Prisoner dies overnight in Melbourne prisoner remand centre

June 8, 2016 – 12:26PM

Cameron Houston

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The Melbourne Assessment Prison on Spencer Street.

The Melbourne Assessment Prison on Spencer Street.

The Melbourne Assessment Prison was in lockdown after the death of a 42-year-old prisoner on Wednesday.

The dead inmate was discovered with fatal upper body wounds when the cells were first opened.

It is understood the dead man was sharing a cell with another inmate, who is assisting police with their investigation.

It is not known what offences the man had been convicted of, but the prison houses a range of prisoners awaiting transfer to an appropriate facility after receiving custodial sentences at trial.

“As with all deaths in custody, the matter has been referred to the coroner, who will formally determine the cause of death,” Corrections Victoria said in a statement.

A prison source said the Spencer Street facility was usually overcrowded and often volatile, with serious offenders mixing with other inmates suffering mental illnesses.

Source : The Age

100 amphetamine users a day reaching out to Canberra drug services: Capital Health Network chair

June 8 2016 – 12:44PM

Katie Burgess

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Canberra’s over-stretched drug and alcohol counselling services will receive more resources to tackle the drug ice, the federal government has announced.

$2.86 million will be allocated to Canberra’s Capital Health Network to tender out for extra drug and alcohol counselling services from July 1, federal health minister Sussan Ley and ACT Senator Zed Seselja said on Wednesday.

Dr Martin Liedvogel said a third of those accessing drug and alcohol counselling each day in the ACT - about 100 people ...
Dr Martin Liedvogel said a third of those accessing drug and alcohol counselling each day in the ACT – about 100 people – had an issue with amphetamines.  Photo: Jay Cronan

It’s part of a $300 million package across the country that was announced prior to the government going into caretaker mode.

The package stems from the National Ice Taskforce Report, which was handed down last December.

Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja and Minister for Health, Sussan Ley 
announce funding for the ACT for local drug and ...
Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja and Minister for Health, Sussan Ley announce funding for the ACT for local drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in order to tackle the problem of ice. Photo: Jay Cronan

About 100 people with amphetamine addictions access the territory’s existing drug rehabilitation services each day, Capital Health Network chairman Dr Martin Liedvogel said.

He said the ACT’s low rate of engagement in drug and alcohol counselling was due to existing services being already at capacity.

“In any one day, 300 people are accessing alcohol and other drug services here in the ACT. Of those 300 Canberrans, two-thirds are male, 70 per cent have no employment, 18 per cent are homeless and 43 per cent have children,” he said.

“We know that specialist drug and alcohol counselling services are a key part of rehabilitation for people who use methamphetamine and it helps if people receive an immediate intervention in the key period right at the beginning but it also will provide an ongoing assessment for them.”

Part of the funding will also go to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up a third of those currently seeking support, will have access to culturally-appropriate services.

Drug support services have warned in recent years that they are being increasingly stretched by a combination of rising demand, increasing numbers of complex polysubstance abuse cases, and stagnant government funding.

The ACT government set aside an extra $6 million in Tuesday’s budget to cut down on waiting lists and continue the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, among a raft of funding boosts to improve Canberra’s drug treatment and rehab service.

Senator Seselja said the Commonwealth’s additional rehabilitation funding was part of a two-pronged approach to stamp out ice addition and related crime.

“Law enforcement is part of it but it’s not the entire answer as we know,” he said.

He said the funding would help Canberra services to cope with demand for services from the wider region too.

Minister Ley said law enforcement were often the first ones to highlight the need for more rehabilitation services.

“The police are the first ones to step up and say to us ‘you’ve got to help these kids, you’ve got to find somewhere for them to go’,” she said.

“Typically someone undergoes detox in a jail cell which is an awful thing to do but after that we have to have the facility for them to be placed, that’s what this money will provide.”

