Monthly Archives: October 2018

Ararat Rural City Council to install signs warning of smoking bans

SMOKING close to underage sporting events is now banned following the introduction of State Government legislation, with Ararat Rural City Council soon to erect signage at venues across the municipality to warn users.
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The legislation, which also covers smoking near playgrounds, swimming pools and skate parks, was introduced in April and Council will receive $5000 in funding from the Department of Health to cover the cost of installing signs at Council sporting facilities, reserves and playgrounds.

Smoking is now banned within 10 metres (about two car lengths) of a sporting venue that is an outdoor public place during an organised underage sporting event. This ban also includes training or practice sessions to prepare for participation in an organised underage sporting event, and breaks or intervals during the course of the event, training or practice session.

The ban also applies to outdoor dining and drinking areas that are situated within 10 metres of an outdoor public sporting venue during an organised underage sporting event or training session.

“Underage sporting events attract a wide variety of patrons, including families with children and young people and this ban creates a smoke-free environment where children and young people can enjoy sporting and recreational activities without being exposed to harmful second-hand tobacco smoke,” Council manager planning and development Joel Hastings said.

“Children and young people are impressionable and are more likely to view smoking as socially acceptable when they regularly see people smoking in different settings.

“Banning smoking in areas frequented by children and young people will help to de-normalise smoking behaviour and discourage children and young people from taking up smoking.”

Ararat Rural City Council indicated that compliance with the ban is expected to occur through a public education and awareness campaign and changed community expectations but can be enforced by inspectors, authorised under the Tobacco Act 1987, who may provide information about and, when necessary, enforce the ban, with an infringement attracting a fine of $144.36.

“Sporting venue staff, operators and volunteers are not expected to enforce the ban and are not empowered to do so but may provide a vital role in raising awareness and promotion of the new regulations,” Mr Hastings said.

“Consultation undertaken by the Department of Health shows strong community support for banning smoking at public places regularly attended by children and these factors are likely to result in high levels of voluntary compliance with the smoking ban.”

Under the law an ‘organised underage sporting event’ includes the following:

Is planned in advance.

Is organised or intended for, or predominantly participated in by, persons under the age of 18 years.

Is conducted according to established rules by a professional or amateur sporting body or by an educational institution.

May be a one-off event or part of a series of events.

Examples of this include:

An organised underage sporting event: A Little Athletics meet; An interschool/school sporting event participated in by people in their final years of secondary school, some of whom may be over the age of 18; An underage football match run by a regional football league.

Not an organised underage sporting event: An open netball game where some of the players are minors; An open-age football match in which most of the players are over the age of 18; An informal or impromptu sporting activity involving minors at an outdoor public sporting venue.

The ban does not apply: If no underage sporting event is currently underway; to a person at a residential premises (at privately owned homes and land); to a person in a motor vehicle that is driving or being driven past the sporting venue; to a person in an area that is separated from the sporting venue by a road.

Council will erect a mix of permanent and semi-permanent signage at the majority of Council owned or managed reserves and facilities. Signage has been provided to the Grampians Region YMCA to be erected at the Skate Park.

The signage and information package will be made available to reserve managers (special committees) to assist them with the changes and advice and support will be provided by council environmental health and recreation officers.

On a motion from Cr Gwenda Allgood Council will write to all sporting bodies requesting that the new legislation be detailed in their weekly programs.

“Some of the sporting organisations do already have signs up there and they do comply but there are some of them that basically don’t have the signs up and may not be aware of this particular issue,” Cr Allgood said.

“One venue I was at … they did have a sign up, a battered one, and people stood underneath it smoking.

“It’s really disappointing because you’ve got children there and you’re trying to encourage children to be healthy and not to do this and you see parents doing that sort of thing, and I’m thinking if it was on the program as well there would be nothing they could do.

“And if we ever have cigarette police coming and tapping people on the shoulder we have done as much as we possibly can.”

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Gold Coast street closed after molotov cocktail threats

A bomb squad officer inspects the device that has forced the closure of a Gold Coast street. Photo: Matthew Howard/Ten Eyewitness News Police have closed a Surfers Paradise street after a man reportedly made threats with molotov cocktails. Photo: Matthew Howard/Ten News, via Twitter
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Police officers searched a white Toyota Yaris on Trickett Street for explosives. Photo: Kendall Gilding/Seven News

A Gold Coast street has been reopened following a bomb scare on Thursday afternoon.

