endeavours to secure funding for the project.

The Showground Trust has already lodged a Development Application for the demolition of the showground pavilion buildings located to the east of the showground grandstand.

The demolition development application covered the main exhibit pavilion, commercial pavilion and the arts and crafts pavilion and receivedParkes Shire Council approvalat its final meeting in 2016.

In a letter to council, Showground Trust secretary Kaye Bird said the Trust is seeking to have council include the pavilion project in its forward planning.

The Showground Trust is currently gathering information to supportan application for funding of the project through the NSW Government but may also make a request for funding assistance from council in the future.

Ms Bird said the Trust was seeking council consider the project in its forward planning“with a view to providing both financial and verbal support of the project during the next financial year”.

“The Trust intends that the new buildings will have architectural and community appeal and provide a space which is accessible for a range of activities which Parkes residents currently do not have a venue for,” she said.

Some of the events, Ms Bird said, which have been discussed as possibilities for the new pavilion included machinery expos, stud cattle and sheep shows, produce and retail displays as well as balls, conferences, exhibitions and functions.

The Trust’s most recent costings putthe cost of the project at $1.5 million but Ms Bird said the Trust is currently updating the costs, adding interior fit out with the possibility of air conditioning to make the venue suitable for use during all seasons and conditions.

Toilets, showers and kitchen facilities are all included in the costings, Ms Bird wrote in the Trust’sletter to the council.

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Rosellas’ final chance

WICKETS: Toronto paceman Andrew Sommerville will be hoping to make early inroads against Wests at Ron Hill Oval on Saturday and secure a Newcastle District Cricket Association semi-final spot. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.Wests will be without NSW Country all-rounder Joe Price as they continue to both chase down Toronto at RonHill Oval on Saturday and keep their Newcastle District Cricket Association finals aspirations alive for 2016-2017.
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Price (61 not out) has Bush Blues commitments in Bowral this weekend and won’t be able to resume his innings for the Rosellas (1-82), who require another 101 runs with nine wickets in hand to claim first innings points against the Kookaburras (182).

Insteadhe will be replaced in the first XI by Stewart Morgan, more than likely joining Ben Woolmer (1 not out) out in the middle straight away, with Wests needing a win to have any chance of making the top four this season.

The Rosellas (48 points) sit in sixth spot and are nine points adrift of the play-off mark midway through the penultimate round while the third-placed Kookaburras (58) can all but assure themselves a shot at the title with victory on day two.

Griffin Lea has the one wicket for Toronto so far with Andrew Somerville, Corey Piccirillo and Adrian Chad also sending down a few overs before lightning stopped play last weekend.

James King is next into bat for Wests, who are also without Aaron Wivell.

Elsewhere, five-time defending champions Merewether (6-168) will be on the hunt for an outright result as Troy Goodwin (89 not out) looks to notch up a century and extend the Lions’ 56-run lead over Charlestown (112) at Townson Oval in the five-versus-seven battle.

Down at Cahill Oval and Belmont (125) can wrap up the minor premiership if they can take the seven Newcastle City (3-59) wickets required before the visitors add another 67 runs to their overnight total.

Hamilton-Wickhamand University are both poised to capitalise on strong positions against Wallsend and Cardiff-Boolaroo respectively.

Second-placed Hamwicks (242) hold a 202-run lead over the Tigers (4-40) at No.1 Sportsground whilethe fourth-placed Students (2-57) need just 39 more runs to beat visiting Cardiff (95).

And it will be a one-dayerbetween Stockton-Raymond Terrace and Waratah-Mayfield at Lynn Oval after last week’s wash out.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Townson Oval: Charlestown 112 v Merewether 6-168

University Oval: Cardiff-Boolaroo 95 v University 2-57

Ron Hill Oval: Toronto 182 v Wests 1-82

Cahill Oval: Belmont 125 v Newcastle City 3-59

No.1 Sportsground: Hamilton-Wickham 242 v Wallsend 4-40

Lynn Oval: Stockton-Raymond Terrace v Waratah-Mayfield (one-dayer)

State refuses to front Senate inquiry into dead fauna at Roe 8 site

Witness photograph Photo: Supplied A dead owl witnesses said was found at the site. Photo: Supplied
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Some of the alleged breaches. A link to full text and documentation of alleged breaches is at https://tinyurl南京夜网/jp34dg7 Photo: Emma Young

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES

Bureaucrats flown from Canberra for a snap Senate inquiry into alleged environmental breaches at the Roe 8 project site in Coolbellup continued to resist requests to make fauna survey results public.

