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.


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

Biker’s amazing escape caught on camera

LUCKY: Screen shots from a dashcam video which captured the moment a motorbike rider lost control and plummeted into oncoming traffic. The rider escaped unharmed. Picture: Zachary Morton“Did I just kill someone?”
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Zachary Morton

That was the first thought going through motorist Zachary Morton’s head when a motorbike rider lost control and flew off his bike into oncoming traffic.

The rider did a somersault across the bonnet of Mr Morton’s car, before disappearing from vision.

Within seconds the acrobatic rider was back on his feet with barely a scratch to show for the dramatic wipe-out.

The entire incident, which happened on Friday near the corner of King and Marton streets inShortland,was caught on dash cam.

“Both he and I were in a state of shock, not what you expect on your average trip home from work,” Mr Morton said.

“I was concerned for the guy’s welfare as he did hit the front of my car.

“The next thought was, gee, I better have got that on dash cam.”

Mr Morton said he purchased the dash cam to protect himself forinsurance claimsin case of an accident.

Dash cam owner Zachary Morton

When he played back the footage of the Shortland collision he could not believe his eyes.

Considering the rider’s lucky escape he decided to upload the video to a dash cam enthusiasts page on Facebook.

Within two days it had been shared more than 300 times and was featured on the national news.

The footage has also been viewed more than 20,000 times on YouTube.

MrMorton checked in with the motorbike rider at the scene of the collision to make sure he was not injured.

The two have since caught up online and expressed their disbelief that the incident did not end in a more tragic way.

“I’m usually pretty alert when I’m driving and I saw the rider approaching the intersection and the fact that I was travelling at the speed limit allowed me to stop just in time,” Mr Morton said.

Fairfax Media also caught up with the motorbike rider who said he couldn’t believe what had happened.

The rider chose to remain anonymous, but did express his gratitude to Mr Morton for his quick thinking in the situation.

With minimal damage to the car, Mr Morton decided not to take the incident any further and settled for the peace of mind that the rider was alive and well.

“We all make mistakes, that’s why we call these accidents,” Mr Morton said.

“The man on the bike was very apologetic, both at the scene and via email afterwards.

“I’m sure he knows now to slow down and I am just glad that nothing serious occurred.”

The Herald, Newcastle

The Hunter Remembers

TOUGH: Besides the daily artillery fire, Australian troops endured horrendous conditions. Picture: Courtesy of The Digger’s View by Juan Mahony
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NewcastleMorning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistment and death detailsfor August 13 to 19, 1917.THE FOURTH YEARField-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig has sent the following message to all the overseas Dominions: Our armies, drawn from every part of the Empire, bring to the fourth year, a steady confidence, justified by past achievements. Unfaltering in resolution they will fight on until the enemy is overthrown. The Commonwealth Government has replied, assuring the King of the inflexible determination of the people to vigorously prosecute the war until German despotism is broken and victory assured. The King replied, expressing gratification at the message.

THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY(From C. E. W. Bean, Official Australian War Correspondent)

Headquarters, August 12.

General Birdwood recently reviewed the various Australian brigades while they were route marching along country roads and elsewhere. The Australian army on the western front at the present moment is certainly the most magnificent force that has ever yet represented Australia. The troops are in the most wonderful health. One or two divisions have lately had heavy and continuous work, but the remainder are in such a condition of spirits and fitness as has not yet been reached before in this war. The efficiency, spirit, and discipline of the Australian troops have always been a matter of officers, and are one result of the searching test of past years, of heavy fighting and of a system of selection and promotion employed in the Australian army in France. There has been a quick eradication of the majority of inefficients and a swift coming to the front of a set of young commanding officers, and others certainly unsurpassed in any army.

A stronger friendship always existed between the officers and men in the Australian Imperial, Force than in any army I know of, and with the splendid and intelligent material still coming from Australia, they continue to make a set of sunburnt, buoyant divisions such as have never yet represented Australia. The confidence of these divisions in one another and in the New Zealanders is boundless. They are never so satisfied as when they are together, and wherever they may be –even those little technical units which are now round every part of the British front – all consider themselves part of the same Australian army fighting Australia’s battle against those ideas which every experience of Germany makes more utterly hated.