 

Source : The Canberra Times

Braddon man pleads guilty to New Year’s Day Canberra assault

June 8 2016 – 1:05PM

Megan Gorrey

Flag of the Australian Capital Territory

A Braddon man has pleaded guilty to a one-punch assault that shattered his victim’s jaw in Civic in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Jordan Sharma, 20, handed himself in after ACT Policing released CCTV footage of the attack a week after it took place outside the East Row Supa 24 convenience store shortly before 3am on January 1.

Jordan Sharma pleaded guilty to a one-punch assault that shattered his victim's jaw in Civic in the early hours of New ...
Jordan Sharma pleaded guilty to a one-punch assault that shattered his victim’s jaw in Civic in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Photo: Graham Tidy

He previously pleaded not guilty to recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm in the ACT Supreme Court and was committed for trial.

But Sharma switched his plea to guilty during a brief appearance in the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The court heard his defence team and prosecutors were yet to agree on a statement of facts for the incident.

But documents tendered at Sharma’s committal said the CCTV footage showed the male victim, aged in his 20s, had a verbal argument with a man as Sharma stood nearby.

The footage showed Sharma then clenched his fists, adopted a “fighting stance” and threw a single punch at the victim’s jaw, causing the man to fall to the ground unconscious, documents said.

Police will allege the two men were seen to walked away as Sharma laughed, while a bystander rendered first aid to the victim.

Police were called and found the man unconscious on the ground soon after.

Sharma’s victim had his jaw shattered by the punch and required the insertion of a titanium plate and four screws to fix the damage.

His jaw had to be wired shut for two weeks, court documents said.

Sharma went to City police station in Civic several hours after the footage became public.

In an interview with officers, Sharma admitted he was the person in the CCTV footage and he threw the punch.

He will return to court for sentencing proceedings in July.

 

Source : Canberra Times

Sydney storm: Collaroy residents agree to help pay for seawall to protect homes

June 8, 2016 – 7:18PM

Nick Ralston and Ava Benny-Morrison

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Residents on Sydney’s Collaroy beach say they will not abandon their storm-damaged homes and are willing to contribute to build a long-disputed seawall in a bid to prevent further destruction of the properties.

The State Emergency Service spent a fifth day helping recovery by storm-affected communities from Lismore in the north of the state and parts of Sydney’s south-west including Picton, Milperra and Chipping Norton.

Collaroy Beach on Wednesday morning after extensive sandbagging.

Collaroy Beach on Wednesday morning after extensive sandbagging. Photo: Peter Rae

At Collaroy, on Sydney’s northern-beaches, volunteers deployed more than than 10,000 sandbags on Tuesday night to shore up vulnerable beachfront homes and an apartment block at risk of tumbling into the sea.

Their efforts were reinforced on Wednesday when boulders were brought in ahead of another night of forecast rough surf conditions and strong winds.

Collaroy resident Tony Cagorski said he and his beachfront neighbours along Pittwater Road had now given agreement in principle to Northern Beaches Council to help pay for a seawall in front of their properties.

The clean-up continues at Collaroy beach following the weekend's storms.

The clean-up continues at Collaroy beach following the weekend’s storms. Photo: Peter Rae

A 3000-strong community rally stopped the construction of such a wall in 2002. Plans to construct a $10 million wall were then approved in 2014 but were again never acted on because of a dispute over who would fund it.

Residents are understood to have now reached an agreement to pay $120,000 each towards the wall’s construction with those who cannot afford the lump sum able to pay in instalments.

“We were expecting the worst when we came back in today,” Mr Cagorski said. “The engineer said the house is sound; there’s only minor damage at the back.

Collaroy beach on Wednesday morning.

Collaroy beach on Wednesday morning. Photo: Peter Rae

“We’ve got a 99 per cent chance of rebuilding here and fixing it up.”

Residents of about a dozen homes are being housed in emergency accommodation with the council to issue emergency orders this week to advise what repairs must be carried out on the properties.

Meanwhile, a third day of searching by police has failed to find University of Sydney student, Endicott Ackerman, who was last seen diving into dangerous surf at Bondi Beach on Monday afternoon.

Peter Watson with partner Karen Cassidy.

Peter Watson with partner Karen Cassidy. Photo: Supplied

The US national was studying science and residents of St John’s College, where he lived, held a prayer service for the 20-year-old on Tuesday night.

