Daily Archives: 06/06/2018

The slapper more than left his mark on the executive committee.Flat Chat has been running its own version of The Slap on the website, with a Flatchatter complaining that after they were hit by a member of the executive committee, the strata insurer stumped up for the assailant’s legal bills of about $1600, despite it being agreed in court that it was a personal matter.
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The insurer has been told that the slapper misled it about the nature of the case but it has, apparently, decided to do nothing to recover its money. Now another neighbour has called an extraordinary general meeting to pass a motion that the owners corp consider the matter closed.

This, our correspondent says, is despite the fact that insurance premiums for the block have been increased as a result of the claim and their slap-happy neighbour is still on the executive committee. The majority of people in the development either don’t know about the assault or don’t care, says Slapped, whose bulletin-board campaign to reveal the facts has resulted in a visit by two police officers threatening that Slapped could be subjected to an AVO.

What can the victim do?

First, the insurance company might have decided, as a simple business decision, that if the owners corp isn’t bothered about it, increased premiums will make tossing the file into the too-hard basket a bit more cost-effective. It can cost more to win a legal action than to let it go.

However, no one who uses physical violence or threats should be allowed near an executive committee. As column regular ScotlandX says: ”Even if they had been conducting EC business, slapping someone is outside their ambit.” He adds that if there was a fraud committed against the insurer, then by voting to ignore it owners become party to that fraud and might be liable if the insurer decides to take it further. The owners and strata manager need to take a good, hard look at this.

It’s a messy business and it could run and run. An ABC TV drama? Perhaps not, but there’s a lot more dialogue on the Flat Chat Forum.

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Renovating one of the city’s grand Victorian-era houses is often like peeling away the layers of an onion. Stripping away a century’s worth of accumulated paint, carpet and plaster can reveal hidden gems such as ornate period decorations or original timber floors.
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But this 130-year-old Camberwell mansion held a secret that’s definitely one out of the box.

”The ceiling and the walls had been wallpapered, and as the home was restored over the last seven years [the owners] uncovered frescoes painted by Dora Meeson,” Woodards agent Jason Hearn says.

Meeson (1869-1955), artist, suffragette and wife to painter George Coates, had created a series of family portraits to decorate what was then her uncle’s house.

This slice of rediscovered Australiana is now available for the taking, with the renovated 1885 mansion expected to fetch at least $4 million when it goes under the hammer on September 15.

The house, which is set on a 1741-square-metre block at 53 Prospect Hill Road, features five bedrooms, formal dining and sitting rooms, study and modern kitchen and meals area.

For those hoping to expand the property to include a tennis court or pool, the 781-square-metre vacant block next door (on its own title) will go to auction right afterwards with an asking price of more than $1 million.

”It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Mr Hearn says.

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THE developer Mirvac will move to enforce court orders against two of Nathan Tinkler’s private companies as the former billionaire’s financial affairs continue to unravel.
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In August the NSW Supreme Court ordered the two Tinkler companies, Ocean Street Holdings and guarantor Buildev Group, to complete the purchase of an industrial site in Newcastle, agreed in July last year.

The purchase price was $14 million and the site was to be used as part of Mr Tinkler’s proposed new coal terminal, which the NSW government rejected in January. Ocean Street did not go ahead with the purchase and Mirvac sued in the Supreme Court, which ordered Ocean Street and Buildev to pay about $17 million, including interest, by September 1.

On Monday Mirvac said it had not received the money and it intended to pursue its legal options. Proceedings were served on the companies earlier this week.

A spokesman yesterday morning said Mirvac would return to court on Monday to seek a sequestration order, allowing the court to appoint a representative to Ocean Street and Buildev, to recover the funds. Mirvac will also claim Ocean Street was in contempt of the court, a civil offence.

Mr Tinkler is a director of both companies and would not comment yesterday.

If it is proved that either company was trading while insolvent, he could be disqualified as a director.

Mr Tinkler’s wealth was estimated at $915 million by BRW in May but has since slumped, partly due to the falling value of his 21 per cent stake in Whitehaven.

Whitehaven’s share price peaked at $5.58 in April but has fallen since, and closed up 6¢ at $3.11 yesterday.

Last month Mr Tinkler failed to come up with $28.4 million owed to Blackwood Corporation, under a share placement agreed in July. Blackwood has also indicated possible legal action.