The Australian troops are one solid army in sentiment, and undoubtedly they are never so satisfied as when brought together, practically forming an army in fact. Australian Tunnellers away in a corner of some other army will tell you that they never found such divisions to work with as the Australian ones. It may not be true, but the outstanding fact is that there is tremendous enthusiasm of Australian troops amongst themselves, and for their own army.

The most important fact to be told about Australians in France at the present moment is the way in which this Australian army by appearance, the excellence of its training, and the confidence in itself is drawing the attention of every outside critic.

NAVAL MEN HONOUREDA fine record stands to the credit of the Newcastle Sub-district Royal Australian Navy Brigade. Of 322 members, 102 have enlisted. A roll of honour bearing 96 names –six other members have enlisted since the roll was prepared –was unveiled at the naval depot, Newcastle, by Alderman Kilgour, the Mayor, in the presence of a large and representative gathering. The Mayor said they all deeply regretted the necessity of honour rolls. He was proud that he should be asked to unveil that roll, which was a tribute of respect and esteem to the noble fellows who had gone forth to do their part for the Empire.

LT-COLONEL CORLETTEIntelligence has been received that Major Corlette, of Newcastle, has been appointed Chief Royal Engineer of the Second Division, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Lieutenant-Colonel Corlette has been on active service since the entry of Australian troops in the war, having served through the campaign in Gallipoli.

SOLDIERS’ LETTERSPrivate T.W. Bedford, writing to his father at Waratah from Wareham, in England, under date 16th June, says he received letter and cuttings from Newcastle Morning Heraldreferring to garden fete at Mayfield, and says he and his comrades were pleased to hear their battalion, the 30th, had a good name in the Newcastle district. He states that the camp he is in will be in a few days handed over to other soldiers, and his company will go to another place, some forty miles distant. On the march they would bivouac at night, and they expected it to be an interesting trip. He also states that he and many other Australian soldiers being now in another brigade, he cannot give any definite account of what their future movements may be. Private Bedford says that he has recovered from the attack of trench feet received on the Somme, which was very severe, and gives many interesting descriptions of his experiences in various training camps in England, and conversations with the rustic inhabitants of several countries.

PRIVATE J. A. BAILLIEMrsJ.Baillie, of Teralba Road, Adamstown, has received a letter from her son, Private J.A. Baillie, who was reported to have lost both his feet. Private Baillie states that at the time of writing he was in hospital in France. He confirms the the loss of his feet, and says that they were struck by a shell, and that “was the end of them”. He adds that he was doing well, and expected that they would be sending him home as soon as he had been fitted with artificial feet, and he did not think that would be long. A few days before he was wounded he met George Pollock and James Scobie, and they were then both well.

PRIVATE J. TURNBULLMrand MrsS.Turnbull, of Union Street, Adamstown, received a letter from their son, Private James Turnbull stating he got into difficulties while retiring to the rear to take up a position he was appointed to, in consequence of him suffering from shell shock. Private Turnbull and others camped in an old dug-out. While Private Turnbull was asleep, a shell struck the dug-out, and a number were killed and wounded. The shock caused Private Turnbull to break the plate of his false teeth, and they got stuck in his throat. The teeth were forced down, and he was in a critical state till he underwent an operation, which was successful.

SERGEANT LAVERICKMrsLaverick, of West Wallsend, has received a letter from the chaplain who read the burial service over her husband, the late Sergeant Laverick. The chaplain offers his sympathy, and adds: “He fell in action on June 7 in the battle of Messines Ridge, and lies buried on the battlefield, a fit place for a gallant soldier. The colonel of his battalion wishes me to convey to you his sympathy. I trust and pray that God will give you comfort and strength to bear bravely your great loss. I propose to go out on Wednesday to erect a cross to mark and hallow the spot”.