“The hearts of the entire St John’s community are with the family at this unimaginably difficult time,” college rector Adrian Diethelm said. “We are a close-knit community, and an event like this brings us together as we support each other and Endicott’s family.”

With the search now suspended until sea conditions improve, Mr Endicott is feared to be the sixth victim of the massive storm front that battered the east coast of Australia.

The Seneca at Collaroy Beach this morning after extensive sand bagging  overnight.

Sydney storm photos: aftermath of weather damage

Beaches across Sydney, including Collaroy, Cronulla and Coogee, were badly hit by storm damage, including a massive king tide on Sunday night. Photo: Peter Rae

Two other men are missing, feared dead, in Tasmania, including contract delivery driver Peter Watson.

The 63-year-old and his partner Karen Cassidy were overcome by floodwaters while delivering Fairfax newspapers south of Launceston early on Tuesday.

Mr Watson called his family from the roof of his van to say goodbye before being swept away. Ms Cassidy was found alive clinging to a tree about five kilometres downstream.

A Fairfax Media spokesman said the company’s thoughts were with Mr Watson’s family.

“Our heartfelt thoughts are with the family and colleagues of the contract delivery driver and his partner who were delivering newspapers for us when caught in floodwaters in Evandale near Launceston,” a statement said.

“We’re relieved the man’s partner is safe. However, our deep concerns remain for the driver who is still missing. All our support and care is being offered during this truly difficult time.”

With AAP

Source : Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney storm causes 2400 per cent spike in tradie requests in Parramatta Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/sydney-storm-causes-2400-per-cent-spike-in-tradie-requests-in-parramatta-20160608-gpeiqg.html#ixzz4B0ursuwI Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

June 8, 2016 – 7:13PM

Lucy Cormack

Consumer Affairs Reporter

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Damage from the recent storm has driven up requests for roof repairs by more than 1000 per cent, prompting a warning from the Fair Trading Commissioner to consumers about escalating costs.

Job requests for tradespeople in NSW experienced the biggest spike in Parramatta, increasing by 2400 per cent in the three days between June 3 and 6, according to data from trade professional hire site hipages.com.au.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe has warned consumers to avoid cold callers and only use licensed contractors for work valued at more than $5000.

Engineers enter some of the storm damaged properties in Collaroy, Sydney.

Engineers enter some of the storm damaged properties in Collaroy, Sydney. Photo: Janie Barrett

“We’ve had issues in the past when we’ve had very significant disasters where there have been shortages of material and tradespeople and we have seen costs escalate,” he said.

“What we do see is people frequently turning up in the disaster areas going door-to-door indicating they’re able to do repairs and many of them aren’t properly qualified or licensed to do the works.”

Mr Stowe warned affected homeowners to be alert to “warning bells” for unlicensed tradespeople, such as being asked to pay cash or transfer money to their bank account, or being told a tradesperson is only available that day to do the work.

Damaged beachfront homes along Pittwater Road at Collaroy.

Damaged beachfront homes along Pittwater Road at Collaroy. Photo: AAP

“I know people are desperate, when there’s a shortage. It’s not worth it, often when they do the work, it’s done so poorly you’ll need to get it redone, and you may compromise your insurance policy.”

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, roof repairs, roofing, waterproofing and gutter cleaning unsurprisingly topped the list of job requests that experienced the biggest increase in demand on the Hipages website.

Job requests in Sutherland increased by 2000 per cent, followed by north-western Sydney suburbs (1700 per cent), inner west suburbs (1350 per cent), western Sydney suburbs (925 per cent), while on the Gold Coast demand increased by 1500 per cent.

Repairs in the home often cost less than consumers estimate.

Repairs in the home often cost less than consumers estimate. Photo: Yellow Pages

Mr Stowe said Fair Trading had no control over pricing set by tradespeople but added that, where people are insured, insurance companies should maintain “downward pressure” on escalating costs.

“If you’ve got a home insurance policy, the first thing to do is to contact your insurer and let them know what’s occurred,” he said.