Police established a 100 metre exclusion zone around Trickett Street, in the heart of Surfers Paradise, about 1pm after a man reportedly claimed to have molotov cocktails in his car.

The police bomb squad was called to the scene and an officer in protective closing inspected a paper bag.

Officers also searched the man’s white Toyota Yaris, which was parked on the side of the road, for explosives.

The street was reopened once the bomb squad declared the area safe shortly after 2pm.

The man has been taken into custody for questioning.

Investigations are continuning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Queensland MP Vaughan Johnson apologises for Asian drivers comments

Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson has back-tracked on comments deemed ‘inappropriate”. Photo: Harrison SaragossiJust hours after Premier Campbell Newman publicly chastised an MP over his comments regarding foreign drivers, Vaughan Johnson has apologised.
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Mr Newman said he did not agree with Mr Johnson’s concerns about international drivers, which he first expressed in parliament on Wednesday and expanded on Thursday morning in a Fairfax Radio interview where he singled out Asian drivers as also not understanding road rules “in their own countries”.

Mr Newman said he went too far.

“I have great respect for Vaughan’s efforts as a hard working local member. I don’t agree with his comments and I reject them and I believe he understands that he went a little too far in his comments,” he said.

“…He has been spoken to.”

But Mr Newman would not say whether he had personally spoken to Mr Johnson.

“You’ve got the comment you are going to get on the matter,” he told journalists.

“You know how I feel about what he said, I don’t agree with it, I think it was inappropriate and he knows that is the case.”

The government media unit released a letter of apology from Mr Johnson shortly after Mr Newman’s press conference.

“I wish to apologise for any offence caused by my recent comments regarding foreign drivers on Queensland roads,” it read.

“I wanted to convey that all drivers in Queensland must take care on the roads.

“I regret the way in which I expressed my concerns, and acknowledge my comments were inappropriate.”

Mr Johnson also created controversy in November 2009 when he spoke of his concerns regarding foreign-born taxi drivers in parliament, commenting “they all look the same”.

Speaking on a road transport bill in Parliament on Wednesday evening, Mr Johnson expressed concerns about foreign drivers and their lack of “understanding at all of the conditions of the roads that they drive, on the distances they drive and what lays ahead”.

Speaking to Fairfax Radio 4BC Mornings on Thursday, the Member for Gregory went further.

“It’s foreign people who come here, want to work here, we get a lot of backpackers working in this country now,” he said.

“Some of those people come from countries where they drive on a different side of the road to us.

“Many of those Asian people, and I’m not against Asian people and don’t get me wrong, but a lot of those Asian people come from an environment where they have no comprehension of road rules in their own countries let alone come here and think they can just meld into the system. It doesn’t work like that.

“Many of these people don’t understand the distances they drive.

“We’ve had fatalities on the roads here in Queensland and Australia, many of them have been foreign people with no comprehension at all of the distances of the fatigue factor and every other factor that goes with driving in our country.”

In November 2009, Mr Johnson took to Parliament to express his concerns about foreign taxi drivers, saying “they all look the same” and questioning their ability to drive.

The Liberal National Party MP, who told Parliament earlier this year that the female body was the “most sacred thing on the planet”, is known for his outspoken brashness as well as his advocacy of road safety issues.

He said he did not have a breakdown of the number of foreign drivers involved in car crashes to back his claims, but said every driver needed to take more responsibility on the road.

“What I would like to see here is people that want to drive in our country have a full understanding of the complexities of driving here to do a course through a proper driving instructors’ operation,” he said, adding that he would like those even on a short holiday to “learn the rules”.

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Role to play in reducing sexual assault

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Wagga Women’s Health Centre women’s counsellor Emma Flakelar and community development officer Julie Mecham prepare to hand out flowers through the city to raise awareness for The Day of Action of Sexual Assault. Picture: Michael Frogley”WE do live in a relatively safe place, but unfortunately that still doesn’t protect everyone”.
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With one simple statement, Wagga Women’s Health Centre community development worker Julie Mecham managed to powerfully summarise the importance of raising awareness about sexual assault within the community.

Despite the increasing prevalence of sexual assault in Australia, Julie admits it still largely remains a taboo subject within modern society.

Julie, along with women’s counsellor Emma Flakelar, today sought to break down myths and stigma attached to sexual assault by promoting TheDay of Action against Sexual Assault campaign.