ENLISTMENTSLeslie Harold Amm, Wickham; Charles Francis Carter, Stewarts Brook; Eric Harold Carter, Stewarts Brook; William Francis Couchman, Telarah; Frederick James Finedon, West Maitland; William James Holmes, Horseshoe Bend; Charles Wesley Kerr, East Greta; Robert Sefton, Newcastle; Zacariah Thomas Stanborough, Newcastle; Leslie Williams, Merewether.

DEATHPte Lancelot Allibon Quick, Hamilton.

Greyhound trainers banned over mass grave

Greyhound trainers banned over mass grave Mass grave: The new owners of a Keinbah property in the Hunter Valley make a grissly discovery after they dig up the carcasses of more than 30 greyhounds. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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TweetFacebookMr Pullman’s wife, Helen Pullman, was disqualified for four years after being found guilty of providing false and misleading statements and falsifying a document.

His daughter, Kayla Spliet, was disqualified for four years for failing to provide veterinary care, providing false and misleading statements and falsifying a document.

Ms Spliet’s husband, Corey Spliet, was disqualified for two years for providing false and misleading statements.

Wayne Weiss, an employee of the track, was disqualified for three years after being found guilty of providing false and misleading statements and failing to attend an inquiry.

In the statement, the panel said that the actions of all five participants were “completely unacceptable” and had “tarnished the reputation” of the industry, even thought the overwhelming majority of its members cared for the welfare of their greyhounds.

They thanked the present owner –Natina Howard –who was instrumental in bringing the evidence of the grave to light.

“The inquiry into the Keinbah Trial Track and the penalties issued is further evidence of the robust and wide-ranging reforms GRNSW has introduced since 2015,” GRNSW interim CEO John Gibbons said.

“The reforms undertaken have enabled GRNSW to effectively tackle abhorrent practices, while making significant improvements to animal welfare and to the supervision of the industry.”

The five participants disqualified have been notified about their rights of appeal.

More to come.


Greyhound grave found on Hunter propertyProperty owner confirms mass greyhound burial site in Cessnock

Elvis lives on 40 years after his deathPhotos, Video

Elvis lives on 40 years after his death | Photos, Video Remembering Elvis 40 years after his death, in Memphis Tenessee. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.
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Jenny Wallis fro Mudgee, remembering Elvis 40 years after his death, in Memphis Tenessee. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Remembering Elvis 40 years after his death, in Memphis Tenessee. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Remembering Elvis 40 years after his death, in Memphis Tenessee. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Remembering Elvis 40 years after his death, in Memphis Tenessee. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Remembering Elvis 40 years after his death, in Memphis Tenessee. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Remembering Elvis 40 years after his death, in Memphis Tenessee. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Touring around Tupelo. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo Mississippi. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo Mississippi. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Touring around Tupelo. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Touring around Tupelo. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Touring around Tupelo. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Touring around Tupelo. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo Mississippi. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo Mississippi. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo Mississippi. Photo: JANET PRINCE/Facebook.

Elvis Presley is shown in this 1970 file photo, dateline unknown. Photo: AP Photo/Permission by Elvis Presley Enterprises

This 2012 file photo shows flowers left by fans on the grave of Elvis Presley at Graceland, Presley’s Memphis, Tenn. home. Friends and fans of late singer and actor Elvis Presley are descending on Memphis, Tennessee, for Elvis Week, the annual celebration of his life and career.Photo: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey,

Elvis Presley is shown with his guitar in a 1957 MGM studio publicity photo. Photo: AP Photo/File

Elvis Presley performs in Las Vegas in this undated photo. Photo: AP Photo/By Permission of Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.

Harry Morgan, Elvis Presley and Nancy Kovak in a scene from the United Artists release, “Frankie and Johnny”.

Shelly Fabares, one of the numerous loveleies with Elvis Presley in MGMs “Girl Happy”. June 18, 1965.

