Weller gives Saints a chance against Roos


DESPITE North Melbourne rolling the reigning premier last weekend, Maverick Weller said the men from Arden Street were “definitely” beatable.

Weller and his St Kilda teammates fly to Tasmania this morning ahead of tomorrow’s encounter at Blundstone Arena, where they meet a Kangaroos outfit who are fresh from dismantling Hawthorn last Friday night.

Maverick Weller is looking forward to playing in Hobart this weekend. Picture: Getty Images.

But Weller isn’t reading too much into the result.

The former Burnie boy said North Melbourne’s form line this season suggested the team might be due for another slip-up.

The finals-bound Roos have won nine matches to date, but only twice have they claimed back-to-back wins.

“I think we’ve got a massive chance,” Weller, 22, told The Advocate yesterday.

“Everyone knows they’ve been up and down, and hopefully we can keep that trend going.

“It’s going to be wet and windy, and there’s going to be a massive focus on contested footy, so if we can win the ball in close we’ll back ourselves.”

Weller has been one of the rare shining lights for the struggling Saints since his debut for the club in round 7.

He capped off a stellar month of performances last weekend in the loss to Carlton, picking up 22 possessions and being named the team’s third best player.

“I’ve been trying to keep my approach to playing pretty simple and it’s working well,” Weller said.

“But it’s not much fun when you’re losing all the time and we’re pretty keen to end this [10-game] losing streak.”

Tomorrow’s clash in Hobart is just Weller’s second appearance in his home state after suiting up for ex-club Gold Coast at Aurora Stadium in 2011.

The hard-nosed midfielder said he was looking forward to playing in front of up to 15 family members and friends, who will make the trip down from the Coast.

Weller, who was picked up as a rookie in November last year, said contract extension negotiations would start soon and he was confident of being put permanently on St Kilda’s senior list.

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South Burnie players racking up the milestones


GAME milestone celebrations will have come thick and fast at the South Burnie Hockey Club this year with eight of its members reaching more than 200 games.

Three of its division 2 men’s members have or will reach the 650-game mark in the next fortnight, while three of its women members have reached 300, 400 and 600 games apiece.

South Burnie Hockey Club players who have or will reach milestone games this season, from left: Darrell Webb (600), Kyle Webb (200), Deb Davis (300), Cor Vander Vlist (650), Sharee Taylor (600), Wayne Edmunds (650), Helen Ainslie (400) and Robert Taylor (650). Picture: Stuart Wilson.

Between them, the eight members, Darrell Webb (600 games), Kyle Webb (200), Deb Davis (300), Cor Vander Vlist (650), Sharee Taylor (600), Wayne Edmunds (650), Helen Ainslie (400) and Robert Taylor (650) have amassed more than 4000 games.

Division 2 team member Wayne Edmunds said he reached his milestone about a month ago, but said it was always great to celebrate other people’s achievements.

“You don’t always like to talk about yourself but it’s good to celebrate those milestones with others,” Edmunds said.

Edmunds has been playing with fellow 650-gamer Rob Taylor since he started playing hockey years ago and said it was great relationships that made the sport so engaging.

“When you’ve played a few games with the same blokes you get to know their quirks and habits, you can always move to be in the right place,” Edmunds said.

The South Burnie Hockey Club prides itself on being a family club and Edmunds said junior hockey development was at the forefront of the club’s mind.

Edmunds said hockey appealed to all ages because it was more low-impact than a sport such as football and as it always promoted relationships on and off the field.

Robert Taylor will be next in line to reach his 650 games in a couple of weeks.

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CHFL: Smythesdale coach sacked after player revolt


Glenn TreacyA PLAYER revolt has aided in thesacking of Smythesdale coach Glenn Treacy.

The Bulldogs moved quickly to release Treacy from his position on Wednesday night, just days after senior players approached club president Nick Gray to raise their concerns following a 342-point drubbing at the hands of Central Highlands Football League powerhouse Bungaree.