Mr Tinkler has moved to Singapore. Since August 24, his corporate counsel, lawyer Aimee Hyde, has quit as company secretary of 71 Tinkler entities, in many cases to be replaced by his right-hand man, Troy Palmer.

Ms Hyde remains director and company secretary of another 32 Tinkler entities.

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VICTIMS of sexual abuse by clergy are being discouraged from lodging police reports into deceased alleged offenders, Ballarat lawyer and former MP Dianne Hadden claimed yesterday.
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Ms Hadden said victims taking part in a parliamentary inquiry had told her they were being “fobbed off” and told there was no point in reporting abuse by dead clergy as there was no chance of prosecution.

“They have been told by police it is too late to make a statement to police because the person who abused them is dead,” she said.

“It is totally unsatisfactory when co-offenders may still be alive or the person who employed the alleged offender could be held accountable at law.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Argall of Ballarat Police Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigative Team denied victims were being given misinformation and encouraged them to report abuse to police.

He said criminal investigations would not be launched into dead offenders.

“It is up to the individual to decide and we would certainly encourage people to make reports if they have been a victim of this kind of abuse but people need to understand if the alleged perpetrator has died, there won’t be a prosecution or full investigation,” he said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Argall said a small number of new complaints had been lodged following the initiation of the parliamentary inquiry, due to report by April 30 next year.

He said calls for a new unit to investigate clergy sexual abuse was not required.

A former member of Victoria’s Legislative Council, Ms Hadden is currently assisting a number of victims preparing submissions to the inquiry on a pro-bono basis.

She said the recent charging of a New South Wales priest over misprision of a felony – the failure to disclose a serious crime – relating to alleged child sex offences by another priest in the 1970s, showed that state’s laws were more effective than Victoria.

Ms Hadden encouraged victims making submissions to carefully read a guide to the process published by the Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee and available online.

“People don’t understand the three questions in the inquiry’s terms of references. The submission guidelines are excellent and direct the mind and help those who feel it is too difficult to write extensively,” she said.

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THE victim of a serious assault in Ballarat North has no recollection of the incident and few “vague” memories of life beforehand, a jury has been told.
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A statement made by Robert Linane was read out in the County Court in Ballarat yesterday, telling of his life since he was bashed in his own home on March 6 last year.

Robert Wayne Jeffrey, 51, stands accused of the assault, and has pleaded not guilty to charges including intentionally causing serious injury and aggravated burglary.

Crown prosecutor Wendy Duncan read the statement to the jury, in which Mr Linane said his earliest memory was of waking up in hospital.

“I do not recall why I was in hospital. I have since been told I was the victim of an assault,” the statement read.

“I have only vague memories of my life before I was in hospital.

“I have no memory of the assault.”

Dr Angela Harper, who examined Mr Linane less than 48 hours after the assault, told the jury Mr Linane was lucky to be alive.

“(The injuries) would have been fatal without medical treatment,” she said.

“All injuries including his eyeball being displaced forward … all would have been the result of a blunt force.”

Two of Mr Linane’s neighbours also took to the witness box yesterday.

One said she saw four men walk up Mr Linane’s driveway around the time of the assault. She said they were all bigger than Mr Linane and that one was wearing a checkered shirt and had a plaited ponytail.

A second neighbour said he heard a “commotion” out the front of Mr Linane’s house prior to the assault.

He said he remembered hearing someone yelling to give their daughter’s handbag back, and seeing a man with what looked like a cricket bat. He said he also heard glass breaking.

In her evidence on Tuesday, Mr Linane’s partner Leanne Lawson told the jury that the couple had been at their Walker Street home on March 6 when Jeffrey and three others allegedly walked in.

She said the intruders went to find Mr Linane while she ran out the front of the house and called triple-zero.

She said she could hear screaming and banging before Jeffrey and the others left the house.

When she went to check on her partner, she said he was lying over the back door barely breathing and with one eye hanging out of his head.

The trial before Judge Tony Howard continues.

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THERE are not many places between Ballarat and Melbourne where internet service is not readily available – that is, unless you are on a train.
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Although there is some internet coverage during the 90-minute trip, travellers are unable to access any form of internet for the majority of the journey.

There is no doubt it is an issue with regular commuters.

New research by Ballarat ICT shows the lack of internet coverage on the Ballarat line is preventing many people using the rail service. The majority are even willing to pay for internet.

The two-month survey showed most train users were highly educated people who wanted to improve their work or study productivity by using the internet on the train.

Ballarat ICT executive officer Ian Fry said the study looked at transforming trains into a “mobile office”, which Ballarat would benefit from.

