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Tasmania too slow in aiding children

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TASMANIA has not moved fast enough to improve conditions for children in out-of-home care, according to children’s commissioner Aileen Ashford.
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Ms Ashford said yesterday that it had taken five months for the state government to respond to parliamentary inquiry recommendations on child protection last December.

She said that there did not appear to be any action either on the Agenda for Children launched in July last year.

At the same time the number of children coming into care was growing at an alarming level.

At the end of June last year, 966 Tasmanian children were in care – a 50 per cent increase over the previous five years.

“But there was no matched increases in funding to provide appropriate out-of-home care accommodation and support to these very vulnerable children,” Ms Ashford said.

Children’s Minister Michelle O’Byrne said that the government response to last December’s select committee report “integrated a . . . response to children, young people and their families that elevates the focus from one of delivering on individual recommendations to one focusing on outcomes across six key areas for action.

“The response has seen Tasmania adopt a public health approach to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.”

Opposition children’s spokeswoman Jacquie Petrusma said that Ms Ashford had been denied the right to randomly audit child protection files even though previous children’s commissioners had been able to access the information.

Ms Ashford said that the state did not have an independent statutory position specifically responsible for monitoring the child protection system and receiving individual complaints from children in care.

“Children’s voices are effectively silenced,” she said.

Aileen Ashford

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Koala’s dangerous trip

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The Koala Hospital has come to the rescue of another of our furry natives The Koala Hospital has come to the rescue of another of our furry natives
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A KOALA took a dangerous trip across a busy road recently and was lucky to reach the other side.

On Tuesday night of last week, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital was called to a rescue in Gordon Street opposite the Growers Market.

A young koala had gone for a stroll across four lanes of traffic and under a car.

Koala hospital volunteers said he came out the other side unscathed, probably because of his small size.

It then climbed to the top of the nearest telegraph pole and sat on the electric cables.

The would-be rescuers were unable to reach him as he was up too high and it would have been dangerous.

“We approached the Port Macquarie fire brigade for help and six firemen arrived 10 minutes later in a large fire truck,” said the koala hospital’s media coordinator, Helen Mears.

Using a ladder and poles, they brought the young male down safely so he could be assessed at the hospital.

The koala was named Gordon Firie and has since been released.

Ms Mears said this type of rescue will occur more often because it is the breeding season.

“Koalas will be moving around a lot more now, and we have already had koalas admitted because of dog attacks and motor vehicle accidents, some not surviving.”

Young males in particular will move around, so take care when driving. And lock up your dogs at night.

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‘Game-changer’ for Bambill

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WHOEVER replaces Chloe Lewis in Bambill’s A Grade side for the Millewa Netball Association grand final today will have big shoes to fill, according to captain Laura Milsom.
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Lewis will sit out of Bambill’s premiership tilt after the prolific goal shooter broke her collarbone in a fall.

But Milsom, who won the Dot Wilson trophy as the A Grade’s best and fairest player last Friday, was confident her team could cope with the shock blow when they faced opponents Gol Gol.

“They’ve got big shoes to fill, but we’ve only had four A grade players consistently all year as we’ve rotated through the A Reserve,” she said on Thursday.

“So last week – our first final – was our first game with our full A grade team.

“We’ve never actually played two games in a row with the same team, so I guess Saturday isn’t going to be too much different.”

Her opposite number, Gol Gol captain Amy Lehmann, remained wary of the challengers to her team’s title defence, despite boasting an injury-free squad.

“They are still going to be a tough team to beat even without Chloe,” she said.

“We’re very lucky in that we don’t have any injuries, fingers crossed until Saturday, but at this stage we’re all good.”

Describing Lewis’ unavailability as a “game-changer,” Milsom played her cards close to her chest in speculating her possible replacement.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday’s Sunraysia Daily 08/09/2012.