Gray told The Courier Treacy’s style of coaching didn’t suit the group currently at the club.

“The main reason being there was a bit of unhappiness with Glenn’s style and the way he was coaching from the players,” Gray said.

“It was either going to be one or the other. If we lost our players, at this time of year, you don’t want to be doing that.”

Gray said the decision to release Treacy wasn’t made lightly.

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Lower classes being seen as lesser humans

AUSTRALIA rolled its eyes when Tasmania boasted four out of seven finalists in television show Bogan Hunters.
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“The seven biggest bogans in the country have been found and it may come as little surprise to some that four of them are from Tasmania,” one News Ltd piece sighed.

Esteemed publication The Daily Mail nodded along: “They market themselves as a state full of untouched wilderness, craft beer and edgy art exhibits, but Tasmania can’t shake its reputation as the bogan capital of Australia.”

Instead of laughing and dismissing these people, a decent society should try and address the issues of unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, poor education and health issues that flow from generation to generation.

It seems most Tasmanians would rather ignore this element of society. George Town residents have told me their lower classes are either non-existent or nocturnal.

Pretending poor people -“bogans” – don’t exist or completely separating them from the rest of the population only serves to further marginalise an already disadvantaged group of people.

Off the record, journalists hear politicians joke about bulldozing poor areas, event organisers whisper about ticketing events to “keep out the bogans” and Launceston business owners whinge about the riff-raff that hangs around the mall.

One CBD retailer moaned in a public meeting that the three op shops on Launceston’s Charles Street were bringing down the tone of the area.

“What’s next?” she asked.”A brothel?”

And call a spade a spade: repeated attempts to move Launceston’s Metro interchanges is about nothing more than keeping “the anti-social element” out of the CBD.

A University of Melbourne study found that Australians viewed people of a lower-class as animal-like.

Although viewed as warm and competent, peoples’ perception of our disadvantaged overlapped with that of rats, dogs and apes.

Plainly, Australians view its lower classes as lesser humans.

No wonder people were so upset with Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Bertrand Cadart when he said Tasmania ranged from “the most bogan of bogans … to the greenest pains in the arse”.

But typically for Tasmanians, instead of accepting Cr Cadart’s view and looking at the bigger issues, people flew to deny the label.

A third of the state is reliant on government benefits. The portion that is employed has the lowest average income in the country – 13 per cent of Tasmanians live in poverty.

The Tasmanian Council of Social Services has argued that the federal budget will only make this situation more dire.

For Tasmania to isolate such a large portion of its residents only takes away a large portion of the ideas, resources and opportunities.

The poor aren’t the problem – it’s the people who judge them and exploit them.

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Learn the facts about boats first

DEFENDERS of genuine asylum seekers may need to moderate their comments in light of the recent interception of a boat in international waters.
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The return of 41 Sri Lankans to their country via an Australian customs ship to the Sri Lankan navy on Monday has attracted international attention.

Unfortunately the level of hysteria does not match the facts.

Of those 41 people returned, 37 were from the ruling Sinhalese class – the dominant ethnic group.

Four were Tamils with only one having some grounds for asylum.

However, far more revealing were the reasons they took the perilous and long boat trip from Sri Lanka because it clearly was not about oppression in their home country.

Fairfax reporter Jason Koutsoukis spoke to the families in Galle where most had paid one million rupees, about $8200, to people smugglers.

Punchi Banda Podinilame had a son, son-in-law and seven other relatives on board and said, “they left for economic reasons,” – “they wanted work, they wanted jobs, they were told this was easy to find in Australia.”

One of the passengers Anthony Fernando was quoted, “I went to Australia to find employment and then settle and bring my wife and family,” while another thought he was going to New Zealand, “my dream was four houses in New Zealand.”

Four people smugglers are now behind bars and their prosecution will send a strong message.