Community members and scientists fronted the inquiry with an extensive range of photographs and other records of dead and injured birds and animals taken from the site over the past three months of clearing.

They provided extensive documentation of alleged breaches of state and federal environmental conditions.

One condition says an area’s traps must be free of bandicoots for two days before bulldozing, with witnesses providing extensive records they said showed bandicoots being removed hours before clearing commenced.

There was also a continuing failure to install animal-proof mesh on fences to prevent animals entering areas about to be cleared, witnesses told the inquiry.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said these reports had received no response from the state office of the Environmental Protection Authority or Environment Minister Albert Jacob.

He said federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg last week also failed to respond and had for some weeks failed to comply with a Senate order to table the results of black cockatoo surveys, sparking the inquiry.

Minister Frydenberg’s departmental staff told Senator Ludlam in the hearing that the Minister had consulted his staff before deciding not to hand over the documents.

The federal government is obliged to oversee the project because the site is home to nationally protected endangered species, including black cockatoos, two species of orchid and a native flowering herb with only 200 specimens remaining in the wild.

Banksia woodland, which provides food for black cockatoos, is also nationally protected – but its endangered listing occurred soon after the project was referred to the federal government.

This meant public servants were obliged to proceed as though the woodlands were not endangered when setting their conditions, the inquiry heard.

Compliance and enforcement assistant secretary Monica Collins said the department had received a “large number” of allegations of environmental breaches of matters under federal jurisdiction.

Trained auditors qualified to do the job had been flown in from Canberra to investigate.

Those so far investigated had not been substantiated, apart from one minor matter in which Main Roads WA had failed to produce reports on time and had now been warned.

“We have other allegations that we are still considering,” she said.

“We take our responsibilities seriously.”

The departmental staff told the inquiry that a staffer for contractor AECOM was tasked with checking for potential black cockatoo nesting hollows and had found 26 trees with hollows.

They could confirm none of these had yet been felled but could not confirm AECOM’s method of checking for nesting birds in the hollows or promise to release the survey results.

“They are asking us to believe that they sent a team through a five-kilometre stretch of bushland,” Senator Ludlam said.

“Given the number of people on the site it is amazing that none of the volunteers saw it.

“This inquiry was triggered by us saying if you don’t hand this information over by a certain date we will hold an inquiry.

“Now miraculously they have not been able to bring the documents.”

The alleged breaches of the environmental conditions regarding the dead southern brown bandicoots were not under federal jurisdiction, the staff said, but were the affair of the state.

The state declined to attend the hearing to respond to the allegations, despite invitations issued to Environment Minister Albert Jacob and representatives of the Environmental Protection Authority, proponent Main Roads WA and its contractors and subcontractors.

WA professor Richard Hobbs, part of the Beeliar Group association of WA scientists formed late last year over concerns about the environmental management process, told the panel the breaches were “obvious and persistent”.

He said the fauna management plan complied with standard practice with bandicoots, but was poor in relation to reptile trapping.

“These animals are cryptic and hard to trap effectively so the plan does not allow sufficient time,” he said.

“Also it did not include turtles which were identified afterwards and again the trapping period was way too short.

“It’s all to do with the speed of the process, the rush of trying to get this happening [before the election] that makes the implementation of the plan so difficult.

“Overall, the fauna specialists have had a tough job to do here and some at least are doing their best. But there are many problems.”

He pointed out the Fauna Management Plan was completed only days before work began and was not made available to the public until after work had begun.

“The south west of WA is one of the declared biodiversity hotspots in the world with a huge diversity of flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world,” he said.

“The Beeliar Wetland is one of the jewels in that crown, not just because of its biology, but because of its location in the middle of the city – its social value is huge. That is why you are getting such an emotive response.”

A colleague, UWA professor John Bailey, described Beeliar Regional Park as the Kings Park of southern Perth.

“No one would dream of bulldozing Kings Park,” he said.