BIG DAY: Millewa Netball Association A Grade captains Laura Milsom (Bambill) and Amy Lehmann (Gol Gol) meet ahead today’s grand final clash. Picture: Luke Birch

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NRL struggling with new concussion laws

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Dragons forward Josh Miller trains with teammate Trent Merrin earlier this year. Dragons forward Josh Miller will take the field as normal next season despite an alarming number of concussions in 2012.
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As the NRL grapples with its new concussion laws and potentially banning the shoulder charge, Miller’s manager Steve Stone expected the 28-year-old to resume play next year.

The hard-hitting Dragons second-rower has received a number of serious head-knocks recently, the latest being a round 26 knock from Parramatta’s Reni Maitua – an incident that has alarmed some officials because of the minor severity of the contact.

The Miller debate comes amid revel ations several NRL clubs are refusing to release important test information to officials.

Miller’s manager Steve Stone said he was yet to be approached by the NRL or the Dragons about his player’s concussion rate.

“In regards to the concussion, that’s just how Josh plays, he’s a tough cookie,” Stone said.

“The medical staff and those looking after the well-being of the individual is paramount. It’s a fantastic club, the Dragons. We just rely on the trust of advisors in their team to make that assessment.”

Pressed on whether Miller’s rate of concussion could impact his playing career, Stone said: “I wouldn’t have thought so at this point.

“You’re the first person that’s brought that up. There was some certain conditions in his contract, which triggered the second year, so we just need to have further discussions with the club… but it wasn’t related directly to concussion.”

Neither the Dragons nor the Raiders – Miller’s former club – were willing to comment when contacted by the Mercury.

Under laws which were updated this year, players who suffer a concussion must undergo specific cognitive tests in order to return to the field the following week.

But the Mercury has been told the process lacks transparency because some NRL clubs are refusing to comply with disclosing test results to league officials.

NRL chief medical officer Ron Muratore said the “two or three” culprits failed to release the cognitive information because they believe it violates player confidentiality.

“I’m supposed to see all the tests, but there are some clubs that won’t allow you because they don’t put the players name in the system,” Muratore explained.

“Their argument is that it’s part of the player’s medical record and that it’s privileged information. It may well be, but it should be that someone like me should be able to look at it.

“I have access to most clubs and most are okay with it, but there are two or three that are not okay with it.”

There is currently no set limit on the amount of concussions one player can suffer in a single season.

Some NRL players, including Miller and Tigers captain Robbie Farah, have been continually given the nod to take the field despite suffering multiple separate concussions.

Dr Audrey McKinlay, a concussion researcher from the Monash University’s School of Psychology and Psychiatry, stressed that improper treatment of concussion needed to be stamped out of the game.

‘‘By allowing players to remain on the field while concussed, or return to the field early the following week, they’re delaying recovery and they’re sending thewrong message to other people,’’ she said.

‘‘Players will return for as long as they’re allowed to play, and four or five concussions in a single season – the medical profession is saying that’s too much. They’re not going to recover well from that and they could have quite a bad outcome.’’

In order to be deemed fit following a concussion, a player must essentially undertake a series of cognitive tests, assessed by their club doctors.

The results of those tests are then compared with a baseline reading taken at the beginning of the season, and if the numbers match – and the player is not showing obvious symptoms of concussion – they’re allowed to return the following match.

Making matters difficult for officials is that because some clubs refuse to disclose the results, they are powerless to compare how a player’s baseline reading might have fluctuated over a number of seasons.

‘‘The difficulty with concussion is that there are a number of guidelines around but there is no one agreed-on guideline,’’ McKinlay said.

‘‘Some people would say that after one or two concussions in a season … you shouldn’t return for the rest of that season. And when you get into more concussions than that you should not return to play at all.’’

‘‘One agreed-on guideline is probably the next step,’’ she said.

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Live AFL: Hawthorn v Collingwood

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Hawthorn v Collingwood, MCG, 7.45pm AEST
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Finals week one preview videos: click here

It’s the most keenly-awaited final of week one of the 2012 AFL finals series. Hawthorn v Collingwood: a genuine blockbuster. The Hawks finished on top of the ladder with a 17-5 record, ahead of Adelaide thanks to their outstanding percentage. The Magpies claimed fourth spot and the double chance with a 16-6 record.