Immigration to Australia must be about the orderly transfer of genuine asylum seekers from UNHCR camps where many have been waiting for years.

The biggest tragedy of the boat people era is the 1200 people who have died at sea – this seems to be forgotten in the human rights legal hyperbole.

Yes, the federal government’s policy of off-shore processing is tough, very tough.

However, the alternative of families dying at sea is far worse.

If nothing else the publicity surrounding these two interceptions will reinforce the policy that if you want to come to Australia there is a proper process, and that doesn’t involve paying people smugglers. – MARTIN GILMOUR, editor

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Cameron admits price of failure

KATHMANDU founder Jan Cameron has virtually ruled out a second attempt to regain control of her discount retail empire, saying “I failed and have paid the price for that failure”.
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Ms Cameron, who appointed administrators and receivers to retail holding company DSG Holdings Australia last week, appears to have no plans to buy back DSG’s 100-plus profitable Sams Warehouse and Crazy Clarkes stores.

Rather, the 60-year-old philanthropist, environmentalist and animal welfare advocate is relieved that her five-year foray into the discount variety sector has come to an end.

“I’m relieved that I can stop worrying and trying desperately to make the company work,” Ms Cameron told Fairfax Media.

“I don’t feel bitter (but) disappointed for all the staff. Some of them are finding jobs but it will be very difficult for others.”

DSG’s receivers, David Winterbottom and Rahul Goyal, of KordaMentha, have received 25 expressions of interest from parties keen to take over some of DSG’s remaining stores. None have expressed interest in the entire store network.

More expressions of interest are expected before the July 17 deadline, Mr Goyal said.

However, Ms Cameron, who is estimated to have lost more than $200 million of her fortune on the venture, is not among them.

When Ms Cameron’s former company, Retail Adventures Pty Ltd, collapsed in October 2012 after racking up losses of $114 million in two years, Ms Cameron used her position as the largest and only secured creditor to buy back the business three months later.

“(Jan) can regain control, but my conversations to date have been about her exiting this business,” Mr Goyal said.

This time, there will be little to buy back.

The receivers plan to close about 40 of the remaining 143 Sams Warehouse and Crazy Clarks stores, all of which are leased, and are looking for trade buyers for the balance.

The receivers are also winding up DSG’s distribution centre in Queensland and head office in North Ryde.

This means potential buyers would need to have warehouse and logistics systems in place.

“We’re hoping to find someone who has the back office infrastructure and can add the stores onto their network,” said Mr Goyal.

“They don’t necessarily need to be in this (discount variety) space but to have the warehousing and logistics, so it could be someone in a complementary business,” he said.

“Lots of people are looking at it strategically to expand their own business as they (DSG) have some great locations with little competition.”

Ms Cameron is DSG’s only secured creditor and is owed about $100million, while unsecured creditors are owed about $15 million and DSG’s 2500 employees just under $10million in entitlements.

Mr Goyal says KordaMentha is hoping employee entitlements will be covered by funds raised by selling off stock.

Whether Ms Cameron recoups any of her investment depends on funds raised from selling the rest of the business.

“We are hoping she gets something back from this,” Mr Goyal said.

Meanwhile, Ms Cameron is still being pursued by creditors of Retail Adventures over allegations of insolvent trading and preferential payments.

Mediation talks failed last week and Ms Cameron faces a public examination of her finances next month.

According to Retail Adventures liquidator, Deloitte, part of the price DSG paid to buy back control of the business after it collapsed in 2012 was offset against Ms Cameron’s secured loans.

Deloitte believes Retail Adventures may have been insolvent at the time security was granted and the security is therefore voidable.

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Asthma alert as wood smoke levels increase

Asthma sufferers are being warned about wood smoke in Launceston. Picture: SCOTT GELSTONWITH winter in Launceston comes wood smoke, and asthma sufferers are being warned to be vigilant as levels exceed national standards.
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According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Launceston levels of PM2.5 – known as the best measure of wood smoke pollution – exceeded national reporting standards twice in the seven days to Thursday, July 3.