It will now be used as part of the Committee for Ballarat’s FastTrack Ballarat project, which will be officially launched in two weeks.

Mr Fry said the results gave strong indications the vast majority of users felt internet was needed on the V/Line train service.

He said he was surprised to discover the vast majority of passengers were highly educated, most of whom would benefit from being able to use the internet. 43 per cent of travellers had a postgraduate education, while a further 40 per cent had an undergraduate or TAFE qualification.

“These are educated people we are talking about, most of which would be far more productive if they had internet access on the train,” said Mr Fry.

Vice-president of the Internet Society of Australia George Fong said making internet available would have massive advantages, but would undoubtedly be a costly exercise.

He said there would still need to be further tests conducted to determine the major black spot areas.

“There needs to be a solid connection and of course, there is then the question of who pays for it,” said Mr Fong.

V/Line spokesperson James Kelly said telecommunications specialists were currently assessing where the blackspots were. He also said an antenna had been placed on top of a train as a trial to see if it improved reception.

“We are supportive of greater internet connectivity and coverage on our trains, however our first priority is delivering our service and improving on it,” said Mr Kelly. “The provision of Wi-Fi is expensive, and not something V/Line can provide.”

Asked whether the government was planning on installing Wi-Fi services, Transport Minister Terry Mulder said in a statement that it already existed at Flinders Street Station.

However, he would not say whether it would be installed on V/Line trains.

“There are some technological barriers to overcome such as the difficulty of obtaining reliable coverage for passengers in VLocity railcars in particular,” Mr Mulder said.

Key findings of the survey:

78 per cent believe they will benefit from internet on trains.

96 per cent of train users see internet as a key to improving productivity.

66 per cent use the train because they can do work, which they cannot do driving a car.

76 per cent of car users would consider using the train if it had internet access.

60 per cent would pay at least $1 for internet, with $1.20 per trip the average amount people were willing to pay.

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THESE two City of Ballarat logos look the same, but they’re not.
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Can you spot the difference?

Answer is probably not. The city’s branding was changed two years ago, and chances are only a handful of people would have taken any notice.

The top logo is the city’s old branding, while the other was revamped in 2010.

Cr Cheryl Bromfield revealed this week that she only just recently noticed the change as the new logo has begun to appear more.

Cr Bromfield said councillors had never been consulted about the change and she was extremely disappointed.

She claimed history had been lost with changes to the city’s official logo.

Cr Bromfield also said she was concerned Ballarat had lost ownership of its brand and that the 2010 changeover would have been reasonably costly.

Cr Bromfield said the revised logo had lost the top of the flag, which represented the B for Ballarat created after the amalgamation of seven of the region’s councils in 1994.

“I’ve always expressed my disappointment that the original branding has been lost. This was representative of our community post amalgamation,” Cr Bromfield said.

“And as a councillor, I’m disappointed we didn’t have any input.

“The alteration of the branding is not just the removal of the flick at the end of the flag. It’s what turned it into a B for Ballarat.

“I think that logo has significant history and the story attached to the creation of the original flag after amalgamation is of social significance to Ballarat and is part of our social heritage, now lost.

“We have lost something of significance to the city without a new story to replace it, and sadly our community is not even aware of the change.”

However, a council spokesperson said the logo had not been changed, but refined and it had been rolled out without cost and as required.

“This is common for organisations from time to time,” the spokesperson said.

She said the logo had been streamlined due to customer and staff feedback.

She said the refining of the logo was an administrative decision taken in 2010.

Several of the city’s other logos have now also been retired.

“The City of Ballarat logo is used in their place to enable the community to consistently identify council projects, services and initiatives.”

Mayor Mark Harris said while there would be some expense associated with the logo change-over he didn’t think it was substantial.

He also said he didn’t believe the logo alteration needed to come before the council.

“There are a number of functions the council do that don’t need the endorsement of government bodies,” Cr Harris said.

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ON the ground floor of the Ballarat Police Station complex, there is a room like no other in the station.
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Soft toys spill out of boxes onto the floor, large colourful Lego blocks are stacked not-so-neatly on shelves and Looney Tunes posters cover every single wall.

The aesthetics shouldn’t fool – this is the most important room of the entire police complex.

It forms part of the Ballarat Sex Offence and Child Abuse Investigation Team office, or SOCIT – a group of detectives committed to investigating the most heinous crimes imaginable.