7.02pm – The big rumour of the day has been confirmed. In a blow to the Hawks, important midfielder Jordan Lewis is out of the team. Shane Savage comes in to the Hawthorn 22.

6.45pm – The finals are finally here but the weather in Melbourne hasn’t signalled the start of spring. It’s been blowing a gale over the past two days and the cold weather is biting. None the less, the excitement around Melbourne is genuine. We’re only about an hour away from the start of the Hawks-Magpies blockbuster.

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Shootout: Joint McDonald Medallists to star in MFL grand final

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JOINT McDonald Medallists Clint Burdett and Graeme Mentiplay have tipped today’s Millewa Football League grand final to be a shootout between top two goal scorers Rob “Sonny” Lindsey and Mark Duscher.
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Duscher is one goal away from the magical milestone of 100 for the season, while Lindsey has amassed an impressive 132 for the year.

Incredibly, Lindsey has kicked seven goals or more in 12 of his 17 games.

Werrimull will welcome the return of Jamie Roberts, Brad Duscher and most importantly, Bendigo Gold captain Ben Duscher.

Gol Gol will go in unchanged from the side that defeated Bambill by 61 points in last weekend’s

preliminary final.

Gol Gol’s Burdett and Werrimull’s Mentiplay will be hoping for more than individual glory when the ball is bounced at Lake Cullulleraine this afternoon.

The duo were tied on 16 votes for the MFL’s best and fairest award last Friday night, but agreed a premiership medallion was more important to their CVs.

“To win it with Graeme as well, who is a great player, is a big honour for sure,” Burdett said.

“Any league medal you win is a huge honour.

“Everyone says they would like to hand back a league medal for a premiership and this is no different.”

Mentiplay said it was an honour to take out the league’s best and fairest award alongside Burdett.

“It was a very big surprise – I’m very lucky, I suppose,” Mentiplay said.

Burdett, who became the third Hawk in five years to win the McDonald Medal, said the Hawks would be keen to avenge their semi-final loss to the Magpies a fortnight ago.

“Sunday’s game against Bambill was the best we have played in probably a good month of footy,” he said.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday’s Sunraysia Daily 08/09/2012.

Clint Burdett and Graeme Mentiplay

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Rangers in bid for historic win

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THE Northern Rangers are confident they can become the first Launceston soccer club to win a state championship in 45 years.
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But they must overcome South Hobart, one of the most successful senior soccer clubs in Tasmania’s history, in the grand final at KGV today.

The squad was spoken to at training by Stewart Bain, who was a teenager playing up front for Launceston United when it won the title in 1967.

Rangers coach Peter McBeath has the same starting 11 as the one that beat Devonport City 2-1 last week.

“The boys are fit and enthusiastic, and everyone is feeling confident that we can win and just want to get down there,” McBeath said.

“To win and enter the V-League as state champions would be fantastic.”

McBeath said his side had the greatest respect for South Hobart but the Southerners were not as strong as previous years, having only just secured the Southern Premier League with a draw on the last day of the season.

“They’re a cracking team, they’re the benchmark but we’re confident we can beat them.”

McBeath said his side had been getting better and better over the finals series, particularly defensively with goalkeeper Marshall Pooley and centre back Luke Tuma back in the side.

“We’ve worked hard on our defensive shape and changed it around. Our forward structure is playing really well with the introduction of Gabriel Tams at centre forward and Mark Ambrose and Chris Hunt are in devastating form.

“I’d like to think the opposition would be worried about us. I saw Ken Morton watching our game, and he’d have seen our forward structure and know he’d need to get his defensive structure organised.”

Launceston City is competing for the women’s state championship against Olympia FC Warriors at 3pm.

City is the most successful women’s team in the state having won 10 flags in 12 seasons and only losing two games in 10 years.