Asthma Foundation chief executive Cathy Beswick said she had seen a steady rise in high smoke alerts across the state, which was concerning for asthma sufferers vulnerable to the health effects.

“It should be highlighting to the public the importance of being a good neighbour when it comes to smoke,” Ms Beswick said. “The particulate matter gets into the lungs, it causes respiratory distress, it can cause an asthma attack, it causes people to cough more and get short of breath.

“It can ultimately lead to worsening asthma conditions and we do still have death from asthma.”

An EPA spokesman said the agency was working on a community education program on the negative impact of wood smoke, with Longford one of the focus areas. He said the program wasn’t about fines or woodheater buy-back schemes, but how people used their woodheaters.

Tips include:

•After adding wood, burn fire on high for 20 minutes, especially before going to bed.•Use only dry, well-seasoned wood in your heater.•Don’t smoulder – always burn with a flame.For more specific health advice about wood smoke visit http:/ /www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/peh/alerts/air.

For updates on smoke levels in Tasmania, “like” Smoke Alert Tasmania on Facebook.

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Recycled plastic to update boardwalk

Infrastructure services director Harry Galea and Launceston acting Mayor Jeremy Ball at the Seaport boardwalk. PIcture: MARK JESSERA STRETCH of recycled plastic boardwalk will be installed at Launceston’s Seaport “before summer”, according to Launceston acting Mayor Jeremy Ball.
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More than $1.2 million has been allocated by the council for the project, with the unique design expected to at least double the life-span of the timber boards.

“We’re out to tender in a couple weeks’ time to find a replacement for the ageing boardwalk,” Alderman Ball said.

“We’ve specified recycled plastic decking, which is at a slightly higher cost but it lasts far longer and I think it will give a great finish to this area.

“Timber usually gets about 15 years out of it, but this recycled plastic lasts for about 30 years.

“That really is a far longer life and saves on some of those concurrent costs, which hit ratepayers hardest.”

Alderman Ball said the priority for the council was to have the project completed by summer, in an effort to benefit surrounding businesses.

“Our aim is to make sure the work is done before the summer season starts, which is obviously really important for traders here.

“We don’t know exactly what the product will be, but we want to replicate that timber finish.”

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Talks first step to help Queenstown

Premier Will Hodgman and Braddon Liberal MHA Adam Brooks in Queenstown yesterday.THE government has announced the first step in navigating a way through the effects of Mount Lyell ceasing mining operations.

Premier Will Hodgman and several other Liberal MHAs travelled to Queenstown yesterday to talk with more than 100 locals at the council offices.

The scramble for action was taken after Copper Mines of Tasmania announced on Wednesday the Mount Lyell mine would remain closed, with only 15 staff kept on for maintenance.

The first meeting will be today and will include politicians and a government representative, a union representative and Mount Lyell’s general manager Scot Clyde.

They will choose several community members to join the working group.

The group’s chairman, Braddon MHA Adam Brooks, said the government wanted to hear from the community.

“What we want to know is what the community would like us to focus on,” Mr Brooks said.

Mr Brooks said there would be no easy solutions.

“It’s going to be tough.”

However, Mr Brooks said the mine could have a future.

The group will make its first report to government in three months, and a final report in six months, but locals are concerned people could leave before then.

Mr Hodgman said throwing money around would not solve the problem.

“I think it would be entirely inappropriate … to wave a blank chequebook around,” Mr Hodgman said.

The government will look at getting some projects moving faster on the West Coast, like the $750,000 package promised before the election.

Part of that package is $250,000 to help West Coasters access training for local industries, like aquaculture.

Queenstown Connect has written a project proposal for a skills training centre.

Retraining would be important, Mr Hodgman said.

He too warned there would be no quick fix.