A strip of land about 25 metres wide and 4.5 kilometres long has been bulldozed, say protesters, and though there are substantial areas of bushland still waiting to be cleared work is progressing fast.

The senate committee, which includes Labor, Greens and Liberal senators, is due to make its report on March 6.

This will be just five days before the state election that will decide whether the project continues under a Liberal government or ceases under Labor, which has promised to spend the money on other congestion-relieving measures.

A Department of Energy spokesman said the Department of the Environment and Energy had requested information from the state EPA office more than a week ago and could not respond to the Senate until it received this information.

A spokeswoman for Minister Jacob said the allegations were unfounded.

“The Roe Highway extension is being constructed in accordance with the approved conditions and management plans.  The Office of the Environmental Protection Authority has independent auditors on site daily when work is underway to monitor compliance with conditions.  All allegations have been examined and there have been no incidences of non-compliance to date,” she said.

Dean Roberts, spokesman for Main Roads WA, said all work undertaken to date has complied fully with environmental conditions.

“Compliance has been verified by the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority, which continues to monitor work at the site therefore it was not considered necessary for any State Government employees to attend such a public hearing at this time,” he said.  Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Fun run launch for a legacy

Running aid: Wagga Takes 2 participant Peter Adams with Annette St Clair announce the launch of Lap the Lake in support of the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust. Picture: Laura Hardwick
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One Wagga man is using everything from his feet to his voiceto chasesupport forthe renowned Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust.

In addition to his participation at this year’s Wagga Takes 2, Peter Adams is launching the trust’s first annual fun run this month.

Theinaugural event aims to raise awareness for the killer disease that claimed the life of twenty-three year old Amie St Clair in 2009.

Mr Adams said money raised would also provideassistance to those undergoing treatment across the Riverina.

Lap the Lake will hit the startline on Sunday, March 12 andparticipants areinvited to walk or run either five or ten kilometres aroundLake Albert.

Mr Adams saidthe charity was close to his heart and encouraged Wagga families and individuals of all ages and abilitiesto sign up.

“The great thing is all the money raised stays in the region,” Mr Adams said.

“We have a free melanoma nurse who supports patients and famlies going through treatment.”

When Peter and Annette St Clair lost their daughter to melanoma in 2009, they never imagined they would receive such overwhelming support.

Her legacy: The late Amie St Clair with her father Peter and mother Annette St Clair, before the twenty-three-year old lost her cancer battle in 2009.

Mrs St Clair said her heart was warmed after Mr Adamsapproached her to raise money for the namesake charity.

“It’s just another form of wonderful support,” Mrs St Clair said.

“The amount of support our little charity got from this community …it justgives you that warm, fuzzy feeling.”

Visit the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust or Wagga Takes 2 websites and Facebook pages to register.

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Schools and universities charged millions for things that are free

School children work off a computer at Darlington Public School. Photo: Louise KennerleyAustralian schools pay $9 million each year to display web pages that are available freely on the internet. They are even charged for displaying thumbnail images of book covers on their school intranet sites.
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They and other institutions pay another $11 million each year to collection agencies for the display of works whose authors can’t be found, which the agencies then pool and distribute to members who weren’t the authors.

Addressing a copyright forum at the National Library on Friday, the co-chair of the Productivity Commission’s intellectual property inquiry, Karen Chester, said she regarded her recommendation that Australia adopt a US-style system of “fair use” as more important than the recommendation that Australia allow the free import of books.

Removing the remaining restrictions on importing books would cut prices by $25 million. On average books bought in Australia are 20 per cent more expensive than identical titles bought in places such as Britain.

Of the $25 million, $15 million flowed overseas.

“So it’s hard not to view import restrictions as anything but the least effective way to support local authors, and perversely at the expense of local readers,” she said.

“We did listen to the case made by locally based publishers that the additional money they make from import restrictions delivering them higher prices is then used to cross subsidise local authors.”

“We requested this evidence – show us the money. But we were met with the sound of deafening silence.”

However she said of the recommendations before the government, allowing “fair use” was far more important.

“We know with import restrictions that technology, the digital age and new business models have proved a great equaliser. Digital books and real time publishing will continue to discipline the price premium local publishers will extract. So perhaps where we find ourselves today, with import restrictions costing Australian readers around $25 million each year, is about as bad as it will get.”