But the side has only won one state championship in 2007.

The players will have extra motivation as it is coach Jason Jones’s last game in charge of the side.

MATCH FACTS

WOMEN’S STATE FINAL: Olympia FC Warriors v Launceston City at KGV (3pm).

MEN’S STATE FINAL: South Hobart v Northern Rangers at KGV (5.30pm).

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The fuse is lit: Mildura, Irymple set for cracker game

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PRELIMINARY finals action kicks off at 10am today with the under 18 clash between reigning premiers Mildura and Irymple promising to be a cracker.
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While Mildura have enjoyed a bucket-load of success over the past five seasons, including this year’s minor premiership, they did suffer a slip-up last week and now look to have the job ahead of them.

However, this is not a new scenario­ for the young Demons, having claimed last season’s title in the same fashion.

The Mildura spine of Dane Costa, Lachlan Logan, James Cooper, Henry Kerr and Thomas Lanyon is an impressive line-up and if Cameron Gunn, Mitch and Josh Rogerson and Daniel Shaw can get loose and rack up some numbers, a premiership defence may be on the cards.

An area of concern for the Dees in last week’s loss was the four 50 metre penalties conceded.

Venting frustrations can be quite therapeutic and beneficial at times but on a football field, a penalty like this only transfers the individual frustration on to the other 17 team members.

Irymple tuned up nicely for this game with a comfortable win over Red Cliffs last week and will not lack any confidence or self belief heading into this week.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday’s Sunraysia Daily 08/09/2012.

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Devils red hot

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HOPETOUN take on Sea Lake Nandaly in Ouyen this Saturday.
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The prize for the winner of what should be a titanic battle is to have a crack at the formidable Walpeup -Underbool outfit in next week’s MFL grand final.

Both teams bring very good form to this game.

The Devils defeated Beulah in the season’s final home-and-away game to win the double chance and they were by no means disgraced in going down to the Roos in the second semi.

In the first elimination semi-final the Tigers won a tight and tough contest against a very strong Beulah side.

Unfortunately for the Devils, they lose Quentin Willmott to a broken foot this week.

This multiplies Hopetoun’s ruck woes as he has been their first choice and has been in very good form recently.

Col Durie was great last week, just when the Tigers needed him.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday’s Sunraysia Daily 08/09/2012.

READY FOR ACTION: It was all smiles for joint McDonald Medallists Clint Burdett and Graeme Mentiplay before the serious business of today’s Millewa Football League grand final. Picture: Luke Birch

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Brimbank ropes in Hobsons Bay CEO

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BRIMBANK Council will get a new chief executive, with Hobsons Bay CEO Bill Jaboor announcing he will leave his post next month to take the top job at Sunshine.
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Mr Jaboor, who said the time was right for new challenges, started working at Hobsons Bay in 2004 after spending 10 years as CEO of Greater Shepparton.

Late Friday Mr Jaboor said it was a difficult decision to move on after almost nine years in Hobsons Bay.

“I will leave Hobsons Bay with many fond memories, and immense personal and professional pride in the achievements of the council during my time here,’’ he said.

‘‘Brimbank is a large and diverse multicultural community. I welcome the opportunities that this position will present, including the rare chance to manage the transition back to elected councillors in 2015.’’

Brimbank Council was sacked in 2009 following a damning report by Victorian Ombudsman George Brouwer.

Mr Jaboor will replace acting chief executive Kelly Grigsby.

Ms Grigsby replaced Nick Foa, who left Brimbank in May after leading the council for five years during a period of leadership turmoil.

Hobsons Bay mayor Tony Briffa said it had been a privilege to work with Mr Jaboor and the council was disappointed to lose him.

“Bill’s appointment will open new opportunities for us to work closer together at a strategic level with Brimbank and other western councils for the betterment of the region as a whole,” Cr Briffa said.

Brimbank Council could not be reached for comment.

– with Melissa Cunningham