In this 1973 file photo, Elvis Presley sings during a concert. Photo: AP Photo

Dee Presley, stepmother of the late rock and roll singer Elvis Presley. (Holding a picture of her late stepson).

Elvis Presley is shown in this undated file photo. Photo: AP Photo/File

Elvis Presley’s first album – “Elvis Presley,” was released by RCA Victor on January 11, 1956. Photo: AP Photo

Elvis Presley is seen relaxing in 1958. Photo: AP Photo

Elvis Presley poses in this handout 1957 file photo provided by MGM. Photo: AP Photo/MGM File

Elvis Presley shakes, rattles, and rolls as he performs at the Mississippi-Alabama State Fair, Tupelo, Mississippi, September 27, 1956. Photo: AP Photo/RCA Victor

In this 1957 photo provided by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc and used by permission, Elvis Presley greets fans at the gates of Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. Elvis Presley archivists have found three rare photos dating back to 1957 that show the young singer greeting fans at the gates of Graceland. Negatives of the photos were discovered as archivists pored through a vast collection of documents from the office of Vernon Presley, Elvis’ father. Photo: AP Photo/Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc

Elvis with wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie in Memphis, 1968.Photo: AP

TweetFacebookA trip to GracelandThis week thousands of fans are at Gracelandto remember The King and his music.

One fan is Janet Prince, who grew up in Mudgee and has travelled to the USAthis month.

The‘huge Elvis fan’ for as long as she can remember, Ms Prince said she“loved that he was such a loving, caring and generous person.”

“He is a more talented entertainer than you will ever find. There will only every be one King.”

Ms Prince said it waswonderful to see so many tribute artists keeping his music and memory alive.

Ms Prince has travelled to Gracelands six times, but this yearwas her first candle vigil.

“It is incredibly emotional to see all the tributes and flowers on this his 40th anniversary.”

A festival will also be held in the Blue Mountains this week while the Parkes Elvis Festival, held in January to mark The King’s birthday, also draws thousands of fans each year.

Parkes Elvis FestivalThe 2017 Parkes Elvis Festival, had a record 25,000 people attend over the five days. A fitting number considering it was the 25thevent.

Anne and Bob Steel originally came up with the idea to hold the Parkes Elvis Festival after another quiet January in which those that could went on holidays, and those that couldn’t stayed inside out of the heat.

These days the popularity of the event, and Elvis himself, was highlighted by the distance that fans travelled for the event. From all over Australia and around the world includingPortugal, Japan, France and Switzerland people travelled for the event.

A gentlemanAnne said Elvis’ music would live on forever.

“He was such a lovely guy, a gentleman, always well mannered, so many people have described him as‘just a well-mannered boy and he appealed toboth men and women.

“You could understand all the words to his songs and there was no limit to what he sung, from gospel, to rock to country.”

“His music is still so popular because the children of the original Elvis fans, they grew up with that music and they still appreciate it,”

As Anne celebrates her birthday on August 16, she will also remember Elvis40 years after his death.

In 2018 the Parkes Elvis Festival will celebrate its 26th year with the theme ’68 Comeback Special’, marking 50 years since the television special.

Who was Elvis► Elvis Presley was an American actor and singer who was born on January 8, 2935 in Mississippi.

► He began his music career in 1954. In 1956 he had his first number one on the US charts with Heartbreak Hotel, and in that same year made his film debut with Love Me Tender.

► During his career Elvis starred in 33 successful films, was nominated for 14 Grammys of which hewonthree as well asa Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

► He has sold over one billion records and his American sales earned him gold, platinum and milti-platinum awards.

► Elvis was 11 when his parents bought him his first guitar from the Tupelo Hardware store for his birthday.

► Elvis’ favourite foods were peanut butter and bacon.

► He joined the US Army in 1958 and was officially discharged from active duty in 1960.

► On August 16, 1977 Elvis suffered a fatal heart attack aged 42.