On Tuesday the Insurance Council of Australia announced estimated insured losses resulting from the storm had reached $56 million.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe has warned affected homeowners to be alert to "warning bells" for unlicensed ...

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe has warned affected homeowners to be alert to “warning bells” for unlicensed tradespeople, as they begin repairs after the storm. Photo: Peter Braig

Chief executive for the Housing Industry Association Graham Wolfe, said homeowners who do not require emergency structural repairs could avoid higher costs by waiting a few months.

“The focus is too much on what the week-to-week price might do as a result of the storms. You’ve got to let emotion and opportunity for unscrupulous tradespeople abate,” he said.

“Provided there are no immediate structural problems…consumers can inquire today and if they are not happy with the price or service they can inquire again in a few months.”

The spike in demand for tradespeople comes as research conducted by Yellow Pages shows Australians overestimate the hourly rates charged by professional tradespeople by an average of 43 per cent, and in some cases by up to 90 per cent.

The survey of 1021 Australian homeowners and 317 Australian tradespeople found the perceived hourly rate for standard trades greatly exceed the actual average rate.

For example, the perceived hourly rate for a builder was around $104, despite the actual cost being only $76, while the perceived rate for a plumber was $98, with the actual cost being around $73.

The greatest price misconception surrounded landscape gardeners, whose perceived hourly rate was $72, around 90 per cent more than the actual average hourly cost of $38.

According to Yellow Pages data, on Monday following the wild weather, the number of people looking for an expert to fix their roof in the greater Sydney area was eight times as many as the same day one week earlier.

Source : Sydney Morning Herald

Murder accused thought child was stillborn: court

June 8 2016 – 1:18PM

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A Gold Coast mother charged with murder after the death of her newborn son believes the infant was stillborn, a court has heard.

Jodie Renee Tarnawskyj, 37, has been in custody since October 2014 and is facing one count of murder over the death of her baby son in June of that year.

Jodie Renee Tarnawskyj was arrested in 2014 and charged with murdering her newborn son.
Jodie Renee Tarnawskyj was arrested in 2014 and charged with murdering her newborn son. Photo: Louie Douvis

She appeared in Brisbane’s Supreme Court on Wednesday after the court heard she had especially requested to be present for the bail hearing.

While her lawyer, John Allen QC, conceded there was a reasonable circumstantial case against his client, he said she had consistently maintained she believed the child was dead from the moment he was delivered.

Tarnawskyj became emotional in the dock as Mr Allen told the court she explained to police she hadn’t immediately called for assistance, instead putting the child’s body “out of harm’s way” until she knew she would have time for it.

“It’s well known that infants can stop breathing for unknown reasons after birth,” he told the court.

Mr Allen said she had also checked for signs of life and quoted from transcripts in which Tarnawskyj described the child as not breathing after the birth.

A forensic pathologists report also suggested there were no “positive signs” for strangulation or suffocation, he said.

The fact she’d eventually called for ambulance officers – and not simply disposed of the body – was inconsistent with consciousness of guilt, Mr Allen added.

But crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden said Tarnawskyj had discussed the matter with her partner in recorded phone conversations while in custody.

Justice Martin Burns reserved his decision until 2.15pm.

AAP

 

Source : Brisbane Times

Pedestrian dies after being hit by truck on Sunshine Coast

June 8 2016 – 6:53AM

Jorge Branco

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A pedestrian has died after being hit by a truck on the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Police said the man, who they had not yet been able to identify, was walking along the shoulder of Nambour Connection Road in Woombye early Tuesday morning.

A man was struck by a truck on Nambour Connection Road early Wednesday morning.
A man was struck by a truck on Nambour Connection Road early Wednesday morning. 

Paramedics said he died at the scene.

The busy, four-lane road is the major thoroughfare between the coast’s inland centre of Nambour, the Bruce Highway and the main coastal strip.

Police said the truck collided with the man near Cobbs Road at Woombye about 2.30am.

The road was closed in both directions but reopened before 6am, with Forensic Crash Unit officers on scene to investigate the cause of the crash.