Children as young as three are brought inside this office to explain how an adult, often someone they know, abused them physically, sexually or emotionally.

Head of Ballarat’s SOCIT, Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Argall, said child sexual abuse was often the precursor to a lifetime of suffering.

He said the crimes investigated by his 13-member team were “pretty damn close” to the worst imaginable.

“When there’s a homicide or something like that, the family live with the death of their loved one forever,” he said. “But here, the victims live it for the rest of their lives, the families lives with it for the rest of their lives – you see such a ripple effect in the community from sexual abuse.”

As part of the SOCIT model, victims speak with the same detectives from the first report right through to the court process.

Detective Senior Sergeant Argall said his team did everything it could to prosecute some of “the most cunning and manipulative” offenders around.

“They’re willing to put months and years into the grooming process, to win the trust of the children and win the trust of the parents and carers,” he said.

“They’ll do that a long time before they try to sexualise the relationship.”

TOUGH TASK: Tim Argall in the SOCIT interview room. PHOTO: KATE HEALY.

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AN overweight Wendouree woman who fell over on Monday waited on the ground for almost five hours before paramedics could lift her up.
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Susan Moroney, 56, fell on Monday afternoon and while she was not injured, she couldn’t lift her 160kg-plus frame.

She called triple zero and an ambulance attended within minutes.

When the Ballarat-based paramedics arrived, they were unable to physically lift Ms Moroney and called in support from Geelong.

One of only a handful in Victoria, the specialised lifting paramedics team from Geelong arrived just after 7pm.

Ms Moroney was assisted up and was otherwise fine.

She said she was “very happy” with the service provided by the Ballarat paramedics, but said she was shocked no heavy-lifting equipment was fitted to any of the city’s ambulances.

“I just think there is a population here in Ballarat that are overweight or obese that needs this equipment,” she said.

“I wasn’t disappointed with the Ballarat paramedics – they have to look after their own backs. But there should be some lifting equipment to help them in Ballarat.”

Ms Moroney said the Ballarat crews stayed with her for some time before having to head off to another job. In the interim, family members were available to help “roll her backwards and forwards” until the Geelong crew arrived.

Ambulance Victoria acting regional manager Grant Hocking said new lifting equipment would soon be installed in regular ambulance vehicles.

“It’s disappointing when we take too long to reach someone who needs our care with the right equipment,” he said.

“The safety of patients and paramedics is paramount and we have several complex patient ambulance vehicles available across the state.”

Mr Hocking said like air ambulance and MICA, those vehicles were dispatched when the services are required.

“We are in the process of rolling out new patient movement and lifting equipment for locally based ambulances and this project will be completed by the end of June.”

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SPECIAL CARE: Susan Moroney had to wait almost five hours for a specialised ambulance crew to arrive from Geelong to help lift her off the floor after a fall in her home. PHOTO: ADAM TRAFFORD.

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BY DAY, Rebekah Bailey is an administrative co-ordinator at the University of Ballarat.
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By night, she’s a powerhouse roller derby star who flies by the name of Apocalypse Nerd.

Mrs Bailey, 32, is one of the founding members of the Ballarat Roller Derby League.

She’s been competing in the sport since it first came to Ballarat in 2008 and has taken a few knocks – as well as dishing out some of her own.

Now, along with her fellow competitors from the Ballarat league, she’s set to hit the silver screen.

The mother of two will feature in This Is Roller Derby, a documentary following the birth of the Ballarat league.

Filmed in the USA and Australia, the doco is set to premiere in Ballarat in October.

Mrs Bailey said the documentary would be a great way to introduce people to the sport.

“It’s not what you would call a normal sport, I suppose,” she said.

“It can get very full-on at times and quite physical. It attracts really big personalities and inevitably, those big personalities are going to clash.”

Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller-skating in the same direction around a track.

The game consists of a series of short match ups – or jams – in which both teams designate a scoring player who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team.

And, although competitors might be aggressive on the field, often their off-court personas are polar opposites.

Some of Ballarat’s competitors include teachers, counsellors and a university research fellow.

Mrs Bailey, an office worker at the UB school of science, IT and engineering, also fits that mould.

“I’m actually just a big nerd at the end of the day,” she said.

This Is Roller Derby will premiere at the Regent Cinemas on Friday, October 5.

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TWO SIDES: Rebekah Bailey in her daytime attire, right, and what she transforms into at night, left. PHOTO: JUSTIN WHITELOCK.

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