“The same cannot be said for our system of copyright exceptions. And here’s the policy rub and where the greatest policy imperative looms largest for government. The inequities and costs the present system are growing and will continue to do so with technological and digital advances.”

“Think, no access to data for data mining means no incentive to the workforce to develop those skills ??? skills which other jurisdictions are developing in spades.”

“Think, hampering access to cloud computing means that Australian firms and families are left to use inefficient, antiquated systems in comparison to other markets and countries that can make use of the latest technology.”

“Think, schools and universities not paying $9 million each year for material that is freely available.”

“The Commission heard from Universities Australia about how institutions were reluctant to use material for Massive Open Online Courses because fair dealing might not extend to them.”

“It’s not just about the millions of lost export dollars of our universities. It’s about what’s needed to re-equip our workforce to remain relevant. A university student today will have 17 different jobs. Fair use is a policy lever to avoid the looming education divide of haves and have not’s.”

At present new uses of copyrighted material are presumed to break the law until Parliament gets around to changing it, which took until 2006 in the case of home taping of television programs.

In the United States, Singapore and Israel new uses are permitted on the condition that they are “fair”, taking account of the purpose and nature of the use, how much is used, and whether or not it harms the market for the original work.

The Commission’s report was delivered to the government in September and is with the Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos.

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

‘Doing their job’: Minister defends police for arresting Noosa nudists

Nudists taking part in “Clean up Australia Day”. Being nude on the beach remains illegal in Queensland. Photo: Drew RyanQueensland’s new Police Minister Mark Ryan says police who arrested nude bathers at a Noosa beach were “doing their job”.
Nanjing Night Net

Six nudists have been arrested in 12 months for wilful exposure at Noosa’s Alexandria Bay, prompting the Australian Naturists Federation (ANF) to shift their Nude Olympics from Noosa to Byron Bay.

The beach has long been used for nude bathing, although Queensland remains the only state in Australia which does not officially allow the practice.

Travel website TripAdvisor describes Alexandria Bay, which lies within the Noosa Heads National Park, as “by far Queensland’s most popular nudist beach”.

“(It) has been used for nude swimming and sunbathing for many years,” the site reads.

“Most days there are quite a lot of people on the beach, mostly the southern end, sometimes hundreds on weekends.

“Unfortunately, in spite of many requests, it still does not have legal status.”

The ANF Olympics, a largely social occasion that includes an eight-kilometre marathon, tug of war and egg-throwing events, attracts up to 700 people, and organisers have estimated in the past it adds $2 million to the local economy.

But Mr Ryan said police had responded to complaints by the public.

“I make no apologies for police doing their job,” Mr Ryan said.

“If people break the law they will be arrested,” he said.

“The QPS does not discriminate and will prosecute offenders where it has been established there is sufficient evidence and that any prosecution is in the public interest.”

Mr Ryan declined to respond when asked how Queensland losing a $2 million-a-year tourist venture was in the public interest.

The person who must rule on any changes to Queensland’s nude bathing laws – Attorney General Yvette D’Ath – in December 2016 told the Sunshine Coast Daily she attended nude beaches with her parents “until she was a young adult”.

“As a child, from the age of about 10, my parents would from time to time take our family to nudist beaches,” she said.

“When I was a young adult, I decided I no longer wished to be involved in this activity.”

When asked about the loss of the nudist event to the Noosa economy, Tourism Minister Kate Jones said: “At this stage I am not aware of any significant need for a change in the existing legislation.”

Queensland’s former police minister Bill Byrne came close to explaining the government’s position in April 2016 in state Parliament when he linked nude bathing to Queensland’s wilful exposure legislation.

Two petitions with 1473 signatures calling for change were rejected.

Petitioners wanted a beach “for the recreational use of those who wish to sunbathe or swim nude without the fear of prosecution”.

Then-minister Byrne said Queensland’s wilful exposure laws were “designed to protect citizens and keep them safe”.

“As such, I can advise that the Queensland government has no plans to change the current legislation dealing with wilful exposure.

“Therefore the designation of a clothing-optional beach is not supported at this time.”

On Thursday Fairfax received a response from a government spokesperson which said.” Any request for legislative change would need the broad support of the local community as well as local and state government representatives before it would be considered.”

Tourism Noosa did not return calls from Fairfax Media.

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