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Mixed reactions to push for .02 limit

A NORTH East road safetyofficer has backed a Victoria Police push to reduce the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers to .02, arguing it would reduce the road toll.

Victoria Police are hoping to debate the issue after Monash University Accident Research Centre found drivers were influenced when they had a blood alcohol level that was less than the legal limit of .05.

RoadSafe North East road safety officer Robert Allen believed a lower limit would encourage drivers to reconsider having a drink before getting behind the wheel.

“If you’re going to drive, don’t drink at all,” he said.

But member for Benambra and former Wodonga policeman Bill Tilley said that was not the only answer.

He said he would consider the idea if “robust” research was undertaken, saying it was an important debate.

“But an investigation needs to be done into whether .02 will reduce crashes and incidents,” he said.

“We can’t just say dropping the alcohol level will be the key to saving lives.

“People are tragically losing their lives not just because of alcohol, but also because of their speed, drugs and road infrastructure.

“I support all agencies but we can’t have simple solutions to hard questions.”

EDITORIAL: Let the booze debate begin

Mr Tilley said they also could not legislate against stupidity.

Victoria Police ActingSuperintendent MartinBoorman said “in today’s community, drink-driversare very much frowned uponand there is also a social stigma” and drink-drivingwas not tolerated by the community.

With the road toll significantly decreasing, Mr Allen said he would support any initiative of Victoria Police.

“We’ve come a long way in reducing the road toll in the last 40 years,” he said.

“With all the initiatives that have been implemented, even the ideas the public has objected to, have worked to reduce the road toll.

“To reduce it even further it means we have to look at further initiatives.”

Mr Allen said he was happy to support any idea that reduced drink-driving.

VICTORIA’S two major political parties have rejected a call from police to consider lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers.

Police yesterday said thelegal blood alcohol limit should be lowered from .05 to .02 toreduce road deaths and trauma.

Inspector Martin Boorman said drivers who blew 0.05 were twice as likely to be involved in road trauma.

A .02 limit would cut fatalities and injuries while giving police some leeway on drivers who drank and drove, he said.

“We have to give up sometimes a little bit of our personal freedom to make the place we live in a better place to be,” Insp Boorman said.

He said 20 per cent of fatal crashes in Victoria involved alcohol, down from 50 per cent in the ’80s. But Premier Denis Napthine said it would be a blow to the hospitality sector.

“With regard to any proposal to alter .05, it would need a huge amount of research and science to convince the government of the need to change,” Dr Napthine said.

“We also understand that if you looked at, say .02, for example, this would have significant implications for the hospitality industry and the quality of life across Melbourne and across Victoria.”

Dr Napthine said Victoria’s road toll had hit a new low last yearand was tracking below the five-year average this year.

The Opposition Leader, Daniel Andrews, echoed Dr Napthine’s views.

“To change from .05 to .02 would be a massive change,” Mr Andrews said.

He said the focus should be on a loophole that can prevent individuals who record levels up to 0.07 losing their licence.

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Kynan Brooks carving own path as a kart wizz

IF Trinity Anglican College student Kynan Brooks continues his winning ways, he will be the Albury-Wodonga club’s next junior to make his mark on national tracks.

Following a similar path to top club juniors Jordan Boys and Jack Richardson, Brooks has time on his side — he is only 11 — but already has been racing for three years.

Unlike those youngsters who follow in the footsteps of their father — or grandfather — Brooks has always favoured karting, rather than drag or boat racing, like his dad, Came- ron, and grandfather Tony.

At eight, Brooks was junior runner-up in the club championship before taking top spot last year.

He has also won the Bob Hinde Memorial Festival of the Kids and qualified third in the Top Gun at Oakleigh this year.

Last year his dad and mum, Nyree, decided he should race against the cadet class best and it has paid off.

“Kynan loves racing his Tony kart,” his dad, Cameron said.

“No other motorsport interested him.

“He is in his third year in cadet class, but next year he may step up to rookie class or the CIK Protour.”

