Warning for distracted Vic pedestrians

People have been urged not to look at their phones while walking, after a spike in traffic deaths.Pedestrians in Victoria are being urged to look up from their phones and try using just one headphone, so they’re not distracted when walking near traffic following a spike in pedestrian deaths.
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Victoria Police says more pedestrians have died in the first six months of 2018 compared to 2017 – 17 this year compared to 11 in 2017.

“In the last 12 months we’ve had a significant increase in pedestrian deaths on our roads,” Road policing assistant commissioner Doug Fryer told reporters on Saturday.

“Unfortunately we’re seeing an increase in distraction with those on pushbikes, pedestrians using mobile phones, and in particular people wearing headsets whose auditory and cognitive ability and awareness are somewhat distracted.”

The number of pedestrian deaths has risen despite the state’s overall road toll tracking lower at 101, compared to 115 for the same period in 2017.

It’s believed pedestrian distractions such as headphones have been a contributor to the spike in deaths.

“We’re just urging all Victorians to look up and look out for each other,” Mr Fryer said.

“Look where you’re going. Make sure you can see the vehicles around you and don’t be distracted by your mobile phone when walking.”

While it’s difficult to determine how many accidents involving pedestrians are linked to headphone distractions, police say people are increasingly distracted when walking near traffic.

“We all see it, everyone who travels through the city. There are so many pedestrians walking out on footpaths with their heads down, either texting or listening to music,” Mr Fryer said.

“A simple safety activity of looking up, instead of looking down, could save their lives.”

Australian Associated Press

Blues’ Tedesco relishes Slater match-up

James Tedesco is ready for his battle with Billy Slater in the second State of Origin match.NSW star James Tedesco has credited his forward pack with laying the platform for his man of the match performance in the State of Origin opener, and says things will be looking good for the Blues in game two if they can do it again.
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Tedesco looms as a pivotal figure when NSW attempt to seal a series victory at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, with Queensland on high alert for his breaks through the ruck.

But while the NSW fullback doesn’t completely expect the opportunities to dry up.

“There’s always going to be chances late in the either half, when everyone gets tired. It’s just up to the smaller guys like the halves, hooker and myself to see them,” Tedesco told AAP.

While the Blues’ backline have been heralded for their combined 41 tackle breaks in game one, Tedesco said a good performance by the team’s forward pack at the MCG allowed them to play over the advantage line.

And no matter when the Maroons devise to stop him in game two, he declared he’ll be ready.

“I’m used to being targeted. Maybe with some kick returns, they could target be more,” he said.

“Obviously they’re going to try and tighten up the middle of defence. But if we get those quick play-the-balls again, it’s hard to stop.”

The match also marks the rare occasion where Tedesco faces Queensland champion Billy Slater.

Despite making his debut in 2012, the 25-year-old has only faced the incumbent Kangaroos fullback five times across the NRL and Origin arenas – winning just once.

Tedesco, who is likely to be a prime contender to replace Slater’s spot for Australia at the end of the year, said he was relishing coming up against one of the game’s greats.

“I actually can’t remember the last time I played him. Obviously I was expecting to come up against him in game one,” Tedesco said.

“It’s always a big challenge coming up against him. It’s only his last couple of rep games now so no doubt he’ll be in for a big one. But I’m ready for it.”

Tedesco is ranked third in the NRL for tackle breaks, metres and kick return metres, but leads the league in support plays.

TEDESCO v SLATER

2013: Rd 5: Melbourne 26 bt Wests Tigers 12

2013: Rd 16: Wests Tigers 22 bt Melbourne 4

2017: Rd 4: Melbourne 22 bt Wests Tigers 14

2017: Origin II: Queensland 18 bt NSW 16

2017: Origin III: Queensland 22 bt NSW 6

Australian Associated Press

Newcastle rugby: Hamilton storm home to end Merewether’s unbeaten run

OVER: Hamilton Hooker Chris Ale crashes over for a try in the Hawks’ 29-17 win at Passmore Oval on Saturday. Picture: Stewart HazellCO-COACH Trent Considine was adamant that Merewether had no-one to blame but themselves after they fell to their first loss of the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union season, going down 29-17 to Hamilton at a soggy Passmore Oval on Saturday.
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“We handed the game to them,” a blunt Considine said. “We turned over too much ball. Ateam like that is going to punish you when you cough up the ball in your own half. We just weren’t as clinical as we have been previously. They probably had 70 per cent of the ball and we had to do a lot of defending.”

The Greens, who had strung eight wins together, led 7-0 early and 10-3 midway through the first half.

However, they paid the price for a series of cheap turnovers as the Hawks scored 18 unanswered points to open a 21-10 advantage.

Hamilton storm home to end Merewether’s unbeaten run Sam Dart

Laufiso Vasegote

Carl Manu

Adrian Delore

TweetFacebook NHRU Round 10Pictures: Stewart HazellSam Bright scored a brilliant try under the posts to get the Greens back in the game and change momentum with 10 minutes remaining.