AAP

 

Source : Brisbane Times

Coronial inquest hears staff at Royal Darwin Hospital mental health ward overworked

June 8, 2016 1:46am

 

Source : NT News

Corruption claim link to Inpex plant

June 7, 2016 11:49pm

Source : NT News

Ambos threaten overtime ban in funding row

Wednesday

June 08, 2016

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NEWS

The ambulance union has threatened industrial action over deteriorating ambulance availability and working conditions, demanding SA Health inject a Transforming Health funding boost earlier than planned.

The Ambulance Employees Association says paramedics’ availability to respond to emergencies is deteriorating. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

State Secretary of the Ambulance Employees’ Association (AEA) Phil Palmer toldInDaily ambulance crews were becoming increasingly unavailable to respond to new emergencies because resources were not keeping pace with booming demand.

Palmer said the situation was putting ambulance workers and the public at risk.

He said the union was considering industrial action options including banning overtime and refusing to file paperwork that allows SA Health to bill patients for the ambulance service.

But he said paramedics would not put patients at risk by going on strike.

“Workloads are increasing, at an increasing rate, [and] resources aren’t keeping up,” said Palmer.

Palmer said that under SA Ambulance policy targets, the state’s ambulance crews should be “utilised” 55 per cent of the time or less, to ensure enough ambulances were available for emergency call-outs.

But SA Ambulance daily average data covering the 12 months to March 2016, provided to InDaily, shows almost two-thirds of metropolitan ambulance crews were utilised for 55 per cent of their time or more, most days of the week.

“Even by their own measure [55 per cent utilisation] it paints a pretty grim picture [and] it’s getting worse,” said Palmer.

“Lives could be at risk because ambulances won’t be available,” said Palmer.

According to the new figures, ambulance crews servicing Adelaide’s metropolitan west were the most over-utilised – some more than 70 per cent utilised most days – with crews servicing Adelaide’s metropolitan south the most available.

Just under half of the ambulance crews servicing the south were over-utilised, according to the data.

However, SA Ambulance Service Chief Executive Officer Jason Killens told InDaily utilisation rates, averaged out over the year, were just above SA Ambulance targets.

“Our utilisation rate reflects the time that our paramedics spend getting to and caring for our patients,” said Killens.

“Year to date we have achieved a 55.9 per cent rate, slightly above our target of 55 per cent.”

“The demand on our service can fluctuate throughout the year and we will continue to work closely with the Ambulance Employees Association to look at ways of managing this increase.”

The graph below shows average ambulance utilisation rates trending upwards over the past year.

Ambulance SA data shows the utilisation rate for metropolitan ambulances is trending upwards. Image: supplied.

Ambulance SA data for crews in the metropolitan west (MW), metropolitan east (ME) metropolitan north (MN) and metropolitan south (MS) shows the utilisation rate for metropolitan ambulances is trending upwards. Image: supplied.

Palmer said paramedics were having to increasingly delay meal breaks and work overtime in order to meet demand.

He said if SA Health did not agree to bring more than $10 million worth of increased funding promised by the State Government as part of its Transforming Health program forward from 2017, the union would hold stop work meetings.

The State Government has committed $15 million for 12 new ambulances and 70 new paramedics as part of Transforming Health.

Palmer said paramedics were having to increasingly delay meal breaks and work overtime in order to meet demand.

He said if SA Health did not agree to bring more than $10 million worth of increased funding promised by the State Government as part of its Transforming Health program forward from 2017, the union would hold stop work meetings.

The State Government has committed $15 million for 12 new ambulances and 70 new paramedics as part of Transforming Health.

The construction of an upgraded Noarlunga ambulance station is underway and two new ambulance stations in Adelaide’s north and west will also be built.

Palmer said the AEA welcomed commitment by the State Government to increase funding to the service to cope with the increased demands associated with Transforming Health, but that demand had already been rising.

“We can’t wait until 2017,” he said.

“We need it now – the workers and the public are at risk.”

The Transforming Health program involves consolidating specialised hospital services, such as emergency surgery, in larger hospitals.

 

Source : In Daily