Meanwhile, Boys recently improved his national ranking with two more podium finishes in round six of the Rotax event at Warwick, Queensland.

After strong qualifying and heat results, he started from pole in the DD2 gearbox class and second position off the front in the tough Rotax light class.

Boys and Team Praga nailed a very fast set-up in both classes, giving him second place in Rotax light and third in DD2. The points have him sitting second in DD2 and fourth in Rotax light.

The top-three ranked drivers in each class qualify for Team Australia at the Rotax world finals in Valencia, Spain, in November.

“I’m excited at the prospect of a Team Australia spot,” Boys said.

“We have been so close for three years, so I am working very hard to get the results I need.

“There are only two more chances for points, — at Coffs Harbour later this month and the Rotax nationals at Willowbank Raceway in September.”

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Dysons gears up with buy-out of Wangaratta coaches

Don Joyce will still run school buses, despite selling Wangaratta Coachlines. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICKTHE Dyson Group of companies has bought Wang aratta Coachlines from the Joyce family.

Don and Brenda Joyce started the business in 1987, and it has grown to have about 40 staff to run a fleet of 40 buses.

The business operates 23 government contracts, school services, and an “extensive” coach charter operation.

Dysons will take over operations at Wangaratta from September.

Dysons North East regional manager Brett Drinnan said the move was positive.

“If it wasn’t going to be positive, we wouldn’t have bought it,” he said.

“It complements some services we already have in place in the region and gives us more avenues to work through.

“The only thing that will change is the colour of the uniforms — it will be status quo.

“We don’t anticipate changing anything.”

A statement from both companies said all 40 Coachlines staff would move to Dysons.

Mr Drinnan said the Wangaratta services could be expanded.

“That’s a possibility — in time,” he said.

“But we first need to absorb everything — how they do it and why they do it.

“We might be able to find some efficiencies but we don’t know yet.

“If there’s scope for expansion, we’ll pursue it.”

The Dyson Group expanded into Wodonga when it bought family business Mylon Motorways in 2008.

Dysons has offices in Kyneton, Bairnsdale and Wodonga, and a head office in Melbourne.

The business has 58 Wodonga staff and about 1100 company-wide.

The amount paid for Wangaratta Coachlines has not been disclosed.

The Joyce family will operate eight school services at Wangaratta, from a separate depot.

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Lady Bushrangers look to finish home season on a high

THE North East Lady Bushrangers will take to their home court for the last time this season when they do battle with Chelsea Gulls at the Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre on Sunday.

Riding a two-game winning streak, the Lady Bushrangers will be looking to spring a surprise and extend their winning ways.

But Chelsea will be a tough test, with the Gulls sitting second on the ladder and locked in a tight battle at the top to secure a playoff position.

Bushranger Stacey Browne has been in outstanding form during the second half of the year, averaging 17 points, nine rebounds and 2.5 assists in the past five games.

Rachel Jeffery is starting to find her rhythm again after a couple of quiet outings and will also need to fire.

Holly Bawden has been a key inside for the Lady Bushrangers, producing big defensive stops and hauling down crucial offensive rebounds, while the young brigade of Alaana Northey, Alana Sutton and Jade McCowan have provided added punch when injected into the game.

In the men, the Bushrangers face a tough challenge when they take on a redhot Oakleigh Warriors team riding a six-game winning streak.

After pushing Keysborough all the way last weekend, the Bushrangers will look to put a severe dent in the Warriors’ playoff hopes.

For that to happen, they will need to ensure the Warrior import Andrew Kaban can’t get his hands on the ball.

Kaban has been in astonishing form and in the past month has averaged an unbelievable 41.5 points at 52per cent, 8.25 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

Jon Lindhe and Dylan Webb have lifted to lead the Bushrangers’ resurgence, while young gun Trent McMullen has provided some extra firepower off the bench.

The action tips off at the Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre at noon.

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