“Weneeded someone to come up with a big play but it just didn’t happen,” Considine said.

The win moved the Hawks to 36 points, a point a drift of the Greens.

Nelson Bay moved to third spot after they accounted for Lake Macquarie 41-3at Walters Park.

Though beaten, it was a much improved performance from the Roos, who were bolstered by the inclusion of former North Harbour Rays Sione Ala andBrian Sefanaia. Lake Macquarie had conceded more than 110 points in each of the four previous games.

At No.2 Sportsground, Maitland were too strong for Wanderers 47-31, but the visitors nearly paid the price for a 10-minute lapse.

The Blacks led 19-12 at the break and and stretched the margin to 33-19 midway through the second half. However, the Two Blues hit back with three tries in seven minutes to close to 33-31.

But a turnover and penalty, put the Blacks back on the front foot and Carl Manu sliced through from close rangeto end the revival. Dan Runchel iced the game with a try from a charge down at the death.

Adrian Delore was the star with a double to lead Southern Beaches to a 42-35 triumph over Singleton at Ernie Calland Field and end a three game losing streak.

Toxic fears: Farmers warned not to eat the beef they sell

Farmers near Esso’s Longford gas plant and the East Sale RAAF Base in Gippsland have been warned not to eat meat, offal or dairy from their own livestock due to contamination by toxic chemicals but there are no restrictions on them selling such products.
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Elevated levels of PFAS — per- and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals historically used in firefighting foam — have been detected in 45 cattle and 45 sheep on three properties near Esso Longford, Victoria’s chief veterinary officer Dr Charles Milne has confirmed toThe Age.

Another cattle herd near the RAAF Base was also tested recently for PFAS but the results were not yet in, Dr Milne said.

The two sites are among about 90 locations around Australia where PFAS has been detected. At least 16 of those sites are in Victoria,The Agerevealed this week.

The Country Fire Authority’s Fiskville training academy west of Melbourne, shut down after a series of complaints about the incidence of cancer among some of its former staff, is so far the single biggest case of PFAS exposure in Victoria. Some livestock near Fiskville has been tested for PFAS too.

But Gippsland in the state’s east has more confirmed sites where PFAS has been detected than any other region in the state.

Gippsland is renowned for its dairy, beef and fisheries, as well as natural attractions including unspoilt beaches and wetland areas of international significance.

A cow in Heart Morass wetlands. Photo: Joe Armao

However, its rich resources including coal and gas reserves mean it has for many years attracted some of the heaviest industry in Victoria.

PFAS has spread beyond the boundaries of both RAAF East Sale and Esso Longford, and has been detected on nearby properties as well as popular nearby hunting and fishing spots.

It has been measured in levels above Australian government guidelines in some groundwater, surface water, soils and sediment near both the Esso and RAAF sites, including at adjacent properties, in water sources that could be used for livestock.

Esso has fenced off some seven dams on properties near its Longford plant to stop livestock from drinking PFAS-contaminated water. Current government guidelines do not specify acceptable levels of PFAS for irrigation or livestock watering.

Such is the concern among nearby residents and farmers that some are considering a class action and have made plans to meet in the next few weeks to decide how to proceed. Many are, however, reluctant to speak publicly due to the effect that PFAS contamination could have on their livelihoods.

The potential risks to humans of consuming livestock exposed to PFAS dependon the likelihood of people eating sufficient quantities, Dr Milne said.

“If a beef animal goes into an abattoir, it will be sold to wherever and people use small parts of the animal,” he said. “But if it is home-killed, then the family’s going to eat the whole animal.”

There areno regulations in Australia for maximum recommended levels of PFAS in food for human consumption, according to Dr Milne, nor are there any overseas.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) says there is no “consistent evidence that these chemicals cause any adverse health effects in humans, including people highly exposed occupationally”.

SAFEMEAT, the Australian body that oversees systems to ensure the delivery of safe and hygienic meat products to the marketplace, formed a PFAS working group and is maintaining a “watching brief” on contamination associated with the use of firefighting chemicals, it said in its 2016/17 annual report.

Ask about PFAS and its health effects and the chorus from state and Commonwealth governments and agencies is that there is no current evidence that PFAS exposure has a substantial impact on people’s health.

However, as Fairfax Media’s investigation has shown, numerous people around Australia and in the US have expressed serious fears about the health effects of PFAS exposure.

Some cattle farmers near the Oakey and Williamtown bases in Queensland and NSW have previously expressed fears they could be selling contaminated meat due to PFAS exposure.

Birds at the Heart Morass wetlands in Gippsland. The EPA has issued warnings about consumption of ducks and fish caught in the area. Photo: Joe Armao

This week a long-delayed US Department of Healthreportwas released, showing that PFAS chemicals found in public water supplies around America are threatening human health at concentrations seven to 10 times lower than previously realised.

New York’s Attorney-General has since launched legal action against five manufacturers of PFAS chemicals including 3M.