Surgery stitch-up: NSW patients stung for thousands

Some surgeons are charging thousands of dollars more than their colleagues for the same orthopaedic operation, leaving patients with up to $5500 in out-of-pocket costs.
Nanjing Night Net

Paying for a return flight to Adelaide for a hip or knee replacement would, in many cases, be cheaper than seeing a Sydney or Melbourne surgeon, an impractical hypothetical revealing the huge variations in surgeon fees across Australia.

A Medibank report detailing the vast disparities sends a clear signal to patients to shop around for their doctor, taking into account out-of-pocket fees, complication rates and expertise.

Private patients could have no out-of-pocket costs for orthopaedic surgery or incur thousands, depending on their surgeon. Photo: shutterstock南京夜网

The average cost of a hip replacement varied by more than $20,000 ($19,439 to $42,007) depending on the surgeon, showed the joint Medibank and Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) report of all orthopaedic surgeries funded by the health insurer between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

For a knee replacement, the average cost ranged from $17,797 to $30,285, and knee anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair ranged from $5076 to $13,950.

Out-of-pocket costs fluctuated by thousands of dollars, depending on the choice of surgeon, the review of close to 28,000 surgeries released Tuesday found.

Just over one third of surgeons charged no out-of-pocket fees. Among the surgeons who did, their average out-of-pocket bills were as high as $5567 for a hip replacement, $5137 for a knee replacement and $2907 for a knee ACL repair.

Medibank chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan said the report should encourage patients and referring GPs to do their research before settling on an orthopaedic surgeon.

“There is a lot more to selecting a doctor than taking the first person that is recommended to you,” Dr Swan said.

“[Cost] should be part of the referral process. They should be asking questions like ‘What is the expertise of this doctor?’, ‘How many procedures have they done?’, ‘What costs will I incur?’, ‘What hospitals will this doctor be able to walk right into?’ “

The report should also prompt health authorities to investigate the causes of the vast disparities.

“When we see large amounts of variation, then somewhere along the line something may not be working well … whether it’s waste, or not having the appropriate standards of even errors in the health system.

“It really should cause people to stop and ask questions.”

A state-by-state breakdown of out-of-pocket costs also found wide variations between states and territories.

NSW surgeons charged $2673 on average in out-out-pocket costs for hip replacements, almost five times that of South Australian surgeons. Victorian surgeons charged $1997 on average in out-of-pocket costs.

The out-of-pocket cost for a knee replacement in NSW was $2499 compared to $1609 in VIC and $397 in SA on average. For ACL repair, out-of-pocket costs were $2248 in NSW, $1671 in VIC and $321 in Tasmania.

“What are the reasons surgeons charge higher out-of-pocket costs in NSW than, say, South Australia? It could be overheads are a lot higher. Maybe there is some justification to it, or it could be that people are prepared to pay more in NSW so surgeons charge more,” Dr Swan said.

The report – which does not identify the doctors – also found stark differences in the rate of complications, climbing as high as 400 per 1000 hip replacements, suggesting some surgeons had as many as one complication for every 2.5 hip replacement surgeries they performed.

For knee replacements, the complication rate ranged from zero to 200 per 1000 surgeries, and 30-day readmission rates for ACL repair varied from zero to 20 per cent.

High complication rates could be partly due to some surgeons having small patient numbers or treating a very sick patient group with complex conditions, or they were not performing as well as their peers, Dr Swan said.

The rates of referral for rehabilitation between surgeons also varied widely.

Some surgeons sent none of their hip or knee surgery patients to rehabilitation, while others sent every patient to rehab, suggesting a doctor’s preference rather than a patient’s condition determined their chances of referral.

“You really have to stop and ask ‘Why would this be?’ ” Dr Swan said.

Dr Swan hoped surgeons would use the data to improve their practices, but “other levers could accelerate change”, including introducing regulations and agreed standards about cost and referrals.

RACS president John Batten said “This is about looking at the quality of care in the system and how we can use these reports as an educative process: where there are surgeons that are outliers, how can they improve their practice in line with their peers?

“We are committed to continuous improvement in clinical practice in Australia,” Mr Batten said.