TheDay of Action against Sexual Assault is recognised as an opportunity to commemorate survivors of sexual assault and all those who have worked with survivors.

“Sexual assault is on the rise,” Julie said.

“And, while it is excellent that women are coming forward to report incidents of sexual assault and domestic violence, the fact is this violence against women should not be occurring.”

Despite the continued hard work and efforts of organisations including the Wagga Women’s Health Centre, Julie believes there is still a damaging perception attached to sexual assault and victims.

“There has been a lot of media attention lately on measures women are taking to protect themselves, like learning self-defence skills, but this still fails to fully recognise and acknowledge that sexual assault is never the victims the fault,” she said.

“There should never be a question of ‘what did shedo’, ‘why didn’t she scratch his face or gauge his eyes and escape’, ‘why didn’t she check her drink to make sure it wasn’t spiked?’

“These are questions of the victim that should never be asked. Why doesn’t no mean no?”

New statistics released in June 2014 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have shown a disturbing trend in the number of reported incidences of sexual assault.

Reports of sexual assault have hit a four year high, with the ABS revealing there were approximately 20,000 reports of sexual assault reported by police during 2013 – anincrease of eight percent on 2012.

“Rape and sexual assault are acts of war,” Julie said.

“They destroy the enemy in the same way as gunfire.”

Julie hopes the Day of Action against Sexual Assault will play a role in creating greater support and understanding for victims.

“Survivors of sexual assault need to know that they are never to blame for assault,” Julie said.

“The victim’s action’s, clothing or lifestyle is never an excuse for the assault, and this is something the community needs to better understand.

“The perpetrator is the only person ever responsible for a sexual assault.”

THE FACTS

70 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Only one percent of sexual assaults are committed by a stranger.Women aged 15-24 experience the highest rates of sexual assault, however it can happen to anyone regardless of age.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net. Continue reading

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Strong year for impressive muso

SHOW: The Kite String Tangle, AKA Danny Harley, will play in Bendigo on Thursday.AFTER impressing in the Triple J Hottest 100 earlier this year, The Kite String Tangle has had a successful 2014.
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The Brisbane-based music producer will play in Bendigo on Thursday as part of a national tour promoting his newly released EP Vessel.

It will be a return to Bendigo for The Kite String Tangle (real name Danny Harley) after a memorable visit to Groovinthe Moo in May.

“I got there and had left my shoes in Brisbane so I got to explore the town centre for new shoes,” Harley said.

“Playing at festivals like Groovin the Moo and Splendour in the Grass is pretty strange.

“They are festivals that most Aussie musicians dream of playing, so it has been pretty surreal.”

Harley’s single Given the Chance reached number 19 in this year’s Hottest 100 and gave hima healthy amount of momentum to release his album.

“The Hottest 100 is something the whole country gets behind, so it was pretty flattering and helpful to my career,” he said.

“It brought a lot more people out to my shows and built the chemistry between the audience and me, which is something I enjoy.”

The Vessel EP Tour already has a number of sold-out shows and has announced extra shows to cope with demand. The tour began in Darwin on August 20.

“The first tour I did only played to about three people. There were a lot of smaller venues,” Harley joked.

“We had a killer tour at the start of the year and (on this tour) there are only a few shows left with tickets still available. I’ve definitely seen both sides of the coin.”

A packed tour schedule, a new EP and a growing fan base also meant Harley had to refine his electronic music for live shows.

“I try and make everything as individual as possible. It is underwhelming to just see a guy with a laptop,” he said.

“My gear has changed over time since the smaller gigs. It’s a completely different set-up.

“I’ve been changing the way I play stuff live. Now there are keyboards, pads I hit with my drumsticks and vocal effects I automate on my table.”

Harley started playing guitar aged 12 and studied it right through university.

“Ironically I don’t play guitar in my live shows,” he said.

“I bought a laptop after university and it was a game changer. I could write complete arrangements on one laptop and it changed how I approached music.”

The Kite String Tangle’s style of music is something Harley has refined over the years. Vessel contains tracks that Harley worked on for some time.

“Some of the songs I have had for a couple of years, some I wrote close to the release date,” he said.

“But it is a collection of songs that has stuck with me and it’s nice to have that.

“(Given the Chance) had a dream run and it led to my first body of work. So when I released it there was still an‘oh my God’ moment.”

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