In the very state where 3M (formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) was founded,Fairfax Media revealed the deaths of five young people from cancerand a further 16 cancer survivors who attended Tartan Senior High School in Oakdale since 2002. All were diagnosed during their primary, middle or high school years, or within 10 years of graduating.

AnInterim Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment investigation into PFAS at RAAF Base East Sale, conducted by environmental consulting firm Senversa for the Defence department and released in December, found elevated risks of exposure to PFAS through a variety of avenues, including livestock on or in the vicinity of the base.

It lists “home consumption of meat, offal and milk raised on-site” and “public consumption of meat, offal and milk raised on-site” among those risks.

It also lists home consumption of duck meat and liver from birds hunted at the Heart Morass wetlands,even at low rates such as once a month, and of fish caught from the wetlands, among elevated risks of PFAS exposure.

In response to questions fromThe Age, a Defence spokeswoman said there had been “no precautionary advice issued by state authorities relating to the consumption of meat, offal and milk from livestock within the investigation area”.

The spokeswoman said the final report is currently being prepared and will include further analysis of on-base livestock and will be released in 2018.

Other potential sources of PFAS identified in a Defence department study include West Sale Airport and industrial sites around Morwell, west of Sale, including former coal mines and coal fired power stations, where the firefighting foams were used, as well as Gippsland Water’s Dutson Downs water treatment plant.

Dr Milne said Agriculture Victoria had tested livestock in “a number of sites” across Victoria for PFAS, mainly concentrated on areas where firefighting foam had been used.

In Gippsland its testing had concentrated on areas surrounding the East Sale and Longford plants.

“We’re aware of four properties in Gippsland where cattle and sheep have been blood tested,” Dr Milne said.

“Three of those are cattle and sheep grazed in the vicinity of the Esso Longford plant. On those three farms a total of 45 cattle and 45 sheep have been tested. In those animals, measurable levels of PFAs were detected in the serum.

“We’re also aware of another herd of cattle, a fourth, just cattle, that have been blood sampled for PFAS. But we’re not aware of the results. The Department of Defence is leading that investigation.”

Agriculture Victoria had purchased some of the PFAS-affected livestock in Gippsland to conduct its own longitudinal study on them, Dr Milne said, as there was little research in Australia or internationally about how long the chemicals linger in cattle, sheep and pigs.

Its initial tests on sheep showed PFAS levels dropped significantly within several weeks of them being moved to clear pasture, he said. He suspected that would take longer in cattle and pigs.

The EPA said it had only issued alerts in relation to hunting and fishing, not livestock.

“The only public health advice Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has provided to date, both publicly and to residents, is the advisory around eels, fish and ducks caught at Heart and Dowd Morass,” a spokesman said.

Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the EPA was working to identify and manage PFAS contamination sites across Victoria, “to protect the community and prevent any harms posed by this substance”.

“Our government is also working with the Commonwealth and other states to develop a united response to PFAS contamination sites across the country,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

With Carrie Fellner

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

Qld confident Napa will play Origin II

What coach Kevin Walters has demanded from Queensland in Sunday’s must-win State of Origin game two in Sydney is simple – greatness.
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That may be easier said than done by a team with a distinct lack of it, as it begins life without their big three – retired legends Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.

But Walters is confident the new look Maroons can reach another level and provide a fitting salute to yet another great – Billy Slater – in his 30th Origin.

After so far cutting a cranky figure at their Gold Coast camp, Walters appeared to be breathing easier on Saturday after Sydney Roosters prop Dylan Napa emerged unscathed from the captain’s run at ANZ Stadium.

He is yet to receive the official nod but is all but confirmed to start in Queensland’s front row, despite an ankle concern.

Walters believes Queensland are primed to test NSW in a game they must win to keep the series alive.

But to be any chance of extending Queensland’s stunning run of 11 series wins in 12 years, Walters said his new-look team must emulate their greats.

“Our performance in game one was good but it wasn’t great. To win a game in Origin you’ve got to be great,” Walters said.

“NSW were that in game one. That’s what we are trying to achieve in game two, to be great.”

Walters hinted fiery redhead Napa’s aggression would help them reach their lofty goal.

“He brings first and foremost aggression. Dylan would be the first to admit that he didn’t quite get that right with his aggression in game one,” Walters said.

“If we can get that right he will be a huge asset for the Maroons.

“That’s why we are giving him every opportunity to play.”

Walters was keen to avoid any more distractions after a horror build-up to the series opener in Melbourne, where three players were nursed through training and Billy Slater (hamstring) pulled out days before the game.

But Walters said he retained Napa for their game two buildup after the forward surprised him by completing both their full training sessions.

“I didn’t expect him to be running too much on Wednesday but he trained fully with the team, did exactly what was required,” Walters said.

Slater, 35, also began their game two preparation on the Maroons injury list but has been cleared to play, finally kick-starting his swansong Origin series after missing game one.

Walters claimed Queensland were desperate to toast Slater in his 30th Origin, making him the 11th player and 10th Queenslander to reach the milestone.

“We want to get the result, not that he deserves, but what Billy wants, and we want the same result,” Walters said.

Australian Associated Press